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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Out of 2013 and into 2014

At the beginning of 2012 I was filled with overwhelming enthusiasm for the coming year. I felt excited and ready to face my best year ever.  2012 turned into one of the worst years of my life.

At the beginning of 2013 I didn’t really have a whole lot of expectations.  I was still struggling with a break up, moving, money issues and health problems. I didn’t dare expect anything as I didn’t want things to come crashing down any further.

2013 has been a year of transition – physically (I moved again in June), mentally and emotionally.  Without noticing, the year has passed me by without me noticing much at all; but when I look back I can see how things have changed for me.  I am now living in a friendly little flat I rent, and which I can see myself living in for a long time.  I am beginning to see an ever-so-slight improvement in my health.  I am less stressed. And I am starting to feeling hopeful again.

So I guess as I go into 2014, I am feeling cautiously hopeful. I don’t expect next year to be amazing, but at the same time I know it is still a possibility; a lot can happen in a year after all.  I am not planning on jumping into 2014 all guns blazing with the result of burning myself out. Instead, I am simply making the quiet choice to continue making small progresses with my life and hopes and dreams, as I have been doing for the past few months.

And as I go out of 2013, I am grateful for the slow, almost imperceptible, transitions that have happened within my life over the past year. I know I needed this year to get back into place, ready to face the next stage of my life.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Being Who I Am

Sometimes I look at my life and wonder who am I? When did I become the woman who eats salads and fantasizes about joining a gym (granted, this probably has a lot more to do with the fact that I can't do it, than because I want to work out)?

But then the rest of the time, I can't imagine being anyone else. I feel completely and utterly myself; as if this is, of course, where I was heading all the time. Even though I may have different friends and hobbies and struggles, I am still exactly the person I am meant to be, the person I was always meant to be.  Knowing that makes life that bit easier to cope with, because I know who I am and while I don't know where I'm going exactly, I'm certain it is exactly where I'm supposed to go.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas Planning

As you all know, I am a huge fan of Christmas. This year, however, I am finding that for a couple of days I have been really excited for it, and then suddenly that feeling went away. I have been yoyo-ing between those two states for the past month at least, and now it’s finally December.

Saying ‘finally’ December is a bit misleading as this year it has almost crept up on me, despite having bouts of ‘Christmas mania’. I mean, at the beginning of November I was making all my plans and looking forward to being remotely organised, and yet somehow I didn’t find the time through the whole month to actually start on the Christmas preparations. So as usual I am left with lots of wonderful ideas, and very little time.

I’m determined not to panic. I am not going to go completely mad and try and get everything done as I know that will only lead to me getting ill, and honestly I want to be able to enjoy the holidays with my family. But nor am I going to give up on all of my plans. I still want to make an effort this Christmas, especially as last year was such a disaster (from my perfectionist’s point of view anyway).

Today, while I am making sure to include plenty of rest, I am hoping to start putting up a few decorations. It’s going to require a little practical thinking as my ceiling is far too high to actually reach (nor do I have anywhere to store a ladder), but there is plenty of wall space so I’m looking forward to what I come up with. 

As I said, I’m determined to not physically overdo it (especially after yesterday), so it will likely take me at least a week to put up all my decorations, but that is completely okay. Just because I remember doing all the decorating on one day when I was a child doesn’t mean I have to follow that tradition. Instead, I need to find my own way of doing things that allow me to work around my health, because nothing is worth putting that at risk (except maybe visiting friends and family, but that’s a different matter).

I am also hoping to do some baking this year. Last year I never managed to make anything, but this year I am focusing on one or two recipes so I don’t have to rush. I’m still trying to come up with a main course for Christmas dinner, though, as this year it is not just me that’s vegetarian, in fact one of my siblings has gone vegan. I can’t resist a challenge so I’m sure I’ll find something (though if you have any ideas, please share below).

Are you super organised when it comes to Christmas/holidays? If you have health issues, how have you found ways to work around them?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Having a Bad Day

Lately I have been doing so much better, that days like today are a horrible reminder of how fragile my health is. Today has been a really bad day. I haven’t had a day like this in a long while and I had forgotten just how much being trapped in the bed sucks.

I know my day has been such a struggle due to doing far too much yesterday (you know, doing a little more writing and moving around that little bit extra), but that hasn’t made it any easier to deal with. If anything, the fact that I’ve been improving made today so much worse, as until this (hopefully short) relapse I had almost forgotten that I don’t have a normal life. I knew I wasn’t ready for work, or anything as major as that, but the fact that I was improving made me feel I had a chance at a ‘normal life’ again.

Of course, one awful day in comparison to every day being like this shows that I am improving; and I am holding onto that, even as I am unable to do anything beyond lying down staring into space and sleeping (which evidently has made me able to write this). But it also reminds me that I can’t take it for granted, and that I will likely have to live the rest of my life weighing activity against rest and possible relapse. That has been the hardest thing to cope with today.

