Shamelessly Addicted to Caffiene

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There’s absolutely no denying it, I am an addict. I simply love this drug. Coffee in particular is the most beautiful liquid on earth. As someone with fatigue it makes my body function. The smell alone makes my mouth water and in our house we are absolutely coffee snobs. So I thought I’d put a collection together to honour my faves.

My current favourite is a Gingerbread Latte. I just cannot get enough of the stuff. It’s worth making your own syrup as its so easy and makes your house smell heavenly. l love Ana’s recipe here. I want to drink it from a huge mug with all the comforts around me.

 

My daily coffee of choice would be the Cortado.  Discovered whilst visiting the sister in Barcelona this is my ultimate coffee. A dark espresso cut with a little warm milk, the perfect size and taste. In Spain it comes in a glass and is stirred endlessly with a spoon and a huge sachet of sugar until the clinking drives you mad. I’m endlesly buying cups and mugs ideal for this little treat.

I am also partial to a good Sunday morning cafetiere. Served with sugar cubes and a splash of milk or even cream. This keeps going all morning, constantly topping up the mug with dark roasted, aromatic power juice.

I also love a super frothy cappuccino, made with almond or Soya milk it’s less points for me and maximum foam.

 

Oh and by the way the world’s yummiest cake is this delight… by Nigella Lawson of course. I’ve baked it with fellow coffee lover The Cafe Cat, who as a fellow coffee connoisseur, I’d highly recommend nipping over to her blog with cup in hand to have a good read.

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So if you are in love with coffee as I am tell me how you like it best…

I’ve left you with a few gift ideas for all coffee addicts lovers out there.

Second hospital appointment…

So my second hospital appointment is looming at University College London tomorrow. If you follow me on social media you may know I came out of the last one feeling a little desperate, let down and disbelieved. All of the fears of a spoonie realised in one visit. So tomorrow I receive the results of yet another blood test (I am usually seronegative) and to be patronised by a doctor.

Lists are always good so I’m going to make one here of my symptoms to take along.

  • Sore throat, muscle aches, flu like symptoms
  • Difficulty in controlling temperature
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Joint aches like acid burning inside then inflammation around them
  • Acute knee pain and swelling resulting in an arthroscopy to try to control the swelling. This has been controlled with cortisone injections and prednisolone. It has meant in the past I have been unable to walk for periods of up to 2 months and find moving around my home problematic. My knee is still sore and doesn’t track properly.
  • Muscle aches and spasms. Tendentious and displaced joints i.e. ribs and vertebrae
  • Extreme chest, neck and shoulder pain leading to complete immobility for up to 2 months at a time. This also means I cannot drive and am isolated. I have been diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and see a specialist physio for this. I have also had shoe inserts made to help with the position of my feet and acupuncture and reflexology to manage the pain.
  • Migraine or cluster type headaches that disturb my vision, make me unbalanced and nauseous. I cannot work or drive when they happen and I typically cannot leave the house for 3 or 4 days
  • Nausea and vomiting. I go through phases of this where I will vomit uncontrollably for 12 hours or more. Often this is followed by a period of joint swelling and feeling very poorly. I feel nausea most days and take medication to counteract this.
  • Eye sores and dryness. Over christmas I had an ulcer ob the inside of my eyelid.
  • Ulcers in general. These are mostly in my mouth and often can reach the size of a penny. I can have up to 30 at a time and they bleed. They can also appear on the outside of my mouth, in my nose, eyes and vagina. They go away when on high dose prednisolone.
  • Dry mouth and sore tongue
  • Insomnia and broken sleep
  • Hands and feet that go extremely numb extremely quickly in the cold and I constantly seek heat for.
  • ‘Thick’, hard swollen fingers that won’t bend.
  • IBS and stomach cramping. Intermittent diarrhoea and constipation. Lower back pain. Pain going to the toilet that gives me pins and needles and want to pass out.
  • Extreme heartburn and tummy irritation
  • Rashes on cheeks and chest and acne.
  • Brain fog and memory problems
  • Depression and Anxiety

So there it is, maybe I missed something so I may be back…

Goodbye 2015…

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…and a list of ‘I can’ts’.

A lot of living with Chronic illness is about learning to say no. This is all well and good, but I can’t help thinking there must be a way to say ‘I can’. To live within boundaries and spoons but still be able to do stuff.

