Category Archives: Rants

❤️ CHD | My Story ❤️

I think I’ve written a similar post like this a couple of years ago, however as it is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness week, I thought I would once again let you into  huge part of my life that has shaped the person I am today.

My parents didn’t know that anything was wrong with me until the day I was born (although my mum’s body had produced a lot more water in her pregnancy in order to protect me whilst I grew. It’s amazing how nature knew there was a problem and yet no one else did). I was soon diagnosed with a condition called Fallot’s Tetralogy. This is where there are four defects found with the heart:

  1. Pulmonary Stenosis (A narrowing of the Pulmonary Valve).
  2. Ventricular Septal Defect (A hole in the heart).
  3. Right Ventricular Hypertrophy (The left side of my heart over compensated and meant the muscle thicker than it should be).
  4. Over-riding Aorta (The Aorta lies over the hole and allows some deoxygenated blood to be taken around the body).

I really don’t want to get too scientific, but if you want to,  you can read up further on the condition here.

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Although I was born with the condition, I was too small to operate on and so I had one operation around the age of one to put me on until I could have the full open heart surgery at two years old. I am so glad that I was very young when I had the operation as I barely remember any of it. However it pains me to think what my parents were going through, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to see your child hooked up to numerous monitors. They really are the bravest people I know.

Luckily everything went well during my operation. I made a fast recovery in hospital and when it was time to go home, I was watching Teletubbies and didn’t want to leave!

I don’t really have that many memories of being in hospital. I mean I was two years old so it is a very long time ago! Though there are three snapshots that have stuck with me. One was when my Grandad came to visit. I had my operation in December and so there was a Christmas tree on the ward. He got me out of my bed and walked me over to it. I know it doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal, but it is the small moments like this that are the most precious, especially when it was shared with my Grandad. He is such a special person  in my life who I have the utmost respect for, and I know this memory will stick with him too.

Something else I remember is when I went for a bath we found a toy plane on the side. I think it belonged to another child there on the ward, but I remember playing with it.

The last thing I remember is more of a scent than a memory. There was a dad and his daughter on the ward next to me and she had apple scented hairspray. I think he gave my mum a bottle for me or told her where to purchase it from because I am sure that when I left the hospital I still had this hairspray with me. I just know that it smelt amazing.

Having the operation has saved my life. If I hadn’t have had it, I probably wouldn’t have made it past my tenth birthday, and if I had done, I could be in a wheel chair right now – which is so terrifying to think about. It has meant that I can lead a completely normal life. I’ve taken dance classes, achieved my Black-Belt in Taekwondo, been in numerous plays. Even had to do cross country at Highschool… as rubbish as it is running around a field in the freezing cold, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I still have trips to the hospital for check ups and echocardiograms (kind of like an ultrasound on my heart). I’ve even been told that I may have to have another operation in years to come – though my Grandad is adamant that this wont happen. But if it wasn’t for the scars on my body, it would almost be impossible to tell that I have a Congenital Heart Defect.

I am super grateful to all of my doctors and surgeons who have taken care of me throughout the whole of my life and my parents for being the most patient, understanding, loving people on this planet. They have been with me through thick and thin, and if it wasn’t for them I have no idea who I would be right now. I owe them everything.

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If you or your child are going through the motions of having open heart surgery, please know that it can and does get better. I know everyone’s conditions are different and in my case I thank God every night for how lucky I have been. You have to stay strong and positive and realise you are not alone and things will pick up.

I’m no expert on the disease, but I have been through it, so if you want to drop me an email and talk to me about my experiences or what you’re going through then please don’t hesitate. It would be great to hear from you!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️

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Five celebs you didn’t know are affected by Congenital Heart Defects

It’s amazing how many people who have such a big influence on our lives have some way been affected by Congenital Heart Defects. Here are just five of many celebrities who have someway been involved with CHDs.

1. Joe Strummer

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With the lifestyle he led, you’d think it would be something other than CHD that sent this man to his grave, however Frontman of The Clash, Joe Strummer sadly died of an undiagnosed Congenital Heart Defect at the age of 50.

2. Jessie J

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Like her father, Singer/Songwriter Jessie J suffers from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a heart disease that effects the electrical currents in the heart. When growing up she suffered from a minor stroke, but bounced back up and straight into the spotlight.

3. Shaun White

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As an Olympic champion who has won two gold medals in snowboarding, Shaun White has not let having Fallot’s Tetralogy stop him. A huge inspiration.

4. Bret Michaels

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I didn’t know this guy had CHD until recently, lead singer of the band Poison whose music I rocked out to a lot in the first year of uni. He suffers from Atrial Septal Defects (a hole in the part of the septum that separates the atria)

5. Sylvester Stallone

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He may not have a CHD condition himself, but he is a Heart Dad whose daughter suffers from a Ventricular Septal Defect, which is more often than not referred to as a hole in the heart.

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❤︎ Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week ❤︎

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It is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness week and so I thought I would try and do a blog post a day about it. That was until my internet went down for the past two days! So this is the post that should have gone up on Monday… I am extremely sorry!

