My momentous week

Hiya lovelies!

Sorry for the radio silence. Although I mentioned in my recent post Explaining my hiatus I've lost my blogging mojo, part of that was because we've had internet problems for over a month and it's been so S L O W that uploading photos was like pulling teeth. It's all fixed now and I have lots to share in the next week or so. This post is a mixed bag - there are a couple of bits of news that although seem miserable on the surface are actually progress, and there's one great bit of news at the end.

Ovary removal

On Monday I went to see a specialist at my local hospital as my periods are so debilitating, not just during the 5 days I'm on, but for half of each month. I have really heavy painful periods, and things like bladder and bowel pain and extreme fatigue (on top of my normal M.E. fatigue) in the 7-10 day build up to it. I max out on painkillers and use a wheat bag and a hot water bottle throughout my period and sometimes I'm still bed bound with pain. I had a scan a few months back and there was a huge amount of fluid in my abdomen and they couldn't say why with any certainty.

To cut a long story short, I need to have my left ovary removed. The fluid may be caused by endometriosis, it may be a burst ovarian cyst, it may be fluid caused by adhesions, and it may be ascites caused by cancer (it's unlikely at this stage, but they've done a blood test to look for cancer markers just in case). Because of my size they prefer to do the operation via open surgery - an incision similar to a caesarean on the pubic line. However, I'm not convinced all of my problems are caused by my ovary alone, so I'll be pressing for a full hysterectomy. I had emergency open surgery in 2011 when my ectopic pregnancy ruptured my fallopian tube so I don't want to have to go through all that pain and a long recovery for a second time to have to do it all again later to remove my womb. It makes sense to me to get rid of everything in one fell swoop. Since the op in 2011 I've had problems with ovarian cysts, some of which were HUGE, and then they shrank. The specialist's fear is that because things are so changeable in that area it *might* be a precursor to something sinister so I want everything gone. I feel like I've been on death row since 2011.

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome diagnosis

Today I went to my GP about my long held suspicions that I have a joint hypermobility disorder. It turns out I was right. It has brought my whole life into context. As a child I constantly sprained my wrists and ankles. I just thought I was clumsy or it was the way I was made. I've joked for years about my 'cooked spaghetti joints'. Into adulthood I was injured so often I had every kind of support bandage, and I persevered through all kinds of injuries whilst working hard physical jobs like cleaning aircraft. In 2007 at the onset of Fibromyalgia and M.E. things got a lot worse, and they've continued to progress. Things have got really bad in the last year. My shoulders crunch when I put my bra on in the morning, and sometimes I can't put my bra on myself as it's too painful. My hips clunk like a car door closing when I roll out of bed in the morning. My elbows crack loudly enough to make other people jump. But the funny noises my body makes aren't as bad as the pain. Because my joints have much more range of movement than they should, my knees bend backwards at random, and it hurts like hell. It happened twice within a 10 day period recently, and the muscles up my thigh and down into my shin/calf seized up in response, which made walking really painful for a couple of weeks. My hips partially disclocate, and this can be from as little effort as my first step out of bed in the morning, or after exercise. It feels like someone is ripping my legs out of the hip joints, and I can't really walk - I have to shuffle along as picking my feet up off the floor is agony. It has been a relief to be diagnosed as I was worried I was falling to bits with age! ;) It's important to have a name to call the beast that ails me. There isn't a whole lot they can do - physio, painkillers, and exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding my joints. I'll be updating my progress at a later date.

Thirty Plus Awards

I was nominated for a Thirty Plus Award, and the ceremony is tomorrow night. I'm up for an award in the 'Community Star' category. This is not a plus size awards ceremony. This is entirely on merit for bloggers over the age of 30, so I'm unbelievably thrilled to be nominated. I've bought a gorgeous dress and I'm teaming it with a lovely vintage bag. I'll be sure to get lots of photos taken of me! I was going to have my hair and nails done in London on the day but this month has been incredibly spendy for many reasons and I just can't justify it so au naturel me will have to do! Wish me luck.

I hope everyone is well! I've been shocking at reading blogs for the last month. I don't think I've ever been so busy in my life, so once this whirlwind is over I'll be settling down with a cuppa and diving into my faves. Have a great rest of your week.

Leah xoxo

Summer shorts for the men in my life #sp

I wouldn't be surprised if the recent hot weather in the UK has had everyone scrabbling to buy summer clothes they never thought they'd need this year. I'd all but given up hope of us having a summer, and now we've had what feels like a month of sun in a week!

When my family were staying with me last week it was scorching hot - we had a 30 deg C day on Tuesday. My dad and uncle had brought jeans with them expecting more of the same crappy weather we've had lately, and they were boiling hot. My aunt, cousin and myself were looking for shorts for the fellas to help them feel more comfortable. Then both my dad and uncle said exactly the same thing: "I haven't got the legs for shorts!" to which my head whipped around like the girl in The Exorcist. I'd never thought of either of them as being the kind of people who care what other people think.

