Always Strive to be like Matthew Rees

I’ve been a having a bit of a rubbish week this week, but when I saw this story it snapped me out of my unhelpful thought processes.

Matthew Rees, from Swansea Harriers Athletics Club, helped exhausted David Wyeth, from Chorlton Runners to finish the London Marathon.

On Monday I found out that I’m starting to get arthritis in my feet which isn’t brilliant, so that set me off to a bad start. Then I had to spent the last of my very little money on a doctors note for my PIP form, so I started feeling pretty sorry for myself. I’d made plans with a couple of friends throughout the week to cheer myself up and they all cancelled on me last minute. The thing which was upsetting, was that the reasons they gave were pretty offensive to me. I’m the most understanding person when it comes to changing/cancelling plans. My health problems mean I often have to change things.

The reasons they gave were basically that they had other offers (after we’d made the plans) which appealed to them more. The fact they felt it was even ok to tell me this as a reason…well, it hurt my feelings. In a way, I’d rather they’d lied to me, to spare my feelings. One message read ‘Oh, I forgot to message you, my friends are making me dinner, so I’m gonna do that instead.’ They didn’t even say the word sorry!

I also had a couple of friends ignore my messages all week (which is out of character), then contact me when they wanted to phone me to talk about themselves.

This experience isn’t anything new to me, I’ve had quite a few one-sided friendships or fair weather friends. I’ve had friends that don’t bother to invite me to social events, but are very quick to call me when they need a favour or advice. I spend a lot of time trying to work out what it is about me and why it happens so often to me. I think it’s because I generally avoid confrontations and I’d like to think I’m good at being supportive and giving advice.

I’ve invited friends to live at my house when they’ve had trouble, I’ve lent people money, I’ve sat on the phone talking through things for hours…and a lot of these people decided to cut me off once they’ve got a steady partner. I once stood in a queue on my own for 5 hours to get a CD signed for a friend because I knew he loved the band, and then he stopped talking to me when he got a girlfriend. It’s made me feel pretty used and a bit lonely.

I wallowed in all this over the weekend, and just started to feel quite bitter. I started saying to myself ‘I don’t want to be someone who helps anyone anymore’. ‘I’m just going to be selfish from now on’.

I’m not going to do that. I want to always be the person who helps others to the finishing line, because that’s what life is about. Just because other people might run by, doesn’t mean you have to. Some of the richest moments of my life come from crossing the finishing line with someone else. If I let these negative experiences rule my future, it would be me missing out.

The people who use others or don’t help others are missing out on the rewarding and fulfilling parts of life. I genuinely believe that although I feel a bit lonely now, when it comes down to it, I will have the more worthwhile people in my life and deeper friendships than people who I feel are selfish but more ‘popular’ than me.

Just to add: I do have some really amazing friends in my life, for which I am so grateful for. You are what makes my life a lucky one and I love you. 

 

 

Pairfum Innocent Vanilla Reed Diffuser Review*

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I love all things smelly, (good smelly of course). I am constantly trying out new scented candles and air fresheners. The only thing is…I’m rather allergic to a lot of things. So, I was looking for something which would keep my room smelling fresh and inviting without making my skin and eyes itch!

I was very kindly sent the Pairfum Large Reed Diffuser (£37.50) in the ‘Innocent Vanilla’ scent from the lovely people are Pairfum. The diffuser contains 250ml of fragrance which is composed of natural and organic essential oils that are non-toxic, non-flammable and non-carcinogenic. The perfume oil in the diffuser is non-VOC which is safer to use and VOC oils are not healthy for the lungs and they deplete the ozone layer so this one is much safer to use and better for the environment as it is contains a non-VOC fragrance oil.

I had absolutely no negative reactions to this, so was really pleased. It also fit really well into my newly decorated room.

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The bell shape bottle and black looks really classy and simple. The box it arrived in was lovely, so would making an excellent gift for someone.

