5 Things I Learnt in 2018

5 Things I Learnt in 2018

In a word, 2018 has been intense. I’ve felt like I’ve been pulled in every direction but I’m a world away from where I started the year. When I thought about how I wanted to write about the year I was a bit conflicted, I didn’t want to make it look like everything was perfect but didn’t want to moan.

So, why not put a positive spin on the crappy times from this year? Instead of thinking about how much things sucked, I wanted to look at what I learnt from them. Do any of you try to do that too? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

My own happiness is important

This seems quite obvious but it’s something I neglected for a long time. I thought the aim was to work as much as possible, that’s it. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t do anything at the weekend because I was so exhausted or my skin was an angry spotty mess because of stress. This was life right?

Wrong. I started prioritising what was important to me and what I wanted out of my life. I still don’t have the perfect balance (I probably never will) but I’m working on it.

Sometimes doing the scary thing is the best thing

Going freelance was slightly terrifying. When my job was no longer needed I didn’t know what to do. I did what I thought I was meant to do. Applying for more office based jobs, trying to find something closer to home.

I didn’t think anyone would hire me as a freelancer, and besides it was too much of a risk. But I posted on Linkedin, chatted to a few people I knew and within a month I had started in a job I could only dream of. I’m finally happy and the fear was worth it. Doing this comes with it’s own challenges but I’m ok with that.

Standing up for your own body is important

My body isn’t always kind to me but knowing when something is normal and when it’s not is so important, especially this year. I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, after knowing something wasn’t right. That was the first step. Similarly, knowing when side effects of medication was too much was also important.

Later in the year, I had to really push myself to disagree with medical professionals to get help. After a lot of misdiagnosis I had a few days in the hospital, we’re still not clear what exactly happened but I was firm with my doctors that something wasn’t right and needed investigation – or at least pain relief!

Finally, I had to deal with a dismissive Gynaecologist who refused to acknowledge my own feelings about the Coil. After talking to a brick wall, I thought about my options and replaced my implant – as I knew the pill would impact my mental health and was pleased I listened to my body as it was exactly what I needed!

I’m allowed to say no or walk away

I used to feel like I owed something to the person who employed me, loyalty and positivity at all times no matter what. I thought jobs were meant to be for the longest amount of time possible. Wrong.

Much like being in charge of my own happiness, I’m allowed to say no to things! I’m allowed to walk away if I don’t feel like I’m being respected. At times, these had consequences but I’m proud of myself for actually putting my own sanity first.

I am a badass!

There, I said it and I’m going to keep saying it! I haven’t given up or given in this year when things got tough and I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

What have you learnt in 2018? I’d love to know!

Top Posts of 2018

My Most Popular Posts Of 2018!

I don’t know about you but I find my analytics absolutely fascinating. Stats might not be everything but year after year I love to see what my readers have been getting up to on my site. So, I thought, why not make a post out of it? 

I’ll always write what I want to write but, at the same time, my blog – and the opportunities I get from it is down to my wonderful readers. On that note I’m going to stop babbling and let you actually read! 

Number 10: Fibromyalgia And Me 

I’m really pleased this post made my top 10, because it was one I was very nervous about posting. I only got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia earlier this year and my reaction was…complicated.

I didn’t want people to see me differently BUT needed to reevaluate parts of my life. Now I feel much better and can be much more open about living with Fibro. The post that started it all is here.

Number 9: I’m Starting Again 

In July I found myself job hunting again and it knocked my confidence. This post was just chatting about how I felt, what I was trying to do and a general update. You can read about it here

Number 8: I’m In A Funk 

Another one of my mental health posts to hit the top 10. I wanted to get out there that I was struggling and comparing myself a lot to others. It was a to the point post about how we look at ourselves and comparison. 

Number 7: Carrying On: Surviving The Past Year 

A post from April about the previous 365 days that had been pretty tough (little did I know this year would have a LOT of ups and downs too!). I like to keep you guys in the loop and this was looking back on how far I’d come.

Number 6: I’m Obese? 

I really wanted to write about body image and expectations because of a few knocks I’d had. Following on from a doctors appointment where I was deemed overweight-obese by my BMI, despite being a size 12-14 I decided to get my feelings down once and for all! 

