Thursday, 17 August 2017

Living with PCOS: part four

Health, Life, PCOS, Personal, Pregnancy,
It’s been a while since I wrote a health post and I really wasn’t sure whether or not to post this. It’s quite personal, but I honestly think it could help someone else – which would be great, as I don’t know anyone in the same position so have had nobody to talk to.

Although I was completely discharged by my gyno when I was no longer on tablets, over five years ago now, my symptoms are still evident – I do definitely have more good days, than bad. The worst of the symptoms seem to be behind me now and it’s been well over a year since the sharp abdominal pains that would keep me up at night, have struck. This has been a massive positive. I think my lifestyle choices have definitely had an impact and when I was going to the gym, despite complaining about it, I felt so good afterwards!

Going back to when I was first diagnosed, I remember being told quite suddenly that I would never be able to have children naturally. At the age of 17, I guess this didn’t completely bother me, as I was young. After being on tablets for the best part of three years, I was told before being discharged that my chances had increased, but to 15% at best. Again, the thought was never in my mind – although I had prepared myself for the worst... and my mum also thought she would never have grandchildren.

So here is the good news... I’m growing a little human inside me. Without any help, considering my condition and while being on the pill, it’s a big thing and basically a miracle. Okay, I’m terrified but at the same time, so excited. I never thought it would happen and it’s happened so easily.
Health, Life, PCOS, Personal, Pregnancy,
Obviously with my condition, the hardest part is falling pregnant; but there are so many complications that can happen on the way, which I was aware of. But I’m pleased to say everything is okay. My health is not at risk at all and the progress of bubba’s growth has been good.

I’ve always wondered how women fall pregnant without knowing – but now I know! Having been told it would basically never happen, I didn’t suspect a thing. I never had any symptoms in the early stages, particularly the sickness; like I said, I was on the pill (albeit, not taking it properly... quite common, apparently!) and since the date of conception, I’d had three periods. I explained this to my GP, my midwife and the antenatal team. I got suspicious when I kept getting muscle spasms and one of the girls at work (who’s also pregnant) recommended I take a test and go to the GP – it was apparently one of the early signs she had. Four tests and an appointment later, it was all confirmed. My tiredness levels are dwindling dramatically, too... obviously in readiness for the inevitable sleepless nights! And in the last month, I have ballooned – despite losing weight in the first trimester and not actually putting much weight on at all.

At most of my appointments, they’re not aware of my condition and I did actually have to fully explain the history at one for my folder – annoying because it should all be on my record and it would answer the “why were you a late booker?” question I get every time I attend any kind of appointment. Surely a later booker is better than not booking at all?!

I guess what I want to say is, don’t always believe what the doctors tell you; some things are just meant to be.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Am I Putting Too Much Pressure on Myself?

As I’ve said in previous posts, I realise I’ve been massively MIA lately and I’ve certainly not given my little space my all. We get so wrapped in social and trying to portray our lives in the best possible light – but sometimes there are more important things to worry about and things are not as rosy as filters and captions may show. Grab a cup of tea, as you’ll be here for the long-haul, while I round-up everything that’s going on right now...

Despite thinking in my mind I am on top of everything, I am forever playing catch up because of all the time I have off. I write a weekly ‘to do’ list and try and keep weekly tasks to the same day each week. Obviously sometimes other jobs come along and things need to be prioritised. I feel like I’m not working hard enough when I don’t complete my ‘to do’ list, because I feel like I should be arriving earlier or finishing later – when in reality, it’s not a big deal. If I don’t get something done one day, there’s always the next! I have tomorrow and next Monday at work before holiday – but I also know I have a hefty handover to pass on while I’m away and need to get that in place, too!

