Thursday, 23 March 2017

February Happiness Project Round-Up

If you’ve seen my last couple of posts, you will know that this year I decided to give my own Happiness Project another go after failing a bit with the last one I tried. If you’ve never heard of The Happiness Project before, you can check out my introduction to it here. I made a sort of bucket list for each month of things I would like to do and also national days I could celebrate. Some I came up with myself, and some I found on Pinterest. But I made sure not to put any pressure on myself to do them all because that would just take away from the whole idea of it being a project to increase my happiness! I said in that post that I would share my project with you over the next year, so today I though I would go through the things I did throughout February.

First on my list was to buy a pink floral arrangement. As I said in my January post, something I have tried to include every month on my list is to buy some fresh flowers for my bedroom. So, each month I have specified the type of flowers to look out for – usually it’s something that fits with the time of year, and it gives me a reason to perhaps buy flowers I wouldn’t normally go for. I feel like I cheated slightly with this arrangement, as although the flowers were mainly pink (light and dark), I did also have some lilac tulips in there too, as I thought they looked pretty together. This time of year is perfect for one of my favourite flowers, the tulip, so as soon as I saw these in my local Waitrose I snapped them up.

Something that I like to try and do in February is to send Valentine’s cards to some of my friends. I know it doesn’t bother everyone, but I always find myself feeling a bit sad around Valentine’s Day, as being single, I don’t tend to get a card or anything. Now, I know that it’s just a holiday invented by card companies, but that doesn’t take away the difficulty of seeing lots of your friends celebrating their relationships with cards, gifts and date nights. I have always thought Valentine’s Day should be about celebrating love on a much wider scale, so, this year, I went to my local Paperchase to pick up some cute cards to send to some of my friends in the hope it would make them smile.

Another thing that I’m really trying to do more this year, is to light my candles! I have so many of them because I just love buying them, but I really don’t light them as much as I should. So my goal for February was to light sweet candles. I had a rummage through my collection, and decided to go for this Yankee Candle in Pain Au Raisin, which literally smells like a French bakery – yum! I love Yankee Candles because as well as smelling great in their solid form, they smell amazing when they’re burning. My Mum will often come up to my room while I’m working and tell me she can smell the candle I’m burning down the stairs! I hadn’t actually tried this scent before I lit this one, but it’s one I will definitely be looking out for again (although perhaps once I’ve used up some of the others in my drawer!)

Next on my list was to have a Lush Valentine’s bubble bath. I don’t really need an excuse to have a Lush bath, but as I mentioned in my January post, I do seem to be finding it difficult to make time for myself these days. So, at the beginning of the month, I had a look on the Lush website and picked a few of their Valentine’s Day products. I was so excited when they arrived and was really impressed, yet again, with their creativity and imagination. I decided to go for this heart bath bomb – it gave me lots of pink tinted bubbles and smelt divine. It was really lovely to just put half and hour aside to pamper myself, and I’m looking forward to using some of the other products I picked up in the range.

Now we’re on to the national days I managed to observe/celebrate in February. The 7th of February was ‘Send a card to a friend day,’ and as that’s something I like to try and do anyway, I saw it as a good excuse to do it again. I knew a couple of friends who were going through a difficult time, so had a rummage through my card collection and dug out these two to send. I think the raindrops card came from The Greetings Card Company and the pink heart card was from Veronica Dearly. It was really nice choosing which card suited which friend, and then thinking of a nice message to write inside. And it was lovely when both friends messaged me to say how much the cards had brightened their days.

Valentine’s Day was, of course, on the 14th, and whilst I didn’t do anything to specifically celebrate the day, I thought I would share with you a bit about my day. My Dad had been talking about us going to the cinema for a while, and it just so happened that the 14th was the best day for us. So he and I went to our local cinema to see La La Land, which was really good. I’d heard mixed reviews of it, but we both really enjoyed the music and the overall story, and I would be happy to see it again when it comes out on DVD. When we got home from the cinema, I found I’d received two Valentine’s cards – one from my friend Libby and another from my friend Lizzy. They really made me smile, which made me feel happy to have sent some out myself.

Next up was Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17th. I do try to do random acts of kindness throughout the year, but often time will fly past and I’ll suddenly realise I haven’t done anything for months. So this was a good opportunity to think of something to do for someone who needs it. I have a friend who is going through a really difficult time at the moment, so I knew I had found the right person to do my random act of kindness for. The next step was to decide what to do for her. I was having a browse through Etsy and I found a seller who makes these gorgeous motivational picture frames. So I chose the phrase I thought suited my friend the best and put my order in. I think it’s only just been despatched, so she may not have received it yet. But hopefully she will soon and it will make her smile and know I’m here for her.

