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My Illness Doesn’t Define The Person I Am Today

Illness isn’t a defining role in my life, it may have shaped me but it isn’t who I am. I’m a wife, sister, friend, fundraiser, blogger, and cat lover amongst many other things. These are how I define myself, I just happened to have a neurological illness. I am no more defined by my illness than I am by my blonde hair or the fact that I survived an abusive childhood. Having an illness or being a survivor of abuse doesn’t define my character, it’s what I’ve done afterwards that’s made all the difference to the person I am today.

Every time I have a bad day there’s an overwhelming feeling that hits me like a slap in the face. Irrational thoughts of I’m a failure or I’m not good enough come out of nowhere. The frustration that follows a neurological relapse is unreal, parts of my body no longer work as they’re supposed to and stop me from physically doing things I once took for granted. I’m willing my legs to move, my speech not to sound slurred and my hand to un-clench, but without Harry Potter’s wand it’s never going to happen.

On the outside I “look so well” but on the inside I’m trapped while the world moves on around me. I feel so alone. The fear hangs over me like a dark cloud. What if something happens to Adrian and I can’t get out of bed for days and no one knows I’m there? A million “What if” questions run through my head and bring on a panic attack. I can’t breathe, the walls are closing in around me and I want to scream but no sound leaves my mouth.

I’m both mentally and physically exhausted.

Life has been difficult at times. I had to give up full time work due to my physical disability. My eyesight is failing, I have tremors and lack of sensation in my legs, arms and lower back. I suffer from seizures that leave me unable to move for days and often I’m crying in agony because the pain is so severe.

With the help of a counsellor, a physiotherapist, an alternate therapist and, of course, Adrian, I’m making the best out of life that I possibly can. I had to re-evaluate how I did things. I joined a support group for people in the same situation as me, eventually becoming a “buddy” for newly diagnosed members to talk through how they were feeling. I began raising money for the charity by doing a sponsored wheelchair push and arranging a pamper evening for all the ladies. I developed new friendships as well as strengthening life long relationships. I also gave a presentation to health and social care workers where I talked about the advantages of using a day care centre or charity support group from a clients’ point of view.

It gave me a sense of purpose again. My anxiety improved and I felt mentally stronger. It was one day a week but I was making a difference to someone else’s life, not just my own.

I started writing my blog which allowed me to continue my love of fashion and beauty. I began talking to people on line who had similar interests to me, we’d have a laugh, a moan or support each other in whatever way we could. I learnt new photography skills by working my way round the manual settings of a camera, all about lighting and the use of props to tell a story. I stepped out of my comfort zone by posing in front of the camera and (hopefully) inspiring people on what outfits to wear. I’ve explored local places I perhaps wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for writing my blog. I’ve even learnt how to bake cakes which I especially love doing for friend’s birthdays or baby showers. I find it very therapeutic mixing the ingredients from scratch and creating something that tastes delicious.

I still have bad days, both mentally and physically. I’m proud of all the little things I’ve achieved despite having a disability. I’ve learnt to understand what triggers a neurological symptom to flare up or what causes my panic attacks. Everything feels a million times worse if I cannot control a situation, however much I try to use my coping techniques. Yes I need the help of carers and cannot leave the house on my own or go to the ladies without assistance. But I won’t give up living life and doing the things I enjoy.

I’m incredibly proud of the small things I’ve achieved and won’t let it hold me back. I take life at my pace and still need to hide in my sanctuary every so often, but there’s nothing wrong in that. We all need to a day or two to recharge, no matter what we’re going through.

However bad life gets, I won’t let my illness define who I am, I’m more than just medical appointments, tablets and a wheelchair. It doesn’t make me a failure just because I’m not able to do something the way I once did. My illness isn’t a barrier to stop me doing the things I want to achieve in life, I just have to do them slightly differently.

If you’re in a dark place, remember there’s always someone you can talk to and get help. Most importantly, remember you’re not alone.

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Keeping A Summer Glow With Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Summer Glow Makeup

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury, it simply oozes old school glamour. My wishlist has been growing ever since I purchased the iconic nude lipstick Pillow Talk last year. I made a promise that I would treat myself to a few things from the brand and start building up a collection of my own. The packaging is divine,it makes me feel oh so glamorous with a Charlotte Tilbury product in my hand. This summer’s releases have to be my favourite, the colours are quite simply stunning. Sadly I missed out on a few Limited Editions, but there’s always next year. When I sit at my dressing table to apply something from her range I know I’m going to leave the house that morning feeling great. It’s safe to say I have a slight obsession with Charlotte Tilbury and these are the products that have become essential in my summer beauty kit and I know I’ll be wearing them for a good few weeks yet to retain that golden summer glow.

