I’ve been absent from my blog for just over a week, which is pants.  About 9 days ago I managed to end up in hospital following a pretty bad fall from a horse.  It has been horrific, but I say pretty bad as it could have been a lot worse.  Moral of the story: wear a body protector!

Being in so much pain, damaged, immobile and TOTALLY reliant on others has made me really think about how much I take for granted and how grateful and thankful I really should be. In our lives it’s so easy  to moan and grumble about all
the ‘if onlys’ and the ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘if I worked harder/had more money/was curvier/thinner…’ etc etc , we forget about all the good things we have.

Being injured made me realise all the little things I normally take for granted. The freedom to drive, go where ever I want, change a pillow case without crying in pain, walk up and down stairs, run, or even brush the nest that is my hair without hurting.  It also made me realise how amazing people are, family and friends, and my dearest Bear.

Moving away from beauty and food, this post is all about my reasons to be happy and the things I am most grateful for 🙂 So I challenge you all today to think beyond the doom and gloom and appreciate the little things in life that, without which, you would be as miserable as Dot Cotton during a tomato juice strike.  You might have a the mother of all bitchy resting faces, but there’s ALWAYS a reason to smile!

THE PEOPLE WE LOVE

Whether you’re single or not the people we love the most need telling.  Friends, family, housemates (I class mine as close friends), your partner, that girl/boy you’ve fancied since time began.  Tell them. When I lay in hospital freaking out it was my Dad and my boyfriend who made me feel safe and realise that, even though I detest hospitals almost as much as funerals, I was in good hands and I was ok.

We rely on our friends to be there for us and I don’t think we realise how much until we need them the most.  Heartbreak, death, birth, change.  The people we are closest to are the ones that get us through life’s highs and lows, yet are probably the people we take for granted the most.  They’ll always be there, right?  After Mum died I now always make a point of telling Dad I love him whenever we speak.  I wish I’d told Mum every day.  I’d have been lost this week without the Bear, my family, and my friends.  Nothing brings your relationship closer than your boyfriend stepping up to be your carer let me tell you!

I’d have been lost without all the lovely texts, notes, food parcels and little gifts from my chums. They made me feel loved when I felt really low and I hope that I can always be there for them when they need a friend in return.

FREEDOM TO TRAVEL

If you can drive then you will know how amazing you felt when you first passed your test.  Over time that joy fades into rush-hour frustration but for me this week I realised how much I rely on little Hugo (my car) to go everywhere I need to. This week also made me so grateful for all the holidays I’ve had, especially my skiing trip recently.  I wouldn’t have been able to do that in my current state!  We are so lucky in our society that we can just book a flight and get out of here, we can even move to another town or country whenever we fancy.

Visiting new places not only widens your horizons but you learn so much and meet so many amazing people, and I’m so grateful for all the holidays and experiences I have had.  Here’s to many more!!!

MY LITTLE BLOG

This week I got lovely email from a company I’d written about in a previous post and it made me feel so happy!  I don’t work for myself (that’s my dream one day…) but my blog is the one thing I create alone, I make time for it and I know it’s all my work.  When I get a nice comment, or email it feels amazing because I know I’ve achieved that- all on my tod.  I love the blogging community, there are so many inspirational, interesting people out there, and even though sometimes it’s easy to just look at other people on social media and compare myself I also know there’s a tonne of support and wonderful things going on and I’m grateful to be a part of that.

EXERCISE

Some people may scream at their screens, or laugh in disbelief, at my next sentence but it’s true so sorry. I miss exercise.

There I’ve said it. I totally hold my hands up though, I’m one of those people that when it’s cold and wet will have to force myself and argue in my head to run or do anything energetic but when the choice is taken away from you, it sucks.  I miss horse riding, I miss being able to sprint up the stairs, pick up my ridiculously heavy camera at work, and run until I can barely breathe.  When I came back from my skiing trip I was on such a healthy eating/exercise kick I was feeling so good about myself, and then my stupid accident happened.

Getting up early at the weekend to go to the yard does suck, but once I’m riding I’m in my happy place.  I am nervous about how I’ll feel when a horse starts tanking off with me again, but I miss being in the saddle and I miss riding my bomb-proof old pony Oslo.

