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Jo's Clothes
  Updated Fri, 16 Jun 2017 06:00:13 +0000
Description Lover of fugly shoes, animal print, leather hot pants, SJP, vodka and cake. Speaking up on all things IBS.
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How Writing the Highlight of My Day Helps Me Switch Off at Night
Category IBS and All Things Gut Health, My Inner Ramblings, anxiety, ibs, self care
Published:
Description: At the end of last year I was given the most thoughtful birthday gift by […]  more...

At the end of last year I was given the most thoughtful birthday gift by my work partner-in-crime, which has changed my evening routine dramatically.

I am a natural-born worrier. I have anxiety. I struggle to stop my brain from ticking over at a frantic pace. These three things, whether alone or in tandem, disrupt my evening and affect my sleep.

No amount of my Deep Sleep spray can help me switch off if my mind is still racing.

And then Sanj, aka K.O Rasoi, gave me a self-care package for my birthday, and among many other gorgeous things, she’d given me a Review Your Day journal. In fact, she’s so thoughtful she’d even written me a message, reminding me that I’m a total badass.

Now you may wonder how a simple journal could have such a big effect but let me tell you, it has. Because since the 1st January 2017, I have filled this journal in EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, rating my day and noting the highlight.

Again, it doesn’t sound like much but by taking the time to scribble down one highlight it allows me to forget all the crap the day may have entailed. It makes me search for the positive. And it makes me do that every single day.

Those highlights range from receiving praise for something I’ve posted on my blog to achieving something at work, checking another item off my wedding to-do list, or could be as simple as messaging a friend or spending the day with my family.

I’m already smiling just thinking about these things.

In fact, I just felt my shoulders relax and my face soften.

And for me, that’s what I need before bed. That reminder that no matter how shit your day has been, that there will always be a highlight to look for and think about. Because every little thing helps in the quest for self-care.

The Pom-Pom Covered Kaftan of Beach Dreams
Category Beach Wedding Vibes, Fashion... Darling, Sweetie, beach, holiday, kaftan, pom poms, wedding
Published:
Description: Did I tell you that I’m getting married on a beach? Ha! Jokes. Of course […]  more...

Did I tell you that I’m getting married on a beach? Ha! Jokes. Of course you bloody know by now! This obviously means I need to buy more “holiday” clothes. Whoops!

When I’m on my hols I like the idea of wafting elegantly around the pool, peeking out from behind big-ass sunnies, cocktail in one hand, while my kaftan flaps behind me in the ocean breeze. In reality, I’m pretty sure it’ll be stuck to my clammy, sweaty skin, as I pour water over my head to cool down. However, I decided it was essential that I nab another kaftan to add to my collection.

And this one has pom poms.

ALL OVER IT!

That’s right, the pom poms run the entire length of both sides, starting from the sleeves.

DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?!?! No. It doesn’t.

What I like about this kaftan is that’s it made in a light and breezy cotton. My other one is not, hence the stickiness! This one is also tied at the waist and floor length, adding to the glam appeal and giving my very pasty body some respite from the sun, if and when needed.

But mainly, I bought it for the pom poms.

Can you imagine how epic this will look with my epic Pow Wow slides?!??

*Flounces off to pet her pom poms*

What it Feels Like to Have an IBS Flare
Category IBS and All Things Gut Health, gut health, ibs, ibs flare, irritable bowel syndrome
Published:
Description: Grab a peppermint tea, snuggle up to your hot water bottle and pop that top […]  more...

Grab a peppermint tea, snuggle up to your hot water bottle and pop that top jean button because I’m about to share the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to having an IBS flare. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Over the past three weeks my IBS has been all over the place. I had a stomach bug which has kicked my gut health to the floor and seen several flares completely stop me in my tracks. I figured it was about time to share the nitty-gritty of how it feels to have an attack. You ready for this?

The Gurgles
For me, this is how it usually starts. A couple of suspicious gurgles followed by a couple of growls and the horrendous feeling of my stomach dropping.

The Anxiety
Enter stage two, the anxiety. The sheer panic that I need to get my ass to a bathroom immediately, no matter what. My heart will be beating out of my chest. My forehead will be hot and clammy. I won’t be able to focus on anything until I’m sat on the throne.

