body

Book your f**cking smear test!

It seems very fitting that I am writing this blog post on World Cancer Day. It is also a strange coincidence that it was today that I had my smear test done. I’ve titled this blog post after something I say to so many women both in my friendship groups and on social media where I try and help spread the word about the importance of cervical screening.

For anyone that didn’t know, last month was Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

FACT: 8 people every day are diagnosed with cervical cancer.

FACT: In 2012 I was one of them.

FACT: Because it was picked up early, I was able to have it removed with no need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

FACT: Cervical cancer screening can save lives. I’m proof.

So yes, it seems rather apt that I booked my smear test for today.

I keep hearing and reading so many statistics about the number of women that put off their smear tests. Yes it can be embarrassing – particularly if you’ve not had kids and you aren’t used to getting your foof out for all to see. Yes it can hurt – I wont lie (more in that in a minute), but so do tattoos, piercing and a whole host of other things people choose to do to their body. I love tattoos as much as the next ink freak, but they don’t save lives and they take a hell of a lot longer.

So back to me. I had a routine smear test in 2012 which came back with Cin3 changes. This is pretty much the next level of “abnormality” before cervical cancer. I had no clue anything was wrong other than cramps and some irregular bleeding, which I later found out *could* be symptoms of cervical-related problems. I was referred for a LLETZ treatment during which the cells are removed, and they are then sent for biopsy. A few days later I had a phone call telling me to go back and see the consultant who told me that they had found a very small amount of cancerous cells. As you can imagine my jaw hit the floor. However, the consultant was positive that they had removed it all, although they chose to take further biopsies to be sure. That is, as they say, a whole ‘nother story, but the upshot is that there was no more cancer and they had caught it before it had grown or spread.

I was incredibly lucky. I didn’t need any chemotherapy, any radiotherapy, any drugs or further treatment at all. All I had was a follow up colposcopy 6 and 12 months later, and now I have to have annual smear tests until 2022 – 10 years after the diagnosis.

Going for a smear test is emotionally and physically painful for me. It brings back bad memories, I suffer from anxiety in the weeks before and after whilst waiting for the results as I am statistically more likely to develop it again than someone who hasn’t had cancerous cells. And the actual procedure – for me – is something akin to a nurse shoving a red hot poker up my foof and wiggling it around for 30 seconds. I need to stress though – this ISN’T the norm. Most women don’t find it nearly as painful and some don’t really feel a thing. The reason that I do is because I had the majority of my cervix removed after my diagnosis, making what is left extremely difficult to reach. I’ve also had 2 children, 2 episiotomies and as such I affectionately refer to my lady bits as “frankenfanny”.

My nurse at my doctors, Caroline, is amazing. She lets me holler, swear, cry, whatever I need to do and always gives me a big hug after. She totally gets how difficult it is for me, and supports me throughout. I’m dropping in some flowers for her next week, as I really don’t know how I would get through it without her and she is the only reason I stay with my, quite frankly crappy, surgery.

But the point of this blog post it this: if I can go through the intense pain and stress it causes me on an annual basis then you can woman the hell up and have your 3-yearly smear test. You’ll be in there 10 minutes, less time than it takes you to blow dry your hair or apply your nail varnish. It could save your life and as such, it could be the most worthwhile 10 minutes of your life.

If you choose not to get your smear test done I would love to say you’ll live to regret it, but statistically many of you wont.

Please, for the sakes of your parents, your partners, your kids…. book your f**cking smear test!!!

Dee xoxox

 

Confidence is Beauty & Beauty is Confidence

I saw this on Facebook today and had to share it. I’ve seen so many friends constantly put themselves down because they aren’t happy with their body. If you aren’t happy then by all means work to make yourself happy.

But…..

Putting yourself down all the time isn’t sexy, beautiful or endearing. It’s downright annoying and can be perceived as attention-seeking. Your true friends will love you no matter your shape or your size. I know I’m carrying a bit of extra weight still, but I also know I’m fabulous on the inside and that is ultimately what counts. 

Confidence is Beauty and Beauty is Confidence. Hold your head up high.  

