All Loved Up Makeup

I love playing with makeup, and I especially love being artistic with it. I messed around with creating this look, and it's by no means perfect or amazing - but I still wanted to take step by step photos. I'll probably look back on this in the future and be able to see how I've improved since this, and I think that's a really cool thing we can do with blogging. We can document whatever we feel like! So here's a step by step photo guide on how I created this loved-up look!

1. Base Makeup & Brows

 2. Colour Base

 3. Definition with Contour & Highlight

 4. Detail with Glitter, Eyes and Liner

 5. Lashes, Mascara, Liner & Hearts

6.  Finished with Lipstick & Hair


Please do let me know what you think. I'd also like any constructive criticism... what would you improve on, or have done differently? 

Happy Valentine's Day ❤

Voices of IBD (19) - Jessica's Story

Welcome to PART 19 of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease series, where we talk to people from all walks of life with this condition; to give everyone a platform to share their story, and help to raise awareness.


This week we talk to Jessica about her battle with Ulcerative Colitis.


What is your name and age?

Jessica Hyland, 35 years old.

What is your occupation?

Currently unemployed because of my UC. I have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and used to be a police officer several years ago. If I ever reach remission, I look forward to working full time again.

What form of IBD have you got?

Ulcerative colitis. More specifically ulcerative proctitis (confined to my rectum only).

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

33, but I ignored my symptoms for well over a decade. I probably had active UC as early as 20 years of age.

About the disease...
What were your main symptoms that led to your diagnosis?

Bleeding. Lots of bleeding.

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

I was very confused. I had an awful doctor who didn’t even explain the disease to me. I had no idea UC was a lifelong disease. I had to do a lot of research and reading of my own. 

What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

Most of my family and friends didn’t (and really still don’t) understand Ulcerative Colitis. They try to be supportive, but it’s still very confusing for them.

Do you take medication, if so, what?

I’ve tried several medications. Started with Lialda and Mesalamine enemas. After a while they stopped working. I moved on to Mesalamine suppositories and Prednisone. I still didn’t reach remission and started Remicade. That made me much worse. I then switched to Entyvio. That worked for a few months. I’m on to Humira now. It’s been a long and frustrating 2 years since diagnosis. Fingers crossed Humira does the job.

What are your experiences with hospitals? Have you had many stays in hospital or colonoscopies? Do you have an IBD nurse?

I’ve been fortunate that although I’ve had a lot of bleeding, I’ve never needed to be checked into a hospital.

What seems to affect your IBD the most? What triggers it?

I’m still not quite sure what my triggers are, as my body never seems to react immediately to things.
I’ve been on a new diet called “The Plant Paradox” that has been working well. It has improved my symptoms. Basically, no grains, dairy, legumes, or beans.

Do you currently, or have in the past, struggled with mental health? If so, what?

When I was younger I struggled with being overweight and would say I probably had some depression. Overall though my mental health has been pretty good. I thank CrossFit for that. I’m able to exercise daily and I’m in very good physical shape, despite my disease.

Was this because of your IBD, or influenced by your IBD or vice versa?


At times I would definitely say IBD has affected my mental health, but only temporarily. I would have a good cry, dust myself off and keep fighting. I keep a positive attitude.

Do you get support for your mental health?


If I needed support I’m sure there would be ways for me to receive help.

Do you feel like you get the right support?


Yes. I’m very self-reliant though so I probably don’t need it as much as some.

How do you cope?
What is your go-to routine for when you are flaring?

Strict diet, lots of water and exercise. Try to keep my stress levels low.

What do you do to give yourself a break or relax?

Just basic things. Relaxing, watching movies, and taking long hot showers.

What lifestyle/diet/changes have you made to cope with your IBD?

My diet change has made the most difference so far. Again, I really think exercising regularly has really kept me from the hospital. I do realize that not everyone can exercise. In that regard, I feel very fortunate that I have Ulcerative Proctitis only. 

What advice would you give to someone who may think they are experiencing early signs?

Go to the doctor. Get as many tests run as possible. Don’t ignore it. If you feel the doctor missed something or isn’t listening to you, get another opinion.

