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