Thursday, February 26, 2015

Self Love, Care, and Coping With Chronic Illness

As I write this, I have a headache that is making me want to both cry and throw up, so what better time to write about how hard it can be to practice self love while living with a chronic illness? I apologise for the graphic nature of that first line, but I was really struggling to think of a good way to start this post so I figured I may as well go with blatant honesty. Living with an illness is hard, and sometimes it's just too much effort to tip toe around things so instead you have to stomp.

Self love is a big thing at the moment. There are whole online communities dedicated to it, and there are more people talking about it than ever - which is an amazing thing that really should have happened years ago. But I'll admit, it can be hard to love your body when it feels like it doesn't love you back. Self care for individuals with a chronic illness is radically different than it is for healthy people, after a quick Google and looking through a few lists of self care activities at least half of them would be borderline impossible for me on a bad day. Go for a walk? Not gonna happen because my legs feel like dead weight. Give yourself a makeover? I haven't washed my hair in three days because I can't lift my arms over my head without wanting to cry. Spend time with a loved one? That sounds great, but I'm feeling very sensitive to noise/light/movement today, and I can't control how quickly another person will move or how loudly they will speak. While all these ideas are great in theory, they're just not effective for someone like me on a particularly difficult day.

So, what are good strategies to practice self care when you feel like a broken down, rusted out, piece of junk? Here's a list of things that might be helpful, and that I like to do when I'm feeling awful:

♡ Keep a lot of soft things on your bed. Pillows, cushions, stuffed animals, and fuzzy blankets are a huge comfort when I feel like I've been hit by a steamroller. When even my clothes feel like needles on my skin, being able to hug a fuzzy friend is a really big help.

♡ Make a freshen up kit to keep by your bed. Put in things like baby wipes/wet ones, dry shampoo, a hairbrush, lip balm, deodorant or a nice perfume, and a clean set of pyjamas/comfortable clothes. Sometimes just freshening yourself up a little bit can make you feel ten times better.

♡ On the subject of kits, putting together a comfort box might really help you if you're prone to feeling anxious.

♡ Make a nice soothing playlist and just lay there and listen. Mine includes a lot of songs by Lullatone, Flume, City & Colour, and Bloc Party.

♡ Try rhythmic breathing or self massage.

♡ If you can make it out of bed and you have a bath tub, empty two cups of Epsom Salts and a bath bomb (something lavender scented like A French Kiss or Twilight from Lush work well, add an extra few drops of lavender oil for ultimate relaxation) into a full tub of hot water and soak for a couple of hours. Watch something that makes you happy while you're in there.

♡ Feeling crafty? Why not try making some pom poms for a cute garland  or arm knitting a scarf  while watching a movie in bed. This way, you can feel the satisfaction of making something without wearing yourself out. One of the hardest things I've found about my illness is constantly feeling like I should be doing more and that I'm not achieving anything, sewing and crafting is a really great way to alleviate feelings of uselessness without running yourself into the ground.

♡ Google 'Corgis in costumes'. You won't regret it.

Sometimes it can be really hard to remember that even though it's a constant part of my life, my illness doesn't define me and that in many ways I'm still the same person I was before I developed Fibro. I have to remind myself often that it's okay to take a nap when I feel tired, and it's okay to stay at home, because it's my body's way of telling me that it needs to rest rather than me being lazy and unmotivated. As for self love, even though sometimes my body fails me I'm grateful that it's carried me through the past 21 years. I've done some amazing things, seen some beautiful places, and felt the greatest range of feelings - I'm incredibly lucky. We're not always on the same page, but I promise that I will love my body until it's in the ground being turned into flower food.

I'm still learning the best ways to manage everything and navigate through life as a young person with a health condition, but I hope that I can help others along the way. Please feel free to share any self care methods that you use and that make you feel  better in the comments!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday

I haven't made a wishlist/finds post in a while now, so I thought I'd break the drought and share the things I'm currently pining for with you guys! My birthday is in just over a month and I've been starting to think about what I might like to ask for (except to wake up with perfect health and maybe a unicorn) so here it is:

Too Faced Melted liquid lipsticks in Marshmallow, Frosting, and Ruby - I've read so many good things about these lipsticks. All of the colours are to die for and they look like they would be so comfortable to wear, I regret not buying the limited edition Christmas set while I was in Melbourne last November!

Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar palette - I have the original Chocolate Bar palette and I LOVE IT! I seriously have no idea how I did my makeup before I owned it because as well as containing a bunch of perfect neutral eyeshadows, it has a shade that's perfect for filling in my eyebrows and another shade that I like to use as a complexion highlighter. The Semi Sweet palette is a warmer toned version, and I'm itching to get my hands on it (and to sniff it because the original smells like chocolate!)

Smashbox Contour palette - Let me just say, I am by no means a contouring pro. I've watched countless of YouTube tutorials, read so many articles, and tried a bunch of different techniques, but I still can't seem to get the hang of creating the perfect bone structure for my face. I've read some really good reviews for this kit, especially regarding the contouring shade being the perfect cool tone to create a believable shadow.

Lush Goodies - If you've been reading my blog for a little while, you'll know that last year I finally got on the Lush wagon. Well, now I can't get off. I've been lusting after the Vanishing Cream moisturiser for months, but at $39.95 for a 65ml pot it's just not in my budget at the moment so it's been relegated to the wishlist. As for the Cupcake Mask, Tea Tree Toner Water, Spacegirl bath bomb, and Comforter bubble bar, I just think they'd make an excellent gift pack, nudge nudge ;)

YRU Luna flats - I've been a Sailor Moon fan for a very, very long time. When I was little we lived across the road from a video store and I would always hire Sailor Moon videos to watch in the school holidays. So when I saw these flats I swooned so hard I nearly fell off the bed! They also come in an Artemis variation.

Killstar No Sweetheart dress - Candy Hearts are not only delicious, but super cute as well! I love how they've been making appearances in all sorts of places recently, and this Killstar dress is one of my favourites, because when you look closely you'll see that the hearts all say something very sassy. It also comes in a t-shirt, singlet, and sweater version.

Loll3 Brooches - I've been collecting stickers to decorate my Uni binder over the last couple of months and while I was browsing through RedBubble I stumbled across an artist named Loll3. I then discovered that she had an Etsy store filled with all sorts of creepy cuties, including these amazing felt brooches. I love a good brooch and my collection has exploded over the last few months, and I want to give these guys a loving home!

Puppycat & Corgi Squishables - The last thing I need is probably plushies, but look how adorable these guys are! They're both a cushion and a cuddly friend, so really they're a necessity. I can't choose just one though, so I obviously have to have both.

Satsuki Kiryuin Figure - I saw this figure on display at my local anime/gaming store and fell in love a little bit. Satsuki is my favourite character from the last few years, and I plan on starting work on a cosplay of her as soon as I can work out some of the smaller technical details. I'd love to add this figure to my collection, she looks so regal and I love it.


Oodles Of Noodles

After what felt like weeks of weather around 40 degrees celsius, it finally cooled down enough for Sam and I to take a trip to Ryo's Noodles on Gouger Street in Chinatown for a big bowl of steaming hot ramen. Having travelled through a lot of Asian countries and eaten a lot of authentic food, Sam is a bit of a noodle snob. Me? I'm just happy when the noodles are soft and the soup is hot! 

Ryo's is a very ambient space, with a lot of black and neutral tones complimented by splashes of red, the smooth jazz that was playing made it a very relaxing place to eat. The service at was great - we were promptly greeted, seated, and given menus to look over. Around five minutes later, we had decided on what we wanted to order and a waitress was with us almost immediately. Another ten or fifteen minutes after that, we had our bowls in front of us! I love not having to wait too long for food because I get really excited about eating, and when I get excited I get even hungrier. 

I had the #2 - a tonkotsu soup with pork slices, narutomaki, egg, and greens - with slightly less salt than usual and it was delicious! Everything was fresh and piping hot, the noodles were perfectly cooked and the meat was super tender. I loved that there were a lot of greens in the bowl because I'm not very partial to the bamboo shoots that are usually in ramen, so this was a nice replacement for me. The soup was still quite salty, but not as overpowering as some other places I've eaten at. The narutomaki also didn't taste as processed and fake fish-like as it does at most other ramen eateries, which was another subtle difference that I really enjoyed.

My eyes are unfortunately a lot bigger than my stomach, so I usually struggle to eat a full serve of noodles and have never actually finished a whole bowl - but this time I did! I picked that sucker up and drained it, not because it was a small serve, but because it was so delicious that I didn't want to leave any behind. I had a noodle baby for at least three hours afterwards, but it was totally worth it. I think that next time I go I'll see if I can get a kids sized bowl, because there are lots of delicious sides that I want to try - we had the karaage on this visit, and it was so tasty that I want to try everything else on the menu too!

As for the price, Ryo's is very very generous. We used a special offer that was posted on their Facebook page and got our bowls for $10 each (the special is valid until the 28th of February, so hurry!) but even at full price I don't think that there's anything over $17 on the menu, and for the amount of food that you get it's a pretty economical price. So what are you waiting for? Go forth and slurp!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pastel Pokémon Trainer

Bodysuit: H&M | Dress, worn as skirt: H&M | Shoes: ModCloth | Belt: Asos | Glasses: eBay | Hat: Myer | Circle Lenses: Pinky Paradise, reviewed here

Whenever I wear this straw bowler hat, I always feel like a Pokémon trainer. I think it has something to do with Serena, the female trainer from Pokémon X & Y, even though her hat is almost a completely different style:

Our colour schemes are totally different, but she's still super cute in my opinion! I lost track of Pokémon a little after 2004 after I got too sad about not being able to have my own Vulpix in real life, but Serena's outfit is way more my speed than Misty's crop top and short shorts, maybe I should dive back in and ask Sam for a 3DS for my birthday.
Is there a Pokémon that you wish you could have? 
 ♡ ♡

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mini Room Tour!

 I've been spending a lot of time over the last few months cleaning out and reorganising my room into a tidier, more mature looking space, and I thought I would share some photos of my favourite corners around the place! It's not entirely finished yet, I still have to do the big things like sand back the floorboards and paint the walls, but I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. It feels much cleaner and spacious now that I've gotten rid of piles and piles of things I didn't want or need. Let's have a look, shall we?

You've probably already seen this lurking in the corner of my more recent outfit photos, but this amazing coffin case from Deadringer Homewares now serves as my bedside table! I love how it has just enough space to store all of my favourite books and my perfume collection, because I was really pressed for space for them before.

This bookshelf I bought from Ikea a few years ago now was such a good investment, I don't know how I managed without it. It's the perfect home for my numerous collections, including my ever-growing snowglobe hoard. Soon I'm going to have to relocate all of my cameras because the globes are going to need a shelf of their own!

My desk used to be the worst kind of dumping ground, but I've really been trying to keep it neat and tidy and to only use it when I'm either using my computer, drawing, or doing my makeup! It's still a little cluttered, but I don't mind it that way. If you look closely you can see some baby photos of Sam, wasn't he cute? 

And finally, my makeup space! I've always wanted a dressing table/vanity to do my makeup, but the size of my room just isn't going to allow that so my desk doubles as both a workspace and a makeup station. I'm so happy with the way I can see all of my makeup now, and how easy it is for me to get to things when I need them rather than rifling through drawers. Ten points if you can guess my favourite makeup brand!

Hopefully it'll be totally finished in the next six months or so and I'll be able to post a video or something, but I hope you've enjoyed a little peek into my space!