Lifestyle

The Many Adventures of our Houdini, Tigger…

Now I am not too sure that I have let my lovely followers know, that we recently adopted a group of four gerbils. This was back in July, and we built them their own huge mansion to live in. I’m not going to lie, we are a bit behind on socialising them, we have actually found it to be quite tough to socialise them as they just don’t seem to respond the way previous gerbils I have had before used to.img_0605

The cheeky four’s names are Chilli, Stripes, Dash and Tigger, and this post is all about the adventures of Tigger over the last month.

Long story short, we were cleaning them out the other week. So going through the normal routine of getting them in their exercise balls or carriers, but low and behold, I go to get Tigger out and instead of climbing on my hand like the others do, she just clean leapt out of the cage. This was incidence number one!img_1079

This little adventure of hers led to her being loose in our living room for just over four and a half hours, and us having to recruit a friend to come over at nearly midnight. Oh and did I mention this was all the night before we had a house inspection?

Anyway, she was caught and put back with the others, and we started taking extra precautions when opening the cage.

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But several days later, yes you guessed it, she got out again!

This time she managed to make a very tiny whole at the back of the cage, and squeeze through it. Still now we have no idea how she managed it! But the point is she did, and I’m ashamed to say that we aren’t completely sure as to when she got out. There is about a 36hour period when she may of got out – we’d had a really busy few days.img_0603

So anyway, we managed to locate that she was definitely within the living room. The door quickly got secured, and we started the hunt- yes once again it was gone midnight! Oh and yes, we were going away for the night the following day, so we had an hour to find her.

We managed to get her trapped under a sofa, so we called our friend again to help us with catching her, and had to take a break while we waited for back up – I had an asthma attack so had to stop for a bit.

Well, typically in the twenty minutes we weren’t in the room, we lost all sight of her. She was most certainly not under the sofa we thought we had trapped her under!

To speed things up, after an hour and a bit of searching for her high and low- Im not exaggerating, we were checking EVERYWHERE- she was not to be found. Knowing we had to be up and out the house within 3 hours, as it was 2am by this point, we had to just leave food and water down for her and call it a night.

Fast forward to the following day when we were back from our trip, we restarted the search for Tigger. This time though we had gotten hold of some super humane traps. There was clear signs that she was still in the room. There was now food in her water, food moved, and a cushion all nicely shredded- thank you for that! But we decided to not stress about turning the place upside down, and just laid the traps and refilled her water.

And low and behold, woke up the next morning to her safe and sound in the trap, although a little stressed which was horrible.

Well then came the next adventure, reintroducing her to her sisters. Initially we put her in a different cage but right up against the main cage as we needed to go out, and by this point she had been out for anything from 3 to 5 days. I spoke to vets to get their opinion on putting her back with the others, and it was generally agreed that she should go back with her sisters. It was actually believed that she would go back without any issues.

Oh boy was that wrong. We tried to reintroduce her, and very quickly she was attacked. After much perseverance, about an hour later I made the call to get her out of there. The final straw for me was when she was smothered by the other three all pinning her and attacking- much longer left they would of killed her. And you guessed it, when trying to remove her, she jumped out the cage AGAIN!

This time was easier to catch her though as after an hour she managed to get herself stuck in a toy bag, so it was rather easy to grab her.img_1254

Fast forward to now, she has got her own cage, all kitted out full of toys and activities and generally cosy comfy homeliness. We have found that she is preferring to be away from the big cage as it seems to stress her out, and she is getting so much better with human company- although could still use improvement!

The more we have thought about it, and the more we have seen her come into her own character, we believe that she may of been being bullied for a little while. We have always noticed that they are a group that will have fights but we generally don’t have to intervene. But she was and always has been significantly smaller than the others, never really been seen out and playing, and was always just shy away from everything. Don’t get me wrong she isn’t the most confident now, but she is definitely improving.img_1255

What are your thoughts, do you think it sounds like she was being picked on before? Have you ever kept a gerbil on its own and if so how did it cope?

This is a new venture for us, raising a gerbil individually, as I’ve only ever had pairs so I’m apprehensive as to making sure she is okay.

Health · Lifestyle

Periods from Hell after Depo…

God, sometimes I hate being a women!

