Month: November 2013

Fed Up. Afraid.

Fed up.

Frustrated.

In so much pain it is almost impossible to concentrate.

Disclaimer: If you don’t want to read what will probably be somewhat of a downer then I suggest you don’t read this and wait till the next time I post something! It’s just that, this is my blog, my space to write, and today I’m struggling so I think I just need somewhere to be able to vent.

When you have a chronic condition like mine, one with no cure, not even an exact treatment, one that even doctors don’t quite understand, it is difficult to explain it to other people. I mean who would want to sit and listen to what it’s like to no longer remember what life without some kind of pain was like? Who could be expected to able to understand that on one day my energy levels might be at 50% and I can actually leave the house and do something I enjoy but the next they might be close to zero and I can’t do much but lie in bed for absolutely no explainable reason? Who could actually be expected to be prepared to be there through all of the lows?

When I was in my first year of university I wrote a post on what it means to suffer from fibromyalgia. Things go up and down but nothing has changed, not really.

I have to admit that I’m afraid. I’m afraid of being taken seriously by people who can’t, and sometimes refuse to, understand. I’m afraid that going to see a doctor and expressing just how bad things can be will have them turn to the same old easy option of deciding that if I’m struggling I must be depressed because of course it couldn’t possibly be completely normal to struggle when your body feels like it has given up on you. I’m afraid that this is it, for the rest of my life. I’m afraid that many of my friends just don’t see what it really means so don’t really support me. And I think one of things I’m most afraid of right now, as I am single after so long, is that no man will ever be prepared to deal with this. How can I ever expect to meet someone and not frighten them away because they don’t want to face the side of me that isn’t all light and sunshine?

In life I can be cynical, my sense of humour can be rather dry and self-deprecating. But I am a positive, happy person. I believe in the power of the simple things. I believe that we should love freely, and as much as we can. I believe in making the most of what we have, and being grateful for everything we are given in life.

I want to live my own life as much as I can, I have goals, I put the energy I do have into projects and things which will make me happier. I give as much as I possibly have to the people that I care about, the people that I love. I just fear that sometimes, because no matter how I choose to live my fibromyalgia will always be a part of me, that I won’t be good enough. What if I’m not enough?

Sophie x

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All Roads Lead to Rome – Day 2.

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‘When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls – the World.’

– Lord Byron, Childe Harold

I feel like going to Rome without  ever getting to see the Colosseum is a little like going to Paris and not ever seeing the Eiffel Tower so I was really excited to get a chance to spend a morning there. You may wonder what else there is to do other than walk around and admire the brilliance of the Roman architecture but you’d be wrong. Around the inside of the Colosseum they have heaps of display cases filled with all sorts of fascinating items; from sculptures of the Colosseum as it was when first built, to items excavated from the site.

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It’s hard to put into words just how awe-inspiring the Colosseum really is, the scale of the stands, the magnitude of the amount of work the whole building would have taken to design and then construct. It’s difficult to envisage something of this size and intricacy being built now but to know that it was built almost 2000 years ago is mind-blowing. As you walk around the walls you can’t help but imagine not only the huge number of people who have sat here over the many years – the Colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 70,000 people but also the somewhat sobering number of people and animals who fought and died in the arena below. There is a buzz as there are so many people all excited to see the great building but there is also a sense of hush as people contemplate exactly what it means to be standing in the Colosseum.

It’s amazing to be able to stand in a building almost two millenniums old which despite its age is still greatly intact!

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We spent a long morning in the Colosseum before returning to the area around our hotel for a late lunch. As you can imagine the food options in Rome are incredibly plentiful, and it’s difficult to know which of the many restaurants to stop at for food. After a few minutes of wandering we came across a really traditional, authentic looking Italian trattoria which served great pastas and some of the most fantastic desserts I’ve ever seen on the same menu. After much deliberation Aimee and I decided to pick two and share them, a classic tiramisu and a delicious truffle ice cream bomb. I wish that my camera hadn’t already been packed for the flight because I think the photo alone would be enough to make you hungry!

Then suddenly, the weekend was over far too soon and with heavy hearts we had to haul our suitcases onto the coach, head off to the airport and leave behind this amazing city. Italy is just simply stunning  and I cannot wait to return as soon as I can and discover more of its wonders, there is still so much of Rome to visit, let alone the rest of the country…

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from notetosarah tumblr}

1. The memories from Rome last weekend. I keep going through my photos and reminiscing about the beauty of the city, I hope that one day I get a chance to go back and see more of it!

2. Finally feeling well enough to enjoy a great night out with some of my friends at uni. We all got dressed up (which, I can’t lie, is one of my favourite parts of the night!) and had a few drinks at our house before heading out to dance and meet some of the boys. I haven’t had a night out since Halloween so it was really good to blow off some steam and let my hair down.

3. Pasta with fresh pesto. The pesto was on special offer so I treated myself and imagined I was somewhere warm and sunny in the Med…

4. Being invited to sing in a Christmas concert with the county youth choir I used to be part of. I adore Christmas carols so it is lovely to get to go sing them in a concert and it also hopefully means I’ll get to see some of my old choir friends.

5. Popping home to have dinner with my father and my sister on Saturday evening. My mother was away for the weekend so they invited me round for steak and chips. I never really eat meat when I’m away at uni but having peppercorn sauce over a lovely medium steak is such a delicious treat.

6. Getting out my winter duvet – so comfy.

7. I have a week to finish my first assignment (definitely not a happy thing haha) but next weekend marks the beginning of December and I’m definitely going home for a couple of days to make the first batch of mince pies and light the advent candle for the first time!

Sophie x

All Roads Lead to Rome – Day 1.

Several years ago Italy stole my heart for the first time when I visited the beautiful city of Florence in the Easter holidays with my family, and since then I have always dreamed of visiting more of the beautiful country. Top of my somewhat extensive list was Rome, the stunning capital of this wonderful country. I dreamed about getting to see all of the ancient Roman ruins, the statues and art, and the Vatican of course. Every year my university runs a history trip which is open to everyone studying arts, this year the trip was planned for Rome and I just could not miss the opportunity!

We arrived in Rome on the Friday evening so just got settled in to our hotel rooms and had a little wander around the surrounding area, but the following morning we were up bright and early, ready to explore the wonders of the city.

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We all hopped on the metro to the St Peter’s Square and round to the Vatican Museum. It is an enormous, labyrinthine place filled to the roof with astounding art which crosses the centuries. In a way though, whilst the art is amazing, the building itself was even more impressive. The ceilings alone are a true work of art…

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If you ever get the opportunity to visit it, the Vatican Museum is definitely worth a visit, if only for the marvel that is the Sistine Chapel. You don’t get long to take it in as the museum guards keep you moving as you cross the place due to the sheer number of people in there but it is simply stunning to look at. Having seen endless recreations and prints of sections of the painting it is incredible to get to see the original Michelangelo ceiling which was painted between 1508 and 1512.

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We were at the Vatican till well after midday so we got back on the metro towards the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain where we had a few hours of free time after lunch to wander around and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. Strangely out of character for me I didn’t get round to snapping any photos of my food because I was too excited to get tucked in! But I ate a delicious pizza marinara at lunch and then had a delicious spicy tomato spaghetti for dinner, followed of course by gelato. I’m not going to pretend otherwise, the gelato does rank pretty highly in the list of my favourite things about Italy… I had nocciola (hazelnut) and café and both were just mouth-wateringly tasty.

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The Trevi Fountain was one of my favourite sites in Rome, it is absolutely beautiful and there is something slightly magical about getting to see it all lit up at night and throwing a coin into the water. Florence may have my heart but Rome is definitely fighting for it!

Stay tuned for my next post with Rome day 2…

Sophie x

Seeing Red?

My hair is my pride and joy. It is one of my favourite parts of my appearance. Curly hair can be an absolute nightmare, it knots ridiculously easy, it dries slowly, it hates the wind, it never quite curls in the same way… But I wouldn’t swap it out for straight hair if you paid me for it (although sometimes it can be fun to straighten if for a change), I love that my hair is unique and slightly wild. I like to think it has a personality of its own!

I have blonde highlights in my hair which I really like but recently I’ve been feeling like a change.

When I was little I had auburn hair and I’ve been seriously contemplating going back to red. I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest searching out shades of red to inspire me, here are a few:

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I just don’t know if I have the guts to make the change, or how red to go if I do take the plunge!

What do you all think? Would I suit going red?

Sophie x

Four Simple Goals… Before 2014.

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So my condition seems to be continuing to get worse, my pain levels are heightened, I have sharp stabbing pain in the base of my spine, I usually wake up with a head ache, and my energy levels are pretty low. In an effort to think positively and try to enjoy life despite all of that I thought I’d write about my current goals.

