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Happy New Year!

7 Jan
Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Northern Queensland, Australia © Jess Bruce 2016

Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Northern Queensland, Australia © Jess Bruce 2016

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

I hope you all had a wonderful festive season. I last posted back in November just as Mr B and I went off on our honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand. We had the most amazing month of relaxing, exploring, walking, swimming, eating and drinking. It literally was the holiday of a lifetime. And mostly my energy stayed strong and ME/CFS behaved, more on that in a future post.

We got home early December and were immediately fully submerged in the whirlwind that is the Christmas season, hence the blog silence.

But now with the new year just begun, there is time to sit and breathe again. And I thought I’d take this opportunity to relive some of my favourite holiday moments by sharing some of our photos – a somewhat lazy, on my part, first blog post of the year, I’m easing myself back into reality – but fun for me and I hope enjoyable and uplifting for those of you reading this too. This is just a taster, we have 100s of pictures!

Happy New Year everyone!

Tropical Paradise, Port Douglas © Jess Bruce 2016

Tropical Paradise, Port Douglas © Jess Bruce 2016

View from our villa's deck on Bedarra Island, off the North Queensland coast, 'barefoot luxury' paradise. © Jess Bruce 2016

View from our villa’s deck on Bedarra Island, 30 minutes by boat off the North Queensland coast, ‘barefoot luxury’ paradise. © Jess Bruce 2016

Our ride for the day exploring desert islands, this was our spot for a gourmet picnic lunch. This picture, so serene and calm, precedes our return journey when our boat filled with water and the motor failed! © Jess Bruce 2016

Our ride for the day exploring desert islands, this was our spot for a gourmet picnic lunch. This picture, so serene and calm, precedes our return journey when our boat filled with water and the motor failed! © Jess Bruce 2016

Marlborough Sounds, South Island, New Zealand. This was at the start of our day wine tasting at many of the Marlborough vineyards. © Jess Bruce 2016

Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand. This was at the start of our day wine tasting at many of the Marlborough vineyards. © Jess Bruce 2016

Wellington harbour looking stunning from the top of Mount Victoria. No filters needed, all natural beauty here. © Jess Bruce 2016

Wellington harbour, at the bottom of the North Island in New Zealand, looking stunning from the top of Mount Victoria. No filters needed, all natural beauty here. © Jess Bruce 2016

Bondi Beach on a super hot day © Jess Bruce 2016

Bondi Beach on a super hot day © Jess Bruce 2016

A true world icon, Sydney Opera House. Speaks for itself. © Jess Bruce 2016

A true world icon, Sydney Opera House. Speaks for itself. © Jess Bruce 2016

 

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Honeymoon Hiatus

10 Nov
4 mile beach Port Douglas, Queensland. © www.pddt.com.au

4 mile beach Port Douglas, Queensland. We’ll be walking down it this week! © http://www.pddt.com.au

As you read this I will be having a restful last day at home before heading to the airport. Or I’ll be frantically trying to close suitcases and ticking off my to-do list. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which scenario is more likely…

Either way, today is the day we leave the UK for our 4 week honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand. I am so excited, I literally can’t wait to be on that plane! Even if it is the start of 20 hours of flying. But it’ll be worth it once we’re there. 4 weeks of sun, relaxation, sightseeing and visiting friends. We booked our flights way back in January so this trip has been a long time coming.

Marlborough Sounds New Zealand where we will visit with our Kiwi friends from Wellington © newzealandtravel.org

Marlborough Sounds New Zealand where we will visit with our Kiwi friends from Wellington © newzealandtravel.org

Although we got married back in August, we made the conscious decision to delay our honeymoon until the Autumn, partly to spread out the joy, partly because our chosen destination is in the southern hemisphere but mostly to let me rest and recover post wedding so I was as full of health and energy as possible before we set off on our trip; a minor concession to ME/CFS which has worked out perfectly.

See you soon Sydney! © www.sydney.com

See you soon Sydney!
© http://www.sydney.com

Whilst we’re away I won’t be blogging. I intended to be more organised and have posts written and scheduled in advance but that hasn’t happened. Life has got in the way. But come December, once we’re back and I’m over any jet lag, I’ll be back to blogging.

Daintree Rainforest waterfalls and walks © www.capetribbeach.com.au

Daintree Rainforest waterfalls and walks © http://www.capetribbeach.com.au

Until then, you can picture me relaxing on the beach in the Whitsunday Islands, snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, sampling Marlborough sauvignon blancs in New Zealand, seeing the sights in Sydney, exploring the rainforest and waterfalls of Northern Queensland and generally having the time of my life!

Bye for now!

Jess x

How To: An ME/CFS Friendly Wedding Part 2

20 Oct
Confetti Everywhere! © Jess Bruce 2015

Confetti Everywhere! © Jess Bruce 2015

Here is the second half of my post about how we made our wedding Jess and ME/CFS friendly. If you missed part one, you can find it here.

I’m sorry for the delay in posting this. I was doing so well at keeping to a routine of regular weekly posting on Wednesdays. I was using blogging to keep me in a daily routine – I like to write each morning for an hour or so sat in front of my light box. But now I’ve missed a week – [insert frustrated blowing off steam audio and emoticon here]. Last week was highly disrupted thanks to a) a nasty GI virus that left me barely able to stand due to the pain and b) simultaneously having work done on our house resulting in no landline, internet or TV for several days. Our mobile phone reception is patchy at best in our house due to living at the bottom of several large hills, so I enjoyed several quiet days with a good book cut off from modern life!