Exercise makes you feel SO good about yourself afterwards.  The endorphin hype is real and even though it can be tough the sense of achievement afterwards can’t be matched.  If you can move, just do it! This time last year I was training for the London Marathon, this year I’m training myself to pick things up with crutches…

MY HORSE

What a wonderful animal Oslo is.  My pride and joy (see above, photo credit: Lee Wallis) I love him more than words.  Not being able to drive to see him, stroke his velvety, moleskin-soft nose, and sit on top of the old boy is killing me. He wasn’t the horse I fell off (I love that horse too) but he is my special boy and I’ve owned him for over half my life.  He’s amazing. Everyone that meets him agrees and he’s taught me, and so many others an awful lot.

He’s the gentlest sole but a real character and I’d be lost without him.  Sometimes being at the yard, especially in winter, when everyone else is busy doing something else makes me question why I do it but then as soon as I’m at the yard I’m so happy and as soon as I cuddle Oslo I know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  Having a horse is a massive commitment but I’m lucky enough to have a situation where other people look after him too.  It took eight long years to persuade my parents that having a horse would be a good idea, and I’ve never looked back.  Being away from him makes me realise how fortunate I am to have a horse, and the special bond that comes with it.

HEALTH

Recovering from an accident is a long process and it was good to know from my scans that, other than my current damage, I’m a healthy person.  This isn’t something anyone should take for granted.  My sight, smell, touch, ability to move, I’m thankful for it all and I’ve realised how important it is to look after myself.  Diet and exercise is cruicial, and even though I’m enjoying boxsets and chocolate, it’s made me realise how much I need to stay healthy- not just for my skin but for my insides too.  I love creating healthy meals and food can be so much fun, when you’re a child like me and can even turn your own breakfast into a bear!  Health isn’t just about the physical though, good mental health is vital and I really hit a low point last week and it’s easy to just fill your mind with sorrow and self-pity.  This is where staying active, surrounding yourself with positive people, experiencing new and exciting things, and travelling will keep you healthy in mind and body!

TIME

Anyone who knows me knows I live my life at 100mph.  I am always in a rush (usually late), and I’m always the ‘I don’t have enough time’ person. I would never spend a full day in bed, or lounging on the sofa, ever.  I don’t have enough time.

These injuries have forced me to do pretty much sod all, and I’m (sort of) grateful for this.  I also don’t want to waste it.  I think we waste so much time doing stupid pointless things, that we could actually spend doing useful things to help us achieve our dreams and goals.  I am 100% guilty of this.

My problem now is that I’m always saying how much I dream of time off work but now I have it I’m so immobile I can’t get anything done! So when I am back up and running I intend to spend less time procrastinating about what I want to do and actually get on and do it! Well, here’s hoping anyway… In the mean time I need to be grateful and thankful that I’ve been given time to think- about what I want to do with myself, my career, where I’d like to be and what I’d like to do.  Time is precious and it’s nice to spend time on your own, getting happy in your own skin. These are just a few things I’m grateful for, I could go on all day but no one wants to read that amount of shizzle and this is long enough as it is!

So get thinking about what you’re grateful for and what you probably take for granted, and don’t forget to tell the people you love that you do!

J xx

Another Doctors appointment, another few minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I swear I might as well talk to my Moomin pal instead of a Doctor…

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He’s a good listener….

My skin has been really rubbish recently, not just because it looks bad but it FEELS different.  I have Atopic Eczema, so of course I know already I react badly to pretty much anything and there’s no consistency. Recently, however, my skin is so itchy I literally want to make a bed out of really rough doormats and roll around naked in it to scratch all my skin off Something is really irritating me (besides the usual- work, rude people, lack of sun and shortage of Disney films in my life) and I want to get to the bottom of it.  It must be horrific holding hands and sleeping next to a lizard every night!

