Thoughts on hanging on to the past / an alternate Victoria.

14.9.18

Most days I wonder if there's an alternate universe (Sliding Doors vibes) with a Victoria who didn't call off her wedding, and subsequently didn't get sick with glandular fever, and therefore didn't develop CFS and have the first three years of her 30s ruined, and is probably living a very secure, content life somewhere.

But then I give myself a firm talking to and remind myself that thinking like this so often is exhausting and pointless, and probably delaying my ability to heal and get healthy again.

I seem to view my pre-CFS life through rose tinted specs and I struggle to let go of these times of my life. My brain goes over a lot of "what if" scenarios. What if I hadn't done X, Y and Z, then I wouldn't have got sick. Thinking this way, I can confirm, is a great recipe for making yourself feel like shit and like you failed at making life choices.

The reality is that before I got glandular fever / CFS I had been severely anxious and stressed for many years and did not have a single shred of control over this. I was heading for "burn out" no matter what, I'm certain of that. 


There is no purpose to me sharing these words other than to document that these thoughts are not healthy and they cause me a shed load of anxiety. So at this point in my healing / recovery journey I am working on living in the moment and reducing the amount of time I spend wondering if I could have avoided ending up where I am now. Which is essentially feeling like a 33 year old trapped in the body of an OAP.

I know a lot of other folk with CFS stumble upon my blog posts on the internet so, if that's you, or if you're someone who suffers with anxiety and spends too much time living in the past, you are not alone. But I definitely want to kick this habit once and for all.

Recent Favourite Etsy Finds.

29.8.18

I love putting these posts together because it gives me the chance to revisit items I have saved in my Etsy account to see all the bloody amazing things people make with their own hands. Can we take a moment to appreciate this teapot? I mean, seriously. I'm in love.

I have had one of the knitted headbands before so I can vouch that they are excellent quality and well made (and a total bargain for £8), but sadly I lost mine during one of my many house moves.

If I had my own place I would totally own all of these prints. The coffee one is perfection.

I hope you see something you like! Let's support small businesses with the festive season approaching eh? x



Life lately (the calm after the storm, Salts Mill, and Season's Greetings(!!))

25.8.18

It's a chilly Saturday morning and I have Christmas songs playing as I planned to play around with some festive designs for my Etsy shop, but the designs haven't happened yet and the tunes are still going strong. It definitely doesn't feel like August in my house and now I am all out of sorts because I don't actually like Christmas that much. I have had about 5 disastrous ones in a row now! (On a serious note, if anyone has ideas for patterns they would like to see from me or has been looking for a DIY kit for something specific with no joy, send me a message. You can find me on Etsy > here <). 

My week has been a quiet one, thankfully. It was about time things settled down a little and it has been welcomed with open arms. I have been taking things easy as I have been getting rid of the last of the virus/tonsillitis I had (guys - I recovered in a couple of weeks, instead of months, which is good progress for me!!) but I needed to see some other humans before I lost my mind. 

So on Thursday evening I met a friend for a spot of tea and yesterday morning I met one of my bestest pals and her baby at Salts Mill. We had a coffee and caught up on the latest gossip and browsed the books and art supplies. I always feel inspired after visiting Salts Mill, and it did my noggin wonders to see my friend. 


Things with the pugs have settled down a little for now. Thank you so so much to everybody who donated to their GoFundMe page. I have been absolutely blown away by the generosity and support of strangers online recently. Thank you thank you!

Lola's antibiotics seem to have done the trick for her weeing problems, but she will need a bladder scan to get to the bottom of the problem. Lily's health is up and down, and each day is different so I take it one day at a time. Sometimes her breathing is fine, other times it's a little more laboured. So I need to get her checked over again to see if there's any options left to keep her comfortable. 

I have got a day of stitching and crafty stuff planned. Tomorrow probably more of the same plus some job applications. Who'd have thought it would be so hard to find a part time job that fits your needs of having a chronic illness. It's not like I have two heads!?

Have a good one!

Life lately (clue: it's sh*t) and a GoFundMe page for Lily and Lola.

11.8.18

GoFundMe link - HERE

I always like my blog to be an honest place. No bull-poo. I have always tried to share the ups and downs and everything in between as much as possible.

