Monday, 31 October 2016

Witch Skincare Competition Wins

A while ago I received an email from Witch Skincare on my personal account, which contained a link to a competition. I go through phases of entering competitions, and because I had a few minutes to spare I decided to click the link and fill in my details. I didn’t think anything of it after that – I’ve entered so many competitions and rarely heard any follow-up. But a couple of weeks later, I received another email telling me I had won the prize! It’s always nice to get things in the post, so I was very excited when my goodies arrived a few days later. I thought it would be nice for me to share with you the products I won.

The lovely people at Witch really spoilt me! I’ve tried a couple of their products before, but there were also a few that I’m yet to try, so the package contained a really nice selection. I first remember trying something from Witch as a teenager, as I’d been told witch hazel was really good for spots. Since then, they’ve become a brand that I really trust and I always keep an eye out for any new releases.

First up was a packet of 25 cleansing and toning wipes. I must admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for a good face wipe. I know they get a lot of bad press, but I find them a real lifesaver on days that I don’t feel well enough to do my proper skincare routine. I also like to use them to get the majority of my make-up off before I do a deep cleanse. These wipes have added Witch Hazel to clean and freshen up the skin, help tighten pores (which is always a bonus in my eyes!) and help to prevent breakouts.

The next thing I pulled out of my parcel was this Concealer Stick. I wasn’t aware that Witch did make-up items, so was really interested to see this in my winnings. I’m always on the look out for good concealers, so am interested to see what this one will be like. According to Witch, this is a true multi-tasker, which has got to be a good thing if it saves you time on your routine. It covers spots and contains Witch Hazel to help blitz blemishes as you cover them. I always worry when I use concealer that it could make my spots worse, so knowing this product targets blemishes at the same time is reassuring.

Another of the products I won was this Overnight Clearing Serum. I’ve actually tried this one out before, as I received a sample in a blogger event goody bag last year. But I really loved using it, so I was happy to receive a new one! It’s an award-winning powerful, oil-free serum, which helps to prevent breakouts and reduce the appearance of blemishes and redness whilst you sleep. The Witch Hazel extract helps clear and contract pores and Vitamin B3 visibly hydrates skin. I find with some products that work on blemishes and tighten pores that they can leave my skin feeling uncomfortably tight. But this serum left my skin feeling nourished and clear.

Another product I’ve tried before and loved is their Gentle Exfoliating Face Wash. Loaded with natural micro-granules to deep clean pores, help shift dead skin cells and trapped dirt for a soft, smooth, clearer-looking complexion, it leaves your face feeling glowing and refreshed. It’s gentle but still does the job, and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight or irritated.

The last thing in my parcel was this Blemish Stick. I’ve got a feeling I’ve tried this or something similar before, and if I remember rightly I found it really effective. It’s another of Witch’s award-winning products and is the ultimate in blemish control. With the help of Witch Hazel (which, as you’ve probably guessed, is the main ingredient in all of the products from Witch) it helps to break down excess oils in just one use and fights bacteria that cause spots. I used to apply this on spots as they first started to appear, and found it really helped to clear them quickly but without that horrible tight feeling some other products can leave you with.

So that was everything in my winning parcel! I’m really excited to try the products I haven’t tried yet and am very grateful to Witch for running the competition. I’ll definitely have to keep you updated on how I find the rest of the products. Keep an eye on my YouTube channel as I often talk about my favourite products over there.

Have you tried any products from Witch? Which ones are your favourite? Or can you recommend any other brands I might like to try out?

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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sunday Snippets - 30th October 2016

It’s been quite a difficult week one way or another, with my health being a particular problem. I’m so thankful it’s my reading week next week, as I desperately need some time to just take a step back, relax and recharge my batteries a bit. I can’t quite get my head around the fact this is my last Sunday Snippets of October 2016 – where is this year going?! I hate to say it, but I really need to start thinking about preparing for Christmas now!