Today I felt the pressure of New Years and the forced fun. I imagined getting dressed and going out, drinking cocktails and staying up till the early hours. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do right? And everyone else is doing it. Or are they? When I woke up this morning I was shaking, my whole being ached and everything was swollen and I knew the plans just wouldn’t happen. So we changed them, the girls are bringing over takeout and then slipping off to celebrate leaving me with a duvet and my pjs. Instead of thinking I’ve missed out I can see that I’m just doing it differently thanks to great friends. It’s OK to think you’ve missed out but check and see if you really have. After speaking to people I realised that so may others are doing the same! Do what makes you happy not what you think you should do.

Earlier on today I went for a walk, went too far, got stuck in a muddy field. and Paul had to pull me out. Again I had gone too far, got frustrated and shed a little tear over what I can’t do. On reflection the good thing was that I was able to walk as far as I did and chat to Paul along the way, laugh at being stuck in the mud and the puppy trying to chase birds. Being outdoors is always so healing whether it is just for a short time. So what if I can’t walk as far or as fast, I can walk and enjoy the outdoors that is what matters. The winter skies, crows cawing and being outdoors makes me happy.

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I saw a post earlier that said make a list of what you do every day, then make a list of what you love doing and compare them. I already know that having chronic illness has slowed me down and made me savour the small stuff. When you only have a few spoons spend them on those you love and that list of loved things.

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So my New Years Resolutions are not to take things away but to add more in!

  1. Dates with the boy for my heart
  2. 10 stretches everyday for my body
  3. A meal plan each week for our budget
  4. Oh and my dream of riding my bike again

Happy New Year all, remember do what makes you happy.

Christmas Crazy

Someone must have seen me shopping earlier.

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I went shopping for cheese at our local farm shop and the queue was around the building. It’s a funny place to shop, great produce, but the clientele all believe they are royalty and think nothing of taking a limb off with their trolley if you’re in the way of their sourdough.To go there on the week before Christmas I must have been mad.

On the way in I found a basket (thought about the agony of carrying it) and headed to the cheese counter. I stood for ages waiting politely and being ignored. I could feel my knees shaking and my lower back begin to protest. I put down the basket and leant on the cool glass for support. How do you tell people you cannot stand for long and that you are hoping that rumble in your tummy isn’t IBS? Just keep smiling. After eventually grabbing the attention of an assistant myself and the lovely lady next to me were told that despite waiting 20 minutes we’d have to join the queue they had started at the other end of the counter. All along they’d been serving at random, theres never a queue there and no sign. Me and my now partner protested. Why hadn’t they told us this 20 minutes ago? I got served, with the coldest, rudest service ever. ‘don’t worry’, said the lady next to me ‘that ones always got an edge’ she meant the assistant not the pungent cheese.

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So cheese in basket I turned to join the queue that snaked around the entire building, my heart sank. People were being crafty and joining the queue as soon as they entered the shop, leaving one person waiting and one person whizzing around collecting items. I was on my own. I considered asking the nice lady at the checkouts if I could sit on the floor with my basket and wait the same as everyone else. By now my hands were shaking noticeably, which makes me look like I need a drink a bit too much. The thought of explaining was just too much. If only we had a blue badge on our person to explain that we cannot stand for long periods or may have to leave urgently. I don’t mind waiting my turn but I cannot stand up!

So I put on my best smile and made friends with the people in the queue. The family in front were adorable and straight out of a post from ‘overheard in Waitrose’. ‘Please mummy, may I have the Panettone?’ We all giggled as they compared it to Morrisons. My faves though were the family who had been beside me at the cheese counter. The gentleman wore a sporting navy bow tie and the woman loved my basket technique of put it on the floor and move it with your feet. In fact I started a trend and soon the whole queue was doing it!

Oh Spoonie Problems!

It’s funny when things crop up…

… just as you needed them.

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I’m having a terrible time mentally, physically and emotionally at the moment. I just don’t seem to be able to hold things together.

It’s having a real impact on every area of my life including work, income and relationships.

Never has the autoimmune community of various groups meant so much. Just hearing and chatting with others in the same place is so important.

For those who are looking for support or like minded people here are some links:

Spoons and hugs x

Party pooper

Tonight I put on my party face and feet and lasted almost 2 hours before the tummy aches I’ve been getting returned. I hate the fact the illness rules my life and destroys relationships.

One big feel sorry for my self. I’m scared I can’t eat Christmas dinner because everytime I eat I’m in so much pain.

