Friday, 21 December 2012

Driving Home for Christmas...

OK, so we won't actually be driving home for Christmas, but strangely enough there isn't a song titled 'Catching the 11.44 train to Plymouth and getting a connection to Truro' . This, I feel, is an oversight on the part of the record industry. It'd definitely be an even bigger hit than Gangnam Style. For Sure. 

So, tomorrow, we are making our way home to the deepest, darkest, depths of Cornwall (or, Pasty Land, as it's affectionately known) and, given the troubles on the tracks today, I'm keeping all possible digits crossed that we don't encounter any delays or cancellations.  Although, knowing my luck...

A short but sweet post tonight: whilst we are home for the holidays, no doubt eating and drinking ourselves into oblivion, It's Not All Me, Me, Me... will be on a short hiatus. Although I'll have access to a computer, I'm not entirely sure I'll have the time (or any residual energy) to update, so I thought it made infinitely more sense to let it have a little holiday too. But don't panic, it's only until January the 3rd, when we return to Bristol.

Until then, I hope you all have a truly magical Christmas and New Year, and I'll see you in 2013!


x




Thursday, 20 December 2012

P.S...

I was obviously so giddy about the discovery of Fine One One that I totally forgot to mention in my previous post: Benefit's sale has launched online! With up to 50% off. Music to my ears...

Click on the picture below to be taken to beauty heaven!




New Beauty Product Alert: Benefit Fine One One

I'm sure you're all aware by now of my love for obsession with Benefit.  And shiny things. And coral blush. And anything that promises glowy and looks-like-its-lit-from-within skin? Well lookeeee what I found:

Benefit's new "Sheer Brightening Colour for Lip and Cheeks" Fine-One-One.


Image courtesy of Benefitcosmetics.com

I didn't think it was possible to love Benefit more than I already do but they've gone and done it again with this little beauty. It's in shiny packaging (rose gold coloured no less, my favourite shade du jour), it's a coral blush (well actually, according to Benefit's blurb, it's a trio of soft coral, sheer watermelon and pink champagne) and it's a highlighter.

The idea is that you sweep the stick up and over your cheeks and blend, blend, blend. The coral and watermelon combine to give a defined pop of colour and the highlighter, well, highlights. Just in case that didn't make any sense, there's a handy video on Benefit's website that shows Fine-One-One in action.

It can also be used on the lips as a creme tint - talk about multi-tasking!

Now, the bad news is that it doesn't hit Benefit counters here until February. But, good news for our American cousins: it went on sale there last week.

Anyone else think they might add Fine-One-One to their Benefit collection? I think you already know what my answer to that is...

Benefit Fine-One-One - on sale in the UK February 2013- £23.50



Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I'll Be There for You...

If there's one good thing to come out of being virtually housebound for four months - if there can be anything good to come out of it - it's that I've learnt just how good my friends are. Of course I always knew they were pretty decent folk, I wouldn't have been friends with them otherwise, but since I've been ill it's become even more apparent what wonderful people they are.

One of my oldest friends (not age wise, I hasten to add), whom I've known since we were thirteen, came over today bearing the most fantastic bounty of gourmet goodies from Waitrose. She hadn't seen me in a while and said she wanted to treat me, plus she knew I wasn't really in a fit state to quickly whip something up in the kitchen.

We tucked into our indoor picnic as we caught each other up on our goings on (in my case, it was a very short conversation. My life? Erm: sleep, wake up, try and get up and do something, feel too faint/weak/sick/tired, get back into bed, eat, sleep some more ad infinitum.Yup, that just about covers it). 

I was so touched at the thought she'd put into choosing everything; all my favourite foods but in bite-size as she knows my appetite isn't what it was. She'd even bought over the most divine  Black Forest Gâteaux puds for dessert. The effort and thought behind it meant I was quite overwhelmed: it was such a generous gesture.  

After she'd left, I had a visit from another dear friend. He too arrived bearing food, this time of the baked goods variety: doughnuts and cookies, and a sneaky bag of caramelised Almonds.

My friends obviously believe that the way to my heart is through my stomach (and they'd be right)!

But, aside from being greatly amused by this, the kindness shown through these visits and gifts- from all my friends- has really opened my eyes to how very lucky I am, especially at this time, to have such people in my life. 













Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Head Case...

A bit late on the old posting front today - sorry folks! Today has been one of the worst days so far in my M.E.  "Adventure". 

I started off getting one on my M.E. headeaches yesterday evening. Now, normally, I can just grin (well, grimace) and bear them, but this one, this one, was in a whole other league. Rather than slowly dissipating as is usual, it got worse and worse. In the early hours I was so much in pain I was in tears (no, no, put those violins away, just tellin' it like it is...). Add to that the fact I was burning up one second, and shivering uncontrollably the next, it's fair to say I was in a pretty sorry state.

Oh, and that's before I started being violently, ahem, ill. If you catch my drift...

