I’m Back in the Land of Wi-fi! Chatty Catch Up and Travelling with Chronic Illnesses

Hi guys!

I’ve been away for a few days, but it was really nice to come back to so many comments on my recent blog posts!  It’s really nice to know people are reading and enjoying it, it made my day.  Shame about the 63 spam comments…. I’m sure fellow bloggers will feel me on that one!

I went to stay with my Dad at his static caravan a few hours away.  This doesn’t sound like much but it was a pretty big deal for me.  With ME and fibromyalgia, sometimes even getting out of bed is difficult, never mind making a journey and socialising!  I was very unwell the night before we were due to leave, resulting in a trip to the out-of-hours doctor.  I didn’t think we would be able to go, but after a good night’s sleep, I felt up to the journey by around lunchtime on Friday.

My husband drove, and I made sure to take my painkillers and eat and drink during the journey.  We also stopped for food half way.  I was dreading travelling, as I usually get car sick, and being stuck in one position isn’t good with fibro.  It actually went surprisingly well and I arrived in one piece!  I took my trusty electric heat pad for the aches and pains (I will never go anywhere without it in future, it’s a godsend!)  We had a really nice time.

I even got to have a 99 with strawberry sauce, in the sunshine!  It’s been a while since I’ve been to an ice-cream van.

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Travelling and being away from home with chronic illnesses can be a bit difficult and daunting, but I’m really glad I managed it!  I’m very grateful my body held up for the weekend and journey home, and will happily take the payback that is no doubt coming (shout out to PEM lol!) as it was well worthwhile to see my Dad.

Have a great week everyone.

ME/CFS: Rituximab Could Potentially Help Us Recover…

Hi guys!  I hope you’re as well as possible.  I was kindly sent a link to the following article about Rituximab by a colleague and found it really interesting.  I am currently on long-term sick leave from work, and as you probably know, I suffer from M.E (CFS) and fibromyalgia.  There is currently no known cure for either ME or fibromyalgia, and very little in the way of truly effective treatment.

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I am often sent articles to things that could potentially help me, which I really appreciate, but often they are things that won’t actually work (juicing etc!).  Reading this article though, it seems that there is finally some hope.  

Continue reading

ME/Fibromyalgia Health Update – Things Are Looking a Little Brighter!

Hi all

Sorry it’s been a bit quiet on here this week!  I’ve had a whole bunch of medical appointments this week, so I have had to focus all my energy on attending those and then recovering afterwards.

I wasn’t really looking forward to the appointments this week, but Tuesday’s appointment with a Rheumatologist has left me feeling a little more optimistic!  I had got to the point where I was wondering if any medication/treatments could really help me at this point (I have tried a LOT of medications, therapies, suggestions etc!)  The GP had told me he’d come to the end of everything he could offer without more expert help.  After a 45 minute chat with the Rheumatologist, I left knowing that there are still things that can be tried.  He said he has seen people recover to an extent (not to pre-illness levels, but to being able to do a little more and have less crashes), and that it could still be possible for me.

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I don’t want this to come across as me saying there is a ‘cure’ or anything, as ME and fibromyalgia are currently without a cure, and we may try the suggested treatments and I could still be in the same position.  I could recover a little and then regress back to how bad I was for the first 5 months of this year.  We just don’t know – sadly, that’s the way of these chronic illnesses!  However, at least the doctor has given me a little spark of hope.  I may never recover, but if I could get back to doing some work and being able to have somewhat of a social life and more stable health, that would still be amazing.  Let me tell you, I would treasure the little things!  No more taking anything for granted, now I’ve seen how limiting bad health can be.

I will soon be trying some new medication in place of my Gabapentin (which hasn’t helped me at all, although I know it has helped others).  I will hopefully be trying some light hydrotherapy and also being referred to the long-term pain clinic.  I’ve said this many times before but I really will try almost anything if it could possibly help!  (Within reason… not the ridiculous juice cleanse ‘cures’ that circulate online!!)

