York: The Weird and Wonderful

When you have a few hours spare in the most haunted city in the world, it’s only right that you go exploring!

I’ve been to York before. I’ve seen the York Minister, I’ve fangirled over the Harry Potter Stores in The Shambles and walked along the castle walls. But this time, I was on a mission. I wanted to find the weirdest and most wonderful shops in this weird and wonderful city.

I like to think I succeeded! Check out my finds below.


The Portal Bookshop

Walkin into this independant bookstore was like walking through a portal (hehehe get it?) into a world of LGBTQA+ celebration. The shelves were lined with both fiction and non-fiction LGBTQA+ books, flags and badges and the person who owned the shop was so lovely and a pleasure to talk to!

Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQA+ community, or an ally like mysel, you are welcomed with such a lovely warmth into this store. If you’re wanting to grab an awesome fantasy novel or educate yourself on social issues, then why not choose to head to this local business instead of the nearest chain?

Want to head there yourself? Find it here:

The Portal Bookshop
5 Patrick Pool
York, England YO1 8BB

Or check them out on Social Media!

https://www.instagram.com/portal.bookshop/


York Armoury

Much like these bewilderesd strangers, I too was in drawn in by the weapons on display in the window of the York Armoury. You might have notice the Keyblades (big up Kingdom Hearts) or mayve the crazy masks, dragons or full sized shields is what grabbed your attention, but for me, as soon as I saw this display I just had to go in.

The shop itself is a clustered mixture of both fan replicas of classic weapons (such as Mjolnir!), collectables, armour and real ass swords. Being a massive weeb, the Katanas were the think I was most excited to see. Sadly I neither had the funds, or the need, for a`sword of my own so looking had to be enough for me.

Check them out here!

15-19 Stonegate
York
YO26 8AS
www.yorkarmoury.com


Käthe Wohlfahrt

Ok so this one was probably the most fun for me to experience. This place is the real Christmas Wonderland and let me tell you, Christmas isn’t just in December for these folks.

Whilst you’re not normally allowed to take photos, the staff inside were lovely enough to allow me to take a few to show you guys a sneak peak!

Founded in 1964, this German company embodies everything Christmas. From beautiful tree decorations to beautiful statues, you feel like you are transported to a Winter Wonderland, no matter what the season. There is even an entire room just made of genuine German Black Forest Cuckoo clocks!

Walking around the shop, you feel pure joy and wonder whilst each room unveils a new surprise. A must see from me!

Give them a visit here:
17-19 Stonegate
Mulberry Hall, York
YO1 8ZW
https://www.kaethe-wohlfahrt.com/en/souvenirs-en/


York Ghost Merchants

Fans of the occult may already know this, but York is the most haunted city in the world! Situated on the Shambles, York Ghost Merchants pays tribute to this in such a lovely way. If you’re looking for a souvernir from your trip- this is the place to go.

Made from a water based material that I’m not allowed to say (but if you know me personally it is something work with myself!), this shop sells the most adorable mini ghosts! Each one is unique in it’s design, so your ghost will be one-of-a-kind. You can see my very own Ghost Jojo in the pictures below (yes I named it whilst watching Jojo’s Bizarre adventure…).

The way the shop is designed, including the low light and staff costumes, walking into the small space feels almost like you’ve almost stepped back in time to haunted Victorian England! There are little surprises hidden throughout the shop which I wont spoil for you, but they are. such a joy to discover.

Oh… and check out the mini working train!!

You can find these guys on The Shambles but the full address is:
6 Shambles
York
YO1 7LZ
https://www.yorkghostmerchants.com/


The Weird and Wonderful

These 4 stores are the weirdest and most wonderful you can find in the world’s most haunted city (in my opinion 😉 ).

Have you been to any of them? Let me know!

Charlotte’s Thoughts: July 19th

Charlotte’s Thoughts: July 19th

Freedom day is almost upon us!

Whether or not you agree with Bojo about lifting all restrictions on July 19th* it’s happening. The UK will be out of lockdown and Covid will be treated like the flu- get your vaccine but no more complaning.

For many people this news will be a huge sigh of relief, but take a moment to think about those who may not be as excited about it as you are.