Saying that, I got through it and I am still managing to feel fairly positive (and I don’t even care if it’s drugs preventing me from the depths of depression right now). Each day may not be a new chance when one is paying for yesterday’s activities, but if I take away the length of time of 24 hours, there will always be a new chance to fight again and make my life into what I want.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

My Bubble

Lately I've started to wonder how everyone else in the world lives. I can't help feeling that I am missing out, as so much of my life revolves around what I am reading and watching online. While I am no longer completely trapped by the four walls around me, I am still trapped within my body - and I'm starting to feel that everything in my life is in an artificial bubble. This wouldn't be so bad, after all, living in a bubble gives a certain sense of safety, but knowing it is fake leads me to question what the point of everything is. Most days my main aim is simply to get through the day, and into the next one.

Of course I have a few plans that I try and work on, but as I never seem to quite make enough progress, I feel that I am on a treadmill rather than a road. I am going nowhere. Is this all life is? Is this all my life will ever be?

Friday, 15 November 2013

An Overdue Update

I am aware it's been far too long since I last posted here, but I'm not sorry.  The main reason I haven't been updating is because I've actually been doing things!

A few weeks ago I went to a couple of (very small) shops and tried clothes on - I haven't managed this in over 2 years.

The weekend before last I went to a birthday party. One that involved creating a costume (which I ended up sewing by hand as my electric went out and I'd left it to the last minute - luckily I hadn't planned anything too ambitious), and then talking to people for a few hours.  I sat down during the party, but I made the effort and am pleased I went.

And last week I went to a fireworks display with my bff and her son (who is 2 yrs).  Bonfire night is one that I love due to the memories it evokes of bundling up in the car with my family and standing far too close to a giant bonfire (no doubt it is taped off now due to health and safety).  Admittedly, I do feel guilt for endorsing the tradition of putting a ton of extra poison into our atmosphere, but that can't be helped.  I haven't had a proper Bonfire night in years due to my M.E., and so I was super excited that I finally felt well enough to attend. Unfortunately we ended up having to walk a lot further than I should have due to the taxi not being allowed down the road to the display, but somehow I managed it (we took a chair for me to sit on once there and we used it to rest on our way back to where a taxi could pick us up), so I know for sure I haven't walked that far in literally years.

This week I have mainly been recuperating after doing so much.  But that doesn't dim the fact that I was able to do so much, I honestly have nothing but hope for the next few months, though I am determined not to allow myself to give up on resting as I know that no matter how easy it would be, it would only end in me rebounding.

The other reason this blog post is so late in the coming is because I wanted to include photos. I haven't finished editing them yet which is why I was waiting. Then today I realised that I'm just procrastinating, and surely it is better to post something that isn't complete (ie. without photos) than nothing at all.

Of course, being able to do so much more, leaves me struggling to know where to put my focus, as suddenly I have lots of options that I can actually do, but I can't do all of them if I am to stop myself charging forward and overdoing it.

How do you choose where to put your focus? And any tips on how to remember to take it slow?

I don't mean this post to imply I'm bragging about my health improving, I know there are still many who are struggling at the worst points of their health; nor am I complaining that I still am not able to lead a 'normal' life yet - I simply want to share my experience to share understanding of chronic disabilities.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sunday Shout Out: Ruby Gloom

Pic from Amazon UK

One of the things I love about having Netflix is finding completely random and awesome TV shows to watch.  Lately I have been watching a lot of Ruby Gloom. While it is a 'cartoon' aimed at children, it is very unique and appeals to everyone (seriously, someone I know who hates everything for children, will happily sit through episodes of Ruby Gloom).  It's a great way to relax and indulge in an unusual world with some amazing characters.

Do you have Netflix? If so, what have you been watching recently on there?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

50 Random Facts About Me

1.      I am a vegetarian (and I don’t eat fish) and have been since I was 11.

2.      I am left-handed but do most things right-handed (such as sports)

3.    I grew up without terrestrial television, and while I’m now a lot more open to it, I’ve never felt that I was disadvantaged in any way because of this.

4.      I used to hate Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but after repeated watching (due to someone in the house watching it), it has become my favourite show of all time. A similar thing happened with Friends.

5.      I am the oldest of 5.

6.      I am the only member of my family not to wear glasses, though I had to for a while at High School because (and I quote) ‘you read so much’.

7.      If I could only live on one food for the rest of my life it would be pasta.

8.      If I had to choose a superpower I would choose the ability to teleport – just imagine how awesome it would be to click your fingers and be wherever you want to be, and once you’ve grown tired of it, you can go straight back to your own comfy bed (of course this choice is after the superpower to be healthy, but I’m not sure if that counts).

9.      My dream job is to be a librarian but I’m secretly scared that by the time I’ll physically be able to do the job, librarians will only be needed to fix computers (which would be a tragedy).