I was able to have another lie-in last Sunday morning, but to be honest at the moment I feel like I could probably sleep forever. I spent the morning watching The Simpsons and writing a blog post. My Dad brought these gorgeous flowers home from church for my Mum. I think gerberas are such a happy flower, so it’s nice to have these sitting in our kitchen. In the afternoon I spent most of my time working on things for Uni. I looked for stories for our next news day and did some planning for an article I’m writing. I still had a few birthday presents to open, so I decided to take a break from working and open those. My Grandma was round and my brother, Richard, came over too, so we all had our Sunday roast together.

Monday was pretty awful to be honest. I’d had a really bad night and was up ill for most of it, so didn’t get much sleep. When I tried to get up in the morning, every time I sat up I felt like I was going to faint. My vision kept going black and I felt incredibly sick. It felt like the world was spinning around me. I somehow managed to get myself downstairs and called in sick at Uni, before flopping on the sofa and falling asleep. My Mum woke me up at lunchtime and I tried to get a Fortisip down me. Thankfully I didn’t feel quite so faint, but spent most of the afternoon resting. My Mum took me down to the doctors, as I had to have a blood test. I also had an appointment with my asthma nurse, and because we’re struggling to control my asthma she thinks my GP may want to refer me to a specialist. I really needed an extra spoon, and this one my friend Lissa sent me made me smile.

I was feeling a bit better on Tuesday thankfully, although I probably should have spent another day resting. My Dad drove me over to Uni for another news day. I was presenting on the radio, which was good fun. We had bulletins at 12noon, 2pm and 4pm, so it was pretty hectic! We also recorded an interview with the Mayor of Waverley, which went well. And in our 4pm programme I did a live phone interview about a football match, which was definitely out of my comfort zone! All good practise though. My Dad picked me up and brought me home, absolutely exhausted and in quite a lot of pain. We had some good news waiting for us though, as Rebekah had just got home from passing her driving test first time!

I had to be up fairly early on Wednesday morning so my Mum could take me to my counselling session. It was the last of my six sessions that they offer initially, but we’ve decided to continue for a bit longer. Maybe it will tide me over until we can get something sorted with the mental health team. My Dad picked me up and we popped to the Post Office so I could send off my PIP forms. I spent a while resting at home, then after lunch my Dad took me over to Camberley for a course with the Recovery College called Understanding Bipolar. It was run by a great psychiatrist (who I really wish was overseeing my care) and I found it so interesting. Since getting my Cyclothymia diagnosis I’ve tried looking into it a bit, but I learnt a lot more from the discussions we had during the group. It’s such a shame it’s only a one-off. I could really do with some proper support. When I got home I opened my post, which included all these Superdrug facemasks that I’d ordered for my party. Unfortunately most of the people I thought might come weren’t able to come in the end, so I’ve got to work out what to do with all the bits I’ve bought.

I managed to oversleep on Thursday morning, probably because I’m absolutely shattered at the moment. My Dad took me over to the hospital for an appointment with my physiotherapist. We had a catch up; he gave me a couple of exercises to try and help my back and has now discharged me, as he doesn’t feel there’s anything else he can do for me. We came home and I rested for a while. My Mum and I then went over to Tesco, as I was running low on quite a lot of things. They had some Disney DVDs on offer, so I decided to cheer myself up with a few more to add to my collection. I was wiped out by the time we got home, so I spent most of the afternoon resting on the sofa. My pain levels seemed to be particularly high, which I really struggled with and Tramadol didn’t seem to touch it.

I overslept again on Friday morning, but thankfully I got to Uni on time. The first part of our morning lecture wasn’t great, but the second half was a bit better. I really struggled to focus though because all I could think about was how much pain I was in. It’s really hard to do anything when my pain gets that bad. I can’t sit still because I’m so uncomfortable and all I feel like doing is curling up somewhere and trying to sleep. At lunchtime I met up with my mentor and we talked through what work I need to get done before Christmas. In the afternoon we had our Law lecture, which is always interesting. I was shattered by the time my Dad brought me home, but I had to pop to Waitrose with my Mum to get a few bits for my party. For my birthday my Dad renewed my National Trust membership and my new card arrived in the post, so I’m looking forward to going on some adventures in the next year. I was feeling really low in the evening though. Life seems to be a real struggle lately.