But virus is, touch wood gone, and I’m feeling much better and we’re back in the land of the living with technology reconnected again!

So without further ado, here are the rest of my tips on how we made our wedding day as easy as possible for me.

My Wedding Dress © Jess Bruce 2015

My Wedding Dress © Jess Bruce 2015

Outfit(s)

I chose a strapless a-line dress with a beaded lace overlay that I utterly loved. It was practical as well as beautiful: strapless meant there was no heavy weight of fabric pulling on my shoulders exacerbating the myalgia in my neck and shoulders; it was a light fabric with only a few layers of underskirts so it was easy and comfortable to move around in.

I had a second dress that I changed into at about 9 pm when I was getting tired and having a long dress to maneuver was too much. This was a little knee length number with a beaded bodice and a swirly skirt that was so much fun to dance in.

I’m short at 5ft3 and was a heals girl before I got sick. I desperately wanted sky high heals on my wedding day. The old me nearly won out but in the end I was glad I listened to my head rather than my heart and went for kitten heals. High heals put huge strain on legs and backs especially fibromyalgia weakened ones. I also had sparkly flat flip-flops that I wore in the evening.

It’s hard to be sensible rather than following your heart’s desire but your body will thank you for it.

My Wedding Hair © Jess Bruce 2015

My Wedding Hair in the making © Jess Bruce 2015

Hair Styling 

I didn’t wear a veil and although my hair was up it was in a very soft and loose chignon so as not to strain my head that is so prone to migraines. My hairdresser was brilliant and totally understood my special requirements.

Flowers

I had a bouquet of sunflowers, blue nigella and white veronica. We specifically asked for it to be light and not too big so it wasn’t a burden for me to carry.

Pre-emptive action

I took painkillers (my go to are co-codamol but check with your doctor) at the start of the day and periodically during the wedding; anything to ease myalgia pain from being on my feet all day and to ward off the migraines to which I’m so susceptible.

I also took an antihistamine to ward off any pesky reaction to flowers. A bride sneezing all over her bouquet wasn’t the look I wanted!

My Bouquet © Jess Bruce 2015

My Bouquet © Jess Bruce 2015

Chairs

A basic point, but so helpful – don’t stand more than you have to.

Mr B and I sat down through our ceremony as much as we could. We only stood for the actual saying of our vows and exchanging of rings and I don’t think it detracted from the special moment at all.

We had a drinks reception outside on the grass and had arranged for quilts to be laid out for people to relax on and a few chairs for less mobile guests (me in my long dress)!

Our photographer even fetched me a chair during our formal photos so I could have a sit down whilst family members were gathered for the particular shots.

After we had made our entrance (to the Rocky theme tune!) into our evening reception, we had two chairs positioned centre stage on the dance floor for us to sit on during the speeches (which incidentally we split between the wedding breakfast in the afternoon and the evening party so as not to tire me out having to concentrate and listen for too long).

Our Wedding Car © Jess Bruce 2015

Our Wedding Car © Jess Bruce 2015

Car

By having three venues, we needed to get from one to the next. The venues were only a 10 minute walk or so between each and our guests walked en masse carrying yellow and white balloons! I so wanted to be part of that but Mr B and I travelled by car, in a Maserati no less, so it wasn’t exactly a hardship! It saved my tired legs, gave me a few minutes peace and chance to sit down and also gave Mr B and I time just the two of us which was really nice.

Supplies

Pack a bag of all the essentials that you rely on and keep this with you during the event. For me this included: tiger balm, painkillers, snacks, water, plasters, headphones and ipad (for relaxation audios), sunglasses, flat shoes, a calming herbal essence and a wrap.

One of evening venue decorations © Jess Bruce 2015

One of our decorations at our evening venue © Jess Bruce 2015

Lightning Process

This was crucial for me. I used the LP in the run up to the wedding to prepare my body and mind for the big day through brain rehersal. Using the LP I visualised doing great energy and calmness both on my wedding day and in the lead up. I interrupted and stopped feelings of anxiety, panic and overwhelm, choosing instead to do calm and happy. It helped enormously and kept me amazingly calm.

Last but not least, relax!

Easier said than done, but try to relax and enjoy the day. I was amazingly calm in the run up, with only a couple of bridezilla moments (an achievement let me tell you!) The day itself I was relaxed and incredibly happy.

It might seem a shame or a drag to say that ME/CFS shaped our day but I would disagree. It did not detract from the love and specialness in the slightest. The illness has been a huge part of our lives over the last 5 years. You have nothing without good health, we have learnt that time and time again through ME/CFS and so safe guarding my health was our priority for our wedding day, as it is in life generally.

We literally had the best day of our lives, so full of love and happiness. I wouldn’t have done anything differently and the best thing was, that I didn’t crash or relapse, so all the planning and special arrangements were worth it and worked exactly as we’d hoped.

If you want to read more about our wedding, and how we raised money for the ME Association, check out this post. If you missed part one, where I talk about our choice of venues, food, timings and more, please read this post.

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