Successful War with the Department for Work and Pensions and Illness Update

I’ll start with some good news first. I won my appeal against the Department for Work and Pensions – yay! I am so utterly relieved!

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DWP Assessment

Previously the DWP had ‘assessed’ me in the most pointless way – it was pointless because they literally awarded me no points, meaning that I was supposedly fit for work. I appealed with endless evidence from my GP and Neurologist who wrote me a letter especially for that purpose. I wrote a thorough list of notes on a copy of their report (which I had to request myself) addressing where they had taken things out of context and at one point completely omitted that I’d failed their memory test! Again the DWP utterly ignored all of this saying their original decision was correct and that I was fit for work.

Tribunal Appeal

I took them to tribunal where I faced two lovely and very understanding people with no government agenda who actually wanted to listen and understand me before judging my abilities. So with the evidence from my GP and Neurologist and the DWP report that I’d enthusiastically corrected in my best angry scrawl (blush) and my verbal testament and  written testament and my answers to their gentle and relevant questions, they concluded that my Neurology didn’t exactly fit in with the DWP’s points system but regardless of that fact, my fatigue, memory and spacial awareness problems rendered it too stressful for me to struggle with holding down a job and it would be at a detriment to my mental health – having previously suffered from severe depression after a never ending cycle of starting jobs, doing my absolute best, failing to cope and then being ‘let go’ from the companies.

Phew and Thank You!

There is absolutely no way I could have done this without the help of my family and friends and there support, advice and constant reminders to follow things up! Anyone who has managed to do this on their own is an absolute hero in my opinion. Online communities like Twitter and the Dyspraxia, MS and Sensory Processing Disorder Facebook pages and their members have been a massive source of empathy and knowledge also.

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So what the hell is up with me exactly?

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I have an autoimmune disease which means my body’s immune system is attacking healthy cells thinking they are invading and so destroying them. Unfortunately my immune system is actually attacking my brain and the myelin sheath that protects my nerves in my spine which is called demyelination. Unfortunately this is a  degenerative condition of which there is no cure for – some heavy shit I know! Fortunately there are drugs and exercises (mental and physical) to manage the symptoms (with varying degrees of success). My symptoms are so similar to MS my Neurologist has not yet ruled it out.

So Practically Speaking….

Basically the signals from my nerves are either very weak, don’t get sent or are slow to be understood by my brain and/or body. For instance my brain could ask my body to lift my foot up when going upstairs and my body’s response is either slightly late or my foot doesn’t lift up quite enough – oops! On the reverse side of that, I could have put a little bit of food in my mouth that is far too hot but because this signal from my body has taken a while to reach my brain I’ve already shovelled another spoonful in my mouth – ouch! I can see how dodgy nerve/brain signals can also effect memory and attention but why I get fatigue though I still don’t understand. I’ve been told ‘It’s just part of it.” It does take me a lot more energy to do things properly and to keep my thoughts straight than the average person but fatigue is a lot different than just feeling tired. It’s like the debilitating exhaustion of being really really hungover.

And The Other Conditions…

Along with that it’s clear I’ve had Dypraxia all of my life and to me personally I find that 80% of the demyelination symptoms are very similar but to a higher, even more unpredictable degree. Both the demyelination and Dyspraxia cause major sensory issues so I can also empathise with people who  have Sensory Processing Disorder. Because all of my different symptoms overlap so much I tend not to bother explaining that I have SPD because that is just a range of symptoms from the other two conditions I assume and not something that is separate (like it is for a lot of people).

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I have no clue if anyone is a) reading this b) remotely interested. It’s here if anyone wants to use it as a resource for future reference or wants to understand the things I’ve mentioned a little better. If you have any questions just ask and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Chrissie xx

Simple Kick-ass Female Cosplay Ideas

I’m a big sci-fi and fantasy geek so here are my fave kick-ass females who’s costume’s could be created from your own wardrobe, with just a few added extra’s.

Jessica Jones – Marvel

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This actually is one of my everyday outfits!

Ygritte – Game of Thrones

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Faux fur of course. Maybe dig out that giant teddy bear someone gave you in the 80’s or a dressing gown or comforter/fleece with imitation furry Uggs.

Gail – Sin City

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Corset/bustier, hotpants, tights, chunky silver jewellery

Eleven – Stranger Things

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Mixing a girly pink dress with athleisure and a blonde wig, unless you want a buzz cut.

Dutch – Killjoys

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 Leather jacket, black pleather leggins/trousers or black skinny jeans, chunky boots with belts wrapped around.

Go Go – Kill Bill

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If you aren’t still in high school, then work wear mixed with sports wear and a kilt.

Mia Wallace – Pulp Fiction

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Little black dress, heels, wig

Go on, have a go!

<3 Chrissie

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Bayliss & Harding Jojoba, Silk and Almond Oil Fragrance Diffuser

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This is one of the biggest fragrance diffusers I’ve seen and the sticks are incredibly long  so it makes a lovely visual statement. I love the scent of jojoba and I like almond but I never knew that silk had a scent. The three scents combine to make a fragrance which smells exactly like expensive vanilla ice cream!

I actually had to remove half of the sticks as the scent was drifting out of the bedroom and along the landing and down the stairs! That would have been wonderful if it was a lighter fragrance but not suitable for this one.

This was a present and isn’t a fragrance I would normally buy for myself but I actually really like it and it helps to relax me so I can get a peaceful nights sleep.

Rating 5/5

Chrissie xx

Sketchers Memory Foam Trainers Review

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Love them or hate them, these are my new Sketchers!

Style

Recently I’ve become a big fan of wearing little hints of hot pink and turquoise/light blue together as I think the opposite colours really compliment each other. I didn’t want to go too nuts so I was chuffed when I found these which are mainly black (the flash bouncing off the shiny fabric makes them appear lighter in places than they really are). I would have preferred them without the white polystyrene looking soles but the rest is perfect. They are much slimmer looking than the chunky trainers I’m used to wearing but they are a good fit and I have plenty of room to wiggle my toes.

Memory Foam

The insoles feel incredibly comfortable and the slight ache in my wonky knees has gone – unlike when I wear my thin and flat soled Vans/Converse. They are surprisingly breathable and very light weight. However, it feels like you are walking on sand so you are constantly re-adjusting your balance slightly with each step. This sounds like hard work but it’s not as the foam literally puts a spring in your step.

I’ll be honest, after wearing these for two days my feet were aching like crazy! Obviously those particular muscles had never been worked before. I stopped wearing them for two days and then when I put them on again my feet were absolutely fine. My physiotherapist was really impressed and said they should improve my balance and tone my muscles.

I wore these shopping on Market Street and I staggered in them three times on the cobbles, I was giggling at the end because I must have looked like I was utterly plastered! So no cobbles for me again.

Good

  • Exercises muscles while you walk
  • Absorbs any vibrations and feels bouncy
  • Comfortable and breathable
  • So many styles to choose from

Bad

  • Not a good idea if you already have bad balance issues – although I can cope, even with my dyspraxia.
  • I don’t recommend for people with very weak/unstable ankles

Rating 5/5

Would you get some?

Chrissie xx

 

Adult Colouring Books For Fun and Mindfulness

Dream Cities

by Rosie Goodwin £6.29

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Anything can be possible in a dream city and it can be as complicated or as simple as you like. If you enjoy the calm of colouring but are bored of repetitive patterns then this is the perfect book for you.

The Tattoo Colouring Book

by Megamunden £7.95

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Sailor and biker tatts and everything in-between, this book is full of traditional designs to colour and possibly inspire your next inking.

Under The Sea

by Mademoiselles £4.99

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This duo of Paris illustrators create a wonderful under sea world where anything can be imagined – even an octopus with a pout!

Marvel Mega Colouring Book

by Disney £2.00

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Ok so this isn’t for adults exactly but who cares!

The Little Book of Calm Colouring

by David Sinden and Victoria Kay £3.85

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If calm rather than creativity is your aim then this book encouraging mindfulness and relaxation should help. It’s mini too so perfect for your handbag.

Enchanted Forest Colouring Book

by Johanna Basford £9.95

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This isn’t just an adult colouring book, it’s a beautiful journey across waterfalls through woods and mazes to a castle. There is also a quest to find hidden objects to find along the way such as lanterns, germs and eventually the key to the castle!

Unicorns Are Jerks

by Theo Nicole Lorenz $6.99

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Lorenz has created some very tongue-in-cheek colouring books including Mer World problems (urban life can be tough under the sea) and Fat Ladies in Spaaaace (kicking alien butt).  Lots of surprising LOLs basically.

Harry Potter Colouring Book

by Warner Brothers £6.99

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Containing line drawings from the actuall HP films this book features beloved characters and well known scenes, even Harry’s battle with Voldermort.

Chrissie xx

Customer Service Food Intollerence Fails.

To put this into context I eat some wheat, gluten and dairy but as a concession to the rule and only for a meal which is a treat occasionally. On a daily basis I really try to avoid them but it’s not always easy when other people are involved.

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Going nuts in Tesco

Me: Would you check if those wasabi coated nuts behind the counter have wheat in them, please.

Shop assistant scans them and puts them in my bag!?

Me: Excuse me I only asked you a question about them!

Shop Assistant (taking them back out): Why?

Me (taking a deep breath and speaking slowly): Can you check that they don’t have wheat in them please?

Shop Assistant (speaking even slower) These. Are. Nuts.

I take the bag off him.

Me: Here, it’s the first thing on the ingredients list!

Shop Assistant (optimistically): So now do you want them?

Me (trying not to loose my shit): No I have a food intolerance to it.

Shop Assistant looks at me like I’m (wasabi coated) nuts.

Local Shop Which Tries To Up-sell People Random Stuff

I put the glue I’m purchasing on the counter.

Shop Assistant: You buy Nutella!

Me: Excuse me?

Shop Assistant: You are girl, all girls like Nutella.

Me: I have a food intolerance to milk.

Shop Assistant: No, no milk.

Me: It’s ‘milk’ chocolate!

Shop Assistant: No, no – no milk, you buy now?

Me: IT WILL MAKE ME FEEL ILL! Goodbye!

Shop Assistant’s Wife freaks out at him in Indian.

The Flattering But Confused Deli Assistant 

Shop Assistant: Hello!

Me: Hello! Can I get the falafel with humous and salad in a tray please, without the pitta. I’m wheat and dairy intolerant so trying to cut down. Thanks.

Shop Assistant: Oh you are so slim!

Me (blushing and puzzled): Oh, erm thank you.

Shop Assistant serves me with my order including some extras and then smothers it all in yoghurt sauce.

I grit my teeth, thank her with a smile and leave.

Asda

Me: Do you know if you have any gluten free soy sauce in the free-from…..

Shop Assistant sprints off and shouts at me to follow.

Shop Assistant: Here is the soy sauce.

Me: I was trying to say, maybe in the free from isle? I have an intolerance to gluten which is why I’m asking.

Shop Assistant: It’s just sauce.

Me: Well, yes but 90% of the popular brands I’ve seen contain gluten though.

Shop Assistant (frowns and thinks for a moment): Oh right! Is it fish then?

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I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to have severe allergies – although when I’ve used the word ‘allergy’ instead, most people seem to understand the concept. I do think the term ‘food intolerance’ needs to be used though so people get more used to hearing it.

Chrissie xx

Fashion A/W 2015 – Pretty and Practical OOTD

Pretty and Practical for A/W 2015
Wether you are visiting the beautiful Autumn countryside or trudging through Winter snow in the city, you can look both pretty and be practical.

Book Review – The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-time

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WrittenbyMark Haddon this is one of the most unique and intriguing books you will ever read. Narrated by 15 year old Christopher Boone it is darkly funny, emotional and a detective novel in a very unexpected way. Christopher has Asperger’s and his father has a very big secret, which sends his son on a revealing and incredibly brave journey.

I admit that I missed some of the more subtle humour as I found myself approaching the text from Christopher’s honest and black and white point of view. Like I was reading it completely from his perspective – which is just one of the genius things about this novel.

Here’s one of his thoughts on life which made me laugh:

“Eventually scientists will discover something that explains ghosts, just like they discovered electricity which explained lightning, and it might be something about peoples brains, or something about the earths magnetic field, or it might be some new force altogether. And then ghosts won’t be mysteries. They will be like electricity and rainbows and non-stick frying pans.”

It is a rare novel that makes me cry and laugh, that lets me zoom through it with ease and contains lists and illustrations from the protagonist which are entertaining and informative.

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My bloke has had this on his bookshelf for years and I can’t believe I’ve only just got around to reading it, seeing as it was also recommended to me by several friends over the years. Read it. It will entertain you and give you more empathy and understanding than you’ve ever had before.

Chrissie xx

Good Night Stop Snoring Ring 2 Years On Update

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It’s been a while since my first review of these rings which work on an accupressure point.

Well as you can see these babies are looking worse for wear. Even though we’ve taken care of these putting them in their own little jewellery box the metal has either corroded or the silver plating is wearing of.

Do they still work though?

Well for some odd reason me and the bloke stopped wearing them. We simply forgot they existed! Then after two horrible nights of the bloke CONSTANTLY snoring we remembered we had them – thank goodness. It’s recommended that you give it up to four or five nights to work and to put it on half an hour before bed but THEY WORKED STRAIGHT AWAY – woohoo! The only problem was that the ring left a black mark on the blokes finger and we don’t know what the base metal is hmm…

Why the snoring in the first place?

The bloke has a food intolerance to beer…ok it’s yeast but that’s not going to stop him enjoying a beer of an evening so often his sinuses are blocked, hence the snoring but no more!

These were originally sent to me for review purposes I just wanted to do an update as I was amazed at how quickly they were so effective again.

Chrissie xx

Neal’s Yard Remedies Bigger and Even Better in King Street

 

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NYR have located to King Street and the new store looks beautiful, with elegant touches and attention to detail every where.

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I highly recommend NYR lip glosses which stay put for hours and come in a very flattering range of colours. I can’t wait to try their mascara but I have so many others to use up first that I think I’m becoming a mascara junkie!

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All of the treatment rooms are down these stairs. I love the wall decals and the idea but these treatments rooms won’t be accessible to people with mobility issues unfortunately. Unless there is a tiny lift somewhere which I didn’t spot.

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The sale of products from the Bee Lovely range mean that NYR can donate 10,000 a year to projects that help to save bees. Fantastic!

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NYR are still all about the herbs and tinctures – the original products sold in the first Covent Garden shop.

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On the night there were hand and arm massages and deep tissue/seated chair massage available. I opted for the latter by masseuse Gary as I’m always tense around my back and shoulders. Afterward I felt much more relaxed and the circulation in my hands (rather a problem) was working better than it ever has! NYR offer a huge range of treatments and therapies (16 in all) including nutritional therapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, reflexology, drop in clinics, facials and indian head massage which I’ve previously reviewed and is amazing!

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How cute is this Festival Favourites wash bag ^_^ It contains Beauty Sleep Concentrate something that I need to try again using a much smaller amount next time because it’s so rich, White Tea Facial Mist which moisturises skin on the go and can be sprayed over makeup (I’ve noticed this does a great job of setting my makeup when in hot places), Wild Rose Beauty Balm which I seriously cannot recommend enough and the lazy girls must have product Face Wipes, which are so gentle even people with sensitive skin can use them.

What would would you get from Neal’s Yard Remedies?

Chrissie xx