By that point I'd thoroughly had enough.

After three (possibly more? I lost count...) trips to the bathroom, the bucket under the sink was commandeered and installed by my side of the bed. I simply didn't have the energy to keep to-ing and fro-ing. You've got to laugh really.

Finally, after what felt like hours, I fell into a somewhat fitful slumber.

I awoke today feeling completely wrung out. And still I had the bloody headache. Luckily though it had lessened its grip, but it was still uncomfortable enough to make me wince every time I tried to move my eyes or head. 

Four Ibuprofen, chunky soup and bread (courtesy of one of my lovely friends), and umpteen glasses of water later I feel vaguely human again. I'm still very weak, but at least I'm not walking around like some cross eyed Hunchback anymore. Progress, no?

Anyway, I'm not sure what that little episode was all about. Another of the joy's of M.E? Not that I'd call feeling like you're being bludgeoned around the head particularly joyful.

I'm just glad to be feeling normal again. Relatively speaking, of course.








Monday, 17 December 2012

It's the Final Countdown...

Five days until we travel home for the holidays. I am getting more excited by the second, never mind the day.

I managed to arrange my wheelchair hire today - rock and roll (literally)- and have finally finished my shopping. Apart from actually packing, I'm all set.

Despite the growing excitement,and ticking off on mental checklists, today wasn't the best of days, I've felt very lightheaded and weak whenever I've got up to walk around the flat. I had been feeling slightly stronger the past couple of days but, again, it looks like the M.E. has other ideas and has decided to dump right back at square one again. Or at least, that's what it feels like.

Action for M.E. were asking on Twitter today what we'll all be doing to pace ourselves over the festivities and, I suppose, aside from knowing I'd need to hire a wheelchair, it was the first time it really hit me that I'll have to take everything a lot slower this year and make not only physical but mental adjustments. And, feeling  as weak as I am today, also brought it home that, in this state, I'll probably be good for lying on the couch and chatting, but not a lot else. 

I will probably have to absent myself on a number of occasions, take myself off for a lie down or some much needed sleep. Which will be frustrating, as I really hate the thought of missing out on anything. But still, needs must I guess. Like I said, this Yuletide is going to be a bit of a learning curve for me, but also for my family as well. Aside from having to push me around (lucky them!), they'll also have to get used to the idea that I'll either be prostrate for much of it, or unconscious. 

I'm still a bit of a novice with the whole pacing idea, but hopefully, if I can sleep when I need to, and make sure I get plenty of rest, I'll still be able to have a wonderful- albeit horizontal- Christmas.

Does anyone have any good tips they've learnt to make sure you get most out of the holidays without bankrupting your body of all its energy?

How do you pace yourself?

Answers on a Christmas Card, please....






Sunday, 16 December 2012

Nailing It...

So, remember I was saying I was a little addicted to all things Coral

Well, I've just discovered this little bottle of beautiful:

Image courtesy of Dior.com


Whilst back at home in October my Mum passed a bottle of Dior Rouge Garçon nail varnish onto me as she didn't get on with it. A free Dior nail varnish? Yes please! I gave it a whirl and immediately fell in love with the depth of colour and the glossiness of the finish. It lasted forever too.

So whilst pootling around on the internet earlier I thought I'd check out what other shades Dior has to offer. And 'lo, this coral vision was waiting for me. 

Oh dear, my wish list is getting rather long...

Dior Vernis in Shade 545 - Psychedelic Orange - available from Dior.com.

Le Weekend...


Yes, that is me under there. Frightening isn't it?

They haven't lasted long. Sadly.

Too moreish.



Another Sunday evening. Honestly, I don't know where the weekends go anymore....blink and you miss them, eh? Maybe it's because I'm getting older? After all I am, whisper it nearly 30. Even so, they just don't last like they used to. Sigh.

So, aside from  doing an awful lot of sleeping (kind of goes without saying now, doesn't it?), my weekend has been spent:

  • Writing Christmas Cards.
  • Craving anything salty.
  • Eating a very tasty Tesco Chicken Caesar Wrap (I am a bit addicted to these- should I have admitted that publicly?).
  • Buying some last minute presents (Amazon to the rescue!)
  • Watching lots of lovely Black and White movies: Holiday Affair, The War Lover, Follow the Fleet.
  • Drinking a million cups of tea*.
  • Getting out of the flat for an hour to have lunch with two very good friends.
  • Eating practically my own body weight in Quality Street.
  • Trying some of Mr. G's homemade Mulled Wine. Delicious
  • Remembering just how good Hocus Pocus is, and laughing all over again at SJP as a witch. What would Carrie say?
  • Trying on Mr. G's Horse's Head mask (it was for his Christmas party, before you get any funny ideas...) and being rather amused by it. To say the least.
  • Wishing we had more than two duvets on our bed.
I can't believe that next weekend will be the last one before Christmas. This is exciting and also rather terrifying. I don't feel ready for it to be Christmas yet. I want a few more weeks of the build up!