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The scent is also just as classy and simple, it isn’t overpowering sweet fake vanilla smell, like a lot of scents. It is clean and smooth vanilla. You can change the intensity of the scent depending on how many reeds you use. I’ve been using five, but since I like the smell so much I’m thinking of putting in the rest of the reeds.  The more reeds you use and how often you turn them, the stronger the fragrance will be.

The diffuser should last between 6 to 9 months which sounds fantastic, so really it is rather economical compared to ‘cheaper ones’.

Pairfum offer a range of perfume products, such as candles, perfumed botanicals, room and linen sprays. Not only do they add a wonderful smell to your house, but they can be part of the overall decor. I will certainly be buying some other products from the range and cannot wait to try some of their other scents!

You can follow them on Instagram here and Twiter here.

*this product was gifted to me, but all the opinions are honest and my own.

Vegan Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

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I love chocolate and I love peanut butter. So of course I love Reese’s. But they’re not so vegan friendly and they also contain soya lecithin, which can cause allergies.

Here’s how you can make your own at home to your own preferences.

Ingredients

350g Chocolate of your choice

100g Peanut Butter of your choice (I used smooth)

50g of Icing Sugar

Splash of Vanilla Essence

Method

  1. Melt down your chocolate in the microwave and pour halfway up into cupcake cases.
  2. Mix the peanut butter, vanilla essence and icing sugar together then add a small spoon of it to the cupcake cases.
  3. Pour on the remaining chocolate up to the top of the cases.
  4. Put in the fridge to set for an hour.
  5. Dust with icing sugar (optional).
  6. Enjoy!

 

Linziclip Review*

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Linziclip® sent me a selection of clips to try out last week, and I couldn’t wait to give them a go. I love trying out different hair styles because I feel like my hair is a bit boring on it’s own!

The Linziclip® is a revolutionary new hair clip which thanks to its patented advanced gripping mechanism and two spring device, camouflages the inner workings of the old style claw clip whilst gripping the hair better than ever before. And the springs are hidden.

Linziclip® come in different sizes, for different styles. It is also available for different thicknesses of hair. I used medium thickness on my hair.

I found the clips really easy to use and quite handy for keeping my hair out of the way for going out on a night out and going to interviews.

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They come in lots of different designs and colour, so you can always match them with your outfit or mood.

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I liked the larger ones most, as I found they held my hair in place better, because it is so long. I think the little ones are lovely and would suit short hair styles really well.

If you fancy having a go at some interesting hairstyles with Linziclip®, have a look here

*This product was gifted to me, but all the opinion are honest and my own.

Esocare African Raw Black Soap Review*

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I’ve read a lot about African Raw Black Soap, so have been keen to try it for a long time. I was very excited when Esocare sent me some to try out.

African Raw Black Soap is one of the most beneficial, yet unheard of soaps you will ever find. It is a natural source of vitamins A & E, iron and an all-natural cleanser. It helps relieve rashes, scalp irritations, oily skin, dry skin, acne, blemishes, eczema, and other skin problems.

It has a delicate texture and a natural, earthy smell. It is not oily, and can be used for hands, face, body and hair. It’s most commonly found in Ghana, however other countries have their versions of black soap as well. Other words for black soap are Alata Samina, Anago Samina which comes from the Twi language in Southern Ghana.

I’ll be honest, I’d never actually seen African Raw Black Soap before, so didn’t know what to expect. It has a very unusual appearance, but I think this is because we are so used to laboratory made, chemical based beauty products. It has a very natural, raw and organic appearance.

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I have rather dry skin, so have been using it in the shower as a body wash. It lathers up so much! I did not expect it to create so many bubbles. It leaves your skin feeling very soft and extremely clean after using it.  It feels so much like a way of pampering yourself in the shower, and you know you’re also treating your skin well.

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I recommend buying this soap through Esocare because, all their products are plant based, vegan and organic. Suitable for the whole family and can be used, on hair and skin.

