Sunday, 31 December 2017

#Veganuary 2018 - Smokey Sausage Casserole

So I posted on @tinnedtoms post about veganuary and she pointed me in the direction of this easy recipe on her blog  - the recipe on her blog looked easy enough to do but I have to admit I just used it as a guideline - mainly because I am a rubbish cook and have zero ingredients in my cupboards! Also I don't like mashed potatoes which is what she served hers with.

Using her recipe as a guide I made my own version :):


Pack of 6 Linda Mcartney veggie sausages (these are vegan unlike quorn ones as quorn uses egg as a binding agent)
1 leek
1 onion
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of sliced carrots (I had no fresh!)
1 tin of sliced mushrooms (ditto above)
1 tin of baked beans with the sauce washed off
1/2 tin of kindey beans
1/2 tin of butter beans
1000 ml of veg stock (2 cubes - I was really surprised to learn that not all veg stock cubes are vegan - some have lactose in them which is a sugar from dairy!)
1 tsp of lazy garlic (the pre chopped stuff in a jar)
approx 10 small salad potatoes in their skins washed and chopped
1/2 a can of fruity cider (again so many have random animal products in them! mine didnt)


  • Sliced and diced and washed the leek - lightly fried in olive oil until soft and added to the slow cooker
  • Poured in the stock
  • Added  in tin of tomatoes
  • Added in tin of carrots
  • Added in tin of mushrooms
  • Washed tomato sauce off baked beans
  • Added in backed beans
  • Added in half tin of kidney and butter beans
  • Sliced and diced the onion and lightly fried in olive oil - added  in garlic and added to slow cooker
  • Washed and sliced potatoes - boiled until firm not soft and added to slow cooker
  • Added some salt and pepper to slow cooker
  • Cooked 6 pack of veggie sausages in oven, once cooked sliced each sausage into 6 pieces and added to slow cooker
  • Poured in half a can of cider
  • Cooked everything on medium heat of 3 hours
  • Cooled and portioned out into containers ready to freeze 
Surprisingly it actually tastes  pretty good - smokey with a hint of fruity sweetness :D

It made a massive amount as well - after I portioned it out I had 5 large meal size portions and 2 smaller lunch size portions. 

Here's hoping the rest of the recipes I try turn out as well :)

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

#Veganuary 2018

Last year in January I did veggie-uary - I ate no meat or fish for the whole month. It was pretty difficult for me - I don't like salad or vegetables, I don't eat a lot of fruit either. It required me to plan my meals and try new foods and even though I only did it for a month I carried on with having veggie meals a couple of days a week for the rest of the year and started to regularly include fruit and veg in both my meals and snacks.

For 2018 I am going to actually take it further and do veganuary - no meat, no eggs, no cheese, no butter, no animal products of any kind - hell I am even going to avoid biting my nails for the month! I've checked in with vegan friends and asked for decent cheese substitutes there aren't any :( , scoped out the offerings in regards to vegan replacements for milk (dream oat milk for cereals - its so delicious and creamy unlike soy milk!) and things like vegan ready meals/frozen food - there are some so I won't have to cook everything from scratch whoot!

I've been scouring the net for easy recipes and for local cafes/restaurants that do vegan food as well - I am super lucky to live in a city like Cardiff where they have so many offerings.

Some people might wonder why on earth I would set myself a challenge like this, especially when I have been known to literally just eat meat and eggs for 3 meals a day! There are  a couple of reasons:

1. I am sure my carbon footprint like so many people in developed countries is huge! Eating vegan can cut your carbon footprint and help with climate change and the environmental issues caused by it. Everyone has a responsibility to take care of the Earth for future generations. My hope is that doing veganuary will help me introduce more vegan food into my diet in the future so that I can continue to reduce my carbon footprint.

2. I want to be a healthier me - this last year I have worked really hard to ensure I am eating more nutritionally well, a balanced and varied diet and to increase my fitness levels. Through exercise and the introduction of fruit and veg into my diet I have managed to get my diabetes under control - for the first time in nearly 15 years my blood glucose levels have been within the normal range. This is a huge thing for me and my diabetic team have told me if I continue to improve there may be opportunity to reduce the amount of medication I am on and also lower the risk of complications due to diabetes (these include blindness, amputation, heart/liver issues etc so that's a pretty big reason right there)

3. I actually like animals - I have 4 cats, a dog and 2 snakes - in the past I have had spiders, rats, mice, rabbits, birds, snails, stick insects, hamsters, fish etc if I don't think about it then eating animals and animal products is fine but when I do think about it I feel guilty - how can I claim to love one animal yet eat another? I don't need animal protein to survive. Worst is the conditions animals  are kept in, if they had happy lives up until the slaughterhouse then it wouldn't be so bad but thinking of animals suffering, being tortured, living in their own filth and being force fed just so I can have some cheap chicken fried rice is horrible. I try not to think about it really to be honest, like most people I act all shocked when the exposes come on the tv or in the papers but deep down we know it happens we just try to pretend it doesn't as we really want a bacon sarnie!

4. The amount of space needed for producing animal meat and animal products is massive.  The same amount of space used for growing veggies and crops would feed a greater population. With people starving and the cost of food increasing how can we justify using all that space? It's not just 3rd world countries either, in the UK more and more people are going hungry, turning to food banks because they can't afford to eat!

So that's it really, I am going to try veganuary and hope I can do it and the things I learn from it I can carry forward and continue with. I'm going to hopefully post my meal plans on the blog and link to recipes and things that turn out well for me, as well as posting about some of the vegan options in Cardiff.

I hope that some other people out there will give veganuary a shot as well :) If you are doing it please say hi - we can support each other through the medium of social media and the internet!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Progress and facing my fears - a self indulgent waffle!

