Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs

Housework Tips

The title of this blog piece will make sense in just a minute! For now, if you struggle with housework and keeping up with your home then keep reading.

Even if you live at home with your family, friends, house mates or other students it is still hard to keep up when you are chronically or mentally ill. Of course, not every single chronically or mentally ill person isn’t automatically ticked in the category box of not being able to keep up! Some struggle, some don’t. For those of us who do, on the days we really struggle are the days where coincidentally the washing needs done or the dishes need to be washed. Some are lucky to have people around to help others do not.

I have found some things helpful at not only just after major surgeries but also for daily life of being chronically and mentally ill. Either of these are challenging enough to live with so sharing these helpful things I have found, may help you, they may not but still worth sharing! If it can help someone then that is the sole purpose of this blog.

  • Having more than one clothes dryer – this I found helpful due to the fact that you can spread your washing out more which means it dries quicker. It can also allow you to catch up on your washing on the days you are able with somewhere to put it all, which leads me to the next helpful thing!
  • A tumble dryer- not everyone can afford one but if you can save for one or get one second hand it really does give a helping hand.
  • Keeping cleaning products in the bathroom, too! – if you are an ostomate or have anything medical in your bathroom, you will know an accident is bound to happen at some point! Keeping cleaning products close by saves having to dash around looking for them.
  • Using lenor unstoppables inside your hoover or hoover bag – this keeps everywhere fresh whilst you hoover and it lasts a few days! Simply pop inside your hoover bag or hoover some up.
  • Fabulosa carpet freshener- super affordable and SUPER for carpets that need a little freshen up. Its hard work using a carpet shampooer or scrubbing carpets. It dries quickly and lasts for a few days!
  • A dishwasher – again not the most affordable thing to have. Finding room for one can be difficult too however counter top ones are available! It saves you having to stand for a long period of time washing dishes, you can pop them into the dishwasher and rest.
  • Pre cooking meals – cooking meals that are easy to store in containers can be kept in the freezer for future or in the fridge for a couple of days, meaning you don’t have to stand cooking every single day.
  • Having a washing basket divided for light and dark washing – this just makes it a little easier to pre organise your separate clothing ready to be washed.
  • Little Bin liners – a MUST have. It keeps the inside of your little bins from getting dirty and much easier to empty.

I would love to know what little tips and tricks you have that help you too! 💕

Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs

We Have Moved!

Baux and myself settled in!

It’s been a while since I gave you all an update! My laptop got completely rebooted by my friend John who used to work in a computer shop and now fixes computers etc in his spare time. So even though my laptop has been fixed you’re probably wondering why I haven’t been blogging! For the past few months we had been preparing to move so we had to clear out E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G because I had way too much stuff!

We have been in our new place a week past Sunday and we are absolutely loving it! What had drawn us to this place the most was that there was a bath and shower separate in the bathroom and there is no big garden so we hadn’t the need to to cut grass as we struggled with that at the last place. To start with at the new house I really struggled as just three days before moving I had dislocated my knee cap twice so I had this awful leg brace on and I couldn’t walk properly (it’s still causing me pain.) The bath has been absolutely lush and I have been using my bath bombs! We had another few hurdles to bypass whilst moving which included my huge bedroom wardrobe having to be taken to bits and rebuilt and other minor little things. The dogs have settled in so much better than we expected too which has been great. The best part though is not living under temporary accommodation anymore and having anyone with issues living above and also not having a party animal living above making my life an absolute hell anymore.

My health is up and down at the moment.. stomach pain has been quite intense, my reflux hasn’t been great with frequent heartburn and feeling sick, my headaches have returned again, joints are not so well and I am super exhausted. Stoma wise I have been having A LOT of bag leaks. Luckily I haven’t needed to visit the doctors since my knee dislocation but who knows how long that will last – all chronically ill people know the drill with that! Emotionally it has been a really rough ride through 2020 so far and I got to a really bad place where I really was not coping after loosing my Aunt Nina, and old school friend and an old work friend. Hopefully though this is the start of a better period of time with two friends expecting baby girls I am super excited for them to arrive!!

So for now, my time is spent playing Animal Crossing, trying to sort out the new house, resting and catching up with Family and Friends. I have been told due to my Hyper Mobility Syndrome that dislocations are very common and it will more than likely happen again (but im going to hope NOT! Its so painful.) Today it is SUPER cold so I had a shower, got back into my P+J’s, put on harry potter and my partner and his sister are baking some goodies including my favourite – chocolate sponge cake with cream!! I hope you enjoy your day ❤

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Personal Blogs

World IBD Day 2020

Today is #worldibdday! This will be a brief post as I am writing this on my phone (my laptop broke after 3 faithful years!)

Today we celebrate world IBD Day all around the world and raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. You will see many posts today of people sharing their story/journey or sharing about their loved ones who suffer from IBD! Share the love, ask any questions you are interested to know the answer to and share!

Many amazing charities now exist to help those with IBD or ostomates! The three charities that have helped me SO much with support over the years is: GetYourBellyOut, The Purple Wings Charity and IBD Superheros – all of which have various social medias and facebook groups.

Today for me, I celebrate the friends/family I have met due to sharing our illnesses in common – including my fiance! There are SO many that I could not live without and life really would not be the same without them. So this is a shout out to all my IBD besties who make life worth living, the bad days better and the littlest of things the funniest even when they have been so unwell and in pain themselves!

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Uncategorized

The Blue Badge Scheme

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The Blue Badge scheme is a disabled parking permit but more commonly known as a disabled badge. This is where a blue badge is visible in your vehicle window to allow you or the person transporting you to park in disabled parking spaces.

How to qualify?

I’m asked this question quite frequently, as recent as just last month. It’s difficult to know if you are eligible and how to get one so I gathered my information and will pop it down below (please note that some councils policies on your eligibility can differ so always consult them):

  • If you are under the age of 16 and have a letter confirming your eligibility from your visual impairment team (eye care specialists.)
  • if you are 16 or over and you are registered as visually impaired.
  • if you are receiving the higher rate of mobility component from DLA (Disability Living Allowance.)
  • if you are receiving PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and have scored 8 or more points in the ‘moving around’ in the assessment.
  • if you are receiving PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and have scored 12 points or more for the ‘planning and following a journey’ in the assessment.
  • If you are receiving ‘war pensioners’ mobility supplement.
  • if you have gotten a ‘lump sum payment’ from tariffs 1-8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

If you have any of the above then you automatically qualify for a Blue Badge! If you don’t then click here where you can do an eligibility assessment online. You will need your national insurance number for this if you have one.

How to apply?

You can apply directly through the link up above or you can call your local council and request this to be done on your behalf over the phone and then visit your local council with documents to prove your identity, address and proof of benefits you are currently receiving such as :

  • a utility bill
  • passport
  • drivers license
  •  birth certificate
  • council tax bill or government letter
  • letters from DWP of your current benefits
  • a recent passport sized photograph (for the badge)

Once you have done this, the process time is usually 12 weeks but depending on your local council it could be a little longer, they will email you to let you know! How you pay and how much you pay also depends on who and where is your council for example in Scotland it is £20 and in England it is £10 and for wales its completely free.

What are the benefits of having a Blue Badge?

Having a Blue Badge can be very beneficial if you are disabled such as parking at on street parking meters, parking in pay and displays, parking at disabled parking spaces and on single and double yellow lines if there are no loading restrictions (all of these are completely free!) This does not apply when parking at shopping centre car parks, hospital car parks (if they charge) and super markets (if they charge.) You can also use your badge all over the UK and abroad, in England and Wales you must use a parking clock.

Displaying your Blue Badge

It is important to display your Blue Badge so that when near your vehicle, someone can see it clearly from outside the vehicle and the front of the badge must be facing upwards showing the name of your local council.