10.  I played a wooden flute at school. I often think of practicing again but currently am unable to hold it up (it’s a little heavier than a traditional metal one, but not sure I could hold one of those up for more than a minute right now).

11.  I collect fairies. But I also collect anything relating to fairies such as books about them, pictures, etc.

12.  My oldest toy is Debbie, a little white rabbit, who I have had since I was 6. She has a story behind her and is possibly my most sentimental treasure I own.

13.  When I was a child I was determined to read every book in the world. Now I know that’s not possible in this lifetime, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.

14.  Every time I used a sewing machine at High School it broke, so I made most items by hand, spending hours on them at home.  I have since made my peace with sewing machines.

15.  I started wearing make-up every day when I was at College, after going to a Body Shop party.

16.  My favourite Disney movie is Tangled. Mulan is a close second.

17.  My favourite Pixar movie is Monsters Inc.

18.  The only animated character I’ve ever had a crush on was Demitri in Anastasia.

19.  When I was 10/11 I dressed up as Anne Shirley for World Book Day at school. It was the day I learned that I was the only one in the entire school who knew who Anne Shirley was (which in my mind implied that no one else read anything at all).

20.  I love Ballet for the discipline and ritual required to practice every day.

21.  My first memory of baking is of making cakes for ‘Food Science’ at High School. I got 10/10 for them, but they were inedible as I had used as much baking powder as flour.

22.  My favourite part of most films is the inspirational montage showing the main character working themselves to death to achieve their dreams – I hate that I can’t apply this to my real life any more.

23.  I have kept a diary on and off for pretty much all of my life.

24.  I have a plait of my hair from when I forced my Mum to cut it all off (at least 6”). It is a lot blonder than I am now.

25.  I have a fascination for fairytales, especially the non-Disney versions.

26.  Whenever I had to stay home from High School due to being ill, I listened to Great Expectations on C.D. I still have no idea what actually happens in the story but am well acquainted with the beginning.

27.  Before I’d heard of Great Expectations I was asked by a teacher if I’d read it as a story I’d written had the same beginning.  I have always been unreasonably proud of this – even though I don’t remember the story I wrote.

28.  I used to go to Bible Camp every summer.

29.  I am obsessed with Christmas.

30.  My favourite author is Cecilia Ahern, but I haven’t actually read the book she’s most famous for P.S. I Love You.

31.  The Silence in Doctor Who freak me out, my bff has a doll/figure of one on a shelf and I always have to hide it behind something else when I’m there.

32.  I lost my virginity at 21.

33.  For a while in Sixth Form I considered studying Politics at University – til I went to an open day and was bored to death by the teacher.

34.  My favourite country I’ve visited is Switzerland.

35.  I have never written a novel – beginnings? Yes. Short stories? Yes. Scripts? Yes. Poetry? Yes (but not anymore).

36.  I have a thing for red-haired women (I’m fairly certain the obsession started with Anne Shirley and blossomed with Alyson Hannigan.).

37.  I wish I could speak another language fluently. I studied French at AS level but failed – languages just aren’t my thing – but hope to study it again in the future.

38.  I was told my A-Level results while walking be a beach in Cape Town, South Africa, by my Mum via phone; I misheard and thought I got an ‘E’ in English Language (which I was happy with as I barely passed the coursework) but I actually got a ‘B’ (98% on my editing exam – score!)

39.  My favourite punctuation is the dash ‘-‘ which I overuse far too much.

40.  Yes, I am a freak and not only think about punctuation, but have favourites as well.

41.  I have never broken any bones and remember going to the A&E twice – once as I had something in my eye, and once as I had something stuck up my nose (don’t ask).

42.  My greatest fear is finding someone dead.

43.  My second greatest fear is cracking an egg and discovering the chicken is still inside (and when a friend replies with ‘that happened to me once’ you’re not helping!)

44.  My favourite film of all time is When Harry Met Sally, and not because of the orgasm scene, but because of the incredible writing (though I’m not a fan of the ending).

45.  I love ice cream and I love chocolate. I very rarely like chocolate ice cream.

46.  I didn’t read Lord of the Rings til after I had seen the film, and only at the insistence from my Mum, as I hated The Hobbit. Lord of the Rings is now one of my favourite books and one which I reread.

47.  The first cross-stitched thing I ever made was a Mother’s Day card (which is still displayed in their living room).

48.  I collect ‘Piglets’ (the character from Winnie-the-Pooh).

49.  I am not a tidy person, this often comes as a surprise to people who know me as I’m fairly organised despite my inability to put things away (I haven’t even finished unpacking and I’ve lived here for months).

50.  I had run out of ideas for blog posts, so hope you enjoyed this long self-indulgent list about me.  I would love it if you write a ’50 Things About Me’ post and leave the link in the comments.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


About a month ago I got a new phone.  It is only my third phone ever, and is the first smartphone I've owned (yes, I am way behind everyone else, that's just me).

