Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Why chronic illness makes you pick and choose and why it's so annoying!

I think one of the worst things about having a chronic illness is having to pick and choose. That could be between hobbies, people, whether to go out or nap etc.
Most people, whether they are conscious of it or not, have the potential to choose what they want to do and when they want to do it. Granted, circumstances like not having enough money or working hours do limit that potential, but likely they have enough energy to do what they want.

With a chronic illness, life can get very complicated. You may choose a nap over going to see a friend. You may choose to not shop for groceries because you don't have enough energy. You may put off having a shower because it just feels like too much of a mountain to climb today. Yes, very often you end up friendless, hungry and smelly!
It's not having to make those choices but the consequences that are frustrating. Often you may have family or friends wonder why they haven't seen you in a while, you may have to cancel lessons or outings with your friends last minute which leaves them frustrated. 

Life with chronic illness is a fine balance, a balance I get all too wrong, all too often.

To those who are living with chronic illness, do your best, everyday is different, be positive and look on the bright side of every bad day.

To those who love and support those of us with chronic illness - we don't mean to frustrate you. Understanding our circumstances is the greatest gift you could ever give us. We love you and are so thankful you're sticking around to help us.

Much love, Beth xxx

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Give me a break!

Like most of us, I need a break every now and then (preferably sooner rather than later!). I'm not sure whether it's the chronic pain or just day to day life but I quite often find myself wishing I could be somewhere peaceful, just sit down and soak in the quiet.

I'm happy to say I'm taking that break and I'm in Scotland! I've had a very beautiful & peaceful trip, but I think today just put the cherry on the cake for me. It's been fairly humid but overcast since we arrived however today the majority of the clouds cleared off and the sun was blazing!
We explored a few towns nearby, had a picnic by the beach, wine in the pub beer garden and ended with fish & mushy peas by the seaside.

I took a short walk down the pier, sat down with my legs over the wall and shut my eyes. The sun was beautiful and I felt so content. 

I guess my message is go explore, get lost, drink some wine, have a picnic and I hope you have an awesome day.

Enjoy a few photos from today...

Much love, Beth xxx

Monday, 16 June 2014

Holiday outfit of the night (ootn) ~ Scotland 2014

I thought I would share with you what I wore out for the evening in Scotland a few days back. 

Navy dress: eBay bargain
Black jacket: Next (summer 2012)
Orange scarf: New York shopping spree!
Black scrappy heels: Primark £12 (spring 2014)

I'll be updating with a few more holiday outfits soon.

I hope you're having a great day!

Much love, Beth xxx

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

20 things we should all do before leaving for our holiday...

Before leaving home on my recent travels it occurred to me how many little things you have to do before you leave, most of which I forget about til I'm about to walk out the door resulting in a very frantic me running around the house...

To help you seem a bit more composed than me, I've made a list of all the things you might forget to do before leaving your house for a holiday...

This list applies to you presuming you're not having someone left at home or a friend house sitting...

1. Empty your bins, all of them... We've all done it, arriving home to a weird smell in the house isn't pleasant!
2. Make sure all your windows are closed and locked.
3. Strip the bed of all linen and if you get time put new sheets on, we all love a newly made bed when we arrive home from holiday!
4. Unplug everything except the refrigerator.
5. Turn off all the plug points.
6. Put all your clothes away, coming home to clothes strewn everywhere isn't the best feeling.
7. Closed your blinds/curtains.
8. Put a note up for the postman to leave any parcels in a discreet place in your garden or a trusted neighbour.
9. Be sure to tell any local deliveries (milkman, local farm food delierer etc.) that you'll not be around.
10. Tell a trusted neighbour you are going away and ask him/her to keep an eye on your house while you're away.
11. Leave a key with a nearby family member or friend incase of any emergencies.
12. Make sure you've unplugged your straighteners (this is the last thing you want to be worried about at the airport!)
13. Go around the house checking for any dishes laying about.
14. Try and time the last dishwasher load so that you're left with no dirty dishes whilst you're away, if that's not possible just quickly hand wash any dishes left in the sink etc.
15. Make sure you're wearing comfy shoes! You're travelling not in a fashion show!
16. Lock any outside garden gates, although it's always advisable to have one open for the postman!
17. Clear out the fridge - no mouldy surprises for when you get back.
18. Don't waste food! Freeze as much as you can, this is where being prepared helps. You could spend a little time chopping up any fruit/veg and putting it in the freezer instead of wasting it!
19. Empty the kettle, stale water left for days ain't nice!
20. Have someone come and check around the house once whilst you are away. It will help you have peace of mind and enjoy your holiday more.

I hope you have some amazing holidays coming up, more so I hope these tips will help you make the whole experience a little less stressful!

If you're going anywhere nice, let me know on twitter @bethirishart

Much love, Beth xxx

Monday, 9 June 2014

How can I improve my health and be a more positive person? ~ Pinterest

Isn't Pinterest great? I was strolling through my laptop the other day and I found hundreds of photos of things I liked that I used to save onto my computer, I'm so pleased I don't have to do that anymore!
          I pin all sorts, from my favourite TV shows, to decorating, to cooking. One board I have been trying to focus more on is 'Improve my health'. I think it goes for us all when I say no matter our circumstances there is always room to improve, especially mentally and emotionally. So yes, I have some bog standard 'this tea helps with pain' and 'this herb lessens inflammation' posts but I also have a lot of quotes. I view them as mini goals, in that, some day I too hope to think that way or maybe already have. 
          I would like to share a few of these with you. If you are on Pinterest then go have a browse for yourself at my board, if not here's a few quotes that inspire me on a daily basis...