If you have any issues with losing your badge or it has been stolen please contact your local council ASAP to get this resolved. Please also note that giving your Blue Badge to someone who is not entitled to one or is not helping you can be charged with committing a blue badge fraud and fined up to £1000 EVEN if they are family or friends. DO NOT buy your blue badge anywhere online where it states the price is £49 as there are SO many fraud websites scamming people and are fake. If you get a fake blue badge you are also at risk of being fined up to £1000.

I hope you found this useful in answering your questions about the Blue Badge Scheme!

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, ostomy fashion, Stoma Wear Brands

Ostomy Fashion – Best Buys

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Many ostomates dress differently due to two things; fear of the bag showing and losing confidence. I asked some ostomates their favourite pieces of clothing to wear when dressing with a stoma, at an affordable price, as let’s face it – we aren’t made of money! (Picture above, I got my dress from SHEIN for £15!)

I admit, when I first became an ostomate back in 2015, it was summer and I had no clue what to wear (I was just 20 years young at that time.) I was fearful of my bag showing, my scars being visible and I lacked all that confidence I once had before I got severely  unwell. I am here to tell you that you CAN wear whatever you want or feel like wearing – whether you want your bag to be concealed or on show! There are two of my favourite ostomy wear companies that you can get briefs that hold your bag in place such as Vanilla Blush which focuses on being sexy at the same time, and for hernia support there is Comfizz which are more practical than sexy but work excellent!

If you are a new ostomate reading this, welcome! Here you will find some great buys from fellow ostomates and hope that this helps you. Feel free to get in touch should you need any more advice! It is a lot to take in, but take it day by day and relax, cus’ we got you covered in the clothing department <3.

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First up we have the lovely Amy also known as the IBDWarriorPrincess who is also my friend and a blogger for Comfizz! “My Style since getting a stoma has changed, but for the better. Now because I can maintain my weight and actually go out. I look forward to going clothes shopping and dressing in the clothes that I love! I swear by high waisted garments because they don’t restrict my ostomy or stop it from it’s normal functions. My favourite go-to outfit is a tight top and a skater skirt, especially on the days where my stoma is more active!” This Jumpsuit was just £12 from Newlook.

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Nicola also known as Beauty and The Bag, is not afraid to have her own sense of style with her ostomy! As a mum of 7 she looks fantastic! “I get pretty much all of my clothes from boohoo and absolutely love the styles I can create! I don’t dress around my stoma or try to hide it.. I wear whatever I feel good in and I like to look a little unique and stand out.”

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Lisa who has her own ostomy fashion instagram account lisakateostomate, sharing other ostomy fashion and bargain buys! Lisa has really struggled recently due to being on steroids to try and help her Chronic Illnesses with her weight, but doesn’t she look amazing! ” Always have shopped at primark, quiz and new look. My go to shops for my clothes and they’re all true to size. I’m usually a 12-14.” We think you look lovely whatever size you are Lisa.

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Jess is no stranger to an ostomy as this isn’t her first once after a failed J-Pouch! Jess finally got the chance to dress up for new year this year after being in hospital on and off for the past few months. This dress is from I Saw It First retailer at £25. She also has an instagram account that you can follow her – jessgoldstraw.

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Sandie loves her comfy trousers which she bought from TK Maxx at just £19.99! “I have made many purchases but I am so glad (more so) on the purchase of these trousers which got me through the first few weeks after surgery.” And I agree definitely a bargain buy!  You can follow Sandie on twitter – sandicookartist.

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Sophie who is a mother of one and is the face behind the ostomy clothing brand I Am Denim London models her own jeans here. Now these are on the higher range of ostomy wear so these do cost a little bit more. These jeans I would really recommend for those of you have a higher stoma! This includes men too! These are currently on sale at £75. Perfect for keeping you ostomy concealed if you are self conscious too (they have a waistband inside that is adapted so you can still empty your pouch without having to undress!)

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Last of all is my bargain buy! These ex Zara jeans I got on ebay for £6.99! I have a low stoma so these cause me no issues on rubbing on the stoma or when my bag fills up. They are super stretchy and soft. I have no issues having my stoma on show or hidden, however when wearing jumpsuits or dresses, I do wear my Vanilla Blush briefs to keep everything in place!  You can follow my instagram – glitterygutsx 

Let me know what your bargain buys are OR your favourite outfit with a stoma! Feel free to tag me on social media so I can share with the rest of my followers!

Thank You to the girls who participated in this blog piece, in hope to help new and old ostomates!

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Personal Blogs

BBC Radio Brain waves

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After talking with the lovely Pennie from BBC Radio Scotland, we had a cuppa at my home and recorded some conversations on topics for the Brainwaves Podcast edition for Series 7 in 2020.

In Pennie’s Brainwaves series, she explores the science behind our everyday experiences and shares this with scientists who work in Scotland. The first series which started in 2014, covers topics such as Edinburgh Science Festival, Obesity Figures in Scotland. Series 2 covers topics such as how sounds affect people, meeting and talking with scientists and professors and meeting Karen Vousden, director of Cancer Research. Series 3 covers topics such as Biometrics, The Psychology of Cheating, Donating your body to science and The Flu virus. Series 4 covers topics such as The Northern Lights, Antimicrobial Resistance and the Anatomy of a stroke. Series 5 covers topics such as The problem with plastic, The Invisible Disease and Child Tissue Donation. Series 6 which covers various topics such as Food For Thought, Street Drugs and Pain.

Series 7 which is set to be released early 2020, is currently being recorded. Subjects include a shocking insight into the prevalence of perinatal PTSD, a real eye opener on what might be the next big environmental pollution issue plus a few good, bad and ugly facts about fat.

I am VERY excited for you all to hear our one which covers many subjects! When it is published, I will make sure to update you all!

 

 

Life With A Stoma, recipes

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

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This week was started of by making Cauliflower cheese soup!

I absolutely love cauliflower cheese but I digest Cauliflower much better when it is in a soup, blended. I know many people with a stoma or Inflammatory Bowel Disease have the same issue so I thought this was a nice recipe to share. Many dietitians recommend a high fibre diet so if you are on a high fibre diet this could benefit you!

This is a lovely comfort food soup if you aren’t enjoying a high fibre diet or have limited foods within that diet that you can eat. It is creamy, cheesy and full of flavour!

For this recipe, you need:

  • 2 peeled potatoes
  • half tub of double cream
  • 2 bags of mature cheddar
  • 700ml (or to your taste) of vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cauliflowers
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • butter for cooking the onion
  • 400ml milk

Firstly, cook the onions in butter then add chopped cauliflower, potato, milk and vegetable stock.

Simmer for 30 minutes (or until really soft) then add in cheese, cream and seasoning.

Boil at heat mark 4 for one hour and then blend to how you like!

And that’s it! Simple and prep/cook time is super quick.

 

 

 

Life With A Stoma, Personal Blogs, recipes

Stoma Friendly Bread and Butter Pudding

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Having a stoma can be difficult when you can no longer eat the foods that you once loved, if that means either you are unsure about eating them or simply you have found you cannot eat it from your trial and errors food list. Bread and butter pudding is my most favourite dish and has been since I was little as my mum used to make me it on a cold winter day.

I found a new way to still enjoy this dish without having to eat sultanas as they make my stoma terribly sore and give me a blockage. Sultanas are what gives this dish the most flavour complimenting the cinnamon and nutmeg, here’s how:

For this recipe, you need;

  • 1 tub of double cream
  • 25g of caster sugar
  • milk
  • 2 eggs
  • sultanas
  • bread
  • butter
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • one oven dish

After cutting the bread in half, making triangle shapes, butter just the top and put into the dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and repeat this process until you are happy with the depth of bread.

