A week of simple luxuries.

Good Evening. Happy Sunday, I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend?

I’m a little late for this weeks blog post, the reason is because I have been focusing on me. Listening to my body and giving myself simple luxuries every day.

I think it’s so important to give yourself some self care time, the simple luxuries that I gave myself this week weren’t expensive or used energy. On the contrary they helped me gain more energy because I listened to my body.

So… what simple luxuries did I give myself this week? I’ll go through them now.

Monday.

Every Monday I make myself my favourite breakfast — its usually pancakes with maple syrup. Having a delicious breakfast makes me happy and really sets me up for the day, if my day ends up being stressful or hard then it doesn’t matter because I started the day happy.

If you start your day complaining then chances are, you’re day is going to be filled with complaints. If you start your day with happiness for the smallest of things then your day will be easier to manage both mentally and physically.

I also gave myself time to relax when I got home from work. I had an easy dinner and watched some films on Netflix and the biggest thing of all… I had a restful evening without using my phone. You all know that I switch my phone off at 7pm.

Tuesday

On Tuesday my simple luxury was allowing myself to rest without any guilt. There have been so many times recently when I’ve come home and been super busy.

Just because I’m feeling good at the moment, doesn’t mean that I don’t battle fatigue or nerve pain every day, some days I guess I become numb to it all and that’s when I over do things. So, on Tuesday I had a restful afternoon in bed watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was wonderful.

Wednesday

Wednesday I was actually unwell (not MS related). My simple luxury was getting a taxi to work so that I could reserve my energy and then when I got home from work, I was back in bed resting, however, I did paint my nails that made me very happy — I love painting my nails.

Thursday

Thursday was a big luxury, mum and I went to our local theatre in the evening to watch a performance called ‘Gaslight’ it was a great evening out and we had such fun.

Friday

Friday or Fri-yay as I like to call it, involved after work going to visit our wonderful friends who have not long come back from Disney world. It was great listening to all their adventures and see their photos, truly magical. We ate Chinese food and have a great catch up.

Saturday

Saturday my simple luxury was spending time with my best friend. We love watching horror movies together and eating some tasty snacks. She also cut my hair for me and now I have a fringe! What do you think?

We had a lovely afternoon and I treasure my friends and family so much.

Sunday

And here we are, Sunday. My favourite day of the week, although you already know that. Today’s simple luxury was waking up when the world was still sleeping, coming downstairs and just relaxing with Arthur — It’s so nice to be calm and quiet for a while.

I then had a great video call catch up with my dad (we do this every Sunday morning, it’s our ritual) and then George and I took some time out to watch a film together, we made some popcorn, closed the curtains, got a cosy blanket and turned our front room into our own private theatre.

I didn’t take any photos of this as I was just living in the moment, which is all about living more mindfully and simply.

And there we have it, a week of simple luxuries. Did you give yourself any luxuries? If so, what did you do? I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog post and I will be back next week for another catch up.

Have a wonderful week.

Lots of Love always,

Hannah xx

A trip to London with MS

Hello everyone happy Monday, I don’t normally post on a Monday however, this weekend has been all about relaxing, resting and ‘resetting’ — that makes me sound like a PC!

On Thursday my Aunt and I went to London, I had been sent tickets to visit the State Rooms after a slightly disappointing experience at The Royal Mews (we won’t go into that) so we decided to make a trip out of it like we always do.

There’s a story behind the tickets, I had told my Aunt that we were going to The Royal Mews because she loves horses (she has three ex race horses herself) and we both LOVE our Royal family so we just had to go. She got to mine and we set off for London early so we can take our time and look around, however, when we got there I surprised her and said that the tickets were in fact for The State Rooms tour and not The Royal Mews. We would go to the Royal Mews afterwards because like I mentioned, she loves horses.

Now that you know the story behind the tickets, I’ll now tell you all about how I had a wonderful day in London despite MS fatigue and nerve pain, which I deal with every day.

