Where I've Been - Health Problems and chronic illness Notebook with makeup and rose

[Insert Cliched Blog Title Here]…! // Chronic Illness

Hi everyone! Remember me? I’m Katie, I blog around here. Well, I used to – not so much for the last two months or so! I hold my hands up, things have been pretty quiet round here recently. I’ve still been trying to stay active on social media, but haven’t sat down to blog for ages.  Why? Well, as you know I have a lot of health problems and suffer from chronic illness. I’m always pretty unwell and spend a lot of time bedbound and/or housebound. But life has taken its toll on me in the last month or two.

A few family events, whilst lovely, have left me spending a long time recovering. I’ve been to a couple of beautiful family weddings, and the payback was worth every minute. But it does mean it’s taken me a while to get back to the health (or chronic illness) level I was at before them.

Where I've Been - Health Problems and chronic illness me at wedding

Me at my Uncle’s Wedding (Dress: Simply Be, Sprinkle of Glitter range)

When you have chronic illness, the slightest thing can have a knock-on effect.  Just one day of significantly overdoing things can leave you with weeks of symptoms – more fatigue, increased pain and a reduction in stamina.  I knew these weddings were coming up for quite a while beforehand, and they were of very close family members.  I generally try not to overdo it or push myself too far, but sometimes I have to take the decision to just go ahead.  When it’s something really important, that will leave me with memories for a lifetime, I think the payback is worth it.  Hell…. but worth it!

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Dr Botanicals Cleanse & Tone Review Outer Packaging

Multi-Tasking Skincare // Dr Botanicals Cleanse & Tone!

Hey guys!  How are you?  I hope you’re doing well…or better than me at least!  Safe to say I’m not dealing with the current heatwave in England very well!!  If you’re a regular over here, you’ll know that I am a proud Dr Botanicals ambassador.  They very kindly send me a product once a month, which I test out and report back to you guys about (along with a discount)!  I’m not being paid for my reviews and all opinions are totally honest and completely my own!  This month’s product is a great multi-tasker, the Dr Botanicals Cleanse & Tone.


Dr Botanicals Cleanse & Tone Review Outer Packaging

Dr Botanicals Cleanse & Tone (in Outer Packaging)

Who are Dr Botanicals?

Dr Botanicals are a 100% natural UK skincare brand, who use no parabens.  Even better, they are completely cruelty-free and vegan-certified!  They are based in London and aim to combine a passion for plant based traditional thinking with the latest science.

Dr Botanicals use a lot of natural oils and plant extracts, as they believe these can make a genuine difference to the skin.  I really like that they use 100% natural ingredients.  It’s very easy to claim to be a ‘natural’ brand, however most don’t use entirely natural ingredients, as it can be more expensive and difficult to source.  There are no harmful preservatives in any of the Dr Botanicals products.

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Travelling with Chronic Illness Spoonie Travel Tips

Where I’ve Been… // Chronic Illness

Hey guys!

I’m so sorry you haven’t heard from me in over a month – BAD BLOGGER!!!  Before normal service resumes, I just wanted to quickly explain where I’ve been and why it’s been so quiet over here.

My Chronic Illnesses

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know about my chronic illnesses.  I have ME and fibromyalgia, so am mostly bed or housebound a lot of the time.  I haven’t been able to go on holiday or travel abroad for over three years but recently I actually went away (it’s a miracle!)  

My husband had his 30th birthday last year, and I felt like I couldn’t help him celebrate in the way I’d have liked to as I was so unwell.  If I wasn’t ill, I’d have baked him a nice cake, spent time picking out nice presents and probably arranging some sort of fun surprise.  You only turn 30 once!  It had been on my mind that I wanted to try and spoil him a little more this year, so I starting planning pretty early.

Travelling with Chronic Illness Spoonie Travel Tips

My pilgrimage to my spiritual home – makeup mecca Sephora!