So, how has your weekend been?


* A slight exaggeration.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To...

Flicking through the channels, looking for a vaguely Christmassy film, we stumbled upon  the Holiday Affair, starring Janet Leigh (of Psycho fame) and Robert Mitchum. 




As there was nothing else on offer, and we felt in the mood for a bit of old fashioned movie magic, we settled down to watch.

It tells the tale of Connie Ennis (all the way through though I just kept thinking of Jessica Ennis whenever the surname was mentioned. Slightly distracting...), a widowed New Yorker who lives her with six year old son Timmy- the cutest little boy ever. Fact. It's Christmastime, and she's busy juggling her job as a comparison shopper, bringing up Timmy and dodging her Fiance Carl's pleas to 'set a date'.

Enter Mr. Steve Mason - the affable and dashing sales clerk who arranges a refund for her on a toy train set, and gets the sack for the pleasure. The attraction between the newly unemployed Mr. Mason and Ms. Ennis is palpable and blindingly obvious. And, as luck, and film script, would have it, they keep being brought together by a series of - often comic- events.

There ensues, throughout this enchanting little gem, the most gentlemanly of tussles between the two suitors for Connie's (and Timmy's) affection.

Holiday Affair is a gentle, funny and delightful slice of underrated cinematic joy. Robert Mitchum's portrayal of Steve Mason is charming and entertaining, and Janet Leigh plays the demure and doting mother to perfection. Wendell Corey's Carl is the slightly downtrodden, slightly dull (but ultimately honourable) foil to Robert Mitchum's funny man.

If you manage to catch this on the television I'd highly recommend sticking with it; Holiday Affair is the perfect festive film to snuggle up to with a duvet, a big mug of tea and a tin (well, tub now. Don't get me started...) of Quality Street and let the tidings of comfort and joy wash over you. 






Do you have a favourite black and white film, or favourite Christmas film? 








Friday, 14 December 2012

Santa Baby...


The best thing to cheer myself up with after not having the greatest of days? 

Looking at all the pretty on Polyvore. 

And then creating yet another dream Christmas wish list.


Yeah, yeah, I'm a masochist...


Santa Baby...






If I could have anything from this little haul? It would definitely be the Canon camera.

 My poor old Kodak point and click is really not cutting it anymore, it doesn't do low light so the majority of my pictures, that aren't taken in the brightest of sunlight, end up grainy. Not a good look.

So, yep, the Canon would be my top choice but, you know, if someone wants to get me anything else on the list, I'm not going to say no. Obviously. 

What would be on your dream Christmas List? 

Any wishes?

Product Review: Vaseline Lip Therapy Pink Bubbly

I'd read about Vaseline's newest addition to the Lip Therapy range in a glossy magazine back in the summer. 

Vaseline's Rosy Lips has been one of the staple products in my make-up bag since it was released four years ago (in fact it's probably my Holy Grail lip balm, along with Carmex), so I  was excited to hear about this newest variant based on my favourite alcoholic tipple: Champagne.


So, whilst shopping online for a friend's birthday present in September, it somehow found its way into my basket.

Ooops.

Well, every girl needs to treat herself now and again don't they?



I purchased it from Selfridges.com (initially this was the only retailer stocking it) but it's now available in Boots and Superdrug too. 

At £3.49 it's more expensive than the usual tins of Lip Therapy. But, with added Champagne Grape Extract, we'll let them off just this once and with the festive party season well and truly upon us, a little bit of decadence doesn't hurt.

The balm itself is a very pale pink colour (unlike Rosy Lips, which is more coral hued) and it smells exactly like pink lemonade. Not quite champagne then, but its still a very pleasing and delicate smell. If you like pink lemonade, natch.

It might be my imagination, but Pink Bubbly feels richer than the other variants and is ultra smooth on application. 

The colour on my lips is very pretty, it gives an entirely natural sheen with the merest hint of shimmer. Perfect for a laid back daytime look or to give a little twist to an evening lip.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely! It'd make the perfect little stocking filler, although you'll have to be quick as it's Limited Edition.

Vaseline Lip Therapy Pink Bubbly - 20g - £3.49 - Selfridges.










Thursday, 13 December 2012

Symptom Checker...

As I'm sat here with a throat feeling like I've swallowed a crushed glass smoothie, I thought I'd write a quick little update on my M.E. symptoms. I thought it might be of interest to some and serve as a way of charting my progress. Or, um, lack thereof.

