A Hair, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog - By Charleigh Victory

Monday, 10 December 2018

1 Year With Multiple Sclerosis & What It's Taught Me.


Well, technically it's been 1 year and 2 months because it's taken me so bloody long to write this post but here we are.

Hello, hi..

Don't know if you know or anything but I've got MS (lol).

It's funny because now I can joke about it, now I can laugh at myself. Although, of course it's serious and it's a very scary, unpredictable disease.. I'm not AS serious about it anymore.

You can read all about how I got diagnosed here if you haven't read it already.

But yeah, I can't believe a year has passed since being told that I was sick with an incurable chronic illness and that life won't quite be the same again. This time last year, I was just starting my first treatment of choice, Tecfidera. Which actually didn't work for me as I relapsed whilst being on it but also.. I had a major allergic reaction to it which put me in hospital on Christmas Eve.

I then further relapsed in February, my worst relapse yet but I've come a long way since then. I completed my first round of Lemtrada in April of this year, which was awful but I also think it's the reason why I've been in remission for 10 months, so you know.. swings and roundabouts.

Right now, I am doing okay. I am stable, I experience symptoms every single day and fatigue is a bitch but I'm getting through it.

So what has having MS taught me?

First and foremost.. Strength.
I got a tattoo done in the summer, it's on my back and it says "I was not built to break." - A lyric from my favourite Whitney Houston song "I didn't know my own strength" because it's so true. You honestly do not know how much strength you have until strength is all you've got. I remember being so scared on the day I got diagnosed and don't get me wrong, even now I sometimes get a wave of anxiety about the uncertainty of the disease and what COULD happen to me. But when I completed my first 5 days of Chemo, even though I felt like a bag of shit, I was super proud that my body, my inner strength and my mind carried myself through that because it's a lot for anyone to go through, let alone a 22 year old.

Anything can happen.
You know when you were little and all the adults around you would constantly say "life's too short" and you're there thinking "are you serious.." because that was me. I never understood that saying until I woke up one day sick.. and was told that I wasn't ever really going to get better. I was happy, healthy, never smoked, rarely drank and this disease still happened. So, it's true, anything can happen, out of nowhere, at any time.

Everyone is different. Symptoms vary.
If you have MS, your symptoms could be completely different to my symptoms. The way I feel, might be completely different to how you're feeling. They call it the snowflake disease because no two MS patients are alike.

True colours show.
It sounds really cliche but once you go through a life changing experience, you really do see who cares for you and who doesn't. Some of my friends have really pulled through over the last year, have visited me in hospital, have sent me well wishes, have even been to hospital appointments with me and other 'friends' couldn't give two shits lol. But, what I'm learning is that the only people that truly matter, are the ones that are still around. I have everything and everyone I need in my life, right now. P.s - I still haven't heard from ANY family on my biological fathers side (big LOL).

Move whenever you can.
I don't think I will ever take being able to move my legs for granted ever again. I go for walks more now, I try to dance whenever I can because I can't tell you how shit it is to have legs but not be able to use them. During my last relapse, I was bed bound and very weak, so now that I have the strength to stand, I choose to stand tall.

I am my mothers world. 
I will try and write this part without flooding my laptop with tears. My mum has always been the greatest woman I've ever known but since the very first day I got diagnosed (even before that, when we had no idea what was wrong) she has been by my side. She has never left me, she has been to ALMOST every single hospital appointment with me and even when she's not been able to make it (because of work) she has felt an immense amount of guilt. Which she shouldn't feel at all because she's always straight on the phone after, asking me how it went. She deals with my mood swings, she helps me during any relapses or on the days where I'm really struggling physically & mentally. God, sometimes she even washes my hair for me. I thank my lucky stars every single day that I get to be her daughter and even though I may be the one with MS, I'm not the only one in my house who lives with it. My mum and my step dad are my rocks.

Life isn't so bad. 
I mean, I went through about 6 months after my diagnosis, being angry at the world and not believing in any kind of faith anymore. I just didn't understand how something like this could happen to me.. but it did and it has and I'm never really going to get an answer as to why, so I should just embrace it, right? Being diagnosed with MS has been the worst thing to happen to me but ironically, it has been the best thing that's happened to me. I appreciate everything a lot more now, even the smallest of things and to me, waking up every single day, feels like a blessing. It's given me a new lease of life, even on the days when it knocks me for six. I feel like being sick has given me a purpose because I'm able to share my journey with whoever is willing to listen. I feel empowered, I feel brave, I've finally been given the answers that I've been waiting for, for 18 months. So, no, I'm not angry anymore. If anything, I am eternally grateful.

And lastly, I have learnt that I can handle anything that gets thrown my way. MS ain't got nothing on me.

