What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Well, the answer is not much as I’ve had a cold for a week but luckily the evening before it started me and the bloke went to the pub. We love The Gateway in Didsbury as it has friendly staff and punters, free wi-fi, lots of cheap but tasty veggie food, a nice gluten free beer as well as many guest beers and ciders. Plus, the loos are down stairs so it’s not like navigating that Escher painting trying to find them.

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I was too hot and restless to sleep in so I got up and ‘painted’ my hair again. Literally just slapped it on the front bits with a tint brush, then read a magazine for an hour and then sat on the bathroom floor, leaned into the shower and rinsed it off.

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‘Discovered’ a great takeaway called Saki in Droylesden on Justeat who do veggie sushi, this lovely mixed tofu salad, Gyoza dumplings and ramen. Okay, I’m getting hungry now…

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I can take no credit for this what-so-ever, it’s all down to my Dad!

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I found this plastic glass at the back of the cupboard which has inspired me to make banana and strawberry milk shakes, with a splash of almond milk.

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I changed my avatar to look all summery (they didn’t have a streaky hairstyle, just posh balayage) and then, of course, it pissed it down for the rest of the week.

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Came across this great graphic on Instagram and gave the little guy an activity to do because disabled people also do things.

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To use up some stuff I made a deli bowl of Mediterranean salad, pomegranate bits, mixed seeds, stuffed vine leaves, the ever important inclusion of pickles, and pieces from a giant block of silken tofu I cut up into big chunks and fried in sesame oil (tastes like chicken).

Over the past four months I’ve been watching The Goldbergs, then Schooled, Speechless and Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory nearly every evening. I’m at a bit of a loss now that two have ended for good, one might not be coming back (Speechless) and two are in between series.

I seem to have replaced them with the gameshows Tipping Point (based around the 2p waterfall arcade machine), Pointless, Egg Heads and The Chase. My general knowledge is pretty impressive now and it’s massively helped my recall and logical reasoning. Oh and there’s series five of Black-ish starting!

Coming up soon I review green mascara and purple lip gloss from The Body Shop and two Rockabilly blouses from Hell Bunny.

Chrissie

 

10 Reasons Why I Love My Wonky Body

I’m going off when my body and energy levels are on good form because I’m trying to be nice to myself these days ^_^

  1. It’s got a lot of natural rhythm which makes it easier to dance without me really loving-yourselfover-thinking it.
  2. My legs are long and surprisingly strong, through them having to correct my balance constantly when I stand and walk. The Amazons have nothing on me lol
  3. I have a really fast metabolism which is great for never having to worry about getting overweight (just hangry) and it means I can totally justify ordering sides with my main meal.
  4. Being tall is pretty handy to not feel claustrophobic in a crowd and to see where I’m meant to going if it’s somewhere new.
  5. My immune system may attack me but cold and flu viruses beware, it’s effectively coming for you too!
  6. I tan quickly which is awesome after a grey winter – I mean my skin, not the weather.
  7. I have weirdly good balance if I really concentrate.
  8. Being hypermobile is actually really handy when trying to reach past a load of clutter or when the lid off something has rolled under furniture.
  9. I’ve gotten some interesting scars over the years but I also heal surprisingly quickly.
  10. I’m going to be inhabiting my body for the rest of my life so I might as well appreciate it!

Chrissie

Note: Incase you wondering, the conditions I have are Demyelination (similar to but not actually MS), Dyspraxia, Aspergers, Sensory Processing Disorder (relating to the latter three conditions), allergies, PCOS (suspected by GP), Hyperthyroidism, Hypermobilty Syndrome (including food intolerance), which can all have the symptoms of chronic fatigue/brain fog in common.

The Highs & Lows of Shopping Online

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I’ll use it everyday!

High – You can eat, do the laundry, look after pets and/or kids and stay in your PJ’s while you buy things.

Low – It encourages you to not go out and get any sunshine or exercise or any face-to-face communication with people.