Don’t forgot the people around you who aren’t 100% healthy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited for life to get back to normal as anyone! But for spoonies, people with autoimmunine diseases, people with cancer etc, July 19th could mark the start of a really scary time.

Source: Pixabay

We each have individual responsibility to look after the people around us. I know I’m one of the lucky ones in that my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome doesn’t seem to be autoimmune, but there are thousands of people around the UK whose immune systems may not be able to handle a case of Covid-19.

I’m not saying don’t go out and celebrate- far from it! I know that I will be seeing friends and partying as hard as my body will allow me (2 wines :P). All I’m asking is that if you know you are going to be in contact with somebody who has or has had an illness like cancer, or somebody with an autoimmune disease, that you be careful.

Maybe don’t go to the club the night before you’re seeing them? Take a test, get vaccinated and overall just be smart.

The government will no longer be enforcing the rules that can protect people like this, so it is up to us to protect each other.

Stay safe everyone!

Charlotte x

*As of 5/7/21 when this article was published July 19th as the date for lifting all restrictions is still pending.

Upcoming Travels: Cornwall

Upcoming Travels: Cornwall

T-Minus 51 Days until my UK Vacay!

Even though life will have hopefully gone back to (relative) normal by then, Max and I have decided to staycation again this year instead of going abroad.

Why? Becuase Covid will definitely still be around even if things have opened up again and even though we are double vaccinated (ill people perks 😉 ), I personally would wait a couple more months before going aborad. Also, we are saving money at the minute for our 2023 cruise around South Japan!

When the sun is shining, I bet I could show you a picture of a Cornish beach, tell you it’s Thailand and have you believe me. It is beautiful! We spent a week there last year and honestly I cannot wait to go back.


I really need a holiday…

I know everyone says that but believe me: I really need a holiday.

With the pandemic, working 6 months in my first office job, my chronic fatigue and more, it’s gotten to a point when life is getting on top of me a little! I also get really stir crazy if I’m in the same place for a long period of time. Even if it’s for a day or two, I have to get somewhere different every once in a while to stop me going (more) crazy!

I’ve been to visit Newcastle and Manchester recently which have been great, especially because I see family and friends, but it’s also because I see family and friends that it doesn’t feel like that much of a seperation. Do you get what I mean?

I want to walk on unfamiliar streets, see the ocean, try local food, marvel at architecture I haven’t seen before, and feel the sense of freedom only travelling can give you.

I need a reset.

What I see in my dreams 😛 (iStock)

So whats the plan?

Having been and done some of the things I wanted to do in Cornwall last year, this year I have the chance to not only try new things but return to some old favourites.

Being the Type-A esque traveller that I am, I love pre-planning as opposed to just gonig with the flow. Normally pre-trip you can find me scrolling through pinterest and instagram looking for inspiration and this trip is no different.


Last time

When I went in July 2020, in the brief moments of Covid respite (before the government went tits up again), I had a blast. I ate an award winning proper Cornish Pasty from Rowe’s Cornish Bakers, saw the most adorable sea floofs at the Cornish Seal Sancturay and got the most pathetic excuse for a tan (I’m so white y’all…) on Praa Sands Beach. I also saw the most incredible natural beauty at the Eden Project and Trebah Gardens.

Eden Project

As far as places I’d go back to, I would definitely visit Praa Sands again, it was one of the the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to! I loved walking around the streets of Falmouth and since it is near the flat we are staying in, I expect I’ll be there quite a bit. We very briefly went to Healey’s Cornish Cyder Fam but it was only to pick up some Rattler (best cider ever) from the shop. I would love to go and get a tour of the place this time around!

Trebah Gardens

This year

One place I’m dying to visit is the Lost Gardens of Heligan. I love beautiful gardens and seeing the flora and fauna. I didn’t have time to make it here last time so it is a must this time around.

The next thing I really really want to see is St. Michael’s Mount. It is built on a small island surrounded by water- so visiting it is very much dependant on the weather. You have to buy tickets in advance but if there is bad weather, they say they will try and give you 24h notice and give you a full refund.