To start the week off I thought I would explain a little bit about what Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) mean, and how it affects people’s lives.

1 in 100 babies are born with CHD, and according to The Children’s Heart Foundation, this equates to over 40,000 babies being born every year with a heart defect in America alone. This means every 15 minutes a child is born with a heart condition and as frightening and sad as it may be, 20% of these children will not see their first birthday.

CHDs range from babies being born with half a heart, to babies needing pacemakers, or even having a problem with one of their heart’s arteries. CHD is anything that is an abnormality with your heart’s structure and is something that you are born with. Although it is often seen as a childhood condition, it is important to stress that Congenital Heart Defects are for life. You are constantly bobbing to and from hospital and, considering on how serious your condition is, many heart babies grow up needing further surgery in later life.

Some CHDs can be detected before birth, however most are found out once the baby is born. A lot of CHDs go undetected though and can seriously effect someone’s adulthood if the condition is not discovered – they could even lead to death.

It is one of the most common birth defects and yet is one of the most underfunded for research, and this needs to change.

The reason I’m writing about CHD is because through no fault of their own, so many people have little or no knowledge about the condition whatsoever. Something needs to be done about this and more awareness must be raised.

Throughout the week I will be posting information about CHD, I will be sharing my own and other survivor’s stories so please stay tuned and keep reading to find out more. Being a Heart Warrior myself, CHD is something that, as cliché as this sounds, I hold extremely close to my heart. It has played a huge part in my life and has shaped the person I am today.

Please share my blog and please raise awareness of the disease. I cannot get over to you how important it is that more people learn about this condition.

The more awareness raised, the more lives saved.

Let’s fight CHD a heartbeat at a time x

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Hairdo | Review

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I have evolved!

I have been wanting this with my hair for around three or so years now and have never been brave enough to do it. I have no idea where from, but I found some courage in the new year and booked in at the hairdressers for a colour. Yes, I do not trust myself to dye my own hair ^_^ I think I would have ended up with an orange face!

I have never had my hair coloured properly before. Once I had blonde streaks put in, but I was around 12 years old and it was very natural looking so there wasn’t too much to worry about. Then a few years later I went black, or dark brown, when I hit that ’emo’ stage. I think everyone sees this stage in their rebellious, early teenage years. It lasted a couple of months and I quickly grew out of it.

Since then, all of my dyed hair had grown out and so I decided to go for this orangy-red ombre look.

Now I know what a lot of you are thinking… this is nothing to do with the death of David Bowie. However three years ago, I was still obsessed and wanted to dye my hair orange because of him. I looked online for more subtle hairdos to reflect that of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane and found this groovy style. I fell in love and from then onward had wanted to dye it. Even though I booked this before Monday, I feel like it holds even more meaning right now.

I absolutely adore my new hair colour and think it looks sooo good. I now have no idea why I was scared of having it done. I still feel funny looking in the mirror like “That’s not me!” hahaha! I’m going to have to get used to this new version of myself. But I love it and I feel more myself than I have for a long time.

I think everyone at some point of their life must adapt and evolve in someway. Trying new things is healthy and exciting, so why not play around with the appearance of your hair?

My only regret about dying it, is that I didn’t do this sooner!

Please let me know what you think of this new look – and honestly if you want to dye yours too… just do it! Life is too short not to take risks.

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Bach Rescue Remedy | Review

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I don’t normally do health posts, so this is brand new to me, but I feel like I have to share my experience with this Bach Rescue Remedy.

I bought this rescue remedy before my driving test. It was my fifth attempt and I felt as though I needed something to help calm me down in order to get me through my exam. I started taking it a few days before to see if it  made me sleepy and to get it into my system. At this point of time I suffered no side effects and so decided it was fine to take on the day. Whether it was just a lucky day, or it was because I had taken this remedy, I passed my driving test with one minor.

I don’t know if this proves that they work… but I did feel a lot calmer and a lot less shaky. If it was the placebo effect then hey! Who cares? I got through my test.

I didn’t really use them after that. If I knew I had a few stressful shifts at work coming up I’d have some before I went out, but I’ve never really needed to take them.

Over the past few weeks a lot has happened in my life. I wont bore you with the details, but I’ve felt quite stressed, very over worked and just not myself.

So I decided to try this rescue remedy again to see if it would just take the edge off how I felt.

To be fair, it hasn’t really worked as much as I wanted it to, but it has calmed me down on a few occasions.

Then the other night I thought I would take some before bed to see if it would help me sleep. I will tell you now. Never do this.

I haven’t had such vivid, trippy nightmares in my life before. I’ve never done drugs and never intend to but I imagine this is how it feels to be high. I dreamt that I had traveled to a parallel universe and that I wasn’t wanted there. Everything had a hazy purple and blue tinge to it. I remember being in a glass tree house and my housemate was trying to murder me. Honestly it was the weirdest dream that felt so real it was just horrible. Then a really tall man was trying to send me ‘back’ – where to I have no idea. He told me I wasn’t wanted there and I had to say a chant to leave where ever I was. As soon as I’d finished saying the chant I woke up in bed, completely dripping head to toe in sweat and feeling adamant that I had been to another world.

It was such a strange experience and such a horrible nightmare that I do not want to ever have again.

After this had happened, I did a bit of research and found a few forums where people had experienced the same things. There are a lot of people who have said that they believed they ventured into different realities and woke up in their room feeling very disorientated and not really knowing what had happened.

I have only taken Rescue Remedy once before bed so I can’t say that these dreams happened because of this. However, I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life before and with other people feeling the same way after taking them,  I can only put it down to this.

I would not recommend taking these before bed, but in the day they seem to work.

Make of this what you will… and please let me know how my first ‘health’ review went! If any of you have experienced the same thing I would love to know… I am quite scared about taking them again.

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TopShop’s Temporary Scar Tattoos

If you don’t know already, I was born with a Congenital Heart Disease called Fallot’s Tetralogy. This means there were three things wrong with my heart which needed to be fixed. I’m not going into the gory details, but I have had two operations which have left me with two prominent scars. One runs down the centre of my chest, and the other runs under my arm to the centre of my back. Then just under two years ago now, I had my appendix taken out which again resulted in a scar above my belly button, another slightly under it and one on each of my hips. If you joined them together they’d make a perfect kite! Overall, I do have my fair share of scars.

When I saw TopShop’s new release my first reaction was something along the lines of: ‘What the hell have they done that for?!’ They have brought out Gold Temporary Scar Tattoos. First of all let me say that they look NOTHING like scars in the slightest. One of them looks like a glamorous Wolverine mark and the others take on a kind of henna design form but none of them actually look like scars.

Secondly, what made me angrier about this idea is that the designer, Lucie Davis, called scars, ‘imperfections’. Now from someone who has battled with self-confidence issues about their scars, hearing a stranger call them imperfections is quite insulting. I get the idea that she wants to make scars look glamorous, but this is definitely not the way to go about it. There is not one thing about these designs that is real about scars. They’re not red or bumpy or oddly shaped. No. They are thin lines with pretty little dots, evenly spread out on either side of them. There is nothing natural at all about these designs.

I really don’t like the image that Lucie Davis is putting out either. Scars are NOT temporary. You cannot just wash them off if you don’t like them. You can’t wash off all that sadness and pain that you went through getting those scars. Scars are not just marks on your body, they hold vivid memories and intense stories that stay with you forever. So making something that significant and that meaningful into some kind of superficial money making design, really is self-centred and offensive. Lucie Davis has obviously not thought about what having a scar actually means.

I am actually quite surprised that TopShop has allowed these to be modelled, as I know a lot of modelling agencies do not like the idea of taking on girls with so called ‘flaws’. However, even though the models are pictured with these tattoos on, their actual flaws have been photoshopped out. To me this is not a way of rejoicing scars. If it was that important to TopShop to show off how they want to celebrate scars, then they should hire models that actually have real scars to be pictured in their new fashion lines instead of taking on fresh faced ‘perfect’ models.

I don’t know what you make of these scars. Please let me know in the comments. I just believe that these tattoos are extremely insincere and fake.

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Hello Again | Life Update

Hello everyone! I know it has been a long time since I last posted but lots is happening at this end! I feel like I’m busy doing everything and nothing all at the same time – a lot of the time life is very much ground hog day, but I always seem to find myself leading quite a hectic life.

I have found myself a summer job at a hotel, which I must admit has been taking up quite a bit of my time recently. But that’s fine, I get on great with my boss and the other people that work there so so it takes the pain of ‘going to work’ away. I’ve also been put on my mum’s care insurance for the past two weeks leading up to my test as I really needed to pass it this time. I absolutely HATE taking my driving test, but I guess I’ve become pretty well at it having to take it FIVE TIMES.

But luckily I passed this time, they do say that 5th time’s the charm, right?

I put it all down to my outfit on the day… I was wearing my new Wonder Woman top from H&M, which makes me feel so empowered as if I can conqueror anything! (Oh and maybe the ‘Rescue Remedy’I was taking beforehand too!) I spoke to the examiner about so much random stuff I bet he thought I was a right weirdo aha. One topic of conversation was how disheveled a dead seagull on the road looked. But whatever I said must have paid off as he passed me with one minor!!

Here’s a picture of me after the test… I apologize now for how I look. There were many sleepless nights before this day and I got so hot and sweaty going around the test route, it’s not one of my best looks. But anyway, here I am posing as Wonder Woman! The photo was taken by my Driving Instructor, Alison, who has seen me through my ups and downs over the past two years. I say driving instructor, but she’s more of a friend now than a teacher! So happy to have passed 🙂 🙂 🙂

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I have lots of reviews coming your way. I decided to have a shopping spree in town last week and I really can’t wait to show you what I bought!

Until next time xx

 

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