A Typical Day For Me With Fibromyalgia

Of course, with the magic that is Fibromyalgia a bad pain day means these can be completely wiped out, I might get up earlier or later – squeeze in a nap if my sleep has been poor

8am – I’ll set an alarm for a hopeful 8am start and depending on how I’ve slept the night before I get up. Although, if you ask my fiancΓ© I lay in bed after my alarm and it’s super annoying…oops.

8 – 9am – Waking up is normally when I’m at my most stiff so it can be quite painful. My priority is getting up, getting the hamsters fed and having some caffeine while catching up on some YouTube videos. If I’m feeling okay I’ll also get in a morning shower.

9 – 10am – Most of my freelance clients work 9-5 and while I do have more flexibility I try and log in between 9 and 10 so they’re not waiting too long for a response. Equally, the quality of sleep I’ve had can hugely impact how quickly I can work and how foggy my brain is.

Writing my to do list for the day is really helpful to get an idea of where I’m at and what my priorities are. I also will check all my social media, including LinkedIn for work.

10am – 1pm – This is where I’ll get my main bulk of the mornings work done, also *at least* one more caffeine break. I’m all about the tea guys!

I’ll also need to try to get up and move around because my joints will get super sore despite trying to work in comfy clothes with pillows. That said, I’m normally much more alert and able in the mornings so I’ll get the most challenging work out of the way then.

1 – 2pm – Time to take a break. When I’m working at home I can eat and work so it’s not normally an eating break instead I might take a shower, pop out to get something or go over and see my Mum to get some company.

2 – 5pm – Time to reevaluate the to do list and check in with how my body is feeling. If I’m feeling good I might add a few more things to my to do list or know I’m on track. On the other hand if I’m struggling I have to prioritise what needs to be done. This is something I’m still working on because in my mind everything needs to be done, most of the time they are self imposed deadlines.

I also might move over to working on the sofa if I’m in a lot of pain. I know a lot of people advise against this for freelancers but at times it is literally the only way I can concentrate. Pain takes up a lot of brain space!

5 – 6pm – I’ll finish working normally between 5 & 6 this is where it can get risky, I’ll normally lay on the sofa and try to chill out – occasionally I will fall asleep again, a ‘danger sleep’ because it can throw my sleep pattern even more out of the window.

6 – 9pm – General evening chill unless I’m meeting a friend, which I try and do at least once a fortnight. Occasionally I will be catchin g up on some work. I love my job and I’m not that good at completely switching off.

I’ll have some dinner with Ali, play with the hamsters and normally work on the blog while watching some YouTube or Netflix. Wild times.

9 – 11pm – Random burst of energy you say? Yep if I’ve been at home all evening it will hit me here. If I’m not too sore I’ll try and do some light exercises around this time to make the most of the burst and *hopefully* help me to sleep.

11pm – 1am – At some point I’ll take myself off the bed hoping I’ll get a decent nights sleep. While some days I will be snoring within a few minutes, others I can be awake until 1am or later not able to sleep.

Do you have Fibro? I’d love to hear what your days look like below!

Podcasts I’m Loving!

It might seem like everyone who is anyone has a podcast. At the beginning of the year I started listening to podcasts on my journeys to and from London so I could feel like I was doing something while squeezed like a sardine on the train.

I started trialling a few podcasts and currently I have 4 that I’m listening to and waiting for each new episode! So, here are the podcasts I’m loving.

Ctrl Alt Delete with Emma Gannon

Emma’s is the first podcast I really got into after attending an event she hosted with one of my favourite authors, Jodi Picoult. The event itself was a podcast and I liked the way that Emma was and the types of questions that she asked.

The podcast was created in the run up to the release of Emma’s book of the same name and looks at our relationship with the online world. There are over 100 episodes that I’m slowly making my way through and there have been some really interesting guests that I would never have come across otherwise.

Find the podcast here.

The Try Pod with The Try Guys

If you haven’t seen the Try Guys on Youtube ummm where have you been? They’re absolutely hilarious and the last year has been a RIDE after they broke away from Buzzfeed and started their own company.

This is a fairly new podcast but I find myself laughing so hard when I’m listening to it. They’re pretty random at times, give questionable advice in the best way possible and are what you need in your life.

Find the podcast here.