Charlotte Tilbury Summer Glow Makeup

I was using tanning drops in my morning skincare routine but there were some days I just didn’t have the time. Then the Overnight Bronze And Glow Mask came into my life and oh wow, is this worth it’s weight in gold.. I apply a thin layer all over my face and neck a couple of times a week while I’m doing my evening skincare. It develops overnight, leaving my complexion with a beautiful glowing holiday look.

Charlotte Tilbury Summer Glow Makeup

This was one product I absolutely had to get as soon as I saw it had launched. Every one was raving about it, now I get what the fuss was about. The Wonder Glow Primer is just perfect for creating that dewy, summer glow, it’s already proven to be worth every penny. I originally bought it to wear alone while on holiday and I’ve been wearing it ever since. It leaves my complexion with the most beautiful, radiant glow, giving it a subtle lit from within look. It can also be worn under foundation for an extra sunkissed look. Plus the SPF 15 will help protect your skin from the sun. All this packaged up in one bottle, what more could a girl ask for?

Charlotte Tilbury Summer Glow Makeup

I prefer a more natural look, which is why the Charlotte Tilbury FilmStar Bronze and Glow is just the perfect palette. The cool toned bronzer helps to contour your face, giving you a beautiful sunkissed complexion. The matching golden toned highlighter captures and reflects the light just where you want it. The glow from this is absolutely incredible. The shades work together to make it easy for sculpting areas of your face and creating the most gorgeous luminous complexion. The powders feel so soft and blend in beautifully, making it easy to create whatever level of coverage you want. This is ideal for anyone with fair to medium skin tones, I love how the shades give me a beautiful sunkissed glow, Also, can I just mention how gorgeous the golden packaging is, it just oozes Hollywood glamour which is what I’ve come to love about Charlotte Tilbury products.

Had to mention a cneeky addition to my collection for 2109. I’m absolutely in love with all the golden vibes from the Glowgasm palette. The shades are absolutely stunning, two blushers, a bronzer and highlighter. Each shade is incredibly pigmented and blend well together, plus the powder feels silky smooth against your cheek. I also think the packaging is simply gorgeous.

Charlotte Tilbury Summer Glow Makeup

The Pretty Youth Glow Filter is a cream to powder blush and highlighter duo. It’s designed to instantly give your complexion a lift. The two shades work together to give your skin a smooth blurred finish and make you look fresh faced and radiant. There are two different palettes to choose from, I’ve gone for Seduce Blush, a powder pink and dusky rose duo, which works perfectly with my skin tone. I wish I’d picked up the Hugging Brush that goes with these blushers, it picks up the right amount of product and applies it just where it’s needed. Having said that the brush I’m using is just as good. I find the cream to powder isn’t too drying giving my cheeks a hint of colour and blurring any imperfections. The highlight shade adds definition with the light catching all the high points of my face.

I totally missed out on the Limited Edition Bigger Brighter Eyes – Exagger-Eyes Palette last, I could have kicked myself. My second choice was The Golden Goddess Eyeshadow Palette and fell in love as soon as I opened the packaging. There are four stunning golden toned eyeshadows and I’ve been wearing them a lot over the summer. This is one of those palettes you don’t need to think too hard about when you’re applying it because it’s colour coded with four shades designed to prime, enhance, smoke and pop. The Taupe shade makes a beautiful day look when worn alone or use all four for something more smokey. They blend together beautifully, the pigment is incredible making this the perfect palette for any time of day and for taking in your travel bag.

I used to be scared of liquid liners, now I’m a complete convert. I find the felt tip style liners much easier to apply than a pot and thin brush, which usually ends up all over the place. The Feline Flick is a bold black shade and a really thick formula, and the pen style applicator makes it easy to control exactly where you want your liner to go. I love that it stays put all day without even smudging. Everyone should have The Feline Flick in their makeup bag.

When I discover and fall in love with a great mascara I want to buy it by the truck load. That’s how I felt when I first tried the Full Fat Lashes as you can coat your lashes once for a natural summer everyday flutter or bulid it up for some serious volume and amazing length in a bold black. There’s no flaking or clumping so it’s a fantastic mascara for hot summer days by the sea.

