Friendship: Reflections on 2016 and hope for 2017

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reflecting on 2016 and what to plan for 2017.  Did you know that this year is the end of a 9 year cycle and beginning of a new cycle.  The next few days are a good time to reflect on what you don’t want to repeat, and what was amazing and needs to continue into 2017.

Frankly 2016 was relatively shit.  It started ok, but there were huge shocks, stresses, betrayals, let downs and upsets; way beyond anything I could have imagined.  When that ‘last straw’ happened and I behaved very out of character, I was faced with judgment and rejection.

Definitely year of learning HUGE lessons about people and listening to my intuition more.

As someone said to me:

“It’s not your fault if you see the potential in people and they don’t live up to it.”

But to balance it friendship became a big theme for me; I am an extremely lucky woman!

Old school friends have visited, and good mates from over the years have turned up, always at exactly the right time.  A friend returned and now regularly brings bubbles and light heartedness.  New friends appeared, with fellow appreciation for cake 😉

There’s my friend across the pond, who I’ve never actually met, who has been there for me morning and night with little titbits of advice, healing and consistent support.  She even sends me beautiful cards, stunning hand made ear rings to cheer me up and this morning I received a a present of two things I really should have rewarded myself with, but had never thought of.

Then there is the friend who has basically ensured that I was able to get work done by helping with child care.  She even bought cupcakes for my kids, knowing full well there was no way I had the energy to make some for the school cake sale.  I know she is a huge believer in the fact that everything gets balanced out in life, but she must be storing up a huge bank load of help.

Or the lovely mum whose pragmatism and grounded nature meant I could turn up a sobbing mess early on a Saturday morning for a lot of tea and common sense.

So 2016 was the year of lessons, I only just survived, but where I came out with the best friendships ever.

Apparently 2017 is a ‘Number 1’ year – it’s a fresh start and time for change and moving forwards.  Good thing!

The kids are OK; Little Dimples is still determinedly trying to do things her way and is learning to not scream so much.  Curly Headed Boy is loving both dancing and in line hockey and enjoying the challenge of year 6 (he hates being bored).  The Hairy Northerner is currently juggling a couple of jobs and Wildbangarang – it seems jobs are like buses!

My Lyme disease is alright.  Not good – because I should be resting more.  But I’m better than surviving, and I feel I’m taking little chunks out of it on a daily basis.  I’ll do a proper update with my current ‘treatment’ in a few posts to see if there are any ideas that help.

How was your 2016?  What was good and what was bad?  What are your dreams for 2017?  Have a think between now and January 28th – it’s a good time for setting new intentions.

I’ve missed blogging, so I’m planning on doing lots more.  Do you have any preferences for what you’d like?  More light hearted ones?  Maybe some Facebook lives?  Or tips on what not to do in business (I’ve got oodles of them)?

Gravity Force St Albans Review – heaven or hell?

So as you know I don’t do many reviews, but when my kids heard I’d been asked to review gravity force in the summer, they kind of forced me to go!  Here is Curly Headed Boy’s reaction:

Gravity Force St Albans

So here are the things I was worried about and what I thought about it all ….

Is it dangerous?

Trampolines as we know cause havoc in home gardens and there was certainly some dodgy stuff on the internet about trampoline parks.  But I really liked this team.  There was no scrimping on first aid training and they took their roles seriously.  It seemed well designed, so that there less opportunities for problems as well.  Curly headed boy felt that some of the trampolines are actually a little under powered – maybe a very sensible precaution!

There are of course waivers you have to fill out – do it before you go and there is hardly any delay.  Make sure on your first visit that you do arrive 30mins before to do your waiver

Were they party-poopers?

Whilst worrying about safety is paramount, it is a trampoline park and Curly Headed Boy had been to a party at a rival location and hated it.  He felt they were hardly able to do anything and kept being pulled off.  Whilst getting into devilish moods at time, he’s a pretty well behaved boy, so he was really upset with the other location.  He loved Gravity force – the perfect combo of control and fun.

Did I have to get involved?

Gravity Force square trampolines

With my Lyme disease I was most worried that I’d be forced to bounce by Little Dimples, as she is often unhappy alone – this would not have been a good plan.  But after the first 5 mins I was free to watch, and on the next visits I didn’t have to do anything at all (oh yes, we have been again, and again, and again!).  This is a big deal as she normally gets nervous in chaotic situations.

Do you have to pay as a parent if you aren’t bouncing?

Nope – unlike other similar parks.

Whats the noise like?

I HATE Gambado’s – sorry Gambado’s, but the noise is like a living torture to me!  It was slightly ‘Argh’ in the coffee area when there were parties on, but the main area was fine.

Tip to help the kids enjoy it more:

Gravity Force Little Kids

Take the kids around the whole area before they go off jumping and explain what the different areas are for.  For example, there are 2 dodge ball courts (for different age groups), 4 long trampolines for doing tricks on, a trampoline with a basket ball hoop and a more professional trampoline.

Food & drink & socks & lockers

Gravity Force Food prices

You can’t take enough water.  I don’t think you are meant to take your own drinks or food, but honestly you are going to need to sneak water in your bag.  There is nothing you can do however, they will be hungry and thirsty at the end, expect to visit the cafe! The good news is that I think the prices were reasonable, they could have put them completely off the scale and they haven’t.

If you don’t have trampoline type socks from another park, then you’ll need them on the first visit (they are sticky on the bottom), but then can keep reusing them.

We didn’t worry about lockers, you won’t need one if you aren’t bouncing.