One of the reasons why my blog has been so quiet lately is that there has been a whole lot of "downs" and not many "ups" and I am struggling guys. I really am. I don't like to constantly be that person sharing all my tales of woe but right now I feel like I need to reach out and share some of this to keep my sanity intact. 

Lily and Lola are both being treated for conditions at the moment. Lily was rushed to the vets again this morning with her ongoing issues of a (potential) collapsed trachea / breathing issues; she is still at the vets on oxygen and steroid injections, being monitored to see if she stabilises so that I can bring her home. Lola went to the vets yesterday to get antibiotics for a bladder infection and will need further tests to see if her bladder stones have returned (if so, which is highly likely, she will need surgery again). I have the best pet insurance for them both but since they turned 10 years old, the policy excess increased to £125 per pet per condition, plus I am now responsible for paying 20% of all treatment.

At the moment I can't work because my health is so unpredictable. I have patches where I feel okay so I apply for jobs, but by the time the interview comes around I am back to being bed-bound or I have caught yet another virus which completely floors me. At the moment I am 6 days into having tonsillitis and it's not showing signs of getting out of my system. The last time I had tonsillitis it took me around 3 months to go back to my "normal" (chronic fatigue syndrome) self. 

This is a decision I have not taken lightly, and one that makes me feel really ashamed, but I have set up a GoFundMe page for Lily and Lola. The link is - HERE. I am doing my absolute best to keep afloat but with my restrictions on working I am relying on what I make from my Etsy shop to pay my regular bills. So far this has been working okay for me but then an unexpected vet bill pops up and wipes out any progress I make. 
I am staying with a friend at the moment as the combination of CFS and tonsillitis means I am struggling to look after myself, cook/eat, drive, etc. My other friends are dwindling as I isolate myself from them because I feel like I am dragging them down with my problems. 

Over the last three years my health problems have cost me my career (I was forced to resign from my job), my life savings (desperately throwing money at supplements and treatments), my relationships, and my independence. Lily and Lola have always been my main constant and they bring me so much positivity, so to think I can't manage to do the best for them at the moment is really breaking my heart. 

I know that life throws shit at us and we have to keep going, but I really do feel like there aren't many areas of my life going well right now. As soon as you think you've hit rock bottom, you find the bloody basement. 

If you can donate to help Lily and Lola's vet bills then I would be eternally grateful to you and you would be making my life astronomically easier right now. Thank you in advance to anyone who can help. And thank you to everyone reading this for supporting my blog over the years. 

P.S. The link to my Etsy shop is - HERE. All Etsy funds will go towards vet bills too. 

Where I am at with my health journey / recovery from glandular fever / chronic fatigue syndrome (almost 3 years in).

31.7.18

To read all posts associated with CFS / my health journey click >here<

I am sure regular readers of my blog and social media accounts will know that my health hasn't been great for a while now. To summarise for newbies; I have aaaalways been a stressed out mess and have suffered with anxiety and periods of depression since I was a teenager. My anxiety was severe in 2015 following a sad breakup and calling off my wedding at the end of 2014, followed by moving house a couple of times, burning the candle at both ends, under-eating, over-exercising, and not getting enough sleep. I lived off strong coffee and the odd sandwich or bit of toast which probably explains why my adrenal function is f*cked. I became unwell in the summer of 2015 initially with a sore throat and fatigue. It wasn't too bad at first; it came and went, and I was still able to go to work and function but it was a struggle.

When it didn't shift I had a series of blood tests which revealed the Epstein Barr virus. The months that followed saw me take a considerable downhill stumble and I had time off work where I sat in my flat on my own with one visitor (my boyfriend at the time) who helped me to walk, cook, and take care of the dogs/myself.

After 6 months of this, and more blood tests, the doctors didn't know what to do with me so I was diagnosed with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) / PVFS (post viral fatigue syndrome) and told that it would work its way out of my system in time. I needed to reduce stress, take good care of myself, and liaise with a CFS clinic on how to manage it. To cut a long story short, the CFS clinic that I pinned all my hopes on was an absolute waste of space.