High – If you really need time alone you don’t have to have any face-to-face communication with people.

Low – When you forget your log in details and choose ‘reset password’ and then forget that as well. Then try to set up another account, only for it to say ’email is already in use’.

High – When you get a little card on your door matt saying ‘Sorry we missed you’ and you see your lovely next door neighbour has taken it in for you.

Low – When you come home to find the posty has left your parcel ‘in a safe place’ which means it’s on public display in your tiny front garden.

High – To be able to compare brands and refine your search results, brings an afternoon of shopping down to an hour online.

Low – Late night impulse buys. Of course I will use this coffee cup holder which doubles as selfie stick!

High – Having access to speciality things such as certain foods or limited edition collectables or retro and vintage things that you can’t get on the high street.

Low – When you get clothing in your size but the silhouette is box-like, yet something else in your size imitates clingfilm, even though it looked an average fit on the model.

High – The little spy glass that lets you zoom right in on the details and the list of specs underneath the photo.

Lows – Buying black clothes and only noticing stealthy bows/slits/laces when you’re actually wearing the item o_O

High – Feeling under the weather, having a chronic illness or not having access to viable transport but not needing to hunt and gather your stuff from all over town.

Which one’s do you identify with?

Chrissie

My Lifestyle Lately – May 2017


Obviously as I’m Mancunian there has been one big event for me which has separated May from any month surrounding it. The terrorist attack. I have so many things to say about this, how upset and angry I am, the social and religious politics, the possible ramifications and what actions could be taken now, but I’m emotionally exhausted by it so I won’t. What I will say is that the resilient and empathetic spirit of my fellow Mancs and the support from people around the world has been amazing. I’m actually writing this to the sound of The Courteeners concert drifting over from Old Trafford Cricket ground and they are doing a cover of Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger, with all of crowd singing their hearts out. Aw shit, I’m filling up now. I really do love Manchester.

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Food & Drink

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Have you been drinking lots of water but still feel more thirsty, brain foggy or fatigued because of the heat? I’d give this a go. It tastes like blue ice pops (you can get other flavours like strawberry and tropical) and because of the aloe (i.e electrolyte) content, it hydrates better because our bodies use it more efficiently, rather than just rushing it through our system like it would with water.

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As the weather has been so warm I’ve only been able to manage very light meals. I’ve discovered that Original Sheese spread can be broken up and used as a creamy feta cheese alternative.

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I’m starting to see why people mistake me for a vegan but it’s actually my wonky body that can’t cope with dairy and egg white for gastro and auto-imune reasons. I miss having omelettes though so I was pleased to come across this. If you use it with a small amount of say, mushrooms and are sparing with the cooking oil and leave it alone to cook, rather than harassing it with the spatula, this comes out brilliantly! Unfortunately I was too hungry to take a photo of my perfect first time attempt. Then I fracked it up something terrible the second time – doh!

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At the begging of the month it was my birthday so me and the bloke hopped on a bus and then a tram and went to our fave Indian restaurant of all time, Lilly’s in Ashton-Under-Lyne. You can read my review of Lilly’s here. We also got a lot of takeaway which lasted us for around three days!

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I’ve been making cold mocha’s every evening so there is one waiting for me as soon as I get up. I actually take it back to bed with me. 1 heaped tspn dark cocoa powder (mixed with a little cold water), 1 heaped tspn instant coffee, 2 rounded tspn sugar, 1 tspn vanilla essence, a little hot water to mix, fill up beaker with unsweetened almond milk. Chill.

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I compiled a dairy and gluten free shopping list and reviewed each item to make it easier for people who are feeling a bit overwhelmed with this kind of dietary transition.

Fashion & Style 

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I put this Romwe wish list together right at the start of the month and managed to resist buying anything for myself. op

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It’s funny that in the same month that I’ve stopped approaching any brands, two brands have asked me to collaborate with them on Outfit Of The Day outfit reviews. However, the items (around six of them) are taking ages to arrive so those will be live on the blog next month. I’ve also ordered stuff from EMP, yet again and opted for everything to arrive together but apparently it’s not all available (even though they weren’t ‘Out of Stock’) so that hasn’t arrived either. Only just realised last week that my fave jumper works really well with my fave skirt, both of which I’ve had for ages, ha!

