Sunday 30 September 2012

Shall I grow my monobrow?

Mike’s back tomorrow, he’s only been gone a fortnight but I’m as excited as ever!

I have this ritual that I clean the house, cook a requested meal and make sure that I’m plucked, dyed, shaved, buffed and painted to perfection, so he comes home and thinks “yeah there’s a reason I keep coming back”. Some of you may think this is very 1950’s housewife but I do not care!

Today is eyebrows, moustache and nails; tomorrow morning will be dedicated to the rest. It’s hard work maintaining this bod especially when throwing up in between!

Cupcake Nails by my Sister Nicola

Don’t get me wrong I do all of the above even when Mike’s away I’m not some Neanderthal woman all stubble and split ends and I certainly don’t work hard on my appearance just for Mike; it’s mainly for me and my self confidence.

Self confidence is such a delicate thing, mine especially, I spend a silly amount time doing my face and hair every morning because people still comment that “you look nice for someone in that (wheelchair)” or “Wow your quite pretty for disabled person” or my utter favourite being when a young lad kissed his teeth and declared that I was “a fit unable”.

It’s not as if us disabled folk think “Oh well, my legs are buggered so I’ll let my monobrow grow out!”

On Friday alone night I’d borrowed my sister Nicola’s curlers to only look like an electrocuted scarecrow in search of those wavy effortless curls my sister sports... effortless my arse!

But imagine being a celebrity all that attention on your hair colour and size of your thighs, my internal critic is enough let alone other people printing my flaws.

One of my favourite bloggers the Beautiful Betty Bee wrote a wonderful piece on the Daily Mail Newspapers’ abuse of Clare Richards (a la’ Steps) and her weight Read here. The piece got me thinking; we (not just women, society) beat ourselves up too much in the quest to look fabulous, but how many of us truly believe in our own fabulous-ness? Betty has started a campaign to get her readers to submit their most treasured outfit that makes them feel like a goddess see/like/submit here!!

I was looking through the 1000+ photos of me on Facebook and although I agree I scrub up well and am looking good after following Weight Watchers (1 ½ loss maintained 1/2 st more to lose but I’ll tackle that when I’m fit and able or is that a “fit and able unable?” according to my admirer!) but I’ve never truely felt stunning and I wish I had done or at least thought to myself “damn girl you’re hot!” and actually believed it, sad isn’t it?

But just how do we boost self confidence? Tips please?? Recommended reading material? Until then I’m off to ponder this over a tub of Jolene.

L x 

Friday 28 September 2012


I’ve been doing my disappearing act again, with good reason I might add. The old relapse is taking full hold of my life at the moment and between the pain and sleep deprivation, I’m slowly increasing my medications but they generally make me sick as a dog.

Why bother having breakfast?

From the medication I’m now dealing with nausea, sickness, dizziness and bouts of passing out – as you can imagine I’m as useful as a chocolate tea pot, filled with earl grey then sat on a radiator – not only useless but a bloody mess as well!

But I’m sure you’re as sick of reading about this as I am talking about it so I’ve been busy winning!

As I’ve mentioned here before I love a good competition! I’ve always entered them even as I child submitting drawings and poems, raffle tickets and prize draws aplenty and since my brain has turned to temporary mush I’ve been entering a lot more competitions as even I can fill out my name, address and telephone number. Although throw in a simple question and I’m vexed but since I’m awake between 19 and 22hrs a day I’ve been filling my time entering forms, sending postcards and running up my phone bill (sorry Mike!) and low and behold I’ve been winning!

There is something so lovely about a “You’ve won!” e-mail or a box turning up (although I had thought, on occasion, that I may have I been sleep ordering goodies?!?) and when you’re feeling as rubbish as I currently do it’s the little pleasures that really count.

My first e-mail this month was from the Stephen Cronk at Mirabeau Wine. A small family run business in the Provence, Mirabeau was set up by Stephen after becoming disillusioned with the corporate world. In 2009 Stephen and Wife Jenny packed up their young family and moved from London to the heart of Provence to start living a dream in wine making.

Three years later they’re selling their wine in 6 countries and you can buy it from Waitrose (£8.99) here but the real test for them came when they sent me that e-mail declaring that I’d won 6 bottles of their Rose’ – the pressure for Mirabeau was on!


Oh who am I kidding? I know nothing about wine despite several wine courses and knowing some very knowledgeable connoisseurs, but I do know what I like and I love Mirabeau Rose.

I won’t try to explain the notes or the dry/sweetness as I’ll just sound like a plonker but three bottles down, on top of some heavy medication, I was willing to brave an almighty hangover but it never came! Mirabeau Rose is a gorgeous wine and I’ll be making a special trip to Waitrose at Christmas to keep my spirits up!

Enjoying a large chilled glass of Mirabeau

Thank you Stephen & Jenny!

I must also mention the lovely people at Chat Magazine and Flahavans Oats company who together sent me a hamper of porridge, oatmill and some lovely Flahavans branded kitchen utensils and an apron (ready for the new kitchen, which by the way is so close to being finished!). Flahavans have been making their oat based cereals, biscuits and snacks for over 200 years – I think they may know what they’re doing by now!

I made myself a hearty bowl of the Flahavans oatmeal yesterday which came in a very vintage style tubular tin (that I will be keeping after use!) and I was set for the morning, creamy and delicious! 

I was literally just about to post this blog when there was a knock at the door I'd won three Marian Keyes books from the wonderful people at Penguin Books including Marian's latest book The Mystery of Mercy Close which only came out a fortnight ago! - Thank you very much Penguin Books!

People keep asking on my Facebook how I win these competions, well, I’m in it, so I’m winning it - simples, and these prizes give my day’s a little, but well needed boost!!

L x

*Disclaimer - I have not received any payment for this piece - I'm just a nice blogger and competition winner who likes to show my appreciation in words!  

Saturday 8 September 2012

Service and Reputation

This week I’ve experienced both very poor and bloody marvellous customer service and work from the building trade. Everyone knows that the reputation of a builder, plumber, glazier, carpenter or electrician is paramount in hiring a work man and personal recommendation’s are like gold dust.

I hate getting any of the above in for quotes let alone letting them near my woodwork or plug sockets. I know so many people that have been the victims of terrible or over priced work or at worse threatened by the people they’ve hired – disgraceful! With Mike working away so much and I hate to play either card but.... being a woman and disabled I feel like a vulnerable customer, inviting these people into my house.

I’ve probably watched too many episodes of Watchdog and bad builders shows but I now know to get those gold plated personal recommendations and to Google search firm’s for bad customer reviews or low star ratings, but you can still end up feeling that people just don’t care about their work let alone their customers.

This week I had a firm, who I won’t name, booked in to do work whilst Mike is actually in the country, as you’ve probably gathered from former posts that these are short windows of time, and we spent 8 hours chasing up the whereabouts of the workmen to be told “yes we’ll call you back in half an hour” or “We’ll be there by 3pm” and to eventually be told “sorry there’s been a big mix up we can’t come in until the 28th!” (23 days after the original day of work was planned).

Mike was furious and I was frustrated. I have used this firm before I know they’re a nice family run company who when they get round to the work are fantastic, but their customer service is shoddy! Now do I recommend them? Pre warn people about their bad time management? But show them the wonderful work they do? What would you guys do?

But on the flip side this week I contacted my trusted plumber friend Ryan. As I write this he and Mike are talking D.I.Y in the kitchen whilst Ryan fit’s my new sink.

It’s been 4 Months since we whipped the sink out but no more dishes in the bathroom and buying endless bottles of water – yay! Every time I did I kept hearing a childhood conversation with my Mum:

Me: “Mum! There’s no juice/milk/cola in the fridge!”
Mum: “There’s plenty of water in the taps!”
Me: “Boring!!”

Twenty years later I’ve never missed those blooming taps so much!!


Anyway, Ryan has fitted us in around his work, never over charges for evenings or weekends and it just a lovely friendly guy. I now have his number on speed dial ready for water related emergencies and ready to pass on to family and friends with that gold glowing personal recommendation!

A few manners and going that little extra mile for a customer is just priceless, but why do so many companies get that wrong?

L x

Thursday 6 September 2012

Taken by Surprise

I had some great responses about the Echo article, a majority of them were my gorgeous family and friends but it seems all the retweeting, sharing and forwarding that everyone did got my plans out there!

I have one friend running a 10k in aid of Motivation, a friend who wishes to have a musical evening at their piano shop, my favourite little cafe’ and I are in discussion for a charity meal and several people have been e-mailing regarding donating their shoes (see Plans for Motivation here).

So, we have lots planned, all very exciting! Will keep you posted and hope that more of you get involved!
I’m desperate to get all of these evening running and sorted for next week but I have to reign in my plans and take it slowly at the moment.

The CRPS/RSD is still getting worse and I’m spending an increasing amount of time in bed or passed out on a sofa (literally!). I’m finding it hard not to get down about it, even though my lovely boy is home from California, I’m hardly the ball of energy and life he’d probably like to see.

To my surprise a constant companion of mine has been the Olympics and Paralympics. I spent the last five years since London got the bid, refusing to believe I would be taken in by all the hype and as I’ve mentioned on many occasions here – I don’t do sport! Watching, following or playing sports just doesn't appeal to me. 

I think it’s because I’m not competitive (unless I’m playing Monopoly against my brother Michael who’s a bad loser and an even worse winner!) but either way right up until the opening ceremony I was not going to spend hours watching something I didn’t enjoy just because we were hosting it.

Well, from the moment I saw our Queen doing a spoof scene with James Bond I was hooked!! I’ve spent many an afternoon glued to my TV getting so into the events that I’ve found myself hyperventilating, shouting at the box as though they can actually hear me and on occasion stood up with some vigour only to realise that wasn’t a great idea, it hurts a lot and collapsed back on the sofa!

I actually got competitive! I had many conversations about the medal ratio to countries population and by definition we were kick the rest of the worlds butt!

It’s lovely to see everyone as geared up for the Paralympics as they were for the Olympics. I did worry that it would be seen as a sub event, a winding down from the big event, but the news, facebook, twitter and countless blogs are all still as excited as I am!

To address a few messages I’ve had regarding athletes having CRPS/RSD and “if they can get up and do something why can’t you?” as I’ve explained before CRPS/RSD is different for every person, as is every other condition. We all have limits and some of us are luckier to have the gumption and higher pain threshold to deal with the condition better.

Although look at Rachel Morris – hand cyclist, gold medallist and CRPS sufferer. She gained a Gold in Beijing and sadly she had to have both legs amputated because of the condition, it got so bad, so painful and life was so unbearable that she had to have the amputations.

Rachel Morris -  Gold Medallist - CRPS Suffer

Life for Rachel is no doubt still incredibly difficult without her legs but she’s doing great things, like Rachel defending her gold medal many of us are defending our bodies against the condition trying not to end up having to take such extreme measures. 

Although the last month has brought day’s where I would kill for my legs to be amputated, I’m taking small steps (every pun intended!) to keep going, get out of bed and have a life even if it’s entirely done from my bedroom!

L x