2021 Beauty Affiliate Wishlist

AD/Gifted | Daisy London Jewellery Review

Daisy London is a jewellery brand from the UK that create pieces that they feel are missing from jewellery collections. They launched in 2009 on Portobello Road with the name Daisy London; inspired by wildflowers and has grown from a small business to a cult favourite. I love how they've blended together bohemian style with contemporary fashion. It's a brand made by women and they want the brand to represent us all. All their jewellery comes with a 6-month warranty, so you know you're in good hands. The rings I've kindly been gifted have come from the Esteé Lalonde collection which is their third collaboration now, as I just couldn't resist the theme. When I was watching YouTube a lot I used to watch Esteé's vlogs, so it's nice to see she is doing well and helping to make beautiful jewellery. On the Daisy London website there is a page on how to keep your jewellery clean and beautiful which is fabulous as this is often not provided.

The first ring I chose from the Esteé Lalonde collection is the Goddess Hexagonal Ring (18Ct Gold Plate) £49 which is a cocktail ring with 18ct gold-plated silver with a carved border and the lunar goddess symbol within the hexagon. It has a slim band which is perfect for me. If you know me, I love all things celestial, so this ring was the first one I chose. If you're more into different colours, it also comes in silver. The Goddess collection includes bracelets, earrings and necklaces too, which I'm so tempted by! I have to remind myself I am saving for my wedding. I just love the full moon and crescent moon design with what I see as like a moonbeam coming from behind them. For some reason I really love hexagons too, I'm even fitting bathroom tiles in this shape. It just looks different and that's exactly what I love about Daisy London's jewellery. These rings are a fusion of vintage and modern style which is right up my street, and I'm sure it's up your street too.

The second ring I chose was the Estée Lalonde Mini Sunburst Shield Ring (18Ct Gold Plate) £49. It reminds me of the 1920's Art Deco style which I adore. If you're into subtle designs with a bit of a twist, this is the ring for you. According to Daisy London, it symbolises positivity and happiness, with the sunburst engraved within the shield. Along with the Goddess Collection, the Sunburst Collection contains necklace, bracelets and earrings too which are also available in silver. The rings go from size XS to XL which covers UK sizes from J to S. I am usually an O (if you've seen my engagement ring its Q 1/4 as it's American and it's too big now!) so I chose an L to make sure it was the right fit and wasn't too tight. Daisy London has a sizing guide and also teach you how to measure your fingers to find out what size you are. If you wear rings on multiple fingers this comes in handy!

The products in the Esteé Lalonde collection range from £19 to £408, with the higher prices for the necklace layering sets. If you're not looking for layering sets, the prices go up to £179 which I think is great for a jewellery company in the UK. There are pieces that are affordable for everyone. They are also working hard to be as sustainable as they can, which is a must-have in this current climate. Daisy London's jewellery is made from 100% recycled silver and packaging is made from FSC approved paper. They are continuing to work with factories to limit the amount of plastic used whilst maintaining their high standard of hygiene. Daisy London is working with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to minimise the impact of their jewellery on the environment. There is a whole page on sustainability here, where you can read their environmental statement. I'm really thankful for Daisy London for working with me, and I hope more people can support their business, given the impact of the last year or so. I'm definitely going to be checking them out when it comes to gift-giving over the next year, as I have a lot of people who like jewellery who might be interested in their lovely products. I hope in the future Daisy London will consider creating rose gold jewellery too, now that would be beautiful!

Post contains press samples

Myths and Assumptions That Non-Disabled People Make About Disabilities

A man called Andy who is wearing a sky blue parka and dark jeans is pushing his partner Laura (me) in a wheelchair. Laura is covered by Andy as the perspective is from behind him.We are in Sefton Park in Liverpool in the midst of autumn. There are autumn leaves on the paths and green space. It is a lovely day.

A disability in the UK is defined by the Equality Act 2010 as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-lasting effect on a person's regular carrying out of day-to-day activities. This means disabilities can include visible disabilities but also invisible ones such as Autism, chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia, mental health conditions, and vision impairments. Some disabled people will have multiple disabilities both visible and invisible. There is a lot of stigma that comes with having a disability, such as stereotypes applied to us, people feeling like they cannot communicate with us, being left out and so much more. We are often discriminated against, whether that being in the form of ableist language and insults, businesses not providing access, not being believed in medical settings, and being left out of things like marketing campaigns. Misconceptions and myths need debunking, so I thought I'd write this post with a lot of them. If there is more to talk about I'll write a future post too.

