Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Why I'm Still Playing Pokemon GO

Well over a year after it's initial release, I'm still playing Pokemon GO on a daily basis. I know it's not considered cool anymore, and I don't care to be quite honest, I love it! I loved Pokemon when the cards were originally released, it was a huge part of my early teenage years, and now in my late (just!) twenties, it's become a huge part of my life all over again.


2017 saw the release of the second generation of Pokemon, and a whole 90 new Pokemon to add to your Pokedex, not including the regional exclusives (which sadly the UK didn't get any of), and the legendaries. The last few months have also finally seen the release of the legendary Pokemon in limited releases. With this release, came the reason I still play daily. To catch the legendary Pokemon, you must participate in raids, and you cannot do this alone. You need a good team of players to complete the raid, introducing a whole new social aspect to the game.


With the release of each new legendary, comes great excitement. I'm very lucky to live in Grimsby, we have a fantastic PoGo community here that is very organised and eager to help. There is a lot of buzz, we plan via Facebook and it's meant I've gained some new friends, and reconnected with some old friends too! 


Mewtwo being released via invite only EX-raid passes has been the most fun! Waking up to see my fellow trainers had started to receive invites to Mewtwo raids, and then logging into PoGo and seeing my own had me literally squealing with delight! We got planning and preparing our teams, and meeting up with everyone on the day, the atmosphere was buzzing. See the egg hatch into Mewtwo had us all cheering and getting eager to get battling! We have a really good bunch locally, so we had agreed to form teams to optimise the rewards for every player, so everyone would have the chance to catch Mewtwo. I punched the air with joy when I caught it on my first throw, with a critical catch! Seeing the other players so happy and working together, it's really awesome. If you've been struggling to raid make sure you search for local Facebook PoGo groups, you might be surprised to discover you have some really active ones that will help you out. 


Pokemon GO has become such a social activity for me, I go out and walk a lot, I meet up with people I might never have met with PoGo, and it encourages me to get out of the house! I'm proudly Team Mystic and going out and helping my fellow Mystics take over and rule the gyms is great fun. I'm level 35 now and determined to keep pushing forward and be the best trainer I can be.

I know it's not 'cool', but I love it. I haven't had a hobby that I've been so consistent with and enjoying for so long. My carpal tunnel means photography isn't viable for me anymore, but PoGo is much easier on my hands. With the arrival of generation 3 pokemon seeming imminent, I don't see myself stopping any time soon!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

My New Hearing Aid

I've spoken once or twice about my hearing loss on my blog before, I'm mostly deaf in my left ear and have minor loss in my right ear. I've had hearing loss since birth and it has gotten somewhat worse over the years. I got my first hearing aid at 21 but honestly, I've had nothing but problems with them so haven't worn them regularly ever. I've finally gotten a new one that so far seems to be working great for me!


This is my old hearing aid. I've always had NHS hearing aids so they are the traditional BTE (behind the ear) type, and the larger purple sections goes into my ear and fills in the canal. Normally hearing aids are a standard beige colour that is allegedly skin coloured. They are considered the standard 'skin colour' which is obviously problematic, and in no way are they remotely actually skin coloured. My old ENT kindly let me have a purple hearing aid because I had purple hair and he thought I'd appreciate it. I did! Usually colourful hearing aids and those with stickers are for children to encourage them to wear their hearing aids. I suffer with eczema and swimmer's ear and unfortunately this style hearing aid exacerbated both of those conditions, meaning I couldn't wear the hearing aid.


This is my new style! Still a BTE, but instead the receiver sits inside my ear canal, and the other tube sits in the outside of my ear to keep it in place. It's essentially invisible in my ear bar the small see through tubes. I'm not particularly bothered about it being visible, but I know some people feel self conscious about them. The inner ear design means more air gets into my ear so my skin conditions don't seem to be affected by it so far. It's really comfortable and the sound quality is brilliant. It takes a while to get used to it, my brain needs to re-learn which sounds it needs to filter out as background noise, at the moment everything is just quite loud!

Right not it's all quite new to me, it's the first time I've been able to wear a hearing aid for years with any regularity, I was rather aghast to discover that I actually speak incredibly loudly (which I'm sure everyone who knows me IRL will say 'well duh' to).

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Autumnal Flowers with Lindy Bop*

I'm never a big fan of florals in spring, it just seems too predictable, but when it comes to florals in autumn, I love them! When I saw this 'Audrey' Wild Garden Print Swing Dress* from Lindy Bop it was instant lust! Florals on black is the high glamour goth I dream of.

