Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sunday Snippets - 31st July 2016

It’s been an exciting week in the Cole household, with the second of our two weddings this summer. I tried to keep the rest of the week as quiet as possible, so I could save my energy for Friday, but it didn’t quite work out as I’d planned unfortunately. I’m now feeling rather wiped out and drained, but that was to be expected so it hasn’t come as a surprise. I’m hoping over the next few weeks I can try and relax a bit and just get back into a semi-normal routine!

Last Sunday I got up fairly late and still felt really sleepy. After getting my breakfast and sorting out my medications for the week ahead, I spent the rest of the morning watching The Simpsons and writing a blog post. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to get done during the afternoon, but as it wasn’t too warm I decided to stay up in my bedroom and get some more work done on my computer. So I uploaded a new video over on my YouTube channel, edited a whole load of photos that I’ve been meaning to do for months and then uploaded some of them onto my Facebook. It took me what felt like forever, so by the time I was done I was feeling absolutely exhausted. I managed to find a bit of energy to open this lovely parcel from my friend Lissa, who is being very naughty and treating me to some lovely surprises.  

We took Freddie out in the garden on Monday, and as it was quite hot we popped the sprinkler on for a couple of minutes. He absolutely loved it, and I thought this photo of Bekkah cuddling him up in a towel was rather cute.

I got up later than I’d planned on Monday morning, which seems to be the story of my life these days! I made myself a little to-do list on this cute sticky note for which videos I wanted to film. While I’m talking about it, if there are any videos you would like to see I’d really love to hear your ideas and suggestions! I managed to get two videos filmed in the end – I think my list of five was a bit ambitious. In the afternoon I spent some time filming the cutaways for the videos, which took quite a lot of time and energy. I then popped out with my Mum in the car, as she had a few errands to run, so I decided to do some Pokémon hunting. Not that I did very well. I’m a bit bored of seeing the same ones – I want to catch some new ones!

Tuesday morning I had a phone call from one of the arrhythmia nurses to sort out getting some more medication for my POTS. Annoyingly, I have to go all the way up to London to pick my medication up from the hospital, so I’m going to have a chat with my GP to see if there’s any way she could prescribe it. I spent the morning doing some tidying in my bedroom. No matter how much I tidy, more mess seems to appear! After lunch my Dad took me to an appointment with a charity who offer support to people with mental health problems. On the way home we popped into the dentist to make me an appointment for a check-up. When I got home I found this Polaroid camera had arrived that I’ve been sent by a brand for a blog project I’m going to do, so that’s quite exciting.

I took this photo when I was filming on Monday. I’m not really sure if I like it, but I’m trying to challenge myself to post photos of myself even if I don’t feel comfortable with them.

I woke up quite early on Wednesday morning for some reason, so tried to enjoy just being able to snuggle in my bed. At around 11am my friend Katrina came and picked me up. We went to Starbucks – I was really excited to try their new Iced Shaken Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade, but was disappointed to see they were out of stock of that and also a lot of other drinks. I was hoping they might bring back their Chocolate Coconut Frappuccino this year, but it doesn’t look like they are. So I ended up having a Raspberry Blackcurrant Blended Juice instead. We sat and chatted for a while about weddings, jobs and all sorts of other things, which was lovely. I came home and spent a while doing some blogging. My Mum and I then went to the Post Office as I had a parcel to send.

On Thursday I woke up not feeling too great, so tried to take it easy. I got my hair washed then just chilled out on the sofa for a while. In the afternoon my Mum dropped Bekkah and I off at my friend Katy’s house, and I did some work on my laptop while Bekkah had her nails done. She then went home and I had my nails done. I’m so happy with how pretty they look. I did some more bits on my laptop while my Mum had hers done. We popped into Waitrose on our way home, and then I rested on the sofa. We all had a family meal in the evening with both of my brothers and Emma, which was lovely. Unfortunately I didn’t feel good at all in the evening – very hot, clammy, tired and sick.