A national week that I was very keen to observe was Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which began on the 27th. It’s something I have tried to mark for as long as I can remember, as I believe it’s so important to raise awareness of eating disorders and how serious they are. This year, I decided to film this video and upload it to my YouTube channel. I spoke about my eating disorder story and also the importance of early intervention, in the hope it would help others who are going through something similar. It was a hard video to film, reliving all those low points, but if it helps just one person to feel less alone or to understand eating disorders more, then I’ll be happy.

Pancake Day came next, on the 28th February, and of course we had to celebrate that! I must admit we don’t limit having pancakes to just Pancake Day, but it was a good excuse to have them anyway. I started off with a pancake with bacon and maple syrup. I always used to think it was a really odd combination, but decided to try it a couple of years ago and realised what I’d been missing! After that I had the standard sugar and lemon, which is probably my favourite topping to go for. I just love the mix of sweet and sour. Not a particularly healthy meal, but if you can’t eat pancakes on Pancake Day, then when can you?!

The last national day I managed to mark was Rare Disease Day, also on the 28th. This was a bit of a last-minute idea unfortunately, and I would have loved to do more, but I was unwell for a lot of February (ironically!) so that made things more difficult. So I decided to just write an informative status on my Facebook, talking about the rare diseases that I have and explaining a bit about them. Like I said, I wish I had been able to do something on a larger scale, like raise some money or spread awareness on national media, but Facebook was a good start.

So that was everything I managed to do in February. I did have a few more things on my list though, of goals I didn’t quite accomplish. I thought I would share them with you too, just in case you’re looking for ideas for your own list. I’m going to hold onto all these ideas and either fit them in as the year goes on, or do the project again next year! I’d love to hear your ideas of how you would celebrate this month’s list of ideas – maybe you’ll give me an idea for my next project. The goals I didn’t manage this month were:

·      February Self-Love challenge – you can find this on Pinterest and I might try and give it a go in a separate post
·      Decorate my home for Valentine’s Day
·      Valentine manicure and pedicure
·      Bake a sweet treat
·      Host a Valentine’s movie night
·      Homemade soup day – 4th
·      National Libraries Day – 4th
·      Mardi Gras – 9th
·      National Pizza Day – 9th
·      Fairy Tale Day – 26th

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing how I got on with my February Happiness Project. I’d love to hear your comments and if you’ve done/are doing a similar project I would love to hear all about it too! Keep an eye on my YouTube channel too for my video version of this post.

Have you done a Happiness Project before? What do you think of the idea?

post signature

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday Snippets - 19th March 2017

It’s been a relatively quiet week in the scheme of things, although I have had a couple of appointments. I wasn’t able to go into Uni much this week, but that meant I was able to rest a bit and also get on with some work. I’ve also been trying to enjoy the sunshine when it has made a brief appearance! It is really starting to feel like spring now though, and I’ve even been out of the house without a coat on a couple of times!

I got up late after a nice lie-in last Sunday. I spent ages trying to sort out my computer storage because it kept saying it was completely full, which was frustrating. I was hoping to upload a video but couldn’t clear enough storage, so that wasn’t ideal. I chatted to my Dad about it though, and we found a solution that means I can continue with my blog and YouTube work with loads of storage. I did manage to write and upload a blog post though. I was pretty tired after all that, so I watched a film on Netflix with Bekkah while I drank my Fortisip. I then watched the last two episodes of Death in Paradise and did some Law reading. I was feeling so tired and had a bit of a headache, so had a rest on the sofa. We all went out to the Beefeater for Bekkah’s birthday, but unfortunately she wasn’t well so couldn’t come with us. We’ve said to her that we’ll go out again when she’s feeling better. The food was really nice, but because of my Gastroparesis I felt so sick. I was also really struggling with Mast Cell itching in the evening. I literally wanted to rip my skin off!

I wasn’t able to go into Uni on Monday because they had no one to support me. So I spent my morning doing some tidying and sorting in my bedroom. I actually made a noticeable difference for once! It wore me out though, so I had my Fortisip and rested for a while. My Dad then drove me over to the assessment centre in Reading for my ESA appointment. They were running nearly an hour late, which was frustrating because I’d forgotten to bring a book. The lady I saw was really nice though and only did a bit of the assessment before saying she had more than enough information and didn’t want to put me through any more. We dropped into my Grandma’s on the way home for a cup of tea. She had these beautiful spring flowers outside the front of her house, which made me smile.

I didn’t go into Uni again on Tuesday, as they were just doing tutorials and I had one the week before. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do in the morning, so in the end I spent some time sorting through old photos and categorising them in Lightroom. After lunch I went down to Waitrose with my Mum and bought myself some pretty tulips. When I got back I watched a bit of Family Guy and wrote some penpal letters. I can’t believe my baby sister Bekkah is finally 18! She hasn’t changed much has she?! In the evening all the family came over and we did her cake and presents.

