Through My Eyes

Some people say I talk too much, that I always have a story to tell. I don't know what's round the corner so my blog is about life through my eyes and making every day count.

A bad week

Any parent knows that one of the worst things in the world is when your child is poorly. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain or not feeling well and knowing there’s not s huge amount you can do about it. 

Megan is now 11 years old and suffers from Asthma on a severe level. It started when she was just a baby and developed a cough that turned into breathing difficulties and a hospital visit. This was repeated twice a year until she was 5 and Asthma was diagnosed. Since then we have at least 2 hospital visits a year some which result in a week in intensive care on machines recovering. 

The thing about Megan’s Asthma Is that when she is well she is as healthy as the average child. Megan is very sporty and plays on the school Football team, Netball team, plays cricket and rugby and is on the Athletics and cross country team. Not to mention karting! I am so proud of Megan, at any point she could have a serious Asthma attack but doesn’t let that stop her doing anything. 

The thing with Asthma is that an attack can happen at any time, and last week out the blue it did. Tuesday morning Megan woke up and couldn’t breath. An hour later we were in hospital on nebulisers which then turned into spending the week there as her lung function was that low she couldn’t go without oxygen and constant nebulisers. The doctors told me if she didn’t improve we would be going round to the HDU to try and get her lungs working better. 

As a mum it’s the scariest thing in the world to know that your child’s lungs aren’t working of functioning very well. It’s hearbreaking to see her there struggling to breath and relying on the oxygen and trying not to panic as she struggles for breath! 

So a week in hospital then home to recover, not the best week ever but something we are quite used to. I sometimes sit and think what if… What If we are not there next time, what if school don’t recognise the signs, what if there’s nobody to help her next time, what if it’s worse next time? I have to put it to the back of my mind because I will just sit and worry and get in a right state over the reality of it. 

Megan has told me no matter how bad her asthma gets she won’t let it stop her doing her sports. Most kids these days are sat in front of the TV eating junk food so I’m so proud of Megan’s attitude. 

So next weekend back to Rowrah karting. Megan has begged all week so thought we would give it a go, she seems back to full health now, until next time!  

   

Band Aid, charitable or a complete con?

This post was written at Christmas and I have just logged on to my word press to see that for some reason it has not posted.  I was going to delete it but then thought actually I will just post it!! 

Charity work and helping others is something I am massively keen on which is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about and am very opinionated on the subject of charity.

so Band Aid…. Some look at all the celebrities singing and think it’s great, pick up the phone and donate. I am quite the opposit and refuse to waste my money on band aid. There is so much wrong with that song!

my first point is that every year we raise millions of pounds for Africa through Band aid and comic relief yet the problem never improves. We get told every year that thousands of people in Africa are dying yet the millions of pounds we raise makes no difference! Maybe the reason is because Instead of helping Africans the money is being invested in unethical companies such as firearms, tobacco, alcohol! Not to mention the money that the executives of these charities get to fund their lavish lifestyles and sports cars!

The next point is that Bob Geldof is worth a reported 30 million yet he thinks it’s acceptable to ask members of the public to “give us your fucking money” and thinks it’s ok to tell people to buy the single even if they don’t like it! If people had spare money to donate to a charity they should be able to pick a charity themselves and donate that way rather than being told to download a song they don’t even like!!

While watching all the celebrities singing the and aid song I wondered how much money all the people in that room were worth! Each celebrity is massively successful and if everyone of them just donated a months wage then Africa would be massively better off…. Or not as the case may be as the money probably doesn’t reach anyone in Africa! The celebrities wouldn’t do that anyway seeming as the reason they take part in band aid is not to help anyone but just to raise their own public profile!!

Has anyone actually listened to the words of the song because I actually find it borderline offensive! To give you an example…..

Do they know its christmas? Of course they know it’s christmas and its quite patronising to think otherwise. I have been to Western Africa at Christmas and visited the poverty stricken areas and despite the conditions and low quality of life the people still managed to come together in their communities and be festive at Christmas. There is one line saying there is death in every tear? And there’s no peace and joy in Africa? Whoever wrote these lyrics has clearly never been to Africa! Yes the Ebola crisis exists and is awful but as is aids, cancer, poverty in England, child abuse and many more awful things in the world none of which we try and fundraise for by singing a song slating the whole country!!