Although, as you know, I've been out and about a couple of times in the past week, which is good, what's not so great is the fact that I'm experiencing the following. Some of these I've had from the start. Some are brand spanking new (I've highlighted these in pink):


  • Fatigue.
  • Sore throat and enlarged and painful gland under my jaw on the left hand side (although this may be linked with my Wisdom Tooth?).
  • Headaches.
  • Shakes.
  • Sinus pain and general maxillofacial pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Vertigo/Boatiness (this had subsided for a couple of weeks, but has returned quite viciously).
  • Aching joints (not getting this quite as much, but still the odd flare up, usually at night time).
  • Aching muscles (still getting this regularly unfortunately. My shoulder blades, neck and arms seem to experience it the worst).
  • Insomnia (this was awful last week, I just could not get to sleep before 3am).
  • Excessive sleeping (even if I do manage to drop off I still can't seem to surface before 1-2pm).
  • Nerve pain (still experiencing this, I thought it might disappear but it hasn't).
  • A tingling/crawling sensation on my skin (ditto).
  • Itching (and ditto again).
  • Nausea after eating anything.
  • Brain fog. (yup, still foggy).
  • General feeling of being unwell.
  • Sensitivity to certain foods (can't eat certain forms of potato without getting stomach cramps: mashed and roasted are the worst culprits).
  • Gastro-Intestinal problems.
  • Reduction of appetite (my appetite totally disappeared last week and hasn't quite recovered, and feeling sick after eating isn't really much of an incentive to eat).
  • Hair loss (I didn't think that this was related to the M.E at first, but after looking it up and asking on Twitter, it seems it is. I go through stages of malting quite a lot every so often, but nothing like this).
  • Little or no energy (no real improvement here, if I do have the energy to do something, I usually have a window of an hour before I start to flag).


Although I am perky and chatty in myself, I don't appear to have made any progress whatsoever since writing my original list on the 23rd of November. I thought I might have have seen some improvement, however slight. Why I thought that I have no idea; this illness runs to its own schedule and clearly it's not going to treat me with any special dispensation.


If you have M.E, how are you getting on? Have you seen any improvement or does your condition remain stable? 

I'd love to hear from you!

Top of the Shops: The Topshop Cosmetic Line...


I've been browsing the Topshop website quite a bit of late (yup, always a dangerous pastime), purely to keep myself entertained, you understand. Recently though I've been more drawn to their makeup range than the clothes. 

I'd already fallen in lust-at-first-sight with one of their Lipsticks - Whimsical- and then noticed that the entire range has been causing quite a stir on the beauty blogging circuit. 

I've had a little play with their eye-shadows before, on a mooch around earlier this year. I liked the cutesy and hand drawn style packaging but didn't end up purchasing anything. I know, I know, I'm asking myself why too. However, I didn't think anything more of it at the time. Until I rediscovered it online.

There's been a lot of buzz in particular around their Glow Higlighter in Polish and, being a sucker for lover of anything that promises glowing, dewy, or illuminated skin, I simply have to try this. No ifs, or buts, it's going to be mine. My preciousssss.

I've also seen some great reviews of the Creme Blushes and would also very much like to add Head Over Heels to my already burgeoning collection of blushes. It looks a bit in-your-face in the pan, but having seen photos of it on, it's a really beautiful rosy cheeked coral, surprisingly delicate in fact. I must admit to having a massive thing for coral at the moment, I can't get enough of it, I seem to be instantaneously drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. Though hopefully with less risk of mortality. Hopefully. 

So it's not really surprising that, along with Whimsical, I've earmarked another of their Lipsticks inn Ooh La La as a future purchase. Yes, you've guessed it, it's coral. Predictable, moi?

Image Courtesy of Topshop.com - Lipstick in Ooh La La 

                                                              

Image Courtesy of Topshop.com - Lipstick in Whimsical


Image Courtesy of Topshop.com - Creme Blush in Head Over Heels
Image Courtesy of Topshop.com - Glow Highlighter in Polish


I may have asked for a Topshop Gift Card for Christmas from Mr. G so I imagine, alright, I know, it's going to go towards these lovely little beauties.

Have you tried anything from the range, what do you think of it? Yay or nay?
                                                     
                                                       

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Taking a Short Cut...

A little update on whether I should take the plunge and get my hair cut short or not. A big thank you to all those who took the time to comment or Tweeted me with their thoughts.

The general consensus is that I should go for it. So, when I have enough energy and- more importantly- money, go for it I shall!

There will, of course, be photographic evidence of the big chop, so watch this space...


A Mini Adventure and A Little Review: Lily and Boo's Cupcakery...

Today I managed to make it out again. Hurrah for me. Only down the road again, and only for an hour, but it was good to get some much needed fresh (more arctic than fresh really...) air.  An hour is my absolute maximum, I've discovered. Any longer than that and it's guaranteed I'll be confined to my bed for the next two or three days.  

As it is, that little sojourn took it out of me so I'm now wrapped up warm under two (count 'em) duvets with the mandatory cup of tea by my side. 

So instead of taking our custom to the usual suspects - Starbucks, Costa et al - we decided (alright, I decided, executively) instead to try out Lily and Boo's Cupcakery.

