Student Survival Kit Review

Amphora Aromatics Student Survival Kit Review

For those that don’t already know I’m currently finishing off a Masters in Information and Library Studies. The appearance and subsequent diagnosis of my ME (you can read all about that over here) threw some of my plans into chaos but thanks to a supportive department and understanding supervisor I was allowed to go on medical leave. But before all that I’d also graduated with two undergraduate degrees; one in Art History from the University of Leeds and one in English Literature from the University of Glasgow. So when an opportunity came about to the check out Amphora Aromatics’ Student Survival Kit I signed up straight away, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my studies it’s that it’s super important to remember to look after yourself. And that is exactly what Amphora Aromatics had in mind when they created this survival kit.

 

Student Survival Kit Introduction

The Kit

The kit features some great products that utilise aromatherapy to provide relief and comfort for students in all walks of life. Whether you’re a Fresher just starting out, a student in the middle of their course or a Masters/PhD student there is something for everyone. The products also cover a range of needs; there’s some great beauty items from AA Skincare for skin, lips and hair care, face marks by Ooh-arr, a foot lotion by Amphora Aromatics and their specially developed focus Aromatherapy Blend.

What attracted me to this kit was that Amphora Aromatics  have covered all the bases and put together an assemble of products that I would have picked myself. I’m a big fan of aromatherapy products as I’ve mentioned before and I really appreciate that they combined their knowledge of aromatherapy with the realities of student life when creating their student survival kit. While it’s great to have some excellent face care products to pamper yourself with for a self-care session, it’s even better when you’re getting the healing and soothing effects of aromatherapy to boost you too! I’ll be talking more about this in my review of AA Skincare’s Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Face Lotion below.

As every student knows it’s not always easy to splash out on products to pamper yourself, especially when you’ve got x amount of expensive textbooks to buy. All the prices in the student survival kit are reasonable and the slightly more pricey items, such as AA Skincare’s Natural Shampoo Bars and the FOCUS aromatherapy blend is something that will last for a long period of time. Prices start at £1.20 for the Ooh-arr facemasks, with most products ranging between £3.40 – £.5.60.

 

Amphora Aromatics - My Student Survival Kit

My Student Survival Kit

I was given the chance to choose three products to create my own student survival kit and then provide an honest review of them. So before I get into the review of each product I wanted to explain why these three products beat off the other contenders to make it into my personal survival kit!

First up is Amphora Aromatics’ Fresh Feet Lotion which made it onto this list because sore feet is a part of any students life. I’ve not met a campus yet that hasn’t been huge, and I know from experience how often students have to trek from one side of the campus to the other – usually in a tiny 5 minute window! Throw in the cold weather as we head into winter and it’s a horrible combination for our bodies, especially our poor feet. I’m a big fan of foot lotions especially those that are made from peppermint so this was a must for my own kit.

Next up is AA Skincare’s Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion because as I said it’s important to remember to take time out to give yourself some self-care. This lotion can be used as a cleanser as part of your daily routine so if you’re super busy and don’t have time for a full on pamper session you can still actively be looking after yourself and your skin. It was the two key ingredients, lavender and tea tree, that drew me to this product and ultimately got it a spot in my kit. Lavender isn’t just great for your skin; it’s great for your well being. It’s great for stress – which lets be honest is something ALL students will suffer from at some point during their studies – due to it’s calming and sedative products. So you’re not just helping to soothe your skin, you’re also giving yourself a calming boost at the same time! I talk more about how I noticed this while using the product in my review below. Tea Tree is fabulous in skin care due to it’s natural antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, so popping that in a moisturiser alongside lavender was a win-win for me.

The final product in my kit Amphora Aromatics’ FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend, and if you’ve been keeping up with my blog you’ll know I suffer from ME. Since hearing about Focus blends I’ve been wanting to try one to see if it could help me focus when struggling with fatigue and brain fog. However, this is something that can benefit all students. If you’re having a long day with back to back lectures, or you’re stuck in a room that is too hot and stuffy, it’s really easy to start to lose focus. Early morning lectures, especially if you’ve been out the night before, can be a nightmare too. Blends like this are great for popping in your bag or spotting on a tissue to keep in a pocket. It’s also designed to be used in a oil diffuser or burner so after a long day of classes you can get back home, pop it in and feel able to focus on that mountain load of coursework waiting for you.