Charlotte Tilbury Summer Glow Makeup

This post wouldn’t be complete without featuring at least one Charlote Tilbury lipstick. I’m already a huge fan of Pillow Talk and Bitch Perfect and decided to invest in three more shades for this summer. The colours I’ve chosen are perfect to complete any summer glowy look.

Matte Revolution Very Victoria (left), is a beautiful browny nude, which is the perfect colour for every day. Yes, I’ll be totally honest with you, I did buy this after seeing a feature on Megan Markle and this was reportedly one her favourite shades of lipstick. I absolutely love it, the colour goes with everything and works well day to night. It’s such a beautiful shade and works well with most skin tones. The pigmentation is high and it’s incredibly long lasting, but just in case I do need to top up I also carry a tube in my handbag. It may be matte but it also has a rich creamy formula so won’t dry out the lips. I think this may have taken over from Pillow Talk as my favourite Charlotte Tilbury lipstick.

Moving away from the nudes, I wanted to inject some colour into my summer makeup bag. This time I chose one from the K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipsticks and loved the look of The Duchess, (centre), a natural tea rose pink shade. This range of lipsticks have light diffusing pigments to help make your lips look more fuller and they’re incredibly creamy and glide beautifully over the lips. Tree extracts help to protect your lips against UV damage and leaves them feeling soft and hydrated.

I didn’t think a coral this bright would ever suit me but Coachella Coral (right), also from the K.I.S.S.I.N.G range, is a pink toned coral and works well for any skin tone. It’s such a beautiful shade which makes your lips look fuller and adds a subtle pop of colour to my summer look. I love the creamy formula which also helps protect and hydrate the lips.

The Lip Cheat Lip Liner in shade Pillow Talk, is a beautiful nude shade that will go perfectly with my nude lipsticks.. The soft, creamy pencil doesn’t drag the delicate skin, yet still creates a perfect line to re-shape and resize the outline of your lips. An absolute must in any girls makeup bag.

What products do you love in those last few weeks of summer. Have you switched to Autumn shades yet or are you making your holiday glow last as long as possible?

Charlotte Tilbury Summer Glow Makeup
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A Celebratory Picnic At Hitchin Lavender

I’m extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the UK with places such as Hitchin Lavender practically on my doorstep. I didn’t need to think twice when it came to deciding how we’d celebrate our anniversary this year. No fancy meal in a restaurant, no weekend break or a big family party.

I wanted to enjoy a picnic, surrounded by a sea of stunning purple flowers and feel relaxed by the divine smell of lavender. Adrian and I packed up the hamper with pasta, fruit salad, a Victoria Sponge and a bottle of wine to toast our happy day.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, the sun was shining and the skies were blue. The lavender fields were extremely busy, yet so peaceful with everyone going about their business, getting lost in their own thoughts. We were both given a paper bag each on the way in, so we collected as much lavender as we could to take home. I love to let the flowers dry out and make lavender bags for my wardrobes and drawers, they keep my clothes smelling fresh and the moths away!

Naturally, we had to take plenty of photos, I’ll be popping one in a frame to remember the day. Our actual wedding anniversary is in April when the weather can be a bit hit and miss. Instead, every year on 4th July (the date of our first night out together) we do something a little extra special rather than just watching a film and having a take away.

I felt super feminine in my white broderie anglaise mini dress, a straw hat that’s so old I can’t remember where it’s from and a basket bag I picked up from a charity shop for £4. My pearl jewellery is from a local vintage shop and made the perfect finishing touch to a pretty summer outfit.

We both had a wonderful afternoon, extremely full from all the food we ate and a little merry from the wine. I certainly slept well that night!

Have you been anywhere to celebrate a special day? I’d love to hear about the place you visited.

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Let’s Catch Up: Social Media Break and What I’ve Been Up To

Well hello, it’s nice to back blogging after almost 6 months off. I’m not rushing into writing two or three posts a week but thought you’d like an update on what’s been going on. Time really does fly, but I can’t say it’s all been fun. In fact, some of it has been extremely difficult.

Illness

The year started off with me getting a chest infection, that’s bad enough in itself, but that bought on a relapse with my neurological symptoms. I was constantly in pain, the spasms and tremors got worse and my speech was slurred. The relapse also resulted in the loss of my left arm, I felt useless and my mood was so low I was constantly crying. The next step was a trip to hospital for a course of steroids. Being on the 11th Floor of a hospital miles away from my home was no fun at all, but at least it helped my symptoms return to how they normally are.