As far as I'm aware, Lily and Boo's is the first of its kind in Bristol: a shop specialising in, well, Cupcakes. As the name suggests, funnily enough.

It opened back in August so I was rather thrilled to be venturing through it's candy pink doors at long last. 





Inside it's every bit as sweet as you might expect from a shop and tea room dealing nearly exclusively in cupcakes. There's a lot of pink. I, of course, loved it. However, it's saved from complete saccharine overload by stylish brown wicker furniture, metal tables and shrubbery dotted around decoratively.







I was surprised to discover that they also offer a small selection of savoury pastries, so if cupcakes aren't your thing (although, really, what are you doing in a cupcake cafe if they're not?) there's some other goodies to tempt your palette. 

We found a spot by the window (ideal for people watching) and waited for our order to arrive. We'd decided to go all out: hot chocolates with whipped cream, marshmallows and grated chocolate. 

Oh, and if that wasn't quite enough chocolate. I decided to throw in the aptly named Chocolate Overload cupcake too (which, I must point out, was kindly whipped up especially for me, as they'd actually run out. Major gold star!). It was a toss up between that and the Rocky Road, but ultimately the fact it had Chocolate in its name (which is always a promise of good things) clinched it for me.

Our hot chocolates arrived, filled to the brim, and in polka dot cups too. I may have let out the tiniest of squeals at this point. Cupcakes, chocolate, and polka dots? Can this place do no wrong...?






Evidently not, as I was then presented with the gooiest, chocolatiest cupcake I've ever clapped eyes on:




Oh. My. Word. This wasn't just chocolate overload, this was chocolategeddon. The cupcake itself was every bit as delicious as it looked, the sponge was light and moist and the frosting was out of this world. It was incredibly sweet but not the kind of sweet that sets your teeth on edge or brings on Type 2 Diabetes just by looking at it. 

Nevertheless, that and the hot chocolate with all the trimmings was probably overdoing it. Just a tad. 

So..... would I recommend Lily and Boo's? Abso-blooming-lutely. A wonderful and welcoming service from the two lovely ladies behind the counter (Caroline and Sally- hello!); a cosy and retro atmosphere (the giant gingerbread people and house were definitely a hit with us); a fabulous range of cupcakes (with four new flavours added daily) and other sweet treats, and it's totally independent: what's not to love?

If you're in Clifton and fancy sampling some of their delights, Lily and Boo's can be found at 2 Cotham Hill, Cotham, BS6 6LF.






Tuesday, 11 December 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I had a visit from a very dear friend of mine this evening and she came bearing gifts; decorations for our tree and this little beauty:



I love anything with birds, anything shabby chic, and anything red - so she knew she'd be onto a winner, and she was right. He was hung up straight away and perches pride of place next to the tree.

The visit and the gifts made me feel especially festive and then I realised: it's exactly two weeks until Christmas. I'm sure it was only yesterday I was writing here that there was a month to go?

Anyway, a fortnight until The Big Day. As you've all probably gathered by now Christmastime is my absolute favourite time of year, there's something about it that I find just magical. I can never sleep Christmas Eve, I'm just too excited; I suppose, when it comes to Christmas, I never grew up, I don't feel I've ever lost that sense of wonder.

And no, it's not just the presents; although I do admit to loving a rummage around under the tree when I get home to my parents. I can't help myself: I see the shiny parcels and just want to rootle. Told you: big kid!

For me Christmas is about a feeling of togetherness, being with those that you love and forgetting, for just the shortest of whiles, the mundane and the monotonous of quotidian life.

This Christmas promises to be extra special for me as I'll be seeing my brother again for the first time since September last year. And it'll be the first year that Mr. G and my brother's girlfriend will be spending it with our family (they're not not going to know what's hit them. Poor things!), so I'm expecting a lot of eating, drinking and making merry in our household over this festive period. 

Although I'll be in a wheelchair this year I'm still looking forward to taking part - as best I can - in our usual family traditions:

Christmas Eve morning starts off with carol singing around the town, followed by hot chocolates and toasted tea cakes in a beautiful Victorian tea house. After yet more singing, we then all troop off for Fish and Chips but, sadly, they're closed this year. My brother was not impressed by this news. OK, I'll admit it, I wasn't impressed by this news but, you know, I was trying to act all mature and everything. Trying being the operative word.

Christmas Eve evening we'll light the log fire and settle down to the obligatory viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol complete with mince pies and yes, more tea. It's a tradition we've had since I was ten, so it's been going a fair few years now (cough nineteen cough).



Christmas Day we'll be up ridiculously early (this in spite of the youngest member of our family being, erm, 22), and pile onto Mum and Dad's bed to open stockings (this all sounds very Enid Blyton, I know, but I assure you this really does happen. Minus Timmy the Dog.). Then its downstairs for tea, toast, and present opening. At this point, we begin to look vaguely conscious.

