The Hoodie

Before I get properly in to today’s post I wanted to take a minute to say thank you for the incredible support I received on my eating disorders awareness week post. The feedback has been incredible and I truly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read, comment and share the post on social media. The week isn’t over yet though and there is still plenty of time to get involved. Please do re-visit the post or go straight to the Beat website to find out how you can get involved.
And now on to the main part of my post today- an outfit post featuring one item I never thought I’d wear again, let alone feature on the blog. That item is the humble hoodie, which along with some questionable trouser choices was the uniform of my teenage years (and when I say questionable I mean purple tie-dyed flares…I’ve come a long way!)

Hoodie: Monki | Skirt: Pull&Bear at ASOS (similar) | Converse: Schuh (non holographic version)

See, I knew it wouldn’t be long before another Monki purchased happened- I just can’t help myself. I’ve been eyeing up their hoodies since my first visit in to the Bristol store but held off as I just wasn’t convinced I’d actually wear one. I’m a long way away from the teenage me who felt the need to hide inside a massive hoodie but in the end this mustard yellow won me over and the hoodie came home with me and whilst I haven’t reverted back to living in one, I admit the hoodie certainly has it’s place in the wardrobe.

One way I’ve been wearing it is with this grey pleated skirt. I love the colour combination of grey and mustard and the laid back look this outfit creates. It’s a casual outfit but manages to make me feel a bit more ‘together’ than if I’d just slung on jeans and I’ll always embrace any excuse to wear my converse- their pale pink holographic nature never fails to make me smile (although I wouldn’t say no to this pair).

What do you think of this super casual outfit? Have you re-visited any clothing items from your youth? Between this and my current enjoyment of dresses over jeans I think I might be having a “help I’m almost 30″ kind of crisis!

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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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When Jeans met Dress (again)

Honestly, I never thought I’d go back to being a jeans person. Having spent my teenage years literally living in my old faithful Topshop Haydens (which I must try again) before shunning trousers in favour of skirts and dresses I assumed I’d never look back. I certainly never anticipated becoming a fan of skinny jeans, but after some trial and error in finding brands that suit me I’m proudly back in denim- not every day as I’m hugely guilty of falling in to sartorial style ruts but I’ll concede they have a time and a place and a decent pair or two are a must in any wardrobe.

Jeans: H&M (£7.99 cheapies until I can afford the oh so popular Joanie style from Topshop) | Dress: Topshop (old) | Boots: Long Tall Sally (c/o)

As I mentioned last time I featured a dress worn over jeans this is definitely not a look I ever envisaged dragging up from my past and yet it’s one I’ve recently grown to love. Perfect for a bit of extra warmth against the cold days and a really good way to make a slightly dressier dress more casual or inject new life in to a tired piece.

Looking at these photos I really hadn’t noticed until now just how faded my hair had got, wow! Not that it’s a bad thing or even a bad style (in my humble opinion) but having since had a much needed cut and colour boost I’m loving the vibrant red/pink I currently have and I’m enjoying the confidence that seems to come with it.

I hope everyone is having a great week- any one get up to anything exciting yesterday? I spent the day with my Mum which was perfect- I don’t know why I thought I might be dreading Valentines Day this year, I honestly couldn’t be happier with certain aspects of my life right now and I’m working hard on the bits that still fall short…

Anyway I don’t know where I’m going with this post so I’ll leave it there- if you have any recommendations for jeans shopping then do let me know, I plan to splurge on a really decent pair once I reach my healthy weight point again.

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Life on Instagram

Woo yeah, I’m on a roll with my instagram round-ups now it would seem (because I am sure everyone is just soooo excited by this news!) Here are some of the most recent happenings in my life lately as told through my iPhone- for the bigger picture of my daily doings you can give me a follow over on instagram. I’m always on the look out for new folks to follow so let either leave me a comment below with your username and I’ll get stalking…
As you can see I’m still living an extremely wild life whilst off from work. Most days it is just Mae and I for hours on end whilst everyone else is busy living their normal lives and it does get pretty lonely. I’m currently working my backside off to enable myself to get back to work ASAP. I’m cross with myself for not putting a real shift in sooner and that frustration is what’s powering me through the tough days, of which there are plenty right now.

As always click on an image to see it full sized or hover over it to see my (rarely interesting) caption. Want more details on a snap- a recipe or shop link perhaps? Just leave me a comment!

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My (latest) vaping experience with e-cigarette direct & giveaway

I always feel like this kind of blog post is a bit taboo- you don’t see smoking, or vaping mentioned all that much within the blogging community but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only smoker out there, or the only person seeking an alternative.

I’ve been a smoker since I was 17, that’s almost 13 years now and to be honest I haven’t enjoyed it for probably the last 5 years. Add to that the ever-rising cost of cigarettes, the fact I’m not getting any younger and of course all of the health dangers that come with smoking I’ve been mulling over the idea of quitting for a while now.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not quite ready for cold turkey. Smoking has always been related to my mental health and a coping mechanism when anxiety gets too much. I’ve tried patches and gums in the past but it’s the hand to mouth action that I missed and the inhalation so vaping has always held some kind of appeal. I’ve given it a go once or twice in the past but didn’t get much from it if I’m honest- however with the idea of stopping the cigarettes firmer in my mind than ever it was timely when e-cigarette direct offered to set me up with the kit so I could try again.

For the device itself I picked out the Halo Tank Kit* based on the reviews (and the aesthetic I’ll admit). The kit itself represents excellent value, currently on offer at £17.59 but only £21.99 full price. That’s just one week’s worth of cigarettes for me so already you can see the money saving potential as this will last a heck of a lot longer!

I went a bit crazy ordering all kinds of flavoured liquids, again from the Halo Brand*. At £3.99 the liquids are cheaper than a ten pack of cigarettes and again last an awful lot longer- I’m two weeks in and still on my first bottle. I like the fact you can pick from a whole range of flavours, the novelty appeals to me but even the regular tobacco flavoured ones are a lot more palatable than an actual cigarette.

It has been a slow process but this is the longest I have stuck with vaping and whilst I’m not completely off of cigarettes yet I am getting there. This would be a good time to add that I AM NOT ADVOCATING VAPING AS HEALTHY, or indeed any better for you than smoking as I know there is still a lot of research in to the effects going on. From a financial point of view it has already had clear benefits and I’ve found that I’m actually reaching for both cigarettes and the vape kit less and less which is hopefully a sign that I am heading in the right direction to stopping full stop.

Until I’m ready to stop completely though I will be giving my custom to e-cigarette direct. The speed of service was the most notable part of the experience- I placed my order on the Wednesday and had it with me on the Thursday!

For anyone else thinking about giving vaping a go I always have a giveaway running to win yourself £100 worth of kit! Just follow the simple instructions below! Giveaway runs from 26/1/17 until 17/2/17, UK only.

Win an e-cigarette kit worth £100 #17

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All products were sent to me by the brand for blog consideration but I was under no obligation to post.