Paint pottery and chill

One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about writing this blog has been the chance to recommend fibro-friendly activities; the things that chronic pain patients can do alone or with friends as a way of relaxing and having fun.

Something’s gone awry though… These days I seem to be doing too much, doing too little, or just sitting on my arse and reflecting on life as I know it. Remember the old days when I was falling in love with bingo, trying out art therapy books and making teapots? It’s time for more of that.

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This weekend I went and did something that on the scale of zero to cool is definitely not a high scorer, but it totally ticked all the enjoyment boxes. I got some of my favourite girl-friends together and we went pottery painting.

Have you tried this? If not you should definitely check it out. Unique Creations, and the many pottery cafes like it, provide a wide range of cups, plates, jugs, piggy banks and ornaments for you to choose from. They’re plain white and waiting for you to ruin or improve, depending on the level of your artistic skill.

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I could have split my friends quite easily in to two camps: those that found the exercise therapeutic and relaxing, and those that found it stressful and overwhelming. I was firmly in the second camp, and had to repeatedly remind myself I was there for the fun – not to try and win the Turner Prize. As I stood in front of the numerous items waiting for me and my paintbrush, I only became more and more overwhelmed. I stared at all the amazing creations on the wall as our host explained the numerous techniques to add colour, patterns, textures and decoration to the items we had selected. It seemed impossible.

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Thankfully, as time went on, it got easier. It became more relaxing and more enjoyable, and by the end of the 2 hour session I was beginning to wish I could stay longer and paint more. In fact, I am currently considering taking this up as a new therapeutic hobby.

When you develop a chronic illness or have a baby or experience something that completely changes your social life, I firmly believe in the importance of finding new things to do and new ways to have fun. Change isn’t always a bad thing. Pottery painting, bingo and art therapy aren’t for everyone but they’re three things I have absolutely loved doing since I became unwell (even though I’m crap at them) and now I just want to make sure I keep doing them.

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Aren’t we a creative bunch? Check out Unique Creations in Oxford if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere, a good teacher and a place where you can bring nine bottles of Prosecco in to a room for 13 people with no judgement whatsoever. Then sit back and watch as you create masterpiece after masterpiece – or mess after mess. Hurrah!

An open letter to my friends: how do you see me now?

Today I read this article on the ‘Queen of Constance’ blog – a popular blog written by an outspoken mum of four kids, with posts that are consistently being shared by my Facebook friends. Yesterday Constance handed over the reigns to her friend Penny Shipway, who wrote a letter to those affected by their friend’s chronic pain. She says,

Those days where every bill has come at once; your son won’t stop wetting his bed; you’re still waking six times to an almost two-year-old; and the house looks like worse than a burglar ransacking.

But you have chronic pain.

And you actually do have all those things but with a head that feels like it’s going to explode like a watermelon falling from the top of the Empire State Building right there in front on your daughter’s teacher if you don’t get back home to take some more painkillers and collapse on your kitchen tiles, where you tell your young children to “f*ck off” feeling incredibly guilty, then cuddling them as soon as your meds kick in.

The post got me thinking. What would my open letter say? What would I want my friends (and all of you) to know about living and coping with chronic pain? Here goes…

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Loving the Prisma app and think this perfectly sums up my feelings about this post.

What do you see when you look at me? Is it the strong, vocal, independent woman I try to be, or is it someone else? Someone weak, crippled and reliant on others. God I hope not.

I tell you I’m fine, and I am. I really am. But chronic pain… it does something to you. Something aside from the uncomfortable spasms, the pins and needles, the stabbing pains and dull aches. All of that, sore as it makes me, is bearable. I don’t need to talk about it. I’m fine. I can curl up on the sofa in my pyjamas, I can deal with the numerous doctors appointments, and I can make the judgement call about when to rest and when to keep moving. When it comes to the pain, I’ve got it covered.

But do you know about everything that comes along with the pain? Do I hide it well? I doubt it; I’ve seen me after a few wines. I overshare and if you catch me on a really bad day, you’ll see me cry. Those tears are rarely tears of pain, they’re tears of frustration and exhaustion. So what is it that I struggle with? It’s this:

It’s the fear that nags at me before events, knowing I might have to leave early or may not cope at all, and the sadness when that fear becomes a reality. It’s the worry I’m letting people down by not going, but letting myself down if I do.

It’s the utter anger I feel at myself every time I do something that leaves me vomiting on the pavement or in bed for days afterwards, and the contrasting unbelievable elation that I feel when I do something that doesn’t leave me ill. It’s like I controlled it, it’s like I won.