Now that you know why I picked these three items, it’s time to find out how they shaped up!

The Products

Amphora Aromatics - Fresh Feet Lotion

Fresh Feet Lotion

Due to my hypermobility I’ve always suffered from sore feet and being a student didn’t help with this at all. Hurrying across campus, often struggling through crowded hallways and in wet and cold weather; yep student get definitely need some TLC! And lets be honest; until it gets to the summer and we whip out the sandals we won’t really give them much love. Peppermint and Tea Tree are an ideal combination for a foot lotion because not only do they help keep your feet feeling and smelly fresh, but tea tree has lots of natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities too.

After a long day the idea of giving your feet a thorough pamper or a pedicure is not at the top of any student’s list. A lotion like Amphora Aromatics’ Fresh Feet Lotion is something that you can rub into your feet within minutes, or use as part of a longer massage to really work out those aches and pains. The fact that it’s so easy to use, and not messy means that you can use it on the go too. If you know you’re going to have a long day at Uni, followed by a shift at work or a night out then pop this beauty in your bag. No one’s going to know if you whip it out in the toilets and rub some on your feet!

The light weight lotion spreads really easily and absorbs quickly not leaving a sticky residue behind like some foot lotions, and also not leaving you with excess cream to spread. It does smell strongly of peppermint but no more so than any other peppermint product out there – pocket mints smell stronger as an example. It is a foot lotion after all so you don’t want something with a weak scent. I found that it doesn’t take much to use as it spreads so well so the 100ml bottle will keep you going for ages! And finally; does it work? Yep! I recommend putting it on overnight (and wear socks to lock in the goodness) and you’ll wake up with feet that feel nurtured, soft and refreshed.

 

AA Skincare Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion

Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion

I have been eyeing up the AA Skincare range for a while, and have heard great things about so many of their products so I wasn’t surprised to find that I liked this product. I was surprised, however, to find just how much I needed it. I thought I had most of my skin care routine sorted out and this product came along and proved just how wrong I was!

It’s described as being “perfect for balancing acne prone skin” in the Student Survival Kit and while I don’t have terrible acne I would definitely describe my skin as acne prone. I’m now in my 30s and I still have trouble with it. I’ve made great progress in recent years after discovering Garnier’s PureActive and SkinActive ranges, but it’s still not perfectly under control. Well, after a month of using this lovely product I can say for certain that it definitely does balance your skin.My skin felt more hydrated and refreshed, and generally it felt like a balance in my skins levels had been reached. It really did feel like I’d found the missing piece of the puzzle for my skin routine. It kept my skin free from blemishes, and any that did pop up due to hormones were soothed away thanks to the wonderful combination of tea tree and lavender.

The added bonus with this product is that it smells very strongly of lavender – and before you think, oh no, give me a moment to elaborate. Strong smells, especially lavender, can be a big turn off and I hear you on that one. When I first got a whiff of this moisturiser I did think it was pretty strong and wondered whether it was going to be too strong. What I found was that it disperses as you use it and ends up becoming a pleasant lingering scent instead. My fiancé normally notices when a product has a strong smell and when questioned he had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. So don’t worry you won’t be walking around smelling like you’ve dunked yourself in lavender! 😉 You will, however, be benefiting from the therapeutic qualities of lavender. I like to use this product before bed so that the lavender helps to calm and soothe my skin and my mind, preparing me for a nights rest.

 

Amphora Aromatics - FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend

FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend

You might be wondering what exactly is an aromatherapy blend, and why is it worth investing £7.50 in a tiny bottle of 10ml? That’s a pretty steep price, or so it seems, especially for a student. Aromatherapy blends like the FOCUS blend by Amphora Aromatics isn’t just a bunch of oils thrown into a pot. Made from pure essential oils, Amphora Aromatics’ blends are specially formulated to produce a mix of oils that work in harmony to help boost your mood or well-being. They have a whole range, but this one is specifically designed to help stimulate and clear your mind, enabling you to feel refreshed and be able to focus more.