Like I’ve said countless times, I really haven’t put much effort into this. It’s either been the case of no content planned and/or writer’s block, or having ideas but lacking time and energy to actually write, photograph etc. I have always put pressure on myself to keep my blog updated – since the day I transitioned from graduating and being unemployed, to working full time and commuting. I have always wanted to blog twice a week and have tried my hardest to keep this to Tuesday and Thursday (not sure why, but I like it). I want to carry this on; I want to keep my Facebook page active (despite the lack of engagement); I want to take part in more Twitter chats and feel part of the community again; I want to catch up or do things with my blogger friends; I want to buy a layout and make it all look prettier; I want to have content worth reading. Blogging has been my favourite hobby for the best part of six years and I don’t want it to end.

Social Life
At the moment, my social life is pretty shocking. Okay, so we go away next week and are attending a wedding; there are a few birthdays next month; and I have about three free weekends until the end of October. But I have friends I’ve not seen since the beginning of the year and it’s rubbish! I have noticed, as you grow older, the number of friends you have dwindles and it’s difficult coming together when people work different patterns, have numerous social circles and generally, busy lives... but it makes me want to see my friends more and be more appreciative of them. The last couple of months, I’ve realised who my friends actually are – it’s funny how quickly people change, or don’t wanna know as soon as you have good news or something to talk about! I feel as though there are people I should make more effort with.
Home Life
The last fortnight was strange, as my mum was on holiday and my brother has moved out – so it was just me at home. Most people would be buzzing at the prospect, but not me. It was a massive eye opener and made me realise how much I take living at home for granted – but I struggled. There were nights my sleep was so broken, I didn’t want to wake up for work; I didn’t enjoy cooking for one every evening; and I certainly didn’t enjoy all the cleaning/tidying/bin sorting that needed doing! I don’t like being on my own and I could certainly never live alone. And then there was the Sunday I bit off more than I could chew... I decided to cook a roast, followed by making individual crumbles. I don’t think any of the meal went right, I burnt my arm and hand and ended up in floods of tears – and I still don’t know why. I know I can cook, I think I was over-tired and then hormones got the better of me.

One thing people who read my blog and follow me on social may not know: I severely lack self-confidence... yes thank god for filters! It stemmed from being bullied at school, to shitty comments by ex-boyfriends and then obviously everything to do with my condition. There was a point last year (up until as recently as March this year) when I felt good, but there are days that’s completely gone. I care too much about what others think – even when those people don’t matter. There are three things currently that get me down: spots, stretch marks and the fact I cannot laser... anyone that knows me, knows that the IPL machine is life! My skincare routine has become hell – I must use at least nine products a day (most of those are Palmer’s, btw... thank you Beky) and to no avail. I’ve been scrutinising my outfits, especially for work, to compensate. I’m getting my hair cut on Friday which will be a boost and I’ll be packing my fake tan when we go away. I know that the break will do me the world of good. And as soon as I can, I’ll be booking a brow tint and shape.

If anyone has any advice on how I can chill, please leave a comment or Tweet me!

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Degustabox | Summer Box

Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
If youve not heard of Degustabox, then where have you been? Its a food & drink monthly subscription box bringing you 10-15 surprise products, many of which are new to the market. When you sign up, you get to fill in your very own profile, meaning a couple of the products may differ. Its actually the highlight of my week when this little beauty arrives on my doorstep so (much later than planned) what was in July’s box (themed a summer box)?

·         A bottle of Blossom Hill Spritz
·         A carton of Crafted fruit juice
·         A packet of Ryvita Thins three cheese
·         A packet of Rowntree’s Randoms 30% less sugar
·         Two pouches of Oloves olives
·         A pouch of Merchant Gourmet red & white quinoa
·         A bottle of Frylight cooking spray with avocado oil
·         A box of Weetabix Additions coconut & raisin
·         A jar of Maille Original Dijon mustard