If I’m not in the comfort of my own home, I’ll panic about where to go. Can I find a public toilet in enough time? If I’m on the train – which has NO loos – will I make it home in time or will I embarrass myself? If a flare happens in the evening, will I be able to go to work in the morning?

My head will be a buzzing nightmare, circulating all of the negative thoughts continually.

The Stomach Cramps
They will start immediately and they won’t stop until the next day, at varying degrees of pain and intensity.

I can only describe the cramps as having something pushed into your intestines and then having that slowly twisted and twisted. It leaves me doubled over in agony and nothing really helps relieve them.

The Bloating
During a flare my tummy will bloat to resemble a 6-month pregnant lady. It will turn my stomach hard, uncomfortable and painful to touch.

I’ll only be able to wear pyjamas with an elasticated waist that allow my stomach to stretch as it grows.

The Evacuation
It’s worth noting that I have IBS-D which means that I suffer from diarrhoea rather than the constipation that comes with IBS-C. My movements will be urgent, immediate and sometimes uncontrollable. My stools will be loose and often followed by a lot of liquid. I often struggle with the sense of not fully evacuating my bowels and know that when I have a flare I normally have a wave of two of these urgent movements.

There’s also a sense of dread, knowing that it’ll happen again, so I’m often unable to relax until it has. That can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the severity of the flare.

Note that I will always have a magazine or a book my bathroom at home as it helps pass the time and distract my anxious mind.

The Extreme Lethargy
Flares leave me feeling so drained that all I can do is crawl back to bed, grabbing my hot water bottle on the way, and try to fall back to sleep.

I’ll feel so exhausted I won’t be able to move, string a sentence together or make any attempt to get dressed.

This feeling will continue into the next day with me ensuring I try to take self-care seriously and indulge in whatever I need to do to rebuild my energy.

The Loss of Appetite
My stomach will be super sensitive in the time after a flare so it’s important I strictly avoid any trigger food and follow the Low-FODMAP diet, eating little and often to help build my strength back up.

The Sensitive Stomach
After a flare I’ll be left with a dull ache in my stomach that I won’t be able to shift for a couple of days. I’ll wear clothes that don’t dig into my stomach and that run oversize, to allow my body to return to some sort of normal.

The Sense of Defeat
I can’t lie, 12 years on and I still struggle with a massive feeling of defeat after a flare. It’s physically and mentally draining and if I can’t pin point what kicked it all off, I end up feeling even more bloody frustrated.

The Disruption
Here’s the kicker. My IBS will have me cancel all my plans. Over the years I’ve missed out on dinners with friends, birthday parties, weddings, day trips and family days.

My friends are used to me not being able to make firm plans these days as it’ll all depend on how stable my stomach’s feeling. I’m the girl who has to text last-minute, dropping out of whatever plans I made when I was feeling normal. It can be soul destroying as you constantly feel like you’re letting people down. Thankfully those closest know – and if they didn’t before, they will after reading this! – and understand that sometimes I can’t leave the bathroom, let alone the house.

There you have it, exactly what I experience every time I have a flare. This will be different for everyone and for the different strains of IBS. The biggest thing to remember is to look after yourself and listen to your body. You know best.

Still sitting comfortably? Go ahead and read more about IBS and my gut health.

The Sequin-Covered Sliders Making My Dreams Come True
Category Beach Wedding Vibes, Fashion... Darling, Sweetie, beach wedding, dune, fashion, glitter, sequins, sliders, summer
Published:
Description: Breaking news: I am a thirty-year-old sequin and glitter obsessive. Ok, so if you’ve read […]  more...

Breaking news: I am a thirty-year-old sequin and glitter obsessive.

Ok, so if you’ve read the blog for a while, or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know this isn’t really breaking news. But the new addition to my summer wardrobe is!

My Lila Sequin Slogan Sliders. Pow! Wow!

They are bat-shit cray and I’m totally in love with that.

My cousin, Mrs Bow Retro, spotted them on Ebay and instantly thought of me and my magpie tendencies. I figured they’d be absolutely perfect for making a statement alongside my summer wardrobe, particularly for my wedding in Antigua.

