10 Positive Things Dyspraxia Has Given Me

I know posting a diagram showing the problems which dyspraxia can cause might seem counter intuitive to the tittle of this post but I think it’s the easiest way to show you what dyspraxia actually is. Personally, I have less problems with fine motor skills and more severe problems with attention, memory, sensory issues and general spacial awareness Neurologists tell me.

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Before I knew what was going on with me I felt like a big dumb freak but my school friends always said “We love you because of the that you are, not despite it.” My boyfriend says the exact same thing to me. I’ve got much more confidence now and because I’ve been diagnosed later in life it’s meant I’ve had to develop my own coping strategies and I’ve started to realise that dyspraxia has shaped me in positive ways.

Creativity and a random jukebox in my mind

As my brain is always whirring around with random thoughts – especially at night – I can get really creative ideas and little revelations about life. If you follow me on Twitter you will be able to attest to this! It has also meant that I’ve never run out blog post ideas once, in the 2 and a half years that I’ve been blogging. Everyday I have a line or the chorus of a song going around my head in a loop for frequent periods. I’m reminded of some great songs from passed decades I’d forgotten about or had no idea I even knew the words to!

 

Determination

‘If you fail try, try and try again’ or in my case ‘and again and again…..’ this can be seriously tedious but having to persevere has made me really tenacious. Even as a child I was a really determined little thing who wasn’t easily defeated… or stubborn at all ;o)

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Humour in the face of adversity

If I’m in a shitty situation I will some how manage to find humour in it. Failing at hundreds of little things everyday since childhood I’ve experienced a lot of flippant negativity. This could have made me an overly defensive, bitter bitch but I chose to have fun with a self-effacing sense of humour instead. I don’t mean I’m putting myself down constantly to get laughs, I just manage to find humour in dodgy situations. Rather than getting embarrassed after opening a packet of M&M’s in such a way they fly all over the place, I’ll make a joke like “I just thought I’d share them with EVERYONE!” Having an unrestrained imagination helps to turn the mundane into the ridiculous and therefor amusing very quickly. Anyone else made themselves laugh out loud at their own thoughts, when on a crowded bus?

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I can be surprisingly focussed

I’m used to coping with difficult situations. Having dyspraxia means that I need to pause before steaming into something and instead I need to figure out a way to do it, that works for me. I’m constantly accessing situations. I’ve realised this has made me a lot more ‘on the ball’ over the years. For instance travelling to London and finding my connecting train to Cornwall in an incredibly busy station didn’t phase me. Wandering around a maze like hospital didn’t phase me. I got utterly lost like, and went around in a circle – twice – but I didn’t get stressed. Being in situations where things aren’t instantly and entirely evident to me is pretty normal. Confusing yes, but somehow reassuringly normal and not as stressful as it might be to someone who isn’t used to feeling this way. Also if someone has an accident I can suddenly become detached enough to think practically rather than panic, which is always good.

Breath and relax…

I’ve learned a level of patience I never thought possible. Loosing my train of thought right near the end of a sentence or a sum, tripping up over nothing, spending ages making a simple but perfect meal only to drop the plate face down on the floor, all of these things have and continue to test my patience but my gosh, have I developed A LOT of it! When spoilt princesses (the grown up kind) are having a full on diva fit because they didn’t get served at warp speed, I just roll my eyes. When someone is running late and everything seems to be going wrong I can calm them down, offer them a cuppa or a cocktail and say something daft to make them laugh because I understand exactly how that feels. I’ll admit sometimes you might here me yell “For f#c% sake!” and launch an object across the room but then I’m usually calm immediately after my therapeutic mini meltdown.

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I’m always organised

I rule at being organised. Ok so I’ve missed many appointments because I’ve got the order of the numbers in the date mixed up or lost all track of time because I’m hyper-focussed on Grand Theft Auto. These experiences and many more have taught me that Post It notes, reminder alarms (on my laptop, phone, iPod and paper calendar), nagging reminders from my boyfriend and Mum, simple but detailed filing systems and adorable stationary are essential.

