Weekly round up #55

Hi folks.

Well it’s been a bit of a weird old week hasn’t it? Without turning this into a heated political debate, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few days you will have heard the big news that Britain is facing. So there have been a LOT of discussions about that.

I won’t say any more.

Swiftly moving on to lighter and brighter topics, my brother and sister-in-law came down to Brighton for the day yesterday with my gorgeous little niece. We all went to Sea Life and it was so relaxing!

Sealife aquarium in Brighton

I’ve been a couple of times before (once with Rob and once with my friend and her daughter). This time we went on the glass bottom boat which I hadn’t done before and we learnt a lot of things about the sharks and giant turtles below us. We also touched a starfish in a rock pool – did you know starfish have an eye at the end of each leg?!

Later we went for a wander along the pier and my niece had a go on the teacups!

Teacups ride on Brighton pier

We also tried a new takeaway and ordered Caribbean food from Back-A-Yard which was so good! I drive past this place every day going home from work and I’ve always thought it looked good. I had an Ackee and Saltfish curry which came with rices and peas with a little bit of salad. It’s not the most photogenic of dishes but it was so good!

Ackee and saltfish Caribbean curry

I can’t remember if I mentioned this on the blog but my iMac died a few weeks ago which has been a royal (and expensive) pain in the arse. On the up side, I now have a shiny new Macbook Pro to play with which is fun! It’s nice to have something portable now too, I hated that my iMac restricted me to sitting in the corner of our rather dreary spare room. At least now I feel like I can join Rob in the front room or nip out for a coffee while I’m blogging and be oh so cosmopolitan.

 

Has anyone been watching the new series of Orange is the New Black? Or Pretty Little Liars? We have watched the first three episodes of the new series of OITNB and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it, it seems so long ago since the last one finished! I hope we can drag it out a bit but I know we’ll end up binging it one weekend.

Another thing that’s cheered me up is watching my boxset of Sex and the City. It’s something I used to do when I was at university when I couldn’t sleep and I forgot just how therapeutic it can be to watch things that don’t require much brain power! Yes it’s dated and it’s a bit silly, but it was nice to sit back and make time for myself watching things I used to watch before I had as many things to do or responsibilities and so without feeling guilty about it. I did a face mask and painted my nails too, length-wise they’re looking pretty good now aren’t they?

Growing my nails

And another really nice thing this week was that I had a lovely surprise in my inbox in the form of an email from fellow blogger Cat (from Cat Food is Good for You) telling me that she’d moved to Brighton! So we met up in real life and went for tapas and shared a bottle of wine, she’s so lovely and we had loads of fun. I feel like I’ve made a new friend so I’m really happy about that.

I’m now off to stuff my face with Sunday loveliness and I hope you will too.

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An open letter to my friends

To all the friends who I’ve flaked out on, I’m sorry. To all the friends I’ve made plans with and then cancelled on last minute, potentially with an excuse you don’t understand, I hope this will help you to understand and forgive me.

I have chronic migraine which means I have a persistent headache every day.

Sometimes it’s in the background and if I’m busying myself with something it’s bearable. In fact, many of my friends might not even realise I get headaches and migraines because I may not have even mentioned they’re there. I grew up thinking having a headache all the time was normal. It’s all I can remember and I get on with it because I have to.

Friends at a hen do in Brighton

Other days I may find it more difficult to concentrate, but with some strong painkillers (on the advice of a migraine specialist), lots of water, head massages, fresh air and smelling salts it might be bearable.

If I catch it in time.

On the worst days, I can’t get out of bed because every single movement is like someone is smashing my skull with a sledgehammer. It hurts to turn my head. I can’t stand the light or any noise and I’ll likely be throwing up violently. Imagine the worst hangover you’ve ever had and times it by ten. If I’ve made plans with you on that day, I’ll struggle to tell you I can’t make it as even picking up my phone will be a struggle.

Thankfully, those days are becoming less frequent.

Feeling like I let friends down

But normally, a change in migraine of any kind jumps up on me a bit, with little warning. And I still don’t know what all my triggers are. I suspect that the weather is one of them. Stormy, muggy weather definitely has an impact, which is a bugger because there’s little I can do to get away from that. What I can do is keep myself hydrated and try to get lots of rest on those days.

I’ve found that in general I’ve had to make a lot of lifestyle changes. I can’t go out partying and drinking lots of alcohol and I can’t survive on little sleep. That’s something that’s difficult for someone who also suffers from insomnia. I have to go to bed early, eat healthily and do low intensity exercise. I have to make time for myself and deal with stress, something I’ve been talking about a lot recently but I’m convinced all these things are linked.

I’ve realised my body can’t cope with things as well as I would like it to. At least for the moment, while I’m figuring some of these things out – I’m definitely still working on the healthy eating and exercise plan.