This year has been a year of facing my fears - at the start of the year I made a conscious decision to 'grow a pair'. I made the choice to myself to do it and I *have* been doing it all year long.

And I am kinda proud of myself for doing it!

Things I have done/wanted to do that scare me:

1. Do more social things - so I don't always make the social events I agree to go to, I sometimes arrive late and leave early so I don't have to spend as much time there but I am trying. Every time I arrange something my brain wombles tell me no-one wants me there, that everyone thinks I am weird or odd, that no-one will actually speak to me, that I am going to do something so catastrophically awful that the entirety of Wales will banish me from their midst - melodramatic yes, illogical yes, but real thoughts and feelings? Absolutely!

But I have gone from going to enforced events 2-3 times a year to doing things a couple of times a month. And yeah, sometimes people don't speak to me but that's okay because sometimes I don't speak either, and some people think I am weird and odd and yeah that's okay too because I can be weird and odd and maybe some people don't want me there or are indifferent to whether I am there or not and that's also okay too

2. Try a sport and not just any sport but a team sport - I am not a team player, I'm not all go team. I don't get the whole high fiving thing (and not only because why the hell would you want to high five someone who has been doing an activity that is going to make them sweaty and revolting and also have they even washed their hands today?), the chants, the over emotional responses to winning or losing and so on. I don't like sharing my personal space with strangers and I don't like celebrating mediocrity like hey you tried a thing and it didn't work but well done for trying- whatever!

So clearly I had to choose a full contact team sport where people are all hot and sweaty and smelly and gross and encouraging and supportive *vom* and it was hard - not just the physical side of things because let's face it I am a fat unfit blob who is more flabs than abs - but the interpersonal skills side of it. It's like having your fear become a reality - the fear of being awful and rubbish and the worst one there and then you go and you are awful and rubbish and the worst one there! The first few sessions were hellish. People literally dripped sweat on me (and yes even typing that makes me want to throw up!), I've had to speak or rather shout stupid things out in a group of people, I've looked like a complete idiot and dick on numerous occasions, I've had to deal with the fact I suck, I've had people leaning on me, practically sitting on my lap and spinning around me and making really fucking uncomfortable eye contact. And these people are scary, they are good at what they do, they actually believe in the whole team thing! It's incredibly odd and unnerving and so hard.

I am glad I have been doing it. It has had a positive impact on my physical well being - my diabetes is so much more well controlled and this combined with going to the gym (another breeding ground for germs and oh so many feelings of inadequacy and confirmation of my own hideous fat physical appearance!) has led to me actually being a lot fitter and stronger.

I'm still not convinced by the whole team spirit thing but I am impressed watching how people work together to achieve some pretty cool things and watching the techniques and dedication of the players is, and I really hate to admit this, inspiring and kind of makes me want to be better too. I also discovered I quite like zoning out and skating around in circles.

3. Being more open - more open about my past and my mental health.

You know it's so hard to actually make the words come out of my mouth when speaking to someone to say I was in an abusive relationship, hell even typing it just makes me want to sink into a hole in the ground. There's so much shame and anxiety around it. Will people believe you, will they think you're weak and always that underlying feeling of it's all my own fault, I caused a perfectly reasonable nice person to do this thing. I have and I haven't  really succeeded with this, I have managed to post on a few forums where people don't know me personally (though I also then freaked out and deleted the posts as they contained a lot of detail), I have sort of mentioned it in passing as in my ex wasn't very nice and they were abusive but not the detail and I think that's okay its progress.

I've also told several people I have OCD and I have social anxiety. I mean I haven't told everyone and certainly not work and I don't go round wearing an OCD socially inadequate freaks of GB team shirt but I am acknowledging it. I struggle to put into words when I am speaking the impact it has but considering previously the only people who knew my diagnosis were me and my GP just telling people is enough.

What's  really been important for me this year though is recognising I am moving forward, it may be slow, it may be tiny steps, I may fall over but I continue to try.

The problem with hugging

It's the time of year full of festive good cheer where friends and family meet up and pass on gifts, cards, wishes of joy and hugs. Which is really super awkward if like me you don't hug.

Now firstly let  me start by saying I actually *want* to hug people, I want to be able to be care free and run up to friends (if I had friends) and greet them with a hug but I can't. It's like my brain is  wired wrongly and can't seem to make the connection between the thought of hugging and the action. Hugging just feels alien to me, uncomfortable and weird. And here are the reasons why:

1. I wasn't hugged as a child - this isn't a woe pity me my childhood sucked throwaway comment - it's true I have zero recollection of being hugged or hugging anyone as a kid. Maybe I was but I just don't remember it. To be honest I have very few clear memories of life before I turned around 9 and those I do have don't lend themselves to warm fuzzies of family get togethers and everyone greeting each other with a smile and a hug. I don't blame my parents for this - I'm a socially awkward adult and it's taken me this long to develop enough social skills to get by - as a child I was probably quite foul. But anyways I don't think I ever learned to hug people properly. Which leads on to:

2. How exactly do you know when to hug someone anyways? Like when is it appropriate and when isn't it? What if you go in arms spread guns blazing so to speak and the other person is just expecting a friendly hand shake?

3. And whilst your about it how do you compensate for things like height differences? I mean if I go to hug someone taller than me and I end up with a face full of boobs I am not going to complain I personally am rather fond of boobs in all their forms but other people may not be so thrilled getting smooshed up against mine.

4. Talking of smooshing being fat what if my fat squidges into whoever I am hugging and repulses them to the point they vomit up their lightly fried sprouts and pancetta?

5. And what if I squeeze them too hard and break them? How do you decide how much pressure you apply with a hug? I mean do you stop at the point they start creaking ominously?

6. Then you have other considerations like, what if you both go in for the hug and end up facing each other and then breathing in each other's faces? What if one of you has bad breath? Or a cold or some other airborne disease that you are then breathing it over each other?

