2020 Beauty Affiliate Wishlist

Wedding Beauty Affiliate Wishlist

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My Wedding Dress Story & Experience

Laura Hadley Wedding Dress Experience At The White Gallery Ramsbottom

I have always been really into weddings; watching the tv shows associated with them, adding pictures to Pinterest boards and flicking through the magazines. One thing that I did not expect, however, is that not everyone has this overwhelming day of joy when picking out dresses to try on. The films always go back to the person being young and dancing around in a little white dress or robe, with a bunch of flowers and pretending to get married. Having an extensive scrapbook that won't close properly because there are so many pictures taped into it. For me, there was on Pinterest board (albeit that is the modern-day scrapbook) with images for an entire wedding. I never once knew exactly what I was looking for because I had seen from Say Yes To The Dress that often 1. you don't know your own body type well and 2. that you have to try a range of different styles and fabrics. To add an extra point, I have seen from Facebook groups and sometimes people don't just find 'the' dress and are torn between a few because we're human after all and dress shopping is a one-time experience ideally. I got engaged in December 2017 so I did leave it almost two years until I went dress shopping as we weren't in any rush. 

I went to The White Gallery, a bridal store that I found through a wedding show I went to last year. When I saw their dresses at the time I knew that they had a range of different styles and colour options and because I'm a very indecisive person, I knew this would be the best route to go. I did have a feeling I wouldn't want a ballroom gown/princess style dress as I'm 5ft 4" and my fiance is 6ft 4" so even with heels on I would look smaller and wider instead of trying to look upright and a bit taller. I also had a gut feeling that anything strapless wouldn't look good thanks to my larger chest so my options were slightly limited. I did try the most beautiful dress by Noya and it came in a non-white colour too and it was absolutely stunning but my chest just didn't work with it. I didn't fit in it properly there and felt a bit 'naked' in it.

Laura Hadley Wedding Dress Experience At The White Gallery Ramsbottom

I tried on a fishtail shaped dress that was suggested to me and I could barely walk in it. Comfort is a huge thing for me so I knew this shape was immediately in the 'no' pile. I tried a fitted dress and just felt so uncomfortable, picking out all my flaws and it was exactly what I wasn't looking for. After about 7 or 8 dresses I went back to the second dress. It is a fit and flare style with a little strap and a stunning train. I never even wanted a train but it was so pretty I couldn't pass on it. The reason I tried it on again was that I thought if I wore a strapless bra with it, it would look a lot better. And it did.

I didn't cry, but my Nan did. And that made me feel like it was meant to be. My best friend who I've known since our first year in primary school really liked the detail on the dress which reassured me. There wasn't an overwhelming YES moment but I should have figured it wouldn't be like that because I'm not a really emotional person. I probably get that from my Dad. Speaking of which, when I showed my little Sister my dress he wanted to see it. I showed him a picture and although he isn't a man of many words a lot of the time he said it was really nice, so that made me happy. 

On the day there were a few mixed opinions and it gave me a huge migraine. I left the store not wanting to leave the dress behind, knowing obviously I couldn't bring it with me as it was a sample, but still. I couldn't enjoy the lunch we all had together because I felt a bit of pressure to look elsewhere and try other dresses. I didn't want to go anywhere else though. I cried on the way to the car after I had left the store because I don't like being indecisive and I thought everyone I took would love the dress but it was 50/50. Andy hugged me as we walked back and told me to pick whatever I loved best and it was my dress at the end of the day. 

Laura Hadley Wedding Dress Experience At The White Gallery Ramsbottom

At lunch I showed him the dress on my phone in front of everyone and he really liked it. It's not to everyone's taste as it is a bit unusual but he liked it so that really meant a lot to me. We don't care about traditions in our house. The following week we went back to The White Gallery just the two of us, and I tried the dress on in front of Andy. He liked it even more than on the photo and said it was my style. Even Francis who dressed me said I seem to have a particular style, liking dresses from designers based in Australia and Israel. She said I looked my happiest in this dress. I decided to go for it that day and left a happy gal.