What if there is a party?

I’m not keen on going to kids play parks when there are other parties there.  But when you book online you can see which session are the busiest, so avoid those ones.

How long do you need to go for?

Personally I don’t think that you need more than an hour.  It’s actually a perfect thing to do for a short time in the day to let the kids let off steam.

Any improvements?

CHB would love them to do classes on acrobatics, but they can’t because of the insurance.

Toddlers, Disabilities & Grown Ups

There are morning sessions for toddlers, special sessions for those with disabilities and exercise classes for grown ups (The hairy northerner is actually rather keen to try one of the classes out, we just haven’t sorted it out yet).

Word of warning!

Don’t park in the private car park next door – I did by mistake and got a nasty message on my car – I can get a bit confuddled about parking sometimes, it was an honest mistake.

A Surprise Bonus

We ran into Anton from Xfactor – I have to say he is a real gent.  He didn’t stop smiling the whole time he was there, and happily made my kids day by taking a selfie with them!

Anton Stephans Gravity Force

Overall

My kids love it.  It’s a simple and quick thing to add into a weekend or holiday to help them let off steam without costing a fortune.  We’ve become regulars and will be back there this half-term.

 

Disclosure: I was invited to the pre-open day and given some tickets in return for a review.  We have however been again and paid for our own tickets, so that kind of proves it’s worth it.

Review No2 Far Infrared Cocoon From Get Fitt

 

So in April I reviewed the Far Infrared Professional Sol Cocoon and Earth Mat (chair mat) from Get Fitt.  I had amazing results, and thought I should update you how things are going since then.  Plus I’ve had over 50 people try the Cocoon and Chair mat, so I”ll let you know what I’ve found out from those trials.

Things I have learnt:

  1. The Cocoon is much stronger than the Chair mat; if you have a chronic illness you are going to need the Cocoon, if you want to get better.  But the Chair mat will help you keep going.
  2. Using the Cocoon 2-3 times a week at my Salon & Spa is not the same as using it twice a day; doh!
  3. I’m lucky to be able to use it twice a day; some people are so sick they can only use it once every couple of days at first.  I’m not sure why, but potentially as I had my supplementation, nutrition, exercise, meditation and pacing in place.
  4. Circulation is King in recovery from every illness; I really hadn’t understood how important it is, so I’ll write more about this with more tips.
  5. I’ve been focussing on being able to work and be with the kids, not healing; this is a big shift in thought process for me, that I’m still working on it.

Pro’s of the Earth/Chair mat:

FIR earth mat

I use this for about 30mins at night and 5 mins in the morning.

  1. It’s much prettier than the Cocoon
  2. It helps me stave off a flare, or hold it off until I can get in the Cocoon.
  3. It helps me to relax ready for sleep each night
  4. Both kids love it before bed during reading time (it’s on a rocking chair).
  5. It’s great for bad backs (no it doesn’t fix them forever, you need to keep using it and go to Pilates).
  6. It can give a boost of energy, just not as much as the cocoon – I don’t think it would last more than a couple of days in someone like myself.
  7. It’s easy to use because you can sit on it while you work
  8. The kids also like to lie on it watching films etc when they are tired.
  9. You can lie it on your stomach or knees for pain relief
  10. Everyone who has tried it has found it’s great to reduce the pain and grumpiness of PMT (like magic!)
  11. It means I can take it with me when I go away and still enjoy my holidays

So I’m really glad I bought one for myself personally and for my clients and I would really recommend it either as:

  1. A cheaper option that you supplement with a Cocoon at a salon/therapist
  2. Or for pain relief/PMT/energy boost if you are not chronically sick

Pro’s of the Cocoon

Willow FIR

  1. Massively reduces POTs symptoms and stops a flare up (heart palpitations, feeling as though my arms are tightly bandaged, pain across back & shoulders, fainting sensation on standing up).
  2. Almost meditative in nature; it seems to put everyone into a state of peace and calm that creates a really deep sense of rest.
  3. It helps me with the sense of overwhelm that being a mum of 2 young kids + a new business + Lyme disease brings on.  Honestly, there are times when I think it is the only thing that keeps me going.
  4. The Cocoon shape definitely has a psychosomatic reaction and relaxes people; it must be a bit womb like.
  5. Using it 2-3 times per week is keeping me going.  But I’m not making the degree of progress in improvement that I was making before.  There is some improvement, but not noticeable day by day as I was getting before, and life isn’t helping me maintain the improvements at the moment.
  6. It’s great before or after a massage of for people who are too stiff or don’t like the intimacy of a massage as a replacement.

Case Studies:

Cocoon sol

Here is a list of the types of problems that people have come to try the Cocoon for.  I would like to try a few of them in more depth.

Relaxation, stress relief, exhaustion: This is the prime use of the Cocoon at the salon and it always works for this.  If they go racing out into the world, the energy will last 1-2days.  But if they pace, it will last 4-5 days.

Children: All react really well to it and it seems to be very calming and relaxing.  For mine, I get a lot less tantrums kicking off and their health seemed stronger.  It’s good with the Chair mat (better than before), but not as strong.  I’d love to try more with hyperactive or sensitive children.

Recovery from hard core physical exertion: I was really excited to have a Polar Explorer tried it out on his return from the pole.  So I can be sure it helps and that it fits very, very, very tall people!  A mum tried it after doing a moon walk and it helped, but I should have popped her on it again for her to get no fall out from all that walking.

Preparation for exercise: a couple of OCR enthusiasts (Obstacle course racing) have found it really helpful.  I’d like to try out a few more to see if it helps with their results and preparation for races.  Now personally I think these people are C.R.A.Z.Y and doomed to hurt themselves, but heh ho, who am I to judge, and at least this will help protect and/or heal them 😉

Recovery from viruses: Loads of people tried if for recovery of bugs/illnesses that they couldn’t shake off and it either worked immediately or by the next morning.

Cancer: It definitely helps with the exhaustion, stress and pain relief.  I would consider it a supportive therapy, but I wouldn’t want to claim or promise anything else.

Chronic illnesses: (E.g. Fibromyalgia, M.E., CFS. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis).  It’s not a replacement or short cut for lifestyle changes.  It’s great for the exhaustion that often goes hand in hand with them.  The detox can be brutal, so care needs to be taken to not over do it initially; it even detoxes emotions (see my post on the sudden burst of grief about my parents death).  For some people it helps with pain relief straight away and for others it takes time; it’s going to take a few more clients before I can set people’s expectations clearly.  I definitely to keep going with more long term case studies on this.

What I’m going to keep investigating:

Dog On FIR mat

As you can see dogs like Far Infrared too 😉

I’m really interested in how it helps with PMT/Menopause and Depression, so I’m going to do some 2 month case studies in the coming months.  I’m pretty convinced it will help with these two really ‘normal’ problems, which would be amazing.

What’s not clear is which chronic illness is can not help or how many sessions my clients will need to make an improvement.  So we need to do more repeat treatments.

I reckon it will be good for weight loss, because of it’s motivational and detoxing abilities, but I haven’t focussed on this yet.  I can’t wait until it helps me, but the guys at Get Fitt reckon it will take another 4 months before my system normalises; argh!  (Yes, I know this shouldn’t be a priority, and I know I would tell you it’s not important!).

I’ll probably start all those case studies in a month or two, and just focus on continuing treatments with the people who have tried it so far.

In the meantime I’ve made a big decision; I’m going to take the Cocoon home for another month and see if I make as much improvement again as I did the first time.  this might seem really sensible to some people (and selfish to others), but it’s massive for me, as it’s a sign that I’m really prioritising myself ahead of other people and is a big step forward.

If I improve again, then I know that for the chronically sick I can only offer slow improvement/keep going treatments at Espiritu and that they’ll need their own cocoon to really improve (not knocking ‘keeping going’ as an option, as it’s better than ‘spiralling downwards’).  Also I’ll know whether I need to buy a Cocoon for my home usage.

But don’t worry, anyone who really needs it can still use it; I’ll bring it in once a week to Espiritu, or you can use it at my home or use the chair mat at Espiritu.

Want to try it?

Pop me a message on Facebook and we can have a chat.  If you are close, I really recommend you come and try my Cocoon.  I offer the first consultation (with a little coaching guidance) and first Cocoon treatment for free; that way if it doesn’t help there is no pressure on either of us.  My case studies are either free or on a large therapeutic discount.

If you aren’t close, Get Fitt do a ‘try before you buy’ option where you rent it for a month and then if you buy it, that rental comes off the price.  Do you mind mentioning to them that you read my blog posts, if you do take this option please?  They’ll give me a little reward and I’m putting any I get towards more products; there is no doubt that I’m going to need more support to recover completely from my Lyme disease.

At Espiritu I’ve created 10min, 20min, and 30min Far Infrared Cocoon services, a 15min coaching session for afterwards and packages of 6 for the price of 5 and 25% off 10 treatments.  Really popular is the Chair mat upgrade to pedicures/manicures/blow dries and the Cocoon upgrade to the Spa services (but remember, it will only be available 1 day per week for the next 2 months).

Remember to subscribe to this blog if you want to make sure you don’t miss the next instalment of what happens when I take the Cocoon home again and start using it on a daily basis again.

I’d love to hear from anyone else using the Get Fitt products and how it has helped.

 

Willow Face Paint Hoo BookFest

How to get Vouchers/Adverts for your school or charity

Willow Face Paint Hoo BookFest
Cheeky Butterfly

It’s school summer fair season again!  That means I’ve been approached by a LOT of schools in the surrounding area, for either adverts in their brochures or vouchers for their raffles.

Realistically, the vouchers do not really help me with my business.  I don’t get a lot of visibility from them and I don’t get a lot of business.  However, I do like to support the local community; my kids are at a local school, and I’m very aware of how hard the PTA’s work for both the private and state schools.  Sadly at times I do feel a little ‘used’ at times by the schools that approach me (not all, just some), which I suspect makes the PTA’s job even harder.

So I thought I’d write some tips on how to get those much needed adverts or vouchers from local businesses.  Most importantly you are looking to create a relationship with the business; where they know that you don’t just want a voucher from them, you actually care that they gain from it.