The little reminders!

So after the whole Cancer episode I thought I would just forget about it and move on, I was back at work after a few weeks and didn’t have to have chemo so in my mind once I had got the operations out the way everything would go back to normal! Turns out that’s not the case!!
It is a bit strange because at the time I was having all the tests, surgery etc I didn’t once freak out or get upset. Yet over a year later I find myself getting stressed and upset for stupid reasons! The first thing is the paranoia, I get the slightest headache and I think it’s a brain tumour, I have a tiny new mole at the moment that I’m convincing myself is cancer! It’s not a healthy way to live but after the shock that I had breast cancer I now start looking for something wrong with me and am constantly paranoid! 

The next thing is my back, when I had my surgery they removed the muscle from my back to do a breast reconstruction. This must have caused some nerve damage that the surgeons say could be permanent. If anyone hugs me or taps my back I get shooting pains resembling electric shocks! I never say anything when this happens as I don’t like to make a fuss but it’s really painful! I was on the treadmill the other day and only walking at a slow pace and my back felt so strange, it like tightened up and was really painful! I am hoping this will go over time but it’s been over a year and it hasn’t! 

I have booked us a holiday to Oludeniz in Turkey for July. I am so excited! It’s our first holiday abroad since my operation and will be my first time wearing swimwear! This has turned out to be another massive drama, it must sound like I’m being a proper moaning Minnie but all these little trivial things never used to be an issue but suddenly are! So far unless I wear a wetsuit I can’t find one bikini that flatters my over inflated wonky boobs! My husband keeps saying there will be way worse looking people on holiday so stop stressing but every girl wants to look good in a bikini and for me it’s not actually happening at the moment!  Either way it will be a fantastic family holiday wonky boobs or not! The hotel looks great and the sea is bright blue and really clear. It’s really exciting! 

Anyway enough winging from me, I always tell myself there are far more people out there worse off than me so smile and get on with it as it always could be worse! 

Cancer – A year later

In a lot of my previous posts I have talked about getting back to normal, getting back into my fitness and normal daily routine. It been a year and 3 months since first diagnosis and it has been a year and 2 weeks since my surgery. So a year on how are things?… Well I didn’t have any major treatment after so besides recovering from my operation i could get back to my life pretty quickly. Work is back to normal, life goes on and my health is all good so as far as I am concerned that short hiccup in my life is done and gone.
While out at a christmas party last Saturday someone put their arm around my waist and squeezed me and the pain in my back was dreadful. This was basically because of nerve damage from my operation something which the surgeons say may get better over time but may not. Then when someone took a picture of me in a group I had a quick look and realised the ever so slight bit of cleavage I had showing was completely wonkey and misshaped and I was far from showing off a good set of boobs!!
Don’t get me wrong I am in no way shape or form complaining and am really happy with how it’s all gone but just these 2 little incidents were reminders that despite me being Cancer free now and healthy, I’m always living with it and will be reminded of. The way I see it though Is i may have wonkey boobs and a nerve damaged back but I am still here to tell the tale and got off lightly compared to a lot of people who suffer a lot longer than a year! I just hope they hurry up and find a cure so that more people can get over it quickly, stop suffering and carry on with their lives like I am fortunate enough to be able to do!!

Amsterdam

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I am Amsterdam

I am Amsterdam

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This started off as a short blog post and has perhaps turned into my longest blog post yet!!!
As far as traveling goes i am more of a sunshine and scenic sort of traveler, I love coastal views, scenic places, peace and tranquility! So I am still asking myself why I thought for my 30th Birthday and once chance at some holiday off work I chose Amsterdam! I think it is just one of those things I wanted to tick off my imaginary list of things I have experienced!

So the total trip for 2 people without spending money was £450. This was including ferry crossings and 2 nights I. A central hotel so not bad I thought. The ferry crossings were the overnight ferries with a room so 2 people, 4 nights plus crossings and transfers for £450 seemed ok.
On arrival in Amsterdam the first thing I thought was how busy it was! Everyone going at a really fast pace, if you stopped walking to look in a shop window for example then you got run over by other people or push bikes! Push bikes were absolutist everywhere and they don’t stop for you, you just have to move for them!!
The hotel was very central and 1 street away from the Red Light District so great location but very noisy and busy. The room was not exactly the normal standard I stay in and had a bit of a funny smell but was clean and tidy so no complaints!

Amsterdam itself on a whole is quite a strange yet endearing place and I really feel I need to share my experiences with anyone interested and looking to go! I will start with the good stuff! The bits I loved and enjoyed!
I am not normally into buildings but found the architecture quite fantastic. All the buildings were very tall and amazing looking and all minimum of 3 floors. I went in a shop called Forever 21 which was women’s wear and the shop was over 6 floors! I found myself taking a lot of pictures of all the buildings.
The other significant thing about Amsterdam is the canals and the canal network. Every street pretty much has a canal running through it. I really liked this and loved looking at all the boats going up and down. The Atmosphere in Amsterdam is quite something, it’s very busy and everyone Is happy (maybe something to do with the drugs being smoked!)
The other main thing I liked in Amsterdam was the food and restaurants! We love a decent meal and love eating out and my well built steel erector husband could live off steak if he had too! The streets are just lined with Argentinian Steak houses! Why Argentinian? I don’t know and have the answer, maybe Argentina produce the best steaks?! Either way you found one street could have 10 steak houses to choose from! We must have eaten in about 4 different steak houses over the few days and the steaks were good!!!

So now on to the bad stuff, in fact no not the bad stuff at all, none of it was bad, it was just different, more of a strange experience than an enjoyment!!

firstly my views and experience on the lenient drugs laws! A very strange going on but not something I am going to criticise! I don’t do drugs, never have, I don’t even smoke cigarettes so had no intention of smoking anything in amsterdam just because it’s legal! Its interesting to see though, in certain areas the streets just stink of it, you may not plan on smoking it but walk past a coffee shop and breath in at the wrong time and you don’t have a choice!! The one thing I do find really strange is my husband lit an ordinary cigarette in a bar as he occasionally smokes and got shouted at by the bar maid, “no no no” “no Tabbacco, only weed” So it’s legal to smoke drugs in bars but not cigarettes!!
As mentioned above I have no interest in doing drugs but when in Amsterdam it is so normal! It’s not seedy or wrong, it’s just the norm! That said I still wasn’t going to be smoking anything strange as I like to feel in control of my mind and don’t like getting really drunk never mind stoned……famous last words!
Not sure whose idea it was to eat space cake but when a nice slice of Chocolate cake is presented to you smelling delicious then a few bites won’t hurt!! Well an hour later I am sat in a bar feeling a bit hazy laughing at anything and everything! I didn’t feel like I had taken drugs but more just really happy! Literally giggling at everything like an idiot! I can understand why people do it because everyone likes to be happy but it won’t he something I will be repeating again anytime soon!!

The Red Light District – Again a very strange experience but one I would recommend to anyone visiting. Through the day the red light district is a few streets of bars and nice buildings and you wouldn’t even know it was the red light district! Then as the evening settles in the red lights start coming on and it’s a totally different place. If you just stand on the bridge looking down the streets it’s just a sea of red lights glowing but the crowds of people that visit this area is quite spectacular! We had a walk down and it’s just window after window of girls in underwear trying to coax you in!
And one thing I noticed is these girls are not ugly, some of them are stunning with fantastic figures and it saddened me that they are doing this every night for whatever reason.
I started to think about the reasons they do this and why? Maybe some see it as easy money and enjoy it, maybe to others it’s a way of life and that’s all they know, and then there’s the ones that look a little sad, you can see in their eyes they don’t want to be there so either they are forced or they feel they have no other option which is really sad.
We sat in a bar at the red light district and just people watched. It’s not great when you see the curtains closed and know what’s going on but Interesting to watch the men coming out after, and these guys are just ordinary men, not your stereotypical weirdo but men with wedding rings on, or young lads on stag weekends! I thought I would hate the red light district and find it seedy and dark and dirty but in actual fact it was very interesting and an absolute must do for anyone visiting Amsterdam.