Number 5: Why I Will NEVER Use An App For Birth Control 

Responding to a worrying idea that people were using a fairly risky app as a way to try and prevent pregnancy got in the top 5. I made my feelings very clear and, actually, had a lot of great conversations about it! 

Number 4: The Pros and Cons Of Long Distance 

I’m in a long distance relationship for chunks of the year. I get asked quite a lot of questions, some weird sympathy and so I wrote about what’s it’s like – and you can check it out here.

Number 3: Taking The Plunge – I’m A Freelancer 

Not something I entirely planned for this year but it happened! I’m planning to do an update on being freelance in the new year too! The blog about how it all started is here

Number 2: Harry Potter Haul: Updated 

One of my most popular blogs EVER was a Harry Potter haul I wrote while at university. So, when I went to London for a Potter filled day shortly after Christmas I came back with a little collection and wanted to share! The updated version is here.

Number 1: Stressed, Depressed, But Well Dressed? 

This is one that really, really surprised me. I wrote the post a few years ago about a top I saw with the slogan on and how I felt about the phrase. Next year I really want to talk more about Mental Health! You can read it here.

So, that’s my top posts of 2018! Thank you to each and every one of you who head read, liked and commented on my posts – it means so much. 

Which of these was your favourite? I’d love to know in the comments below! 

*please note these were the most popular at the time of writing.

Paying for a good time – Spoonie Life

Like most 20 somethings I want to have adventures, memories I can look back on when life slows down a bit and say ‘that was a damn good time’. Unlike most of the people I know, they don’t have to barter with their health. If you’re a fellow Spoonie, you’re probably nodding in agreement.

Back in September, I was lucky enough to go to Disneyland with my Mum and sister. I mean, DISNEYLAND! We were taking a trip to Paris and I was ready for it, matching t-shirts and ears were essentials. From the moment we booked I also had a niggling feeling, a voice in the back fo my mind you’re going to pay for it later. And, boy did I. Even though we rented a wheelchair, got fast passes so, and had rest stops in the hotel (on more than one occasion I had to take emergency naps so that I could watch the fireworks or make it through dinner. I thought I’d handled the trip reasonably well it wasn’t until the last day I realised… I was in minus numbers, the spoons were scattered all over the floor.

 

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The thought that we have to ‘pay’ or reserve our spoons when we know we’re going to have to do something that will make us tired is hard. When I was first diagnosed, I rebelled against it – a lot. I got incredibly depressed and tried to prove to myself I could still do everything – I wasn’t ready to accept I needed to modify things. Now, I am better, I’ll try and plan a rest day here and there or not set my alarm and just let myself sleep. Little things that make life easier.

I joke that a big night out or day of big plans has me making deals with the devil, but really it’s made me appreciate them even more. As soon as I acknowledged that this was my life now, I started appreciating the things I do, because I have to choose them carefully. That doesn’t mean I can’t be spontaneous and have a trip on the beach – but I just have to rest a little more, maybe get a train rather than drive.

I refused to give up every fun part of my life to this illness – and I know I am truly lucky to do so.

July Favourites!

July hasn’t been an easy month! I recovered from my cyst, found myself redundant and well, I think that’s enough to knock anyone BUT there are still things to smile about and here are some of my favourites.

 

Books 

This month has been a small reading month, but varied. I’ve picked up poetry, a graphic novel, non-fiction and one fiction novel. Of course, you’ll get my full wrap up soon!

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Getting Better  

You probably saw that I was in hospital in June with a suspected burst ovarian cyst, I got these beautiful flowers from my Grandparents while I was recovering.

Night Out 

I got to spend a great (sober) night out for one of my besties birthdays! It isn’t often I go on a night out so this one was definitely needed, even if I was back home in bed by 11.30!

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Becoming a published poet! 

I am a published poet! I still can’t quite believe it but I hope it’s the first of many.

 

Pop Vinyls!

Three new Pops came this month, two I’d pre-ordered from Australia the Basilisk and Tom Riddle and Amy Pond, my favourite Doctor Who character. I don’t buy these as much anymore, even though I love them, so when I do I get really excited!

 

Lottie and Ed July 2018

House Sitting! 

I spent 10 nights house sitting for my parents with these little monsters. I might not have slept but they were great for cuddles when I lost my job.

 

YALC! 

I finally got to go to YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) this year! It was so incredible, I’m writing not one but TWO blogs for you guys this week. Keep your eyes peeled!

