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?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

20 Before 30

A few weeks ago, I turned 24. It's strange to think that I'm nearly half way through my twenties... This post on The Travel Hack got me thinking about some life ambitions - big and small - and although I haven't got as many, here's 20 things I'd love to achieve before I'm 30.

1. Cook and perfect 5 staple meals
I enjoy cooking from recipe books, but I'd love to think that I had a handful of recipes which were done my way.

2. Save £20,000
We are saving for a house deposit anyway, but to have personally saved that amount of money in 6 years would be a great achievement.

3. Run a 5K
An evented one, not just a jog around the neighbourhood. I am 100% NOT a runner, but even I think I could manage this and I'd quite like to say I've done it.

4. See a show at the West End
Starting with dinner, cocktails in the theatre bar, the show and a night in a London hotel. 

5. Raise £3000 for charity
If I target myself at £500 a year, this'll be done easy peasy. It's only March and I've already raised £284 this year.

6. Get tattooed by Dan Smith
An artist I've admired for years - I really need to get to a convention when he's in the UK.

7. Visit Amsterdam
Hopefully a weekend trip is on the cards in the not so distant future.

8. Take a mixology course
Even if it's in a local bar... I love mixing cocktails already, but I'm sure there's lots of tricks of the trade I'm yet to learn.

9. Get to and maintain my goal weight
Definitely easier said than done, however I need to do it and I want to do it more than ever.

10. Get a dog
To start our family!

11. Go back to the US
The snippet of California we saw last year was enough to make us both yearn for a return trip.

12. Get laser eye surgery
I'm so fed up with contact lenses and glasses, and completely envy my friends without them. I've booked a consultation for surgery, so the ball is already rolling on this one.

13. Learn the entire dance routine to Thriller
No joke. I need this in my life.

14. Go to Disneyland Paris
I'd love to take my niece when she's a bit older.. and you know, I'd quite like to go myself ;)

15. Keep a handwritten diary for a year
I love using Timehop, but I think a handwritten version would be even better.

16. Do weekend camping at a festival
I swore myself off festival camping after 4 years of Reading, but it might be fun to do it just once more for old times sake.

17. Write a cocktail recipe book
Not a published one, just one for my own reference.

18. Be in a job I love
Perhaps the most ambitious of them all, but I'd like to come to work knowing that I enjoy what I do. This goal has a lot to do with my personal mindset, so I am working to change that.

19. Go to Alton Towers
A few years ago, I managed to transform Ash from scaredy cat into adrenaline junkie... sort of. We had 2 days at Alton Towers, full of sunshine and rollercoasters, and now we're ready to go back and ride The Smiler!

20. Buy a house
This is the dream, and something I hope to have ticked off within 3 years.

What do you think of my goals? And what's on your 'before 30' lists?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Gert LUSH - finding my new favourite product

I'm a bit of a Lush-aphobe. My skin is incredibly sensitive and I've suffered with severe eczema all of my life. As much as I'd love to splash around in a fizzy, sweet smelling bath, unfortunately it's not something I can enjoy too often. Lush Bath invited me in store to preview the Spring and Mother's Day range, but I went with an ulterior motive - to discover what Lush can do for sensitive skin. The store has recently moved across the high street into a bigger unit, which will include their very own Lush Spa, due to open in the Summer.

Being me, I turned up late. I sort of misunderstood the invite and thought it was a drop in evening. So I tailed around the store catching bits of other peoples conversations, and sniffing all of the new products. Yummy Mummy shower gel was my favourite! I did have a bit of a chronic nose wipe thing going on though, paranoid that I might have some glitter evidence on the end of my snout... The Ultraviolet bubble bar smelt incredible too, just like parma violets.

I watched some of the girls make up their own Sunnyside bubble bar mixture, and then we each had a turn at moulding our own bars. I tried to make a moon, but it really just looked like a boomerang.
Towards the end, I managed to catch one of the sales assistants, who very kindly demonstrated Dreamwash and Dreamcream.
Dreamwash is a shower smoothie, with aloe vera, rose, calamine, and tea tree extracts. Dreamcream is a hand cream and body lotion, made from oat milk. I was pretty pessimistic about them, simply because even E45 makes my hands sting sometimes. I was taught the different between the normal cream and the self-preserving (which has added parabens to make it last longer). I was so impressed, that I popped a full size Dreamcream in my basket to bring home.

I have been using it every day since I got it, and honestly - it's awesome. It's incredibly moisturising, not greasy, smells lovely and most importantly, doesn't flare up my skin.

Thank you Lush Bath for inviting me, and helping me discover my new favourite skin product!

PS. How kind of them to use me as inspiration for this gift box ;)