Friday, 3 April 2015

Laser Eye Surgery Consultation with Optical Express

In August 2013, I spoke about my eyesight on this blog (here). Back then, I was worried about finding glasses which I was comfortable wearing out of the house on the days when I didn't want to wear contact lenses. Fast forward 18 months, and I am at the end of my tether with glasses and contact lenses. I've had conversations with a couple of people who have had laser surgery and speak very highly of it. And that's why I made the decision to book a consultation for laser eye surgery with Optical Express.

I've thought about laser surgery for years, but something always put me off finding out more. I'd read SO many bad reviews online and was petrified that something was going to go wrong. But I remembered that people are always more likely to write a bad review than a good one. With that in mind, I booked a free consultation a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday attended the appointment in Optical Express Bath.

I was seriously nervous and I think most of that was because I was afraid that they were going to tell me I wasn't eligible for the surgery after thinking about it constantly for a couple of weeks. They were showing the episode of Friends where Phoebe and Mike get married in the waiting room though, so that settled my nerves pretty quickly.

The consultation is a series of eye tests. First up was the "puff of air in the eye ball" test, which always makes me jump. Then I met my optometrist, Scott, who did a 'regular' eye test to determine my prescription, including the red/green tests, and the 20/20 vision reading tests. All normal stuff which I have done before at previous eye tests with Specsavers. Then the weird bit happened. Scott put anaesthetic eye drops in so he could measure the curvature of my cornea by poking my eye with a little machine (the technical term for it is Auto-Keratometer). I couldn't feel a thing! The same eye drops are used for the surgery which is really reassuring - honestly, I couldn't even feel myself blinking. And for the last test, Scott put in some more eye drops which dilated my pupils, then looked at every side of my eyes by shining a really bright light at them. That was the hardest part of the consultation because it is so difficult to convince your eyes to stay open when a light is being shone straight into them.

After all the tests, Scott told me that I was a perfectly eligible candidate for laser eye surgery, with a simple prescription of -3.75 in each eye. I watched a 5 minute video about the procedure, the risks and the expected results, and then he answered all of my questions honestly and explained the two different types of treatment I could have. I decided to go for LASIK iDesign treatment, which has a 99.1% rate of achieving 20/20 vision or better. I felt excited to know that my eyesight could be changed forever.

Scott handed me over to Melissa, to talk about booking in for the treatment and finance. Optical Express offer interest free finance for 10 months, and other long-term finance options which aren't interest free. I looked at my calendar, and booked my treatment for Friday 17th April in Optical Express Bristol Cabot Circus. In 2 weeks time, I should have perfect vision!

I already know that this will be life changing. The surgery isn't cheap - mine is just shy of £3000 - but I can't put a price on the difference it will make to my every day living. If I don't have lenses in or glasses on, I can't drive, I can't watch TV, I can't read anything.  It's so exciting to think that in a couple of weeks time, I will have 20/20 vision.

After my consultation, I walked into the high street to meet my sister after being advised that I wouldn't be able to drive afterwards because of my dilated pupils. Check out the picture below of how big they were! I did feel a bit funny walking around town, and even got a little headache, but I shut my eyes for half an hour when I got home and felt fine afterwards.

Of course, I will write again in a couple of weeks when the surgery is complete.
But until then, I want to know - have you had laser eye surgery? Or ever thought about it?

UPDATE 7th APRIL - I received some messages on Twitter/Facebook regarding ways in which Optical Express price their treatment, and how you can often get a reduction in price by simply asking for it. I called Melissa today, and she was able to offer me £200 off the final cost. If you don't ask, you don't get!

Note: this is by no means a sponsored post, or a post endorsed by Optical Express. I am simply documenting my treatment on the blog in the hope that it'll help other people.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Easy Syn Free Pancakes - a Slimming World recipe

I am still on the Slimming World Extra Easy plan, despite fluctuating a lot in 2014. I am talking losing lb's whilst on holiday (what?) just to put them all on again over the Summer, to lose them before Christmas, and then to gain 6lbs in 10 days - mostly because of eating jelly beans for every meal. Anyway, since January, I have been trying to regain my focus, and now a quarter of the way through the year, I feel ON IT.

Ash tends to get up early and go fishing once a weekend, leaving me a quiet morning to make breakfast at my own pace. One of my favourites are these syn free pancakes, topped with loads of fruit. Here's the recipe.

1. Separate 3 eggs - yolks in one bowl, whites in the other.
2. Depending on your sweet tooth, mix sweetener into each bowl. I use 3 tsp in the whites and 1 in the yolks.
3. Whisk the whites and sweetener until thicker and slightly fluffy, then fold in the yolks.
4. Spray a pan with Fry Light and set it to a medium/high heat.
5. When the pan is hot, spoon some of the mixture into the centre and allow it to cook through for a couple of minutes. (This is a good time to add blueberries if they take your fancy)
6. FLIP IT! And allow to cook through on the other side.
7. Take your cake out of pan and repeat. Normally the bottom of the stack is a bit cold before I get to it, so when all the pancakes are done I put the plate in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm through, before serving with speedy fruit. Sometimes I drizzle 1tsp honey for 1 syn.

So easy to make and completely syn free. Let me know if you make them!
Rosie x

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Living With Eczema

I've lived with eczema for as long as I can remember. My memories include being coated in thick emollient after having a bath, secondary infections in the cracks in my hands, flare ups just because the weather had changed and waking myself up night after night scratching my body until it was red and sore. One of my saddest memories involved a 7 or 8 year old Rosie, sat in the Doctors office, being told I would grow out of it. It's sad because it never happened, and it probably never will.

Eczema is a chronic atopic skin disease that, for me, can only be managed, not cured. The only pro of living with eczema for so long is that I've found core products which allow me to cope with it, and learnt lots of lessons along the way.

Don't scratch
Something which I tell myself every day. And so does Ash. And so do Mum and Dad. My 5 year old niece even tells me to stop. Scratching causes the skin to break up, bleed and risk infection. I have cotton gloves from The Body Shop which I wear to bed when I've had a particularly bad flare up, to try to reduce the damage I do when I scratch in my sleep.

Know what makes you flare up
It's quite simple for me. My eczema is worsened by heat, water, touching animals and using fragranced products. Heat and water is the biggest issue, as every time I wash my hands or shower, I get itchy. Animals and fragranced products I can avoid as much as I want to, but it's pretty hard when you live with 5 dogs and 2 cats and REALLY like Lush skin products.

Anti-histamines aren't just for hayfever
Those with atopic eczema like myself are prone to suffering from hayfever and asthma as well. I take an anti-histamine most days as it lessens the chance of a reaction and means I can spend time with our animals without having a flare up.

Know how to treat
I always have a moisturising lotion with me to apply once I've washed my hands. My favourites are E45 Intense Recovery hand cream and Norwegian Formula's Fast Absorbing hand cream. Both have a neutral pH balance and have no perfumes. For after a shower, I will use E45 lotion or Lush's Dream Cream, which is a new paraben-free discovery of mine! When my eczema is particularly bad, I have 2 prescribed steroid creams from my GP which work almost instantly in controlling the flare up, but I have to avoid using too often as they can be damaging in the long-term.

Do you suffer from eczema? How do you manage it?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The City by the Bay

A year ago today, we flew to California to begin the best adventure. We fell in love with San Francisco. We trailed the streets in the rain, cheered the baseball team, drank cocktails in numerous bars, sailed the Bay, discovered Alcatraz and found the best versions of ourselves. We were relaxed, happy, content... and nothing has felt the same since.

I can't wait until the day when I can step off a plane at SFO and be home.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A Hobby : Cross Stitch

I think it's important to have hobbies. Something which you can immerse yourself in completely, practice and improve on, and help aid relaxation. As a child, I used to cross stitch with my Gran - she taught me everything I know - but I only picked it up again last year. I started with a couple of small pieces from Cross Stitcher magazine, and then went all out on this as a gift for my friends Jade and James who moved into their first home last year. Pattern from Etsy.
As soon as this was finished, I got the bug, and began work on a much harder pattern - Darth Vader. The reason it was hard was because there was so much block colour. I was forever miss counting and unpicking. I finished it just days before Christmas. But the finished result was a success and Jack loved it. Pattern from Etsy.
I gave myself a little break after Christmas and the rush of getting Vader finished, but just before Valentines day I wanted to work on something more personal. I googled 'cross stitch letters' and found this great generator website which allows you to print out a pattern in lots of different fonts. From that, I made a below, and added washi tape to the frame for a bit of extra personality.
I've really enjoyed getting back into a hobby, it's nice to have something to do at home in the evenings to help me unwind - although I haven't decided on my next pattern yet!

Have you ever tried cross stitching?