Friday, 27 July 2012

Self empowerment

I have really sucked at taking part in this challenge, hence only one post this week on 'Blogging for well-being.' I have struggled slightly with the topics, not with the content itself but how to physically put them down on paper (keyboard) So excuse the babbling and waffling and I will try. :)

For me self empowerment has been about taking control of my life, taking responsibility for my actions, acceptance of myself and others, challenging negative thoughts and learning to say no.
With my eating disorder I was out of control, although for most of the time my head was telling me I was the one in control.  The turning point was when I said no to Anorexia, took back the control, made the choice to recover and challenged myself throughout the journey.  It was a difficult process, an emotional and heartbreaking process, but ultimately I was the one in control, I was the one who had the power to change things and it felt so good when I did.
Throughout my recovery the professional support I received was not ideal all the time. But the people that made a difference were the ones who guided me, didn't tell me what to do. I made the decisions and I called the shots. I was the one who made the changes in my life and turned it around. Of course I wanted to recover for the people I love but I needed to want to do it for me. You can do it to................

Saturday, 21 July 2012


Don't dwell on what was, or the pain you have felt,
look to the future, you control the cards you have been dealt,
live in the now, there's a life for you to live,
you are strong, you're a fighter, with so much to give.

Hold out your hand, I will catch you if you fall,
Together we can take down the barriers of your wall,
believe in yourself, and what you can do,
Those people that love you will believe in you too.

Jackie 2012

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

For My Friends :)


As we talk through the night,
Of our trials and tribulations,
No other can blight,
Our steadfast foundations.

Built on compassion,love and trust
We share a common ground,
 Friends, strong and robust, 
All sounder than a pound.

I trust you with my thoughts,
My secrets and my fears,
As we down jaegar shots,
Your laughter's  music to my ears.

Forever in my heart,
Our memories in my head,
I promise I wont fart,
If we ever share a bed!!
oops, that last bit made me chuckle :)


Monday, 16 July 2012


The Cupcake Queen has reached a milestone.  A year ago today I was sat in the office of the eating disorders Nurse, anxious, nervous awaiting my last weigh in.  I was scared of going it alone, worried that I would fall at the first hurdle.  I had not been able to see my way out for a long time but that day was here.  I was 'officially' no longer anorexic and a normal weight.  I can say I have only been weighed in the past year at medical appointments where it has been necessary.  I have not been curious about how much I weigh, it has no impact on my life, my happiness or how attractive I may be.
I would love to say it has been an easy ride, but it hasn't.  It has been an emotional roller coaster, exhausting, and at times frightening and lonely but It is a journey that has given me my life back.
I have learnt things about myself I haven't liked and also things about myself i love.
I have met people who are inspirational and empowering, who fight for recovery and support each other.
I have probably been guilty of boring people but only because I am passionate about getting to a place where you can truly say you are recovered and am happy with yourself, inside and out.
So what does recovery mean for me.....

It means freedom from negative thoughts about food.
eating when I am hungry and recognising when to stop.
Being able to over eat and not needing to restrict the next day.
Not using food to cope with my feelings and emotions.
Eating dessert because I fancy it.
Eating salad because Its good for you and tastes good, not because of its lack of calories.
Taking a walk for pleasure and not to burn calories.
Making cupcakes because I like to and not because I obsess over them!!
Sharing meals with friends and family and having fun, not stressing over menus.
Recognising that my body will change shape over time.
Wearing clothes that flatter not trying to change my shape to fit my clothes.
Grabbing something off a supermarket shelf without checking the calories on the packet.

Spread your wings and fly,
Kiss the demons goodbye,
Love the child within,
No mourning what has been.

Permission to love,
Something to be proud of,
Freedom in living,
Compassion and forgiving

July 16th 2012
Happy, content and at peace :)

Week Two-Self Nurturing

Week two of the 'Blogging for well being' challenge and this week we are talking about self nurturing. My understanding of self nurturing would be taking time out for yourself which can be bloody hard when you hold down a full time job, have children, a family, home etc.  It is prioritising your time, learning to say no, recognising when you are become ill, stressed, anxious and allowing yourself to do something about it. Making yourself a priority without feeling guilty or bad.
Self nurturing isn't selfish, its not about denying others or not giving them your time or energy, its about looking after number one.  If you're not well emotionally and physically you wont be able to function at work, school, college or in your relationships.
I have always been a culprit of trying to do too much at once, taking on too much either practically or emotionally.  I can remember a situation about 7 years ago when I had several friends on the telephone or coming round talking to me about their relationships, problems and I was dropping what I was doing for myself to be with them.  If I didn't do that I felt guilty, I was a bad friend and unworthy of their friendship. Eventually, I became so wound up and snapped at one of them when they disregarded how I was feeling.  I realised then that I needed to put myself first, at least some of the time, without feeling selfish.
I have now found that true friends understand that and I would hope they would look after themselves in the same way.
No matter how busy your day is, no matter how little time you think you have, just try and spare some for yourself.
Have a soak in the bath, with bubbles, candles, wine and music.
Call a friend or family member.
Read a book and turn off your mobile.
Write, sing, dance.......
Go shopping and look (or buy) shoes, handbags, cupcakes whatever floats your boat.
Spend quality time with a friend, partner, pet.
Just do something because you want to, because you enjoy it,  because you can and because your worth it.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

My Secret Pleasure

Everyone has a secret pleasure. One of those things that you hate to admit you love, people cringe when you mention it, but secretly they like it too!!  Mine just happens to be Karaoke.
I discovered my love of karaoke one Christmas at Butlins whilst I was supporting Adults with Autism on a weekend break.  Imagine the scene, twinkling fairy lights in the huge ballroom, Larry the lion sweating his bollocks off in his furry suit, revellers getting pissed on 3 for 2 drinks offers  and there was little old me, on the stage, belting out the Brenda Lee classic whilst rocking around the tackily dressed Christmas tree.
It went downhill from there.  I became obsessed with the talent(less) show, 'Stars in Your Eyes,' even booking the evening off work for every final so I could watch it uninterrupted.
Now I will admit to being a bit off a show off at times and have always wanted to have my 3 minutes of fame on TV, this seemed like the ideal opportunity.  The challenge was set, and I spent the next couple of years practising to sound like Suzanne Vega, Karen carpenter, The Cranberries and sending tapes of to 'Stars In Your Eyes.' Unfortunately I was never chosen for an audition so I decided to stick to being myself.
I did eventually get my 3 minutes of TV fame in 1995.  Well actually it was about 45 minutes, and that's a totally different story which I will save for another day.
I started to take myself a little more seriously and began voice coaching, if anything to sort out my breathing and give myself a little more confidence. My singing at this point was still isolated to Friday nights at a local pub, belting out tunes over a dodgy (and 20 years on, still dodgy) sound system.
When I started going out with Kev my circle of friends changed dramatically.  Where I live has quite an active live music scene and a lot of people Kev knew were involved in this.  We spent many good nights sat round friends houses, drinking and singing along to acoustic guitar.  The first time I sang publicly and properly was with a local brilliant musician and songwriter at what was the first of many Folk/acoustic nights in Burnham. 
Unfortunately the same person who set me up also brought me down on one drunken evening by telling me I couldn't sing.  This cut deeply, and I believed him.....  I didn't sing for a long time after.
I did regain the confidence to get back up again and went back to the same club and sang a Sinead O, Connor song acapella, whilst in my head sticking two fingers up to him who said I couldn't.
Over the next few years I dabbled with a few friends, again singing at the local acoustic club, I haven't done that for over ten years and would love to again.  I seriously need to learn to play my guitar!!
 Now I resort to karaoke, at home, at the local pubs and at friends houses.   Either that or I wait until the 'Ginger Hitlas,' are playing and I jump on the stage and join in.

Favourite Karaoke songs and moments.

Lenny the dog howling whilst I sing Wuthering Heights.
Singing Dominic the Italian Donkey at Christmas.
Singing 'Pack up,' after someone pissed me off.
Going to a karaoke competition at a local bar every weds for a month and winning cash every time.
Trying to do the Kate Bush hand movements whilst singing Wuthering heights.
Really bad singers, I love people who don't take themselves too seriously.

What NOT to say to me whilst I'm hosting the pub karaoke.
'I'm going in a minute can you push me up the queue.'
'Turn me up'.....without a please.
'Its the wrong version.'  NO, its the only version.
'Its too slow,' No its not, your out off time.
'Why do you make the welsh sound bad and the English good?' 
'Whats that song called? You know, the one that goes, la la la,'
'Is it on?' generally said whilst shouting down the mic at the same time as hitting it!!

So that is my secret pleasure.  Just a little point to think about on the 'Stars In Your Eyes,' show.  Don't try to be someone else, you are good enough as you are. Be yourself. Love the skin you're in.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Week One-Tuesday-Mental Aspects

 There was a time when I could tell you all the bad things about me.  How I was not skinny enough, was ugly, unworthy, undeserving and  stupid. I would look at myself in the mirror and be disgusted by what looked back at me, not all the time but when I was feeling pretty low.
I had never had much confidence, particularly around new people or situations, had horrendous low self esteem and self image all of which I think contributed to issues with depression and eating disorders throughout my adult life.  I am so thankful that I no longer feel this way.
I cannot emphasise how important that we recognise and validate our emotions and feelings.  I know that I have used my eating disorder in the past to feel numb, to stop myself from feeling the hurt of betrayal, the pain of bereavement, the loss of friendship.  I didn't want to accept that what I was feeling was real, but all that happened was it cut deeper into me, making me more ill, more depressed and sending me into a spiral of behaviours that were destroying my life.
I came across a diary that I had written in 2010 and it is painful to read. I wasn't dealing with the emotions I was feeling in a positive way, I wasn't nurturing my body or  my mind.
It has only been since completing the challenges over the past few months that I realised I was still trying to deal with some things I was feeling.  This time I approached them head on and told someone. It helped, just to write it down and press 'send,'  I'm so glad I did.

So how did I stop feeling so bad about myself..........
Discourage Fat talk amongst yourself and your friends.

I ditched the bathroom scales.

Take responsibility and act on it.
Forgive yourself and others before it eats away at you.

Speak up.....

Monday, 9 July 2012

Week One-Monday-Barriers to self care

Week One (Monday) Barriers to self care and soothing.

I am going to attempt this months bloggers challenge daily.  At first I thought this may be too much pressure after returning to work, getting back into a routine and not having as much 'me' time but I work well under pressure.  This time there will be a general topic for the week, with a daily topic if you want to write each day. goes.
Firstly I will apologise if I wander slightly.  I was going to write about when I had an ED and what stopped me from looking after myself, but I'm not. I am going to write this for a  beautiful young lady who I am hoping is beginning to see a way forward. I can understand why she is scared, what she is scared off and what is stopping her from looking after herself.  She is such a strong person, a winner, a fighter and I am so proud of how far she has come.  

You can break down the walls, pull open the shutters,
If you really want to.
You can release the shackles that are holding you back,
smash through the image the mirror beholds,
and see the real you.
The loving, caring, beautiful you.

What are you scared of?
Of feeling, of seeing, of hurting, of losing.
Who am I without you?  What am I? 
You are beautiful, you are worthy, you are strong.
You can take back control....If you want to.
Go on, What are you waiting for xxx

For Em xx

Sunday, 8 July 2012

In Sickness And In Health.

July 7th 2008
Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece
Our Wedding.

I can say without a doubt, this is one of the happiest days of my life.  Myself and Kev have been married for 4 years today, but have been together for 14.
When we met in 1998, I had recently separated and had a young child.  A mutual friend fixed us up on a blind date which ended up in an evening of backgammon (neither of us could remember the rules,), me playing George Michael Cd's (which Kev later admitted he hated) and us chatting until the early hours.
Kev knew I had a lot of baggage from early into the relationship. I was honest about my problems with an eating disorder, my failings in my previous marriage and the fact that I was far from solvent, but this didn't put him off.  The first few months was endless partying.  Kev had been made redundant so had most evenings and weekends free.  I was pretty new even at the age of 30 to house parties so lapped it all up.  I had died and gone to heaven.  A long haired, leather clad biker who told me wonderful stories about his adventures on the Greek Islands. Kev wasn't the settling down type. This was going to be fun!
Yes it was fun, but it was also a difficult few years.  Kev saw the first of my episodes with Anorexia, a messy divorce and a custody hearing.......and he still stuck around.
He had never had children, was not used to them but treated my Son as if he was his own.  I'm sure he has fond memories of taking Toby to football every Saturday morning with a hangover in the pouring rain!! Lets not forget the endless episodes of the Simpsons, WWF and taking him to wrestling matches!
Kevs love of bikes wasn't restricted to the garage.  I can remember cooking a meal before we moved in together, only to find bits of bike engine in the cupboards where there should have been pots and pans.  For years he tried to get me to agree to him keeping his Kawasaki in the kitchen!!  I don't think so.
Its very strange moving into someone elses house.  It was a while before I felt comfortable putting out my personal effects, but I few years later I had redecorated the bedroom, spare room, hallway, kitchen and lounge!!  When I say redecorate I actually mean choose the colour of the paint. 
We had been together for 10 years before he proposed. Marriage was something he had never contemplated and didn't see a point in so it came as a surprise.
We agreed on the Greek Islands as Kev loved them so much, and we could almost guarantee good weather. We were pleasantly surprised when a small group of friends came with us to celebrate.  It truly was a wonderful 2 weeks.
As I'm writing this I'm thinking about how we all, and me included may grumble about our partners, what they have or have not done.  I think about all the things Kev has done over the years, not the hearts and flowers stuff but the real big things. Supporting me throughout illness, throughout bereavement, financial difficulties, emotional difficulties and think myself lucky that I have him.  

For Kev x
Excuse the screachiness of my singing!!!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Glossy Magazines

Sensationalising Eating Disorders

I wrote on this subject during the May Bloggers challenge entitled 'Reality Check,'. I have chosen to go back to this today after being shown a link to a webpage for a company who sells stories to womens' magazines. I have come across this company before when I was asked to contribute towards spreading awareness during eating disorders week.  They were very keen to take on my story until I refused any before or after photographs.  This of course wasn't sensational enough, they wanted the 'Oh my god,' factor to sell magazines and ultimately make money on the back of 'doing something positive.'
I have no issue with people selling their stories, only good can come out of education on how horrific and damaging an eating disorder can be to a sufferer and their families/carers.  This is what we do within pro recovery communities, give hope to others. I do not think posting photographs of severely thin ill people achieves anything positive or gives a message of hope, and these  photos were posted alongside the story.
Their mission statement states, they value themselves on honesty and integrity. Yes they were honest enough, but integrity? I don't think so.  I questioned their integrity today, and asked if they were aware of the impact of posting these type of photos had on sufferers. They said they would be discussing both sides of the story next week!  I will be interested to say their discussion.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Introducing 'Mr.Grey.'

So after listening to all the hype of '50 Shades of Grey,' and being lent a copy of the book by a friend, I decided to download the whole trilogy to my Ipad and find out why the fuss about the books classed as 'Mummy Porn.'
One major criticism was that is is badly written, something which I cannot comment on as I only scraped through with a C on my English Language O'Level!!
I am no virgin to saucy literature either, having read Emanuelle in my teens in short bursts after sneaking it from my parents bookcase.
So for those of you who are not in the know, the story revolves around Anastasia Steele, a literature student who becomes involved with Mr Christian Grey, a successful and  handsome entrepeneur.
Having so far only read to chapter ten, I have not been fully introduced to the 'Playroom,' or the 'Red room of pain,'but only the breaking in of naive virginal Anastasia, but I am still hooked.
I find the relationship between them electric.  I'm sure we have all had those moments when you have seen someone so damn good looking you almost lose your breath.  I practically followed someone round Asda one day, but was distracted by the cupcake aisle.
This book has thrown up some concerns.  Firstly, what are all those metal objects suspended from the ceiling in Kevs garage?  Are they really for DIY and fixing the car or do we have a green garage of pain?
Secondly, can I ever go to the local hardware shop and purchase cable ties, electricians tape and a length of rope without being given a funny look?
Its my wedding anniversary this weekend. Maybe I shall give Kev a treat. Ply him with champagne, tie him to the bed, blindfold him, put my Ipod in his ears with Abba on continuous, then bugger off to the pub and leave him there all night.  Now that's what I call control :)
For those of you still interested, here is a list of the songs played during different parts of the story.

Lakmé (Act I): Flower DuetAlain Lombard, Mady Mesple, Danielle Millet & Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique50 Classics for Beginners
Sex On FireKings of LeonOnly By the Night (Deluxe Version)
Adagio from Concerto No 3 in D Minor, BWV 974James RhodesNow Would All Freudians Please Stand Aside
MisfitAmy StudtFalse Smiles (New Version)
I'm On FireBruce SpringsteenBorn In the U.S.A.
The Lightning StrikeSnow PatrolA Hundred Million Suns
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilerias No. 5 for voice and 8 cellos: Aria (Cantilena)Ana María Martínez, Prague Philharmonia & Steven MercurioSoprano Songs and Arias: Ana Maria Martinez
WitchcraftFrank SinatraClassic Sinatra - His Great Performances, 1953-1960
La Traviata - PreludeItalian Wedding MusicItalian Wedding Music
ToxicBritney SpearsIn the Zone
The Blower's DaughterDamien RiceO (Deluxe Version)
Canon and Gigue in D Major: I. CanonEnglish Concert & Trevor PinnockPachelbel: Canon & Gigue
Spem in aliumHarry Christophers & The SixteenTallis: Spem in alium - Music for Monarchs and Magnates
24 Préludes, Op. 28, No. 4 in E Minor: LargoAlexandre TharaudChopin: Préludes, Op. 28

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


I was moved by this line from the film, 'The Help,'  It is spoken by the character 'Aibeleen' to the child which is  in her care. 'Baby Girl,' is shown very little love or affection by her Mother and is treated badly.  Aibeleen tells the young girl every day how important she is, and when 'Baby Girl,' is able to speaks she has her repeating the affirmation 'You is kind, you is smart, you is important.'
As Children we believe what our role models tell us. We trust their words, their decisions, their actions. This early learning makes us the adults we are today. The words can either make us or break us!
I used to think that affirmations were a load of hippy none-sense.  How can telling ourselves something daily make us feel positive about ourselves?  Telling ourselves we were ugly, fat, stupid, worthless worked didn't it? So why not turn it on its head.  Say it, believe it, live it.  Go on, after me.

I am kind, I am smart, I am Important.
I am beautiful.
I am worth it.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Back To The Grindstone

Not so long ago I wrote a post on 'purpose.' Today I got that purpose back.
After being absent from Work since mid March after an operation, the occupational health Dr has agreed that I can return to work this Friday on light duties. I couldn't be happier.
Although at first being away from work was a neccessity due to my physical limitations, when my mobility increased so did my boredom!!  I had a need for mental stimulation, to be part of a team again, to be active,to stop internet shopping, to have a purpose.
I remember vividly my return to work during recovery from Anorexia and how stressful It was.  The paranoia from eating in front of my colleagues, the worry about people making comments about my appearance, the constant feelings off failure and shame at the stigma of mental illness. The majority of the females within our staff team would 'body bash,' regularly. The fat talk and diet talk would make me turn on my heel and is something which I still find difficult.
Thankfully this time, my return to work will be different.  I do worry about putting increased pressure on the team due to my issues with mobility and my need to use a stick, but have been assured they will be well supported as will I.  They are a great group of people and some are good friends of mine.  I have no doubts that I will be welcomed back and helped to feel part of the team again. It is so good to feel useful again.
The only things I need to worry about now is what to put in my sandwiches and what to wear that will coordinate with the lovely new purple office :)


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Music and Memories

After 2 months of completing the Hungry For Change Bloggers challenge, I have been bitten by the writers bug and have an urge to get words down on....a computer screen!
A friend has suggested I write about how music affects our moods, I think the quote  above captures the whole feeling around music, our moods and emotions.
We all have 'special,' songs. Those that were played at our weddings, our first dance, our intimate moments ;)
songs that evoke happy memories, warm smiles and laughter.  We all have sad songs. Songs that were played at the funerals of loved ones, soundtracks to sad movies, our first love break-up songs,  pieces of music that are played over pictures of news bulletins, 9/11 and other stories of human tragedies.
Remember the clip in 'Bridget Jones Diary', All by myself, or the Airport Scene in 'Love Actually,' playing the Bee Gees, 'God Only knows.'  To this day, still tear inducing songs for me if im in that frame of mind.
I was on a course a few years ago and we did a small experiment around music and reminiscence.
We were all played 4 pieces of music and were asked to just listen and concentrate and see where the music takes us. The first piece was classical, the kind of water music you would find playing at a spa, the second was a carpenters song, I cant remember the 3rd but the last was an upbeat Abba track.
I managed to stay awake during the 'spa' music but by the end of the Carpenters track I was in tears.  The track had managed to trigger a memory in me.........
Thankfully I had managed to regain my composure and save any embarrassment, by the time dancing Queen had finished.  It did teach me how important and emotive music is within reminiscence not only during sessions with clients but also within our own personal experiences.
Music can be a great tool for lifting your spirits, for helping you through those difficult or mellow times or for giving insiration when you seem lost with little focus.
Music has been a huge part of my life from growing up, getting married (twice) ,raising a family and through my eating disorder recovery.
I was brought up on Country and Western Music, Elvis Presley, Doris Day and Rock and Roll.  The tune 'two liitle boys,'by Rolf Harris will always bring a tear to my eye as it still reminds me of my Dad.
'I love Rock and Roll,' Jaon Jett, brings back memories of my teens and my best friends birthday party in a local church hall. We thought we looked gorgeous in our ra-ra skirts, neon pink eyeshadow and leg warmers.
Thought I would share some of my favourite song memories and what they mean to me.

Paul Mcartney and Wings-Another Day
Leaving Home

Tammy Wynette and KLF

The Birth Of My Son In 1991

Somewhat predictable but my wedding song in 2008

Ingrid Michaelson
What I listen to if I'm feeling a little uninspired.  My 'recovery' song

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley

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