Tuesday 27 October 2020

Public Health, Not Public Shaming - A Campaign by Beat

Beat is the UK's leading charity that supports those with eating disorders and those that support them such as family and friends as well as professionals.

Beat's new campaign 'Public Health, Not Public Shaming' is around the new governments announcement in a plan to encourage weight loss. Now whilst this is a good thing to help get the public more healthy and making better decisions about their health which will improve health and wellbeing. It will also in turn ease the strain unhealthy lifestyles have on the NHS.

The new measures laid out by the government include introducing a weight loss app and also increasing the publication of calorie labelling in places such as cafés, restaurants and takeaways and fast-food outlets. Whilst this is good, what I feel is missing is the public education of what is a "healthy" amount of calories to consume when browsing the menu - a bit like how the traffic light system works on food labels with green being a healthy amount of calories and red being a high amount of calories in that portion so people will understand and consider consumption of that particular food item.

What I also feel is also missing is the consideration of the many people in UK who are living with and trying to remain in recovery from an eating disorder.

I've written here on my blog before about my own experience of anorexia and now even though I am in a well state of recovery from my eating disorder even I can struggle at times. Eating out can still be a stressful situation for me and faced with the numbers [calories] on the menu it may possibly leave me feeling rather flustered when choosing what to eat.

Now I'm in a much better place to manage my eating disorder but if I where to take myself back 10 years I found eating publicly challenging enough without being faced by calories on the menu even when looking at my list of safe go-to foods and knowing that there where apps for weight loss defiantly would trigger my spiral downwards aiding my anorexia.

Previous Government anti-obesity campaigns have been ineffective in reducing obesity. However they have increased stigma, and have put those vulnerable to developing an eating disorder or those currently experiencing an eating disorder at risk. 
As one eating disorder sufferer highlighted: “My eating disorder makes me, and many others, susceptible to taking these messages to the extreme.” 
Beat recognises the importance of reducing obesity, but it is vital that the public are not shamed into losing weight in an attempt to solve this problem.. - Beat


Since starting to write this blog post there has been n update from Beat in regards to the Public Health England's planned weight loss app.
"Public Health England have now taken steps to update the app to help ensure that people with eating disorders and people who may be vulnerable to eating disorders do not use the app." - Beat

The flaws with the app are still that those under 18 and those underweight could still use the app and knowing from my own experience of having anorexia you become a great deceiver and when there is a will there is a way. So on the app you could possibly falsify your age or BMI/weight to still be able to use the app and even if you are stopped from using that app there are probably many other apps that can be used in its place.

Help for Eating Disorders

If you or someone you care about are concerned bout eating disorders, (and remember you don't have to be underweight to struggle with one) you can always initially speak with your GP or contact Beat.and look at their resources on ther website to better understand eating disorders, the different types of eating disorders and spotting the signs that someone my have an eating disorder. Beat's website can be found here.

Beat also have a helpline

📞 Helpline - 0808 801 0677
📞 Studentline - 0808 801 0811
📞 Youthline - 0808 801 0711

The helplines are open every day of the year 
9am - 8pm during the week 
4pm -8pm at the weekend and on bank holidays

*** Calls to this helpline are free from landlines and mobile phones within the UK and do not appear on itemised bills

There is also a 1:1 web chat if you are unable to get through on the phone.

Alternatively you can email

Adult support email inc concerned adults/parents or professionals e.g. school staff

Student line

Under 18's Youthline

Purple background with the Beat orange, purple, red, turquoise logo and below in turquoise text is the hashtag Public Health not Public Shaming

Tuesday 20 October 2020

What's in my make-up bag?

So in putting this post together I came to realise how much makeup I own (most has come through my monthly Birchbox's). Subscribing to Birchbox over the years defiantly has increased both my interest in makeup, my makeup collection and also how adventurous I am now with trying out new shades and products. 

Here is some of my favourite products as well as what I'd put into my essential's makeup bag like for instance some of the makeup products I had with me when I was in hospital earlier this year.

So, what I'll do in this post is tell you about the products photographed above as well as some of the brands of makeup I like. If I'm buying makeup for myself (i.e. not what comes in my Birchbox's) I do go for cruelty free products/brands and those that are ethically sourced and vegan. 

So starting off I have: 


Primer... This is by one of my favourite brands Barry M as they're have some great products that are well priced within my personal budget for makeup and they're also cruelty free. This primer is actually a 'Beauty Elixir' with vitamins and minerals and I'd defiantly recommend it. When I bought it I was stuck between this and the 'Unicorn Primer Drops' so I may go for that next time.

Foundation... I always find it so hard to find the right shade for my skin so I hope Barry M will continue to sell this product for when I next need to buy a foundation as this one is just the right shade and the wear is long lasting. I used to put foundation on with a brush but after watching some videos on YouTube I now use a sponge. In my Birchbox I got a teardrop shaped sponge by Spectrum. I used to avoid makeup sponges because of my latex allergy but this one is latex free and it blends in my foundation so much better.