7. Speaking of diseases you dont need to be breathing on each other to spread them you can spread them by touch, what if the other person is dirty or smells really bad? Or they think that I smell really bad? It's possible  I am bigger than most people so I sweat a lot (I wash a lot but I worry a lot about smelling)

8. Then there is the whole bodily function things - what if one of us sneezes, coughs, spits, burps etc on the other one by accident? It could happen. Also what if my breathing is too loud like hoooooorccchhhhh hooooorrrcccchhhhh Luke I am your hoooorrrccchhhhh Father type loud?

9. What if I am too fat for someone to hug - like they go to hug me but can't get their arms around me - awkward yes?

10. Also how long do you hold the hug for? What if I am there holding someone in a bear hug and they are thinking okay weirdo you should have let me go 3 minutes ago and now it's just awkward?

So yes, if I don't hug you it's nothing personal it's just that all of that goes through my head and by the time I have considered everything the moment to hug has passed or I have just said no because it's easier for me to avoid the hug and be considered cold and unfriendly!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Septum Piercing

I've wanted to get my Septum pierced for a while - if your not sure what a septum piercing is - it's the piercing which goes through the cartrillage between your nostrils - sometimes called a bull ring piercing :)

I was a little nervous about getting it done as the only other cartrillage piercing I have is my daith and that was like being hit by a 4x4 with a big nail nail in it! But I love the look of the septum piercing and decided as a birthday treat to myself I would grow a pair and go get it done!

Now - the night before getting this done I had actually been out for my birthday and drunk a fair few pints, shots and jaeger bombs- this meant I wasn't going to drive (the amount I drank I wasn't sure that driving anytime the following week was a good idea!).

So I walked myself down to my local tattoo and piercing studio - these guys are super fab, welcoming, great at what they do and most importantly they are super clean and hygienic (OCD girl needs to know that nothing nasty is lurking in the studio!)

Arriving at the studio I met the guys and filled in my consent forms (every time I go I have to fill these in I think I need a pre-filled form now haha)

Then came the fun part - who doesn't enjoy someone feeling around the inside of their nostrils with their gloved fingers? This, I am told, is important to make sure that the piercer hits the sweet spot rather than going in too high is supposed to be excruciating painful! He then came at me with a blue pen and spent a while trying to find the perfect and straightest spot for the piercing - he had me look at it - it all looked fine to me then he rubbed it out and started again because he wasn't happy with it - this took a little bit of time but hey you want your new piercing to be nice and as straight as possible :)

Once he was happy and I was happy it came to the time for the actual piercing - I was laid down flat on my back for this and I took my glasses off. I was shown the sealed in the packet sterile needle and the expiration date (they always do this which is great) and then it was time for the piercing.

Now, I am not going to say it was the most comfortable experience in the world - there is always going to be a level of pain when someone is putting a sharp metal bar through a part of your body that doesn't have a hole in it! BUT it wasn't actually that bad - the first part was a sharp pain that came and went suddenly, the threading though was a bit pinchy and the end - when and I swear to god this is true - I heard it pop as it came out the otherside was probably the worst! But the whole thing was over in less than a minute and there wasn't really any after pain or much blood or anything. 

I had to wait a few seconds as he fitted the balls onto the end of it - this is fiddly for someone to do wearing gloves and then it was all over. 

30 mins after it was done

Afterwards the guys chatted to me, gave me the aftercare advice sheet and that was it all over and done with.

Aftercare is the usual don't play with it, don't twirl it around, wash your hands before touching it and clean it several times a day with sterile saline solution (boiled water with dissolved rock salt).

I've had it  now for just over a week, and I have had absolutely zero issues with it, minimal bleeding, minimal pain (sneezing and blowing my nose for the first time was an interesting experience for sure) and it appears to be healing very well.

The bar gauge and the balls are rather large but once it's healed in around 4-6 months I can switch this for smaller daintier prettier ones. 

Here are a  few things I have realised in my week of having this:

- humans have tiny hairs in their nostrils, these along with snot, will stick to your piercing, moving it suddenly without soaking it first will pull these hairs - this hurts more than the piercing on it's own!

- cotton ear buds are perfect for removing snot from your still sore nose without you needing to use a tissue of go near the piercing site (also yes it is gross but there is something kinda satisfying about spinning that cotton bud and watching the snot build up on it - like a vom inducing version of a candy floss machine)

- I open my mouth really widely to eat apples and things, this makes my top lip hit the piercing, this is fine after a week but in the early days it was slightly uncomfortable

- People think it's absolutely fine to make rude comments about this piercing - like random FB buddies etc - fuck them - I love it and the more it heals the more I like it

- Fear of the pain of the thing is worse than the actual pain of it - if your considering getting it done and are scared it is going to hurt - it will sting a bit but it's really not that bad and is over in 30 seconds - just make sure you go to someone who is experienced in this type of piercing and remember unlike a tattoo or a lot of other facial piercings when you remove this one any scarring (the little dimple) is hidden inside your nose

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Baking with Betty Crocker - Spooky Spider Cookies

We were lucky enough to be chosen to take part in a new Insiders UK and Betty Crocker campaign.

We got our pack through last week and it contained lots of different goodies:

- Chocolate chip cookies mix
- velvety vanilla cake mix
- chocolate fudge brownies mix
- gooey salted caramel brownies mix
- vanilla icing
- recipe cards, campaign booklet and money off coupons :)

I decided to give the cookie mix a whirl with H

It's probably the easiest of the mixes - you pour the mix into a bowl add 2-3 teaspoons of water and mix - in around 2-3 minutes it mixes up into an easy dough.

H  (aged 4) was able to mix it together with very little assistance from me.