  1. If you are asking for raffle tickets, have a simple brochure and list all the small businesses that gave you a voucher with a thank you and their contact details.  Or create a poster that is in a prominent position at the fair if you can’t afford brochures.  The raffle prize will cost the business money to provide the service/product and it takes a lot of return visits from that customer to cover that cost.  So this gives them increased visibility.
  2. Suggest they offer you a raffle ticket for something that can be upgraded; this gives them a chance of covering their costs at least.  For instance, if I offer a 45min massage, someone might upgrade it to 60mins.
  3. If you are asking for adverts, please consider what value for money you are providing in comparison to other local advertising options.  Some schools would like to charge me the same amount to potentially reach 300 parents that I can reach 20,000 people in for a local magazine/newspaper.  They also tell me how many children are in the school, rather than how many families, which can often be about 60% of the original number.
  4. If you are asking for adverts give them plenty of time, a deadline, explain what format you need the advert in (e.g. PDF/Jpeg) and what the dimensions of the advert will be.  Also, send them a complementary version afterwards, to show them that you definitely did do the advert.
  5. Offer them a package where they can have a stall at your fair, offer a raffle prize and advert in your brochure at a reduced rate.
  6. Do some research into the most popular stalls; my heart breaks sometimes for the small businesses sitting their all lonely with products which are just not suitable for that school.
  7. If their business doesn’t really suit a stall at your fair, they could sponsor one of the PTA stalls.  For instance we often have simple games, where the kids win sweets.  These could be sponsored by the business, and reduce the PTA’s cost in return for a sign thanking the business for their sponsorship.
  8. Keep a record of the businesses and the contact person that help you each time.  Then to save you time you can contact them directly each year.
  9. I recommend that you find out if any of your PTA or parents actually use the business – I’m much more likely to give a voucher to a client, than a stranger who contacts me once a year.
  10. Contact the most local businesses first; they are the most likely to gain from supporting you.  Whereas I’m often contacted by schools from a long way away, that probably are too far for me to realistically gain clients.  It’s worth walking up the local high street and making a list of the companies, the person to contact and which ones might be interested.  Once this list is created it can be used each year.
  11. Support the business on social media – send a thank you tweet and message on their Facebook page.  Like their Facebook page and follow them on twitter.  Mention them on your private Facebook profile as well.  All these things help with a small businesses marketing campaign, and helps to reduce their costs.
  12. During the following year, share one or two of their Facebook posts or like them to show that it’s not just at Christmas and the Summer Fair time that you are interested.

I know this probably sounds like a lot of work, and it might be a little late for this year’s fairs (sorry!).  But once you have your list of businesses, it is likely that they will automatically help each year and you’ll only be looking for 1 or 2 extras per annum.  You will stand out as so much more loyal and caring than the other schools, that the business will always be willing to help you where it can.

I’d also recommend other ways of building a relationship with the business:

  1. Invite someone in from them for careers days, and send thank you’s on social media for their time.
  2. Offer them the opportunity to put fliers in the school bags – this can be more successful than an advert in the school brochure and lucrative for the school.
  3. Proactively find out what local businesses the parents work in and specifically target them, as they have greater interest in the school.
  4. If you have railings at school, you could offer for them to make a banner and advertise there every now and again (for a fee of course).
  5. If you do other events during the year, potentially offer for these businesses to sponsor some aspect of it.
  6. For your most reliable and loyal business supporters, you could add a thank you page to the school website.

Please remember that these are small businesses.  Unless they are very lucky, the owners are probably earning as much or less than they would do if working for someone else, and they are much more stressed.  Why on earth in that case do they do it?  Well that’s a question I’m not sure of the answer for!

I really hope this helps in that rather desperate rush to compete with other schools/charities for small business support.

 

 

Older Parents – something to remember

Mum & Dad & Me

So there’s been lots of chat about ‘Older parents’ recently.  An Indian couple in their 70’s became parents for the first time.  Tessa Sanderson (60) adopted twins.  Janet Jackson is pregnant at 49.  And a good friend of mine ‘older single mum’ was asked to write an article about it for Newsweek.

Technically I was ‘geriatric’ when I fell pregnant with Curly headed boy at 36 in Peterborough and but perfectly acceptable at 40 with Little Dimples in St Albans; geography does that to you apparently.

My Mother was 43 when she had me, which was very unusual 47yrs ago; I certainly didn’t have any friends with parents that age.  She would have been the same age as the Queen this year (90), and Dad would have been a few years older.  I have 3 brothers who are 20yrs older than me (same parents).

So I can see the arguments from all angles.

Dad died when I was 21 a few days before Christmas, so I never had a ‘grown up’ relationship with him.  Mum died just after my birthday, when I was pregnant with CHB, so I never had the chance to bond with her on being a Mum; I think it might have helped me to understand her more.

Losing your parents is tough.  But we are programmed to lose them at a certain time in our lives and it is a lot tougher to lose them ‘early’.  My parents were in no way perfect, in fact they were a long way off perfect.  But I would have liked them around in any case; it’s lonely without someone.

If you are an older parent, I’d like you to think about a couple of things.  In fact if you are now an ‘elderly’ parent or a hoarder, some of them are relevant to you too!

You see I’ve realised that I’m angry with my parents.  I’ve been sad, teary and stuffing myself with carbs for a few days now.  I don’t think I realised until today what the problem was though.  So I’m having a proper foot stamping strop about it in an effort to get it out!

This is what I wish I could have told them:

  • Stop smoking – it will shorten your life, and that’s not fair
  • Don’t drink lots – not enough to do damage – it shortens your life and that’s not fair
  • Exercise – is not about sport, it’s about still being able to get around when you are 70 and without it your life is cut short and that’s not fair

You get the general stroppy gyst of it?

For myself and the other ‘older parents’ out there:

Stop moaning about ‘lack of time’ – your kids won’t think that was a good excuse when you aren’t around and there is no more time to have with you.  The same counts for ‘lack of money’ – walking and press-ups don’t cost anything.  Then ‘lack of childcare’ – find a way of including them in being healthier.  Or there is the ‘I don’t know how to put myself first’ – that’s fine, don’t do it for you, do it for your kids, it’s not for you!