I will try to get back to blogging a little more regularly soon, but I’m sure you all know and understand that my health always comes first, especially when I am trying to recover enough to return to some level of work.  Thanks for bearing with me!  Back to the usual programme of reviews and beauty soon, I hope!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone (especially those enjoying the UK sun along with me!)

ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia and TMJ: Health Update!

Hi guys

I’ve noticed that my posts about my chronic health conditions get quite a lot of viewers.  I think this could be because there aren’t that many chronic illness blogs out there, and we spoonies like to read about others with similar conditions.  There’s always the hope that someone may have tried a treatment or medication you haven’t heard of, that could help you.  Have they found a successful way to manage their condition, or do they have some hints and tips that you could benefit from?  I hope that some of my posts have been useful – I especially think anyone with TMJ/TMD could benefit from this post, as I have tried almost every treatment going (bar surgery) for my TMJ!!

I never really go into the details of my work situation on here, for obvious reasons.  At the moment, I am signed off sick, as I was too unwell to successfully complete a phased return.  The only benefit of this is that it gives me the time and space to concentrate on trying anything I possibly can to help with my conditions – including lots of rest!

My ME and fibromyalgia are always fairly life-limiting – they get in the way of me leading the busy and active life I once had.  I had a huge ‘crash’ on 24 December (yep, just in time for a Christmas spent on the sofa!!) and spent the first 4/5 months of 2015 predominantly bed-bound.  I have spent a lot of time trying to work out what triggered this crash, making my ME and fibro the worst they had ever been.  All I can think is that I did lift a few boxes at work – I know, I shouldn’t have, but it was only a couple and it needed doing that day.  I really didn’t imagine it would have such a big impact!  Maybe it was entirely unrelated and one specific thing didn’t cause the crash.  I don’t know!  I only wish I knew what caused it, as that would help me prevent it happening again in the future.

After around 4 months spent in bed, I finally started seeing some very small positive changes – I was able to spend a few hours out of bed, or wash my own hair.  Eventually, I did have a few weeks where I managed a few hours at work most days, but sadly this didn’t last.  It was all amazing progress though, considering how very unwell I was earlier in the year.

The small improvements are definitely still happening, but after 6 months, I am starting to get frustrated with the slow pace!  I repeatedly have to remind myself how bad I was, and how well I’m doing.  Yes, I may still be unable to work, or to get out of the house every day, or to do the cleaning etc… but I AM having the odd good day, I have made it to a few social events, I am spending more time awake (haha!)  The thing with ME/fibro is that improvements don’t just follow a smooth line upwards – there are setbacks, big and small.  It’s easy to experience a setback and think you’ve gone back to square one, but that’s not always the case.  You have to step back and look at the bigger picture.  I couldn’t open my own Christmas presents in December as I was so poorly.  Today I made my own lunch.  That is a huge improvement and I need to keep reminding myself of that!

I’m still titrating my Amitriptyline upwards to try and help with my pain levels.  I am due to go to the pain clinic at the end of the month, which I have some hope for.  I am undergoing physiotherapy for my TMJ (jaw disorder) again, which I hope will keep the pain levels manageable.  It’s all a work in progress… as it has been for almost two years now!  Whilst there isn’t a ‘cure’ for ME and fibromyalgia, I remain hopeful that I’ll find the right combination of medication and treatments which will mean I can lead a somewhat fuller life.

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If you have a chronic illness, how are you coping with it?  Do you find it difficult to stay hopeful, or are you a naturally positive person?  Let me know your experiences in the comments box.

Chronic Illnesses and Social Occasions Just Don’t Mix…

I don’t often write about my health on here, which is strange given that it’s such a huge influence on and part of my everyday life.  I suppose I don’t want to seem negative and I also genuinely love makeup and beauty, so I love writing about them.  But sometimes I think I owe it to my fellow chronic-illness sufferers to give an honest picture of how my life is, living with several chronic illnesses.

Having ME and fibromyalgia is extremely hard on a day-to-day basis.  As I mentioned in this post, sometimes I can’t even get out of bed.  More often than not I am weak, exhausted and in pain.  Sometimes it feels like I just can’t cope any longer, but of course I do – what other choice is there?!