Once the dough was formed we split it into 8 roughly the same size balls which we put onto a baking tray and flattened with a spoon to make the cookies. H needed a bit more help with this as the dough was a tad tacky. We made sure to leave lots of space on the tray.

The cookies baked in around 15 minutes at gas mark 4 (the instructions said 10-12 minutes on gas mark 5 but I know my oven tends to the higher temp). Despite giving them plenty of room on the tray the cookies did slightly merge together when they cooked - but this was easy resolved by cutting them slightly with a knife when we got them out of the oven.

As it's Halloween I decided we would gt creative and decorate our cookies. I had some chocolate coins and some strawberry laces in the cupboard. I cut the laces up and H and I placed 4 laces folded in half on the cookie and added one of the chocolate coins on top - I then popped them back on the baking tray and popped them into the still hot oven for 5 mins.We got them out and H helped to smear the melted coins with a spoon over the laces to make a spider body, We added small pea sized bits of the vanilla icing to make eyes and used some cut off bits of laces to make smiley faces and finish the eyes. We left them cool for an hour on a wire rack.

Whilst they cooled the cookies firmed up and became more crunchy and then it was time to try them:)

They were really crunchy and tasty and not too chocolatey.

The mix made up 8 cookies around 7 cm in size and the whole process from mixing, to baking to decorating took around 30 minutes.

Overall we really enjoyed trying out this mix and and look forward to trying out some of the other mixes in the pack

Friday, 20 October 2017

New Ink :)

Today I got a new tattoo :)

My new humming bird tattoo - freshly done

My previous tattoo's have been for me but this one was different - this one was for my friend Barb.

When I was 17 I got on a plane and flew to the USA to meet some people I had been talking to online for the last 5 years (mIRC anyone remember those days?).

I stayed with Barb who had become a close friend through the chat rooms - I actually stayed with her and her husband at their large ranch style home just outside of Nashville Tennessee, and another 21  people came down to stay over the 3 weeks I was there to meet me (they were all Americans). Most stayed for the weekend or a few days with us as my friends property had several bedrooms and bathrooms plus a couple of acres of land surrounding it for camping and RV's and TN is hawt!

I don't sleep well and neither did Barb so we would sit on her porch on her rockers in the early morning and evening and watching the humming birds come and go at her feeders - most of the time there was noone else around at these times - we didnt need to talk we could just chill in each others company and enjoy being outside in nature.

I had an amazing time with her - I got to travel and do a lot of fun things out there - DollyWood, Graceland, The Smokey Mountains :)

When I got home we made plans for me to go visit again but family and then Uni got in the way. We still stayed in touch online and by post sending postcards and even talking on the phone (anyone who has the misfortune of having to call me knows I hate phone calls but when it's a call at 2am from ya buddy in Nashville then it's way more fun especially when they are singing songs to you), she was there for me when my nan was diagnosed with brain tumors, when I was going through my OCD diagnosis, when I was in an abusive relationship and I like to think I was there for her too when her son got shot in a drive by, when her dog had to be put to sleep.

So I was really upset when she contacted me to tell me she had cancer of the esophagus - she hadn't said anything about being unwell but had had the symptoms for a while - she told me they had caught it in time, and she was having treatment and she wasn't worried and they managed to get rid of it.

Unfortunately, the cancer came back within 12 months of being "clear" and she wasnt able to beat it. I really wanted to go for her funeral but I couldn't make it - I sent a card and ordered flowers but I am gutted I didnt say goodbye properly.

I've never been popular or had many friends and I can count on one hand the friends who I could be myself with and who were supportive of me as a teenager and young adult, Barb was there for me at some really difficult times in my life and I wanted something to remember her and our time together by. She loved the humming birds so that's why I chose to have this design - they also remind me of Barb she was small but humming with energy just like the ones I saw on her porch.

The placement of the tattoo is significant to me - it's over a scar left by the abusive ex and it's turned something I was ashamed of and hated seeing into something I can look at and smile.

Friday, 13 October 2017

My little demon called OCD

As this week was mental health day I thought I would post about my experience of  OCD.

It started with the need to say a prayer every night before going to sleep when I was about 10 - if I didn’t say the prayer then something terrible would happen to my friends, my family, my pets or me. I KNEW that it was my responsibility to say this prayer. It started really brief

“please keep everyone safe”

Then developed into:

“ Please make sure nothing bad happens to my family, my friends, my pets or my house, please make sure we don’t have a fire, or a burglar comes, or we get sick or are in a car crash or get hurt in any way, please make sure people don’t die because they are old”

And it had to be said every night without interruption.

Then the rules changed – it had to be said but it had to be said 3 times. If a car went past or if someone made a noise I had to start again.

It sounds stupid right? I didn’t even believe in God (still don't) but I couldn’t risk anything awful happening. When I tried skipping it I couldn’t breathe, it felt like someone was squeezing my chest, I saw flickering black dots, I sweated, my stomach cramped and I felt like I was going to throw up, I couldn’t sleep, all that I could think was I have to say the prayer I have to finish it or something terrible will happen, I’d physically shake.
It was okay though I could manage it. I just had to say the words in my head and the pressure would be off and I could carry  on and get to sleep.

The thoughts though behind it weren’t satisfied. Walking to school one day and I saw 3 red cars in a row and it was like someone had poured itching powder over me. My skin was crawling, I was on high alert because something terrible was going to happen I knew that the only way to stop it from happening was to go back home, go into the house and close the door and start the trip again. 

This started an almost obsession with car colours. Different colours and patterns of colours meant different things:
3 red cars in a row? – Go home, start again
3 black cars in a row? – Go home and stay home do not leave the house DANGER
1 red 2 green cars? – do not drink during the day
2 silver cars 1 red car? – do not use a blue pen

Crazier and crazier but if I didn’t obey the rules then bad things would happen – I knew they would, we would get burned alive in our sleep, or run over by a train or catch a fatal illness. The dread brought out physical symptoms, headaches, pain in my limbs, pain in my jaw, blurry vision, trouble breathing, dizziness.

I also knew it was a secret – no one could know about it – if people knew and knew the rules then the rules would change and the rituals wouldn't  work. As time went on the rituals became much more  embedded and it became harder to hide them. 

As well as having my rituals to perform I also developed a fear of becoming contaminated - school is a great place  to learn things to really mess with your head! Dust is made up of people's dead skin, you breath it in and you have bits of their skin contaminating your body! Flushing the toilet creates a vortex shooting micro-organisms and water droplets containing urine and feces into the air which you then breath in getting contaminated! Someone coughs or breathes near your food it's got to be binned as it's contaminated. The list goes  on.  It pretty much started ruling my life dictating what I could and  couldn't do.  I struggled with high school my weird behaviour and rituals didn't win me any friends, I didn't want to spend time with other people because they could cause me to become contaminated. I spent a lot of time talking to people online who lived in the USA  and Australia - I felt safe there - we could talk but they weren't going to sneeze on me, cough or leave bits of their skin near me. I managed to pass my exams and get into Uni.

 Uni was a turning point. 

A Dr there diagnosed  me with moderate OCD and referred me to a counsellor -  I didn't actually end up seeing the counsellor due to some other issues but when I got back to Cardiff my  Dr here told me I could attend a CBT course or start on SSRI for anxiety. I opted for the CBT course and they put me on an SSRI to help manage the symptoms whilst I waited. There was a fairly long wait to get on the CBT course but luckily a cancellation space opened up,which was really good as I refused to take the anxiety meds because I had a fear of getting poisoned (kinda stupid when you think about it -someone is deathly afraid of weird things going into their body and you give them weird things to put in their body!)

The CBT course was aimed at treating the symptoms I experienced by examining why I needed to do certain things. It helped me a lot and although it didn't address the root cause of the OCD it helped me develop new coping strategies and work arounds so that I didn't need to complete my rituals.

I read a lot on some forums I am on - people say they have been cured of OCD. I really wish I could say that but I haven't - I still have crazy thoughts and I still find myself doing things that make no sense to anyone else but do to me, but OCD no longer controls my life. It's currently a niggle in the back of my head, a little voice,a whisper rather than a screaming roar and that's okay.

In my day to day life I struggle with moving on from a task - if I have something to do then I have to complete it before  I can start something else - at skate practice and the gym I find it difficult if I cant complete an exercise and struggle if the coach or PT wants us to move on to something else - if I am eating a meal I have to eat it by sections each section has to be completed before I can eat the next, I like to eat sweets etc by colour and size, I still dislike people being in my personal space, touching my food or my belongings, I shower at least 2 times a  day.

I find it very difficult to speak to people about any of this. OCD is seen  as a joke  - you get comments like "wow I wish I had OCD then my house would be clean haha" - its almost acceptable to make these comments  yet would they go up to someone who was quadriplegic and say wow I wish I was quadriplegic then people would have to give me a seat on the bus, or to someone with anorexia - wow your so lucky I wish I had an eating disorder so I can lose this last 50lbs! People think it's just about washing your hands a lot or double checking your door is  locked - they dont understand that it is a compulsion and that if you dont do the things your head tells you to do then you cannot function and if you do the things your head tells you to do you still cant function. It can ruin your health, your relationships, your employment and education opportunities. It saps the energy out of you and turns things that should bring you joy and happiness into an endless rotation of doubt and fear.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Ball Mania MCR - The TramShed Cardiff

Ball Mania MCR - The TramShed Cardiff - an adults only giant ball pit! 

Today was ridiculous fun. Imagine a large structure with enclosed hard mid thigh walls and then ceiling high netting filled  with thousands of little plastic balls and children!!!!! Myself and 2 friends got to dive, roll, swim and sink and just had an absolute blast playing in the ball pit.

Our booking was for 2pm and we rocked up at around 1:50 - we had bought our tix online for £12 each for an hour and the price included free lockers, a party buffet (more on that in a bit), access to the cinema showing kids films and the ball pit.

We checked in and were given our sexy yellow wrist bands and had to signed waiver saying we were healthy, free  from injury and not going to sue if someone accidentally stepped on our head whilst submerged in balls or words to that affect (I'm not going to lie I just filled it in without reading it - I could have been giving them permission to sell my organs to a science lab or summat!)

Sexy yellow wristbands ooohhh

We dumped our bags in a locker - the key was on a wrist band so you didnt lose it in the ball pit, kicked off our shoes and headed in

Giant ball pit

It was super quiet - like 7 other people in the ball pit in groups of 2 and 3 - so plenty of room for us to play.

shoulder deep in balls!

wading through the balls - there are so many adult jokes here but I am just going to leave it

The pit is almost empty so lots of room to play

The first thing we all did was take a flying leap and superman through the balls - getting up after this was a tad difficult!

After the first 10 mins of throwing balls at each other and rolling around like idiots we settled down like the mature grownups we are and took turns in burying each other

My buried mate - only visible part is her hands and thats cos she was trying to get back up

Peek-a-boo - a few minutes before they completed covered my face with balls too - happily it was really easy to breath under them all
They provided a few beachballs for you to lob around plus a giant beach ball but it was flat! So we had to make do with the smaller ones. They also blasted pure 80's/90's cheesy pop (you haven't lived until you have sat in a giant ball pit shoulders  deep in a thousand plastic balls and danced and sang along with hand movements to the locomotion!)

30 mins later and we were shattered, sweaty and in need of a drink so we dragged ourselves out of the pit and went looking for the party buffet.

