Thursday, December 06, 2012

Florence and the Machine at the O2 Arena


Last night Michael and I saw Florence and the Machine at the O2 Arena. A Guardian reviewer only gave it 2 stars today but I can only disagree with his conclusions and report that the gig was wonderful. Florence herself has great stage presence and her voice is one of the best I have heard live. Each note carried throughout the arena flawlessly. Florence's presence is majestic and what is striking is the level of respect she has for her own music. That may be a weird thing to say as I am sure most artists respect their musical creations but the way Florence and the Machine ensure that their performance of each song reaches a state of sheer bliss and ecstasy is unique.

Florence loses herself in the words and chords, striking mystical poses to separate her, the performer, from the audience watching a magical spectacle. This artistic barrier was reinforced by Florence's almost regal  gesticulation, stretching her limbs to form statute-like figures, to interact with the spectators. As an audience we respected her and the lack of verbal interaction for the first third of the set left us in awe.

Florence is a brilliant front-woman but each member of her band and the orchestra was indispensable also. The stand out songs for me were "Only if for a night", "Shake it out" and "No Light No Light".


We were also told of Florence's last visit to the O2...back when it was the Millenium Dome and on a school trip! Although the aforementioned barrier was broken slightly as Florence revealed little anecdotes, including another about the relevance of "Shake it out" (a song about a hangover), she was still a fairy to us, floating from one side of the stage to the other, jumping and spinning all set.

Oh and her outfit was beautiful!
Pin It Now!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Deep Vein Thrombosis: a personal account

When I was first diagnosed with DVT back in April, I was advised by the doctor to elevate my leg for two weeks. My first thought was "No, I definitely can't do that - I have to hand in an essay in 10 days time!" so it is with a great deal of bitterness that I have gone through these last seven months, growling at how naive I was to believe that all my problems would be fixed in a fortnight. My Dad would, and still does, say to me "You'll be better next week" because to begin with, nobody really realised that this would be a long-term affair. I fell ill in the middle of the Easter holidays of the second semester of my final year at university and I was convinced I would be able to go to Southampton and do my final exams at the same time as all my friends. This did not happen!!

DVT is something that you hear about occasionally when you go on long journeys and are encouraged to do leg exercises and something that you gloss over when you look at the leaflet that comes with the Pill. I certainly had not ever realised what it actually means to have a clot in a vein (or three), nor was I really aware of DVT as a condition.

The charity Lifeblood wishes to raise the profile of thrombosis problems in the eyes of the public and researchers. This arguably ought to be more high-profile as I had not heard of it before I started googling my condition a few months back. The purpose of this blog post is to raise awareness of DVT, its symptoms, its causes and what you can do to prevent it. It does feel a bit strange writing about it online and I do not intend to go into the really personal details of my experiences but think it is important that people can recognise the symptoms should they ever come across them.

What is DVT?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein. Veins are those very helpful blood vessels which carry blood back to the heart from the rest of your body. If a vein is blocked, the blood obviously cannot travel back up to the heart. The pressure that this causes and the fact that it is deoxygenated blood causes the swollen, purple appearance of the leg. My clot is in my iliac and superficial femoral veins. This is uncommon. DVT is commonly found in the calf where, I have been told, it can actually go unnoticed but recovers quickly, especially in a young person. Unfortunately, the higher up the body the clot is, the more dangerous it is and it is a complication called a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) that you need to be wary of. This is when the clot breaks off from its original position and travels to the heart/lungs.

The clot may happen without you realising for some time. My first symptoms were lower back and hip pain, for which I stayed in bed and rested. It was my Mum who insisted on booking me a GP appointment for the next day. I was reluctant to go because although the pain prevented me from walking comfortably, I thought, as with a lot of other pain you get in everyday life especially as a girl, it would subside quickly. When I woke up the next morning, the pain had extended to my left thigh. I was given a lift to the doctors surgery where I explained my symptoms - at this point, back ache and limping. The doctor suggested that I visit a GUM clinic at the local hospital for some bizarre reason that I will never fully understand. I was fuming as I just knew that something was not quite right. It was a junior doctor who was observing the appointment that asked whether my leg was swollen at all. At this point, it wasn't and it was only later that I understood the importance of this question. I left the GP wondering how on earth I was going to explain to my Dad where I needed a lift to!

On my way back, I had to walk up the road to my house by myself. My left leg felt very heavy and I was walking at an unusually slow pace because every step was very difficult, especially as it was uphill. I was in tears from the pain and collapsed at my front door.

It was my sister who noticed that my left leg had turned a shade of purple and all of a sudden, having now put pressure on my leg from walking back, my leg had ballooned. My knee and foot had white spots on them and these were the parts which had swollen the most too, perhaps to double the size they normally are. The whole leg felt very tense.