What advice would you give to the friends and family of those with IBD?

Be patient and understanding. 
This disease causes so many complications like fatigue, skin and eye problems, even lupus. Be there to listen when they feel like giving up. Encourage them to make good choices to improve their quality of life. Do some reading of your own to try and understand their disease.

If there is one thing that keeps you motivated and focused through it all, what would that be?

I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s just one thing. I think just loving life and wanting to do whatever it takes to enjoy it keeps me focused.

What is your favourite quote?

That’s tough. I don’t think I have one that applies to my health or motivates me. Maybe one from John Wayne? Something like 

“Life is tough and even harder when you’re stupid.” 

Basically, to me, that means make smart choices. Listen to your body. 


Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your story here on BecxBlogs. If you are affected by Crohn's or Colitis; please go to the Crohn's & Colitis UK website for further support and information.


Valentine's Date Makeup

I've always been a sucker for Valentine's Day. I enjoy dedicating a day in our busy lives to our loved ones, whether it's your partner, best friend, or family! It's also quite nice to have an occasion to look forward to I reckon, it keeps me going when the stresses of life get me down!

Here's the makeup look I'll be sporting this Valentine's Day with my boyfriend. I'm really enjoying the contrast of pink makeup with my new green hair and I pride myself on using affordable makeup. I've mentioned this before, but I'm in the process of moving to only cruelty-free makeup, so the majority of this (but not completely) is created with cruelty-free cosmetics. 


I like to show a comparison of my face without makeup because it really helps to show the power of cosmetics. As you can see, I have oily, spot-prone and scarred skin, so it's a lot to work with!


I used my Urban Decay Naked 3 palette because I haven't used it for such a long time. It used to be a firm favourite of mine, but I just reached for different products over the last year. So, I dug it out and decided to create a mauve, shimmery look.


I also tried out my new Marc Jacobs Highliner which I kindly got sent, and it really helped bring the look together. That extra pop of colour made a big difference from everyday makeup to date night.


My base makeup consisted of the Collection Prime and Ready Primer, Elf Flawless Finish Foundation, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer and the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder*. I went for a deep contour and subtle pink blush using the Makeup Revolution Blush Palette, and a lovely lilac shine using my Sleek Solstice Highlight Palette. My new favourite brow duo is the Elf Microbrow Pencil and the Pixi Brow Gel. For my eyes, I created a slightly smoky, but pink-mauve shimmer eye look using the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, and created winged eyeliner with the Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner and Marc Jacobs Highliner in (Pop)ular. I finished with the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara* and the Rimmel Kate Lipstick* in the shade 20 which is a beautiful bright pink.

Overall, I'm super happy with the finished look, and I can't wait to wear it for our Valentine's Day date. We're going to Durham for the day to go sightseeing and enjoy a meal overlooking the river.

Happy Valentine's Day ❤


* Not Cruelty-Free

Voices of IBD (18) - Jamie's Story.

Welcome to PART 18 of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease series, where we talk to people from all walks of life with this condition; to give everyone a platform to share their story, and help to raise awareness.


This week we talk to Jamie about his battle with Ulcerative Colitis.


What is your name and age?

My name is Jamie Pearson & I am 25 years old

What is your occupation?

Unemployed at the moment and  due for surgery soon but do football studies & I started blogging.

What form of IBD have you got?

I have Ulcerative Colitis

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

I was 18 years old when I was Diagnosed

About the disease...
What were your main symptoms that led to your diagnosis?

Main symptoms were bleeding from the bottom, more regular emptying from my bum & so much more tired.

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

I was in shock when I was first told I had Ulcerative Colitis. I had no clue what UC was so looked it up & then was like wow, a big change in my life.

What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

I had a good IBD nurse who was so supportive and even after she always made sure things were ok and checked it I needed anything.

Do you take medication, if so, what?

I was on Pentasa tablets and then steroid tablets but not anymore.

What are your experiences with hospitals? Have you had many stays in hospital, or colonoscopies? Do you have an IBD nurse?