I hate it when you go to see someone; a ‘professional’ and they try and pretend they know more about yourself than you.  This time was a classic.  I was the last patient of the day- and boy didn’t I know it!  Couldn’t have been hurried through any faster if I’d tried!  I had a Doctor I don’t normally have; clearly he hadn’t bothered to read any of my notes before the appointment.  He looked at my skin and declared after about 2 seconds ‘you have chemical-related Eczema…’ RIGHT. Clearly no clue that I’ve had this condition since I was the size of a melon.  He asked me what I did and then mentioned it must be my job.  Erm… I film stuff and take photos.  I haven’t been in a darkroom near chemicals since 2006.  I spend a fortune on organic, natural skin care- of course it’s not chemical related.

When I suggested I might be allergic to something, or have developed a recently allergy, I was told that’s impossible. Apparently if you’re not allergic to something ten years ago you won’t be now. When I put forward we had a cat when I was younger but now when I’m in a room with one my eyes look like a Pugs after about two minutes I just got silence.

I read lots of Eczema sufferer’s blogs and take a keen interest in what other people do to help their skin, what they eat, their allergies and how they treat their skin. I’m trying to stay off Steroids and when I suggested to Dr. Personality about maybe seeing an Allergist or getting a test to see if there was anything I might be allergic to that I’m in regular contact with I was greeted with a look like I’d just informed him they were going to have to pay for their own drinks at the Doctors Christmas do.

Anyone that knows me knows I’m the most awkward person when it comes to talking about my skin.  I can talk about Eczema until the cows come home (I have literally no idea where that saying comes from) but when it comes to my own shizzle I get all panicky and upset.  I hate going to the Doctors let alone having to stand up for myself and talk about something I find really difficult.  I hate the way I was made to feel stupid just because I asked whether I might be eating/doing something that has affected my skin and actually asking questions and making suggestions.  How can you convey to someone who has never wanted to rip their own hands off what it’s like?  They just don’t get it.  After an Oscar worthy meltdown and floods of tears I have now been palmed off to a new Dermatologist and informed on my way out that I ‘read too much on the internet’.

I left the appointment more angry than satisfied.  Fair enough it’s the NHS and it’s not like I’ve paid a private professional to give a shit about me, however my pay slip would dispute this and it would be nice from time to time to see someone who does care, or at least pretends to.  I’ve had to suffer from this my whole life, you can suffer with my crap for ten minutes.  I sincerely doubt any medical professional will take on what I say, which makes me sad.  I KNOW my own skin more than you do.  I know that in the last month my Eczema is worse than it’s been in years and that there is something making me claw my own skin to shreds in my sleep.  I know it’s a cycle but surely at some point there’s something I can do to break it?  I know I’m allergic to hay (which sucks when you have a horse) but I’ve dealt with this and I know that if my skin is bad after a trip to the yard this is why. This is different though.

Think I’m going to go back to the drawing board.  I’m convinced that changing my diet will help.  I do try and eat well but sometimes I am a bit lapse with food.  After reading The Eczema Diet last year I know there’s a lot I can do to help.  At least if I’m making an effort to heal my skin from the inside out it won’t matter that I read a lot online because when I do see these ‘caring professionals’ I know I’m doing all I can to help myself along the way.

Happy scratching…. x

I think I’ll be skipping over the lack of posts recently.  Of course I have guilt and apologise but I’ve no excuses so let’s just move forward….Since my last post a LOT of really cool things have happened and I also somehow managed to get to the happiest I’ve ever been in terms of personal contentment last year, which was a Brucey Bonus!  I don’t know if it’s an age thing or just that I put a lot of effort into being happy on my own, doing new things and creating new memories.  I also moved to the best house with the best housemates. Whatever it was I’m in a really good place now and feel like I’m ready to waffle on again on this blog. There’s always something to write about skin and diet and there’s no point me trying to deny the fact I’ve been pretty rubbish but it’s summer which means lots of happy posts filled with sunshine and new treats. Oh and and probably hayfever.

Travel Essentials

The summer is always a bit of a double edged sword with sensitive skin and Eczema.  The sun works wonders for me but with the longer days and (hopeful) change in wardrobe comes the dreaded pollen count, and for some reason this year has been pretty bad for me so far. I’ve been lucky enough to have two epic holidays already this summer.  One was a travelling holiday around Thailand with the man (which was incredible beyond words and I don’t know why I’ve never done it sooner) and the other was a nice relaxing holiday in Turkey.

