My Current Christmas Playlist

I'm not going to lie, I may have been listening to Christmas songs since November. I can't help it, I just love the festive season! I thought I would create a post about my top 10 Christmas songs, and have my whole Christmas playlist over on my Spotify at the very bottom, which has 58 songs and 3 hours worth of Christmas magic!

10) Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel - Ring In The Season (Olaf's Frozen Adventure) 

9) Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas 1984 Version

8) CeeLo Green - What Christmas Means To Me

7) Michael Buble - It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

6) Elton John - Step Into Christmas

5) Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

4) Wham! - Last Christmas

3) Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

2) Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone

1) Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody


My Top 10 Festive Films

Everyone's list is always different, but these are my go-to festive films to get me in the Christmas spirit that, I reach for every year!

10) Frozen
The reason it's at the bottom of my list is that it's not technically a Christmas film, and it's actually set in summer... but it's one of those films I seem to watch only at Christmas. If this was a Disney themed list, it'd be much much higher.


9) Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer
PLEASE tell me you've heard of this film? I watched it over and over as a child, and I'd still watch it today as a 24-year-old grown woman. It's like a classic Christmas film for me, even if it was one of those things on repeat on Cartoon Network!

8) New Years Eve
I've always been a sucker for a good rom-com, and New Year's Eve is definitely a guilty pleasure. It's packed full of famous actors and actresses and this film is perfect for the after Christmas blues, to get you prepped for New Years.


7) The Snowman
Another classic I watched every year as a child. It's so simple but honestly, I still love it. For me, this film is the epitome of Christmas as a child, with the magic of snowmen coming to life and a party with Santa, and the innocence around Christmas. It's magical.


6) A Christmas Carol (2009)
I'm not one for very old films, so the 2009 version of A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey is my favouroite adaptation of the Dickens novel. To be honest, I like most movies with Jim Carrey in it, and the animation in this film is absolutely brilliant.


5) Elf
 I think Elf is on everyone's list, only much higher. Elf is another classic Christmas Comedy that everyone loves. I'm always shocked if someone says they haven't seen it. How could you not? It's on every TV channel around Christmas time!


4) The Nightmare Before Christmas
Some might argue this is a Halloween film, but for me, it's a bit of both. I'd watch it at both Halloween and Christmas, and probably all year round. I'm always a sucker for a Tim Burton film, I think he's extremely talented and creative. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a great "bridge" film for the time between Halloween and Christmas and is probably my 2nd favourite Tim Burton film, after Corpse Bride. 


3) The Holiday
I don't see this film cropping up too much on people's lists, but it's genuinely one of my favourite Christmas films and most definitely deserves to be in my top 3. It has some of my favourite actors in it... who doesn't love Jack Black and Jude Law?! I really like the whole story, and like I said before, I always love rom-coms.


2) Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas
I've already declared my love for Jim Carrey and The Grinch is one of those classic favourites that everyone loves. I have no exceptions, I always found this film hilarious as a child, and even today I love how it shows the magic of Christmas and how it brings people together.



1) Love Actually
I think anyone could have guessed it really. Love Actually is one of my all-time favourite films, nevermind my favourite Christmas film. I always feel happy when I watch this film. I love how it explores what Christmas is to lots of different types of people, and we get to see several story lines, that all link. I think it's not only extremely clever, but it's such a heartwarming film, especially in the run up to Christmas. If this film doesn't have you feeling festive then nothing will. 





Voices of IBD (12) - Shawn's Story

Welcome to PART 12 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 Shawn about her battle with Ulcerative Colitis.



What is your name and age?

My name is Shawntel Bethea, I prefer Shawn. I’m 25 years old.

What is your occupation?

I work full time in healthcare, I help with insurance and prescription drugs plans. I also have my own business for my advocacy and blog called Chronically Strong.

What form of IBD have you got?

Ulcerative Colitis

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

I was between 16 and 17 years old

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

Extreme fatigue, frequent bathroom usage and blood in the stool

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

Initially, after being diagnosed, I was confused. I didn’t understand my condition but my physician at the time led me to believe my condition could be managed by simply taking steroids, so I was pretty hopeful. Unfortunately, that wasn’t true and my health took a turn for the worst soon after I stopped seeing that physician.

