Sunday night vibes…

After two cancellations (at the behest of Covid) & almost forgetting the rescheduled date, I finally got to see Rachel Fairburn on Sunday.

I’ve been cracking up at Rachel’s chat on the All Killa No Filla podcast for a couple years now. This was my first time seeing her stand up. I wasn’t disappointed. Her show was hilarious. If you like gobby, feminist comedy you should definitely check her out.

I think this may have been my first night out since before the pandemic, so I wanted to look tip top. I have this banging dress that I bought to wear on my 40th birthday, but Covid scuppered that plan too. I haven’t had anywhere to wear it in the year since & it needed an outing.

Ly is wearing a form fitting churub print dress
Dress – Pretty Little Thing
Glasses – Where.Light

Sunday night comedy didn’t feel like the right event for the dress, so I experimented a little. Teamed with my favourite velvet trousers and some trusty leopard print the dress took on a whole new vibe.

Ly is standing with her hands in her hips wearing black velvet trs, cherub print top & leopard print kimono
Trousers – Elvi
Kimono – Simply Be

I felt super cute, Rachel was on top form & I had an excellent night with my sis. It was exactly what I needed.

Ordinary pain…

I have shared some of my pain management techniques in the past. Recently I’ve been experimenting with some new methods and I thought I would share how I have been getting on.

First is a product I have mentioned before, but have only recently been able to properly try. Lidocaine Patches are hard to come by in the UK. They’re expensive and so can only be prescribed by the NHS for a very limited number of conditions. They’re mainly used inpatient and for short periods. I had been able to try them for an incredibly short period of time a few years ago. I found them helpful, but wasn’t able to get a longer term supply. The surge in my pain levels this year sent me into research overdrive. Time and again I read articles & personal accounts of how amazing lidocaine patches were for arthritis & fibromyalgia. I discussed it with my GP who agreed that they would be a good option for me, but she wasn’t permitted to prescribe them. After much searching I found a way to source the patches and bought them myself. They are not cheap. I had mine sent from Canada, 10 patches were approx £60. For me, they are proving worth it. The patches offer excellent relief for my joints. They don’t eliminate pain altogether, but they do vastly reduce it. Patches can be applied directly to the skin and remain on for 12hrs. They offer pain relief for that entire period (the last few hours you can feel their effect lessening). I have also found the patches ease my more extreme period cramps. My approach is to use the patches on my very worst or most active days. I wish I could afford to apply them everyday, but with head to toe pain, that’s just not possible right now. I’m not happy that NHS treats chronically ill & disabled patients this way. Tying a Dr’s hands & leaving then to prescribe treatment that they know is ineffective is utter bullshit. I am however crazy happy that I can now access the patches. I know that not everyone has the means to buy things like this themselves (I won’t always). There is much to be done in the fight for disability rights. In the meantime I am doing what I can to get by.

I’m late to the simple concept of squared breathing. In all the therapy, meditation, pain management sessions etc I have done it’s strange that I didn’t learn about before. I’ve tried umpteen breathing exercises. All touted as a wonder cure, none ever succeeded in doing anything but annoy me. Imagine my surprise when the simple act of breathing in for four, hold for four, out for four, hold for four and repeat actually worked. Squared breathing doesn’t reduce pain, it reduces the panic I feel when my pain starts climbing out of control. Holding off that panic is game changer. All the tension that comes with freaking out increases pain. The whirring fear severely impacts my ability to make clear decisions. In short, the panic makes a horrible situation worse. Carving myself a little bit of time to think with this exercise actually makes a big difference in those unbearable moments.

Diagram explaining squared breathing

Finally, we have CBD. Not a new or unknown thing. This is another one I tried before, but only recently perfected. In the past I tried cbd gummies & oil. I didn’t have much success with either. I found the huge array of products overwhelming. I couldn’t quite work out what strength & how much I needed to find relief from my symptoms. The gummies had no impact. The oil was a little better, but the taste made me gag (& sometimes throw up). The after taste contaminated my mouth the whole day. Every site I looked at seemed to offer different advice. I became confused and favs up. A couple of months ago I tried some disposable CBD vapes. A very knowledgable member of staff in a local shop helped me. In no time at all I had finally worked out the right strength for me. I have now invested in a refillable vape & stocked up on oil. I’m using 10% organic vision cbd oil with a minty fresh flavour, which is very palatable. It’s helping with headaches, muscle pain & stiffness.

