Wednesday, 6 June 2018

The POMC Series: A Partner's Perspective

Hello everybody!
Earlier this week myself and Simon celebrated our 3 year anniversary of our relationship together, there have been many ups and downs in our relationship but we truly love each other and I wanted to take this opportunity to develop a post that I've been meaning to do for a long time. When I started this blog Simon asked me how he could help. This is his contribution, he has chosen to write and article for the blog outlining what it is like being in a relationship with someone who has a genetic obesity condition, and I myself could not be more grateful and proud of him. I hope you all enjoy his perspective and the next instalment of The POMC Series. Here goes...

"When a person is born into the world, they never have a choice in the cards they hold. Hair colour, the colour of ones eyes, even down to their individual personalities, nobody ever gets their say on what they want. This is no exception when it comes down to medical issues, issues that can be, or is, the bane of our existence. Personally, Asthma is my Achilles heel, one which has affected my whole life (Thank you, asthma!) yet it is a condition which I will never hope to submit to. However, there are some people in this life who really suffer much more that what we could ever comprehend, ones which we could never hope to understand unless we walk in their shoes. This post aims to shed a perspective in the life of my long-term partner, Katherine Simpson. 
The first, and best, picture I ever saw of this gorgeous woman

Me and Katy (her preferred name) have met under weird circumstances but we have that chemistry that just simply took off. No idea how she puts up with my randomness but that’s respect for you! We have had many dates out, however, it wasn’t long until I noticed problems with the way Katy was walking. She needed to stop on occasion and this only escalated the more I’ve been with her. Katy mentioned early early in our relationship that she suffered from POMC, Lordosis and a very unique genetic coding which is beyond my understanding. I have attended multiple doctors appointments and assessments as support and even medical professionals struggle with understanding what really makes Katy tick.

From my understanding, Katy suffers from a what-do-you-ma-call-it genetic deficiency in which her metabolism is permanently off. Because the body assumes that it is starving, fat is biologically formed and stored as a back-up energy source, not a great understanding as I mentioned but I wanted to write this without Katy giving me any direction so as to you you all what I see of this condtion. Due to this nature, the body can never truly function properly and this causes Katy to go up in weight. Newcastle RVI and Addenbrooks, Cambridge, are able to explain to a degree, and its such a difficult thing knowing that the one you love do dearly is not able to get treatment or help for an awful condition. Operations, some drugs and even gym has not worked; I can attest to how hard this sweet woman works, only changing shape but not losing weight whatsoever. I have experienced Katy suffer from an ovarian cyst which further compounds how much exercise and activities she can participate in. It is so upsetting to listen to your partner apologise for being who they are, because a medical condition stops them doing things they they desperately want to. 

Personally, I encourage Katy to the best of my abilities to rest and take breaks, yet she always felt guilty that she cannot have a normal life like everybody else in society. Memories with her are much better than distance she can walk and I have bad  short term memory anyway so there is no likelihood I would remember how far we travel anyway! Walking around places like Newcastle and the Metrocentre has always been a struggle, 10 minutes of walking puts a huge strain on her back, legs and pelvis. She is always hungry and finds it very difficult to manage that, she can eat a bigger portion than me and be hungry again minutes later as if she has never eaten at all!, any deviations can physically knock her sick. This is a medical attribute which I am wholly in the dark about and I am still learning more each day. 

I do feel empathy that Katy, no matter how much effort she tries, will just continually struggle. As her supportive partner, we will fight tooth-and-nail for medical and practical solutions but there are very limited channels open. Aspects of our life together have been negatively affected, I can’t express the pain you feel when you are walking down the street, hand-in-hand, with a woman you see as truly beautiful when she gets some disgusting comments shouted at her from afar. You want to go up to them and tell them the whole story but some individuals do not comprehend other individuals circumstances. Because of this, Katy’s confidence with being around others is shot; I wish she could see herself as the beautiful woman I see her as. A medical condition should be no reason whatsoever to make people feel isolated from the rest of modern society. Despite the medical flaws, her conditions does not own her, she aims to own it!!
One of our best nights together at Russell Howard

When I first met Katherine, it was a first for being with someone with such debilitating medical conditions. I was petrified when her cyst flared up two years ago, now I’m so relaxed she jokes that I’m too relaxed! Truth is, If I cannot compose myself to be of help, I should not be a lover at all. I am not size-ist so I do not judge on weight. However, I have have learnt so much about her and myself throughout the three years of us being together. I have adapted to Katy’s needs and as long as we make preparations, we still enjoy days out, even with back pains and struggles and my asthma! My general rule of thumb on looking after people is this;

