I recently found an old memory card and on it I found lots of photos from the weeks before I was hospitalised, before my first seizure and before the days of severe illness. I can't remember if I hid the memory card on purpose or not because for a long time I struggled to look at photos of that time because I was devastated that I was never going to be the girl that I saw in the photos again. It made me so angry and upset to look at what my life once was, and to see what my life had become which at that point was incredibly tough. A lot of the photos on the memory card were of me with friends enjoying myself and having lots of fun. I can look back at those photos now and I feel happy. I'm grateful for the memories and fun times. I wish there could have been more but I'm still grateful and I can laugh and remember lots of the funny things that we all did. We were all so carefree.

I also found on the memory card some photos of a lake my boyfriend Alex and I visited days before my life turned upside down. Days before they started taking tests on my spinal cord and attaching me to machines. I remember how ill I felt that day but even though I was in so much pain, even though I could hardly move, and even though I felt the worst I had ever felt up until that moment, I was still in total awe of the beauty of the lake. I remember for hours swallows were flying over our heads in a perfect V formation as they returned back home after migrating down South for the Winter. I remember how I refused to go home early because I wanted to stay and watch the sunset, and I am so glad we did because it was breathtaking. The sky was lit with all different colours and it was so calm and peaceful. It really was the calm before the storm. 

The calm before the storm

Everyone loves music, right? Well for me my love and appreciation for it hit new levels when I was able to listen to music again after several years of not being able to. You couldn't listen to music? You might be asking. Well the answer is no, I couldn't. Two years ago it was so painful for me to listen to music, and as you can probably imagine it was a pretty dismal situation to be in! Music is probably one of the only things in the world that has the power to bring total strangers together, and for many, music was their first love, to quote the famous John Miles song. 

One of the symptoms of M.E - the illness I suffer from - is sensory overload which basically means it can be incredibly painful to be touched, to see lights, or to hear things. There are different levels of extremity but I suffered with it severely, so much so that I had to avoid loud places and yep, you guessed it, I had to avoid music. *Sad crying emoji goes here*

When the severity of my sensory overload started to ease off a bit I was completely ecstatic! If I had the energy to dance I definitely would've done! I could listen to almost a whole entire album again and it felt so so good! My taste in music maybe isn't the most friendly on the ears, but we can't help what we like! I'm really into a lot of alternative stuff, punk, rock, even heavy metal so I might not be able to listen to some of my favourite artists and bands just yet, but I'm not complaining. For now I'm more than happy to listen to the likes of Soko, Laura Marling and Angus & Julia Stone, and I look forward to the day that X ray spex can be blasted down my ears once again.

What would you do if you were unable to listen to music for several years?
What sort of music are you into?

Peace & love!

Music is happiness

You all know by now how much I love the beach, right? I just wish I lived in a hot climate where the beach was an exotic paradise everyday of the year, but alas! I live in England, and we all know just how exotic England is...

As a somebody who was bedbound for years, I always appreciate every single day I am able to leave my bed, let alone my house! You always do appreciate things more once you've seen what it is like to go without. This day was one that was even more appreciated because it was a perfect afternoon with perfect company and perfect surroundings, and it was 100% worth the pain and severe sickness that followed. Jake and Charlie, thank you for looking after me and giving me such a special day <3

The beach we were on is actually a nudist beach. Luckily for you no naked people got in the background of any photos, but we just like going there because it's so quiet and we can do whatever we want there - like get naked! Not that we did, just in case you were wondering - you bunch of pervs ;)

It's actually the beach we shot M.E: The Visual Campaign at back in April, but it didn't rain on us this time, thank goodness! It's quite funny actually because Jake and Charlie were my dream team behind the visual campaign, so it must be our lucky beach!

Where do you and your friends like to hangout on a sunny day?

Beaches, bonfires and besties

I am now working with Models of Diversity - who are an absolutely fantastic organisation who campaign for equality and fair representation within the media and fashion industry. So as an ambassador for equality for disabled people within the fashion industry, I wanted to share with you guys the AMAZING product, known as the mannequal.

The mannequal was created by disabled model and artist Sophie Morgan. If you're from the UK you may have seen a few of her documentaries on the BBC - and if you haven't I urge you to search them online. The idea is that the mannequal will be placed in a shop window or display and any male or female mannequin can sit on it. This revolutionary product is the first of its kind, and helps to call an end to disability discrimination.

“All disabled people shop, so we should be represented in the stores we shop in, simple as that!”  - Sophie Morgan

Fashion is the last place you will find someone who has a disability, there are no people in wheelchairs or missing limbs going down the runway. There are no disabled mannequins on display and no representation in stores or online. The idea behind the Mannequal is for stores to display mannequins sitting in it, which will show disabled people how the clothes will appear on them. How many times have you been shopping and seen some clothes on a mannequin and thought 'That looks nice on'? Well something that may look nice on a person who can stand might not look good on a person in a wheelchair or a person who has missing limbs. It's also about identifying how easy clothes look to put on, because we mustn't forget for a lot of disabled people getting dressed is a mammoth task! Sophie wants her work to be a symbol of understanding, respect, equality and exclusivity. 

What do you guys think about the mannequal? Have you seen one whilst out shopping?

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I do not own any of the photos used in this blog post. All photos are credit to Mannequal and Sophie Morgan

Myself and my lovely friend Meg from meg-says.com were kindly invited to do a Q&A video on Jasmine's Youtube channel - flinklife (go and follow both if you're not already!) 

