My Top Ten Posts Of The Year 2018

So it is the time of year we start rounding up and reflecting.  I thought I would start this years top ten posts with a collection of my favourite posts which I have written throughout the year.  Hopefully you will have already read and enjoyed these, but if not I hope you have a read and let me know what you think!

Handy Hacks For People With Arthritis

There aren’t many bloggers talking about arthritis and it is something I definitely want to focus on more next year.  It is still so often associated with old people, yet I was diagnosed at just 15 months of age.  This post was really well received by my readers and led to a fantastic opportunity with Ecovacs Robotics (see post).  There are so many more things I do to try and make my life that bit easier so keep your eye out for more hacks in 2019!

Date Night Ideas For Spoonies

I have a lot of people contact me and see a lot of posts on the online support groups about relationships when you are chronically ill.  It can be a real worry – so many think having a chronic illness makes them unlovable which is just not true!  This post showed some of the ideas you can do when you are flaring and not feeling great to keep your relationships spark alive.  Me and Ste got the chance to do an Instagram takeover this month of Gutsy Dating – it is a dating app designed for people with digestive health problems.  Such a fab idea and I hope it is a great success and lots of my fellow chronic illness warriors find their someone special!

Better You Iron Spray Review

I wrote this for Jenna over at A Balanced Belly.  I feel really lucky to have made some amazing friends in the blogging world and to get the chance to write for one of my favourite blogs was amazing.  I have been really lucky working with Better You this year as well.  It is a fab company with some really amazing products which I have had some brilliant benefits from.  This iron spray and the magnesium bath salts are two of my favourites.  Definitely take a look if you are a fellow spoonie!

Back To School For £50 or Less?

Anybody who follows me on Instagram will have seen my #ootd posts.  I created the hashtag #whatostomateswear as I hope to show others with an ostomy that they can still wear what they want, regardless of having a stoma.  Pep & Co is one of my go to places – their high waisted jeans and jeggings are my absolute faves!  When they contacted me about working on a post with them, I was over the moon!  They challenged me to kit one of the boys out for the new school year for less than £50 and this post lets you know how I got on.  A blog highlight for me this year for sure!

FAQ – The Flu Jab

Having been ill for basically, all of my life, I have learnt quite a lot along the way.  I don’t claim to be an expert but I listen, read and ask questions a lot.  I really hate it when I see false and sometimes potentially dangerous information being passed around support groups and online.  I like being able to create posts like this to help people make more informed decisions about their health.

The Top Ten Things About Getting My Stoma

This post has been shared alot and I think it has helped people who have just had, or are about to go through stoma surgery.  For some reason an ostomy is still often seen as the very last option and something that nobody wants, even by many doctors.  But my stoma has given me a new lease of life, I can’t begin to explain the positive changes it has made to my life.  This post is about celebrating my ostomy and the great things it has bought to my life.

Advocacy

I was asked by my lovely friend Stephie of Colitis To Ostomy to write a piece about being an advocate for the Comfizz blog which she runs.  It was great to write about and share the pros and cons of what we do.  I love being able to help people at all stages of their chronic illness journey and it gives me such a sense of joy to be able to help them in any way I can.

Blog Tour Book Review – Leo’s War

I am going to do another round up featuring my favourite books of the year but had to include this one in my favourite posts.  I love to read and enjoy sharing what I read and what I thought of them with you.  This year we have been lucky enough to be sent some amazing children’s books as well.  Both of the boys love to read and this one was Leo’s first review this year, which made me so proud.  

Recipe – Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne

My recipes section of the blog has been a little slow during the second half of the year but this was one of the favourite things I created earlier on in 2018.  I am a massive pasta fan (should have been born in Italy) and this was a great twist on an original.  Hopefully this section will be updated more regularly for you in the coming year.

Stinky Stanley – Coping With Smelly Output

There had to be a place for my most successful post I had written this year – this one has been viewed nearly 1000 times!  I am glad it was well received as it took a lot of research!  Every time I thought I had tried all the products available I cam across another one.  Hopefully lots of you found this helpful.  I know from my own experiences that coping with the smell of output, especially when out and about, can be really worrying so it was good to find things that worked!

So what do you think of my favourites?  Do you agree?  Are there any other posts you would have liked to see in the top ten?  Let me know in the comments below!

November Favourites

I haven’t done a favourites post in a while and thought #blogmas was the perfect time to bring it back.  Here is what I have been loving this month.

Netflix – Salem

I have been watching this while Ste has been in hospital as it isn’t really his cup of tea.  I have really been enjoying it though and have enjoyed looking more into the history of the Salem witch trials as a result (I am a bit of a history geek).  I am about half way through the second season now and there are three online, will hopefully be finished the whole lot by Christmas.

I also finally got round to watching Bridget Jones’s Baby and really enjioyed it!  Perfect for a cosy, girlie night in!

Aldi Cheddar and Cracked Black Pepper Thins

I picked these up in Aldi and they are super delicious.  Perfect for a snack with some homemade salsa or with a little cheese spread on – I hope I will be able to find them in there again.  That is one of the only problems with Aldi – they don’t have everything in there everytime you go in!

Starbucks Eggnog Latte

So so pleased to see these back in Starbucks!  I have never tried proper Eggnog before and think I need to give it a go this Christmas, but these taste amazing!

Asda Red Pepper and Wensleydale Soup

Nothing says Winter to me like a bowl of soup!  I often pick up two or three of the fresh soup cartons from Asda when I do the shopping, which do me two meals each.  This month I saw this one for the first time and it is really tasty!  I took out the pieces of pepper skin as my ostomy would definitely object if I ate those, but they are quite big and easy enough to remove.  I also love the Broccoli and Stilton one they do too.

MakeUp Revolution Advent Calendar


Ste got me the Yankee Candle Advent Calendar and this year he has got me this one – I love it!  Really cant wait to open the doors and see what is inside.  Be sure to be following mwe on Instagram as I will be sharing what I get over on my stories!

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Christmas Tree Scent Sticks

I picked these up in B & M and they smell amazing!  Can’t wait to pop them in my tree so the whole living room smells of them!

Geeky Melts Wax Melts

Everyone who knows me, knows I love my candles and wax melts.  I was really pleased to be sent some wax melts from Geeky Melts to try.  They worked really well for two burns and the scents were amazing and different from any I had had from other places.  I love the different designs they do (including fab Christmas ones at the moment) and think  they would make perfect gifts.

Check out Geeky Melts on

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Etsy Shop

I do hope you have enjoyed my little round up this month.  I am sure there will be LOTS for me to share in the December round up – it is one of my favourite months of the year after all!  What have you been enjoying this month?  Let me know in the comments below so I can try them out,

Everyday Morning Skincare & Make Up Routine

Good morning and happy Friday – here is to the beginning of the weekend!  I am looking forward to another sunshine filled weekend and hope you have lots to look forward to as well!

Today I am sharing my everyday morning skincare and make up routine with you.  This post is sponsored by latestdeals.co.uk and you can find all their make up deals at the link below.  They have some fantastic offers and total bargains on their websaite so definitely one to check out if you want to try something new!

https://www.latestdeals.co.uk/tags/make-up

I am no beauty or makeup expert but have found some great products that seem to work well for me.  I have dry, sometimes sensitive skin which can be a pain.  I am obviously in my thirties now so taking care of my skin has become even more important to me lately.  If you are interested in seeing my evening routine which is when I focus more on skincare, please let me know in the comments below.

Everyday Morning Skincare and Make Up Routine

My favourite skincare products have been from Nivea and Simple and this has been the case for many years.  I will take off my make up in the evening and so in the morning will generally just use  a cleansing wipe or my Simple Micellar Water and Toner.  I know cleansing wipes are not the best thing to use but they are great for convenience, for taking with me when travelling or staying at Ste’s and as I do a proper skincare routine in the evening to remove my make up, I don’t think I need to worry too much about using them in the morning. I generally purchase my cotton wool pads from Primark as they are nice and cheap, and will often get my cleansing wipes from there too.  I tend to use the moisturiser pictured from Nivea which is super hydrating and always leaves my skin feeling well moisturised.  Ut also contains an SPF which is important for me, particularly in this weather,.  Some of the medication I use can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.  Although I do not seem to suffer with that, I like to make sure I stay protected anyway.

I generally wait about ten minutes after moisturising before I start putting other products on my face.  This gives the moisturiser time to sink in and I tend to get dressed while I wait.  Primer comes next but to be honest, I have never found one that seems to make a lot of difference to my skin.  A couple of months ago I picked this up from Loreal.  It is their CC cream and I have found it works really well to even out my skin tone and reduce any redness I can get through my skin being a bit sensitive.  My make up seems to apply really well over the top too.  As you can see, my tube is almost empty but I will definitely be repurchasing this one!  I featured this in my February Favourites post which you can read here.

I do use an eye primer though as my eyelids are quite dark and they do get greasy.  This one from MUA evens out and lightens the colour of them and makes sure my eyeshadow isn’t sliding off after a couple of hours!  It was really cheap but does the job I need it to.

I will sometimes just use the CC cream and won’t add any foundation but if I do, my go to daily foundations at the moment are the Revolution Fast Base Foundation Stick and the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation.  I love the speed and easiness of the Revolution one, and the fact you can apply it just where you need it.  I purchased the Bourjois one after seeing a YouTube recommendation by Pixiwoo  and have been really pleased with it.  I went for the serum formula due to my dry skin and have found it works really well for me.

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Next up concealer and this is one of my must haves due to my very dark circles. No matter how much sleep I seem to get, they rarely ever look better!  My two favourites are these ones from Bourjois and Collection Lasting Perfection.  I apply in a triangle under my eyes and pop a bit on my nose and the centre of my forehead.

I have a huge selection of eyeshadow palettes but my favourites have to be my Revolution ones!  I don’t always wear eyeshadow for everyday but if I do, these will generally be my go to.  Neutral browns, pink or peachy shades tend to be the everyday colour I go for.

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For the rest of my face I tend to use just a bit of blusher and highlighter for everyday.  The photograph shows a few of my faves.  If I am staying at Ste’s or away somewhere I tend to take my Primark PS Chocolate Cheek Palette as it has a couple of blush colours and a highlighter so I don’t need to take as many products with me.  Thy also smell of chocolate which is a heavenly bonus!

I have recently discovered the Brow Tattoo from Maybelline and it is brilliant!  I am not big into doing much with my brows anyway, but this leaves them looking a little fuller but still natural and lasts for three days so saves time in a morning!  I will then just comb them through with the Browdrama which is just like mascara for the brows and they are sorted!

Maybelline has also been my go to mascara brand – I don’t think you can beat them!  I am currently using this one to finish off the day time look.

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My last step is to use a setting spray.  I am currently using this one which is fab and I also like the hydrating one from Elf, which helps stop my skin looking too dry.  In this weather, spraying your face with a nice cool mist is also very lovely!

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I like having my makeup neatly organised in these clear organisers.and I found them available on Latest Deals here

I hope you enjoyed reading about my morning routine.  As I said I am no expert but these products I use regularly and I find they work well.  What are your everyday must use items?  Let me know in the comments below.

Once again a big thank you to latestdeals.co.uk and check out the link at the beginning of the post for all the latest make up deals and offers!  Have a fab weekend!

nat

April Favourites

The end of April already – how time flies!  I have found myself saying that so much already this year but it’s true, it seems to be flying by.  Anyone else feel the same?  We are already a third of the way through 2018, that’s crazy!  Anyway, I didn’t get round to doing a favourites post last month but this month I have lots to share with you so enjoy.

The Client List
the client list

I started watching this last month on Netflix and am loving it, I have about half of season two to go now.  It stars Jennifer Love Hewitt who I think is great, and tells her story of being abandoned by her husband and starting a new job as a masseuse at a place she soon finds out offers extras – and she really needs the money!  Lots of laughs, heartbreak and the anticipation of someone finding out what’s going on keeps you on your toes with this one, definitely recommend it!

Gold Rush

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My family all watch this show and I never really got into it – until Ste started me watching it!  Now I love it and have found the recent spin off following Parker and crew into the jungle really interesting too.  Even the boys have started watching it too, their little eyes light up when they see them measuring the gold at the end of the episodes!  I don’t watch a huge amount of TV and things I do watch, I mainly record and catch up when I can.

Lush Sleepy Body Lotion

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I have heard so much about this and decided last month to pop in and give it a try.  One of the lovely staff members (they all seem like the happiest people on Earth in there and are so friendly and helpful) asked if she could help and I told her what I was looking for.  She kindly found me a tub and explained where best to use it.  She explained it is a natural product and is designed to help aid sleep but obviously isn’t a miracle cure.  However, both me and Ste have been using it for around a month now and have found it works brilliantly!  Really helps aid relaxation at bedtime and is a good part of my night time routine.  It smells lovely and I love that the products from Lush are natural and not tested on animals.  If you struggle to wind down in the evening I would suggest giving it a try.  I put it on the pulse points of my wrist and neck and it rubs in really easily and doesn’t go greasy.

Bath Bomb by Saboa

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This bath bomb came in my March The Mummy Club box and it was AMAZING!  Smelled divine, looked pretty and my skin was so soft and smooth when I got out the bath that even Ste commented on it!  Heavenly, will be ordering from these again!

Find them on Instagram – Hello Saboa

Sunshine

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It has arrived and I couldn’t be happier to have spent my birthday week enjoying the warmer temperatures and lovely sunshine.  I am sure I have a little S.A.D. – I really do feel a whole lot better when the sun is out.

Horlicks

Another integral part of mine and Ste’s bedtime routine now.  It has been nice to start using more natural remedies rather than medication to aid sleep and a warm, milky Horlicks just hits the spot!

MakeUp Revolution Palette – Reloaded

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I finally found the palette I have been after for the last two or three months and treated myself to it with some of my birthday money.  It’s only £4 which is a bargain and is full of colours I adore!  Have used it a couple of times but can’t wait to keep trying different looks.  I really love the Make Up Revolution palettes and own a few now.  I find them good quality, inexpensive and they have great variety.

Peach Coca Cola

I thought the Mango was nice…but the peach one is even better!!!  I love peach flavoured pretty much anything anyway so no surprise I liked this really.  Have you tried it yet?

Dog Shampoo

I grabbed this dog shampoo as I knew we were almost out of our current bottle.  It was in one of the Aldi ‘random’ aisles and cost about £3 from memory.  We have only used it once so far, but it left Knox’s coat really smooth and shiny and smelled amazing.  This lasted a lot longer than the one we were using before too and his skin has been great with it.  Definitely keeping my eye out for it to appear again and will grab a few bottles to keep us stocked up.

Uno

This isn’t a new favourite for the month but we have played it a lot this month (Easter Holidays and all that) and we just love it!  We have Uno championships pretty much daily and whoever wins five games first is crowned Uno champion for the day.  It is a really simple game that even young children can enjoy (there is a Junior version too) and just lots of fun.  Some of the kid’s board games can get a bit boring, even when they love them, but this one always keeps us all entertained.

Chicken Korma Pot Noodle

Wow!  Pot Noodle have bought a few new flavours out but this one has to be the best ever!  Absolutely delicious and even Ste agrees!  I have also tried the Sausage Casserole one which is nice but nothing to rave about and have a BBQ Pulled Pork one in the cupboard to try so will let you know how that goes.

Horrible Histories Colouring Book

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I have loved the Horrible Histories books since being a child and now as an adult I love a good colouring book.  Finding the two combined in The Works made me slightly excited and I had to grab a copy.  I find colouring really therapeutic and a great non-screen time hobby

My Birthday

I did it, this month I turned 32.  I had an absolutely fab day.  Two friends came to stay and the four of us went for a prosecco breakfast.  Ste wasn’t feeling well at all but managed to make it out with us.  We then chilled at home in the garden in the beautiful sunshine before going to meet up with my family in the pub for an evening of drinks and laughs.  Was really relaxed, fun and I was thoroughly spoilt.  Thankyou for all the lovely messages I received, they all meant so much.

I am going to leave it there as could go on all day, especially as it has been two months since I last did a favourites post.  I hope you liked and will try some of my suggestions.  Please let me know what you have loved this month in the comments below

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

February Favourites

Wow!  I can’t believe February has been and gone.  I t was over in a flash!  Anyone else feel the same?  Those couple or three days clearly make a lot of difference, although I feel this year is flying by pretty quickly.  As it is the end of the month I thought I would share the obligatory favourites from this month and let you know what I have been loving.

Max Factor Foundations

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I popped into Superdrug initially looking for the Loreal Pro Glow foundation which I had been recommended but when I couldn’t find it I decided to have a little browse and found these two.  The descriptions sounded perfect for my skin and as they were in a buy one get one half price offer I decided to grab both.  One is perfect for every day wear and one is better for when I have a long day or need a little extra coverage.  My skin is really dehydrated and I am trying my hardest to take better care of it and these have been fantastic.  Both help keep my skin looking glowy and fresh, don’t stick to the dry patches and last really well.  I am super impressed and will be repurchasing I am sure!

Mowgli Indian Street Food Restaurant

Me and Ste don’t often go out for food but after a busy morning in Birmingham with the Salts crew (see below) I needed to eat.  As we got back to the train station we talked about going to Ed’s Diner.  We spent our first weekend together in Birmingham and went there for breakfast before we had to leave for home so it hold’s a few memories!  Unfortunately it was packed so we went looking for somewhere else.  Did I mention I was starving?!  Ste then noticed a sign for Mowgli and was sending a photo to his Dad (it’s a family thing) and we realised it was a restaurant.  We had a quick look at the menu and decided to give it a try.  Our waiter was fab, the restaurant looked great and there was an amazing smell coming from the kitchen.  The waiter explained it was like ordering Tapas, aside from two dishes which would each be like one main meal for an adult.  We chose the cheese on toast (without a doubt the best cheese on toast I have ever tasted), chip butty (spiced chips rolled in a chapatti), the lamb keema and some roti breads.  Even Ste ate more than I have seen in a long while…he couldn’t help it, the food was absolutely stunning.  Would recommend this place to everyone I know, it was just outstanding and some of the tastiest food I have ever eaten!