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Lateral thinking

I tend to think differently than others and sometimes I can easily solve a problem which others have been struggling with, because it just seems obvious to me. Kind of like when an adult is over complicating something and being governed by the rules of how something is meant to be done, then their child looks rather non-plussed and suggests “Why don’t you just do it like this?” I’m sorry I can’t think of any specific examples here, every time I try to think of any, they opaquely half form and then float out of my head! That’s the nature of dyspraxia and I don’t mind about my mind ;o)

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Weeding out the dickheads

When you are a bit of a weirdo as I am – and I mean that affectionately – it doesn’t take long to realise who your friends are. They are the ones who don’t judge, don’t constantly make ‘jokes’ at your expense, who try to help without being patronising. Who don’t try to finish your sentences because you are apparently taking too long or simply talk over you as if you are a toddler or hard of understanding.

I’m tidier than a maid

Everything I own has it’s own place where it lives and it always gets put back there almost as soon as I’ve used it. When you put something down and forget why it’s not in your hand 30 seconds later, things need to be ordered so you can find it again. When you can scan a room four or five times for something that’s in plain site and still not see it, things need to be kept tidy. Floor space needs to be free from clutter so that I don’t trip over the stuff I’ve left there. I do hate homes that are so sparse and neat they don’t feel homely and I don’t have a compulsion to tidy, I’ve just learned how to make my space work for me.

People know where they stand with me

I’m honest to a fault. In my twenties as a temp I was so terrified of offending candidates for the position of ‘new BFF’ I over thought everything before I spoke and I mean EVERYTHING. It was exhausting and when the words did finally come out they sounded awkward and rehearsed. Nowadays I trust I’m not a total idiot or a big ol’ bitch and I just go with my instincts and “blah blah blah” away freely to everyone. Sometimes I sound a bit dumb, sometimes I’m really quick and witty, sometimes I’m a little tactless but it’s better than being anxious and paranoid. Plus 70% of people I meet tend to really respect my honesty and the other….er…..30% just need to lighten up a little, hehe!

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I hope this gives people an insight into this hidden disability in general (recognised in the 1990’s) or that it helps anyone who recognises some of the symptoms, diagnosed or otherwise.

Your comments welcome as always :o)

Chrissie

5 Aids Which Really Help with Dyspraxia and Related Disabilties

For Dyspraxia Awareness week I thought I would share an old post of mine.

Jar Opener

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Or as the Bloke likes to call it ‘the openzy shifter’ lol This is so easy to use with a little wheel which winds in the rubber band until it’s tight around the jar and then you angle the handle to lock it and only need the slightest turn – ta da! Similar here.

Reinforced/Non Slip iPad Case by STM

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The entire edge of this case is surrounded by chunky rubbery plastic meaning my iPad is protected if I drop it and so much easier to grip. I actually hate the person who came up with polished aluminium finishes! It has a cover which folds into a stand position, making it easier to type or watch and a clear back so you can still read your engraving. It’s also fairly water resistant and fastens with an easy open magnetic grip. Buy it here.

Shower Chair

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This can completely fold up so it’s out of the way for other people but when unfolded it’s very sturdy and safe. The arms can be folded up if they get in your way while sitting on it. Because I have so much hair to wash it takes me about 25 minutes, which used to really make my back ache. Not to mention the whole spacial awareness probs causing me to bounce of the walls and door and worrying about slipping and knocking myself out. Similar here.

Multiway Opener

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This gadget is genius! It opens the lids on plastic bottles, beer bottles and you can slide the ring pull of a drinks can into a groove and use it for leverage instead of breaking your fingernails. It also has a hook to open peel back food tins. Similar here.

Wrist/Ankle Support

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A lot of people who have Dyspraxia also have hyper-mobile joints (which bend/stretch too much) and get fatigued easily (not surprising seeing as we use up more energy trying so hard to do ‘simple’ things) but this Boots wrist support really helps. It was recommended to me  by a waitress with Hypermobilty who carries a tray all day. Can’t get a better recommendation than that! If you are having trouble with the fit, go to Decathlon who will measure and fit you with one of their supports.

Kitchen Timer

I find having a timer so handy for so many things. Setting myself reminders of when to turn things on or off like a cooker or a heater; setting how long I want to spend doing something so that I don’t get too hyper-focussed and loose track; to remind me to do things at certain times of day. I used to use my iPad but found it confusing, similar to when using a timer with multiple timers on. So now I use a simple egg timer and big post it notes, along with general routines I’ve got down over the years.

Do you have any suggestions?

