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Friday, 9 August 2019

Writing again – My Year so far

It's about six months since I last wrote here, sorry about that, but I am going to try and use this blog more now. This is another update post, after this, I should be able to vary what I post about more, but when I write infrequently it is necessary each time I come back

Firstly and most importantly, my health. In January I mentioned having to go on Rituximab; this happened in February.  It was slightly scary at the beginning due to the severity of the drug, but in the end, I was very lucky not to have any bad side effects. And the really good news is that it worked. I have now been off steroids for a couple of months and my platelet count is still increasing. And I can feel my strength and stamina increasing.

Now for other things that have been going on this year so far. In February, days before I started my treatment we had a family dinner, after which I along with my brother and nephews decided to go on an observation wheel that was temporarily in Cheltenham. This was a wonderful experience because it gave a very different view of the town. In May I had a day visit to Bath which is one of my favourite cities and didn't disappoint this time, the weather was perfect too. In June I went with my parents on holiday to Seaton, Cornwall; although the weather wasn't perfect we had a good break and enjoyed the area including visiting Plymouth. The end of June was my birthday and I had a brilliant day celebrating with friends, shopping in Gloucester Quays in the afternoon then a meal in the evening.

I have also been enjoying my photography, luckily Cheltenham and my local area makes this quite easy. Also had some good cinema and theatre trips.

Plymouth, Seaton, Bath and Cheltenham from Observation Wheel

Friday, 25 January 2019

Backwards and Forwards part 2

The last post focused on my targets for last year / this year. This post is more about what happened last year and what I would like to think might happen this year.
The year started well. Before this time last year I thought it would be the year I started to do a lot more travelling on my own, and maybe I could get some money from my writing whether it was this blog or fiction. But that stuff didn't happen. I had been feeling a little bit tired, but nothing too unusual when at the end of January I had a routine blood test at my GP. That evening I had a call from the GP saying I needed to get to A&E because the test had shown up a problem. As I mentioned in my post back in July, I have a condition called ITP which affects the number of platelets in your blood, most people have a platelet count of over 100, a safe level is 30, at this point mine was 11, in-case you don't know the platelets help clot your blood.

I was put on a strong dose of steroids for a few weeks and then came off them completely a few days before my check-up with a haematologist. That was bad for my body as when I came off them I was very ill, and the day of my check-up, I got a severe nose-bleed that wouldn't stop. We went to the appointment, but I ended up in A&E, and actually spent a few days in the hospital, while they first struggled to stop the nose-bleed and then gave me blood to improve my platelet count. It was now 9.

Since then I haven't been as bad, but there have been times when I have felt very ill indeed, lethargic and with very bad headaches (probably caused by the steroids.) They put me on a high dose of a different steroid and they have been reducing the dose since. Unfortunately when it gets down to the very low doses my platelets still slip to a dangerous level. The problem is that a scan showed that my bones were being affected by the steroids. Yesterday I had a check-
up with my haematologist, and they feel I need a different treatment. The next step will be to have some doses of Rituximab (a drug which is used for patients with ITP among other things), which will have to be given at the hospital either by injection or intravenously.

On the whole, it felt like a dark year, but there were good points too, like the family holiday in the summer and I do feel like I'm stronger emotionally through having been through this. Onto this year, even though nothing is certain yet (and I'm learning there are fewer certainties in life ha-ha), but my ITP should be manageable before the end of the year, I'd like to be able to do some of the things I was planning for last year. I would like to make another train trip on my own this year, somewhere quite local, and a hotel stay on my own. All small steps to becoming more independent, and being able to travel more, which is my big long term goal, there are so many places in the UK and beyond I'd like to visit.

Looe, Cornwall, town we visited this summer

Friday, 18 January 2019

Backwards and forwards part 1

Here I am again, another year and still blogging, though I don't have a lot of ideas for posts this year yet, so if there is anything you'd like me to write about, let me know. For this post, I'm going to look back on last year, and then forward to this year. This post will be about my targets, there will be another more diary post soon.

To start with, how did I do with my targets for last year?
Living Life more – well that didn't happen as much as I would have liked, it has been put on hold by other things, so I'm not upset with myself that it didn't happen.
Giving into fear – this did happen in a way I didn't expect. Throughout the year of being ill, quite scarily ill at times, I learned to be not scared of how I was feeling. I'm also a lot better around needles/hospitals now. (more about this in my next post)
Writing – well, I only have this blog and there aren't as many posts as there could have been, but it's an improvement from other years, so yes progress.
Photography/picture editing – Yes, I did a photography course online in July which I enjoyed and learnt from, also I now have a new phone with a brilliant camera. I'm taking more photos, and I think they're better, could do more editing but I still do some.
Closer to God – Not sure if I made progress with this, although He has brought me through a tough year and that has had a positive impact on my faith.
Love Myself more/self-confidence – Yes, I'm better at this.

On the whole, I am very happy with how much I did achieve with my targets last year. So new targets for the New Year – although it's pretty much the same stuff actually.
Living Life More – I really hope at some point this year, I will be to go on more of the trips I'm planning, until then watch more carefully how much I spend on processions and save where I can for experiences later.
Not giving into fear – Continue to do this in my daily life and hope I get the chance to push myself in the areas I want to later.
Writing – Continue with this blog and do some fiction writing for myself (I'd rather on private projects to work on my skills than show anyone at the moment)
Photography/picture editing – Continue to do this, I'll improve by practice.
Closer to God – This is one I want to really work on this year, I need to be better at making time for reading the bible/prayers to start with
Love myself more – Just keep going, this has changed a lot over the last few years, and I'm happy, but mustn't go back now.

So same targets, but different achievements within them. Until next time.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Too many Clothes?

Firstly, this post is me thinking some stuff through, the decisions I make are right for me, but might not be right for you. I understand not everyone can choose to buy more expensive clothes, so please don't think I'm judging you if you buy cheaper stuff.
That said, I do think this is something that needs to be talked about more (I want to think about more). Lately, I was browsing in one of the cheaper shops in town, and come out with 5 items, 4 of which were clothing. None of which I had planned to buy that morning, none of which I needed at the time. One I was instantly not sure if I like that much, my first thought; but it's okay because it's cheap, so it doesn't matter if I wear it less, it probably won't last as long anyway. When I stopped to think about it, I'm unhappy with this attitude, there are still materials in that T-shirt, which ok will be recycled when I get rid of it, but it would be better if they hadn't been used in the first place. There are still the workers who made the T-shirt (possibly for an extremely low wage, though after checking the website I'm impressed with what they say about ethical standards). The conclusion I made is that I want to think more before I buy clothes.
One way I'm going to do this is by buying fewer clothes, save for more expensive better-made clothes where I can. Not buying things I don't need just because they look interesting and then not wearing them as I have too many clothes, or sending something to the charity shop simply because I no longer have room for it in my wardrobe. Of-course paying more doesn't always mean better ethics, but it often does, because they are taking in more money to pay the supply chain. Buying fewer clothes does feel a bit different from the social norm, but maybe that's a good thing.
Another thing is to check where it is made, this should be on a label on the clothes. If the answer is China, India, or a poorer country the chances are the wages are very low.
Another question is, does fair-trade matter every time? if I believe the people making the clothes received the right wage but it's not necessarily fair-trade, is that okay? Well, I think it is okay, but when I can, I will try and choice more fair-trade stuff because it does make a difference.
Lastly, should we feel guilty when we make bad choices or buy more clothes than we need? No, as I said earlier, this is how we are programmed to think from adverts to social media to our friends, just realise it's a mistake and try to act differently next time. But if you want to support a charity that is making a difference in this area, then I suggest the Fairtrade Foundation.

Friday, 27 July 2018

*review* Smart-Phone Camara lenses - Apexel APL-DG10

*I wasn't given the products or any incentive for this review, and all thoughts are my own*

This year I have got more into my photography, and as there is no way I'll be getting a DSLR camera anytime soon I thought it might be nice if there were lenses I could put onto my phone.

As a set it's great, there are some that help you take clearer 'better' photos and some that are more 'fun'. There is a case for carrying them around in, which is very useful. They are easy to put onto a phone in the right position (though I do have to check the lens is over the camera and not just off it as that affects the photo).

Review of the separate lenses -
Wide lens and Macro lens – The Macro lens can be used on its own, but it is advised in the instructions to use with the wide, this has given me the best results. I have some nice photos taken with this. I've yet to get any brilliant photos with this, but I think that's more due to my photo skills.
CPL – This is used to remove unwanted reflection such as from glass or water. I haven't had much chance to use this, but I do like the photos I have taken it.
Telephoto – This has given me some lovely photos so far, it's brilliant for getting close to plants in the garden.
 Fisheye – Gives images a round fishbowl effect. I love this, the photos look odd, but cool in a way, and it's great fun. I remember one of the earliest camera apps I downloaded onto a smartphone had a fisheye effect, I thought that was cool too, but obviously, this is more powerful because it's a proper lens.
Star Filter – Catches lights, and makes them more like stars. I haven't had a chance to use this much, possibly more of a winter lens, but I love the effect it gives when I have used it
Radical filter – Takes the static object into dynamic effect, makes it look like the object is moving, or just gives you nice lines coming from the object. Nice, I like the photos I've taken with this, none so far of an object that would be moving, but I can see how it would work.
Flow filter – another interesting effect with static objects, again fun to use, but not had the chance to use to the best opportunity yet.
Kaleidoscope filters – There are two of these, the effect is to take the image you see, and multiply it in a kaleidoscopic way. This is really enjoyable to play with, I really like the photos I have taken with this

So to finish I certainly recommend getting this set, or there are others sets around that do a similar thing, just search for 'Smartphone Camera Lenses'

Wide + Macro lenses
radical filter

Friday, 20 July 2018

Here we are again

So what's going on? In January /February you thought I was blogging again, then it just stopped... Well, the answer is that at the beginning of February I was diagnosed with ITP which is a blood disorder that affects the clotting of the blood (low number of platelets ). This has taken most of the energy I had, so that is why I haven't been writing. Now, I'm on a low dose of the steroids that are keeping things in check and getting back to more of 'normal life' so here I am.

What have I been doing in the last six months? Not a lot, because of the reasons stated above. I did have a lovely holiday in Seaton, Cornwall back in early June. And enjoyed celebrating my birthday at the end of June. A few nice shopping trips, cinema visits, and some lovely meals out. While I haven't been able to do anything in my writing, I have been doing more photography, which I will post more about in a future post, but it was good to have something that felt creative / was fun/ and gave me a sense of happiness when I was low. I was also lucky to have my faith, as there were times I couldn't get by without knowing God was with me. I am also so very thankful to all my family, friends (in real life and on Social Media), who have supported me through this, hopefully, I am on the mend, although there will always be a chance the ITP could come back, I am really hoping it won't for some time.

I'm going to use the post to re-evaluate my 2018 goals – as posted here
  • To Live Life More – I've not really had a chance to do that, most of the plans I made for this year haven't happened, and I don't think I'll be back to making them happen until next year, but at least there's a good reason.
  • Give in less to fear – That has happened in an unexpected way, I have had some scary times and awful things because of the ITP but I'm getting better at dealing with them.
  • Writing – Not done anything, but again good reason, and hopefully now getting back into it
  • Photography/Editing – As I mentioned earlier, I have been doing more photography not so much editing, I have done some and I will keep trying to remember to do more.
  • Faith/ Closer to God – At times, yes, but already I feel like I've been less good at spending time working on this very recently, I really want to get back into it.
  • Self-love – At times this has been a struggle this year, but I think I'm getting there again, still a work in progress though.

So that's it, hopefully not six months till the next post.

Beach in Seaton, where I was on holiday in June

Friday, 9 February 2018

postivity and self-worth (1)

There is a lot of negativity in the world which is something I think I'll be coming back to a lot in this blog, but to start with I just want to do a piece on positivity.
Self-worth is so important, it is something a lot of people, young and old struggle with, I included, this is probably seeking to myself as much as anyone.

But we do all have worth, everyone is created differently, and sometimes all you can see is how you are different from everyone else around you, and you feel inferior. This is not true, you have been created to be you. Your challenges and talents are different from every other person, but that's good. If we were, all the same, there would be no uniqueness in the world, it would feel very much the same and be very boring. Whatever struggles you are going through, you can make it through them, and remember there are people to support you (friends and family, and I'm here for everyone reading this). Most of all we all have our talents/gifts and interests. It has taken me a long time to realize that we have to find these and embrace them. Talents are still something I struggle to see in myself, but I have my writing, and maybe some photography/art skills, and I'm learning to be a good friend which is an important skill. If you don't know where your talents are, keep trying new things that you enjoy and hopefully, you will find something. Your interests are so important to what makes you special, it's what other people will learn to love about you. Embrace them, even if they seem very different to everyone's interests around you, find people who share them, or talk to your friends about them, if they interest you, there is a chance they will interest your friends.

Remember you are important, you deserve to be valued. I believe that each person was created perfectly by God (Perfect in his sight if not this world's). But even if that isn't for you now, believe me, that you do have value because everyone does. Again, so much of the negativity comes from this world we live in. There are experiences put on us every day by those around us and ourselves.  We have to learn when these are right and when they are wrong, they are often wrong. The world wants to be perfect, like that person in the magazine or on TV. They want us to feel the same, look the same, to feel the same as everyone else. But that is the opposite of the individuality we should be living. As I said at the beginning, we are all different. We all have flaws in our natural beauty, but that doesn't stop us being beautiful, we have to accept them and accept other people's flaws. You will find aspects of your character that is weird, I do every day, but that doesn't mean it's wrong, embrace it and remember it's part of how you fit into this world. Also, learn to accept these things about each other, you won't agree with everyone, and sometimes your fellow human will seem strange to you. But if you want other people to accept you, you have to accept them. Everyone else has their place too, and we have to learn how to understand each other better if we want the world to be a happier place.

I hope this helps someone, do you have any advice for helping others to see each other positivity?