Thursday, 18 December 2014

I'm dreaming of a healthy Christmas, just like the ones I used to know...

Excitedly spending the days in the lead up to the big day preparing last minute bits and pieces, cooking, baking, rushing to the shops to pick up the gift you somehow missed. Taking evening walks admiring all of the twinkling lights. Getting all dressed up and ready to paint the town red for the work Christmas party and your Christmas night out with friends, which will include too many glasses of wine and no doubt returning home in the early hours covered in tinsel and tacky props you accumulated throughout the night. This is the Christmas I used to know. It is a long way away from the Christmas I know now.

Christmas time is unbelievably tough when you have a chronic illness. It's tiring enough for healthy people. I will spend the rest of this week in bed, just so I can save up all of the energy I possibly can to give myself the best chance of being able to survive Christmas day. I always feel strange at this time of year, it was Christmas time that I first fell ill so it's both a happy time and a time of sadness and reflection for me. It marks my illiversary and I remember waking up in a hospital bed with Christmas decorations surrounding me, something that normally makes you feel happy and warm inside, but instead feeling the worst I have ever felt in my life. 



Deck the chair with lights and faux fur, tra la la la laaaa

This year I will probably be lucky enough to be able to get out of bed on Christmas morning. I might even be able to get dressed if I'm lucky. I will probably need help cutting my Christmas dinner as I will be exhausted by dinner time, and I will likely spend the rest of the afternoon asleep or in front of the TV with pain meds at the ready and heat pads covering my entire body. There will be no glasses of wine, there will be no crazy festive antics. I will very much be watching from the sidelines just trying to hold it together. I will enjoy watching my family have fun but there will be a part of me that feels guilty. I can see they are upset to have another Christmas where Hayley (who is the biggest lover of Christmas in the entire family) is poorly. 

I just wanted to share this because I feel like a lot of people put so much emphasis on the materialistic side of Christmas. That isn't what it is all about though. Christmas is about being with your loved ones and having a lovely time together. Appreciating each other and appreciating life. There's more to Christmas than expensive gifts and trying to out-do your neighbours with the lights on the walls of your house. I might not get to have the perfect Christmas, but I will appreciate the small things I can do. Written at the top of my Christmas list for the past three years has been 'To get better' but somehow I don't think even Santa can give me that. It's a lot to ask for! Good health is the greatest gift we will ever receive, so remember that when you are disappointed that you didn't get everything you wanted. You probably already have the greatest gift and you don't even realise it. 



All the love in the world,




Monday, 15 December 2014

A mouthwatering treat from me to you with the Christmas countdown!

This weeks festive treat from me to you, comes more from a friend, to me, to you. I asked my oh so talented foodie friend and fellow blogger Sophia to share a festive recipe as I know how much people enjoy being in the kitchen and rustling up some delicious treats around the Christmas period. There's something so lovely about getting messy in the kitchen whilst listening to your favourite Christmas songs. She came up with a recipe for gingerbread spiced granola, which sounds DELICIOUS! It is also super healthy too, god knows we turn into such porky pigs in blankets around Christmas with all of the succulent sugary treats and heavy foods we indulge in so this is the perfect healthy alternative.

Sophia is another chronic illness fighter and she uses food as medicine. Her photos always make my mouth water and tummy rumble. If you love healthy food, I really would suggest checking out her Instagram @spooniesophia where she is fast becoming one of the best foodie accounts around. She also blogs at spooniesophia.wordpress.com where she shares more recipes, as well as blogging about other topics, from chronic illness to life in general. She is one of the 'Spoonful Of She' girls which is the YouTube channel I am starting in the new year so no doubt you will be hearing me talk more about her in the future! Thank you Sophia for the wonderful recipe!


Gingerbread Spiced Granola 



DRY
  • 3 1/4 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup pecans 
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp pink himalayan sat salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
WET
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 7
  2. Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix
  3. In a small pan over a low heat, melt the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. 
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour and spread the mixture evenly onto a a large baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring after ten minutes. 
  6. Once the granola is browned remove from the oven and let cool completely on the pan.
  7. Store in airtight containers. Enjoy!










































Are you all prepared for the holidays yet? I'm starting to get so excited!


☮ & 




Monday, 8 December 2014

The Christmas countdown + more treats from me to you!

Today I have treat number 2 as part of the December treats and surprises with my countdown to Christmas. 17 days to go!