 

#Stretchyselfie

So I have been neglecting my blog again due to hectic work schedule and two small people being off school for the Easter Holidays, but I read something today and I wanted to blog about it.

On Facebook there was a post shared by a friend of mine about Chrissy Teigen. For those of you who don’t know she is an American model who has been in Sports Illustrated, and is also married to John Legend. And do you know what else… she has stretchmarks!

Yes that is what this post was about, she had shared a pic of her with said stretchies on show, with part of the caption reading “stretchies say hi”. So it’s true, even slim beautiful models like Chrissy Teigen get stretchies. Of course we knew this, but there is still such a taboo surrounding them. People think that they are ugly and try and cover them up. Truth is, real women get stretch marks.

And before anyone says – no this isn’t an attack on people without them. I really don’t give a shit what your skin looks like, trust me, I have had enough of my own skin-related drama’s to be not in the least bit phased by ANY skin condition!

But I do applaud Chrissy for sharing hers with the world, and it got me thinking that if more of us shared pictures of our stretchies then perhaps, just maybe, people wouldn’t feel so bad about them. I certainly don’t want my 8yr old impressionable daughter and my nieces growing up in a world where they may be ashamed or embarrassed of the way that they look. And I also don’t want my son growing up in a world where women are judged and viewed differently based on lines that may or may not appear on their stomach. Obviously this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the whole debate around ‘ideal bodies’ and I will save that for another day.

But coming back to stretchies, I am going to share mine too, because do you know what, they are just marks, they don’t define anything about me, not even the fact that I am a mother as women who don’t have children get them too. They are just marks and I’m not phased by having them. So here is my #stretchyselfie for the world to see.

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I encourage all women, no matter what the shape or size, to accept their stretchies and not be fazed by them. After all beauty is not stretch mark deep!

#stretchyselfie

Another weigh in…..

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Weigh ins have been a little hit and miss lately with one thing and another, so I thought I had still better do an update!

Unfortunately I have just been too busy to get back on the exercise wagon, but the weight is still slipping away, albeit a little slower, so I’m not too worried. Hopefully when work quietens down a bit then I will have a bit more time on my hands!

My WLJ

5th January       14st 10 3/4lb

12th January     14st 1 3/4lb        loss 9lbs!

19th January     13st 12 1/2lb      loss 3 1/4lb

26th January     13st 9 1/2lb       loss 3lb

2nd February     13st 8 1/4lb       loss 1 1/4lb

9th February      13st 5 1/4lb      loss 3lb

16th February    13st 3 1/2lb      loss 1 1/4lb

23rd February    13st 6lbs          gain 2 1/2lb

28th February    13st 2.5lbs       loss 3.5lbs

10th March         13st 1.5lbs      loss 1lb

23rd March         12st 13lb         loss 2.5lb

Hubby’s WLJ

5th January       22st 2 1/2lb

12th January     21st 4 1/2lb      loss 12lbs!

19th January     20st 13 1/4lb    loss 5 1/4 lb

26th January     20st 10 1/2lb    loss 2 3/4 lb

2nd February    20st 10 1/4lb    loss 1/4lb

9th February     20st 5 1/4lb      loss 5lbs

16th February   19st 13 1/4lb    loss 6lbs!

23rd February   20st 1 1/4lbs    gain 2lbs

28th February   19st 10 1/4lbs  loss 5lbs

10th March        19st 13 1/4lbs  gain 3lbs

23rd March        19st 5 3/4lbs    loss 7 1/2lbs

I’m so pleased to be back in the 12s, even if it is only just! It’s 8 weeks until I go to Tenerife with the girls so I am really really going to try and see an 11 on the scales by the time I go!!!

Lucy Bee Coconut Oil – A Health & Beauty Revelation!

Coconut Oil

Hello lovelies – long time no see! I’m sorry I am awol so much at the moment, but I am busy working hard on new freelancing projects!

However I had to pop on and do a quick review of my new “wonder-product”! You know how it is when sometimes you find a product that just blows you away. Well this is my current one.