Dress - Lindy Bop*
Jacket - Old New Look
Boots - ASOS
Gold hairband - Creations by Liv Free


I love to wear girly dresses but still have them feel very 'Kitty'. So stompy glittery boots, a faux leather jacket and dark lipstick were an absolute must. It's the sort of dress you could style in so many different ways, I tend to be more on the alternative spectrum so this is my version!


There are two important things to note about this dress. Number one - it has pockets. Pockets! Love a dress with pockets. Who doesn't?! Number two - this is one of the dresses Lindy Bop has released as part of their new range of size 28 dresses. I'm thrilled to see them expanding, there are currently four dresses available in a size 28, but it's a brand new roll out and there are plans for many more. I can't wait!


It's a lovely silk material, so perfect for a winter wedding with black opaque tights, a jacket and a fascinator. It also has a black belt that comes with it, that also importantly, is the right size for the dress. I've bought vintage style dresses from other shops and while they've increased the size of the dress, they've sent the same belt they would with every size dress, not here, it's the perfect size.


I also have to do a shout out for these boots. ASOS have just started selling up to a UK size 10 in women's styles for shoes and boots and I'm so happy to see a major retailer expand like that. It really gives me hope that one day I might be able to just walk into a high street shop and buy my shoe size off the shelf. Maybe one day. These are part of their wide fit range, and while they are wide enough for my wide feet, they aren't quite wide enough for my plus sized ankles. I can't zip them all the way up, but they are sturdy enough that they stay in the right spot when worn like this, so I can deal with it.


I really love this dress and am already scheming on events I can go to just so I can wear it. It's so lovely and the pockets make it true love.

Much love,
Kitty xxx


*denotes an item gifted to me for review purposes. In no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Curly Girl Method : 6 Months On

I've been following the Curly Girl Method for 6 months now, so I thought it was time for a hair update! I wrote about when I started it here and 2 months in here, and now I've finally got a pretty set routine and feel like my hair is done transitioning it was time to share again. This weekend I had probably the best hair day I've ever had. Also, I totally bleached and coloured my hair because I missed my fun hair!

So, an update on my routine! I co-wash using either Tesco Pro Vitamin B 5 Care & Protect conditioner, or Tesco Pro Vitamin B5 Volume & Shine conditioner. I use these both for my actual co-wash, and as a leave in conditioner as well. They cost about 90p a bottle, and I get through a bottle in about 3 washes. I wash my hair twice a week at the absolute most. Some people spend a fortune on products but so far I'm finding these cheap ones work really well for me! For my product, I find that gel works really well. When my hair is soaking wet I absolutely pile on Tesco Everyday Value Styling Gel. This gel is 30p. Really. 30p. And it's amazing. I've used more expensive gel, but this is my fave! I use a lot to really get coverage and to get a good 'cast', when your hair goes stiff from product.


I tend to wash my hair at night, so I then plop over night in a net, I use these from Salons Direct. I plop how you would with a tshirt, but using the net instead. I then pop a couple of grips behind each ear to keep the net in place because I am a very wiggly sleeper! In the morning my hair isn't 100% dry, but when I take the net off my hair will stay put in what we call 'snakes'. I knew my hair was going to be great when my hair looked like this. Good snakes generally means good curls. I then diffused my hair till it was 100% dry on the cool setting. I never touch my hair till it is 100% dry, this is important! It means less frizz. This then leaves my hair with a cast.


This is a good cast. The wilder the cast, it seems the better the curls. I 'scrunch out the crunch' (SOTC for short) using jojoba oil. I rub some into the palms of my hands and start at the back of my head, scrunching the oil into my hair to break the hard cast. My hair looks ridiculous in the cast, but once it's all scrunched out, this is the end result.


 This is the hair I've always dreamed of. And it's on my head. It's my hair. I have beautiful big ringlets, volume, bounce and shine, my hair is what I always wished it could be. And it's so easy. Magic!

There are a few different options for protecting your hair at night, I'm a wiggler so I tend to use a combination of methods. I sleep on a satin pillow to avoid frizz, this definitely helps me a lot because I know whatever I cover my hair in will usually be lost by the time I wake up, so this minimises the damage. I sleep in a 'buff'. which is an elasticated tube of material. I make sure my hair is totally inside it and that it's pulled down over my forehead so I keep as much volume as possible without crushing my curls. This video shows you how I do this brilliantly. You can also sleep in a 'pineapple', which involves piling all your hair on top of your head and securing it. Rather than using a normal hair elastic, I use a generic version of the invisibobble, or a scrunchie will work too.


