So long 2015

Here we are again.  Another year done. Can you actually believe it?

I'd love to say how much better I was but the truth is I'm not. M.E is a permanent fixture in my life & isn't going anywhere soon. It took me a lot of years to accept that & every New Year's Eve for a long time I would be full of hope that the following year would be the one when I'd get better. Full of hope for getting my life back. Full of hope full stop.

But now instead of dwelling on the things I haven't done or can't do, I am focusing on the things I have & I can. When you're chronically ill, you can feel as though your life passes you by & that you spend the majority of the time resting or generally feeling poorly, but there are lots of things we DO achieve & should be proud of. And there are many happy memories made in the process.

It's nearly time to open my memory box again - see last year's post about it here - & I will be doing it again next year. It's something nice to look back on at the end of the year & smile at the happy stuff that happened. Things that non-poorly people would likely take for granted & not consider a big deal are a big deal to us. A lot of the stuff in my box is to do with my little girl so I can't wait to read them with her. At her request we are having a party tonight (which according to her means she can eat lots of sweets & chocolate!!) so we will open it then.

2015 has been full of ups and downs but there have been lots of things that make me realise I am lucky. Yes things could be better, but I've also managed to do some fab stuff for which I am very grateful. I've picked out some of the memorable ones & they all make me smile but there are lots more too. Pictures are amazing for creating memories too & probably the reason I take so many! So in 2015...

I went to my first vintage fair & loved it

We went to Harewood House where we have membership but I don't often get there so it's extra special when I do

My girlie turned 6

I met up with Sian, one of my fab spoonie friends & we pretended to drink cocktails

I spent lots of sunny days in the garden

I had a lovely birthday & was very spoilt

I got a new camera

We had another successful M.E Princess fundraiser

I changed my hair colour

We baked

We had a lovely holiday in Majorca

We had a fun trip to Sheffield to stay with friends we met on holiday

We had fun with Autumn leaves

We went to Stockeld Park & I ice-skated on my wheels

I had a lovely spa day with my sister for her birthday

I turned the house festive

I am staying positive & am looking forward to doing more happy stuff in 2016. I've already booked to go & see my bestie in Essex and I have one of my oldest friend's wedding in October. My close friend is having a baby in March & I'm so excited! There are people I want to see more of & other spoonie friends I've met online who I want to meet for the first time so we shall see what the year brings in terms of fun! I have also decided I am going to use one of my new diaries to write something positive every day. So again I can look back & realise there are good things in each day even though it doesn't often feel like it.

Finally before I go, I want to do a quick shoutout to everyone who has been there for me this year. Whether it's to be there when I've been down or to make me belly laugh just because. And despite me having my illness, friends & family who have included me in stuff or asked me to do things even if I've not been able, I really appreciate it. I love you all!

Happy new year!

Love Ali 


Crown & Glory Glitterati unboxing December 2015

You know the drill by now. The beginning of the month is Glitterati time! For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, it's a monthly subscription box full of hair accessories from Crown & Glory. See previous posts here & here for more details.

I can't believe we're in December & that it's almost the end of the year. How on earth did that happen?

So December's box arrived & I was hoping for some sparkle.  Sparkle is exactly what we got!!

I don't want to ramble too much so will just get on with what was in the box..

Sneaky peek!

We had a fancy new vine this time & I love it! 
Designed by Veronica Dearly

Reindeer name headband.
RRP £25
(There were all the different reindeer names including 1 very special Rudolph!)

Art deco inspired gem encrusted comb
RRP £8

Glitter rose clip
RRP £3

Ombre glitter bobby pins
RRP £3

Star tinsel headband
RRP £15

A really festive, sparkly, feel-good factor box! I I had been eyeing up the bobby pins for a while & I had spotted the glitter roses recently, which are also available in silver, so may have to purchase one of those too...

I have really enjoyed the Glitterati boxes throughout 2015 & can't wait to see what 2016 brings. As always, big thanks to the fab girls in the secret group & to Sophie and Gareth for creating such an amazing place full of fabulous, sparkly ladies.

Happy Christmas!



Support independent businesses!

The festive season is well and truly upon us. Again. How did that happen?!

I am very much in support of small, independent businesses & tend to buy most of my gifts (& treats for myself also!) from them. There are so many lovely places out there & they often make more unique stuff too so I just prefer to buy from them. I feel it is important to support them as without us they wouldn't be able to continue trading.  All the people I have dealt with are so hardworking & always really lovely. Their businesses are their babies and so much care & passion goes into the stuff they make or sell.

So without further ado, here are some of the ones I have bought from & definitely recommend. I have added a picture as an example of the stuff each one does but I suggest looking on their sites (which I have linked in the name) for more ideas. If you follow them on social media too they sometimes have offers or discount codes. So in no particular order here we go...

Polkadots & Petticoats  - Jackie sells various decorative home items including candles, plaques & photo frames. The style is mainly shabby chic & when you receive a parcel from her it is always wrapped beautifully in cellophane & I never want to open it despite it all usually being for gifts!

Punkypins - Lyndsay is really lovely & has a brilliant range of jewellery. I may or may not have quite a few pieces in my collection! She does a lot of quirky stuff as well as statement pieces but is also renowned for her laser cut name necklaces which are just gorgeous.

Veronica Dearly - Most of my friends will have received a card by Veronica at some point from me by now! Her stuff is very cool & really funny. As well as cards she also makes mugs, keyrings, wall planners & various other stationary items.

Jilly Jilly - Jilly & David make the cutest illustrated stuff including notebooks, mugs & earrings. I have had various things from them before for gifts as well as for myself & the packaging is always stunning too.

The Sliver Birdcage - Heather makes handstamped cutlery & I've had quite a few things from her as gifts. You can also personalise stuff if you don't want anything already in the shop. They come wrapped really pretty too.

Ladybird Likes - Zoe loves all things vintage & her shop reflects that. She mainly makes jewellery & has a lot of wooden items as well as sparkly ones! She also has some homeware & sometimes mystery packs are available.

Cherry Diva - Rach & Jay have an array of stunning jewellery on their website as well as various accessories including bags & watches. It is really reasonably priced too & I often find myself browsing!!

Pocket Perfect Designs - Kayleigh makes the funniest badges I've ever seen. Some of them are rather risqué so perhaps don't look if you don't like swear words or are easily offended!! She personalises them to the customer's requirements so you can have anything your heart desires put on them.

Ems Jewellery - Em makes the most gorgeous hand stamped stainless steel & sterling silver jewellery. I have a few personalised things myself & the quality is beautiful. I have recently bought some gifts from her & everyone loved them.

Crown & Glory - Last but certainly not least! I don't think anyone who reads my blog will be surprised to see this one. Sophie & Gareth make a huge range of hair accessories. From floral to glittery, bobby pins to huge flower crowns, there is pretty much everything you can think of and more. There are some lovely Christmas gifts avaliable at the moment including mystery crackers full of goodies.

These are just some of my favourites & I can't recommend them enough. I hope it's given you a few ideas and I'd love to hear if you go ahead & buy anything from any of them. 

Happy shopping! 



Makeup and products I use to try to disguise my dark circles!

Let's talk about make-up!  For as long as I can remember I have loved the stuff. Back in the 90's (when I thought I was really cool but I really wasn't), I rocked the good old frosted lipstick & probably looked as orange as an actual orange with all the Rimmel bronzer I used to slap on. We all thought we looked so good too...

Fast forward a few decades (eeeek) & I still love it as much, although I now have some idea how to apply it. And there's not a frosted lipstick in sight.

Another reason I love make up so much is because as a poorly person, it has become my best friend in helping me disguise my 'very scary, chronically ill' face.  Although I have an "invisible illness" I don't think it is actually always that invisible. I blogged previously about that here.

Image from Pinterest

When I get up in a morning & look in the mirror I always think "URGH". I look pretty poorly. It's obvious I'm not well. Pale face, despite the rest of me having an olive tone and horrible dark circles under my eyes. That's my biggest problem area which is why I have come to rely on concealer. I look really grey sometimes too which is a big giveaway that there's something wrong!

I don't wear make-up every day. When I first became poorly (many years ago now) & had to stop work, I was pretty much bedbound for a year & practically lived in my pyjamas.  So now, I try to get dressed each day at some point as it takes me right back to those dark dark days if I don't. It definitely helps mentally. I also feel better with a bit of make-up on, but it wears me out so much doing it that unless I'm going out I tend to not put much on whilst just in the house. Just enough to make me feel less gross! I love putting it on though, so if I am going somewhere & feel able I will just take my time with it.

I start by applying some Garnier BB Cream which I find really nice on the skin. It doesn't give mega heavy coverage but it works well & does a fairly good job at evening out my skin. I used to always buy the normal version & found my skin was always so greasy, so now I get the one for combination to oily skin in medium.

I apply it with a Real Techniques buffing brush, which has become my number 1 favourite thing! I don't know how I coped before I had one as they make your make-up so much easier to apply & give such a lovely finish. The Real Techniques Core Collection  is a really good set which has 4 starter brushes in (including the buffing brush) & I would definitely recommend it if you fancy trying some brushes.

I then add my concealer & my favourite at the moment is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer. I watch make-up tutorials on YouTube & everyone always raves about it. It only costs about £4 too. I have shades 2 & 3 but I find 2 the best for my skin tone, although the palest one is probably one I need too.

Top left before concealer. Top right during (I apply wherever needs it).
Bottom left on 1 eye. Bottom right on both eyes .

I then set it with some mattifying powder & put some bronzer on. I use the Body Shop honey bronze bronzing powder at the moment as it isn't too orange & you can build it up. I used to put bronzer all over my face but now I know you don't need to!! Just apply on places that naturally catch the sun.

Something I think makes a huge difference to how you look is blusher. Blusher reminds me of my grandma as I always raided her make up stash when I was little & she had the Max Factor powders & blushers. Or rouge as she called it :) I have a few different ones but at the moment I'm using a baked one by Makeup Revolution. It's really pigmented & I think a shade that would suit all skin tones... here.

One major thing that I think opens your eyes a lot is black eyeliner & mascara. If I can't be bothered with proper make up I always put a bit of liner under my bottom lash line. It makes them look so much bigger! I also have a Rimmel ScandalEyes waterproof Kohl Liner in Nude which I sometimes put on the inside corner of my eyes & my waterline. Once it's on it well & truly stays on!

Finally, lipstick. It changes your whole face. I never used to think it suited me so wore gloss for years, but I have a rather large lipstick collection now! You can't go wrong with a classic red lip & I have so many that I can't pick a favourite. This one is by Collection & it is really pigmented.

I have lots of other make up & I use various different things depending on how I feel, but this tends to be the typical look I do. I seem to do more of a natural eye more often than colour as it is easier, but I am not afraid of being daring. I also stick to a natural lip if I wear colour on my eyes. I did some smoky eyes recently which I don't often do but I really liked how they looked. I put Rimmel Exaggerate lipliner in Eastend-Snob on my lips which is a beauty blogger iconic product & goes with everything!

Before I go (I know it has been long, sorry!) I'm just wondering if you saw these pictures of me without me saying I was poorly would you know? Do I look ill? Would you know I spent the majority of the time with crippling exhaustion and pain? The answer is likely no!

People are so quick to judge regarding how you look. I get it all the time when I am out. The stares because I am in a wheelchair. The tuts when I park in a disabled space. It gets right on my nerves so please please don't judge or pass comment without thinking first. That is all I will say now as I've ranted lots about it before!!

Thank you make-up for helping me look slightly less zombie like :-) If you fancy a giggle have a look at when my little girl did my make up here!!



Crown and Glory Glitterati unboxing November 2015

Ok by now you know the drill! Beginning of the month is Crown & Glory Glitterati box time which means a box of hair goodies in the post & much excitement along with it. If you have no idea what I'm talking about see previous posts here and here.

This month's theme was Alice in Wonderland & my box didn't arrive with the postman, much to my horror. However, not that much longer after it turned up with the van. Phew. Box arrival days are rather stressful!!

As usual, glitter tape is where the excitement begins. I make sure I have scissors close now. I seem to have become a box opening pro. Long gone are the days of furiously trying to rip it open to no avail. I just snip at the sides & ta-da. Box is open...

This month there was a slight delay with sending the boxes out which none of us minded but Sophie (& Gareth at Crown and Glory) being a total babe put a little extra in with our boxes. It was a really cute Moon barrette clip & I got mine in silver.
RRP £5

The boxes always look so nice & I feel mean tearing the tissue paper but needs must..

The contents were:

Velvet bow headband (which I absolutely love & Sophie always sends me blue if there's a blue option because as I said she's a babe & she knows it's my favourite!)
RRP £15

Glitter heart clip (I have a few similar ones already & I love them)
RRP £5

Glitter spade clip (how cool)
Glitterati exclusive
RRP £5

Dipped rose headband ("We're painting the roses red")
Glitterati exclusive
RRP £25

Mad hatter bobby pin pair (little Miss has already tried to steal them)
RRP £5

I don't think I can pull off the large roses band so will try to swap it on the secret Facebook page.

I can't believe that the next box is the Christmas one. Last year we got the most gorgeous crown which is one of my all time favourite pieces we have received in our boxes. I can't wait to see what this year brings.

I can't even properly explain how good it makes you feel having pretty stuff on your head! A distraction from M.E is always good but it's so much more than that being a part of The Glitterati . If you fancy joining (you won't regret it) mention my name at the referral part on the website & we will both get a £10 voucher to spend. Not that I have any more room for anything else!!!


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