Due to the exciting few months I have coming up, this will be my last Degustabox review. I know plenty of bloggers who receive the box for free in exchange of a blog post or unboxing video, but I’ve always paid for mine – and it’s an expense I can no longer commit to. With that in mind, I was SO disappointed with this month’s box and despite being a ‘summer box’, it really didn’t give me those summertime feels.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
I’ll start with the drinks one last time and once again, there was alcohol in this month’s box. The bottle of Blossom Hill Spritz I received was flavoured with lemon & elderflower and does sound super summery... it’s just a shame by the time I’ll be open to this, summer will be long gone (as if it hasn’t already!). However, I enjoyed the mango & passion fruit juice by The Cracker Drinks Company – it was so refreshing, smooth and not too sweet. I don’t drink juice often but I would buy this again.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
Over the last few months, there’s been plenty of cereals and granolas and this month saw the newest product from Weetabix: Additions coconut & raisin. I’d seen this and the other flavour (apple & raisin) in the supermarket and to be honest, the apple one would be more up my street. I did like this though, maybe not enough to buy it again – and ate them for breakfast with the addition (see what I did there?) of berries.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
There were two savoury snacks in the form of Oloves olives (flavoured with chilli & oregano) and Ryvita Thins (three cheese). Oloves have featured before but I really dislike olives, so won’t be eating though – annoying that there are two pouches, as opposed to one. Ryvitas are a familiar brand in our house and I’ve bought from the Thins range before – because they are so much nicer than the original cardboard crispbreads. Of all the flavours on the shelves, I had yet to try the three cheese variety, but these are definitely my favourite! I’ve got a real problem with snacking at the moment, so these curb all those cravings I have. I’ll definitely buy these again, not just because they’re tasty, but they are so versatile.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
The red & white quinoa from Gourmet Merchant sounds interesting and the microwavable pouch is perfect for convenience. I am yet to try it and have no idea of meal ideas, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments, or tweet me @Luuuce_x. I don’t eat mustard, so the jar of Maille Original Dijon mustard went straight to my mum. There’s currently a jar in the fridge, so I know she’ll use it. The recipe card suggests using it with steak, which I may find palatable. Similarly, Frylight is something she uses when cooking and we’ve got a couple of bottles of various oils in the cupboard – so this avocado oil is a welcome addition. I’ve been using it over the last couple of weeks and haven’t found it enhances the flavour of food like other oils, but it’s a handy product to have.
Degustabox, Food, Drink, Monthly Subscription, Fdbloggers, Unboxing
And finally, saving the best until last – Rowntree’s Randoms 30% less sugar. Anyone that knows me will know I have a sweet tooth and I love my sweets/pick n mix, so was really pleased to see this product included in July’s box. Despite containing less sugar, they taste exactly the same as original Randoms – and of course, all the shapes and flavours are the same. But still, you can’t go wrong!

So in all, as you can see, I wasn’t that impressed with this month’s box – which is a shame, as I hate writing negative reviews and on the whole, the products are generally very good. There’s no point me sharing my discount code now I have de-activated my account, but why not look back at previous reviews by using the Degustabox tag.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

July Favourites

Month, Favourites, BBloggers, LBloggers, Boohoo, Soap & Glory, Perricone MD, Viridian
Month, Favourites, BBloggers, LBloggers, Boohoo, Soap & Glory, Perricone MD, Viridian
Apologies again for being a little MIA lately and for uploading this post eight days into the month. I really struggled this month, because there weren’t any products I’d been using that were new or exciting – and my mind has totally been elsewhere. But here are my monthly favourites...

I’ve not bought new clothes in absolutely ages but I got this cute sheer blouse from Boohoo, when I was buying a couple of basic bits. I absolutely love the style and the gold button detailing. It’s perfect for work and keeps me cool, because it is so loose-fitted. Being that chiffon-style material, a vest or cami top is needed underneath but the fit is so flattering – exactly what I need at the moment!

