I’m back with another week in pictures. I ended up skipping a week, because I pretty much had a whole week of getting my head round my recent diagnosis and just taking a break from pretty much everything. It was also the kids last week of school, which is such a busy time that I really didn’t do much other than parenting!

Last week I made a bit more effort. The doctors recommended losing a bit of weight to improve my symptoms and I’ve also found that keeping busy, getting fresh air and exercise make me feel so much better so I have made sure to do something everyday. This week was all about walks in the park and time with the girls. Rob has been really busy with work, so most of the week it was just me and the littles ones.

Sunday:

On Sunday I headed to Ham House for a cup of tea and a walk around the gardens with the kids and my mum and dad. This is one of my favourite places to go for a quick outing as its not that far from us and its so beautiful.

I wore my postage stamp skirt, which I got in primary a couple of years ago. its one of my favourites. I teamed it up with a Rolling Stones t-shirt and my comfy Converse shoes.

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Monday:

We stayed in for most of the day and I made pancakes for the kids. I’ve found that I feel worse earlier in the day, so I’ve been chilling out in the mornings and going out in the afternoons. Thank goodness it’s summer and we get lots of daylight! In the late afternoon I headed to Richmond Park for a walk around Pen Ponds with the girls. It was a gorgeous time of day to go and we even spotted a little family of swans.

I wore an old skirt from Lindy Bop and my Back to the Future T shirt with some rose gold ballet pumps from Primark.

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Tuesday:

We had a busy morning running errands. First up we popped to the library, the girls are doing the summer reading challenge which is a great way to keep them engaging with books over the holidays. We then popped to the post office as I had Etsy orders to send and then we did a bit of shopping.

After relaxing for a little bit at home we went for another walk in Richmond Park. This time we went to the Isabella Plantation, its one of my favourite bits of the park, its just so pretty. We had a really nice time exploring and looking for wildlife.

I wore a new maxi dress, which I was recently sent from peacocks. I’m going to do a proper blog posts on some of their clothes very soon. They have some gorgeous maxi dresses at the moment and I’ve been using them to create seventies inspired outfits. You can buy the dress here.

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Wednesday:

I’ve not been very focussed on work or blogging, with so much other stuff going on. So it was really nice to have a more bloody day on Wednesday and to have some adult company in the form of my friends Catherine who’s blog Curiosity Killed is well worth a read. We headed to the Figleaves press day to check out their Christmas range.

Both Catherine and I used to be colleagues at Rigby and Peller and both of us have worked for e=several lingerie companies, so we both really know our stuff when it comes to bras! We spotted lots of beautiful pieces and for those of you with big cup sizes, there is loads of gorgeous stuff in bigger sizes too. I’ll share more later in the year when I start doing my Christmas posts.

Thursday:

Having had a busy Wednesday, I felt like absolute rubbish on Thursday. I spend most of the day on the sofa watching TV, which actually makes my eyes and headaches worse, but I didn’t;t have the energy to do anything else. In the early evening I dragged myself got dressed and went for yet another walk in Richmond Park with the kids.

I wore a simple black vest top with my Collectif Abstract trousers and a pair of black Nike trainers, such a comfy outfit for a walk.

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Friday:

I had a very early appointment at the hospital, this was just to check my visual fields so it was over quite quickly. Since I had both kids with me and we weren’t too far away, we drove to Polesden Lacey for lunch and to look at one of my favourite views. Its such a lovely place and although we didn’t stay long, it was lovely.

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After that we headed to Epsom to check out the charity shops, the kids found a few bargain toys and I found two vintage brooches to add to my collection. When we got in I had so much housework to catch up, so I was doing that until bedtime.

I wore my TU floral dress with a TU ruffle sleeved top underneath and my trusty old Converse.