Last weekend I went back to try on my dress. It had come into the store earlier than expected so I got to try it on again and pick my veil. I went for a single-tier veil that is as long or a bit longer than my train. I can't quite remember as I didn't take pictures this time around. I don't have my seamstress fitting for a few months but I can't believe this part of the wedding planning is pretty much over! I couldn't thank Francis and the girls at The White Gallery more. They pay so much attention to what suits you best, what you seem to like, and gave some great recommendations for dresses to try on. They said when I tried the sample of my dress on I was the first person to order it so they've made the dress a permanent addition now. I definitely recommend going to the National Wedding Show and looking at bridal stores there because that is where I found these amazing women. I knew I had to get my dress from them when I saw their dresses. They show a lot of them over on their instagram too.

Once I've had my wedding in the Spring I will do a whole post on the dress itself and a run through of our wedding day. I do have my wedding posts and tips coming up so keep an eye out for them.

My 2020 Resolutions

My 2020 Resolutions

When I think of resolutions for the new year, there's a few that come to mind. I have a huge occasion this year, I'm getting married! I got engaged just over two years ago now and it's finally coming up to the time to tie the knot. So including this, here are a few resolutions for this year.

Finishing making the wedding invitations. Honestly, we've been so behind on this. We didn't even give half the save the dates out because there were quite a few stressful times last year and we just put everything aside. We have made our wedding invitations from scratch which has made the process quite long. I painted two pictures and we used them and added vellum paper and rose gold foil. We did this mostly to save money but we have completely unique invitations which we love.

Make the boards for the wedding. We need an Unplugged Ceremony board then a seating plan for the evening along with programmes outlining the whole day so I guess I need to sort all this out within the next three months.

Get my health sorted. In the last half of the year, my heart has seemed to be playing games with me and been making me feel faint and dizzy. I've had an ECG but I've now been referred to Cardiology to potentially do a 5 day ECG and more tests to see what is going on. I'm on medicine to lower my blood pressure but since my cholesterol and other blood tests have come in good they're not really sure what is going on. I'm so thankful for my Doctor, she is a blessing. Hopefully I can get some answers soon and get on the right track. 

Start painting and drawing properly. I know that I can make pretty designs and I'm hoping to start an Etsy shop soon to turn these into prints. I can already make foiled prints and some other bits so I'm hoping with practice I can start earning money from this creative outlet.

Keep blogging and collab with some great brands. I've already spoken about the last year being stressful and this is the reason I didn't blog as much in 2019. I have my fingers crossed that this will be a great year and I can continue blogging and working with some fantastic brands and companies.

Why I've Gone Vegetarian

Why I've Gone Vegetarian

I feel like this has been such a long time coming and I can't exactly find the reason it's taken until now, but anyway I'm now a vegetarian. The week of my birthday I just felt this need to turn veggie for some reason and the first two days I was toying with it I failed because I obviously hadn't prepared for this. At the start, I didn't put any pressure on myself and said I would still have a meat Christmas dinner two months later if I wanted and it didn't have to be forever. The first full day I was veggie was the 18th October 2019 and it seemed to settle that voice in my head telling me to turn veggie. I still have messed up since then, I had prawn crackers and I didn't know they actually contain prawn, I thought it was a flavouring. I had some Fruit Pastilles and totally forgot they had gelatine in them. I also recently had pesto on some ciabatta and didn't realise that parmesan cheese isn't vegetarian. So I'm still learning and it's not a straight road but it's definitely something I feel more content with.

When I was a fussy eater and when I was around 7 I remember not wanting bacon butties on the weekend anymore, then I stopped wanting fish fingers when I had a Happy Meal. My whole childhood and most of my adulthood I've really disliked the texture of a lot of meats. I wouldn't eat roasted beef, lamb, pork or similar meats off of a joint of meat. I never ate duck because ducks are cute. I never really liked a lot of seafood and only really tried cod/haddock again after the whole fish finger thing about two years ago. Andy warned me not to try prawns because they can pop in your mouth and the thought of that made me feel a bit sick. In 2019 I seemed to have a few nasty experiences with chicken and it really put me off. So throughout the year, I'd been eating Quorn instead. We'd been having veggie stir frys for quite some time now and I'd stopped eating gammon because I just never felt like it. So I'd been a 'flexitarian' for probably the last 5 years now so it finally came to a head and I decided to be a vegetarian. 