Firstly, the night before I made sure was restful and not too busy. I had a relaxing evening and an early night ready for our adventure the following day.

To avoid the rush hour, we made sure that we left in plenty of time and just took our time. I find that stress really triggers off my symptoms, especially fatigue so that’s why I always try and remain calm and allow myself plenty of time when I travel.

Making sure we get a seat is vital, there’s no way I could stand for the duration. Again this is why we leave with plenty of time so we can make sure we find a seat. I always carry water with me and some energising date balls to keep my energy levels up, along with nerve pain medication if the pain gets too much.

When we arrive in London the first thing we do is find somewhere for coffee/tea to relax and get ready for some walking :). We always go to Fortnum & Mason’s in St Pancras, it’s hidden out of the way and we love it, however, on this day it was not open as it’s being refurbished so we found a new place, which again was just tucked out the was and simply wonderful.

After our first pit stop (yes we have a lot of tea/coffee breaks) we ventured to the tube station. I’ve ridden the tubes a lot since being with George and we’ve now figured out how to get a seat. Firstly — don’t travel during peak time, you’ll never get a seat. Avoid the times 7:00am – 10:00am and 5:00pm – 6:30pm — I don’t know if these are the actual times of rush hour but we’ve made the mistake once of getting the tube at this time… never again!

Secondly, walk to the end of the tube, most people always seem to get on at the front of the middle so the seat are limited, however, if you can walk just a little further to the back you should get a seat.

The tubes are great and so quick, they always put you pretty much exactly where you need to be. We got off at Green Park and had a lovely walk through to Buckingham Palace.

The queue for the State Rooms’s tour was long but thankfully they had a seating area where we sat and waited to go in. We weren’t allowed to take and photos whilst having our tour but I didn’t mind, I was to busy gazing around the simply amazing rooms — yes we saw the Throne Room and it was just magnificent to imagine the Monarch’s who sat there over the years, especially our Queen πŸ™‚

It was also nice to see that there was seating throughout the palace if people needed to sit down. In the Great Ballroom I sat on a bench for a while just taking everything in, then continued on our walk around.

Once we had finished the tour, the palace had set up a little cafe in the gardens where we had another cup of tea and some cake πŸ™‚ what made me smile even more was that all the disposable cups, plates and crockery was completely compostable as they were made from plants.

After having a sit for a while we had a brief look in the gift shop and around the rest of the gardens and then proceeded to The Royal Mews. When I last visited (on mine and George’s honeymoon can you believe it!) I got my ticket stamped, which meant I was able to return all year for free! I think anyone can do this as well.

My Aunt LOVED the Royal horses and we even saw a couple being led into the riding school, which was amazing. You also got to see the Royal carriages and the breathtaking Golden carriage! There were also benches placed around The Royal mews so I was able to have a sit down and rest.

The other thing that I do when I go to London is pick no more than two things to do whilst I’m there, London is so exciting, so big and so exhausting. By making sure I don’t over do it I’m able to thoroughly enjoy my time there.

Once we had finished at the Royal mews, we made our way back to St Pancras and had a delicious lunch at the same cafe and the food was just delicious, we thoroughly enjoyed it πŸ™‚

After a delicious meal we made our way to our train, again made sure that it wasn’t peak time, got a seat and enjoyed our journey home πŸ™‚

The few days after going to London definitely took it out of me and I pretty much kept myself to myself to just rest and recover.

I think we all deserve a special trip occasionally and I believe that with every limitation, there is an adaption!

I hope you enjoy the pictures that I took of our adventure and I can’t wait to have more in the future.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll see you all next weekend.

All my love always,

Hannah xx

Adventures whilst living with MS

Good Afternoon everyone, Happy Sunday. How are you all? I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend?

My weekend has consisted of relaxing, spending time with George, seeing friends and family, changing my wardrobe from summer to autumn and just having a restful time.

This week just gone I had a great adventure when a friend took me to the seaside one afternoon after work. We live about 1 hour away from the beach and I really love going, especially when it’s a little more peaceful.