Each product is packed with an affirmation card in which you use whilst nourishing yourself. It is owner Luna Afriyie‘s belief that, absorbing an affirmation with your daily skin care/ beauty routine helps to recharge and reprogram your subconscious mind. She is trained in Neuro Linguistics Programming, so understands a lot about psychology and the power of the subconscious mind.

Try adding this product and affirmation into your daily routine and I’m sure you will feel the difference!

https://www.esocare.co.uk

*This product was gifted to me, but all the opinions are honest and my own.

Invisible Disabilities and Gigs

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So, I went to a gig last week. I’ve been going to gigs regularly for years, but over the past year my hypermobility and dyspraxia are manifesting themselves in a way that is making it really hard and painful for me to stand for long periods now. I always buy a seated ticket when available, but I’m finding it hard to accept not being able to go to gigs which aren’t in seated venues. Why should I miss out?

There are some gigs that I understand, aren’t suitable for me anymore, but the one I was at last week was far from it. The standing section had little cut out sections at the sides for disabled people, with seats and a little area of flat ground standing area (the venue had a sloped floor, which was really hard to stand on). I had spoken about not being able to stand very well (I also have a broken toe at the moment!) with the venue beforehand, but they said seating was not available. When I’d booked the gig, I hadn’t broken my toe, so I thought I’d just about manage standing. (I would probably have been wrong anyway!)

When I noticed the little area, I waited until the main band came on stage, to see if anyone else needed to use that area, and only two other people had gone in. So, I stood on the flat bit of floor at the very back of the area, in case others needed to use the chairs, or wheelchair users needed floor space. I felt happy, because I could cope better with standing on the flat floor.

About 3 songs into the main band, a lady in a wheelchair came into the area, so of course I moved further back to make sure she had enough room, then the security guard came in and told me to get out and that I wasn’t allowed to be there, it wasn’t for me. Then a large group of people dancing pushed past me to get in the space. I can’t comment about whether they were disabled, because this is the point of this blog. I don’t blame the security man, but this is an issue which is very prevalent in society. I felt really embarrassed and like I had to qualify my disabilities to him. Sometimes I feel ashamed, as if they think I’m lying, because I look fine.

We are so quick to judge people’s health or ability without knowing anything about them. I look like a ‘fit healthy young woman’, but I’m not. Some days, I can’t walk very well at all, and have to tape up my joints which are in shooting pain. Other days, I’m at the gym on the cross trainer (not being the most graceful though, I must add!). It’s confusing for me, so I know it must be confusing for others.

A lot of health and disabilities fluctuate massively, so why can’t we get this is our heads? And it’s not just able bodied people who do this, people with health conditions do it to.

My friend has hEDS, Fibromyalgia and POTS and uses a wheelchair or a walking stick. She was sitting behind a counter at work and a man who was a wheelchair user buying a ticket from her said ‘you don’t know what it’s like to be disabled!’ I’m sure, he must’ve been having a particularly bad day and was feeling frustrated…but he shouldn’t have made that assumption.

I think the main thing to take a away from both mine and my friend’s experience is, to never make assumptions about anyone’s situation. I’m still training myself to do this, in other areas of life.

As for gigs, I really hope there are more areas like this in gig venues, because I thought it was a great idea, but there needs to be more communication between the venue and people who need to use those areas. It would’ve been better, if I could’ve privately explained my situation to someone and they gave me a wrist band for the area, avoiding embracing questioning.  I’m sure people with visible disabilities also get these sort of issues arise at gigs also. I sometimes look at venues and think ‘this is definitely not accessible’ and there’s really no need. I’m not expecting to be right up the front and stage diving, but I think everyone has a right to watch a show they want to see.