Fixing powder... This is another Barry M new edition to my makeup bag. I used to use multicoloured pearls but (a) I'd had them a while and (b) they just weren't doing the job. This also really helps to set my foundation in place and give an even matte look to my foundation. On no makeup days when I have oily skin a tip I've learnt from my stepmum is to pat a bit of talc on my face and it's a tip I'd highly recommend.


Eyeshadow etc... For eyes I love Revolution's eyeshadow palette's and I have to resist the urge to buy more when I see ones I like. I also have a liquid eyeshadow in a rose gold tone that I got in my Birchbox that I love and the mini palette that I keep in my essentials make bag as it has a nice but simple variety of shades some sparkly some matte. I also love Barry M's really fine eye glitter and their holographic eyeshadow topper too. I've also gotten into using eyeshadow crayons too.
On a basic makeup look I'll just use on colour but if I have the time and and energy I've been trying different looks like smoky eye and crease cut eyeshadow looks.
Lashes...  On my lashes I used a tined primer and on my top lashes I'll go over with mascara.
Eyebrows... On a basic make-up day I tend to leave my eyebrows, occasionally I may put on my eyebrow mascara. If I putting more effort into my makeup I'll use a pencil.
Eye liner... Occasionally I'll put on eyeliner; I use to always wear it. I quite like gel eyeliner that I put on with a brush and I have some eyeliner pens too. I also like to use eyeshadow as an eyeliner quite often.


I generally match with what I'm wearing. I've discovered that I quite like matte lips and also crayons. Through Birchbox they've defiantly gotten me more adventurous with what colours I'd use.


I like traditional powders but I also have a blush crayon I got in a Birchbox a while ago which I love.
On basic looks I just go for a sweep of colour but if I going for a fuller look I like to use highlighter. I either use a stick or I'm quite liking a liquid highlighter I got again in one of my Birchbox's and I find it easier to blend into my skin and I love the glow and shimmer highlighter gives.
I'm also experimenting with bronzer and learning how contour. 

You Tube Video: What's Inside my Makeup Bag...?

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Staying connected

Handful of colourful postcards being posed into a red Royal Mail letterbox

Staying connected is really important. When you're mostly housebound it's so easy to feel isolated from the out outside world but with the way the world is now what with the coronavirus situation it's important for all of us to stay connected. 

Many of us will be missing friends and family whether they live close by or at a distance. There are many ways to stay connected: talking on the phone, sending a text, via a video call, email, social media or my personal favourite which is sending mail in the post.

If there's someone you haven't been in touch with for a while or a friend you know who's having a difficult time my challenge to you is get in touch with them to let them know that you're thinking of them. Small acts of kindness like thins can go a long way. I know it does for me when I hear from someone I haven't heard from in a while or receive a letter on a day when I really need a reason to smile.

Keeping connected is key to our wellbeing. Most people will automatically think of this as keeping connected socially but it's important to stay connected with ourselves too.

Make a habit of checking in with yourself. Ask yourself how you are feeling and don't feel guilty for taking time out for yourself. This may be turning your phone off for an evening, or having a bath, painting your nails, doing some colouring, whoever makes you smile inside.

Monday 5 October 2020

This date one year ago - then & now

5th October 2019...

This date one year ago I travelled in an ambulance on a stretcher heading towards Leeds to be admitted to the NICPM from treatment for my FND and M.E. 

I had no idea what lay ahead for me in the days, weeks and months I had ahead of me.

My time in hospital...

Looking back I wish I kept a diary of my stay rather than the occasional updates that I posted on here, but on reflection there was no way I would have possibly been able to do this. Initially my room was kept in near darkness; noise was kept to a minimum (I was also allocated the "quieter" bedroom - the one bedroom that didn't face out onto the main road), I had support with basic tasks; I barely left my room; the only people I saw where staff members and all the energy I did have went into my rehab work and just basic every day tasks which left absolutely exhausted and flared up my symptoms aka 'payback'.

I knew my hospital stay wouldn't be easy and knew it wouldn't be a magic cure either. It was much harder that I imagined not just physically but emotionally too. There where many times when I would just fall to pieces feeling as though I couldn't carry on and I just wanted to pack up and go home.

Most of the focus of my treatment was around my daily functioning and the pace of work was graded. So for example to start of with one of the goals was to tolerating having my blinds open in my bedroom and we did this in stages first letting in a little light for short periods; then gradually opening them a little more and for longer periods. 

I regularly worked with my occupational therapist and on a daily basis I worked with the nurses and healthcare support workers. I also did some work with the physiotherapist once I was more stable physically.