I have heard loads lately about the benefits of coconut oil, both to use in cooking and as a beauty product. In case you didn’t know, I suffer badly from dry skin, psoriasis and sometimes eczema. It always gets much worse, much drier and itchier in the winter months, probably owing to me having the heating on and drying the air out. I am always on the lookout for new moisturisers, and don’t get me wrong, body butters do the trick for the most part. But I can’t use them on my face without it getting sore.

Ladies and … well probably mostly ladies reading this although if there are any men – no judgement! May I please present you with Lucy Bee’s Coconut Oil. This huge jar cost me £6.99 in Sainsburys and so far I’m not even 1/4 of the way through.

I have used this product for literally everything!

* I have massaged it into my dry scalp, left overnight and thoroughly washed out the next morning – shiny and flake free hair that looks so well conditioned I feel I could star in a L’Oreal advert!

* I have rubbed a cotton wool ball against the hardened oil, and used it as a make up remover. Not only is in incredibly gentle on the skin, it removes make up easily and leaves my face feeling silly smooth. I have to admit I don’t know how well it would work on naturally oily skin, but for dry skin it works great!

* I have used it on my skin as a moisturiser. Scoop out a small ball of it and warm it between your palms before spreading. A little goes a long way! It leaves me feeling moisturised all day long without feeling greasy. It smells like holidays too! Last week both my underarms were extremely dry, cracking and sore. Less than 4 days later of applying the coconut oil twice a day and my underarms are soft, silky, pink and definitely not sore.

* As a cooking oil. Just scoop a little into a pan and heat til it melts, then cook as normal. Much healthier than some alternative oils!

Seriously, I am absolutely nuts about this stuff right now. If you suffer from dry skin or dry skin conditions, give it a try! And even if you don’t, buy some anyway. It will make you look and feel fantastic, inside and out!

Week 9 Weigh In

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Wow I completely forgot to weigh in yesterday as I have been really busy working on a couple of new projects! Anyway, here it is!

My WLJ

5th January       14st 10 3/4lb

12th January     14st 1 3/4lb        loss 9lbs!

19th January     13st 12 1/2lb      loss 3 1/4lb

26th January     13st 9 1/2lb       loss 3lb

2nd February     13st 8 1/4lb       loss 1 1/4lb

9th February      13st 5 1/4lb      loss 3lb

16th February    13st 3 1/2lb      loss 1 1/4lb

23rd February    13st 6lbs          gain 2 1/2lb

28th February    13st 2.5lbs       loss 3.5lbs

10th March         13st 1.5lbs      loss 1lb            total loss to date: 22 and 3/4 lbs

Hubby’s WLJ

5th January       22st 2 1/2lb

12th January     21st 4 1/2lb      loss 12lbs!

19th January     20st 13 1/4lb    loss 5 1/4 lb

26th January     20st 10 1/2lb    loss 2 3/4 lb

2nd February    20st 10 1/4lb    loss 1/4lb

9th February     20st 5 1/4lb      loss 5lbs

16th February   19st 13 1/4lb    loss 6lbs!

23rd February   20st 1 1/4lbs    gain 2lbs

28th February   19st 10 1/4lbs  loss 5lbs

10th March        19st 13 1/4lbs  gain 3lbs      total loss to date: 31 1/4lbs

Had a little bit of a blip as we decided to go out for a Mother’s Day meal a week early (I hate going out on special occasions like that as its always so busy and you have to wait and hour for your food, not great with two young and impatient mouths to feed!).

Anyway, back on track again now foodwise although am really struggling to fit in time to exercise as I have been really busy working for some new clients every spare minute!  Am really hoping to see as 12 on the scales next week, fingers crossed!

March: this month I will…

Is it just me? I cannot believe we are already in March, where has the last three months gone? I mean I am absolutely longing for sunshine, flip flops, bbqs and balmy Sunday afternoons walking along by the seafront. I literally cannot wait! But I still can’t get my head around the fact that it is March. It’s quite frightening how quickly the year goes. And it also reminded me of some of my plans for this year that have gone by the wayside, so there are some things that I need to get back on track with…. and that has inspired this little blog post.