While I love having access to so many apps, I have to say that I've found myself 'multi-tasking' more and more.  Instead of just watching something, I am also playing games. Instead of resting, I am watching YouTube videos.

I know it's on me to learn to limit how I spend my energy, but having all this access is both a blessing and a curse.  On my bad days it doesn't matter if I can get up to turn on my laptop, as I can now go on Twitter and be filled with hope from the #spoonie support there.  But on good days I have to force myself away from the pointless games (candy crush saga comes in top right now), making procrastination even easier.  Even while I'm doing something else, I am still distracted by thinking about what needs to be done on my phone (i.e. whether my little 'pou' pet needs something, or if my tiny tower needs to be stocked)

I guess it's something that I will have to adapt to. I know I need to dial down the usage of my phone, and since realising this I've already made good progress by consciously making the decision not to pick up my phone while a page loads, or during the credits between episodes of whatever I'm watching (just started 'Orange is the new Black').  Over time I'm hoping to continue making time for the important things, it just takes a little practice.  Now that the novelty of having internet on my phone has mostly dialled down, I'm hoping I can start using my phone to aid productivity, rather than procrastination.

What are your favourite apps?  Feel free to share addictive games, as I like having something to do when I am forced to lie down for prolonged periods, but mostly I'm looking for apps to help inspire and motivate myself.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday Shout Out: Orphan Black

AIt's been a long time I have been excited about anything, so I'm glad to have found something worth writing about. I have just discovered the tv show 'Orphan Black', and can safely say that it's incredible. If you're interested in sci fi drama, I have to recommend this show (actually I recommend it to everyone, though please be aware it may not be suitable for younger children).

As I'm writing this using my phone, I'll leave it there. What tv shows have you been loving recently?

Monday, 7 October 2013

A Bad Week

I am just coming out of a particularly bad week.  On Wednesday, while still at my bff's (that's best friend forever if you're not sure), I woke up to find that my body was refusing to move; by the end of the day (consisting of lying on the sofa) I was able to move a bit, but definitely wasn't able to go home as had been the plan.  Thankfully I have a very understanding bff, who was happy for me to stay longer and look after me.

I am glad to say that was the worst day, and since then I've been slowly getting back to being able to do a little.  It did get me thinking of how far I've come, though.  Only a few months ago this wouldn't have been a bad week, it would have been an average week.  I am now usually able to go out twice a week, rather than just the once, and I am beginning to think about adding more back into my life again.  I am also in less pain on most days and more positive.

It is so easy to see how far I have left to go. Of course I am still struggling with both my physical health and my depression. I hate not being able to go out and see friends whenever I want, I hate that I need to carers to wash my hair and help me prepare dinner, I hate not having a job.

But I have improved since moving to my current flat, and I have my fingers crossed that I will keep going in that direction.  I still have a long way to go, but looking back I see how much better I'm doing now than I was 6 months ago - and that gives me hope that one day I will be able to have a 'normalish' life once again.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Ann Summers Party and Cupcakes

Last weekend I went to my first ever Ann Summers party.  And of course, being me, I was in charge of the cupcakes (pictured above).

While I think I'm pretty good with the baking part (totally modest I know), I am not usually that good with decorating cakes.  That is actually the main reason I wanted to do the cupcakes for this party - I knew it would challenge me, but without the worry of what will happen if I fail (after all, cakes that look terrible, still taste just as good).  As you can tell, that was an unfounded worry anyway, and I'm super proud of how they turned out.  It was my first time using roll out icing (bought on Ebay!), and I got on okay with it once I figured out to make sure everything is coated in icing sugar so it doesn't stick.  I am looking forward to using it again, and getting better and better.  As for the ideas, I simply Googles 'ann summers cupcakes' and was rewarded with plenty of inspiration.

As for the actual party, I have to admit I was a little disappointed, though I definitely enjoyed myself and as it was a chance to see other people (even if I only knew the host), it rates pretty high on the list of what I've been up to so far this year.  And of course, having an excuse to bake (and eat what I've made), was certainly a pro-point.  In all, I would go to another if I was invited, but I honestly wouldn't care that much if I don't get to go to one again (and I'm sure my bank balance would probably appreciate it), as, to me, it simply felt like I was simply being shown the catalogue.  Okay, that is possibly a little harsh, as I was grateful for the chance to try on a couple of things before buying - but if I was a regular, healthy person, it would make more sense to go straight to a shop as that's the way to ensure you'll be able to try on the right size.

Have you ever been to an Ann Summers party?  Did you love it/hate it? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


On Sunday Fall Autumn arrived.  One day it was sunny and hot, the next it was grey and drizzly; and it took me off guard.

