Monday, 15 April 2019

Spring Wreath Making with The Enchanted Garden

Recently I realised that my hobbies have basically all dried up. Because of my carpal tunnel photography is no longer an option, and I haven't been blogging often. All I do is play Pokemon Go and I needed something more. When I saw The Enchanted Garden advertise their spring wreath making class I immediately messaged my Mum, Nanny and auntie to see if they wanted to do it with me. When I was a kid I always thought being a florist seemed amazingly cool, so I was super eager to give this class a go. My Mum was sadly busy but with my Nanny and auntie by my side, off we went to our class.

We met The Enchanted Garden when looking for an independent florist for my Grandad's funeral, and since then we've used them several times, including also for my Grandma's funeral. They are always professional and lovely, and come up with beautiful work. This class cost £30 each, which included the whole base of the wreath (which is reusable), and all the flowers and foliage used.

We were shown how to create the base of the wreath using willow which is surprisingly bendy and durable, and then it was onto the foliage to begin the base of the flower section. We used a real mixture of different leaves including pistachio, ivy and eucalyptus.

We were provided with a real mix of flowers for the main section, roses, carnations, daisies and more. I saw some lovely little white flowers and lavender roses and knew exactly what I wanted to do.

One of the fun parts of the class was that we were offered a huge mix of flowers in different colours, so everyone's wreath looked really different to everyone elses. My aunties was very colourful with a rainbow of flowers, and my Nanny chose yellow as her focus. They all turned out beautifully!

We tied them off with a ribbon of our choice and instructions to water the wreath daily to keep it at it's best. Hopefully they should last a week which is awesome!

I really loved the course and will for sure be keeping my eye out for the next one.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Thursday, 14 March 2019

In Memory of Grandma

Last week we sadly lost our wonderful Grandma Eileen. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer and passed away peacefully at home. I was incredibly lucky to get to see my Grandma a lot as she quickly became ill, she was diagnosed only weeks ago, and to get to say goodbye to her.

Grandma is someone that was always meant to be a Grandma. Her home has always been open to everyone, and I have so many fond memories of my grandparents house as children. From playing with our favourite toys, a gloworm myself and all my cousins remember fondly, or a Rainbow Brite doll as we got older, or dressing up in my Grandmas pearls and scarves and wearing her fluffy slippers. I remember always having cheese and salad cream buns for my lunch, always made on oven bottom muffins, and always served as four halves, never as two buns. Every Christmas Grandma would make the Christmas stuffing, and she would make a special individual one for me that was vegetarian, always my absolute favourite part of Christmas dinner. 

We have a huge family, and Grandma always managed to make everyone feel special. Always everyone's number one fan, supporting us all in our chosen hobbies and activities, even if it meant long hours out in the cold watching my Uncles fishing.

My Grandma was famous for her knitting, particularly her dishcloths and baby blankets. If you could meet someone that knew my Grandma and they didn't have one of her knitted dishcloths, I'd be incredibly surprised! Every baby in our family, or even near our family, has their own special baby blanket. Grandma knew I have no desire to have children, so she even knitted our dog Ashen his very own baby blanket, because there is nothing he loves more than a blanket. No one was ever left out with Grandma!

In Grandma's memory we are raising money for Marie Curie UK, who provided lovely nurses who were such a help to Grandma and our family in her care at home. If you want to donate or share the link it would be so appreciated.

I will miss you so much Grandma, and I'll think of you whenever I see pink lipstick.

Love always,
Your Star xxxx

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Snake Woman OOTD

I am not the kinda gal who usually buys stuff when it's full price. I'm a bargain hunter, second hand, voucher code seeking kinda gal. However something came over me when I saw this dress, and I just had to order it. I had some Christmas money from my Grandma and Grandad I'd been keeping hold of till I found the perfect thing, and this dress was the thing!

Dress - ASOS £38
Jacket - v old Matalan. Like, probably 6 years old at this point.
Leggings - ASOS £10 (good length for longer legged babes!)
Sunglasses - Quay Australia
Bag - Mary Frances (gift from my parents)
Boots - old Yours Clothing
Necklace - BloodyMary Metal (one off, no longer available)
Rings - Mostly BloodyMary Metal, couple from random shops, and wedding ring by Celia Rose

I hadn't intended to take outfit photos the day I took these, but I tried this dress on and instantly fell in love, so it had to happen. It's not a colourway I would usually go for, but I just felt immediately powerful in it. I knew it was the one for me when my husband got home from work and instantly complimented it too. One of my fave things about is that the sleeves are actually long enough for me! At 5ft 11 dresses tend to be too short in length in the body and the sleeves, and the waist tends to sit in the wrong place. With this dress it all hits just right, I'd like to imagine it was designed with the taller body in mind. The only negative I have about the dress is that the belt is a little cheap compared to the dress, it's sort of plastic backed and I think it'll crease over time.