So, this month I WILL…….

1. Get back on track with C25K. As many of you who follow this blog will know, I started C25K at the start of February and completed the first week, and started the second. Then I managed to strain a muscle and was advised to take a break. And then it was half term so I was unable to get the time to start again. Well, we’ve got another 4 weeks until the kids break up for Easter so I am determined to start again this week – and this time do the whole lot outdoors. So tomorrow I am going to start C25K from the very beginning again and make sure I manage at least the first 4 weeks. And then I will just have to find the time to go when the kids are off.

2. Crack on with another little side project I have going on. Can’t say too much about this one, but its something I have been meaning to do for a long time. It’s one of those things that I am just not sure how to actually start though. But I can’t keep putting it off, I need to take action!

3. Remember to do my toning exercises – every day! No excuses! I’m trying to do a few moves to tone up my bum, tum and upper arms and apparently the key is to do them every day. It only takes 15 min so I need to make the time!

4. Blitz our wardrobes ready for summer. A massive clear out. We have too much stuff!

5. Clean the oven……… meh!

Okay I have declared them all here so that means I have to do them! Starting with the exercises…… after I’ve persuaded myself to move off the sofa!

Week 8 weigh in (a smidge early)

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We are doing the week 8 weight in a little early – 2 days early to be exact. Why you ask? Well we have been really strict with the diet all week in a bid to shift some of the weight we put on last weekend when we had a bit of a blip due to a bereavement in the family. But – and here it is – we are actually away tonight at a charity fundraiser – so will be having a few drinks and making the most of our first child-free night AWAY in years. In fact it may actually be our first child-free night away since our wedding night in 2008! That said, we are still going to try and make as many good choices as possible. I have just made myself a bowl of strawberries, topped with 0% fat raspberry yoghurt, for a filling and healthy breakfast! We are also taking the kids out to lunch before we go, and they have asked for Harvester which is great as I can have the pasta dish I love that comes in under 500 calories! Oh and of course the salad cart!!!

So it may seem like cheating a little, but we have decided to weigh in today, record our results from 5 days of eating clean. And then we wont weigh in again until Monday 9th March. I think doing this will yield not only more positive results, but a more positive mental attitude! Yes, I said it PMA!

You know the low you sometimes experience if you don’t see a loss, especially when you have been trying so hard. It can affect your motivation for the rest of the time. So hopefully by weighing in today we will keep our motivation for the rest of the time til we weight in again on 9th March!

My WLJ

5th January       14st 10 3/4lb

12th January     14st 1 3/4lb        loss 9lbs!

19th January     13st 12 1/2lb      loss 3 1/4lb

26th January     13st 9 1/2lb       loss 3lb

2nd February     13st 8 1/4lb       loss 1 1/4lb

9th February      13st 5 1/4lb      loss 3lb

16th February    13st 3 1/2lb      loss 1 1/4lb

23rd February    13st 6lbs          gain 2 1/2lb

28th February    13st 2.5lbs       loss 3.5lbs       total loss to date: 21 and 3/4 lbs

Hubby’s WLJ

5th January       22st 2 1/2lb

12th January     21st 4 1/2lb      loss 12lbs!

19th January     20st 13 1/4lb    loss 5 1/4 lb

26th January     20st 10 1/2lb    loss 2 3/4 lb

2nd February    20st 10 1/4lb    loss 1/4lb

9th February     20st 5 1/4lb      loss 5lbs

16th February   19st 13 1/4lb    loss 6lbs!

23rd February   20st 1 1/4lbs    gain 2lbs

28th February   19st 10 1/4lbs  loss 5lbs     total loss to date: 34 1/4lbs

Absolutely chuffed to bits with the losses this week! Definitely a big motivator to keep making healthy choices!

Thanks for your continued support!

Week 7 Weigh In – The Blip

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Well we have had a bit of a blip week this week. It started off well, then we both got rotten colds and craved sugar/energy, and finally towards the end of the week we had a family bereavement and had a couple of non-tracking days where we opened the wine and ate what we wanted. We just needed a few days I think.