What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

I mostly hid my condition for years after being diagnosed so I didn’t have much support. My family knew about my diagnosis but we didn’t talk about it much. I was very embarrassed and confused, I think they may have been afraid to offend me.

Do you take medication, if so, what?

Currently, I’m on antibiotics for Pouchitis (inflammation in my J-pouch). I also take occasional medications for nausea and vomiting.

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

I’m not exactly sure how many times I’ve stayed in a hospital -  if I had to guess I’d probably say maybe 100 since being diagnosed. I’ve probably had around 30+ scopes total, whether it was for my colon or pouch.

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

I had an Ostomy nurse during my six months with an Ostomy, but I’ve never had an actual healthcare provider that specializes in IBD.

Do you currently, or have in the past, struggled with mental health? If so, what?
My IBD is pretty random. No one thing specifically bothers it. Different things at different times, I really never know.

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

I’ve struggled with Anxiety and Depression because of my IBD, the surgeries, the stress, etc.

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

I’ve seen a few different therapists but my family and friends don’t acknowledge mental health much. I try to bring it up but it’s uncomfortable for many people

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

When I’m having an anxiety attack I try to talk myself down, deep breathing is my first step. If deep breathing and different ways I’ve discussed with my therapist don’t work, I move back to consulting my physician to possibly talk about my (occasional) anxiety medication. Depression is much different, but my process is somewhat the same. If it gets out of hand I try to consult a professional but until that point I try distracting my mind, breathing, hanging with friends, I’ve even done yoga before.

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

To relax I really enjoy venting, whether it’s to a close friend or on my blog and YouTube channel - I’ve found that expressing myself is one of the most effective ways to calm my mind.

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

Now that I have a Jpouch my diet is less strict than when I had a colon. I currently don’t eat meat, I don’t smoke, rarely drink. I try not to put a lot of stress on my Jpouch.

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

Don’t wait. Early treatment can make such a difference. You know your body; if you think something is wrong -consult with a professional as soon as possible.

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

You can learn so much by doing research. Even as a friend or caregiver, the more you know about the condition, the more you can help and the better support you can give.

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

Other IBD advocates, they always show me how important our work is and how much more I can do in our community. Also, the people who reach out to me, it’s shown me how much there is a need for the patient voice and just lets me know the work I do isn’t in vain.

What is your favourite quote?

Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.


Thank you Shawn 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 Shawn on her social media here:


GIFT GUIDE FOR GIRLS UNDER £25 - 2017



CHRISTMAS IS UPON US! I'm so excited to be uploading my first festive content for my first Christmas as a blogger. In December, my blog will be 6 months old; and since Christmas is one of my favourite holidays, I knew I just HAD to upload Christmassy content. 

I pride myself on budget buying and promoting affordable products, so I wanted to create a TOP 10 AFFORDABLE GIFTS UNDER £25 for your girlfriends, sisters, friends and more!

1) The Body Shop Gift-sets

The Body Shop have a fab range of gifts under £25, with SO many to choose from I've put a few of my favourites below.  My all-time favourite has to be the Festive Picks giftsets, especially the strawberry scent (it smells like goddamn calpol), which are only £20. I think that price is amazing for what you get in the box. However, the Beauty Bags. like the satsuma one, are even lower at £12. 



 2) Primark Pyjamas

Primark is killing it lately with their diverse range, and affordability. They have some super cute festive pyjamas, like Elf and the Grinch, which come in at £12, in cute little boxes! They also have a great range of Disney, Harry Potter and other girly picks anywhere between £6 and £10. Everyone loves a good pair of pyjamas, and they're perfect gifts. For some reason, I have never, ever bought myself some pyjamas... they're always presents. Is that just me?


3) Lush Gift-sets

Everyone loves a good, relaxing Lush bath. There are lots of festive gift sets this year all under £25, and some as little as £10.50. The gift-sets don't always include just bath bombs too, but include things like shower gels, body creams and bubble bars. If you know a Lush fanatic, these are the gifts to go for!


4) New Look Home Ware

New Look are killing it this season with their accessories and home ware. These are just a few examples of things I've seen in store and online; and they're all under £20! Rose Gold, dogs and Unicorns are all very popular at the moment, and I'd personally have every single one of these as a gift for myself, nevermind anyone else!


