Thursday, 31 January 2013

Technological Difficulties...

The other night, I fired up my lap-top. So far, so usual. What wasn't usual, however, was the loud and persistant buzzing emanating from my power Adapter.

A glance at my monitor showed I was running on battery. Which was odd, as the Adapter lead was definitely connected. It was also definitely plugged in at the mains. And yes, it was definitely switched on. I checked.

The battery gauge showed I had a generous 52 minutes usage time left. Very precise But also? Very wrong. About five seconds later my lap-top unceremoniously died on me. Without warning, nor hope of revival. Bugger.

Cost of replacing faulty adapter? £17.99. Inclination to fork out for a replacement? Zilch. The lap-top wasn't even two years old, I thought they were meant to be a bit more hardy than that? Apparently not...

So, for the foreseeable (i.e. until I've given in and purchased another one) It's Not All Me, Me, Me... will be coming to you from my beloved not-quite-so-new-anymore iPhone!

I knew there was a reason impulsively signing up for that new contract was a good thing...

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Product Review: Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish

Say 'Hello' to my newest Holy Grail product. Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish.

I had been eyeing up Alpha-H's Liquid Gold, after having read umpteen rave reviews online, but hadn't yet splashed the cash on it due to, well, a lack of cash to splash.

But, whilst perusing beauty fora and blogs for reviews of said Liquid Gold, I noticed the Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish cropping up on occasion. Not necessarily as a dupe, but as a damn fine polish in its own right.

It'd also been praised to the hilt in a few of the glossies- I forget which- but I never pay much heed to magazine reviews; cynically (perhaps) wondering how much a company's PR machine has forked out for their product to be given top billing.

Hence preferring the-mostly-bias free reviews and write ups on blogs or discussion boards.

As if by chance, whilst out on one of my 'got-to-keep-my-legs-from-wasting-away' jaunts, I discovered the polish on special offer. 

It's usually £7.99 (for 120ml) but Boots had it marked down to £3.99. Bargain, thought I! And, even more fortuitously: I had £4 worth of points to spend on my Advantage Card. Winning. As a certain Mr 'Everyone deserves a twenty-sixth chance' Sheen might say. If he's not pickled himself Tiger Blood by now, that is...

I don't think I'd bought anything from the Botanics range in a decade, their packaging was never the most alluring: sludgy looking browns and greens and utilitarian bottles. I get that they were going for the 'Botanical' angle, it just never worked for me. But, thankfully, they've given the brand image a much needed overhaul. Now it's all clean lines, white packaging and simple black font, with pops of colour here and there - much better!

Never having tried a Microdermabrasion polish before I didn't really have any expectations. But, if I had done, I have a feeling they would have been far exceeded.

The texture of the polish is quite thick, much more so than an exfoliating scrub, and you really only need a tiny amount as a little will go a long way here.Trust me. 

On initial application it is incredibly coarse and gritty and gives a sensation akin- I'd imagine- to rubbing a sheet of sandpaper vigorously and repeatedly over your face. If you were so inclined. .

As you start to polish it in, you realise it treads a very fine line between pleasantly tingle inducing to outright feeling like you've scoured your face off. Believe me, there is next to no effort involved in massaging it in: the polish does all the work for you. 

Having let it do it's thing for thirty seconds or so, I rinsed it off with warm water. My skin smarted a little, but I think I safely avoided the out-and-out scoured look. Just.

I touched my face. And I understood the hype in an instant. 

I don't think my skin had ever felt so smooth, ever. It was like I'd been sandblasted. Which probably wasn't too far off, in all honesty...

Two days on and my skin still feels incredible and alabaster smooth. I told someone today I was nearly thirty and they said they'd have put me at around 18. Clearly this stuff works.

 Would I recommend it? A thousand times yes. Run, don't walk, to your nearest Boots.

Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish - £7.99

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Le Weekend...

 Despite feeling more than a little pooped and achy of limbs, I have enjoyed a very pleasant weekend indeed. For those of a curious nature, or the just plain voyeuristic (hey, I'm not judging...), here's what I've been up to:

