Makes total scents

IMG_5893

Anyone who knows me know I L.O.V.E a good candle. I’m desperate for the nights to start drawing in earlier so I can get the candles out in the lounge every evening. And just ask Wayne, it’s every night – without fail! Honestly I’m not sure what makes me happier than curling up in our Zen Den for a nice calm chilled evening! I’m not sure if it’s the warmth and the cosiness that’ does it for me, or the smells they create. Tea lights, smellies, cute holders, even those battery operated flickering church candles. Whack on some fairy lights too and I’m even more content.

IMG_2049

Recently I’ve been getting in to aromatherapy and using certain smells to create certain moods. We all know aromatherapy and essential oils are good for stress – and considering my back problems, my psoriasis outbreaks and even my psoriatic arthritis were brought on by stress – I am trying lots of different methods to try and combat it; these oils being one of them.

Luckily I’m not suffering any flare-ups at the moment, (*touches alllll the wood in sight*) but I’m not getting complacent and I’m doing lots to create a very calming environment in the flat, and – especially at night time – make sure I’m chilled, content and relaxed. Here’s what I’ve been adding in to my evening routine;

  1. I improved my evening skincare routine – I recently treated myself to a facial and remembered how GOOD it feels. I wasn’t able to have the treatment I’d booked in for because my skin is uber sensitive due to the chemo, so I opted for a less-invasive one which was still really good and included some light-therapy. The calming, therapeutic, massaging movements on your face and the heavenly smells that seem to cleanse the soul as well as the skin were so YUM. It made me want to invest a bit more in my evening skin care routine – so I spent a lot of time (and money) with a lovely lady at the Clarins counter in Croydon who gave me some lovely bits to try to add in to my evening routine (I’m a huge Clarins addict) – these things included evening aromatherapy shower/bath lotions and calming plant-based night treatments. Taking more time to wipe away the day not only makes me slow down, but also reflect on the day I’ve just had.

clarins

  1. I take an hour for myself – now, usually I will tend to get in to bed earlier than Wayne who’s often glued to Sky Sports as part of his evening ritual (*eye roll*). So for me that means time to catch up on The Affair / Grey’s / whatever I’m glued to at the time. I love my bed and it’s the best place to retire to after a long day when the nasty PSA fatigue hits me. I will curl up with my favourite pink himalayan salt candle on which just adds to the #zenden vibes!
    salt candle
  2. I invested in the best. product. ever! All candle/aromatherapy fans will have heard of Neom Organics. They have recently bought out a beautiful essential oil diffuser – their Wellbeing Pod. I have been eyeing it up for months in the lead up of it’s release, and so I decided to treat myself. It’s gorgeous to look at, it’s easy and safe to use (I can fall asleep and it will turn itself off after 1,2 or 3 hours) and of course the Neom oils are just incredible. I just invested in the one oil as they’re pretty pricey (but the full set is going on the birthday list as we speak!). They have four that you can use; ‘Scent to…’ De-Stress, Boost your Energy, Make you Happy and Sleep. I opted for the Boost your energy one which has lemon and basil in it and smells heavenly! Not only are the oils great for filling your home with the smell and instantly changing your mood, but it also works as a humidifier so it’s just perfect for my poor old non-existent immune system to help clear the air of nasty bacteria and help alleviate dry skin, sore throats and nose and help with any allergies too. I’m a little obsessed with it at the moment and have it on all the time. I’ve also been putting Lavender oil in it at night time in the bedroom (till I get my hand on the NEOM sleep oil) to help get me sleepy.

    neom pod
    Click here to visit NEOM Organics

After doing a little bit of research into aromatherapy, it seems it’s not just stress it’s good for. It can;

  • Boost energy levels (black pepper, tea tree, jasmine, rosemary…)
  • Speed up healing and recovery (buckthron, lavender, rosehip…)
  • Be a powerful sleep aid (jasmine, lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang…)
  • Enhance our immune systems (lemon, eucalyptus, oregano, peppermint…)
  • Help with stress (lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot, lemon…)
  • Help to control depression (jasmine, lavender, chamomile, peppermint…)
  • Help with aches and pains (lavendar, rosemary, sage, peppermint…)
  • Improve digestion (ginger, chamomile, lavender, fennel…)

I think I need to get my hands on some rosemary and peppermint to go with my lavender and then I think I can look to help boost almost all everything listed above!