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Saturday:

I was so tired on Saturday so we did pretty much nothing all day. In the afternoon we headed to Fay’s house for a barbecue. As it was raining, this mostly a stay in doors barbecue. Somehow I managed to get no pictures, including of my outfit! But sometimes you’ve just got to enjoy yourself and not record it all. The kids were so good and we didn’t get back until really late, so I put them straight to bed.

Sunday:

In the morning I had a bit of a wobble about everything and had a little cry. Having had a really good week of getting on with things, keeping busy and looking after the kids I hadn’t taken much time to think about not being well. I had an hour of being totally fed up and wishing things were completely normal again. Luckily I decided to distract myself with a little home improvement so I popped to Ikea with Lila to get some new house plants.

We dropped the kids to Rob’s parents and spent the evening painting a wall and revamping a little corner of our living room. I haven’t finished it yet, so I haven’t got any pics. I’d like to blog more about home stuff when I’m feeling better, I’m always doing little projects round the house and need to show them off more!

Health Update!

I mentioned in my last health post that I might not mention whats going on too much on here, but a lot of people have been asking how I’m doing so I thought I’d add a little update here. Since my provisional diagnosis just over a week ago, I’m still waiting for my neurology referral. I have been feeling OK though. Now I know what the problem is I’ve been able to look after myself more. Eating really healthily, going for walks everyday, getting enough sleep and sleeping propped up have all made a difference and although I don’t feel great, I do feel a bit better.

I saw the eye doctor today (Monday) and my sight is still absolutely fine, which is the most important thing. I’ll just feel much better when I’ve actually begun treatment, so that rather than managing the problem I can actually start to hopefully get better. I’m being positive, because it works for me but this isn’t easy either. Luckily I have a brilliant support network around me and that makes all the difference.

Weekly Goals:

My goal for the coming week is to keep looking after myself, especially since I have a the kids full time too. I’d also like to get a bit caught up on work, being self employed means no one can cover for me and my inbox is filling up fast!

I hope you all had a great week and thank you for all your lovely comments and messages. You’re a fabulous bunch! xxx

Additional pictures taken at the Still House at Ham House. 

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Green is my absolute favourite colour, I love trees and freshly cut grass and being in the countryside with nothing but green landscape for miles. My bedroom is painted green and my favourite pen writes with green ink. Unfortunately there is not nearly enough green in my wardrobe and thats where todays dress comes in. When I saw the latest collection from Voodoo Vixen, the Delilah dress was one of the things that really stood out to me. So when I got the chance to review another dress for them, this is the one I chose.

The dress is trimmed with an adorable daisy trim, which is just perfect for an English summer. It has delicate spaghetti straps and two little patch pockets at the front. It fastens with a concealed zip at the back and had an elasticated smocked section at the back, making it quite flexible for size. The dress is made from a polyester and rayon blend, which has the feel of a stretch cotton blend and has a really nice weight to it.

I went for a size Large in this one, I’m usually a UK size 14 and the fit of this was great. I can be a bit between sizes in Voodoo Vixen, but I’d say this one is pretty true to size. The smocking at the back gives the dress lots of bust room, the adjustable straps also make this one quite flexible for bigger boobs.

The overall quality of the dress is lovely and the fabric is really nice, the construction is really good and the trim is beautiful. My only qualm is the way the smocking sits at the sides. I found adding a belt to the dress sorted this out and so this wasn’t a big problem for me. I wore mine with a daisy hair garland, Miss L Fire shoes, a vintage 197os belt and a vintage celluloid bangle. The dress is really easy to accessorise as it features yellow and white details. It’s nice to add some brighter shoes for that extra pop of colour. I couldn’t resist wearing this lovely dress for a walk around the lavender fields, I’m so glad they’re in bloom as its really is the perfect location for taking outfit pics. I look a bit tired as I’m not very well and this was the day before I ended up at the hospital, so despite the beautiful dress I’m not looking my best!

You can find this and lots of other gorgeous things over on the Voodoo Vixen website.

*Thank you to Voodoo Vixen for sending me this dress for the purposes of review. All opinions as always are my own. 