Friday definitely didn’t start as I’d hoped it would. Unfortunately I woke up feeling really poorly – every time I tried to stand up I could feel everything drain from my head and my vision went black. I kept going cold and clammy, and ended up having to lie on my bathroom floor while my Mum attempted to get some orange juice down me. Thankfully I got to a point where I was able to stand up without fainting, and I went round to Lisa’s parents’ house to get ready with the other bridesmaids. I started feeling unwell again, so had a nap while the others were having their hair done, and that seemed to help. Lisa spoilt us with a cute mug, beautiful bracelet and earrings. The rest of the day was really lovely. Lisa looked absolutely beautiful and Richard scrubbed up pretty well too! The church service was amazing with some great worship songs. The weather held out for us to take some gorgeous photos in the grounds of Cantley House and the reception was fantastic and so full of love. I’m so thankful my health picked up enough for me to be part of such a special day and feel incredibly lucky to have gained another sister. There will be a few more photos and possibly a video to follow.

I slept pretty well on Friday night thankfully, which is no surprise considering how shattered I was! We all went down to the restaurant and had breakfast together, before packing everything up and heading home. I unpacked my suitcase then went to pick the cats up from the cattery (my Dad had already collected the very excitable dogs!) I rested for a while, then we went round to Lisa’s parents’ house for a family BBQ. It was nice to just relax a bit and have a proper chat with people. We had all the wedding flowers on the tables and around the garden, which looked really pretty. I was feeling really exhausted though, so my Mum brought me home and I ended up sleeping from around 4pm until 7.30pm. I definitely needed the sleep!

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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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

BearHugs Gifts*

Being chronically ill has a lot of downsides, but it has also brought with it some amazing positives, one of which is the fantastic friends I’ve made. I’ve met some of the most incredible, brave, inspirational people over the years, who could choose to just sit back and use their illnesses as an excuse to give up on life. But they haven’t; instead, being unwell has spurred them on to do all sorts of remarkable things. I’d really love to use my space on the Internet to showcase some of the wonderful things my friends are doing, and today I want to tell you about Faye, and her small business, BearHugs.

Photo of Faye from BearHugs website

In her early twenties, Faye started to notice a gradual decline in her health. In 2013, she had to give up working as a Speech and Language Therapist and found herself predominantly housebound. Spending the majority of her time in a darkened room, Faye could only tolerate noise, company and mental stimulation for short periods before needing to rest. Sitting up made her dizzy, chewing food was a challenge and she struggled to walk from her bed to the bathroom. This led her to become entirely dependent on others; using a wheelchair on the rare occasions she left the house. Faye now knows that these symptoms are caused by Lyme disease, which you can find out more about here.

Her idea for BearHugs first came about after she received a particularly thoughtful parcel from a friend, just when she needed it most. Being housebound, receiving something nice in the post can really make your day. Although she wasn’t able to act on her ideas straight away, that parcel had planted a seed in her mind. As she made small improvements with her health, she began to write blog posts about her experiences and began selling homemade jewellery online, donating the profits to charity. Several years later, Faye’s health had improved to a level where she was doing a fair bit better. She found herself thinking more and more about her business idea and, after browsing their website, contacted the Prince’s Trust. A couple of weeks later, she had enrolled on their Enterprise Programme and, with their invaluable support, was able to turn her idea into a reality. BearHugs was launched in the summer of 2015.

Recently, Faye very kindly offered to send me a BearHugs gift box to review on my blog, and I knew immediately it was something I would love to write about. I was very excited when the postman knocked on my door with a big brown box with a BearHugs sticker on the top. Opening the box, I found it full of crimpled red strands of paper packing, hiding a smaller box inside wrapped in blue string, with a sticker informing me that I had been sent a BearHug.

Cutting the string to peek inside, I found more paper packing, this time in the BearHugs signature blue colour. On top was a brown envelope instructing me to open it. Inside were two postcards – one that told me who my BearHug was from, and the other with a discount code for you guys! Having these postcards means you can order a BearHug from the website and send it straight to your recipient, knowing you can include a special message just for them.

