Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Things I've Achieved in 2014

When you suffer from a chronic illness there are inevitably many setbacks. I could tell you about the events I've had to miss or the time I cried at my graduation party because I was just too plain exhausted. I could tell you my attempts to go somewhere simple like my local supermarket only to fail getting out of the car and being brought home and put to bed or being too exhausted and weak to wash my own hair and having my boyfriend kindly do it. I could explain in monotonous detail the many days spent unable to move from bed. Unfortunately there are too many of these stories and too many of us with them - so I'd like to start a kind of tag. The positives of 2014, the achievements, the highs. I'm going to tag as many of you as possible but I would love anyone and everyone to do it!

1. Finishing My Teaching Placement

This is bittersweet for me as even though I'm really proud to have got through it, it is the period of time I blame for taking me from having 'mild' ME to having moderate to severe ME. Getting to school at 7.30am in winter, teaching all day, meetings until 6 and then marking, lesson planning and so on took it out of me beyond words. I was crashing as soon as I got home and yet too anxious about all the things I had to do and my health to be able to sleep. With that said, I was so proud to have achieved outstanding lesson observations and an outstanding placement grading - it was definitely an achievement!

2. Finishing University

After my decline in health I was seriously worried about my ability to return for my final semester at university. I could barely get out of bed, not to mention driving a 30mile round trip to university, concentrating and doing all my final assignments. After a teary meeting in the course leaders office I decided with so little time left to just go for it and with the help of super-duper friends I somehow managed to achieve two 'firsts' in my final assignments and a 68% final grade.

3. Attending Graduation

Graduation is obviously such a big rite of passage after finishing your degree and I was really upset at the thought of ME taking it away from me and, more importantly to me, my parents. I just wanted to be able to go and enjoy the day for their sakes more than anything and I was so pleased I managed the whole day - in heels!

4. Getting into DIY

I'm not sure how I managed to paint two pieces of furniture but it was a really nice experience setting out to do something, doing it and having something to show for it afterwards. Not always easy these days and the feeling was quite satisfying!

5. Going Out With Friends

It's hard to be a good friend when you have ME which is so upsetting as I really do have such amazing, great friends I love spending time with. Any time this year I've been able to go out and do normal things with my friends has been the best.

6. Seeing Arcade Fire and Lena Dunham

I'm really big into music and Arcade Fire really were one of those bucket list bands for me to see. Even though I was feeling pretty crummy through the show I'm so pleased I was able to go and not let ME hold me back. Seeing Lena Dunham and hanging with my friends Louise and Katie in London was amazing too, it was so fun to be somewhere different. 

7. Getting to my Sister's 21st

My sister's 21st birthday party really was a huge 'do' with lots of family from around the country coming and I really didn't want to miss out. After a blip at the beginning (where the room started to spin) I was quite distraught at the prospect of having to go home so I thought "If I'm feeling crap and I'm going to feel crap tomorrow - why don't I give my body something to feel crap about?" and got on the dance floor for the first time in a year - I think I had the most fun of anyone there!

I've probably included the big things of my year but lots of my achievements have been little things - getting out of bed and getting dressed for the day, yours might be too!

I'd like to tag:


And anyone else with a blog who would like to do the tag! Sending lots of love and health to you all for the new year.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Book Club #1

When I was younger I was such a bookworm. I devoured book after book, read them at lightening speed and would use my torch way after bedtime to read as much as possible. As I inevitably got older there was less time to read, more school work to do and more places to go out! Books took a back seat.

I've tried to make sure I read more recently as a) I do love reading and it's a good way to pass the time and b) My sleeping habits are poor and I'm trying to read more before bed instead of watching TV. I enjoy all genres but with M.E reading isn't always easy so sometimes I go for chick-lit. It's easy, it's unapologetic escapism and doesn't take too much energy. I really enjoyed this book so I thought I'd start doing some recommendations. 

Something Borrowed

What's It About?

This book follows Rachel, a distinctly 'average' 30 something who is stuck in a rut, wishing for romance and hating her job. Her childhood and best friend Darcy, however, has always had everything come easy. A great job, stunning looks and a gorgeous fiancĂ© and Rachel has always lived in her shadow, playing by the rules and taking no risks. 

On her thirtieth birthday Rachel ignores the rules and has a fling that makes her life very complicated.  Suddenly she has some hard choices to make about love and friendship.

Why Should I Read It?

The two main reasons I loved this book are polar opposites. I loved this book for its formulaic familiarity, it's chick lit at its best. The book is about an 'every-girl', set in New York city and is essentially about love. What I also love, however, is that it isn't a typical love story and I can't really tell you much more than that without spoiling the book. 

It also really delves into adult friendship - which is a complicated thing. Benchmarking and rivalry can rear its ugly head and I don't think it's revolutionary to suggest that childhood friendship doesn't mean you still have a whole lot in common. 

I really enjoyed this book for what it is and, surprisingly for chick lit, I didn't expect the end! Worth an easy read.

NB. This book was turned into a low budget rom-com and it's terrible. Although I love Ginnifer Goodwin, it's a shocker - don't bother!