The instructions on the product itself says for use in a diffuser or oil burner; I did not test the product in either of these for two reasons. As I am asthmatic I have to be careful when burning oils, especially those with a strong scent and that is why I didn’t try this in my diffuser either. While I was very happy with this product and it’s effects (read on) it does have a very strong smell due to the main ingredient; cloves. I have a pretty sensitive nose; I can visit candle shops and Lush without any problems, where as my mum who has an incredible sense of smell cannot even walk past them. So hopefully that can give you an idea of scale for strength of smell.

I did still use the blend though and found other ways to use it that worked for me! For example, I found it useful to spot some on a tissue and smell that, and I also used it during steaming sessions to clear my sinuses and found that it worked fantastically for that. After steaming I felt much more refreshed and focused than I would have done using a vapour rub, while also benefiting from clearing my sinuses as the blend also contains Eucalyptus (one of the main ingredients in vapour rubs!).

After using the oil I definitely felt a difference in how I felt. It helped to clear my head, almost feeling like someone had run through my mind and giving it a shower. The cobwebs were gone, the fuzziness and the fatigue that coated my thoughts had been brushed away and I could focus again! I really do recommend trying this blend if you find you are having trouble concentrating in classes, or exams. If you have ME like me, or another condition that causes fatigue or brain fog then this may also benefit you. As with all aromatherapy oils be aware of the ingredients and check that they’re safe for you to use. As this blend is made of pure essential oils it isn’t safe to use directly on skin, but you can easily dilute it with a base cream or base oil. You can out the full range of base products available at Amphora Aromatics right here.

Conclusion

Everything I tested in this review would be a fantastic part of any Student Survival Kit. They are just the right mixture of practicality and pampering mixed with all the goodness that aromatherapy has to offer. What I particularly liked about these three products was that none of them meant taking extra time out of my day to add some self care and aromatherapy into my routine. They are all items that are quick and easy to use, and also so easily portable; you can pop them in your bag and use them on campus if you need to. The whole kit listed by Amphora Aromatics fits that bill actually, and is also a great starting place for anyone who has never tried aromatherapy products.

Over to You

Although this review was aimed at students, I think that most of this was applicable to anyone and I hope that even if you’re not a student that you got something from it! For the students among you don’t forget to also check out my student advice section. It’s my way of passing on my knowledge and experience to the next generation of students. If you have any questions about student life then feel free to get in touch 🙂

Do you have a student survival kit? Or if you were a student what would be in your kit?

Personally I think everyone could do with a survival kit for those long days; how do you cope with long/bad days?

Have you tried aromatherapy before? Do you use oils and blends or do you prefer to use products like AA skincare which contain aromatherapy oils?

Let me know in the comments! And if you have any questions about anything in this review please do not hesitate to ask 🙂

Review: CareCo Exercise Band

Review - Exercise Band by CareCo: the discount mobility experts

RewviI was diagnosed with hypermobility at the age of 14 after multiple ankle injuries which culminated in the tearing of all the ligaments in one ankle. Not pretty right? So when the opportunity came around to review some products from CareCo the discount mobility experts I grabbed the chance to review their exercise band. Exercise bands like this were a core part of the many years of intense physio I had that focused on stabilising my ankles. Although I used them primarily for working with my ankles back then,  exercise bands have a variety of uses for such a simple and inexpensive product.

 

Careco Exercise Band in Pouch

First Impressions

I was really impressed with the neat little pouch that the band came in. It’s exactly as advertised on the site, however, anyone who’s ever done physio will know that you don’t get handed one so neatly packaged. In the past if I’ve been given one by a physiotherapist they have quite literally gone to a massive role that they have and cut a length off of it. So just having that little bit of extra effort made in the presentation and also having somewhere to put the band between exercises makes a big difference to me.

CareCo 4 Week exercise resistance plan booklet

 

The band also comes with a 4 week resistance exercise plan booklet which is fantastic! The contents include the four weeks plan as well as exercise tips, dieting tips, mental fitness and further advice. I really appreciate that Careco have included mental fitness in the booklet and it has some great – and more importantly useful – advice in that respect. The diet page is brief and useful, not at all lecturing or guilt tripping.

