My goals · Uncategorized

Unapologetically me

'Share your story here' it beckons .

Where do I start? I suppose a blog is similar to a diary , a very open one at that. Perhaps nobody will read this , then in that case, it's just me and my thoughts.

I won't bore you with my life story and I assure you , I am extremely lucky … fortunate …blessed ?? to have a family that loves me and some dear friends. So why doesn't that feel enough sometimes . I guess I have found myself here at 24 years of age, wondering what next …? I always used to think 'when I get older' . Older is now . So now what ? I dreamed by the time I was 30 I would have a mortgage and a family . 30 is not so far away now and definitely not old! I can see now that a mortgage is off the cards , not just by the time I'm 30 but potentially 40/50/60? And a family ? Well that's a whole other blog .

I spend so much wasted time planning and worrying about what's next and it's time to stop that and start doing so to conclude my first ever (pretty rushed word vomit style ) blog. Anyone still with me ? Here is my to do list before I'm 30 which I guess sums up the purpose of my page ….

  • Love the skin I'm in

I don't yet know how to accomplish this. I suppose my weight is an important one . (Again, another day , another blog ) My skin, hair, nails, teeth, heart …

  • Find love

Now I'm not saying I need a 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' per se… but some new fresh real exciting love.

  • Work work work

Work is so important to happiness . When I dislike my job, my whole morale drops and to be honest , I haven't a single clue what I want to do ! Most people I know my age have been to university and well and truly paved their way to a successful and clear cut career and I'm just sitting here thinking ..Is this it?

  • Find my purpose

Surely everyone has a talent right ? I've just not found mine yet !

  • See the big wide beautiful world

I know I won't see it all while I'm on it, but I need to give as much of it a good go!

  • More time with those that make the time for me

I'm talking family here. I do take them for granted and I want to really focus on them over the next few years.

Watch out world. It's time for change.

It's the year of me.

I will be unapologetically me.

Ellen x

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Living with Psoriasis: My story

Hi all,

I'm on a long train journey today and I've been reading so many blogs about people's personal experiences with Psoriasis which inspired me to write a quick blog about my story …

So it first started when I noticed my elbows drying out. I was in college so I must have been about 16. The skin on my elbows would dry out and shed which was uncomfortable and sometimes itchy so I went to the doctors who instantly diagnosed me with Psoriasis . She told me it was incurable but with cream, should be manageable . She prescribed me with a steroid cream called 'dovobet' I think ? Aside from occasional flare ups, she was right in saying it was manageable and my confidence wasn't knocked as if was just a bit of red and dryness on my elbows .

If only it stayed like that …

About a year on, in my second year of college , the flare ups become more regular and I noticed a patch on both of my knees appearing . When I had a flare up or felt itchy , the patches would be bright red and inflamed. I remember being at college and overheard someone laughing at me saying something about my elbows looking like red traffic lights. I then started to realise people noticed it more than I thought and more importantly , people judge. I also worked with children and I remember a young boy asking me what was wrong with my skin? I told him there is nothing wrong with my skin, it's just different to yours. He replied 'but yours is weird!'. Charming !

I couldn't help but notice people looking, staring, judging. We're all human. We're all inquisitive . But some people are down right shameful ! I have a tattoo on my leg and I started to notice a patch growing on my tattoo shortly after my knee patches and started to worry. My doctor didn't warn me about it spreading. By this time, I had decided to wear long sleeves and clothes that would cover my legs to avoid the embarrassment I felt . I spent a good part of 7/8 years with smaller patches appearing here and there. I visited the doctors a few times who occasionally changed my prescription to another similar steroid cream but ultimately they all did the same thing! Throughout stressful times of my life and winters, it gets really bad. Red raw and extremely uncomfortable.

I appreciate there is a lot worse that I could be living with but more than anything it's the damage that's done to your confidence with something like this. I'm now at a point where a lot of small patches have joined up creating big patches and I have small dots of Psoriasis everywhere. On my legs, my arms, my back, my chest. I'm lucky my forearms and face are ok but have recently developed really bad scalp Psoriasis too.

