Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Real, Honest Way To Get Healthy, Shiny Looking Hair!

I find it extremely annoying when you read a blog post or watch a YouTube video on how to get healthy hair and the blogger/vlogger lists off a load of expensive products and tools that you will need, because it is really misleading and completely unnecessary. I thought I would make a little guide on how I get my hair to look shiny and healthy “the real and honest” way with the help of my mermaid assistant Ariel, because it does not need to cost you the earth and you can probably do it with things you already own (I also really love Disney). I have included a video and pictures so you can see how my hair turns out!

The one product I do mention that I believe is a must is hair oil. I literally use it for everything which I will explain in the post!  Continue reading

Spring Flower Envelope DIY

My favourite page so far ❤ @kurtbobstan

A post shared by Elizabeth Shannon Reilly (@elizabethshannonn) on

If you would like to see how I did this, click here for the tutorial I used! 

Having A Little Rant About Health Stuff

I thought I would write a diary entry right now as I am not feeling that great. If I am completely honest, I feel really frustrated and writing is a coping mechanism for me, so I thought I would vent to you about how having an ovarian cyst affected me emotionally when I did not know what was actually wrong with me, because my god, I could write a book on that. I am also stressed that I have to wait even longer for surgery, but it is what it is.

I was initially told I would be on an urgent waiting list for up to 4 weeks to have surgery but the wait is growing even longer and it is becoming unbearable. I am so grateful for the NHS and I truly do not know what I would do without it as never in a million years could I afford private healthcare. The surgery I must have would have cost me thousands if I was to go private, so I am eternally grateful to the wonderful NHS, but the fact it may take another month or so for me to finally get this surgery is really hard to come to terms with. I know they would have me in for surgery tomorrow if they had the room but that is not the case. They will call me if they have an opening, but I am looking at the end of April/Start Of May until I get a date. I really just want to go back to work and back to my normal routine but I can not do that yet. I feel like a bit of a bum because I currently am signed off of work, but there is no way I could do my job as I am right now and I was advised not to go back til after this is all over with. If you do not already know, I work in a school with children on the autistic spectrum and getting hit, punched and jumped on is just a part of my job. I love my job and I love the kids, but obviously, it is not a job you can do when you have a giant cyst. I am making the most of this free time doing things like blogging, writing and scrap booking and lots of resting as moving too much isn’t all that fun right now.

I used to be scared to have the surgery but now I can not wait. This thing is growing inside of me and it has caused enough damage as it is and I dread to think of what damage it could still be doing.  It is so huge. I am too nervous to post a picture right now, but I look 9 months pregnant and everything hurts. I am only a petite person; i am 5’2 and have a really small frame and this thing is so bloody heavy to carry, not to mention the emotional weight that comes with it. I guess I sound like I am feeling a bit too sorry for myself right now as I am fully aware that others have it so much worse, but this has completely changed my life. I hate how dramatic that sounds, but if I am being honest about this then I have to be honest about the thoughts I am having.

It has forced me to think about things I never dreamed I would have to think of at 20 years old. I turn 21 on the 14th of April and I have already had to accept that I may never be able to have children if they have to take out both of my ovaries. I never even wanted children and to be honest, I still do not want children and I highly doubt my mind would change, but it is just so strange to think something I am supposed to be able to biologically do could be taken from me. I always wanted to have the choice and I do not like the fact that it could be taken from me. I do not feel in control of my own body and that scares me. I would go in to surgical menopause if I lost both ovaries and I am simply not ready for that. It may not even happen but I can’t help but think about it, as it is a possibility. It is weird enough that I have to lose one ovary as I feel like I am losing a part of myself.

I have thought about all the complications of this surgery as naturally, you just do. What if they put me to sleep and I never wake up? There are so many things I still want to do with my life and so many people I love that I do not want to leave behind. It is just fucking surgery. People go through this and worse ALL THE TIME. I am trying to keep my head screwed on as best I can. Complications are incredibly rare and I will be in the best hands possible but I still can’t help but think of the worst.  However, I am still thinking of the positives. In fact, the positives make it even more of an unbearable wait, funnily enough, because I am so excited about getting better (and having a cute flat stomach after surgery).