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Even though I don’t rent a place I can call my own, I still love compiling homeware posts every now and then like this In The Tropics one.

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I made a Stylish and Sensible Summer Shoes post because I like alteration and not falling over when I walk in summer.

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No, not me going for a job as a waitress at a sports bar but me melting in this fracking horrendous heat. My feet still get cold in the evening though due to circulation issues, hence the Uggs. I actually love this basic look but haven’t been brave (crazy?) enough to leave the house in it yet. I’m managing to keep weight on these days but my muscles tone is disappearing fast so I’m getting a cross trainer for less fatigued days (I’m being very optimistic here) as it will give me a whole body work out but the machine gathers it’s own momentum quickly so you can put as much or as little effort into it as you want.

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I’m a firm believer in wearing what you want no matter what size or firmness you are so I gathered together the 15 best shorts. There is a style here to suit everyone. I’ve bought the denim scalloped hem one’s from H&M and wear them with very sheer black tights and they look great! I keep meaning to get some black fishnet tights to wear with them and with my ripped jeans for a grungy feel (like I used to in the 90’s) but I keep forgetting.

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I would stagger around blindly in summer if it weren’t for my sunglasses. Some of these are off-the-shelf but some are designer so they should be widely available in options if you need prescription lenses like I do. I suggest getting polarised lenses to decrease glare if you are light sensitive.

Random Stuff

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As a fellow geek I decided to join in with the The Geeky Girl Tag after I enjoyed reading other bloggers answers.

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I wrote this post as I wish my parents would have come across something like this when I was a kid as they and they and my paediatrician and my teachers where clueless as to why I was struggling so much and therefor how they could help me to help myself. Actually my Paediatrician barley noticed. *giant face palm* As a child I was very aware that I was different. Things didn’t come easily to me, yet the other kids magically seemed to instantly know what to do and how to do it, without constant mishaps. As a teen I realised I had a rather different thought processes going compared to my mates as well a lot of the time. Like what is the point of over analysing the way that cute guy said “Hi” to you for hours. Just be glad he said it and maybe even have an actual conversation next time. Reading something like this would have made me feel a lot less like an alien from another planet.

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I made a Funko Pop! of myself, which I’m pleased with.

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May has been Ehlers Danlos Syndrome awareness day, which is so important as it’s one of the most misunderstood and miss represented genetic disorders out there. I’ve been given a verbal diagnosis of EDS but several Rheumatologists are still refusing to put it in writing on my medical records. Preferring instead to say instead “Christine is having it that she has EDS” er, I’m ‘having it’ because I was TOLD that I have it FFS!?!? It’s important to mention that all of this stubborn ignorance and arrogance from specialists (and I do use that term lightly) makes dealing with EDS so much worse as it’s a constant battle with people who’s actual job it is to know better. It really does make us emotionally exhausted and just adds to all the other shit we have to deal with. I’m so lucky to have received support from an amazing online community of fellow zebra’s here, otherwise I would have been questioning my own sanity.

Beauty and Skincare

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I reviewed e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder and Studio Flawless Foundation and was impressed with both products. In fact their foundation was the best I have ever used!

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I arranged my lipsticks in colour order and had a general makeup clear out. I just kept on buying the same 3-4 shades of lippy over and over again, having forgotten that I already own them. I’ve thrown out any shade that needs mixing with another to create the colour I bought it for in the first place and any lipsticks which are either too drying or slide off after ten minutes. Same with foundations as I don’t have the time, storage space or patience to have to mix several together to get the right colour or consistency. No more making-do with crappy makeup.

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I reviewed Soap & Glory Perfect Ten Shadow Palette but wasn’t that impressed with it for some unexpected reasons.

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I finally found a use for my old metal heart cage. Storage for all of my mini’s and free samples.

Well that was quite a catch up! Let me know if there was anything you found interesting.

Chrissie

 

Zouk Tea Bar and Grill – Manchester

I was invited to sample the new Spring/Summer menu at Zouk Tea Bar and Grill  and as you probably know by now, me and the Bloke adore Indian food so we eagerly agreed.

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Zouk has a warm, welcoming and contemporary feel, with a sheltered terrace area with seating and hookahs outside. Inside is a small bar area for anyone wanting cocktails, mocktails, lassi or tea, rather than food. I can attest to their amazing mango lassi and Spring Fling cocktails. We were not so smitten with a strawberry based mocktail which we both agreed tasted oddly like savoury tomatoes! The kitchen runs along one side of the interior with tables and large booths on the other as well as upstairs. I liked how spacious and comfortable the dinning area was as I find that can massively add or detract from the overall experience, especially considering my disability needs.

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I’m always impressed when I see a restaurant has an open kitchen as it means the chefs are proud of the manner in which they cook their food and don’t have anything to hide. It was also nice to be able to see a large amount of fresh produce being used and fresh bread being made.

P1000501I’m always interested to see how many vegetarian options are on the menu at any eatery which has ‘Grill’ in the tittle. The already existing menu has a limited amount of vegetarian options, with an odd lack of very popular paneer, mushroom, daal or saag based veggie Indian dishes. The Spring/Summer menu will be available from April and will hopefully include a larger range of interesting vegetarian options.

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For starters we had Channa (chickpea) Masala, which was for me, a nice change from Channa Daal (although the Bloke would have preferred Daal) as well as Vegetable Pakoras. The Masala had the right amount of spice and the yoghurt gave it a rich texture. We were surprised that the pakoras, rather than being a mixture of gram flour and vegetables, were in fact individual slices of vegetable coated in a spicy gram flour batter. I liked how light these were and thought they were perfect as a starter.

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For our main course we had Aloo Gobi and Bindi Dupiaza with rice subtly flavoured with cinnamon. Aloo Gobi, a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes in a Punjabi style sauce is an absolute classic and this did not disappoint. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, not too al dente or too soft. Bindi Dupiaza is an ochra based dish in a garlic, tomato, onion and green chilli sauce. This is usually not a popular dish among vegetarians as it’s so easy for the ochra to be over cooked to a soft slimy consistency but not at Zouk. The ochra was cooked perfectly and the heat in the sauce did not overwhelm the flavour but added to it. As vegetarians me and the Bloke always have to pay more attention to where our protein will come from, not necessarily in our starter but always in our main course. Zouk’s veggie mains had no protein! Although we left feeling full and content I was a little hungry again three hours later and was glad that I’d had a glass of thick lassi with my meal. Maybe if we’d have had a larger portion of Channa (chickpeas) for our mains instead of just as a starter this could have been avoided.

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For desert we had Mumbai Mess; a lot of cream topped with beautiful sweet but sharp raspberry sauce and a tiny bit of crumbled biscuit but no overall substance. We also had cold chocolate brownies which were pleasant but would have been better and probably gooier in centre if served warm. We then tried the cinnamon topped churro-style sticks served with chocolate sauce which were utterly delicious! I was a little surprised and disappointed that there were no popular Indian deserts on offer, especially at the lack of pistachio kulfi.

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Zouk is a place I would look forward to visiting on a Friday night for their extensive range of cocktails. It’s a place we would be happy to visit with a group of friends if most of them ate meat. It is not a place we, as vegetarians would specifically choose to visit ourselves, unlike other restaurants in central Manchester which cater for both diets more successfully. We may change our minds when viewing the full Spring/Summer menu so I will keep you updated.

Chrissie

10 Helpful Things Having Chronic Illness & Invisible Disabilities Have Taught Me About Life

  1. You get to know who your friends really are. When, in some people’s minds, it’s just easier to not hang out with you, it makes you value the ones who adapt and stick around so much more.
  2. Accepting your idea of fun is just as valid as everyone else’s. You should never be made to feel like you are supposed to be upbeat and super fun because you are hanging out with friends. If you just aren’t feeling it then it’s totally fine to P1000036 (1)say “Y’know what, I’d much prefer to just watch TV and chill with a pizza.”
  3. It’s so much easier to do tasks when you break it down into tiny parts. I tell myself ‘I’ll do this little bit for now….Oh well I might as well carry on and do a little more seeing as I’ve started.’ Suddenly the task that had turned into a massive mountain in my head (because I’d been putting it off) suddenly seems realistically achievable.
  4. You only have so many spoons. Yeah, I don’t get why ‘spoons’ have any relevance to chronic illness, even as a metaphor either. So I use the term ‘batteries’ instead. As a chronically ill person with two hidden disabilities I start of with less batteries to begin with and seem to use them up much faster as well. I’ve noticed sometimes that cooking the food uses up all of the energy that I’d be getting from eating the food so I’m actually in an energy deficit afterward. These days I stop for a quick rest in between doing tasks (sometimes in the middle of them) or I will put my pride aside and politely ask someone if they can help me out as I’m “low on batteries.” It’s a simple statement that people instantly understand and it makes so much difference to how much those batteries last.
  5. Know your worth.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told things like “No wonder you’re tired if you didn’t go to bed until 12.00am!” and other flippant comments which utterly disregard how difficult and complicated the symptoms of chronic illness and disabilities are to cope with. I also get things like “Well no one else seems to mind that….” On these occasions I always breezily ask “Oh, does everyone else have the same sensory processing disorder/chronic fatigue/dyspraxia [insert relevant illness or condition] in exactly the same way as I do?” On days where I’m particularly brain fogged I’ve had people say “Don’t say things like that, it makes you sound stupid” when actually ‘just’ stringing a coherant sentence together is an epic achievement for me and I’m hardly trying to deliver a TED talk am I! Never let people treat you as if your illness/condition/disability is your fault or an annoying inconvenience.
  6. Getting dressed and out of your PJ’s changes more than just your clothes. It might use up all of the energy you have for quite a while but it will make you feel better emotionally in the long run. It makes you feel more like ‘you’ as you actually look more like you again. It can also make you feel less bound to being indoors and can encourage you to go outside, even just for a short while. I’ve bought lots of ‘chilling clothes’ which are cozy, easy to put on and look good together…Unless my brain fog means I put them on inside out!
  7. You will probably say or do something pretty goofy in public, either because of fatigue, brain fog, pain, your body going rogue and not behaving or all of the above. Don’t beat yourself up about it and try, if you can, to laugh about it. Adjusting your perspective can mean the difference between being mortified or having a laugh with a stranger.
  8. When you are having a good day or slightly better day, my gosh do you appreciate that day! That is all.
  9. It’s the little things that count so focus on what you can do. We had to cancel something we were really looking forward to last summer as the heat was so debilitating for me. Over that week we had a film night with my fave cheesy 80’s films and another with new superhero films and lots of junk food, we took the time to cook nice meals (I peeled the veg, that totally counts), went out to our favourite restaurant, met up with friends in town for a few drinks (and air conditioning), only for a few hours but still great to catch up. We also did a bit of shopping on one cooler evening and treated each other to lovely things. I couldn’t always leave the house and didn’t get up until 4.00pm some days but we really made the most of what I was able to do and it meant so much.
  10. Having a chronic illness, disorder and/or disability does not mean you are less-than other people or broken, it means you have to use all of your resources, will power and patience to do things, everyday, that everyone else takes for granted. You rock!

Bonus lesson

I’ve learned to be much more patient when people ask me questions about my conditions, even if they’ve asked them several times before. I’d much rather someone ask a seemingly silly question (as long as its an earnest one), rather than them making an incorrect assumption because it means they are making the effort to understand.