I decided not to go vegan for a few reasons. The first being that as someone with disabilities and often needing to have pre-packaged food, the options are limited for me. Although companies are now introducing a lot of vegan foods, in some places there are not always accessible options. The second reason is that a lot of vegan foods substitute eggs with banana when baking from what I've seen and I can't eat bananas as I have an intolerance to them. This also counts for a lot of vegan options that include mushrooms which I'm intolerant to as well. The last reason is that I do enjoy making brownies and cakes and I just don't feel the want or need to have to give them up or change them when I only have them on special occasions anyway. The last reason is that some Quorn and other meat substitutes contain egg in them and where I live there are still limited meat alternatives on the shelf already so I don't want to limit myself too much. As someone with disabilities, I can't cook often and when I can it needs to be quick or something not too hard to do as I have a lot of problems with my wrists and some full vegan meals can be challenging for me to make.

I'm really enjoying being vegetarian so far, and we went to our wedding tasting meal in November and I tried the 'allergy/dietary requirement' 3-course meal which was gluten, dairy, meat etc free and it was lovely. There are a few people who have helped with recommendations for foods to try which I'm thankful for, and although I still encourage Andy to eat meat and that I don't want him to ever feel like I'm wanting him to be vegetarian, he is loving some of the veggie options we've been eating together. He's decided to label himself as a flexitarian and has recently written about this on his blog. Here's to trying more veggie food in 2020!

2020 Is Approaching Us, So What Have I Achieved In The Last Decade?

At the beginning of 2010 I was 16 and about to finish the last 6 months of GCSE exams. I'd already moved to my Dad's house, had my appendix out, started a relationship with a boy I liked and mourned several people from my family in just a few close years. When I opened my exam results I was nervous, but I achieved a double A* in ICT, A's in Science, Religious Studies and Child Development, B's in English Literature, English Language and History, and C's is Spanish and Maths. At this point, I'd already decided that for my A-Levels I would choose History, Sociology and Psychology with an AS Level in English Literature. Throughout the next two years of studying those topics my baby sister Sofia was born and she is honestly the light of my life, my little best mate and she is a joy to be around. She's just turned 8 and it just shows how fast the years have gone by. I started going out drinking and had an amazing time with friends. I applied to study Law at Northumbria University and was accepted when I achieved an A in Sociology, a B in History and Psychology and a C in General Studies in my A-Levels.

I moved up to Newcastle and still managed to communicate with my little sister despite being 3 hours away from her. I met my flatmates and for the next year, they were all great friends. The closest person I became friends with was Andy, and we used to sit and watch TV together every time we couldn't be bothered to go on a night out. By two months in I knew he was someone I highly valued and was an all-round lovely person. Not long after the next semester started I ended things with boyfriend and a few months later ended up dating Andy. In our third year of uni, we got our own flat together and it tested our relationship, especially while both doing dissertations and end of year exams but it showed our strengths far more than weaknesses. We both graduated in July of 2015 and moved to my Dad's the next month.

During my uni experience, I began to develop pains in my body and couldn't decide whether it was in muscles or bones. I don't know why it had to be just one of the two but it turned out it was both plus nerve pain. After a lot of pushing to see a rheumatologist I finally was able to go and a doctor said I had Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. This was an out of date term for Joint Hypermobility Syndrome but regardless I wasn't listened to properly and ended up back in the same hospital for another opinion eight months later. This doctor formally diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and only verbally diagnosed me with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I only found out it wasn't on my medical notes when I had a letter through the post that didn't mention it at all which only enraged me. It took until April 2018 for me to have it confirmed by a doctor and added to my medical notes. It took 4 years, which isn't even 'that' long in regards to being diagnosed with this condition. All in all, I've now been experiencing pain (I did have pain with EDS before but it was nowhere near as extreme) for over 6 years now. 

