The Prettiest Pastels from Coast*

The days are slowly but surely getting longer which means Spring is on it’s way. It also means that impatience to be back in short sleeves and sandals is peaking and my obsession with pastels is ramping up a notch.

Today I’m fuelling that obsession by bringing you a wish list of the prettiest pastel items from Coast whose website is home to some of the most gorgeous dresses and skirts that I have seen in a long while. Never mind the fact that I have no need for occasion pieces any time soon- now I’ve seen them I can’t help but want them, even if the closest I’m likely to get to a wedding this year is walking past the Bristol Register Office.

Fancy florals, cloud-like chiffon and the swishiest skirts I could find make up this wish list and should you have a wedding to attend, a prom to dance at or a super swanky garden party invite on your hands then Coast should definitely be one of the shops you head to on your mission for the perfect outfit. Alas for me these pieces shall firmly remain in my dreams, I don’t even think turning 30 in a couple of months gives me reason to splurge on any of these- not to mention the fact that my budget probably just about covers a packet of pastel mini eggs right now. Ah well, if I can’t wear the colours I’m craving at least I can snack on them…
Have any of these pieces captured your imagination? What’s on your wish list for Spring?

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A Touch of Luxury- Nail Art Inspiration for 2017*

You wouldn’t know it from looking at my poor, neglected hands but once upon a time I was big on making sure my nails were always painted and experimented often with nail art. Getting a job in healthcare put paid to that though and despite having not worked for (what is somehow) almost a year I just haven’t got back in to the habit apart from the odd shellac manicure when I was first signed off.

I was recently sent over a copy of a great eBook put together by Ellisons which provides some interesting facts and tips when it comes to your nails- from what your favourite nail polish colour says about you to the biggest nail trends for 2017 (using essie gel from Ellisons).

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ebook redo 2017
The eBook made for a great little read and reference point- apparently my most often chosen pink nails (when I do bother) means I’m a romantic person which I kind of beg to differ on but you know…others may disagree! In terms of the nail trends for 2017 I’m relieved to see they are all wearable and achievable and are certainly inspiring me to dig out my nail polishes. With spring around the corner I can see myself attempting a pastel rainbow vibe (although perhaps not as advanced as the one I’ve pictured further up in the post), colour blocking I can totally see myself doing and once I’m back at work in an admin capacity will probably become a default whilst I make the most of being able to have painted nails at work- I’m loving the idea of a combination of nude tones complimented by navy and perhaps an off white shade.

Where do you head when you’re looking for nail inspiration and what do you think of the predicted trends in this eBook? As I said before I think it makes for a lovely little read and it’s certainly motivated me to give my hands some love.

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017

Tomorrow marks the start of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017 which is run by the UK’s Eating Disorders charity Beat. I’ve never really written about the event before and I can’t quite explain why I feel so compelled to do so now- it could be that as I approach 30 the realisation that I have now spent half of my life living with an eating disorder, or it could be that I feel especially strongly about this years campaign on early intervention. Either way this is a post that has been on my mind for quite some time, with no clear direction on how I want to write it, so please bear with me as I muddle through.
As I mentioned above my eating disorder started when I was 15 years old, however it took a good two years (perhaps longer) before I was diagnosed by which time the illness and it’s deep rooted beliefs were well entrenched. Sadly the main obstacle my desperately worried family came up against was getting medical professionals to take us seriously, you see, I went from a very overweight teenager to one who was only just on the low end of the healthy BMI scale and as such nobody saw it as a problem. It didn’t matter that I’d lost 5 stone in four months. That my food intake was minimal and I was exercising compulsively. It also didn’t seem to matter that I was becoming more and more depressed and withdrawn. I somehow managed to pass my GCSEs but never did get to even sit my A-levels. I went on to develop severe bulimia which resulted in my first inpatient admission aged 19- but because throughout all of this I barely fell in to the “underweight” category getting help and support was an up-hill battle. My underweight years didn’t start until I was in my twenties and even then were extreme before I could access the help I so badly needed. Waiting lists and lack of funding mean often it takes a patient being at a catastrophically low weight before they can get an inpatient bed, or they become seriously medically compromised whilst waiting. People have and still do die waiting and this needs to stop.
Accepting that you have a problem is hard enough and making those first steps to seek help and support is one of the most difficult steps you will take and yet I still hear about people being turned away because they don’t present as “typically” unwell. Just because someone isn’t emaciated doesn’t mean they aren’t at serious risk both mentally and physically. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness- there are the physical risks such as heart failure, osteoporosis, the damage to organs and teeth. There’s also the high rate of death by suicide. Any of these risks can and will strike at any weight and at any time- I’ve lost far too many friends this way and I fear that as time passes I will lose more.

This year Beat are campaigning for increased awareness of the importance of early intervention and it’s a cause I can and will strongly get behind. I’ve pulled a couple of infographics from their website to show you, in simple terms just what a difference it can make.

If you want to read more about the importance of early intervention then please do visit the Beat page all about it as I would be here long after the week has ended trying to write about it myself.

A major part of what Beat are looking to achieve with this year’s campaign is increased support and training for GPs and this is something that I think is 100% vital. I have struck gold with my own GP, I can honestly say that I would not be alive without her care and support- she has gone above and beyond for me time and time again and I wish everyone could have a GP like her. Likewise the GPs I work with are all wonderful when dealing with these things but I appreciate that this isn’t the case everywhere or for everyone. By increasing the support and training available to GPs the delays in getting treatment can be greatly reduced and patients on the (what can feel never-ending) waiting lists for specialist treatment can get the immediate care that can really help tip the balance between full recovery or becoming trapped in the recovery/relapse cycle.