  • Whoever it is you are with, Love them 120%. Yeah, time management is hard, yet, everyone cares for their love. The addition of unorthodox medical conditions are no exception.
  • Always keep calm. Managing tasks and looking after Katy is challenging but we always got there in the end. Patience can be low but do not snap and always try and communicate.
  • Never go in a relationship if you are not willing to commit. A no-brainer, this one!
  • Take time to understand your partner and what makes them tick. They will undoubtedly feel uncomfortable with themselves and they are humans too. No different to the rest of us!
  • People can be abusive, what do they contribute to life anyway? You and your partner will be 100% better people than what bullies will ever be. 
People are still people, those with these medical conditions challenge life in hardcore mode, only strong souls can cope, I don’t believe things in life are given to you unless someone, somewhere knows you can cope. Katy copes so well. It is a strain on our relationship at times because I just want to help her but I know I am limited, if I could wave a wand and change things for her I would. Anybody who cares for someone with a long-term condition who loves them would change it for them. The only thing I can suggest for those living with, caring for and loving people with genetic obesity is be there for them and love them and make amazing memories with them, because just like everyone else on the planet, people with genetic obesity conditions are still people and I will always love my amazing partner and accept her for who she is."
By Simon Steel

And there you have it. My wonderful partner wrote those beautiful words as he writes everything else in his life, with passion and meaning. I hope you all found this post enjoyable and enlightening, I am off to give my fella a massive cuddle!
Katy xx

Sunday, 3 June 2018

100th Post - Appreciation and Thanks

Hi everybody!
Image from google

I hope you're all doing well today and making the most of your Monday. So today's post is my 100th post on this blog! It seems to have gone by so quickly and I've had the best time so far writing posts and putting out content for you guys. When I decided to shift the purpose of this blog up a little I knew I would be keeping up the lifestyle aspects and some other aspects of the blog previously but it would be more heavily intertwined with raising awareness for POMC as you all know. Since that shift the reception of this blog, the support I've received from all of my amazing readers has been amazing and I've been able to make some lovely new friends from all around the world!!
I was terrified of the reception I would get by telling my story but I knew how important it would be for all of the other people out there who are either struggling with their weight, long-term condition of genetic obesity conditions, and I am astounded everyday of love love and support given, I've been able to help many people, my email has been relatively non stop since last year! Please keep them coming if you have any questions or want more information please ask, as I always say every little helps in the way of raising awareness for so many misunderstood, heavily stigmatised and awful genetic obesity disorders. 
I thought I thought I would share with you some of the amazing things I have had the opportunity to get involved in thanks to this blog and so many supportive people around the world!
My Invisible Disabilities and Disorders
Community as UoS!

  • Took part in an interview with a journalist from the University of Sunderland - nothing came of said interview which was hurtful but still it was a great experience to take part in that I am glad I agreed to.
  • Met with the, then, president of the Student's Union to help set pans into motion of a day of rooting awareness for genetic obesity conditions as the University of Sunderland. 
  • Got to talk with numerous people from around the world about their experiences of living with and parenting one with a genetic obesity condition. 
  • Conversed with numerous people working for awareness organisations and pharmaceutical companies aiming to develop treatments and awareness for genetic obesity conditions!
  • Set up a community (a mini society) at the University of Sunderland for individuals living with invisible disabilities while studying at University of Sunderland, at the beginning of the next academic year we will be discussing some changes that we wish to make at the University.
  • Become a health champion at a local wellbeing centre, helping to improve the lives of people around me, currently trained  in promoting Emotional Resilience!

Thank you all!

All of the amazing stuff I've been able to do is because of the confidence that my readers give me to keep promoting for these horrible conditions, conditions that impact families, friends, colleagues and most importantly the individual diagnosed with it. If at least 1  of my, almost, 10,000 readers has taken something from my blog then I am doing something right! Thank you so much for being there for me, continuously reading my blog, giving me motivation and support and I can only say that I am SO excited to continue this blogging journey with you as there are lots of exciting things going on at the moment that I will HAVE to tell you all about at some point ;) 

Lovs of love,
Katherine xx

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Busy Bee: What I've Been Up To!

Good Afternoon you lovely people!

It's been so long since I last did a post that I've rewritten this several times because I just wasn't getting into the swing of it. I am pretty disappointed in myself for not continuing to blog but honestly I just haven't had much time to myself whatsoever! I'm pay to be blogging agin though and I've got a fair few posts ready to write for the next fee weeks, so lets get on with this one which will basically just been a roundup of what I've been up to recently!

As per the main reason I haven't been blogging is university, I've just finished my second year and will be going into my last year come September which don't get me wrong I am super excited about, but at the same time I really don't want to leave! This is a big change for me as I have hated every single place I have studied from primary school through secondary, sixth form and college! Uni is brilliant though and I love it so much. With going into my last year I've been mulling over dissertation topics for the last few months and after having like 9 different ideas I think I have finally found a topic that gels with me and that I'm really passionate and excited to write! Next year will be heavy but so fun so overall I'm looking forward to it and I'm actually quite optimistic about my grades for this year too, so yey! 
Oh the frustrations of a Venflo!