For a bit of background, I was put on the depo injection at 15 years old, after trying the pill for about three years beforehand. I found periods unbearable at a young age because of the combination of hormone symptoms and my disabilities.

I always found that my periods were rather severe. Bleeding would happen every other week, I would always become anaemic from blood loss, pass out and generally be debilitated from the pain of cramps. Hence why from a very young age after hitting puberty, my family and the doctors decided to try and stop my periods using birth control.

Now I have come off of all birth control in order to try and start a family with my partner. I was warned that it could be that my hormones would react the same as they used to or it could be better. There was also a chance due to how long I’ve been on the depo that my hormones may never return normally- but that’s a whole different story.

What I have found has happened for me is that they have come back just as I remember them.

So since Christmas I have been having periods every other week again, and wow have they been HEAVY! I haven’t passed out from them, however I do have another condition that causes me to black out so its hard to tell. But oh the PAIN!

I am having to take my morphine, constantly have a hot water bottle strapped to my stomach, and am still snapping at everyone!

Doctors will be called in the week I think as this is ridiculous.

So my question to any of you who have had the depo is did your cycles get better? 

Currently I have only ovulated once since December that I have caught on test, but my last cycle was 25 days which is at least a touch more normal. Just praying for this one to finish in the next few days and will then start the ovulation tests again.

What other posts would you like to see about my trying to conceive journey? I am hoping to document most of it, as I feel like it would both be interesting for you and exciting for me to write. Not to mention the help it may give to other people who are coming off the depo after a long time, as there really isn’t much useful information out there about it.

Health · Lifestyle

Slimming World Journey #2

While the title of this may be a touch misleading, stick with me and allow me to explain because I feel like it will make sense.

MY  NHS subscription for Slimming World ran out at the end of December, leaving me to think long and hard about whether or not to continue. Within the twelve weeks that I attended group, I managed to lose little over half a stone- now I know that it isn’t a great amount, however, with my health conditions its very hard for me to lose weight. So I was pretty happy with that weight lose personally!

When I came to think about it I felt that I could put the £4.95 a week to better use for my health than just spending it to continue on at group. So that’s the decision I made, I stopped attending group and have signed up at my local swimming pool and plan to start swimming once a week instead.

Now there is another reason why I decided to stop that I would just briefly like to talk about.

Although the consultant was absolutely wonderful and lovely, I really could not praise her enough, the rest of the group I found to be quite cold and isolating. I do believe that this was quite a lot to do with just bad luck of the group and time that I chose to go to, however it was still very off putting. It was mostly older women, and I would spend most groups sat on my own. If I tried to make conversation then it was very quickly shut down, and if I ever made any suggestions during the group itself then no one ever seemed to have a comment, unlike if others made suggestions. I just felt so unwelcome and alone during group, that it made me just not want to stay.

With all that being said, the plan itself really did seem to work for me. It was simple, and reasonably flexible which works for me who hates to be confined to rules.

So for that reason I have decided to continue on with the plan itself, just this time I will be doing it from home- meaning I need to buy a set of scales! I will be weighing myself once a week, and keeping a track of it. Honestly I feel that this is going to be a lot better for me, as no more awkward interaction, and it opens up the money to allow me to do some swimming.

What does that mean for my slimming world posts? Well I will be continuing them every now and again, a bit like I have been now. I am hoping to post some of the recipes I come across that I do myself, and hopefully do some recipe reviews from both the slimming world website as well as the pinch of nom books- that I now finally have! Of course, I will also update you with my progress from time to time.

Have you ever tried a weight club? What did you think of them? What weight loss methods work for you?

Books · Health · Lifestyle

2020 Goals and Resolutions

Long time no see…

So as I sit and write this it is the 3rd of January, and I’ve had a lot of thinking to do over the last couple of weeks. I had a serious think about whether or not I wanted to continue on with blogging.

I have been blogging now on and off for several years, and was building it up until about April last year when I moved out with my partner and had to start trying to balance a lot more in life. Many people do it, so I know it isn’t a big deal, but for one reason or another I found it really tough to get into a routine of having a busier schedule while also still trying to fit in reading and blogging.

Cant say that I’m at all proud for letting them both slip so much, but its just the reality of what happened.