 

CareCo Exercise Resistance Plan Week One

 

In regards to the exercises each week tackles a separate area of the body; week one is upper body, week two is legs, week three is abdominal (chest and back) and week four is legs and triceps. You have the option of doing the plan as it is set out or using the booklet as a guide for what area of your body you need to focus on. For someone with a condition like mine, hypermobility/hypermobile EDS, it could be wrists one day and legs the next so I can quite easily flip through the guide and select an exercise that pertains for that area of the body. And there are several options to choose from as well.

 

Careco Exercise Band for Resistance Exercises

Exercise Band

The band itself is pretty much a standard exercise band made of the same stretchy rubber material as all the bands I have previously encountered. Exercise bands can come in different strengths depending on the needs of the patient, and the CareCo band does not seem to come with any strength details. The specification segment of the product page is empty so no luck there. When testing the strength for myself I found that it had quite a high resistance strength so this may not be the best product for someone with weak joints or muscles.

 

Numbers on the CareCo Exercise Band for hand positions

What I did like about the exercise band is that it is numbered; each number pertains hand places for the exercises outlined in the guide book. This is a really useful feature that helps the users become accustomed to using the band and grow comfortable and confident in doing so. It also ensures that they use the band correctly reducing the risk of injuring by over stretching their muscles.

 

The CareCo exercise band fits easily back into the pouch with plenty of room to spare!

 

One last thing I wanted to check was whether the handy pouch was actually as useful as it seemed – and yes it is! Sometimes when you get an accompanying bag for an item, especially one that can be messy to put back in like a rubber exercise band, the bag isn’t as up to the job as it first appears. But as you can see I had absolutely no problem popping it back into the pouch. The band folded up easily and there was plenty of room left in the pouch for a time if I wasn’t able to fold it neatly (which is an issue if my fingers are sore) and I needed to just jam it in.

 

Resistance Strength Rating of the CareCo Exercise Band

Conclusion

Overall it’s a good product for £11.99 (inc. VAT) and CareCo have put a lot of time and effort into the supporting material to ensure that users have the information they need to get started straight away. This makes the product a great all rounder for a variety of customers; whether you’re just starting out with fitness, have been recommended resistance exercises by a physiotherapist or you’re a fitness fanatic this exercise band has something for everyone.

My only reservation about the product is that it does not come with a resistance strength rating and I do feel that this is an oversight by CareCo. I gave it a few strong tugs to test the resistance for the purpose of this review, and the day after my wrist was still tender. It would be remiss of me not to mention that this band might be too strong for, or at least requires careful use for those with weak joints/muscles and who run the risk of hyper-extension or dislocation. It can still be used provided you are aware of the strength and take that into consideration when using this product for exercises.

 

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed this review and found it useful! Don’t forget to check out CareCo’s website they have a great range of mobility products at good prices compared to other places. They also offer a price comparison service so if you find it cheaper else where they will match it!

Have you used an exercise band before?

Are you familiar with CareCo?

What are some of your favourite mobility or health aids?

Let me know in the comments! If you have any questions about this product please do not hesitate to ask 🙂

Geeking By in March

Just Geeking by in March

Umm…. where the hell did March go?! It feels like I just finished February’s geeking by post, and I almost didn’t realise this one was due out. Woops! It really doesn’t feel like I did much at all for most of this month and then bam, The Sci Fi Weekender convention (22nd – 25th) was suddenly upon us. Since I’m dedicating a whole post to that experience that might mean this monthly update is a bit on the wee side of things. ((Image from Public Domain Images.))

 

All Clear

Let’s start with what has been the elephant in the room for me for a while now; my chest x-ray came back perfectly clear. Yep, nothing at all. I literally blurted out ‘really?!’ at my doctor because I was so sure I’d seen something in the x-ray and because I had been feeling that rotten. Fast forward a few weeks and I’m weaning myself off my migraine medication and lo and behold, I start to feel better. Apparently the one I was on did wonders for my migraines and then I had the massive infection at the start of year and it triggered a nasty side effect. I’ve now stopped it completely and about to start the 2 weeks of 0 medication before starting a new one. My doctor has also referred me to a headache specialist, which considering I’ve had migraines since I was 17 and have never seen one, sounds like a good plan.

I’m also stopping one of my main medications to swap to a new one. I’m on a high dose, it’s not working as well as it used to and it’s an old medication so my doctor recommended changing it. It’s a scary process, however, I’m at that stage of my health conditions where it is just about fine tuning my medications. Now’s the best time to do it as I have plans later on in the year.

 

Blogging

With each month that goes past I feel like I’m getting more organised and in control again with my blog. There’s a slow and gentle increase in activity from my end of things and I’m happy with the progress I’m making. I’d hoped to start a new blog series this month, and eventually I realised I was not going to get to it this month. That wasn’t a big deal, it’s something I could easily shift to the next month. Next month I’m hoping to just continue as I am and not over do it.

 

To Azeroth!

The last few months I’ve been talking about how Chris and I have been playing Divinity 2, this month it took a back seat as Chris got back into World of Warcraft and has been playing catch up. He now has all 110 characters, and I’ve been helping him complete the Broken Shore and Argus campaigns one by one. It’s so much fun and also so hard watching him play through all the class hall campaigns and mount quests because I am sooo bad at keeping my mouth shut about spoilers. I don’t do it maliciously! I just get overly excited or forget and let something slip /facepalm. We are big WoW nerds so we talk about the lore a lot, and there’s just so much lore and stuff to discuss from the class quests.

We also got a fantastic surprise this week – Battle for Azeroth ALPHA invites! We’ve had beta invites before, however, these are our first alpha ones and I’m sooo excited! Realistically I know I don’t have the energy to stream or video, so I’ll be posting stuff on my blog instead. So if you’re interested keep an eye out! We’ll be playing through the horde storylines as we play Alliance main and want to keep that side of things a surprise for when the game goes live. We’ll be taking a small peek at Alliance side, such as exploring zones but we’ll be avoiding quests and storylines. There will, of course, be loads of screenshots.

 

Diving back into comics

I finally broke my reading hiatus! Last year I read through (most of) the DC New 52 comics. If you don’t know much about comics, especially the big guns like DC and Marvel, there tends to be different lines that usually act as a relaunch of the universe and character storylines. So the New 52 was a useful place for a newbie like me to start, and I read most of the big story arcs. I tried to read some of the smaller ones, and succeeded for a bit until my enthusiasm tailed off and I got distracted by something else. I’d been putting off starting the new line, Rebirth, which would take me up to date rather than playing catch up because I felt completionist guilt. That lasted until this month 😛

I finished off (aka caught up to current issues) Wonder Woman first; when I first started reading DC I’d accidentally read her Rebirth arc first, got thoroughly confused and popped back to the New 52 line. That meant I didn’t have much of her left to read, so I quickly headed into the Bat family starting with the man himself, moving onto Detective Comics, Nightwing, Batwoman and Batgirl. I’m now onto Red Hood and the Outlaws.

I also popped my head out of DC to read the new World of Warcraft chronicle which was really interesting, exciting and actually personal for me because the lore has finally caught up to in game events. It was great fun and really made everything come together and feel epic. It’s hard to put into words, I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that it made it feel like we’d been a part of something bigger and not just playing a game. That sounds silly, however, WoW has become as much about the community spirit as it has the game and for me the Chronicle solidified that.

 

Time to Weigh In

Ironic subtitle since I haven’t actually weighed myself yet. I needed to pick up some new clothes before we went to the convention and had a big shock when I saw myself in a full length mirror for the first time. Holy crap I’ve put on so much weight. I mean, I knew I had put some on. I just didn’t realise how much. I wasn’t happy, and thankfully I was buying clothes in Yours Clothing which is a plus sized clothing chain in the UK which helps women feel comfortable with their size. I was at least able to buy clothes that made me feel better about it. Now that my chest problems are sorted out I need to get my health and weight sorted out. I loved the keto diet I went on; it worked amazingly well and I know that works best for my body now, which is great. Problem is I have zero energy to prepare and cook all those fabulously tasty and healthy meals. So I’m heading for the protein milkshakes to replace my breakfast and lunch, and starting gentle exercise. Doing so will help my energy levels and help combat the fatigue so I can get back onto the keto diet.