Meg and I both have M.E - which is a chronic neurological illness, and we answered a selection of questions that people asked us over on twitter and instagram to feature in the video, so if you sent us a question that we didn't answer feel free to ask it in the comment section and I'll reply there. We also had to be quite brief with our answers so the video wasn't too long so feel free to comment, tweet me or email me if you'd like a more thorough answer and I'll happily ramble on more!

I was feeling quite spaced out throughout so half the time I didn't even know what I was saying! I also hate the sound of my own voice so I'm a bit cringed out by it but it was good fun and it's all for a good cause, so if you fancy cringing along with me, make a brew, and click play!

If we get a good response we might even team up again, so let us know if you like that idea.

Also, big thanks to Jazz who made both Meg and I feel at home and comfy - love ya Jazzzzzzy!

Peace & love

Watch me on YouTube! Let's talk about M.E!

I had a conversation recently with a friend of mine and she asked me:

"What is your secret?"

My secret? I asked her to elaborate.

"You cope so well with having multiple health conditions, what's your secret?" 

Well the truth is there is no secret - I've just learnt to embrace it.

Nobody ever thinks they will get ill. At least not at a young age anyway. When I was a child I was the same as every other child in that I dreamt of growing up and having my dream job (mine was to become an actress, which I half fulfilled before things went downhill) I dreamt of travelling the world, being free and just being a 'grown up' and doing normal things like food shopping and driving a car. You don't dream of getting sick and loosing out on the years of your prime. You never think you'll grow up not being able to do a food shop or drive a car or go to work.

That being said, I can't change what is. I can't change the here and now. All I can do is accept it and embrace it. Don't get me wrong I am not glad to be in this situation but I might as well make the most of what is, and deal with it in the best and most positive way I can.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that things don't always go to plan. Things aren't always as we'd like them to be in an ideal world. Things might not have turned out the way we dreamt they would when we were younger but we can choose to embrace the path we have landed on even if it is really rocky and it seems never ending. It's going to be a journey and good or bad there will always be things we can learn from and take away from that journey.

If you have an illness use it to educate, help and inspire others. Use it as a way to meet people who may become some of your closest friends. If you're unemployed use your free time to learn a new skill or volunteer somewhere. If you're feeling lost and unsure what you're doing with your life go out and meet people, leave your comfort zone and re-discover who you are. Whatever your story is - just embrace what is.

Lots of love

Embracing what is

I'm so in love with my new TRIANGL bikini - it is so so perfect! I've been seeing TRIANGL bikinis popping up all over the blogesphere and being sported by celebs. After browsing their store I really could not decide which one to pick as they are all so beautiful! In the end I opted for the bikini in vanilla ice (white to you and me) and I couldn't be happier with my decision.
I've always wanted a white bikini but regular white bikinis have a tendency to go see-through, so for that you might as well save some money and just go nude. The bikini is made from neoprene which is the material they make wetsuits with so it is really thick and not see-through whatsoever, so if like me you've always wanted a white bikini this one is the perfect option. Neoprene is also really moulding and flattering on the body, and that is what everyone wants out of a bikini, right?
All their bikinis come with a matching bag which I think is really handy, and if you like attention to detail, the ties have little square blocks at the end with the TRIANGL logo imprinted - a super cute touch.

Although they are quite expensive - this one retails at $79 - and I wouldn't normally pay that much for a bikini, they are an investment and excellent quality so they are definitely well worth it. I don't think regular bikinis will ever be good enough for me now - TRIANGL are definitely doing something right there, once you have one, you're going to want more!
If you are interested in buying one yourself I would recommend getting the next size up to what you normally wear because they don't stretch but their customer service team are so helpful and friendly and are on hand to advise on sizing quires.

Even the babe that is Vanessa Hudgens has this bikini. It's not very often I can say I own the same thing as a Hollywood A-lister! Admittedly, she looks 100x hotter in hers than I do and Yes I do have a girl crush on Vanessa and I ain't ashamed to admit it.

*Although this item was gifted to me, all views are my own*

TRIANGL vanilla ice bikini: review

The viral infection I had recently left me feeling - to be completely honest - really rather crap. It made me feel as though I had gone back a year or two where I couldn't leave my bed for 5 minutes, I couldn't cut my own food, I couldn't do anything besides lay in bed in darkness. It made me realise just how far I've come because a couple of years ago that was the reality of my life every single day. After having all of the energy sucked out of me and fearing the progress I've made would have been short lived, a short but sweet evening visit to the beach soon cheered me up and rejuvenated my spirit, motivating me to keep on fighting this illness, refusing to let it and defeat me, in the hope that soon enough I'll be able to visit the beach more often.

You've probably guessed by now that I love the beach. It is my favourite place to go and reflect, relax and it is one of the only places where I feel completely free. To me nothing beats the feeling of sand beneath my feet, and sea air filling my lungs. I live on the seafront and the walk from the cliff, down to the sea, and back again may have left my legs feeling like they had run a marathon the next day but I wasn't complaining. I was able to take all of the recent chronic illness stress and the stress of having a broken body with me, release them and blow them out to get lost at sea. Adios negativity. Hasta nunca!

I even braved dipping my feet in the North Sea - a notoriously cold Sea - which was actually rather refreshing considering it was 9.30pm!

Where is your favourite place to go in the world?

Feeling free by the Sea


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