This dress isn't a colour I would usually go for, brown and yellow tones aren't usually my kind of colours, but in the snake print it all just worked for me. When you put something on that isn't your normal colour palette and feels so utterly fantastic, it's a win all round. Everything I'm wearing with the dress is old. I've had the boots a few years. The jacket I think I've had 6 years now and still wear all the time. It's been featured on this blog so many times. The bag is probably the most expensive item of clothing I own, my parents found it on a cruise in the run up to our wedding and my Mum rang me from the boat telling me she had found the perfect bag to go with my dress and that they were buying me it. I don't use it nearly enough because I'm always terrified of how expensive it was but I really should use it more to make it worthwhile.

I ended up with a whole bunch of goofy outtakes because Lemmy Katmister decided he wanted to join in on the outfit photos so here's one of my adorable kitties demanding attention. He matched my outfit wonderfully!

And here's me trying something different and looking utterly ridiculous whilst doing so.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

My Carpal Tunnel Surgeries : One Year On

Just over a year ago I had my second carpal tunnel operation. I've had the operation on both hands so thought after a year it might be a good time to give an update! I asked on twitter if people were interested in how I was getting on and the answer was a resounding yes, so as promised, here it is.

Appearance wise, my hands look basically exactly the same as they did after the initial wound healed. The scars haven't really faded, but unless you are looking for them, you aren't going to notice them. They don't bother me at all, and have healed without any keloiding or tissue build up.

The easiest way to talk about how my hands are a year on is going to be to talk about each hand individually. So let's start with the good, my left hand.

My left hand was the 'better' of the two hands, but it was no longer responding to steroid injections (of which I had many in both hands) and was massively impacting on my day-to-day life. Post operation, my left hand is incredible. It doesn't hurt on a daily basis anymore, and is ten times more usable than it was before. I can easily pick things up with it, I can cross my fingers again (something I couldn't do at all before!), and it is very rare that it aches. It only aches if I have been doing a lot of repetitive movements, and then by the next day it feels back to normal again. As far as I am really aware, my left hand feels basically like any other hand on someone without carpal tunnel. The results have been truly incredible and I am beyond happy with my left hand.

And now, my right hand. Ah my right hand. How I wish I could say that my results were as good as my left. My right hand was by far the worst of the two hands pre operation, to the point that my doctor could not even attempt to give me a steroid injection as the needle was unable to penetrate my nerve. Before the operation it was a mess. It was painful all the time, I had lost a lot of movement in my fingers and wrist, and it was pretty useless if I'm honest. I couldn't open bottles, use scissors, hold anything for any real length of time, even lifting up a glass of water was too much. When my surgeons opened up my wrist they commented about how bad it was, and the operation took a lot longer than my left hand, testament to how much harder it was to perform due to how much more advanced the carpal tunnel was.

It took a lot longer to heal than my left, and was a lot more painful afterwards too. A year on, my right hand is better, but not anywhere close to the extent of improvement my left hand has had. My fingers ache, particularly my index finger, middle finger and thumb, my wrist feels tired and sore at the end of the day, I can't carry heavy objects, and it does still impact how I live my daily life. Because of my right hand driving long distances isn't possible for example. While it is substantially better than before my operation, it is not what I had hoped.

Unfortunately. I firmly believe had I been offered the operation sooner, as I was with my left hand, the results would have been drastically better. My left hand had not progressed to the stage my right had, and the difference in the outcome of the operation is obvious to me. If my right hand had been operated on 6 months before, I believe it would be in a similar position to my left now. Sadly due to NHS funding cuts and NICE guidelines attempting to push away from the operation, I have been left with a hand that had potential, but now will never be 'normal' again. Since my operations the NHS has suffered further cuts and it seems that the aim is to not perform carpal tunnel operations at all. I think this is a huge loss, because I know without the drastic improvement in my left hand, and the improvement in my right, my life would have been very dramatically affected. I'm a little unusual as I am ambidextrous, I write left handed but switch back and for between my hands for everything else when possible. This has helped me a lot with the healing process as I have been able to rest up the sore hand and do things with the other hand when needed.

I worry about how my right hand will further progress in the future, it is manageable now but I fear it will get progressively worse. I suppose I can only see how it goes! Overall, I am tremendously happy to have had these operations, my left hand is fantastic now, and I have gained back the ability to do so many things that carpal tunnel had taken away from me before.

If you have any other questions, do let me know! Happy to answer away,

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Betty's Babes Colouring Book

Betty's Babes is the most inclusive and diverse colouring book I have ever seen. It's the brain child of artist Betty Brown and it just fills me with utter delight. Colouring books have had a huge surge of popularity in recent years and Betty's Babes is my new favourite.

Betty's Babes isn't your usual collection of pin ups, it's full of as many different types of babes you could possibly imagine. Each page features a gorgeous piece of art ready to be coloured in, with an index page telling you a little something about each person featured. Polly and Cash are LBGTQ* alternative babes, Winnie has vitiligo, Kit shows off her masectomy scars, Aurora is a trans woman of colour, there are disabled babes, curves a plenty, hairy legs, stretch marks and so much more. I challenge anyone to find a collection of pins ups that is more diverse!