When we got there we had a little walk along the sea front, stopped for my first ice cream break and a catch up and then carried on our little walk. I collected some wonderful shells that I found on our walk, I love things like that.

We ever went for a little paddle in the sea, it wasn’t too cold which was nice. After getting rather windswept we went and had delicious fish and chips in the restaurant that overlooked the sea. It really was so wonderful.

We then had a little walk around the local town and there were some lovely shops, however, I’m taking part in second hand September, which means I’m not buying any new clothes or items that I don’t physically need.

I’ve also donated some clothes this weekend, whilst I was having my wardrobe clear out and came across clothes that I’d forgotten about and was going to get rid of. I’m so glad I didn’t.

After our walk it was back to the sea front where we sat looking at the sea and I had my second (and last) ice cream — I mean…. when at the sea side, you’re allowed ice cream. I also had it in a cone so I was being conscious about the environment – also the cone is my favourite part.

Next it was arcade game time! Here in the UK most sea side places have arcade games from slot machines to rides and the great 2 penny machines (they’re my favourite) you use 2p’s to try and win a prize — I won George a little plush R2D2 πŸ™‚

Finally around 5pm it was time to get back in the car and head home, I’m so grateful that I had my blue parking badge that enabled us to park on the sea front almost so even though I did a fair bit of walking, I didn’t need to walk a long way to get back to the car when I was exhausted.

The following day I really was exhausted, however, I knew I would be so before hand I had prepared lunch for work, I knew what I was having for breakfast, work bag was packed and clothes laid out so I looked after future fatigued me. I also got a taxi to work.

I think with any chronic illness you should be able to enjoy yourself. I know for some its really difficult, which makes me feel so grateful to be able to do these little things. I know my limitations and I planned for them, I rested a lot before I went out and the following day I made sure I didn’t over do it and rested wherever possible.

I’ve lived with MS for almost 5 years — wow I can’t believe that! I think I’ve finally figured out what my limitations are therefore I can make adjustments to be able to enjoy myself and have self care/ self love time — I really think, even the smallest thing that makes you smile, do it once a week as it makes such a difference to our mental health.

I hope you all have a wonderfully, relaxed week. Take care of your body and mind and the rest will work itself out.

Lots of love always,

Hannah xx

How a simplified life helps my chronic illness.

Good evening everyone, happy Tuesday! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend?

I know some of you may be wondering about the title of this blog post? Before I get into talking about “How a simplified life helps my chronic illness” I’d just like to say a little disclaimer.

This is what works for me, I have found that changing not only my mindset but also my lifestyle really rewarding and really benefits my chronic illness. We are all different and all need to find what helps us, however, if you find anything in the blog post helpful, reassuring or just interesting then please try it and let me know what you think.
Having a relaxed morning routine

Having a relaxed morning routine really has helped my chronic illness. I know this isn’t sustainable for everyone, however, I make it a priority in the mornings before the hectic day begins to make time for me.

I wake up, have a glass of water and then look at my phone — I know most of the health bloggers tell you not to look at your phone first thing in the morning, but I say do what is best for you and you alone. I like to look at my phone in the mornings because during the day I’m usually too busy to check it and in the evenings I turn off social media etc by 7pm.

Once I’ve given myself 15 minutes to wake up I then do some stretches. I stretch for 15 minutes everyday and always in the mornings, sometimes I stretch just before I go to bed also but recently its only in the mornings. This stretching really helps with flexibility and my nerve pain funnily enough. When I first started it was really painful to stretch, especially in my back but the more I practice, the easier it became.

I always make myself a cup of tea to have while I get ready too and I basically just do things I want to do in the mornings and when I’m getting ready I’m a lot calmer.

Minimal Makeup during the week

I used to LOVE makeup. I wouldn’t leave the house without it, however, since I’ve got older I’ve come to realise that there are more important things in life and wearing makeup every single day really isn’t good for the skin.