So there’s a few things I’ve beeen doing recently to help alleviate stress in my day-to-day, and I must say it does seem to be working so far. I’ll of course keep you posted…

Joey
x x x

Fail-safe planning?

The winter months can be pretty daunting for those of us with Psoriasis and with PSA. With the chilly temperatures we’re much more prone to flare ups and Psoriasis breakouts. Going from hot to cold, the early morning chills, having the stuffy heating on at home; all things which can be troublesome.

With the Psoriatic Arthirits, I’m finding the frozen temperatures affect you even more; I’m having to get up earlier to get my joints moving and give my painkillers more of a chance to kick in, and I find I’m walking slower as I brave the coldness and joint pain at once.

December also usually means a huge spike in social activities; catching up with friends to celebrate and organising and attending work parties. It’s also the busiest time of year for birthdays with my friends and family; and as most of my friends are turning 30 this year, it’s definitely a time for partying! I also have to work out where in the country I am over the Christmas holidays – with separated parents at each end of the country, and finding time to co-ordinating seeing Wayne (either in Leeds or London) who also has his own plans in London can be stressful.  For the rest of the month I probably have maybe two nights in a week where I don’t have any plans at all. An easy task to anyone else I imagine, but I do have to just be that bit more careful.

Sounds like a really tough problem, right ;-). Ordinarily, no, but add in the anxiety, PSA and generally just not knowing how I’ll wake up feeling on each day… yeah you get the picture.

I’ve had a really really good last few weeks, with a 100% hit rate for attendance! So, for my own sake more than anything else I wanted to list my highlights since I last blogged…

  • Lasted the whole night at my Christmas party. Party organising is my absolute favourite; so there was no way I was going to have a bad night there. I was determined – and ultimately managed the whole night, without sitting at all, right until ‘lights up’. Yes I may have swapped to wearing pumps from about 11ish onwards, but who cares!
    IMG_0996
  • Spent a weekend in Paris with some of my oldest friends. We had a brilliant weekend and I was seriously worried about f*cking up the plans, especially after my last episode of anxiety in Birmingham. In your face PSA – we walked over 12k each day all around the city in the freezing cold. I couldn’t walk quite as fast as everyone else but it really didn’t matter and we had the best time.
    Screenshot-2017-12-11 Alex ( alex_c_mcewan) • Instagram photos and videos
  • The weekend just gone I was in Birmingham again for my friend’s 30th; this time around was a completely different story to said last experience. Again, another kick in the balls to PSA. Even getting snowed in didn’t stop us from having a fab weekend, and we made it back in one piece with not a single hangover between us ;-).
    IMG_1086

What helps me with my anxiety is the ability to be planned. I’m also having to take a few Mondays off of work in order to recover. Luckily I have a fair bit of holiday to be able to do that with this month. And it’s exactly what I’ve been doing today… heaven!

In other news, I’ve been able to lower my Methotrexate dosage by a quarter, which feels so good. I’ve also decided to take it as a weekly injection rather than orally. Mtx comes with so many side affects and I was constantly feeling so so nauseous and would have dizzy episodes now and again too.

So I’m now injecting myself weekly for the Mtx and fortnightly with the Humira.  My doctor is happy for me to start scaling back on my painkillers which I’m desperate to do. Though I might need to just wait for the Christmas period to pass and I can focus on that in January. Bring it on!

Joey

x x x

It’s a silent ‘P’

Psoriasis.

Pronounced ‘sore-eye-a-sis’. SORE is one word to describe it. Itchy, flaky, niggly, dry, patchy are just a few others. Psoriasis can show in many forms but, in essence, it’s a skin condition where (usually small) scaley patches of dry skin appear on your body.