I was driven to A & E after some persuasion from my family that this was something worthy of their time. Earlier that week I had seen an advert on television, made by the NHS, encouraging the public to ensure that they are using the right healthcare service for their medical problems. All I could think of on my way over to the hospital was a hope that I would not be wasting NHS time by going to A & E. Had I known what my symptoms were indicative of, or understood the gravity of DVT, I would not have worried.

The NHS website states the following as symptoms of DVT:

  • pain, swelling and tenderness in one of your legs (usually your calf) 
  • a heavy ache in the affected area
  • warm skin in the area of the clot 
  • redness of your skin, particularly at the back of your leg, below the knee
Symptoms of a PE:
  • breathlessness, which may come on gradually or suddenly
  • chest pain, which may become worse when you breathe in
  • sudden collapse

Turns out I had nothing to worry about in terms of whether my case was serious enough to go to A & E for - I was fast-tracked through the waiting room and seen almost immediately. The sight of me and my leg must have been ghastly! My blood gases were checked (seriously horrible nasty needle in wrist did nothing for my phobia of needles and veins) but they were normal. Other blood tests were done which indicated that something was wrong. I then had an ultrasound scan of my leg which confirmed what the blood tests had hinted at - the clot.


I was started on Fragmin injections (low molecular weight Heparin) straight away. These can be injected into your thigh or your tummy because this is where it is easiest to find an area of flesh. When I did a stint in hospital a few weeks after diagnosis, I found out that on some wards (e.g. Women's Health) everybody is injected with Heparin to prevent DVT so it is the same as this but a higher dosage. It stings SO MUCH. I embarrassingly used to squeal in agony every time I had it done. At the same time as Heparin started, I also started my treatment on an anti-coagulant called Warfarin which is sometimes referred to as a "blood-thinner". The Heparin is injected every day until the Warfarin starts to kick in (when your INR is therapeutic); for me this was after 7 days. Warfarin is luckily just tablets but they need to be taken every day at the same time. The dosage depends on what the blood's INR is. This is a measure of how well your blood clots. Patients are assigned a therapeutic range which their INR should always be between to be less likely to have another clot. I visit the anti-coagulant clinic every few weeks to check my INR and adjust my dosage accordingly.

This is the thing that I struggled to grasp for a long time - Warfarin does not target my blood clot and try to dissolve that. It makes all of my blood less sticky in an attempt to dissolve existing clots, but more really to prevent another clot from forming as once you have one clot, you are more likely to develop another.

At the time, anti-coagulation treatment was the only option presented to me. I found out about a month ago from a surgeon that there is a clot-busting injection that can target the clot but this needs to be done within the first week of diagnosis. Whether it was because it was on Easter weekend that I ended up in hospital with my original symptoms so there was a lack of staff etc (which accounted for why I also nearly went home without any crutches) or whether it was ruled out as an option by the right professionals and I was just never consulted about it, I have to admit that I did feel so gutted when I found out that this procedure existed. Apparently there are a few schools of thought on it and it is not common practice to perform it for DVT (upon researching it, it appears that it is used for heart-attacks and strokes), but I was told by both my haematologist and my surgeon that with hindsight this would have been a good option because of my young age. I assume it is more risky for older people and it is older people who usually suffer from DVT. The trouble was that it was not apparent how problematic or extensive my clot was so the long-term Warfarin treatment was opted for. I am the youngest person at my clinic but I have heard of young children who sometimes get clots so it can happen to anybody at any age. It is just more common in older people who may have another of the risk factors too.

In addition to my Warfarin treatment, I had physiotherapy for four months. Initially, physiotherapists do not get involved because there is the risk of dislodging the clot and as mentioned above, this causes complications such as PEs. The physiotherapy I received was helpful in teaching me how to build up my strength and how to recover from my deconditioned body. This is ultimately a very slow process. Seven months on, I have only just been for a short walk without any crutches.

I also sport a very attractive full-length compression stocking which may well be the ugliest thing that I have been forced to wear but it is extremely useful in managing pain and movement because it assists blood flow. It also reduces swelling but cannot be prescribed until the swelling has significantly reduced so you may not receive one for a couple of months. It does all depend on each individual case of course.

There are after-effects of DVT, such as post thrombotic syndrome which can cause long-term problems such as dimples, varicose veins, chronic pain, swelling and redness. The clot may also cause structural damage to the vein, so valve reconstruction is an option that is currently being explored should the clot clear up. Sometimes the valves fix themselves though apparently. The body is very clever sometimes!

If only the clot could just be sucked up with a vacuum, as my Mum says!

  • Inactivity e.g. after an operation, during a long journey (usually 4 hours+)
  • Being confined to bed
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Medical conditions such as cancer, heart & lung disease, infectious diseases, inflammatory conditions, thrombophilia (genetic condition making blood more likely to clot) and Hughes syndrome 
  • Pregnancy
  • Contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy - it is the oestrogen that is problematic so progesterone-only contraceptive pills are less likely to cause clotting.
  • Family history of DVT
  • Being overweight
  • Being a smoker
  • Being over 60
  • Being dehydrated
(Source: NHS website)

In my case, it is still unknown for certain what caused the clot which is why it is so important to know about such conditions as they do just happen out of the blue.