Then? After the orgy of unwrapping has ended it's off to the pub - I'd like to point out here that we do find the time to get dressed, we don't just rock up in our pyjamas and dressing gowns. I know we're from Cornwall, but we're not that uncouth thank you very much- for the customary lunchtime drink, joined by, what it seems, is the entire village.

Having quaffed a Mulled wine (or half, in my case) it's back home for the main event: the Christmas dinner. Cue cracker based madness and the consumption of half our body weight in roast potatoes.

Finally, finally, it's flop into a chair in front of the television time (Doctor Who, if you please), where we remain in a turkey induced torpor until it's time to hit the apples and pears.

Bliss.

Do you have any Christmas traditions? What's your idea of a perfect Christmas?













The long and short of it...

After a couple of serious posts I thought I'd lighten things up around here a bit...

So, lately, I've been toying with the idea of getting a pixie cut. I've been seeing all the pictures of Anne Hathaway around sporting her grown out her 'Fantine' and I have to say, I think she looks fantastic. Her features really seem to suit this more elfin style.





And of course there's the ever beautiful Ginnifer Goodwin who has had the cropped look for what feels like forever.



A quick Google of 'pixie cut' also brought up Shannyn Sossamon and Michelle Williams. I love how natural and effortless their styles are.








And Me? Well I've had my hair super short twice so far. The first time I was 13, and I took a photo of Danni Starck from Neighbours (yeah, I was that cool) with me as inspiration for the stylist.

At the time I absolutely loved the style. With hindsight? I looked like a boy. Ouch. I'm not even going to post a photo, you'll just point and laugh. I know, I do.

My second foray into the world of shorter hair took place in 2009. Looking back, I think it really suited me. What do you think?


Currently my hair isn't in the greatest of condition and I'm finding that washing it is just using up too much energy. I don't blow dry it, but letting it dry naturally means it gets all tangly and frizzy (even with product in) and well, it just looks a bit of a mess. 

Plus, I've noticed in the last few weeks that it's falling out at an alarming rate. This could be down to my M.E. but, either way, I am malting everywhere and when I do manage to wash it, I'm able to pull it out by the handful. Not good. 

All the evidence seems to point to a low maintenance, shorter style being the way forward right now, and the fact I'm greatly admiring the locks of the ladies above is kind of sealing it for me.


Should I go for it.....?


Monday, 10 December 2012

And........Breathe. Whilst the Government will still let you.

Yesterday I got into a very interesting discussion on Twitter with an NHS Respiratory Specialist. I was gently bemoaning the fact that Emphysema, in my humble opinion, doesn't seem to get as much research or study devoted to it as other more prominent lung conditions.  

He pointed out to me that all Lung disease is seen by the holders of the NHS purse strings (i.e. our 'Dear Leaders' in the Government) as a "poor relation". To evidence this he drew my attention to this article.

He'd followed it up with a wry 'not good'. And he wasn't joking. 

The government, as part of their self aggrandised NHS shake-up,  are intending to withdraw funding from April 2013 for all ten boards who had, in the words of the BBC, "driven clinical improvements" in the treatment and care of patients with resipiratory disease.

Yes, the Government have decided, in their not-so-infinite wisdom, to remove all support and funding for the 'Respiratory Improvement Programme' which was set up a mere two years ago.

And it doesn't seem likely it's due to austerity driven cut backs as the programme, according to the 1000 Doctors who signed a letter to the Head of the NHS Commissioning Board (Sir David Nicholson) expressing their "grave concern", during last week's British Thoracic Society's conference, was actually saving the NHS money.

So quite why they're pulling the plug is anyone's guess. 

But really, the reason is incidental, the fact they're even contemplating this is bad enough. Many of the Doctors and NHS staff who signed the BTS letter are worried about the impact this lack of financial "infrastructure" will have on those that will no doubt notice it the most: the patients.

As the Respiratory Specialist I was speaking with said, it's going to be very much a case of 'wait and see' for staff and patients alike, but I can't really imagine the outcome being all that positive, when the crucial financing, that made the current improvements in Respiratory care possible in the first place, is being withdrawn. 

Where do the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt, Sir David Nicholson, and Mssrs Cameron, Clegg and Osborne envisage the money's going to come from after April next year? It's not as if the already beleagured NHS can magic it up out of thin air and empty coffers.

As a respiratory patient who has been under the care of the NHS since moving back to this country in 1986, I genuinely have nothing but praise for them. Sure, there have been times when I've felt some of the Doctors didn't know what they were talking about, that I was left a little too often to simply 'get on with it', and have being frustrated that the Prescription Exemption list hasn't been updated since 1968, but, much like the relationship one might have with a  slightly irritating (at times) sibling, I still love it and will absolutely defend it to the hilt.