I've had a LOT going on with my health lately, as you can probably gather from the image to the right, so me and Simon have been travelling halfway down the country for tests and things, the hospital appointments are really long and pretty boring sometimes so we are bringing books along with us, games, laptop just to keep up busy. I'm allowed to go for walks between tests so it's not like I'm sat on my butt all day doing nothing. Other than that I have been feeling pretty great lately, our puppy Luna is now letting us sleep until a decent time, usually she gets annoyed at us waking her up! We take her for walks everyday and she is absolutely loving it. So are we!

Like I mentioned earlier not much has been going on other than getting loads and loads of Uni work, revision, placement days, report writing and things to get on with which is all done now thankfully but in our spare time me and Simon have been going out to the cinema, we actually managed to go and see Love, Simon (ironically) on the day it came out in cinemas and Oh My God! That's definitely one of my favourite films I've seen recently, I absolutely love anything romance-ish and Nick Robinson is a fab actor so I just loved the whole thing from start to finish, I then went and bought the book so I'm hoping to read that sometime in the summer. We also went to see Infinity War which was way better than I ever thought it would be! No spoilers obviously, I know people who still haven't seen it, but yeah it was really well worked and considering the amount of different characters coming from completely different movies they gel well together and it is so so so funny in many places. We also went to see Deadpool 2, again awesome but personally I preferred Deadpool the original, in fact I prefer the comics but the movies are still fab, definitely getting all of those on DVD when they come out.

A great book!
I've spent a lot of time reading and taking up a couple of new hobbies. I started reading Pornography by Andrea Dworkin. This is a really really good book if you're interested in feminism and topics around patriarchy and pornography, it's heavy reading but very interesting. I've also been reading Fat is a Feminist Issue but Susie Orbrach and this has got to be the most interesting book I've read in a very long time, fatness and social perceptions of fat people have always both fascinated and enraged me and this book captured my attention from the introduction so I would give this a read especially if you're interested in body positivity and fat acceptance type arenas. 

I've recently also picked up a could of new hobbies, because I obviously can't do a huge amount of exercise because of back pain, and a more recent and happy *sarcasm* addition, leg pain. I've started swimming which really relaxes my my back is still a great way to keep fit, me and Simon have also taken up ice skating recently, which is something I struggle at and have to take a lot of breaks with, it tends to take me and hour to get around one lap of the rink and then I'm done after that but still it's a fun day out and something I could hopefully build upon. 
Afternoon walks with Simon and Luna
Finally, I've picked up a few books and CDs and I'm planning to teach myself how to speak German because it's something I've always wanted to do and I'm passionate about, I love the German language and I have no idea why. Hopefully at the end of my third year at Uni I'll be taking a trip over to Berlin or into the Christmas markets in Germany so we will see how that goes, haha! 

So, basically through Uni, movies, books, ice skating and learning German I've been pretty busy but now it's officially summer I am looking forward to getting back into blogging and will hopefully have another post up on Tuesday. 
I hope all of my readers are doing awesome and will see you very very soon! ;) 

Love Katherine   xx

Monday, 19 March 2018

Hello World! Long Time No See: An Update!

Well good day everybody! 

I hope everybody is doing really well? I am so glad I have a chance to be blogging again, the main reason for my absence, as per has been a mixture of university and my health, it's been pretty crappy all round at the moment to be honest. Here in the UK we were hit by the 'Beast from the East' earlier this month so the weather has been pretty crazy, feels like other than going to university I've been stuck in the house for so long! 
Myself and Simon are doing okay, as usual we are inundated with work, things keep going wrong but at least we are still having a lot of laughs along the way. 
I have so much to tell you all and I know these update posts aren't anywhere near as interesting as the POMC posts but thing is, I'm hoping to convey the message to people of what all aspects of life for someone with a genetic obesity disease is like, but I am super super excited to tell you all about something in particular soon! Some exciting things have been going on lately so I believe it is time to get on with the post.

So, in terms of my health things haven't been perfect but when are they? I'm gaining a tiny bit more weight, most likely not helped by the fact I haven't  been able to do as much exercise as usual because of weather and university taking up all of my time, or it could be the fact that my doctors have started me on a new progesterone medication that's meant that I am more likely to bloat and retain water. Don't get me wrong these tablets aren't as bad for my body compared to the last tablets I was on in terms of getting regular hormones but they definitely mess around with my body and emotions twice as much which is fun for all the family to deal with. Anywho, other than that I've been fighting migraines, sinus infections and some serious back pain lately, in fact the back pain has been so bad I've missed university because of it, a lot of the days lately I seem to be struggling to walk and experiencing more pain, I'm hoping to go to a local chiropractor and physiotherapist in the next couple of weeks and see if they can help with some exercises or manipulate my back. Doctors keep telling me to lose weight and my lordosis will improve... yeah because all of us with genetic obesity know how easy that is. Anyway that's roughly about it in terms of my health, there are a couple of routes I'm considering going down in terms of adding things to my diet and exercise regimen, although those are things for another post.
Me and the babies, Dusty left, Luna right.