Every page of this colouring book gives a million options for your own creativity. They have so much detail included in them, from feminist tattoos to pretty backgrounds, there is hours of relaxing colouring to do here. If you want your own, they are currently on sale for only £14 from Betty Brown's Big Cartel. It's full of bodies you don't normally see represented in art, and they all look so damn beautiful.

I implore you to check out more of Betty Brown's work. She's an incredible black artist who works so hard to be inclusive and showcase that every body is beautiful. When you have a body that is marginalised, to see it showcased in a collection like this is everything. I can't wait to spend literally hours doing each page carefully!

Much love,
Kitty xxx

PS. All the photographs here were kindly provided by Betty Brown. This isn't a sponsored post, I just love this book!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

What I Learnt In 2018

Usually at this time of year I post a blog reflecting on how wonderful my year has been, how lucky I am, and I try to focus on all the good things. This year it all seems a little harder. and my usual reflection doesn't seem appropriate. Instead I thought I'd share some of the things I learnt in 2018.

Good mental health is a constant work in progress. After a few good years I thought I was done with any real issues with my anxiety, but this year it hit me like a truck and I found myself having panic attacks again and needing to figure out the best way to look after myself. I've gone teetotal again because I know that alcohol doesn't help my anxiety, and I've cut down on the places I've been going while I get myself more comfortable with the familiar. I'll tackle the trickier stuff further along the road. I felt like I'd really let myself down slipping backwards like I did, but anxiety isn't something that just goes away. It's not disappointing anyone by falling back down, so long as you keep trying to get back up.

 Appreciate the family you are lucky enough to have in your life. Make sure those that you love know you love them and make time for them. I was blessed enough to make it to 30 with all of my grandparents, and have them all at our wedding. I'm forever grateful for this and I feel proud to know that my grandad (who we affectionately called G) knew how special he was to me before he suddenly passed away, and that the last time I saw him I gave him a hug and told him I loved him. He was a huge part of our wedding day, speaking in the ceremony, and I have so many fond memories I can look back on. If you have family that you love and are important to you, make time for them, travel for them, be there for their important moments. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Sometimes a sorry is all you need. People stop talking or fall out for all sorts of reasons, and some things aren't forgivable. But sometimes, it's better to just let things go and accept a simply 'sorry' when you know the other person means it. This year relationships were mended by simple gestures, no big talks, no dramatic conversations, just a simple acknowledgement and a realisation that saying sorry is hard, and accepting it can be truly worth it.

At the same time, sometimes it's time to accept that a relationship isn't worth the work and end it. When someone's company brings you down, and their idea of friendship seems one sided, it's time to call it a day. If you're the only one who ever reaches out, see what happens when you stop. When their 'banter' becomes more like bullying and it's gone from playful teasing to just them being rude, it's time to stop. If the thought of spending time with someone seems like hard work, that friendship might need a break. People grow apart and change, and sometimes the friendship that was so important a few years ago feels painful. When someone spends their time talking about you to others, or seems to think they are more important than you, it might be time to readdress. I've drifted from people who talk over me, or who make every situation about them. I'm done with people who ask about your issues then state that they've been through the same and their problem was totally worse than yours. To quote my husband, for some people if you've been to Tenerife, they've been to Elevenerife, and it's boring!

I think the biggest thing I learnt this year is that life can be really hard. And that the things in life that are truly worth it are worth fighting for. Life doesn't always work out how you think it will, but that the bad is worth battling through. Changes you could never imagine might happen, but life finds a way. 2018 was harder than I ever imagined, but we got through it and we're stronger than ever. In the darkness there is always light, you just have to search for it.

Here's to a better 2019.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Monday, 24 December 2018

You Are Not Alone

In my last post before Christmas, as I did last year, I want to share information to help those of us who might be struggling, or feeling alone this Christmas. Please remember, you are not alone, please reach out to someone, anyone, if you are alone or concerned.

NHS Emergencies



Tel No   0300 123 3393

Tel No      116 123 

Alcoholics Anonymous

Tel No     0800 9177650 

Narcotics Anonymous

0845 999 1212


Info line 08000 50 20 20 

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

Tel No    0207 837 7324


Tel No     0300 304 7000

Papyrus, Prevention of young suicide


National self-help body for the Transgender community
Beaumont Society

Information Line 01582 412220


Phone: 0800 1111 for Childline 24 hour helpline
0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child 24 hour helpline
Depression Alliance


Tel No     0808 2000 247

Beating eating disorders.

Help Line 0345 634 1414
Youth Line 0345 634 7650


Tel No    0808 800 4444

NHS Direct


No Panic

Tel No  0844 967 4848
Youth Helpline     01753 840393

Rape Crisis

0808 802 9999

OCD Action

0845 390 6232


0845 120 3778

Anixety UK

08444 775 774

LGBT Foundation

0345 3 30 30 30

Age UK

0800 169 2081

If you can think of any other numbers you think should be added please let me know.

Remember, you are not alone, and there is always hope.

Much love,

Original list compiled by Big Fashionista. I removed the number for the Samaritans due to their treatment of the LGBT community, and added others.