My experience with hospitals wasn't bad at the start, just with quite a few admissions in the hospital with steroid drips does affect the experience. I do have a IBD nurse who is amazing. I’ve had 6 Colonoscopies in my time with UC which at first wasn’t nice but it’s for your own safety.

What seems to affect your IBD the most? What triggers it?

Stress is a massive part that affects my IBD the most and even when I have a cold or feel really low it can affect my IBD.

Do you currently, or have in the past, struggled with mental health? If so, what?

 I went through Depression which was helped with therapy and antidepressants.

Was this because of you IBD, or influenced by your IBD or vice versa?

IBD was an influence in being depressed.

Do you get support for your mental health?

Therapy & antidepressants.

Do you feel like you get the right support?

The support I had did help with opening up about things.

How do you cope?
What is your go-to routine for when you are flaring?

At the start when flared up it would be stress. I felt upset and so down in dumps but when in a bad flare up I ring my IBD nurse up, and she goes through the options available.


What do you do to give yourself a break or relax?

Football is my break as when I play or even watch it, does take my mind off what is going on with myself.

What lifestyle/diet/changes have you made to cope with your IBD?

Some eating habits have changed from fizzy drinks to eating more healthy. Even exercise helps. Simple things like walking or sports.

What advice would you give to someone who may think they are experiencing early signs?

My advice would be, any time you’re worried or things are not right, go book an appointment at your local GP surgery and get checked over. Never fight it.

What advice would you give to the friends and family of those with IBD?

It's a very hard battle but keep fighting. So many people have IBD, so get on social groups.

If there is one thing that keeps you motivated and focused through it all, what would that be?

I think there’s always someone worse off than me, I am strong and this will not beat me.

What is your favourite quote?

Believe & Achieve.
Believe in yourself & watch you achieve things you never thought you could do.

Thank you Jamie for sharing your story here on BecxBlogs. If you are affected by Crohn's or Colitis; please go to the Crohn's & Colitis UK website for further support and information.

Cheap or Free Date Ideas!

To celebrate the fact it's now February, and I'm always a sucker for the run up to Valentines Day, I thought I'd share some date ideas that I've done with my boyfriend, or plan to do in the future. They're great if you're on a budget, and you certainly don't need a lot of money to enjoy some quality time with your loved one!


  1. Have fish n' chips at the coast.
  2. Long, cosy walks... dogs optional!
  3. Local free museums and galleries.
  4. Cinema night... or movie night at home!
  5. Bake cakes together.
  6. Go to a dog or cat cafe.
  7. Visit landmarks at local cities or even your own city!
  8. Have a karaoke night with your favourite songs and musicals. 
  9. Go bowling.
  10. Have a couple photoshoot together with your own cameras.
  11. Have a picnic.
  12. Enjoy some amusements, even just 2 pence machines!
  13. Go on a scenic bike ride.
  14. Play co-op video games together, or have a general gaming day.
  15. Go ice skating.
  16. Go to a trampoline park together.
  17. Find a new, quirky cafe you've never been to.
  18. Sample foods at a world food buffet.
  19. Go to a dessert restaurant and enjoy sundaes and waffles.
  20. Have a pamper night together, with facemasks and massages.

January Favourites 2018

I can't believe it's the end of January already... it's flown by! I haven't done a favourites post since October last year so this was long overdue. There's quite a few things I've been loving this month but I managed to whittle it down to 8!

My first favourite is The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Balancing Clay Mask, which you may have seen in my recent skincare post. I've been using this mask probably way more than I should, but my skin is thanking me for it. I've always preferred clay masks to other types, and this mask really feels like it's giving your pores a deep cleanse.


I've been mourning Christmas this month by wearing very bright, colourful, and I suppose summery eyeshadow. My favourite combination at the moment is red in the crease and a yellow lid. I know that sounds odd, but it looks amazing with my warm toned skin and blue eyes. I'll likely do a tutorial or a post just on that soon! I've been using this Makeup Revolution #Revoholic The Matte Edit palette the most.


As you might have known from my social media, I've been making a transition to cruelty-free makeup and I recently replaced my foundation with this Elf Flawless Finish Foundation. It's quickly become a favourite. Not only is it good, medium, buildable coverage, but the colour match for me is brilliant, and it's long-lasting on my oily skin, which doesn't crease.