My hair isn't very thick, so pineappling doesn't tend to work for me which is why I prefer a buff. Here is my hair right out of a buff with no refresh or work done to it after a night's sleep on the left, and with a little oil to smooth it out on the right.

 

Once you get to grips with the curly girl method, it becomes second nature and every day can be a good hair day. Here's a little before and after to remind you of what a 'good' day was before co-washing. PS. My amazing tiger paws necklace* is by the awesome Sugar & Vice.

 

If you have any questions about my routine do feel free to ask away!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx


*denotes an item gifted to me, in no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Goodbye iPhone, Hello Samsung and GoCustomized*

My phone contract ran out a couple of months ago, and after much thought about what to do, I decided that it was finally time to say goodbye to my iPhone. I've had an iPhone constantly since 2009, but it was the right time to make the switch. I've replaced countless screens on my iPhones, even with a good solid case and tempered glass, and the battery life just hasn't improved like it should over the years and new models. The fixed amount of storage space also left much to be desired, I always had a 16GB phone because anything bigger was just ridiculously expensive on a monthly plan, and generally meant a higher up cost payment as well.


So it was time to say goodbye to my iPhone, and hello to a Samsung Galaxy S8. And I am SO so pleased I made the jump! It took a little bit of getting used to, but it's really user friendly and quick to respond, especially compared to my old iPhone 6. One of the biggest differences I noticed right away is the screen resolution is just incredible in comparison. Everything is so much clearer and has so much more detail than it did on my iPhone. Even PokemonGo looks 10x better!


The other big plus is the battery life is massive compared to any of the Apple products I've used, and you can add extra memory cards to increase your storage. So your storage is literally endless and you can take all the photos you could ever want without ever running out of space. The only slightly weird thing compared to an iPhone is that the fingerprint technology is actually on the back of the phone, next to the camera lens, so you have to be careful not the smear the lens and use your pointer finger instead of a thumb like you might on most other phone models.


My husband has the S7 Edge, and I was surprised to discover that Samsung have changed their charger port in the S8, which means we can't share chargers. It's the sort of thing Apple have done a few times and it's annoyed us both, but for some reason didn't expect from Samsung. It does however have a fast charge when used with the official Samsung charger and cable that takes around an hour and a half to go from flat to 100% charge!


The other thing I needed as soon as I got my new phone, was a new case, because I am incredibly clumsy and wanted to protect it as much as possible. GoCustomized kindly let me design my own Samsung Galaxy S8 Tough Case* with them. You can have any photo printed onto them, so of course I had to opt for one of my favourite photos from our wedding day. It's a photo taken on 35mm film so it is grainy, it's not that it's been printed badly. It's a little paler than the original image, but otherwise very true to the photo I chose.


I opted for the full wrap case to provide the most protection I could, it has a lip that extends above the screen so even when landing face down, the screen doesn't touch the floor at any point. It fits the phone really nicely, and is a mixture of silicone and hard plastic. The buttons all have a silicone covering and work easily through the case. 

I'm in love with my new Samsung, and especially with the high quality photos it takes, and it's mega battery life. If you've been debating making the switch, go for it! I can't recommend it enough.

Much love,
Kitty xxx


*denotes an item gifted to me for review purposes. In no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

My Facial Injury 3 Months On

TW for body image issues.

It's been almost exactly 3 months since I injured my face. For an in depth info about what happened and the immediate aftermath check out this blog so I'm not repeating a lot of the story. When I wrote that it had been a month since the initial injury, and now I'm at just under 3 months. A lot has changed, and a lot hasn't too. When I wrote the first blog I think I was just so happy that I hadn't injured my eye that my brain hadn't processed what had happened properly. Now I've had more time to deal with it and I have to admit, I'm a lot less OK with it than I was.


This photo gives a pretty good representation of what my face looks like now. I have quite a prominent red scar that cuts through my eyebrow, leaving me with a good chunk of eyebrow that no longer grows. That's the easy bit though, because of how it cuts through my eyebrow I've been plucking out the strays hairs that have tried to grow back in underneath the scar because they are really sparse and it just looks a bit odd. My eyebrows were one of my favourite things about myself; I always loved that I didn't over pluck my brows as a teenager so my naturally thick brows survived the early noughties. Not anymore! People often say that eyebrows should be like sisters rather than twins, mine are barely even related at this point.