5) Primark Home Ware

Primark has also really upped their game with their super cute home ware selection. Not only do they sell Disney and Harry Potter related gifts but they are massively affordable. All the gifts below come in between £2 and £8 - can you believe that! It's very hard not buying these for myself!


6) Soap & Glory Makeup Sets

We all know Soap & Glory have some awesome bath sets, but their makeup sets are adorable. All these gifts are under £25 for the avid makeup lover. Not only that but Soap & Glory have very good quality makeup. Their Supercat Eyeliner and Archery Brow Pencil are holy grail items for me.


7) Pop Vinyls

These are EVERYWHERE at the moment, and I don't blame them. They're cute and you can get a character from almost every TV show, movie, comic, game and more. From Disney, to Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Stranger Things. I have a collection of my own favourite characters on my shelves. What's more, these range anywhere between £7 and £20 for most of them!

8) Fragrance at Boots and Superdrug

You don't need to pull out £40 to get the next Chanel fragrance. All these perfumes are £25 and under at the moment, and they all smell divine. It's always worth looking on the Boots and Superdrug websites for any offers on. Often before Christmas, fragrances from earlier in the year have their prices HALVED, so definitely check them out.

9) Yankee Candle Gift Sets

Yankee candles can be a really luxurious gift for anyone who likes burning candles or wax melts. Not only are they relaxing, but they look so pretty and smell amazing. Gift sets often come with decorative options for that extra bit of luxury. All of these gifts sets come in between £18 and £25. If you're looking for candles that are more stocking fillers, definitely have a look at the Primark range, their little candles are fab too, at a fraction of the price of Yankee Candle.



10) Nail Gift Sets

Nail gift sets are perfect for every girl who likes to paint their nails. For example, the Nails Inc Unicorn set also comes with a cute face mask. Painting your nails is a very pampering activity, and these gift sets are great for people who want to expand their nail polish collection. All these gifts range from £25 for the OPI Fiji set, to £8.95 for the smaller Love OPI set.


I hope this gift guide was useful. All these gifts are relevant in 2017. Of course, lots of people like lots of different kinds of things - so if you know of something I MUST KNOW about, please do tell me! I'm always looking for new things to get my family and friends.

Have a lovely Christmas! 🎅

GIFT GUIDE FOR GUYS UNDER £25 - 2017



Following on from my Gift Guide for Girls, of course, I had to do a one for boys. And while I am not a boy myself, and while lists are usually non-exhaustive - I'm mostly basing this list on the kinds of boys and men I buy for in my life. So it may not be perfect for every single man out there, I do hope someone finds it useful.

As with my other gift guide, I wanted to create a TOP 10 AFFORDABLE GIFTS FOR GUYS UNDER £25, for your boyfriends, brothers, best friends and more!

1)  Gaming Accessories

I don't know about you, but every boy in my life is a gamer. My brother, boyfriend and most of my guy-friends all game in one way or another, and you can never be short of useful accessories to make the experience more fun and immersive. These accessories below are all currently available from GAME, and are all under £25, which is a total bargain. Not to mention, SteelSeries and Razer are great high-quality brands too.



2) Beard Kits

Everyone and their uncle has a beard nowadays, and it's become a very popular fashion trend. Beards don't always become beautiful masterpieces without some TLC, just like how we care for the hair on our head. These beard kits from Boots are great little gifts and most of them are on offer at the moment. Boots are usually great for their Christmas gift set offers!


3) Pop Vinyls

Pop Vinyls are extremely popular at the moment and they're brilliant because of their affordability (being anywhere between £7 and £20), but they make characters from almost every TV show, movie and game. A few brilliant examples for this Christmas are below. Everyone loved this year's Rick and Morty season, and not forgetting Game of Thrones. with the release of Thor Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I thought they would be fab additions. All the guys in my life absolutely loved Blizzcon, and how Sylvanas was portrayed in the new World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth cinematic so she would be a fabulous addition to any WoW lovers collection - she proudly sits on my own shelf!


4) This Years Popular Blu-rays

My boyfriend always says he's easy to buy for because you can always count on a decent blu-ray. With the release of so many amazing films this year, there's so many to choose from. All of this films below, from 2017, are all under £20.



5) Lush Gift Sets

Bath sets are often underrated by men. I know that my boyfriend certainly loves a good, relaxing bath and the odd bath bomb or two. It's usually something that men don't buy themselves (since the majority are aimed at women through marketing), so getting them as a gift is a great idea. These sets below are particularly good for men if they don't want to whole pink and glitter bath, although, it's a bath so they probably don't really care too much! All of these gift sets are under £20.

6) Primark Pyjamas

I have to say, the website was disappointing when I was collecting pictures, because there were SO many more interesting ones that I've seen in-store, but here's a few from the website. Primark are brilliant for relevant, fashionable and affordable pyjamas, and who doesn't love a nice, new pair at Christmas? All of these below ranged from £8 to £16.


7) Fragrances at Boots and Superdrug

Fragrances are always a really good gift for people in general. At the moment, Boots and Superdrug have some amazing deals, and all of these fragrances below are £25 and under. Some of them have even HALVED in price in the run up to Christmas, which is absolutely amazing!


8) Graphic Tee's 

Is it just me or are men always wear graphic tee's if they aren't wearing a shirt? Here's a few that I would definitely buy the men in my life. All of these tee's were £20 and under. The Princess Leia one was from Primark, the Playstation one from New Look, and the rest are easily found on Amazon.


9) Star Wars Gifts

Since I've already mentioned them a lot, I thought I might as well make a section just for Star Wars. Especially with the release of The Last Jedi this month, it's going to be a hot topic for a lot of fans out there. Some of these gifts below were from New Look and some from Amazon, but ALL were £25 and under at the moment. I personally LOVE that stormtrooper decanter.


10) Marvel & DC Gifts

And just like above, Marvel and DC will be hot this Christmas with all the amazing films released this year... from Wonder Woman, to Justice League, Thor Ragnarok and Spriderman Homecoming, there's plenty of gifts under £25. Below are a few examples from Primark and Amazon.


I do hope this gift guide was useful, and like my gift guide for girls - of course it always depends on an individual's interests. I did base this guide of the men I know personally, but I thought they might be a good starting point.  As always I want to know what YOU think would be great affordable gifts for men and boys... I'm always on the hunt for fab bargains!

Have a lovely Christmas! 🎅

Voices of IBD (11) - Emma's Story

Welcome to PART 11 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 Emma about her battle with Crohn's Disease. 


What is your name and age?

My name’s Emma, and I’m 19 years old!

What is your occupation?

I’m a student – currently in my first year of university studying Biomedical Science. I love it! Hopefully I’ll be able to work in the field when I graduate, but right now I’m not letting myself think that far head.

What form of IBD have you got?

I’ve got Crohn’s disease, mostly confined to the small intestine.

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

I’d just turned 9 when I was diagnosed - I’ve had Crohn’s for a whopping 10 years now! I can’t believe it. It was a real struggle to come to terms with it when I was so young, but I think it helped, too – kids are stronger than we think.

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

It started with diarrhoea, out of nowhere, that I had absolutely no warning of or control over – utterly mortifying for a 9-year-old! Then the weight loss started, and since I’ve always been petite, it became worrying really quickly. Those two, combined, got me referred for my first colonoscopy.

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

Of course, I was upset at first – try telling a child that they’ve got a horribly embarrassing disease, and will have it for the rest of their life! But I was secretly relieved as well, to finally know that my condition had a name, it was known to the doctors, there were treatments for it and I could take them and hopefully get my life back. From that moment, it seemed that there was only one way to go: up.

What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

Next to none, honestly. Being in paediatrics, most of the conversation from the doctors was directed at my parents, who confessed to me a while ago that they weren’t even told much more than I was. It was pretty much a case of ‘here’s your diagnosis, now go away and get on with it’. So we turned to Crohn’s and Colitis UK to start gathering information.

Do you take medication, if so, what?

I started out on Pentasa, which worked well for years, even keeping me well after surgery to remove a stricture that had formed spontaneously. But in 2012 it was clear that it was no longer enough as I started to experience constant abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss again – and so azathioprine was added to the mix. It helped somewhat, but in 2016 things began to slide again – and blood tests revealed that I wasn’t metabolising the drug efficiently – so in September I started on Humira. I’m hoping that it’ll be my magic bullet, but only time will tell…

What are your experiences with hospitals?