Love, Charleigh x























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Friday, 16 November 2018

How To Get a Winter Glow: Sanctuary Spa Rose Gold Radiance Collection


*This is a paid advertorial with Sanctuary Spa*

I first fell in love with Sanctuary Spa products when I tried their body mists in summer 2016. Since then, I have asked for and received a range of their skincare products for my birthday and also for Christmas. I just love how the brand and the products feel very luxurious without breaking the bank.

Sanctuary Spa have just launched a new Rose Gold Radiance collection and I think it might be my favourite one yet. First of all, can we talk about the packaging?! It's absolutely beautiful. Rose gold is one of my favourite colours in the world and these look SO gorgeous, they definitely stand out in my bathroom. Secondly, the smell is to die for and my bath routines will never be the same again. 

The Rose Gold Collection is focusing on tackling dry, dehydrated skin, especially in the winter months and that's exactly what it does. I am so happy that I've found products that will improve my dull skin and will help bring it back to life. These would also make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone this year because who wouldn't want a winter glow, right?



Shimmer Luxe Body Butter

*Sings* THIS IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF. This body butter from the Rose Gold Radiance collection is the ultimate moisturiser for dry skin. The shimmer in the cream leaves your skin feeling like actual butter with a subtle but noticeable glow. Helping to tone and firm the skin, it is infused with silky oils, so you are bound to stand out at any Christmas shindig with this on your legs/arms, this festive season.

You can buy the Sanctuary Spa Shimmer Luxe Body Butter here


 

Precious Glow Body Oil

This lightweight, dry oil is infused with diamond dust and rose quartz extract. It is the perfect moisturiser for when you don't have a lot of time and need something quick and easy, that will dry fast. It locks in the moisture and because its a dry oil, it completely glides onto your skin without leaving any residue or feeling sticky. Just like the body butter, this body oil will leave your skin feeling silky smooth and if you want to glow to the gods, I highly recommend using this after you've applied the body butter for an extra shimmer and shine.

You can buy the Sanctuary Spa Shimmer Luxe Body Butter here



Liquid Gold Bath Elixir

Indulge this festive season in a rose gold, rose flower water bubble bath. If you're anything like me and you seriously love bubbles in your bath, then this product is for you because it absolutely delivers! It's like you're bathing in fluffy clouds of shimmery goodness but softening your skin at the same time. If you run this under the warm water, within seconds you will be covered in bubbles, so lay back and enjoy.

You can buy the Sanctuary Spa Liquid Gold Bath Elixir here



Exquisite Bath Salts

Again, if you love baths, you are going to LOVE these. The mineral rich and nourishing bath salts are infused with plant extracts and wheat germ oil which will leave your skin feeling soft and silky smooth. From my experience, the crystals burst with a rose gold shimmer, so when you finish your bath, you will be glowing like a little glazed donut. They also smell incredible, just like the rest of the collection.

You can buy the Sanctuary Spa Exquisite Bath Salts here 

I am so impressed with these products and the whole collection itself. It makes for a luxurious pamper evening on your own, gives the skin an extra glow for the festive season and makes a great Christmas present.

All of the Sanctuary Spa Rose Gold Radiance products are cruelty free, suitable for vegetarians/vegans and paraben free.

This post was in sponsorship with Sanctuary Spa but as always, the opinions are my own.

Charleigh x







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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Easy Peasy Brownies



I love a chocolate brownie..

but do you know what I love even more? Brownies that take under 20 minutes to make AND bake.

This is where these bad boys come in and erm.. hello.. they're epic!

What you will need:

50 grams of Butter 
2tbsp of Cocoa Powder
100 grams of Self Raising Flour
1tsp of Baking Powder
4sp of Sugar 
4 eggs
Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Chunks




Method

This is the easy part. Preheat your oven to 170 and line a baking tray with parchment paper (8x8 inches would be best but any is fine). Then chuck in your flour, butter, cocoa powder, baking powder and eggs into a bowl and mix together. This might take a while but mix until you have a glossy bowl of chocolate. Once the mixture is smooth, pour into your baking tray and cover it with chocolate chips or chocolate chunks. Breaking pieces of milk/dark or white chocolate will work and they did work because that's exactly what I did. Then bung them in the oven to cook for 17 minutes. No more and no less than that.

After 17 minutes, you should be able to flip them out of the tray onto a cooling rack and cut into brownie pieces. I managed to get 16 chunks out of this and they were deliiiish.







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Saturday, 15 September 2018

REMISSION POSSIBLE


[My cup & makeup bag is from Beth Louise & her Mama's shop. You can purchase the items here and here]

Seven months since my last attack.

