Sunday, 11 March 2018

One Year Later

This day last year I was in London having an operation that would affect me in more ways than one; it would bring both positives and negatives. I've struggled to talk about the operation and I find that the longer I leave it, the worse it feels. For some, what I went through mightn't have been a big deal but, for me it was life changing - in ways that are physical and emotional. I'm in a good place with my mental health, however this gets shoved into the back of my mind every time it attempts to come to the forefront. It's as if it didn't happen, or rather as if I haven't accepted that it happened. I'm not writing this as a sob story or to ramble on about some operation - this is as much about me as it is about you. If you've ever grieved, experienced pain or had relationship breakdowns to name but a few and you've struggled to accept them or simply talk about them; this one's for you. Avoiding things and hiding scary reminders at the back of your mind isn't a healthy mindset to have but you're not alone. I'm not here to tell you to immediately start talking about them. You have to be ready. It could take weeks, months or even years but the most important thing is that it's down to you. I'll be honest (not ashamed) and say that I've found it incredibly difficult to talk about my spinal surgery but I feel like this is a good place to start.

The Progress You Make Is Completely Up To You

If I've learnt one thing in the last year it's that hard work and positivity can get you anywhere. I'm proud to say that I worked my little ass off in that hospital last year. I had to learn to walk and breathe like a normal human being again. I felt as if I'd forgotten everything I had learnt in 18 years. The nurses and doctors praised me for getting back on my feet so quickly after two operations. They couldn't believe how positive I was. Why can't I dwell on my positivity instead of the negatives of being in a hospital? I attended rather painful physiotherapy sessions in order to build up all of the muscle that I seemed to have lost. This was followed by regular pilates. I won't lie this took a lot of hard work and discipline but I knew the outcome of these painful exercises could only be a positive one - I persisted. Why can't I dwell on my determination instead of the pain I was experiencing?  If only we could just turn situations around to focus on what's most important. Not the pain, not the trauma, not the struggle but what we've achieved. We're still here and still going - can't we let that be enough? 

I've always loved the sentiment "every scar tells a story" but I never really considered what it would truly be like to own that 'scar'. Yes I have a physical scar running the length of my spine, but also an emotional scar that I'll hold with me forever. When I touch my scar it freaks me out, bringing back all that I went through. While I don't always enjoy this reminder, I'll always be grateful for the lessons it taught me. When I stop to look at how far I've come [how far you've come], I'm really proud of myself and I have every right to be! My story is one of vulnerability but also one of strength...a strength I didn't know was in me. While my story is very specific, I hope it's one that you can apply to your own experiences and struggles - whatever they may be. Things get a little easier everyday. I'm ready to accept it.

I will forever be grateful for the support I received from family and friends, even down to mocking my gain of 3" in height 'over night'. I'm indebted to my consultant and the nurses who took care of me and made me feel safe in the hospital in London, I could never have ask for better care. Also, to the physiotherapist in Belfast who encouraged me and challenged me to realise the strength of my body. This is my thanks to them. 

You can see the start of my journey here  

Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Statement Sleeve

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I'm a fan of a statement piece whether it be shoes or bags. This one's a little different though, I guess you could say it's more of an embellishment - the statement sleeve. I'm partial to a statement sleeve as it just elevates an item, especially jumpers. From bell sleeves to oversized, puffy sleeves to patterned sleeves...I'll take them all!

The jumpers I'm wearing are very different but both have a statement sleeve. The first is from Marks and Spencer (old). It's a gorgeous blush pink colour with a high neck. It's topped off with the most amazing bell sleeves - they're huge! They're so billowy and floaty, adding a little drama to such a simple jumper. The second has a different kind of statement sleeve. This one has fringing and varying textures which I just love! It shows how a plain jumper can be transformed with a little extra detail on the sleeve. This one's from ASOS (also old). The best bit is that both of these jumpers were super affordable.

You don't just have to wear a statement sleeve with a jumper, it works so well on tops and blouses too! My favourite way to wear the statement sleeve is with a simple pair of jeans or a denim skirt to make the sleeve stand out. This style can completely transform a simple outfit!

I've been searching the internet to find my favourite statement sleeves:

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