Now, everyone knows I don't particularly like the heat, and that Winter is my favourite season.  This year, however, my first reaction to the change in the weather, was disappointment.  I wanted more sun.  I had finally got into the Summer mood, and enjoyed going out a couple of times a week (note: massive improvement from a few months ago).  And suddenly everything changed.  I am not looking forward to going out as it gets colder and wetter (the downside with having a scooter is that pretty much all of me gets soaked and it's not like I can use an umbrella).

I am glad to say that this disappointment didn't last long.  Of course I was hoping for more time before I had to worry about Christmas presents and decorations (I always want handmade but am never organised to do it - and I'm a firm believer that shops and the like shouldn't have anything Christmassy at least until November, so I wasn't impressed when I saw Christmas chocolates available at the grocery store today). On the flip side, a large part of why I hadn't been working on them (or anything else) as planned, was due to the ridiculous heat (like I said, I am not a fan of sweaty temperatures).

So Autumn has arrived.  It means there will soon be vegetables available to make stews and thick soups.  It means getting excited about Christmas (don't judge).  It means shorter days, with long evenings of reading with hot chocolate.  And it means beautiful colours.  All in all, once the shock of how quickly everything changed wore off, I realised that I haven't changed - I still love Winter the best (though admit to dreading being trapped inside if it snows), but can appreciate every season.

*Random note - Anyone else noticed I seem to be over-using Parentheses lately?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I Will Write

This post was inspired by looking at artwork on Pinterest, which is something I've only recently come across as usually I waste my time looking for craft ideas and recipes that I rarely manage to actually make.  It is unedited and the word vomit of how most of my ideas come to me.

The world is filled with incredible imagination.  Often I go looking for inspiration, and spend the next few days filled with wonder and amazement at all that I have found.  Unfortunately this also has the effect of me not doing any work of my own.  Usually I am hopeful to add my own creativity to the world, but then procrastinate instead of doing.  And other times I simply feel that I have nothing to add.  What more could possibly be needed?  I know that is a double-edged question and no answer will ever suffice.

The thing for me is that I believe in my ability to create amazing work.  But I don’t believe in my imagination to give me the fuel to create said amazing work.  I want to join the ranks of journaling and writing and all those things I find so inspiring; I even know how to.  I just find that I never do.

I know I need to stop worrying about it, and simply start doing.  It doesn’t matter how awful my first attempts at art are – no one has to see them after all.  And yet I find I can never start.  And so I procrastinate and look at the wonders of others, never contributing anything myself. 

But occasionally, every now and then, I start to write about it and that is enough for now.  I am writing something and the more I write, the more I continue to write.  I might not be able to add anything visual just yet, but words can be just as powerful, oftentimes much more powerful.  And so I will stop worrying about my inability to add my art to the world, and focus on the art I know I can do, the art that comes naturally to me.  I will write. (Hopefully much better articulated sentences, paragraphs and stories.)

Friday, 16 August 2013

Girl's Brigade: Memories That Have Made Me

So much has happened in my life already, and a lot of those experiences have stayed with me.  They are not all monumentous, nor are they all life changing.  But every single one of them (and the countless more that are buried deep within me) have made me who I am. 
 I hope others will join in with me and post their own memories on their blogs (or in the comments).  I will be posting mine every Friday, but it doesn’t matter when you write yours or if you wish to do them fortnightly or monthly – your writing should fit with your schedule.  If you do join I ask that you link to my blog with this link: (until I’ve worked out how to create a button for you to display) and that you will link your POST (not just your blog link please) in the comments each week (until I’ve worked out how to make a linky thing for you to add your links to – I’m really not very tech-savvy!).
My Girl's Brigade in uniform

I have surprisingly few memories of my time as a member of the Girl’s Brigade, considering that I went every week for years.  Perhaps it’s because so much of it blends together that I can no longer pick it apart, because if I really concentrate I can remember snapshot images of many different things.

I remember the annual ‘camping’ trips where we actually stayed inside a Church, had chores, and always visited Pleasurewood Hills.  I remember the uniforms, and learning to march and having 20p to spend at the ‘tuck shop’ (penny sweets, Freddo bars etc).  Girl’s Brigade is where I learnt to crack eggs; tie ties and line dancing.  I am sure there are many more memories bouncing around inside my mind but there are only 2 that really stick out.

The first is actually the first night I went to Girl’s Brigade (at least in my mind it is, though that might not be true). They were making papier-mâché animal puppets using balloons.  I got the long, squiggly one to become a snake.  The reason it really sticks is because I am not one of those people who are happy to get messy (which is one reason I don’t usually like doing baking that involves using my hands), but one of the leaders clearly was.  She tut-tutted at my slow attempt of brushing the glue on the newspaper and promptly took it out of my hands and dunked it in the glue and insisted I follow suit.  As I was quiet and shy at that time (yes, I really was quiet and shy for most of my childhood and teen years), I didn’t dare argue with her, especially as it was my first night, and so tentatively followed suit until I was left alone.  Now whenever I think about papier-mâché that is what comes to mind.