It has been seven months since I had further damage to my brain and spinal chord. Seven months since I lost my eyesight for the second time and seven months since I temporarily lost the ability to walk freely.

So I guess you could say that I'm 7 months into remission.

Which is pretty good going considering I had 3 relapses in 7 months before.

However, I am not 7 months symptom free, in fact I experience symptoms near enough every single day.

And I know that this is how it's going to go though..

relapse, remission, relapse, remission etc. A never ending cycle.

I wrote a blog post here where I talk about the treatment that I had 5 months ago and the treatment that I'll be having again next April.

For the past 7 months, I have been focusing on how to manage my illness and pain, along with working as much as I can, trying to have a social life and spend time with my family. Unfortunately, my last relapses have left me with symptoms that aren't going to go away, such as pins and needles, extreme fatigue and weakness. I told my MS nurse last month that I felt like I hadn't got better since having the Lemtrada and her reply to me was "You won't. You won't feel better because it isn't a cure" and honestly I forget sometimes that this is probably as 'well' as I'm ever going to be. Which is quite scary to think about but at least for now, I am not getting any worse.

Multiple Sclerosis is quite a complex and hard disease to explain and I still sometimes get really confused as to whether I’m having a flare, a relapse or if the symptoms I’m having are even MS related at all. But I think I understand now that if I don’t experience any NEW symptoms, anything that I’ve never had before then it isn’t a relapse, it is just a flare. Although flares can sometimes be unbearable, it doesn’t mean that I’ve had any further damage to my brain/neck or spine.

Every day is a blessing for me. I always have anxiety about waking up in the morning and not being able to move but each day that I wake, I am just so unbelievably grateful that I'm able to see properly and move my legs & my arms. I see my nurse every 4 weeks, to have my urine sampled and blood's checked, just to make sure I haven't developed any of the nasty side effects to treatment OR developed an infection along the way. I am so happy that I am frequently monitored but I do always worry incase some of the results come back bad. I just don't want anymore bad news.

This summer, I have really felt the effects of heat and MS. I spent weeks and weeks in complete agony with my body and the hot weather was making it worse. I had sleepless nights, spasticity, electric shocks down my spine and just extreme fatigue that completely knocked me off my feet. So, to say that I'm happy we are transitioning into cooler weather, is an understatement. Although, I know I was diagnosed with MS last October, I still don't really know how I'm going to be in Winter. Just because last year, I was so poorly anyways that I'm not sure yet if the cold weather will effect me at all. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

If all goes well and I do not relapse within the next few months of 2018, I won't need another brain MRI until next year, just before I go back into hospital for round 2 of Lemtrada. I'm looking forward to seeing if the lesions have gone down or even disappeared - that would be incredible.

So yeah, that is where I'm at right now. Still dealing with symptoms every single day, still feel like a 23 year old stuck in a 60 year olds body half the time but for now, I am stable and that was something I could only dream of 11 months ago.


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Saturday, 18 August 2018

COCO AND EVE 'LIKE A VIRGIN' HAIR MASQUE


Whenever my hair needs some extra TLC, I always opt for a hair masque to deep condition and help nourish my curls. Coco and Eve are a hair brand which focuses on helping to uplift and rejuvenate dry, damaged hair. Their 'Like A Virgin' Coconut & Fig Hair Masque is a 5 in 1 treatment that transforms your hair within 10 minutes. - Erm, YES PLEASE!

First things first, the packaging.

It is oh so holiday-esque isn't it? I love the baby pink and the green together, also the palm tree gives it that extra tropical feel. The box is super cute and a great size, nothing frustrates me more than when you get a delivery at your door and the box is HUGE but the product inside is only small (yes, I'm looking at you Amazon). So this gets a 10/10 on the packaging alone.



The smell of this mask is out of this world, honestly.. I've never smelt anything like it and I have tried A LOT of hair products in my time. It’s a mixture of Coconut & Fig (obviously), pineapple, the Caribbean, just everything that you would want a hair masque to smell like.

The masque itself is very thick, creamy and feels luxurious once applied to the hair. I section my hair into 4 parts, (two at the bottom and two at the top) and after applying the mask, I run the FREE Tangle Teezer (that they give you in the box) through my curls, so I know the product is getting evenly distributed. Then I scrunch with my hands, to create more definition. 

Wait 10 minutes, at least..

(You can also have this on overnight for EXTRA moisture and EXTRA softness, if you wanted too).




And then voila! 

You wash it off once the time is up and you are left with the softest, smoothest and nourished locks, ever! 

They recommend using this mask 3 times a week and that’s what I personally do myself. It has worked wonders on my dry ends in particular, which is amazing considering I have chemical damage. Oh and I haven’t even told you the best thing about it..

It’s completely VEGAN and 100% PETA approved.

I can hand on heart say that I have nothing bad to say about this product and I am so happy that I’ve found a masque that does what it actually says its going to do.. and a whole lot more.

I also created a short video over on my Instagram where I apply the masque, which you can watch here if you like. 











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Sunday, 5 August 2018

WHY I'M NOT HOLDING BACK ANYMORE

For half of my life, it seems that I cared more about what others thought of me than what I thought of myself and my own happiness. I was so wrapped up in this bubble of ~must do what’s best for others~ rather than what’s best for me, that I completely lost sight of who I really was.

I’ve always been so scared to step out and say “Hey, do you know what? This is me and it’s staying that way.” Out of fear of rejection and not being loved for me. 

But that stops here. 

Let me tell you a little background story..

I was in a relationship with someone that never really knew who I was. His personality alone overpowered our relationship that I would put up this front of ~I’m a really tough bitch and nothing you say can hurt me~ attitude, when really as the time went on, I was falling apart. He always knew the girl that had a lot of anger towards men in general (daddy issues I guess) but he never got to see or witness the real me. The confident, bubbly and brave Charleigh because she was too stuck on hiding behind an image to protect herself, rather than baring it all. I probably shouldn’t of dated anyone back then if I’m honest, I so wasn’t ready to give myself to anyone when I didn’t even know who I was or where I belonged. I hid myself away for a very long time, especially after the break up.

I had to remember that before I was his girlfriend, I was Charleigh..


Outfit Details: 
Jumpsuit // Simply Be 
Bag // ASOS(sold out)
Converse // Office*
Denim Jacket // ASOS*
Earrings // River Island (sold out) but similar here*


But this is the part where I shout from the roof tops,

I AM BRAVE, I AM BRUISED, I AM WHO I’M MEANT TO BE, THIS IS ME

Because I am so not that girl anymore. 

I’m trying out this new thing where I say yes more often, even if my nerves make me want to run away, hide and throw up everywhere. You know the saying “If you kill the butterflies in your stomach, you’ll kill the dream.” I am so used to letting my nerves hold me back from what I truly want to do, that I miss out on some amazing opportunities and honestly, I’m tired of it. I’ve worked so hard with learning to love myself, respect myself, know my worth etc, that it would be a damn shame to not want to show that off.

Each day, I try to make small but beneficial changes to push myself and build my confidence. For example, instead of ignoring an email inviting me to an event, I will actively check my calendar & then reply yes or no, depending on whether I can actually attend. There's been a number of occasions when I've replied "Sorry, I'm not available that day" when I've got absolutely nothing in the calendar, I can in fact attend, I really WANT to attend but I'm a bit of a pussy, lol.

Then, I think..

Do you know what? Sod it.

"They obviously want to invite me for a reason, they obviously enjoy my content, otherwise they would of just invited somebody else."

And that is so true. I also need to remember how extremely lucky I am to be on the PR list's of some of these brands and to even be invited.

Another thing I want to tackle is uploading videos. If you didn't know, I started out on Youtube when I was 14 and although I loved it at the time, the second my channel got 'big', I got to know all the negative parts of 'putting yourself out there' and it just wasn't for me anymore. It frightened me knowing so many people were watching me, judging me.. and at the time, I wasn't ready nor was I prepared for that.

That doesn't mean I don't miss it a lot though. I really do. I have so much fun creating short Instagram travel videos and I want to create a lot more, about different types of things. I also really enjoy watching people's Instagram stories, I feel like I get to see more of their personality, behind the photos and I would love for people to be able to say the same thing about me.


Luckily for me, I have really supportive, encouraging and loving friends who push me in every and any direction that I want to go in. They remind me of my talents and they remind me of the person that I am today and I am so lucky and grateful to have these absolute gems around me. Because of them and their words, I am slowly but surely recognising my own abilities and my own self worth.

Basically, to some this post up..

I'm not going to hold back anymore, I'm going to say YES more often and I just think I need to start grabbing life by the balls and have fun while I'm at it.

I encourage you to do the same.













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Friday, 27 July 2018

WHY I DECIDED TO GO NATURAL



I hate my hair.

I hate the curls, I hate that it gets frizzy. I feel like my scalp is on fire every time my Mum brushes through it. 

I wish I had straight hair like every other girl in my class.

I wish I had hair like my Mama.

That is what 9 year old me would say, over and over and over.

The truth is, I absolutely hated my hair growing up. It was so frizzy, short and.. just not what I considered beautiful at the time. Like everything else, society played a big part in how I viewed myself and my hair in my early years. It taught me that silky, smooth and straight hair was what was 'hot' and a curly, frizzy, afro was not.