Travelling with Chronic Illness

My hubby has always wanted to go to Prague.  I’ve actually been, but around 10 years ago (I’m so old…!)  I knew it was something he’d love to do but I wasn’t sure how I’d manage it healthwise.  So I spent quite a bit of time planning – checking out accessibility and that sort of thing.  The flight was only 2 hours and was from our local airport, very nearby.  I was able to request airport assistance and be dropped off right in front of the airport terminal, which really helped.  

If I was healthy, I’d have probably booked 3 or 4 days there, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed every day.  So I booked a full week, thinking that even if I was stuck in bed for half of it, we’d still get a few days together to see the sights!  Of course my husband could still go exploring every day – I preferred for him to go out and have fun rather than be stuck in the apartment just because I was.  I made sure the apartment had satellite TV and a kitchenette so that if I was bed/housebound, I would have something to watch and would be able to access food and drinks.  

Travelling with Chronic Illness Spoonie Travel Tips

My favourite building in Prague, the beautiful Church of Our Lady of Tyn.

I won’t pretend the holiday was easy – flying, travelling and even going out for meals is REALLY DIFFICULT when you have chronic illness.  Particularly ME, which gets very cross when you try to leave bed and actually enjoy yourself!  It was hard, I paid for it during the trip and for several weeks afterwards.  But do you know what?  My husband and I haven’t had chance to make any new, exciting memories for years now.  Chronic illness has taken so much away from me – I’m not letting it take my memories and my relationship too!!  So although I doubt I’ll be travelling again any time soon, I don’t regret it.  Seeing my husband’s face light up, and seeing him enjoy his time absolutely made my year 🙂

Tips and Tricks?

I might write a post soon about travelling/holidaying with chronic illness.  Maybe some tips on making travelling easier and what to look for in a destination, accessibility wise.  Even what things I packed that really helped along the way!  Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in, by leaving me a comment here or on social media.  You can also see a few snaps from my trip over on my Instagram!

Travelling with Chronic Illness Spoonie Travel Tips

The beautiful Church of Our Lady of Tyn in Prague, lit up at night!

So hopefully I’ll be back a little more regularly than I have been, and I can only apologise for being quiet for so long!  I know you guys understand.

Can Brain Fog Hurt Chronic Illness ME CFS Fibromyalgia spoonie post

Can Brain Fog Hurt? // Chronic Illness

Hi guys – happy weekend!  Hope everyone is having a good one so far (even if you’re in the rainy UK, like me).  I’ve been dying to write this post – can brain fog hurt?  This question has been burning a hole in my brain and I wanted to see what everyone else thought.  If you’re not sure what brain fog is, Wiki desribes it here as:

“A clouding of consciousness.  It is a term used in medicine denoting an abnormality in the regulation of the overall level of consciousness that is mild, and less severe than a delirium.  The sufferer experiences a subjective sensation of mental clouding described as feeling ‘foggy’.”

If you’re not a regular reader, I have chronic illnesses – M.E (/CFS) and fibromyalgia.  I was diagnosed in 2013 and the symptoms began long before that, as a less intense level.  So I’m definitely not new to brain fog!  It is something I’ve done battle with for several years now!  When I was unwell but still able to work, I had terrible brain fog.  

Can Brain Fog Hurt Chronic Illness ME CFS Fibromyalgia spoonie post


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Eat, Sleep, Netflix, Repeat! // Spoonie Update!

Hey guys

Just popping in to say hi!  I have loads of posts I want to get to you at the moment (my new Glossybox review and my Prairie Charms Christmas box unboxing) but unfortunately my chronic illnesses are not cooperating… you know “Computer says no *cough*”?  Yeah well this is “body says no”!