The reason I’m writing this post is that since I have become more ill, I’ve come to a realisation that chronic illness and social occasions/events really don’t go well together!  I have had ME/fibro for a while now, but ‘crashed’ on 24 December and have been much worse since then.  So I have now experienced a Christmas and a birthday whilst being very unwell.  I won’t dwell on Christmas too much as it’s a bit of a blur, but I wasn’t even well enough to open my own presents – my mum and husband had to do it for me!

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As you may know, it was my 30th birthday on bank holiday Monday.  I made a very deliberate decision this year not to make big birthday plans, in case I wasn’t up to it on the day and had to cancel.  I didn’t want to put people out and change arrangements, as it always makes me feel guilty and unreliable.  A lot of people asked what my plans were and wanted to do things with me.  As much as I appreciated people wanting to celebrate with me, I just knew it wasn’t the right decision at this moment in time.  When I can barely wash my own hair or cook meals, planning a meal or night out is the furthest thing from my mind.

As a concession (many people felt I couldn’t do nothing at all, and it did seem a little sad not to mark turning 30), I agreed to some very small-scale plans.  My wonderful mum hosted a small vintage tea party at her house.  She planned it deliberately so that I had nothing to do but turn up and enjoy it.  She did all the planning, decorating and baking.  I was looking forward to it and was really grateful to her for all her efforts.

But sadly…. I woke up on the day feeling absolutely terrible.  My fatigue was awful and my mobility not so great.  It took me 6 attempts to get dressed, brush my hair and cover my dark under-eye circles with some makeup.  I had to keep lying down to recover between each thing I did.  Shortly before setting off, I broke down in tears to my husband.  I really didn’t feel well enough to be out of bed but couldn’t let people down and the thought of cancelling after all my mum’s hard work just made me feel sick.  So I went ahead and set off to my mum’s.  I arrived early so that I could have a lie down after travelling (only 20 minutes).  Everything looked beautiful and please understand that I’m not in any way being ungrateful.  I appreciate my loved ones more than I can express.  I just really wish I had felt better that day and able to enjoy myself!

The tea party was fairly short and I was sitting down the whole time, apart from 10 minutes where we stood in the garden in the sun whilst people arrived.  In hindsight it was stupid of me to have stood up for 10 minutes solid, as it takes a lot out of me… I suffered so badly that night for it!  My legs and hips were in so much pain that I couldn’t find a single comfortable position to lie in.  I didn’t get a minute of sleep the whole night, and gave in at around 7am on the Monday (my actual birthday), and stopped trying.  I was in absolute agony all night – my painkillers, relaxation techniques, positive thinking etc were not working at all and at one point I just wondered, can I cope with a whole lifetime of feeling this much pain?  Thankfully I chatted to a few fellow sick-girls online, whose positive words and encouragement got me through the night.

I was a little better on the Monday (god knows how after no sleep!) and managed to see some family, but crashed and went to bed early that night.  Rock and roll birthday hey?

A friend with ME and fibro pointed out to me that she had noticed a lot of her ill friends having bad crashes around their birthdays – she thought perhaps the stress of feeling obliged to make plans and the extra socialising and stimulation lead to a worsening in the conditions.  I can’t help but think she’s right!

Unfortunately, ME/fibro doesn’t know it’s your birthday, or Christmas, or an occasion you’ve been looking forward to.  It doesn’t care if you’ve got plans or you need to go to work.  It flares when it feels like it and sadly you have to accept that you just can’t make concrete plans any more.  A few people have suggested that I celebrate my birthday as and when I have a day where I’m feeling a bit better.  I think this is what I’ll do – I just have to work in a different way than I used to!

Sometimes being in pain almost all the time and being so fatigued, weak and unwell makes you wonder what the point is and whether you can see yourself surviving a lifetime of it… but whenever I have felt this way, I have turned my thinking around (eventually) and realised that I can still find joy, meaning and happiness in small things like a text from my mum, a hug from my husband, a card from a friend…. at times of extreme pain, it clouds what truly matters, but if anyone reading this is struggling in a similar way, please remember that there is always something worth fighting for!  And who knows… one day they might find some effective treatment or a cure for us, and we can tick everything off our “when I’m better” bucket lists!