I've been setting my makeup every single time using this Makeup Revolution Pro Fix Oil Control Fixing Spray, and I've noticed a difference in how long my makeup lasts. It also helps to leave a matte finish, so my skin doesn't feel as oily throughout the day. Not only is it a great price, but it's lasting me forever so it's great value for money. 


I recently got this NYX Microbrow Pencil and it's a great dupe for the Soap & Glory pencil or the ABH pencil. I much prefer when eyebrow pencils have a very fine tip so I can focus on the detail in my brows rather than just making them thick and dark. It has a spoolie on one side, which is always handy too.


There are 2 TV shows that I've been obsessing over this month. The first one is The Good Place on Netflix. The episodes are short and sweet and always end on a cliffhanger. If the new season wasn't being released weekly, I'd have definitely binge watched the whole lot. It's quirky and fun and if you haven't already seen it, I'd give it a 10/10 so it's totally worth trying!


The other TV series I've loved is Victoria. Eric and I have genuinely watched the whole 2 seasons and the Christmas Special over the last 2 weeks. Which is kind of crazy to watch so much TV but we were hooked. The story is incredibly interesting and has some great side stories throughout too. It tackles important political topics and is just all around a great watch.


And last but by no means least... I feel like we need a drumroll here. No doubt anyone who follows my social media will know exactly what's next. It has to be The Greatest Showman, not just the film - which was fantastic, but the soundtrack too. When I saw it in the cinema I left feeling so elated and I also shed a few tears. I've had the soundtrack on repeat pretty much every day. I literally cannot fault it. To top off a month of my obsession with it, I won this print with the lyrics from 'This Is Me', from Kayley Mills on Instagram. It's proudly showcased on my wall of pictures now.


As you can tell, I fell in love with a lot of new things which, if you haven't tried, you certainly should! If you haven't seen The Greatest Showman or the TV shows, then my gosh where have you been? Get them watched and let me know what you think!

Voices of IBD (17) - Erica's Story

Welcome to PART 17 of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease series, where we talk to people from all walks of life with this condition; to give everyone a platform to share their story, and help to raise awareness.



This week we talk to Erica about her battle with Crohn's Disease. 

What is your name and age? 

Erica Knight, aged 40

What is your occupation? 

Stay at home mum, apprentice blogger

What form of IBD have you got?

Crohn’s Disease

How old were you when you were diagnosed? 

35

About the disease...
What were your main symptoms that led to your diagnosis?

I’d suffered from misdiagnosed IBS since my teens. Stomach pain, loose stools, passing blood etc for years. Immediately prior to diagnosis, I had flu-like symptoms, high temperature and awful abdominal pain which the GP was convinced was appendicitis. I was sent to A&E where they carried out a CT scan prior to taking me to have it removed – which was a bit of luck!

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

I was given the diagnosis by a junior doctor at about 2am in the surgical assessment unit. “Good news it’s not your appendix. It does look like Crohn’s though. I don’t know much about it so you’ll have to wait until the morning for the consultant”.
The only person I knew with Crohn’s was bald and skinny. I was neither. I Googled it and scared myself stupid

What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

At the time, not a great deal. I had t wait weeks for an appointment. They didn’t have IBD nurses at my hospital at that time. Now they do and they are fab

Do you take medication, if so, what?

Yes, I tried Pentasa but it was too late and I had to have a bowel resection. My most recent flare has presented with active Crohn’s in my colon and a fistula. I am on Infliximab infusions every 8 weeks and Mercaptopurine daily. Vitamin B12 injections every 3 months

What are your experiences with hospitals? Have you had many stays in hospital or colonoscopies? Do you have an IBD nurse?

Following my initial colonoscopy to confirm Crohn’s I have had 8 operations. The first being the bowel resection, unfortunately, that went wrong and I had an anastomotic leak which nearly killed me. I had an emergency laparoscopy and ended up with a stoma, mucous fistula and a stint in intensive care. That stay was 4 weeks in total. I had the stoma reversed 7 months later, I was in for 4 to 5 days. I developed an incisional hernia so that was operated on, it was a bit of a mess of adhesions and I was in 4 to 5 days again. Unfortunately, the mesh used to repair my hernia became infected so I had to have another emergency operation to remove it. That was fun.
I then fell pregnant and had a period of being well before having another flare after my baby was born. I had a fistula and had to have 3 operations on that before I could go on the current medication.