The second is a sleepover. It wasn’t just our troop that went (in fact, I don’t think many of our troop did) so it was a chance to meet lots of other girls.  I don’t actually remember any of the details of the two days I was there, except singing the ‘Witch Doctor’ song (I have no idea which version I know as looking on Wikipedia tells me it’s been about since 1958, but it was popular at the time) with everyone in my room.  The thing is, I didn’t actually know the song – I wasn’t caught up on anything popular and didn’t listen to the radio much so it was completely new to me.  And so every single time I hear the song or, more often, get it stuck in my head, it takes me back to that room of strangers and feeling accepted despite not having a clue what they were going on about.

Even without being able to pick apart every memory of my life in the Girl’s Brigade, it was an important part of my life – anything that took up that much time has no other choice but to be I guess.  I don’t remember what it was like, or why I went every week; but when I think about all the (many, many) things I was a part of in my childhood, Girl’s Brigade will always be one of the first I think of.

At Pleasurewood Hills

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Delayed Payback

One of the worst things about living with M.E. isn’t the pain and exhaustion I get from doing anything (physically/mentally/emotional), but the fact that these symptoms don’t always come straight away.  This is something that is the hardest to explain to others.

The problem with this is that I can end up doing even more when I think I haven’t been too badly affected by living my life, and so it can build up until suddenly I am bedbound and screaming in pain. Yes, this is an extreme example but it has happened to me in the past.

On Tuesday I was able to go to the cinema with my sister – this is one of the things I miss, and so a very big deal for me – but the really awful symptoms didn’t hit until Thursday, causing my sister to say ‘but you didn’t do anything yesterday’ which was sort of true, though I had spent longer on the laptop than I knew I should have.  I do seem to be getting better at resisting the urge to do everything at once when I have a ‘good’ day, but it is still a struggle for me.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Friendship: Memories That Have Made Me

So much has happened in my life already, and a lot of those experiences have stayed with me.  They are not all monumentous, nor are they all life changing.  But every single one of them (and the countless more that are buried deep within me) have made me who I am.
 I hope others will join in with me and post their own memories on their blogs (or in the comments).  I will be posting mine every Friday, but it doesn’t matter when you write yours or if you wish to do them fortnightly or monthly – your writing should fit with your schedule.  If you do join I ask that you link to my blog with this link: (until I’ve worked out how to create a button for you to display) and that you will link your POST (not just your blog link please) in the comments each week (until I’ve worked out how to make a linky thing for you to add your links to – I’m really not very tech-savvy!).

A few years after finishing High School and Sixth Form, a couple of my closest friends from school were eating in the same restaurant as me.  When I finished my dinner I did the polite thing and went over to say hi and see how they were doing.  One of them started replying, but at a look from the other she stopped and they both physically turned their bodies away from me.  Now, I know that I wasn’t the greatest friend when in school, but I am still baffled by that response as I honestly have no idea what it is that I did wrong (and even more so as I’ve had perfectly civilised conversations with those I considered ‘enemies’ in school since then).

I knew I shouldn’t dwell on being snubbed so badly, but it turns out those feelings of anger and hurt aren’t that easy to turn off.  It is now years later and I finally feel that I’m over it.  I still struggle with knowing that the group of friends I was a part of in school still all get along and hang out – just without me.  I often wish I hadn’t been such a bitch in school, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it now.  I would love to apologize to that group of friends, but knowing that they won’t even listen makes it that much harder.  Instead, I look at our prom picture (that I’m planning on hanging in my room soon) and feel blessed to have known them when I did.  I honestly hope that everything is going well in their lives.

The whole experience taught me to value friendship for the incredible amazingness that it is.  I am grateful to those few who have stayed in contact since High School, and who have always accepted me.  And every day I feel lucky that I now have a close group of friends who I see as my second family.  I might not get to see them all that often, but I know that I will be there when they need me and vice versa.

Are you still friends with those you went to High School with? 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sunday Shout Out: Black Matpe Beans

Lately I have become a little more adventurous with food.  Part of this is due to Pinterest (honestly, I dare anyone to see all the amazing recipes on there and not be inspired), but a very large part is due to the fact that all the corner/local shops around me stock foods I've never even heard of.  My favourite store has an entire aisle of dried beans/pulses/legumes etc which is something I always want to use but never seem to be organised enough to do it (after all, there's that whole thing where you have to soak them overnight and boil them or they'll poison you); as well as pretty much every spice and herb you can think of.

So anyway, I took a chance and picked up a packet of dried black matpe beans.  I am already on my second packet which I think says it all.  These beans are quite small, dark in colour (though when soaked and boiled they turn the water a really disgusting green) and incredibly tasty.  So far I have used them for a pasta bake and a 'shepherd's pie' and I know I will be finding more and more uses for them as they are versatile and one of my favourite foods right now (the other would have to be sweetcorn which I have also fallen in love with).