In my last post I mentioned that our dog Bella sadly passed away, she's left a huge hole in all of our hearts but thankfully we now have two little things to take our mind off of it. Myself and Simon are now the proud parents (yes I said parents, I DON'T CARE IF YOU JUDGE US!) of a beautiful 14 week old little Chihuahua girl we have named Luna. She is THE most adorable little puppy in the world! We love her so much but she is definitely a lot to handle, at the moment she is waking up us every single night between 2 and 4 and then wakes up properly at 7am. Not fun on a Sunday morning I'll tell you that. She has a good little voice on her and will bark at you if you tell her not to do something which I find adorable, but she has an even better appetite, so far she has managed to drink coffee from Si
Our baby Luna on her first day home!
mon's unattended cup which he left on the table and she jumped over to get, she's stolen fish, cheese, toast, tomatoes, carrots, cake, popcorn, carbonated water, milk and lots more! None of this is ever given to her willingly either she's just like a little acrobat when she wants something!
Luna is the first pet I've been completely responsible for and I think me and Simon are doing pretty well so far. My Nana and Grandad have also adopted a 14 week old Chihuahua and Jack Russell Terrier crossbreed called Dusty, he is a total fluff ball, he'll sleep anywhere, loves a good cuddle, is very very noisy, has the personality of an old man and has a huge overbite which Simon says makes him look like he is constantly biting his lower lip in excitement which is hilarious. If you want to see a picture of another adorable puppy I highly recumbent heading over to Instagram and taking a look at the profile Tunameltsmyheart, because that dog is probably the sweetest little thing ever to exist and I live for that IG account. The puppies a
Nana's baby Dusty on his second day at home!
dore each other, they are honestly the best of friends and share the same food bowl, sleep together and are currently having an argument with one another while I write this. 

Other than rubbish health, adopting two puppies and stalking Instagram puppies I have actually been attending university haha! At the moment we are nearing the end of the second semester and it's scary how close we all are to dissertation time next September! At the moment I'm taking 3 modules, one on Medicalisation of society, another on a research module, a third is a placement module with a self-directed research study which I am really enjoying because I have been seriously considering a career in social research. I've got a fair few assignments due in, I started one yesterday and have pretty much finished so I've got through that one quickly, I have 2 assessments for each module so I have 6 things to hand in before the end of May, lots going on heck which is why I have had so little time to blog with university and new puppies. Hopefully I can get all of those assessments in well before the deadline and can finish pretty early, fingers crossed. A few nights ago I had a crisis, well two actually, recently my car has been playing up which has meant I have had a battery change and breakdown recovery out more than I care to think about, and the other is that when I sat down to write my essays up my laptop completely died on me so I had to head out and buy a new one complete with Microsoft, security, an external hard drive and everything else that goes along with a new laptop. Admittedly it is amazing compared with my old one but I bought an Acer and have never ever had an issue with an Acer laptop, in fact I think they're the best type to get for uni and college, just my personal preference mind you. 
My new laptop - Image from Google
Anyway back to the topic of university, last year I mentioned I had a few things happen, such as a meeting with the president of my students union and an interview with a journalist, unfortunately the journalist let me down pretty badly, after giving out personal information for a good cause you kind of expect something to be done about it but at this point I'm so annoyed I don't even want to be involved in it anymore. 
The meeting at the union went great but because of timing and things we never managed to get an awareness day for genetic obesity running. HOWEVER... me and my friend who runs another blog about living with her own rare disease, we have decided to come together ad there are a number of issues at our university which mean people with invisible disabilities are not catered for as much as visibly disabled individuals would be. To myself and Annie this just isn't acceptable, in a world where disability rights movement is pretty strong, people shouldn't have to justify their disability simply because it isn't visible.
Official logo for out new community at uni!
 Therefore, we have developed a community at university, similar to a society, specifically for individuals with, people caring for or those interested in invisible disabilities and disorders; we are known as the Invisible Disabilities and Disorders Community, or I.D.D. for short, we aim to provide a safe space for people with invisible disabilities to socialise without judgement, we want to make people's university experience much more empowering and we want to make changes to the university to ensure it is more inclusive to everybody who wants to attend! I think this is a huge step for the university as well as a major step for myself as this is something I've been passionate about for years and honestly can not wait to get started! 

So, all in all you can see its been a pretty busy month! I am glad to be able to blog again but again, my posts will be sporadic until I am able to get all of my inversely work sorted or at least a bit more manageable, I truly do hope you all have found thing post interesting because I enjoy telling you all when is going on in my life! I would love to hear thing things that you've been getting up to this month! If you have anything to say leave a comment or reach out to me as I'm always here to listen! 
Have an awesome day everybody!