The other thing to mention is value for money, the average drink is about 5 euros but in some bars located around the tourist areas it’s between 8 -12 Euros a drink!! the average meal in the steak houses is between 15 – 20 Euros, shopping is very expensive but there are some amazing shops so if you can afford it then a look round the shops is worth doing!
So that was it really, our weekend consisted of 2 ferry crossings, a lot of steak, my first space cake experience and a lot of walking round the red light district! I think we did everything in Amsterdam we could have done in the short space of time we were there but to be honest I’m not sure I would want to stay any longer than 2 days!

Fundraising while getting fit!!

As mentioned in my previous posts I am attempting to get fit but it’s not a short-term goal but a long-term lifestyle change!
I started shortly after my operation, well actually about 3 months after but it literally took that long to recover and even now I’m not 100% but getting there! Seeming as they took a huge amount of muscle from my back I thought starting at boot camp would help build that back up! 6 months on and who would have thought I would be flipping tyres, pushing cars, running with a 15kg medicine ball etc! Some people think I’m obsessed but I’m Not at all, I just need to stick at it because once I stop it will be difficult to get back into it.
So in June which was 7 months on I completed the race for life muddy challenge and raised £800 for Cancer Research. It was so rewarding to cross that finish line not only as a personal achievement but also knowing I had done it for Cancer Research and that my money raised may contribute to saving lives!

Race for Life 2014

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Following on from the race for life I continued to go to boot camp and found that it was becoming a part of my life. I don’t have a huge amount of female friends seeming as generally girls do my head in but the boot camp girls are different, we all have different back grounds and stories but then come together to train and get fit and have a  laugh at the same time!!

I have found that due to my mastectomy there are certain exercises I struggle with, I still do them anyway but not as well as everyone else. exercises such as carrying weights above my head or anything that strains my shoulder as that then seems to pull on my back and hurt a bit but I take it steady and do what I can! We even took it in turns pushing our coaches car up the car park with him in it and I got the second fastest time which I was happy with!!!

So the next thing on my list of crazy things to do is the Spartan Run in Ripon in September. At first when this was mentioned I said no chance but somehow my coach and the girls persuaded me I can do it and I booked on! For anyone that does not know the Spartan run is a 5k run with 15 obstacles! When I say obstacles I don’t mean a few tyres to hop over, I mean crawling through mud under barbed wire, monkey bars across a lake, jumping over fire, carrying massive weights up a hill and a lot more pain!  For me those event is more about personal achievement,  A lot of the obstacles are things we do in boot camp anyway, carrying weights, flipping tyres, sprinting, climbing ropes etc so it will be a good test to see how far I have come since my operation 8/9 months ago.

I am going to run the Spartan race for the Benjamin Gautrey Foundation, A charity that was set up after my pal Ben was killed racing bikes at Cadwell a few years ago. Now I have mentioned this before in a previous post and gone into more detail but its a great charity that helps young people within Motorsports and other sports and helps them achieve their dreams. Too many kids and adults sit on the sofa and don’t have hobbies or ambitions so this charity aims to help those that do.

Benjamin Gautrey

 

The link to my Just Giving page is http://www.justgiving.com/laura-stephenson25 which shows more about what the Spartan is about and ways to sponsor me if you want to!!

I do question that if I complete the Spartan, which I plan to, what will be next, How far can I go pushing myself, I want to do amazing things and achieve amazing things, sounds cheesy I know but I have never had hobbies or a talent so to put my mind into something like fitness and to actually achieve results is a big deal to me!! Watch this space…….

 

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Diets – a huge money making con

Since my health issues I decided I am going to lose a bit of weight and live a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to do it in the best way possible so joined the local boot camp and started researching the best ways to lose weight and get fit!
Try putting in any of the key words in google, weight loss, diets etc and straight away you get billions of websites all saying different things!
I have spent hours researching weight loss, and the more I read the more I get annoyed with companies such as weight watchers and slimming world.
To me they are taking advantage of overweight people who are desperate to get thin!
Take weight watchers for example, they work on a points basis so you can only have a certain amount of points every day. They then have their own range of food showing the amount of points on, a clever marketing tool.
So the weight watcher dieters go shopping and buy all the weight watchers range of foods, funding this billion dollar industry!
While in the supermarket the other week I had a quick look at the weight watchers variety of foods available and was surprised at my findings. I found weight watchers cakes, biscuits, crisps, ready meals, sausages, bread, cookies and packed sandwiches all at a higher price than the non weight watchers normal foods.
How many people when getting these products look at the salt level, the additives or chemicals in the ingredients?
All these foods have been produced in a factory with god knows what chemicals and additives yet according to weight watchers are the way to lose weight?!
It’s not just weight watchers though, there are many diet company’s like this that you sign up for, follow their diet, get weighed and lose weight! So if the person is losing weight then what’s the problem I hear you asking?! Well it’s all good and well losing weight, but what happens when you get to your goal? Do you stop dieting and go back to normal, therefore putting the weight back on and starting the diet again, or do you carry on paying for the rest of your life which isn’t realistic and will never last?!

So my point is that diets are actually pointless and just a short term fix. These diet companies know people don’t diet forever and that is how they make their money!!

When you think about it the word diet is a really negative word. you automatically think of the word diet as cutting out the foods we love, no treats, no takeaways etc. And we all know that when we are told we can’t have something we want it even more!!

So how do we lose weight in a positive way and make the weight stay off? Forget the word diet for a start, forget the local clubs and schemes people pay into to get thin. Pick a day but not a day to start a diet but a day to change your life!
What works is a lifestyle change not a diet!
Healthy eating and regular exercise is all it takes and you don’t need to pay someone to tell you that!
When people say exercise it can be quite daunting but there’s so much you can do that fits in with every day life without being too scary! (I will do another post on exercise because I have loads to say on exercise!!) And as far as Food goes, it’s simple…. Anything that was on the earth before us! So meats, fish vegetables, fruit and try to avoid anything processed like crisps, ready meals, frozen foods like burgers and nuggets etc.
That’s not to say don’t have treats, my favourite food us Chinese and I love crisps but rather than eat them all the time I eat them as a treat in a weekend and seeming as I’m exercising it balances it out so it doesn’t cause me to put on loads of weight!
Often people think skipping meals will make you lose weight which is a complete myth! People need calories and energy to get through the day so skipping meals will just make you unwell and slow down your metabolism which won’t help with weight loss. By eating breakfast then regular meals it sets your metabolism going, gives you energy and burns more calories as the day goes on!!

So yes I may have written the longest blog post ever but it’s taken ten min to read it and hasn’t cost anyone anything! But the billion pound diet industry will go on for as long as people want to lose weight! What will it be next week? A new celeb fitness diet, the baby food diet, the no carb diet, the juice diet?
I’m not suddenly a nutritionist but i know enough to know they are all a load of rubbish and the only safe and effective way to lose weight long term is to have a lifestyle change, eat healthy age exercise!! Simples!!!

Boot Camp!

Fitness….. A multi million pound industry because everyone desires the perfect body, mainly encouraged by all the celebrity magazines that tell us how we should look and what new diet is the next big thing!
Don’t get me wrong I think it’s important to be healthy and obesity is a huge problem but the pressure on women to look good and be skinny is ridiculous when sometimes curves, boobs and bum is sexier than skin and bones!!
So at the moment I am a size 10/12 and not overweight at all but not as in shape as I would like to be. I have been going to the gym twice a week doing a bit of cardio but it’s starting to get boring so when I saw the gym was starting a boot camp I put my name down. It’s not about losing weight to me, I just want to tone up and get a bit stronger!
So we are 2 boot camps in and I’m in agony which is meant to be a good thing but I hope this gets easier.
I have to keep reminding myself it was only 4 months ago I had major surgery and muscle removed from my back, it may take me a bit longer to get as strong as everyone else!
It seems to be a good work out and is good fun, the activities range from boxing to weights to kettle bell and medicine ball.
It made me laugh last night when 4 new girls arrived wearing all the latest gym gear and full make up on, false lashes the lot! They spent the whole session staring through into the main gym at the men working out and by the end if the hour their make up didn’t look quite as good dripping down their face!!
So the night after boot camp I went and had a drink then today had a very unhealthy bacon and sausage sandwich! Not great for trying to lose weight but diets are over rated! My theory is as long as I keep exercising the odd bacon butty shouldn’t be an issue!!!

Post without a subject!

I have not blogged anything for a while, I don’t even have any hot topic to blog about today, I just feel a post is well overdue so am typing away but not sure what the subject actually is!

So what’s happened since my last post….. Erm……
Well I have been training 3 times a week at the gym for the 2 race for life’s that I am doing. Despite this training I have not lost any weight and don’t feel remotely fitter! I think I need to work a lot harder if I’m going to actually make it over the finish line! Not only that but I have a duty to my sponsors now! People have been so generous, I have raised nearly £600 so far and so am over half way to my target of £1000 for cancer research.
www.justgiving.com/stephenson25

In other news an aeroplane has mysteriously dropped out the sky and nobody has a clue where it is! If that’s not the biggest government cover up ever then I don’t know what is! In this day and age we can put men on the moon yet a plane full of people vanish off the face of the earth and nobody can find it! There’s so wreckage, no debris, no radar yet the relatives get told its in the sea and everyone is dead! Based on what information? It’s all very strange I think but that’s just my opinion!!

And last but not least social networking has amazed me again, this time with the no make up selfie for cancer research! So my Facebook was full of people without make up and of I am honest some were not a pretty sight! Others though were truly beautiful though and the people looked better than with make up on! My reaction to this was not good. I put a status saying there was no way I was going to put a no make up selfie on Facebook! My confidence is low anyway since my mastectomy and I don’t need to put a picture of me looking rough to prove I do my bit for charity……. Famous last words!
It was then on the news that 2 million pounds had been raised by people putting a no make up selfie on then donating £3 to cancer research! How can I slate something like that that has raised that much money, again showing the power of social networking! So I did it, I put my
No make up selfie on and jumped on the bandwagon! Wasn’t my proudest picture but when it helps raise awareness and money for charity then why not! And here it is!! Anyway until next time, ciao for now!!

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The era of social networking!

When people look back at different eras they remember different things, different trends, different Genres different ways of life. I think when I get old enough to look back on the noughties I will associate this era with the amazing thing that is social networking. Something that wasn’t around much 10 years ago and now has made its founders multi billionaires!
I am social network mad! For many reasons really but the main being I like being nosey at other people’s lives, ok not ashamed to admit I like seeing what people are up to!
Another plus point is I never wonder what the weather is doing as everytime we have anything going on with the weather I see it all over Facebook before I look out the window! And gone are the days of spending hours on the phone to sky tv to sort out the telephone line, nice you just tweet in with plenty of hashtags and sky tv reply straight away!
But despite being a social network addict i also get quite annoyed at some of the things I see on Facebook
And the things people share.
I think one of the most annoying things I see is this……

“Can’t believe that’s just happened, feeling gutted”
Or ” feeling devastated, am so shocked”
Or “just got the best news ever”

To me these sort of status’s are just about attention, people want to be asked what’s wrong, they want their status to keep popping up on everyone’s wall when everyone asks what’s wrong or what the news is!

I think a lot of status’s are for attention, I mean they must be, why else would you publicly tell the world about the massive row you just had with your husband and what an idiot he is?! I find social networking arguments quite ridiculous and a little funny to read!

Then I suppose the attention status’s are better than the really lame status’s like “sat at home watching tv” or “enjoying my lasagne for tea”
Does anyone really care?!

Another really annoying thing at the moment is this whole selfie thing. Some are really nice for example iv done a couple of selfies with my daughter and they are pictures I will treasure for ever, but the millions of pictures of girls pouting with a camera in their face is quite strange!

Then there’s the really skinny gorgeous girls posting photos of their skinny toned Washboard stomachs saying how well the diets going…. Makes me wonder if they just post that do people comment a load of compliments like aww you don’t need to diet, and your gorgeous type comments!
Oh and if your going to post details if your every move, when your away & not at home etc then don’t cry when you get burgled!

After reading all the above you would think I hate social networking but it’s not the case, it’s a genius thing a lot if people couldn’t live without trees days! It’s funny how times change & technology moves on.

Happy 10 years Facebook!

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