My Health Mission

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Hello, hello, hello!

It feels like ages since I’ve written a post about health and how I’ve been getting on. Now I’ll be honest, my whole gym fitness has been awful for the past few months, truly, truly awful. I’ve neglected it and just didn’t have the energy, which I now know had a reason and after some medication, I have a lot more energy and can actually focus on getting back into it.

What’s spurred this on? I hear you ask well I had a checkup and wanted to know what I should be aiming for in terms of weight loss. I’ve known that my weight has gone up and down a lot since I broke my spine, but didn’t know what I should be aiming for. She confirmed what I knew, I was overweight.

My doctor was lovely, she knows that I struggle with exercise because of my spine and told me that under no circumstances I was to stress and beat myself up. That is was going to take me a little longer and I had to take it easy with my exercise, but that I would get there.

So I’m on a mission, not to punish my body but to try to help it and lose the weight in a way that doesn’t make me feel rubbish. I know I can do it, it just might take a little more time and a little bit of restraint.

 

Feminist Friday: Every Day Feminism

If you’ve read Laura Bate’s wonderful book Every Day Sexism, you’ll agree that while it’s a brilliant read, it can also be quite overwhelming. I sat for quite a while thinking about what I wanted to write about this week, before putting it to a vote. After last weeks incredible guest post by Jess, I was struggling. The whole point of Feminist Friday and the guest posts within it is to share stories, experiences and unite feminists which lead me to question if we are grateful enough each day for the small battles won and recognise our privilege?

 

Although here in the UK, where I’m writing, we still have a long way to go, we have a lot of privileges that other women around the world don’t have. I get up in the morning, choose my clothes and get in my own car before driving to work to earn my own money. All of those steps are things that most of us will take for granted on a daily basis. While we may encounter misogyny and sexism in regards to what we wear or in the work place, generally we do have laws to protect us, which isn’t the case for many women.

While it’s important to call out sexism, to write blog posts, go on marches it’s also important to stop and be grateful for small things that we have that others might not. I don’t know about you, but stopping once a day to just be grateful for an aspect of my life that I can thank the feminists before me for, isn’t something I do often. We focus on what we still need to do, which is great. At the same time, there have been some AMAZING women before us who have paved the way for us to be able to continue fighting. In realising this we can combat the idea of superficial feminism, we can be grateful for what we have, while also working so that all women around the world can have the same.

So, I thought I’d share my own list of things I’m grateful to be able to do/have thanks to the brilliant women who came before me.

I am educated, other girls were not able to enjoy an education.

I am free to love who I like, other women cannot.

I can earn my own money, other women are tied to men.

I can speak up and make my voice heard, while others are threatened with death for doing so.

I have access to women’s health services, while many are not.

I am grateful.

 

What are you grateful for? Let me know in the comments below.

 

7 Ways to look after your skin in the summer months

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I have incredibly pale skin and red hair, some natural, some enhanced. It’s because of both of these things that I have to really look after my skin as it’s prone to burning. I wanted to share with you just some of the things that I do to help protect my skin in the summer time!

Don’t underestimate the level of suncream you need.  

I groan every time I need to pick up a factor 30 or factor 50. That said, it’s important to make sure you do use the right factor for you.

Cover up or stay in the shade!  

It’s easy to be tempted to strip off in the summer (I often do), but if it is super hot and super sunny then covering up is an option. If, like me, you don’t cope well with heat, staying in the shade is a great alternative, you’ll often find me hiding on holiday.

Drink plenty of water  

Water is great for the skin, I’m lucky that I love drinking water but if you’re not you can pick up bottles with fruit infusers to give it some more taste.

Hats may be annoying, but they’re necessary 

Yep, yep and yep. I hate wearing hats but if I’m not going to be able to stay in the shade then I don’t have a choice.

Reapply, reapply, reapply! 

One lot of sun cream isn’t enough, keep reapplying as much as you feel you need to. If I can feel the heat on my skin directly, I’ll reapply.

If you do get burnt, use some moisturising after-sun lotion

It sucks when you get burnt and I get caught out every year no matter how careful I am. In that case, I make sure I use an after-sun lotion to moisturise my skin.

Get to know your skin 

I’m covered in freckles and moles, I know where they are and what they look like. It’s good to get to know your skin so you can check for any abnormalities, you can find out more about that here.