It’s an immune system disease which causes the over-production of skin cells, suffered by 2% of the population. It’s known to be passed down genetically (my mum also suffered with it once in her younger years) and can be set off by a number of varied triggers from stress to infections and so on.

I was diagnosed with Psoriasis in 2013, aged twenty five. Whilst my mum did also have it, I actually put it down to the amount of stress I was under at the time. I generally don’t deal well with stress – at all. Any sign of it and I’m poorly; it’s like my body finds an excuse to not deal with it. I’ll reflect more on work/life balance and stress in a future post, but for now let’s focus on the Psoriasis.

It can be a nasty little fucker and really affects my self confidence. Sometimes I can get teenie tiny spots of it – perhaps on my elbow or on my side or my back and it doesn’t affect me too much. Places it can be easily hidden.

But every now and again it appears on my head. That might sound like nothing. Easy to cover you might think. Sure. But we’re talking blood, puss (ugh gross, sorry) and flakes of skin all over your head. When you touch it, it’s sore; when you wash it, it stings; when you brush it, it’s irritated. The really bad pics on the left hand side were taken in 2013 when I first got Psoriasis. The one on the right – taken in February of this year (2017) it came back a little, and crept on to my face too.

 

The really annoying thing is that there’s no ‘one treatment suits all’ cure. It really depends on your body and how it reacts. Some people can shift it easily, others not so much. But here’s how I found some of the different treatments out there and what triggers it for me…

  • See a dermatologist – I did try this – along with steroids, steroid creams and shampoos, but nothing seemed to make it budge.
  • Go to your GP – again, for me, steroids and creams didn’t help here, it just seemed to aggrivate it more.
  • Change your shampoo – this soothed it for sure, but didn’t get rid of it. The best shampoos to soothe your scalp are parabenScreen Shot 2017-08-28 at 18.21.29 and sulfate free. You should also make sure that it’s sodium chloride (salt) free, minimising any harsh actions on your scalp.  When your scalp is that sore and has open wounds, scalp-treatment and tar-heavy shampoos (for example T-Gel) will cause pain I can assure you.
    The best shampoo I’ve found to help soothe and reduce irritation is this badboy – Klorane shampoo with Peony. It smells gorge and is just the best.
    It’s not the cheapest (around £8 per bottle available from your chemist or online) but it’s worth it.
  • Reduce your stress levels. Probably the most accurate yet unhelpful piece of advice – I mean, we’d all love to be stress free. But this is my main trigger for psoriasis – hands down. Put me under any form of stress or pressure and you can guarentee I’ll have a little scaly patch somewhere by the end of the week.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol realllyyy affects my skin – from blotchyness to inflammation to spots and now, psoriasis.  I’ve never been the sort of girl to crave a glass of wine in the evening after work – luckily. BUT when I do drink socially I do love my wine… and gin… and prosecco… and – well you get the idea. Give me a couple of days or week where I have social events or engagements and here it goes again, the Psoriasis is back.
  • Be strict on your diet. It’s no surprise that what we eat affects how we function – what we put into our bodies will show on the outside. When I get psoriasis I know I have been eating either too much sugar or bread – or not enough greenage (not sure that’s a word?!). Again, all it takes is a few weeks off-focus and it’s back again.
  • Take a holiday. Now if I could take a week in the sun every time I got a new patch, I’d be broke. Obvs it’s easier said than done. But it really does do the trick (for me at least). Vitamin D is SO good for the skin and getting rid of psoriasis. It of course does wonders for the stress levels too. Get me on that sun lounger asap please!

More recently I have been flake-free which is great (putting it down to my recent holiday to Kefalonia with the mother). However I have started to see a few patches come back again. It can be hard to clear them but by knowing that I can when I put my mind to it, I’m kinda not too bothered. They’ll come and go with stress for me, so I know what I need to do to try to control it. That plus eating some more plant-based food and upping my vitamins and hopefully I’ll be back clear again in no time. Just stay away from my head… pretty pleaseeee.

Joey xxx