So, I started straightening my hair.

(Worst. Mistake. Of. My. Life)

And I know it sounds crazy but at the time..

It made me feel like I was worth something. GHD's allowed me to straighten out my curls which meant that my hair looked longer, it was silky (because of the amount of hair wax I would apply to it) and very smooth. There was no frizzy, twisty curl in sight and I LOVED it.

Then, when I got to the age of 13, I found clip-in hair extensions. What!! you mean to tell me that I can buy long, straight hair extensions and clip them in whenever and wherever I would like?! I'M SOLD.

And that's exactly what I did. I would buy cheap, tatty extensions and I swear to god, I felt like a KWEEN in them, LOL.

And that continued for a few years.


Then I got curly hair extensions, which again were so awful, thin, didn't match my curl type in the slightest and were honestly, horrendous. But, if I was going to have curly hair, I wanted the length to be long, otherwise what was the point? Which is why I always opted for the extensions. When I finally realised that my hair looked a complete and utter mess, I went for the big chop but I decided to have a sew-in weave which I loved. It was a protective hairstyle for me which allowed my natural hair to repair itself and grow out. I had weaves for about 9 months, each one lasting around 6/7 weeks and then I decided enough was enough.

I’m going natural. 

I was absolutely petrified of letting anyone see my natural hair because I had hid it away for so long. I was so used to having really big, bouncy curls which I hardly ever had to touch ~ to now exposing my small, short, fluffy Afro. I knew nothing about how to care for my curls, what products were best to use or what my curl type was.. 

I knew nothing. So, then I researched. 

I watched a lot of YouTube videos, curly hair tutorials and looked for the best products for curly hair. I googled and googled and googled and then I looked on Amazon for products. My hair had already grown a significant amount from being plaited under the weave, so I knew I wanted to keep that up. 

Oh yeah, I also found out that my curl type was: 
Type 3, 3C (if you were wondering)

And it went from there.

The more I took care of my natural hair, the more my curls began to flourish. Okay, they’re still not the length of rapunzels but I think that was just wishful thinking. I’m not sure my curls will ever get that long but right now, it is the healthiest it has been in years and I am grateful. I’m a product junkie so I have tried and tested a lot of brands, a lot of products and have found which works best with my hair.

I have realised that there is so much we can do with curly hair, lots of different hair styles and looks that we can create. Curly hair is never boring.

With all that being said, I decided to ditch the extensions, cut my hair and start over so that I could learn to love myself and my hair in its natural state. I also now have my hair cut every 3 months, just to get rid of any split ends that may occur and to keep my curls alive.

Long hair doesn't automatically mean beautiful and I'm embracing my short curls. 









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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

I AM SO MUCH MORE HAPPIER ON MY OWN

I'm an introvert.

I like to be on my own 90% of the time.

I'm not really sure when it started but I get really frustrated and anxious when I'm around people for long periods of time. I love my Mum to death, she is wholeheartedly my best friend but even she knows I can't be around her all the time. It’s nothing personal, it’s just what I like.

My bedroom/office/safe place is where I spend most of my time in my house. Although my kitchen fridge is a close runner up because.. you know, food?! But because I spend most of my time here, I try to make it as cosy as possible. There is something very relaxing about laying on my bed, with the windows open, listening to the cars driving by. I find comfort in silence and I know that's quite hard for some people but for me, I enjoy it. So sometimes I will be chilling, listening to a good spotify playlist, watching something on Netflix and other times I’ll just lie there, in silence.


I like having control over everything in my life, I like to make my own decisions and sometimes with social events, I don't always feel like I can do that. For example, I’m not a big drinker, in fact I don’t drink at all anymore (due to my illness) so I always feel like the ‘odd one out’ when I go out with my friends that do drink. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Are you sure you don’t want a drink? I’ll pay.” Or “Just one..” As if I’m any less of a good time without consuming alcohol (maybe I am..). No but seriously, just like in any situation, no means no! (unless your boyfriend asks you if you want anything to eat mid argument, you say no and he actually comes back with nothing). The AUDACITY.

Whenever I do go out though, as much as I like to dance and have a good time with my friends, the best part for me is coming home, taking my makeup off and getting into fresh pyjamas. Then I look forward to spending a day by myself, not socialising at all and speaking to no one, other than my Dog. I feel like it’s my own way of rejuvenating and recharging. Those that suffer with hangovers need a Bacon Sarnie and a Lucozade the next day,  I just need a hot shower and alone time (lol) and that’s okay. 