I am so excited that I live in a time when I have access to every food under the sun, and more recipes than I could ever use; and am looking forward to continuing my discovering more foods and food ideas.

How adventurous are you with your food habits? Do you eat the same thing every week or do you like to try new things?  What's your favourite food at the moment?  Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Needing to Apologize

I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I let my anger, pain, frustration, depression, guilt etc out on innocent bystanders.  Those who know me well, know that I can't always contain those emotions, that I come with a warning on bad days.  Unfortunately I can't say the same for everyone else, such as those I  talk to online.

Usually when conversing online I try to be as civil and nice as possible.  After all, I don't know what kind of day they are having so I should try and make it better not worse.  Today I failed at that and it's not the first time (though no other instances spring to mind but I expect that's more because I don't want to remember).  I know that online we have the luxury of time and thinking things through before we hit 'send'.  But in my experience that is an 'in theory' rather than the reality.  I don't usually stop and think before replying with anything longer than a paragraph - I type it out and hit send and it's gone.  Of course, it's too late once it's sent and the only option is to apologize.

Many would say it's best not to do anything to apologize for, but again, the reality isn't that simple.  Perhaps I should be more careful with what I send out in future, but it cannot change the past.  So I apologize and hope it is accepted, simply because there's nothing more I can do (if I'm wrong, please correct me in the comments).

This post is partly a public apology to the person on Swap-bot I hurt by being rude (even if it was unintentional).  I know that the fact that I'm having a bad is not an excuse, and I don't want it to become one.  So, once again, sorry.

But this post is also written with the hope that perhaps I'm not alone in allowing our feelings to hurt others who have done nothing wrong.  Perhaps that is a terrible thing to say, after all, I'm saying it so I can feel better about myself.  Mainly, though, I'm saying it because I believe it's human nature to fuck up, and I want to show you that I'm just as human as anyone else, and that doesn't necessarily make us bad people (despite the many, many things we tell ourselves).

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sunday Shout Out: Sunshine!

Sun and Clouds by Rebecca Barray

I am a winter girl - I like being able to snuggle up in lots of layers, have a hot drink, and of course there's Christmas as well.  In general I don't like the heat, not to mention that I burn easily and never tan.

The weather in the UK for the past week and a half has been hot; summer has finally hit.  Of course most people are still complaining about it, but that's just what we do.  For once though, I am not one of those complainers.  Yes, it's a little too warm for me, that's why I bought an electric fan; but I can't say that seeing the sunshine streaming into my flat all day is a bad thing (though I would rather it didn't wake me up really early and keep me awake in the evening).  I have in general been more positive and happy. Now I don't think that's all to do with the fact that the sun has come out to play, but I'm sending it a little appreciation regardless.

What about you? Are you a summer or winter person?  Do you love the heat or hate it?

Monday, 8 July 2013

Emotional Switches

Why is it that I can go from extremely happy and excited and hopeful about my life, to hating every second and every part of it in a few moments? 

For the past few years my emotions have ruled me, and I have ‘happily’ clung to them as they were so far from the numbness I felt for most of my teen years.  Lately I haven’t really had to worry about how I was feeling as it was all positive and therefore even more than I had hoped for given my circumstances.  Today reminded me what it used to be like, switching from one extreme to the other with barely any provocation.

Sometimes I wonder why I still hold on to the emotions – what’s so bad about wanting to avoid feelings anyway?  Admittedly I only ask this question when everything is out of whack in me; and from experience I know that it is better not to focus on those sorts of questions just because they pop up when I am in the throes of my hysterics.  That doesn’t make it any easier to leave my questioning to a time when I am calm and rational.  But I know I have to.  So for now I’m just going to focus on breathing and getting to the next moment, before I allow myself to wallow in philosophical confusion.

I do need to ask though, is this just me or does anyone else experience what I can only imagine (and hope) are hormonal imbalances that screw with your perception of yourself and everyone and everything around you?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Yesterday someone sent me a tweet, letting me know they feel I am brave and patient (thank you Joanne, it was much appreciated).  This was a little of a surprise to me, as I have never been considered ‘patient’ before – at least, not that I’m aware of.

Honestly I don’t know if I am patient or not, though I am a lot more patient now than I used to be.  I am happy to wait in line at the check-out (assuming I am physically able to of course).  I don’t usually feel I have to rush anything.  And since I’ve moved, I have found myself feeling a lot less stressed for the first time in over a year, simply because finally I know I don’t have to worry about where I’ll be in the future.

While naturally I can’t wait until I’m well enough to go to work (or even go for a cup of coffee with a friend), I am not in a rush to sort my life out.  I know that with my health right now, trying to speed along to the happily ever after will only throw me further back.  Perhaps that makes me patient, and I like to think that maybe I am; after all, certain labels have always held an appeal and something to strive towards.  What’s really amazing to me is that it doesn’t even matter

It doesn’t matter whether I am brave or patient or forgiving – as long as I am giving my body and life the chance to recover.  It is the actions and not the labels that make us who we are, and right now I’m happy to be me and I’m proud of who I’m becoming.  And that’s all I need to know about myself for now.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Easier Said Than Done

When you are hit with a surge of motivation and excitement about everything, there is a very high chance you will try and do everything – and we all know that all that leads to is half-finished ideas and burn out.

At the beginning of this year I chose ‘prioritize’ as one of my words to focus on throughout the years.  I think that in one sense I have followed this; I have focused on my health like I never have before, making sure I rest and eat correctly, and it seems to be paying off.  But I think I have left everything else in my life to fend for itself.  So now I am realising it is time to work out what I really want to do this year.  I need to work out what project is the top of my list and go after it; that is the only way I am going to avoid having a terrible crash.

Of course, that’s easier said than done.  I am so full of ideas and hopes and dreams and I want to bring them all to life right now.  I simply have to remember that focusing on one at a time doesn’t mean I can ignore the other ideas or that I’ll have never have a chance to focus on them, after all, I’m still at the beginning of my life.

How do you prioritize?  Any tips you can share to help me work out what dream to chase down right now?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Saying Everything

Today I am taking it slowly; allowing my body to follow its own rhythms.  Choosing to have nothing to do is an idea I found at Sustainably Creative.  It's more than simply deciding to have a day to relax, but a day completely filled with nothing.  I have found it to be rewarding, and am thinking I am going to have to have one at least once a week (maybe even twice), as I am certain that this is a way for me to avoid burn out.

Burn out is something I worry about a lot.  Mainly I fear that if I overdo it, I will 'crash', my M.E. will flare and I will be struggling more than I already am.  As I'm starting to feel that perhaps things might be taking a turn for the better, obviously this is something I want to avoid.

I also fear the kind of burn out which involves losing motivation.  For the past few weeks, my motivation has also taken a turn for the better.  I am writing again.  I am catching up on everything I left by the roadside 2 years ago when my M.E. decided it had had enough of playing alongside the rest of my life.  For the first time in a long time I feel happy, and I'm certain that that is the reason my ideas and motivation seem to have shot through the roof.

This post was going to be about relaxing and taking my time and enjoying the simple things.  It seems to have got away from me once again.  Because that is what happens when we allow ourselves the space to do and be anything - we find out what it is that we want; we work out how we got where we are.

So I'm going to leave it here, with saying nothing, yet knowing I have said everything.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Girl With A Bicycle: Memories That Have Made Me

So much has happened in my life already, and a lot of those experiences have stayed with me.  They are not all monumentous, nor are they all life changing.  But every single one of them (and the countless more that are buried deep within me) have made me who I am.   I hope others will join in with me and post their own memories on their blogs (or in the comments).  I will be posting mine every Friday, but it doesn’t matter when you write yours or if you wish to do them fortnightly or monthly – your writing should fit with your schedule.  If you do join I ask that you link to my blog with this link: (until I’ve worked out how to create a button for you to display) and that you will link your POST (not just your blog link please) in the comments each week (until I’ve worked out how to make a linky thing for you to add your links to – I’m really not very tech-savvy!).

I don’t really remember the learning process of first riding a bike, other than I am fairly certain I veered off into prickly bushes more times than I’d like to admit.  I remember my Dad teaching me to cycle, holding me up and helping me along as I attempted to pedal fast enough to create enough momentum so I wouldn’t come crashing down the next minute.

What I remember most though, is that when I had finally mastered the art of cycling I still struggled to push myself off.  For some reason this was impossible to me, and so every time I wanted to practice I had to cajole my Dad into coming outside with me so he could hold me steady while I carefully put my feet on the pedals before setting off.

Then we went on a camping holiday.  I don’t actually remember the camping, or the area, or pretty much anything about that holiday except that there was a girl also camping with her family and she had a bicycle with her.  Naturally we became close friends over the week as that’s just how it was when you went on holiday (or was that just me?) and spent most of our free time together.

The other important thing to note about this camping site was that there was a hill right in the middle of it (I remember that our tent was at the lower end of the camp and the girl with the bike was at the top).

Most of the time we spent taking turns on the bike as she had recently learned to cycle as well.  The great thing about there being a hill was I didn’t need help pushing off as gravity did that for me (now that I think about it, it’s probably not gravity, but I can’t recall enough science to even hazard a guess at any other explanation).

So when my family reached home, before anyone had a chance to unload anything, I begged to be allowed to try pushing off by myself on my own bicycle – after all, I’d had a week of practice.  I expect that I was so annoying that I was finally given my bike and sent on my way.  I did attempt to push off on the driveway but stones were still a problem; and then went to the edge of the driveway and pushed myself off for the very first time.  Of course, once you can do it, it becomes a lot less exciting.  But ever since, I have remembered the campsite with the hill and the girl with the bicycle that taught me how to ride a bike.