That being said, I have been thinking about it a log, and have decided to really give it my best shot this year. We have so many really exciting plans that I would love to document on my blog, so I do want to continue on with it. Or at the very least really give it a shot!!

With all that in mind, I am setting myself a reasonable simple goal for blogging this year. I am not going to set myself any views goals, or any really stat goals; all I am going to set is that I’m going to aim to post at least once each week.

Now I know that that doesn’t seem like very much at all, as I know that at one I was posting three times each week, but while I’m struggling with the balance, that’s just not doable!

Of course with that being said, if I have the extra content over the one post a week, then I will be posting more. I just don’t want to stress myself by aiming higher, while currently I’ve not  been even managing once a month. So don’t worry, if I have an extra review, it WILL get posted.

That is about it for my blogging goals for this year, and that leaves me with only two and a bit more.

Firstly, it wouldn’t be a goals post without mentioning my goodreads goal. I completely failed on my goodreads goal this year, as I had committed to 50 books within the year, but only actually managed a total of 17 books. I am far from proud of that, and it definitely needs to be worked on.

That being said, my aim or the year is much smaller, but I may add to it if I get my act together. So my goal for 2020 is twenty books! I just feel that this is a good goal as it is reasonable compared to how I managed to read last year. Plus it has a nice irony of read 20 books within 2020- ah its a bit of fun!

My last and final goal for this upcoming year, is really one of two halves. The over all goal is that me and my partner are actively trying to conceive our first baby. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this now, as Im hoping as things progress that I will document more about it, but for the time being all Im going to say is this is presenting us with challenges. In other words, its not being as simple as do the deed and get pregnant. We are seeing doctors etc, and I will talk more about it in the future.

But the second half of this that I mentioned is that I need to lose weight in order to make this easier. One again though this isn’t always that easy with my health issues, and terrible habit of comfort eating, but its something I am working hard on. Just before Christmas I had managed to lose half a stone in little under 12 weeks- I know that isn’t great, but its something I’m proud of. Now I just need to brave the scales and go back since Christmas, which I will hopefully be doing next week!

That’s it for my goals of the new year, as I don’t want to overburden myself with things Im just not going to stick to.

Do you have any goals for the new year, or things you want to improve and work on? Let me know about them in the comments as I would love to know and support you!

Lifestyle

The Start of my Slimming World Journey…

This is certainly not the first time that I have talked about my weight struggles on this blog, and I know that it wont be the last. But at my heaviest ever, I have been medically advised to lose a significant amount of weight. Recently I have come off my contraception and that process showed some new potential health issues, all which may be being made worse because of my weight. Due to this, I was lucky enough to be offered a 12 week subscription to Slimming World for free by the NHS. This is a scheme they run for people that have tried to lose weight with little luck due to their health conditions.

I’m not going to lie, I found the first week really hard. You get given loads of really good information, but if you cant have dairy then it does require a little more research- I found this tough. Each day you are meant to have two ‘Healthy Extra A’s’- this is essentially just two portions of calcium. Of course you normally get your calcium from milk, cheese and other dairy products, but if like me you cant have cows milk this can get very difficult. Now you can have soya or almond milk as a switch for cows milks, but other than that there just isnt really the options. This doesn’t overly affect your weight lose I dont think, but it does mean you cant quite follow the plan completely. If you know of any other dairy free products that can be used as HEX A then please let me know.

That being said, I really did struggle in my first week. Like many people I am a massive comfort eater, and this time of year is a tough one for me. Week one saw a lot of issues with motivation, and just finding it easy to say ‘never mind the diet’, when I should really of been trying to make better choices. However with that being said, I did manage to maintain my weight in that first week.

Week two, I some how managed to lose 3 and a half pound; and yet I would still not say that it was a great week. The first half of the week ended up being completely off plan due to me having nasty reactions to antibiotics I was on, and you just cant be thinking about diets when you aren’t well like that. But I did try my very hardest to get back onto plan for the second half of the week. One thing I think week two taught me was that syns are good. Each day while I was on plan in week two, I purposefully used at least 5 of my syns, and that definitely seemed to aid my weightloss.

I actually got slimmer of the week for my second week, so I am definitely happy about that! We are now nearing the end of my week three, so I will update you on weeks three and four in a couple of weeks.

Have you ever don’t Slimming World? What were your go to meals?