*Dress - Monki (old)
*Bag - ASOS (sold out) 
*Earrings - ASOS (similar)

I can also go a few days without talking to my friends. Again, it’s nothing personal, I just sometimes have nothing to say. I’d like to think that my closest friends, my best friends know what type of person I am and that they understand it’s nothing personal to them. It’s not me being shady, it’s not me being selfish, it’s not me caring for you any less. It’s just sometimes, I want to be left alone. 

I know that a lot of people have busy lives but in their spare time, on their days off, they would prefer to make plans with friends/family, go out and not spend it sitting indoors. I think that is totally fine and from an outsiders point of view, that’s probably seen as the ‘normal’ thing to do but I’m honestly the complete opposite. If I’ve had a really busy week and I’m knackered, all I want to do on my time off is stay inside, chill out and be on my own. I don’t ever get bored and I really enjoy my own company (I know.. 23 years going on 83 right?). When I’m on my own, the only person I have to worry about is myself, catching up on reality tv shows, painting my nails, listening to music etc and I think that’s a form of self-care. Something that we should all practice more. 

There seems to be a negative stigma around Introverts and those who choose to be by themselves. I have an amazing, supportive, loving family and the most incredible support system that I call friends. I might prefer to be on my own but I am never lonely. 

Trust me, we’re good over here.






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Sunday, 3 June 2018

LIFE? YEP, I’M JUST WINGING IT

And by that, I mean, I have no idea what the hell I am doing.

I started to panic about what direction my life was going, especially being out of work for almost 7 weeks due to my illness. I feel like my life has been put on hold for a while and I'm feeling very 'meh' and don't know what to do with myself.

I know that blogging and my online career is something that I want to take more seriously (and I hope it becomes my full time job) but its finding out how to get there and if I'll be successful enough. I love writing, I love taking pictures, I love working with brands that I enjoy but what do I do on the days when I have nothing to write about? or the natural lighting is nowhere to be seen for good quality photos, or no ones around to take that outfit shot for me. What do I do? What do I do when no brands have approached me or got back to my email about that job opportunity or the days where I am too sick to travel to that event. If I don't work then I'm not earning money and if I'm not earning money, I can't pay my bills. 



I'm 23 (just..) and I'm still not where I want to be in life. I know to some people, 23 is really, really young but I feel like I should be 'proper' adulting by now (whatever 'proper' means) but I still feel 18 in my head. I know the importance of money, I pay my rent, I bought and paid for my own car and I'm very independent in that sense but I just wish I was doing a bit more, you know? Like I see some people my age (sometimes even younger) that are home owners and my first thought is "HOW?" and "TEACH ME YOUR WAYS" but I have to remind myself that everyone's journey is different and to not bloody compare.

I'm going to get a planner and write down my goals for the rest of the year. I seriously can't believe its now June and I feel like I've accomplished nothing. I know its not entirely my fault and that I've more or less spent this year in the hospital or at doctor appointments but I've had enough. I want to try and be more business minded and really push myself to be the independent-boss-gal I would like to be. So that I can actually work from home, even on the days where I'm bed bound and can still earn money.



(affiliate links)
Jumpsuit - ASOS 

I guess I've already made a little step into working for myself by not working for free anymore. This year I made a promise to myself that I would no longer work for free, no matter how small the job is because I know brands do have a budget and I think they should stop undermining bloggers and how much effort we put into our content. If someone is wanting your time, your work, your efforts, then I think it's only right that they pay you for it. Because lets face it, exposure isn't going to pay your bills is it? And you would never go to a hairdressers and walk out without paying, would you? So yeah, I've set some boundaries. 

I try to be as relatable as I can and as honest as I can. I sometimes don't feel like a true influencer because I don't have my own house with marble flooring, I can't pay a photographer to take my photos for me and that I'm not always creative, every single day. It was only two days ago that I was having a really bad day, spent hours crying because I just didn't feel worthy or valued enough. But hey, guess what? No ones life is sunshine and roses, sometime's it's really f**king hard but we make it work, as best we can. So, if you're a bit like me and feel stuck at the moment then that's okay, do not worry. Life has a way of turning things around and I always try to remember how much I hated the world when I was a teenager (from 2009-2012) and how much I see it in a different light now, it's really not so bad. 

You'll get there, I swear.





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Sunday, 27 May 2018

I HAD CHEMO FOR MY MS, NOW WHAT?



Oh HI, 

Long time no speak, been a while hasn't it? 


It's been almost 3 months since my last blogpost and I have a lot to update you on. If you're reading this now, thanks for sticking around.


So, many of you know that I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in October of last year. You can read about that here. Since then I have had two relapses, an allergic reaction to treatment, loss of eyesight, regular hospital trips, a lot of tears and have done a lot of sleeping. Basically, my treatment that I mentioned here hadn't worked for me, not only was it making me sick, it wasn't reducing my relapses and my disease was getting progressively worse. 


The doctors and I decided that I was going to have Lemtrada treatment (Alemtuzumab) which is an IV infusion, given in two courses, 12 months apart. It is meant to kill the immune system (our white blood cells) in the hopes that they will grow back 'normal' after the treatment and won't cause damage to the nerves.


On the 16th of April, I went into hospital to start my 5 days of Lemtrada. I was nervous but also excited because I knew that this was hopefully going to give me a better quality of life but I also knew the side effects that came along with it. I had to take a pregnancy test and have my urine checked beforehand. The poor nurses had to wait about 40 minutes because I just could not pee (lol) - I don't know if it was because I was THAT nervous or I hadn't drank enough in the morning but there I was, sat on the loo, running the tap in the hopes that I could squeeze out a little dribble and get the process moving. 

40 minutes went by, I managed to go and that's when they put my first cannula in and started pumping steroids through my veins.

The first round of Lemtrada is for 5 days and the first 3 days you are given 2 hours of steroids in the morning. My first day, I felt fine in the morning and then I started to feel very light headed and lethargic. My temperature was beginning to rise and I had an horrific headache. Also, my blood pressure was sky high, unbelievably high for someone of my age which was a major concern but thankfully it calmed down, which goes to show it was only up because of how anxious I was. Other than that, I was okay. 



Day 2 was when I came out in hives, head to toe. Honestly, you've never seen anything like it. It was hot, itchy and risen (kinda like if you fell into stinging nettles, only 10x worse). My blood pressure was completely normal by this point and my temperature was stable. 





On day 3, I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. I woke up in tears because I felt like my head was floating in clouds, my chest hurt and I didn't think I was going to make it through the day. While in hospital, you are monitored every 30 minutes so I knew I was being well looked after. During the day, I found it quite hard to swallow and that was when a doctor was called to examine me. 

Day 4 meant I had no steroids before the treatment, which meant there was nothing to take the blow off the drug, so it hits you like a ton of bricks. That's exactly what it did, I felt absolutely awful but I knew how far I had come and that I only had one day left. 

Day 5, the last day! 
My lymphocytes were virtually gone by this point and boy did I feel it. I was so, so tired but I think its really difficult to sleep when you're in hospital. Especially when I was getting woken up every 30 minutes for observations anyways. 7 hours went by and that was it, I said a huge thank you and goodbye to my nurses and I was discharged.

So what now? 

So because Lemtrada has a number of possible side effects, like Thyroid problems, Kidney problems and blood clotting. I will have to have my bloods and urine checked every single month for the next 5 years. This is so, if any of the side effects occur, we will be able to catch them early and be able to treat them. I've already had my first check up since being out of hospital and my urine and bloods are fine. Fingers crossed it carries on that way for years and years to come.

Since being at home in recovery, I have had a number of other side effects like flushing to the face, coming out in rashes, feeling nauseous and headaches. All completely normal according to my doctor and I just needed to ride it out.

What a ride eh? This time last year I was experiencing all of the signs and symptoms of a relapse without knowing that hello, I have MS!? and I am in fact relapsing. So crazy.

So there you go, that pretty much sums up the last 6 weeks and my time with Lemtrada. I have one more round in 11 months time but I am proud of what I've been through and overcome so far. By no means has it been a walk in the park but do you know what? I made it through and I'm still here to tell the tale.

Charleigh 
xo







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Sunday, 25 March 2018

NYC Photo Diary & Guide




I am writing this whilst trying to stop my eyes from closing because I am SO tired. I am still jet lagged, four days on.. I wasn't cut out for this lol. Anyways, I recently got back from a 6 day trip to the big apple, that's right.. NEW YORK CITY and I had such a good time.

We stayed at The Row NYC in Times Square, it was nothing too special but it was in the perfect location and I would definately recommend for that reason.

I did have an itinerary written up on my phone but that completely went out of the window because some of the things I wanted to do or visit in a day, were on different sides of the city, so we tweaked and changed the list. But, I'm going to tell you what we got up to while we were there and maybe you can take some inspiration from that if you are going to NYC or ever planning to. 




Day 1. When we arrived at the hotel, it was around 4:45pm which was 8:45pm in the UK and I was shattered. We did freshen up and head out into Times Square for dinner though. We ended up eating in the Hardrock Cafe because it was literally a 3 minute walk from the Hotel. I kid you not, I was actually falling asleep into my burger because the fatigue was REAL. You would think that a 4 hour timezone change wouldn't make that much of a difference but believe me it does, it completely throws you off. I got to see Times Square at night for the first time though and this had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.