An achievement that really should be highlighted is starting this blog. It began in February 2014 so we're coming up to the 6 year anniversary in a few months. I've worked with many amazing brands and PRs and although sometimes it's hard to keep up when you're in pain, I'm so thankful I can post when I can and some brands are understanding of this. I've managed to review hotels and restaurants, share my experiences of living in Liverpool and Newcastle, share holidays with people and review a lot of makeup and skincare. I'm really grateful for the opportunities I get.

Since graduating, we went to Los Angeles together as I won a competition to go which gave us a range of emotions and experiences and we'd definitely go back again. We saved up for years and finally last year we were able to buy our first home. Aside from leaving the kitchen cupboards in their place and painting them, we fitted new worktops, tiled the walls, plumbed in a new sink, changed the flooring and the result went from a dark scratched up kitchen to a bright white and grey one. We also fitted laminate flooring in four rooms of the house, dug up a fair bit of the garden, daringly painted our living room navy blue and so much more. That was a whirlwind of four months of renovation and it was so worth it. We made the decision to not have a TV in our bedroom too, to allow us to have a better nights sleep and that was another great decision for us both. Instead of having a dining room we have a creative space and beauty area room that stopped us cluttering up other rooms. Our house is our safe space and right now I don't even want to think about moving at some point.

I suppose the last big achievement for me was deciding to get married. In December 2017 Andy popped the question on a trip to Newcastle to visit for the first time since leaving. It was absolutely freezing! A year later we booked our wedding in, so in the first half of 2020, we will be getting married. Obviously, we have had to split the money between the house and the wedding, with the house being a priority, but 2020 felt about the right time for us. Not everything is sorted yet but we are most of the way there and glad we've made the majority of the decisions by ourselves. I will share a lot of the process and things like the invitation and the dress post-wedding and I'm looking forward to that too.

For things I'd like to achieve in the next decade, there's only a few things I'm certain will happen. The first will be to get our own dog. Our family dog Charlie lives with my Dad and has just turned 12 but I do miss having a dog in the house. I do think we will eventually move house in the next decade, partially for another project to work on as we love renovating, but also for a bit more space. I have my fingers crossed that I'll continue to work from home on blog things and move properly into freelance work too. We are hoping to have our honeymoon in Disneyworld in Florida but it really depends on money. We are thinking about having a 'minimoon' not long after the wedding so that if we don't get to have our dream honeymoon then at least we can have a little holiday to have a break. Aside from that, I'm not really sure what will happen. 

What It's Really Like Living With A Disability

Me with my walking stick
Me with my walking stick

I feel like the more and more I seem to open up about having invisible illnesses, the more 'advice' people will try to give me, which often then makes me zip my lips as I feel like there is no point anymore. Unless you live with someone who has a disability, chances are you have no idea what it's really like.

I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Fibromyalgia. I have the Hypermobility type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome but I will briefly explain what that means and then explain why the hypermobility and fibromyalgia sync together. EDS is a connective tissue disorder, meaning that my skin, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, internal organs, bones, etc are affected by it. It's a genetic condition, so you either inherit it from a family member (which we're pretty sure is my Dad since he is showing a lot of signs of having it) or a mutated gene. Currently, the medical world have not discovered the specific gene in the hypermobility type and there are various tests that I've had to go through to be diagnosed. Although EDS has been recognised for decades, there are some people in the medical field that are dismissive of this condition as most symptoms are 'invisible' and especially younger women are believed less which is so frustrating. My Dad was sent to see a geneticist who simply told him that she didn't believe in EDS. 

With having the hypermobility type, my joints subluxate easily. They move around but don't fully dislocate, and since this is often invisible to the eye, a lot of people simply don't believe me when I say it's happened. My other symptoms include joint pain, extreme fatigue, digestive problems, migraines, IBS, nerve pain and other horrible symptoms. In another life I'd be a great gymnast but unfortunately, it brings a lot of negative things into my life. 

Annoyingly, sometimes to rectify problems, for example going to the dentist (I'm not even going into dental problems people with EDS have) you need to have a local anaesthetic. People with EDS seem to metabolise this quicker than the average human, often making us need more of it or a stronger dose. A year or so before I was initially verbally diagnosed, I had a filling and the anaesthetic pretty much didn't work at all and because it was a rushed appointment, I felt the whole thing. It was so painful that I was so close to passing out and could feel myself slipping and couldn't do anything about it. I'm not going to lie, I've never been back to a dentist for fear of things like this happening again.

People assume that if you're in pain that your joints are stiff. Often with me, this is in fact not the case, as I'm really bendy and don't need to stretch the joint out. Most often my pain is due to joints moving, muscles seizing up with Fibromyalgia or nerve pain. I've managed to decrease my nerve pain in certain areas, like in my arms and wrists through using Gabapentin. I feel like this medication has genuinely saved me since the pain was like lightning bolts going through my veins and simply cannot use my arms or hands in such pain. It is completely debilitating. Luckily I don't experience this as much now but I still have nerve pain in various other parts of my body.

With fatigue and insomnia, the number of times I've heard people say to me that I just need to go to bed earlier, to switch my phone off, to simply try harder to go asleep. There are times that I've been exhausted and have still not slept all night and had to power through the entire next day on no sleep to the point of nausea. I can sleep for 12 hours a night when I do sleep and still need to nap the next day. A routine does help and I go to bed and get up with my partner, but some days I can barely stay awake. It's things like this that prevent me having a job outside of my house, as I'd forever be calling in sick to say I'd had no sleep and can't function, or I'm in too much pain to get ready never mind leave the house and do an eight-hour shift. I grind my teeth in my sleep too, and last week my jaw seized almost completely shut, gave me an intense migraine and I couldn't eat solid foods and had to awkwardly whisper the entire evening. How would that possibly work in any job? Sorry boss, I'll have to write on a whiteboard instead of talking, not communicate with anyone else, close my eyes for the rest of the day and get nauseous because I can't eat and only drink water.

I've been told that if I need to sit down all day then an office job will be fine. Aside from the fact that I'm sick to my teeth of being given 'advice' that is basically a demand, an office job is not 'fine'. I can't drive, and public transport is still not great for people with disabilities. Depending on where I'd work, it could take me over an hour to get somewhere in my city due to walking slow, difficulties with using transport and stopping for a sit-down. This is where it's confusing some people. 'If you need to sit down, just get a taxi to work then sit down all day in an office' they say. Most days I need to elevate my legs as I get a lot of pain in them. The muscles hurt and my knees are so dodgy that often they subluxate and I need to wiggle them into place again which hurts so much. I get back pain and often need to lie down flat to alleviate some of it. I get migraines if I look at screens too much or if I'm in a noisy place. I had to leave my future Father-in-laws's wedding early last year because the laughs from the speeches and the lighting gave me a huge migraine.

As a kid I was always the one out of me and my brother to catch illnesses. I'd regularly hurt my ankles from over-pronating but since it seemed so often I didn't bother telling people and would limp around school. I've noticed now, that if my partner picks up a cold or something else from work, I seem to catch it and have it for weeks. Two years ago I got a cough in the first week of September. Two weeks later I flew to Poland and once I landed I needed throat sweets to numb my mouth and throat, otherwise, I'd have a coughing fit and my inhalers were useless. The day after I landed home I felt really ill and a few days later went to the local Walk-In Centre. I was told I had a virus and it should be completely gone within ten weeks. Well, it lasted 12 and it was the most horrendous time of my life. I would choke constantly and need water almost every five minutes. I was throwing up multiple times a day and anything that had crumbs, spice or a thick sauce made this multiply. I felt like a couldn't breathe but my sinuses were clear. I wouldn't wish half the experience on an enemy. It was right at the time that all the family and friends birthdays popped up and I even got engaged in this time as it was on the last part of the illness. We went away for my birthday and I knew Andy had brought the ring (see more on this here) and I said to him listen, I know you were going to propose at my favourite castle, but please don't. I was throwing up constantly on that trip and I knew I wouldn't get to experience how magical it felt. I booked us a trip back to Newcastle where we met purely so he could propose two months later as I knew he'd love to do it up there and although I was still ill, I finally got to have a nice time. Can you even fathom how horrible the entire autumn and part of winter was being so ill, and having the other problems I have too?

My partner pushing me in my wheelchair
My partner pushing me in my wheelchair

Another huge misconception is that you have to be paralysed to be in a wheelchair and therefore you shouldn't use one if you can walk and that also means you can't use disabled toilets. First of all, ambulatory wheelchair users exist. People may use them to prevent fatigue, injuries, flare-ups, and pain. They may also use other mobility aids for these reasons too. The number of times I have used a wheelchair for these reasons and moved my legs and the looks of horror I've received is honestly ridiculous. You know what type of people don't do this? Children. It seems to be the age category from my experience of roughly 40-70 where people look at me rudely. People closer to my age and children really don't seem to care that often. I do get people walking straight past me and their bags hit me in the face. They hold their cigarette close to their leg in between puffs so the smoke goes straight into my lungs and as someone with mild asthma it's not that nice. People have tutted if I'm coming down an aisle and it means they need to move slightly so that I'm able to come through and they can get down the aisle. I've had people only talk to my partner because they wrongly assume I can't communicate. People have seen my engagement ring and looked so confused as to how I could possibly have someone who loves me enough to marry me, then I can see their mind wandering, almost confused as to how I'd get down an aisle and how I'd possibly wear a wedding dress. The only way to fight this seems to be smiling and being polite. I don't have the energy to almost have to prove my disability to people anymore. And currently I don't even have a blue badge so it's dangerous even getting in and out of it, but I bet if I do get one in the future I will no doubt be left with horrible notes on the windscreen telling me I don't look disabled. Going to the toilet is awful too. In Manchester recently there were locked disabled toilets, lifts not working, doors labelled as disabled toilets only for them to have a changing mat with no toilet in. Also, the key thing is that you need to scan to open it or get a member of staff to open the door. No automatic opening, so by yourself it's hard to get in and out of the door. How are disabled people supposed to be more independent if there are multiple obstacles we are supposed to get through just to do things abled people are okay to do like use a toilet?

There is a stigma too about using painkillers. First, I've been told by people with little or no medical experience to just take some paracetamol and ibuprofen and my pain will go away. They don't work on me and despite me saying this I'm often not believed. I'm currently using Tramadol for pain prescribed by my amazing GP, only after trial and error of lower strength pain medication. I have to go to appointments for pain management basically to prove I'm not getting addicted to it. People sometimes don't believe I have pain if you can't see where the pain is. Often I get told that if I exercise my pain will go away. Even though they know all the rest of the symptoms this is what I'm told, and it's frankly not the truth. And because I'm overweight this is the default response and it is infuriating. You know when I turned overweight? When I started to experience all this pain to begin with and my GP seemed to think stress is what caused it after numerous tests. Not because I over-ate. Not because I got lazy.

Stress is what triggered the Fibromyalgia and basically ramped up my EDS symptoms that I had been brushing off all of my teenage life. With Fibro I get widespread pain which consists of burning pain, stabbing pain, aches and more. Most of the time it affects my back, legs, arms, and head. I also have increased sensitivity, so this includes light, heat and sound. It brings fatigue and poor sleeping. It brings cognitive issues known as fibro fog or brain fog, so I forget things easier compared to when I was a teenager and I find it incredibly hard to concentrate. I can't control my body temperature sometimes, so I can go really hot and really cold quickly, or some parts of my body are so hot and others feel freezing. It can make you feel really nauseous and irritated. Periods are a big issue too. You get period pain, which flares up your Fibromyalgia in the hips, legs, and back. Because I also have lower back pain due to EDS, this is amplified and I am in horrific pain. For these reasons, I take multiple contraceptives supplied by said amazing GP to stop me from having periods. 

For these reasons I genuinely believe most abled people simply have no idea what we go through. In my eyes, I don't have it anywhere near as bad as others, and I know not to compare apples and oranges but if all of this happens to me, it must be dreadful for people with fewer abilities than me. How people expect me to live a normal life and have plenty of children and hold down a job is baffling. With EDS I have a 50% chance of passing this on to a child, regardless of the god-awful symptoms and experiences pregnant people with EDS go through. I've discussed why holding down a job is too difficult and that's why I work for myself from home. I'm judged constantly by people for not being able. People don't understand why sometimes I can't attend social events, be out and about for a whole day or even the simplest of things like look after myself. My partner sometimes has to come home from work earlier or use his holidays to help me bathe, feed myself and more. I lost all dignity with my disabilities and I'm glad my partner is so understanding. Without him, I don't know what my life would be like. I wasn't disabled when we began our relationship so he has been through this whole experience with me. I've learned to only see a small group of people now due to prejudice and lack of understanding. I often leave fun activities and family gatherings in a ton of pain. How do you explain this to a perfectly abled person?

The thing is, often for people to understand what it's like, they either have to experience it themselves or be close to someone else going through it. I'd never want anyone else to feel the way I do. There is no cure for EDS, and while Fibromyalgia is also only confirmed by certain tests and not genes, I have a double whammy of conditions that are not understood properly. I might have even more conditions in the future, and heart problems are a particular one I'm worried about as I often have palpitations but they aren't bad enough (along with other symptoms) for me to have POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). I went through this journey mostly through university at first and had to fight tooth and nail to finish my degree even though I couldn't possibly use it in a career as I'm in too much pain to be a solicitor like I had planned. 

The day someone other than my partner fully understands and accepts my disabilities will be a miracle.

Games Night with giffgaff

Products gifted by giffgaff, however, this is not a sponsored post

At this time of year when the nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping, a cosy night in is much more tempting than heading out in the cold. It's easy to hibernate over the winter months and you can often forget about making time to see friends and family, so I was excited to receive an email from giffgaff challenging me to reconnect with those close to me by hosting a games night. I decided to invite some family around for an evening of food, fun, and games. Getting people together and spending quality time with one another is something that giffgaff care about as they are really big on 'community'. Being able to get in touch with those close to you is made even easier by the giffgaff free sim cards and great sim only deals so you can send out invites nice and easy. You can choose your plan and are free to change it up each month, whether you want to go for a cheaper plan or bump it up to get more data.

To help with the games night, I was also sent a bunch of goodies to make the evening enjoyable. The Amazon Echo Dot was the ideal gadget to provide some music for the evening as it's so compact you pop it pretty much anywhere, plus the voice control lets you easily control your tunes. Keeping your phone charged is something that can be a pain as we use them so much nowadays, but having a portable charger such as the Anker Powerbar means you can charge up without the need to be near a plug socket. I also received an action cam that could be used to capture some of the funny moments, along with a trophy to be ready for whoever came out on top at game night (which I was unfortunately beaten too!).

As part of the games night package, I received three games made by Big Potato Games. The first was 'Weird Things Humans Search For' which makes you take a guess at what some of the most popular internet searches have been. You'll be given the first half of the search and your job is to try and pick what the other parts have been. I can tell you that I was rather surprised and entertained by some of the answers.

Having some tasty food will always make game nights better. We decided to order some Asian food from Just Eat which arrived just as we were finishing the first game which was ideal. After eating our way through the takeaway we decided to give the Obama Llama 2 game a go. This is all about guessing the rhyming charade, while it's being described or acted out to you. I think my favourite had to be "Severus Snape eating a grape" as this provided some great laughs while my Dad was trying to act this one out.

The last game recieved was Bucket of Doom which is an adult party game that is based around planning your escape from a range of scenarios. You have a bunch of object cards (which are completely random) and you somehow have to figure out which would be the best way out. Everyone gives their go at making their best escape and then you all vote on who's you think was the best. This game also provided some very interesting answers during the evening. The games night I hosted was a great way to get family together for some quality time and was grateful to giffgaff for providing the games and goodies to make the evening a success. Why don't you give it an go and get some friends and family round for an entertaining games night?

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