Chrissie

September – Monthly Round-up

Food & Drink

My Bloke got me these posh teas from Twinings so I can have hot drinks that aren’t builders tea (strong, milk, two sugars) which I’m not overly fond of. I can’t attest to their waking and sleeping powers as my brain seems to function in any other way possible, than what’s expected; I can say they both taste lovely though. Fairly subtle and fresh in flavour and not too perfumy.

We are successfully growing chillies! The plant is both male and female so you get a really soft and narrow makeup brush and act like a bee and go around all of the flowers pollinating it. We planted it at the start of summer and now have seven decent sized chillies, with lots of tiny little green globes that will hopefully grow bigger.

I’ve figured out the perfect way of making a vegetarian Roast ‘Chicken’ Salad & Fahita Filling.

Style

This is the one of my trusty styles for autumn, along with a more dressy look I’ll post next month.

Of course there had to be something Halloween related as we near October. Unbelievably some of the things I wanted to include in Halloween Fashion were already sold out!

I’ve never been a big Disney Princess fan, in fact the words used to make me shudder as a kid BUT I’ve always loved a good baddie. Perfect for Halloween Disney Style.

Beauty

Here’s why this GOSH BB Cream was both a hit and a miss.

Ooh pretty! See what I thought of the Barry M Holographic Eye Toppers and what look I created using the green one.

If you want an everyday mascara which will be kind to your lashes and the environment then PHB Natural Mascara is the one you need.

Random

Even though my Bloke has never watched friends he has somehow picked up on the recent resurgence of it and has started saying Joey’s expression “How you doin’?” to me. He started off enthusiastically (and hilariously) saying “How ya doing!!!” while wiggling his eyebrows up and down. Bahahaa! Nope. I told him it’s “How you doin’?” with one eyebrow raise to accent the word ‘you’, that makes ALL the difference. He is now utterly and disarmingly brilliant at it! I seem to have subconsciously picked up on the Joey look too.

Squirrels hate me. Yup. On three separate occasions I have been screamed at by a squirrel. Walking by one on a footpath, walking under a low hanging branch and yesterday one was on a tree, next to the window and I was inside the flat! I’m starting to agree with Carrie Bradshaw that they are indeed ‘Just rats in cute outfits.’ Although, that may be an injustice to rats.

Here’s an honest and lighthearted list of 15 Relatable Ways Brain Fog Effects People. You might think of someone or even yourself as rather ‘ditzy’ or sort of ‘head in the clouds’ but it could be brain fog if they/you have chronic fatigue or various other conditions. I’ve come out with some great one-linners and wonderings while feeling brain-fogged however.

 

Chrissie

15 Relatable Ways Brain Fog Affects People

‘Brain fog’ or ‘Cog fog’ is a neurological condition where mental fogginess gets in the way of people’s cognitive skills; making it hard for them to think straight and recall and process information. It can occur in a lot of disabilities and conditions such as Lupus, MS, Fibromyalgia Hypermobilty Syndromes, Dysautonamia, chronic fatigue, menopause, pregnancy and anxiety.

  1. Recalling words. “You know that thing…where you…ah?
  2. Misplacing objects. Either loosing them or feeling like there’s a poltergeist in the house because an object has appeared in a totally random place (where you absent-mindedly left it). Spatula in the washing machine and socks in the sink?
  3. No sense of time passing or your place in time. Not being able to keep track of what time or date or even day it is, throughout the day.
  4. Trying to catch fog. Trying to express something that you feel passionate about but you can’t seem to pin down the important points or get them in order in your mind before they drift away again.
  5. Visual processing. Starring right at the damn product on the shelf and still not being able to recognise and find it.
  6. Auditory processing and recall. By the time the person you are talking to has finished their sentence you’ve forgot the start of it. For instance – you know that you agree with them but now are clueless as to what you are agreeing with.
  7. Information sequencing for basic math, writing and logic. You would automatically know this this normally but today you can’t make sense of what the logical order is.
  8. General sensory processing. Everything is too loud or too tight or too bright or you can’t sense/judge things enough like temperature, spacial awareness, speed, distance. Scary when trying to cross a noisy, busy road.
  9. Feeling spaced-out and oddly detached. Not quite being able to comprehend the seriousness of situations or people’s problems. Coming across as slow to react, flippant or even uncaring.
  10. Concentration and sequencing. Managing to loose your own point mid-sentence by getting easily distracted “I simply will not put up with…Ooh shiny!
  11. Struggling to make simple decisions or feeling rather apathetic to things and just saying “You choose, I’m good either way.”
  12. Literally going blank and ‘phasing out.’ Nope, I have no idea where I went there for a moment, either.
  13. Learning difficulties. Having to do something repeatedly and within a fairly short time frame to be able to learn it or get into the habit of doing it.
  14. Basic auditory processing. When you are deep in thought or involved in a task and someone talks to you, because you are not expecting to hear something, you can’t process what it was, only that you heard them say something. So they say it louder -_-
  15. Recalling specific details. You are having a great conversation and taking in everything that is being said, you feel today is a brain fog free day. The next day when relating the conversation to some else “They went on holiday to…somewhere and they went with…someone and it was last week or last month, ah crap, never mind.”