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I just wanted to update everyone who read my blog post last week. Everyone’s kind messages have been so lovely and very much appreciated. When rubbish things happen knowing people care really does help. I’ll start from where I left off in my last post.

It took me a few days to fully calm down and get over the shock of Fridays events. Even though I’d had a good outcome from the CT scan, I was so shocked by everything. Luckily my friends and family were absolutely amazing and really looked after me. Although I was so glad that nothing really scary and urgent was wrong, I was still dealing with my head and eyes feeling awful and not knowing what the actual problem was.

On Wednesday I got a call to say I was booked in for an MRI that afternoon. I was really glad to know that I was a step closer to getting some answers. Luckily I wasn’t feeling very nervous about the MRI, as I’m Ok with small spaces. It was pretty noisy and went on for quite a long time, but luckily I found it bearable.

On Friday I went back to the eye department for my first follow up appointment. I ended up having to wait for two hours past my original appointment time, which wasn’t great but I knew all the department dealt with emergencies and having been in that position myself the week before I didn’t mind waiting too much.

The doctor read through my notes and got up the results from my MRI, luckily it had  also come back clear of anything scary, which was a big relief. He then looked at my eyes again. He then explained that I probably have a condition called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, which basically means pressure in the fluid that surrounds the brain. This explains the pressure on my optic nerves and the bad headaches. Obviously I wish there was nothing wrong with me, but this is still better than some of the original possibilities.

I am being referred to a neurologist for further treatment and a definitive diagnosis. I was told this would probably include lumbar puncture, which I am absolutely terrified of. I know I’m going to need to be brave and deal with what lies ahead, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared and upset about it all.

Luckily I’ve already got used to dealing with my symptoms and have definitely got used to pacing myself, getting enough rest and keeping the headaches under control. I am also looking into food and exercise that will help. I’m definitely ready to face this head on. My lovely husband Rob is being amazing and really looking after me, which makes everything far easier.

I’m not sure if I’m going to continue to post updates about this, as I don’t really know if this is the right place for it. I also want to carry on as normal as much as possible. I also have loads of lovely half finished blog posts that I’ll be working on when I feel up to it, so it will mostly go back to being about tea, books, pretty dresses and fun things.

If you read my last post, you’ll know that last week wasn’t the best. I had thought about not writing a week in pictures post, but this is one challenge that I don’t want to fail at and so I thought I’d just carry on as normal and keep blogging through this. Looking at screens is making my eyes hurt a bit, so I’m trying to spread out my computer time as much as possible. Lots of lovely stuff happened last week and theres plenty or everyday stuff to look back on.

Monday: I had a big list of errands to run and busy things to do on Monday. The only really fun thing was picking blackberries in my garden. We have a pretty big garden that likes to go wild and get over grown at every opportunity. Especially when it comes to brambles. This year we decided to let them grow so the kids could pick the blackberries. Naturally they have spread like crazy and there is so much fruit to pick! So on Monday we picked all the ripe ones and I’ve now cleaned and frozen them for future pie and crumble making!

Tuesday: On Tuesday evening we went to see Jessica’s school show, she was playing Bugsy Malone and she did an absolutely amazing job. I don’t know how she managed to remember all her lines, I was super proud. I always find it funny how confident she is when it comes to singing and drama. I was the complete opposite when I was a kid, I used to get the smallest part possible!

Wednesday: This was a very busy day, after dropping the kids at school I headed out with my friend Catherine who’s blog is called Curiosity Killed. Our first stop was The Sanderson hotel to check out the new NSPA beauty range that will be launching exclusively in Asda in August as well as a haircare range from Andrew Barton. I will be blogging about this properly nearer the time, but it was a lovely event and I can’t wait to try out all the products properly.

Here we are having a pose in front of this gorgeous flower wall…

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After that we headed to a press event called The Christmas in July Festival. In July lots of brands hold their Christmas press days, and this was a great event where lots of brands were all in the same place. It was great to make lots of contacts and get some ideas for Christmas gift guides and blog posts. This is another one I’ll probably talk about a bit more later in the year. Heres a sneak peek at some of the Christmas bits from crabtree and Evelyn.