I also had so much makeup, like my draw was full! So I declutterd it a while ago and now I have a nice simple makeup collection, consisting of: 1 Mascara, 1 Eye Liner pencil, 1 Eye shadow pallett, 3 Lipsticks (for each season), 1 blusher, 1 bronzer, powder foundation, concealer and powder, 1 eye brow product and a setting spray. Now this may sound like a lot but I use all of them and now that I’ve shortened my pile I’ve noticed that my makeup only takes me 10 minutes in the morning to do, sometimes even less time!


Fresh air every day

I always make sure that I get fresh air every day. Whether that be walking to work or just being in my garden, fresh air is really important and really helps my chronic illness, especially when I sleep.

I’m fortunate that currently I am able to walk to work — when I do walk I never rush and power walk (I can’t really do that) but because I don’t rush etc its always such a lovely experience. I take my time when I walk, look at things around me and take it in particularly if its a beautiful day. I also either listen to a pod cast or music, I rarely speak to anyone when I walk to work as I find this is my meditation time and time to relax before the busy day begins.

Meal Plan and Prep

I can’t tell you all how much meal planning and prepping has helped my chronic illness. When I’m struggling with fatigue and brain fog, I just need to look in my bullet journal and I can see what I have planned for the weeks meals. It just makes life so much easier, cheaper and healthier.

I always prep my meals for the week or at least part of them on a Sunday with the help of George, I know that my weeks are usually busy so the last thing I want to do when I get home is spend ages making dinner. I have found this to be really, so helpful.
Planning for the next day

Have you noticed the theme yet? I lead a very planned lifestyle.

I find that planning and preparing really helps my chronic illness. Although I am human and sometimes planning etc just goes straight out the window and all I can manage is lying in bed watching Netflix, however, it really does help in the long run.

When I plan for the next day, I just go through my bullet journal and make sure everything is prepare. Food, clothes, what I’m going to have for breakfast, makeup etc.

This also gives me more time in the mornings to relax and have ‘me time’.

Everything is usually all laid out for the following day everyday, especially when I’m working the next day.
Phone off by 7pm

Like I mentioned in my simple morning routine, I turn my phone off or on areoplane mode at 7pm every night (I’m slightly more flexible at the weekend). This is because I allow myself the morning to catch up on Social Media and any messages and I also use my phone when I come home from work during the afternoon and I find by 7pm I don’t actually need it any longer.

By doing this I have noticed a dramatic difference in my sleep, doing other things like watching a nice film or bullet journalling I’m taking my mind away from reality, while I wind down.
Having a more simple mindset

I firmly believe that overthinking and worrying about either the past or future can play a massive role in, not only for our mental health but our physical health also. The majority of us are always stressed out or worried about something causing us to become stressed or tense.

I’m not telling you to sit on the floor and meditate for an hour a day, I’m telling you to slow your mind. Just take a step back and try to live in the present moment, yes that does sound silly and sometimes impossible to do, however, I have my motto ‘Not My Problem’ that I practice and use every day. I also try and practice mindfulness every day too, whether that be when I’m walking to work, watching a YouTube video or writing blog posts.

When I do feel like I’m getting stressed I put everything down — all technology etc and I just sit, wherever I am, I sit and close my eye and just listen to what’s around me. I focus on what I can hear while I take 4 breaths through my nose into my tummy and then exhale slowly. I then focus on 5 things that I can see, 4 things that I can feel, 3 things that I can hear, 2 things I can smell and 1 thing I can taste. I always finds that this brings me back to the present moment. Also… TALKING or WRITING down your feelings, this is huge and I find that once I have either spoken about how I feel or write that down, it makes me feels a lot better.
Being grateful

We ALL have something to be grateful for every single day, yes even on the bad days there is something to be grateful for. I always write down 1 thing that I’m grateful for every day, today I was grateful that I got a lift home from our office meeting.

I’m grateful that I have eyes to see out of, grateful for a sense of taste and smell, grateful for the loved ones I have around me and all the supporting friends I have. I’m grateful for everything I own and for my cat Arthur — definitely grateful for him.

Focusing on what we are grateful for will absolutely change our mindset and allow us to become at peace with everything around us.

I don’t earn a big salary, have a big house or even drive/own a car but I’m so happy and content, because I’m GRATEFUL for everything that I have around me that I don’t need anything else to fill my happiness circle.

All of this, just feeling of contentment and peace helps my chronic illness the most and of course I have bad days, we all do with chronic illnesses. Especially with one like Multiple Sclerosis that’s so up and down all the time and that can affect everything through your central nervous system — btw I’m not saying that MS is the only condition like this, I just don’t have any of the other conditions and don’t wish to comment about them as I do not live with them, I talk about MS because that is what I have.

Talking of Multiple Sclerosis… I’m grateful for having it. Since being diagnosed with MS I have made some amazing new friends, realised who my real friends are, learnt that I’m a strong mother f**ker, can achieve anything, won a national award, learnt about gratitude and mindfulness, learnt to appreciate the smallest things in life and discovered what inner peace truly feels like.

Without MS would I have discovered all of the above? Maybe, but possibly not because I was leading a totally different life to what I am now.

Simplicity is the key, living a generally simple life and reducing my stress has absolutely help my manage and deal with living with Multiple Sclerosis.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, please let me know what you thought and also let me know if you try living a more simplified life.

L

ove always,

Hannah xx

A little life update.

Hello everyone, happy Sunday. It’s currently 18:01pm here in the UK, how has your week been?

I know the last blog post I wrote was about mine and George’s wedding! Can’t believe we’ve been married almost 2 months — time really does fly (obviously in a great way) Married life is great, to be honest nothing’s really changed πŸ™‚ the only thing that has changed is that when George calls me he always says ‘Hello wonderful wife of mine’, which makes me smile every day.

Yesterday I had a big achievement — I worked my first 9-5 work shift in 2 years! No I’m not increasing my hours, I just offered to help them out this weekend. I knew it wasn’t going to be too busy and I was working with a great friend. It has knocked me a little today, which I knew it would so therefore I’ve been relaxing in bed this afternoon watching movies — I’ve just finished watching ‘Searching’ that stars John Cho, it’s filmed as if you’re looking through a webcam and it’s about a father desperately searching for his daughter who has been missing for 5 days.. it’s gripping, intense and had me on the edge of my seat — I like suspenseful films. I’d highly recommend it.

Imagine got from Google.

Also, a while ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called ‘Minimalism – a documentary about the important things’ this too was amazing — staring the minimalists, two guys who went from being in the corporate world earning a lot of money a year to giving it all up to focus on the important things of life. That too is a real eye opener and shows you how the world is with regards to consumerism and people just buying things to fulfil life.

It really made me look at all the things that I have, I’m grateful for everything that I have, however, I wanted to start following this lifestyle. I love de-cluttering, especially after listening to my audio book Marie Kondo ‘The Magic art of tidying up’ I actually de-cluttered my entire crockery collection a couple of weekends ago. I actually had enough to set up a small cafe! I went through it all and whatever didn’t ‘spark joy’ anymore I neatly packaged it up and put it in a box for charity.

I was left with only the things we needed and that I truly loved. It was so liberating. I really am loving living with less, it makes me appreciate what I have, stops me from spending money unnecessarily and keeps my mind calm.

I’ve also started learning to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I’ve started saving jars after they’ve had produce in them (jam, peanut butter, olives etc) washing them out and using them for other things (quinoa, pasta, cous cous etc), also walking to work as much as I can and having ‘no spend days’.

For me, it’s really great to live for what I need, save money and feel grateful for everything that I have in my life. This is my ‘why’ power for continuing this lifestyle.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking to my MS nurse about a potential new treatment — Gilenya. This isn’t a definite medication change as my neuro told me that it was my chocie, however, after having the small relapse in March this year, he said that new treatment is an option.

I’ve already got some questions to ask my MS nurse or for her to speak to my Neuro about, but until I’m completely happy then I’ll be sticking with Copaxone. If any of you have had any experience with Gilenya, I’d love your advice πŸ™‚

Anyway, I’ve spoken/written a lot this evening so I’m going to sign off now and will see you all soon πŸ™‚ you can also follow me on Instagram, where I love to connect and build our chronic illness community — it’s such a positive place for me where I’ve met lots of new friends, like here and Twitter πŸ™‚

Have a wonderful new week.

Lots of love

Hannah xx

My final Bachelorette party — 3 weeks to go!

Hello everyone, happy Monday! I know I usually post on a Sunday Morning but I couldn’t post yesterday because…. I was having my final Bachelorette party/Hen Party for mine and George’s wedding πŸ‘°πŸ˜ƒ

I cannot believe how quickly it’s all coming around! I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet. I was saying to my flock of hens yesterday that I think it will be the actual day when it hits me… But no matter how nervous I get, all I need to think about is George who has to wait at the end of the aisle for me πŸ˜… I think that’s more nerve-wracking lol.

Anyway getting back to my final Bachelorette party that my lovely sister organised for me.

I’m not going to write much in this post as I feel the pics say everything, but we went to this gorgeous hotel in Stamford, near where we live and had a crafting day where we painted an entire tea set! It was just amazing.. everyone did have to incorporate one item in every piece… A red balloon — see if you can spot them!

We then had a delicious afternoon tea, followed by a very funny game involving a man named… Billy! πŸ˜…πŸ˜… And finished off with a few drinks.

It was just simply wonderful and I am beyond grateful and honoured to everyone who came.. a couple of people couldn’t make it due to illness, which is sometimes as we all know unavoidable, however they were involved in spirit ☺️ — now.. enjoy the pics and let me know what you think.

The Final Month… πŸ‘°

Good Morning everyone! Happy Sunday, I hope you have all had a lovely weekend? Whether it’s been a weekend full of galavanting or relaxing at home with loved ones (ice had a mixture of both ☺️

So! It’s the final month before mine and George’s wedding! We can’t believe how quickly it’s come around and I can’t believe that a week today I will be on my second and final hen party (my lovely blogger friend Caz says bachelorette party sounds better so maybe I will call it that πŸ˜…) I like bridal party too.

Everything is coming together nicely, George and I have this week off to do some finishing touches and making things for the day as well as spend time together as we haven’t really done much of that recently with him working night shifts at work.

What’s left to do?

Throughout wedding planning Ive always maintained a relatively calm and collective head (I pray to God that I haven’t been a bridezilla πŸ˜…)

Getting all the big things out of the way and booked first was essential for me to remain stress free.. I’ll never forget the day when my Aunt and I were sat in a coffee shop discussing mine and George’s ideas when a lady came over, said how excited she was for us but also went onto saying “wedding planning is so stressful”

Why does it have to be stressful? Only if you make it so.

I’ve just gone with the flow throughout the whole of this because at the end of the day… This is a marriage… Not a show. That’s my personal opinion anyway.

I like excitement and fun but I don’t like too much fuss and neither does George, which is why our wedding is going to be intimate and lovely ☺️

Most of the things like table signs, seating board, invitations were all handmade by George and I.. he’s very good with logistics and I’m very creative and we’ve both enjoyed that πŸ˜€

The main thing for me about “What’s left to do” is looking after me.. early nights, good and healthy food (I’m reducing my carb and sugar intake — don’t worry I’m not going crazy.. just reducing refined sugars, processed food and no carbs in the evenings.

Having as many self-care days as possible whether that be a full on pamper night or just enjoying my walks to and from work.

The final month in my eyes shouldn’t be stressful and manic because the main things are sorted.. I’m really enjoying all the experiences and excitement of planning and organising our wedding.. enjoy the ride and the build up to your very special day β˜ΊοΈπŸ‘°

Next week’s post will be about my second and last hen party/bachelorette party/bridal party so stay tuned for what I get up to… I have no idea by the way! πŸ˜…