It is just so important to stay active. This also goes for post-diagnosis; physical activity is a decisive element in my rehabilitation process. I have been through periods of time where for weeks I would be unable to get out of bed because of pain and feeling unwell from the clot but it is this which sets me back. My physiotherapist explained to me that for every day you spend in bed, you need another couple of days to recover from that and to build up the muscles again. Exercise is just so important in the prevention and recovery stages.

If you fly, wear compression stockings and get up regularly to stretch your legs. Do some exercises sitting down. Keep hydrated.

Don't smoke!

You can find out tons more about thrombosis on Lifeblood's website. Their publications were very informative when I was trying to learn more about DVT.

Source: Google Images

There are a million more things that I could tell you about my experiences but the purpose of this post was not to rant about the annoyances of my condition or explicate the difficulties, rather to educate and raise awareness. Of course, everybody's case is different so what I have written may not apply to every case. A very useful website that I came across when researching about DVT was Daily Strength. There are so many discussion boards on this website to do with different health conditions, which provide support and advice to sufferers and their family/friends. Unlike other internet sources where people complain about their problems in an attention-seeking manner, Daily Strength is a place where genuine advice and reassurance is passed between patients. It has taught me about the endurance required to overcome some obstacles and as silly as it sounds, I felt relieved that I am not the only person out there with this.

I hope this post has been helpful and provided some insight.

Thanks for reading xx

Pin It Now!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reviews of comedy, music and new hobbies

Beeta's Autumn Picks

Russell Kane: saw him at the Hammersmith Apollo at the end of October. So articulate and flamboyantly fantastic. Was in stitches the whole night and I'm very sure that Aiden Grimshaw was sat behind me.

Rob Beckett: Russell Kane's support act at the Apollo. Brilliant

Shappi Khorsandi: great little gig at the Soho Theatre. 150 seat theatre felt like being in a lecture theatre. Being in a bigger venue adds something different I think because the likelihood of somebody finding a joke funny is greater.

Katherine Ryan

Alt J - Tessellate: this is the only song of theirs that I know but I realise that they've become more well-known recently having won an award. This is a lovely little song and Mumford & Sons have done a great cover too (I am looking forward to seeing them in December!)

Jose Gonzalez - Crosses: an all time favourite

A mix!
Watched my first few episodes of Flight of the Conchords which is a slightly more plausible/easier to follow relative of the Mighty Boosh in my opinion.

Current activities
- Painting! Today I painted an autumnal scene. Haven't painted since I was around 14 so it was refreshing to paint again after such a long time and it is so therapeutic.
- Knitting. As horribly complicated as it seemed at the beginning, I can now knit very basic items...that are rectangular in shape... This is also quite relaxing until you realise how hunched your back becomes so make sure you stretch often!
- Walking. This is improving which is just honestly so so liberating.
- Looking for a nice bowler hat for my massive head.
- Christmas shopping.
- Reading the little pile of books I borrowed from the library.
- Making Rocky Road slices yummmmmmmmm

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

"Baggage" - a review

This will be a rant. I couldn’t sleep last night because I had tried to watch Gok Wan’s new TV show , ‘Baggage’, earlier in the day and the half of it that I did watch was so awful I was itching to get my HATRED for the show off my chest.

Channel 4 brands it as follows:

Gok Wan hosts this dating game show series, where contestants must choose and reject potential partners on the basis of their baggage. Daters choose from three contestants who gradually reveal the hidden secrets and crazy flaws that they'd normally keep firmly under wraps on a first date.
As the show goes on, the contestants bring on bigger and bigger suitcases, which they open to reveal their secrets. And the bigger the bag, the bigger the Baggage! Who'll find love and win a romantic holiday, and who'll have just too much Baggage?”
Here are 5 reasons why ‘Baggage’ is a huge waste of space:

1.    The half-dressed girls in shiny outfits
Gok’s assistants ooze tackiness and I actually cringed at the way they enter the studio and provocatively bend down to present a suitcase…completely unnecessary. I get the whole ‘baggage’/luggage/flight attendant theme (although, thinking about it, last time I got a flight it was a conveyor belt that brought me my suitcase…) but watching this is like stepping back in time/something I wasn’t aware I’d signed up for.

2.   Nothing of note is actually said
The show’s concept is flawed. Not only does nobody actually care about pointless facts about people that the viewers will gain no attachment to whatsoever given that they are only on the television for an absolute maximum of 30 minutes in total but the ‘baggage’ is hardly something that would put you off going on an expenses-paid romantic holiday. The game show features like the names of the rounds such as ‘Big Baggage’ which reveals that one of the potential dates is a huge Harry Potter fan really is quite misleading. For a show pretending to be charged with innuendo, the so –called ‘baggage’ is tame and boring. It is genuinely a complete waste of time.

3.    It is humiliating for the contestants
Sure, they get to parade down the steps and walk a few metres flaunting their good (?) looks, but they are ridiculed. Even the audience look bored and over-compensate by putting all their energy into 'oooooh'-ing, clapping and wolf-whistling with unnatural pace and vigour. In Episode 1, one poor girl was pretty much victimised by Gok who stereotyped her as a blonde bimbo and made snide remarks about her lack of intelligence on no sound basis whatsoever. I understand that the contestants willingly put themselves forward for the show but the very behaviour that the show tries to pull off as ‘banter’ is degrading and not really the direction we should be heading towards. The girl was actually scowling as she left the studio, having just been rejected for revealing her trust issues. As well as the evident sexist slant, the final round is also humiliating. In this final round before the couple win the holiday the last piece of ‘baggage’ is revealed, only this time it is the deepest, darkest secret of the guy/girl who has been choosing so far – except, if the potential date guesses what the secret is correctly (50:50 odds), they have no chance to say that this ‘baggage’ is too much to handle, thus exhibiting the potential date as desperate and submissive. And off they go, hand in hand, perhaps unwillingly having just discovered that their date lives with their Nana. Shock horror.

4.    The delusional idea of ‘beauty’
Okay so I only made it half way through Episode 1 and may be proved wrong on this point if an atypical candidate is put forward (though I doubt it) but from what I saw, the girls at least that were brought out as potential dates fit a very specific definition of ‘female’. The game’s methodology tries to focus on things other than appearance i.e. candidates choose who to date based on their secrets, but unfortunately is tainted firstly by the fact that the candidate can see all the potential dates and thereby pick based on looks anyway, and secondly, Gok’s every other sentence describing how ‘gorgeous’ these dates are. Beautiful people are obviously allowed to be on television but what I think I have a problem with is that it is the same type of female which is presented as ‘stunning’ and ‘beautiful’ - there is literally no variation other than hair colour and I don’t think that I have ever seen anybody that resembles me. This can’t do much for self-esteem of young people either who are so heavily influenced by what they see on television. Yet another programme that promotes fakery.

5.  Gok Wan himself
I would have thought that a man who attempts to boost self-confidence of women in other shows such as ‘How to Look Good Naked’ and ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ would not engage in a show that embodies the above. Clearly Gok is unfazed by the fickleness of what he promotes by presenting this show and actually embraces it sinking into a patronising role which, judging by the facial expressions of those who took part in the first half of Episode 1, were ill-received.

Not impressed. 

Pin It Now!

Monday, September 17, 2012

five months on

Mindful of the fact that I have not posted in a little while, here is a quick-fire list of recent happenings.

I have:
- a clot which is going down finally, hip hip hooray
- become a lot more mobile, still on one crutch but mostly for (lack of) strength issues rather than having forgotten how to walk
- a TRAINING CONTRACT!! yipppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
- finished my exams and achieved a 2:1 in all my modules and therefore my degree! This and the point above were the last things I was expecting this year. Weird how bad luck and good luck work in cycles.
- had to say bye to my sisters who have now started university. Good luck good luck good luck! I am going to miss them too much
- seen Beirut live at the Hammersmith Apollo. What talent
- celebrated five years of wonderfulness with mikey
- seen Billy Elliot in London which was great
- a new found sense of freedom

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

you are my sunshine, my only sunshine

Today, Mikey and I were treated to a lovely river cruise on the Thames, courtesy of Lauren and Stefan's 21st birthday present to us last year! Yet another thing ticked off from my list of things to do that involve walking and were therefore impossible this time a few weeks ago! New achievement in there as well (note photo number 1 below) - ONE crutch!! Yippeeeeeeeeeeeee! It was a bit tricky with all the stairs at train stations etc but I did try and let other people go in front so that they wouldn't get stuck behind me for hours. 

We boarded the boat at Embankment and enjoyed a three-course lunch whilst seeing the sights of London, including the Globe, Big Ben, the Eye, the ugly Shard and Canary Wharf. Complete with a Michael Buble compilation album playing to set the tone :)

Afterwards, we sat in the glorious sunshine in Victoria Embankment Gardens which look particularly beautiful (for the Olympics I suppose!). Does anybody know why the little Olympics alien guy is called Wenlock?? I met him...see below! Some table tennis tables caught my attention and they reminded me of the parks in Iran. I'd never seen them here before but I think it is a great idea! 

In the evening, we had a little peek in the National Portrait Gallery (my favourite place!) and then met Gemma and Teddy for drinks near Trafalgar Square which was also lovelyyyyy.

All in all, a wonderful day! I love London :)

Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ticking good boxes

Yum fun with lovely friends and alsoooo I went swimming!!!! Take that peg leg!

Pin It Now!