Day 2-4 

Day 2. This was our busiest day out of the whole trip. We went out for breakfast, I had French Toast with Bacon and a side of Apple-Cinnamon-Thingy.. which I didn't ask for or eat lol. Oh, just to throw it out there, I 100% think the food in the UK is wayyyyy better than the US, just saying. Anyways, we explored Times Square and walked for miles and miles. I felt like I was snapping pictures of EVERYTHING and ANYTHING just because everything was so bright and colourful. We went shopping in Times Square, they have the biggest Forever 21 there and I lost my shit, the clothes were INSANE and we also visited the mother land that is SEPHORA. We walked a few blocks to see the Chrysler Building (because, you know, its from the movie 'Annie') "You're gonna clean this dump, 'till it shines like the TOP OF THE CHRYSLER BUILDING!" and then we saw the Empire State Building up close. We went back to the hotel, just to have a little break because New York is very go go go and in your face, so I think its important to slow yourself down. BUT, before we headed back, we decided to book the Musical WICKED in Broadway for the next day. 

 We headed out again, this time in a Taxi where we drove past Grand Central Station but unfortunately we never actually went inside on this trip however I'm sure i'll get a chance to again. We visited Central Park and had a horse ride and carriage tour. It was SO beautiful, our driver was Irish so I asked him if he was excited about the St Patricks Day parade that was taking place the next day. He showed us where Ghostbusters was filmed, the apartments that were in 'Friends' and also the bridge where they filmed the 'Pigeon Lady' scene in Home Alone 2. Then we visited 5th Avenue, we didn't shop there, it was just a place where I wanted to see in real life, so I'm glad I did. Safe to say, I was absolutely knackered when it was time to go to bed. 

Day 3. We ate brunch at Toms Diner which is in Brooklyn, they serve THE BEST pancakes, ever. Seeing as we were already in that area, we decided to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It took about 45 minutes all together because, let me tell you.. its huge. SO much bigger than I ever imagined but the view is incredible and totally worth it. You can also see the Statue of Liberty from here too. Then we got an uber back to Times Square because we had the theatre at 2pm. This was the same day as the St Patricks Parade so leaving the theatre was honestly a nightmare. We actually had plans to see our friends back in Brooklyn for dinner but we had to cancel that because no taxi would take us anywhere, everything was at a complete stand still. 

Day 4. Yay, we managed to see our friends for Brunch, I can't actually remember the name of the restaurant but the food was great and the company was even better. We stayed with them for a few hours before they had to head off to a Baby Shower. We walked a few blocks back to our hotel and this was when I napped for a couple of hours. I think at this point, I was really suffering with jet lag so I just had to go to sleep. In the evening, we met up with Karol who is SUCH a babe and we went for dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp and then she took us to a dessert place where I think I ate the best Ice Cream I've ever had. 







 Day 5-6

Day 5. This was our last night full day in New York. We went to Harlem to meet Kellie for Brunch, she took us to a restaurant called Sylvia's and I GOT MY WHOLE LIFE. The food, my god, was incredible. The meal I had was so simple, I ordered Fried Chicken and Waffles but it just tasted so.. fricken.. good. Kellie was lovely as well, so interesting to talk to and very warming. 
 We visited the Rockafella Centre and the Top of The Rock. I actually have no words other than you NEED to visit this place because the view is breathtaking. We didn't do the Empire State (the inside, although I've heard that's incredible too) because I actually wanted to get a photo with the Empire State in it and the Top of The Rock was the best place to go for that. Its a typical tourist attraction but it can't be missed, I think I'll visit that every time I visit NYC. After the Rockafella, we got an Uber to Ground Zero which was something I knew I had to do before the trip was over. I'll be honest, it was very devastating, upsetting but equally moving and I would be lying if I said I didn't have a little cry.

In the evening, we headed back to Brooklyn where we met up with Naiylah, Steph, Steph's GORGEOUS Nephew and their friend Carl. They took us to a Thai Restaurant called SEA for our last night and I can't recommend that place enough. The food and interior was out of this world and if you're ever near the area, please give it a visit. After Dinner, we went for dessert and then headed back to Naiylah's house. I finally got to meet her incredible family and I've never felt more welcome and at home in my life. We laughed and laughed, danced and then laughed some more. It was the best way to end my trip to the states. 

Day 6. Sadly, this was our last day which meant we only had a few hours left in the city before we had to head to the airport and fly home. We stayed quite close to the hotel, went for lunch at Juniors and then had a last minute look in the shops before heading back to get our suitcases. I am SO happy I got to do everything that was on my bucket list and more. 














A trip of a lifetime! 

Have any of you guys been to New York? If so, what was your favourite part? 

Love, Charleigh
xo

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