Friends wearing silly hats

Travel takes it out of me too. Back in February, I went up to Northampton with the main intention of going out in the evening for one of my best friend’s birthday celebrations. I drove up on the Friday and saw family during the day on the Saturday, both of which tired me out so much that I got a migraine on the Saturday night and couldn’t go out with my friend. And then I had to drive home again on Sunday. Game over.

So please don’t take it personally if I say no when you invite me to something. Or if I do say yes with good intentions and then on the day realise my body’s failed me and I cancel on you. It’s often unpredictable.

Sometimes I may not be doing something on a day or evening you’ve invited me to do something but I’ll be doing something on every or most other evenings that week, and as much as it frustrates me, I just know my body and my head just won’t be able to cope with it. It’ll wipe me out and I’ll make myself ill.

It doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you and it doesn’t mean I don’t value our friendship.

Partying with friends

I’m working with a migraine specialist to find medication that’ll work for me but I’m not there yet. Only two weeks ago was I bed bound and throwing up with a severe migraine. There’s still a long road ahead.

Please just bear with me!

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Fancy learning how to cook Spanish food like a pro?

I could happily put Spanish food up there as one of my favourite types of food. Paella? Gorgeous. Potatos bravas? Yummy. Pretty much any kind of tapas I love – it’s probably likely linked to the fact that it comprises lots of little dishes of deliciousness. It’s a fancy buffet and who doesn’t love a buffet?

But I haven’t made much Spanish food at home. I don’t think I’d really know where to start! I recall once making an attempt at potatos bravas alongside lots of other dishes when we had a cheese and salami night but I think that’s about it.

That’s going to change. And it could change for you too!

cooking with olives

Thanks to Olive It, I have three tickets up for grabs for a culinary masterclass with celebrated Spanish chef and Tapas Revolution restauranteur Omar Allibhoy. Hailed by Gordon Ramsay as the “Antonio Banderas of cooking,” he will host an exclusive hands-on cookery tuition session teaching a variety of tapas inspired recipes using everyone’s favourite Mediterranean ingredient… olives!

Winners (who can all bring a plus one) will learn how to use the mouth-watering flavours of olives to add a twist to everyday dishes at infamous culinary hotspot, The Brighton Cookery School, just a short stroll from the pier. The bespoke class will take place on Friday 1st July either for a lunchtime or evening session with guests cooking up a variety of exciting dishes before sitting down to enjoy sampling a mouth-watering feast accompanied by carefully selected wines.

The winners and their plus ones will need to be available on Friday 1st July (either at lunchtime or in the evening) and able to attend The Brighton Cookery School at 63/64 St Georges Road, Brighton, BN2 1EF. Winners will be contacted and booked into the course of their preference.

I’ll be doing the course myself the day before so I’ll let you know how I get on too!

Fancy it? Enter below! You can enter the competition as many times as you like.

Good luck!

Please see the terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a collaboration and I have been donated three pairs of tickets to give away.

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Weekly round up #54

I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years this week. I actually slept through the night for a full seven hours! I can only remember sleeping through the night once ever before this. I’ve always been a bad sleeper, it takes me ages to get to sleep and then I’m a really light sleeper and need the conditions to be just right. I’ll be disturbed by the smallest bit of light, noise, movement, change in temperature, so it’s near impossible for me to share a bed with anyone and get my 40 winks.

Occasionally Rob and I will sleep separately for that reason and I was so happy when I woke up on Wednesday and actually felt rested. It was the first time in years I woke up and didn’t feel tired. It was amazing.

Onto other lovely things, I had a really nice walk through the forest on one of my lunch breaks this week with my colleagues and returned to the local pool for a swim (without my colleagues, that would be a bit weird) on another. I did fail to stick to the one hour lunch break on one particularly miserable rainy day but I’m trying, and on the days I’ve succeeded I’ve definitely reaped the benefits.

I picked up a copy of Eat Pray Love from a charity shop the other day which I’m looking forward to reading. I’ve seen the film but never read the book so that will join my pile of books to read. I’m currently reading The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan which to be honest hasn’t grabbed me as much as another book of her’s I’d previously read and so it’s taking me a while to get through. But it is nice coming up to bed a bit earlier to wind down with it. I’ve been enjoying a lot of blogs recently (which are often which tear me away from said book). La Lingua is a travel blog that I discovered last month which is written by a woman called Lucy who has a wonderfully poetic way of describing things so that the reader feels like they’re there with her. I also recently discovered Notes from Joana, which is a lifestyle blog which talks a lot about personal development with a mindful slant.

Sticking with the mindful theme, I downloaded an episode from The Wellness Wonderland Radio Show which was with Melissa Ambrosini: ‘Self-Love, The Beauty of Single-Tasking & Mastering Your Mean Girl’, which was really interesting (listen to it here). I can’t remember how I came about it, I think I read about it on another blog but one thing that stuck with me is how women wear multitasking as a badge of honour but actually we’re doing lots of things, really badly, at once. What we should be doing is one thing at a time and putting all of our focus into that one thing. I suppose that’s really a form of mindfulness in itself – noticing and acknowledging exactly what we’re doing at any particular moment in time.

Iydea takeaway lunch

And finally, I went to a lovely self care class this morning which was run by Dionne and Ketil from Changing the Menu. It was run at the Lick Warehouse in Brighton and was part yoga, part meditation, part creative journaling. One of many things that I thought I could take away was a super easy way to self massage by putting two tennis balls in a sock and then rolling them over your body in areas where you hold tension. I found it really helpful rolling them under my back! The whole session was slow and calming, just what I needed. Afterwards I stayed for a chat and tea and then had a lovely takeaway lunch from veggie cafe Iydea.

This is all very self care at the moment isn’t it?! But it’s exactly where I am at the moment, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to look after myself better so hopefully you don’t mind me talking about it a bit more here on the blog too 🙂

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My mind and body health kick

After feeling a bit low for a while I’ve given myself a bit of a mental kick up the bum. I’m not sure how exactly, but my mentality has gradually started changing over the last week. The darkness has lifted a bit. Quite literally too – I have no doubt the appearance of the sun has helped massively.

I’ve just started to feel a bit more positive and it’s such a lovely feeling.

I think it’s something I’ll need to continually work at though so there are some things I’ve been trying to introduce into week.

Exercise

I haven’t done any regular exercise in ages. I’ve done the odd yoga class or pilates session at home here and there – and I’d eventually like to be doing yoga a bit more regularly again at some stage. But I haven’t been going to roller derby training since January and I decided last week to give up the ghost. It’s disappointing as I did really enjoy it but my migraines have just made it an impossible sport to take part in. Noisy, bright leisure centres are not a good idea for me and I’m terrified of being knocked about or hitting my head.

In fact, any sport that gets me too hot and sweaty scares me a bit at the moment as I think it’d make my head pound. So I’m focusing more on slowly introducing things that are low intensity – and don’t rely on committing to a set date or time. I hated that if I couldn’t go to a derby training session I was letting others down. So I’m best focusing on solo exercise for now.

swimming kit

So I decided to try swimming. There’s a swimming pool that’s a five minute walk from my house but I’d never been – mainly because I’m so self-conscious in a swimming costume. But I decided to bite the bullet and go along one lunchtime when I was working from home and I actually really enjoyed it! I forgot just how tiring it is though, I needed a little break after every length but at least it’s a start!

Nutrition

I’ve been very experimental with milk alternatives this week. I’ve been drinking almond milk for around six months now, I like the taste of it in my milk and cereal but for some reason it hadn’t crossed my mind to try the unsweetened version. I haven’t had sugar in my tea for about nine years and I avoid adding it to anything – and normally don’t have much of a sweet tooth, although that’s changing a little as I get older – but wow, when I compared it to unsweetened almond milk I realised quite how sweet it is! And of course it can’t be good to have it when there’s a better alternative available so I’ve made the switch.

I also tried oat milk for the first time. It’s chocolate flavoured though, I bought it as a little treat and it’s soooo good! It didn’t last long.
And I also tried coconut milk. I was surprised at the texture, it’s quite thin. But tastes as expected, it’s nice with porridge but I wouldn’t use it in tea.

I’ve also been using it in a detox smoothie as a little pick me up over the last week in the evenings when I get home from work to tide me over before dinner (although admittedly a half portion as a full portion would be too filling – it’s like a meal!). I use a scoop of Rejuva’s Detox vanilla powder and add it to 500ml coconut milk then blend it with an avocado and a medjool date. It’s kinda sweet but savoury at the same time!

Rejuva Detox smoothie

If you fancy getting it yourself you can get it from here. It’s gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

I’ve also started taking magnesium supplements as I read a deficiency in magnesium can give you migraines. I have no idea if it’ll make any difference, but anything’s worth a shot in my eyes! My migraines are definitely affected by this humid weather we’ve had recently and I can’t do much more than make sure I’m hydrated, eating healthily and sleeping well so I’m doing all I can.

I digress. I’m basically trying to put into my body what I feel it needs. I’ve not been eating ‘clean’ foods every day. Yes I am having detox smoothies but another day I might have a Mexican bean burger and oven chips. I’m eating a little bit of what I fancy and that’s working well for me at the moment.

Stress management

I’m making a real effort not to let stress get to me. I’ve touched upon this a lot in recent weeks – it’s one of the reasons I was so desperate to get away on holiday and why I’m now trying to use my lunch breaks more productively. Taking breaks, properly relaxing, switching off, being more mindful… they’re all related!

I’m spending a *little* less time online and a little more time outside, or at least doing other things I enjoy. I’m reading books and magazines more and I’ve created a Spotify playlist of calming music. I don’t feel bad about having an early night either, I love sneaking up to bed super early and reading for a bit to tire my eyes out, popping my eye mask on and zonking out.

Let’s hope the sun – metaphorical as well as literal – keeps on shining!

I was given Rejuva’s Detox to review but all opinions are my own.

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