 

Telly Catch Up Time

I did spend most of the month on my Silent Witness binge, and then I went to a sci fi convention and came back wanting to watch alllll the shows. I’ve only caught up with Hawaii 5-0 so far. I watch a whole bunch of crime tv shows, so there’s all those to catch up on, as well as some sci fi/fantasy ones (including comic based). You can see what I’m currently watching by checking out (or following me!) on Trakt.tv, a site that lets you ‘check in’ and track tv shows and movies.

Hawaii 5-0 was an interesting one to start with because there were some major cast changes. Two of the main cast left at the end of last season due to a contract dispute (which to be honest, I agree with them and their reasons, but of course I’m sad to see them go). Both of their characters have been written out as off doing their own thing, which means there’s some new recruits Tani and Juni and Eddie the dog. Yes, I am completely and utterly in love with that dog. I am so glad he stuck around rather than being a one episode wonder as happens in so many crime tv shows. I’m missing the old guys, yet I do love the new ones especially Tani. Danny refers to her as a “female you” to Steve in the first episode and yep, she is! She’s totally holding her own against the guys and the older team members, while still showing vulnerability and youth. Lou has taken her under his wing, and it’s great to see them bonding. I’m also super happy to see Adam is now a cast regular. I always liked him as a character and an actor, but honestly, it really did just feel like he was always in Kono’s shadow. Now he’s finally not just Kono’s love interest and has a chance to shine.

I’m only up to the mid-season finale (as I probably will be with all my shows as I catch up), so I’m really curious to see what happens next. They really did leave that on a big question.

 

Over to You

Apparently I had more to say than I realised! How was your March? Personally April for me usually sucks, so I’m not looking forward to this month at all. Anything excited planned this month? Let me know in the comments!

Geeking by in January

January Update

My life very rarely goes according to plan (this January especially), and the past year has been a lesson in accepting that. In doing so I realised that I’d completely shied away from posting personal blog posts, hiding what was happening in my life and especially anything related to my health. I’d comment about it, usually to apologise for a late post, and that would be it. That doesn’t jive with the whole point of this blog, nor with my way of living and I realised that I’ve fallen into a pattern of shame and anxiety about what other people think. In trying to cultivate an image of myself as professional and reliable, I’ve forgotten an important fact; I can be those things and be disabled. My disabilities are a part of me and will always impact my life. I’ve grown too comfortable with the idea of hiding my disabilities in fear of what future employers will say, and the thing about ME/CFS is that I cannot hide it. All my other conditions I can work around (don’t stand for too long, sit down, medication, supports etc.) but this one? It can’t be hidden, it refuses to be hidden and it has taken complete control of my life even to the point I’m censoring my own blog. No more.

 

Every month I’m going to be doing one of these ‘Geeking by in….’ posts to sum up the month before. Sometimes it will be very health oriented, a place where I can be frank and honest about my healing journey. Other times it might be more geeky, detailing what I’ve been watching, reading and playing. There’s no expectations, no limit, just me talking once a month. ((Image credit: Public Domain Pictures. Brushes by morfachas.))

 

A snowy & icky January

I am not a fan of snow. I hate it. It’s beautiful and serene to look at, especially up here in Scotland, but going out in it? It’s hell. Going out in it when you’re really really ill? It’s a definite FML moment. I avoided most of the weather because I was too sick to even leave the house at one point. I spent a week and a half curled up in bed, and sadly not even my own bed. My fiance was sick as well and suffers from insomnia at the best of times, and so me coughing up a lung or two and waking up every 2 hours was not conductive to his sleep at all. Neither of us liked being a part, and it was a mutual decision. As much as I’d joke about him kicking me out of bed, it was a logistical choice for both of us. We have never really slept apart since we started living together 10 years ago, with the exception of December 2016 when he was in hospital for a few days (which was literal HELL for me). It didn’t help that I ended up with Milo, one of our cats, as a room-mate. Well, technically I did move into his room so I should be glad he tolerated me at all! He seemed to understand just how sick I was and quickly slipped into nurse mode. If I was too sick for him to sleep with me he’d sleep in his radiator bed at the end of my bed and keep an eye on me.

I guess I should say what was actually wrong. Our family seemed to get this monster virus which has since been dubbed ‘the plague’. It seriously knocked us all on our asses, even the healthy ones were down for a few days. Chris’ cousin got it first, then his mum and then us and it seemed to have a horrible habit of coming along with an infection. So you weren’t just sick with the virus, you had something else on top. Both me and my mother-in-law had infections and Chris seemed to get full on flu with an almost dangerously high fever. For me the virus hit my throat and voice box, while the infection developed in my chest. I was in so much pain I couldn’t swallow my meds at one point. I’d already had an emergency doctors appointment on the Friday and was told ‘it’s a virus’ and told to gargle stuff, and by the Monday I was in excruciating pain and couldn’t speak. It was terrifying. I’ve had sore throats a million times as a child, lost my voice a few times but this really messed with my head. I was in so much pain, I was literally living for the next dose of pain meds. Due to the chest infection my body was determined to purge my body of what was filling my lungs… and of course my throat couldn’t comply at all.

It took two courses of antibiotics and I’m not even sure it’s fully gone now. The virus has thankfully buggered off to whatever evil place it appeared from. There’s been a few twinges from my throat, but no golf ball sized glands or trouble swallowing/speaking. I’m not bring any mucus up, no blood (it was tiny amounts but still scary), but my chest feels tight and like a sponge that’s getting heavier. I’m needing to take my blue asthma inhaler more than usual, and right now I’m just keeping an eye on it. My doctor said to call if there was no change and she’d arrange an x-ray, however, there has been change just not what I’d call a full recovery. I’m going to see how I am over the weekend and maybe put a call in next week.

 

TV Bingfest

When I’m sick I do two things; I read and if I’m too sick to do that I binge watch tv and films. I was way beyond the level of consciousness needed to read so tv it was! I started with Private Eyes, a Canadian detective drama and then headed onto Marvels Inhumans. Then I ended up watching an episode of Lucifer with Chris and it totally re-sparked my desire to watch it – to be honest, I don’t know why I hadn’t finished catching up with it, just for some reason I kept forgetting. Which is odd because I loved what I’d watched previous! So I binged watched the rest of season 1, then 2 and everything I could of season 3 until I got to the midseason cliffhanger. I then turned my attention to one of the shows I wanted to watch badly last year and didn’t quite get to; Lethal Weapon. I was a little unsure about it which is probably why it took me so long to try it. I’m a big fan of the movies and was very relieved to find that the tv show is spot on!

 

Gaming Habits

Over the holidays Chris and I had a talk about MMOs we wanted to play and catch up on, and made a pact; we’d (well, me, I have a tendency to get bored and wander off to a new one…) stick it out and play through each game in turn. So while down in London we started to play Neverwinter, the Dungeon & Dragons MMO. We’d played it a bit before but never really seriously. Chris was eager to give it ago since he has gotten into D&D with his friends and me, well, I’m up for anything that has a story. A few days ago we hit 70, the max level, and we’re now working our way through the campaigns. The plan is to try to finish them all before we move onto the next game, but some of them are sooo long so we shall see. We’re going to see how far we’ve got at the end of February and re-evaluate that plan.

Otherwise I’ve been playing Starbound and World of Warcraft on my own. I finally got into Starbound and spent many hours over the holidays smashing my head against the wall in frustration. Being ill curtailed my playing a bit, and I’ve headed back into WoW more as a default. For Christmas I got a portable hard-drive so I could transfer a mass of files off my pc and make room for more games. The problem was I could only have so many installed and so I couldn’t just go ‘ooo I fancy a bit of Fable, let’s pop in and play around’. WoW is my go to game, especially when I’m feeling really ill and can’t focus so I naturally turned back to it when I was well enough to crawl out of bed again. I’ve been finishing leveling my alts and all are now 110 (small exception of my second paladin, but she’s an extra) so I’ve just got the Shaman, Warrior and Rogue order hall campaigns to finish off now.

Allied races have just been released and while I’m excited, I’m not quite ready to go on a full levelling slog with them yet. Chris is currently not playing WoW so right now we’ve chosen to focus on Neverwinter and leave the allied races be. We’ve got until September or so before the expansion comes out so there’s no rush, and to be honest, if we rush it we’ll just be left twiddling our thumbs before the expansion. I have plenty to keep me busy in WoW and it’s better I play catch up than start even more characters.

 

Bujo & Planning!

I’ll be talking more about my word of the year in a later post, but planning and structuring my life is a big part of it and also the best way for me to get a handle on my fatigue. I like to keep my personal bullet journal clean so for the past year I was using an additional notebook in which I created a rough weekly spread. Then while browsing amazon I came across these handy things called weekly planners (like this one) which are already drawn out and even have a little bit extra for notes. I was beginning to get a bit lazy with my weekly spreads because it took me time to draw them out – even as rough as they are it still took energy that I wanted to spend else where – so I asked for one for Christmas. I got a lovely one from Busy B (this is the one I got) and it has been great!

 

I’d hoped to start my personal bullet journal again in January and of course, that went completely tits up thanks to the plague. I’m about a month behind where I wanted to be so for now it’s not a top priority, so hopefully by the end of the month I’ll be back to that. I picked up a second gaming journal because my first one is almost half full and it’s all WoW stuff so far! I clearly need a second one and I’m looking forward to starting that soon.

 

How was your January?

 

 

Where I’ve been & Where I’m going (Hiatus)

Blog Hiatus

It’s been months since my last blog post, and it’s taken me until now to find the strength and energy to actually say ‘hey, I’m on hiatus!’ officially. I’m doing ok, the blog is here to stay, but the more I learn about my life now with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), I am realising that everything is different. Everything has to be done differently. That means I need to take some time to get back on my feet, and what was supposed to be a month’s break has now become three months thanks to an ongoing viral infection that seems to love me just a bit too much. I could hang back and wait for the new year, but there’s a Christmas project that has me really excited and I’m determined to put it into action this year. So I’m taking November to recharge, change some things up and get posts ready to go for December.

 

Changes

I don’t think any of my other health conditions has had such a massive effect on my life, at least not in a way that has upset my daily routine and hobbies, as much as CFS. I am now officially diagnosed after two or so years (it’s been that long that I don’t even remember exactly) of tests and stress. Having the diagnosis is both a positive thing and a negative thing. It’s here to stay, my life is irreversibly changed and I can’t help but wonder sometimes ‘what if I’d done things differently’. The sad thing is though that I didn’t cause this. It was an unfortunate series of events that eventually took a long term toll on my body. And as a result my life has to change.

The biggest changes are to my other websites. Sites I used to be proud of, that I wanted to work on and new projects that I had planned. None of them seem to matter any more simply because I don’t have the energy to care. I’ve had to face the fact that I can’t give them the attention they need, and that trying to put energy into them is just more of a strain on me. Then I worry about them, worry about myself and what it means. Then one day it hit me; it doesn’t matter. That part of my life has ended, that door has closed. I could take the time to find someone to adopt them, to keep them going but that is just more work, another set of tasks that I have to complete. So instead I’m just saying goodbye, removing the issue and moving on.

In regards to this blog the biggest change is that I’m cutting down on deadlines and weekly/monthly topics. I’ll be keeping the ideas, such as the Birthstone series, but I won’t be putting unnecessary time limits on them. There’s really no reason why it has to be that day of the week, or that particular time of the month. Obviously, there will be some events that will end up calendar based – Christmas topics, for example – but currently the only posts that will have any timing whatsoever will be Transmog Tuesday and the Birthstone series. Sharing Saturday is being retired, and while I will be continuing to do interviews I’m not going to worry about them being monthly.

 

So I will see you all again in December! ((Photo courtesy of Public Domain Pictures.))