Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Eleven Films To Watch When You Feel Pretty Shit

Something I struggle with when I don't feel well is how to occupy myself. I'm usually too ill to go out or exercise or even read. I don't have the mental energy to watch anything new, and there's only so much Say Yes to the Dress one person can watch. Putting a good, familiar film on can serve a dual purpose: it's something to do, to take your mind off the pain or the fatigue, but also the perfect easy-viewing/entertaining/funny/heart-warming film provides a level of comfort and escapism and good-feeling that's so important when you aren't feeling great. 

Here are my choices of films to watch when you feel pretty shit. 

10 Things I Hate About You
Oh Heath Ledger. It is impossible to watch this film without uttering those words. So loveable and charming, with bonus Joseph Gordon-Levitt and of course, peak Julia Stiles. Humorous and heart-warming. 

The Hunger Games 
It might seem like an odd choice to make you feel better, given it's all about teenagers killing each other. But I find it very watchable, with excellent comedic elements from Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks and damn fine acting from Jennifer Lawrence. 

Pride and Prejudice
A controversial favourite adaptation of this Jane Austen classic, but I love Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen so it is my immediate favourite. I love everything about this film but especially that ballroom scene. I once watched this every day for about 3 months. 

Anything Marvel
Lets face it, pretty much any Marvel film is guaranteed high-entertainment easy-viewing. My personal favourites being Avengers Assemble and Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Pitch Perfect 
It's so funny and so feminist and so totally awesome. All of the actors work so well together which results in a slightly off-beat, totally charming and loveable dynamic. Plus who doesn't love synchronised lady dancing?!

Chalet Girl 
A low budget but utterly charming British film featuring the inimitable Felicity Jones, and Ed Westwick sporting his actual, almost-too-sexy accent. A true underdog story, it's perfect to help you feel better.

The Force Awakens 
It's just a damn good film. The perfect antidote to those prequels, it's joyful and full of loving references to the original films. It has its dark moments but ultimately it's an uplifting, inclusive and entertaining film. How can you not fall in love with Rey, Finn and Poe?!

A modern adaptation of 'Emma' makes this my second Jane Austen choice. Full of lines that have been permanently installed in the annals of pop culture quoting, super feminist and featuring the dreamy Paul Rudd, it's almost guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Your Favourite Disney 
I decided not to pick one out, because everyone has their own favourites but whichever yours is, it's a surefire way to leave you feeling better about life. Especially if you use it as an opportunity for a bit of a singalong. One of my personal favourites is Tangled. 

Ocean's Eleven
I love me a heist movie and there are so many charming actors in this it's hard not to enjoy watching it. And it's super easy viewing. 

Howl's Moving Castle
Pure escapism in the form of my favourite Studio Ghibli film. I've always liked the story of quiet Sophie, forced to find herself whilst on a strange journey in a magical castle. Plus there's the hilarious Calcifer and the enigmatic and beautiful Howl, voiced in a odd-but-it-works way by Christian Bale.   

Other excellent choices: Lord of the Rings // The Breakfast Club // The Holiday // Billy Elliot // Legally Blonde // Bring It On // The Devil Wears Prada 

What is your favourite film to watch when you feel shit?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Healthy Eating and Chronic Illness

When I saw the Rheumatologist last September, one of things he told me I needed to do was improve my nutrition. This was not a shocking thing to hear, nor was it the first time I've heard it. Practically everyone I know has, at one point or many, told me I need to improve my diet. *I* know I need to improve my diet. 

The problem comes when you add chronic illness into the mix. Because chronic illness makes lots of the things you need to do to eat healthily hard. Like chopping fruit and veg, or standing and cooking for longer than 5 minutes, or washing the 5 pans, 6 knives, 2 chopping boards and a sieve that making your meal required. Fortunately for me, I live back at home now and my mum has made a steadfast effort to improve the healthiness of our evening meals. They all contain some form of protein (NGL, it's nearly always chicken. I am somewhat fussy and my brother is the rest of the way fussy and chicken is pretty much the only meat we agree on) and veg and are made fresh and are, thankfully, well delicious. She has been diligently testing out new recipes and adding extra veg where extra veg can be added (all so my brother can pick it back out of his portion) and I appreciate it so much.

Because the time I spent in London was not a time of healthy-eating. It was a time of takeaways. And food bought in train stations on the way home. And ready meals. I was famous in my department for how long I could make 1 large Dominos pizza last (4/5 days if I also had a side order) and I ate more of Tesco's Macaroni Cheese than any person reasonably should. I tried to counter-balance my unhealthy dinners by having a healthy lunch, but being unable to prepare these in advance meant they came from Pret or Eat or Itsu which was a financial drain. The only times I really ate anything healthy at home was when my boyfriend was visiting and he could do the chopping/stirring/washing up but that was 2 weekends a month. 

Home-cooked dinners aside, it's still hard for me to embrace healthy eating. It does not come naturally to me. I was the fussiest of fussy eaters as a child (think nothing touching on the plate, nothing that wasn't plain chicken, plain potatoes, plain bread...etc) and while I've embraced a large amount of foods since then I'm still fussier than the average. I've spent my whole life getting by on crisps and chocolate and pizza so having an apple instead is completely counter-intuitive. 