I’ve had two days this week where I just haven’t been able to keep my eyes open.  It’s normal for me to be in bed most of the time, and I do sleep a lot, but not usually all through the day.  I think my body is still trying to recover from the Christmas period.  I didn’t do anything even slightly strenuous but just a change of scenery and sitting at the table for meals has taken its toll.  I know a lot of other spoonies are having a very similar experience at the moment.

sleeping quote

The only bright side to this is that at least my pain hasn’t been too bad this week.  I’ve just been trying to make sure I eat and the basics, and everything else has been a bit on hold.  I had a home visit from my ME Clinic yesterday which was really useful and insightful, although 1.5 hours of non-stop talking and listening was really tiring.  I felt like it was worthwhile though – although they can’t ‘cure’ me, they have given me a lot of insight into what precipitated me getting ill.  If anyone wants to know more about how ME Clinic home visits work, let me know and I’ll write something up.

Anyway, I’ll keep this short as I’ve got more sleeping to do (well, it’s not going to do itself!) Haha!

Hope you’re all well and have a great weekend.

2015 in Review // My First Year of Blogging!

Hey guys!

I hope you’re reading this somewhere warm, inside and away from the horrible UK wind and rain!

The WordPress.com stats helpers prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog, which I’ve just read. It’s exciting to see such a big overview of what I’ve done this year!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I want to thank everyone who has read my blog this year, or taken the time to support me. Five special ladies stand out, for their regular and supportive comments, keeping me going when it seems that I’m just writing to myself lol!  They are:

A fellow ME warrior and all round lovely person, Rhiannon at Thoughtful Pigeon: https://thoughtfulpigeon.wordpress.com/

Another spoonie warrior and survivor, Rhosyn at Rhosyndmd:  https://rhosynmd.wordpress.com/

Lola at Lola Rocks, who is a lover of all things nail posts and nail art!  https://lolanailsandbeauty.wordpress.com/

Another fellow chronic illness warrior, crafter and cat lover, Moongazer:  https://oldmamoon.wordpress.com/

Shal at Mrs Dimples Beauty (who I also have the pleasure of being in a Facebook beauty group with!):  https://mrsdimplesbeauty.wordpress.com/

Check out their blogs and say hi!


Thanks for a great first year (well, 9-10 months) of blogging!

Lots of love,

Katie xxx

The Frustrations of Living With an Invisible Illness/Disability.

I don’t talk much in detail on this blog about my illnesses and the everyday challenges they bring.  When I first started the blog, my intentions were to talk a lot about my M.E. and fibro, but as it went on, I found myself blogging almost solely about makeup and beauty as that’s where my passions lie!  However I have realised it’s important to talk about the reality of my day to day life.  I need to use this platform to raise awareness of invisible chronic illnesses, so that more people understand.

My life has changed completely since first being diagnosed over two years ago.  However it is only really since December 2014 that I have been mostly bedbound.  M.E. is a fluctuating condition, meaning I have good days and bad days (or should I say bad days and not-as-bad days?  There are no real ‘good’ days!)  I sometimes make it out of the house, for my numerous doctors and hospital appointments and the very odd social occasion, however I would say I spend around 70% of my life bedbound, 10% housebound and only the remaining 20% able to leave the house.  When I do leave the house, it has often taken days of rest and preparation to manage it, and almost always involves several days of recovery in bed afterwards, with increased pain and fatigue.

It’s only really in the past 9 months that I have truly felt ‘disabled’.  M.E. is classed as a disability, but can have different levels of severity.  Some people have mild M.E.  They may even be able to work full-time and maintain a social life, but with much more rest than the average person.  On the opposite end of the range, some people are totally bedbound, use wheelchairs, are incontinent, and even have to be tube-fed.  Bearing this in mind, even though I have been very ill, I still count myself lucky to have a certain level of independence most of the time.

A few things have happened in the past few months to make me realise that I am much less ‘able’ than I used to be.  I can no longer walk even short distances, and have to rely on taxis to take me on short journeys… meaning I then have to endure the (probably ‘well-meaning’) comments from taxi drivers on the short distance I am travelling.  I am not in a wheelchair and as far as they can see, I look ‘healthy’ – they don’t understand why I don’t just walk.  Often, the implication is that I must be lazy.