You can’t stop accidents from happening or illnesses.  But you can have a jolly good attempt at looking after yourself.  As long as you tried your best, that’s all your kids can ask for.  It’s not my ‘fault’ I got Lyme disease; although I suspect having children later didn’t help and I could have taken better care of myself and had a stronger immune system that fought the Lyme buggers off.  However, it is what it is and I will try my best to be as well as I can.

Kids are not a good replacement for proper medical care either.  It’s a difficult balance and I’ve not always got it right with my kids.  I actually feel that some of the potential extra responsibility that comes with an older or less well parent, can be healthy for a child.  They will learn empathy, thinking ahead, compassion, patience, gratefulness and all sorts of ‘character building stuff’.  But my parents could have afforded help, gone to hospital for proper medical care in certain circumstances or asked my brothers for help; instead I was a ‘young carer’ from about 5.  I didn’t have to do lots of cleaning, but I did lots of the care, and at one point all the cooking.  It tipped over the edge from ‘useful life skills’ to ‘too much responsibility’.  For instance, I was left with a very ill mother and had to call an ambulance for her at 5; without it she would have bled out.  I also found my father one night after he had been mugged; without it he would have died.  I spent a whole summer after GCSE’s nursing them; Mum after breaking her pelvis and my Dad after a heart attack.

Then there’s the STUFF.  Please sort your stuff out.  When decluttering, think about your kids and make sure that you’ve only left behind the stuff that will be relevant to them.  If you leave too much they won’t even be able to access it or use it to comfort themselves.

Do you know how hard it is to throw away the crap that belonged to someone who died?  Especially if you were younger when they died; you don’t know who the hell the photo is of, but there’s some weird worry that by throwing away a photo that your parents kept, that it means you didn’t care about them.  Or you are throwing away the chance that you will eventually find someone who can answer all your questions and know who the photo is of.

There are so many questions when you parents die younger; so much you forgot to ask, so much you didn’t know to ask, so much you were too bored to remember at the time.

Select your favourite things and put them together; your photos, diaries, momentoes – the things that will remind your kids of you and give an insight into you.  That’s what they need and want.  Probably about a box full, with some other bits and pieces that go elsewhere.

Decide what to do about furniture, pictures etc.  I was too young for any furniture when my grandparents died and living in too small a cottage when my mum died.  So I only have a couple of pieces.  If you’ve lost your parents, I know their stuff might not suit your house, but consider if it could be adapted or up cycled.

So what do I think about the recent news stories?  If you are too old and your body can no longer produce children, then do what Tessa did and adopt.  Maybe you can’t be as fit as her, but try!  If you happen to fall pregnant older, then that must be what’s meant to happen, but take responsibility to look after yourself.    The 70 yr old Indian parents should be ashamed of themselves, I hope that there is a large extended family.  Janet; hmm I think that family has more trouble than just her age, but at least she’ll be able to afford care.

Being ‘older’ is not bad.  It comes with lots of advantages.  But it’s important to try to counteract the disadvantages as much as you can too.

Thanks for listening, I feel a bit better now.  Still a bit sad, but not as much as before x

Far Infrared Mat from Get Fitt Review

Sunshine

I’m better!

Not fixed.  But dramatically and unbelievably better!

It’s like someone switched the lights back on in my body!

And now I look back I can see that I was degenerating badly.  It’s actually quite scary now I feel better, to see how I was on an inexorable spiral downhill.  It was obvious if you had a little look at my house or Espiritu, which had become untidy and clogged up; I’m a lover of systems and organisation and the mess was a sign of my overwhelm.

Now I’m not underestimating the general stuff I was doing, CBD oil (since Sept and crucial for getting me out of bed), and more recently a naturopath (great for support, knowledge of Lyme and starting the healing process).  But this change was sudden, has continued, and is continuing and is all down to the Far Infrared mats from Get Fitt.

Here’s a list of the majority of the current improvements:

  • Physical stamina and strength improved dramatically (I can walk the dog on the same day as Pilates and am at last up to my old weights on my legs on the Stott Reformer machines).
  • Pain reduced, even during period (normally chronic).
  • Brain fog, depression and overwhelm blown away (Business decisions are about 50times faster and life is generally much sunnier).
  • POTs symptoms: Heart palpitations and pain from lack of circulation in top half of my body from POTs improved (scary shit – I didn’t like that)

So how did this happen?

Get Fitt Far Infrared

A few weeks ago I got a message from Lisa from Get Fitt. I’d heard of Far Infrared and even tried a sauna, but I was feeling so ill it took 2 weeks before I felt I had enough stamina to ‘waste’ talking to someone for 30mins.

On Friday 18th March she turned up with Mark the founder (a very passionate guy with that endearing ‘mad professor’ way to him).  They sat me on one of their chair mats for 10 mins (I was too sick for more apparently) and explained the science behind it.

Basically the mats improve your circulation.  By the blood moving around better it:

  1. Reduces pain
  2. Helps improving the immune system, thus with battling the bugs in funky illnesses like mine
  3. Gives energy, a bit like that ‘summer holiday’ feeling
  4. Has a detox effect without the sweat of a sauna
  5. Speeds up recovery from exercise
  6. Helps regain energy from over doing life.

Who can’t go on it?  Pregnant women and haemophiliacs, that’s all.

Off they went, and I was left with the feeling that they were really lovely people.  Then the magic started to happen.  Myself and one of my stylists reorganised the whole of the colour area at work, which required puzzle solving skills I’d been completely lacking for weeks and physical graft.  I should have been dead that night, but I was ok.  I was fine on Saturday too.

Sunday morning and it went PFFT (technical term!). OMG it was gone and suddenly I felt like I did before – it was a shock to remember how bad I had accepted feeling.  So I cheekily messaged them saying I needed another demo; after all it could have been coincidence.

This time they popped me in their Professional Sol Cocoon.  Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday were amazing – I spent time with the kids, solved business problems in 5 mins that had been troubling me for a week and started to sort through the mess at home and the salon.  There was NO way I was going without it anymore – it was definitely my new addiction.

By Thursday, less than a week after first trying the mats, I had booked another ‘meeting’ and built my business case to buy 2 mats:

  1. A beautiful Amethyst Chair mat (the earth pad) as a lovely upgrade to blow drys, manicures & pedicures and help clients with back pain, tiredness and PMT.
  2. The Professional Cocoon Sol for those needing it therapeutically like me, pain relief and clients who had pushed themselves too far; basically more of a relaxing and healing experience, all on it’s own or following a Spa treatment.

BUT I took the cocoon home and the continued improvement was so good, that I decided to keep it home during the Easter holidays.  I’d at last learnt the lesson to put myself first.  When faced with a week in a caravan and no mat I realised it was never going to be enough for me to just use the mats at work, so I bought myself a chair mat (the Super 7 body mat with 7 different crystals and minerals) for home.

So what have I achieved that is so extraordinary?

Fun

  1. I ran a 3hr training course, standing up the whole time, that I’d prepared for late into the evening for 4 nights running as it was the Easter holidays.  With no fall out the next day in pain levels or exhaustion.
  2. I went to Ikea with 2 children; a 4hr round trip, including lugging boxes and an amount of walking that would normally have killed me.
  3. I went to a wedding; normally a nightmare for noise and people overload.  I didn’t rest the day before, and just had a quiet day afterwards.  I had FUN!  And I DANCED for an hour!
  4. I’ve reorganised the whole of the downstairs kitchen, utility and playroom, and my bedroom, which required a lot of physical graft and organisation skills, I’d been lacking for months.
  5. I took the kids on holiday for 5 days ALONE to Park Resorts at Camber Sands, and although I was tired (what parent wouldn’t be), I had a wonderful time, as I was able to actually BE present with the kids properly.  We played on the beach (so I didn’t just sit and watch them play like normal), went swimming in the pool every day, and I just needed a couple of gentle days on our return to recuperate.
  6. Within a couple of weeks I was back up to my original pre-June 2015 leg weights/strings on the Stott Reformer machines at Applied Pilates.  My upper body, is still weak, but the constant feeling of constriction, like my arms were in bandages has gone.
  7. I’m not having to constantly ‘count spoons’ as us Fibro/Lyme people do, worrying that I’ve taken too many steps in a day.
  8. Work wise, I’ve been back ‘on the ball’.  It’s actually really scary to think how much I’d degenerated, I was really scared that the Lyme had gone to my brain, but it looks like it was just lack of oxygen.

And it’s not just me!

Willow FIR

So far my kids go on it once-twice a day especially little dimples; it helps when they are tired and reduces tantrums.  The big hairy northerner has used it to recover from migraines and exercise, and his Dad was a big fan (he’s not the type to be easily persuaded about anything).  It’s helped several friends with their backpain, but I want to investigate further to see how long the improvement lasts for.  It definitely dramatically reduces the pain and grumpiness of PMT in a couple of my girls at Espiritu.  The Amethyst Chair mat (or earth pad) has been in regular use, as much by my girls as clients over the last couple of weeks, so I’m really excited to catch up with everyone to see what happened during my holiday.

So tomorrow the Cocoon goes to the salon (boohoo!) and I’m very excited to see what magic it can create for my clients on it’s own as an experience, or as an upgrade to Facials.  I hope to see just as dramatic differences as it seems able to help a massive list of problems.  I’ll be offering it out for free for the first week and contacting as many friends and clients as possible.  Then it will be at a reduced price for the second week for those who couldn’t make it.  But I’m also thinking of permanently having a day where it’s heavily discounted, to help those who need regular treatments.

I’ll write more soon, but I want to let you know that I’m better, and it’s been a month, so it’s definitely lasting and continuing to improve even more.

Update: Read my second review here.

If I was better what would I change?

Mum with energy

So let’s say the combo of naturopath, CBD oil and Far Infrared mats (my newest investigation) didn’t just help me manage my Lyme/Fibro but actually returned me to full health.

What would I change?  What would I go back to doing?  What lessons have I learnt?

I think that it’s an important question to answer.  I’m NOT saying I want to be ill, or that anyone wants to be ill.  But I think that the possibility of health can seem so unlikely that we don’t aim for it or plan for it.

Would I put a pair of jeans back on?  Probably not as they never suited my short legs and Wildbangarang leggings add some fun to my life.

WildBangarangEvilEric

Jewelry? I’d be sparkly and jingly again in a heart beat!

Running?  Nah walking the dogs is more fun, but I’d go back to Zumba or take up dance classes for sure.

Sugar – I love a bit of cake, but I’m alright without biscuits.  I’m not that restricted diet wise.  Although diet may be coming up as a potential target at some point – I wonder what I’m willing to give up for full health?  It might sounds weird, but ‘we’ often do struggle with giving up food that makes our problems worse.

Work – would I make the most of it and start working 60hr weeks, like they say you should when running your own business?  It would be a huge relief to be back up to speed.  It would be wonderful to be cognitively fast again.  But I don’t plan on regretting missing another summer with my kids or dropping the ball at school because I never do drop off or pick up.  I would like to be able to do more and quicker, but not work every hour that god sends.

My cleaner?  I know some people think this is a huge luxury, but it is not one I’m willing to give up.  Even if I’m better, it’s still a juggle with work and kids

Just So Festival

My kids – wow it would be wonderful to be able to play physically more, not worry how much energy is left for the chores & to do’s and eek it out.  I love all the creative stuff I do with them, but I deserve more memories than that.  Starting to go back to Festivals with them would be a good start.  Heh, when we can afford it again we could take the kids snowboarding, I’d love that.  Oh and when you are tired, patience is soooo difficult!

Friends – they’ve been very patient, I’d have a long list of catching up to do and I owe a lot of relatives Christmas cards.  But obviously my list shortened over time – not everyone was as patient.  I’d definitely like to go out.  Not lots, as I prefer the way we spend our money.  But just to have some girly fun every now and again at a birthday party or to go to wedding receptions.

Planning my energy? – At the moment I plan my energy usage.  A visit to London requires a rest the next day.  A busy week finishes with a couple of hours on the sofa as the big hairy northern one takes the kids to tap class.  I’d love to have the freedom to go to any conferences or events I want to.  But not overloading our calendar or over stimulating the kids is definitely a good plan.  I wonder if I can trust myself to keep that lesson?

To do list
To do list

Sleep– I’ll stick to my early bed time, but not spend so long trying to get to sleep would be fabulous.  Having a more of a life in the evenings would be great.

Financial – if I was really truly better I’d save a fortune on supplements, but I reckon I’d keep seeing my naturopath every now and again.  I’m so not going to just put what I’d saved in the bank though – this girl needs to be a bit more frivolous and high maintenance 😉

Hobbies – wow would I have energy for something other than chores, kids & work?  Probably not until Espiritu was a little older, but the prospect would be good.

There’s not lots I’d change.  I would just live life to the fullest possible and enjoy my energy.  I must remember to spend that energy on the kids first before work/chores and leave some downtime for me.

It would be lovely not to be scared and overwhelmed.

So I’ve decided I’m going to aim for total health recovery.  Hey, if I fail, I’ll probably still have improved.  But if I don’t hold it as a possibility, then it’s very unlikely.  So I’m going to make a plan for how life will change when I succeed.  Just in case 😉

Progress

When Fibromyalgia is actually Lyme Disease

Exhausted Mums

I’m sorry, it has all been a little bit about sickness recently hasn’t it?  Bit boring really, so I’m going to make this post succinct, and then move onto more interesting subjects for a while 😉

Some background: since June last year, I got really sick.  I’m better, but I can’t work full time, find it difficult standing up and haven’t regained my stamina or my cognitive ability.  I am managing to juggle the mum-kids thing better and the CBD oil is a big help.  But I am very up and down, and the only solution seems to be lying flat.  The girls at Espiritu are getting stronger and stronger, and taking more and more work off me; I’m very lucky.

I felt there was more to it than ‘stress’, I felt ‘wrong’ inside, and eventually shouted enough to get referred to a Rheumatologist.  I was really excited – someone who would actually know about Fibro etc and be able to help!   Hmmmm.  Not so much.  I saw her in November after waiting 5 months.  She was really grumpy that a Dr had dared to diagnose me without a specialists help, told me I didn’t have Fibromyalgia, did some auto-immune tests, and said if they came back clear then she didn’t want to see me again.

I don’t agree with her – my initial symptoms for the 4yrs previously were very Fibro, and I’m grateful I had a Dr who was aware of what they meant.

I do agree with her that the new symptoms weren’t – and actually I’d made the mistake of seeing a different Dr (you know how difficult it is to get appointments), who wouldn’t listen to me about that.  The good news was she referred me to a neurologist (I’m still waiting) and a physio (I’m still waiting).

I was very upset and down about it.  Why do we hope for help from the medical system so much, when we know how limited they can be as well?

I had been googling my new symptoms over and over.  Over and over one thing came up: Lyme Disease.  I was hoping that I was just jumping on the bandwagon – you know how we see an advert on the TV about stomach pains and immediately worry that we have cancer?  That’s what I was hoping.

Eventually I pulled myself together and went back to see my ‘right’ Dr rather than the first appointment available.  I felt silly.  But went through my symptoms with him again and asked if he thought that I might have something different.  Much to my surprise he agreed and said he wanted to do some research and would call me.  The call came with a recommendation to read Dr Horowitz’s book ‘Why can’t I get better’ (Warning: it’s a LONG, complicated book).

I filled out the questionnaire and was worried to find that I came out strongly as Lyme.  Then when I had a flare next I went back to the Dr, who was unusually down.  He confirmed that I have a ‘clinical diagnosis’ of Lyme – i.e. from my symptoms.  I’ve had the blood tests – they don’t point to any other weird illnesses.  They also don’t show positive for Lyme, but that’s a whole other story and political mess as ‘google says’ that they only work 20-50% of the time.

Bless him, I felt sorry for him – there isn’t anything he can do.  The NHS doesn’t officially recognise chronic Lyme, even though people die from it.  The official treatment is 2 weeks of antibiotics (I had 4 before Christmas and felt amazing, but the bleugh returned as soon as I came off).  The ‘Dr risks getting struck off’ treatment is 2yrs of double antibiotics, some intravenously.  I can’t afford the german blood tests that would prove I have Lyme (which the NHS would still ignore), or the £60k to be treated in Texas.  I didn’t have any ideas on what to do because the alternative options are so overwhelming, confusing and complicated.