I had a fairly quiet Saturday morning after a bit of a lie-in. I just tried to rest as much as possible and my Mum helped me get things reading for the afternoon. I had planned to have a party with quite a few of my spoonie friends, but unfortunately most of them couldn’t come. But the lovely Charlie, little Izzi and Jemma came along and we had such a nice afternoon together (and Bekkah joined in too!) We had some snacks, watched Cinderella, Frozen Fever and The Princess and the Frog, and did lots of pampering (and chatting!) We painted our nails and did facemasks, and just generally relaxed, which was just what I needed. I appreciate these ladies coming so much and for giving me such a lovely afternoon and such thoughtful gifts. David and Emma popped over, so after my friends had gone home they showed us their photos from New York, which looked amazing!

I just had to share my amazing birthday cake with you! Thanks to the lovely Mel, I had this amazing showstopper for my party on Saturday. Four layers of raspberry and white chocolate sponge sandwiched together with champagne buttercream. And the decorations are just spot on – I mean who doesn’t love a glittery doughnut?!

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.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I would love to reach 800 followers, and do have a little giveaway planned for when I get there!

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

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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sunday Snippets - 23rd October 2016

This week has been crazy busy and I feel like my feet haven’t touched the floor. It was so good to get to Friday evening, knowing I had two days of no plans in front of me (even if I do have a list of work longer than my arm to do!) It’s only another week until half term from Uni, and I seriously cannot wait! I will have to spend most of it catching up with work, blogging and various other things from my to-do list, but hopefully I’ll be able to have the odd lie-in too.

I decided to try and not have too much of a lie-in last Sunday morning, as I had so much to do. And I actually didn’t do too badly with getting up! I spent my morning watching episodes of The Simpsons and writing a blog post. I lit one of my Yankee Candles - I know it’s only October, but I do love a Christmas candle! I then sorted out a load of filing for my Uni work, which I’d been meaning to do for ages. David and Emma popped round, so I chatted to them for a while as they were off to New York towards the end of the week (and I’m not jealous at all!) The Rescuers was on TV in the afternoon, so I popped that on and spent most of the afternoon doing Uni work. I keep feeling really headachy, so I thought I should get a bit of fresh air considering I hadn’t been out of the house for two days. So my Dad and I went for a tiny walk out of our back gate with the dogs. I don’t think the dogs are very impressed if I ever go out for a walk with them, as they don’t get to walk very far! Going out for long walks (or any walks a lot of the time) is something I really miss as my health has got worse. I’m looking for an electric wheelchair to give me more independence but it’s probably not going to be suitable for country walks. I’m guessing if I want something like that though I’m going to need to buy two different chairs, which I can’t really afford to do.

I had to be up super early on Monday morning so my Dad could take me over to the hospital. I had a phone call on Sunday evening asking me to go in for an MRI at 7.15am! We got about half way through the scan of my hips and the radiographer came through and said the pictures were looking very strange. After a bit of investigation we worked out I had a tiny mental button on my trousers. So we started the scan again, minus the trousers! I was in the scanner for an hour in total. My Dad and I then went to the hospital cafĂ© for a bit of breakfast before heading over to Uni. Our morning at Uni consisted of talking about interview techniques, and I also went through my narrative article ideas with my tutor, so I now know which topics I’m covering. After lunch, a guest speaker came in to talk to us about writing longer articles and doing interviews. He was really interesting and shared a lot of advice and knowledge with us. I was exhausted by the time I got home and pretty much crashed out on the sofa for the evening. This unicorn picture that my friend, Becca, sent me for my birthday made me smile.