What happens when you assume…

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Loaf

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So, I accidentally bought too many bananas as usual. So, of course I made some banana bread. I wanted to make a slightly different one. So I put together my favourite things: chocolate and peanut butter!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter, slightly melted
  • ¾ cups sugar or stevia
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • banana slices (optional)
  • Chocolate chips (dairy or non dairy)
  1. Preheat oven to 180. Line a large loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the slightly melted peanut butter, sugar, mashed bananas, oil, and eggs. After mixing, stir in cocoa, salt, chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir in flour last.
  3. Pour into loaf pan and top with thinly sliced banana pieces. I used 1 banana for this part. Bake for roughly 55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve!

Vegan Golden Milk

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In my quest to find nice recipes using anti-inflammatory ingredients to combat my rosacea and soothe my tummy, I have come across this lovely bed time treat. It uses turmeric, which has many health benefits.

‘According to the website for the U.S. National Library of Medicine, turmeric is most commonly used to treat cancer, as a blood thinner, for upset stomach relief, gall stone prevention, to lower high cholesterol, as an inflammation remedy, for liver protection, therapy for irritable bowel syndrome, to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as stomach ulcer therapy, viral infection remedy, treatment for inflammation of the eye and scabies. The National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine website adds that turmeric is also applied directly to the skin to treat skin conditions. This would be the way to use turmeric to treat rosacea.’ Read more here

I don’t/can’t use dairy or soya milk, so my favourite is almond. I really like Almond Breeze Reduced Sugar, because it’s quite subtle but still a good creamy taste. You can use whichever milk is your favourite.

For this Golden Milk I use:

Cup of Almond Breeze Reduced Sugar

Tea Spoon of Turmeric

Cinnamon Stick or a Tea Spoon of Ground Cinnamon

A Dash of Vanilla Extract

I also like to add a vanilla pod to the pan.

You can also add coconut oil if you wish.

Enjoy 🙂

Wikaniko Cold Pressed Moringa Oil*

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I was very excited when this product arrived. I had heard a lot about Moringa Oil and its many benefits.

Moringa oil is reputed to be the best anti-ageing oil in the world, along with that it is also, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and very moisturising for skin and hair.

As I’m only 26, I thought I’d ask my mum to try out the anti-ageing side of things. She has only been using it a week, but she already sees a massive difference! Her skin is smoother and clearer. Her lines are disappearing and she has noticed the age spots on her hands are fading. She is incredibly impressed with the results.

We have both been using it on our hair, and I have definitely noticed my hair has stopped splitting as much. You can use the oil to wash hair, as a hot oil treatment or to moisturise the scalp.

One thing I was also interested in, was whether it helped the joint pain I sometimes get in my elbows. I had read that Moringa oil can benefit joint pain and arthritis. I would say, that the pain in my elbow gradually went away with use, and I am intrigued to ask my friends with arthritis whether it helps them.

It is high in vitamin C and anti inflammatory, so is wonderful for people who have rosacea like me! You can consume the oil if you wish to get the full benefits of the vitamin C. It can also help control blood pressure and supply you with energy throughout the day.

I really recommend this oil, especially for its anti-ageing properties. It is the best result I’ve ever seen from any cream my mum has used.

If you would like to buy some yourself click here to buy it from the ethical and eco friendly company Wikaniko.

*Wikaniko gifted this product to me, but all the opinions are honest and my own.

Why I Love Hydrotherapy

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When I was a teenager I was a competitive swimmer. Being in water felt a lot more natural to me than being on land!

When I was 15 I subluxed (partially dislocated) my kneecap in the pool. It was then that I was diagnosed with being hypermobile. It was a relatively minor subluxation and since then I’ve only ever subluxed that knee again, once last year.

Despite my joints being very stable and pain free for a hypermobile person, this last injury left me really nervous of my own body. I was frighten to move properly… let alone exercise, in case another joint might do the same thing.

My osteopath suggested that I try hydrotherapy as a way of easing back into exercise and for strengthening my body. At the time I also had an NHS physiotherapist, who I told about this idea. She scoffed and said that ‘hydrotherapy  is for decrepit people’. For a start that is a really derogatory word to use…especially coming from someone in her position. It’s shocking. But even if that word was ok to use, she is just plain wrong about hydrotherapy. There are lots of different types of exercises that people can do in the pool, which can be tailored to their abilities and needs.