  • Sleeping (of course).
  • Having a spot of luncheon at Noa (new favourite restaurant alert, by the way. If you like Japanese cuisine, this is definitely the place to head to) with my very lovely cousin whom I hadn't seen in two years.
  • Playing the devishly addictive Bejeweled on my iPhone. Nearly every, and I do mean every, waking second is spent furiously trying to match up coloured jewells in an effort to score points and create pretty, sparkly, explosions. Yes, I'm well aware that I need to get out more. But, you know, I would if I could...
  • Meeting up with one of my besties for a delicious Sunday brunch.
  • Having coffee with Mr. G.
  • Hearing another of my best friends' Mum's clairvoyant tales- amazing and shivers-down-the-spine stuff.
  • Snuggling up in blankets to combat the cold.
  • Enjoying the comforting warmth of my hot water bottle when the aching has got too much.
  • Wondering whether to scout out a navy blue winter coat in the sales. 
  • And, just for good measure: sleeping. Because, obviously, I don't do enough of that...
I'm back on the sofa now, feeling worn out but contented. Tomorrow will be a complete write-off, but it's important- not just for my sanity- to make the most of any energy I do have, and get out and about, and using my legs, when I can. It's all about staving off muscle wastage apparently. Doctor's orders. Quite literally.

Hope your weekends have been enjoyable- and warm!

Friday, 25 January 2013

A bit of bling...

Before I sign off for today, and speaking of the impending birthday, if I'm incredibly lucky, I may be getting this from Mr. G:

Michael Kors Rose Gold Chronograph Watch- Image courtesy of Harvey Nichols.

I haven't worn a watch for a good number of years, but I've always loved them and am getting fed up of having to look at my phone every time I want to know the time. Plus, this would be a real investment piece; it's such a classic style and the colour is absolutely beautiful. I'm afraid I've utterly fallen in love with it. 


Well, Hello there....

So, when I said I wanted It's Not All Me, Me, Me to be written on a more ad hoc basis, it seems I wasn't kidding.

It's been over two weeks since I last posted something. There's not been a lack of things to talk about, per se, more another big dollop of writer's block. Not having mental energy enough to overcome the block doesn't really help either. And, to be honest, I haven't felt like writing anything. As I said previously, I didn't want to write just for the sake of writing something. There's really no point in forcing it.

But, here I am. Again.

What's news, I hear you cry (or not, as the case maybe)? Well I had my Respiratory Consultant appointment on the 15th.

I always dread this appointment. Without fail. You think I'd be used to it by now, after a lifetime of hospitals and consultants' appointments. But no, I always start to panic around a week before; fixated on what will show up on my chest x-ray or if my lung function tests will reveal marked deterioration.

And, as always, my fears are unfounded. Despite my pulse rate soaring whilst in the waiting room, my chest x-ray was clear and my functionality, for now at least, is stable. Hurrah. Although it may be a more muted hurrah as my Consultant was a little concerned regards my Hemoglobin levels. They were quite elevated on the last blood test I had (back in September), and he informed me that if they're consistently high (although I was a little perplexed as to why this was a surprise, as he was the one who first advised me of my higher than normal levels back in 2009) then I may need to be on Oxygen permanently. Oh.

I haven't heard anything back from the hospital regarding the latest lot of blood work, but I'm not really relishing that prospect much. I only got my head around the whole "you need to have ambulatory oxygen or you're putting yourself at risk of heart attack and stroke" thing in June so this might just be a bit too much to take in. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Otherwise, lung wise it all seems quite positive(ish). No news is good news, and all that...

So, that's my lungs caught up with, moving onto my next ailment.

I saw my GP on Tuesday for the first time since November. I've been signed off for a further three months, and on my sick note he's referred to it as CFS. At. Blooming. Last.

Now, I know most people are wary of labels, they don't like being pigeon holed or, well, labelled. Me? Big fan. You know where you are with labels. They're definitive (to a point) and clear cut. I don't like ambiguity.

I am greatly relieved to have finally being given the CFS label. It means I'm legitimate now. Excellent.

Obviously my condition was real beforehand, it's just, now it's been recognised by the medical profession, it's concrete. I'm no longer suffering from a bunch of symptoms that are indefinable or referred to as some vague and hazy term. Well it might be this, or it might be that...

Oh, and, as if to celebrate this new found legitimacy, I finally received my CFS clinic appointment through the post. What timing, eh? I'm booked in for the 6th of March and, with a strange sense of perversion, I am actually looking forward to it. It means I'll be taking the first step to tackling this strange and debilitating condition. 

Symptom wise, it's same old, same old. I'm getting less headaches but sleeping even more than ever before. Yesterday a new record was set: I surfaced at 17.53. I had got up a few times during the day to go to the bathroom, get a drink, answer a phone call, but had fallen back to sleep again. Oops.

Today, however, I got up at 13.30..... positively the crack of dawn!

In other news: less than a month now until my 30th. Oh. Dear. God

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Conspicuous by my absence...

I'm back. Again. Ever so sorry for going slightly AWOL on you, but I'd hit ye olde writer's block, and just couldn't summon up the energy or inclination to overcome it. Shame on me. I consider myself thoroughly chastised.

Although, it has got me thinking, maybe I should cut myself some slack and not be too regimented with my writing? I had, bar the break over the holidays, been writing every single day for over a month, and I think, perhaps, I may have burnt myself out a little? Rhetorical question. I know I burnt myself out a little. Alright, so I'm not exactly writing Magna Opera on a daily basis, but each post takes an hour, sometimes two, and that uses up a fair bit of mental energy. Energy which, as we all know (come on, pay attention at the back!), is in rather short supply.

So, henceforth, I shall update It's Not All Me, Me, Me...on a more ad hoc basis. As and when I have something to say, and the energy to say it. 

Anyway, grovelling apologies and explanations out the way with, let's get back to it...

Not that there's much to get back to really. The weekend passed in a blur of sleep, television watching, foraging for food and, wait for it, yet more sleep. Quelle surprise. Payback from Christmas hasn't just hit me, so much as given Nicola Adams in the ring a run for her money. In other words: it's absolutely 
 obliterated me.

After slumbering away most of Saturday and Sunday, I have continued in the same vein this week. Monday I set my own "Personal Best" and only managed to surface at 5pm. And guess what? (I think you can probably all see this coming...) I was still tired. Told you it'd be a shocker! 

Last night, however, I was struck with the dreaded bi-monthly insomnia (it's like clockwork I tell you, every two weeks, bang on time...) and didn't drift off until somewhere after four in the morning. I'm up and about now (no, I'm not sure why either), but everything in me is screaming for more sleep. I'm here in body (checks: yes all present and correct-ish) but I think my brain is still stuck in traffic somewhere...

Other than that, which isn't exactly riveting I'll grant you, not much else has been happening. Oh no, wait, I forgot, I managed to go to Sainsbury's on Monday. With the aid of my trolley, which I used as an item receptical-cum-zimmer frame. Rock and roll.

Actually, whilst in Sainsbury's, I picked up, for the first time, their Smoked Paprika flavoured Popcorn. If you follow me on Twitter then you'll know I've been raving about it to anyone who will listen. It is delectable. And far too moreish. Like crack, I'd imagine, but with more more Paprika. And less harmful pharmaceutical compounds. One would hope...

I digress. As always. Symptom wise, I'm pretty much the same, nothing new or overly alarming to report. Although my hair still appears to be shedding at an altogether unacceptable rate. I'm rather fed up of having to constantly de-malt myself. I swear if it continues there's going to be more of my hair scattered around the flat than actually on my head. Where it should be. Sob.

Still no news on when my referral will come through, but in the meantime, I have my Respiratory Specialist appointment to look forward to next Tuesday. I can hardly wait...

Right, I think that's everything. Until next time mes amis!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Let's do the Time-Warp...

This morning, the CITV channel were airing a restrospective of old Childrens' programmes from the 80s and 90s under the banner of CITV's Old Skool Weekend. Apparently it's the channel's 30th birthday, hence the tele-visual trip down memory lane.

And oh the memories. If you were a child in the UK in the 90s, you will have no doubt being in the thrall of such masterpieces as Art Attack, Count Duckula, Children's Ward, Fraggle Rock, Knightmare, and Raggy Dolls on weekday afternoons. 

To see these again, nearly twenty years later, is like donning your old favourite much loved, and much worn, jumper. The warm, comforting and cosy feeling is much the same.

Watchdogs and QUANGOs can demonise television all they like; the perceived impact it's having on children psychologically and socially and its part in the child obesity epidemic, but, to me, the wealth of memories and the shared bond it holds down the line is priceless. 

A quick glance at my Twitter feed bears this out. There was a lot of joy and eager reminiscing this morning among the late 20s-early 30s crowd. Just the mention of Fun House was enough to send us into paroxysms of rapture. And when it actually came on our screens? Well, Twitter was on fire: the hairstyles, the prizes, the lo-fi technology, the clothes, Pat Sharp. Forget smartphones, forget the internet, forget social networking. Just show us episodes of the favourite television shows of our youth (and Pat Sharp) and we're in seventh heaven.

I loved the unabashed joy this retrospective stirred up. It was the perfect bit of escapism. With the news full of ever increasing doom and gloom, and the responsibilities of the adult world laying heavy on our shoulders, it was delightful to be transported, just for half an hour or so, to a time when the world was a far simpler place for us. And Children's Television presenters wore mullets and highly flammable clothing. Regardless of gender.

So, CITV, I applaud you for this genius piece of scheduling. I thank you, from the bottom of my (nearly) 30-something heart, for reviving, for just this small 48 hour window, these children's television gems and making an entire generation smile.

Altogether now: Fun House, a whole lot of fun, prizes to be won....

Friday, 4 January 2013

Best Laid Plans...A Beauty Product Review: Revlon Colour Burst Lipstick.

I had intended to post a picture today of my new Revlon Colour Burst lipstick, as mentioned in yesterday's post. I'd taken the (rather poor quality; shaking hands + sub par camera do not a good combination maketh) photos and everything. But the technological fates had other ideas as, for some unknown reason, when I tried to import from my camera to my laptop, the computer said no. Resoundingly.

Oh well, I shall have to carry on with a review regardless, sans pictures, sorry about that!

So, the lipstick? I am in pure unbridled love with it. I'd been on the lookout for a coral lipstick or gloss for a while, and had been eyeing up Topshop's Ooh La La, but whilst out with my Mum over Christmas, she spotted the Revlon one. Mum's definitely know best, as it turns out this is possibly the best colour I've worn on my lips ever.

As a rule I tend to opt for glosses more, or balms, as I've often found lipsticks too drying. Not so with this one. When you swatch it, it actually looks more like a balm (it looks almost 'wet', if that makes sense?) than a lipstick, but with a great colour intensity.

I'd say the colour is slightly more on the red side than the orange, but otherwise it is a very true looking coral.

As I say, the colour is pretty intense, so you only really need one swipe to get a gorgeous 'pop'. 

Coverage wise, it sticks pretty well, I wore it all New Years Eve and it was still discernible even after the new year had rung in, so that was around six hours of wear? And I was eating and drinking in that time, so pretty impressive.

I now want to try out more in the range, as I think this might - in all my sixteen years of wearing makeup- be the lipstick for me. Oh, and one more thing, if you head to Boots, they're on special offer right now for the rather decent price of £5! 

Revlon Colour Burst Lipstick in Coral - £7.99- available nationwide and online.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Guess who's back....?

As promised, it's the 3rd of January and It's Not All Me, Me, Me... is back with a bang. Well, more of a splutter, really thanks to the cold that seems to have done the rounds of my family over the festive season. Truly the gift that keeps on giving. 

So, 2013 eh? How was your New Years? Mine was spent at home with my family, celebrating my Uncle's birthday; eating, drinking and lots of laughter. And watching of fireworks. Not in person, sadly, but thanks to the wonders of HD, it felt like we were on the banks of the Thames. 

I must admit I got a bit emotional when they were playing the clips from London 2012. I was never much of a Seb Coe fan before the Olympics, but I already feel his "We did it, and we did it right" speech at the closing ceremony is iconic. And hearing it over the celebrations marking the ending of the year was really rather poignant and emotive. 

Moving on, before I start to well up again...

Christmas was really rather wonderful. Draining, but wonderful. It was such a tonic to see my family, and catch up with friends that I haven't seen in a year or more.

The wheelchair was a big success, I even managed to wheel myself around on occasion. But I couldn't keep it up for long as boy does it make your arms ache. Still, I liked pretending I was a Paralympian. Not sure what event I'd be entered for? Shopping, maybe? I definitely think I'd be able to medal in that. Rio 2016 here I come. Or maybe not.

I didn't sleep as much as I thought I would, but I put that down to general excitement and adrenalin. Starting to really feel the payback now though, I have woken up with aching limbs and feeling like I'm coming down with the 'Flu. Everything feels heavy yet weak at the same time. Still, I did venture out today- and on my own two feet, no less!

Another bonus of the holidays? Discovering quite a few new Holy Grail products! 

Olay Age Defying Cleansing wipes

Even better, they were all free. The lipstick was bought with my Advantage card and the skincare was given to me by my Mum as she was having a clear-out. 

I have definitely decided that Coral is my colour. I am actually in love with the Revlon lipstick, it looks incredible. If I remember, I will put a picture up. If I forget, poke me! 

Oh, and before I forget, on a different subject altogether, I've got me an iPhone 5. My contract was due for renewal at the beginning of February, but me, being the impulsive creature that I am, walked into Phones4U and sorted out an entirely new contract then and there. I was after an iPhone 4S, but as they didn't do them, they offered me the iPhone 5 instead. Not that I was complaining, oh no.

I've been pretty much glued to it since I got it a week ago. I am like a child with a new toy, I just can't put it down. Anyone would think I'd never seen a smart phone before, although, considering I've had a Blackberry for the past three years, that wouldn't be far off. 

So, that's the past couple of weeks in a very tiny, bite-size nutshell. 

It's good to be back!