Multi coloured vape pen on wooden background

As always, I want to remind everyone that I am not a medical professional. I am only describing what has worked for me. Please consult your Dr before making changes.

Do you really like it?…

Some of you may be aware that you can leave me a tip on Ko-Fi if you enjoy my work. Well, as of today you can also subscribe for exclusive content for a small monthly fee.

I will of course continue to blog as usual. My writing will also still be appearing in various publications. There will be no shortage of free material to consume, so worry not. My Ko-Fi membership tier is just a little extra for anyone who really loves my work & would like to give my freelance coffers a little boost.

You can join here. Huge thank you in advance.

Wilde life…

I am incredibly excited to be working* with the amazing Wilde Mode again. They make the best knickers (& more) in the entire world. Handmade, perfect fit and the coolest prints. What more could I ask for?

Well, let me tell you. Inclusive sizing (xxs – 10xl), eco friendly materials & packaging, diverse advertising, all staff earning a living wage, gender neutral, vegan owned, zero fabric waste & they even plant a tree for every parcel they send. This is exactly the kind of small business we should all be supporting.

Plus, the products are as good as their ethics. I simply can’t get enough these high waisted knickers. I don’t know why but having a big FU on my knickers makes dealing with rotten days so much easier.

If you need even more incentive, there’s still time to grab a bargain in the summer sale. Go!

* Brand Ambassador.

Thou shalt never…

I love a good slogan t shirt. However I’m not really into the sensation of anything too restrictive around my neck. Enter, my shaky customisation skills.

I’ve hardly worn this tee because the crew neck felt uncomfortable. After some chopping & sewing I think it’s going to get much more body time. Add the comfiest velvet trousers, a spot of leopard print & you’ve got a look.

Trousers – Elvi
Vest – Monsoon
T-Shirt – GrlClb

Ready for action…

On Friday our original adventure was rained off, so it was up to Paw Patrol to save the day. The little ones absolutely adored it.

The adults were relieved to discover the puppies big screen debut wasn’t as bad as we imagined. I also managed to curate a cool look & even apply mascara. Big win all round.

ly is standing with her hands on her hips wearing red leopard tights & a sheer black dress
Dress – Monki
Kimono – Simply Be
Shoes – Primark
Glasses – WhereLight

The star is the show are these amazing leopard print tights from Snag. I’ve had them for ages, but Covid & then the heat delayed their first outing. I’m completely in love with them. Expect to see much more of them.

Tights – Snag

Make it easy…

It’s been a tricky couple of weeks, so haven’t been out much. It’s so hot that I’ve been at home in my pants a fair amount. I thought I’d share the comfy & cute looks I’ve been sporting when I have crossed the threshold.

This dress was a gift from my Mum. It’s an excellent choice for this weather. It’s really light, but gives good coverage to avoid sunburn. I love the print and the flouncy skirt.

alt is wearing teen dress with yellow floral print
Dress – Gift
Crop top – ASOS Curve
Kimono – Simply Be

For a wee cinema trip with the boy I popped this dress on. I got it a few summers ago, but haven’t worn it very often. I didn’t realise you could see my knickers through it until I took this pic at the end of day, oops. Another excellent summer for this stifling weather. Loving the tie detail too. We saw the new Croods film & the boy thoroughly enjoyed it.

ly is wearing short gingham dress with tie detail at bust
Dress – ASOS Curve

Finally, today’s outfit. I had one of my nephews this morning, but was too sore for adventures. I introduced him to minions & had a little carry on at home. This skort is my new fav as it is so easy to wear. I teamed it with the comfiest bandeau top & my trusty pillow slides.

ly is wearing blue floral print skirt,  black vest top
Skort – Simply Bev
Bandeau – Primark
Sandals – Pillow Slides

I ain’t buying it…

I know you all love my cranky little rants. So, here go, part 3 of all the current trends I ain’t buying.

SHEIN

I get the appeal. They do produce lots of really cute clothes for a total steal. The obvious fast fashion issues aside Shein has another dirty habit. They steal. Specifically, designs from small brands. They are notorious for ripping off independent creators & massively undercutting the price point. A quick google will show you just how often they do this. This is beyond scummy. It seriously harms those small brands & I’m not supporting it.

Wilde Mode
Sincerely Ria
Elexiay

NOUGHTIES YUCK

Let’s stay on fashion, but stray into I just hate it territory. The return of early noughties style is not pleasing me. Every site is packed with ruched barely there shiny satin. I was around in 00’s and I knew then that this was fashion death. I do not understand the resurgence of the Paris Hilton X early days Girls Aloud look. Some looks need to be forgotten and this is definitely one of them.

Orange shiny satin straps dress & lime green ruched mini skirt
Early girls aloud in shiny strapped outfits.

PROLON

Next up will be no surprise. ProLon is the latest diet fad and it’s gross. Disappointingly this product keeps coming up in my socials. It claims to mimic a fast without actually having to fast. It consists of everything you’re supposed to eat for 5 days. Including soups, shakes, olives & kale crackers. In other words, hardly anything at all. ProLon makes all the usual quack claims; kick starts your metabolism, cleanses your system yada yada. It’s all the usual diet culture nonsense. Barely eating doesn’t clean out your system, whatever that’s even supposed to mean. Starvation diets damage your metabolism they don’t fix them. You may well lose weight eating soup & olives for 5 days, but you’ll put it right back on again as soon as you return to eating actual meals. Diets don’t work. Fasting is not healthy. Please don’t waste your money on this

Diet Nonsense

DISAPPEARING BIKINI BOTTOMS

I’ll finish on a lighter note with the laughably small bikini pants. These are back strong this summer. I’m not denying they look great, they really do. I just have one question, where do I put my vulvu? I don’t care how petite you are down there the minute you move that fabric is gone. Your lips are absolutely going to munch those tiny bikini bottoms. I’m convinced that some sort of glue is involved and I’m not here for it. Neither is my pandemic bush.

Woman in tiny yellow bikini
Does the glue come with purchase?

Down by the sea…

Last week I headed north for a wee break by the sea. Our cottage was perfect. Exposed stone walls, cute nautical touches & the most beautiful view.

View of Cartterline bay & lighthouse from hill top

My nephew was along for the ride, so I needed cute unfussy clothes that allowed for much carry on. I also had to account for the crazy heatwave. First thing in my suitcase was this adorable skort that I’ve just bought. I’m not usually a shorts girl, but I really love the teenie skirt/short combo. It was ideal for early morning shenanigans with the rascal.

Ly is wearing floral mini skirt, shark vest & cardi and is standing above a pebble beaches bay
Skort – Simply Be
Vest – Primark (men’s)
Cardi – Handmade by my Mum
Sandals – Pillow Slides
Glasses – Where Light
Ly is lifting floral skirt to shoe shorts attached beneath

For our trip to Stonehaven I opted for this polka dot dress. It’s super light and easy to wear. Whilst still offering coverage to prevent burning in the sun. The wind was blowing so you can’t see just how cute this dress is. You’ll have to trust me that it has a lovely shape. Oh & pockets!

ly is standing at the seafront on a sunny day wearing  green polka dress and using a walking stick
Dress – Gift
Glasses – Where Light

Finally for a blowy day at St Cyrus beach I opted for this trusty jumpsuit. Again, it’s super light and easy to wear. I added the cardi later in the afternoon when the wind got up. When I fancied a paddle I went old school & tucked my jumpsuit in my knickers!

ly is wearing a leopard print jumpsuit & purple cardi.  She is standing on a wooden bridge with a walking stick
Jumpsuit – Very

Be running up that hill…

Chronic illness is great at kicking you when you’re down. Lamentably, it also likes to give you a dunt when you’re flying too. It would be taxing to say which is worst, but falling from a height certainly hurts.