Monday, July 16, 2012

New stage of recovery

Weekend achievement - wearing TWO NORMAL shoes!!! Yipppeeeeeee :)
I also ate three forms of ice cream/lolly yesterday and enjoyed yummy treats :)

Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


family and friends
the black keys - brothers (album)
ticking off another thing from my list - finishing my vacation scheme

Pin It Now!
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

London mystery

Lovely lengthy cab ride through London, it really is beautiful in the sunshine. I have just seen a guy by trafalgar sq with a digital slr camera strapped to his head, walking around holding a playstation controller up and pressing buttons. Then gave both devices to his friend who did the same... So intrigued as to what he was doing....any ideas?
Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day two of vacation scheme: still standing

Having the best time here
Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Pin It Now!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1 Corinthians 13

New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Pin It Now!

Monday, June 25, 2012

"True Love"

I have been catching up on the BBC improvised drama series 'True Love' and thought I should write about it because it is honestly one of the best things I have seen on TV for a long time. It explores themes of temptation, morals, impulses, passion and love (of course!). Warning, there are some SPOILERS!

The series, directed by Dominic Savage and set in Margate, focuses on individual characters and their romantic/sometimes not so romantic ties. The setting allows for some beautiful moments on the beach which really isn't as much of a cliché as it sounds and some really stunning portrait style shots of the characters. There is also wonderful use of music to fill moments of reflection. The improvisation aspect of the programme reminds me of the convincingness of 'Outnumbered' but in a whole new context. (On a side note, I have realised that Martha Costello/Maxine Peake from 'Silk' and Karen/Ramona Marquez from 'Outnumbered' in fact have very similar traits and quirks.) 

The stories make you aware of very real human emotions and surprise you with who you might end up supporting. It highlights how something quite unconventional, shocking or controversial is maybe what someone else wants more than anything in the world and makes you question whether you can judge anybody for what they do. At the end of the day, we all have reasons.

Viewers also observe the consequences of impulsive decisions - not always for the worse either. In Episode One, the family unit we are introduced to versus the return of the long lost love of the husband's life brought the title of the series to the forefront of my mind. Initially, I felt absolutely terrible about the husband sneaking around to see his ex-girlfriend who had taken off without explanation years ago. What a devastating situation for the wife obviously. But what the programme makes you realise is that where there might be injustice on the surface, it might be the role of fate kicking in. Does true love conquer all? It would seem so in this case but as the character was a relatively sensible one, emotions had to be set aside.

By putting trust in others and trusting sober emotions, some heart-warming decisions were made throughout the series. My favourite episode was Episode Four 'Sandra' where the protagonist is a mother whose youngest daughter has left home. She is left feeling unwanted in her maternal role and unloved in her marriage. Sandra's husband (we learn in Episode Three) was, unbeknown to her, having an affair and as an onlooker, I think the main emotion I felt towards her character was one of pity. It was a shame that her marriage had lost its spark and that they lived in a lovely home that had had its charm sucked out of it because of their dullness and indifference. You end up feeling so sorry about the awkwardness of their attempt to have meals together etc that you start to wonder whether they were ever actually suited in the first place. When karma came around and the cheating husband (by this point dumped by his girlfriend who fell in love with her female student...see Episode 3...!) finds out that Sandra has met another man, we witness the crushing effect it has on him and how it makes him try so much harder. On the flip side, Sandra's chance meeting with a kind Turkish man was the best thing that could have happened to her. He charmed her in a somewhat platonic way (to our knowledge anyway!) and made her realise that she can take control of her life. Each episode shows a way in which such control can be taken and in Sandra's case she packs her bags and gives some meaning to her existence again. Good for her! Great episode and not only because Mumford & Sons songs were used ;)

The improvisation worked incredibly well in my opinion. The awkwardness and tension felt between the characters really translates well through this approach. I thought the actors/actresses were very convincing. The cast included familiar faces such as David Tennant, Billie Piper and Kaya Scodelario, but my favourite performance was that by David Morrissey in the final episode. It is always special when you can identify with a situation.

If you click HERE, you can gain some insight to how the series was filmed.

A stunningly genuine piece of television all round, which I would highly recommend.
Pin It Now!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