I was reading Elanor’s blog blueeyedgirlstrikesback and came across a post which she wrote, inspired by a post from A Beautiful Mess.

The rules, created by Elsie, are as follows:

1. Choose simple goals that will make your life richer and happier on a daily basis. Choose things you may not otherwise get done but are not difficult to accomplish.

2. Do not choose result oriented goals. Choose activity oriented goals. For example, instead of “lose 10 pounds”, choose something like “eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day”. Get what I’m saying? Positive actions instead of just the end result!

3. Choose personal goals you believe will truly make your life richer just by doing them! They can be daily, weekly or one time experiences.

4. Choose a reward for each goal as it is accomplished! It can be a small or large reward—it’s up to you.

5. Blog about your goals, each one as you achieve it and a big post when they are all finished before the new year! 

It would be easy to make goals which relate to my work, but I have so many writing and research related goals this semester already and rule number one states that my goals should make me happier. Whilst finishing all of my uni work will of course be a positive thing, I’d argue it isn’t about making myself happier.

I definitely have a tendency to make myself target orientated goals, things which have a structured method to achieve them and a finite ending but I rarely set myself more abstract, action orientated goals so I enjoyed this challenge. It wasn’t easy to create goals which didn’t have a completely set aim but it was a refreshing change. Here are my four goals:

1. Listen to my body more. I love my food but sometimes I think this impairs my judgment of when I am actually hungry and when I am actually full whilst I am eating. My younger sister has always been very good at only eating when hungry and stopping the minute she is full and this is something I want to teach myself.

2. Sing. Music, but more specifically singing has always made me happy. I can escape into the melody and the lyrics, express myself through the song. Although I have never really enjoyed singing for an audience because of nerves I had singing lessons for years and just adored singing for myself. I haven’t been singing much recently and I want to allow myself to find my voice again without the pressure of exams and concerts. What better time of year to do this than now with Christmas carols just around the corner?

3. Take more photos. My wonderful camera has been sadly neglected recently and I want to get back into taking more photos of daily life. It’s coming to Rome with me this weekend and I’m sure the beauty of the city will inspire me again.

4. Stretch daily. I look after my body as much as I can, it’s the only real way I have of trying to combat my condition, but I have to admit I haven’t been making much of an effort to take the time to stretch out my body everyday. It’s relaxing to do so it fulfills two positive purposes.

In accordance with the rules I will blog about achieving my goals and think up some nice rewards for when I do!

Let me know if you set yourself any goals this year too and whether you prefer target or action orientated goals 🙂

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

Sorry I’ve been rubbish at posting this week, I have spent two days in bed and my pain levels have been extremely elevated. Things are difficult but I don’t want to dwell so here are this week’s 7 happy things and hopefully a promise that you will get a second blog post this week!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from j-siddhartha tumblr}

1. Having a lovely dinner at Wagamama with the beautiful Ellie. It was her birthday a few weeks ago and we hadn’t had a chance to meet up and celebrate but we found the time this evening and I got to give her her present.

2. Finally getting my hands on the NARS creamy concealer (in vanilla for anyone who’s interested), it’s really difficult to find and Ellie got it for me in Bath so I’m excited to use it!

3. Spending the weekend at home with the family. As I’d been feeling so rough all week I thought it would help and I have to admit my motivation to come home was partly down to how ridiculously comfortable my double bed is, you just sink into it, it’s such a luxury compared to student living.

4. Eating the traditional Swiss dish called Raclette, what can beat melted cheese, potatoes and charcuterie (cooked meats like ham and salami)?

5. Doing a morning in a Year 2 class in a primary school. Helping the class to learn about directions and right angles was so fun and I just adore the children so I’m really pleased that I get to go back there this week.

6. My dad’s toffee apples. I may not have been able to go to Bonfire night because of my pain but I did get to munch on one of the best toffee covered apples.

7. Looking forward to next weekend with bated breath – I’m going to Rome and I can hardly contain my excitement! I have a deep love for Italy ever since I visited Florence for the first time when I was 14, I love the country, the scenery, the culture, the food, the classical music, (although perhaps not so much the politics). I’ve never been to Rome and I can’t wait to discover the city, we’re visiting the Vatican and many celebrated monuments. We might only be there for what seems like a couple of hours but it’s going to be amazing!

Hope you all have a good week, after a bit of a right-off week I’m looking forward to hopefully having a much better one 🙂

Sophie x