Thursday: This was another busy working day, that I spent shooting outfit pictures for the blog. After dropping the kids at school I planned the outfits, ironed them and did my hair and make up. This time my dad was taking the pictures for me, so he picked me up and we headed out to take the pictures. I’m hoping to get these up later in the week, but as I’m not sure whats going on with hospital appointments and stuff, we’ll see. Here’s a pic of a cute bee that that I snapped between outfit pics.

Friday: On Friday morning, Jess was starting school a little later so I stayed at home with her, Rob had taken the morning off to go to Lila’s sports day so after dropping Jess in, I headed over the school field to join him. After that I headed to my opticians appointment. You’ll have to read Sundays post to find out about that shit afternoon.

Saturday: I spent most of Saturday in the dark in my bedroom feeling sorry for myself. In the evening I decided to go for a drive round Richmond Park and took my mum. I’ve found driving and fresh air really help my headaches because I find it much easier looking into the distance and it doesn’t tire my eyes as much.

Sunday: Rob took the girls to their school fair, I really didn’t feel like going with everything thats been going on and just needed a bit of time to myself. Luckily my friends came to the rescue and a coffee and chat in with Fay and G in Fay’s garden made me feel much better about everything.

Rob and I sat out in the garden and looked at this beautiful sunset while two cut little bats flew around the garden. Quite a lovely moment at the end of the week.

Weekly Goals: My first goal is to cancel all my plans and work commitments and just get some rest. Before I knew there was a problem, I was just pushing through. Now I know I just can’t do that I need to be more responsible.

So this definitely wasn’t the best week for pictures, or the best week in general really. I’m keeping everything crossed for a quick recovery and for lots of adventures with the kids. They break up from school on Friday, so a whole 6 weeks of fun awaits.

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I normally keep this blog for the good things, I’ve said a lot that its my happy place and rather than needing to include all the stuff from the real world, it’s ok for it to be all about baking and dresses and pretty places and everything thats nice and positive in life. That doesn’t mean I haven’t written about the shit stuff, often when I’ve had a bad day I will write about it, but its not stuff that I would publish on here. I’m quite a private person, so the stuff that makes it onto the internet is usually just the stuff that I don’t mind other people being able to see.

But I do want to write about Friday, because I actually think it was a big thing that I want people to know about and also because it taught me a few life lessons and things I would do differently in the future.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when I got a very bad headache, we’re not talking a normal headache that goes away with a paracetamol, it was really bad. I instantly put it down to not enough sleep and too much screen time. I battled through and got on with it. Really I should have picked up that its not right to have a headache that bad, that taking pain killers doesn’t help. But I’m so bad at looking after myself that I just tried my best to battle through and continue as normal. I’m a busy work at home mum, I don’t have time to be ill!

So the headache came back on and off over the last fortnight and I assumed as my eyes were tired that I had eye strain and booked an opticians appointment. The part of this that I’m most ashamed to admit is that I don’t think I’ve had an eye test since I was about 16. I have never had any problems with my eyesight and although I am well aware that it’s important to go anyway, I just never got round to it. I get pretty bad anxiety when it comes to making appointments and medical stuff in general it would take something pretty bad for me to go to the doctor or dentist, something that after this I will need to address.

So I went to the opticians expecting to need reading glasses and that to be that. At first everything seemed normal, I had all the usual tests, was told that my eyesight seemed fine and then the optician said she needed a second opinion on something and left to get her senior colleague. She then looked at my eyes and told the original colleague that what she could see wasn’t Ok. They then told me that they were going to ring the eye department at my local hospital and that I needed to go there immediately. She explained that my optic nerves didn’t look right and she showed me a picture of mine compared to normal ones. I’m not medically trained so I can’t explain in detail, but they looked completely different. She explained that this is a sign of pressure in the brain and that it was urgent that I saw a doctor. At this point I was on my own in a high street opticians and how I stayed calm I really don’t know. As soon as I’d left I burst into tears and called Rob, walking down the high street to my car with tears rolling down my face and a feeling of absolute terror was one of the most awful moments of my life.

