Project 365: Days 215-224

As you may know, photography has become a great passion of mine this year. So, for a bit of fun, I decided to enter some of my photos into the BBC Wildlife magazine monthly photography contest.

This is my entry for the butterflies and moths category, and this is my entry for the holiday wildlife category.I by no means have the best equipment, for wildlife photography, but I do really enjoy it, and so if you would take the time to vote for me, it would mean a lot. Now, onto the 365 photos.

215: Magnificent.

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216: Our apple tree has been full of fruit this year! Lots of baked apples and crumbles.

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217: Fuschia. Trying to be a bit more inventive with the angle.

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218: We have a wasps nest in our loft, and consequently there are quite a few dead wasps around the house. I think their little faces are quite cool.

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219: Some lovely wraps I made for Leo.

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220: I have been dog-sitting two dogs for the past three weeks. Expect lots more pictures of this cutie and his brother.

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221: This green woodpecker has been visiting a lot recently.

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222: Fish and chips vegan style.

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223: This is the other rascal of a dog. He likes tummy rubs.

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224: I think we have a moorhen family living in the pond. Although I see the adult birds everyday, I have yet to see any chicks, although I have heard a lot of squeaking.

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I hope you enjoyed my photos this week. Have a great weekend!

Let’s Talk About Menstruation

I recently decided, for a number of reasons, to come off birth control for the first time in 2 and a half years. I was hoping that it would be easy, and that the problems I was having on the birth control, and the problems I had had previously with my period, would magically disappear. However, they didn’t, but having a period again did make me realise something: we need to talk about periods more.

When I was growing up, there was never an opportunity at home to talk about menstruating. When I first got my period, my mum gave me some pads, and sent me on my way. Granted, she always made sure I had enough sanitary products, but as is common with my parents, the material and financial support did not extend to the emotional side of things.

Because of this, I didn’t actually know that some of the symptoms I was regularly experiencing were abnormal, and therefore I never thought to go to the doctor. I put up with a lot, and just got on with everything, as was expected with all types of illness in my household.

In light of this, I wanted to share my experiences of painful periods, not just because I have never had the opportunity to get it off my chest, but because I want to make other women feel more comfortable in talking about their own experiences. Menstruation is not something to hide or be ashamed about, especially if it means living with pain that could very easily be treated. (Note: I’m going to be quite frank, so if you’re not okay with that, consider this your warning).

Ever since I started my period, I have had very heavy periods. I would regularly leak during the night, and at school I would have to run to the loos between lessons to change my pad. When I started using tampons, I still had to use pads because I would bleed through the tampon within an hour or two.

Then there was the nausea. Usually this was fairly mild, but sometimes I would fell faint, clammy, and actually through up. I also used to get migraines just before I started my period, but luckily that was fairly infrequent. Nevertheless, I never told anyone about it, and I remember going through lessons at school with numb hands and dark spots in my vision.

Later on, my periods started affecting going to the toilet. My cramps were quite bad as it was (even though, as you might be able to tell, I have quite a high pain threshold) but I began experiencing pain when I was weeing/pooing. This meant that I would often not be able go to the toilet, which left me feeling bloated. On the other end of the spectrum, I would sometimes have diarrhoea on my period. I think this is one of the reasons why I didn’t get my IBS diagnosed until I had been suffering from it for a year or two. These kind of irregular bowel movements just became normal, and it was not until I started taking the POP, and stopped menstruating, that I noticed that I was still experiencing discomfort.

Was that too much? Have I reached peak over sharing on this blog?

What I conclude from this I need to be on birth control. My periods significantly impact my day to day life, and if there’s a pill that I can take to improve my quality of life, I’m going to take it. I’m not a huge fan of taking medicine for extended periods of time, but in this case, I don’t really have any other choice.

As for the issues I was having on birth control, mainly low sex drive, I can with confidence confirm that it wasn’t the birth control that was causing. I am asexual, and I’m a lot more confident of that now, and proving that it wasn’t due to a hormonal problem has also laid to rest some concerns my partner had. And on top of that, my acne has been much worse since I stopped taking it, not that I’m vain.

If anyone has made it this far, I want to finish by saying, please talk to someone if you are in pain! Talk to your female friends and family members to see if what you are experiencing is normal, or if anyone else is suffering in silence. I shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed posing this 800 word long post about something that all women face, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about being open about your menstruation either. Lastly, please go to your doctor, so if you are experiencing any adverse symptoms, you can get treatment.

Benefits of Yoga

I practise yoga (mostly) every day, and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I wanted to share some of the reasons why I love yoga, and what it has done for my general health and well being. I hope that maybe it will inspire someone to try it for themselves!

  1. Yoga gives me energy. Honestly, I know it may seem like it would tire you out, but it helps me feel more awake, whether it’s first thing in the morning, or after work when I need a little boost of energy. Yoga isn’t easy, and I do get out of breath, but it’s not like going for a run, when you might feel the need to lie down afterwards. I always want to be up and doing after a yoga routine.
  2. It’s very relaxing. I sometimes just do a series of rest poses, or still poses, like child’s pose, or a forward fold, and just stay there for a while. It can allow a brief moment for meditation, or push the negative thoughts you may be having out of your head. I think it helps to calm you down because of the focus on breathing, slowly and steadily, which naturally forces your body chill out.
  3. Yoga is helping me to love my body. It has made me fitter, more toned, and more flexible. In turn, that has made me feel better about my body. I can see how my body has changed since I started yoga, and I feel stronger. I used to be self conscious about my pudgy arms (and the scars) but I am starting to look at them differently now. I also feel better about my body shape in general.
  4. I use yoga to alleviate my IBS symptoms. I have ongoing stomach problems caused by stress, and I sometimes get painful cramps and bloating. Yoga not only relaxes me, taking away some of the root cause of my problems, stretching out my stomach helps my physical symptoms as well. I also believe doing it in the morning kick starts my digestive system, helping me digest my food better going through the day.
  5. I know there is a negative stereotype of people telling depressed individuals to “drink green tea and do yoga!!!” and they will be cured, and as much as I understand ho that attitude can be damaging, I find yoga does help with my depression. Okay, it may not be yoga specifically, but I think any kind of exercise of activity would yield the same results. It gets you up and moving, which helps me to shake off the sluggish feeling I sometimes get in the morning when I don’t want to get out of bed. It makes me feel I have achieved something that day, even if I have not left the house. On some days, it can help me reflect on what is going on in my head, giving myself some space and quiet to be present and acknowledge the thoughts that I am having. Doing that has even made me cry on one occasion, which is great because I sometimes struggle to show emotion when I am down. I’m not claiming yoga will cure your depression, but it has helped me.

Yoga is a wonderful way to keep your mind and body healthy. If you are interested in taking up yoga, I wrote a blog post on how you can get started as a beginner, which may be helpful to you.

How we survive

My Book!

I wrote a book! 

Actually, many years ago I had an idea for a book, wrote it in 2013, and have been sitting on the word document since then. But, I was inspired to share it, despite it being brought into existence by the mind of my teenage self. All things considered, I’m actually pretty proud of it.

The book is entitled “How We Survive” and in a nutshell, it is my take on the zombie apocalypse. It is entirely a product of my own imagination, and the awesome front covered was designed in collaboration with Leo. In the novella’s dystopian future, anyone with an appendix is susceptible to a deadly infection that turns them into a zombie, a zombie that hungers for the flesh of those without an appendix.

You follow the main character as she tries to survive and find some kind of purpose in a world that no longer has any meaning. Promises, betrayal and general angst ensue.

I’m not expecting many people to read it, but it’s there if you would like to. For the next 5 days (till 24th August 2016) it will be free to download on the Kindle store, so if you would like to read my teenage zombie apocalypse novella for free, or download it just in case, you can.

Thank you for reading this. I realise that recently my blog has become a place for me to shamelessly self promote, but I have a lot of projects and I want to share them with you. I figure that if you like what I write on my blog, you might like what I do elsewhere.

 

Project 365: Days 205-214

I know I usually post my 365 on a Friday, but this week I have something that I’m really excited to share with you to post on Friday. Enjoy the photos.

205: Not the best spot to see the sunset, but it was a beautiful evening.

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206: This is a lovely mimosa that, since taking this photo, I have killed. I definitely think I should stick to more hardy types of plants in the future.

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207: My current crochet project is recreating the blanket in Breaking Bad that the White’s have in their living room. It’s a present for Leo’s mum, who is a big fan, and although I couldn’t the exact colour,s, it’s looking pretty good. I hope I can finish it in time, and that she likes it!

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208: Our apple tree is full of fruit this year. I found this cute little one nestled in the undergrowth.

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209: Made a sort of terrarium for some of my cactuses.

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210:This is a photo I took for the header on my Esty shop. I have had this stone since I was much younger.

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211: Interesting variegated leaves in my garden.

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212: Leo and I went to a vegan festival in Milton Keynes. It was quite small and crowded (not my favourite type of place to be in), but we had some great food, including this curry, vegan ice cream, and raw vegan chocolate pie.

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213: There is this old stump jut outside my window, and it looks like something has been digging into it. I wonder if some creature is living in it?

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214: My jelly bean succulent is sprouting all over the place.

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Sunshine Cat

I said in my most recent 365 that I had had a photo shoot with my lovely cat one sunny evening. I had been avoiding photographing her, just because she was becoming a bit of a subject crutch during my 365 (I can’t help that she’s so darn cute).

However, I was outside one evening, eating dinner, and she was being just about the best model. So, I caved, and decided to capture her in all her glory.

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She reminds me of a crescent moon in this one.

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This one is my favourite! I love the lens flare.

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Project 365: Days 195-204

195: Very cliched shot, but I am trying to work on perspective in my photos.

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196: A green woodepecker!! There has been one hanging out outside my house for a couple of weeks.

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197: I was lucky enough to win some prints in a giveaway by the artist Nikki Wynne. That meant I had to reorganise my notice board. I’m really happy with how it looks, and I love my new prints, especially the little dragon.

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198: View of London from Hampstead Heath when I did the sponsored walk for Animal Aid.

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199: A rattata on my armchair! Side note, not really enjoying Pokemon Go. It’s not great if you live on a rural or have an old phone, but I might have to write a FGG on it.

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200: I have been neglecting photographing my beautiful cat recently. I spent a lovely evening in the garden with her, and I got loads of good shots. I’m probably going to share them in a separate post.

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201: I painted my nails for the first time in ages, and got a new ring. Basically was really feeling my hand look that day.

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202: Someone down my road has been growing loganberries, and these were sticking tantalisingly through the fence. I did eat them after I took this (though we decided as they were on the public side of the fence they were fair game!)

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203: Found this really cute carved bench in a local park. It was hidden away, but really well made.

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204: It was my mum’s birthday, and although I couldn’t eat the cake, I had a lot of fun decorating it. If you can’t tell, it’s supposed to be a galaxy.

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