It’s the cognitive dysfunction that leaves me with an inability to string a coherent sentence together, remember a name or recall a story accurately, like I’m watching someone else’s life through clouded windows and I can’t quite see things clearly.

But it’s the fear that I’m boring now; the worry that fun things are painful and boring things are safe and that’s just the way it is.

Above everything, it’s wondering if you see me differently now. And hoping that you don’t.

Migraines: 22 years, 5 ways to cope

I was meant to go for curry with my work friends tonight. Our first team night out EVER and I arranged it. I sent a flurry of emails, I got excited, hell – I even got dressed this morning with “waistline must be stretchable for copious amounts of curry” in mind. So when I got a headache mid-morning, I did the usual. I popped pills, did what I could to get control of my surroundings, and took all my normal steps to get rid of it. By 2pm I knew it wasn’t going anywhere and by 3pm I was nauseous and losing vision, worrying if I would make it home in time.

After a somewhat dicey drive home, I got in to bed and promptly fell asleep for three hours. That’s right; whilst my co-workers were ranting about the day job and chain eating naan bread, I was asleep.

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You have no idea how many social events I have missed out on in the last 22 years because of these damn things. These things that fight me and destroy me. I’m tough, but they’re tougher.

I like to think I’ve got pretty good at coping with pain over the years. In fact, I will sit through many a social event with throbbing pains in my legs, pins and needles in my hands, stabbing pains in my spine and you wouldn’t even know about it. But throw me a migraine when I’m not prepared, and you got me. I’m a gonner.

That’s why my life is all about being prepared. It’s not spontaneous, it’s not fun. There are rules and I play by them and, more often than not, I’m prepared to catch that migraine before it catches me. This may sound pretty high maintenance, but once you get good at it, you can do it so systematically that no one would even notice.

#1 – Eat.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. On time. It’s generally an easy one to stick to until someone suggests brunch (that someone is normally me) and I have to sneak in a secret breakfast before hand, and then make sure brunch is eaten at lunch time. Same goes for afternoon tea. A 4pm roast dinner, however, is completely out of the question.

#2 – Drink.

Water and plenty of it. I’m so bad at this one that I don’t think I should be allowed to offer it as advice. Except that it’s an obvious one and an important one, so I’m going to keep saying it and hope that at some point I start listening to myself.

#3 – Regulate lighting.

Stay away from artificial lights or constant changes to light, and keep sunglasses with you to protect you from bright daylight. Where possible, avoid sitting in a dark/dimly lit room and staring at a computer screen. The contrast is a killer. Keep things as consistent as possible. Generally, this is doable but staff training is basically a guaranteed disaster.

#4 – Regulate temperature.

Extreme changes to temperature are a problem as well. Avoid hot, stuffy environments (like the trains in rush hour) and avoid particularly cold places like meeting rooms with lots of air con. Take layers everywhere you go to help you out in the times when you can’t control your environment.

#5 – Know your meds. 

Popping pills won’t solve everything, but if you can’t control your environment then you need to know which meds will delay things or stop it all together. And please, make sure those meds are on you AT ALL TIMES.

 

 

24 hours in Oxford

How does your home town make you feel? Whenever people tell me they’re going to Oxford for the weekend, I can’t help but wonder why. I mean, sure, it’s famous for its university buildings, for punting on the Thames, but… it’s just Oxford. It’s the place I grew up, full of tourists and devoid of decent shops, expensive and dull.

As you probably know, I returned to Oxfordshire when we left London earlier this year, so when a friend from Newcastle came to visit and said she wanted to explore the city, I put together the best 24 hour guided tour that I could come up with. And you know what? It turns out Oxford is pretty special.

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Oxford city is small and flat – which is a relief, because I’m less physical than most – so looking around it doesn’t take long. There are many museums to get lost in but the weather was absolutely glorious and neither of us fancied moseying around old buildings in the blazing heat, so instead we took to the university grounds.

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Christ Church College meadows are absolutely beautiful. They’re green and spacious and manicured to perfection, with impressive buildings imposing on the landscape. We walked out of the grounds and over Magdalen Bridge, watching the punters enjoy the midday sun. (Note – students, get yourselves a job punting for people who want to lie in the boats without the hard work.)

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Walking over the bridge and down the High Street made me realise how lucky I am to have grown up in Oxford, and also how embarrassing it is to have claimed Oxford as a dull city. Dull! I go to Prague and Amsterdam and Paris and Gdansk and wax lyrical about beautiful architecture and the joy of small cities to walk around and yet, here I am, overlooking all this on my doorstep.

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We had lunch on Broad Street surrounded by many more beautiful buildings – and about 200 students in their gowns, enjoying graduation day with families and friends. This is what I hated about growing up here but now, seeing the road swarming with black gowns – like a bat invasion, I felt pretty lucky. Lucky to see this hub of excitement, and even luckier not to be a part of it; there’s nothing better than people watching. (Second note – I worked damn hard to take photos without the student invasion in them, but now I kind of wish I’d captured the buzz.)

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This is one of my favourite buildings in Oxford; the Radcliffe Camera. A round library – what’s not to love.

Now you know I mentioned Oxford is small and I’m sore? Well, this little tour of the city’s most iconic buildings took us from morning until lunch, so we swanned off to the countryside and spent the afternoon in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.

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Blenheim Palace is a country house situated about half an hour from Oxford. The Duke of Marlborough lives there which, let’s be honest, seems a little over the top. I mean – who needs this much space? I barely know what to do with two spare rooms.

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I begrudge paying £24 per person to get in to grounds that I used to sneak in to for free when I was a kid. That is a lot of money to wander around a lake and look at a big house. But, come on, what a beautiful big house it is. Plus, there’s a mini train that takes you to a maze and a model village so well worth the £24 in my book.

(Check out my instagram for pictures of the model village and the Oxford snaps that my phone was responsible for.)

The first thing to do when the sun shines

They always say that when the sun shines in London, it’s one of the best places in the world. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but I think they are the Londoners who find the city so miserable in the cold, grey, damp weather that by the time the sun shines, the contrast is – quite frankly – incredible.

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Not long ago, I was one of those people. On a sunny day we would rush home from work, only to remember that the tiny flat we lived in had no garden. We would then go to one of the three pubs in walking distance only to remember that their ‘pub garden’ referred to benches that sat alongside the the main road, perfectly placed to observe London traffic and breathe in those delightful fumes.

This was very much better than London in the rain, but it wasn’t exactly the dream way to bask in the summer sun.

Today, when the sun came out and – in true British style – we all complained about the heat, I decided to do the one thing you should do when you get that first blast of summer sun. Enjoy it.

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Our new country house backs on to the Oxford canal, and we’ve found a circular walk that is about two miles – the distance I can cope with before my shaking legs can’t take any more. The walk allows me to do one of my favourite things… take a nosy look inside all the narrow boats – and admire the excellent names. (“P45” and “Narrow Escape” are two of my favourites.)

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Is there anything that isn’t made better by bright blue skies? Any mood that isn’t lifted, or stress that isn’t calmed?

I really want to make the most of this sunshine. I know it won’t last, so whilst it does let’s make the most of it. If you can’t find me, I’ll be the one staring at house-boats.

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How to have a non-traditional wedding

I’m getting married in December. I’m getting married but there will be no white dress, no bridal party, no first dance, no giving away and no cutting of cake. Does that all sound a bit negative? If it does, it’s not supposed to.

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I always wanted to be married and when I fell in love with R, I knew it for sure. But as we moved in together, bought houses and planned our future, a wedding seemed less and less important. By the time we decided to get married, I was trying to work out how we could take a Friday off work, pop to a registry office then celebrate with pizza and beers without telling our loved ones.

But we couldn’t. My family would kill me – as would some of my friends. Plus, I have absolutely loved watching each of my friends get married in the last few years – welling up during vows, laughing during speeches and rocking the dance floor in to the early hours. Every single wedding I’ve been to has been incredible, so it seemed a bit mean to take that enjoyment away from our nearest and dearest.

But still the question remained: How could we get married and have a wedding without it being a “Wedding”?

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We started as we meant to go on. There was no proposal – I warned him many years ago I couldn’t cope with the cringe if he got down on one knee – so we decided to get married one Friday evening, whilst eating a takeaway curry and drinking wine and talking about life. I couldn’t have asked for anything more ‘us’.

We then spent the next few weeks planning everything. We chose a date, booked venues, tested and ordered food, we booked a photographer, I bought a dress online, tried it on in at home and asked for his opinion, and we made invitations together. At no point did we tell anyone.

We kept it a secret as long as we could. There was no Facebook announcement, there was no ‘engagement’ story, there was just us planning away in secret and it was more fun than I could have imagined. In the end we decided to tell people by sending out invitations and letting the postman/woman break the news. It was so brilliant receiving messages and calls from overexcited friends who had no idea until they saw the invite, and they all reacted in the best way possible. It reminded me that this was the excitement I wanted to share.

Since then, we’ve confidently ruled out every tradition going except for speeches and readings (because I adore speeches and we both love readings) and it was all going pretty well – until recently when I had a small freak-out that our non-traditional wedding will be no fun for anyone. I worried about our informal food, my lack of bouquet throwing and my non-white dress, fearing that people would wonder what we were playing at. It was all feeling a bit scary until we went back to basics and reminded ourselves that actually, whilst we hope everyone enjoys it, this is about us getting married. It’s not about spending £12k we don’t have on chair covers we don’t like and vol-au-vents we don’t want.

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Stylist has published a couple of interesting articles on modern marriage recently, this one on a new generation redefining marriage and this one by Me & Orla blogger on an un-wedding for the unconventional bride. Although I’d love to call all of this unconventional, I’m pretty sure it’s actually fairly run-of-the-mill. For me, a wedding should reflect the happy couple and whether that involves a big white dress and cathedral veil or a pair of jeans and a trilby is entirely up to them. I can’t be alone in that thought.

For us, we just want it to be simple and fun and a true reflection of the things we love. It doesn’t need to be the ‘best day ever’. In fact, I’ve never quite understood why we would put that much pressure on ourselves. I just want three things from it: I want us to be married, I want to be well, and I want us to enjoy spending time with people who love us. If all that happens, I’ll call it a success.

Images in the post are from London Bride (www.london-bride.com)

I speak for pain campaign

I speak for pain. I do. The whole purpose of this blog (aside from the occasional general musings and rantings on life) is to give a voice to chronic pain. It began three years ago because I was frustrated and needed to find a less physical outlet for my energy and now, instead of using the blog to find a life less physical, the blog has become that life.

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But not everyone wants to put their every pain related thought in writing, so I speak for my pain and I speak for others. I speak, shout, cry and rant about pain, and I like to think that most of the time, I do an okay job of it.

The thing I’m not very good at is using that voice to challenge the medical system we seem to be stuck in. I don’t challenge my GP who dismisses me with antidepressants, I don’t challenge the gender stereotypes that leave female chronic pain patients feeling helpless and ignored, and I don’t challenge the lack of medical research in this area. So that’s what I’m going to change; I’m going to use this loud mouth to be a bit more effective than just jabbering away on the internet.

You can imagine my delight when The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association announced the new campaign – #ISpeakForPain. It aims to set a national pain strategy in the US by challenging policy and showcasing the millions of people who are effected by chronic pain every day. The campaign introduction says:“People making decisions that significantly affect your quality of life (federal officials, legislators and policy makers) need to hear from you. Joining the #ISpeakForPain [campain] and telling your story can affect policy decisions and new areas of research.”

Chronic pain patients and their families can participate by uploading photos to #ISpeakForPain on Twitter and Facebook. So come on, cameras out. Stupid faces, heart-felt signs or your serious fight face (yes, that’s what I’ve gone for), it’s selfie time. This is me. I speak for pain.

American readers, here’s looking at you to take it one step further. You can browse the website to write a letter to your Member of Congress – with your own content, or using a prepared template – and you can sign this White House petition on 13 July.

And whilst I’m on the subject, I want to say that whilst I speak for pain, you’re the ones listening. So thank you.

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The Fay Farm serenity lotion – and a discount for readers

It’s not very often I write product reviews. I’m bad at sticking to new habits long enough to determine whether or not something has worked, and fibromyalgia is so unpredictable that if I feel for a better day I can’t work out if it’s the new product, or my diet that day, or the weather.

Product review of Fay Farm Serenity Lotion for fibromyalgia chronic pain and anxiety

I am part of the Chronic Illness Bloggers network and when the network offered me the chance to review The Fay Farm Serenity Lotion I figured, why not. I like lotion, I like feeling serene, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

I’d never heard of The Fay Farm before so, naturally, I did some digging on the company before accepting the opportunity to review the lotion. In these days of corporate greed and political cynicism, company ethos is getting more and more important to me. I was delighted (and ever so slightly envious) to read that The Fay Farm was set up by a couple who wanted out of the office cubicle life and into the rural farming life, with more time to spend with their seven children and the natural landscape. These days, Stacy and Michael are making natural body care products that treat psoriasis, eczema, itching skin, sore muscles, rheumatoid arthritis, cluster headaches and migraines.

You’ve got to admit that, round about now, this is all sounding pretty good.

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The serenity lotion is aimed to relieve anxiety and stress and to do this it includes hemp oil, grape seed oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, chamomile, green tea oats… and lots of other things that are all healthy and good for you. The ‘CBD’ version of the lotion also includes 200mg of cannabidiol, which has been known to soothe nerve pain as well.

For those who don’t already know the ins and outs and cannabidiol (ie. me) I did a little research. Cannabidiol (CBD) is found in cannabis but is not the part of the compound that gets you high – that’s THC. CBD is being used in medical trials across the world and  has so far shown positive results when used as an anti-inflammatory amongst other things.

Now, I’m a cynic. What’s more, I’m an exhausted cynic. I do not approach new products with a spring in my step and my arms open wide; more often than not I am likely to try it for a couple of days, notice no difference and carry on living my life of pain whilst the product gathers dust in my bathroom.

But for three weeks, the serenity lotion has stayed on my bedside table. For three weeks I have used it every night, rubbing it as instructed on my neck, my stomach and the soles of my feet. The lotion is light; it doesn’t leave an oily residue and yet it’s thin enough to spread without feeling like you’ve had a twenty minute workout trying to rub it in.

Not only have I used it every night, but  I’ve forced R to use it too. He is a bit more stressed than I am at the moment and he’s a lot more cynical so I figured, if it works on him then it’s definitely worth the money. And so far, he hasn’t told me to bugger off with my hocus pocus lotion – which is normally the response.

Has it worked? Well, it’s tough to say. I’m not sure it’s had a lasting impact on pain or stress, but it has certainly had an instant calming effect in the moments when used, and that is exactly what’s needed. At night, when it feels like the world has stopped spinning and you’re left with nothing but your thoughts, turning to the nightstand and knowing there’s something soothing to help you calm down is comforting. When the silence gives room for your thoughts to speak more clearly, the serenity lotion helps to muffle those thoughts.

But there’s one other interesting change I’ve noticed. I suffer from nightmares – most nights I’ll have at least one, sometimes more. Always scary enough to remember, often scary enough to wake me. I recently reduced my pain medication in case that’s what was causing the hallucinations and overactive brain activity, but at the same time I started using the serenity lotion. I don’t know which one has worked, maybe it’s a bit of both, but it’s safe to say that I can’t remember a nightmare from the last two weeks so, if they’re happening, they’re certainly not as terrifying as they were.

Overall, I would definitely recommend The Fay Farm lotion. I can’t say my test is particularly scientific, but I’ve spent the last few weeks feeling comforted by it and welcoming the smell and relaxation I feel when I use it. I think it’s fair to say that, based on how this test has gone,  my new recipe for relaxation is serenity lotion and pancakes with maple syrup. Perfect.

If you fancy trying it, you can benefit from 10% off by entering “LESSPHYSICAL” at the checkout.

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NOTE: The Fay Farm serenity lotion was gifted to me free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All views in this post are my own and I am in no way influenced by the company.

What I miss about London

Since I left the capital city in February for life in the countryside, I’ve barely looked back. Life is quieter, I am calmer, and everything just seems more chilled.

But a couple of weekends ago we went back to London to see old friends, visit old pubs and see old sites and I realised… I miss it a little bit.

I definitely don’t miss the crowds or the teeny flat, but I miss the convenience and the variety, the diversity and the culture. But mainly, I miss our friends.

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A couple of months ago our friends gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. They’re the first in our large friendship group to have a sprog and it’s so incredibly weird. When I’m with them it seems hard to imagine a time when she wasn’t around, and even though I know their new world is full of natural early parenting angst, they have adjusted to parenthood in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Although I am in no way the parenting expert, they seem to be handling it like absolute pros and everything just seems so…normal. It’s amazing to watch and she is amazing to cuddle, and I miss her.

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Seeing their little tot change online makes me realise how much you miss when you’re far away from your friends. We have the same situation with friends and family in the north of England and in America too; children grow and change so quickly that photos alone make you realise how much you’re missing and how long it’s been since you last saw them.

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We arrived in London on Friday night; the streets were crowded, the tube was sweaty and I wondered how on earth I lived here for as long as I did. But, even amid the pain of London crowds, it felt nice to be back. We went to the pub and grabbed a seat in the ‘garden’ – only in London do wet benches along the side of a busy main road constitute a garden, and only in London does a man come along with a broken bike, balance it on his head and ask you for money. Which I gave him, by the way, because this is impressive.

London pubs are not like country pubs, and though many would disagree, I’d go for a good old London hipster pub any day of the week. They’re loud and busy so you can always hide away in public, they’ve got a diverse group of customers and I feel totally comfortable in them. Whether it’s the quirky furniture, the small yet adventurous menu or the weird attention to detail in the toilets, you feel like you’ve entered a new little world.

Country pubs – or rather, my country pub – by contrast needs you to book a week in advance to get a table, the menu’s as long as the bible and the bar staff look at you in a slightly odd way if they don’t know you. You’re on show. Sure, the roaring fire, the railway memorabilia and the fact it is next door to my house mean I’ll keep on going back, but I miss those London pubs a whole lot.

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The diversity and culture in London never fails to disappoint. I am always surprised by something I see in London, and I am always so impressed and proud of this incredible city of multiculturalism. If there is one thing London is brilliant at, it’s enabling inclusivity and anonymity both at the same time.

I missed the London buzz so much that this week, when a meeting in London finished early, I took a trip up to The Tate Modern and viewed London from the tenth floor. The view offers such a striking skyline that on a grey, dull day of drizzle it still felt so imposing, so atmospheric.

And then the next day, everything around us came crashing down as the country voted to leave the European Union. As a firm remain voter, I was devastated as the results came in and I struggled to identify with the country I claimed to love so much. But one look at London and there it was. It’s safe, and I trust my fellow Londoners to protect it.

It’s safe to say that for better or worse, the things I love about the countryside far outweigh the things I miss about London. But they’re all very sensible, fairly selfish things. I love the quiet, the calm, the clean air, the greenery, the flowers, the space and the cost of living. They’re things I need for my own sanity and self-preservation, and things we need and love as a couple. But I miss brunch (yes, I am *that* girl) and I miss spontaneous nights in the pub, and I miss the people I’d got used to seeing whenever I needed girl time.

Now… how to get those people out to the countryside to set up our own diverse, hipster pub – one that serves brunch, obviously.

The start of a fibro flare

Roll up, roll up, it’s that time again! Time for the coping strategies and positive posts to sit quietly at the back whilst the fibro flare takes centre stage. Ladies and gents, let’s not get cocky now; it’s time for the flare to put me in my place. I know it’s coming, I know how it feels, and yet it surprises me every time. And every time it knocks the wind right out of my spoonie sails.

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Last week I got back from Portugal feeling pretty proud of myself for surviving my first music festival of the year. It was heavy going and I expected some backlash, but I was feeling fairly optimistic – I didn’t push myself too much and I was the most sensible I’ve ever been, so a small part of me that thought I might have got away with it.

Sadly, with pain like this, I can only assume the fibro flare saw me grooving to Good Vibrations and has come to do some damage to my arrogant, thoughtless, dancing self.

The festival, combined with a seven hour flight delay at the airport, meant physical strain and interrupted sleep. The first week back I felt truly exhausted, like I couldn’t catch up on the good night’s sleep I should have had – missed to sitting upright playing cards and drinking overpriced drinks in the departure lounge. Each night my bed time got earlier, but I was yawning through meetings and sleeping on trains and felt like my body was moving on the outside whilst I hid, nervously inside the shell.

This week the exhaustion has continued but with it comes the pain. Today, a pain so severe that I can do nothing but politely acknowledge the arrival of the flare, tip-toe around gently and whisper so as not to aggravate it further, hoping that it will leave me alone by the end of the week.

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Image via Aqua Deer

 

My muscles feel like I went to body pump last night, and then squeezed in a spinning class before work this morning. I’ve never worked them so hard, yet I didn’t do a thing.

My knee joints feel so painful I think they’re about to come apart, like a raggedy old doll who’s been pulled in too many directions too many times.

My fingers hurt with every touch of the keyboard, like I broke them months ago and the bones haven’t recovered.

I’m so tired I could fall asleep in the middle of my dinner, like a newborn baby has woken me every hour of the night and now I can’t focus on a single thought without my heavy eyelids closing.

Luckily, I am nothing if not experienced. I know what’s ahead of me and I know how to deal with it. Remember the cycle I posted a couple of months ago? I’ve got a few more days of pain before I can feel sorry for myself, then get angry, and then I can go back to feeling strong and cocky all over again.

the cycle