Signing off now to have a cuppa and go to bed!  Thanks for reading.

My Skincare Routine – Nighttime Routine (Part 2 of 2)!

This is the second part of my skincare routine post – you can see Part 1 here, which discusses my morning routine.  My nighttime routine is slightly different – although most of the steps are similar, the products I use are different as I want to moisturise and repair my skin overnight.

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Like I said in my first skincare post, I have always taken good care of my skin, but I feel like I’ve really found the right routine for me in the last couple of years.  So here it is!

  • I like to use a hot cloth cleanser in the evening, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I’ve found it gives me the best cleansing experience and leaves my skin as clean as it could possibly be!  Secondly, it’s really relaxing and I find it gets me ready for sleeping, as it helps me to unwind (it also contains essential oils, which help too!).  My favourite hot cloth cleanser is this White Rabbit Comfort Cleansing Balm.
  • I tend to use a water-based cleanser (Nivea or Garnier Micellar, or White Rabbit Skincare Lime & Coconut Cleansing Water) or these handy eye makeup remover pads (below) to remove my makeup (particularly eye makeup) first – now you don’t have to but I prefer to as it stops my flannels getting covered in makeup!
  • I take a small amount of the cleansing balm and massage it into my face, then run my clean flannel under the hot tap.  I squeeze the excess water out of the flannel and then gently use it to remove the cleansing balm.  The warm flannel feels so lovely on the skin!  PS – my hair is wet in these photos if you’re wondering why it looks strange!!

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  • Next up, I use my night serum, and this is where the extra step comes in.  I always add a few drops of facial oil to my nighttime serum.  Facial oil is great as it gives much greater moisturisation than a regular moisturiser.  They can also reduce the appearance of fine line and wrinkles because they plump skin cells and make them look fuller.  You could apply it separately but I find it easier just to add a couple of drops into the serum on my hand.  I’m currently using the Superdrug B.Nourished Night Serum (cruelty free) and a mini bottle of Indie Lee Moisturising Oil.  I got the oil in a past beauty box and absolutely love it, but after looking at the price of the full-sized product, I will definitely not be repurchasing it!

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  • Next I apply the same eye serum I used in the morning (Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye), patting it gently around the eyes.  You must always be careful to pat with your ring finger, not rub or drag the skin around your under eyes, as it’s really delicate.

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  • Finally, I smooth on my night cream (moisturiser).  I always use a different moisturiser at night than in the morning.  You can generally use a slightly thicker, more nourishing cream at night as you don’t have to worry about looking oily and shiny!  You also of course don’t need one with an SPF.  Overnight is a great time for the skin to soak up the products you put on it and do some repairing.  At the moment I’m using the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing night cream as it came in a free gift, but I have used endless different brands.  It’s usually best to just try a few different ones and see which your skin likes!

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I know this seems like a long process but it actually really doesn’t take long.  Skin is our largest organ and is well worth looking after.  I also find my nighttime routine quite relaxing and it helps me get ready for sleeping.


What’s your skincare routine?  What are your favourite products?  Let me know in the comments or follow me on social media!

My Skincare Routine – Morning Routine (Part 1 of 2)!

Hi everyone

I often find myself watching YouTube videos about skincare routines, to see if there is anything I can do to enhance my own.  I have always taken good care of my skin, but I feel like I’ve really found the right routine for me in the last couple of years.  Around 3 years ago, I made it my New Years Resolution to stop using makeup wipes, as they’re really not great for your skin!  I use quite a few products, but I’m confident that each of them has its purpose and is definitely worth using!

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My morning routine is definitely quicker and more simple than my evening routine.  Two sidenotes here…

1)  When I say “morning”, take that with a pinch of salt!  Due to having ME, I often sleep badly at night and struggle to get up in the morning.  Mornings are the worst time for my fibro pain and mobility, so basically by morning I actually mean “when/if I finally make it out of bed” haha!