One of the things that was established was a 'Daily Plan' which is a schedule for my day. This involved alternating between activity and rest periods with times for meals, physiotherapy, getting washed and dressed and 1:1 time with my allocated worker. Again this was graded gradually increasing the amount of activity I did for instance initially my morning consisted of waking up, breakfast, resting, getting dressed and more rest building up to waking up at earlier times and putting in activity periods and getting washed and eventually using the shower. That daily plan I still use now as it helps manage my energy levels and with pacing. 

In the 1:1 time I had with my allocated worker a few times a day (my allocated worker was a staff member, usually someone who was part of my team, assigned to me for that shift - morning, afternoon and night). In this 1:1 time it was up to me how I used it. Sometimes I'd want to go out for some fresh air, paint my nails, do a jigsaw puzzle, we played a lot of Bananagrams too, or sometimes we'd just talk if I was struggling emotionally. But outside these 1:1 times the staff were always free should I need support.

Other things I worked on in hospital was being able to do tasks more independently, working on activities of daily living and getting off the ward. As part of 'graded exposure' I would spend time off the ward. Initially it was just to get some fresh air on the balcony of the ward or we would just outside the entrance to the hospital and this eventually this was built up to going for short journey's around Mandela Gardens; then into shops for short periods of time or on a couple of occasions (before the coronavirus) for coffee. 

With the Physiotherapist we worked on my walking and balance and regaining movement and strengthening my muscles and core stability.

I enjoyed some of the groups especially Boccia. The girls on the ward at the time was was all quite creative so we'd do a lot of arts and crafts. The ward also received funding for an artist to come in and run a series of printmaking workshops.

Each week I had a MDT or multidisciplinary team meeting where the staff on the ward would meet together to discuss how I was getting on and I'd have an opportunity to bring up points I wanted the team to discuss and at the end of my MDT meeting I would go in to hear a summary of what had been discussed and I'd share my thoughts.

There where some aspects of my health that I did want addressing and I did ask for but they didn't really get done which is frustrating as I'm now how during a pandemic where I can't as easily have someone to sort out things like my chronic pain or migraines. I would have liked access to my advocate at times or access to an advocate of some kind. 

All-in-all I am glad that I had the opportunity to go into hospital plus it was a long process to get there in the first place. and I did make progress and I managed to start doing things I never thought I could achieve like going into a shop or sitting in a café, pouring a kettle*, doing a jigsaw puzzle or climbing steps on the stairs. 

Also the high level of support was much needed both on a practical level but also because it was what I was needing to get me stable and it was something I had been lacking in my care for so long since becoming ill. 

The 1:1 times where helpful too and the opportunities to work closely with my Occupational Therapist and psychologist especially as well as the nursing team. I like how rounded and holistic the care was; that it wasn't just focussed on getting me physically well enough again but addressing my emotional and social wellbeing too. - Not many people realise that when you become chronically ill you don't just become physically unwell but it affects you emotionally too as does the social aspect of your life.

The psychology sessions where helpful in hospital too and from that I worked on my identity. Before I went into hospital I was ver wrapped up within my illness whereas now I see that my health does limit me but it's not the sum total of who I am and there is more to me than just being a chronically ill person. Hence why I changed the name  and focus of my blog at the beginning of the year. I still do the odd health related post but there are other things that interest me too so I'll write about that too - the blog is about the whole of me; not just the one health portion. I think that outlook has been a huge shift between now and this time last year and I'm becoming more positive too.

Transitioning home...

Building up to my discharge a plan was put into place as to what care I would receive at home but unfortunately I came home during the lockdown so a lot of the planned continuing care hasn't happened but thankfully I have had access to some support which I'm very grateful for.

The transition from hospital to home has been and still is difficult (and not helped by coronavirus or the lockdown). I miss the girls from the ward but we do keep in touch. The social element really helped me as it was something that had been lacking in my life due to my health. It's also been difficult not having that high level of 24hr care. And it was hard going suddenly from that to home but they did try to transition me as much as possible to help me adjust (again not helped by coming home during a coronavirus lockdown).

Yes in hospital we did work on my functioning but more than anything it was education in learning how to live with M.E, FND and other heath complexities. I think what I learnt was the most valuable thing as it's something I can continue to build up and apply in my life and use. For example if I accidentally spend too much time on an activity now and go splat I now know how to prevent myself from doing that again but also how to manage that splat too.

(I also miss Lara the PAT dog too).

October 2020...

I still do struggle greatly with my health and I still have my dips and my good days and my bad days and I still require support to manage my health and day-to-day activities and I need the use of aids and adaptations.