The party buffet was provided upstairs which conveniently had a bar too - as we were all driving and it was 2:30pm on a Sunday we stuck with soft drinks - a 'pint' of diet coke was £2.50 - it was kinda vile tasting - like the really really  cheap and nasty super market own brand cola bleargh

The party buffet was a huge disappointment it included: cocktail sausages, 1/4 pieces of mini pork pies, cheese and onion rolls (the veggie option), a selection of multipack bags of crisps, cheese cubes on a cocktail stick and pickled onions on a cocktail stick. Also it was advertised with jelly and icecream but they had none :( I was very sad at the lack of jelly and icecream!

However, they made up for it with a selection of biscuits and chocolate rolls, kinder chocolate, froggos, and loads of chewy sweets.

After sugar loading we headed back into the ball pit for another play.

Technically, our tickets were for 1 hour from 2-3pm but no-one asked us to leave and even though some more people had come in - taking the total in the pit to about 20 it was still really quiet. We stayed and played until around 3:30 and then headed back to the buffet to grab some more chocolate and sweets to eat on the way home - gotta keep those sugar levels up right?

We really enjoyed it but a few things could have improved it:

1. More balls! Yeah there were balls a plenty but it would have been so much more fun if they had more - the balls came up to our knees when standing -  doubling the amount so they come up to our hips would have been better

2. Slide - how awesome would it be to slide into the ball pit?

3. More choice on the party buffet and include a free bottle of water

Would we go again? Yes we all enjoyed it - we ar actually looking into the adult soft play next in Swansea :)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Oral-B Gum & Enamel - Savvy Circle Project

I was lucky to once again be chosen to take part in a savvy circle project - yay :)

I love taking part in these projects - the items are usually things you use day to day plus you get lots of money off coupons and usually samples to share with family and friends too.

Normally I include a picture with my posts about the projects but unfortunately my wonderful kitty decided to chew through my cable to connect my phone to the laptop to upload pics - I had hoped the one I ordered would have arrived now but nope hasn't happened no photo of the product for now (hopefully the cable will arrive soon and I can update with my actual pics)

So for this project we got sent a project book with lots of information about the product, 2 full size tubes, money off coupons and conversation sheets.

I started using the toothpaste straight away - I have sensitive teeth and in the past I've been told by my dentist that my enamel isnt brilliant and I had to have high level fluoride toothpaste to use.

The tooth paste itself has a rather strong paste - it does come in other flavours so I am going to definitely look out for them. I also found it slightly gritty in texture.

After using it twice a day for a week I could feel a reduction in sensitivity and my gums looked very healthy - I'm waiting now to see what my dentist says - anything to reduce the need for fillings right?

As part of the project I also got a tube of tooth paste to give to a friend to try. I gave it to an older work colleague of mine (who is aged 50+). Her feedback was she found the toothpaste flavour to be much too strong for her liking - she stuck it out though and like myself could feel the benefit - I gave her some coupons so she is going to look out for the different flavours.

Cost wise this is not the cheapest option its like £5 a tube which lasts about a month so that would equate to £60 for a year - check up and filling is like £50 not to mention the amount of serious pain cavities and fillings can cause! So it actually equals out to about the same amount you would spend on a cheaper toothpaste plus dental treatment in a year.

I have had some issues with my teeth over the last year - from having to have a wisdom tooth out, to having a molar out and developing dry root which was probably the worst experience of my entire life painwise, to a root canal (to try to save another molar and I still need to go back for that to either get a filling or the tooth removed - just waiting for the appointment to come through ) plus a tonne of fillings - all my own fault as I hadnt been to a dentist for about 18 years! I will definitely look at buying this again s to be honest anything that makes my teeth and gums stronger is a winner in my book but I would definitely go look at the different flavours.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Board Games and Being Social :)

Tonight I went to a board game night and it was really awesome!

As I have covered many times before I really struggle with doing new activities with new people so I really wasn't sure I would enjoy myself.

A friend of mine agreed to go with me - she already regularly attends gaming nights so I knew she would be a great person to go with.

We got there and most of the tables were already full so we decided to find a game for 2 players - as I was reading (the super confusing) instructions, 2 guys came in and asked if we had started and if they could join us - I explained we hadn't started and that it was a 2 player game but if they fancied picking a game the 4 of us could play then we could do that.One of the guys picked Survivor as he had played it before - it took a few minutes to set up so the guys introduced themselves and then we played the game for 2 hours (I didn't lose but I didnt win either). We all chatted and it was tonnes of fun and not awkward or weird - YAY

After the game they asked if we wanted to play something else - we then played a round of into the dungeon and my friend had to leave as she was meeting her hubby for dinner. I wasn't ready to go so I said I'd like to stay and play on and I did :) So that's me and 2 random strangers sat in a pub playing a game I didnt know for 2 hours and it was fine!

The guys were both lovely and told me about a retro gaming (computer/console) event that was happening and then they asked if they could add me on FB so they could send me the info.

After we finished the last game I was like thanks for playing and they said no problem let's play again next time your here and when I got home I had an FB message from them with the event details and some other chat.

So to recap - went and did a social type thing that I am not comfortable with, talked to strangers and then hung out with them for 2 hours on my own and have arranged to attend future social type things with them. Managed to do all this without acting too weird, throwing up, saying something totally inappropriate or feeling like a loser!

I also messaged someone from roller derby who is off after an operation and asked her if she wanted to meet up and she said yes and I think she actually does  want to hang out with me and isn't just throwing me a pity offer to hang out so am in the process of arranging that as well hopefully for Friday this week.

