life

Practice Makes Perfect.

The phrase “practice makes perfect” is usually applied to scenarios where someone is learning something or training in some way but here I mean it in a slightly different sense.

As those of you who read my blog know, I have been battling chronic pain and chronic fatigue for several years now and it is an ongoing fight. (If you are new to my blog and want to know about this then I suggest you read this post to learn a little more!)

At the moment I’ve been seeing the Pain Clinic and the physio and we have had many discussions about where my future lies, what I can do to keep fighting and making progress, and how I can work on making myself better and living as normally as possible. I am not going to lie, I feel that my chronic condition has really held me back over the past year, with my health deteriorating so much in the first term of my first year at uni the year did not go how I expected or planned.

Being on holiday and back at home has made me all the more determined to get better. In September Tom is starting his first full-time job and will be moving to London and I want to be able to visit him easily and do lots of fun things. In October I start classes at my new university and I want to be able to throw myself into my course and into extra-curricular activities. I have plans to volunteer at a primary school and maybe with a charity, I want to have the energy for that. I am going to join the local gym and I want to be able to go regularly for proper workouts.

I know, that’s a lot of ‘I wants’. But the thing is for the past year, longer really, I’ve just been settling. Settling for things which aren’t as I planned, settling for something less than I hoped for, settling for a life I wasn’t 100% happy and fulfilled by.

Whilst I know that I will probably have to live with chronic pain and fatigue for the rest of my life, that doesn’t mean they have to completely dictate my life and it’s within my power to live life to the full as much as possible. I don’t want to spend my life regularly relying on people to help me with things, having to constantly make compromises and not being able to do the things I love.

I am not in denial. I know how difficult this is going to be and I know that there will be days and even sometimes weeks when I struggle and feel awful but I don’t have to constantly live as though I am an invalid.

With chronic conditions there are always periods of remission followed by periods of relapse, it’s just the way things are. I just want the remission to be the more significant part of my life. I want to feel healthy and able-bodied, I want to be happy with myself.

This is where the practice comes in.

Recovery and remission is not instant. It doesn’t just suddenly all clear up. Although some of it is just down to your body working better, a lot of it is down to the individual. Healthy living is so important for combating chronic fatigue and exercise really helps with the pain too. Equally your mental attitude can make an enormous difference to how you feel physically.

If I were to give into the pain and exhaustion, to just let my family, friends and Tom do everything for me, if I didn’t push myself to work, to study and to pursue my hobbies, I have absolutely no doubt that I would be worse and this is something my pain consultant wholeheartedly agrees with. It isn’t easy, you have to work past the lower levels of tiredness and aching. But it’s so worth it to be able to live the life you enjoy.

So I will practice pushing myself in a healthy way; not going to extreme to the point that my energy levels drop below around 20% or my pain levels rise above 8/10, but merely gradually doing more.

I will have goals to work towards, building up my physical ability and my day-to-day energy levels. I will make life worth living. I will live the way I love to be, I will make the most of all of the wonderful positive things I have and I will be healthy and happy.

will beat this.

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16 and Beautiful.

Today is a special day.

She doesn’t even think of it as special, she doesn’t really care about birthdays, she doesn’t want a big fuss made.

But I can’t let the day go past without wishing the girl who is the most beautiful inside and outside that I have ever met.

 

So, Happy Birthday to my baby sister, Alice!

 

This  gorgeous girl:

 

She might not see her birthday as a big deal but for me it is such an important day.

It is the day that my best friend was born.

The day that the most special sister came into the world and made my life what it is today.

Alice, I would have been very lonely had you not been born, 16 years ago today. You are always there for me, I know that no matter what time of the night it is, if I’m depressed or really ill, I can call you  (or more likely, chat with you on facebook :-P).

My life has been enriched by your being in it more than I can say!

So today, I celebrate the birth of my little sister, all those years ago. A beautiful, talented, funny, witty, kindhearted girl and my best friend for the last 16 years.

Happy birthday you gorgeous girl, I hope you are having a fantastic day 🙂

p.s. It’s my birthday in a week! 😉

What I Ate Wednesday No.16

Hello lovely lovely readers 🙂

This is my first WIAW back at home in 6 weeks and it definitely feels good! Thanks Jenn

Breakfast today was a little different to my normal fare:

Fruit and fiber cereal. It’s the cereal of my childhood for me as, although I used to eat weetabix, it’s what my mum used to have and because I loved the cereal (not the dried fruit) she would give me a couple of pieces dry.