So, generally hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of different conditions, including arthritis and related rheumatic complaints. Hydrotherapy differs from swimming because it involves special exercises that you do in a warm-water pool. The water temperature is usually 33–36ºC, which is warmer than a typical swimming pool. I actually did mine is a normal temperature pool, as I was ok to take a colder temperature.

You’ll normally have hydrotherapy treatment within a hospital’s physiotherapy department. Usually a physiotherapist or a physiotherapist’s assistant with specialist training will show you how to do the exercises. The focus of the exercises can be adjusted to help your range of movement or strength, depending on your symptoms.

Hydrotherapy tends to be different to aquarobics, which can be quite strenuous, as it’s generally more focused on slow, controlled movements and relaxation.

I’ve decided to compile a list of some of my favourite exercises which I still use to keep fit, a long side swimming, weights and walking.

1. Water walking or jogging: Start with forward and backward walking in chest or waist high water. Walk about 10-20 steps forward, and then walk backward. Increase speed to make it more difficult. Also, increase intensity by jogging gently in place. Alternate jogging for 30 seconds with walking in place for 30 seconds. Continue for 5 minutes. Place you hands on your hips as you do this, to really help practice your balance. It’s hard that it look, and you’ll feel it working your core!

2. Forward and side lunges:  Standing near a pool wall for support, if necessary, take an oversized lunge step in a forward direction. Do not let the forward knee advance past the toes. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. For a side lunge, face the pool wall and take an oversized step to the side. Keep toes facing forward. Repeat on the other side. Try 3 sets of 10 lunge steps. For variation, lunge walk in a forward or sideways direction instead of staying in place. I’m useless at lunges on land, so this is great, because it takes the pressure on the knees.

3. One leg balance: Stand on 1 leg while raising the other knee to hip level. Place a pool noodle under the raised leg, so the noodle forms a “U” with your foot in the center of the U. Hold as long as you can up to 30 seconds and switch legs. Try 1-2 sets of 5 on each leg.

4. Sidestepping Face the pool wall. Take sideways steps with your body and toes facing the wall. Take 10-20 steps in 1 direction and then return. Repeat twice in each direction.

5. Push ups: While standing in the pool by the pool side, place arms shoulder width apart on pool edge. Press weight through your hands and raise your body up and half way out of the water, keeping elbows slightly bent. Hold 3 seconds and slowly lower back into pool. (Easier variation: Wall push up on side of pool: place hands on edge of pool shoulder width apart, bend elbows, and lean chest toward the pool wall.)

6. Standing knee lift: Stand against the pool wall with both feet on the floor. Lift 1 knee up like you are marching in place. While the knee is lifted even with your hip, straighten your knee. Continue to bend and straighten your knee 10 times, and then repeat on the other leg. Complete 3 sets of 10 on each leg. For more of a challenge, try this exercise without standing against the pool wall.

7. Corner Pool Kick ups: Rest against the corner of the pool leaning back on your arms, which are resting on the edges of the corner. Kick your legs up one at a time, reaching as high as possible. I really feel this one working my my uppers legs!

I am fairly fit now, and swim regularly but I still start with these exercises. I feel the difference in my balance and strength from doing them, and they gave me the confidence to start swimming again and try the exercises out on land. It is also a lovely and relaxing way to wind down and clear your mind. I also find, if the water is warm, it can help with loosening muscles and easing aches.

If you are physically able to do some form of water exercise, it really is very beneficially. You can work the muscles, without putting the impact on the joint that you would in the gym.

It’s just a shame that for people with severe mobility issues, the specialist equipment and sessions are not readily available on the NHS. The sessions I attended for my level were £50 for 40 mins, which REALLY adds up. Hopefully as chronic conditions are better understood, alternative pain treatments such as hydrotherapy will be more available.

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