Explaining my hiatus

Hey loves,

It's been a while, hasn't it? I came back from my holiday in Cornwall about 10 days ago, and it was great. I had a few days to catch up on laundry and housework before 4 members of my family came to stay for 6 days, and we had a really lovely time. But it's been a really busy few weeks and I'm really drained now as I haven't really had any rest for what seems like forever.

Ever since my holiday to Spain in May I've had a bigger interest in social media. I was lucky enough to be sent lots of things by brands which I had to review while I was in Spain, so I got quite good at doing mini reviews each day as I wore something. Because the last couple of months have been so full on in many respects I've not had the heart for blogging as I used to. I mean, I used to post daily and here I am after not posting for over a week, and even before that my general output has gone down to about 2-3 times a week. I've been using my time of not blogging in the last week to do some thinking, and I've come to a conclusion which I shared on Instagram today.

"I'm just putting some thoughts out aloud. I'm not feeling blogging at ALL the moment, but I've just come out of a really busy couple of weeks and #CFSME is kicking my butt so my blog mojo might return. However, I am pretty good at predicting change and I feel traditional blogging is a slowly dying art. People love the immediacy and visuals of social media, and I've noticed blog views steadily going down as my engagement on social media absolutely surges. In simpler terms, people rarely click through to a website for a full view when they have a snippet of information in their hands on their phone/tablet. People want/need less information to make a decision or a purchase as we're all turning into short attention span robots attached to our devices 24/7. 😂😆 What I'm saying is I'll be transitioning to a more social media based 'digital influencer' role rather than a blogger per se. Will I give up blogging totally? No, but I will be doing a lot more just-for-social-media posts than I will be doing things just for the blog. In fact you'll probably see me around more often than ever before as the micro-review aspect of social media is about all I can cope with with the brain fog I have from #Fibromyalgia. Short bursts of thinking are better for me. I have to shut out all noise/distractions to be able to concentrate on writing a blog post, which is why I haven't written one in over a week. I'm not going away, I'm just concentrating on social media with a side of blogging rather than my old method of blogging with a side order of social media. Hell I hope that made sense as my head is FRIED. 😂😂😂
M.E. is totally kicking my behind at the moment - as it has been on and off since my May holiday really - and I'm hoping in a few weeks when I've recovered a little I'll be able to put more of myself into my blog, as well as continuing to invest extra time in the social media aspect of my online presence. (God, that sounds pretentious!)

I'm not going away, I'm just diversifying. When I get my energy back I have soooo many things to share, but in the meantime keep a close eye on my Instagram as that's where I spend most of my time at the moment. I hope you're all doing well - I've really lapsed with my blog reading AND replying to the comments you leave me, and that's not like me at all. Send mojo and good vibes please, and I'm sending them to you.

Have a great weekend,
Leah xoxo

The New Look £5.50 dress

Hello lovelies! I'm back from my holiday now and it was great. I have a pain and fatigue hangover because Fibromyalgia and ME mean active times like holidays take it out of me. (What's a restful holiday? PMSL).

I have dermatillomania......

I've battled it on and off since I was 14.

28 years.

It started when I was doing my mock exams at school and had a really stressful home life and I developed psoriasis on the back of my head. Back then I had an area of psoriasis about the size of two oranges on my scalp. The picking has gotten much worse in the 8 years I've had Fibromyalgia, as chemical sensitivities plus some kind of dermatitis or a recurrence of psoriasis on my scalp means there's always something on my scalp to pick at. Every time I wash my hair, some of my scalp scabs over. I pick at it until my head bleeds, until I have bald patches, until my lymph nodes become inflamed under the onslaught. Even then I can hardly stop. I have to stop for a few days before I can henna my hair or else it'll find its way into broken skin and cause an allergic reaction, but for those few days I cant wait to pick again.

One of my hands is always poised to pick at the front of my scalp and doing this on and off for over 25 years means my shoulder joints are wearing out. Arms just aren't meant to spend so much time in the air, and when I put my bra on in the morning my shoulders crunch. I've been cutting the top of my head out of photos for a while because my hair is so thin there from constant picking. When Im focusing on the pain I can't focus on anything else. I know it's a form of self-harm and I just can't stop.

I don't even know I'm doing it half the time. It's like I'm in a fugue state. I don't even know why I'm writing this, except in case it reaches someone else who's feeling terribly alone. And it DOES make you feel terribly alone. I've only ever told one person about this in my entire life, although no doubt those closest to me will have noticed my behaviour. So far in writing this - in a space of about 5 minutes as I'm taking my shame and anger out on the keyboard - I've stopped to pick my head twice already. When one of my hands isn't picking at my scalp I keen for it. I know it's stress related, and I'm really stressed out at the moment so I'm gouging away like I'm trying to reach the centre of the earth via my scalp.

My hair is really really thin at the front. I need help.  I know I need CBT or medication to treat it. But how do you break a habit 28 years in the making? Fuck.


I'm embarrassed and ashamed to admit I have this, but if it touches one person who's going through it alone, then it's worth it.

Leah xoxo

Boohoo Plus Carrie cross back swing dress

Hello me loves! I'm pretty obsessed with Boohoo Plus lately, especially their cheap and cheerfully-priced jersey dresses. Dress 'em up or dress 'em down, and they go with everything. I bought this dress in rust and black as I love showing my back tattoo off.

My Spanish holiday in pictures

I've shared the outfit photos (well, most of them!) and I've shared a few other shots on Instagram, but here's our holiday to Spain in photos! Dun-dun-DUNNNN!

Almost every day we had breakfast al fresco, which was lovely. We'd sit out here again in the evenings most nights drinking and talking into the small hours until it got too cold. Out of everything I miss now I'm back home, it's being outside for such long periods. There's something so soothing about being able to sit outside instead of being indoors. I live in a flat with no garden, and I really miss being able to sit outside all day, hearing nature sounds and watching the birds stop by for crumbs. We'd have freshly baked bread for breakfast every morning with cheese, ham, fruit, olives and fruit juice, etc. It was lush. James's eyes are closed in the photo, oops.

The villa complex has a pool per every few villas and no one else used it the whole time we were there. It was HEAVEN.

That's how close we were to the pool.

Being such a history and architecture freak, our visit to Cartagena was my favourite day out as it's a very ancient town with lots of gorgeous buildings, including some Art Nouveau ones. I loooooooove Art Nouveau everything! We weren't there a long time as it was SO hot and Mookie wasn't feeling well, but what I did see made me really want to go back and spend a couple of days there. There are lots of statues there, including one in the second collage which is a memorial to victims of terrorism - El Zulo.

Look at the detail in those Medusa heads - amazing!
Is that a bullet hole in that building?

I know there are so many more things to see and do in Cartagena and I'd love to go back. You can read some more about it on Wikipedia here.

I have lipstick on my teeth but I won't tell if you won't ;)

This my friends is what I called the 'marriage lasagne' because it was so damned good I wanted to marry the chef. Soooooo good. My days. We ate at this place twice in the week as it was to die for, and the restauranteurs almost wanted our custom, which was the warmest reaction we had all week. ;)

More carbs!!
Trust me to finish on food! We ate well all week as we were quite active and you need carbs to fuel all those blogger outfit changes. ;)

I hoped you've enjoyed this blog post. Are travel posts something you like to see?

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

Redken Pillow Proof blow dry express treatment primer

Hello lovelies! Today I'm talking about a hair product from Redken called Pillow Proof Express Treatment Primer which helps protect your hair during heat styling. I've used it to blow dry my hair and to straighten it. It has other benefits as well as heat protection which I'll talk about later in the post. I was sent a large bottle with a simple press-dispenser system and a travel size. Taking two pumps from the larger bottle I applied it to my hair and combed it through before heat styling. I don't do sleek blow dries as I prefer the 'just shagged' look. ;) Now I've put these photos in a collage because they're all a bit out of focus and they made my eyes go funny when they were full size. I wish I could say it was intentional, but I had greasy fingerprints all over the lens! My bad.

On another day I used it to straighten my hair. My hair is naturally wavy and I usually let it do its own thing, but I do straighten it occasionally. Heat protection is great as I don't want to dry my hair out.

Now let me just say I'm not one of those bloggers who's good at everything and who has endless go-to hairstyles in my repertoire. I'm good at growing my hair, but that's about it! I'd be lying if I told you I didn't tangle my hair up in knots (twice!) whilst blow drying my hair. You don't have to be great at hair to get results from this product at all. So, what does it do?

It protects your hair from heat styling up to 230 degrees C
It reduces blow dry time
Holds style longer
3x stronger and healthier hair
Anti breakage formula
Nourishes dry hair
All hair types - ideal for thick hair

It did make my hair dry faster when I blow dried it, but I have a feeling using 2 pumps of this (as suggested) is just too much product for my fine hair. I have to wash my hair the next morning after using it because it makes my hair SO greasy. If you already wash every day then it's no big deal, but do be aware if you have fine hair like me it may weigh your hair down the next day. It's a small price to pay for heat protected hair, though! It did make my hair lovely and shiny when I straightened it (it wouldn't have gone shiny under any circumstances during the blow dry as I rough-dried it) and it did have quite good hold throughout the day after styling. I would say this product would be best for frequent heat-stylers who don't mind frequent washing.

Have you tried this product? It smells a-mazing, like perfume. You can buy it here and here.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

*products sent for review

A walk in the woods

Hiya lovelies! I've had a real lack of enthusiasm for blogging in the last few weeks and I think it's because I've had a bee in my bonnet about little projects around the house. That's still ongoing, but I've found my blogging mojo again as well - yay for sunshine! I'm solar powered. ;) Anyhow, here are some photos James and I took back in May when we went for a walk in some secluded woodland on a bright sunny day.