Not that many people are disabled anyway so why listen to articles like this one
One in five people in the UK have a disability or chronic illness. One in five. 20%. Scope breaks this down into a few categories, including 8% of children are disabled, 19% of working adults are disabled and 46% of pension age adults have a disability.

Person-first language is more polite and every disabled person prefers it
From the disabled people I've had the pleasure to meet online, and my own personal preference, the consensus is that identity-first language is better. I am not a person with a disability, I am a disabled person. From what I've seen online, identity-first language is more common in the UK, with person-first language used more in the US. However, if you go on Twitter and speak to disabled people, a huge chunk of them will tell you they prefer identity-first language. I think sometimes it depends on the disability or chronic illness too. The preference depends on the setting, as workplaces and businesses may often use person-first language as they see it as more polite. Another example of language choice is not referring to people as 'suffering from X' or 'bound to X'.

It doesn't cost disabled people more to live
It actually does, by a lot. Scope in 2019 found that it costs on average an extra £583 a month to have a disability. This includes things like paying for mobility aids, parking for hospital appointments, paying for physiotherapy, items in the house that make it more accessible for you. 20% of disabled people face costs of over £1000 a month. Considering a lot of disabled people have no welfare money coming in such as Universal Credit or Personal Independence Payments, this is a lot of money to conjure up. In my case, I have no welfare money and rely on my partner working in his full-time job. He gets no money for being my carer when he isn't at work. We have to miss out on so many things that others take for granted, such as going on holiday, eating out at restaurants, buying a new car (that would fit my wheelchair and aids in a lot better!), buying a bigger house, buying designer clothes and so much more. Even a good sofa is a no-go for us. We have an IKEA sofa which has already had to be replaced on warranty, we cannot afford to get a fancy sofa even from places like DFS. The pressure of trying to pay for bills and mobility aids is another reason why disabled people struggle to get into the workforce too.

It's okay to offer us solutions/cures
I don't think under any circumstances it's okay for someone to try to 'fix' a disabled person. I think there can be things that can genuinely help symptoms for people, but on the whole, it's better to ask a person first. This could be as simple as 'is it okay for me to offer a suggestion that has helped me before?'. From experience, a lot of these cures/solutions/suggestions seem to be offered in a more passive-aggressive tone without genuine concern for the disabled person. Things that have been suggested to me before comprise of: trying yoga, trying pilates, walking, swimming, trying detox teas, getting a professional massage often (like I'm made of money), eating kale, sleeping better (like I haven't tried), essential oils, meditating and mindfulness, trying not to think about pain, drinking smoothies, resting and more. And people wonder why the cost of living is higher for disabled people if they're paying for a lot of these things and mobility aids and prescriptions. Needing to 'fix' us implies that you think we're broken. Everyday Feminism explains it perfectly; 'cure-focused narratives have deep roots in systemic ableism'. Treatments for us is a different matter, which can be things like physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, medications, surgeries and mobility aids. Emily Ladau puts it perfectly 'Those who are fighting hard to eliminate genetic disability should be fighting harder to change the world".

It's okay to park in a disabled bay if you don't have a blue badge, even if for a few minutes
I can give a very quick answer to this and that is a huge no. Proportionately there are way more other parking spaces than there are disabled bays, so just use one of those. I don't even have a blue badge yet and this upsets me. It is rude and shows you don't care about disabled people.

Non-disabled people can't do anything to help disabled people
Non-disabled can help us remove barriers that we face in a mostly-abled world. This can be through advocating for us for things like accessible tickets for concerts, pointing out ableism in public, supporting us to make changes online through things like petitions. By not using our aids like parking spaces and disabled toilets if you aren't disabled/chronically ill. Speaking out against ableist language from people, even if they're justifying it as a 'joke'. Even just opening a door and holding it for us. There are so many things you can do to help us that make take the smallest amount of time but could change a lot for us.

Wheelchairs are for paralysed people only
In the UK, out of the 1.2 million wheelchair users, approximately 33% of them are ambulatory wheelchair users and 8% of disabled people use a wheelchair at all. Wheelchairs offer independence to those who struggle to walk, struggle to stand up, are in pain when not using them or just do not have the energy to not be in a wheelchair. A lot of people get comments like 'someone else could be using that wheelchair and you're taking it away from them' which is ridiculous as some people like me own their own wheelchair (mine was donated to me). I think from my point of view, the funniest thing from me using my wheelchair was when I wiggled my legs and a lady looked at me in horror, like she assumed I was paralysed. Another comment is about being too young to be in a wheelchair. How do those people explain disabled children needing wheelchairs or elderly people who are fit and well who doesn't need them? There isn't an age limit on disabilities. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome which means my joints can dislocate and I can faint from standing. In what world do people think it's safe for me to be walking around a shop or a park if I don't feel able to? It puts me at risk of injury.

We all have really strong painkillers like opiates to manage pain
You may actually be surprised to hear that even the strongest painkillers sometimes do not take all of the pain away. Some people are not on any painkillers as everything they've tried doesn't work. Even if people are on strong painkillers, so what? A lot of chronic illness and disabled people struggle even getting some form of pain management as they're wrongly mislabelled as 'drug seekers'. Medication is a personal and complex topic and probably shouldn't be asked about unless you are that person's GP.

Disabled people can't/shouldn't have children
This is a classic example of Eugenics. This is defined as 'practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of the human population' and was used by the Nazis in the 1930's and 1940's for example. In that time, there was forced sterilisation of disabled people in order to make 'the best humans in the future'. It has been used to try to justify human rights abuses and despite it being widely known as a horrific thing, so many people still think disabled people should not be allowed to have children. I think people forget that you can become disabled at any point in your life, whether that be from developing a post-viral illness or being in an accident. The most important thing I can think of is 'why are other people concerned about whether we have children?'. Why does it matter to them? Whether disabled people can't have children is their personal circumstances and their medical information should not be shared with us unless the person wants to. Nobody should be concerned about whether disabled people reproduce unless you are that person.

It's obvious when someone has a disability
So many people have what we call invisible disabilities which are conditions that aren't apparent to the naked eye. Say for example you see a broken leg, you know that person has a temporary physical disability. If someone has joint pain, you often cannot see it, therefore it's 'invisible'. This is also apparent for mental health conditions and for Neurodiversity too.

Wheelchairs are the only mobility aid needed
Nope. Here are some examples of mobility/accessibility aids: wheelchair, crutches, walking stick, orthotics, walker/rollator, modified eating utensils, modified writing utensils, grabbers, grab rails, doorknob adaptors, modified sleeping surfaces, tetrapods/tripods, hearing aids, visual aids, braille menus, assistive computer technology, compression stockings, artificial limbs, feeding tubes, catheters, adaptive kitchen technology like kettles and tin openers, shower stools, hoists, toilet frames, bed levers, assistance dogs, electric mobility scooters, lifts, char lifts, eye-tracking systems, plastic straws, reminder systems, bed/chair tables, clothing aids, canes, keyboards, splints, braces and supports, ramps, fidget toys, automatic doors, and so much more.

We all have a blue badge 
The Blue Badge enables disabled passengers and drivers to park as close to their destination as physically possible. It costs up to £10 in England, £20 in Scotland and is free in Wales. They usually last around 3 years and you have to reapply for it before it expires. On the application I would check 'I have a permanent disability or condition that isn't expected to improve for at least 3 years'. This is where some of the problems lie, as some medical professionals have the viewpoint that if you exercise and lose weight you can manage conditions well which is not the case at all. If the medical professional doesn't really know about your conditions at all, it can be difficult to prove otherwise. When applying you can use supporting evidence, which is often a letter from a professional and PIP award. For me, I will have to contact my GP to ask for a letter and plead for them to say I won't 'get better' or improve, and I also I don't have PIP right now. When it comes down to having a Blue Badge, you have access problems gaining it, a financial cost, and the need to prove your disability. It isn't always easy.

We all claim Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
Like above, a lot of us don't claim PIP. Sometimes because the access isn't there in the first place to aid in filling out the forms and going to the assessment. Sometimes this is because the mental stress of filling them out and being assessed is way too much. Other times it may be because we don't have enough evidence despite living daily with our disabilities. Since the Government switched from DLA to PIP it has become so hard for disabled people to claim welfare payments. Often people have to go to tribunal to appeal the decision before they're awarded. Think about how much time, effort, mental energy, and sometimes money would go into that. I still haven't applied as I've been waiting for more diagnoses to provide as evidence. It's really tough, and you can be awarded as little as £20-something per week to live on, which is almost nothing.

It's okay to pray for us
Without permission from the disabled person, I don't think it's ever okay to pray for us. For me, it's a hard no. I don't belong to a religion and identify as a Humanist which means that I think about ethical decision-making and science. Before this, I didn't ever personally identify as belonging to a religion when I have been able to think for myself. Aside from this, are you praying that your God will fix us? Because the whole religion and disability topic is complex in itself. The Mighty have spoken about this before, as even strangers sometimes approach disabled people to pray for them. Are they trying to pray it away? People may refuse and the religious person will still try and pray for them. Or, they may refuse, they go back home and they pray for them there. Consent in every context should be taken seriously. The only people who have ever offered to pray for me have been Christians/Catholics so I can only really offer that side of the story but it feels 'off' to me. You don't see us as people, you see us as broken beings who need a miracle to make us into a proper person.

You can be too young to have disabilities
You can be born with disabilities, or become disabled as a child, teenager, or young adult, just like you could as an adult or elderly person. This myth is really harmful, as it encourages people not to believe what disabled people are saying if they're of a certain age or they look younger. The thing that gets me most is when older people believe this myth. There are mostly two categories of people who stare at me when I'm in my wheelchair; kids who are just curious, confused, or otherwise, and elderly people. The people who have glared at me most are the latter and I think it's because there is this false assumption that if you're not over a certain age you should be up and exercising, not wheeling around or using mobility aids. In the education system and in the media there should be way more education around disabilities to prevent these assumptions from happening. I've been teaching my 9-year-old sister about disabilities and ableism and from what she's said, she is more respectful and eager to help disabled people now that she is free from certain assumptions.

Disabled people can't be independent
This comes across to me as an uneducated and rude assumption, to be honest. Why can't they be independent? Why does it matter to you if we aren't independent? There are plenty of independent disabled people and plenty who need care. I'm not sure why this matters. Sometimes when out people will talk to the person who is with the disabled person, as if we can't talk for ourselves. This is awful and patronising. We are our own our person and should be treated the same as everyone else.

Disabled people should all be trying out for the Paralympics
I don't understand where this comes from. A lot of people have one of two mentalities; the first that we are all 'mega' disabled and have carers and loads of welfare money and we cannot do anything for ourselves, or, that we could be amazing Paralympic athletes and we just need to put our minds to it. What? So many people with disabilities live in unbearable pain, or they require access aids to help them do daily tasks. Let's maybe not encourage people to be athletes unless they express interest in it.

We all have carers or family that look after us
Absolutely not. Some people have neither, some people have one or both. I am lucky that my partner is my carer, but that is only because he cares for me outside of work. During his working hours, I am left alone and it is often difficult for me. Should my condition get worse we will have to look for a carer but we cannot afford one. Care in the UK is underfunded, unsupportive, and frankly not good enough. The Government does not care about disabilities (source: see their voting history). I think with the family route, some people are single and they are estranged from their families, or their close members have passed away. I would be super wary of asking people what their care situation was like unless you were able to offer a viable solution for them.

We refuse to get a job and use disabilities as an excuse
4.4 million disabled people are in work, which out of 14.1 million disabled people is a good chunk of people, especially considering you have children, retirement-age people and people with severe disabilities that prevent them from working are in this number. Many people do work with their disabilities as the statistics above show, but there are many barriers that disabled people face. Scope outlined that if 1 million more disabled people were in the workplace and supported there too, the economy would fact a boost of £45 million. A lot of disabled people want a job, but can't access jobs, or a discriminated against in job interviews. Fun fact, you don't have to disclose your disability to anyone. But facing support is a difficulty. Ways in which the workplace can support disabled people may be allowing remote work, providing lifts and disabled toilets, providing disabled parking bays, modifying hours, software licenses, and much more. Many employers think providing access is too hard, or they're worried they'll get it wrong. According to Huffington Post, the reasonable adjustment could cost just £30. The UK Government's Access to Work can even help employers cover these costs. For some, it's not the job itself but the transport. For me, with reasonable adjustments, I could work an office job providing I had plenty of smaller breaks and other things, but I cannot get to a job. I don't have a car and will not be able to drive now (see my POTS post here) so I would have to rely on public transport. Taxis can be an issue with bringing mobility aids, buses only have one disabled bay and often prove difficult when standing for a bus. Trains are tricky as often if you're using a wheelchair you have to book access help over 24 hours in advance which is ludicrous and sometimes the people don't even turn up to help you onto the train. Often on trains, those disabled bays are filled with bicycles and suitcases too. I can't cycle due to the pain it puts me in, I learned the hard way when I went to Center Parcs. Obviously, if I'm not allowed a driving license I can't use a motorcycle, not that I could afford it anyway. Walking a long distance (we're talking over 5 minutes) is a no-go. So where do we stand? For me, freelance work and working on this blog is the only option I have left.

Businesses don't need to provide access to disabled people
1 in 5 people have a disability, that's 20% of your potential customer base alienated if you refuse to provide access. According to The Ramp People, if access was provided it could bring in £249 billion a year. The Equality Act 2010 should be reformed to make more businesses provide accessibility but right now it's down to the business themselves. Access can be in these forms: Alternative menus including large font, different coloured paper, and braille, ramps up to doors, automatic button doors, disabled toilets, changing spaces toilets, no flashing lights or strobe lighting, a quiet room for sensory purposes, moveable chairs to allow wheelchairs to take their space, access listed on your website/Google Maps, lifts, wider stairs, handrails, multiple disabled parking bays, employees trained in basic British Sign Language, space wide enough for wheelchairs to manoeuvre, no chairs/tables/signs blocking the pavement outside, dropped curbs, adequate signs, low background music, and accessible checkout desks and reception areas. According to Purple, businesses miss out on £2bn every month if disabled people cannot access their services or shop. 

Whatever the medical professional has said is always right and we can't know more about our conditions
If you've not seen the meme 'Don't confuse your Google search with my 6-year degree and medical school' then you may not have seen the response from the disability/chronic illness community. The response is 'Don't confuse the one-hour lecture you had on my condition with my X years of living with it'. It's true though. I have had to explain my hEDS condition to almost every medical professional I've had. The only person who knew about it was my Cardiologist. Even with POTS, I just said 'dysautonomia' to my Neurologist because so many people have no idea about these conditions. Obviously, there are exceptions here; there are specialists in those conditions, some professionals have the conditions themselves or some are keen on learning more about conditions and will know a lot about them. Sometimes you will have medical professionals who don't know about your condition but will read up on it and learn more before your next appointment. But the whole 'don't Google anything' mentality is damaging and dangerous. How many people will have symptoms, search about them and realise it's more urgent than they thought and seek medical treatment that can save their lives? My bet is more than you may think. I have Googled the whole way through seeking multiple diagnoses because I had no idea what I might have been facing. I had joint pain and the only thing I knew of was Arthritis, which from tests I do not have because I don't have inflammation of the joints. I knew from my first misdiagnosis that it wasn't as simple as 'you're bendy', Googled it, researched it and went back with more knowledge, and advocated for better care, and it completely paid off.

You don't really become disabled later on in life
Often we are asked "were you born like that" which 1. you shouldn't be asking that, if you're intrigued about someone's disability there are far better ways to start a conversation, and 2. why can't you ask 'do you need any help' or 'how are you getting on', not questioning our disability. This is a multi-part question regardless. A lot of elderly people become less mobile and would class themselves as disabled. There are plenty of instances of people either being born with their disability or becoming disabled at any point in their lives. Genes can kick in with things like puberty or menopause, accidents happen, you can be born with a genetic condition that gets worse as you get older, things like viruses can leave you with disabilities. Also, mental health conditions and Neurodivergent conditions like Autism, ADHD, etc are all classed as disabilities if it affects your daily life. You may not know you have one of these until you seek medical help. Anyone can become disabled.

We're brave for living with our disabilities
This one is right in the 'inspiration porn' area. The reason disabled people don't like it when they say they're 'inspired' by us is because it's often used when we're just doing our daily tasks. Non-disabled's expectations for us are nearly touching the floor they're that low, so if we do anything independently it's often mentioned about us being brave. Stella Young said in 2012 "what did they inspire me to do?" and I think that's a great quote. If we put our shoes on ourselves, are you now inspired to put yours on yourself? No? Exactly. It's so patronising.

It's fine to use wheelchair-bound
This ableist language is not okay for a few reasons. The first is that for those who need a wheelchair, it's an extension of the legs themselves. Non-disabled or abled people can get around using their legs, so for us our wheelchair is the equivalent. That's why it isn't okay to push us without asking or to store your bags on our wheelchair without asking permission. Also, why are we 'bound' to one? Many wheelchair users are ambulatory wheelchair users anyway but many people who are not will transfer to a sofa, a bed, a chair. They do not stay in their wheelchair 24 hours a day.

Disabled toilets are for wheelchair users only
This is a common misconception. Some disabled toilets have now changed their imagery to include things like walking sticks and invisible disabilities. If you are genuinely disabled, that toilet is for you. If you're using it to skip a queue or otherwise, that is not for you. But on the topic of wheelchairs, a good percentage of wheelchair users are ambulatory, meaning they can either walk, stand, or take a few steps.

Once you become disabled you are disabled forever
False, conditions like cancer and other life-threatening conditions can be covered within the Equality Act 2010 from diagnosis until you're recovered. You may have a condition that when treated or medicated well, you don't consider yourself disabled anymore. Some conditions are untreatable or incurable, however.

We should use nicer language, like 'differently-abled' instead

I saw an article on Medium about why we shouldn't be scared of the word disabled and substitutes just should not be used and I completely agree. Creating other labels is an attempt by some to make it 'nicer' for us but it actually does the opposite. Other labels include 'special', 'challenged', 'handicapable', 
If someone were to call me by one of these disability euphemisms, I would ask them what my other abilities are, or am I special like a magical being? Because these words are just terms for 'different' or 'not normal'. Disabled is the appropriate word to use. The euphemisms are infantilising and if they're used with children it will be frustrating for them to have to switch labels when they turn into a teen/adult. Disability rights activist Lawrence Carter-Long created the hashtag #SayTheWord to advocate for everyone using the word disabled instead of euphemisms. When it comes to using language around disabilities, the National Center on Disability and Journalism has a create dictionary online that you can use to see what is appropriate, although it does advocate for person-first language completely so take it with a grain of salt. The NHS has a language guide here too.

Being Diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

I thought this day may have never come, but I finally have my POTS diagnosis. I'll explain a bit about what POTS is first, then I'll chat about how I got my diagnosis and the time frame too. 

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is an 'abnormal response by the autonomic nervous system to upright posture'. It means when someone with POTS stands up, different symptoms can occur but this will usually be dizziness (pre-syncope), syncope (fainting), fatigue, nausea, brain fog, temperature dysregulation, palpitations and headaches. Other symptoms can include cognitive impairment, excessively rapid gastric emptying, chronic headaches, tremulousness, sleep abnormalities, orthostatic intolerance, anxiety, visual problems, chest pain, blood pooling resulting in purplish discolouration and bladder problems. There are a number of causes of POTS, but I have what's known as secondary POTS because I have it as a comorbidity to my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), specifically the Hypermobility type.

Things that can worsen POTS are things like excess heat, standing up quickly, dehydration, menstrual periods, the time of day (worse in the mornings), alcohol, eating, and more. There are different ways for POTS to be diagnosed and this will depend on which country you live in and the preferred method of the medical professional. For me, I started off with a GP appointment in December 2019, and my lovely GP referred me to the Cardiology unit in the local hospital. Around January/February 2020 I had an appointment in Cardiology for me to go over my symptoms and I briefly mentioned my EDS and the Cardiologist there said it's common with POTS. I had a series of tests there before I had other appointments such as 24-hour ECG, 12-lead ECG, blood tests, and an Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). 2 years prior I had already had 2 ECG's and one 24-hour blood pressure monitoring. In September 2020 I had a phone consultation with a different Cardiologist, and he said he would chase up on my Tilt-Table Test. This is where you lay flat on a bed that has a footplate (so you lie from the bottom up with your feet at the very end of the bed which felt weird for someone who is 5ft 4") and you are monitored constantly via blood pressure and heart rate. The two female medical staff were lovely but told me they couldn't have conversations with me once the test had begun as it can be distracted and can affect your results. They tilted the bed up (head up) 60-90 degrees (source: BHF) and they dimmed the lights. You stay like this for 20-45 minutes. For me, the test was cut short at maybe 10 minutes as I blacked out and lost consciousness (which is what they're looking for really). If you don't faint, they can give you a glyceryl trinitrate spray to see if it accelerates your symptoms to observe whether you will get dizzy or faint. I was so worried that they wouldn't have the results they needed that I was willing to start it again! I've attached my Instagram post below from my chronic illness account that I wrote directly after it.

Although POTS was first recognised in medical journals in 1993, a lot of medical professionals still have no clue what it is. It's really hard to prove you can faint unless you do faint, so having a written diagnosis is completely worth it. I felt like it took a lot of advocating on my part and being vocal with what treatment I'd like. Basically, from the September 2020 appointment, I was prescribed Bisoprolol which is Beta Blocker that slows down your heart rate and makes it easier for the blood to get around your body. Since getting my diagnosis, my Bisoprolol has doubled so I take one in the morning and one in the evening. Since December 2019 I've also been taking Ramipril which lowers your blood pressure and helps the blood get around the body. They both seem to work well for me and I'm very grateful that they have both reduced my palpitations and chilled my heart out a bit. I have also been 'prescribed' a high salt diet of 10g a day. The NHS recommends for most of the population the intake of salt is no more than 6g a day. The only other things to help are: making sure you don't stand up too quick, wear compression clothing to stop blood pooling, when standing crossing your legs and standing in different positions, drink plenty of fluids, avoiding long periods of standing, and reducing caffeine intake. Exercise is suggested, similarly to EDS, but I find this difficult. I get extreme headaches, cannot do fast exercises like HIT, things like using a cross-trainer make me incredibly dizzy, and things like swimming set off my Fibromyalgia. The best things I can do it using a rowing machine which I don't have, nor a gym pass, gentle stretches, and when I'm up to it, going on short walks. 

I'm really glad that I've finally got my POTS diagnosis as it explains so many of my symptoms and has enabled me to get the treatment I need, particularly helping to lessen the heart palpitations and regular spells of dizziness I've been experiencing. If you are also going through the process of getting a POTS diagnosis or are experiencing symptoms that you are not sure about, then my advice would be to keep going, record your symptoms and do some research around POTS so when you speak with your GP you have a better understanding yourself which should help to explain what you are experiencing. If you ever have any questions you'd like to ask about POTS or other health issues then feel free to tweet me.

20 Small Businesses to Support in 2021

I decided during the first lockdown that supporting small businesses would be more important than ever now. For most of the Christmas presents we bought, we bought them from small businesses and it was more exciting than buying the same old products from the same huge stores. I've picked out some shops I've bought things from before, and some stores I will check out when financially viable. I hope you'll consider supporting some of these shops in the coming year if the opportunity presents itself to you.

Okay, I am biased here, but my Sister-in-law has her own small business selling scrunchies, masks, greetings cards, bunting and other bits and bobs. She has a degree in textile design and has made items using her own patterns and fabrics. I'm sure she will release more products as time goes on but right now she's just announced her items for Valentine's Day which look so cute. I've bought scrunchies from her before and received a greetings card for my birthday too so I can vouch that she's a hard worker with great quality items. You can check out her Etsy store here > Handmade By Helen Liz.

I first saw Alice's small business over Twitter and have bought multiple pairs of earrings and keyrings from her since. She makes items using Polyclay and as I'm writing this post I'm realising there are a few new pairs of earrings I am eyeing up. Her products are worth a lot more than she charges and she is doing so well over on Etsy. I love all the different colours her earrings are and since I love wearing drop earrings her products are perfect for me. You can check out her Etsy store here > AlicexLizzy.

I bought a beautiful white and gold ring dish from Love Me Unique for myself and Andy for our wedding and engagement rings instead of putting them in their ring boxes. We have them out in the dish even though they're not being worn yet. Our dish is like the one above but has L & A on and I absolutely love it. I know we're well ahead of our wedding (which has been postponed for the third time!) but it's so nice to have the rings out on our pretty dish. Love Me Unique also sell ring cones, foiled prints and Christmas decorations if you'd like to check out their store here > Love Me Unique.

Sootmegs is actually a store I bought from a few years ago now as I wanted to wear badges for when I used the disabled toilet in public if it wasn't inherently obvious that I had a disability. They don't just sell badges for disability, they have LGBTQA+ badges, mental health, social distancing, general feelings and custom pins. They have badges for everyone and the bright colours really help others pay attention to them. I have mine on my sunflower lanyard to help highlight that I have an invisible disability and I know I'd like the public to read them and acknowledge them, I feel more confident using services available to disabled people just by wearing them. I'll have to pick up some more soon as they have badges for neurodiversity and more of my health conditions. You can check out Sootmegs Etsy store here > Sootmegs.

I've only recently discovered Tree Market and I love their store. I was browsing through Depop the other day and saw that they sell vintage books and other goodies and it was so lovely to see there. Because of the pandemic, I've not been able to go to stores to see products like these, so obviously, I had to pick something up for a present for someone. If you'd like to visit them, click the link here > Tree Market.

I've followed Cally who makes Constellation Co Jewellery on Twitter for a while, so I have seen her jewellery before, and it is stunning. I'm obsessed with the piece above, the Celestial Space Pendant Necklace (£16). I mainly wear rose gold jewellery which is why I haven't bought it yet, but if an event comes up where I need to wear gold, I can guarantee this is the first piece I'm buying. I love celestial things, I even have most of my gallery wall in my living room based around celestial things. If you'd like to check out Cally's Etsy store, click the link here > Constellation Co Jewellery.

Stitch & Ink is a sustainable and plant friendly shop that make some really nice home decor and accessories as well as some items for your doggy friends. Whether it's prints, candles, decorative home pieces, face masks, makeup bags or a doggy bandana this shop has something you should like. I'll be looking to buy from here in the future and if you like these type of products it's worth checking out their Etsy store, click the link here > StitchandInkbyAC.

Dumpling Art Design sells some really cute gloss vinyl stickers, art prints and postcards and I love the style of the designs. I noticed that they have done some animal crossing designs which I particularly like as I'm obsessed with this game right now with Maple, Paté and Merengue being my current favourite characters. They have a number of different designs so you should be able to find one you like or for someone as a gift. If you'd like to check out their Etsy store here > Dumplingartdesign.

If you are looking for handmade teddies or fabric bags then I'd check out Fleabag Crafts as they have some really nice designs. I particularly love the vintage campervan bag in the photo above and could see myself using one of these in the future. They use both new and reclaimed fabrics and have a range of designs that would make perfect gifts or a nice treat for yourself. The bags come in different styles including tote and shopping ones so would come in useful. If you want to check out their Etsy store click here > Fleabagcrafts28.

I have started to pick up more handcrafted jewellery recently so enjoy browsing through designers such as KLAI Studio. There have quite a few different colours and designs that are unique compared to items you can buy on the high street, such as their marble earrings. They sell necklaces, bracelets and earrings which includes some clip-on earrings which I think is great to include those who need to wear these and don't want to be limited to what's in a normal shop. To check out their Etsy store click here > KLAIStudio.

I attempted to hand-knit myself a blanket once and can tell you it was a lot harder than I thought it would be and it didn't turn out as it should have so I can really appreciate the detail and quality finish of these knitted items by Alice. She's made a few different items including scarfs, snoods, headbands and blankets and has different colour options. These could be perfect gifts to give to someone close to you, or as a treat to yourself. If you'd like to look at their Etsy store click here > TheKnittingFoxGB.

Blighty's is an independant family-run gift shop that sell gifts made in the British Isles and are proudly supporting British manufacturing. They also like to discover talented makers on Instagram and at trade shows. They have an online shop on their website where you can browse through a whole host of products amd gifts. If you are local to Cranbook, Kent they also have a gift shop on Cranbook high street to visit. To have a look through all the products they offer you can click here > Blighty's

Paquita Ruby Jewellery sell a number of different pieces of metal jewellery in gold, silver and rose gold with many including gemstones. They are quite subtle pieces that could be worn regularly with different outfits which is great. Their products include earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings and they have plenty of different designs to suit different tastes. To see what they are selling, you can click here > Paquita Ruby Jewellery.

The Doodling Company make personalised and handmade gifts for special occasions including wedding-related items. Personalised gifts can make really special presents for someone and show you have put thought into it. The shop sells things such as bags, cards, signs and decorative items that all can be personalised to the recipient. If you want to check out their Etsy shop, you can click here > TheDoodlingCompany.

When I asked on Twitter for small businesses, Terranova Clay Creations posted their shop and I went on and immediately fell in love with a couple of items that could be used for my wedding but would also look cute in my house, so I purchased them straight away. One of these is the one in the picture above. They make some really cute terracotta ornaments, garlands and even cards decorated with clay pieces. If you'd like to see what they have, you can check out their Etsy store if you click here > TerranovaCCreations.

Laura produces some amazing art and I love her style. She paints acrylic landscape paintings and art prints. I particularly love the one above with the celestial theme as this vibe is very me. The detail in these paintings is really impressive and they would be great as decoration in your home or also for giving as a gift. If you'd like to see more of what she makes, you can see her Etsy store if you click here > LauraCarolineArt.

AliceandIvy sells boutique stationery designed to bring a smile to your day which includes cards, prints and paper goods. I've bought some postcards from here before as I really like the style and have put them on my gallery wall and in my kitchen. They have funny, motivational and cute designs including ones for different occassions with many different options to choose from. To check out their Esty store, you can click here > AliceandIvyuk.

I came across Doodles From My Brain on TikTok and thought his style is really quirky and fun. He has a lot of fun with his designs and lets his mind run free when creating. He makes pins, patches, cards and more all in his unique style. There are so many products to browse through you should be able to find something you like. He's also made his own books which would be worth checking out. To see the Esty shop click here > DoodlesFromMyBrain.

If you're looking for some pretty women's home and lifestyle accessories then it's worth checking out what Robin and Thorn offer. They have items such as pin badges, bags and purses, homewear, cards, notebooks, beauty and skincare products and more. I love collecting pin badges and particulaly love the the witch one above. If you want to see all of the products they offer on their website click here > Robin and Thorn.

This shop creates pretty fabric items including bags, gifts, face coverings and decorative homeware pieces. They have a number of bunting designs in different colours which I think are really cute. There are items that could be for yourself or make great gifts for others. If you want to see their Etsy shop, click here > madebymeinyorkshire.

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