When combining the cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, put in the sultanas and warm on the heat setting 4 for 15 minutes then bring to boil on heat setting 6 for 5-10 minutes. This part sounds a little messy however it isn’t so messy! Take a potato masher and squeeze down the sultanas until they are a mushy consistency.

Mix the two eggs with sugar together and whisk until they are a pale colour. Take a sieve and pour the contents of the pan with your sultanas into the sieve over the egg and sugar mix and squash out all the juices with a spoon until no more comes out, then dispose of the sultanas.

Mix these together and pour over your bread triangles in the oven proof dish and leave to sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes put into the oven at 180 degrees for another 30 minutes.

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Add some cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Life With A Stoma, Personal Blogs

5 Years Today I Was No Longer Homeless!

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Today, five years ago I finally got the keys to my permanent home after being in homeless accommodation for 7 months. Aberdeenshire Council were so helpful in finding me a permanent home and I am still to this day very grateful. The rent was crazy expensive at almost £90 per week in homeless accommodation, so by the time it was time to move I was in quite a bit of debt.

I moved in on the 16 of October 2014 and had no idea just what was about to happen just a few months later. By January 2015 I fell gravely ill and was hospitalised with the biggest Crohn’s flare I had ever had from contracting a bacteria called Campylobacter. From January until June 2015 I spent those months in and out of hospital and at the beginning of June, I had surgery to have a stoma placed and my entire large bowel removed due to sepsis. It was stressful as I wasn’t in my new home for very long at periods of time and when I was able to go home, I spent some weekends at my mums just to avoid having to do anything tiring like changing my bed or lifting a kettle. Again this repeated in September where my rectal stump had become septic and I needed that removed too. The operation was the easiest one I have had and I got home just three days later.. until the wound got infected.

For a few years I struggled with the infections, losing blood, vomiting, pain and fatigue. My home changed over the years from colour, furniture, flooring etc but I really struggled to have a feel of the house being ‘home’. I struggled financially and was never happy with what I had because it was all I could afford at the time and I wasn’t able to upcycle anything due to being so poorly. However now sitting here in my comfy, cosy bed on a lovely Autumn night I am really beginning to love what I have achieved. Most things have been left to break before replacing them such as kitchen essentials. Slowly I have been replacing the old with the new and making it fresh and bright. All I have to replace now is the dressing table! As it is fast approaching to winter the garden will have to be redone nearer summer time.

I have paid all my debts off that I had from back then but of course we know that life is not cheap!

I have also learnt that you really don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy things in life. A wedding doesn’t need to be so expensive that you spend the rest of your life paying it off or for a honeymoon that will really break the bank. Special days, memories and moments can be priceless and cost not one penny. When you are chronically ill, the littlest things can mean the most and we appreciate life as it is.

Being in a happy home that feels like home is something not everyone is so lucky to have and I think that makes us appreciate it even more.

Awareness, Life With A Stoma

Purple Wings Ostomy Calendar

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Earlier this year, back in March, I took part in a photoshoot with The Purple Wings Charity and some other lovely women for the Ladies Ostomy Calendar for 2020! This photo is of all of together after our individual photos with the lovely women from The Purple Wings Charity, Lauren and Paige.

I flew down from Scotland on the friday and stayed until the sunday and flew back home on the Sunday too. Louise A.K.A Crohnsfighting was a super ostomy Mom and picked me up from the Airport! The weather stayed good too.

It was such a lovely day! All of us ladies got to meet and have a chat and had our makeup done by the lovely Jasmine Stacey (you may remember her from her ostomy underwear line The Jasmine Stacey Collection), beautifully made buffet food which I definitely had too much of! and then we had our photoshoots done by Lisa the photographer who was so relaxed and kept everyone super calm as a lot of us were quite nervous!

Here are a few of my favourites from the photoshoot;

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If you would like to do it for next year or any of the years to come, go for it! It has given us ladies a much needed confidence boost and it’s an opportunity of a life time, full of memories I will never forget!