These are probably the closest before and after photos I can find. It turns out I don't take many photos with me looking directly at the camera. My eyes have physically changed shape, my eye now droops and is still swollen. I don't think it's going to go down at this point. With hindsight it looks like I actually fractured my eye socket in the fall which explains the really bad bruising. I am just about getting to the point where I can comfortably touch my face now, but only just. It's still sore, but not so painful I flinch away. I can't sleep on that side still, but I can lie on it for a little while before it becomes too painful.

One of the side effects I did not anticipate is how hard it is to wear makeup now. My lower eyelashes touch my face at all times so I get constant transfer from them. My upper eyelid is so swollen my eyelashes no longer curl upwards, and even when I curl them they don't have the right angle to them. So if you have any good cruelty free recommendations for mascara that does not shift, please send me them because I'm really struggling! The swelling also means that when I pull certain faces I develop a crease that runs along the length of my eyebrow underneath it.


It's strange not to recognise your face when you catch sight of it in the mirror. I've cried over it, more than I'd like to admit. And I think admitting to myself that I'm not OK with the changes to my face is important, my feelings are valid and I shouldn't push them away. I've spent a lot of time telling myself that I had no right to be so upset because people go through so much worse, and experience a lot more change to their bodies and faces in accidents. I told myself I had no right to write about what happened and how I feel because people have it worse. But my being upset does not minimise anyone else's experience, and I'm allowed to hurt. My face changed, and I didn't want it too, and that hurts.

My face took me a long time to learn to love. I never considered myself pretty, I had way too many teeth as a teenager and had braces for years. I have a round face, a fat face, and it took a long time to consider myself to be attractive. I tend to think of myself as cute, because I know people like my smile, and it makes them smile. I don't think of myself as pretty, and now my face has changed once again and I don't know how to feel about it. And for now, that's OK. Self love is a journey, and this is just a speed bump I've hit along the way.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Brides, Get Your Arms Out!

While Stu and I got married last June, I have to admit, I'm still a bit wedding obsessed and I'm in a few wedding Facebook groups. One of the things I see crop up over and over again is brides looking for their dream wedding dresses and panicking about having their arms on show. But brides, I'm hear to tell you you can have your arms out and look amazing, and not even think about them on the day!


I have big arms. And I do mean BIG arms. I always have done. My arms have stretchmarks and uneven skin tone, and a crease in them. They aren't smooth, and they certainly aren't small. And I rocked bare arms on my wedding day and felt wonderful and beautiful.


For a long time I really struggled with my arms, and I used to keep them covered at all times. I was convinced everyone was staring at them all the time, and that my arms were all people noticed about me. One summer it was just too hot to keep my arms covered up, so I wore a vest top instead. And you know what, the world didn't end. No one even noticed. So I started wearing sleeves less and less, and found that over time, I cared less and less too.


When it came to planning my wedding dress my first instinct was to have sleeves so that my arms weren't on show. I initially planned lacy three quarter length sleeves, and a totally different dress, thinking that I just couldn't possibly wear the style of dress I'd always dreamed of. Once I actually booked my dressmaker however, that all changed and I just decided to go for it. It was my wedding day, and my wedding dress, why not just go for it?! So I did, I decided to have a purple version of the dress of my dreams, the wedding dress from the Guns n Roses music video for November Rain. Which meant legs out, and arms out.


So I got my arms out. And no one cared. Not even me. I was the most beautiful I'd ever been on my wedding day, and not even once did I feel self conscious about my arms. I was far too busy having the best day of my life to care about my arms! I'm so glad I decided to ditch the sleeves, it ended up being a beautiful summer's day and I'd have been too hot and just plain uncomfortable all day in sleeves. 


My arms didn't stop me from looking and feeling amazing on my wedding day, they were in fact something I never thought about even once. Don't feel like you have to cover yourself up to be beautiful, I didn't and I'm so happy because of that decision. When I think about the dress that almost was, versus my dream dress, I'm so pleased I didn't settle because I was scared of what people would think.

No one looked at my arms, they looked at my smiling happy face and told me I was beautiful instead. (I mean hell, they probably looked at my boobs a bit too because where the hell did they come from and where have they been since?!). The only person your arms bother is you, your loved ones will see you in your wedding dress and think wow, and your partner will fight back tears on seeing you for the first time. So go for it and get your arms out!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

PS. My wedding photos are by the incredible ClickClickBang Photography.