The Sisterhood of the World Nomination

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The lovely Kira from https://kirabmoon.wordpress.com/ kindly nominated me for this award. A big thank you to Kira and please take a moment to check out her blog. Many of you probably know how these awards work but the rules are that I answer 10 questions and then nominate 7 other bloggers and ask them to answer the same 10 questions.

First the questions:

Why do you have a blog?

I wanted to connect with people and whilst I can be quite awkward in most social situations I am at my best when I can write. I also wanted to show that being sick and disabled is not an ‘old person’ thing, that it affects people of all ages and that those of us that are inflicted by such things want the same access to life experiences as healthy people – especially the fun stuff!

What inspires you the most?

Can’t choose between two so I will have to say animals and literature.

Favourite animal and why?

Again, I’m going to be a chicken and name two – cats and dogs. I have two cats and one dog. I’ve had cats since I was 9 and they are amazing animals, smart, funny, strong and affectionate. Cats also make you work for their love which I kind of admire.

I have always wanted a dog and when I got my health up to a decent standard a few years back my dog Keats was my reward (unfortunately I have relapsed quite dramatically 8 months ago). Keats was worth waiting for! Dog’s are devoted, loving, sweet, and kind. My dog follows me everywhere (I mean everywhere!) and can never get enough cuddles. One of my favourite things to do was to go on walks with Keats but since my relapse my friends and family now have that pleasure.

What is your favourite colour?

Red! Like the poppies which are my favourite flowers.

Do you prefer the ocean or mountains?

Ocean. I love the sea, the sound, the taste of the air, the enormity of it and it’s movement. I’d love to live by the sea.

Tea or coffee?

Tea. I love the smell of coffee but I can’t bear the taste.

How many languages can you speak?

Embarrassingly only one and that is my native language. I’d love to learn French and Russian but at the moment I struggle enough with English.

What made you happy today?

My animals.

What is your dream?

To have a fulfilling career that enables me to travel and have a house by the sea. If I could get paid to write that would be pretty amazing!

What is your favourite food?

Fishfinger sandwiches. I lived off them whilst I was at uni.

Secondly, here are my 7 nominations:

https://effingfibro.wordpress.com/

https://rhosynmd.wordpress.com/

https://peachteapot.wordpress.com/

https://faloolar.wordpress.com/

https://undiagnosedwarrior.wordpress.com/

http://therheumaticrollercoaster.com/

https://zoerising.wordpress.com/

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Learning to be social

Our world’s can become very small we are burdened by chronic illness and people can seemingly drift away from you as you become increasingly confined to your house or bed. It can be lonely, frustrating and incredibly dull! As illness and pain snatch you further indoors the world can seem so distant that it can become alien. When your bed becomes your world Earth may as well be in another galaxy. I had no knowledge whatsoever of social media and only really used the computer for shopping and typing. Technology baffled me, I only opened a Facebook account a few years ago and did so reluctantly.

I am naturally a shy person who feels awkward in many social settings so I feared that as there are much more people online I would find loads more people to be awkward around and 100 more opportunities to make a fool of myself. But in January I became sick of being excluded from conversations and wanted to connect with others. I was and still am often confined to bed so the only course open to me was to use the internet to reach out. I had zero knowledge of social media but after looking around I thought blogging would suit me, so one restless night searching for a distraction from the pain I made my first post.

Blogging has been such a source of comfort for me these past months. I love writing and always felt more comfortable in that medium than any other so I’ve felt less shy and felt more comfortable to express myself. And blogging, best of all, has brought me into contact with some incredible people. As I’ve enjoyed blogging so much I started to think about other social media sites as I know many of you bloggers out there have several other links on your blogs to Twitter etc. My knowledge of how such sites work and how best to interact with them is very poor but I decided to give them a go. I warn you that I have no clue what I’m doing but if you would like to follow or contact me any other way there are some social media icons at the side of this page you can click or you can click these links below or on my About Me page.

Twitter: @moderngirlsick

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/elliesimaginary/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/elliesimaginaryfriend/

My blog will always be main focus but I thought it might be fun to branch out a bit. x

YOU Beauty Discovery Box Review Featuring NUDE Rescue OIL

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I went to the YOU Beauty website solely to purchase the Limited Edition CEW Box that I reviewed in the previous post. I was pleased to pay £19.99 for the box and was expecting the standard £4.95 for postage but on reading the postage terms I saw that YOU Beauty Discovery Box members did not have to pay postage so I looked into the YOU Beauty Discovery Box. I really didn’t need another subscription but as the Discovery Box only costs £6.99 and also has free postage it seemed rude and imprudent not to sign-up! I saved myself the £4.95 p&p that I was prepared to pay for the Limited Edition Box and got for two pounds more another box (see how my brain works?).

The YOU Beauty Discovery Box is the cheapest subscription beauty box that I’ve come across and allows you to choose two beauty samples from a selection that changes each month. You also get some extra treats in your box. As this was my first box I don’t know if the extra treats are always food/beverage related but all but one were were on this occasion.

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The two samples I chose were:

  • Nude Progenius Rescue Oil (5ml)
  • Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish (15ml)

The Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish contains Papaya Enzyme and Glycolic Acid, which helps to explain why it smells like Elemis’ Papaya Enzyme Peel. Anything that involves the word acid always makes me shudder even though I know that many of these acids naturally occur in the skin and the fact that is says ‘triple’ dermabrasion also left me a little concerned. After testing it on the back of my hand the other day and finding that it was gentler than expected I gave it a go on the face the following day. The Polish is a little gritty but you are encouraged in the instructions not to scrub at your face, just gentle massage it over. You apply to a clean wet face and then wash off after two minutes. The Face Polish does rinse well and quickly as some other products I’ve used that contain those scrubbing grains can be nuisance to wash off gently. My skin felt clean afterwards and not at all dry or tight and it didn’t even make my skin blush let alone red-up. Skin felt politely prepped for the application of my next sample choice.

I’m a huge fan of oils and use a range of different ones to suit the demands of my skin at the time. When all my vials of oils are lined up my dressing table looks like a Victorian apothecary and I do treat them as my skin’s medicine cabinet. The Nude Rescue Oil contains Omega and Bakuchiol which is described in the accompanying booklet as ‘nature’s answer to retinol’. The oil claims to ‘refine and clarify’ the skin. The oil is very liquidy and almost melts mid-air before it reaches your palm which means it can be a bit messy if you don’t get it from hands to face super-quick. The oil glides on easily because of it’s runniness and your skin feels instantly smooth and soft. The effect on the skin in the morning is of a rested and clear complexion which is tough for me to achieve at the moment as I’ve been really ill and unable sleep despite being doped up on a cocktail of drugs. I probably used too much the first-time I used the oil, a little really goes a long way, there is a pump dispenser on the bottle despite it being a sample. Whilst a 5ml sample doesn’t seem huge because you only use a tiny bit for the whole face it should last a significant time. One thing to note though is that it doesn’t have a lovely smell, it’s not horrible but I think because of the Omega it has a little hint of the fish oil about it. I think I’ve just made it sound worse than it is as it’s a very subtle smell and I only generally pick these things up as I’m super sensitive to smells but I thought I’d let you know as you might be disappointed if you’re used to oils with floral smells such as Rose and Lavender.

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Still struggling with nausea at the moment so not tried any of the extra treats but teas are always welcome and I love strawberries so I hope I’ll be able to try then soon. The box was a lovely treat and well worth the money.

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

You Beauty Limited Edition Box

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Until recently I hadn’t heard of the You Beauty Discovery Box subscription but I am glad now that I looked them up. In addition to You Beauty Discovery Boxes they also do You Beauty Limited Edition Boxes and this month’s special edition box gathers up products from brands that have won CEW awards in 2015. The CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) awards are prestigious awards that acclaim the most effective products as chosen by industry experts. I was drawn immediately to this box as I quickly eyed one of my all-time favourite products Elemis’ Pro Collagen Marine Cream.