I hate having sensitive skin and Eczema when I go away.  Not only do I have to literally take a vat of moisturiser but I also have to take lots of suncream (face AND body) and also all the usual ‘sensitive’ products.I think I should really do a separate post about suncream- I am still yet to find one that doesn’t react with my skin. I don’t know about anyone else but I often have a mad allergic reaction to suncream and come out in a crazy heat-rash style thing all over my body.  Which is about as appealing as finding the last mouldy, dried up lemon in the fruit bowl when trying to make a good gin. NOT the best- especially when you’re trying to look fairly reasonable in a bikini! In Turkey I had a bad reaction to the Boots Soltan brand and last year Piz Buin left me looking like I’d been dipped in acid.There are a few products that I don’t reach the airport without:

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Ultrasun Face SPF30 (for sensitive skin- actually doesn’t irritate my face) Therapeutics moisturising cream (£13.99- one of the BEST budget creams I have ever used, can’t rave about this brand enough, it’s NEVER irritated my face and works wonders) Elemis SOS cream (£52.50, it’s pricey but there just aren’t the words to describe how amazing this product is, it’s my skin saviour and I couldn’t go without it, I can use it even when my skin is irritated) Weleda Sea Buckthorn body wash (£7.95) and Weleda sensitive hand cream (which goes everywhere with me now, although I can’t use it when my hands are particularly bad.  I will do a whole separate blog post about Weleda as it’s a brand I’m new too but I’m already addicted!)

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I will do another post about Weleda as I recently tried out their products and the Buckthorn body wash was one of my faves!

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Besides suncream, Therapeutics and Elemis are my ultimate favourite face creams.  My skin would be lost without them, also I’m addicted to hair accessories- who wouldn’t want a watermelon head scarf??!

Like the chump I am, in the excitement of being on holiday I forgot to take a before pic of my hands- but I did take an after shot.  They’re still a bit rough and dry but the splits are all healed! (They do look pasty but I’m not a total sunworshipper!

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I’ve not been using any steroid cream (screw you doctors and Derms) and I think basically the mass improvement in skin is my body’s way of telling me to pack my bags sharpish and move to a coastline of warmer climates.  I genuinely think the sun does wonders for my skin, mood and pretty much improves life all round.  I’m so envious of all the traveller Instagram accounts I follow and also of all my Insta friends who live by a beach. I recently spoke to another blogger who has eczema and she said hers dramatically healed on holiday, how about yours? I think a huge improvement on my skin is reason enough alone to swap a Victorian semi for a beach house…xxx

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So as a result of my exclusion ‘diet’ I’ve embarked on a mega lifestyle change in terms of what I eat. The thing is I kinda get bored easily and its not always fun to just wolf down a few apples.  I’m a busy person and always on the go so I’ve invested in a Breville Blend Active and it’s Uh-MAZING!!!

There are heaps of other blenders out there, I just wanted a simple one that would mix everything, pulp and all, and crush up anything frozen I have.  I’ve had juicers before but you lose so much just drinking juice and you miss out on all the good stuff!

Buying fruit and veg in bulk is handy for making smoothies and juices, so I always go to markets or hit Aldi and Lidl, although in this heat everything goes off kinda quick- even in a fridge for some reason, which is even more reason to eat your greens and eat up all the fruit.

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Mmm, FRUITY!!!

Banana and Blueberry Choco Smoothie

So my first yummy concoction had to be made up with my favorites- Blueberries and Bananas and what’s a little treat without a treat- so I added some cheeky chocolate of course.

Here’s what’s in it:

  • One banana (frozen)
  • Two massive handfulls of washed blueberrys (my hands are teeny tiny so I chucked in a load more- why do people with Eczema have such tiny hands????!)
  • One and a half dessert spoons of milled Linseed, with sesame, raspberry and blueberry (this gives it some ‘bits’ so it’s not just a smooth ass smoothie)
  • Koko dairy free chocolate milk (add as much as you want but don’t over fill, if you want a thicker smoothie obviously add less and vice versa)
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Be prepared- freeze those little fruits the night before- but don’t forget to chop the banana, they are impossible to slice once frozen (yes I did break my best knife trying to chop them- I’m a chump I know)

 

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Add it all together and give it a good whizz!

 

 

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The finished product, yum yum YUM!!!

I’m going to venture into making juices from vegetables so I will add updates as I go.

Smoothies are great as a brekafast drink, to take to work, as a snack to fill you up and also really good in this hot weather!!!

I genuinely do feel better for drinking these, and there’s infinite combinations to get all the goodness- just make sure you wash all your fruit first and where you can choose organic.

To purchase the Blend Active try

Amazon

, bargain central.

My skin seems to be on the up a little (scared of typing this as I might jinx it but it’s kinda fitting that as I’ve started to eat better and exercise regularly my skin is improving… funny that…)

Have a great week everyone,

Jemma x

So in my last post I said two things have affected my skin, well the first was hayfever, TOTALLY expected that,  the second was heartbreak- DEFINITELY didn’t expect that.

In many western cultures we think that diet affects our skin and bodies, in a lot of the eastern cultures emotions are associated more with skin and health issues. I think it’s a real combination of the two. I was stupidly in love with this boy, for over two years of my life, which isn’t mega long but long enough.  He was my best friend and he smashed my heart to pieces.  It physically hurts.   The pain isn’t just emotional, it’s physically unbearable and with it comes the sleepless nights, the constant headaches, the emotional rollercoaster of anger, sadness, endless tears and the inability to think or feel anything else, and then came the lack of appetite.  I’ve lost 7lbs in two weeks, I was too upset to even eat.  I didn’t care about myself enough to eat.   He was my world, and I was dumb enough to think he meant what he said, Bastardo!

Being cheated on and lied to is the worst feeling.  Breakups are like a death, a person suddenly has to disappear from your life.  I didn’t want this and it’s very difficult.  I find myself welling up. A lot.

My doctor has often told me my skin problems are stress related, well this feels next level.  I must admit after 6 weeks I’ve started to eat a bit more ‘normally’ but one thing I will say- heartbreak is shit for the soul but does wonders for your waistline.  It’s not worth it though.  He definitely wasn’t.

I think emotions really affect my skin.  Not only am I not eating properly and feeding my body with the nutrients it needs but I am not getting enough sleep to function and my brain is switched off.  This all leads to a downward spiral, a catch 22- I’m feeling particularly bad about myself and my self esteem has hit rock bottom.  Of course this makes me think about my skin, and I drive myself nuts thinking about it, and now it’s really suffering.  Seems so unfair- you go through all that crap and end up looking like a lizard!

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Now what to do about myself?  I’ve wallowed in self pity and now I need to pick myself up.  I’ve been running like Forest Gump and hitting the gym like never before, exercise is so good at making you feel better.  I can’t recommend this highly enough, if you feel sad, lost and down please try running.  It clears your head, and yes it does make you think about things but you feel free too.  It certainly has helped me, and my speed during those angry thoughts has improved a lot!  Just make a happy playlist and steer clear of those sad songs…

Some of my friends and people closest to me are going through such tough times, it puts things into perspective,  it might FEEL like someone has died but I remember how it felt to lose my beautiful Mum and this obviously doesn’t compare.  Why should I let some selfish boy bring me down?  I AM a Sensitive Shell but I need to protect what’s on the inside and the outside of that shell and the purpose of this blog is the pursuit of getting happy on the inside and out and finding the best way to heal my soul and my skin : ) and I hope it can help you too.  There are so many sad and lost souls out there and I know all of you who suffer with skin conditions feel this even more, because people can see it.  Pain on the inside isn’t visible but it hurts just the same.  He was a stupid boy and I’d like to stick to the belief that there are good guys out there.

So here’s to the future, and here’s to getting a happy shell on the inside and out.  I have a blank, sad and lonely canvass and I need to fill it with goodness and love.

Now I have a spin class to get to so I’ll speak to you all soon,

Let’s do this! xxx

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