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You are good enough

This is the first time I’ve really spoken about the thoughts I had about my body whilst being a teenager with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS).
In a nutshell, I was born with one leg bigger than the other. I will go into more detail about it in a future blog post, or you can find out more by looking at my Instagram.

Growing up, I was constantly comparing my body to what I saw in films and magazines. Slim people who had symmetrical bodies were in my eyes “perfect”, as that was what t.v adverts and magazine articles always portrayed. Did I ever see girls wearing compression stockings or having different looking legs? Not. At. All.

All the shows and magazines I loved had little or no diversity: Teen Vogue, The Hills, The Devil Wears Prada, The OC, the list goes on! I thought; visually, that I wasn’t enough, as the media was sending me subliminal messages: my body didn’t make the cut. I did not have the “bikini body” I kept seeing advertised and articles written about. I went through a phase of doing sit ups everyday before school started because I believed that having abs would make me feel better about my body, and that it would draw attention away from my leg. 

The closest thing I could relate to was Bethany Hamilton’s book -Soul Surfer- she’d lost her arm in a shark attack. She was determined to surf again despite missing an arm and absolutely embraced it. She was such a major source of inspiration, and still is. I absolutely loved the film adaptation too (worth a watch). 

I used to love watching America’s Next Top Model. Which is kind of ironic really, because it was all about what you looked like and having this perfect “look”. I can’t for the life of me remember what episode it was but Tyra strongly advised a beautiful woman on there to have the gap between her two front teeth closed. And it made me really upset and angry. The lady was happy with her teeth, and felt that it was a characteristic which made her unique; yet there she was being pushed to have her teeth adjusted. And for what? Someone else’s idea of what is attractive, and on what they thought would sell. For a teenager to see that was in no way, shape or form okay. It was insinuating that my differences weren’t good enough and that I should change to fit someone else’s ideologies.

Fast forward to today…. Everything has changed, yet everything is still the same. We have been given an amazing platform to broadcast our thoughts and our ideas globally, all at the touch of a screen.

 Teenagers are now exposed to social media. I see influencers are pushing to sell weight loss products to their followers (many of which are teenagers who are particularly vulnerable) claiming that by drinking a  “skinny coffee” you will lose 5 pounds in week. They will then proceed to back this up with a before and after photo (posing and lighting works miracles people!). There they stand with their chiseled jawbones, abs of steel, pert breasts and perky bottoms. This would have taken hard work in the gym, a carefully planned diet and maybe even some cosmetic surgery; not a week drinking “skinny coffee”.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that I want to see more people confident with their own bodies; regardless of size, shape, colour or gender. And EMBRACING it. As girls – like my teenage self- will be seeing your photos (yes YOU with the 3.7 million followers) and be influenced by them. You want them to love the skin they’re in and empower their peers that it’s okay to be different.

To the people with a large following on social media; think carefully before you agree to that paid partnership with a fast track weight loss product. You are influencing millions of young minds, when most of them are already self conscious (like I was) of their bodies. Instead, encourage them to realise that they have so many assets which make them beautiful inside and out. They are good enough (and so are you!) just the way they are.

sydney to coogee coastal walk
Me on a beautiful coastal walk, stopping to have a drink. No posing, not make up and no filter. Just me.
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Shoes Glorious Shoes Part II

Adidas Trainers

Adidas Gym Shoes

A bit battered now, but they serve their purpose. These trainers are now my gym shoes.. before that they were actually my going out trainers and I’d where them for comfort. I always find trainers are a bit like t-shirts- when they’re new you wear them on special occasions, you know, the sort of thing you get your expensive perfume out for. Then the dynamic changes and you end up wearing this said t-shirt to bed. 

Last week I went on a run with my doggy. It had rained the night before and I really tried my best to avoid the mud, but I felt so bad keeping to the “boring” areas for my doggy’s sake. I then proceeded to run the farmer’s fields; gosh I nearly slipped over, and I could hardly run.. But it was fun. The trainers… well they were a squelchy mess! They had to go in the washing machine (Delicates wash on 30 with a tad of detergent if you’re asking!)

I get most of my trainers from JD Sports as they have a good selection and always seem to have special offers. Also they do quite a few men’s/unisex/whatever trainers from 6-9 (a lot of “men’s” sizes start at 7).

Susie’s Boots

Susie's Sheepskin Boots

So these are my first handmade shoes: made in Wales! My friend Molly lives in Pembrokeshire and told me about this wonderful company who are local to her… They create these amazing boots in all different colours. Also, because they make them from scratch I only had to buy one pair! Winning!