Emotional Trauma 

This whole entire thing really fucked with my head. Before I knew I had a cyst, I thought it was my fault that my stomach was so distended and that I was in so much pain. I thought I did not look after myself well enough. I thought I must not have been eating properly or maybe I needed to work out more and when I went to the doctor and they passed it off as IBS, I thought i would be this way for life and it absolutely devastated me. When I went to the hospital in horrific pain and they again said it was constipation and sent me home with laxatives despite the fact it was evidently NOT constipation,  (I mean seriously wtf, even my doctor thought this was ridiculous), I felt absolutely humiliated and like they were not taking me seriously. This was only in December 2016. I found out it was a cyst in February this year, so its all very fresh in my mind. I passed off extremely painful periods as normal and  just carried on with my life whilst this thing grew bigger and bigger and bigger, when it could have been prevented from getting so bad.

I did everything you can think of;  I went to the gym, tried different diets; I even went to see a colonic hydrotherapist thinking it may help get rid of some of the “bloating”. Obviously, nothing worked… and I hated myself. I became so insecure because I thought I simply wasn’t working hard enough. All this time, it was a dermoid cyst that I’ve had my entire life that just happened to grow huge in the last two years. I became angry that the doctors didn’t realise despite the concerns I raised. Yes, I am hugely grateful that the last doctor I saw listened to me and could clearly see that there was more going on which led to the cyst being discovered, but, I spent over two years hating myself, berating myself and having to deal with all sorts of unkindness from people, bashing me for my appearance and quizzing me on my lifestyle and that kind of emotional pain is not going to go away overnight. I stopped seeing friends and I completely isolated myself, because I felt so ashamed of how I looked and because I was truly just really unhappy anyway. I constantly had people telling me that maybe I just needed to lose some weight and eat healthier and when I said that nothing I was doing would make a difference, I would get called “lazy”, “weak” and again told “you just need to work harder”. I would restrict my eating and skip meals because I was too scared to eat in fear of getting bigger and because eating made my stomach feel even more uncomfortable. Everything I put myself through was for nothing. What’s done is done, but it is really upsetting to know what I was putting myself through.

Right now, I am completely at ease with everything and I honestly believe I have accepted it, but I know I wont feel like myself until this thing is out of me. I feel like an alien has invaded my body. My body right now, does not feel like my body. No word of a lie, I was a whole stone lighter before this cyst grew so big. Honestly, it’s giant and I will be weighing myself after surgery. I have already been warned that I will be significantly smaller when the swelling goes down.  When the surgeon put the CT Scan of the cyst on the screen, I was so horrified by the size that I had to ask him to take it off of the screen. It made me feel sick. My entire pelvic and abdominal area is covered by a cyst. My mum was there with me and even she was completely shocked by the size and she is not easily shocked by anything. I have never seen anything like it in my life and I can not wait to wave goodbye to it.

I wrote this post because I want to be real with you, because although I try to put on a brave face, I would be lying if I said this didn’t have a huge impact on me. Every one has been so supportive and have said that I have been dealing with this really well and I am so grateful for all of your support. It truly means the world to me and it makes everything so much easier. I have days where this all gets a bit too much for me but I guess it is completely natural to feel overwhelmed. I am just thankful that I am now in the position to start moving on and enjoying my life.

I know I may sound like I am complaining and I am just venting frustration right now, but this whole thing has made me a very grateful person. I count my blessings every single day and I am thankful for all the good in my life, even the little things like tea and biscuits. This is just a bump in the road. It will pass and I will be back to normality soon. Without struggle we can not grow stronger and I will get through this and come out the other side.