After delving into the blue packaging, I began to uncover the treats inside. I was completely overwhelmed by how beautiful all the products were, but also how jam-packed the box was with lovely things. I had been well and truly spoilt! The great thing about BearHugs is that there are lots of different types of boxes for all occasions, people and price ranges. From luxury treats, pampering and tea boxes to New Mum and baby, movie night and kids boxes, there really is something for everyone. And if you can’t find something you like, you can even contact Faye who will help you put together a custom box. There are also two delivery options – standard delivery is £2.99 and next day delivery is also offered from Tuesday to Saturday, and varies from £8.99 to £13.99 depending on the weight of the box you choose.

I believe the box Faye sent me was a custom box, and she had really thought a lot about the items inside. The first thing my eyes were drawn to was a large white coffee mug with the phrase ‘A big hug in a mug’ in black writing on the side. Anyone that knows me will know that I collect cute mugs, so this went down particularly well! To go with my mug was a miniature packet of Teapigs Everyday Brew tea, which I was very excited about, as Teapigs are one of my favourite tea brands. And, of course, you can’t possibly enjoy a cup of tea without a biscuit or two! So there was also a little packet of Divinely Chocolatey Cookies from Border Biscuits - yummy!

To add to the relaxing theme of my box, Faye had also included a tub of Sheffield Skincare Company’s Dooley Scrumptious whipped Body Butter. Packed with skin nourishing Shea butter, coconut and sweet almond oil and scented with sweet chamomile and cold pressed orange peel, I think I’m in for a right treat when I use this. The last two things in my box were an adorable little colouring book from Buster Books and a beautiful set of 36 Summer Meadow colouring pencils from Dot Com Gift Shop. I’m definitely looking forward to zoning out and doing a bit of colouring to chill out.

Overall I’m just bowled over by my BearHugs Gift box, but also just the company as a whole. I think Faye has done an amazing job of overcoming diversity and using what could be seen as a very negative experience to create something so positive. I know how much happy mail means to me, so I’m sure that BearHugs are bringing joy to so many people, and will hopefully continue to do so for years to come.

Don’t forget, Faye very kindly gave me a 10% discount code to share with you, so, if you’re thinking of sending someone a BearHug, you can use JENNY10 when you check out!

Have you heard of BearHugs before today? Is there someone you might send one too? I’d love to hear what sending and receiving happy mail means to you!

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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Sunday Snippets - 24th July 2016

The last week has been fairly busy, so I’m feeling quite wiped out at the moment. There have been good times and not so good times, so I’ve just been trying to get through one day at a time. It’s been super hot, which has made things a bit of a struggle. I love the sunshine and I don’t mind it being warm, but there have been a few days when it’s really just been too hot. Still, I guess we shouldn’t moan, as we’ll only be complaining in a month or so when it’s cold and rainy!

Last Sunday I didn’t wake up until around 11am, which means I slept for around 11 hours, so I must have been really wiped out after the blogger event on Saturday! I had a pretty quiet morning sorting out my medications for the week ahead and doing a bit of blogging. I sat out in the garden to drink my Ensure at lunchtime and listened to Ellie Goulding and Adele, which was nice. My brother and sister-in-law (David and Emma) came over in the afternoon and showed us all of their wedding photos, as they’d been sent the link for the proof copies. There are so many beautiful ones; I don’t know how they’re going to choose a few for their album! I then popped over the road to see my friend Sarah, who was visiting her parents for the day. We had a good chat, which was lovely. My Grandma was over, so in the evening we had a family dinner together.  

This month’s Crown and Glory Glitterati subscription box is pretty awesome. Just look at that light-up hairpiece! It would be perfect for a festival (if only I was going to one!)

I woke up fairly early on Monday and went to have my hair coloured at the hairdressers so it’s nice for the wedding. I came home and rested for a bit, as I was still feeling pretty wiped out after Saturday. I ordered a couple of birthday presents for friends and watched TV. In the afternoon my Dad took me to see my GP again. I pretty much spilled out everything that’s been happening with my mental health. I told her what happened last Friday and that I just can’t keep dipping into these crises every few days. We also discussed the fact that I and my family don’t agree with my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and that it’s been disputed by other professionals, who believe I actually have Bipolar. My Dad and I feel that my old psychiatrist hasn’t taken it seriously and based her responses on incorrect information about Bipolar (she said I couldn’t possibly have Bipolar because I haven’t been arrested by the police!) My GP was fab – really understanding and seemed to get what I was saying. She’s going to refer me to a different psychiatrist for a second opinion. I popped into Waitrose next door afterwards and picked up an Innocent Smoothie to have as part of my afternoon snack.

I also opened this month’s Birchbox, which is in collaboration with Millie Mackintosh. I absolutely love the design of the box, and am excited to try some of the bits inside.

Tuesday was the hottest day of the year so far, and boy was it hot! I was seriously melting! The heat hasn’t been great for my POTS unfortunately, but I’ve tried to muddle through and keep as cool as possible. I wanted to do some blog work in the morning, but my desktop computer that I use for blogging is in my attic bedroom, which is a sauna in this weather. So I went downstairs, dozed for a bit and then wrote a couple of letters to my penpals (including this adorable cat card). In the afternoon my Mum and I went round to see my friend Katy from Katy Jane Rose Beauty. While my Mum had her nails done I replied to a few messages on my laptop, then I had my eyebrows done, followed by a lovely relaxing facial. We popped into Waitrose on our way home and then I finished off my letters.

This month’s My Little Box was coconut themed, which I’m very happy about, as I love coconuts!

With it being ridiculously hot and humid, poor Freddie was really struggling. But he seemed to find a comfy position stretched out on the sofa!

Wednesday was another hot day, but a tiny bit cooler than Tuesday. In the morning my Mum, Dad, sister and I went to B&Q. They pushed me around to look at light fittings. We then went over to Pets at Home to get the dogs a couple of beds for the lounge, and I bought Jaffa a new little toy to play with. I was pretty exhausted by the time we got home, so I crashed out on the sofa and rested for a while. I spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos and writing penpal letters. In the evening we had my brother and his fiancé’s (Richard and Lisa’s) wedding rehearsal, and then all went to the pub for dinner, which was nice. Unfortunately I felt really ill afterwards and had another mental health dip.

I gave Jaffa his new toy, and to begin with he seemed far from interested! But I popped my head round the door a bit later and found him playing with it, so I think he was just trying to play it cool!

On Thursday morning my Mum, Dad and sister (Bekkah) drove me over to Basingstoke to my friend Charlie’s house. They headed into Basingstoke to do some shopping so I could spend a few hours with Charlie and her two little ones, Izzi and Joe. We spent a while chatting while Izzi and Joe played and watched Big Hero 6. Charlie then made us all some lunch, with the help of chef Izzi! After lunch we sat out in the garden watching Izzi and Joe playing. Joe drew a cute picture of me with chalk; they did some hula hooping and played swing ball. We all enjoyed an ice-lolly, as it was still pretty warm. A Change for Life letter came through the door, and spookily it had a game on it called Charlie and Jenny’s Hide and Seek! My Dad and the others then picked me up and we all came home. I spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling out.

I hadn’t really planned on doing much on Friday, but my Mum offered to take me into town to do a bit of shopping. How could I refuse?! So we went into Camberley for a little while. I picked up this beautiful skirt from Quiz and then had a look in Primark but couldn’t really find anything I liked apart from a hat, which was reduced to £2! I think I’ll have to go back to Primark in a few weeks when they will hopefully have more of their new stock in. We popped into Next on our way home so my Mum could pick up a present for someone. I spent the afternoon resting on the sofa, watching some programmes I had on record and catching up on blog e-mails. The evening wasn’t too great unfortunately, as my mental health took a bit of a dip.

Yesterday morning I woke up fairly late – I seem to be so tired at the moment. I spent the morning just pottering around and not doing an awful lot really. At lunchtime we went over to my sister-in-law’s parents’ house for her Dad’s 50th birthday BBQ. We sat out in the sunshine and chatted for a few hours before we had to come home, as my Dad was going out in the evening. I rested on the sofa trying to cool down a bit, as I’d got a bit hot sitting out in the sun. I also binge-watched some YouTube videos and wrote some penpal letters.

I bought these beautiful sunflowers and stocks this week, and they’re looking lovely. Sunflowers always make me smile and stocks smell so dreamy.

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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