St. Michaels Mount (dreamstime.com)

Another castle I would like to visit is Tintagel Castle which is said to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur! Other locations I might try to visit are St.Ives, Padstow, and Trevose Head.

I’m just so excited to get away! Oh to relax on the beach, take in the sights and grab a yummy late breakfast with Max overlooking the sea- what a dream!


Only 51 days to go! I’m counting 😉

Much love,

Charlotte x

Uni for a Spoonie

Uni for a Spoonie

If you’ve been keeping up with my instagram @livinglifefree__ then you will know that I finally got to wear a graduation gown! I still haven’t had a ceremony (thanks covid…) but putting on that gown and standing infront of Newcastle University’s iconic arches made it feel a bit more offical: I’m a graduate!!!


Graduating in general is huge! But as a spoonie?

Graduating whilst having a chronic illness is a legendary achievement and I will damn well toot my own horn for managing to do it.

Hours lost from lectures, study time, practice (I did a music degree), and my social life often made me wonder if it was all worth it. My Chronic Fatigue Sydrome started around the start of my second year and had a huge impact on my studies all throughout my that year, my year abroad, and my final year.

I remember crying constantly because all my friends were going out and I couldn’t keep up and worrying that they would forget about me (which also did wonders for my social anxiety…). But then when I did have the energy to go out, I had to justify whether that energy should be spent on socialising, or on catching up on the hours of uni work I’ve missed.

Overall, I think you can guess that my uni experience was probably quite different to most peoples. But, even with all of this, I managed to graduate with an amazing grade: a high 2:1! (1 mark off a first too!) It makes me think, imagine what I could have achieved if I was healthy?

This is without even mentioning the pandemic!


So… How did I do it?

Want to know how I made it through uni as a spoonie? I’m going to share my tips and tricks with you and hopefully I can make your life a little easier!

Just a quick note: everything here is based on my own university experience. I know that everyone’s uni and course will be different!


Get to know your lecturers

I was super lucky in that some of the lecturers around the music department (shout out to Paul Fleet, Ian Biddle and Jane Nolan!) who were really supportive.

Whenever I had an issue, I knew I could go and talk to them. Whether I needed an extension on my assignments, or just to vent about life, I was very lucky to have lecturers who cared.

I know that most courses are a lot larger than mine, so here is how I got to know my lecturers:

I had an assigned personal tutor. When I joined the uni, I was assigned Dr. Paul Fleet as my port of call for any issues that I had. We had regularly scheduled check-ins to make sure everything was going ok, not just academically, but also how my general well being was. We bonded over our mutual love of Star Wars and sarcasm so when the time came when I started to get ill, I felt comfortable going to him to ask for his advice.

I also got to know other lecturers by going to speak to them after the lecture is over. No matter if you have 50 or 500 people in lecture, you can always go up to your lecturer to ask a question or make a comment when your lectures are over. Even if you just go up to say thank you, showing your face will get you on their radar.

You can also make an appointment to go and see your lecturers 1-on-1. Dr. Ian Biddle and Dr. Jane Nolan were both people I would arrange to see 1-on-1 quite frequently. Ian was one of my lecturers and was also one of the people who supported me the most in terms of going through the university wellbeing and extension system during my final year. Jane was my major project supervisor and was a key player in me actually getting work complete and submitted. Jane, along with Paul, Ian and the rest of the music department staff all knew of my condition.

By being on constant communication with my department staff, I developed relationships with lecturers who helped me academically and with my overall wellbeing.


Get Consideration from the University

An area of the Newcastle University campus

During my third year, I had something called an SSP. Essentially, this was something that put a note on my file saying ‘hello extensions people, this gal has Chronic Fatigue and so if she asks for an extension, chances are she needs it so give it to her ok?’ (or words to that affect 🤣).

I had to jump through a few hoops to get it done, (thanks again Ian!) including getting offical medial evidence. Which leads me onto my next point…

Get Medical Evidence of your Condition

This might be easier said than done for alot of spoonies as getting an official diagnosis of our conditions in the first place is a nightmare.