So this week we have both put weight on. I don’t think its that bad really considering the non-tracking and also the fact its the first week in 7 that we have put anything back on. So in the grand scheme of things I would still say we are winning the fight against the flab. But I would rather be honest and document it than pretend it didn’t happen. Otherwise it would be all too easy to stay off the wagon.

My WLJ

5th January       14st 10 3/4lb

12th January     14st 1 3/4lb        loss 9lbs!

19th January     13st 12 1/2lb      loss 3 1/4lb

26th January     13st 9 1/2lb       loss 3lb

2nd February     13st 8 1/4lb       loss 1 1/4lb

9th February      13st 5 1/4lb      loss 3lb

16th February    13st 3 1/2lb      loss 1 1/4lb

23rd February    13st 6lbs          gain 2 1/2lb        Total loss to date: 18 3/4lbs

Hubby’s WLJ

5th January       22st 2 1/2lb

12th January     21st 4 1/2lb      loss 12lbs!

19th January     20st 13 1/4lb    loss 5 1/4 lb

26th January     20st 10 1/2lb    loss 2 3/4 lb

2nd February    20st 10 1/4lb    loss 1/4lb

9th February     20st 5 1/4lb      loss 5lbs

16th February   19st 13 1/4lb    loss 6lbs!

23rd February   20st 1 1/4lbs    gain 2lbs       Total loss to date: 29 1/4lbs

We are getting fully back on track this week now starting today now we have had a couple of days off to get our heads straight. We are away Saturday night for a charity function, but going to try and think sensible with regards to food and drink.

I have a maths exam this week, but am hoping to fit some exercise in now the kids are going back to school!

Wish us luck!

The Bantam Review: nspa Body Butter

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A review: nspa Body Butter – exclusive to Asda

So when I was in Asda I noticed that they had a lot of their health and beauty products on sale. Always drawn to a bargain I thought I would have a look and see what was on offer, when I discovered the nspa range had a body butter reduced from £3.00 down to a quite frankly obscenely-cheap £1.87. However let me tell you, there is nothing remotely cheap about this fantastic product.

I have battled with psoriasis and dry skin since I was a child, and so I am always interested in finding new products to help me combat the constant itch that accompanies dry skin. I usually only use body butters from The Body Shop as I have always found them to be the longest-lasting and most effective, but at around £13 per 200ml it is definitely not wonderful value for money as I can use two tubs in a month.

The first thing you notice about the nspa brand is the packaging which is bright, cheerful and packed with information. I particularly like the caption on the label, “our products are so fruity and juicy you might be tempted to eat them. Well don’t, they are not food”. You might think this is an exaggeration or somewhat egotistical of them, but in actual fact, if anything it is an understatement. I picked the Luscious and Juicy Red Cherry version and the moment I opened the lid my senses were assaulted by the deepest, richest cherry fragrance you can imagine. The smell, well it is just divine. It makes you want to eat it – and I don’t even particularly like cherries to eat! The fact that the body butter looks like yoghurt makes it even more appealing which moves me on nicely to the texture of the product.

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Normally I find that the main problem with a lot of products that advertise themselves as body butters is that they are just too thin. They absorb into the skin far too quickly and often either leave a greasy residue behind, or they don’t feel like they have moisturised your skin at all. In comparison the nspa body butter is thick, creamy and absorbs into the skin easily, leaving it soft and silky and feeling truly hydrated. There is no sticky feeling after application, and once I applied it after my shower, I felt moisturised all day.

Like Body Shop products, nspa is against animal testing and is produced in the UK.

Other products in the Fruit Extracts range include shower and bath gels, body scrubs and body mists. They also offer a Luxury range, selection of eau de toilettes and Beauty Rituals collection. It also offers a Mum to Be range, from which their body butter won the Silver Award at the 2014 Mother & Baby Awards – a massive recommendation in itself!

Overall I would give the nspa body butter a resounding 10/10. It does everything I could need it to do without irritating my extremely sensitive skin, and even at the usual price of £3.00 per 200ml is still less than a quarter of the price of The Body Shop alternative. I’m converted, now I urge you to give it a try!