That was me last week. I was on a lovely break in the cutest cottage by sea. Soaking up the calming sea side views and thoroughly enjoying time with my nephew. The sun was out, we headed to an incredibly beautiful beach. I watched the boy run around having the time of his life. I paddled in the refreshingly cold sea. Took deep breaths, listened to the lapping waves & felt happy.

Tide coming in on st Cyrus beach

As it edged towards late afternoon people started to leave. I began to worry about the hill I’d have to climb to leave the beach. As we packed up I saw people stroll up. I knew it was going to be a problem.

And I was correct. That little sand dune fucked me up. I started trying to ascend it alone, but quickly realised that wasn’t going to happen. It’s hard to get your footing on slopping sand. Even harder to get purchase in moving ground with a walking stick. With every step the sand slid down the hill pushing me back. It was all working against me.

Foot with black painted tie nails on the sand with wave approaching

My sister saved the day. She let me lean on her, literally & half dragged me up that hill. Every step was excruciating. My knees felt like the where going to explode. My back, wrists, elbows & shoulders were all screaming. I couldn’t catch a breath, my lungs felt as though they were filling with the sand I was slipping on.

That little sand dune appeared to go on forever. The bench at top a promised land I’d never reach. Listen, the pain was bad, it wasn’t the culprit of tears at the summit. As my sister helped me struggle I saw my 3yr old nephew gamble up the slope. An old couple comfortably passed us. A nice man with a very concerned look stopped to ask if he could help. I focused on breathing whilst my little sister pepped talked me up that hill. I repeated ‘you’re nearly there’ in my head and tried my upmost to hold back the tears.

When I finally had my bum on that bench my nephew ran to give me a cuddle. The tears started streaming. I looked at the beautiful view as I silently cried. I didn’t want to make eye contact with my loved ones. I didn’t want my little rascal to see me in this state. I recognised the concern in my sister’s voice & the love in the silent shoulder my Mum offered to hold me upright. As much as I loved them for it, I hated that I have to be this way.

View from hill over a beach.grass & wildflowers with sand past leading down to the blue sea

It was another one of those ‘how did I get here’ moments that chronic illness brings. I never imagined it’d take a support team to get me up a hill at 40 years old. I’m not a person who likes to be publicly vulnerable, yet here I am. Regularly fragile & exposed as I try to scratch out something close to a normal life. I felt guilty and embarrassed and pathetic and grateful and burdensome and scared and loved. All crashing over me with more force than the waves below could ever muster.

I concentrated on the nature around me as fought to compose myself. I attempted to ignore the curious looks from strangers & the pain coursing through my body. I listened to the the waves and birds. I let the blue horizon pull me through all the heavy implications placed on the people I love. I dried my eyes. I got back on my feet.

The day continued. Me, making my way slowly behind the others. Stopping to rest. Taking pain relief. Zoning out when we got back in the car. It was all so much bigger than that stupid hill. I was hoping I hadn’t distressed the others. Dreading the pain that I knew was still to come. Feeling sad at the thought that I probably wouldn’t ever return to that blissful beach.

It is painful to accept one’s limitations. I find it incredibly hard to let more & more go. I hate that I’m always the one who has a problem with the plans. I despise that my difficulties are so visible. Gasping for air at checkouts that take a fraction too long. Sitting on floors when there’s no seats available. Calling in advance to check if my malfunctioning body can be accommodated. I don’t like being on display, don’t want to answer questions about my stick, shake off the exasperated sighs or smile at pitying strangers. No matter how kindly meant, I’d rather be suffering in private. I’m exhausted by the knowledge that I’ll pay for every slice of fun. Even more so by the battle with myself to keep reaching for those good times anyway. Most of all I’ll forever regret how much this impacts all the wonderful people in my life. I wish I could stop being a hindrance. I never want them to have to worry. I appreciate every tiny thing they do for me, but I still wish they didn’t have to.

This is chronic life. It’s not just the pain & illness. It is all encompassing. Lots of the time the only way to deal with that is to push it to the very back of your mind. These moments of brutal clarity never stop taking me by surprise.