Love Katy! xoxo

Friday, 9 February 2018

My Reflections: 10 Things I've Learned in 10 Years!

Good Evening everybody,

I hope all is well with everybody and you're all taking care of yourselves. This past couple of weeks has been pretty difficult for us as a family, something that you should know about us is that we adore dogs. Any breed, size, age, ailment or temperament, we will take them all and this week our beloved Bullmastiff dog Bella passed away, my whole family is devastated obviously, and we all need some time to get over it because she was simply amazing and she was like a person in a dog's form.  I've also started back at university and I'm properly in the swing of things now, looking forward to assignments and praying as hard as I can to avoid drama but that's clearly not working at the moment haha!
The past couple of weeks I've been doing a lot of reflections, looking at my life, my attitude and things I've been through, I've been thinking of making some changes and looking into the possibility of maybe moving house at some point but nothing will be rushed. So, all of that reflections led me to think about everything I have learned form my experiences and wow was I surprised to say the least! We go about our daily lives spilling out the wisdom we've learned to people who need it, want it or who just will listen to it but we never really stop to think "where did that come from?" or "what led me to this?". Therefore I would like to share some of the rings I've learned with you and maybe some experiences that led me to these points. 

It's okay to have no clue what you want to do with your life - This can be an issue for a lot of people to be honest and I've had friends and ex-friends who simply have no idea what they want or can do with their qualifications and experiences but to some extent that's okay. There are people with numerous degrees who still have no idea what they want to do, but sometimes if you just take it a day at a time and just try and enjoy what you're doing as you do it then things will usually fall into place. I must say if you don't enjoy whatever it is that you're doing then you need to leave it, even if that's a relationship or a job just get out because life is far too short to waste being unhappy. 

Not having a boyfriend/girlfriend in school, college or uni isn't the worst thing - For many people this can be pretty much a confidence killer, just as being virgin through school or not going to any crazy parties can make you feel like a loser, not having a boyfriend/girlfriend throughout school can be a major confidence killer. It's not the be all and end all of everything though, think of it this way the more time you spend swooning over a guy/girl the more you are doing yourself a disservice, you would be focusing on YOU! Learning your own boundaries, finding new and fun hobbies, time with friends and family, working harder at school and getting better grades is an amazing achievement. Also most people in school who say they have a BF/GF that they love will likely split up as they aren't mature enough* at that point to hold a relationship down AND those people saying they have lots of awesome sex... yeah? No, they usually aren't and even if they were nobody is amazing at sex the first time they have it, so stop worrying!

Me being a happy and semi-confident person!
Staying true to yourself makes you a much happier person - I can't say much about this one as it is what it says on the can. If you are true to yourself and take part in the things that you like, if you hang around with the people you love, listen to good music, watch awesome movies and wear the soothes you are comfortable in then you will have a much better life, nobody wants to be stuck in clothes they can't stand, listening to God-awful music with people they don't get on with do they? Exacly! I actually learned this when I hit 18 because I had been trying so so hard to fit in at college with the girls in my class and I just kind of realised one morning while the girls talked about sex positions, modern music I had no idea about and what they were doing at the weekend that I thought "my god I'm 18 trying to be 16 and I would be happier at home this weekend with a book, completed coursework, candles on an laughing with my Mam and Nana" so that's what I did and I was totally bloody happy with it!

Making time for friends and family, even if you're super busy or stressed, is usually **always worth it - I included this one because a few weeks ago I met up with my oldest and greatest friend Leanne (Leanne, if you're reading this I still can't believe we have been friends for 10 years!). She signed herself up for the 3 years of gruelling mental torture known as university, although our courses are very different we do know, and anyone else who tries super hard to do well at uni, that uni takes up a high amount of our time and can be difficult to arrange get togethers but she told me that she always made times for her friends and family which is something I struggled with, if i have work that usually comes first so I don't stress about it, but lately I've been arranging more time out with friends, family and  generally just for myself too because honestly it's a welcomed break away, the work isn't going anywhere but time with friends and family is so precious.

People are cruel/assholes/ignorant... at EVERY age - Can't express how many times I want you to read and re-read that back because it's so true, there are so many nasty, cruel people out in that work that it's impossible to shield yourself away from them so growing a thick skin is essential, I'm still working on mine so I am in no position to preach at all but my God what I have definitely helps! Nastiness and childish behaviour doesn't stop at a particular age, it isn't just reserved for children, some of the most digesting comments I've ever received have been from young and older adults... Imagine a child's vocabulary with more swears basically. This kind of this does need to be ignored if it's nothing too serious but discrimination and ignorant comments need report in in the right circumstances such as at work or in a public situation if there is anyone available to report it to. Keep yourself right and safe at all times thought. Also as a side note to this one, if you have friends then they, even after a long time and lots of memories can still turn their backs on you and vice versa. 

