Note to Self.

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On Saturday, I chose to tell everyone I know that I have MS via the medium of Facebook.

Some of you might find this odd, but I had my reasons for doing this.

I’d spoken to a lot of people about my freaky blindness (at this point not thinking it would result in the diagnosis that I have subsequently got).

A lot of those people had asked questions about whether I got my sight back. I’d told them yes I had it back but no, I’d had no answers and been honest about the tests I was going through and what I was going through them for.

Now I have a diagnosis, whilst I want to continue to be open about my condition, I CANNOT FACE TALKING ABOUT IT ANYMORE!!!! Easier to just get everyone told in one fell swoop.

Additionally, I honestly believe that by keeping it quiet I’m not really facing up to it myself. I’m an open book. I’m a sharer (and historically very much an over sharer although less so as I’ve grown older!)

What I never counted on was such an overwhelming showing of support from people. I was called inspiring. Me?! Inspiring?

I wasn’t open for the sake of sympathy or compliments about my ability to handle my situation. I didn’t do it for attention. I purely did it for me, to get it off my chest and to face reality. That doesn’t stop me feeling so humbled by the amazing support from friends and family, and those people that used to be called friends but I’ve completely lost contact with.

I’m not being strong for to be inspiring. I just don’t see how being any other way will help. I explained to someone the other day,

“It’s not as likely as you might assume that I’ll end up in a wheelchair. But if I spend the next ten years, miserable and worrying about being in a wheelchair, and then actually end up in a wheelchair in ten years time, that’s so perverse. What a waste of my good years.”

Knowing I’ve got such a huge network of support around me is so comforting at a time like this and it really really does help me keep a smile on my face, instead of wallowing and worrying about what the future might hold.

It has made me stop and think though, and there’s some things I need to promise to myself. I felt a little note to myself here would just do the trick. And you, Dear Reader, can hold me to account if you catch me not doing these things…

  • Just because everyone thinks I’m being dead strong, doesn’t mean that I can’t have days where I don’t appear so strong. I’m allowed to feel every emotion under the sun at the moment, and the only person not allowing me to do that is me.

 

  • I will stop planning so far ahead and running through life at 100 miles an hour.

 

  • I will start to live each day and really be present (as much as my brain fog allows me that is!), and just take each day as it comes. There is no point in worrying about yesterday, or tomorrow.

 

  • Stop worrying about the things that I can’t control.

 

  • Stop being so bloody hard on myself and beating myself up. No more feeling guilty for not getting things done that can wait until tomorrow. Or the day after. Or the day after that.

 

  • Know that my best is enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

 

 

Answers.

Some of you will know that I have been having a really uncertain time with my health recently.

Back in June, I went blind in my left eye. After electrodes in my eye, countless questions about tingling in my legs and a brain scan I was told in September that I might have MS.

After every blood test imaginable, two further MRI scans, a meeting with a neurologist and A LOT of waiting, on Thursday I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. And do you know what? I’m OK. I’m no different to Wednesday. Or May last year before I went blind.

That doesn’t mean to say that I’ve not got a tough period of time ahead of me whilst I come to terms with it. But I’ll get through it.

I might have MS, but it sure as hell won’t be having me.

Essex Girl, Lost Up North?

Even I’m confused about the title of this blog now, so I bet you are too. I’ve lost my way in terms of the original intention of my setting up this blog, but I don’t want to lose everything I’ve written and I’m pretty sure I can’t just change the name. What would I change it to anyway?

I moved up to Greater Manchester from Rayleigh, in Essex back in April 2010. The scariest, yet still the best decision I’ve ever made.

I wish that I’d started this blog then. A place to talk about my adventures and adjusting to a new life I was creating for myself. The reality though, is that now I’ve been here for coming up to eight years, I’ve spent far more of my adult life here than back where I started my life. Which is absolutely mad to think about!

It makes it really hard now to reflect back on how I felt and a lot of what I went through.

I’ll try and tell more of some of my experiences when I first moved up, but for now, I’m going to continue to write about whatever comes naturally for me.

Sure it might not make sense, and sure my title doesn’t really match my purpose anymore, but I enjoy writing and it fills my soul up.

What I can say though, is I’ve made a life up North now and I’m definitely no longer lost. This is home.

Me and my some of my amazing friends 🙂

My perfect man, Dave

Me and my man again after the Wigan 10k in September 2017

Me and my best four legged pal – Poppy. She’ll get a blog post all of her own one day!

Hands. (Pt 4)

Week 4 of this fabulous challenge is to sum up everything over this last month, and I’m going to make some commitments to myself to help me continue with my new love for my hands.

So what have I learned?

My hands make my life. I take them waaay too much for granted and I wouldn’t be able to live the life I do without them.

I love holding hands. I love talking with my hands and I love using my hands to lift up heavy stuff in the gym!

I LOVE getting my nails done, and for the first time in ages, I’ve successfully got through a month without pinging a false nail off deliberately so I can have a good old chew (maybe a coincidence but maybe not).

I’ve found a love for making my own natural home made remedies too (yes with my bare hands) so they’ll be more of that too!

Oh – and I love rings 🙂 YAY!

So how do I keep this up?

  • Complete a weekly deep scrub and conditioning of my hands
  • Keep up the monthly manicures (I enjoy them and they relax me)
  • Make more homemade beauty products
  • At least once a week, get something hand related into my Daily Gratitude tweets
  • Buy more rings!

And I think that’s it!

I’ve really enjoyed the focus on my hands this month! I’m really looking forward to focussing on the next body part in February!

Peppermint Hand Lotion

As well as rustling up a lime and coconut salt scrub today, I’ve also made a peppermint hand lotion.

You can swap the peppermint essential oil out for a different scent if you wish. Unlike with the salt scrub, the coconut oil scent doesn’t come through because the Shea butter puts a stop to that!

Peppermint Hand Lotion

You will need:

  • 1 x kilner jar
  • 1 x large bowl
  • 1 x spatula
  • Stand mixer or electric hand whisk
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of shea butter
  • Essential oil

Step 1: Warm the shea butter in for 30 seconds in the microwave

Step 2: Add the shea butter and room temperature coconut oil to a large bowl

Step 3: Whisk the two together for about 10 minutes. Every minute or so you’ll need to use a spatula to get the mix off the walls of the bowl

Step 4: Stir in some essential oil. Add as much as desired. You might find you need quite a bit to get the scent as strong as you want it

Step 5: Transfer the cream to the Kilner jar

Enjoy, and let me know if you try it out!

xx

Lime and Coconut Salt Scrub

As part of a self love challenge I’m doing, I was tasked with loving my hands more. As part of this, today I have been busy in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of hand care products!

The first of which was a lime and coconut salt scrub. This absolutely was not my original intention. I had started out with the intention of making a lime and ginger one.

Some coconut oils are quite neutral in both taste and smell, however the one I was using is quite strong. This came through once mixed with salt so I instead chose to use a lime oil to scent the mixture, although it would have been fine without as just a coconut scrub 🙂

Deceptively, it turned out pink in colour owing to the fact that I used pink Himalayan salt for the mixture. Some may say this is quite harsh on hands, but I specifically wanted something that would work deeply, but also, I was using finely ground salt, not coarse.

So here’s my mix. Let me know if you try it, or if you try any twists on it!

Lime and Coconut Salt Scrub

You Need:

  • 1 x kilner jar
  • 1 cup of finely ground salt (I chose Pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup (to start!) coconut oil
  • Essential oil of your choice (remember, if you’re using a coconut oil with quite a strong smell, you may not need essential oil, or you may prefer a scent that compliments the coconut)
  • 5 – 10 drops of a carrier oil such as almond, jojoba, olive oil or argan oil as this helps to stop the coconut going solid once cold

Step 1: Melt your coconut oil

Step 2: Pour your salt into your jar

Step 3: Add the coconut oil and mix well. If you want to add more coconut oil at this stage to change the consistency, this is entirely up to you

Step 4: Add essential oils and your carrier oil as desired and stir in

Step 5: Keep it at a warm-ish temperature (I found it went solid when it got REALLY cold!)

Let me know how it goes for you 🙂 although salt scrub (if finely ground) is ok for all body parts, if you do need something more gentle, just swap the salt for sugar.

Hands. (Pt 3)

Kate has set our Week 3 task in the “2018, Love Me” challenge (find out more here).

Having reflected last week on what I could do to love my hands, I now needed to put these ideas into action.

And I have gone to town with a couple of extra ideas!

As I’d talked about in my last blog, I want to start wearing more rings. I treated myself to a couple, one with my birth stone in (sapphire if you’re curious!) and just a plain silver one.

I also took to Pinterest for some inspiration for homemade hand scrubs and deep cleansing hand lotion. I’ve been stock piling coconut oil since my Body Coach obsession and I somehow ended up with 5kg of fine Pink Himalayan Salt. May as well put it to good use!

Fortunately, I also have all manner of essential oils (from my wax melt making faze) and “of course”, because of the fadder that I am, I already had some Shea Butter knocking about.

It was like I knew this day would come!

There was always a risk that this would go badly (we’ve all seen the “nailed it!” posts on Buzzfeed), but it all turned out pretty good.

I didn’t manage to find what it was I was looking for but armed with what I’d learned from Pinterest, I created a lime and coconut salt scrub, and a peppermint whipped hand lotion and the results were DIVINE!

So…on the journey to loving my hands more? I think we’re getting there!

Please let me know if you try either of my recipes which you can find on separate blog posts by clicking on the links below:

Coconut and Lime Salt Scrub

Peppermint Lotion

Enjoy! xx