What seems to affect your IBD the most? What triggers it?

Both big flares were following pregnancies but that may have been a coincidence. I would say being run down or stressed makes it worse. I don’t have trigger foods, unlike some people.

Do you currently, or have in the past, struggled with mental health? If so, what?

I’ve struggled with depression since my teens. I try to remain positive but obviously having this amount of ill health affects me. Especially the side effects, needing the loo, bowel incontinence etc.

Was this because of your IBD, or influenced by your IBD or vice versa?

I think they go hand in hand. It causes depression and in turn, the depression can make the IBD worse.

Do you get support for your mental health?

I have had counselling but not specifically Crohn’s related. I’ve been on anti-depressants in the past but not at the moment.

Do you feel like you get the right support?


Probably not, I need to come to terms with it properly at some point. Right now I feel like I am winging it.

How do you cope?

Having two young sons I try to just “get on with it”. I can’t stop or spend too long worrying about it, I don’t have the time or energy.

What is your go-to routine for when you are flaring?

I now call my IBD nurse. I am in a constant flare at the moment, it’s just being managed.

What do you do to give yourself a break or relax?

Sleep!

What lifestyle/diet/changes have you made to cope with your IBD?

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a teenager. I haven’t really changed my lifestyle much. I am not as active as I’d like due to the fistula

What advice would you give to someone who may think they are experiencing early signs?

Go to your GP and demand to be tested. I wish I had made more of a fuss rather than accepting that it was “stress-related IBS”. It might have prevented me from needing the operations, at least at that time

What advice would you give to the friends and family of those with IBD?

Be supportive, understand “bad days”, be there for them. There are times we’d love to go out but we just can’t – we don’t want to let people down. Turn up with some chocolate and put the kettle on and have a good giggle instead. Visit us in hospital – we appreciate it

If there is one thing that keeps you motivated and focused through it all, what would that be?

My family, my friends. I write about Crohn’s on my own blog and Facebook page. I get some lovely comments from people. I am open about it and have a laugh about it. It’s what keeps me going

What is your favourite quote?

"It is what it is"


Not because I’ve given up, but because life is what you make of it. You can’t change what is thrown at you but you can change how it affects your future.

Thank you for sharing your story here on BecxBlogs. If you are affected by Crohn's or Colitis; please go to the Crohn's & Colitis UK website for further support and information.

You can find Erica on her blog at:

and her social media:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Cruelty Free Skincare for Oily, Spot Prone Skin

It's taken me YEARS to find the right skincare routine for my skin, and I finally feel like my skin is more stable than it ever was. I used to have acne and still struggle with hormonal break outs, with the odd cystic spot. My skin is very oily as well, which is something I've always struggled with, and probably always will since that's just my skin type.

For the New Year I decided to go completely cruelty-free on my cosmetics and skincare, and I'm so glad I did because, I've found some amazing budget beauty products! Everything I'll be mentioning below is cruelty-free.


The Skin System Foaming Face Wash 
£2.00 at Asda
I use this foaming tea tree face wash every morning in the shower when I wash my face. Tea tree is great for acne and spot prone skin with it's purifying and antibacterial properties that kill the bacteria causing spots. I find this face wash isn't too harsh on my skin like I find most acne-targeting products are. It also contains salicylic acid and witch hazel  to fight against blemishes as well.

The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Balancing Toner
£8.00 at The Body Shop
It's always important to tone your skin to remove any left over dirt from cleansing, as well as tightening your pores. I love this seaweed toner, and it's great for oily and combination skin.
My skin always feels more matte after using this, which is what you need when you have oily skin. I use this twice a day, both morning and night in my skincare routine.