I can no longer stand for more than a few minutes at a time.  When healthy, you don’t even realise how much time you spend just standing.  At bars, in queues, waiting for prescriptions.  I now have a great knowledge of where the nearest chair or bench is!  On the very odd occasion I manage to attend a social event, I have to find out where it is so I can arrange a taxi to drop me as close as possible.  I have to ask the person planning it whether we are staying in one place, as it is difficult for me to walk between bars etc.  I have to find out whether there will be seating available, as I cannot stand chatting for hours on end.  I have to find out whether there are stairs, whether they have a lift and where the nearest toilet is.  Of course there are often disabled toilets on ground floor level, but as I am not in a wheelchair or ‘visibly disabled’, I am made to feel very uncomfortable using these facilities.

The thing that prompted tonight’s post is what happened last night.  My husband was kind enough to buy me tickets to see Fall Out Boy for my 30th birthday back in May.  We both hoped I would be feeling a bit better by then (I never really anticipated feeling this bad for so long).  Last night came around and I was feeling dreadful, but really didn’t want to waste the expensive tickets and the rare chance to see an American band here in Leeds.  I pushed through and managed to get ready, with a lot of resting in between.

_20151004_194348      DSC_2788

(And this photo is why I love makeup so much – it disguises all sorts of pain and illness!)

My father in law kindly dropped us off in the car, saving any walking.  Thankfully, Leeds Arena have escalators going up to the third block we were in,  However once we got into the actual seating area, we realised we were the very back row, right at the top of the arena!  I tackled the stairs with some rest breaks, but felt really weak and bad once at the top.  We couldn’t see any free seats and realised someone must be in our seats, but you can’t see the seat numbers when people are sitting down, so I waited at the top whilst my husband went to get the steward.  The steward managed to clear our seats but said they were at the other side of the row and we should go all the way back down the stairs and back up again on the other side.  I explained to her that I wouldn’t be able to do that, and she kindly found us an easier way to squeeze around the back and find our seats.

Now I know to a normal person that doesn’t sound like much of an ordeal, but I was exhausted and shaking by this point.  Once in my seat, I had a drink and recovered a bit – I was looking forward to the show.  The music started up, the band came out onto the stage… and EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the seated area stood up!  I couldn’t see anything but people’s backs.  I thought they might just be standing at the beginning, but everyone continued to stand for the ENTIRE show.  At this point I just felt so completely defeated.  It had taken everything I had to get there, and I couldn’t see a thing.

It sounds dramatic, but at that point I just burst into tears, and sobbed an embarrassing amount into my husband’s shoulder!  It wasn’t really just the fact that I couldn’t see the stage at all… it was more the total realisation that I was ‘disabled’… ‘less able’… ‘differently abled’…. whatever you want to call it!  In the past, I would have been able to just stand for the whole show, no problem.  These days I wouldn’t be able to stand for an entire song.  However because I’m not visibly disabled, I don’t feel that I can ask people to make concessions.  Maybe if I had been in a wheelchair (and don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful that I am not), I would have felt I could ask the people directly in front to sit down so I could see.  But as people can’t tell what is wrong with me by looking, I feel like they would be hostile and judge me, thinking I was just lazy or a bit of a princess!

My husband kindly swapped places with me so I could see through a gap, and I really enjoyed the rest of the show.  I was really grateful to have been able to make it at all, but it was quite a disheartening experience.  I think probably what I would like to get across here is this:  just bear in mind that although someone looks ‘able’, they may be suffering from any amount of invisible illnesses that really affect their abilities; M.E., fibromyalgia, arthritis, Behcets, POTS, MS and so many more.  I would love venues to place just as much importance on their disabled customers as their bodily-able ones – maybe designating part of the seated area to people who genuinely have to sit, so that they can still see and enjoy shows.

Anyway, if you’ve made it to the end of this post then high-five!  I just wanted to write something honest about my everyday life, difficulties and experiences, with the hope that it helps others understand a bit more about chronic and invisible illnesses/disabilities.

Thanks for reading!