So, despite my family hating sliders, my cousin bid on them and won. Et voilà, they are mine.

Now I have to be honest with you, they aren’t the most comfortable slide I’ve ever had the pleasure of slipping my feet into. The glitter edges are a little rough and the corners point straight into my toes however, the furthest I plan on waking in them is from the beach to the bar and back again, so they’ll do.

I can already see them paired with my white kaftan with all the pom poms. I will be a beacon of colour, texture and sparkle and that works just fine for me.

10 Things That Happened in May
Category My Inner Ramblings, memories
Published:
Description: May flew by in a whirlwind which saw me galavanting in Milan for work, spending […]  more...

May flew by in a whirlwind which saw me galavanting in Milan for work, spending all of my spare time with my family and celebrating a lot of birthdays. Let’s have a little look back at the highlights shall we.

1. We had our dinky patio laid ready to get some summer BBQ’s with friend’s in the diary.

2. The flowers in the garden are now in full bloom and my peach roses make me feel all whimsical whenever they catch my eye.

3. I’ve spent about 90% of my spare time seeing all of my gorgeous family.

4. Getting the chop and going blonde again. It’d been 11 weeks since my last appointment and I was having a serious fight against my roots (what roots, I’m a natural!) and my greys.

5. I spent the beginning of the month in Milan with work where I ate all the Parma ham and drank a tonne of Aperol Spritz.

6. A quiet dinner and drinks for my besties 30th birthday turned into a wild champagne bar jaunt with me rolling home at 3:30am.

7. We started shopping for Al’s wedding outfit which makes the countdown feel more real.

8. Surprising my sister at a birthday dinner where we consumed copious amounts of delish Thai food.

9. Buying my dad a pair of customised Adidas sliders for his 66th birthday.

10. The weather being nice enough to wear all my pleated midi skirts. YAS!

So long May, hullo June.

Taking Some Much Needed Time Out with My Family
Category IBS and All Things Gut Health, My Inner Ramblings, family, ibs, me time
Published:
Description: I’ve not been feeling myself lately. I was struck down two weeks ago with a […]  more...

I’ve not been feeling myself lately. I was struck down two weeks ago with a stomach bug which left my poorly tummy and IBS all over the place for well over a week. I felt tired all of the time and was completely disinterested in updating my blog. Instead I chose to spend all my weekends consumed with family to make me feel like myself again.

From wedding shopping with my mum, to a surprise birthday meal with my big sis and ending the bank holiday with three barbecues with different parts of mine and Al’s family, I threw myself into family time because that’s what I love the most.

And do you know what, not thinking about blogging, or planning posts or arranging outfit pics left me feeling refreshed and motivated again.

In all honesty, I think I just needed a break. And, as I keep having to tell myself, that’s ok.

Every now and then you’re going to need time out.

That’s normal.

That’s ok.

With my IBS I’m aware that I’ll have good days and bad days. I’m pretty good at listening to my body and what it needs. I know that I need at least one evening mid-week and one day at the weekend carved out, just for me, to do whatever I please.

I also know that there’s nothing that makes me feel better than a day spent with family. I feel relaxed and care free, like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders. I can play with the kids, cuddle all the babies, laugh until I cry, eat all the food, drink all the Prosecco and relax. Being with my family is good for my soul. It’s comforting. And it always allows me to recharge my batteries, making me feel like myself again.

While I try to juggle work, wedmin (I don’t know if I love or hate that term), blogging, decorating the house and me time, blogging might be sporadic. I can’t promise I’ll post often and I’m fine with that, because one day you have to stop beating yourself up.

I’m an all or nothing girl, and if my heart isn’t in something then I can’t do it to the best of my ability and for me that isn’t good enough for my blog.

I didn’t intend for this post to be so deep but do you know what, it feels good to share. I can already feel the weight lifting.

4 Months Until I Say I Do, Cue the Heart Palpitations
Category Beach Wedding Vibes, antigua, beach wedding, planning, wedding
Published:
Description: Shit. It’s really happening people. In 4 months time, I’ll have said I do. Tied […]  more...

Shit. It’s really happening people. In 4 months time, I’ll have said I do. Tied the knot. Be a Mrs. Cue the heart palpitations.