💔😭

Bed Days Sofa Days

urbanoutfitters.com
urbanoutfitters.com
urbanoutfitters.com

Bed and sofa days are a serious feature of Spoonie life. So I thought I’d put some things together to help survive them. I was inspired by a Buzzfeed list of all things! I do love a good list and this one was titled: 19 Insanely Cozy Accessories That Will Make You Never Want To Leave Your Bed

So it got me thinking, as a bed expert, what are the top things you recommend for a bed day? So I asked some of my fellow spoonies, here’s what they said:

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urbanoutfitters.com

Zoe: “Clean PJs, dreadful rom com films (friends call it the heart break hotel collection), colouring in book. Dark days, planning small adventures for the good days! Baking, I find this really therapeutic (not a great combo with steroids!). Crafting, small projects that can be finished easily. Going to a tea shop with good friends and family. Just a small outing to make me feel like I have achieved something with my day, for me that’s important! “

Zoe works in the Arts and is a Myositis fighter. To find out more visit www.myositis.org.uk
Follow Zoe on Instagram

Kim Joonsoo / Via enpundit.com
Kim Joonsoo / Via enpundit.com

Katie: “An extra duvet as a pillow always makes bed days more enjoyable for me. And keeping an array of boxes of cereal by the bed! Cereal helps everything”

Katie is currently studying for her MA in screen writing, works on and off with us a Wide Eyed Theatre, is a talented poet, and makes costumes. All this and she lives with Lupus plus overlaps.

urbanoutfitters.com
urbanoutfitters.com

Helen: “Fave teddy bears. Little book of inspiration / fave quotes. My mini-craft box with ‘easy’ / children’s activities in. Clean snugly blanket. Radio 4 iPlayer tuned to satire”

Helen is a trained Reflexologist and knows all about the art of relaxation and understands chronic pain. This is her page.

forever21.com
forever21.com

Nick: “A onesie, Netflix and a Tardis stress ball usually does the trick. I always try and write as well…. I’ve got a book of writing stimuli and I try and use that to take my mind elsewhere, to varying success. And my cats are very good for those sorts of days – boundless energy that you can’t help but be drawn into!”

Nick is an actor, performer, writer and facilitator. His webpage is here.

modcloth.com
modcloth.com

Pete: “Giant bean bags are really good for sitting yourself up. Midget gems. Aimlessly browsing Instagram. Usually when I’m having a bad day I can’t really breathe much so good music or good films rather than just staring into middle distance is always good… Apparently a strong coffee is good for my lungs which is as much excuse as I need there (just don’t tell my cardiologist!). Oh yeah, forgot to mention cats are excellent company in the small hours

Pete is an ace photographer and his work can be viewed here. Or follow Pete on Instagram.

urbanoutfitters.com
urbanoutfitters.com

Cassy: Endless cat memes. Clean duvet/blanket. Whatever food you fancy. Back to back episodes of American crime dramas. The Buddify meditation app. Browsing on Etsy. Bubble baths. Podcasts. Fluffy socks.

Cassy is a creative blogger and her blog provides an excellent distraction on bed days. You can read her blog here. Or follow Cassy on Instagram. She’s a busy bee and a super fighter of chronic illness.

urbanoutfitters.com
urbanoutfitters.com

And last but not least my spoonie sister Sarie: drawing strange things (when I can), youtube video binging (tutorials and vlogs), A duvet and extra comfy pillows, Clean bed sheets and pyjamas, Cake and tea, Comfort food like beans on toast, Hot water bottles, fresh air if i can get it, Pain killers, doggy hugs, blog writing, friend chatting, listening to woman’s hour or good podcasts, sketchbooking, list writing, cooking good food, heat packs, being surrounded with good objects, not feeling guilty (trying to remind myself of things- again list making is good for this), enjoying small tiny bits and remembering not to compare my self and my achievements/non achievements to others. Remembering that good enough is another persons great. Reading good things (love rainbow rowell & sarra manning books). More pet hugs!

Sarie lives in Barcelona where she is an illustrator and designer. Her webpage is here

urbanoutfitters.com
urbanoutfitters.com

So the top 5 bed day essentials seem to be…

  1. Clean, fresh comfy duvets with lots of snuggling potential
  2. Snacks that are good for you and easily on hand
  3. Distracting your brain whether it be through movies, books or activities or keeping creative with crafts, baking and writing, whatever you can manage.
  4. Treating yourself. If that means a nice cup of tea and some chocolate or a super bubbly bath. Guilt free as you need it
  5. Pets and fellow Spoonies: for hugs, moans, advice and to listen

 

Thanks to all my lovely, talented and courageous friends.

Please leave a comment if you have further suggestions.