Getting up on Tuesday morning was even more of a struggle than normal. My Dad drove me to Uni for another news day. Myself and my friend Amber took on a story about a piece of research that shows Southerners are the most likely to avoid the 5p bag charge by bringing their own bags. We headed over to Waitrose to get some interviews with customers about their opinions on the matter, and then went back to Uni to start editing. We also had to write a piece for online, so Amber focussed on the radio piece while I wrote an article to go online. I also had to record our narrative to go with the interviews for the radio piece. At the end of the day we listened to the final broadcast before my Dad brought me home. I felt absolutely drained and had been feeling really unwell all day. I seem to be finding this a lot harder on my health so far this year, and I’m worried how I’m going to cope. I’ve also been feeling pretty upset about being such a burden on people. I have to rely on people for so much, like my Dad to drive me to and from Uni, but I can’t see another option. My health is getting worse and I don’t feel safe to drive myself to and from Uni, never mind not being able to lift my wheelchair in and out of the car. It’s just getting me down at the moment.

My Dad and I were up pretty early on Wednesday morning so we could drive to the station. Traffic was awful and we ended up having to park in a side road so we didn’t miss our train. We went to Guildford and made our way to the Crown Court. It was a long and pretty intense morning sitting in on a case. Afterwards, my Dad and I went to Costa for a bit of lunch before catching the train back. We popped into Waitrose on our way home so my Dad could pick something up. I spent the rest of the afternoon making phone calls to sort out medical things and doing some Uni work. I was so glad to finally get into bed in the evening!

On Thursday morning I managed to oversleep a bit, so it was a bit of a rush with my Dad driving me over to Aldershot. I had another session of this Recovery College group I’m doing, but really struggled to focus because my pain levels were really bad. When we got home I just tried to rest on the sofa for a little while. It was my Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary, so they went out just after lunch to go up to London to see a show. These are some of the roses in the bunch of flowers my Dad bought my Mum. I spent a while watching Family Guy and doing Uni work. I then drove myself down to the hairdressers and had my hair cut. After some rest at home, in the evening my sister, Rosiie, and I met my brother, David, for a drink before he went off on holiday to New York.

I actually got to have a bit of a lie-in on Friday morning, which was definitely needed. I had to miss my first lecture at Uni because I had to wait in for my Neurogastroenterology Professor to ring. I was getting quite anxious as he hadn’t rung, but an hour after our appointment time the phone rang thankfully. He thinks I still have problems with small bowel bacterial overgrowth, so I have to continue with courses of strong antibiotics and increase my probiotics. He has also said that he believes I have mast cell problems (Mast Cell Activation Disorder), which is likely to be making a lot of my symptoms worse. He’s going to talk to my Neurologist about prescribing something to try and help it, but unfortunately there’s no cure. I’ve got mixed feelings about it all and am still trying to get my head around it. It’s good to have a diagnosis, but upsetting and worrying to have another serious incurable illness. After my phone call my Dad drove me over to Uni. I was meant to be seeing my mentor, but because I was so late all we got to do was say a quick hello. In the afternoon we had our Law lecture, which was pretty intense but very interesting. I was really glad to get home though, put the kettle on and rest.

I had a really long lie-in on Saturday morning, but really didn’t feel well when I woke up. This always seems to happen at the weekends. I push myself so much during the week then end up crashing on my days off. It took me ages to get myself started with anything, but I finally managed to edit and upload a new video to my YouTube channel, which is good as I’m not uploading as much as I’d like to now I’m back at Uni. In the afternoon I caught up on a couple of episodes of a new series called The Level, which I’m really enjoying. I also spent most of the afternoon filling in my PIP forms. They’re so difficult to fill in and my brain really ached afterwards, but I made a good dent in them. Hopefully my Dad can help me finish them, as they have to be sent back within about three weeks. This little sleepy chap kept me company all afternoon.

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.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I would love to reach 800 followers, and do have a little giveaway planned for when I get there!

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

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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Sunday Snippets - 16th October 2016

It has been a pretty crazy week this week, and I’m exhausted. If anyone fancies taking me on a relaxing holiday somewhere, that would be awesome right now! I’m getting a little bit stressed out as my Uni work starts to pile up, alongside all the other life stuff I need to do. I’m struggling to see how I’m going to fit everything in (whilst making sure my health doesn’t get any worse) but I’m trying to prioritise what needs to be done and not beat myself up if I have to leave some things until later.

I finally got to have a proper lie-in last Sunday morning. It felt like I hadn’t had one in ages, and it was so good (and so needed!) After I’d got up and dressed, my Mum and I popped down to Waitrose so I could get some money out for the week ahead. I also wanted to get some mini pumpkins for blog photos, but they only had a couple and they weren’t very nice, so I’ll have to keep looking. When I got home I spent some time writing and uploading a blog post (and watching a few episodes of The Simpsons). I spent the rest of the afternoon watching Family Guy and doing some Uni work. In the evening we all went out as a family for my birthday dinner at Bill’s, which was lovely. I had a really yummy cocktail called Hedgerow Fizz and a Marks and Spencer Connie the Caterpillar cake. I’ve made the same wish when I blow out my candles for more years than I can remember. Maybe one day it might just come true.

I didn’t feel too well when I woke up on Monday morning and to be honest all I wanted to do was stay in bed. But instead, my Dad drove me over to Uni. We spent the morning talking through the portfolio we need to submit before Christmas, which I’m stressing out about a bit at the moment. At lunchtime I went to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte with my friends Ife and Shanae, which was nice. In the afternoon we looked through a few different narrative journalism articles to help us with ideas for what we can write for our portfolio. I’ve got loads of ideas buzzing round my head, but am struggling to work out which ones are any good. Thankfully we finished a bit early, so I was able to come home and get some rest. This box had arrived in the post from Japan Candy Box, which I won in a competition on a blog a while ago.

Monday was World Mental Health Day and it’s something everyone needs to be talking about. One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. If it isn’t you, then it will be someone you know and love. Which is why it is so important to talk about mental illness openly and honestly. And it’s also why mental illness needs to be treated with the same importance as physical illness. It’s not something to hide away or be embarrassed about. I have struggled with my mental health since I was a teenager – depression, an eating disorder, anxiety and Cyclothymia. I’ve been hospitalised, sectioned, medicated. I’ve had years of different therapies. I’ve tried to take my life on numerous occasions. And things are still really hard. But I’m here and I’m fighting. The theme for this year is psychological first aid and the support you can provide to someone in distress. Getting support early is really vital, but because there is so little funding, it rarely happens. But you don’t need to be a professional to help someone with a mental illness. Simply being there to talk to them and asking how they are can help. We need to keep talking and keep campaigning for better support. If you’re struggling and need help, you can check out some of these amazing charities: The Samaritans, Mind, The Blurt Foundation and Time to Change.

I was up early on Tuesday morning so my Dad could take me over to Uni. I didn’t feel that great – I seem to be very headachey and wiped out at the moment. In the morning we got into groups and were given a story to work on. We had to go and get some audio interviews to back up the story, and then start editing it into a package. At lunchtime my friend Nina and I went to Starbucks for our long overdue catch-up. I tried a couple of new things – their Hibiscus tea and a Mallow and Marsh raspberry marshmallow bar, both of which were really yummy. I’m a big marshmallow fan, so was excited to discover these! In the afternoon we had to put together a radio bulletin using current news stories, and then record it in the radio studio, which was good fun. My Dad picked me up and brought me home, where I crashed out on the sofa for most of the evening.

I had another session with my counsellor on Wednesday morning. It was good to talk through some things and get things off my chest. When I got home I phoned the hospital to try and sort out my POTS appointment, but unfortunately the specialist has had his registrar taken away, which means they’ve had to postpone half of his appointments, as it’s only him now. It’s very frustrating that services for people with rarer severe chronic illnesses are continually being cut and receive so little funding. I then had a session of reflexology, which was lovely and relaxing. I fell asleep after my therapist had left and woke up an hour later – oops! In the afternoon I watched the last episode of Shetland with my Dad and did some Uni work. We also took Jaffa to the vets for his annual booster jabs. She checked him over and said that he’s all good and healthy, which is good. When I got home I had one of these Pukka teas, as I was feeling kind of fluey, so thought the honey and lemon might be soothing.

On Thursday morning I had my Recovery College course called Managing Intense Emotions. It was a pretty difficult topic this week (self harm) so I came out feeling pretty drained. I drove my Dad and I home and rested for a little while. My Mum and I went to see my friend Katy. I did some admin on my laptop while my Mum had her nails done, then I had my eyebrows done followed by a very relaxing facial. We popped into Waitrose on our way home so I could pick up a couple of essentials. Half an hour later, my Mum took me down to the doctors for my appointment with my GP. She spent quite a long time with me, as we had a lot of stuff to sort out. I’ve got to have more blood tests, speak to my gastro professor about this reflux (as she thinks it’s more likely to be related to my gastroparesis), be referred for physio on my jaw and make a couple of phone calls to chase up tests and operations. After a pretty crazy day I really wanted to try and have a relaxing evening. So I had a Lush Snow Fairy bath, put on my Topshop teddy bear robe, read a bit more of my book and used my Febreze sleep spray to send me off to the land of nod.

I managed to oversleep a bit on Friday morning, but somehow got to Uni early (how does that even work?!) We had a lecture about media ownership, but I had to go out for a bit halfway through to go over my evacuation plan. My Dad picked me up at lunchtime and brought me home, where I relaxed a bit for half an hour. He then took me to our local hospital for my appointment with a hip surgeon. He was actually running early, which is pretty rare! After examining me we looked at my x-ray, which shows the ball and socket joints are OK in that there’s no arthritis or dysplasia. He’s referring me for an MRI to check for other problems, so I had to have some bloods done, as they may want to inject me with dye. He was really nice, very knowledgeable and also very honest. He said if something shows in the scan that he can ‘fix’ with surgery, he’ll talk me through the pros and cons and help me all he can. But if nothing shows on the scan, then we will have to accept that it’s ‘just’ my EDS and that I’ll have to learn to manage the problems. I do appreciate doctors being honest when they can’t help (as opposed to not knowing when to stop/fumbling in the dark) but it doesn’t make it any less upsetting being told they may not be able to help you. He did jokingly (I think!) advise me to go and wear my hips out as quickly as possible, as then he could justify giving me hip replacements, which could vastly improve my symptoms. When we got home I had a phone call from the Doctors and had to pop down to collect something from them. I then came home and tried to rest for a while. Alfie does this a lot with his teddy and I think it looks so cute. He loves that teddy so much, which is a bit worrying as it is becoming rather threadbare!

I slept until really late on Saturday morning, which frustrated me because I’ve got so much to do, but I’m absolutely exhausted at the moment. Once I’d got myself up, dressed and feeling a little more awake, I stuck some episodes of Family Guy on, edited a load of photos and wrote a blog post. It took me a lot longer than I expected (probably because I kept getting distracted or nodding off!) I then spent a while opening the pile of post that had been building up over the last couple of weeks, which included the Japan Candy Box that I won. It was jam-packed full of so many colourful packets! I spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on the sofa doing Uni work. I was feeling quite unwell to be honest and have had a continuous headache for a week.

I also opened this month’s Birchbox, which is really pretty and apparently glows in the dark! The contents aren’t my favourite selection, and I think a couple of them are more suited to summer products, but I’ll certainly give them a try.

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.

If you don't already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I would love to reach 800 followers, and do have a little giveaway planned for when I get there! 

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

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