Dog Lead

All you Instagram followers out the re will know about my gorgeous dog, Knox.  He is an 11 month old Staffie and we got him just before he turned six months old.  Unfortunately he wasn’t trained well as a puppy and so we are having to do a lot of work with him but he is an absolutely lovely dog.  I have seen a couple of leads like this one in the shops and always thought they might be a good idea but finally took the plunge after an Amazon search and purchased one.  As he can still get a little excitable and pull on the lead I have been worried that the arthritis in my wrists and elbows will start playing up.  These leads have a slight spring to them and I am hoping will absorb some of the shock so my joints don’t have to!  So far so good, and the lead is holding up well.

Passions Deli Sweet Popcorn from Aldi

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I have been trying to watch what I am eating this year as my snacking especially had got a little out of control.  I have discovered these small bags of sweet Aldi popcorn which are super tasty and a great portion size for a mid morning or afternoon snack.  I am really lucky as an ostomate to be able to eat popcorn without suffering major problems as long as I chew well and drink plenty

Canvas from Aldi

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This was definitely my bargain of the month!  The colours will go perfectly in our bedroom once the decorating is done and it was just £3.99!  Amazing!

Aussie Shampoo/Conditioner/Mask

My hair has been a nightmare lately.  The hair currently growing out was what was coming through during a Crohns flare and is in a really terrible condition.  The hairdressers I have gone to the last couple of times in Halifax are absolutely amazing and really understanding and have just been doing regular trims to get it under control, as taking off all the damaged hair would leave it short and I do not want to go that short all in one go!  I also went to Asda and spent a little more to get the Aussie hair shampoo, conditioner and three minute miracle mask.  They were on offer for 3 for 2 so that was a bonus and it has definitely been helping as well as smelling amazing.  Sometimes a little extra investment in products is definitely worth it in the long run!

Filming experience with Salts Healthcare

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Last week me and Ste had an amazing experience when we travelled to Birmingham to meet with the Salts Healthcare team to take some photos and record some video footage talking about their new Confidence BE bags.  I will be writing a full post about the day so you can find out more about what we did but it was absolutely brilliant.  Completely wiped us out but it really was worth it and I really enjoyed it.  Really love seeing how I am finally getting my confidence back after a few years of not quite being myself!

The Good Place (Netflix)

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I may have previously talked about this series before but I have now watched the whole of the second season and I just really enjoyed it.  It is a little bit wacky and different but I really liked watching what happened next every week.  I am gutted I now have to wait aaaaages for the next season but am glad to hear it has been renewed.  The basic premise is that Eleanor (played by Kristen Bell) dies and goes to heaven and gets told she has been taken to ‘The Good Place’ as she has earned her place there through being such a good person on Earth.  Thing is – she wasn’t and she realises she has been put there by mistake.  The story continues from there and it really is a funny watch, the characters are all fantastic and I could do with my own Janet!  And if you don’t agree just fork off!

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty (Audible)

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Audible is one of my favourite discoveries of the last six months.  When my Mum recommended it I really wasn’t too sure but it has become my best friend on long car journeys.  I still have a paperback Liane Moriarty book to read but this is the third or fourth of hers I have bought on Audible and I absolutely LOVE her books.  The lady who reads them also has an amazing voice which I find I could sit listening to for ages.  Even Ste ends up putting down his book and listening while we are in the car together!  This story takes place on a small, private island and is centered around a family with a big secret.  The major story line focuses on this mystery but the side story lines including about body confidence and post-natal depression were also gripping.

Loreal Glam Nude CC Cream

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I have been using this colour corrector before my foundation and it has really helped even out my skin tone.  It is also perfect for no make up days and helps me feel more confident about wearing less make up and no foundation as I always worry that my skin looks awful without any.  Will be another product I am repurchasing!

Barry M Flawless Mist & Fix

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Lastly, y new make up setting spray and I am currently using this Barry M one.  I bought it as I like the word illuminating but you have to be careful not to spray too much or too close or you can end up looking a little glittery and sparkly!  It helps keep my make up in place all day long and I love the finish it gives so a big thumbs up from me!  Also, it doesn’t smell nearly as bad as my last one so that is an added bonus!

That is all for February my lovelies.  Thankyou for joining me for another month and I am really looking forward to March.  My Monday blog series will be continuing through this month and we have Mother’s Day coming up which is really exciting!  Let me know what you have been loving and I should be trying in the comments below and I will see you for more favourites next month!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy