I am Bella,

Seaside adventurer , Runner, Military wife and now Blogger…

Flamingos on fleek! 

Before I start I promise not to use that word ever again (I’m not even sure I’m saying it right). 

I bought a shirt from littlewoods recently and I wasn’t 100% sure I would like it. I’ve been wanting to revamp my wardrobe. To save my bank account I’ve been doing it bit by bit sometimes investing in pricier items. It’s become a long process! I’m revamping to not only look a little more grown up and a little less 18-year-old-student (I’m 25) but also to be less vest-top-and-jeans (my go to casual look). So I’ve tried to step away for my shopping norms and away from my safe choices.

This shirt is definitely not my normal choice of style. The pink shirt from oasis is covered in a sweet flamingo pattern, that I would normally love, but not normally buy. The cut looked lovely on the computer screen but I wasn’t sure how it would translate in reality. Things always look better on the models than they do on me! 
I don’t have the easiest figure to dress; long legs (quite muscular from running), short body (not muscular at all), quite wide hips and wide shoulders. With all that in mind I often love the look of clothes on models but I’m sceptical about how they look on me. 

When the shirt arrived I fell in love. The material is really light and comfortable which was great in the heat yesterday. The cut is really feminine and if I can say so myself I think it looks quite nice on me! I was worried it would look too busy but once on I adore it! 

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely mine. Just proves to show breaking out from your fashion safety net can be a good idea! I heart my flamingos. 

100 days of happiness day 85: Tea and scones !

What made me happy today?? I went for a brew and a scone with a friend; to maybe the best cafe I’ve been to in a very long time. 
The “boat shed cafe” in Lulworth cove is utterly gorgeous. The decor Is predictably and suitably seaside themed. I would expect nothing less as it sits overlooking the beautiful cove. 
I’ve not been before despite living here for a year now. And I’m so annoyed with myself as I was shocked to find they did soy milk; as well as dairy free goodies alongside their array of yummy looking cakes, cookies and sweet treats. The food menu looks good too!! And I’ll be trying it soon.

We had tea and scones. The scones where warm and delicious. Utterly delicious. 
The staff where wonderful and the view, well , the view was just perfect. 

The littles cafe’s double doors perfectly frame the vibrant cove. A brilliant place to sit and people watch this lovely cafe is also dog friendly. I’m looking forward to heading down on a windy rainy day with the dog and having a soya hot chocolate. 
I was also in brilliant company, so all in all, a pretty good afternoon! 

100 days of happiness day 84: dog walks!!

What made me happy today?? We are finally back to dog walks. 

Duke has been on bed rest till recently. He has been waiting for his stitches to heal.

Finally able to take a proper walk again. We enjoyed 3 walks today. Still on the lead but at least we are getting out. Duke’s confinement to the house has been tough on us both. 

Duke is better behaved, happier and mor relaxed when he’s been well exercised. We have been know to take up to 5 walks; we love it. And although I love to explore on our walks we stuck to camp as he’s still wearing his “cone of shame”.

My waistline and step counter are starting to suffer with the lack of walks. Having a pooch definitely gets you out the house and, as we have a very active one, I’ve normally covered double the distance I’m covering at the moment. 

And lots of walks together means lots of naps together.

Can someone please explain Twin Peaks to me???

So we just finished Twin Peaks. And my brain hurts. It might be the most random thing I have ever seen. Now I’m not using the word random like my 14 year old self, a little out of context, this show is utterly random. 
If you haven’t seen it there are spoilers ahead. Though I got so confused my spoilers might not even ruin it for you.

After the death of a girl Agent cooper comes to Twin Peaks, so far so understood, soon he begins to have dreams about the crime. And from this point on it takes a bizarre turn at every moment possible. There is a giant, a dwarf, a room with red curtains. Several strange story lines weaving into one weird wacky world of confusion and randomness. Agent Cooper is I believe meant to be a good guy. Straight shooting law man. 

I actually quite like the show even though I can’t get to grips with what’s actually going on. Sometimes I just gave into the idea that it’s meant to be surreal and wacky so best to go with the flow. 

Murder mystery meets Sci-fi meets a genre not yet named. 

So there are two lodges; one good one bad. And they are supernatural in nature. The government wanted them? Or/and The FBI? And a weird guy who killed people? I think. Correct me if you have seen it. As I admitted earlier I need help clarify what the shows is about.

There is a long cast of attractive women. Some of the men I recognise from other sci-fi programs. General Hammond from Stargate plays another military role. There is some bad acting and lots of melodramatics. 

Bob, who likes to murder people is some kind of evil spirit? Malevolent Demi-god? Demon? I’m not sure, Bobs definitely a bad guy though, I’m sure of that one. 

There are lots of weird interactions and agent cooper is often at the core of these. 

There is a lady who hugs a log… anyone who explains that one to me is a star. Also people seem to madly fall in love with each other after seconds and one weird interaction. Anne and cooper are madly in love after being on screen together for ten minutes. I’m also unclear on the redhead’s super strength?

When I think I’ve worked out small pieces of the story suddenly there are doublegangers and bombs? What on earth is going on??? And is agent cooper bad at the end??? 

We are about to start the new series. I think Agent Cooper returns to Twin Peaks…. will he be good or bad? My brain hurts. 

Running 1000km: progress

I’m attempting to clock up 1000km this year for charity. That encompasses training and races. 6 months or so in and I’m almost halfway there!! Thank god. Because I almost fell really behind.
I’ve had a few injuries which stopped me clocking up the kilometres I would have liked to last month and I was poorly earlier in the year. But I’m getting there.

I’m running 5/6 times a week about 5 to 10km. I had to cut my running down because I was struggling with my hip. It plays up every now and again. But it’s doing much better now. So I’m hitting the track again. I’m back to rebuilding my distance and feeling better for it.

I’m going to have to step up my training! The aim is to increase my over all distance each day and I may even sign up for a few more races. I’ve started warming up before my runs and I’ve improved my times; so I suppose things are going well!

Why run for charity ? Simple. I put a lot of hard work into running (and I’m still not fast how does that work??) I’d really like my hard work to help out someone other than myself. However I’m not getting any thinner and I’ve always got aches and pains so I don’t know if it’s helping me 100% (at least I enjoy it).

 I’d just like to do something good for someone else. So I decided to run for charity. My Fundraising page is here: MIND fundraising. 

Poor mental health effects a large portion of the population and is a growing issue. MIND offer support, information and help to those who are experiencing poor mental health. They campaign for change and offer training and consultancy. Like many charities they need donations to keep up their Wonderful work. 

100 days of happiness day 83: Finishing the working week! 

What made me happy today?? I’ve finished work for the week. 

Yes I know it’s Sunday. My 7 days on has been long, life’s been manic, and clocking up a health amount of over time means I’m glad it’s over. Glad the week has been wrapped up. 
And it’s time to relax!! That Friday feeling has finally hit me. Especially as I know I’m off tomorrow. One day isn’t quite a weekend but it’s a bloody day. So I’ll take it rather than leave it. 

After a run to relax it’s wine and a bath time. 

I can have Friday on a Sunday right?? Yes I can. Fridays are brilliant! Yes you still have to work but the knowledge that you don’t have to set an alarm in the morning and the realisation that once you’re done you’re done, and you have the evening to yourself, is the best. More Friday feeling please. 

Week 19: cone of shame continues.

The saga of post castration continues. This week has been eventful.

Monday: I noticed more blood under his bandage. Full of panic I hoped for the best. He showed his distaste for the lack of walks by destroying a toy. and a brush. The git.

Duke protesting the lack of walks

Tuesday: his bandage fell off and it was revealed he had pulled his stitches. So so annoying. We had bee so close. vet visit inevitably followed. A very expensive vet visit. The poor dog was back under anaesthetic and back on the operating table.
We took him home Tuesday night with the cone of shame firmly on his head. It would not be coming off for love nor money; even if he did cry non stop for hours. He was given lots of medication and we had gone through another few hours of worry and we were going to do what ever we could to stop it happening again. 

Hand feeding him as he didn’t want to eat.

Wednesday: For the first day cried a lot in his lampshade of misery and, although he would eat, refused to drink. I think this was a protest. But because he had internal and external stitches he was able to got for a walk this time. Which was the only saving grace of last few days. The walk seemed to make him realise the cone wasn’t that scary. Soon he was running around in the lampshade: taking mine and Karl’s legs out every now and then, bumping into everything and going for a kiss and stabbing us in the throat with the edge of the cone. Watching him try to walk in the gale force wind was funny too, the cone waving and flapping around.

Thursday: the little bugger had managed to undo the cone!! He chewed the edges and caused an almighty mess. My husband solved the solution with heavy duty tape. Duct tape solves everything. 

Friday: He must have looked a right mess when we went to the vets Friday. Cone covered in black nasty. 

The vet seemed overall quite pleased. It’s all healing okay but slowly. Thank god it’s healing!!!! Finally it’s healing. Finally we are getting somewhere. I’d taken a ball to the vets and did as much as I could to keep him calm. He was a good boy.

We bought an inflatable cone so that it could prop up the plastic one. Anyone with a large breed of dog (long necked like ours) I’d recommend this double cone technique. Worked wonders for us.

So for the last tree days he’s been beating us up with his cone, trying desperately to still snuggle. But the saga might almost be over! 

Vets again tomorrow and I’v got my fingers cross that the she says we have made progress! To be honest he’s been realy good through out the madness (apart from continually ripping the stitches). 

100 days of happiness day 82: Dinner in the mess.

What made me happy today?? Mostly the fact I didn’t have to cook I think!

Okay, I don’t mind cooking, I even like it sometimes. Sometimes! It’s my working weekend and I finish at 1pm only to be starting up again at 6pm which normally means we have dinner apart. My husband cooks at home, well eats a very large bowl of cereal, I eat at work. Which I hate. I like eating together. So today rather than rushing to cook, so we could eat together, we popped to the mess.

OH MY GOD I ate far too much and I’m still feeling the size of a large multi story house. It was yummy. Totally worth the extra calories. The good thing about the mess is it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to have dinner and unlike a pub you know most of the people in there. Its just nice to not rush around before starting work and I get a little bit of extra time with my husband.

Normally dinner in the Mess is followed by a drink in the Mess. But unfortunately got to be a grown up. Got responsibilities today (BOO HOO). But its a small bit of joy in a busy work day.


Why isn’t HIV testing normalised yet?

I don’t have HIV, and I don’t pretend to understand the intense emotion and worry that goes along with a long term diagnoses such as HIV, but the lack of HIV testing worries me. Why? I had a health scare recently.

I have bouts of intense exhaustion. It’s all a bit strange as I’m a pretty active, otherwise health, 25 year old. My doctor ran a few tests including  a blood test. My blood count came back, for lack of a better word, hinky. Something wasn’t right. My platelet count was off by quite a bit. For those of you (like me) who aren’t sure what these important little things are here is what I managed to find out:  Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are a component of blood whose function is to stop bleeding by clumping and clotting blood vessel injuries. Thank you Wikipedia. I also checked NHS direct for those of you who will be poo pooing my google search. I had several blood test and these levels either dropped for stayed abnormally low.

I was worried a lot; I had just flippantly mentioned how tiered I was. Like I have with other doctors visits. I hadn’t expected anything to turn up. I probably wouldn’t have said anything but I had recently swapped doctors from my local GP practice. I had been with them for a long time and I swapped to the med centre after I had gotten married and moved. The doctor had just asked how I was getting on. I had explained “shattered, but I always am 2 or 3 times a month”. She kindly offered to run some tests. now this platelet thing got me worried so I started to google the possible causes. NEVER DO THIS!! I was waking up in a hot sweat very worried. At times convinced I might be in trouble.

4 blood tests later they sent my results to a haematologist. When the expert replied they suggested a whole host of test; including identifying my HIV status. This was along with many things such as thyroid and Hep c. When the doctor read out the letter I almost cried! I felt silly but HIV is a scary concept. I was sent off to the nurse straight away for the test. He could tell I was a little unsure what was happening and kindly explained they where testing for these things more often now. He had also said these things where unlikely he explained kindly that I was low risk.

I felt weirdly ashamed that I was being tested. I even folded over that bit of paper that tells the nurse what bloods they are taking so no one could see. I cried to when I got home. I was scared and felt unable to talk to anyone. After all it’s not routine to check for HIV. I’ve been to hospital a few time for various reasons and never was it suggested they check for HIV. My husband held my hand. Cuddled me and said something most amazing “what ever it is we deal with it. You and me.”. I’m lucky. Not everyone gets that kind of support. I was too scared to tell people till after I got the all clear; people might get the wrong idea.

Why is HIV so scary? most people can possibly guess. HIV is a virus that has no known cure. It attacks the immune system. A life long condition it weakens a persons ability to fight infections and disease.  Despite the lack of a cure there are methods of controlling HIV. Effective antiretroviral therapy drugs makes the virus undetectable in blood tests and significantly reduce the risk of passing on HIV to sexual partners. Due to these drug breakthroughs it is rare for a pregnant woman living with HIV to transmit it to their babies, provided they receive antiretroviral therapy and medical care early on.

The stigma around HIV is probably largely down to its method of transmission. It’s most commonly caught by having sex without a condom. But can be caught by sharing needles. As I have never been a drug user and have had few sexual partners I was told the likely hood of contractions was very, very low. The thing that worried me the most? I had had sexual health screening. Not once was it suggested that I be tested for HIV. Not once. Despite the unlikely hood of me having HIV a little bit of research told me 1 in every 620 people are HIV positive. 17% of those with HIV don’t know it. Although extremely unlikely I could have been one of those people. An even more worryingly I have been with my husband a long time so he could now be one of those people too. and that broke my heart. Thankfully HIV can be controlled monitored and reduced to “safe levels” so it can’t be transmitted easily. There are people who could benefit from these medical breakthroughs but they don’t even know it.

My doctor reassured me that testing was more and more common, due to the large figure of undiagnosed people, the nurse said the same ting and so did the doctor I collected my results from. He explained testing was pretty straight forwards. I frowned at this. If testing is straight forward why don’t we do it more often? Why is there still a stigma attached to it? I would tell someone if I was being tested for diabetes or even something contagious but maybe not HIV. In fact I didn’t tell anyone other than my best friend and husband.

HIV treatment in the UK saves and transforms lives 88,769 people (including 315 children aged under 15) received HIV specialist care in the UK in 2015. The number of people accessing this care has grown in recent years. 2006 to 2015, there had been a 73% increase in people accessing HIV care. This is a good this as more and more people who are HIV positive are being identified and given the best possible treatment.

HIV is still a scary thing. One third of people living with HIV in the UK have experienced some form of direct or indirect discrimination. shamefully half of these instances involved healthcare workers. HIV testing needs to be seen as normal. As one of those health checks you undergo when they feel things are serious enough to take bloods. No one should feel ashamed of a blood test.

I was, I suppose, lucky. As it turns out I have a B12 deficiency and my platelet as well as white blood cell count are naturally lower than everyone else’s. But what if I hadn’t been lucky and I had gone through the rest of my life not want to talk about what I had been through. Not feeling safe enough to explain a diagnosis? I can’t imagine what its like being afraid that people find out about an illness. Not only should HIV become more commonly tested for, but those living with HIV should be treated with a little more respect and a little less stigma and judgment.




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