I've created some Christmas graphics/printables for you to use for whatever you like. (Personal use only) I think they'd be great for a festive themed phone/tablet home screen or computer desktop background. You could also print them as they would make cute little gift tags or put on display somewhere for decoration. I like to put some Christmas images in photo frames throughout December, it makes such a cute way to decorate!

I have designed and created all of these myself. I'm really enjoying playing around with graphic design at the moment!
Some of the graphics used are from the wonderful welivedhappilyeverafter.com and are for personal use only.

[Click images to enlarge]




























































Let me know if you will be using any of these, you can also tweet me photos @hayleyszucs - I'd love to see them being enjoyed and put to good use! 

Don't forget you can still receive a 10% discount at www.spylovebuy.com with my code HE10 - the offer is still running for one more week so make the most of it!

I also want to say thank you so so much for all of the support about me being featured in the national press last week. I've been so overwhelmed with the response and I truly appreciate your kind words and support!

☮ & 



Friday, 5 December 2014

I'm in the national press!

I can't believe I'm writing this, or that it actually happened. But this week I have been in four national newspapers. I started the week normally, probably with some sarcastic comment about how 'great' Monday's are, and I woke up on Wednesday to hundreds of tweets, texts, emails and phone calls. My story had made the Daily Mail, and The Mirror.  I then woke up on Thursday to see that it had also been featured in The Express and the Daily Star!

It has all been a bit surreal, extremely overwhelming, and crazy, but a good crazy! The support so far has been amazing and I am so so pleased to see how positive the response was from not only the general public, but also other chronic illness sufferers. We are hardly ever seen in the national media, and when we are it isn't always a true reflection of what we have to deal with daily. I hope this story was good. I hope it highlighted just how serious and devastating M.E can be.



Snippet from the daily mail click here for full article


I do feel like I need to point some things out however. To some people, the story looked like I was claiming I was cured and completely recovered. This is NOT the case. I am not cured, M.E is after all, an incurable, chronic illness. When the words 'recovered' are used, they are used with regards to my lock down paralysed state I was in where I couldn't move or talk or see. I have recovered from that stage, yes, although that's not to say it can't or won't happen again. I have made improvements, I was unable to wash my hair, eat by myself, lift myself up from bed on some days or do anything other than lay in a dark room. I can now do all of those things almost everyday on my own, which is great! I still have moments where the severe symptoms sneak back in, but on the whole I am not as poorly as I was for a long long time - for several years in fact. I still suffer and struggle every single day. I sometimes still have seizures. My life is still dominated by it and every choice I make I have to do with M.E in mind. I have to ask myself will it be worth the pain and sheer exhaustion that will follow. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. If it's going to help others though, it almost always is.

























































































© Caters News Agency

I also wanted to explain a bit more about why I am branching out as a disabled model. There was a comment on the Daily Mail article which said models are not important, which I couldn't disagree more with, ESPECIALLY disabled models. We need people to look up to, people we can relate to, and since I've needed a wheelchair and mobility aids myself, I have noticed how under represented we are in the media and in society. I'm doing this to help raise awareness and to show that we are not invisible. The amount of people who have come forward since the articles were published and said how glad they are to see M.E in the press is ridiculous, there were literally hundreds and hundreds. We need to know that people are doing things to help combat the ignorance or misunderstanding of the illness. The illness can strike anyone, at any time just like it did me. I think it gives people hope that we are being seen and being heard and having M.E featured in several national newspapers is a damn good place to start with that! 

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all, from deep inside of me for the love and support you give me. I never would have thought a year ago this would be possible let alone actually happening. I was always saying how much I wished we would see more stories, true and honest stories of M.E in the media and never thought I could be contributing to some of it. I also want to thank everyone who reads this blog and follows me on my journey. I hope I inspire you in some way. I hope I help to remind you that life is precious and to make the most of what you have. Never give up, never loose hope and never let anyone or anything make you invisible, because I can see you!

 'The measure of who we are, is what we do with what we have'


I'll leave you now with the links to all of the press coverage:




☮ & 




Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Weekly December treats & surprises with my Christmas countdown!























This year I am going to be doing a Christmas countdown here on the blog, and getting into the spirit and giving you all lots of treats and surprises throughout the month! I have made so many lovely friends through blogging this year, and I was thinking how much I wish I could give everyone who reads this blog and supports me on my journey a gift this year. I started feeling quite sad that it would be impossible to do it without being a millionaire but it got me to thinking, I can, I can give you some little treats through the power of the Internet!