I haven't worn a short sleeve top or shorts in public for about 6 years now! Even on my recent holiday to Thailand I just couldn't face the stares so kept myself as covered as possible. I went to the doctors again and expressed my concern about how quickly it is spreading these days and she looked through a book and said she will give me another cream.

This has damaged my confidence perhaps beyond repair and that night I sat at home crying . Visions of my skin condition spreading to places I can't even hide with clothes. I called the doctors the next day and booked another appointment with a different doctor . I cried to the doctor about how down it was making me feel , how I've spent thousands of pounds on prescriptions in my life and how worried I was yet again. She examined my skin and said because 75% of my skin is now covered with Psoriasis , I would be eligible to be referred to a dermatologist. I visited the skin specialist and she agreed light treatment would be the way forward. This will involve 2 visits a week for 2 months . A friend of mine has just finished a course and her skin looks incredible . I know everyone is different but for the first time in years I feel like there is hope!

I have my first appointment next month and will update my progress! Fingers crossed … if you live with Psoriasis or know anyone that does, please let me know. I would love to hear your story and any remedies or treatments that work for you.

Ellen x

N.B. If you live in the U.K., anyone can buy a prepayment prescription certificate for £28 which allows you unlimited prescriptions for 3 months. Collecting 4 creams a month can easily cost £100 so it saves you a lot! I only discovered this a year ago but it's useful to know if you need regular prescriptions.

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Mission Slimpossible #3 Do Pilates they said …

It will be fun they said …

Okay , how do I put this …. Ouch !

I thought Pilates was supposed to relaxing …apparently that is more yoga ! It hurts to laugh . It hurts to cough. My abs are on fire! 1 hour of Pilates and I feel as though I've done 10,000 sit ups !

I'm still really enjoying my health kick and I've been drinking so much water. I feel so refreshed and I know it's only been a few days but I'm sure my trousers had a tiny bit more give in them this morning .

Sorry it's such a short post again and for not posting yesterday , I've been doing really long , late shifts at work this week and when I got in yesterday I just went straight to sleep!

It's my birthday this weekend so I will have a few days off my health kick to enjoy cake and wine then I'll be back on track again on Monday !

How is everyone ?

Ellen x

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Mission Slimpossible #2: Yeehah!

Good evening everyone ,

Short post tonight as I've been on a late shift at work but just to say I've had a fantastic day today .

I woke up and went for a 30 minute jog and hit my steps target by 150%.

I started the day with fruit , had home made avacado smash on crackers for lunch then chicken and rice for dinner. Yeehah!! I'm so proud of myself ! I know it's only day 1 but I feel so motivated and already feel refreshed!

How is everyone today ? I'm watching a programme called 'Eden' before I crash for the night and will be reviewing it later in the week! It's so interesting …is anyone watching ?

Ok, off to sleep. Up early for another small jog hopefully .

Ellen x

My goals · Uncategorized

Mission Slimpossible #1 ‘How much??’

Hi Everyone,

Following on from my post yesterday, after arriving back from my sisters, I decided it was time to step on to the scales to mark Day 1 of my ‘Love the skin I’m in’ goal.

So I got undressed, took out my hair clips, took out my earrings (they weigh something right?) and stepped onto my scales. I work in Stone and my scales work in pounds. 3 number appeared on the scales. 

164.  ‘What does it mean?’ I shouted to myself! I grabbed my phone and Google searched ‘What is 164 pounds in Stone?’…

11 Stone 7lbs.

‘How much??’ Okay Ellen, breathe. It’s been a while since I last weighed myself but that’s definitely a lot more than I can ever remember. This must be my heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m fairly short in height too, about 5 foot 4 or something. I checked on NHS website to see where that puts me on the BMI chart (body mass index). That puts me as ‘Overweight’ with a BMI of 27.6. I will not be setting myself an official goal as I mentioned before, I want this to be more relaxed but to even be in the ‘Healthy weight range’ I would need to lose a whopping 2 stone 6lbs! I measured my hips too and its practically my height… Okay that is admittedly quite a big exaggeration but 43 inches, that has got to be about a size 16? I wear really baggy clothes if you’re wondering why I don’t know that already!

I have to remind myself I have had been dealing with an eating disorder for most of this year which has seriously impacted my weight and this is about a positive change. I also have quite honestly, just been eating crap and not exercising enough and really that is what it comes down to.

I definitely won’t be weighing myself every week as I don’t want to get obsessive with my weight but stepping on the scales this evening has definitely highlighted to me that this was more than overdue!

As next week-end is my birthday and surprisingly enough, I will be eating cake on my birthday, I will be ‘free-styling’ the next 2 weeks rather than doing a specific plan. The next few weeks will be more about getting used to my change of lifestyle. I plan to get back out on the road for a few mornings this week and maybe a swim or weight session as well as getting rid of those awful snacking habits. I will also be wearing my Fitbit everyday to track my steps, I’m aiming for 10k a day.  I have also seen on Twitter that Charlotte Crosby is doing a challenge this week which I might loosely join in on. She is using the hashtag #FOF which stands for F off Fat which I thought was quite funny. If you don’t know, Charlotte Crosby is a reality star who has 2 best selling fitness DVD’s; Bum Blitz and Belly Blitz which I think are actually very good!

I may weigh myself in a few weeks to see if there is any progress then my first plan I will be reviewing will be the ‘BalanceBox’ 4 week plan which I am so excited about!

I have taken a photo for some before and after pictures but revealing my weight has been hard enough. So that can wait for another day perhaps when I am feeling a bit braver… baby steps!

I hope everyone had a great week-end and I look forward to sharing my journey with you all …every sweaty step of the way!

Ellen x

 

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Sunny Saturday : Time to work on me

Good morning everyone ,

I’ve woken up this morning in Sunny Brighton as I’m visiting my sister for pride weekend and I’m in a great mood! I’m currently enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in bed while I write this. How is everyone this morning?

In my first blog, I touched on some long term goals I would like to work on over the next few weeks, months, years… Firstly, love the skin I’m in. This is very much a long term goal for me. I’ve ‘dieted’ before and lost some weight and felt a bit better but I think it will require so much more effort than that.

Of course I do want to lose weight however this is difficult for me as I’ve mentioned before, I have been diagnosed with a binge eating disorder which although I receive amazing support for and feel I finally have some control over, it still very much consumes a lot of me. I can’t calorie restrict too much as I know from experience it only makes it worse but for me I need focus and I thought, I don’t feel like I will be doing it alone. I feel like I have a community now to help and guide me, now I have discovered blogging . I thought I would try and involve blogging as much as possible in an attempt to keep on track and stay focused. I thought I would try a few different eating plans, document them and see what works best for me.

There are a few that I am planning on giving a go that I think I might actually enjoy and will review as I go. I may have to amend some slightly so I don’t want to calorie restrict too much but I will be sure to document that too: Balancebox, Charlotte Crosby Blitz, ForeverLiving C9, Vegan, Caveman and most importantly gluten free. Why Gluten Free you ask? Admittedly I am not Coeliac or intolerant however , I do have fairly severe Psoriasis ( another day, another blog!), and I’ve heard so much about the positive effects that have been identified of going gluten free and I’m very much at the stage of ‘I will try anything !’ One of my biggest insecurities is my skin condition and if I can begin to improve that even by just a small amount, I might be able to start feeling more comfortable in my own skin (loving will take time).

I’m excited about trying out these different and diverse plans and if I lose a few inches here and there than what a bonus! For me, this is about being healthier and stronger not just weight loss. The ambition for me is to feel ‘healthy and happy’! I will of course be exercising too. I actually enjoy working out; running , swimming, bootcamp, classes…. it just all comes down to energy levels for me. Sometimes I just haven’t got the energy or motivation but of course energy levels are very much based on health . The healthier I am , the more energy I should have and the more exercise I will be able to do .

Loving the skin I’m in is very much a mental goal as much as a physical one as if I’m feeling tired and run down , I won’t feel happy and confident and exercise definitely helps boost my mood too! I am more than happy to share my weight so will get on my dreaded scales tomorrow evening. I read in another blog the other day about a sticker chart for progress which I think is a fab idea!

I have no big commitments over the next few months (except for my birthday next week!) so I feel this is the best time to work on me. There is no rush and no pressure and I’ll do this in my own time.

Exercising, eating healthier and boosting my energy levels and mood, should all have a knock on effect to my skin condition too and even my nails and hair should start looking healthier if I really commit to this. I’m not setting any official goal just yet because I don’t want this to be any pressure, I want to enjoy it. Although I have come along way with my eating disorder and with support, can control it to an extent especially when I have a focus or I keep myself busy, it is still there and if I slip up , I slip up. I’m only human and these things happen. I will dust myself off, let it all out in a blog post and carry on 🙂

Ok, here we go! Time to dust off the Fitbit, get myself a shopping list and get started!!

I’ll keep you posted!

Ellen x

My goals · Uncategorized

My review #1: ‘The OA’ Netflix Series

After the doom and gloom of my last blog, I thought I would post something a bit different. I love reading film/tv reviews so I thought I would give it a go myself.
Before I start, thank you to all those that have taken the time to read my previous blogs, whether you have liked, commented or been a silent reader, it means a lot that people are listening to my story.

I have just finished watching the finale episode of the Netflix series 'The OA'. What a series! If you haven't yet watched it , go and watch it now then come back as this blog will be a massive spoiler! You have been warned ! I was recommended to watch this by my sister and I watched the whole series in a day !

What's it all about?

Brit Marling (who is also creator and executive producer of the series) plays Prairie Johnson, a mysterious young women who returns home after disappearing for 7 years who now calls herself 'The OA' , has very unique and severe scarring on her back and is miraculously no longer blind. Although her loved ones, the FBI and basically the world are anxious to find out about Prairies disappearance , she refuses to talk to them about the time she was missing. Instead, she tells her story to five seemingly random members of the public; four misfit teens and a teacher. Throughout the series , you learn of Prairies story of captivity and her plan to save the others . The series consists of 8 episodes or 'chapters ' which vary in length.

I would give it 5 out of 5. In my review , there are a few topics I want to focus on. The most captivating aspect of the series to me, is how many twists and turns the show has that can be interpreted differently.

Was she an angel after all?

  The last seven minutes or so of the last episode are fundamentally the most important of the entire series. The build up to the final scenes, I believe make the ending so crucial . Was the story just an elaborate fantasy she created in her head or was it all real? I guess we won't know for sure until season 2 (which has been confirmed for early 2018). I personally believe she was telling the truth. I know there are flaws in her story for example the students couldn't find much evidence of her story online, there was a lot of her story that she wouldn't have known about (I.e conversations with her aunt and adoptive parents ) and of course , the books discovered at the end . However, 3 points really stuck out to me. Firstly , when she bit the dog at the beginning. That is not usual human activity that is easily explained . How did she calm the dog down if she was human? Secondly , she was no longer blind when she returned . How could that be explained ? Thirdly , the FBI agent at Prairies house. What was he doing there? Perhaps planting the books there to discredit her story. Could that mean the FBI knew about the captives or is he even an FBI agent ? I will also add that at the end of the series , following the cafeteria scene, you hear a 'whoosh' which is regularly discussed as the spirit leaving the body. Perhaps this confirms it worked and Prairie was entering another dimension to save the others. Or perhaps it was just the trees on a windy day ?
Finally , the very last scene leads the viewers to believe she reconnects with Homer. Does this mean she saves him ? However the white back drop allows the viewer to question where she is. It had similarities to Homers NDE where he looked as though he was running through a hospital hallway . Again, perhaps she was waking up in actual hospital or even a psychiatric hospital ?

What did the movements mean?

The whole series is not exactly easy to follow. Initially , I couldn't get my head around the movements. I understand it now.
When they first discover the movements and their significance , they devote their time in captivity to learning the movements that they believe are they key to their freedom . Initially Prairie is the only one to believe in the significance of the NDE's and the movements after her personal experience where she consumed the bird. Soon after, Homer was able to recall his NDE where he consumed the fish. I believe when they were trying to piece together the movements , they needed 'the will' that was mentioned later in the series. They needed to really want it. This moment happened when Scott died. Suddenly it made sense and they were able to piece together their combined movements which had enough power to bring Scott back to life. He had experienced a NDE and was able to confirm he too understood the movements and in fact he now knew the third movement. I would have personally liked to have seen how they acquired the fourth.
With regards to the cafeteria scene, (which I have to add was brilliantly executed and very moving), although it seems the five movements didn't stop the shooter directly (the kitchen staff took him out), I now realise that wasn't the intention of the movements. The purpose is that they need to all have 'the will' which I referred to earlier. They all needed to be emotionally invested in the movements for it to work . Although they had already discovered the books and collectively decided Prairie could have been making the story up, I believe at that moment in the cafeteria, they decided they had nothing to lose.

The five 'listeners'

The four students and the teacher that listened to Prairies stories were the back bone to the series . I thought their selflessness and bravery in the cafeteria scene was brilliantly portrayed. The groups is made up of Steve, the angry rebellious teen, Jesse from a broken home , French who is the 'star student and athlete ', Buck the musical transsexual teen and their lonely grieving teacher Betty. Despite the big question mark over the reality of Prairies story, the true achievement in my opinion was watching the characters experience their own growth and fulfilment. I believe Betty and Steve grow the most in the series and I also think their relationship is beautiful to watch unfold. Notably, when Betty saves Steve from the military bootcamp thugs! Considering at the beginning of the series, Betty was ready to kick Steve out of school, and towards the end , she gives away her deceased brothers £50,000 estate to save him. I believe this represents her being able to save one man since she felt responsible for losing her brother . I also loved watching Steve's natural ability to teach , to help guide the others in showing them the movements . This may be the first time he discovers a real skill that can be put to use.

I don't think I have the brain to try and dissect the topic of multi universes and forked realities just yet but I hope you have enjoyed my review and opinions of the series and enjoyed it as much as I did. Have you watched it? What were your thoughts ? Let me know !

Ellen x

My goals · Uncategorized

How was he supposed to love me when I barely loved myself ?

So January this year when we returned from our holiday of a life time , what started off as a normal conversation about what to do today ended in the love of my life packing a bag and walking out the door . 6 months on and I'm still healing but it's a long process and I know that now ….

I met him about 6 years ago but at the time I was in a new relationship, which turned out to be a complete waste of time , and he had just come out of a long term relationship so the timing was definitely not right. We became good friends and when my relationship with said time waster came to a finish, we decided to go on a date as it felt like the right time.

Well, it was a roller coaster romance from the start. I don't mean we had ups and downs . It was all ups and higher ups. We never argued. He was mature and funny and we got on so well. I got back from a spontaneous city break he took me on just a few months in and said to my sister 'oh shit, I'm in love with this man!'.
He met my family, I met his . We had one minor hiccup about 6 months in when he wondered if I was just looking for a fling or something serious as I was a bit of a closed book (even though inside I would have married him then and there if he'd asked me ha ha ). I told him I was sure I wanted to give it a real go and we made it official and soon after had our first holiday and moved in with him when I got back .

I loved living with him. His flat was a real bachelors pad and we enjoyed each others company. I was body confident, we had a lot in common, enjoyed exercising together and going out for nice dinners. About a year in , which felt like a life time , we went on holiday to a seaside town and saw this little cafe for sale. We spent the holiday forming this silly idea about how we could move out of the city to a beautiful quaint seaside village and grow old together.

When we got home, he said 'I've looked into my funds and I think we could do it'. I never had any money, I worked hard but never went to university or had any real skill per se so I was on a fairly low income wage whereas he had a mortgage and a great job so this venture would be at his financial risk .

So we did it. We put an offer in on the lease and just went for it . I was 21 years old and what a whirlwind it was . You can imagine my families faces when I told them I was moving to other side of the country to open a cafe but it felt so right . We had this crazy pipe dream that was turning into a reality.