How pretty was Bekkah’s 18th birthday cake! Made by the fabulous Mel from The Cake Revolution - our regular cake genie!

I started my Wednesday with a counseling session, and it was good to talk to someone. When I got home I rested for a little while, then put some make-up on and filmed a Primark haul for my YouTube channel. I also managed to do a bit of tidying and sorted through some paperwork. After lunch I filmed myself opening a bit of post, as I’ve decided to bring back my ‘What the Postman brought’ videos. I did a bit of Uni work, and then had a nap, as I was absolutely exhausted. The weather was really nice and our garden is looking so pretty with all these spring flowers.

I really love my Pink Parcel monthly subscription. Getting supplies I would have to buy anyway, with a few treats to make things a little less crappy – it means I can convince myself that it’s not an unnecessary expense!

The counseling practice I go to is linked with our church and at the moment, while the new building is being sorted, my sessions take place in the church. When I came out I had to go through the churchyard, and I saw this beautiful magnolia tree. It’s one of the most beautiful churchyards I’ve seen and I can’t wait for the blossom and bluebells to come out.

Happy Everything! Another enamel pin to add to my collection thanks to this month’s Pink Parcel.

I had to be up pretty early on Thursday morning and my Dad took me over to Frimley Park Hospital. I saw my jaw physio and she did some more acupuncture, which seems to be helping a bit (although I did bleed again when she took the needles out!) When we got home I had planned to maybe do some work or tidying, but I was exhausted so curled up on the sofa. I spent what felt like ages filling out some forms for my upcoming psychotherapy assessment. After lunch, my Mum and I went over to my friend Katy’s. I caught up on some blog emails while my Mum had her nails done, and then I had my eyebrows waxed followed by a full body massage. When we got home I did a bit of Uni work – I really need to get a wiggle on with it all, as I’ve got so much to do and not a lot of time left! In the evening I decided to have a bit of a pamper, so popped this Lush ladybird in the bath and washed my hair with these Garnier Ultimate Blends, which smell really scrummy.

Week One of the Crown and Glory March photo challenge is ‘Unboxing’. Oh my goodness, this mermaid themed box is something else! Just look at that pink headband and the little fork slides!

I decided to go into Uni on Friday, as my friends said they would be happy to help me get around etc. as the Uni couldn’t find me any support until the afternoon. We had a short lecture in the morning with a member of library staff, who talked us through some helpful things for our dissertation work. We finished earlier than usual, which meant we had two hours for lunch – yay! So us girls went to Caffe Nero for lunch (I had a very yummy strawberry soya hot chocolate) and a good old chat. In the afternoon in our Law lecture we went through some exam things, as our exam is in three weeks time – eek! We also went through some case studies that might be useful to us. I had to leave early, so my Dad picked me up and brought me home, then my Mum took me down to see my GP. It wasn’t a massively productive appointment unfortunately, as there wasn’t much she could help with this time. I’ve been feeling quite hopeless recently if I’m honest and am really struggling to cope mentally.

This month’s Birchbox has lots more exciting beauty bits to try out. I’m particularly excited to try the new Benefit They’re Real Double the Lip.

I had a super long lie-in on Saturday morning and woke up feeling pretty rubbish. Everything seemed to hurt and I had a really sore mouth. My Mum asked if I wanted to go with her to a couple of shops, so I decided to go for it to try and cheer myself up a bit. We went to The Range first – I’d never really been before and enjoyed looking round at everything. I picked up a copper/rose gold clock for my room, something I’m going to send as part of a swap and some sparkly eggs for our Easter tree. We then popped next door to Dunelm for a look around. My Mum asked if I wanted to have lunch out, but I started feeling really sick halfway round The Range, so we decided to head home. I probably should have done some Uni work in the afternoon, but I try and have one day a week, which is just for me. So I rested for a while, watched TV and wrote a few penpal letters.

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 we’re so nearly there! I do have a little giveaway planned for when I get there!

post signature

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Sunday Snippets - 12th March 2017

This week has been reasonably quiet, which has been nice because it’s given me the chance to take things a bit more easily and get some rest. Thankfully my virus seems to have finally gone, although I’m still struggling with a sore throat. For a few days this week, it has actually started to feel like spring! The sun has been shining, the daffodils and crocuses are out and I was able to go out without a thick coat on! However, I woke up today and it’s pouring with rain – typical!

I forgot to share this first photo with you in last week’s Sunday Snippets, so thought I would pop it in here. There was a beautiful double rainbow last Saturday afternoon after a massive downpour. I always think of my friend, Tasha, when I see one. I’m sure she’s up there in the sky, riding her unicorn over the rainbow.

Last Sunday morning my Mum dropped me round at my friend, Katrina’s, house (well, her parents’ house). We had a good chat and I finally gave her her Christmas present! She lives in Ireland so it was really lovely to see her. When my Mum brought me home, I sorted out my medication for the week ahead and rested for a bit. After lunch, I watched The Simpsons and wrote and uploaded a blog post. I then edited some photos and got another post scheduled to go up in the week. I felt pretty exhausted, so curled up on the sofa and sorted through some old magazines. I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some Law reading for Uni. I wasn’t able to eat much dinner because my acid reflux was really bad. In the evening I opened my Topshop order – this adorable pastel yellow rain mac.

My Dad took me over to Uni on Monday morning. We spent the morning putting together various radio bulletins and finding our own stories to include. We all went to the canteen at lunch for a break and a chat. In the afternoon we went out into Farnham to get vox pops, which is always a challenge! My Dad picked me up early, as my Mum had managed to get me an emergency doctor’s appointment. I saw my GP – she was at a bit of a loss for what to do with regards to my reflux problems. She suggested that I try increasing my Ranitidine to see if it helps, but I’m going to have to talk it through with my specialist when I see him in August. It feels so far away, but if things get really bad perhaps my GP can contact them. I am also able to reduce my iron tablets a bit, as my iron levels are finally OK. When I got home I dozed on the sofa with this little chap. I was really struggling with eating – nothing seems to be getting any better and I felt quite alone with it all.

I overslept on Tuesday morning and could happily have stayed in bed! But I had to get over to Uni, so my Mum drove me over. The fire alarm went off just as we were going up to the classroom, which was slightly frustrating! We spent the morning working on our narrative long-form pieces. It’s all very overwhelming at the moment. I wore my funky Dr. Martens boots though, which made me smile. My Dad brought me home at lunchtime and after I’d had my Fortisip I fell asleep on the sofa with Freddie for a while. I seem to be even more exhausted than normal at the moment. I spent the rest of the afternoon writing some penpal letters and watching Couples Come Dine With Me.

I had a pretty long lie-in on Wednesday morning, but still had so little energy. I managed to put a bit of make-up on though and filmed a collective haul for my YouTube channel of some of the bits I’ve bought over the last few months. Once I’d filmed, I tidied everything away, which took quite a while. I was exhausted by that point, so curled up on the sofa, had my Fortisip, watched The Coroner and caught up on my Uni emails. Then I watched a couple of episodes of Silent Witness and worked on my court reports and freedom of information article. I opened some post and did a couple of my physio exercises. I was in so much pain and so exhausted.

I had another lie-in on Thursday morning, which was so appreciated. I spent the morning writing and uploading a blog post, and then editing a video for my YouTube channel. I’d hope to get it uploaded too, but ran out of time and energy in the end. I chilled out on the sofa in the afternoon and watched a bit of TV. I also did some preparation for an article I’ve got to write for my Uni portfolio. At the moment I’m not actually sure how I’m going to get it written in time for the deadline. My Mum had a guided injection in her hand in the morning so wasn’t able to drive. So I took her down to Waitrose in the afternoon so we could get a few bits for dinner. They had loads of daffodils in various tones of yellow and orange outside the store, which looked so pretty and made me feel that spring is definitely on its way. I had the headache from hell in the evening though, which was making me feel super crappy.

I got up late, again, on Friday! I really need to sort out my sleeping routine and get myself to bed earlier. A bit back I was doing really well with it, but I’ve gone off track. My Dad drove me over to Uni. In the morning we were doing more work on dissertation preparation, and then at the end of the lecture I had a chat with my course leader about my ideas for my dissertation proposal. At lunchtime I met up with my mentor and had a chat. Then we had Law in the afternoon, which was pretty heavy going. We were mainly talking about the law surrounding reporting health crises and terror. I felt pretty rubbish when I got home, so spent a while just resting on the sofa. My sister, Bekkah, had some friends round to celebrate her 18th birthday – I loved her pink and gold theme! I was feeling quite down in the evening – I’m really struggling with my weight and body image. I know some of my weight is because at the moment I’m not digesting/getting rid of food due to my dysmotility and Gastroparesis, and that I can lose it really quickly if my sickness flares up. But it’s really triggering my eating disorder and it’s hard trying to fight both illnesses at the same time.

I wanted to have a girly day with my Mum on Saturday, so in the morning we made our way over to Festival Place in Basingstoke for some retail therapy. Our first stop was Primark where I bought this adorable Pusheen t-shirt and some other bits (I’m hoping to do a haul on my YouTube soon if I can get my computer storage sorted). We looked round a few more shops but didn’t buy anything, and then went to Starbucks for some lunch. Once we’d had a bit of a rest we looked round a few more shops and I found a gorgeous top in Monsoon that I’d seen in Emily Norris’ YouTube video but it was out of stock online so I thought I wouldn’t be able to get it! When we got home I was completely wiped out, so had a nap on the sofa and then watched some TV.

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 we’re so nearly there! I 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!

post signature