The Pro Collagen Marine cream is a premium product with a premium price point and I’ve only ever been able to afford it when it is a part of a set and at a special price. In slightly more comfortable times I would buy Elemis and Liz Earle when they were part of QVC Today Special Values and stock pile them for a later date. The 30ml Pro Collagen Marine Cream retails on QVC UK for £50. The size of the cream in the You Beauty box is also 30ml and the box contains many other products – so what on earth must this box cost? The answer is £19.99! I was slowly processing that if I buy Elemis’ Pro Collagen Marine Cream on its own I would pay £50 but if I buy a beauty box that has the same product in the same size I would pay £19.99 and get extra beauty goodies from established and up-and-coming brands? No brainer!

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I have been looking forward to getting this box as I am currently using my last Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream and now I feel relieved that I will have a spare. I love the Marine Cream and use it all year round; in winter I use it as a day cream and in summer I use it as a night cream. It has a gorgeous light, gel-like texture but looks and acts like a cream. It’s high on hydration and incredibly calming and boasts of high-powered anti-ageing benefits due it’s marine ingredient Padina Pavonica. I’ve used this for three years now and it’s made such a difference to it’s look and feel and I also like that it is light enough to use round the eye area as I can get eczema there and most other things can aggravate it.

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I was also intrigued at the dr. organic Snail Gel (also full-size) as dr. organics is a brand I’ve used before and you can get excellent natural ingredients for a fraction of the price that named brands charge. It’s a brand that can be found in Holland and Barrett stores. I think we’ve all heard about snail gel but most of us think ‘ucky!’ when we think snails but this gel (totally clear) contains the key extract that snails use for regeneration and repair and claim it will have the same effects on the skin of us humans (no live snails on the face required). The gel is quite dryer in texture than I first thought (probably still have snails quite prominent in my mind) and I didn’t feel a lot of moisturisation from the gel but did feel a slight tightening, though it wasn’t uncomfortable. I think it could be quite effective on areas on the body that could do with some TLC or areas on the face that you think could do with a little lift and pull.

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The box also includes:

  • Philip Kingsley Elasticizer 40ml
  • Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
  • Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner sample
  • Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2 in 1 Cream Cleanser 30ml
  • Vita Liberata Luxury Tan 20ml
  • Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser sachet

I will review some of the other products at a later date as I’ve had a bad few days and my medication is affecting me quite a bit but I wanted to share what great value this box is. This limited edition box is available to non- You Beauty Discovery Box members but you will need to pay £4.95 p&p. However, if you join and buy the Discovery box for £6.99 and then order the Limited Edition box you get the postage for free!

Here’s a link to the You Beauty Discovery Box site.

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/luxury-boxesWP_20150616_20_38_15_Pro      WP_20150616_20_39_06_Pro Keats is an Elemis fan and has to be kept away from the pot of cream as he has been known to lick the cream out of the pot on more than one occasion – that’s one reason why I need a stockpile! x

Birchbox Review – June Drop

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After my stresses and strains this week I’m pleased that I can share some of favourite things again. I have been receiving Birchbox beauty boxes for over six months but I have never shared their contents before as by the time I remembered to photograph it all I have already ripped apart the box and devoured the contents. Birchbox is a beauty box subscription service that sends out a box of beauty goodies every month. You receive five personalised beauty samples every month for the monthly subscription price of £10 (plus £2.95 postage). You can save more if you buy 3, 6 or 12 month packages but I do it monthly so I can cancel whenever.

I am a little addicted to beauty boxes and I also receive Glossybox at the moment and have just ordered the You Beauty discovery member’s box and their limited edition CEW 2015 box and I am also looking into the Latest In Beauty boxes. I know, it’s absurd to have so many and I am not going to be doing this every month! This is purely in the name of research (wink) and a bit of a tonic to get myself through this tricky month. I love parcels – even when I have to buy them myself – and when they are beauty parcels, even the better!

So here are the contents of this month’s Birchbox:

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  • Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain in Poppy
  • Cowshed Body Lotion in Gorgeous Cow
  • HIP Ultra Shine Shampoo
  • Penhaligon’s Iris Prima Eau de Parfum
  • Premae Mild Dermabrasion Face and Body Scrub

Also included as a bonus is STYLondon Temporary Metallic Tattoos amnd a Shoe Bag that is part of the French Sole and Birchbox collaboration that has inspired this month’s box. My Breton stripe design box is one design of three that you could choose. Some months you may be able to choose a shade of a product before the box is sent out but mostly the contents of the box are a complete surprise! Although Birchbox do try to match the products to your needs and wants if you fill in your beauty profile when you subscribe.

My favourite in this box has to be the Penhaligon’s Iris Prima eau de parfum and whilst it’s only 1.5 ml the starting price of the full size perfume is £85. It’s lovely for summer in that it has a gentle clean freshness in it’s bergamot top notes but holds as a sunkissed warmth and balminess in it’s sandalwood and vanilla base. It was apparently inspired by the English National Ballet. I much prefer this to Prada’s Infusion D’Iris. I have some Penhaligon’s miniatures but unfortunately no full sizes at the moment.

The Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Body Lotion is lovely but don’t go near this if you don’t like Rose – it is very heady in it’s fragrance. The consistency and moisture is pleasant but I wasn’t as wowed by this as I hoped but my skin is going for a bad patch at the moment due to the Sjogren’s flare-up.

The Cynthia Rowley Lip Stain is a gorgeous shade (Poppy) but is a little on the greasy side and only lasted a couple of hours and I usually expect more for something called ‘stain’.

The HIP Shampoo and the Premae scrub are two brands and two products I haven’t heard about before and as my skin is very sensitive at the moment I am going to wait a little before I test these fully. I did try the scrub on the back of my hand and is relatively gentle and the small patch I tested did feel soft. It does say that the Premae scrub 100% natural so it should be fine but I’ll still wait a bit. The scrub does not appear to have a fragrance and seems a little strange because of this (usually a product smells of something), maybe the tiniest hint of it’s natural coconut oil but it’s so non-descript it shouldn’t affect if you want a ‘clean’ base that won’t interfere with your favourite perfume.

As for the Temporary Metallic Tattoos? I must be getting old as I can not fathom the lure of such things. I know that they seem to be everywhere this festival season but I think I’ll let this mini-trend pass me by!

All in all a mixed bag but part of the fun of these boxes is the surprise element and in being prompted to try new brands and products and I always enjoy that!

If you were tempted to subscribe or just nose around their site the UK link is below. If you subscribe on this link you can get 50 Birchbox points to start you off (earn 100 points and get £10 to spend on beauty products in their shop).

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/snwj3

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Contact

I’ve only just realised that I haven’t properly written on my about page – duh! I really thought that I had written one but it only shows my Gravatar and not one specific to The Modern Girl’s Guide. As I haven’t I will do. But until I write one properly if anyone would like to contact me my email is elliesimaginaryfriend@gmail.com

I will sort myself out one of these days! x

The Importance of Information

Yesterday I had a health assessment in my own home to see if I qualify for a UK benefit called PIP (Personal Independence Payment). I have been stressed and anxious at being ‘tested’ and I was in a lot of pain yesterday. I am still in pain today. That pain is being worsened by another ‘test’ that I have been summoned to take on June 18th. I have spoken to quite a few of my followers who have been going through similar things; applying for welfare, seeking medical support, financial worries and dealing with prejudice relating to their conditions. I have also been amazed at how despite some people I have talked to being from countries outside the U.K., even as far a-field as Australia and America, their experiences are so similar to ours in the UK. And I have also been shocked to find that the institutional and societal prejudices that have been increasing in Britain regarding chronic illness and invisible disabilities are also present in other countries.

In the belief that key to The Modern Girl’s Guide to Being Sick is the importance of information and that as knowledge is power, the more we share and add to that knowledge the stronger we become I would welcome people to post any links they have found useful in managing life with their conditions, or share any advice or tips they would give others.

Two links I have found useful the past few days regarding UK benefits have been:

http://actionforme.org.uk/Resources/Action%20for%20ME/Documents/get-informed/esa-appeals-factsheet.pdf

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip/pip-points-system

I have given longer descriptions and analysis of the processes on my sister blog: https://theillrepresented.wordpress.com/

£1 Glamour Magazine and ModelCo Freebie – Amazing!