Believing in your own strength and abilities is essential if you want to do anything in this world - This one for me, is pretty much the follow on the the above point, hence the structure of this post. If you are going to meet assholes at every stage in your life then you're going to meet barriers to what you're wanting to do, you'll need to overcome barriers and fight for what you think is right. A recent problem with my consultant who diagnosed my POMC has fought me this mores than ever; if you spend your whole life thinking that you can't do something or that you're not good enough then that's all you will ever be because you will never go outside of your comfort zone or gain confidence. If, however, you work hard and believe that you can be do something, even if it is as simple as talking to someone over the phone to order something or ask something then you have taken that step to increasing you confidence, each time you do that it will get easier, you will know that you can talk to someone on the phone and then on to the next challenge it is! If you think that you do have the strength to carry on when you're having a stressful day then you will get through it and getting into bed at night will be much sweeter. 

Money has no meaning outside of its purpose - I like this one. In fact this one is my favourite because it took me longest to realise to be frank. I didn't have many friends throughout school, the ones I did (excluding a couple) were pretty shitty and made my life hell most of the time, but I was so scared of being alone that I would spend a huge amount of the money I received in trying to buy their affection. I would take them on days out, buy them whatever they wanted, make sure if they didn't have enough money I would give it to them. I have needed fuel money to take friends places and asked for help if they took me out of my way but when they didn't help I let it go because hey that's money they could spend on themselves and I'll manage somehow... But the thing is money has 0 value if it's not being used for its original purpose which is to purchase goods, so all of that money I spent on "friends" didn't miraculously help improve our relationship, it just meant they took advantage of me and some of my friends are still doing that now just not necessarily with money but emotional support. The friends and people that mattered didn't care if I had no money at all, we could have a day in the house baking or cross-stitching or reading or even just sitting in silence and that was enough. I wish I'd known that earlier. 

Working hard always pays off in some way - I promise that this is true! If you work hard at something, even if you're rubbish at it then it'll pay off somehow, it might just pay off because you feel good about yourself for working hard but it definitely pays off, and working hard at something will give you a sense of achievement which in turn definitely helps building confidence and self-esteem!

Nothing comes before your health - This is something that I learned far too late in life. Something to know about me is that I went to an absolutely awful comprehensive school, the pupils there were evil, the teachers sub-par and didn't care about anything that was going on. I remember that after being diagnosed with POMC when I first started comprehensive school that my parents got a nurse form the RVI into school to explain to the class and teachers what exactly was wrong with me, one fact being that I would need to eat regularly and drink more, one rule in our school was no drinking in class so I remember getting my water bottle taken away from me and one particular teacher ripped up my toilet pass (a card that lets you go to the toilet whenever you need, no questions asked). My Mam went up to the school and went crazy with the teachers after that because by the time I got home I had held my need to use the toilet so long that a couple of days late i developed a kidney infection and I was so dehydrated I couldn't talk properly. It was then (in year 10 when I was around 15) that I literally vowed never ever to let somebody get me into that situation because no 60 minute lesson about WW2 is more important than my health. The same goes for you, nothing is ever more important than your health, so if you're very ill, mentally needing  break or physically unable to do anything then you have to take that time away, schedule it in if you have to to make sure you get everything done that you need doing but always make sure you have good health because you can't do very much without that on your side. 

You have got to think of yourself - For a lot of people this can be pretty difficult myself included because some people have a natural instinct to look after other people before themselves. I suppose that this point is the accumulation of all of the other points all rolled into 7 seemingly unimportant words. I don't mean that you should take being selfish to the extremes but I do mean that in everybody's life there comes a time when you simply have to put yourself first. There are so many reasons people can choose to put themselves first, some people do it when they're sad, others when they're angry or stressed or distressed or happy; I find that putting yourself first should be a running theme throughout your life, it should involve self-care and support; I put myself first by not allowing people to take advantage of me the way I used to and taking time to get to know my limits and boundaries so that I can stop people getting in the way of my happiness, if someone is going to cause upset or difficulties in my life then get rid of them because like I said at the beginning... life is simply too short. 
Our gorgeous Belle <3

So, there we have it, those are the 10 most important things I've learned in 10 years (from 12 years old to 22) and I hope you guys have really enjoyed reading this post because I loved writing it! Please come back next time and have an awesome week until then! As silly as it may seem to some, I am dedicating this post to our beautiful dog Bella Savage who passed away 08.02.2018, she really was the best friend a person could hope for and she will be more then missed. 
Love, Katy xo

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Staying Positive: See the Silver Lining!

Hey everyone!

I hope you're all doing really well, and the first month of your New Year is going awesome! I'm writing this post today because I'm aware the past couple of weeks have been full of emotion for people in my family, and all of my friend groups in some way as many of my friends and most of my immediate and extended family have some pretty serious health problems, I know these issues have been getting my loved ones down and they are struggling to see the bright side of life and to me that is just awful to see. 
It's so important when you have ill health to look at the positive things you have, for example yesterday I spent the day with my best friend and her partner, Nana and Simon baking all day, we both made lovely cakes and if you want to see mine head over to my personal instagram and it's the most recent cake picture! I made a beautiful white chocolate lemon drizzle cake and it smelled amazing! Me and my friend can't eat our cakes, she seemed quite frustrated at this and admittedly when you love cake and know you can't have it or taste what you've made it is very annoying, I can't eat my cake because it isn't worth it in my opinion, if I am going to eat something less healthy than usual I will wait until there is something that truly takes my fancy; albeit those times are few and far between but it makes me appreciate  and enjoy it more for waiting. The thing is everybody on earth has their own cross to bear in terms of their health but something I think is so essential when dealing with your lifestyle when you're chronically ill or have a long term/lifetime illness is that you've got to see the positive side of things even if sometimes it feels like you're fighting a losing battle.

When I first made changes to my diet it was super difficult and after years not not eating very well, or at least as well as I should've been, I was miserable for a long time because I thought I had to cut out foods that I love, like cakes and bacon but I did a lot of research and I've found so many different cake recipes that barely use any sugar and taste really good, most of those are vegan cakes which although they may not be ad indulgent as some other cakes hey I still get to eat cake! Plus vegan diets are recommended to some people with PCOS to relieve symptoms so I'm in a way being a little healthier than I would be if I made a Mary Berry cake. In terms of bacon just changing how its cooked and the kind of bacon makes a huge difference to a diet, I can still have things I loved but they are more strictly moderated and cooking techniques and products use to make my meals are slightly different. That is one of the ways that I tend to se the positive with my dietary changes because that was one of the most difficult things to cope with as it was such a major change for me as I like routine and at the time didn't eat a lot of different things.

Another positive thing is that although I can't eat my cakes I get to have so much fun baking them and trying out recipes, Simon is my personal tester and it's so awesome watching people eat and enjoy the food that you've made, the smells are wonderful the colours and textures are awesome! One of my favourite quotes, I don't know who by, is "life is not about wiring for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain" and that really resonates with me and I would definitely suggest that others remember this quote when you're feeling down. Every time something negative happens or you're feeling generally crappy just take a minute to think about the positives of the situation.
Image from
For example I had a friend a while ago who started on a treatment that involved daily injections, her way of seeing the positive is that she was scared of needles and at least after the treatment she wouldn't be scared anymore because she would get used to the feeling! That's an awesome way of looking at things if you ask me! My Mam has M.E., a basically null immune system, hundreds of allergies, epilepsy and lots more wrong with her which means she doesn't leave the house much, from this she has learned new sills and gotten really involved in arts and crafts, and although her life is a major struggle at times she has still gained a wonderful new hobby from it all.

Seeing the positive in the negative can change your outlook on life massively, honestly I'm planning  few posts within the next month and I'm very excited about them, during the planning of them I've realised how much I have truly changed and how positive my outlook on life is now. I'm hoping that if anyone reading this is feeling down at the moment, for whatever reason, that this little post does help in some way and if you're feeling low because of ill health please just remember that you're still alive, you still have people around you who are happy to see you turn up to work, or school or uni everyday, people who are happy to have you say hello to them or even just people who are happy that you managed to get out of bed this morning, that's an achievement in itself and I really mean that. In the next month I've to have a couple more posts up and while I was planning them it's been a real shock to look through some of my old stuff and see how much I have truly changed and now much more positive my life is now.
If every anybody needs some support or to talk please go to my Contact Me page and reach out to me because I will ALWAYS be willing to listen if you need to talk. I truly hope this post has helped someone out there because even the smallest of positives can make a huge difference.
Please be safe everybody and remember to see those silver linings!
Katy xo

Thursday, 4 January 2018

I'm Cool as a Cucumber... NOT! How Can I Keep Myself Relaxed?

Good evening everyone!

I'm not in the best of moods today so I'm hoping that writing up this post will be something to take my mind off things. I had no plans on writing a post about how I remain calm and relaxed but over the last 3 weeks I've had a massive amount of things going on, I've never experienced pressure like I have this last month and that's not even including any stresses from university either. All of this stress had resulted in unexplained chest pain that has lasted 3 weeks and I'm not going to lie it actually felt like I was going to have a heart attack, I've worried about everything from a blocked artery and heart attack, to a viral infection to Lymphoma. Ask any of my family and friends... or lecturers... or random people on the street and they will be able to tell you how much of a stress head I am. I worry about the tiniest of things and can never ever fully* relax. The pain in my chest caused by stress (confirmed by a doctor that stress was the cause after 3 ECGs and ECHO and blood tests), it was scary and I'm not going to lie it's given me a kick up the bum to really start looking after my body spiritually and emotionally rather than focusing on the physical side all of the time.