Superdrug Vitamin E Nourishing Eye Cream
£2.99 at Superdrug
Now this product is aimed at normal to dry skin, but as it's an eye cream, I find it does a brilliant job at protecting and moisturising the delicate skin around my eyes, since I use harsher products on the rest of my skin to combat my spots. I feel like this cream has really made a difference to the brightness of the skin around my eyes and it's non-greasy, so it doesn't feel heavy.

The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Control Gel Cream
£13.00 at The Body Shop
This is my morning and daytime cream as it's very lightweight on the skin. Gel based creams are great for not leaving oily skin feeling oilier than it needs to. This cream leaves my skin feeling clean and matte as it helps to balance the oil.

Superdrug Vitamin E Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
£2.99 at Superdrug
I use this eye makeup remover on a night with two cotton pads to remove my eye makeup. It even removes my heavier makeup looks, and waterproof mascara which I thought was bloody amazing when I first tried it. This is my second one, and I think this will be a firm favourite for a while. It's super gentle for the delicate eye area, and makeup just glides off, so you don't need to rub unnecessarily.

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil or Butter
£12.00/ £10.00 at The Body Shop
I go between both the Camomile Cleansing Oil and the Butter, but I think I prefer the Cleansing Oil slightly more because it's easier to work into the skin. Both of these products are great at melting your makeup away after along day and are very calming and gentle on the skin. I apply them to dry skin and wipe away with a warm, damp flannel or muslin cloth.

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Renewing Night Cream
£5.99 at Superdrug
For the night time, I like to use a more moisturising cream, since so many of the products I use can be quite harsh on the skin - with all the tea tree oil, salicylic acid and witch hazel. This cream doesn't make my face feel greasy or heavy, it settles just nicely, and I feel like it really helps prevent my skin from drying out a bit too much with the other products.

The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Balancing Clay Mask
£11.00 at The Body Shop
I absolutely love clay masks, they're my favourite type of mask to use because they work with my skin so amazingly. If you're a fan of the Himalayan Clay mask by The Body Shop, this is a good alternative as it has the same effect. I use this mask once or twice a week on an evening to do a really deep cleanse of my pores, and it's especially good when I'm having a spot breakout.

Witch Naturally Clear Blemish Gel
£2.99 at Superdrug
I use this blemish gel with witch hazel at night after my usual skincare routine; when I have a particularly nasty break out. It helps to clear up my spots quicker than usual, and it really helps to balance the oil on my skin.


Usually, I'm all for budget beauty, and while The Body Shop isn't exactly cheap, nor is it high end; I do find the quality of the products are worth it. It's particularly good when they have special offers on, which is when I tend to buy from them. Equally, I think Superdrug have released some pretty impressive skincare products for such a low price. I'm really pleased I've found products that seem to work with my skin after trying so many different things, and it's a huge plus that they're all cruelty free.

Have you tried any of these products and feel the same way? I'd love to know any recommendations for other skincare products for oily spot, prone skin. If you end up trying one of these, I'd also like to know what you think of them!


Voices of IBD (16) - Casey's Story

Welcome to PART 16 of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease series, where we talk to people from all walks of life with this condition; to give everyone a platform to share their story, and help to raise awareness.



This week we talk to Casey about her battle with Crohn’s Disease.



What is your name and age?

Casey Flancbaum, 26 years old

What is your occupation?

Music Teacher and performer. I am also on the Board of Directors for a foundation that works with the homeless animals in our city (Denton Animal Support Foundation). 

What form of IBD have you got?

Crohn's disease

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

22 years old 

About the disease...
What were your main symptoms that led to your diagnosis?

Bleeding, inability to eat, and rapid weight loss

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

I felt pretty relieved when diagnosed.  I struggled with digestive problems my entire life - my mom suspected IBD when I was young and tried to get a diagnosis but the doctors didn't see enough evidence on the outside to run any tests.  I was told most of my life it was IBS and to just work on my diet for relief (which didn't work).  When I was 22 and planning my wedding I went into the worst flare I ever had, which led to an Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis.  That doctor ended up not working out, and the next doctor did a colonoscopy and changed the diagnosis to Crohn's.  As tired and sick as I felt, it was nice to have someone validate the pain I was going through and help to form a plan for treatment. 


What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

The doctor who first diagnosed me told me up front that he didn't have any IBD patients and that I would need to move on, which I did.  The next doctor was very good and was always giving me more information and involving me in my treatment plan, but as my disease got worse he decided to send me to a specialist who has been amazing! Besides my doctors, my husband has been my biggest support system.  He comes to every appointment, takes notes, does research, and advocates fiercely for me.  I'm very lucky to have someone like that in my corner.  

Do you take medication , if so, what?

I am currently on Lialda, 6mp, and Entyvio (every 8 weeks, probably switching to 6 though). I also take different things for nausea, pain, GERD, and such. 


What are your experiences with hospitals? Have you had many stays in hospital, or colonoscopies? Do you have an IBD nurse?

I have way more hospital visits than I'd like, but on top of having Crohn's I also have Type 1 diabetes, so there are some other complications that require a trip.  My first year with the disease I was in the hospital a couple of times a month, since then i've gotten better about managing pain and dehydration - I really only go to the hospital if I feel like I can't get the dehydration under control.  I'm hesitant to go for pain, as we have a large drug problem in our community and I don't want to get into a situation where they see me as someone with an addiction.  I had 11 colonoscopies in my first year and a half of diagnosis, which I never thought to question because I wasn't sure if it was standard or not.  Since then its usually twice a year for both scopes, more if something is wrong.  I don't have an IBD nurse. 

What seems to affect your IBD the most? What triggers it?

Stress is a big one for me, I start hurting soon after getting stressed out.  I also notice worsening symptoms in the summer and usually end up in the ER more often because of it! For the most part though, flares and symptoms seem pretty random. 

Do you currently, or have in the past, struggled with mental health? If so, what?

I do struggle with depression and anxiety, and wish this was something that was discussed more with doctors because it is a huge component of our disease! 

Was this because of you IBD, or influenced by your IBD or vice versa?

I'm sure there was some underlying depression before the illness, but it definitely got worse once I started getting really sick.  I don't always notice it, but the people around me let me know if they're noticing a change in mood. 

Do you get support for your mental health?
Do you feel like you get the right support?

I tried seeing a couple of therapists, but didn't feel like they had enough understanding of what life with chronic illness is like to be able to help me.  If I could find someone with experience in that I would definitely make an appointment! 

How do you cope?
What is your go-to routine for when you are flaring?

I have the cutest dogs on the planet, and they are my favorite coping buddies.  I spend a lot of time in bed or in the bathroom when flaring, and they are always by my side and remind me that there's more to life than just illness. When I feel like a flare is starting, I usually stop eating and up my fluid intake to try to give my body a rest.  I make sure to rest as much as I can, and I use a heating pad for pain.  Flares for me usually means liquids and solids will either cause bad pain or send me straight to the bathroom, so if its bad enough I will go to the ER for IV fluids.  If I can drink, I use homemade electrolyte drinks or DripDrop. 

 What do you do to give yourself a break or relax?

I love to cook, garden, and spend as much time outside with the dogs as humanly possible. 

What lifestyle/diet/changes have you made to cope with your IBD?

I started following the Autoimmune Protocol a little over a year ago.  It didn't help with my Crohn's as much as I would have liked, but it definitely made my body stronger and healthier.  It is an elimination diet that is similar to Paleo with more restrictions.  At this point I have reintroduced a lot of foods but don't eat gluten, dairy, or raw greens and that seems to be okay for now. 

What advice would you give to someone who may think they are experiencing early signs?

Don't wait until you are too sick to get out of bed to look for answers! IBD might not be the answer, but if you are experiencing concerning symptoms a doctor should know! 

What advice would you give to the friends and family of those with IBD?

Try to always see things from your loved one's perspective.  If we have to cancel plans or leave something early, we have probably gone back and forth over that decision for hours before bringing it up.  Most of all just be understanding that we didn't choose the way our bodies work, and we can't control what it decides to do. 

If there is one thing that keeps you motivated and focused through it all, what would that be?

I try to always pay attention to the good that I have in my life.  I have a wonderful family, husband, pets, career, and can afford to live on the salary we bring in.  I may be sick, but some people have it much worse than I do. 



What is your favourite quote?

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

 I do a lot of volunteer work, but can't always do as much as i'd like.  I have to always remind myself that giving 100% looks different for everyone, and we have to constantly evaluate where we are to know if we are doing our best because our best changes from day to day.

Thank you Casey for sharing your story here on BecxBlogs. If you are affected by Crohn's or Colitis; please go to the Crohn's & Colitis UK website for further support and information. 


Voices of IBD (15) - Rachael's Story

Welcome to PART 15 of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease series, where we talk to people from all walks of life with this condition; to give everyone a platform to share their story, and help to raise awareness.


This week we talk to Rachael about her battle with Crohn’s Colitis.




What is your name and age?

Rachael, 28 years old.

What is your occupation?

Teaching Assistant.

What form of IBD have you got?

I have Crohn’s Colitis, Peri-Anal Crohn’s.

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

I was diagnosed when I was 13.

About the disease...
What were your main symptoms that led to your diagnosis?

It’s hard to think back to then, but I had lost a lot of weight and slept pretty much all the time.

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

I was confused when I was first diagnosed. No one had heard of the disease, so it was all new.

What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

The support I received was fantastic. The Paediatric team were amazing, and there all the time. So are the team I have now, going above and beyond in helping me.

Do you take medication , if so, what?

I take two lots of medication – Humira and Azathioprine.

What are your experiences with hospitals? Have you had many stays in hospital, or colonoscopies? Do you have an IBD nurse?

My hospital has always been fantastic, I couldn’t fault them. I’ve been quite lucky. I’ve not had many stays in hospital – once a year maybe. Which I think is quite lucky compared to most people! So far, I’ve had a Sigmoidoscopy each year due to my Crohn’s and before that I had a Colonoscopy. I hate the prep, so I bargain with my surgeon to not have them. I have an IBD nurse, who is amazing. In fact, all three, with Jo being the main one, are great, knowledgeable and caring people. They speed things up, and see me in clinic.

What seems to affect your IBD the most? What triggers it?

I would have to say that stress can aggravate the symptoms, which can cause me more problems.

Do you currently, or have in the past, struggled with mental health? If so, what?

I can’t say that I’ve been diagnosed with any mental health issues, but I can say that emotionally – it’s hard to get around. Especially for me as I’ve been told in the past and even now that I need a stoma bag. I’ve had days off because I cant cope very well with it. I think you go through all the emotions with it, especially if your medications don’t work either.

Do you get support for your mental health?

My IBD nurse and GP were there for me when I was having a tough time. My friends where there and we would more cry than talk about it.

How do you cope?
What is your go-to routine for when you are flaring?


I cope with it by keeping busy, colouring all things calming, and even just lying in my room. Sometimes I go to bed early, just to catch up on sleep.

What lifestyle/diet/changes have you made to cope with your IBD?

I think I was lucky as I didn’t have to make many changes to my lifestyle or diet. I think it’s because I’ve always been a fussy eater too. I’ve had to cope with a stoma, which changed a few things - like not being able to lift things.

What advice would you give to someone who may think they are experiencing early signs?

I would definitely say go get checked out if you have symptoms. I was quite young when I was diagnosed. It was my aunt and mum that noticed I’d lost weight when I got poorly. I know they were quite persistent too.

What advice would you give to the friends and family of those with IBD?

Take it easy on them and let them rest. Don’t go on at them. I know that’s the hardest bit!

If there is one thing that keeps you motivated and focused through it all, what would that be?
The thing that keeps me motivated is my job. I studied to be in the job I do and I love it. I work with children and watching them grow takes the pain of the Crohn’s away. Because I’m so busy I’m like a flamingo really. Burying my head in the sand and getting on with it. I like to be busy so it helps.


What is your favourite quote?

I have loads!

“What goes around comes around”

“Ironing boards are like surf boards that give up on their dreams. Don’t be an ironing board!”

“If you get tired, learn to rest not quit”.


Thank you Rachael for sharing your story here on BecxBlogs. If you are affected by Crohn's or Colitis; please go to the Crohn's & Colitis UK website for further support and information.