hospital fun

I finally had my first physiotherapy appointment on Friday. Last month when I was in for my longer stint in hospital I was seen by a couple of physios who gave me exercises to do in bed to help my back pain. This time I was an outpatient and a lot more mobile. I still haven't been able to wear a shoe on my bad foot so I have taken to wearing my favourite patterned sock (which never quite matches my outfit) over my full-length compression stocking (really really attractive..). This has reduced the hopping! I did a fair bit of walking from one side of the hospital to the other which has made me realise that Willy Wonka probably did have a point when he installed the side-ways function in his glass elevator. As I hobbled across the car park, a man who actually looked like a character from the original Willy Wonka film offered some words of advice - "That looks very unstable. Be careful!" - which was nice of him. It was about 35 minutes before my physiotherapist introduced herself once I'd got to the waiting room and filled in all the forms about why I was there, what I usually do, what I would like to achieve and why I have pain etc etc etc. These questions were all discussed during the appointment too and an extra sheet of paper had to be found so that the physio could write down everything that had happened. Once the initial assessment was over, my back movement was observed as I rolled my shoulders in and out, leant from side to side and pushed my hands against surfaces. My movement was good apparently and the problem was more one of deconditioning. Then, she looked at my walking. First with both crutches, then with one and thennnnn I was given a new toy - a STICK. This was a very wobbly experience and I can't say I enjoyed it all that much but for now it is just to try around the house because long-term dependence on crutches is not ideal. Having practised for a day now, it seems like something I could get used to and does make me feel a little freer, if a bit elderly with a super shaky hand. I am to return in a few weeks time to concentrate on my hip but hopefully I will be doing even better by then :) Trekking to the other side of the hospital was slow but I reached the clinic in the end and it was really nice because all the nurses seemed so happy to see that I was out of the wheelchair. In the evening, I had a lovely Indian takeaway with Mike's family which was yummmmmmmy and what I had been craving all week. I am hoping to make it to a restaurant sometime in the near future!

I have just found out that the gathering Camelia is attending this evening was actually a surprise birthday party for her! This makes me so happy :) Roxana's 'robber' fancy dress costume today, complete with balaclava, has also made my day <3

Pin It Now!
Yesterday was the longest day of the year - this is how light it was at 9:40pm
Pin It Now!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This morning I spent some time sorting through bits and bobs that I have brought back from uni, including far too much jewellery and many drawings of zoo animals! I am constantly berated by many a family member/friend for hoarding all sorts of useless things like train tickets and buttons  (I collect them, ok!!) but I have realised that I will have to part from a lot of of them. Getting rid of jewellery is strangely tough and anything that has been bought for me by anyone, ever, will be staying firmly in one of my many 'keep' boxes. I tried to get rid of a few of these but the guilt was terrible so I still need to work on my 'charity shop' pile. I loved finding little pieces that I had forgotten about and kind of look forward to rediscovering them in years to come :)

In other news, I have just read a very interesting article by Simon Childs on the aftermath of last year's Dale Farm controversy. Click HERE to have a look. Great piece of journalism in my opinion.

I am getting used to reading again so have started with 'Dream Psychology' by Freud, as suggested in response to wanting to decode my dreams. I have also started doing training contract applications which keep me busy busy busy.

Listening to:

I am looking forward to my weekend plans and also finallyyyyyyyy having some physiotherapy tomorrow morning. My sisters will also have finished their A Levels this weekend so I can't wait to treat them next week if my condition is as steady as it has been :) excitedddd
Pin It Now!

Monday, June 18, 2012


I am pleased to report that I have ticked off another thing off my list! On Saturday, I saw my uni friends in Southampton. It was my first proper day trip and it was so great to be able to do something that I really have missed. It was a pretty emotional day saying goodbye to the house but also AMAZING to see the girls again and I will always look back fondly on my time at Spring Crescent.

Today, I have been exceptionally lucky to have a visit from Laura all the way from Salisbury which was so lovely. I had a luxurious little trip to the Derby Arms, on the Epsom Downs, and loved being able to sit outside in the sunshine for a bit. I am excited about life today :)

This evening, I am going to try and do some uni work with Bon Iver and Beirut as my soundtrack. I am also excited about seeing Beirut in September.

Pin It Now!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I'm so happy for all my friends who found out their amazing degree results today. Congratulations to you all :)  I'm so pleased that all your hard work paid off. I also found out that I got 68 for my dissertation which was a nice surprise because I wasn't sure I would even get any grades back today. 

Last night I stayed up for hours trying to write a research proposal for postgraduate study and finally put the laptop away at 3am but couldn't sleep til 5am. I could see daylight creeping in through the blinds and however hard I tried, I just couldn't find a comfortable position. I then woke up at 9 and couldn't fall asleep again so decided to just have breakfast, drink some coffee and get on with all the tasks I had assigned for the day. 

For the past however many weeks, I haven't really enjoyed having a to-do list for each day because it was too difficult to achieve the things I wanted to and I would feel stressed that I couldn't do ordinary things like have a shower whenever I wanted or sit in the kitchen to eat dinner instead of in bed. I find that going by how I am feeling is a good plan short-term but as this is almost becoming chronic, I have been encouraged to try things regardless of whether I think I can do it or not.

Today was a great example of this and as silly as it sounds I am quite proud of how much I achieved so that's my happy thought of the day. Setting tiny targets is a good way to start reaching out to the bigger ones I think. That's how it felt doing my research proposal I suppose. I sincerely doubt anything will happen with this application as I cannot afford to do it in the next academic year unless I obtain a studentship but I feel like I have broken a bit of a barrier through challenging myself and attempting it. I also needed to send off bits and bobs for my vacation scheme and finishing that was very satisfying, as basic as it sounds, as I knew it would lead to something worthwhile.