Today was a day of work for me. I read some more Shakespeare and then made a start on George Eliot’s Middlemarch. So far so good, I like books from that period, it’s probably one of my favourites.

Lunch was a bagel topped with courgettes in olive oil, chili and garlic. Delicious and fresh. Doesn’t everything look so much better on a place mat? I’ve decided to buy a couple for uni to spice things up a bit.

Tonight I was making dinner and it was a Jamie Oliver recipe. I have to say, probably one of his best. But then I’m biased because it was pasta 😉

A lovely spicy sausage and vegetable ragu topped with fresh basil. It was delicious.

I also made dessert: a delectable raspberry and frangipane tart. Tasty and really easy to make!

It was so nice to be able to cook a proper meal in a real kitchen and with good quality, luxurious ingredients. But it was even nicer to be able to cook with my parents again. Sharing the cooking with people you love just adds to the enjoyment and it was really lovely to spend the time with them doing something we all love.

Now I’m starting to doze off so it had better be off to bed. I have some recipes that I want to share with you so hopefully I’ll post them for you tomorrow 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

Best thing you’ve eaten today?
Do you enjoy cooking with other people?

Sophie x

Sometimes…

Sometimes you just want need to eat breakfast slowly and enjoy a magazine.

Sometimes you just want raspberries in November.

Sometimes seeing your friends from home is the best medicine.

Sometimes you wish things were how they used to be.

Sometimes the place with the best light for taking a photo of your lunch is the kitchen window sill.

Sometimes it’s ok to spend an afternoon reading Shakespeare and blogs intermittently.

Sometimes you just want to curl up in bed and forget about everything for a couple of hours.

Sometimes the only company you want is this furball:

Sometimes though you just want to be with your family.

Sometimes a simple dinner with the ones you love can mean more than anything.

Sometimes you just want to write posts like this because you’re too exhausted to write about your day.

I hope you’re all having a great week, I’m sorry for my absences lately and this slightly unusual post, I’ve been absolutely exhausted lately and I’ve also been feeling really drained. I promise I’ll explain everything soon!

Sophie x

November Goals: Looking Back and Looking Forwards

Well first of all can I just say all of you are amazing!
The comments I got on yesterday’s post were really helpful, supportive and kind. It was great to read that so many of you feel the same and equally nice to read that those of you who are/were party animals said that you had never had a problem with people not going out 🙂

So yes, thank you, I love you all!

As I promised yesterday I changed my breakfast up this morning:

My current obsession: vanilla flavoured natural yogurt. Delicious!
Eaten this morning with a handful of raw oats and a banana 🙂

This morning I have to admit I didn’t do much. I have this stupid cold, I know, how many times can a person get ill in a month?? Anyway I had a bit of lie in and luckily I didn’t have any lectures today!

On the plus side all of today I have had some serious DOMS for the first time in weeks and weeks. It felt great! I’m glad I managed to get two workouts in yesterday.

Lunch was a nice, quick, easy meal:

Tomato ravioli with a sprinkle of Parmesan. It took less than two minutes and it was just the sort of thing I needed.

This afternoon I nipped into town again to pick up a couple of things that I didn’t manage to get yesterday (milk, frozen raspberries, english muffins) and have coffee with a friend.

Then this evening I went round to Trelawney’s for a flat party for her flatmate’s birthday. However, as I’m not feeling well and I know drinking is a bad idea when I’m ill so I came back nice and early 😛

Anyway moving on. Today is the 1st of November, I cannot believe we are in the penultimate month of 2011! And as it is the start of the month it’s time for my monthly goals.

First, here’s a look at last month’s goals:

FOOD

I think I fulfilled my food goals quite well. I have definitely been eating much more protein and I have been cooking quite a lot lately so I’m pleased with myself.

EXERCISE

These goals didn’t go so well. Because I’ve been quite ill for the past couple of weeks I haven’t managed to get up and exercising as much as I’d have liked. I did manage to try out a spin class and I’d like to try out a few more classes. I’m planning to talk to my GP about it tomorrow.

LIFE

I have definitely been trying to throw myself into uni life. I’ve been out with friends a couple of times, I’ve spent time with people on my course, I attended several opera society sessions and I plan on sending in an article to the magazine. I haven’t managed to get a volunteering position yet but I have emailed the coordinator of an English project with primary school children and she is going to email with the details soon :-).

In terms of working around the pain, it hasn’t been going very well lately, I’m struggling a lot physically but I have seen the GP and we are going to work towards getting me a better quality of life at university.

So now onto this month:

NOVEMBER GOALS:

FOOD

Cook healthy dinners. I want to make sure I carry on eating cooked dinners every evening that I can. Lunches can be quick and easy but as I enjoy cooking I want to make sure that I carry on learning and enjoying my food.

Snack less. Since being at university I have definitely put on weight, mostly through a lack of exercise but also because of the snacking I’ve been doing. So I want to watch what I eat throughout the day and try to get back into shape.

EXERCISE

Workout at least 4 times a week. This was one of my goals last month but I want to carry it on. I feel like I’ve made progress recently and I want to carry on this way. Like I said in the goal above, I want to get back into shape and lose the weight I’ve put in since arriving here!

Try out another exercise class. Pretty self explanatory, I’d really like to try something new this month. Maybe even Pilates 🙂

Do more strength workouts. I’ve been slacking on my weight training lately and having DOMS again today I’ve been reminded how much I enjoy lifting weights so I really want to get back into it.

LIFE

Find something I love doing here. I have to tell you that I this week I decided to quit Opera. I haven’t really been enjoying it lately, the music is not really my sort of thing, the group was lovely but quite cliquey so I didn’t feel like I was going to make any friends from it and physically I don’t think I would have been able to take part in the performances. So I want to find something I enjoy. I want to sing, I really miss it! So I’m going to try to get involved in a choir and see how that goes.

Learn to adjust. This is very similar to last month’s goal. I am not dealing with the pain or the physical struggle. I need to admit this to myself and find a way to deal with it. I need to be able to live as much like other students as I can. I want to be able to be normal.

So there you have it. My goals for the month. I’m not pushing myself too much but there are a few things I want to do. I think my overall goal is to improve what I’m already doing and build on my goals from October.

Do you have any important goals this month?
Any challenges that you are going to face in November?

I think I have some of my first assessed essays due this month: scary!!

Sophie x

A Lovely Lovely Day

Hello again, fancy seeing you here 🙂

I have had a really lovely day with my sister. It is so nice to be able to spend some time together, do fun things and catch up! I’ve really missed seeing her.

We started our day off with a delicious serving of cinnamon raisin bagels which I bought specially because she loves them so much:

Yum 🙂 And so nice to have someone to chat to over breakfast again. I think the relaxed company is one of the things I miss about home so much. Back home there is always someone there and talking is easy, you don’t feel like you’re constantly having to make an effort!

Late morning I took Alice into the centre of town with Trelawney to show her around and do a spot of shopping.

We ate lunch at that lovely little cafe I wrote about a couple of weeks ago and we each had a delicious plate of warm, fresh pittas with hummus and guacamole. It was simple but seriously tasty.

I also got a strawberry and vanilla smoothie and it was really good, so creamy and fresh. I honestly love this cafe, independent places are so much better than chains!

We trawled some great little vintage places and I found a top hat which I think goes excellently with my cane so Alice had to snap a quick photo, whatcha think?

Obviously after a long spell of shopping (Alice found a lovely vintage top and we both bought new scarves) we obviously needed another coffee break!

Hello gingerbread latte and mini muffins 🙂

We eventually called it a day, got the bus home and have just been relaxing and chatting all evening. We dined on spaghetti bolognese and enjoyed our respective favourite yogurts (flake for Alice, vanilla flavoured greek yogurt for me) whilst watching Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA – hilarious.

So there you have it, my great day with my sister!

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend like me 🙂

Do you like independent or chain cafes better?
Favourite hot drink? Are you a fan of specialty coffees?

Sophie x

Gone Living For The Day, Back Later!

Hey bloggies!

Sorry for my absence last night, I was off having fun with this girl:

My wonderful, amazing and hilarious little sister 🙂

She’s come to spend the weekend with me and I couldn’t be happier to see her!

So I didn’t post yesterday because I was out and about having a fantastic time with her. I’ve introduced her to some of my friends and today I’m going to take her into the city centre to show her around, eat good food and maybe do some shopping.

I’m planning on posting tonight to tell you all about it but don’t be cross with me if I don’t have time, it’s so nice to have someone here who completely gets me. We’re really close and it’s lovely to be able to catch up and spend time together 🙂

I hope you’re all having a great weekend so far!

Sophie x