There are two Soap & Glory products I’ve been using religiously, because my skin has become ridiculously dry, itchy and flaky – these have both helped loads, to stop the irritation and keep my skin soft/smooth. Step forward Orangeasm and Sugar Crush. I definitely prefer the citrus-scented S&G products, as the others seem to irritate my skin – and I find these stronger scents last longer. I use the scrub once a week, sometimes twice if needed; but the shower cream I use every day. I always receive a little S&G haul at Christmas, so it’s great to have products like these in reserve.

I’m not totally sure where this Organic Rose Oil by Viridian came from – but I am in love! I’m not usually one for oil-based products, as find they leave my skin far too greasy, causing breakouts. I’ve not been using this on my face (which is probably what it should be used for), but instead, been using it as a massage oil every evening, which has been hugely effective – before I sort my Palmer’s haul! Of course, rose oil is great for dry skin to restore balance.

And finally, I’m sure this product featured last year (or maybe even the year before), but Perricone MD’s No-Foundation Foundation Serum is without a doubt, one of the best products I’ve ever used – hence why it’s a re-purchase! Not that we’ve been having hot/summer weather lately, but I prefer to use this as a base during the summer months, as opposed to a heavy foundation. My everyday foundation is one that I often build upon, but this is so light and silky on the skin – you don’t need to layer it. It’s great for creating natural looks, too.

What were your July favourites?

Love, Lucy xx 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Sunday lunch for Nan’s birthday at The Old Windmill, South Hanningfield

Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
A fortnight ago (and the day after my mum’s birthday), we took my Nan out for her birthday – and when deciding where to go, she suggested The Old Windmill, having not been there for a while. I don’t think I’ve ever been, despite being at a couple of the pubs nearby, but it’s at South Hanningfield, on the way to Chelmsford – and not too far from where Nan lives.

Mum booked a table for five, for 2:30pm and it was the perfect time to devour a roast dinner! It’s a good job we booked, as the bar, dining room and beer garden were all busy. We sat in the dining room and there was plenty of space and natural lighting, as it was next to the garden. One thing I will mention is the sign outside saying ‘Dogs Welcome’ also extended to inside the pub. There were two dogs in the dining room, which I found quite unusual – but thankfully, we didn’t notice they were there. Next time, I would be more inclined to sit somewhere where there are no animals though.

On a Sunday, The Old Windmill offers two menus: the standard a la carte option, alongside traditional roast dinners. With a selection of meats, including a mixed roast of beef and pork, there was plenty of choice. Of course, being Sunday, we all decided on the roast – and as the portions were so generous, we didn’t need feeding for the rest of the day... although it didn’t stop us looking at and ordering dessert.
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
My mum, Nan and brother all chose the braised shoulder of lamb; Ash picked the rare topside of beef with giant Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce; while I went for my favourite: roast loin of pork, with sage & onion stuffing, apple sauce and shards of crackling. All the meals came served with roast potatoes, red & green cabbage, leeks and lashings of gravy. I really enjoyed my dinner, particularly the pork, which wasn’t at all fatty. The gravy added enough seasoning to the rest of the meal, so luckily the vegetables weren’t seasoned, but were cooked perfectly. Although I was really hungry, I struggled to eat all three potatoes!
Dining, Review, Essex, The Old Windmill,South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Sunday Roast, FdBloggers,
Like I said, we managed to have dessert and as I was limited as to what I could have, I chose the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. It was just as good as it looks – light sponge, rich sticky toffee sauce and ice cream simply melted. As always, I ate it far too quickly and honestly, I could have eaten it twice over! Robert picked the American waffle with strawberries, clotted cream ice cream and Pimm’s syrup, which looked incredible – I was SO jealous.

Everyone else ended the meal with coffee and it wasn’t long until we then got the bill. Despite being a pub, there was table service and it was very good. From the moment we arrived, we were taken straight to our table and our drinks order was soon taken – there was no waiting around at the bar. We don’t go out for Sunday lunch often, so it made a change and I would return.

Love, Lucy xx