Whether you’re applying for an SSP or SSP-equivalent, or for an extension/consideration, having medical evidence will always make things alot easier. Infact, sometimes it will be required. Whether this is right or wrong (as some people may not have an official diagnosis or may have a negative mental experience that does not require a long-term label), it is often requested by universities to back up your claims.

You can get evidence by contacting your GP or Specialist and asking them to write you an official letter stating your medical condition(s).


Live close to your University Campus

Imagine this: you’ve made it to bed at a good time and are excited because you think you might actually be able to make the 9am you’ve missed for the past 3 weeks. You get up feeling pretty good the next morning but then you think: It’s a 45 minute walk to university! By the time you get there, you’re not going to have the energy to get through the lecture, let alone the rest of the day!

Thats why I would recommened living no further than a 20 minute walk from your campus/main building. Yes, even 20 minutes can be HUGE for people, I know when I was having a bad day I couldn’t hack the walk home at times. (Uber became my best friend! My bank account did not…)

A quick look at my final year accomodation

Be honest with your friends

The social side of university plays a huge part in someone’s experience. My social experience was definitely affected by my chronic fatigue. There were so many missed nights out, cancelled coffee dates and parties that I never got to go to because I was feeling awful alone in bed.

Luckily, I had some fantastic friends that were really understanding when I explained my condition to them. I’ve never been made to feel less than by any of them because of it and they did keep making an effort to involve me.

I know that I was very lucky in that scenario- not everyone is as supportive and open about people’s illnesses but on my end, it was important for me to be honest with them. Alot of times, people do care but don’t know what to do or how to handle these situations.

By talking to our friends, we can tell our them how to handle our dips/flares, what to do to best support us ect.

Newcastle University Gilbert and Sullivan Society during our performance of Iolanthe

Be nice to yourself!

Possibly the hardest tip of all: BE KIND TO YOURSELF!

Comparing yourself to the other students around you who are at full health can be really hurtful because we think we should be at the same level as them. But its OK to give yourself a break!

If you need an extension, ask for it. If you need to miss a party- do it! You are just as capable as anyone else, but sometimes us spoonies just need a little extra time.


Get graduating!

There was no greater feeling than receiving the news that I had graduated after such a rough time. With everything my CFS put me through, as well as all the stuff that Covid messed with, there really were moments when I didn’t think I would finish the year.

But, one year after I received my certificate, I got to wear the gown, the hood, and the cap (I brought my own- Newcastle doesn’t have them). I stook infront of the iconic uni arches, where everyone gets their pictures taken and felt powerful!

I had made it. I graduated with a fantastic grade and had a great experience! Uni for a spoonie is definitely possible 😀

I hope this can help you get through uni as a spoonie!

Much love,

Charlotte x

Sunshine and Mood

Sunshine and Mood

It’s sunny! :O

And you know what that means: Drinks (or coffees if you’re me) in the sun, bragging over the slightest tan lines and all the big hairy bellies you never wanted to see.

But for alot of people, myself included, the sun also brings a change in mood. I always find myself feeling happier in the sunshine, even when I’m sweating glowing from the heat. I always thought it was becuase I was a summer baby (June 22- birthday is coming up!) but it turns out there may be an actual scientific reason for it.

Cornwall 2020

Seasonal Affective Disorder

(Information is from the NHS website)

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or Winter Depression is a form of depression that tends to arrive in the winter and leave in the summer.

Although the cause is not 100% confirmed, most evidence points to the decreased sunlight exposure in the colder months. The main theory right now is that when there is less sunlight the body produces less seratonin (hormone that affects mood) and less melatonin (hormone that affects sleep).

Oh to sleep as soundly as this fox…
(Image from Pixabay)

Now mix that in with someone who has Chronic Fatigue and you have a winter full of darkness and exhaustion (not to be dramatic).

But that means when the sun comes out (which, lets be honest in the UK is a rare occasion), there is a noticable difference in not just my mood, but also my fatigue levels!


That’s not to say I’m cured on sunny days…

Far from it! Often prolonged periods in the heat will trigger flares of exhaustion. The illness never fully goes away but when you’re driving past the beautiful green trees, sunlight streaming through them on your way to work, you start the day off in a far better mood than seeing nothing but grey sky.

