Thursday, 27 February 2014

Going Loco...

I'm going to go on a moan here and say that I hate the fact that when my anxiety and depression acts up, my UC also begins to flare.

Perhaps it's the other way around.

Thinking about it - it is the other way around. Or it certainly feels like that.

The first sign of blood and, even if my brain is already on a downward spiral, it just plummets.

It totally sucks.

Then I read this in a Harvard Medical School publication (that sounds so much better than 'I found this on the internet'!)

"The brain has a direct effect on the stomach. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system."

 So basically either my depression is causing my UC symptoms. Or, my UC is causing my depression.

That's doesn't really help me but it's nice to know that when I get to the bottom of one of my diseases, the other one should stop causing me so much bother, too. Something to be positive about - that's a silver lining.

I also saw this really interesting post and it was just so true...

It sucks for me but I completely admit that it must suck hugely for my loved ones, too.

Hopefully I can bounce back and get back to 'normal' soon.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Knees bent, arms stretch, Ra! Ra! Ra!

I saw this on Pinterest the other day and it made me laugh.

When I went to find out who the image should be credited to, I found that this is an actual clinic in Canada! Brilliant! I laughed even more.

My mum has a sign above her kitchen door that says this:

Something else that makes me laugh every time I read it.

I then decided that I wanted to find out why we Brits call it the Hokey Cokey while everyone else seems to call it the Hokey Pokey.

Personally, I think that Hokey Pokey sounds a little naughty. I can almost hear the Benny Hill theme tune when someone says it!

Hokey Cokey on the other hand (left or right, in or out) sounds perfectly normal of course!

I couldn't really find out - nobody's really sure by all accounts. But when I found the words I was transported back to a simpler, childhood time.

So, for anyone having a bad day or just wanting to smile, I decided to post the words.

You put your [left leg] in,
Your [left leg] out:
In, out, in, out.
Shake it all about.
Do the hokey cokey,
And you turn around.
That's what it's all about! Hey!

Whoa, hokey cokey, cokey.
Whoa, hokey cokey, cokey.
Whoa, hokey cokey, cokey.
Knees bent arms stretch,
Ra! Ra! Ra!

Hope that makes you smile and if not, head over to You Tube and get that song stuck in your head!

For anyone with PTSD or a childhood trauma associated with the Hokey Cokey - my apologies!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Miss Tilly...

In my life my family have had three dogs: Misty, Pepper and Rosie.

When I decided to get Miss Tilly, I would have (and did) swear up and down that I knew what it took to look after a dog. I knew what I needed to know and I was ready - it would be a breeze.

I suspect now that this kind of thinking is akin to someone reading a parenting manual and deciding that they are an expert in having and rearing children.

Erm, no.

Miss Tilly is a bundle of fun, excitement, annoyance, love, energy, joy, dirt - I could go on.

I love her to pieces but I have to admit that she tests the patience at times. I still wouldn't swap her for the world but I would quite like to go back in time and slap my smug self who said she knew what she was doing.

Note to self - I don't know what I'm doing!

My biggest problem is being mad. Not getting mad but staying mad.

How are you supposed to be mad, get angry and mete out discipline when you get this thrown in your face each and every time?

It's a skill, I tell you.

The other way in which punishment can be avoided is by being too darn funny. Miss Tilly can turn on the humour when she spots that she might be in a sticky situation.

There you stand, mid-rant when she excuses herself to, em, well, lick her bits. You can do little but laugh at that lack of respect.

She also manages to choose the most ridiculous items to run away with. She stole several of my canes out of the shed (for supporting plants before anyone assumes anything that they shouldn't!). One by one, she plucked them from the shed, running out each time and hiding them at the back of the garden. The fact that they were easily three times the length of her made it too funny to chastise her. God help me when it comes time to plant up my veggies this year.

That event was also mirrored when I decided to put soil in some pots ready for starting some seeds this week. I put the soil in a number of pots and then decided to move them all to a place where they wouldn't be blown away in the dregs of the coming storm. I took a couple over to the shelter, returned only to find two of the remaining pots were tumbled and the soil trickled all over the patio. Confused, I picked them up, scooped up the soil and took a further two over to the shelter. Returning again the same had happened - more pots turned over and more soil all over everything. Then I saw the culprit sitting pretty on the grass beside the patio. Miss Tilly bounded up to me and looked so happy to have helped me with my game. She jumped up with her muddy paws and kissed me with her muddy mouth. Humour and affection abounded - I would tell her off the next time! Honestly I would.