Doing It with Hannah Witton

Another new podcast with one of my favourite YouTubers, Hannah Witton! Hannah is known for talking about sex, relationships and, more recently, living with a stoma. It has the same name as her first book and Hannah has just her second book The Hormone Diaries, it’s a great combination of the two.

While there are only a few episodes I’m really into them so far. Hannah’s clearly trying to get a really varied group of people to talk about their experiences.

Find the podcast here.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink with Scarlett Curtis

I found out this existed with the start of the second season (is that what you call them?!), with the goddess that is Mindy Kaling. I love this, it’s a great extension of the book which I was a huge fan of. I can’t wait to go through all of the previous episodes and devour them!

Find the podcast here.

What are your favourite podcasts? Let me know in the comments below πŸ‘‡πŸ».

My First Smear Test!

This year I got a letter I’d been waiting on. It was time to book my smear test, also known as a cervical screening. The letter came a little earlier than I expected, about 6 months before my 25th birthday. There wasn’t a question in my mind that I was going to book it as soon as possible.

Now, you’ve probably seen the adverts, you might have even got a letter and you’re a bit nervous. That’s normal but a little bit of embarrassment/feeling uncomfortable for a few moments could save your life.

So, to keep the conversation going I knew I was going to write about having my first smear test. Of course, I didn’t take a camera in to get the gory details, nobody needs to see that unless they’re a medical professional! Either way here’s my experience and answering any questions you might have.

So what happens?

After getting your letter you need to book an appointment, I had mine with a practice nurse, you can request to have a woman if that makes you more comfortable. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you’re not on your period/have just finished it and you can’t use Lube for 24 hours before I think. You get a handy leaflet with everything in it so take a read of that.

What happens in the appointment?

During your appointment you’ll chat with your nurse/doctor first about what’s going to happen, to make sure you consent and let you know the process for results. You will then be asked to go behind a curtain, take off your underwear and sit under a sheet.

Then comes the bit people are a little embarrassed about. It’s worth keeping in mind these people see so many vaginas, yours probably isn’t anything special (sorry!). Then they will use a tool called a speculum to open your cervix which can feel a little uncomfortable but try to relax as much as possible. Then they’ll use a little tool to get some cells from your cervix. It’s over in less that 2 minutes.

Can I have someone come in with me?

Yes! You can have someone in as a chaperone to make you more comfortable, just tell your doctor or nurse.

What about after?

I felt a little discomfort and had a little bit of bleeding but nothing major. I did go and get myself a treat after because, c’mon I did a good thing!

Now, where I live there was a backlog so I had to wait 4-6 weeks for my results. Hence why this blog is late – I wanted to make sure I knew my results before writing about it. Mine came back fine BUT as a note, if you do have abnormal cells this doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer – but there will be further investigation to check everything!

So, there we have it. My first smear is done and dusted and I won’t be having another for 3 years! How did you find your smear test? Let me know in the comments below!

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2019

As of the morning of 1st June I had read a total of 47 books this year, according to Goodreads I’m 6 books ahead of schedule for my 100 book goal (although, really I’d like to get 120). I feel like that’s a good variety to post the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! I also did this tag last year and it was really fun. So let’s see what I’m loving this year.

Best Book Of The Year So Far

So far I think it’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo! I know I’m so late to the party and I actually read Daisy Jones & The Six first but Evelyn is my favourite.

I listened to this on Audible and the narration was absolutely perfect, I was listening to it every waking moment and got through it super quickly and now I recommend it to everyone.

A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

Red,White and Royal Blue is probably my most anticipated read of the summer. I’ve been watching everyone in the US raving over this book and I am so desperate for my copy! An LGBTQ romance with a royal element? Gimme, gimmie, gimmie!

Most Anticipated Release Of Autumn/Winter

I loved P.S I Love you and the fact that there is going to be a follow up made me so happy. So, of course I’ve ordered Postscript by Cecelia Ahern which comes out the day after my birthday. Seems like a good start to turning 25.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year So Far

I hate this questions but it has to be The Mermaids Voice Returns In This One by Amanda Lovelace. I loved her previous 2 poetry collections in the series The Princess Saves Herself In This One and The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One and I love mermaids but this just seemed rushed to me unfortunately.

Biggest Surprise So Far

Your Heart Is The Sea was sent to me by the publisher and I’ve read Gill’s poetry before and it was okay but then this came in the post. This is the first collection I’ve felt a deep connection with, I felt like this was written for me. I related to every page and really hope to read more of this from Gill in the years to come.

New Favourite Author

Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m obsessed with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. I got through 2 full novels and a shorter story within a matter of weeks. The characters are so alive and lived within my head for a long time after I finished reading.

So, I’m slowly making my way through all of her books and I’ll be watching her social media for her next amazing book, although as Daisy Jones came out not so long ago I know it’ll be worth the wait!

Your Newest Favourite Character

There is no character that jumps out as my new favourite so far!

A Book That Made You Cry

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton is about a man who spends decades in prison not only for a crime he didn’t commit, but could not have been involved in at all. His only crime was being poor and black and this was a tough read. A beautifully written book that broke my heart.

A Book That Made You Happy

Are you ready for one of the CUTEST books you’ve ever read? Heartstopper by Alice Oseman made my heart so happy it’s a really sweet graphic novel about friendship and love. So, so, sweet.

The Most Beautiful Book So Far

Out of books I’ve read it’s Five Feet Apart not only is this a beautifully written (and emotional) book, this cover is absolutely beautiful it’s such a delicate design too. Love, love, love it.

What have you loved so far this year? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!

What I Read In May 2019

May turned out to be a pretty good reading month, even if I was a little slower with some of my books. I got through a total of 7 books this month, 1 audiobook, 5 physical books and 1 ebook.

I read a fair few books about the Holocaust this month, I don’t know why. I picked up Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust by Heidi Fried, a short read that answers questions that are commonly asked after her talks. A great start if you want to find out more about the Holocaust.

The Cut Out Girl was one of my audiobooks this month. Again it is based on the holocaust and the live of a young woman who was hidden multiple times and the impact that this had on her and the rest of her life. A really harrowing read and from a perspective I haven’t read about before.

I also read White Rose which was a pre-order, this tells the story of Sophie Schroll and the White Rose Society. The society was a part of the nazi resistance and this was a really interesting way to tell their story as it is written in verse.

Every month I try to add to my poetry collection so I wanted to try Lang Leav as there is quite a collection of her poetry in my local bookshop. I picked up Love Looks Pretty On You, I liked it – however I want to read more of Leav’s work before making a decision on how I feel about her poetry.

I was sent How Not To Lose It : Mental Health Sorted by Anna Willamson to have a read during mental health week. This is aimed at younger readers and I think it would be a great book for all 11-14 year olds to have access to. It answers a lot of questions about mental health that young people have but might not know how to address.

My next read was one I have been so excited to read and that’s The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucie Powrie. Lucy runs UKYA Chat and is absolutely lovely and I was gifted an early release copy – it turned out to be such a sweet and uplifting read. Admittedly, at 24 I wasn’t the target audience but I really enjoyed the development of the friendships and all the bookish references!

And my final book for May was The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life And Freedom On Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton. I was also granted to be for review by the publishers and wow was this emotional. He spent nearly 20 years on death row for a crime he was in no way connected with. I felt angry, upset and frustrated with the lack of justice. A really interesting read.

What did you read last month? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!

April & May 2019 Favourites

April & May 2019 Favourites!

Ok, we’re playing catch up a little bit! I could say there wasn’t enough in April to be excited about but in all honesty I forgot. I thought I’d written it, then I was too late. You guys know how life gets. BUT we’re back with my April and May favourites. Let’s jump in

Books

April was the month I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid one of my new all time favourite authors! I read three of her books in less than 2 weeks. Daisy Jones and The Six was an incredible look at a band in the 1970s and it just felt so real, I’ll have a review on that soon. Following that I listened to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and was transported to old Hollywood – I would 100% recommend the audiobook.

I also read the next book in the Izzy O’Neill series by Laura Steven and I loved it so much! I laughed, got emotional and have been recommending it to everyone. I also got my order of White Rose on the day of release this is a novel about Sophie Scholl written in verse and was a interesting way of looking at The White Rose society.

And last, but not least, I was able to get an advance reader copy of Lucy Powrie’s The Paper and Hearts Society. It’s absolutely adorable and a book for book lovers. I was sent a copy of this for review and I can’t wait to share that with you this month!

Watching

I’ve been actually spending more time than usually watching TV and movies because two of my favourites have ended. It’s been emotional guys. One I haven’t watched yet was the end of the Big Bang Theory – one of my favourite shows as a teenager, I’ll get to it eventually.

Firstly we got to the final of the Avengers films as we know them, I was in a cinema at 8am on a Friday morning to watch and cried so hard I gave myself a headache. I loved it. That said, I think I’m going to need a bit of time before I watch it again because, boy, was that emotional.

Then the following Monday we had the end of Game of Thrones and, I thought it was ok – not exactly how I would have ended it but the series itself had some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen. I definitely think we needed a longer season or another 2 seasons so it didn’t feel as rushed.

I also had a bit of a Netflix binge and finally watched Bodyguard, yes I’m well aware I’m a year late to the party. I really enjoyed it and am keeping my fingers crossed for a second season. Next on the list is Killing Eve before the second season is released in the UK in June.

Life

April

April was pretty quiet and I spent most of my time either working or at home BUT I did end up with some new glasses πŸ€“. I also found my wedding venue! It’s absolutely beautiful and more than I could have imagined. I’m absolutely in love with it!

Unfortunately, April was our last month full month with Wickett, as he passed away in May but I love this picture of him nibbling on some Broccoli. I also picked up these beautiful earrings from local designer Hannah Viner (her website is here). I’ve been wearing them constantly and they’re so sweet.

May

May on the other hand was pretty busy. My lovely Mum bought me a set for my business with branded goodies, I absolutely love it. Next up I FINALLY got my first Loungefly bag which I’ve wanted for ages and, of course, it has Ewoks on it including Wickett.

I also had my friend Sarah’s Hen Do in London, the Wellcome Book Prize ceremony and a meeting that deserved a Lola’s Cupcake. I got my hair coloured so hello red and we bought home two new hammies, Ghost and Nymeria.

What did you get up to in April and May? I’d love to hear below!

The Marvel Avengers Book Tag

Seeing as the glory that Endgame has been released, I thought why not have a go at the Marvel Book Tag? I found this over on RiverMoose-Reads and, well, it seemed fitting. FYI I loved Endgame, it’s currently my favourite film of the year and it deserves ALL of the awards.

So, let’s go.

Iron Man – a book that made you laugh out loud:

a-girl-called-shameless-laura-steven

A Girl Called Shameless

I laughed so much and so hard at this book. Izzy O’neil is an amazing protagonist and Steven’s comedy writing is absolutely fantastic. The first book was also hilarious, you can find my review of it here.

Captain America – a book that sends a positive message:

Heartstopper

Be still my beating heart for Heartstopper. This was a graphic novel all about friendship, kindness and a blossoming relationship. It’s my go to for a feel-good read. I have a review all about it here.

Thor – a book with a characters strength you admire: 

Daisy Jones & The Six

Camila has my whole heart. She is a mother and a wife, sure, but she’s an incredibly intelligent and strong women. In all the madness of Daisy Jones & The Six, she is the calm that is needed as well as being SO kick ass.

Black Widow – a book with a kick-ass female protagonist: 

Book Review: Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu
Moxie

Moxie girls fight back. Feminism and fighting back at the patriarchy, Vivian is absolutely incredible. She had the right balance of passion and still being a teenager. Definitely one to pick up if you haven’t already.

Hulk-  a book that made you incredibly angry:

The Cursed Child

Do I even have to explain this one? Closest I’ve ever come to launching a book across a room. In my opinion it was bad fan fiction that completely trashed the books we come to know and love.

Hawkeye – an underrated book you think more people should pay attention to

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter

Before I picked this up at YALC last year, I had heard nothing about it and after reading I think everyone should have picked it up. There is so much packed into such a small book. I absolutely fell in love with it.

{BONUS} Loki – a book with a twist or surprise that tricked you: 

My Sister’s Keeper

I read this when I was around 15 and the end completely threw me off, I did not see it coming. Luckily I also hadn’t seen the film (the film and the book have completely different endings). But, without spoilers it’s hard to explain why I was so shocked and so emotional. Picoult knows about to pack a punch in a twist.

What would you choose for these? I’d love to know in the comments or even in a tag post!