Sunday, 26 July 2015

Metrocentre Accessibilty


Linking into the last post, I have some rather exciting news about a little project I've been working on.

I've been working with the Metrocentre to help disabled people access the shopping centre more easily, in particular, the lifts. Now, from one of my suggestions, they are reforming their maps to show which shops have lifts in. You probably wouldn't know how much of a difference this makes unless you are in a wheelchair or have a pushchair, but I'm really pleased with the outcome. 

'I really like your idea of noting the lifts within stores in our guides and have discussed this with our Marketing Manager who is going to investigate it some more. So next time we print the guides this will hopefully be added'

There's such a growing number of disabled and buggy shoppers which require lifts and simply don't know where to find them. Hopefully this will make someones life just a little bit easier when shopping!

Kate x

Shopping with ME


Shopping. Love it or hate it.

I used to love clothes shopping. Trying on all the dresses I couldn't afford, prancing around changing rooms and choosing hideous outfits for your friends to try on. That's how clothes shopping used to be. Now, it's a totally different story.

If I want to go clothes shopping, it has to be very carefully planned. I'm usually armed with sunglasses and earplug and have a strict time limit on how long I'm allowed out. I went shopping today for the first time in ages and had 20mins. In that 20 mins I bought 4 outfits. That's using your time wisely. So, I thought I'd put some little hints & tips for any ME'ers who are planning on venturing out.

Of course, online shopping is the simple option. But, If you're like me & particularly need to try things on because of being so tall, then the occasional shopping trip has to happen.

5 tips for shopping with ME

  1. Choose what time you want to go out and set a time limit. Shops are quieter early morning, but that might not suit when you're at your best. Limit how long you're going to be out for and set an alarm on your phone.
  2. Choose what shop(s) you want to visit. Look online first and decide which shop and clothes you'd like to go to. Department stores like House of Fraser and Debenhams are a good idea as they have lots of little outlets in one.
  3. Get a personal shopper. Today I had zero motivation and didn't want to choose clothes. But, when a lovely young lad went round the whole of Miss Selfridge and chose clothes which he thought would suit me, it made it one hell of a lot easier. Plus, all the clothes he chose I bought - good job!
  4. Try on clothes all at once. Getting changed is so tiring when you're chronically ill. So try them on in one go, or alternatively, wait 'til you get home (but keep the tags!)
  5. Be sensible. If you get dizzy walking, hire a wheelchair. If the lights are too bright, be a diva and wear sunglasses. Just do what's best for you.
So, it wouldn't really be a good blog post without showing you what I bought. This was just 20mins shopping in my chair and we got so much. These were all from Miss Selfridge. It took me a bit of convincing to buy them as I spend most of my time in bed at the moment and rarely go out, but hey, I can look good whilst resting.

Floral day dress 


Shirt and shorts (which I ended up getting in a powder pink too)

Chevron dress

Off for a well deserved rest now. Outings are getting very hard at the moment but I needed to get out today.

Kate x

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My Love Of Epson Ealts


When you have a chronic illness, you are always looking for things which may help you. Everyone tries new things and we all end up reporting back to each other, whether it's through instagram or in person. Anyways, I have always had a love for bath salts as I've created my own blends myself. But, it wasn't until I started rehab that I researched it further to find what benefits it can have. So I've put together a little blog post about the benefits and where to find them.

Epson salt is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulphate. Magnesium is known to have a lot of positive effects on the body, so being deficient in this can lead to a decline in health. Also, a lot of celebs are raving about epson salts, so if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me!

I bath in epson salts at least once a week. I put at least 2 heaped cups worth of of salts, usually 3, in a nice hot bath and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. I also blend my own epson salts with essential oils, which is really easy to do, but feel free to contact me if you'd like me to talk you through it or do some for you. I usually have my epson bath on a Monday night, after rehab, as it's suggested you bathe in them after activity. I also have magnesium spray for top ups when I can't get in the bath.

  • Relaxation - the salts are easily absorbed through the skin and immediately work inside your body. It relieves stress by promoting the production of serotonin and reducing the effects of adrenaline. Magnesium also plays a role in the production of energy in our cells, without feeling anxiety and restlessness.
  • Relives muscle and join pain - relieves tension, pain, cramping and inflammation.
  • Helps muscle and nerve function - this definitely helps my muscles recover after exertion.

I buy my salts in bulk from amazon, blend them with essential oils, then store them in large glass jars. So, if you're looking for plain salts, you can easily get them online. If you're looking for already blended salts, I personally recommend these by a lovely lady local to me. If you want a bulk order I'm sure she'll help! Otherwise, if you want me to help out in any way, I'll do what I can!
I'm not a health specialist, to please seek advice if you're wanting to know more about the effects of magnesium and if you think you may be deficient. 

Kate x

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Little Things Mean A Lot


Today is a little blog post inspired by the little things in life which are getting me through at the moment. 

I've had a bit of a rough time at the moment health wise, to the point where eating has become an issue. It's a hard balance to keep your mind busy from anxiety and rested from tiredness. But here are a few things which have helped, and, might help others suffering too.

First and foremost, my family have been my rock. I've had a few really good friends who've been offering visits and have been texting which has been amazing. These things get me through more than anything.

Never underestimate the power of comfy shorts and fluffy socks.

Comfort is key. Knitted blankets, soft pillows and fluffy toys.

Something to take your mind off things. In this case, little craft projects.

Relaxing. Notebook for thoughts, magazine, cream for massages, headphones for music and my anti-anxiety remedies.

For trouble eating/swallowing I have nice teas, energy gel and straws.

And for resting. Eye mask and ear plugs.

Hope everyone is doing well, Kate x

Friday, 10 July 2015

Don't Run Before You Can Walk


'Don't run before you can walk'.
Its a saying we're all familiar with and understand that it means taking things step by step; one thing at a time. 
Well, if i would abide by this rule, I probably wouldn't be where I am now. But sometimes, you just have to push your limits.

After relapsing in September 2014 I had to take little steps again. And when I say little steps, I mean little. We're talking about sitting up for 5 minutes longer, or, standing for a few seconds more. Before that, however, I was taking giant strides. I definitely craved the progress I made and was probably a bit too determined to start improving again. Over the last month or so I started making progress at a faster rate and started to 'run at the light' again. Pushing myself further and further.

I finished my a-levels (finally - if anyone who's got a chronic illness is reading this, stick with it. It may have took me 5 years but I got there in the end!) and then had a lot more time on my hands. My usual routine of going on my recliner, watching some tv, revising and going to bed had been abolished. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as coming up to exams I had a years worth of work to cram in in 2 weeks, so all my energy was spent on revision. So, when exams were over, I was expecting relief. Instead, It'd been replaced with frustration. I was getting frustrated that I wasn't achieving anything anymore and had nothing to do. I wanted to achieve by doing something but totally lacked the energy and motivation. Looking back, I still was achieving so much. Project Parent, rehab class, a small amount of teaching and little outings. I wanted to do something new and stupidly started looking at what other people were doing and comparing it to what I was achieving. 

I'm lucky enough to be friends with many inspirational people. And I'm not just talking about people who do a good deed a day. This is life altering stuff and making a difference on an entire community. I love seeing what they're doing but sometimes, when my mood isn't as stable, I find myself thinking I should be doing amazing things like them. I do often have to remind myself I'm ill too, and know that my number 1 priority should be to get myself stable, instead of taking on the world. So, after getting frustrated for a week or so, I finally cam round to thinking what I was currently doing was good enough. I don't need things like having 12k followers on instagram or having an article published on a well known website. I'm doing my own little things and if I help anyone else along the way, that's a bonus. I want to do so much but my health is so restrictive, and I'm fine with that 99% of the time, but sometimes it just gets too much.

So, because of all of this, I was trying to do too much. I also started having panic attacks again, which people who have them will know are energy draining. I started running at the light again where as I needed to be slow and steady. Which has got me where I am now. Due to my EDS flaring up I haven't eaten a meal this week, causing me to collapse this morning. It was a bit of an eye opener really, and now I know that I've just got to take small steps and build myself up again. No giant leaps... yet. 

It's good to test your limits. How will you know where they are if you don't? But maybe, Kate, hold it off for now, and just focus on getting some stability back.

Kate x

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Birthday - Part 2


Well, it's now July, meaning I have finally stopped celebrating my birthday! I think I've majorly overdid it, but it was well worth it...

My birthday weekend was the last weekend in June, and what a weekend it was. Some of my favourite people travelled far to celebrate with me which meant so much! So a special thanks to Alex, Becca + Andrew for all that travelling. We started the weekend by going to the Great North Children's Hospital's 5th birthday party. I made a cake (which in the end we couldn't give to them...) but we met Jean-Christophe Novelli (which I'm not going to lie, I had no clue who he was!) and we had a look around. Andrew smashed (literally) the coconut shy and they had gluten free goodies which was perfect!

There was a stand with a bike school. Now, take you back 7 years ago before I got ill, I was always on my bike. I've wanted to at least try get on a bike for awhile now, and since there was a whole team there to support me, that seemed like the ideal opportunity. And, I did it! We only went a few metres but it felt so good. Achievements all round!

My party was in the afternoon and I had close friends and family round to celebrate. It wasn't a huge gathering as I struggle having many people over, but it was just the perfect amount. People who I haven't seen in many months turned up which was so lovely!

In true ME style I had to have an hours rest whilst my 'party' was happening. Andrew took this photo when he came to wake me up!

We got a taxi into town and went for cocktails for a few hours. We all (eventually) got a photo by the quayside which was so special. This is one for the photo album!

Here we all are (plus 2 random guys). Thank you so much to everyone who celebrated with me :)

We got some lovely pictures in the evening. One of which was the beach by the quayside - not ideal in heels!

So yeah, overall, a lush a special birthday. This month I have definitely learnt who my true friends are and a special selection of them made it a birthday not to forget!

Kate x