They are so comfortable, think leggings, cosy cardigan and snuggled by the fire vibes. Although I could’ve gone for funky colour, I had my practical hat on, which often I find takes over, as buying shoes is a bit more tricky for me than it is for others so it’s all about making an investment.

Simply Be Boots

SimplyBe Booties

These are SO comfortable and stylish! When I buy from Simply Be, I get wide fit size 6 for my left foot and an extra wide size 9 for my right. Sometimes the wide fit is a bit too wide for my little foot, so I wear an extra sock on that side. I have had lots of comments about these shoes; the pattern is gorgeous and reminds me of William Morris: very opulent colours of teal, pink and gold. I am careful where I wear these booties- they will NOT become work shoes! They’re my fancy boots.

What the Adidas trainers and Simply Be boots actually look like 🙂 I can’t find any of me in my sheepskin boots, but if I do I will add!

Thanks for reading, have a glorious weekend!

G x

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I am not boring, just tired AF

Currently I am lying in bed, it’s half 9, and I can hear my family downstairs laughing and joking…. why am I not with them? Because I’m tired.

Is it just me or for a period of time, you’re tired 99% of the day😩. I want do things but I can barely concentrate because I’m knackered… the gym is about the only thing I can do at the moment- that and dog walks. To be fair it’s probably the 10k training which had added to my tiredness! It’s so annoying because I definitely feel that it puts a strain on friendships, and one of the reasons my last relationship fell apart! Sometimes I feel like wearing a t-shirt saying

“I am not boring, just tired AF”

All my life, I’ve always been the sleepy one. The one who has naps and lie ins, who can fall asleep anywhere.

It’s such a catch 22 because I want to be chasing after my dreams and living life to the fullest… but the reality of it is, I have to be careful; I unfortunately can’t be as spontaneous as I want to- I have to plan things and have rest days.

1 weekend I am busy, the other I chill out.

It’s so annoying because I don’t like to miss out on anything but if I were to do everything I’ve been invited to and wanted to do, I would end up worn out and poorly.

It’s soooo frustrating. And I am just as upset as you are that I can’t go shopping with you today or go for that catch up we’ve been meaning to have.

In my natural habitat, the sofa, cuddling one of my gorgeous doggies. Wearing the most used item in my wardrobe – the snuggliest top ever!
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Shoes Glorious Shoes

So I’m doing a mini series of blog posts talking about the shoes I have in my wardrobe… along with little anecdotes/reviews about them. Shoes have a substantial place in my heart as it has been notoriously difficult for me to find the perfect fit, so whenever I find shoes which do accommodate my right foot, it’s a victory! If you don’t know, I have a size 6 left foot and a size 9 right (my KTS leg). Every pair of shoes in my wardrobe equates to 2 pairs bought from the shop…

Yellow Sandals
I am going though a yellow phase at the minute, it’s because I am subconsciously thinking it will make me feel more positive as of course it’s a sunshine colour!!!
I went straight for these whilst scouring Primark’s women’s shoes section- which was a mission as their wise fit shoes are scattered with regular sizes so you literally have to check the labels on all of them to find out!! How inconvenient! Primark, take note- from a girl who has visual merchandising on her cv! 😉
Anyhow I’ve enjoyed wearing these- bar the odd blister here and there- to work as they spice up plain outfits or compliment patterned dresses beautifully.

yellow sandalssme and my sandals

A Cinderella Story

The other day I managed to get to work with only one of these shoes 😂 – this is an example of one of my many silly moments.

I don’t like to drive in heels so I shoved my Converse on, drove there… parked up, did my make-up, and then it was time to change shoes.. I put my left one on and reached into the bag for my right shoe… “That’s strange” I thought. It feels smaller 🤔… I’d only brought the wrong blinking shoe with me: I had packed the other half of the size 6 pair, but of course, I wear odd shoes, so it was completely the wrong size for my right foot 🙈 I spent the morning looking quite odd in my lovely, smart, work dress and scruffy converse 😂 Thankfully my dad -aka Prince Charming-saved the day and dropped off (miraculously he started work later that day) my other shoe 👠

Now you’re thinking why do I keep the other shoes… well I guess I feel it’s such a waste to be chucking a “pair” of shoes away; especially with how tricky it can be for me to buy ones that I both like and that fit me! So yes, I confess: I have a collection of unworn odd shoes… you never know, there must be somebody who has the opposite sized feet to me? Anyone out there on the World Wide Web?

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Reality checks in

I am slowly coming to terms-after 24 years- that I can’t do what everyone else does. It’s taken me this long and I still think I’m slightly in denial.

My head is a constant argument between an ideologist and a realist.

The ideologist wants  to go to work a full time job, go to the gym in the evenings then see friends and family at the weekend.

“Oh if only it was that easy!” the realist laughs…

“But it SHOULD be easy!” ideology snaps back, “That’s what your friends do, so you can do it too”

“They didn’t have an infection in their leg and have to go to hospital 3 times this week for iv medication.” Realism says sternly with raised eyebrows.

*Ideology checking out*

It’s not always lightness

I don’t like talking about being sad. Because the more attention you give something, the more substantial it becomes. I also like to think that I’m a positive person.

I’m not saying you should just brush everything under the carpet. This is why I’ve turned to my blog. I don’t like talking about being sad to my friends. It’s not a good conversation to have is it?! For me, talking about it on a blog post is far more effective because I’m not “off loading” to anyone, I’m just getting my thoughts and feelings outs of my head. It doesn’t matter how many people see it.

I’m not here for the stats! I’m here for my sanity. Blogging has really helped me accept things. Accept my KTS, my bouts of depression.

I don’t like to say I’ve got depression, because I don’t feel like I do have it all the time.

I may be on anti depressants but that doesn’t mean I am depressed.

I’ve thought about coming off them, but to be perfectly honest I’m terrified about what mental state I’ll be in afterwards. I suppose that’s why I’m a bit uppity about taking painkillers. Because I don’t want to rely on them. I don’t want them to become a regularity like my anti depressants are.

Also, conventional medicine= side effects= even more medicine.

I do feel depressed on my period. I feel very sad. And I say stupid things without thinking it through. It’s horrible. My periods were a lot worse mentally when I wasn’t taking anti depressants. I would spend days feeling shit; often not leaving the house.

If there wasn’t sadness we wouldn’t know happy. It’s normal to feel sad. I’ve learnt to feel the emotion and ride it out. Acknowledge that it’s there.

This too shall pass.

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Smiling when I’m sad

I’m fine 🙂; I’M FINE 😡

This is a bad day.

Depression has been creeping up on me and made a lovely appearance this morning.

I’m fine; I’M FINE – this has been me for the last couple of months. I’ve been seeing my friends, going to the gym, going to work. I’ve been treading water.

Yes I have done lots of things to move forwards and get myself better, but today epitomised depression’s grasp on me.

I was driving to work and I wasn’t concentrating on the road. I was balling my eyes out and had to pull over. I rang work and told them I couldn’t come in. Then I was ridiculously anxious about pulling out into the traffic to go home. Mum had to pick me up.

You may wonder- Why does she feel this way?

I’ve had depression for four years, and I went through a difficult patch in my teens, when I was about 17 too.

Sometimes you just feel shit and you don’t know why.

For me, I find that significant changes in my life can trigger it. It could be from being ill, getting frustrated with my body because it cant always do what a normal body does as often. Or it could be something like a change of living arrangements.

This time it was a number of things…

  • I came back in March after 2 months of travelling.
  • After a few weeks of being a couch potato, I started doing bar work whilst applying for other jobs – however bar work was taking its toll on my KTS leg.
  • In May, I broke up with my boyfriend.
  • Also in May, I got very poorly from cellulitis.
  • In June I started a new job.

Now it’s like all those months of changes have finally caught up with my head and I feel overwhelmed and exhausted and sad.

So I went to see the doc – she said that I wasn’t fit for work today…and to relax and do something like taking the dogs out. She also recommended counselling (which I’ve done before)
and upping my anti-depressants.

Counselling I’m 100% up for, yet more anti depressants? Not so keen. I’m very anxious about falling into the anti-depressant trap.

I’ve been so determined to sort myself out that I’ve been pushing how I really feel to the back of my head, and now it’s surfacing. The doctor said this to me and she said that maybe I should’ve accepted I needed help sooner.

Fake it ’til you feel it

  • It’s okay to accept help. It doesn’t make you any less of a person or weaker. It takes strength to admit that something is not quite right.
  • If I’m smiling and looking like I’m enjoying myself it’s me trying to do exactly that. I’ve had the mentality fake it til you feel it if that makes sense. That whole idea of smiling when you’re sad and eventually you’ll feel better is an ethos I’ve been living by. It’s scientifically proven that smiling boosts serotonin. Also exercise does this too.

Which is what I’ve been doing. But this week, I’ve been exhausted, waking up tired (well I’ve been like that for a while) and coming home ready for bed. I had to give the gym a little break.

The other niggles for me is the state of my room. I haven’t properly sorted through everything since I left uni. So in affect my room has accumulated 4 years worth of stuff from my uni days. This isn’t good Feng Shui (something I really do believe in) . I have attempted to clear it, but I only got so far and then distracted.

So plan?

🌞get counselling arranged
🌞keep up the gym
🌞gut my room (do a little bit every day- a bag a day keeps the doctor away haha- stepping stones!!!)
🌞keep seeing my friends
🌞accept help from loved ones
🌞Mull over going on a higher dosage of ADs

G▫️👣

Thou shalt moisturise!

Every time I visit the lymphedema clinic my nurse is impressed by the condition of my legs. Inside I do a silent fist pump, because I am so pleased that my moisturising efforts are taking effect. And since I had my lymphedema nurse’s approval, I thought I would share my moisturising tips on here…

I am by no means a dermatologist, so if you are suffering with dry skin, please consult your doctor. I am just stating what works for me.

I moisturise every day without fail. I go through about 200-300 ml of moisturiser per month, this means I can buy a new bottle every month. I like to change up my daily moisturisers, and when my legs are in good condition, I have more choice of what I can use. When they aren’t good (sore, or infected), I like to stick to creams especially for sensitive skin. Moisturising is very important as it stops your skin getting dry. Dry skin– when your skin loses moisture- can lead to cracked skin. This can be a breeding ground for bacteria, as the cracks let microorganisms and irritants in.
This is particularly dangerous (yes dangerous!) for people who suffer from lymphoedema, varicose veins and other circulatory conditions. Dry skin lets bacteria in, bacteria causes infections like Cellulitis, or folliculitis. If you have areas in your legs which have poor circulation, they become nice , stagnant places for the bacteria to live. Also, every infection you get damages your lymph vessels a bit more; which over time leads to more swelling as the vessels won’t work as well as they used to.

Below is an example of skin infection on my leg.

Bacterial skin infections, without treatment, can cause septicaemia. Septicaemia- in layman’s terms- is when your body cannot fight an infection, so instead of it being in one area, it enters your blood stream. You can die from septicaemia. So for people like me who have a dodgy leg and poor circulation, moisturising is COMPULSORY.

How my leg should look! Moisturised and rash free.

Here is a list of the current moisturisers living in my beauty cupboard…

A Thick, Lovely Scented Cream
Nivea Creme £2.50 ish, Savers
Ooh this is a treat for me, the rich, heavy duty creme takes a while to apply, and you really must dry yourself properly before applying, as it doesn’t mix well with water. I absolutely love the smell of Nivea creme, its very nostalgic (I’m sure my mum used to put this on me when I was little) and its just the best feeling slapping this on my legs after a long bath, then cosying up in my pyjamas. One thing I would say, is there is a hygiene risk as you must dip your fingers into the pot to get the creme; so keep this creme to yourself and make sure you have clean hands when applying! Another infection is the last thing us lymphies want on our legs!

For Delicate, Sensitive skin
Norwegian Formula Neutrogena deep moisture body lotion sensitive £3.59 (special offer!) at boots.com
This is great as the application is hygienic and if my legs are feeling a bit delicate, or they have any rashes on them, I would choose this to moisturise over other creams, as sometimes fragranced creams can aggravate any rashes etc. If you have dry skin, avoid using a creme with fragrance, as it can sep into the cracks and irritate the deeper layers of skin, causing itching and burning sensations. Stick to thick creams to start with, such as this one.

The Budget Friendly Option
Cien light feeling body lotion £2 or under, Lidl
Well I discovered this in Lidl the other day and thought I must try it! This cream is very easy to apply, the smell is lovely and if like me, you go through moisturiser like an elephant drinks water, it’s easier on your wallet. I probably would be careful using this on any red skin, as I feel the fragrance may irritate it.

For your Holiday
Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula £3 ish Savers
This cream is great, It smells lovely, which is a bonus as I avoid wearing perfume when im in hot countries as they attract bugs, so a softly fragrance cream is a good alternative. This cream can also be used as after-sun, and my boyfriend uses this too to keep his tattoos in good nick!

To Achieve Silky, Shiny Skin
Avon Skin So Soft £1.99 atm, it’s on offer! Avon.com
I was supposed to take this on holiday but I didn’t make an order in time! This dry oil is amazing as it doubles as a bug repellant. I’m not entirely sure on the science behind it, but what I do know is that after my evening showers when I went to India a few years ago, I’d put this on my whole body (except my face) and I definitely didn’t have (if any) many bites.

That’s me worded out for today, which moisturisers do you like to use?

G▫️👣