2)  Again due to my illness, I sometimes have really, really bad days.  On those days in the past, I often wouldn’t be able to get up to wash or moisturise my face.  After realising this was having a negative effect on my skin, I developed a bit of a #lifehack!  I now keep good quality face wipes and a tub of moisturiser in my bedside table.  If I really can’t get out of bed, at least I can clean and moisturise my face and that will do until I’m feeling better!  I would suggest this if you have similar issues.

Okey dokey, here goes:

  • Firstly, I cleanse my face to get rid of any build up of oil from overnight.  I generally use a cleanser which can be swiped over the face without washing off (due to my struggles with ME, I generally would have a shower in the evening not morning so would prefer not to use water in the mornings as it’s messy and more effort!!)  My favourite cleanser is this White Rabbit Lime & Coconut Cleansing Water – this is from one of my favourite companies, who are independent and cruelty-free/vegan.  This cleansing water is really light and refreshing, with a very strong citrusy scent.  Until I open my new one, I’m using up this Nivea Micellar Water (below).  I use facial cotton pads.

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  • Next I tone my skin using a new-to-me toner, to close my pores and make sure my skin is fully clean.  I am currently using Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng Toner – this was recommended to me after a skincare analysis as apparently my skin is slightly dehydrated.  I don’t know how, the amount of water I drink!  Again, I use this with a facial cotton pad.

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  • The next step is to use my Superdrug Vitamin E Moisture Boost Facial Serum.  As I’ve mentioned a million times before, I like Superdrug’s products as they are all cruelty free.  This serum is high in antioxidants and I really like it.  Some people say it smells a bit like suncream which they find off-putting – personally I like this as it’s a “holiday smell”!  A serum is essential, as to put it simply, it moisturises a different layer of your skin to the actual moisturiser (it penetrates much deeper).

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  • Next up is my eye cream.  This is the one step I haven’t been consistent with over the years.  I had a series of eye creams I didn’t really like and it put me off for a while.  However now I’ve found this Estee Lauder Advanced Repair Eye Serum, I’m firmly back on the wagon!  I think it’s the consistency of this that I like, it’s more like a gel texture and doesn’t irritate my eyes.  Again, an eye product is important as that area of your skin is really thin and shows discolouration and fine lines really easily.  I’m hoping this eye serum will help with my awful dark under eye circles!  It is important to pat gently with your ring finger, making sure not to pull or rub the skin, as your under eye area is really delicate.

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  • Second to last step – moisturiser (unless I’m wearing no makeup that day,  in which case this is the last step)!  I’m a bit of a floozy when it comes to moisturisers, I always, without fail, use one but I am not faithful to a particular brand.  I tend to try a lot of different ones.  One I have repurchased quite a few times is Olay Beauty Fluid, the reason being that it is really light and dries to a non-oily finish.  I hate day moisturisers that leave an oily sheen, as it then ruins your makeup and shows through!  I like a really matte finish to my makeup.  The only thing this is missing is an SPF, but often my foundation will include this anyway.  That is definitely something I need to be more aware of though, as this sun is very ageing for the skin, and I’m now about to hit the big 3-0, eek!

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  • Final step – primer!  I only apply primer if I am going to be wearing makeup that day.  The primer just leaves a good base for applying makeup, making it smoother and prolonging the wear of your makeup.  I am currently using Rimmel Lasting Finish Primer, but have used many different ones and don’t really have a favourite.

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This sounds like a lengthy routine but it really doesn’t take long.  I tend to do other things, like brushing my teeth etc, in between steps, to let the products sink in.  I know it’s definitely worth the effort, as my recent skincare analysis put my skin age at 2 years younger than my real age, and the pores and fine lines were minimal.  Definitely worth 5 minutes a day!

Keep an eye out for my evening skincare routine, coming next week!


What’s your skincare routine?  Which products do you use?  Let me know in the comments or follow me on social media!