How I Live An Organised Lifestyle And How You Can Too!


How I Live An Organised Lifestyle And How You Can Too!

So being organised has always come naturally to me. It became more apparent as I got older, and through high school especially I was the one with folders and tabs and lists… I have been to university and I have had working jobs since I was fourteen years old. So I have learnt how to be organised with both my time management and my money. When you have needed to be organised for work, I find that it rubs off on to the rest of your daily life.

If you are someone who struggles with being organised in some or all aspects of your lifestyle, then take a look at the rest of this blog post for some ideas. These are just a few of the ways that I stay on track of all things Sabrina!

Wall Calendars and Phone Calendars

One of the ways that I stay on track is to manage my calendar. I vary rarely forget a birthday or an appointment, and now with my iPhone and the cloud, it is even easier to synchronise everything together and be organised daily. I also synchronise it with my husband as well.

Not only do I use a calendar on my phone, but I use a wall calendar too. Every year I make a custom one on an online site, with my own photographs, and I adjust the days each month for special dates. These customise calendars are becoming both affordable and popular, and I have created one for three years running now. You can purchase an array of sizes to fit your wall space, and the sections you can alter for your own reasons are becoming more detailed every year I make them.

Some outline birthdays and anniversaries, but you can now add more detailed things to them as well such as events.

My Top Tip for Calendars are to sync your digital devices with family members so everyone is on the same page. And for written ones keep one close at hand that you pass every day, bedside table or kitchen wall work best for me.


Always Arrange Easy To Keep Appointments

We all know how busy family life can be, so why try and stick to appointments that become increasingly difficult. Don’t give yourself just twenty minutes to get to the Dentist after work, rearrange your schedules and make appointments (or change them) to suit your week. I nearly always try and arrange certain things for days off, depending upon the time frame of the appointment.

Many places let you book appointments online now too, so if you cannot get through at rush hour on the telephone why not try that! Don’t be afraid to cancel appointments and reschedule them to suit your needs.

Consider Reducing Your Paper Footprint

A lot of us receive post that often gets stuck in a drawer until we have time to look at it. Why not look into being digital for some of your current paper trails? Most banks are giving people the option to go Paperless and I have to say that for me it was a great thing to do. Less papers to store in the home and emails that can instead be stored in the digital cloud space.

And cutting down of less trees of course! Win! Win!

Use Planners or Boards to Keep Track of your Week

We often waste a lot, I’m not talking time here – though social media has a lot to answer for! No, what I mean is waste of food, wasting energy by not turning things off around the home. All of these examples are habits that are so easy to change and get into a good habit of changing. I have taught my family members to recycle more, to turn off plugs when they are no longer being used, and to be more organised with food.

I have a blackboard in the kitchen now, where I write up each weekend what the meals will be for the rest of the week. Everyone knows where they are and what we are having, and food is wasted less because sell by dates do not go by. It does take a bit of organising, but the family all know what is happening and we can also plan ahead a few days so that things can be altered if needs be.

If anyone in the family has a particularly difficulty schedule, be it with shift work or with medications for example, then a planner might be a good item to invest in. You can buy weekly ones that have days of the week with various sections upon them. These are very useful for multiple things that might occur on a specific day or time.

My final Top Tip for being organised is to make time once a week for creating either a To-Do List or Weekly Schedule. Don’t try and remember everything all in your head, we all lead busy lives and even the best of us with good memories are bound to forget things once in a while! Trust me, make those lists, notes and schedules work for you!

Thank you for reading this blog post today, I do hope that you have enjoyed it and can take some inspiration from my tips.

 Sabrina 

How Blogging And Gaming Help With My Anxiety


How Blogging And Gaming Help With My Anxiety

I’ve been living with anxiety for a number of years now, and there are some things that really help me. Of course breathing slowly and staying calm, focusing on one thing and allowing the moment to pass is the best way. But when I’m struggling there are a few other things that really help me.

Today I will be writing a short blog post outlining what those things are, you never know, they might help someone else get through a hard time too.

Games

Be it Games on my PlayStation or Games on my iPhone, I enjoy playing them and they often help me in times of crisis. Such as when I am feeling overwhelmed, I open apps like Candy Crush for example, and play for a minute or two. It allows my mind to focus on something other than the anxiety that is sending it haywire.

It’s by no means easy, and I have to accompany what I’m doing with slowly breathing deeply and usually drinking cool water as well. I carry water with me everywhere that I go, because I never know when anxiety may strike.

By playing games my mind is occupied on something else, even if it’s just for a moment or two. I also have days where I want to play on my PlayStation and I don’t want to socialise with anyone, those are what I call the bad days. I am glad that I have the option to do this, and games allow me to take out any frustrations I am having with life on virtual reality. When I am focused on a storyline or a scenario I forget what is troubling me for a few moments.

Of course I enjoy gaming generally, and I played a lot before I suffered anxiety. Some days I play a game regardless of how I may be feeling. I may just feel the need to lose myself for a few hours, but either way, it helps me.

Blogging

When I find myself at a loose end I often blog, I have so many ideas floating around in my head that I make notes all the while, on paper and on my phone. Then when my anxiety is bad I try and focus my attention on one idea, and make some headway in the writing part of it. When I am writing I find that everything else in my head dissipates for a few moments because I concentrate so much on what I want to say and about getting it right.

I started blogging as a way to help myself when I was stuck at home recovering from life changing surgery. I needed something to keep my mind active, because I couldn’t leave the house for a time. And my anxiety had already been bad for some time before I needed the surgery, so it was a way of me coping with the long days in the same four walls. It allowed me to write about positive aspects of my life as well, and review things that made me happy. This in turn improved my mood and made my days seem more productive. I had began my blog and website just for me, but when people began to subscribe and tell me they were looking forward to reading my posts, it gave me more confidence in what I was sharing with the world.

Two Years On

So this is where I am up to today, as of February it’s been two years since I started Severn Wishes. Two years on since my surgery too, and I feel I am beginning to take back control of my life. Of course my family and friends have supported me, and this has been paramount in my recovery, but I have also been able to help myself, through doing what I love, and creating the time to do something positive and productive.

I wouldn’t say it’s been an easy road, in fact some days have been very hard. I’m lucky that I have these avenues that are able to help with my current state.

I also have cats, and they are therapeutic for me at the best of times, they really help me to be calm at times. Pets can mean so much more to us and my fur babies certainly are family to us.

Thank you and Advice

This post is a thank you to all of you who support me and my blog and my social media too. You are helping a woman become stronger day by day… you are helping me to feel like me again… slowly but surely…

And I have just one piece of advice. I see anxiety as this, there is no such thing as a good or bad day anymore because I live with these feelings every day. So what I do is remain positive and take something good from each day, focusing on a positive is always the start of remembering the great things in your life. Be grateful no matter how small it is, you’ll soon realise that anxiety won’t win, and that deep down you’re still you, and you do matter.

Be brave and find ways that help you, I did, and slowly but surely I’m beating my anxious feelings. It’s not good every day, and some days I really struggle, but for every one like that I do have, I strive to have less of them. It also helps that I have some understanding family and a few close friends around me, they support me through the bad days. And when I’m alone I use my methods above to bring me back to a calm state.

Thank you for joining me for this honest post today. I hope that if any of you are going through a difficult time then you can find an outlet that helps you, just like I have.

 Sabrina 

Olivia Burton Enchanted Garden Square Dial Chalk Blue and Silver Watch Review


╰☆╮ Review of Olivia Burton Enchanted Garden Midi Square Dial Chalk Blue and Silver Watch ╰☆╮

When I turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, I created a Wish-list post about what I hoped to get for my birthday. I feel so lucky that I have a very kind husband who knew how much I had wanted a beautiful Olivia Burton watch, and he bought me this one!

I have a petite frame which includes having small hands and wrists. Most watches that I try on in shops are too big for me, they overhang either side of my arm and often rotate while on. This makes them uncomfortable to wear and I usually don’t bother putting them on unless it’s for a special occasion.

But now I’ve got this gorgeous and detailed watch, which is not only highly appropriate to my nature loving personality but it also has a specifically smaller dial size at 23mm.

ENCHANTED GARDEN MIDI SQUARE DIAL CHALK BLUE & SILVER WATCH

Website Code: OB16SS18
Price £82.00
Dial Size 23mm x 23mm
Strap is Genuine Blue Leather
Silver Plated Case
Three Hand Japanese Quartz Movement
A Sophisticated and Elegant White Dial Design with Flowers and Butterflies

You Can Buy This Specific Watch Here
All Watches On The Olivia Burton Website Can Be Viewed Here

Here are some more detailed images of my watch and what I received with it.


╰☆╮ My Overall Opinion and Review Scores ╰☆╮

Appearance 5/5
Quality 5/5
Value for Money 4/5
Delivery 4/5

This watch is beautifully presented both in it’s delivery boxes and in it’s own silver plated case. The individual design is stunning and extremely detailed. If you look closely at the detail you wouldn’t expect it to be so intricate because of the overall size, it’s created with a very high standard.
In fact all the Olivia Burton watches are made to a high quality across the range, all of them with varying styles and straps to suit all customers desires. There are some straps that have leather, others are velvet, or mesh and even those that are mixed metal bracelets. With a varying dial size that ranges from 22.5mm to 32mm, and several shapes too including square, rectangle and circle.
I was impressed with how the watch came in a box within a box, it was a nice touch to have the whole piece inside it’s own personal box. It means that when I’m not wearing it, it can stay clean and safe inside.
The delivery of the watch took several days, which did surprise us, however it was after the snow was clearing so we wondered if that were the reason for the delay. It didn’t arrive until my birthday date, despite my husband ordering it 9 days prior.
Overall I am very happy with the gift and that is why I wanted to review it in such detail. Please check out my photography of the watch so you can see the minute details in the dial and the quality with which it has been made and distributed.
I would recommend the Olivia Burton website and it’s products, and I would consider more in the future.


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I hope you have enjoyed reading this review post, I can honestly recommend these watches if you want a high quality gift for someone, or you want to treat yourself to a high standard piece that you can treasure. It was easy to photograph being so pretty! And with a good warranty available on each watch that is sold, and a huge range of choice, they make ideal presents for both yourself and for others.

If I can answer any questions about the watch that you might have then please leave me a comment.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Tips for Life After University


✩ 
Tips For Life After University 

So it may have been a few years since I finished from University, but I look back now and wished there were more articles I could have read, that may have helped me with the transitions that were about to take place in my life.

Lots of people choose to move back home after University ends and either save up some money, go off travelling for a year or eventually they agree to move out and get a job. However I didn’t do any of that and had no eagerness to do so. My outlook on my life had altered a lot in three years and it had all gone by so quickly too!

I met my (then) boyfriend while I was at University and then he became my fiance while I was in my final year of studying. When we got engaged in our final few months of University I sat down with my parents and told them I wouldn’t be coming back home when my studying ended. I think they expected it having seen how we were together, but what I didn’t know was how difficult it would be to get a stable job after I graduated.

Neither of my parents had been to University and I was their eldest child, there were few people I could turn to for advice. And my other half graduated the same time as I did, although he had been private renting for a while with his job, and had more of an outlook on what he wanted out of the next year or so before we got married, but I was clueless a part from “I need a job to earn money”.

I was extremely lucky to have my partner at the time, he supported me through some hard months of insecurity. It took many weeks after graduating for me to find work that I was satisfied with, and although it was the recession at the time and work was scarce, I still lived in a city and didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was. I applied for several jobs a week, took to the local town centre and handed out CV’s… but nine times out of ten I was told I was over qualified and they wouldn’t give someone like me an interview, in the fear it was just a stop gap before I found something better. Which was sort of the truth, but knowing I was getting married I just needed money behind me, I didn’t mind what sort of job I did then, degree related or not, it was what I required to get by at that time.

You may be more lucky than me, and get a job in your chosen career almost as soon as you complete your degree. However if you don’t find that to be the case, then you can make life a little easier by taking steps to help yourself with finance and support.

(Sabrina on her Graduation Day).

✩ My Advice 

So the rest of this post is almost like a note to myself, if in hindsight I could have given myself advice for the eight or more years ago that it has been! If I could tell Sabrina of eight years ago anything, it would be these things… And you can now take my tips and see if they help you in your own situations, if they do then great!

✩ Have a clear out before you move out of your University hall room / shared house.

I cannot stress how much crap you’ll accumulate in your time at University. Things that you probably did need for three years but now more than likely won’t use (unless you go straight into a degree related career). So make sure you find time to clear things out before you pack up to move out or move back home. During nights out I recall getting a variety of fancy dress items and so much else, you won’t really need these things, and you should be ruthless (not like I was at first) and get rid. The same goes for clothes that you’ve worn the three years, and may make you look like a “student”. Remember if you’re going off into the world to be an adult worker you will need to look the part too.

✩ Open a savings account as soon as you can in your final year, and move money in to it every month, but do not take anything out of it. This is your account for emergencies, rent, food or travel money for interviews etc.

There will be no excuses to your parents or partner for not being organised enough to get a train ticket for that interview you’ve managed to get. By putting a little aside you’ll be able to keep your independence and pay your way for a bit after Uni finishes. Of course you’ll need to find a job if an opportunity doesn’t come up from your degree itself, but everything you can do to plan ahead will help.

✩ Keep the contact details for current or past employers, and your University Tutor for upcoming references when it comes to job applications.

The more people you have giving you glowing references the better, but it also needs to be quality and not quantity. Most employers look for three references, but if you have only studied and not worked during your final year then a tutors opinion can go a long way.

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Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this post, and that my tips may help someone out this summer with their own transition.

If I can answer any questions about my experiences then please send me a comment.

✩ Sabrina ✩

How I Am Beating My Morning Sickness, Pregnancy Health and My Top Tips


Welcome to Today’s Post – How I Am Beating My Morning Sickness

So first of all it should never have been called “Morning Sickness” and that goes for double for me. I feel worse in the middle of the day and right up until bed time. When it’s bad some days it even wakes me up in the night, although the increase in bodily fluids such as mucus really hasn’t helped! They don’t tell you any of this though.

I know that some people have morning sickness so badly that they get dehydrated and end up in hospital. Luckily for me I haven’t been that bad, but it’s taken it’s toll either way, I have never felt so exhausted and unwell. So I wanted to write this post and put out some ideas and tips on how I’m currently beating my awful sickly feelings.

The first few weeks were definitely the hardest. I couldn’t go anywhere outside of my house without a cold bottle of water, a packet of Sugar Free Polo Mints and a box of salted biscuits in my handbag. I have to say though, the sickness was worse for me the more hungry I got, so I tried to not get hungry by snacking little and regularly. Grapes were a great idea, seedless and cold right out of the fridge, followed by Salted Biscuits or Crackers.

My Top Tip is Water! Water always helps if you sip it slowly and especially if it’s cool, the mints and peppermint flavour in general can also help with the feeling of being nauseous, and the salted biscuits were what I snacked on between meals. I found that if I got even remotely hungry I would feel terribly sickened. So by not letting myself get very hungry, and eating smaller meals more often plus the snacks I slowly began to beat the sickness. The trick is to breathe and tell yourself you aren’t going to be ill, take a sip of water and eat something like a mouse, nibble and take your time.

After week eight I even purchased some “Sea Bands”, they are sickness bands that work by using the pressure points on your wrists. I know that they don’t work for everyone, but when my sickness was so bad that I couldn’t even lie down flat to sleep, I found that they did help me. I had the feelings by this point in pregnancy but wasn’t actually sick. I would press on the pressure point while sipping cold water and breathing slowly but deeply. Like I say it works for me, and even when I am having the odd sickly day now, I wear the bands. I also wear them in the car because I find motion has often contributed to the feelings more so than before I was pregnant.

At week twelve of my pregnancy I had good days and bad days, and it would often depend on what I came into contact with. Some strong aftershaves or perfumes knocked me sick, as did any kind of raw meat smell, dog poop on the pavement or a smelly public toilet were my worst. The best advice I have at this stage of pregnancy is to breathe through your mouth and make sure that you have plenty of water around you and to hand. If you’ve gone off some foods or are avoiding spicy foods due to risk of indigestion continue to do so while you feel this stage of nausea. I had to live off basic meals that were not spicy or rich, like tomato pasta and plain vegetables, stir fry vegetables and noodles, plain cooked rice with minced pork or chicken breast…

Don’t forget that if you’re struggling to eat a lot now in these first few weeks, that you can make up for it when you’re feeling a lot better. You will need to take a supplement that your midwife should recommend you anyway. But after you begin to feel more like eating you should establish a healthy routine of snacks, such as fruit and vegetables to make up for any unhealthy snacks you eat when feeling bad. Trust me when I say that some days all I want and do eat is a bag of crisps or a bar of chocolate, but I also eat grapes and other easy to eat fruits that can be carried with me or taken to work in portions. Reach for the good stuff if you can, and don’t forget that a glass of juice or smoothie will count as one of your five a day too, and that is easy!


I’m now approaching the half way point in my pregnancy, and I cannot believe how quickly it’s going. I still have days that I’m feeling rather unwell, and usually it’s to do with my food choices. You soon learn what works for your tummy and avoid the things that upset you. My
top tip is to keep a food diary from early on, or if you keep a daily diary anyway then make a note of what you’ve eaten. Then if you’re not well you can put it down to that and avoid that for a week or two and then try it again.

I have been eating a lot of dairy because of how important Calcium in take is, but some days my stomach doesn’t like how much I’m giving it. Carbohydrates are also important but in moderation along with vegetables. Drink as much water as you’re able to, I also have a glass of fruit juice a day, and sometimes add squash or flat lemonade into my daily drinks when I feel fed up of water. You will find out quite quickly that fizzy drinks are not practical in pregnancy and just exasperate certain things that are happening inside you… Do you think it’s rather windy today?

Just because you have limitations on what you can eat and drink, it doesn’t mean you can’t have treats in moderation, and it also doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying your food. Once your morning sickness is getting better you may find your appetite returns and for me, it even got better! I have had to stop myself reaching for more foods some days. Another Top Tip of mine is to use an app for your phone, I use my FitBit App because you can add into it your Drink and Food daily. It will calculate a rough estimate on how many calories you’re in-taking with your food. I find it very very useful for keeping track of everything!

I bought my Sea Bands from Amazon, but you can buy them at your larger local Supermarket Pharmacy Counters too. They come in a few sizes and colours which is nice and you can even put them in the washing machine – very handy if you end up wearing them frequently.

I hope that you’ve either learnt something today or just enjoyed reading about the ups and downs of the start of my pregnancy. If you have any questions I’m happy to try and answer them, if you do then please leave me a comment. And remember that the UK NHS website has loads of advice for expectant parents, and your midwife or GP are the best people to talk to if you have any pregnancy related questions, problems or illnesses.If you would like to read more about my pregnancy journey, including recipes and reviews on maternity wear, then you can read the whole category by clicking here for my Pregnancy only category.

Thanks for reading today’s post, have a lovely day.

✩ Sabrina ✩

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My Thirtieth Birthday Wishlist

╮ My Thirtieth Birthday Wish List ╰

If someone had asked me two or three years ago what I was planning for my milestone of a birthday, I would have reeled off a whole list of plans and ideas. Despite going through a rough time with my health I didn’t want to let it win, and therefore planned an array of things for my thirtieth year on Earth. But sometimes life has a way of sending you off into a completely different direction however, and now I am postponing or cancelling my plans from two years ago, for the foreseeable.

This isn’t all bad, although I am disappointed not be doing much for my big birthday, it’s all because I am now expecting my miracle baby.  They say things happen for a reason and this little one has been so wanted for so long, that that is so much more important to me right now. Other things can wait…

It means I’m going to hold off on 90% of my plans, and hopefully I can achieve some of them one day, perhaps I can do something for my thirty first birthday next March instead to make up for this year…

So instead of pondering on what I was meant to be doing this month I am focusing on things I can do instead! Plus putting together a little wish list has taken my mind off things too. Now the weather has been bad for weeks I am quite glad I hadn’t booked anything as such, so thanks for that weather! I hope it dissipates before the middle of next week and I can get out and about to see family and friends at least!

So what am I hoping for this year or what have I seen and just loved?

I usually ask family members for vouchers so I can go and buy what I like and take a shopping trip, or like I do most of the time these days, shop online! For both the time convenience and the fact I struggle to do a full day on my feet at the moment. I’ve seen some gorgeous Maternity Wear at both New Look and Dorothy Perkins online…

I will of course let you know if I get anything special this birthday!

Here we go then, this is my Birthday Wish List!

╰☆╮ Wish List 

Olivia Burton – Ladies Enchanted Garden Square Blue and Silver Watch

LINK

I first saw these watches by Olivia Burton well over a year ago, and at reasonable prices for their unique look I thought. I have small wrists and therefore cannot wear a lot of watches. Imagine that so many of the faces stick out over the sides of my arm and look ridiculous and you’ll understand what I mean. However Olivia Burton has designed several with smaller faces, this one is only 23mm wide, perfect for me! I love the nature designs on them as well, very fitting for my personality.

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Next 12 Piece Marble Dinner Set

LINK

I saw these plates advertised on a recent email from Next so I went to the website and checked them out further. I have always liked the look or marble. I prefer the bowls more than anything in this set. I already own some awesome cutlery too so I don’t think I would invest in the entire set, I just really liked the marble effect on the plates. There is an awesome Marble Table Cloth available and I love the look of that! And the Rose Gold Wine Glasses are sold in 4’s…

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Tiny Silver – Silver Bracelets with Metal Hearts

LINK

I follow Tiny Silver on a variety of social media, and I have always admired the jewellery that is made by them. A lot of it is sterling silver which is what I love to wear myself. These bracelets are sold separately, but how gorgeous would it be to have and wear a set of all 3? I love the various metal hearts and think the simple design is lovely, especially because I have such small wrists too.

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Spectrum Collections – Star Struck Water Star Sign Brush Set

LINK

I love the look of this set, they are so pretty and totally photograph able! Previous brushes I have purchased have really lasted and wash and use well every time. I would recommend them. This new design featuring your own star signs is unique and unusual.
“Featuring jet black super soft bristles, gold ferrules and matte black handles each of the 8 brushes is finished with an all over scattered star print, with a velvet ‘Water’ pouch bag with fixed gold chain strap, PU leather corners and cosmic foil detailing”.

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Free Boheme – Geode Print Rugs

LINK

On a recent blog reading spree over Twitter I came across a blogger that I follow and she was raving about the company that sell these incredibly cool looking geode rock rugs! I adore the purple that is meant to represent Amethyst! I think it would look amazing placed in the corner of a room with a chair next to it to sit upon…

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I really hope you have enjoyed seeing what is on my wish list! I have a sneaky feeling and hopes that I might be getting some of these items for my birthday, and if I do, then of course I will review them and let you all know what I think.

Have a great month of March everyone!

✩ Sabrina ✩

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My Top Tips for Travel, My Travel Bucket List and Where I Have Already Been

╰☆╮ Travel ╰☆╮

Travelling can be daunting for many of us, you could be worried about a ton of things. But there are some aspects of it that you can deal with at home before you go, and ensure you are at ease and organised about these parts of your travel.

I have been lucky enough to visit more than fourteen different countries and/or islands in my (just shy of) 30 years on Earth. However there are still places I wish to go to and hopefully one day I can tick them off my list. I even bought myself one of those very awesome “Scratch Maps” off the internet two years ago, so that I can document my travels and it acts as a reminder of past holidays.

One tip that I have always sworn by is to do your research before you go. Once you’ve decided where you are going, or if it’s a family trip and your parents have booked it, it won’t matter if you look up the area that your hotel is situated in and see what is around. Sometimes you can find hidden gems and learn about local sight seeing trips before you turn up. A knowledge of the local area is also very useful. As are phrases in the local language such as, “How much is this?”, “Where are the Toilets?” or “Which Way To…?”…

The internet is such a marvelous tool, but don’t be afraid to print a few things out, to fold up and take with you in case you need anything and don’t have any WiFi connection or signal on your phone. Language phrases, Embassy locations and key addresses such as your hotel or the airport are definitely high up on my list, depending of course on where you’re going.

Another Top Travel Tip of mine is to Photocopy your Passport page, and leave a print out of it in your inner pocket of your luggage. (The same goes for other members of your family if you’re in a party). It’s a good idea for if your luggage gets lost and also a good idea to prove your identity if your passport were stolen while you are abroad.

╰☆╮Just A Few Places I Have Been To And Some That I Loved╰☆╮

Paris – France

Sabrina at The Louvre Museum. I love Paris, I have been four times in my life and I would go four times over again. Now I have visited in June, August, October and November. I would perhaps like to go in the Spring next time to see it in a different light.

Ontario – Canada

I was only young when I visited Canada and don’t have many photographs, but I can remember the CN Tower in Toronto very clearly, I stood on the Glass Floor looking down over the city and thought it was amazing. Niagara Falls were also totally breathtaking and I want to go back to Canada now that I’m older.

Cyprus

A beautiful island that is steeped in history. I would definitely go back here one day, though when I did go in the summer months it was so so hot!

Malta

I was lucky enough to Swim with Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins when in Malta. It is a lovely small island with lots to see, not many beaches though if I recall.

Madeira

I visited Madeira on my Honeymoon with my husband. This island has a unique climate and is hugely different from anywhere else that I have been. I would love to go again perhaps for a Wedding Anniversary holiday in a few years time. The gardens and the mountains are my favourite parts of this place.

Rome / Naples / Pompeii – Italy

It is an amazing place the city of Rome, Pompeii was also fascinating. I want to go back there, and I also want to take a Digital Camera this time not film, and then perhaps see more of the country.

Thailand

On my visit to Thailand I went to the main capital Bangkok as well as to a resort on the coast as well. Steeped in Culture with a whole new experience for me both of food and every day life, that was what I found. The sunsets on the beach in the evening were by far my favourite part of my time away. It was also interesting to see some new wildlife including reptiles and birds too, some of which I had only ever seen at a Zoo.


Finland

I went to Finland when I was six years old. It made such as impression on me though that I still recall some of the memories. Such as the rope throwing in the image above, sledging in the snow, walking in deep snow and it being like powder, and drinking hot berry drinks in cups from a stove after going on a reindeer trail, these are among my memories. As well as meeting Santa Claus!

Egypt – North Africa

We did a 24 hour trip over to Egypt on a boat excursion from Cyprus. You had the whole day in Egypt where by you visited Cairo, including the Museum, a Gold Jewellery Factory and The Ancient Pyramids. It was an incredible place to visit, and the Pyramids and Sphinx were so much more amazing in real life. But it was also a frightening place to visit as a teenager. I learned a lot, but the culture overwhelmed me somewhat. I don’t think I would go again in the near future but I may when I’m retired if the country is overall safer to visit.

Morocco – North Africa

I had a similar feel about Morocco as I did in Egypt, it was a country that had lots of unusual aspects and I had a nice camel ride through some countryside. But the culture could be overbearing at times, I was grabbed by a man and pulled into a shop in the market at one point, which was honestly quite frightening. I understand now that I am older that these people only did such things to try and make a sale, to make a living, and that life is ten times harder for them than for most of the western world. However I did not expect such a vast cultural difference. If I had been older I might have researched more about the people before going, as I would do nowadays and as I would tell you all to do. Look up local customs and know what to expect.

Amsterdam City – Netherlands

A college trip saw me visiting Amsterdam, the city itself was great, lots of museums and interesting culture. When I went there people still smoked an awful lot (not to my taste at all) and I did my best to avoid this, by going into many Art Galleries and Museums of various kinds. The Science Museum was particularly good and I loved seeing all of the people riding around on bicycles. It was like nowhere else I had been to in Europe and I liked that.

Catalonia – Spain

Another short trip, this time with my school because I was studying Spanish at the time. In our few days we manage to visit Barcelona and sites along the Costa del Sol. I had a great time practicing my foreign language skills and learning about the culture first hand. Would I go back to Spain? Si! Yes I would do, I would however visit other areas though such as Central and the South, to get a real feel for the country as a whole. But I wouldn’t go at any Festival seasons because it’s so busy, nor would I go during Bull Fighting because I strongly disagree with it.

Rhodes Island – Greece

I went to Rhodes while studying at University (with my then boyfriend but now husband) on a last minute deal to get away at the start of the summer. Our University term had just ended and we had had a tough year and decided to get away. Although we had a good time up until the day before we went home (because we came down with food poisoning) we were mislead by the hotel who told us they were only five minutes from the beach and fifteen minutes from Rhodes centre. This was a blatant lie and after a forty minute taxi journey from the airport we arrived to a rundown (meant to be) three star hotel that sadly had giant electricity pylons situated either side of the complex! We realised their online pictures had been doctored and with the food not up to scratch we ended up spending more money on dining out and going out than spending it relaxing. A lesson learned, that you should always do proper research on the area before clicking that “Buy Now” button, sometimes it’s too good to be true! But the Rhodes central area was cultured and interesting and we did have a semi relaxing time. I wouldn’t go again to Rhodes but I would go to the Greek mainland to see the history.

Tenerife / Gran Canaria / Lanzarote – The Canary Islands

I had been on a Cruise with family, and it stopped at various islands including those mentioned just above.
Tenerife was an interesting one, a very tourist related island with plenty of shops in bustling towns. I especially liked the Aquarium we visited because they had a Dolphin show. Spectacular! I hear that they have since expanded this and now house all sorts of animals, birds and marine life. Tenerife also has the Volcano Mount Teide, which towers above the island, an amazing sight. The place as a whole is very diverse with the resorts on the coast but many towns inland which offer culture, and a National Park for those who love to walk. There is plenty to do here on a short holiday.
Gran Canaria was very similar to Tenerife but with far better beaches. More of an island about food and history with many small villages all with lots to offer, I loved it!
Lanzarote being the most volcanic looking of all of these three saw less beaches and less greenery. However it does have a lot of countryside space for anyone keen on sport such as runners, hikers and cyclists.

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╰☆╮ Sabrina’s Travel Bucket List ╰☆╮

One thing that I have always done is study the world in which we live in and also watch countless documentaries upon it. There are places on my list that have been on there since I was in my early teenage years, I just haven’t had the opportunity (be it due to health or money usually) to go and see them.

It is very important that you don’t lose sight of your dreams and the goals that you may have, but at times you also have to be realistic…

What I planned to do ten years ago when I revised my bucket list was to save up and do each of these places, one of them every few years until I got to fifty years old. I had began my long term relationship which has since turned into my marriage, and we agreed that some of the places on my list we would try and do together, and others I may go alone or with friends.

The problem that I had was in my mid twenties my health took a sudden and drastic spiral downwards, and I was left with surgeries and recoveries to deal with. It has meant that all plans since 2013 have been put on hold. Since my diagnosis I haven’t been to anywhere new and abroad, Thailand was my last proper holiday in 2012.

I had to have some treatment and this has made my social life difficult, it has also meant I have needed to be more careful and cautious on where I go. I hope that one day I will be well enough to travel again without any fears.

If you are lucky enough to have good health now then please don’t waste it – I regret not going and doing some of the places on my Bucket List when I was younger. Sadly for me it may be around ten years time from now, before I will get to finally go and see some of them. It is a long time considering I am turning 30 years old in little over a week… but I don’t give up hope…


So where else do I really want to visit on Earth…?

New York City – USA
San Francisco – USA
Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon – The West Coast of the US
Australia – To Travel Around It
New Zealand – To Travel Around It
Italy (again but other cities)
Canada (again but the other parts)
Switzerland (those mountains!)
Iceland (to do nature photography)
Ireland
Japan

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╰☆╮ Sabrina’s Top Tips ╰☆╮

If you’re considering a break away this year remember my three key things about booking a holiday and making the most of your time at the destination.

1. Research the Area
2. Know Your Limits – Money and Health Wise
3. Live Within Your Means & Save with Vouchers

1. It’s always a good idea to look up the local area, make sure you book a hotel in an area that is both accessible by the transport you need, and is in a tourist area for health and safety reasons.

2. Know the limits of your health, because even I have to remind myself that I cannot do everything that I used to, but that doesn’t stop me having a great time. And you should know the limit of your bank balance too!

3. Finally, always live within your means. You might not be able to do it all and see everything, time and money might be against you. My Tip is to pick your Top 3 and work out the pricing. Always look for vouchers online too – I am definitely one for making the most of a two for the price of one deal!

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Thank you for joining me for this travel inspired blog post today, I hope you liked my photographs of my various destinations because I was stuck between which ones to use. Too many to choose from!

Have a wonderful last few days of February 2018 and thanks for reading!

 Sabrina 

A Short List Of Things I Did In 2017 To Make My 2018 Better

✩ Things That I Did In 2017 To Make My 2018 Better ✩

There were many things during 2017 that I decided to change or make plans ahead of time to make my life easier. This may seem like a lot of effort but really, a lot of it was just common sense. I also saw several programs last year that made me contemplate some of the lifestyle choices I was making.

Here is one example. I would often pop to my local supermarket on the walk home from work in an evening, and although I carried a rucksack I would nearly always buy too many items to fit inside it. So I invested in a reusable bag from the pound shop, and it is consistently folded up now inside my work bag. That way any occasion that arises that I need some extra carrying space I will have it. It saves on both money and on plastic too!

I have also adopted this for my big fortnightly shop, my husband and I only use hemp and cotton recyclable bags now. They are easy to use and easy to stand up in the boot of the car being similar sizes. Invest in one and keep it in your car!

Let me show you roughly how much you would save… If you usually buy five 10p bags every time that you shop, and say that that shop is once a week, that equals 50p a week. So if you use a reusable bag that costs anything from £1.00 to £4.00 (for a decent one) then you could save… a whopping £26.00 a year! Plus these bags that I have, some are three years old now and still going strong.

Another change I have made, which is more of a Lifestyle one, is to stop using any cosmetics products that contain plastic micro beads inside. I watch a lot of documentaries and nature programs, and what I kept seeing was the overwhelming evidence of how plastic is damaging our oceans. I am hugely into nature and support it in any small way that I can, so making this change was not a big deal for me, but will hopefully help the bigger picture globally if more of us make this change too.

Finally I made the decision to continue eating more fruit and vegetables in my diet. As an Endometriosis sufferer I can have really bad skin, and no amount of water helps me with it. But cutting down on saturated fats, greasy foods and things like eating too much chocolate have really helped me. So this year I am making the choice to stick to the dietary decisions I put in place at the end of last year. Don’t get me wrong I still eat whatever I want, that includes a takeaway once a fortnight, chocolate most days, a fry up once in a while, cakes and other things, just all of those in moderation. Smaller amounts and then substituting some of my snacks for more fruit.

Everything in Moderation 😉

I plan to do a post this Spring about some food that I eat and some of my own recipes too. If I can help others to eat more healthily but still enjoy their food then I will definitely try and share my opinions if people think it may be useful!

Thank you for reading this relatively short Lifestyle post today. I hope my words have given you something to think about, some changes are just so easy to make, but they can in turn make a big difference to your life and the lives of others. As well as sometimes the environment and your surrounding area. When we took our recycling in today, our local place had their January statistics up and they managed to recycle a grand total of 78% of what was brought to them, this is what we need to aspire to help.

Have a great week everyone! And if you need any tips on how to recycle more in your home I’m happy to answer any questions!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Clothing That Is Comfortable During Pregnancy, Maternity Wear Reviews and My General Clothing Hacks and Tips

╰☆╮Today It’s Time For A Pregnancy Clothing Post! ╰☆╮

I want to discuss my general clothing hacks I use to make pregnancy in the second trimester more bearable, and I want to talk about the clothing that I am finding most comfortable during these colder months of the year. Finally I will conclude with some Maternity Wear Reviews on items that I have purchased during January and have now thoroughly tested.

So I am now getting to that stage of my pregnancy where I need to consider what I am wearing. My regular jeans no longer do up and I am finding other clothing honestly pretty uncomfortable to wear, especially while seated. There are some things I can still get away with such as my Tunics, Long Jumpers, Jumper Dresses and stretchy Leggings. But there are other things that I have now decided it’s time to invest in, and I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences in case there’s anyone out there who needs some advice as they too get to this stage of their pregnancy journey.

Sabrina’s Top Tips

You might be looking at your wardrobe and thinking, baby is due then, I won’t be fitting into these items this year. Well fear not, because a few weeks ago I was feeling exactly the same. Get an old suitcase or a storage box and place everything that you love but you know you won’t fit into, inside it. You can always come back to them once you’ve lost some of the baby weight. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t look good and be comfortable while doing so. Here are some of my shopping tips.

Always try your usual size in maternity wear before the larger size you think you might be. It may come as a surprise, but especially before getting to the third trimester many of us won’t be putting on all that much weight. Your baby grows steadily so you have plenty of time to make small adjustments to your wardrobe. I have still purchased Size 8 trousers for example, just Maternity ones with the added “Over Bump” material. Plus another tip is to always check the sale rails, at the end of line and end of season sales, you may just pick up some bargains. I managed to do just that and will be reviewing those items below.

One shop that I regularly rely on for Leggings is Primark. And the beauty of the sizes of their brand, it seems to me that you can often fit into more than one size. I am a size 8 usually, but I have just bought some size 10 and size 12 leggings that I find fit comfortably over my growing bump. Let me explain why I have chosen these, not only are they are much cheaper than the Maternity ones available online, but also if you aren’t very tall like me then you can usually buy a regular length or a long length style, and find that they will fit just like high waisted leggings – perfect! And they also wash well too being made of cotton or polyester! Mine only cost £3.50 a pair and I got 4 different colours as well. They are great for layering when heading out and for comfort when staying at home.

New Look

When I first began looking at Maternity wear I had recalled friends telling me they had shopped in New Look. I like the brand and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on these first few items just in case I grew out of them. But the weather is so cold in the UK at the moment I really needed to find a decent pair of Skinny Jeans or Jeggings that I could wear out and about, shopping and such.

After a few moments around my local store I realised there was barely any choices, and a lot of it was available online only now. So I settled for the only pair in the shop that I did like, they were soft to touch and also skinny as I had wanted.

They were called Emilee Under Bump Maternity Jeggings at £19.99. Soft material for both the legs and the bump section was why I purchased this pair. They are great on, and the bump part still has enough room for me to grow a little more into them. I was happy with them and hope once the weather is warmer I won’t need them as much. They washed well though too. The leg part was definitely true to size because I chose my regular UK size 8 and a 30″ leg and they were a perfect fit. Highly recommend them, there is way more choice online and I may invest in a blue pair of Over Bump at some point in time too.

Dorothy Perkins

During the January sales I was looking at certain tops but I didn’t want to invest in too many that branded themselves as just Maternity wear. I bought some Jumper Dresses from Dorothy Perkins that have enough give in the middle for a second trimester baby bump. They are soft and will keep me warm in these colder months. I have no doubt that they will also be perfect next Winter while I’m (hopefully) still loosing the baby weight. I have bought many Tunic style jumpers from DP’s over the past few years and find that the plain ones are great for the home and the bling ones are great for going out. I will review these items below and give any links still available.

BooHoo

I did however purchase a couple of Maternity jumpers from BooHoo in their January sale, these looked like regular tunic jumpers until you looked closer, but they had the slits either side to give room for a bump. I feel like I will be able to grow with these, but I could still wear them after I have had my baby as well. To be honest if I wear them right now they don’t look like they are specifically Maternity wear but I know they will become very useful the larger I grow. I was happy with what I paid and if they continue to wash as well as this first fortnight of having them, I assume they will last me through my pregnancy and beyond. I will review these items below and include photos and links where possible.

George at Asda

My final Maternity Wear order came from George at Asda. I really needed some work wear trousers, because I got to the point where any other sort was digging in to my tummy and making me rather uncomfortable. I work full time and I spend a lot of hours on my feet too, so I required something hard wearing, soft and easy to wear but also the correct material for my job role. Our uniform is specific and I needed to rely on the item to be washed several times and worn a minimum of 5 days a week.

I finally found the best looking, most positively reviewed and the best price online, maternity work trousers on the Asda website. George at Asda do have a fantastic maternity range, but most stores don’t stock the items, they are only available online. I had reservations at first because I always like to touch the material and try the items on, this time I just had to trust in my choices. I also had to pay a delivery charge which I thought was expensive, just for the convenience of receiving my items. A click and collect service available 9 days later would not have been suitable for me, I needed them within a day or two because I found I was growing overnight.

My order arrived by courier and was good in that sense, I was updated by email and by text which was very useful. The items themselves were all sealed individually so I knew that the contents were brand new, and I could tell by unpacking them they hadn’t been handled before. I had to guess what sizes I would need, and luckily everything fitted me and I haven’t needed to return anything. I went for my normal size, a size 8, because reviews on the website said most things fitted true to size. The maternity trousers were the items I was most impressed by. The main reason was because of how soft the material was that went over the bump. It was not only comfortable to wear but it was lightweight too and caused me no issues between sitting and standing.

I also purchased some over the bump leggings in a two pack and a two pack of short sleeved t-shirts for comfort around the house when I get a little bigger. I thought these were okay value for money, the materials used made the items soft and they washed well too.

╰☆╮ Reviews ╰☆╮

New Look

New Look: Maternity Under Bump Jeggings in Black (Emilee on Tag)
Materials: 71% Cotton, 25% Polyester, 4% Elastane. Trim: 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane.
Colours Available:
Black.
Price:
£19.99.
LINK

Very soft material and comfortable to wear, the bump part still gives me room to grow into them. Purchased at 13 weeks pregnant and at 17 weeks they already fit way better and room for bump because they are lightly elasticated. Perfectly the right size for both my buttocks and my leg length, I chose my pre-pregnant trouser size and they are a great all round fit. Ideal for the colder weather days and the black looks great when paired with a bright top.

New Look Overall Scores
Appearance 5/5
Quality 5/5
Value for Money 4/5


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BooHoo

BooHoo: Maternity Mia Side Split Jumper.
Materials: Polyester 95% and Elastane 5%.
Colours Available: Camel, Khaki, Berry, Black or Grey LINK
Price: £15.00

 

Soft to touch with side splits in the fabric to accommodate a growing bump. I’m a UK size 8 and ordered a UK size 10 of each item. They fitted true to size on my shoulders with the arms ending at wrist length. I thought the overall length of the fabric was good, it will allow me to grow into them but is suitable for this stage and in weeks to come. Both items washed easily and were comfortable to wear all day. The material is quite thin but ideal for Winter layering by wearing a long sleeved thin tee beneath the jumper. I purchased these BooHoo jumpers in both black and in khaki green.

Although the jumpers are very nice and are comfortable to wear they are also very plain in appearance. Wearing a long necklace or a scarf to brighten the outfit up is ideal for days out. Where as I have purchased these for both inside and outside my house, wanting myself and bump to be warm and comfy throughout the next couple of months.

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BooHoo: Maternity Sarah Side Split Ribbed Jumper.
Materials: Polyester 95% and Elastane 5%.
Colours Available:
Berry, Black or Blush
Price: £7.00 (On Sale Price Correct As Of 11th February).
LINK

A very nice jumper and overall it is both soft and comfortable to wear. It is more of a Spring colour and length compared to the Tunic style jumpers I purchased (review above) but it is one I could wear around the house now and look forward to wearing in the warmer months to come. I believe there is still plenty of growing room to be had due to the side splits in the fabric, and the length of the arms were perfect for me. I purchased this in a UK size 10.

BooHoo Items Overall Scores
Appearance 4/5
Delivery 5/5
Quality 4/5
Value for Money 4/5

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Dorothy Perkins

Dorothy Perkins: Zip Hem Knitted Tunic Jumpers.
Materials: Viscose 71% and Nylon 29%.
Colours Available: Burgundy or Black.
Price: £17.00 (Price correct as of February 11th).
Burgundy LINK
Black LINK

 


I have purchased some items from Dorothy Perkins in the January sale which I believe will double up as maternity items. These are all jumpers and in varying lengths. The tunics both have a nice zip detail in the lowest sixth of the material and are fitting on me true to size. I bought size 10’s in order to grow into them slightly but they were already fine around my shoulders. I am lucky enough to fit into the majority of brands clothes UK sizes of 8 and 10.

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Dorothy Perkins: Yellow Striped Frill Sleeve Jumper.
Materials: 100% Polyamide.
Colours Available: Yellow with Black Stripes.
Price: £7.00 (On Sale – Price Correct As Of 11th February).
LINK

The yellow and black striped jumper was an impulse buy, I liked the pattern as well as the ruffled sleeves. It’s style reminded me of Peplum and it was a good quality material too. I thought I could wear it for the first few months of my second trimester, before my bump gets too big. It’s a stylish looking item that I would happily wear out with a pair of my maternity trousers. It was in the sale so there are limited sizes left, but it’s comfortable to wear and I would recommend it, the sleeves are a bit different and a nice change and addition to my wardrobe for Spring.

Dorothy Perkins Items Overall Scores
Appearance 5/5
Delivery 5/5
Quality 5/5
Value for Money 4/5

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George at Asda

Asda: Work Wear Maternity Trousers – Over Bump Tapered Trousers
Materials: Body 100% Polyester and Trim 95% Viscose with 5% Elastane
Colours Available: Black
Price: £8.00
LINK


I looked into a variety of trousers that I could wear to my day job, but the place that I kept coming back to was George at Asda. Online they have a range of Maternity clothing at quite affordable prices too. I was drawn in by the price and the good reviews beneath the item. I wanted a pair of trousers that would be comfortable to wear at work all day, that would wash and wear well, and an item that would grow with me in the coming weeks. I decided it was best that I order two sizes, one my current size 8 and the other a size 10 that I could grow into if need be. Better to have both than to order a second delivery so soon.

I was impressed with the quality for the price, and they might be of thin material but they certainly are comfortable to wear, and it means that they dry quickly after washing too.

George at Asda Items Overall Scores
Appearance 4/5
Delivery 4/5
Quality 4/5
Value for Money 5/5

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Thank you for reading this review post today, I hope you have liked it or found it useful. Feel free to pass the link on to any friends who you feel may benefit from my reviews or tips. Have a lovely day!

 Sabrina 

My Personal Experience with Smear Tests #SmearForSmear and Living With Endometriosis The Facts

My Personal Experiences with having Smear Tests, in support of the #SmearForSmear Campaign.
And Living with Endometriosis, my Diagnosis and Treatment with Facts.

As a woman, I feel very strongly about the facts that have come to light in the UK news recently, and that is only 3 in 4 women of Smear Testing age are attending their tests! If you are in that percentage who have been putting it off, for whatever reason it might be, I need you to consider what I’m going to talk about today.

I am here to give you my opinions and to talk about a member of my family who is currently and bravely fighting Cervical Cancer after a diagnosis from a routine smear. Not only is she an inspiration to us as friends and family but she is raising awareness and keeping a diary of her treatment between receiving her chemotherapy sessions.

In this blog post I will be talking about my smear test experiences, and later on my diagnosis of Endometriosis and what it is like to live with. How this disease has some similar symptoms to Cervical Cancer and how having my routine smear helped me realise I needed to get more help with my issues when my tests came back normal.

I will be including some Smear and Cervical Cancer statistics throughout my post. But first I encourage you all to read my two accounts, and to consider booking or attending that test. Because do you know what? It might just save your life.

My First Smear Test

When I had my first smear test aged 25 I remember feeling rather anxious. The main reason for this anxiety was due to what pain it might cause me. I had always suffered with painful periods and other nasty issues, and I was undergoing a series of tests at the time of this first smear. My doctor was trying to determine why I was having so much pain in my abdomen. Despite this pain it was so important that I had this first routine smear to rule out anything like cervical or ovarian cancer. There are several conditions in women that share symptoms, and it is imperative that Doctors find out the root cause and distinguish what the problem might be.

The smear test itself was simple, after removing your clothes from the waist down you lay on the bed, place your feet flat together and bend your knees off to the sides. You place a sheet over your modesty and you await the nurse. My nurse was lovely and put me at ease. She was aware of my anxiety because I made it clear when I walked in – honesty is the best policy with nurses!

I first asked her to talk me through what she was doing so I could prepare myself. Trying to relax and not tense is the most difficult part. A speculum needs to be inserted into the vagina and then a light is shone on you so the nurse can see enough to take the sample. However I became rather tense and found the speculum made me very uncomfortable. The nurse could see I was distressed and she changed the size and tried again, this one was better but still hurt me.

The sample taking itself is like a quick scratch, and the nurse will let you know when they are about to do it. The cells are gathered on the implement and placed into a tube for testing. The speculum is then slowly removed and you are left alone for a moment to get dressed.

After the smear some people have 24 to 48 hours where they feel a little sore, and I did spot a little blood afterwards but nothing that a basic panty liner wouldn’t catch. Overall I was glad that I had gotten the experience over with. And less than two weeks later I received a letter in the post that told me my cells had come back as normal and I would be scheduled another routine smear in approximately three years time.

After seven trips in and out of hospital and several failed doctor tests, I found out almost two years after this smear that the reason the insertion of a speculum hurt me so much (and the reason for my other symptoms too) was because I was suffering with stage 3 Endometriosis. I was only 27. This had spread throughout my pelvis including on to my bladder and bowel and compromising my left ovary, it had grown to Stage 4 before I had surgery to remove it in 2016.

Endometriosis is an incurable condition where the cells and tissue that normally covers and grows inside the uterus grows outside of it. This often happens on the Ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, and other surrounding tissues. This can include the bowel, the bladder and other organs found inside the female pelvis. In much rarer cases it may also occur in other parts of the body such as the lungs and the brain. Once removed Endometriosis gradually grows back when hormones are present in the woman’s system, sometimes effecting the same areas as it had done before.

Endometriosis is not detectable on a Smear or a Scan, and is only diagnosed by exploratory Laparoscopy surgery. Endometriosis shares lots of Symptoms with other abdomen related problems, including some cancers. So having a routine smear test can tell you if you have any abnormal cells that need to be looked at in more detail. I cannot stress how important this test is, and if you are worried there is something wrong you must go to your doctor. I will include some more facts later in the post.

My Second Smear Test

My second smear was taken only eight weeks after I had had my Endometriosis surgery. The experience was much better the second time around, and I was less anxious of course because I knew what was going to happen. However I was still apprehensive that I would encounter the same pain as the first time. Although having the speculum inserted was still an uncomfortable process for me, the nurse managed to perform the test as quickly as possible, now knowing about my condition.

Once again the test results came in two weeks and I was very relieved to have a negative result and all my cells were fine. After having surgery only a few weeks prior to this smear, the result was something that I was a little more concerned about this time around. Lucky for me it was clear of anything sinister, and I knew I would just have the Endo to deal with. I was still coming to terms with my recent surgery, however I still kept my appointment for my smear because of how important it is.

After all that I went through, I know that I am truly one of the lucky ones, and for something that makes you uncomfortable for just a minute, it is more than worth it to perhaps save your life. One of the reasons I personally found the smear uncomfortable was purely down to having Endometriosis, and I will talk more about that in a moment.

Now For Some Facts

Cervical Cancer

• Cervical Cancer is the most common type of Cancer in Women under 35.
• 1 in 4 women do not attend their routine Smear Test.
• 75% of Cervical Cancers can be prevented through regular screening tests.
• Symptoms of Cervical Cancer Include; Pain During Sex, Lower Back Pain and Irregular Bleeding (During or After Sex and In between Periods). However sometimes there are no symptoms and some people are symptom less when they get diagnosed.
• 9 out of 10 People who have a Smear, have Normal Test Results back.
• A Smear Test takes minutes to complete, and early diagnosis of Abnormal Cells could Save Your Life.
• The UK age for Smear Tests is currently 25, but if you are worried about any symptoms you may be having then please talk to your Doctor.


Endometriosis

• There is currently no cure for Endometriosis.
• Symptoms of Endo include; Pain during Sex, Pain with the Bowel and Bladder, Bleeding between Periods, Constant Fatigue, Unexplained bouts of Extreme Pain, Unexplained Infertility, Painful and Heavy Periods and Lower Back Pain.
• 1 in 10 Women in the United Kingdom have Endometriosis.
• Infertility is a main concern for the women who have it.
• 80% of Endo sufferers frequently miss work due to the pain and other symptoms.
• It takes on Average 7.5 years to get a Diagnosis in the UK.
• 43% of women were wrongly told that the symptoms would go if they got Pregnant.
• Only 20% of the general public have heard about Endometriosis and most are women.
• Many young women are told they simply have a low pain threshold and that some symptoms are made worse by their own minds. 33% were told it was all in their head and just a case of “Bad Periods”.
• Endo is the 2nd most COMMON Gynecological Condition in the UK.
• The only Official Diagnosis is Laparoscopy and the only Treatment is Surgery.

Living with Endo

I heard a saying once that really stuck with me, it was this. “Pain is Inevitable but Suffering is Optional”. This really hit home for me, after I had struggled for almost fifteen years being told by doctor after doctor that I just had painful periods and a low pain threshold. It wasn’t until my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for a considerable time that my GP began to run more tests. It still took two years for me to be believed by someone, and that was actually a cancer doctor at my local hospital. He listened to me and my list of symptoms, and said he would take me in for an exploratory laparoscopy before passing me on to the relevant department. It turned out that I was right all along, it was Endometriosis. The one reason I had concluded this was the fertility issues I had been having, the fact that other tests such as my smears had come back normal, and the other reason was because Endo already ran in my family.

I wouldn’t wish the Endo pain on my worst enemy. It is exhausting for day to day activities and causing fatigue, but on your period it’s 10 times worse. I have had to stay at home for days, vomiting because of severe pain and shaking from the shock it puts my body through. There have been times where I have been doubled over screaming, times where I have crawled to my bathroom, and times where I couldn’t even comprehend the pain that was happening. It has also caused me fertility issues and I have had to have surgery and treatment to get back to a normal daily life.
I cannot thank my specialist and surgeon enough for giving me my life back, they even managed to save my left ovary so that I could have fertility treatment. And although every day is hard, I am better knowing how to monitor my condition. There is no cure, and only surgery can remove it, so you have to learn what works for you. Hot Water Bottles and Strong Pain Killers have become staples in my house to get me through the rough days.

Having Endometriosis has meant I have cancelled social plans knowing my cycle would clash with it, I rearranged important events and even changed plans with very short notice to people. After a few times it became difficult for some people to understand, that you are not being awkward but you cannot be in a social environment when you are so ill. Endo has also caused me to suffer with anxiety. It all made me realise who true friends were and I am grateful to all of those who have stood by me through some rather difficult years.

Remember Endometriosis affects people in different ways, like any medical problem your body size and severity of the condition plays a part. I was actually told I must have a high pain threshold for withstanding what had been occurring inside my body, though at the times it was bad I thought I was the weakest person. Sometimes you have to believe in yourself and that the bad times will eventually pass. Thankfully for me I got help and it has gotten better.

Luckily I am now doing much better, but with an overall prognosis and time frame given to me by my specialist. I try and live every week to the fullest, although that is hard to do some weeks. But I have to say there is now light at the end of my tunnel and I am a stronger woman for the journey that I have had to overcome.

Endometriosis Awareness Month is March.

Thank you

Thanks for reading this blog post today, I know that it is a lot more open and honest than some of my previous ones, but I think that it’s so important that people support one another. I wanted to be honest about what I have gone through so it may help someone else.
I may do a more in depth Endometriosis post in the future if people would find my experiences useful. If you would like to read more about this and my ways of coping, please leave me a comment.
As women we need to support each other through the things that we go through. Talk to your best friend, your mum or a female nurse if you need some further advice on Smear Tests, but please, don’t put off having your Smear.
And when you think there is something not quite right, listen to your body and go to see your Doctor about it.

Thank you for reading Severn Wishes today,

 Sabrina 

x This post was written for Hayley, and everyone currently fighting Cervical Cancer x