Bereavement

Sadly, we lost my Aunt in January. She had been like a mother to me since I was young and was the closest female I’d had in my life for so many years. Suddenly she wasn’t there anymore. If you’ve ever lost someone in your life, you’ll know exactly how I’ve been feeling. My Aunt had been ill for quite some time, I know she’s not in any pain now. It hit me especially hard when Mother;s Day came, I couldn’t go on social media at all. She will never be forgotten.

Holiday

Adrian and I went to stay with family in Norfolk for a few weeks, as we do every year. I love this area of the country, it has so many special memories. There will be a separate post coming on what we got up to but I will say we had the most wonderful time and a much needed break.

Things I’ve Learnt From A Social Media Break

  1. It’s great to actually talk to someone who is sitting in front of you. A friend who’s bought you doughnuts or a partner who’s made you a hot chocolate.
  2. Living in the moment rather than taking a selfie all the time. Taking in the sights, smells and sounds, there’s more right in front of you than you realise.
  3. No one will notice. Everyone is too busy getting on with their own lives or catching up on the latest social media drama to worry if you’ve not posted for a while.
  4. You suddenly have more time to concentrate on the things you enjoy. Your hobbies, being with family and enjoying the moment.
  5. You spend less money, you don’t feel the need to buy the latest makeup release or an item from a clothing brand’s new in section just because you’ve seen it all over social media.

Have you taken a long social media break? What were the things you learnt?

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Beauty Favourites For December

Beauty Favourites For December

I wanted to get my Beauty Favourites For December in early this year because the speed this month’s going it will almost be New Year before we know it. I know the lead up to Christmas can be an extremely busy time for some people but I’m sure you’ll be interested in these little gems I’ve been loving for the past month. 

I won’t waffle on too much so I’ll get straight on and give you the run down of my Beauty Favourites for December.

Beauty Favourites For December

Huda Beauty Eyeshadow Palette 

It’s the season to be glittery and glowy. I wish I had a party to go to every night til New Year just so I can wear all these stunning shades in this Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette.  There are 18 creamy, highly pigmented eyeshadows including matte, chrome, pearl and glitter shades. I’d be here all day if I named all the shades but believe me they are stunning. There’s no fall out and the colour lasts extremely well. This would make the perfect gift for any beauty lover. 

Rosie For Autograph Eyeshadow Palette

This is the first time I’ve tried anything from Rosie’s collection and I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous rose gold packaging. I chose the eyeshadow palette called “I Feel Like A Million Dollars” with 4 stunning shades that complement each other beautifully. The soft creamy powders blend together really well to create a natural look for both day and night. It would make a lovely gift or stocking filler for any beauty lover. 

Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter And Glow Liquid Eyeshadow

 These stunning liquid eyeshadows are are pure glitter heaven in gold and pink tones. The shades are Kitten Karma (champagne with copper glitter), Diamond Dust (silver with multi coloured glitter) and Smokey Storm (Pewter with silver glitter). They’re perfect to use all over your lid for a full on glitter look, and the small sponge makes it easy to dab a small amount in the centre or inner corner of your lid to add hint of sparkle.

Beauty Favourites For December
Beauty Favourites For December

Stila Stay All day Liquid Lipsticks

I’ve constantly been wearing these nude liquid lipsticks for both day and night, they come in a set of 3 shades with a matte dusty rose, shimmery dusty rose and a warm caramel. These lipsticks contain Vitamin E and Avocado Oil and have a soft buttery consistency which makes them feel comfortable on the lips. They’re full coverage and incredibly long lasting. 

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

I’m all about lip oils during the colder months and wanted one with a slight hint of colour. I’ve been using this lip care treatment from Clarins in Shade 9 Red Berry Glam, it’s a very subtle colour but extremely glossy. The colour doesn’t last that long, about 4 hours, but it does make my lips feel super soft. It has quite a heavy texture yet doesn’t feel sticky.

Beauty Favourites For December

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 4 Face Palette

I fell in love with this gorgeous Hourglass palette with it’s limited edition pink packaging as soon as I saw it. With 6 stunning shades of metallic powders, ranging from  champagne and rose gold to earthy bronze, giving you a lit from within glow. The shades help to blur out any imperfections and leave you complexion looking more youthful. The bronzer and blush shades give a natural flush of colour and a gorgeous highlighter that’s not in the least bit glittery. 

That’s all of my Beauty Favourites for December. Have you tried any of these amazing products? what have you been loving this month?

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