Health · Lifestyle

Am I Back?…

Since I’ve moved in with my partner, I have lost sight of any and all organisation. Looking after my home, and building the future has take priority to the point that I think I lost myself a little. The blog was the first thing to go, but I think now I am ready to do all I can to get it back. Back to posting 3 times a week, every week, and giving myself some focus.schizo

Although in every possible way, this move is exactly what I wanted; I see the love of my life every single day, and we are moving forward to set up our own lives, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been stressful. Actually its been incredibly stressful, and I’ve been really struggling with it at times.

I am not one to deal well with pretty much any form of change. Consistency is most definitely my favourite thing, but I appreciate that change is necessary in order to move forward for the better. It is so frustrating the fact I know this, and yet change still scares the life out of me.

But lately not all the changes have been for the better. I have had a bunch of new health issues, some of which have changed my life forever, and that is a very hard thing to wrap your head around. I will talk more about these over the next few weeks, but finding out that your body is uncapable of something you’ve based your life goals around is a really tough thing to come to terms with. I will talk more about this in a post in the future.

So I am now on the path of seeking help for my mental health. More help than just medication- which is all the doctors seem to be able to offer me. But while I wait, I have realised that I need to be doing more to help myself; and that starts with me making time for the things that I get a sense of achievement from. Starting with getting the blog back to a consistency that I am happy with, and starting back at university.

Fingers crossed that I can get my head straight and organised from now on, as I feel that this will really help me in the long run of things. But I guess we will have to wait and see.

Health · Lifestyle

The stress of adulting!!

I still don’t really feel like I’m an adult. I now live with my partner, we have our own home, our fur babies, and have to do everything for ourselves now. Yet I still don’t feel like we (well at least myself) are competent adults. Everything still seems so hard and complicated and completely out of my abilities.schizo

This feeling of being overwhelmed is just making me really rather stressed. I hadn’t realised it until the other night when I was laying in bed (with Ash snoring as always) not able to sleep and then my brain went into overdrive.

The main pinpoint trigger for my stress lately has been because of trying to sort out our universal credit claim. Going into this move we thought that I would be able to carry over my disability benefits and just change the address, however we were only told otherwise about a month into having moved. Because of this we have gone almost two months with only having Ash’s wage (which isn’t great).

Although I can understand that they have to make applying an official process, what I don’t feel like they take into consideration is that the process is a lot to handle for those with mental health issues. Although we have been going through the process for about a month now, we are only just starting to get some idea as to how much we are going to be entitled to.  This has really been a stress to me as I have not known whether we are going to reasonably be able to afford to live alone.

I just briefly want to mention the  nightmare we have been having with citizens advice over these last two months. We have both grown up being told that when you are an adult, and you get into a situation where you don’t know what to do, you can go and get free and accurate advice from The Citizens Advice Bureau.

We did exactly this when we started to realise that we were going to have to make the switch to Universal Credit. After waiting for over an hour, we got to see the lady. We explained the situation, I took all of my benefit paper work and my medical certificates.

After we finished explaining she went of to talk to a colleague, as she ‘didn’t know about this’. She openly said that to us, and that wouldn’t of been a problem if she had come back with any advice from the colleague. But instead she came back and said go onto the citizen advice website and then follow the advice on there. So basically, she was useless. We had already looked online before we decided to go and talk to Citizens advice, so we had already done this.

In the end we had to just bite the bullet and apply for universal credit even though we were still unsure about whether this was the right thing to do. Its only been through doing the application and going through the interviews that we were advised by the assessment people that we should of gone a different way through the system and we then wouldn’t of had to jump through as many hoops. We also wouldn’t of had to go through two months without any support.

I guess what I’m saying is that there is no problem going to Citizens Advice for help when you get yourself stuck in life, however its not all its built up to be. They are only human, and often they don’t know the answers. I just wish they wouldn’t then point you to their website which you have most likely already looked at, as if you don’t have a brain cell and hadn’t already used your own common sense and had a google to try and work it out.

But anyway, that is it. I just felt like it needed to be said as that too often the benefits system causes way too much stress for those of us that already have mental health issues. In this time I have had to up both my anti-depressants and my anti-anxiety medication. I will be doing a bit of an off load post in the near future that will talk about the health issue impacts and some other things.