Largely mixed. My diagnosis happened at a big children’s hospital which is renowned for its care, but my parents and I all felt brushed-off by the doctors and like we were to be hustled in and out as quickly as possible. For a few years my care was under the London hospital where my resection was carried out, but the gastroenterologist I was seeing was highly brusque and continued to act like I wasn’t even in the room during my appointments, talking only to my parents. This irritated me more and more as I hit my teenage years and eventually I decided to have my care transferred to my local hospital, where I could get the bus, instead of having to ask my dad to take a day off work, suffer London traffic and sacrifice an exorbitant amount of money for parking too. That was probably the best decision I ever made: at the same time, I made an abrupt transition into adult care (since I was 15 at the time) and suddenly medical professionals were talking to me. It was eye-opening. I felt a part of the process, I felt listened to, I felt looked-after for the first time.

Have you had many stays in hospital, or colonoscopies?

Let’s see… chronologically: one 3-day (or so) hospital stay, one colonoscopy + gastroscopy, two barium meals (worst investigation EVER), a few x-rays here and there, another colonoscopy, another stay in hospital, an MRI scan, another colonoscopy, and another MRI. Oh, and blood tests roughly every 3 months, since the beginning!

Do you have an IBD nurse?

I don’t. I’ve been under gastroenterologists at three hospitals so far and I haven’t ever had an IBD nurse. I think I’m just unlucky.

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

Stress plays a massive part, but I’m naturally highly-strung, so the struggle feels inevitable. Also the food that I eat, although I don’t have too many triggers: my biggest ones are fat and tomatoes (no pizza for me, then!). I also don’t enjoy eating foods high in fibre, since they sometimes cause me obstructions (and usually pain).

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

I have since the beginning, and, if I’m being honest, still am. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve never sought help for it. I just don’t know where to begin: the anxiety, depression, all the things that I want help with are tangled-up in my disease, and I don’t know how much a medical professional would understand of that. And even though I’d never ever think this of anyone else, something inside of me hisses that I’m weak whenever I contemplate it. So I keep putting it off.

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

It mostly stems from the disease, I think, and how it’s been such a big part of my life for so long - I’ve grown up with it, and it’s grown with me, too, but along the way it’s set about ruining my self-worth wherever possible. I got teased for my condition in primary school, in secondary school I would get told I was lucky to be so thin like I wasn’t lucky to still be alive, and constantly trying to be as perfect as possible to compensate for the disease has really done a number on my brain. But I’m working through it, bit by bit.

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

They creep up on me slowly, with things getting gradually worse and worse and then one day I wake up and everything is awful, and has been awful for months, and how did I not realise before? So I try and be gentle with myself. Lots of sleep, foods that are easy on the gut (I have a reputation among my friends as a voracious chicken nugget eater and this is the reason why!) and I try and keep the stress low, even though it’s difficult.

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

Mostly I read and play videogames. The enjoyment comes from the same place for both – being able to escape somewhere else, and be someone else, for a while. I’ve probably spent far more on books and videogames than anything else in my life so far! I also knit (poorly), which is much more meditative than I first thought it would be.

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

Having been diagnosed so young, I never really felt like I had to make any drastic changes to my life, more that I was just working out what worked and didn’t, like my condition and I were growing together. But mostly keeping fat, fibre and tomatoes out of my diet as much as possible, and keeping physical exertion to a minimum, have helped.

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

Please get it checked out. You’re not being silly for thinking there’s cause for concern. If it’s nothing, then that’s great!  But if it is something, you can start to treat it as soon as it’s confirmed. Don’t just sit there and worry.

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

Don’t tiptoe around it. Really. If you do, then we’ll feel like we can’t be 100% honest with you about our disease, for fear of embarrassing you or scaring you off. This really sucks –IBD is a massive burden on our lives, and sharing the burden (even just having someone to listen to us rant sometimes!) can really lessen it. But we don’t want to do that if you’re not willing – so please, if you have an IBDer in your life, and you want to support them, tell them that you don’t mind listening to them talk about their poop. They will appreciate it.   

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

The fact that pain is temporary. Bad times don’t – they can’t – last forever. Things will get better if I just stick around long enough to see it out.

What is your favourite quote?