Finally, most exciting of all - drum roll please - I am now able to tick off one thing from my to-do list that I posted a few days ago.....I finally had a haircut!

Well done everyone again xxxxxxx

Pin It Now!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Today's little special bits

- yummy lunch courtesy of mummy
- venturing out of the go to the dentist haha
- Ellie and Emma visiting me and adding trips to nandos, wagamama and the harvester as well as a safari park visit to my to-do list :)
- I did a lot of law related writing for the first time in ages
- Barbie coloured nails for a little bit of fun
- wearing new jewellery from mummy
- photos from Cathy of the animals at Marwell zoo

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

To-do list for when I can walk

I visited my GP yesterday to try and find a solution for all the nausea, headaches and general pain I've recently had and all my medication has been changed so hopefully I can be up and about soon. A month ago I started making a to-do list for when I am able to walk again. I thought I'd share it so I know they definitely have to happen to avoid embarrassment!

Wish list/plan for when I can walk

- visit the out of focus exhibition at the saatchi gallery (sloane sq/Victoria/til 22.7)

- get a haircut

- do line judge training

- go on holiday with Michael, my friends and my family

- treat mummy to a belated bday present/day out

- revise for finals and aim for a first

- go swimming

- earn some money

- see my uni friends

- visit penningtons

- do race for life, even with crutches

- river cruise

- tsol vacation scheme

I know that one of those in particular can't happen as I won't be well enough in time but before all this started I had planned on running Race for life. Hopefully I will be able to this time next year :)

The thames river cruise was a birthday present last year and it needs to be used by August! Once I get through my vac scheme, I am hoping I'll be able to do anything at all :)

Last night it was Southampton's graduation ball and Cathy said it was amazing so I'm really pleased she had a good time :) I didn't have Pixie Lott (although I did help Camelia revise for geography and it has recently been brought to my attention that she looks like an Iranian Pixie Lott) but instead I got out of bed for a couple of minutes and made Michael pose for an alternative grad ball photo haha. I even put on one high heel to mark the occasion, especially as mike was dressed so smartly having been a busy businessman in the day :)

At the moment I am lying outside which is a wonderful change of scenery and spending the afternoon with my lovely mummy <3 that's made my day already :)

Pin It Now!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday morning

Fickleness is really annoying and really lets people down.

In other news, I made a list 28 days ago of things I would like to do when I can walk again but none of them seem very possible yet. However, a few of my lovely friends have come up with wonderful ideas including a sleepover and a picnic in the park which I think might be more practical now :)

Also, yesterday I came across two photographs I took in london when I was around 16 years old and mike suggested I send them to someone because he thought they were impressive. Now I don't know know if they are worth anything in any way but does anybody have any ideas of people/places that might be interested? One is of the city's skyline and river and the other is outside the national theatre. I can provide scans if anyone would like to see them.

Have a happy Monday xx

Pin It Now!

Saturday, June 09, 2012


Today was an amazing day in so many respects. I think I was running on adrenaline for most of it and for the first time in weeks I have felt genuinely content. I hope this doesn't jinx it but I'll cherish the memories at least. Carpe diem. Happy silver wedding anniversary mum and dad and happy 18th roxy and millie xxxxxx

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

the best catch up :)

Today I was overwhelmed with the kindness of Miriam, Surekha and Sive who trekked over from the other side of London to see me this afternoon. It was so lovely to be reunited with them and I hope to be friends with them for many many years to come. I wish I had taken a photo with them today! They have said they will take me out so I can wear my nice new dresses once I am a bit better....could be interesting on crutches! :) <3
Christmas Law Ball 2011

                     Miriam's Surprise Birthday Party 2010

 Christmas Law Ball 2009

Pin It Now!

Monday, June 04, 2012

jubilee weekend

The Apprentice final was average really. The penultimate Desperate Housewives episode was much much more exciting. I even shed a few tears at the end because what I have been rooting for all series finally happened and my faith in humanity and love is once again restored wooooohooooooooo.

I'm not sure how well known this is as I haven't been keeping up-to-date with the music world at all recently but this collaboration is unexpectedly nice!

Kanye West ft Bon Iver - Lost in the World

So far today I have practised bearing weight on the bad leg and attempted balloon modelling. The latter was a far less successful exercise. I wish I could join in with the Jubilee celebrations but the music channels and Mike's company are a perfect alternative really :)

UPDATE: I have just walked my first few steps in two months!! Although I am so worn out and in pain now, I am really happy because I managed to take about 4 steps without bearing weight on my crutches. Probably the most progress I have made so far. Yipppeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Pin It Now!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Just caught up on The Voice which is the best talent show on TV by a mile. I really love it! Now about to watch the final of The Apprentice. There probably won't be another time in my life where I will watch as much television as I have done in the last couple of months so it is best I get it all out of my system now and be more productive soon :)

Bo Bruce - Charlie Brown

Pin It Now!