I've found keeping to a daily plan/schedule helpful in managing my energy levels and ensuring I try to not overdo it. Mornings are a struggle and sometimes I do overexert myself on activities, but so does everyone; not just me and not just those with chronic illnesses. My daily plan is something I continue to work on and I feel is going well and I feel more confident with adapting as home isn't like hospital. I have appointments at times when I'm meant to have a rest period or I find I'm having a bad day in which I don't feel well and I need to adjust my activity/rest frequency. I also still need to keep in check my energy levels and remember to no overdo it.

These days it's a case of using what I learnt whilst I was in hospital, like setting a timer when I sit down to do something or just saying to myself "I can do that tomorrow" to manage my energy levels. As well as remembering to pace myself and also preventing or reducing as much as possible the payback/PENE* or exacerbation in my symptoms.

Keeping in touch with the girls I met is wonderful. Whilst we was in hospital we could talk about everyday things like swapping nail polish or the best things on the menu but equally for the first time I was able to meet other people around my age who were living with the complexities and difficulties of illnesses like M.E and FND and occasionally we could talk about that too which is something I hadn't really experienced before in person other than through letters to pen pals. 

What I've learnt is that however difficult things get I can manage to live a life with M.E and FND. There may be times when I struggle to believe this but I worked so so so hard in hospital. I just need to know there the will be down periods, and that's okay and as a friend of mine would say that's when I just need to float until I can start swimming again.

Thursday 1 October 2020

October's Monthly Make - Acetate Handmade Card

This week I though I'd show you how to make a handmade card. In the digital world the art of writing to people is getting forgotten about but for me writing to friends bring me so much joy. I love creating letters and cards unique to my friends likes and interests. So my challenge for you is when you've made this card is to send it to in the post to a friend to bring them a little joy too.

A selection of four cards all decorated very differently but made in the same style as given in this tutorial.


  • Blank card and envelope - any size of your choice, for this on I used a 4"x4" card but I've made these card other sizes
  • Acetate - you can either use card making acetate or the acetate that comes in packaging as it does the job just as well and this is what I mostly use
  • Quote/message stamp - if you don't have this you could hand letter a message or quote
  • Ink pad or if you wish you could emboss your message
  • Thin double sided sticky tape
  • Glue - glue stick or liquid glue 
  • 3D sticky pads
  • Patterned card/paper
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Ruler

Step 1

Select the size of card you want to make. 
Measure the size of the stamp you want to use so you will know how much area you need to cut out of your card.

A white square card front
Image 1
A green ruler next to a stamp taking a measurement of the height of the stamp
Image 2

Step 2

From the size of the stamp work out how much you need to cut out of the centre of the card front. Cut out this centre piece so it will look like image 2.

A green ruler and pencil with an open white square card and two pencil lines on the card
Image 3
Front of a white square card slightly open with a middle section cut out across the card
Image 4

Step 3

Work out how much acetate you need ensuring you have enough overlap and ensure your double sided sticky tape will not overlap on the cut out section. Cut your acetate to size. 
Using double sided sticky tape stick the acetate at the top and the bottom and stick your acetate to the front of the card.

A piece of acetate laying of the top of a white square card front that has a middle section cut out of it
Image 5
A piece of acetate stuck to the front of a white square card covering the middle cut out section
Image 6

Step 4

Using your ruler work out the space where you need to place your stamp (I find it helpful to draw a faint line as shown in image 1 to know where to place my stamp.
Place ink on your stamp and stamp onto the side where you will write your card.

An open square card and on the inside is stamped the word 'hello'
Image 7

Step 5

Decorate the front of your below and above the acetate window in anyway you wish. For this card I have used the Rose Gold Collection paper pad.
Measure out and make a rectangular piece to attach to your card. Place on the back of this rectangular piece 3D sticky pads.

Front of a square card. In the middle is a cut out section with acetate and you can see the stamped 'hello'. Above the acetate it is now decorated with pink and white patterned paper with rose gold dots. Below the acetate is a pink and rose gold glitter floral patterned paper. Next to this is a thin rectangle of card which has an cream order and a geometric pattern of pink and rose gold paper.
Image 8
Front of a square card. In the middle is a cut out section with acetate and you can see the stamped 'hello'. Above the acetate it is now decorated with pink and white patterned paper with rose gold dots. Below the acetate is a pink and rose gold glitter floral patterned paper. Next to this is a thin rectangle of cream card which has 3D sticky pads stuck to the top and bottom.
Image 9

Step 6

Place the rectangular piece of the card as shown in the image below and now you are done! You can practice different styles and sizes if you wish like this time for this tutorial I used a square card and my scalloped edged scissors.
The image at the top of this tutorial might help give you some ideas.

Front of a square card. In the middle is a cut out section with acetate and you can see the stamped 'hello'. Above the acetate it is now decorated with pink and white patterned paper with rose gold dots. Below the acetate is a pink and rose gold glitter floral patterned paper. on the right side of the card is stuck a thin rectangle of card which has an cream border and a geometric pattern of pink and rose gold paper.
Image 10