We’ve ticked off all the big buggers of tasks like our venue *cough* Antiguan beach *cough*. We have 41 of our nearest and dearest booked to join us. We have rum punch and jerk chicken. I have a dress. Al has some shorts. We have more stationary than we know what to do with. We have favours, flowers sorted (tropical and from the garden) and we have a band of the steel and drum variety.

See, we’re pretty sorted.

However, I still seem to have a checklist of to-dos as long as my arm. I need to practice taming my bouffant and find makeup that won’t slide off my face from the heat and sweat. We need to finish Al’s outfit, sort the ushers and create a couple of playlists. We need to action some crafty bits and a spot more holiday shopping, I’m not a fan of those sneaky tan lines popping up in photos. And then we need to sort some decorations for our UK wedding reception, which is basically just another excuse to party.

But it’s exciting. It’s stress free. And I’m enjoying every bit. So far, there’s been no dramas, no fall outs, nothing too unexpected. It’s been relaxed, easy-going and pretty, dare I say it, straightforward.

It’s all been made easier by the fact that we’ve stayed at the hotel before, we’ve met our wedding planner and told her the basis of what we were after. Piece of cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still slightly freaked out by the whole declaring-my-love-for-Al-in-front-of-everyone thing. But I’ll get there.

Read all about my beach wedding vibes.

I Have This Thing for Pleated Midi Skirts
Category Fashion... Darling, Sweetie, animal print, ASOS, florals, midi skirts
Published:
Description: Pleated midi skirts are my jam. They’re my thing. My wardrobe staple. My go to. […]  more...

Pleated midi skirts are my jam. They’re my thing. My wardrobe staple. My go to. I am obsessed. And I recently nabbed two more.

I could harp on about how I love how they nip me in at the waist, skim over my hips and fall flatteringly mid shin… But instead, I’ve just taken a tonne of photos I figured I’d share.

midi-skirt-floral

I had a wardrobe clear out recently and realised that while midi skirts are my automatic go-to, I don’t actually have that many. I have a metallic one, a polka dot one, a lace one and a sparkly purple one. What I didn’t have was a deep navy one, covered in florals. Enter this Floral Numeral Midi from ASOS.

midi-skirt-floral-3

The colours and print are just beautiful and eye-catching, guaranteeing a smile. What’s more this skirt can be worn with a smart cami for a night out or a plain tee for the day.

midi-skirt-snake

Obviously I can’t ever refuse a spot of Spliced Animal Print. I absolutely adore this skirt and have got several wears out of it already.

midi-skirt-snake-2

The contrast between the bold navy and deep green animal print is so sophisticated. This skirt demands respect. And statement heels. And twirls. All of the twirls.

*Twirls off into the distance*

12 Things That Made My April Special
Category My Inner Ramblings, family, highlights, memories
Published:
Description: April’s been a funny old month that has come and gone so quickly, I’m not […]  more...

April’s been a funny old month that has come and gone so quickly, I’m not even sure I paused for a breath. I’ve had highs and lows, battled my anxiety and IBS and not really stopped for a break. I’ve also had some amazing highs, noted below, because I’m taking a moment to pat myself on the back for making it through the shit storm.

1. My ultimate highlight has to be my radio stint with Symprove where I confidently spoke about IBS and what that means for me. After 12+ years of having IBS I’m passionately on a mission to break the poo taboo and share my story with as many people as possible.

2. My little fluff ball fell poorly in the middle of April and the prognosis wasn’t in her favour. After three days of basically non-stop tears she pulled through and made a miraculous recovery. I’ve never felt more relived as I realised I definitely need her more than she needs me.

3. I’m not really that good at regular grooming so my bestie whisked me to her nail salon one Saturday morning so I could get my hooves shaved (hello Parmesan shavings) and painted. It felt nice to be pampered and my feet have never been so soft.

4. This month Al finally started work on our garden patio. We’re determined that this summer we’ll have a patio, garden furniture and new fences, meaning even more BBQs.

5. There is nothing I love more than family time. I managed to spend time with all of my nearest and dearest this month and have a tonne of phone snaps to prove it.