A beautiful sunset on a local street

Think you have SAD?

One of the things that I use- even in the summer when I’m in darker places- is a SAD lamp.

It is a portable form of light therapy and emits lights designed to mimic sunglight. They may also be called Light Boxes. I have attatched the link to the one I personally use below:

https://amzn.to/3vzS2kV

That being said… this is only my personal recommendation.If you are struggling from any mental illness I would always advise seeking medical advice.


Time for some fun in the sun!

If the weather where you are is as fantastic as it is here, take advantage and get some of that sweet, sweet vitamin D!

(Image from Pixabay)

Even uf you’re a spoonie confined to your bed, try and get the window open or a bit of time in the garden!

Remember: hydrate, feel great and make sure to wear UV Protection Suncream.

Now get off your phone/computer and go enjoy the sun!

Much love,

Charlotte x

5 UK Staycation Cities to Visit in 2021

5 UK Staycation Cities to Visit in 2021

May 17 meant that hospitality and staycations are now back on the table.

I don’t know about you but I am dying for a vacation. Work life and chronic fatigue have been tough so I like to think I deserve one right?

I know many of you feel the same- you deserve a break! This list so more for those who want to travel to explore and see the sights as opposed to those who want to relax (don’t worry this will come soon). You can get just as much of a cultural hit with UK City Breaks as you can abroad. Here are 5 of my suggestions for your UK 2021 Staycation.

(Disclaimer: All activities in this article consider the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic and do not include any time dependant activites such as festivals)


1. London

iStock- London

I mean, this one has to be obvious right? The UK’s Capital city is a collection of culture, life, business and has a little something for everyone.

What to do there?

  • See a show at the West End (now that they are starting to reopen)
  • Ride the London Eye
  • Find fantistic food at Borough Market
  • Seek out the street art and quirky cafes of Shoreditch
  • Spark your curiousity at the many museums– including the Natural History Museum and the V&A
  • Shop till you drop on Oxford Street
  • Shop for all things indie at Camden Market
  • Take in living history at the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace
  • Get a breath of =fresh air in Hyde Park
  • Find the best view in the city by going up The Shard

Bonus Recommendation: A personal recommendation (if you’re a bit of a nerd like me 😉 ) is to visit Draughts. It is a really funky board game cafe with tons of selection and fantastic food. Oh- and bonus: You can find the entrance inside the Leake Street Tunnel– the home of London Street Art and visited by Banksey himself!

2. Manchester

iStock- Manchester

Ah Manchester, my home town; the Capital of the North, the epicentre of British Industry and the birthplace of iconic musicians such as The Smiths and The Stone Roses.

It may not be as internaltionally iconic as London but Manchester has an incredible amount to offer.

What to do there?

  • Hit the shops in the City Centre and The Trafford Centre
  • Celebrate LGBTQ+ life and party in the Gay Village
  • Check out the amazing restaurants around Spinningfields
  • See the incredible architecture of Manchester’s Libraries at Central Library and John Ryland’s Library
  • Channel your inner indie creative with the shops and foodie spots in the Northern Quarter
  • Find all the fun of Camden in one building at Afflecks Palace
  • Have one of the world’s top 10 Pizzas at Rudy’s
  • Get footy mad at Old Trafford, The Emirates Stadium and the Football Museum
  • Check out the amazing nightlife venues- (that are open and Covid safe!)

Bonus Recommendation: Have the best brunch of your life at Moose Coffee or 19 Cafe Bar! Also, if you’re a sushi lover, check out Wasabi in the Printworks- tasty plates at really reasonable prices! (Can you tell I’m a bit of a foodie 😂?)

3. Edinburgh

iStock- Edinburgh

Edinburgh: The Capital of Scotland. As hub of culture, architecture and Scottish Pride, Edinburgh is such an incredible city to visit. The last time I went, it was pre-covid at Christmas time and the whole city just buzzed with life! I can’t wait to get back here.

What to do there?