Friday, June 01, 2012

In all honesty, I haven't really felt happy to write about anything in particular today.
If I could wish for everyone's problems around me to disappear then I really really would.
Also, does anyone know of any books that decode your dreams?

Pin It Now!

Thursday, May 31, 2012


The highlight of today was being visited by the lovely Ellie :) We had lunch together and talked all afternoon about our future plans to have dogs, cats and good summer holidays.

Another thing which has been very heart-warming is the number of really kind and positive comments I have received in the last couple of days from some people so thank you everyone who has and also everyone for actually reading this. It means a lot!

I think sometimes it takes tough situations to realise who your true friends are and who keeps an eye on you and checks in for weeks and months after you're the latest gossip etc etc. I am so grateful that I can count so many of those people. I am very lucky indeed and hope I can be as good a friend to those who have been so amazing to me.

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

double whammy

As soon as today's happy thing came up, I had to write about it as it was so exciting.

When I was 5, I started at Bishop Gilpin First School - a place I have such fond memories of - and one of my best friends from this school contacted with me today after years of being passive Facebook friends with one another. This has made me so happy and I really look forward to meeting her again to catch up once I am better. I feel bad that I didn't make the first move sooner - a lesson learnt I suppose!! Some of my best memories were made with my Bishop Gilpin friends so thank you to Kezi for getting in touch. As I said to her, it is so nice to still be able to see an old friend in the same way and know that they are still the lovely person you remember them to be.


Pin It Now!

a late day two

I managed to get through all of yesterday without using my laptop which can only mean that I was as busy as my situation allows that I did not need to turn to social media and/or BBC iplayer to hurry my day along. That in itself is probably enough to make my day really but there was a string of little things that are worth sharing so I won't end my entry there.

Things were put into perspective in a huge and awful way in the morning when I learnt of a friend's very sad news and my thoughts really are with him and his family.

Unexpected bits of happiness from yesterday:

  • amazing news from Cathy and a really fun phone conversation <3
  • receiving an offer for a vacation scheme FINALLY!!!!!!
  • coming up with fun ways to help Camelia revise Ecosystems.....let's just say, thanks to a very catchy song we created, I have remembered that there are layers in the rainforest with emergents (the tallest trees) standing at 45m tall, above the canopy layer which absorbs the majority of sunlight and intercepts the precipitation. Hopefully she has remembered this too!
  • wearing a new dress with little zebras on it 
  • my favourite flowers
  • a visit from Mikey
  • some kind messages and wishes

I also realised that I am the youngest person at my weekly clinic which is quite amusing, if a bit embarrassing!

Because attempting any sort of distance over 10m results in a real sweat and having realised that all my nice clothes are still in Southampton, my Mum was a star and transported pretty much the entire contents of H&M Epsom to our living room so I could pick some pieces. A bit like 3D online shopping I suppose, complete with fitting room facilities and free returns/delivery (perhaps a new business idea...???) The zebra dress was one of these choices and it really is nice to be out of a nightie if I am honest.

Another little step towards normality was sitting at the kitchen table for dinner. So overall, the day ended on a high and I fell asleep feeling excited about all the things I have to look forward to.

My dreams, on the other hand, were less positive and put me in a very bizarre situation where I was rock-climbing as part of the cast of 90210 with the evil characters from Desperate Housewives sneering from below as there were no safe footholds. The previous night I was in a burning house with Juanita Solis and Susan Delfino with baddies chasing us too and given that my dreams are somewhat prophetic, I can only assume that this is how the Desperate Housewives plot line will unfold.

Pin It Now!

Monday, May 28, 2012

onwards and upwards

I have been bed-bound for 54 days now so it really is a wonder that it is has only just struck me that I ought to start writing in this blog again. Having said that, the first month at least is a real blur to me so I am guessing the maximum prescribed opiates were at work.

In the past seven weeks I have become acquainted with many television programmes and numerous iPhone apps but I am sad to say that I have lost any interest in attending to my horse, Cub (on 'MyHorse' .... I don't even like horses that much), and need something more meaningful to fill this frustrating void in my life.

Although I have managed to remain vaguely sane thanks to a wonderful support network of family and friends, I really miss being productive and the aforementioned painkillers are doing their best to reduce my concentration span so much so that I still find reading a chore. Irritating, especially with a degree to finish. The thing that worries me equally is that I find listening to music difficult's not right - I love music!!

So, rather than whine as I might have previously been inclined to do, I am going to try and document the little things that I encounter each day that make my day.

Without further ado, here is the first entry:

A lovely mug of Twinings Camomile, Honey & Vanilla with a shortbread biscuit, all courtesy of the Yates family. I have really been spoilt with all the get better wishes, hundreds of bunches of beautiful flowers and thoughtful cards. It all really means a lot! Thank you everyone xx
Pin It Now!