Tomorrow I am going to Bingo with someone I have known for nearly 20 years. She's the sort  of person who doesn't judge you and who I can relax around and be myself :)

For someone who doesn't do socialising this is turning into a busy week for me.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

'Low' FloRida - Roller Derby Style

So I was listening to Low by FloRida and this just popped into my head :)

Get your kit on
Get your kit on
Hit the track
Get your kit on

Freshie had them rookie rio skates (skates)
Toestops way too small (small)
The whole team watched her crash and fall
She hit the floor (floor)
Next thing you know
Coach shouting freshie get low low low low low low low
Them shiny new knee pads
With the velcro still sticky (still sticky)
She turned around and gave that big booty a slam (ouch)
She hit the floor (floor)
Next thing you know
Coach shouting freshie get low low low low low low low

Standing on toes ready to duck run to go
Getting yelled at to pack up and weave on through
Got a million coloured bruises and more to show
Gotta use them cross overs as I'm going too slow
So technical
The others all seem so much more flexible
Skating low
Hold up wait a minute, your going too fast! Whoa
Doing my thing. Yeah I just got low
Not quite enough but I'm getting close
Taking that hit and take that blow
Work the inside jammer cant get through
I'm gonna say I dont like to hit
But that's not summat I like to admit
Coach yells at me just try to at least block
That aint a problem I block like a rock
Freshie had them

Freshie had them rookie rio skates (skates)
Toestops way too small (small)
The whole team watched her crash and fall
She hit the floor (floor)
Next thing you know
Coach shouting freshie get low low low low low low low
Them shiny new knee pads
With the velcro still sticky (still sticky)
She turned around and gave that big booty a slam (ouch)
She hit the floor (floor)
Next thing you know
Coach shouting freshie get low low low low low low low

I could keep going but I wont lol but this is now stuck in my head 

Actual Lyrics are:

Let me talk to 'em
Let me talk to 'em
Let it rain
Let me talk to 'em

Shawty had them apple bottom jeans (jeans)
Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was looking at her
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
Next thing you know
Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low
Them baggy sweat pants
And the Reebok's with the straps (with the straps)
She turned around and gave that big booty a smack (hey)
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
Next thing you know
Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low

I ain't never seen nothing that'll make me go
This crazy all night spending my dough
Had the million dollar vibe and a body to go
Them birthday cakes they stole the show
So sexual
She was flexible professional
Drinking X&O
Hold up, wait a minute, do I see what I think? Whoa
Did her thing. I seen shawty get low
Ain't the same when it's up that close
Make it rain I'm making it snow
Work the pole I got the bank roll
I'mma say that I prefer them no clothes
I'm into that I love women exposed
She threw it back at me I gave her more
Cash ain't a problem I know where it go
She had them

Shawty had them apple bottom jeans (jeans)
Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was looking at her
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
Next thing you know
Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low
Them baggy sweat pants
And the Reebok's with the straps (with the straps)
She turned around and gave that big booty a smack (hey)
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
Next thing you know
Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low

Friday, 28 July 2017

New Tattoo :)

I  got my new tattoo on 17th July and I love <3 <3 <3 it.

As everyone knows I am a huge book worm and one of my favourite authors is Sir Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series.

I really wanted a tattoo to celebrate my love of this series :)

I wanted the Luggage as it's such an iconic instantly recognisable character but I also wanted to have it a little bit different to just the luggage running amok so I found a really cool fan drawing of the luggage and then put Rincewind the Wizzard (yes it does have 2 z's!) red hat on it.

So this was the original design:

And this is how it turned out:

At the tattoo studio after it was washed ready for wrapping

Unfortunately as usual I had an allergic reaction to the red ink and so it has taken a little while for it to calm down (I had a ring of red around the hat and a lot of scabbing on the hat)

Day 5 - allergic reaction starting around the hat and scabbing forming on it

But now 11 days on it is nearly healed - there are a couple of scaly patches left to shed off the hat but then it should be pretty much healed yay

Day 11 - all the black line work is healed - redness around the hat is nearly completely gone and 2 small patches of scaling left

I am really pleased with how it's turned out - the amount of detail in it is unreal and I can't praise my tattooist enough :) (by the way in case your wondering this was done by Kat Demon in Cardiff)

However, I am already thinking about what I want to get done next!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Life, the Universe and Everything

Okay maybe not but I haven't blogged in over a month because life has gotten in the way. To be fair though I have also not really been comping, doing reviews or much else either!

There isn't a specific reason why - I wish I could say I have been sick, depressed, lost a leg, lost my job, got a new job or anything else remotely interesting but I can't!

So what have I been up to?

Roller Derby - I go every Thursday after work and most Sundays as well. As the season is over for the main league they aren't really training as much on a Sunday which means a few times they have had free skate sessions after the learner sessions where  I have been able to stay behind and practice more - and I REALLY need the extra practice! It's been just over 3 months since I dipped my toe stops into roller derby and there has been a lot  of improvement (along with a lot of bruises, aching muscles and joints and temper tantrums!)

Gym Sessions - I try to do 3-4 classes a week -I'm not fit but I am fitter than when I started. I originally started with 1 class a week and I am now coping with 3-4  classes. The classes I do are legs bums and tums (Mon and Wed), stretch (Wed)  and kettle bells (Fri). They are only 30/45 min classes but they are high intensity and I have tried to up my game at them - from the first class of LBT where I used a flat step and no weight to where I am now using the high step and 5 kg weight (eventually I might progress to the bar weights but not yet!), in stretch I am able to get lower and hold the positions better and well, I have only just started kettle bells so no improvement yet but there will be eventually! After my long holidays in Sept/ Oct I am going to get a PT and hopefully get more work done on my core, arms and upper body.

Trips :) - I was down London for a weekend with my bestie at the start of the month and it was wonderful to just kick back and catch up :) We stayed in a hostel in Hammersmith, had glorious weather, got drunk, went shopping and giggled the whole weekend. I also went for a spa weekend with my mum for her birthday - I was lucky enough to win that which was fantastic as to be honest there is no way we could  have afforded it - we stayed in a ridiculously expensive suite at the Cary Arms in Babbacombe with breakfast included,as well as a 3 course meal spa treatment each. We had a lovely relaxing long weekend and the weather was glorious.

Tattoo - I got a new tattoo it's one I wanted for a while of the luggage from Discworld and I love it

Work stuff - I applied for another job, had an interview, didn't get it. Applied for study funding with work to see if I can finish off my degree with the OU - waiting for the outcome but not confident they will fund it even though I was told originally they most likely would. Currently putting together another job application which closes 30th July.

Other stuff - Finally paid off the holiday - woohoo but it has left me ridiculously skint boo

And that's it - so now everyone is caught up and I will try and update the blog more regularly now!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

General clumsiness and roller derby

Thursday is going to be my 2  month anniversary since I started learning to skate.

I've worked out that due  to various injuries etc I have actually attended 9 sessions:

Session 1 -  got myself kitted up made it to the track and started skating - no problems which I think was the problem it gave them the wrong impression it made them think that I had some skills! Got cocky and face/boob planted! Cracked  my ribs which was confirmed by my GP a few days later!

Session 2 - footwork involved walking up and down and side to side on skates - no issues

Session 3 - fell over within minutes of arriving - damaged quad muscle in leg had to leave as couldn't walk after - sat in the car for abut 20 mins before attempting to drive home - badly.

Session 4 - after a 2 week break - managed to not fall and injure myself - go me but terrified of falling and therefore skating super slow

Session 5-6 - few gentle falls but nothing major

Session 7 - went a bit faster and then fell and landed on my ass - bruised my coccyx which for your information really fucking hurts - spent the rest of the week tying to find a comfy position to sit my ass in!

Session 8 - ass still sore - freaked out when being made to skate up close and personal through a pace line and being told to lean on someone - it was hot and sweaty and gross - opted out and sulked

Session 9 - feeling brave did all activities then fell over in slow motion - to save my ass I twisted and landed on my ankle - which I currently have strapped up, raised on a pillow with a side of ice in the desperate hope the swelling goes down and I can walk on it tomorrow! - continued skating as I thought it was a twist and everyone knows a twisted ankle only gets worse if you rest it right?

I've come to the conclusion that I am reliably uncoordinated and lacking in skills which sucks ass.

So basically I just need to breath and let myself go ass over tit and be cool with it - although I am really scared I will hurt someone else by accident

Saturday, 13 May 2017

#Project52 Weeks 15 - 20

Wow a month worth's of photos aren't you all lucky!

Week 15:

Roller Derby! Yes I can skate (but only forwards, in one direction, at a slow speed, with my arms held out and wobbling like a weeble)

Week 16:

Dena Cat! I rarely get nice pics of Dena - she is very much an outdoor, not fond of humans type of cat - her mother was feral and I think she still has some of that wildness in her. Here is a rare picture I got where she doesn't look like she wishes to remove my gall bladder with her claws!

Week 17:

I am so lucky to have some amazing friends. My fabulous comping friend sent me a care bundle just because :) and she even included these amazing Disney PJ bottoms for me - which I am totally wearing out in public as leggings because they are too nice just for bed!

Week 18:

New skates - I got new skates for roller derby because mine as more for outside and fun skating rather than derby - I got these lovely new black ones - still not brilliant but better and I appear to be going a lot faster on them!

Week 19:

Voting is  important - seriously people thought for our right to vote so how can people apathetically ignore whats going on in the world and not? 1 vote can make a difference! Here is Dena Cat walking with me to the polling station - she also wanted to vote but the silly kitty didnt register!

Week 20:

Cardiff is going to be hosting the UEFA cup at the end of the month - I'm not a fan of football but I am loving the dragon who has taken up residence on Cardiff Castle :)

#PostPost Weeks 15 - 20

Yowsers - okay I admit to failing to update the postpost posts for a fair few weeks my poor excuse is that I have been hitting the gym plus doing roller skating and they have pretty much taken up all my time and energy. I don't have photos of everything either so some items are just going to be listed. I will do better in the future (well I'll try to but life gets in the way sometimes!)

Freebie: Co-opgave these away on FB and Twitter -  you had t nominate a good egg

Product Trial: Vagisil wipes with the Insiders EU

Win: Chewy Moon Sub Boxes (I won 4 weeks worth of these)

Win: Book

Win: Family ticket for the Botanical Gardens of Wales

Win: Chewy Moon sub box

Freebies: Print at home coupons for free milk and free John West Tuna

Win: From Mojo mums 3 x limited edition Baylis and Harding hand soaps

Freebie: Skin care

Win: Letter box lab - subscription box

Win: Book

Win: Milk it tee and water bottle/shaker

Win: ChewyMoon sub box

Freebie: dream bone sample plus vouchers

Freebie: skin balm and shower gel

Freebie: skin care

Win: Game of Thrones ceramic Mug

Review: Tactical Rucksack

Product trial: Free coupons for dole frozen berries plus shopping bag, trolley coin and recipes to take part in the smoothie morning trial

Freebie: skin care samples

Review: No tie shoe laces

Freebies: gluten free cornflakes and voucher

Win: Book

Review: UV/Cooling sleeves for sports (I want them for under my pads when skating)

Review: Unicorn slippers

Review: screen protector for S7

Review: 5 pairs f cool dog socks (only 4 shown as I gave one pair away in work)

Product trial: Purina Beyond dog food plus a shopping bag

Review: resistance bands for training

Review: phone holder for the gym

Win: DVD Muscle Body Builder in Hell

Win 3 x latest Dr Who novels

Review: fashion jewellery - minnie mouse necklace

No pics because I forgot!

Review: Doggy car seatbelts

Review: Edison lightbulbs