Much love, Beth xxx

Thursday, 5 June 2014

How Hotbuckle productions made me love Dickens ~ Theatre Thursday

My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest. ~ David Copperfield

Recently, with family health problems etc. time with my mum has become a precious part of my routine, so about once a month or so we spend the day together and drink lots of coffee.

A few months back our 'mother and daughter' day consisted of going to see a play in our local theatre.  To be honest, I was a little hesitant. Don't get me wrong, I loved drama class at school and really appreciated the productions we got to see but it had been a couple of years since I'd seen a play. On top of this we were going to see David Copperfield, a book I tried to read twice as a child and still couldn't get my head around. With my preconceived ideas from childhood, despite my love of the classics, I had written off Dickens.

But I went with an open mind, and I couldn't have been proved more wrong. Not only was the production extremely entertaining, but I found myself moved, which was something I really didn't expect. The story came alive like I had never been able to picture in my head, and I found that actually, I quite like David Copperfield.

Much praise has to be given to the amazing production company. They switched through characters flawlessly, and somehow I found myself truly believing that a grown man was just a small innocent boy, or a folded up piece of fabric was a yappy dog! The intimate and honest feeling throughout the evening really touched my heart and I think it will be a night I will find it hard to forget. I was delighted as well that live music was an essential part of the production (musicians as well as actors, Impressive right?) it echoed my own love of music and really helped express the moments where words just weren't enough.

Hotbuckle productions will be touring with Jane Austens Persuasion next and I'm very excited to see what the future holds for them.

Please share the love and give them the nescessary support they so rightly deserve!

Much love, Beth xxx

Me and mum in the audience...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Spoonie blogpost ~ Those days when you feel trapped inside the house

Fellow spoonies and anyone with long term health issues will all agree, as much as lazing around in your bed sounds like perfection... It's not. You can cope for a day or two but there comes a point when you long for fresh air and to be as far away from your bed as possible.
        Normally, I'm well enough to go for a short walk or coheres my brother into taking me for a drive. However over the last week I developed laryngitis and then a cold. What little I'm normally able to do on a daily basis turned into me being able to do literally nothing. So after a couple days of nothingness, I felt really claustrophobic ( my blocked nose and swollen throat probably had something to do with that!), I had to get outside.
       It was already quite late in the evening, but I grabbed a chair and sat outside for half an hour or so. It got me to thinking, why don't i do this already? 
       We know the benefits of fresh air and proper daylight, and even on my worst days I could probably manage to get to my garden. So for the last few days, still suffering with the cold, I've been enjoying my little nook in the garden (see the photo). I'm always cold so I've got plenty of blankets and my hot water bottle.

I hope this might inspire some fellow chronic pain sufferers to get outside if you can. Don't be afraid to ask family to lift out a chair for you or even better bring you out a cup of tea! 

Know that you're never alone, love Beth xxx

Monday, 2 June 2014

Banana oat bites with chia seeds and dark chocolate (slimming world friendly)

I am constantly trying to create new recipes and make healthy treats that taste good. I do follow the Slimming World eating plan however this recipe is suitable for anyone trying to eat healthier or just looking for a yummy natural treat!

This recipe is for 1 serving as I usually make a fresh batch every other day and I wouldn't imagine they would keep for very long!

1/2 banana ( eat the rest or chop it up and put it in the freezer - frozen banana is yummy)
35 grams oats
1 level tsp chia seeds
5 grams dark chocolate (80% tastes awesome in this!)
50ml of milk (any kind, could substitute for water if you're vegan or have intolerances)
Fry light or oil of choice

1 bowl, teaspoon, fork, sharp knife,, small measuring jug for milk, measuring scales, baking tray, non stick baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Mash up 1/2 banana in a bowl using a fork. Once it's a paste measure out 35 grams of oats and add to the banana. Add 1 tsp of chia seeds and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit for 5 mins then add 50ml of milk, allow to sit for another 5 mins for the oats and chia seeds to absorb some of the liquid. Meanwhile measure and chop up the dark chocolate into small pieces. If you don't own electrical scales then 5 grams of chopped dark chocolate should roughly fill a heaped teaspoon.
Add in the dark chocolate and stir.
Place the non stick baking sheet on a baking tray, spray with fry light or oil and then spoon out your mixture onto the tray. You can do this various ways, you can spoon out individual bites or put all of the mixture on the tray and chop up after cooking. Note, it is normally for the mixture to be slightly runny.

Place in the oven for 10 mins, then check at 2 min intervals after that. These usually brown on the bottom quickest so you'll know when their cooked as you'll be able to remove them off the tray without any resistance.

Allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack but I think they taste best when still warm and gooey!

For slimming world members, this recipe is the equivalent to 1 healthy extra B and 5 SYNS. Definitely worth it!!

I hope you try this out, personally it's the closest thing I've ate to banana bread in years without the guilt! 

Love you, Beth xxx