But the next time was this:

And she didn't get into trouble here either. I mean, could you discipline this face?

Didn't think so.

So I'll have a terror for a dog. But a cute terror.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Non V-Day Cookies...

As I mentioned previously, a fan of Valentine's Day I ain't.

Having said that... as one of my resolutions to enjoy my life, I decided to celebrate all of the holidays that I don't normally celebrate. Some, because I just haven't done so. And some because I have absolutely no right to be celebrating them (mainly because I'm not Mexican, Jewish, American and etc).

When I say celebrate, what I really mean is make some yummy food decorated in the style of the holiday in question. To me, there's something about food that brings people together and makes people happy. A lot of my happiest family memories go hand in hand with tasty treats.

All of the above is just an attempt to not come across like a hypocrite when I show you the crunchy, glittery cookies I made for Valentine's Day.

The cookies themselves are a simple, buttery, crunchy biscuit iced with a pinky red icing and some edible glitter. They were delish although they didn't last long unfortunately!!

I'm not really sure why I'm calling them cookies rather than biscuits. Adding a touch of glamour to the proceedings, perhaps?!

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Returns...

It's time to sew, people!

I've always had the inclination and now that I have the time, the return of The Great British Sewing Bee tomorrow night is fantabulously well timed for me.

When I saw the advert saying series 2 was coming soon, I was tempted to immediately get on the phone or email to my mum to share the exciting news. Oh the excitement! Then I stopped, stepped back and realised that it was unlikely that anyone, mum especially, would appreciate being called or emailed by a half-crazed, over excited wannabe sewer, in the last half hour of the day. As it turns out, she was up too, but I wasn't taking the risk of wrath!

My second reaction was that I was excited once again to see what projects Stuart, Ann, Lauren and the rest would come up with this time. And... then I realised that the same people won't be there - it'll be shiny, new and unknown people this time. I'm both suspicious and intrigued - change must work to convince me that it's for good! ;)

So, what will this second series make me dust off and start sewing?

I have the pieces cut out for a pair of dark grey culottes. They got put onto the back burner (not really, that would be dangerous!) due to my inability to thread my previous sewing machine without inviting my mum over to my house to do it for me!

Then I got a scrumptious new sewing machine for my Christmas and we're good to go.

Here's my pretty sewing machine that will now be known as Lexi (she's an LX17!).

So now these lovely culottes will be mine to own and wear. I'll update you when I'm done (which should hopefully shame me into completing them sooner rather than later!).

Or perhaps I'll just watch the Great British Sewing Bee and sew vicariously through the contestants!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

I Don't Like Valentine's Day

I'm going to tell you a secret that no single girl should admit...

*whispers* I don't like Valentine's Day!

No, seriously... I guess the heading might have given me away!

It's not shameful to not like Valentine's Day; I know many couples that eschew the festivities. But I'm not part of a couple.

I AM ALONE. (Wow - how much bitterness can capital letters convey?! ;) )

My aloneness makes my dislike of V Day take on spinster proportions.

"You only dislike it because you are sad and lonely."

"Once a man snaps you up you'll enjoy it."

"You're just bitter that you're alone on the most romantic day of the year."
But it's just not true.

If not having a boyfriend at this time of year is more annoying than at other times - for me, it's surely because when I'm part of a couple, I can dislike V Day without anyone saying anything about it.

As much as I adore love and romance - the thought of someone being romantic because they're told to because it's a certain day is too cringey for me. I'd be mortified. I'd much rather have a spontaneous box of chocolates, box of chocolates, fluffy teddy bear or box of chocolates on any other/every other day of the year.

Actually, to be honest, I'd rather have a book!

And if anyone even thought about proposing to me on 14th February then I would have to say no out of principle!

Perhaps I should put that on a dating website - Girl looking for a guy. I don't need anything for Valentine's Day so no pressure!

So this is just a post where I stand up and say...

I'm single and I don't like Valentine's Day.

Don't judge me! :D

Saturday, 15 February 2014

A Cheeky Chin

Following on from yesterday's post about my super-duper fitness regime - I decided to share one of my before photos.

Why? Because I'm not actually sure that anything will make a difference to my cheeky chin/neck area so it might get ditched in the big 'ta-da' reveal photo blog! My mum says it's just my face shape and someone could no more change a square jaw than I can make a difference to my round face. But I'm going to give it a try by doing some hilarious chin exercises (seriously - google it if you're ever feeling down) and see if, any differences are made.

The downside of posting this is that I draw attention to it. It's like when someone says to you - can you notice my big nose, giant spot, big hair, ripped tights, giant booger, missing teeth...? And then you notice it and can look at nothing else when you see that person.

And then I realised that I'm an introvert and don't like people. So it became less of a problem.

But if I see someone looking at me strangely in the street I'll know what they've been reading!

On that slightly stalkerish statement - I will show the picture and leave.

Oh - the red lines surround the bit o' chin that I will be tackling thusly.

If only photoshop worked in real life... hmmmm.

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Before Photo...

Today I have taken 'the before' photo.

That being the photo that I will hopefully display alongside my 'ta-da' photo after I have completed my planned fitness regime.

A planned fitness regime? Sounds serious.

Well, it is and it isn't.

A couple of years ago I lost a couple of stone to get down to my "ideal" weight. I have since crept back up to what I call my 'resting weight'. This is the weight that seems to be my norm when I'm not doing any extra activities and while eating what I want. It's not a bad weight to be and I'm fairly happy with my body. I say fairly and that word is definitely key.

The dreaded BMI scale says that I'm a couple of pounds from being overweight. Even when I was ridiculously ill and got down to single figures with my weight, it still said that I had a few pounds to go until I was 'ideal'. Pffft.

I know a lot of people say that the fashion industry and media put a lot of pressure on people to have an (unrealistically) "perfect" body. While I don't disagree - I'm going to suggest that the 'health' industry are as equally responsible for making people feel badly if they don't conform to the rules.

BMI doesn't take into account body shape, skeletal structure and I feel it could lead people to feel like they need to lose weight even if they are perfectly healthy.

Don't eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day? Shame on you - bad human!

Aren't you doing 30 minutes of exercise every day? You're going to get this disease, that disease - blah, blah, blah.

I'm not saying that eating fruit and veg or doing exercise are wrong (I am saying that the BMI scale is wrong, in case you're wondering!) but if you have to shame people into doing things then surely there's something wrong.

Which leads me to my current dilemma - I have fitness fear!

Before I got Tilly, I thought to myself that if I could just tone up my tummy and lose the flabby chin then I'd be happy enough with my body. Having been outside to play with the energizer puppy, I have realised that I am SO out of shape.

I can hardly run around for more than 10 seconds without having to stop and catch my breath. I suddenly realised what people have been saying (on Pinterest, where else?) that fit is the new skinny.

It doesn't matter a jot if you're a skinny minny or a chunky monkey - if you can't run around with your puppy (or child, hamster, whatever...) for more than 10 seconds then you're not fit!

Okay, fine - I've just looked on Pinterest and it's actually 'strong is the new skinny'. Too bad - I've changed it for fit. I don't need to be strong! :)

So I'm ready to start getting fit when I realise - where on earth do I begin?

I googled, Pinterested and searched through my magazine cuttings about healthy things that I've collected over the years (obviously in preparation for this very moment, years later!). It got too much!

Should I stretch for the splits? Do I want that beach bum? The toned arms? Pert booty? Get rid of that muffin top? (Muffins - mmmmm!) Should I do cardio? Stretching? Running? Swimming?

Oh good lord - I don't know!!!

So I decided to do something that every health blogger suggested was vital - I had a rest day. Actually, I've had a few. I rock at rest days.

Then I realised that I'm as bad as the BMI people (I've decided there must be an evil BMI organisation somewhere filled with evil BMI people), the health people and the media - putting FAR too much pressure on myself to be 'perfect' and have all the perfect bits. And bobs if you're a boy.

So the plan - there's no plan.

  • I'm going to take Tilly for walks. 
  • I'm going to run about with her in the garden.
  • I'm going to run up and down the steps in my garden while waiting for Tilly to do her business.
  • I've already compiled a list of my favourite tunes and I'm going to dance like a lunatic to them when I get the chance.
  • I'm going to ride my exercise bike when the notion takes me.
  • I'm going to get awesome at the hula hoop (the plastic variety - not the crisps!)

I'm pretty much just going to mince about, trying to add exercise to my life and not put too much pressure on myself.

Hopefully, by the time Tilly has calmed down, I'll be able to keep up with her as if she hadn't.

Maybe by summer I'll share the 'before' and 'ta-da' photos. We'll see. No pressure.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

New Blog Header

I've been playing about with my blog header for a while now (which if you've visited more than once in the last week, you will realise was left in a state of disrepair as I couldn't be bothered to fire up my old computer and find more photos!).

But now it's done.

Ta da!

I thought it might be fun to explain the photos in the header...

Snowy Tree
I took this photo in my local park which is at the bottom of the street I live on. It was early morning and I had the whole park to myself as I trudged through the snow to my parents house. It was peaceful, beautiful and I snapped the photo on the spur of the moment so I was thrilled it came out so well. I decided to use this photo to remind me of the peace and tranquility you can find close by.


Double Biscuits
I enjoy baking and made these scrummy double biscuits at some point in the past. It's likely they didn't survive the day!


My Rosie. We had her for 10 years and I will love her forever.


I am a novice gardener and enjoy pottering about. There's something about these terracotta pots of herbs that sit on the steps outside my back door that make me happy.


Harewood House
This is Harewood House in Yorkshire. This place was amazing and I'm definitely going to set my romance novel here. Visiting historic places, especially houses, is something I very much enjoy.

Crazy Tilly. She's 13 weeks old as I write this and she's already changed my life so much!


I have so much craft stuff and it's definitely something that I want to do more of.

This is me! I'm sitting in a window seat, reading a romance and staring out onto the quiet countryside. This, to me, is bliss. Now, if only that was my house!!


Keep Calm
The last one is a hot steaming mug of tea (milk, no sugar, please) in a pretty mug. I'm chilling on my couch in my comfy trews while watching the TV. I'll bet there's a book not too far from me, either. Happiness.

So that's my header and what the photos represent. Hopefully they show what kind of things that I'll be blogging about here from now on!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Don't Change...

I saw this quote this morning when I was doing my daily (hourly?) trawl through Pinterest.

I just love it.

I love it.

I need to have this tattooed on my brain.

So with that in mind, I'm going to list a few things that I don't tend to tell people for fear that I'll be judged from one group or another!

  • I like doing jigsaw puzzles.
  • I love trashy TV shows like The Real Housewives and Jersey Shore.
  • I'd love to be a housewife. I mean a real housewife, not like those on the TV!
  • I prefer books to people.
  • I'm scared of horror films. I mean terrified. I can't even watch the adverts.
  • I like Star Wars and Star Trek.
  • I adore cuddly toys and I still treat them as if they are alive. Try and convince me they're not!
  • I don't like 'fancy' foods. All these frou frou flavours - not for me.
  • Anything you say to me will be disected at length when I'm alone.
  • Small talk exhausts me. Sometimes I need to be alone to recharge.
  • I prefer animals to people.
  • I sometimes pretend not to know or understand things so I don't upset other people or come across as a know-it-all.
  • I worry so much about what other people think of me that my mind never shuts off.
  • I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • I don't drink alcohol.
  • I love musicals.
  • I've never seen the film Titanic.
  • I don't like what I look like but don't have the willpower to change.
  • I worry more about other people than I do about myself (and I seriously worry about myself!)
  • I'd prefer to stay in than go out.
  • I don't have many (any?) friends.
  • Chatting online (even emailing) is just as horrible for me as conversing in real life!
Okay, this is getting a wee bit upsetting for me now so I'm going to stop.

But that's me - warts and all.

I've just realised something - I've got to be the real me and love the real me, too.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

More Conversations with Tilly...

Just over six weeks in and things continue to be, well, strange regarding with my dealings with Tilly.

I find myself moving into the role of grown up - a real grown up - where I am the disciplinarian and the person that always says no. It's disconcerting and I feel rather like a giant stick in the mud. Is this what happens when you become a parent?

On the other hand, my mum and dad have taken on the role of "the indulgent ones" who spoil and rile Tilly up and send her back to me. I feel there might be some sort of payback going on here. It's definitely suspicious!

And there continue to be more conversations with Tilly of a strange and disturbing nature as evidenced below:

"Well, em, I really don't know what I'm supposed to say about this..."

Said to Tilly when I discovered all the heads of my snowdrops sitting neatly beside the pot of (now headless) snowdrops. All the while she looked at me with an expression that clearly said: Look what I did - are you proud? No. The answer is no, I'm not!

"Kindly stop licking the wall."

"Don't worry - it's just a prostitute!"

I had paused the telly during an episode of Cops and it just so happened to freeze frame on a *cough* lady of the night. In an appalling (yet hilariously well timed) twist of fate, the reason that I had paused the telly was because my sister had started a video chat with me and her face had just appeared onscreen. So, it may have appeared to some that I was referring to her. Oops!

"You really don't want to eat that."

Think of everything you wouldn't want to eat and things it's not possible to eat, and there's a good chance that I've said the above in reference to that object.

"Come out of the dishwasher."

No word of a lie - this has been said more than once! I'm talking full body in the dishwasher.

"It's okay, I don't like him either."

Said when Tilly ran inside in fear because my odd neighbour was being very noisy.

"If you eat him, he won't be there anymore."

Some wise words about life given to Tilly regarding the orange pony (who, like the pink pony, also no longer has a nose).

 "You're almost through to Australia, for crying out loud!"

Said in horror when I saw the extent of the hole Tilly was digging in the path.

No doubt more daft things will be said soon. I just wait for the day that she answers me back!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Frame of mind...

I always liked the following saying and I find it's so true. It's all about your outlook and frame of mind.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Life is a Rollercoaster...

I was going to call this post 'Up and Down' but then I realised that I wouldn't get that song out of my head if I did so. You know - the one from the 90s - up and down and up and down (repeat for 3 minutes 20 seconds in a techno beat). I decided to go with 'Life is a Rollercoaster' instead. A better song and not just because it has more than three words!

Anyway, that was some frivolity on a day that I just don't feel like it.

It's so frustrating when I felt so upbeat and positive the other day. Now I just feel defeated and overwhelmed. It's exhausting for me so I can't even begin to imagine how it makes those around me feel.

I don't mind having 'downs'. Well, I do - but with depression I kind of expect them and must train myself to handle them.  It's when they come so quickly after an 'up' that really upsets me. Then, I've not just got to handle the depression and all that brings, but the disappointment from myself and others that I can switch so easily between 'up' and 'down'.

If I knew how to stop it I would. Believe me.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Here come the Olympics...

I enjoy sports.

I need to make that transition between liking 'watching' sports and liking 'doing' sports - but that's for another day.

The Winter Olympics started yesterday and I have to admit that I really enjoyed the Opening Ceremony. I'm not sure if this is a change since London or if the ceremonies were always this good. I just remember sitting in front of the telly at London and thinking it was going to be, well, shite.

I probably wanted it to be. Brits like nothing more than to be pessimistic!!

But it was awesome. I loved it.

And Sochi ran a close second.

So now I can look forward to a fortnight of sports that I love and sports that I've never seen on the telly before.

I was watching the snowboarding this morning and I saw this:

A giant matryoshka!!

I actually screamed at the telly when I saw it. I adore matryoshkas and this one takes the cake.

It's HUGE!

The boarders (look at me with the lingo!) are all trying to hit in the middle of a trick. I'm not even mad because it's so fab!

I've now decided to ignore the sports and just watch so I can spot giant matryoshkas. Perhaps a trip to Sochi to liberate one might be on the cards. Don't you think one (or two) would look fab in my garden?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Being the main character...

I have felt like crying of late but it's in no way like the crying I did at my lowest point. With no job, I've been busying myself sorting out the material aspects of my life and having fun getting organised. It's been keeping me nice and busy as I take the time to get back to myself and find myself again.

It's strange that every now and again I feel tears threatening.

It bubbles up and I'm somewhat taken aback.

Probably more taken aback in that I'm feeling like crying because I'm happy.

I need to get a job as I don't have the money to continue being a lady of organisation and that is bound to put pressure on me in the very near future. However, the nightmares about my previous work have finally stopped and I find myself singing and thinking thoughts of planting tomatoes, baking and writing.

I'm happy.

It's such a mind-blowing thing. Why didn't I do this earlier?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Conversations with Tilly

Looking after Tilly is a little more exhausting than I ever suspected. Although don't get me wrong, it's also a lot of fun.

I've read so many articles about how to properly train your puppy that I feel like I'm becoming something of an expert. Having said that, whether I'm following through on the advice is another story all together.

Once piece of advice that has stuck in my mind is, "Don't speak to your dog as if they can understand English - speak in one word commands which they are more likely to understand."

Well, taking this advice, I decided to write down some of the conversations that I've been having with Tilly over the last wee while. In one word commands. Obviously.

"Goddammit - you've broken the sperm!"

Said to Tilly when she got hold of, and chewed, my house keys which sport a classy glow in the dark sperm keyring.


"Well, only one of us is going to have a pink pony nose in their poo and it sure as hell won't be me."

After Tilly ate the face of a bright pink My Little Pony.


"You don't see me eating my bed, do you?"


"I sincerely hope you're not pooing in the hall!"

Shouted from the kitchen when things went suspiciously quiet.


"Honestly - if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times - don't put your bum in my face"


"Leave my boots - eat your horse."


"You can read the book but please don't eat it."