I know people with Dyspraxia, Autism, ADD, ADHD (or a combination of them), will have struggled with some of the above naturally, since childhood – I know I have – but those brain fog moments make these things even more difficult, which is why Brain Fog has earned a whole list of it’s own ;o)

Which do you relate to? Let me know in the comments.

Chrissie

 

What’s In My Fridge

Often when I explain to people that I’m veggie and have a gluten and dairy intolerance, they often ask “Then what do you eat then?”

Top shelf: Chilled Water; Burger Sauce (this is as close to prawn cocktail sauce I’ve found and I love it on salad); Spanish Tortilia.

Middle shelf: Giant Green Olives; Organic Humus; Quorn Smokey Ham Free Slices; Violife Block Original (dairy free cheese, which is great for gooey toasties).

Bottom Shelf: Humus, Artichoke hearts in oil, Sacla Free From Green Pesto, Tahini (perfect for making your own humus by adding the tahini with tinned chickpeas, garlic paste or fresh and olive oil and blending); Gosh! Veggie Moroccan Spiced Koftas.

Salad Draw: Usually iceberg lettuce, rocket, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper; Mixed pickled veg which I love as it’s so crunchy!

Top door shelf: East End Very Hot Green Chilli; East End Hot Mango and Chilli (can’t taste any mango but it is very refreshing, used sparingly); Pitted Black Olives x2; East End Tamarind Sauce (sweeter than the original paste); Sriracha Hot Sauce (sweeter and less vinegary than Tabasco).

Bottom door shelf: Tyskie (not mine, I prefer Peroni – gluten free);OKF Farmer’s Aloe Vera with Water Melon (tasty and so hydrating); Vita Coconut Water (er, so hydrating); Alpro Almond Milk (great with coffee or for making ‘cheese’ sauce).

I’d love to hear if you have any questions or if there are other ways that you would use these items?

Chrissie

Monthly Round-up June

Style

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Find this in a pile of the Bloke’s old clothes and ‘adopted it’.

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I finally found two dresses, that hide my pizza handles; are a practical but un-frumpy length (at least for me) and aren’t too prom-dressy. Both from EMP.

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When you can’t be arsed hiding your natural resting bitch face, ha! This Casual Urban Summer outfit felt surprisingly cool (before the heatwave) and also worked well with gladiator sandals for casual evenings.

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I’ve been trying to find sunglasses like these very old ones but haven’t been having much luck, as I guess they are very early-2000’s in style. I’m also learning how to take selfies with a point and shoot camera…I need more practice.

Food and Drink

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Someone gave us an Aloe plant about a year ago and this is the first time that I used it in a drink. It tastes so bitter but if you only use half a finger, somehow that tartness goes away when you mix it with anything sweet, like perfectly ripe strawberries.

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The Bloke has bringing me veggie koftas by Gosh from the ‘posh’ Tesco in Didsbury. I don’t always have enough energy to make and fry my own falafel or to get to the deli before they close so these are a great alternative and last for ages in the fridge.

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We bought some chilli seeds around two months ago and now we have this lovely gangly thing. In the morning it raises it’s leaves and then bends toward the sun in an arch throughout the day. Just after sundown, it lowers it’s leaves again and stays still. I’ve just pollinated it, with it’s own flowers but I can’t see any yellow pollen so I have no idea if it worked and we will get chilli’s.

Beauty

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Hempz, Herbal range are some of the best products I’ve ever used to style my crazy, frizzy natural hair so they were a joy to review.

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These three are the most borrow-able items in my blokes bathroom and they smell great too so I thought I’d review them in Pinching My Blokes Skincare.

Lifestyle

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I was offered a free star map from Modern Map Art and chose to get one done for my Dad for Fathers Day. Here’s my review if you want to know more.

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I found this, which made me laugh as it was so appropriate at the time ^_^

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I’ve nearly finished series 5 of Gotham. It has it’s usual gangster slant and a new intelligent baddy for young Bruce. They’ve added more of a horror element this series and also the violence is less comic book and just plain graphic. I’m not a big fan of either of the above. Poison Ivy and Butch aren’t pictured here, probably for good reason, so as not to spoil the surprise of how they look.

I made this using the Geek Alphabet created by The Nifty Nerd. Such a great idea!

Chrissie

Pinching My Bloke’s Skincare

These are the best skincare products for men, which also work just as well on women too. Sometimes you only have a small amount of storage space in your bathroom or if you live separately, you can’t be bothered to lug a wash bag around every time you stay over, so why not share your basic skincare! I also think that certain scents can be very androgynous and so are sexy on everyone!

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Faith in Nature, Blue Cedar, Handmade Soap £1.99

BUAV approved; certified vegan; organic and SLS free, this soap is as kind as it gets. It’s also kind to every skin type and can be used for face and body, as it contains moisturising vitamin E and soothing green tea. The cedar scent is also super sexy!

Bull Dog Original Moisturiser £6.00

I cannot tell you how many moisturisers I’ve tried that either give my skin a ‘velvety’ texture (read ‘sucks all of the radiance out of it’) or they have a strong flowery scent or are cheap but too harsh for my complexion or are effective but way too expensive! This moisturiser, made with aloe vera, camelina oil and green tea is so calming and moisturising, without feeling too heavy. It also works well under many types of foundation – perfect! Oh yeah, my bloke loves it too, ha!

AA Skincare, Grapefruit & Cedarwood Deodorant £4.95

Another Cedarwood scent but much zingier due to grapefruit essential oil and Aloe Vera. I’m showing my age here but the scent reminds me of Impulse O2 body spray from the late 90’s – which the boys used to borrow of us. This isn’t an antiperspirant so no good for heavy exercise (as if!?) but a wonderful fresh and effective deodorant. It doesn’t contain any aluminium salts which can clog pores and is perfume and alcohol free so non-drying, equalling happy pits – I mean ‘under arms.’

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My bloke has just read this and actually snorted with laughter at the term ‘under arms’. “Do we have ‘under elbow’ and ‘under knee’ too or is that ‘side elbow and ‘side knee’? No wait, that sounds like our body parts are being bitchy, like ‘side eye'” I can’t imagine what else he’d come out with if he read my copy of Cosmopolitan.

Chrissie

 

 

Monthly Roundup – May

I started May being a little obsessed with everything pink and grey and wore the same two basic outfits for most of the week. Check out the OOTD post to see the other outfit and where to shop both looks.

I’ve returned to The Body Shop now that they have a parent company who are committed to be cruelty free. I love a non-drying lip colour you can apply easily so I use a lot of tinted balms and glosses. Unfortunately Born Lippy gave me a sore throat immediately! Some do and I’ve never figured out why. I’m using it as a blush instead as the colour is very subtle and sheer.

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It was my birthday so me and the Bloke headed off for An Afternoon in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.  Which involved picking up my first ever comics for Free Comic Book Day, trying some new health foods, taking photo’s like a tourist and then dinner and cocktails at V Revolution.

 

After hearing of the demise of Polyvore I posted all of my style mood-boards and outfit boards that I’d made over the years in two posts here and here.

I decided that now my skin has changed from oily-combination to dry-combination I’d try B. Pure Micellar Water instead of cleanser and toner.

Another OOTD, this one inspired by Johnny Cash; Smart, Dark, Country.

I’d not received any blogger nominated awards for years and then two came along at once. I decided to go with The Mystery Blogger Award as it sounded a bit different and I only had the energy to do one!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We decided to eat again as we’d had a tough week and I’d been inside for days. So we cashed in our Tesco vouchers and headed to Pizza Express for large glasses of wine, gluten free pasta, a giant super food salad and caramel gelato with salted caramel sauce.

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I was in the mood to do a wish list post and chose the Woodland Trust S/S shop. I think it’s importance is growing along with issues like global warming, extinction of native species and disappearing woodlands, due to mass farming of mono cultures and countryside being built on.

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My skin has a nice healthy glow to it, thanks to the sun but my foundation kinda kills that a little so I thought I’d try and put some back with Drops of Glow, Lustre Finish Creator in Illuminator. Why do products practically have two names squished together, these days?

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It was also the Blokes birthday recently so I got him a dragon.

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I’ve been watching Heart of Dixie; Jessica Jones S02, Startrek: Discovery; Lucifer S03 and Freaks and Geeks. I’ve been listening to 90’s R&B; Gary Newman’s latest album and The Crow Soundtrack.

Chrissie

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An Afternoon in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

 

I think the reason me and the bloke haven’t gone on more city breaks for long weekends is that living in Manchester can sometimes feel like a city break in itself.  It has a vibrant city centre including shops, bars, restaurants and unusual fun things to do, axe throwing, climbing, trampolining, mini golf with cocktails, Crystal Maze and Escape Rooms anyone? It has little mini town centre’s like Chrolton, Didsbury, Fallowfield and Denton with high street clothes shops, quality charity shops and independent cafe’s. For a city it also has surprisingly large parks like Alexandra, Debdale and Heaton park.

It was my birthday recently so we went to V Revolution again. Is it possible to get tired of yellow stretchy cheese, too many sauces at once and fried/pickled things? Probably not.

If you ignore my double chin, I swear this burger was as big as my head. The Bloke commented ‘It’s a shame that your jaw isn’t hyper-mobile as well’ with a wink. I tried my first ever Long Island Iced T and was a little disappointed it didn’t taste anything like traditional iced tea but I did like the watery raspberry flavour. It would certainly do the trick on an empty stomach, even if you did eat a literal tower of food afterward.

I nipped in Forbidden Planet and the ever-friendly Travelling Man to pick up some comics thanks to Free Comicbook Day. I chose these four as I thought they were all pretty individual and something I might want to check out further.

 

I could have spent hours documenting the cute and sometimes thought provoking, wheat-paste art that was on every lamp post and bollard. But you know when you’d rather enjoy the feel of a place, rather than obsessively recording it?

I decided to try some new things and the lady who works at McCall’s Organics is so friendly and knowledgable about everything, you don’t feel silly asking for ‘kefoocha?’ and ‘Kimishi?’

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I bought Kingfisher Aloe Toothpaste as my teeth are getting more sensitive. My gut is also on the sensitive (read big giant diva) side so I got the above drinks and kimchi which have live cultures that help digestion.

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As the queues for gelato were astounding, I decided to treat myself to these dairy free dreams that McCall’s keep in their fridge.

 

 

 ❤ Chrissie

 

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Murad Essential-C Day Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30

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Murad Essential-C Day Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (£60 50ml) combines, vitamin C for radiance and firmness, antioxidants to shield skin from environmental damage and  sun protection against UVA and UVB rays.

If you are anything like me, you might have cringed, just reading £60 never mind spending it. Here’s why I did a) My skin needs all of the technical and biological help it can get b) I ALWAYS forget to wear suncream on my face c) When I do remember to apply some generic one that’s around the house, my makeup slides off within the hour d) As I’ve hit my mid-thirties my skin has become a lot dryer to the point where it makes the best foundation look like cement on application.

Pro’s

  • Non greasy
  • Doesn’t have an obvious suncream scent
  • Makes skin look naturally radiant, even under medium-thick coverage foundation
  • Keeps skin moisturised all day
  • A little goes a long way

Con’s

  • If I’m going to pay £60 I either want more product or a fabulous looking jar
  • Too heavy for oily or combination skin
  • Not an all-in-one product. You’ll need to use a separate primer after this if you want your makeup to last in a hot club/at the gym etc.

Note:

For the golden skinned or the old-school tan lovers out there, please don’t be put off by SPF 30. If you are out in the sun for hours your skin will noticeably thank you for protecting it (especially as you age) and SPF does not mean total sun block so you will still tan, even on days with light cloud.

Chrissie