6. After 5 years I decided I’d have enough and wanted to invest in a new pair of specs I felt confident in. I chose these DVF babies and have literally worn them every day since I had them. Which is huge as I’m normally an avid lenses wearer.

7. I finally got round to ordering a Go Pro as I want to film every moment from our holiday and wedding. I wanted something light and easy to use as I want anyone and everyone to try their hand at documenting their stay so I can cut it all together for some epic memories. I road-tested it while playing on my 5-year-old nephew’s trampoline which made for some hilarious footage.

8. April saw a reunion of my former work wife, my beloved American and Kiwi for cocktails and dinner in London. Despite not having worked together for years now, it was like we’d never been apart.

9. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the support I’ve received this month regarding my IBS, radio opportunity and in everyday life. I’ve received two beautiful flower deliveries as well as a super cute BearHugs parcel. You guys make the best support system, so thank you.

10. Learning to accept my body, flaws and all, and realise how truly amazing it is despite everything we’ve been through together. And of course saying f**k you to any wedding diets.

11. Digging these denim kick flares out from the back of my wardrobe before completing a wardrobe cleanse and getting all my shit organised.

12. Going out for dinner with my two besties and going over our wedding plans as they stand so far because we’ve got 4 months and counting until we fly!

I’m kicking off May with a work trip to Milan so ciao for now.

Why I Still Take Symprove for My IBS, Three Years On
Category IBS and All Things Gut Health, bacteria, gut health, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, probitoic, symprove
Published:
Description: I’ve been taking my daily dose of Symprove’s good guys for nearly three years now. For […]  more...

I’ve been taking my daily dose of Symprove’s good guys for nearly three years now. For me, it acts as my IBS comfort blanket. It holds my hand each morning as I prepare my sensitive gut for the day ahead.

Let’s start with the facts. Symprove is a water-based, multi-strain supplement that contains 4 unique strains of live activated bacteria. Every millilitre of Symprove contains about 200 million live, active bacteria and it’s been created so the bacteria arrive, survive and thrive in the gut. There’s a whole load of stats and facts here, should you need further proof.

I took part in the initial 12 week plan in September 2014. I remember this being a particular low point for my IBS with me having flares daily, spending most evenings curled up in agony sobbing my heart out. I was at rock bottom when I started the trial, having taken any and all medication the doctors could prescribe. 12 weeks in and it was life changing. My bloating had eased, the cramps had eased, my bowel movements had become less urgent and less frequent and I didn’t feel so bloody lethargic all the time. Alongside a shift in my mindset, I was determined that I could start to manage my IBS, rather than have it manage me. Symprove has been a big part in giving me my life back.

Quickly, Symprove became a regular part of my routine. Every morning, as soon as I’d got out of bed – and still to this day – I shot it like it’s going out of fashion. I honestly believe I can feel it working it’s way into my gut, preparing it for whatever I throw at it.

Of course, I still have blips, good days and bad days, highs and lows and everything in between. I still have symptoms. I still have bloating if I eat too much or something I shouldn’t. I can still be surprised when that urgent need to go takes over my body, from my head to my toes. I still feel the need to rest the day after a particularly bad flare. But what has changed is my attitude. Symprove has not only helped improve my gut health, it’s improved the quality of my life and introduced me to some pretty special people too. Without Symprove, I’d never have met Gut Health Empress, Sam Jones, my IBS partner in crime.

The Symprove team are pretty special too. Barry, the man behind the bacteria – what a title – has an amazing story he’s more than willing to share. And Carol is my champion, always offering support when I need it.

I’m constantly asked about Symprove and whether it’s worth it. For me, it’s aways an easy answer, yes. Yes, it is worth it. I’m proof of that. It might not work for everyone, there may be a rocky period where your gut needs to adjust to the change but for me, I can’t and won’t stop taking it. I don’t write this post lightly and I don’t put my name to things unless I believe in them. And I believe in Symprove, just as they believe in me.

If you’re curious but not entirely sure it’ll work for you, call them. Their customer support team are amazing and there to answer any queries you might have.

For now, you’ll find me in my kitchen, chucking the Mango and Passion Fruit flavour down my gullet as if I were shooting tequila.

Read more about living with IBS here


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