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Glancing at the magazine racks a magazine quickly caught my eye. I do tend to buy Glamour Magazine most months as it has a great price (usual price £2), good content and often has freebies, but this month Glamour surpassed themselves. I believe that as a way of celebrating The Glamour Women of the Year Awards conducted by Glamour magazine the magazine’s cover price is just £1 and to spoil us further the magazine has one of four ModelCo beauty products attached for free. You can choose from a ModelCo mascara, a black eyeliner, a blue eyeliner and a lip gloss. The ModelCo products that you get free are all full size and retail for over £10 each. An absolute bargain! I bought two copies and chose the blue eyeliner and the lip gloss.

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I have used ModelCo’s lip glosses before and true to form this lip gloss in a shade called ‘Striptease’, gave a subtle, natural tone to the lips with its sheer coverage. The shade is very versatile and could tone with any other makeup and outfit easily and the gloss isn’t tacky either so it’s fuss free. The lip gloss also has a handy mirror attached to the side of its tube which is very handy and pocket/clutch friendly.

I chose the blue eyeliner as I only have a very dark navy (almost black) and was hoping for a more true blue colour but the ModelCo eyeliner in the box was more of a French Navy. Despite being a little surprised by the shade of the eyeliner it is still a lovely colour (and probably more wearable than a true blue). The pencil is soft (which is so important!) and although I only wore it for a lazy afternoon it stayed put quite well.

If you like a good read, a good product and a good bargain you can’t go wrong with this month’s UK edition of Glamour; after all, who can argue with Glamour for a pound?

Bright Eyes

Due to my Sjogren’s Syndrome I have a very sensitive eyes. I struggle using some eye makeup and when it’s really bad I can’t wear any makeup around my eyes at all. Everything in and around my eyes can get sore. I have zero tear production so I need to use drops daily and I get eczema around my eyes. As well as this I have concerns over dark circles and redness from the fatigue. I have been given loads of different medical ointments from steroid creams to E45 but the only immediate relief I can get comes from Liz Earle’s Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion. The lotion uses natural ingredients, the main ingredient being a tiny used in old remedies that was called eyebright (in this instance the old wives new best). The ingredients also include witch hazel water, aloe vera and cornflower extract. It is cooling without stinging and calms any puffiness whilst the eyebright does seem to reflect away any darkness. It is really relaxing when put on cotton wool and laid over closed eyes for 10 or so minutes. I have used it to take off light makeup as it’s very gentle but it wouldn’t take off anything heavy. I am grateful for this modest hero.

http://uk.lizearle.com/eye-treatments/eyebright-soothing-eye-lotion.html?ingredients

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I wish I could be quite so effusive about an eye cream but I am still searching for an eye cream that I can use that gives great results. I have tried creams ranging from a few pounds to £50 and whilst some have been ok I’ve never found anything that makes me go ‘wow!’. I’m using Balance Me’s Wonder Eye Cream at the moment due to having found a deluxe sample in one of my reserves drawers and so far so pleasant. The cream is light to use but keeps the area moisturised all day, I can’t say that I’ve noticed much lift but I have only just started using it. Dark circles are being managed well by the cream so far and it is kind to the skin. The Wonder Eye Cream boasts 99% of it’s ingredients are from natural origin which is something I do try to look for nowadays as I do seem less sensitive to products that are more organic. This is certainly a good cream and one of the best I’ve used but I still can’t find myself able to rave about it – but I can’t really criticise it either. Perhaps I am asking too much from one cream? Most likely my weird symptoms are just too much.

https://www.balanceme.co.uk/face/product-family/extra-care/extra-care-wonder-eye-cream-7ml/wonder eye cream

Oops!

I started a sister blog to this one a few weeks back looking at the social and political issues related to chronic illness and disability but someone has kindly told me that the link I posted hasn’t been working. Oops, this is my fault – I typed it in wrong. Here it is again if you had tried but failed to find it due to my mistake.

https://theillrepresented.wordpress.com/

I hope the link now works. I am no techie and this time last year I would have shied away from anything other than basic typing and internet shopping. I have learnt so much this year about widgets, embedding links, blogging, Pinterest, Instagram etc. but I still feel lost most of the time as I still don’t yet really understand it all. x