  • Visit the iconic Edinburgh Castle
  • See over 20,000 unique pieces at the National Museum of Scotland
  • Listen to some incredible bagpipe music by street performers
  • Check out the shops, bars and hotels on Princes Street
  • Get WOW’d at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • Embrace natural beauty and the calmess of a village (in the middle of a city :O) in Dean Village (my personal favourite)
  • Harry Potter fans can sit in in the same cafe that the author sat and wrote some of the series at The Elephant Cafe
  • Take a hike up Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s extinct volcano

Bonus Recommendation: Go for a lovely lunch at The Painted Rooster- it’s the best toastie I’ve ever had!

4. Liverpool

iStock- Liverpool

Liverpool has undergone a HUGE transformation and is now one of the most bustling metropolitan hubs in the whole of the UK. Walk the same streets as The Beatles and take in the vibe of the city.

What to do there?

  • Shop ’till you drop at Liverpool One
  • Music fan? Check out The Beatles Story
  • Take in the stunning scenery while walking along the Royal Albert Docks
  • Art Connoisseurs will feel right at home walking around the Tate Liverpool
  • Fancy some football? Check out Anfield Stadium.
  • Learn the history of the city at the Liverpool Museum
  • Check out all the Liver Bird statues dotted around the city
  • Be amazed by the stunning Victorian Architecture in the city’s St George’s Quarter
  • Surround yourself with natural beauty in the stunning Sefton Park
  • Check out the amazing nightlife venues- (that are open and Covid safe!)

Bonus Recommendation: Get your brunch on at Liverpool’s most instagrammable cafe ‘The Florist.’ Also, if you’re looking for some fantastic food and cocktails, then head down to ‘The Smugglers Cove.’

5. York

iStock- York

Ah York, the blossoming heart of Yorkshire. It may be one of the world’s most haunted cities, but there is nothing scary about how beautiful this place is.

What to do there?

  • Marvel at the stunning architecture of York Minister, one of the most stunning cathedrals in the UK.
  • Walk around the city on a piece of history with the Bar Walls
  • Dive into the history of the Vikings in the Jorvik museum
  • Be transported back to the medieval times whilst walking along The Shambles (another one for Harry Potter fans!)
  • Go for afternoon tea at Betty’s
  • Are you a trainspotter? Check out the National Train Museum

Bonus Recommendation: Got a sweet tooth? Check out the York Chocolte story to learn not only the history of chocolate in York, but the full story from bean-to-bar.


So there you have it! 5 cities that are fab for your Covid-safe city break!

What do you think of these cities? Let me know down in the comments!

Much love,

Charlotte ❤

Charlotte’s Thoughts: Freedom and The Future

Charlotte’s Thoughts: Freedom and The Future

As a spoonie, I often wonder about the concept of freedom.

So much of my freedom has been stripped from me by my own body. It entraps my own creativity and limits my physicality. How can someone who’s very existence is limited by their own self experience true freedom?


Birds and Freedom

Source: Pixabay

I know it’s cliché but I always look to birds for the idea of freedom. They aren’t bound by location, not limited by the constraints that we as humans would experience. If they don’l like their surroundings, they can just spread their wings and fly to their next location.

Who knows where they are going to end up?

In a way, it can be a bit ironic that I find birds’ ability to up and go anywhere they want, whenever they want, as an idea of freedom I enjoy. I do enjoy structure, timings, and schedules. I am probably one of the few nomads-at-heart who enjoys having their trips planned to the T. Stability brings safety when travelling for me and so here we find the irony.

Regardless, in the moments I am sat at my office desk or lying in my bed, feeling the effects of my Chronic Fatigue, I think of birds and how wonderful it must be to be able to fly far away from your problems with nothing but the wind in your wings and the whole world below you.


The Future

In truth, I really don’t know what my future looks like. There are some things that are crystal clear, like the fact that I know I will end up with my current partner, I have friends that I will never lose and family that will always be there for me. But, in terms of my career and location, I’m clueless!

Source: Pixabay

I have always had goals. Finish high school, finish sixth form, finish uni and now my goal is to complete my apprenticeship. But sometimes, I sit at my desk, wondering if I am doing the right thing. My CFS is a hude limiter on my ability to work- leading me to have to work fewer hours. Would it not be better to take out completely to focus on my health? Or would that time be wasted without the structure of my job? I do enjoy my job and am 100% committed to my apprenticeship, but those thoughts do come now and then.