The stress began straight away . Before we had even moved . The business consumed us from the start. When you move into a new house (it was never home gimme it was a house ) it's supposed to be beautiful and exciting . I didn't get that . The intimacy soon stopped and the long stressful hours started. The money drained quickly from all the work that needed doing and to top it all off, we had offered to host Christmas . I faked smiles even though we had no money in the bank and I felt so alone.

Living on cafe food, working 16 hour days and having no intimacy with the man I loved, meant I had put on a substantial amount of weight.

We even had to pick up extra work to help fund Christmas and rent . There was no 'us' time. We were just business partners.

Everyone says 'the first year of a new business is the hardest' . I won't deny that and yes, the second year was better /easier in some ways. We tried to not put so many hours in to the business and have more 'us' time but it was too late . I had lost me . Even when we would go away for the night and go for a lovely dinner I just wasn't myself anymore . I felt huge and ugly . After 2 and a half years, we decided to sell the business .

Things changed for the better . We could start planning our future again . Searching for a house we could call home and new jobs and a new start. He did lose money in the process but we knew it was a risk and it wasn't much as we managed to sell it for a good amount.

The sale went through quickly. We moved in with my parents while we house hunted as a temporary arrangement . They were having issues of their own but it was a big house so we had our own space. We were able to enjoy Christmas for the first time in years and paid for my dream holiday to Thailand. At Christmas , he made me a photo album of our story at the cafe reminding me of the good times we had . At the end of the books ' no regrets '.

The problem was, it was far too late. My confidence was shattered. I wasn't the same person as I was. I didn't even know how to really have fun. I couldn't relax. But our relationship was rebuilding . Our holiday was amazing and much needed. We talked a lot about our future; what kind of house we wanted , how many children ….

When we returned , things quickly returned to how they were and one day we woke up and I was getting ready to go to my first personal training session in a desperate attempt to gain my confidence back , a normal mundane conversation escalated and escalated … the truth came out. He didn't want that house we had dreamed of neither did he want children . He said he never knew what he wanted but now he knows what he wants for him to live a happy life. Without me? Not necessarily but without all that I want and have dreamt about .

We decided it might be best if he go to his parents for the night and sort our heads out . I knew then that was it. It was such a sad 24 hours that followed. I cried to my mum and dad who sat and rocked me like I was a child again. My sister came to visit that day and slept in my bed with me as I cried myself to sleep.

Oh I sound dramatic do I? It's just a break up! The thing is, I soon realised that I had became so dependent to him that I had lost everyone close to me and had nobody left but my sister and parents . Even my sister, my best friend , I had sidelined in the past few years. I knew I had so much personal healing to do and friendships to rebuild. I knew I had nothing at that point . I had no confidence , I hated myself . It was a tough realisation. It wasn't just the break up that broke me. It was the change I knew was coming .

We met briefly the next day and he said some hurtful things that I can understand now. I mean, let's face it, how was he supposed to love me if I barely loved myself ? I went to work and while I was at work he packed the rest of his things and left. No real goodbye . After all those rollercoaster years we had together , 'no regrets ' he had told me at Christmas , and yet, no goodbye.

That night I came home from work to an empty space. He'd taken the tv, the coffee machine, the Xbox. Perhaps technically they were his . I don't know . The empty space with just me , an empty shell. My sister stayed with me all week, I'll never forget how she was there for me that week.

I spent the next few weeks taking each day as it came . I was so lonely . Broken.

I tried to lose weight to help my confidence but it was more than that and I wasn't ready to tackle my weight at that point, in hindsight. I went out one night with my work colleagues but hated it. I felt so uncomfortable. I soon developed what I now know to be a binge eating disorder to help deal with my emotions. I've had a long time to deal with the breakup. I know I should be over it by now and I guess I'm over him. I think I was over him before we broke up. It's all the extra shit that's hard to get over. I'm dealing with my eating disorder every day, my stress caused a severe outbreak in psoriasis which I'm trying to control and I'm starting to rebuild relationships but it will be a long time before I am myself again.

This is the first time I've spoken about it, properly.

So, this is the year of me. I need to start by loving myself.

Ellen x