But I'm trying. Over the weekend I went to my boyfriend's house for a marathon TV binge and instead of ordering Dominos like we often do, we made homemade salsa. 10 tomatoes, 1 onion, 2 chillies, juice of 2 limes and 2 bunches of coriander (don't take the coriander away from me, I googled it and it has health benefits okay?) did 2 of us 2 meals and is chock-full of goodness (if you forget about the salty tortilla chips we ate the whole thing with). Healthy AND delicious. But it took ages to chop everything fine enough and I could only do a couple of the tomatoes, 1 bunch of coriander and the chillies (I ended up with wicked chilli burn on my fingers too) while sat on a stool and even then I was exhausted by the end. You may remember me admitting to eating only Krispy Kremes for breakfast for a little while...now I'm mostly eating nuts and dried mango instead. So I really am trying.

The thing about chronic illness though...is that you feel ill. Chronically. And there's something about not feeling good that makes you want to eat things that will make you feel better. And by that I don't mean spinach, I mean pizza. Feeling ill constantly just makes you want to eat tasty, preservative-filled junk food. Fizzy drinks full of sugar to help with the fatigue, chocolate as a mood-booster. And while I know that long-term, in order for me to get a bit better I need to eat better, chronic illness makes focusing on the long-term hard. Because you just want some kind, any kind, of short-term relief constantly, even if that relief comes in the form of a Krispy Kreme doughnut for breakfast.

Do you have any tips for easy healthy eating?

Friday, 5 August 2016

My Etsy Addiction #6

Welcome to the sixth edition of my Etsy Addiction series! As established in my first My Etsy Addiction post, I am an Etsy Addict. Not necessarily just buying, but also browsing, favouriting, planning future gifts. 

I decided to take advantage of this addiction for blogging purposes, and create a regular series of posts showcasing some of my favourite Etsy finds. TPlease be aware, some of the items I feature will be from shops based outside of the UK, so the shipping costs can be extensive and there can also be customs charges involved. All photos featured are from the Etsy listings.

As Pokemon Go is all the rage rn, what about this on-trend and stylish Pokeball necklace from JodiePopeJewellery

These quirky coasters from YouBadCat are perfect for British living rooms, given how much we discuss the weather!

This beautiful, eye-catching phone case from PapioPress

This delicate I Capture the Castle brooch from CaptureTheCastleShop is perfect for literary types

This sleek and elegant copper tray from Marbleandmetal

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Chronic Illness Positives

I've been feeling pretty miserable lately, so to inject a bit of positivity into my life I started to think about the positives of having a chronic illness. While these in no way make up for having the illness in the first place, I think does help a bit to remember them every now and again, to know there's a bit of light in the dark. So here are the positive aspects of my chronic illness.

1. I can zip/unzip all my own dresses all the way up/down: thanks to my hypermobile shoulders, I have no problem reaching over my shoulder/up my back to do/undo my own zips.

2. I am a walking, talking pharmacy: you need painkillers? I got 'em. And I got multiple types. I will likely also always have anti-inflammatory gel, antacids, and an array of other health-related items. I'm super handy to have in the office in that regard.

3. People do things for me: I mean, this is a positive but it can also be a negative because I am nothing if not exploitative. But one of the positives about having a chronic illness is that people help you out more: carry things, fetch things, change your bedlinen. All sorts of stuff. Today my colleague offered to staple things for me (I have trouble with this). Even if you don't take people up on their offers, it's nice that they're there.

4. I can swim really well: I'm not entirely convinced this is hypermobility-related, but I've decided to think it is. I'm super ungainly/clumsy/awful on land, but in water I'm pretty awesome. 

5. I (usually) get my prescriptions on time: I was always TERRIBLE at getting the prescriptions for my asthma before my chronic condition worsened, but now I take regular medication and need regular painkillers, I'm pretty good at getting it in (mostly) on time every month.

6.  I know a lot about TV shows: having a chronic condition means I'm always tired and in pain, so I watch a lot of TV. This means I am very knowledgable about all things show-related, so if you need a recommendation, or someone to 'OH MY GOD' with about a show, chances are I'm your girl.

7. I can get ready for work in under 15 minutes: true story. I can brush my teeth, cleanse/moisturise my face and brush my hair, get dressed and collect all necessities in under 15 minutes. And that's with having to have a little rest in between each item of clothing I put on. 

8. Justifiable napping: one of the worst parts of chronic illness is constant fatigue, but this does give you a valid reason to have naps. And who doesn't love a good nap?

9. I have really soft skin: the only positive physical aspect of my condition in a long, long list of negatives. My condition affects the feel of my skin, making it quite soft and velvety-feeling. Which is  good because I'm too lazy to exfoliate/moisturise anything but my face with any regularity

10. It's made me stronger: it's hard to know how much being chronically ill my whole life has truly shaped my personality, but I'm convinced I wouldn't be as strong or as resilient as I am without having been chronically ill. 

What positive aspects can you find to your chronic illness?