But then, there is the question of after. What comes next? Do I stay at my job (if they will have me) and have stability or risk it and try something new?

The idea of working freelance whilst travelling is my dream without a doubt but I know I need to be practical with my choices too, especially as a spoonie.

The future is a complete mystery. I know there is so much potential out there, but I already feel limited by my illness. My dreams have become smaller, or further out of reach, becuase I know my body wont be able to handle them. The future is both a wide open sky and a dark, black hole- both alluring and both completely unknown.


Fear

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Whilst the future may bring possibility, it also brings uncertaincy. I have no idea if I will get healthier, get travelling again, be 100% happy in my career etc and that scares me!

The future is like a bright light, cast wide and encompassing everything. Fear makes this light seem impossibly bright and impossibly large.

Source: Pixabay

There is a way to focus this light, to hone it and give it purpose. Pushing through fear and setting intentions is the way to focus in, but choosing which intentions to set bring a whole fear on top of everything.

What to choose? How do I know what path to focus on and which intentions to set?

The future is scary.


These are my thoughts right now.

I think I will start writing articles like this more. Expressing not just the facts and figures of being a spoonie, but the inner workings of my mind. My thought and feelings that my Chronic Fatigue and my love to travel giveme.

Who knows what the future holds? Who knows if any of us spoonies will ever experience true freedom? Oh- and what on earth IS freedom?

These probably sound like the rambles of a mad woman- and they probably are!

Here’s to freedom and here’s to the future.

Much love,

Charlotte

What Is a Spoonie?

What Is a Spoonie?

If you follow my instagram (@livinglifefree__ cheeky plug) then you know I talk about being a spoonie. But for those outside of the chronic illess community, you might be wondering what it actually means.

It all comes from ‘Spoon Theory.’

Spoon Theory is a metaphor to help people with chronic illnesses describe their struggles.

‘Spoonie’ was taken from student Christine Miserandino’s blog post ‘The Spoon Theory.’ Back in 2010, Christine friend asked her what it was like for her to live with Lupus and she had to think of a creative way for a healthy person to understand her illness in a way that was easy to imagine. Hence the spoon theory was born.

So what is it?

Imagine that a person with a chronic illness has 10 spoons for the day. Each activity they do takes a certain number of spoons.

For example, getting up in the morning on a good day may take one spoonl because even on a good day it can be hard, or driving to work may take a spoon from your day.

To put it simply: spoons are physical representations of energy.

While healthy people may have unlimited spoons, spoonies only have a set amount to work with per day.

You can borrow a spoon from the next day if there is more you have to do, but that means that tomorrow you have less spoons to work with.

Things like cooking, being social, exercise and work all take up spoons but less obvious things that healthy people take for granted also take away our spoons. Getting dressed, listening to music, reading etc, all these things can take away from the daily spoon limit meaning spoonies have to be aware of their energy budget.

So when I talk about being an spoonie, I mean that I am a member of the chronic illness community and can often use the spoon theory to describe my life with chronic fatigue syndrome.


If you want to keep up with my fun and funky spoonie life, make sure to follow me on instagram or subscribe!

https://www.instagram.com/livinglifefree__/

Keep safe and well during this mad time!

Charlotte x

Work Work Work

Work Work Work

Hey guys, long time to no post! Sorry for the lack of content recently but I’ve been going through a move, changing jobs etc- it’s been a bit crazy (+ we’re in a pandemic…)

Wear a mask y’all

Speaking of jobs, that’s what I’m going to talk to you guys about today. For the past few months I’ve been working in social media marketing for a few different people. From a comparison site, to a luxury wellness website, I’ve spent some time in a few different jobs in a few different areas.

My current situation

Now… I’m only working with one person. Whilst people leave jobs for all sorts of reasons (I left one of them due to a boss taking advantage- guuurl I know my worth) the main reason I only have one client left is- shock horror- my chronic fatigue syndrome.

Mental energy is something I don’t have a lot of. I mean, I don’t have much physical energy either but in the type of jobs I’ve been doing, mental energy is the one I need.

When I’ve been contracted so many hours, I want to do that many hours!! But often after an hour or two of work looking at a screen, I get brain fog.

Now… what is brain fog?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition

So after a couple of hours, often I’ll have a dip or even if I don’t, the fog clouds my brain so much that I can’t work any more the rest of the day! When rent and bills are a thing- I think you can see why this is a bit of a stressful situation.

Stress = dips

Dips = inability to work

Inability to work = no money

No money = stress

See what I mean? Bit of a vicious circle going on here.

Image from pixabay

So right now, I’m looking for more work. I’m doing all the things you should, scrolling through Indeed.com, giving out my business cards (for social media marketing stuff), making calls etc but there is a big problem with a lot of the jobs available… there is NO WAY IN HELL that my body will be able to manage a 9-5 job.

If I sometimes get brain fog after a couple of hours, working all day, for multiple days on the run is physically impossible.

Working in a supermarket? Can’t do that- they could schedule me in for 5am.

Amazon packer? Imagine having a dip in the middle of a warehouse- no thank you.

The bags under my eyes are Gucci

Having a Chronic Illness Completely Changes your Life

Whilst there is some government help out there, it is a bloody nightmare to figure out.

I want to work, I want to be independent and pave a life for myself but how can I do that when I am so limited to what I can do?

I’m trying my hardest to find more remote social media work, because at least I can fit that around my schedule!

Any of you need a social media manager? 😉

Charlotte x

Sleepless Nights

Sleepless Nights

One of the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue is insomnia. Thankfully for me it doesn’t show up too often but when it does, its a bitch.

Once in a while, I’ll have a night where I lie in bed, completely unable to sleep. Then I get frustrated that I can’t sleep which makes it all worse and the cycle continues. I’m sure you get it right? It happens to everyone once in a while.

Problem is, one night of no sleep can knock me for days. Right now, I am exhausted in a way that has completely stripped me of any ability to focus on tasks that require mental energy.

That means things like work, cleaning, updating my social media, washing my hair, cooking etc. Anything that requires active engagement suddenly becomes 10x harder for a few days afterwards.

Since I’m not a student anymore, I actually need to work a good amount of house (because rent is a thing.) Issue is, after a night of no sleep, I have no ability to focus and hence can’t work without triggering a huge dip. That just adds to stress since it adds to financial worry.

Living with a chronic illness affects so much, everyday. It affects work, finance, relationships, friendships etc and so a sleepless night hits hard.

Things to do when this strikes

There are tons of guides on how to go to sleep when you can’t. As much as I’ve tried, most of these techniques just don’t work for me, so here are a few things you can do when you can’t sleep to make the experience a bit less rubbish.

Meditate

Picture from Pixabay

I don’t know about you but when I can’t sleep, it sends me into a panic because I know of the consequences. Taking time to acknowledge the reality of the situation and try to stop panicking can help you feel a tad better. Meditation can help calm the mind and put you in a better mental state to face the rest of the night.

Have a cuppa

Picture from Pixabay

Call it the British in me but a good cup of tea is always a good way to help relax. Put the kettle on and make yourself a hot drink but make sure it’s decaf. Adding caffeine to your body is not going to help!

Get out the room

Picture from Pixabay

If you can’t sleep, staying in bed can actually be a detriment. The location becomes a stressful situation of tossing and turning so stepping out of that situation can be really helpful. Maybe go down to the kitchen and make yourself that cuppa?

Lavender Lavender Lavender

Picture from Pixabay

In my previous blog post, I mentioned how much I love Lavender essential oil to help me sleep. There are so many awesome lavender products as well as oils, such as lavender teddies that you can put in the microwave (they’re so cute!). As well as being good to help sleep, lavender is a relaxing scent in general so if you’re like me and panicking at 4am that you need to be awake in a few hours then a bit of lavender to calm to the mind can help.

Power Through

Sleepless nights suck and they suck even more if you have a chronic illness. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but power through. Make sure you take it easy over the next couple of days and cut yourself some slack.

You can do this!