If you are struggling with your relationship with food and your body, or if you notice worrying changes in someone you are close to then please do seek help sooner rather than later. It will probably be one of the hardest and scariest steps you take in getting better but the sooner you can get in to the system the higher the chance of full recovery is.

For more advice on what signs and symptoms to look out for, how to seek help, or on how to support a family member or friend then again I refer you to the Beat website which is a wealth of information and resources to make you feel less alone.

Over the course of the next 7 days there are a few ways in which you can help raise vital awareness and funds for Beat to support and enable their campaigns to get early intervention happening far more than it currently is. The easiest ways are to take part in to Sock it to Eating Disorders day on Friday (3rd March) or help spread the word by signing up to the thunderclap campaign on social media.

Again please do forgive me if this post is a bit all over the place or poorly written. It’s so hard to turn a cause you feel so strongly about in to a work of art (it’s not a subject that lends itself to flowing eloquently) but I hope that I’ve managed to get my message across. If we all pull together I really believe we can make a difference.

As for me, well, I’m getting there. I’m determined that this is the year I will defeat anorexia once and for all. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, indeed it still IS a rollercoaster ride but finally I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and for the first time perhaps ever I am starting to imagine a life that isn’t dominated by the food I eat or how much I weigh.

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Holiday Hazards (and how to avoid them)*

Over the years I’ve managed to get myself a bit of a reputation for being accident prone, even from a young age I was always the one to come home from a school trip battered and bruised (or once, covered in cow pat) and I’m yet to be forgiven for breaking my foot on my long weekend to visit family in Holland. I’m the kind of person who managed to slip two discs in my back just getting out of a chair and the look on people’s faces when I mentioned wanting to go trampolining was priceless. It kind of made sense to team up with Jefferies Solicitors to write a post about common holiday hazards and how to avoid them if for no other reason than to prove to my nearest and dearest that I don’t actively seek out these situations- and to be honest I’d do anything to avoid another trip to an A&E department abroad!

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Obviously nobody sets out on holiday aiming to become ill or injured but please don’t get complacent about arranging travel insurance. I stupidly didn’t have any when I had my accident in Holland and was lucky that I only got billed for my X-Ray. A more serious injury or an illness that required medical attention could see you with hefty bills to pay and no provision to get you home safe and sound.

Another hazard that you might not think about is the risk of sunburn. We’re all guilty of not slapping on the suncream as often as we should and I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t felt that all too familiar sting but it really does pay to keep on top of your SPF protection- sunburn can be so much worse than pink shoulders and a peeling nose. When severe it can cause blisters that run the risk of infection, sun stroke or even just discomfort that no amount of aftersun is going to soothe. I’m well aware of how pale my skin is and how quickly I burn so I never leave the country without factor 50 (and never go below factor 30 in the UK) and try to make a point of regular application- I’ve found setting reminders on my phone can be a real saviour!

Before you travel it’s wise to check up on the laws in the country you’re visiting. Landing a stint behind bars is more common than you’d think and often it’s down to simple ignorance and poor judgement. A few minutes research can save you a LOT of bother (thankfully arrest is one thing I have managed to avoid!)

If you’re tempted by water sports or other extreme activity do spend some time reading reviews of the companies you’re booking with and make sure they are a) qualified and reputable and b) insured. Paragliding was one of the greatest things I’ve done on holiday BUT I wouldn’t have felt at ease getting on to a boat, let alone up in the air with a company I hadn’t researched first.

If you’ve gone away with a group of friends, especially on a alcohol driven break PLEASE be sensible and don’t let anyone in your party wander off alone and be sensible when finding your way back to base. It’s all too easy to get carried away under the influence but it also makes you a very easy and vulnerable target.

One last common cause of illness and upset is food poisoning- the effects of which can last long after your plane has touched down on home turf. It’s so easy to get carried away, especially when food is cheap and the booze is flowing. Some simple things to keep in mind is to avoid buffets as a rule of thumb (especially in hot countries), stick to bottled water and order freshly prepared foods from menus where possible.

This post really is only the tip of the holiday hazard iceberg and I probably have missed many more obvious ones out as I’m mostly going from personal experience…feel free to add to the list in the comments, or regale me with tales of your holiday mishaps…

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Compact System Camera Wish List (and advice wanted!)*

With a big birthday approaching I’ve been given the task of coming up with what I would like as my “big” gift. I suppose it’s more traditional to ask for a keepsake gift such as a piece of jewellery or designer accessory but I’m not in need of either of these things, nor is there anything realistic that I have my eye on. So I’ve gone down the practical route and I’m putting serious consideration in to asking for a Compact System Camera as an upgrade and accompaniment to my current Canon DSLR- and this, dear readers is where you come in. I don’t have a particularly extensive camera knowledge so I’ve drawn up a short list and I’m hoping that from this I can get some advice on which one to pick…

(all images from John Lewis)

I’ve done a bit of reading around but to some extent the information goes over my head. What I really need is to know what cameras you guys are loving! Based on a bit of blog and social media stalking I know that the Olympus PEN is popular (and it certainly looks the prettiest) but am I better off sticking to Canon which is a brand I know and get on with? Or branch out in to new territory completely and try a brand I’ve never had a camera from such as the Lumix DMC-GX80 Best Compact Camera Panasonic? I’ve also thrown models from Fujifilm and Sony in to the mix which are both brands I have little experience with…I’m not especially loyal to any one brand (unless Apple bought out compact system cameras in which case I might be) but price is a consideration although if one of the pricier models gets the best votes I would be more than happy to add some of my own savings towards it.

Essentially this post is a plea for help! You have until April to help me make up my mind- and I will of course report back on the end result!

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