The fact that I have never had to wait more than a month for my respiratory appointments, the fact that I'm provided with Oxygen and a nebuliser free of charge, and the fact that I undergo rigorous lung function testing twice a year is something that I've never taken for granted. Ok, so I might not always relish blowing into a tube until I feel like I'm about to faint, having my lungs X-Rayed annually, or being pricked with yet more needles, but, as I say, the fact that this is all done on the NHS, without cost, is something that never ceases to amaze me. Quite honestly? Even the thought that this level of care might not exist past April next year enrages and terrifies me in equal measures.

This latest news is a double edged sword: anger for my fellow patients that they may very well see a reduction in levels of care and treatment, and anger for the dedicated Doctors, Nurses and clinical teams within respiratory medicine who will have a lack of financial resources and the possibility of reduced patient and research time to contend with along with everything else that the powers that be seem to throw at them.


Looks like another letter will be winging its way to my MP....











Sunday, 9 December 2012

What Katie's Doing Next: An Update...

Allow me to get a little bit serious for a second...

If you follow my Blog you'll know that a couple of weeks ago I wrote about Katie Huttlestone, the young Hertfordshire woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year at the age of 21.

Image courtesy of The Sun.


You'll also know I made a plea for people to pledge to get her book 'Kate's Cleavage' published via Unbound

It still needs 443 pledges.

This fills me with sadness. I truly believe that this book needs to be written, that Katie's story needs to be listened to. 

She's been brave enough to not only fight this devastating disease, at such an appallingly young age, but to pour her heart and soul, absolutely no holes barred, into this project. And no, I don't believe that's hyperbolic. I really am that passionate about seeing Kate's Cleavage published.

Like most people in this country, cancer has touched my life in some way or another. 

Both my paternal Grandparents died of it, my maternal Grandmother died of it, my father was diagnosed with bowel cancer this year and both my parents and my cousin have had surgeries for skin cancer.

 Like I say, it's touched my life. All too often.

And this, this is why I believe it's essential Katie's project is allowed to reach fruition. If only one person is spurred on to check their breasts as a result of reading it, and any disease caught early as a consequence, then that is a victory in my eyes. And I'm sure, in Katie's too.

Don't let Katie's voice go unheard. Please, if you can, pledge, and help get her vital message out there.

To pledge, and find out more about the Unbound concept, visit: Kate's Cleavage.











Saturday, 8 December 2012

Teething Problems...

Wisdom teeth. 

What a misnomer, eh? They don't bring you wisdom they bring you PAIN. Monumental, 'woe-is-me', 'my- jaw-feels-like-it's-been-hit-by-a-particularly-irate-and-pre-menstrual-sledgehammer', good old fashioned pain.

Urgh. 

The scoundrel in question has been visiting it's own special brand of agony upon me every so often for the past five years. Clearly it's not finished having its fun yet...

It's been a year or so since it last popped up to say hello, but you know, funnily enough I really hadn't missed it. At all.

From what I can tell (through opening my mouth as wide as possible, craning my neck at the most awkward angle imaginable, and shining an IKEA lamp in my face in front of a mirror) one half of the tooth is already up, obviously it's now working on bringing up the rear. How nice for me.

Oddly none of my other wisdom teeth have even made the briefest of appearances, its just this one little blighter that's periodically wreaking oral havoc.

I've found the best thing for it is to gargle with plain old salt water, this has a sort of numbing effect and helps to ward off any infection - at least, I'm hoping that's what it does. Otherwise I'm swilling a mouthful of salty vileness for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Just my luck.

Anyone else had trouble with these tyrannical teeth, or know of any other tips and tricks in dealing with them? Answers on a postcard please. Or you know, in the comments box below. Just saying.






Beauty Bargain Alert: The Body Shop Pamper Collection

Last week Mr. Osborne bought us not very glad tidings, informing the beleagured British public that: times are still tough on the old economy front, and they're set to get tougher. Wonderful. And, with Christmas just around the corner, you may be feeling that proverbial 'squeeze' even more. 

Now, a very special little bird in a leopard print coat alerted me to a  fantastic deal that Money Saving Expert are running at the moment, not only is it perfect for that beauty lover you've yet to find a gift for, you'll be saving some hard earned pennies into the bargain (bargain, geddit?)

The Body Shop Pamper Collection consists of £84 worth of gorgeous, as the name suggests, pampering goodies for the already bargain-tastic £40, BUT, thanks to Money Saving Expert, it can be yours for the ridiculous cheap sum of £24.

Image courtesy of The Body Shop.com


Yes, that's right, twenty-four of your British Pound Sterling will get you:



Natural Lip Roll On Orange 10ml

Duo Body Butter Sweet Pea 200ml
Lemon Body Butter 200ml
Moisture Hair Butter 50ml
Vitamin E Face Mist 100ml
Vitamin E Moisture Mask 100ml
Love Etc...™Body Butter 200ml
Natural Lips Roll On Mint 10ml
Extra Virgin Minerals™ Liquid Foundation - Natural Beige 28ml
Re-usable "Strawberry Heart" FSC Box



That's an extra 40% off! And all you need to do is simply enter the code FESTIVE at the checkout.