The years that followed have been a rollercoaster, with no real set pattern for recovery. I've had months and months on end of feeling absolutely atrocious, catching one cold and flu virus after another (which, on top of recovering from glandular fever, is no fun at all). I've had massive chunks of time off work, and spent a large proportion of my life in bed. But I have also had months at a time of managing a part time job, feeling okay enough to socialise (within reason) and do housework, and little bits of exercise here and there.

It's been 3 years since I first started showing those symptoms although October / November time will mark 3 years since I became severely unwell, and to be honest I can't quite believe it has been going on for all this time. People say "stay positive", "push through". Have you ever tried pushing through when you have flu? How about pushing through when you've had flu for almost 3 years with no way of knowing if it will ever leave your system? My outlook on life can be on the negative side and I do really nice to incorporate positive thinking and gratitude into my thoughts but it's really hard.
I have spent thousands of pounds of savings on different treatments and supplements, but nothing has helped significantly so far. I have been looking into Chinese Medicine, and have also been recommended a set of supplements that aid mitochondrial function, but without a job buying anything like this isn't an option at the moment. Kind of frustrating considering taking them would actually help me to be able to work. Catch 22 eh?!

I am definitely through the "push / crash" stage of recovery. I am able to do a fair bit without crashing or having payback but I definitely have to be careful. If I do too much I start to experience swollen tonsils, a fever, and severe fatigue, and that's when I know I have to reign things in.

I wake up each morning and I feel absolutely dreadful. After an hour or so this reduces slightly but my current daily symptoms are brain fog, disorientation, nausea, aches in my neck and back muscles, and fatigue. We're not talking just being a bit tired here.

So I guess, after a patch of consistency but not quite feeling as good as I had hoped I would by now, I am looking to move things forward. I feel like I am really close to this but it's not quite within reach at the moment. My personal life is quite stressful and I don't have much stability, so reducing my stress levels isn't easy but one thing I do want to work on is my daily meditation practice. It is something that has helped me in the past so I know I need to stop making excuses and get back into it.

If anyone has any advice no matter how small, please do share in the comments box below. If any sugar daddies are reading this and would like to buy me some supplements then please slide into my DMs (I joke but actually this would be awesome hehe).


5 good things (stitching, cycling and exploring!)

29.7.18

Good morning beautiful people. It's Sunday, I had leftover Chinese takeaway for breakfast, I have a cup of tea on the go, and life is good (apart from the leaking ceiling in the kitchen from the sudden influx of rain we're having). To distract myself from the rain and my failing love life, here are 5 good things in my life right now. 

1) I recently ordered a fancy new desk and chair so I have a proper work-space in a corner of the living room which is making it a whole lot easier to write and sew, and work on my little business. I have bought lots of baskets and storage for my craft supplies and fabrics and I have been in my absolute element finding a place for everything. Although saying that, I am working from bed today. It's good to have the option though right?!

2) I bought a second hand bike from eBay last year at the end of summer as I live right by a canal and it's perfect for cycling along as it's all flat. I didn't get much use out of it before the rainy weather took hold and it's been under the cover ever since. 

Last week I pumped up the tyres, dusted off the cobwebs, and ended up cycling nearly 11 bloody miles which, when you've got chronic fatigue, possibly isn't the best idea. I enjoyed it so much though and I didn't have too much payback afterwards. So when the rain clears off I'll be heading out again for some more!


3) The work on my cross stitch kits for beginners is in full flow now and I hope they will be ready in a month or so. All of the components are there, I just need to bring them together and have some cross stitch guinea pigs test them out to make sure they're perfect. I am feeling really inspired at the moment and my brain is full of ideas.

4) I have been getting my money's worth from my Spotify account lately, but there's something therapeutic about music don't you think? It's fair to say I have been feeling a bit sad recently about the state of my health, love life, and life in general, but music is literally saving me from that downward spiral. Today's favourites include: She & Him, Andrew W.K., Big Black Delta, and old school Eminem/D12. Eclectic..!

5) I have been out and about for the last couple of weekends and it has felt really good to explore some new places and go back to old favourites. I went to Hebden Bridge for the first time, calling in to see my friend who works there before strolling around to take in the sights. There was a Steampunk festival on that weekend so it was great to get a coffee and sit back to watch the hustle and bustle. I went to Kirkstall Abbey the other day, somewhere I haven't been for as long as I can remember, as well as a visit back to Salts Mill for book browsing and inspiration. 




Tell me your good things, I'd love to hear 'em :)


PUPdate: what has been going on with Lily?

17.7.18

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that Lily hasn't been very well. It all started with a traumatic night of breathlessness (her) and losing our shit (mainly me) and then in the early hours of the morning it turned into what can only be described as a 'honking' sound from her throat. Obviously I googled it and suspected the worst but when I rushed her straight to the vets they suggested it could just be a respiratory infection and inflammation. However after a day of scans, they said it looked like a collapsed trachea. 

Lily was in such a bad way that the vet pushed the option of euthanasia and I booked her in for the following morning. I can't explain to you how awful that evening was. I felt like it wasn't real. I wanted to hug her for the entire evening and never let go, but at the same time looking at her and being close with her was making my decision seem like an impossible one. My heart broke that evening. When the time actually does come to say goodbye to her and Lola, I really don't know how I'm going to cope.


To cut a very long and traumatic story short, Lily responded amazingly well to the steroids and medication straight away. She became completely calm and was breathing comfortably so I made the decision to keep fighting (seeing as she was too). We were referred to a specialist in Cheshire.

I knew surgery was not going to be viable for Lily due to her age and the risks involved with her breed, but after hearing more about it from the specialist it possibly wouldn't fix the problem anyway (and it can also make things much, much worse).

The specialist was not fully convinced, looking at the scans from my own vets, that it is definitely a collapsed trachea. He quoted £4000 for his practice to do their own scans and investigations. Here's where it gets tricky. I am fully insured for both Lily and Lola, and I have the best cover possible for them. But as they're senior dogs now my insurance company has a clause where I have to pay 20% of all treatments plus the excess.

As Lily has responded so well to medication and is now completely fine on no medication at all I have decided against any tests for the time being. They would be invasive with anaesthetic and she's an old girl now. I don't want to put her through any more stress than she has already had.

It is fair to say that after daily vet trips for weeks on end, and driving up and down to Cheshire twice in two days, I am enjoying the peace of Lily feeling much better and feeling slightly less frazzled myself. Let's hope it lasts ay?


Life lately (living arrangements, lost love, and looking for a job!)

13.7.18

I last wrote one of these posts in March so I should probably share what has been happening in my world between then and now. I've made myself a cup of tea and don't plan to move until this is published so here goes!

April and May were tough months for me. Living with my Mum wasn't working at all for either of us and, after a particularly fiery argument, I temporarily moved out and stayed with Oliver for a few weeks. After that stressful episode my health plummeted and a lot of old symptoms made an appearance which was really tough to deal with. I felt like my progress was going backwards and this was really tough on my mental health. Thankfully after the dust settled from the argument, and I took good care of myself for a bit, my symptoms lifted a little. 

I am now living with my Dad and things are better, although we probably get on each others' nerves a fair bit! 


Sadly my relationship with Oliver came to an end a little while back; a decision I didn't take lightly. Sometimes in life we fall out of love with people for reasons we can't put our finger on and it's incredibly hard to deal with the repercussions of that. I feel terrible for breaking someone's heart. I know only too well how tough it is, after I was turfed out of my home and relationship back in December 2016 (an experience that has had a major impact on my confidence and ability to trust men *although I do accept that he was a particularly shitty example of a "man"*)

But sometimes the right things are the hardest to do, and I can't be with someone if it doesn't feel right. As much as I would love to settle down with someone I just don't feel like it has been meant to be on the cards for me, but the romantic in me won't give up hope! 


Although I am still dealing with a lot of fluctuating symptoms, I do feel like I would be able to manage a part time job so I'm on the hunt again! I have been enjoying building up my Etsy shop (link!) over the last six months and I would love to carry on running that alongside a permanent job. That would be ideal. 

A couple of weeks ago I saw Flight of the Conchords at Leeds Arena and it was abso-bloody-lutely incredible. I discovered them in 2010 and have been obsessed ever since and truly never thought they would tour the UK again so I feel like a very lucky bean that I got to see them! 

Aside from all of the above, I have been kept busy with poorly pugs! But more on that in a separate post.

Thanks for reading. x