Being so scared that my stress levels have caused this, and could cause something worse if I get too wound up, had prompted me to write this blog post, maybe I need a little reminder of how I can stay calm, therefore I am using this blog to write down all the ways in which I can help myself, and hopefully give others tips on how to relax as well. So, please read on and enjoy, also note that my ways to relax are different to everyone else's so if my tips are totally different to what you like, try and apply it to something you do like!

My favourite book series. Skulduggery Pleasant
Get into My Hobbies - When I was a young girl and I used to stay inside a lot because of the bullying I got into some interesting hobbies, I've always used reading as a form of escapism but have really lost the lust for reading with having little time because of uni; reading could be a good way to levee my problems behind for an hour or two. I ask love to knit and cross stitch and can't remember the last time I did that either, maybe learning  new skill like crocheting would be good for me as I got lots of knitting and cross stitch stuff for Christmas. I could also get back into playing the piano or clarinet as I used to do both of those and really have lost the drive to do everything I used to love because of being so stressed about one thing or another. 

Pamper Myself - I always try to put time aside each week to do this anyway and it's kind of become a chore where I pick the things I'll use in the bath/shower and just sit there thinking about what else I could be doing. Maybe it is time that I make time for a lovely long nth/shower with the nicest smelling products I own, I never have unpainted toenails so that's another way that I can palmer myself as well. There really isn't a better feeling than being fresh and comfy, looking nice and being chilled out. 

Marsden Rock in South Shields
Exercise - Exercise is usually pretty stressful thing for me to do because it usually ends up with my legs being numb and my back throbbing painfully at best. However, I love South Shields and other beaches in the North East so why not just take a drive up there and walk along the sands for a little, there is something about the sea that is really soothing to me particularly during a storm and the waves are crashing in all their awesomeness. I think i would find that really relaxing. I love walking in the rain as I find that the easiest time for me to walk, I tend not to overheat in the rain and love rain anyway so that might be a good opportunity for me to unwind as well. Oh for the less mobile people out there I would highly recumbent Yoga, it is fab for keeping fit and chilling out. 

Talk to Friends and Family - I don't have many friends, particularly ones that are readily available to i just don't tend to talk to anyone unless I really need to or we are together at the time. I've been let down a lot with friends and family and if I truly need someone to talk to about anything it's my Nana I will go to as she is the most understanding, compassionate and diplomatic woman ever. She usually gives me awesome advice or makes me think about things in a different way so if you have friends and family you can talk to then that's awesome but if not then sometimes talking to yourself helps, I have found that arguing with myself can help me straighten things out in my head sometimes... that makes me sound off my rocker doesn't it?
One of my Cross stitch designs - did it without a pattern!

Go Driving - Every week my Nana and Granda will go for a short drive somewhere, they never pick a destination just flip a coin and drive in a particular direction, usually until Nana spots something or Granda gets sick of driving. They once ended up having fish and chips in the car park of Lightwater Valley and headed straight home haha! Nana always says that just getting out of the house lightens her mood and chills her out. I'm sure I get my stress habits from my Mam and Nana. Getting out of the house is usually a good way for me to relax, if my essays are stressing me then if I am out of the house and away from my computer/work then there's nothing I can do about it is there? I have no choice but to enjoy myself while I'm out so that's a pretty good idea too. 

Light Candles - My Hygge book says that the Danish are so happy because they often light a lot of candles and that... I guess makes them happy because candles are just SO cozy. I don't really understand why candles make the Danish (and me) so happy and content but they apparently do. I'm a sucker for candles but also a candle hoarder, I don't like using them because once they're gone they're gone and sometimes they smell far too nice. I had a sea foam candle once which just smelled divine, the whole house smelled like the seaside and that was brilliant. I always have candles so that'll be an easy one to keep to haha!

Best piece of technology Apple ever created!
Listen to Music - This one is pretty much a guaranteed way to relax me. Music is my lifeblood and I honestly couldn't live without my music and my taste is so eclectic you wouldn't think that I listened to country, elvis, Eurodance, classical, one direction and so so so many more. I love closing my eyes and just drifting away to whatever I'm listening to, it's just perfect trying to listen deeply and hear all the instruments involved in a particular song. You can even start to imagine different scenarios in your head and sometimes I get really blown away by the imagination of the human mind. Music is amazing and this is a sure fire way to help me relax. 

So, there's 7 ways that I am going to try and keep myself relaxed, it's much easier said than done and I have 100 other ways I could chill but again the proof is in the pudding. Please everybody remember that stress can cause some serious physical problems so if you're feeling overwhelmed and have tried different ways to stay calm maybe talking to your GP could help, they could offer alternative methods such as counselling, or if necessary medication. 
If you've got any tips of your own about how to stay chilled I would absolutely love to know them so get commenting below and let me know! 
Hope you all enjoyed this post, see you guys soon!

Katherine.  xo