I rushed home to get Rob who drove me to the hospital. I was given a quick consultation with the nurse who put special eye drops in for me. These dilate your pupils for a few hours, so they can see into your eye. I was then given an eye scan and had to wait to see the doctor. Waiting was hard. I already knew that things weren’t good as I’d seen the reaction of the opticians and had seen the images of the eye myself. So I wasn’t expecting good news. Rob then had to leave to pick up the kids so I was just sitting there on my own running through everything in my head.

When I went in to the doctor he had another quick look inside my eyes. He then pushed the machine to one side and told me that it’s really not good to have a combination of severe headache and for my optic nerves to look like that, especially as I had been like this for two weeks. He explained that the concern was that there was a brain tumour or bleed causing pressure to the optic nerves. He was so kind and just took my hand while I cried. A lovely nurse came in and hugged me. I sat quietly crying while the doctor made phone calls and got me booked in for an urgent CT scan. He gave me a lolly pop, which was for some reason really comforting. All I could think about was that I was going to die and leave Rob without a wife and my kids without their mother and that is one of the most horrible things ever. The doctor asked if I wanted to wait outside while he made phone calls, but to be honest I was well aware of the realities of the situation so I stayed there.

The worst part of all of this was what was going on in my head. I’m naturally very optimistic, so I kept telling myself that I would be OK, but then reality hit and I thought about how concerned everyone was and that terrified me. Everyone was preparing for bad news and I just sat there thinking about my kids and silently crying. It was awful.

So then the doctor took me to the CT scan department and I waited around half an hour for the scan. The waiting was the worst part, because of everything going through my head. I just tried to stay calm and every time I got myself calmed down the fear hit me again. When I got called through for the scan I completely broke down and the lovely lady, really helped and talked to me for a minute. As I had to stay completely still for the scan, I used every ounce of strength I could muster to centre myself and stay calm. I then prayed harder than I ever have in my life for this to be OK, for me to not have to leave my kids. I managed to stay completely still throughout the scan. I couldn’t tell you much about it as I was so focussed on staying calm and not moving.

I then went back down to the doctor and waited for the results to come through. This all happened amazingly quickly and I just sat there waiting while he phoned someone and asked the results to be sent through, the scan details popped up on his screen and he looked at them for a minute, he then jumped up and just hugged me and gave me a high five, he looked more relived than you can possibly imagine.

So after all that fear, there was nothing immediately serious or life threatening, I could go home. Obviously there is still an issue and I am booked in for an emergency MRI and have been referred to neurology and I need to go back to see the department next week. I still don’t know what will happen. But where I am now is so much better than where I could have been. I’m still in shock about what happened. I don’t think you can go through something so massive or terrifying and feel OK. I went to a pretty dark place and although I am hugely relieved I won’t ever forget the worry on peoples faces at the optician or at the hospital. Or the relief on the doctors face when the good news came.

I needed to get all this written down for a few reasons, firstly having been through stuff before I know that it is so important to talk about traumatic experiences and to address them and also because I don’t want anyone else to make my mistakes. Because it could have been so much worse. It also made it very hard for the opticians that I didn’t have up to date records to compare with.

So do me a favour, if you are due an eye test or have a medical concern you’ve been ignoring, go and get it looked at. Please. In the meantime I am spending today in bed recovering, resting and preparing myself for whats to come.

I need to take a moment to shout from the rooftops how amazing the NHS are, I don’t know what I appreciate more – the kindness and compassion I received, the speed and efficiency of my treatment or the fact that I can be unwell without the worry of financial implications. But for so many reasons I am incredibly grateful right now.