I've tried it, and yes it does work, but you'll have to hurry as this deal runs out on Monday. 

If a giant bundle of Body Shop bliss isn't your thing then you can always use the discount code CHRISTMAS to get 50% off everything else online - as long it's full priced!

On you marks, get set, click...





Friday, 7 December 2012

On Dasher, On Dancer...

I can't believe I forgot to add in yesterday's post that this little chap also came out to play!








He was an impulse buy from the Cath Kidston shop in Bath three years ago. I saw him sitting there, with his cute little red nose and matching ribbon, and knew I had to give him a home. 

His name is Rodney and every year he takes up residence in a different spot. This year, he's made his home on our window ledge, last year he was nestled in the tree.

He's fast become one of my favourite decorations and it never fails to put a smile on my face when I unpack him each festive season.

Do you have a favourite Christmas decoration? What's the story behind it?

Have you met Mr & Mrs Smith?

I was recently introduced to Mr & Mrs Smith by Ruth over at A Model Recommends (the source of a lot of my latest discoveries, it must be said...).

Mr & Mrs Smith bills itself as "The Boutique and Luxury Hotel Booking Specialists" and has been quietly and steadily gaining a name for itself within the Blogging community over the last few years. The eponymous "Mr & Mrs Smith" have scoured the world in search of the brightest and best, well, as their tag line suggests, Boutique and Luxury hotels, and have created a company that passes their knowledge, expertise and contacts onto us.

I'll be honest: I'm not much of a jet-setter, and don't really have all that much call to use a "Luxury Booking Specialist" but, well, who knows when I might want to book a romantic break or weekend away? Plus I just couldn't resist the idea of being part of a club. Especially one that gives you such cracking discounts. For free. Yes, that's right people: for free.

Mr & Mrs Smith has three different levels of membership: BlackSmith, SilverSmith and GoldSmith.

BlackSmith membship is completely gratis, you don't pay a single penny. Silver Smith and Gold Smith membership is available at £40 and £400 per annum respectively.

Of course the higher the level of membership you opt for, the greater the benefits and discounts.

With BlackSmith, which is what I've signed up for, you can expect to receive, among many other fabulous discounts and perks, the following:




15% off Cowshed
10% off FeelUnique 
25% off This Works
10% off The White Company
10% off Hush
10% off Cath Kidston



Image courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith.com


As I say, that's just a snapshot to give you an idea. The full list of benefits can be found here.

On top of delectable discounts, every time you book a hotel or break through them you will receive a free gift and a welcoming perk (be it a room upgrade or free champagne) at the hotel you stay in. 

Oh and, did I mention it was free?



Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Winter's Tale...

So, today? 

Drum roll please................... I made it out. Yes, for the first time in over a week I put on some 'real person' clothes (i.e. not pyjamas, just in case you thought I'd turned into a wooden puppet. Or something) and actually stepped over the threshold of our front door.

Mr. G has got some time off at the moment and (hurrah!) was able to accompany me on my little sojourn.

The first thing on the agenda? A rather special purchase: our Christmas tree! We plumped for a rotund little number this year, which also happened to be in the cheaper price bracket. Excellent!

Tree chosen, netted and set aside for collection later, it was onto Costa for a warming beverage. Now, as you know, I'm a Starbucks gal through and through, but I hadn't bargained on the cherry and chocolate wonder that is Costa's Black Forest Hot Chocolate. Behold:




Oh. My. Word. Starbucks had better watch out (and not just from HMRC!), there's a new contender for my go-to coffee chain of choice.

I'd rather not think about how many calories it contained, but I figured, as I'm not eating much these days, we'll just let this one slide... 

All warmed up, and beginning to tire, it was time to head home again, picking up Bruce the Spruce (I have no idea of the actual taxonomy, I just wanted to rhyme. Work with me here...) en route.

Mr. G was tasked with getting the decorations down from the loft. I assigned myself the slightly less arduous  job of tea making. I was, however, called upon to pass a plastic storage full of assorted cardboard boxes  up to him. Yep a box full of boxes. That's how we roll in this household...

I held it up for maybe, I don't know, three seconds? Oh boy, was that a mistake. No sooner had I passed it over and my arms went weak; I felt what little energy I had left completely drain away. 

Back to the sofa for me!

Mr. G busied himself stringing the lights, whilst I recovered (just about) enough to hang up the odd bauble or forty.  

An hour, and several cups of tea later, et voilà, we had finished:




One very twinkly (that'll be the, er, 240 lights) little Christmas tree. Our best effort yet, even if I do say so myself; we're definitely feeling very festive now chez nous. Oh, and look! Even the Dalek's got in on the action:






Well, it didn't seem right to leave it out, it is Christmas after all....