Progress

But there is some good news.  It looks like Mr Taxman owes me some money, yay!  So I saw a Naturopath this week, who does know what to do.  I’m going to spend my money on her, rather than blood tests, as I’m more interested in getting better than proving to people who still think I’m stressed or need to ‘just get up and keep on going’ like they do.

I’m crossing fingers that you’ll see a much more positive post in about 6 months time.  When I get my head around understanding Lyme, I’ll write up about it too.

But for now, I think we’ll move onto more interesting subjects shall we?

CBD oil for Pain Relief & Sleep Problems

CBDoil FibromyalgiaI apologise, I’ve been promising this post for months, and really it’s pretty easy to write, I just didn’t get round to it.

If you have a weird funky illness that gives you pain and sleep problems, the I really recommend CBD oil made from Cannabis oil.

There is no ‘hit’.  Just pain relief and a good 6hrs sleep, sometimes more.  Potentially a slight anxiety reduction as well.

I buy mine from CBD Brothers (The white label cheaper version).  Now I’ve been told that lots of CBD oil sold online is from Hemp oil.  I can’t be sure, but the results are great and they assure everyone that it’s from Cannabis oil.

I’m not fixed.  But I’m functioning, and I’m sure it’s the oil that’s doing it.  I’ve been taking it since September and I get through a bottle about once every 5 weeks.

I have better sleep than I’ve had in years, without any other supplements/herbs (I used to have a huge selection).  I take it 1-2hrs before sleep (it can have a stimulating effect if taken too close to bed time). (I drop under my tongue, held there for about 3 mins).

Then I take it in the morning and I can feel the pain relief within about 10mins.  The couple of times that I’ve forgotten to take it, have really proved how much it reduces my pain levels.

I also have the balm, which I can apply straight to any shooting pains or chronic pain that I get – this is amazing, because those sorts of pains would normally cause me problems for days (shooting pains in my head or arms in particular).  I’ve only bought one lot of the balm and it still has loads left.

How does it work?  Put very simply the theory goes that the CBD oil helps the existing Cannaboid cells in our body that are struggling to get rid of all the nasty stuff (technical term!), as they are already overloaded with Pollution and rubbish diets.  So it’s helping the body to help itself.

What can it work for?  I think anything that is brain or stomach based (where there happen to be lots of these Cannaboid cells.  It’s is suggested that it can therefore help Fibromyalgia, M.E. CFS, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Cancer etc.  Although I have a friend who is a nurse, who has found that some epileptic children who tried it had fevers and sickness (I don’t know where that CBD oil came from) – so as with all things it may not work for everyone.

I don’t know if it can help you, but I think it’s worth trying if you are struggling.  Please let me know in the comments how it goes.
*Gentle hugs*

Why my body suddenly crashes

Target

This is how my body works …..

“Right then, we have a target, all hands on deck we have a target”

“We estimate that this project will take <xyz> amount of energy over <abc> number of days: initiate gradual send out of energy per day”

“Oh shit, we estimated wrong”

“Initiate borrow of energy from ‘Bank of Energy’ to reach end of target”

“Yay target reached!”

“Warning, warning, insufficient energy creation ability to pay back energy debt, the bank is pulling the plug”

“Warning, warning, the plug is being pulled, the plug is being pulled”

 

Cue my body literally feeling like someone let the energy plug out, differing degrees of pain and numerous other symptoms slumped on sofa for <efg> no of days.  And no, I couldn’t just keep going anyway.

Targets so far were – a 2 month project working until midnight every night to work out the necessary price changes at Espiritu.  It was the right choice, and I felt confident and sure that I’d been as fair as possible to everyone – clients, staff and the business.  I was so amazed how my body did, and really thought I’d stopped in time.  However 5 days later at the end of June I was hit by the worst pay back I’ve ever experienced and those 2 months cost me nearly 4 months (read my post about silent illness here).

I started to feel human again 3 weeks ago.  There was a project (a client Christmas party and some new recruits).  I worked hard (until 11pm this time, not midnight).  It was really successful and the new girls are wonderful.  I crashed for 4 days.

So I took it easy this week.  But I spent too long at the salon yesterday, and suddenly the plug was pulled.

Do I get a warning?

Not really, and sometimes I’m too committed to the project with little option (yes I delegate and make sure we do as few projects as possible, but it’s a new business and there are always unexpected eventualities).  But the pain during the Christmas party was a pretty good hint there was going to be payback.  Yesterday I think that it was the over riding urge to get home, which I listened to – but I still felt guilty when leaving work.

The problem is that my estimations are all wrong.  Then once committed to a project, the determination inside of me will always get me to the end.

This must be why people get sick on holiday – so they get sick once they are done.

I need to learn how to leave enough space for ‘new business type unexpected crap‘ to show up, whilst fitting in projects and not using my [determination of an ox] button to ensure successful completion.  Oh and don’t forget the ‘has 2 young children‘ factor.

If I find the answer, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, do as I say, don’t do as I do, because I’m really not a good example!  Take care of yourselves, give yourself time to fill up your energy savings.

p.s. I have found something that has been helpful with the pain & fibro sleep issues.  I’ll blog in a week or so.

p.p.s The rheumatologist doesn’t think I have Fibro – hmmmm – I’m awaiting blood tests and a referral to the neurologist.

p.p.p.s Why did I write a blog post if I’m tired – tbh I type quick and it feels good to do something very ‘me’ – I love writing.