“When you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

and

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” 


Thank you Emma, 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 Emma over on:
Twitter @QuiteGutsy
Instagram @QuiteGutsy
and her blog - www.
quitegutsy.wordpress.com

Affordable Autumn to Winter Look Book 2017

I love looking at other people's fashion, but often it's items I can't afford to buy. I thought I'd put together my favourite go-to outfits that I've been wearing this season... and every single item is from either Primark or New Look!

1) Loose knit. Mustard Yellow. High Waist Jeans. Bomber Jacket. 




2) Plaid Shirt. Slogan Tee's. Burgundy and Blacks. 




3) Burgundy. Faux Fur. Flare Sleeves. Floral and Lace. 




4) Turtle Neck. Simple Sweaters. Thigh High Boots. 




Don't forget to check out my Look Book on YouTube for a more in depth look at these outfits!



Voices of IBD (10) - Izzy's Story

Welcome to PART 10 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 Izzy about her battle with Ulcerative Colitis.



What is your name and age?

I’m Izzy and I’m 19 years old.

What is your occupation?

I’m a Digital Communications Apprentice- I’m well on my way to becoming a fully-qualified professional Tweeter.

What form of IBD have you got?

I have Ulcerative Colitis.

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

I was 18 - I’m approaching my diagnosis anniversary, and there will be cake.

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

I’ve never had entirely normal toilet habits, but about a month after I started my new job I lost a lot of weight. I put it down to the fact that the new job nerves meant that I had no appetite whatsoever.
Next, the joint pain started. Some days it was so bad I couldn’t wash my hair, other days I couldn’t walk from my desk to the fridge. Then, I started noticing blood when I went to the toilet.
One doctor’s appointment, and a flexible sigmoidoscopy later, I was diagnosed.

How did you feel when you got diagnosed?

I was gutted, but not all that surprised. I WebMD everything, and IBD had come up more than once when I had searched my symptoms. That said, I remember feeling a bit empty when I heard things like ‘lifelong’ and ‘incurable’.

What support did you get during and after your diagnosis?

I didn’t get any real support. I was referred to websites like Crohn’s and Colitis UK, but apart from that it was all quite isolating.

Do you take medication, if so, what?

I have tried a fair few things in the last year. I’ve tried two of the 5-ASA treatments, but it turns out I’m allergic to the ingredient common to all 5.
I have been on steroids almost constantly since my diagnosis, and finished another course a couple of days ago. With the steroids, I take Omeprazole to protect my stomach.
I’m also on Azathioprine, but it’s still too soon to tell if that agrees with me…

What are your experiences with hospitals?

Completely mixed. My hospital is the only in the world to specialise entirely in intestines, so I know I’m getting good treatment, but I’m not a big fan of the woman I have my regular appointments with.

Have you had many stays in hospital, or colonoscopies?

One sigmoidoscopy and two colonoscopies. I have been admitted once, but I was there for less than 24 hours. Also, an MRI, a bone density scan, a few x-rays, more blood tests than I can count and at least a dozen blood pressure tests.

Do you have an IBD nurse?

I’ve only met her once but it was the most productive and constructive appointment I’ve ever had.

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

Stress doesn’t help. A lack of sleep, or anything like a common cold, and it’s like my colon wants to remind me that it’s also not well- I can’t have a headache without feeling exhausted, nauseous and crampy. Also the classic things, like coffee and high fibre foods.

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

A nurse once told me that the most important thing is that I eat, so I pick a biscuit and live off that. If it’s so bad I can’t work, I start a new book, or pick a series on Netflix/Amazon Prime and retreat to bed. I get bored very quickly so try to work from home where I can.

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

I stopped drinking coffee, because it felt like a sensible thing to do. I also stopped being vegetarian.
I wasn’t exactly a little socialite pre-diagnosis, but I definitely say ’no’ to more now.

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

Don’t Google anything- seriously. Don’t panic. Don’t hang about.

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

Don’t offer unsolicited advice, no matter how much you think you know. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t be judge-y… Ever.

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

It could always be worse.

What is your favourite quote?

Can I pick two? *Yes* I hear you cheer…

            “Though she be but little, she is fierce” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
            “Nevertheless, she persisted”

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 Izzy on Twitter and Instagram as @izzyakennedy