To kick start us off, I have teamed up with spylovebuy.com who have kindly given all of my readers 10% off of their amazing range of shoes and boots. Their collection is already amazing and with an extra 10% off you are guaranteed a bargain - perfect for treating someone you love because let's face it, shoes are a girl's best friend. You can never disappoint with shoes! It's also the perfect excuse to pick something up for yourself for the party season or ready for your feet to be kitted out for the winter. *Shudders at the thought of January*  


USE MY CODE HE10 at the checkout for 10% off!
UK shipping is £1, and USA shipping £3!



I've selected a few of my favourite Spy Love Buy pieces, so go and have a browse on their site. It's yours to take full advantage of for a whole two weeks starting from today until December 16th so make the most of it girls!

Click the shoe to be taken to it on the website

































Don't forget to keep a look out for more treats and suprises throughout the month

23 days to go!

☮ & 



Friday, 28 November 2014

30% Off at Oh My Love!




Happy Black Friday! I think we should all take a moment to appreciate how amazing black Friday is, although saying that, the thought of how busy the shops will be really puts me off. People go crazy when a bargain is in sight, full on fights break out and I am not prepared to get punched in the teeth over a jumper that's on sale. We all want to get our hands on a bargain at this time of year and with this offer you can (without risking the safety of your teeth/life) and what's better is you don't even have to leave your sofa - pretty nifty, eh!

Oh My Love are offering an incredible 30% off EVERYTHING - even their newly launched Oh My Love Boutique range, UNTIL MIDNIGHT ON MONDAY! I absolutely loveeeee this shop, their pieces are amazing and so affordable. If you are after that perfect Christmas dress or something to wear to your New Years Eve party, there are so many beautiful things on the site. It's also the perfect place to pick up a little something for the special ladies in your life this Christmas.

Below you can see I've selected a few of my favourite pieces for the party season, so Santa if you're reading this I'm a size 10. Thanks Santa, love ya.

 photo Oh-My-Love_Black-Friday_9_zps0786fdd1.jpg

1. Metallic stripe dress // 2. Gold metallic cami dress // 3. Black kimono sleeve jumpsuit // 4. Sweetheart cream dress // 5. Black lace swing dress 


Happy Bargain hunting!

☮ & 




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

An exciting announcement!

Hi lovely people!

Today I have some exciting news to share, exciting for me anyway! If you follow me on my social media, you may have seen me hinting about a future project being in the pipeline over the last few weeks. Sorry if you clicked this hoping for news of an engagement or pregnancy because you're going to be disappointed. The news is that, drum roll please... I will soon be venturing into the world of YouTube! 

"And? Everyone has a YouTube channel these days, what's so exciting about that?" You may be thinking. Well, it won't just be little ol' me on my lonesome on the channel, it's going to be a channel with four other inspiring ladies, and I can't wait to get started!




The four other ladies are all like myself chronic illness sufferers (also known as spoonies) and they all inspire me no end. They are so strong, amazing and also pretty darn beautiful. We all wanted to start YouTube, but considering we are all quiet poorly, keeping up with a channel on our own, as well as blogging, would be a lot of work so we thought why not do it together?! We will be there to support each other and help each other, just like we already do when it comes to our health battles.

The channel will be called 'A Spoonful Of She' and we are hoping to make all sorts of videos from lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food, vlogs, positivity, health, advice, and basically whatever we feel like! Even though we are all ill, illness does not define us and we are still normal girls, and although we may have to live a life with limitations, it doesn't mean we still can't do the things we want to. We want to be able to do what we love, talk about what we love, and make videos, help and inspire people and have fun with it. A word of warning though, there's a strong possibility there will be some videos filmed in our pyjamas. Sexayyyyyy!

The channel will be launched in January and we are so excited to start getting our you to the tube on. If you want to get to know the other girls before we get started, check out and follow their blogs!

Emma: www.emmadrusilla.blogspot.co.uk
Meg: www.meg-says.com
Rachel: smellmyroses.blogspot.co.uk
Sophia: www.spooniesophia.wordpress.com





















Meg and I made our YouTube debut earlier this year where we talked about M.E on Flinklife's channel. You can see the video by clicking here 


If you want to stay up to date on more A Spoonful Of She news, you can follow me on Twitter, here  or Instaram, here, where I'll likely be sharing more details as we get closer to the launch date! 

Do you have a YouTube channel? If you do leave your link below, I'd love to have a nosy!


☮ &