Lots Of Love,

Elizabeth

xox

 

 

No Makeup Update- One Week Later

It has been just over a week that I have been staying away from base makeup such as foundation, concealer, powder etc, to see if it helps clear up and improve the overall tone of my skin (click here to read original post). I still do makeup such as brows and lipstick/mascara as my focus was purely on my cheek, tzone and jaw line area. I have taken photos of my results so far and my thoughts about it. I took these photos when I just woke up so there is no product on my skin, I am in my pj’s and my hair is a mess; they are not edited AT ALL I promise you, they are accurate. Enjoy.

Results With Clearing Up Acne

wp-1490619756737.jpg

At the start of this experiment, I had a really bad breakout on my cheek as the result of hormonal acne that I get bouts of every month, but it was one of the worst breakouts I’ve had in a while so I was not expecting it to go down for a good two weeks. It was very red, raised and irritated and normally takes quite a while to clear up. As you can see, it is gone and I just have a bit of pigmentation that normally heals after a few weeks on its own. The actual blemishes are gone and my skin is very smooth. This has been the biggest bonus for me as it has helped to clear up the breakout within about three days. The first 48 hours of no makeup made a huge difference and the breakout had calmed down hugely by the third day. My skincare routine has remained the same so I honestly do think that not wearing makeup is why it has cleared up faster than usual. Has it been worth sacrificing my concealer? Yes, 100%.

Impact On Overall Tone Of Skin

Before(Day 2 of no makeup):

wp-1490197663058.jpg

After:

wp-1490619753662.jpg

I am not sure how clearly the differences show on camera, but I personally have noticed some huge differences after just one week, particular around my t-zone. The skin is much smoother and my pores are barely visible, whereas before they looked a lot larger and the skin was much redder. The dark circles under my eyes have lightened slightly as well. However, I have noticed some dryness around my nostrils that I did not have before but I wonder whether this is my skin adjusting or if it is because there is less moisture going in to my skin. Nonetheless, it is a small price to pay for healthier looking skin.

Overall Feelings About This Experiment

As i said before in my original post, I love makeup and I truly just wanted to see how it helped my skin. Without a shadow of a doubt, cutting back on the makeup is definitely improving my skin. However, I couldn’t help but notice how much I miss makeup and how it became the first thing I noticed on other women when I looked at their faces.

Makeup is so much fun to apply and taking it out of my daily routine felt really weird. I honestly love putting on makeup and I feel like it is an accessory that completes the look I am going for. I have learnt that no way in hell will I ever give up all of my makeup. Don’t even bother asking me to trade in my red lipstick for clear lip balm because it is not going to happen and do not even think about taking my brow products off of me. We have a deep attachment to each other, I have discovered.

However, I will not be wearing it as much as it really has changed the look of my skin. If I really want to wear it, I will wear it. But, if I ever have a day where my skin does not look too peachy, I definitely think I can embrace it. I have realised that I really love my freckles that run across my nose and under my eyes and I do not like to cover them up. I feel like they give my face more character and they are unique to me.

So, am I saying goodbye to makeup forever? Hell no. I love it too much to give it up. I like my face with and without makeup and the feeling of no makeup makes me feel just as good as a full face of makeup. I think everyone should give this challenge a go as you may learn something about yourself that you didn’t already know! I have loved doing this and I am just going to carry on with it!

Lots of love,

Elizabeth

xox

Surgery Update-another bump in the road.

Hello all!

I have a quick update on my surgery situation. As you know, I have been on the urgent list for surgery to remove an Ovarian cyst, an ovary and to sort out my dodgy kidney tube thingie-ma-bob. I have hit another bump in the road as my surgeon is away on holiday and will not be back til the 18th of April which means I still do not have a surgery date.

I am really upset about this as I was supposed to have a date in 1-4 weeks from the day I found out i needed urgent surgery. This means I have to wait a bit longer to get this thing out of me. The problem is that I need two particular surgeons for my operation as not only am I having a super huge cyst removed, but I need to have my one of my ovaries removed, potentially both ovaries. I also need an additional surgeon to sort out my ureter tube as it has been damaged due to the cyst and I need a stent placed in. So basically, they are going to be doing quite a few different things whilst im in for surgery.

If I was older, I was told that I  would have been having a full hysterectomy, but due to the impact that has on someone of my age (20), my surgeon did not want to do it. So, I am lucky to be potentially escaping this with one ovary intact. Also, they 99.9% believe I do not have cancer which is amazing and shows me how blessed I am for my otherwise good health. Despite all these annoying bumps in the road, I am very aware of how lucky I am and reminding myself of my blessings is what is getting me through all of this.

So yes, I am upset. I am extremely irritated and I do occasionally burst in to tears and wonder why this is all happening to me, but I know I am lucky. I know others have it worse. But, I just wish this could all be over with now. I will be called if they have an opening or cancellation to fit me in for surgery sooner, but til then it is still a waiting game.

I will keep you all updated as promised and fingers crossed that I will get some good news soon.

Lots of love,

Elizabeth

xox

New! Spring Blends from The Bluebird Tea Co.

The Bluebird Tea Co. are fast becoming my favourite tea company. The tea is not only super amazing (like seriously, everything I have tried is DELICIOUS) but the people who run it and work behind the scenes are so lovely. Every time I order from them, I get a little handwritten note on my parcel and it really makes me smile. It is small touches like that which really make a company stand out. When they released the new spring blends, I just had to buy some sample sizes to taste and review!

wp-1490304084738.jpg

There are four teas in the new spring releases:

  • Bears Like Marmalade“Paddington Bear’s beloved orange marmalade infused tea”- contains apple, rosehip, hibiscus, orange peel, sumac berries, lemon peel, orange blossom, natural flavour.

This tea smelt so strong that I could smell it through all of the packaging before id even opened it. It has a gorgeous, strong orange marmalade smell. I was concerned that the tea would be very over powering but I was so shocked to find out how delicate it tastes. It really is a very light flavour and its not at all overpowering. I was eating chocolate when I tried this tea and it reminded me so much of Jaffa Cakes. It is by far my favourite of all of the teas.

  • White Choc Mint- Contains Chinese white tea, cocoa shells,peppermint, cocoa nibs, chocolate sprinkles, liquorice, spearmint, natural flavouring 

I love a chocolate mint tea. Chocolate peppermint tea is one of my go to flavours so this was super exciting as I have never tried white chocolate tea! The tea itself has a delicate white chocolate and spearmint scent. There is no way you can go wrong with mint and chocolate flavours, so its pretty obvious that this tea is incredible.

  • Purple RainContains first flush Darjeeling black tea, Ceylon black tea, hibiscus, mallow flowers, flavour

This tea tastes like Parma Violets. I love this because Parma Violets are one of my favourite sweets, but I know they are not to everyone’s taste so I think this will be a tea that some people love and some people hate. Personally, I love it and I think it is genius. Also, first flush Darjeeling is harvested in mid-March following spring rains, and has a gentle, very light colour, aroma, and mild astringency. It screams Spring and has a wonderful, fresh and fun taste.

  • Chocolate Digestives- Contains Ceylon Black tea, cocoa shells, cocoa nibs, chocolate sprinkles, liquorice, cardamom, caramel pieces

I was so excited to try this tea, it sounded so interesting and tasty! I can’t say it reminds me of a chocolate digestive or anything biscuity to be honest. However, it is delicious. It has a chocolatey Chai tea kind of taste and is really good with a splash of milk. I can see this being a great winter drink as opposed to a spring blend, but I love it nonetheless.

As you can probably tell just by reading the names and ingredients, these are all really fun, creative teas with really lovely ingredients.  If I had to choose, my favourite tea out of them all has to be Bears Like Marmalade, by far actually.

 

I will admit that I have a soft spot for Paddington Bear which may have influenced my choice, but to me this is a perfect spring tea. It is so fresh and lovely. It is an all round pleasant drink and they honestly hit the nail on the head with this blend. I can not fault it at all. I would really recommend for everyone to try these teas! In fact you should just head over to the Bluebird Tea Co Website now because it is that fabulous. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Do you have a favourite tea? Let me know in the comments below!

Lots of Love,

Elizabeth

xox

Going Without Makeup Challenge

When I said that I was going to try and not wear makeup for a while, I was met with lots of laughter, disbelief and comments like “you will only last two days”. Admittedly, I do not blame people for saying that. I am a huge girly girl and red lipstick has become a part of my identity. I have been wearing the same 40s/50s inspired style of makeup for 7 years now and I do not care for the “natural” look. It’s simply not me.

I love being dressed up 24/7 and am hugely inspired by old Hollywood starlets and glamour. I have always been attracted to things that are a bit odd and eccentric and for me, glamour is exactly that. It is something that anyone can create; you do not need to be naturally beautiful to be glamorous. Red lipstick and black liner and pale skin is just part of my ode to glamour and I love it. Yes, I am one of those girls who will wear a full face of makeup when I do not even plan on leaving the house. I wear makeup for me and only me and I find that empowering. It is so much fun and I will never give it up entirely…

Wearing makeup is such a personal choice. For some, I wear too much makeup whereas others would say I do not wear a lot at all. Some choose not to wear makeup at all and that is totally okay! Its your face. You do you.

So, why on earth would I go without makeup if I love it so much?

It is pretty simple, really. I want to let my skin breathe. I have been doing this for two days now and I promise you, I have noticed a change already. The breakout I got a few days ago has massively cleared up. I have continued on with my normal skin care routine which I do believe helps, but this has sped things up a bit, so I am going to keep on going without makeup! This is nothing to do with confidence, though a boost in confidence would always be welcome! I am very comfortable with who I am, but I always welcome and encourage self love and respect and it will be interesting to see if this changes anything for me.

On an average day, I use primer, concealer, foundation, blush and powder just to create the base of my makeup! That is not even counting the multiple eye products I use. That is a lot of stuff to be putting on your skin. I try and buy the very best quality products that I can when it comes to makeup, but regardless, it is still a lot.  This is an experiment to see if not wearing makeup, particularly base makeup like i listed previously,  makes any difference to the overall natural appearance of my skin. Also, as much as I love makeup, I love the feeling of a bare, clean face. I think most women can vouch for me how amazing it feels to take off a full face of makeup at the end of the day.

I have decided to not wear ANY base makeup for as long as I possibly can. I still put makeup on my brows and curl my lashes and If i feel like it, I will put on lipstick, but that is it. Some days, I will be completely barefaced but I will document this entire journey so you can see for yourself if there is any change in the quality of my skin.

My Natural Skin- Acne and Dryness

My natural skin wavers between really clear and blemish free to dull with hormonal acne breakouts that I seem to get every month when my period is due, so you can say I have combination skin with a tendency to be a bit dry and uneven at times. I did a whole blog post on acne as I have suffered with mild to severe acne most of my teenage to adult life. I have been on countless medications and tried hundreds of different products and treatments and nothing worked. The only thing that worked was patience, a set skincare routine with natural products to help calm the skin, lots of water and living as stress free as possible.  Hormonal acne around the time of your period is super common with most women and there is not much that can get rid of it- its just a part of life. I just happen to get worse breakouts than the average person. It is something that has gotten better as I have gotten older and most people dont actually realise I have it anymore because it has all gone for the most part, but I want to see if I can improve the overall texture of my skin.

The people I know who have the most beautiful skin are the ones who do absolutely nothing to it. My mum has beautiful, clear skin and looks so much younger than her age. She also does not wear makeup such as foundation or any other base makeup. In fact, she doesn’t do anything to her skin. My boyfriend also has really lovely skin and he literally does nothing to it. He is always telling me to stop messing around with my face and if it makes me have skin like his then I will more than happily do as he says.

Before

cropped-cropped-16908837_1108234049303648_2433126589823713280_n

 

 

After

wp-1490197663058.jpg

I will be documenting my journey with updates every few days or so, so make sure to subscribe/follow so you do not miss a post! Thank you so much for reading. I would love to know if you wear makeup and if you would ever go makeup free! Let me know in the comments below.

Lots of Love,

Elizabeth 

xox

 

1 2 4
%d bloggers like this: