I’m Sick Of Accepting What I Cannot Change


It’s 7am on a Sunday and really I should be asleep, but I have been wide awake for a while now; my mind whirring and busy as it has been all week. I’ve found myself wondering and questioning things a lot recently, mainly things that just don’t seem to sit well with me. Now, I’m sure I don’t have some sort of heightened awareness of things around me; I just seem to have developed some kind of acceptance fatigue! One of the things you get taught in various types of therapy is the need to accept what you cannot change. This is all well and good but what do you do if accepting everything starts to wear thin?

Peace is accepting today, releasing yesterday, and giving up the need to control tomorrow- Lori Deschene (Tiny Buddha)

A quick look on Pinterest reveals that the key to acceptance is acknowledging and letting go of ‘yesterday’, being content with the current and not trying to control the future. It’s a fairly simple recipe that would arguably lead to some higher plane of life satisfaction. The trouble is, as much as I would love to do what I can to feel all happy and zen inside… the reality is really hard. It’s a bit like the mindfulness exercise where you allow everything to float down the river, letting it go in the process. Whilst it’s fab in the moment, mindfulness doesn’t prevent all of the crap you have to keep dumping in the river!! And if you end up in there yourself, whilst it would be great to think ‘I’d just go with it, accepting that I’m coming up to the waterfall rapidly and could well be about to meet oblivion’; you’re probably more likely to be feeling a little dissatisfied that you’re in the river in the first place!

But, is there an answer? Do you continue along begrudgingly accepting whatever is thrown your way, or do you fight it? To me, both options sound a little exhausting and it feels like there are situations where both, either or neither would be most appropriate. I found a blog by Kirra Sherman that thinks about acceptance in a different way. Rather than acceptance being a route to feeling at odds with your ‘true self’, she describes true acceptance as embracing how you feel about whatever it is that you are trying to accept, instead of just trying to be at peace with it in your head. As Kirra says, some things are too big and horrible to ‘just’ accept, but realising that can be what you need to get to a place where you can begin to let go and move on from them.

Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of the thought or feeling, acknowledge it and let it go. Whilst this can be helpful, it feels like there is a stage missing where you really consider what the feeling or thought is. Mindfulness ‘tells’ us not to engage with whatever we are feeling; but when that’s too hard, embracing that we are feeling that way and for now that’s completely ok is perhaps a better course of action. In a way, you can shelve whatever is going on and come back to it when you’re feeling resilient enough to tackle it more, rather than trying to just let it go if that’s not something that feels possible right now. Being honest with yourself and facing that you’re responding in a way that’s probably grounded in your morals, experiences and the person you are, could be more empowering than trying to accept everything that’s going on around you.


Have Yourself A Craftie Christmas

It’s the final countdown to the most wonderful time of the year… and I don’t know about you, but I’m falling into the category of the last minute shopper/crafter this year. After being a poorly bear, my Christmas planning went a little out of the window. Thankfully there wonderful Conscious Crafties gang have you covered. Here’s our last minute gift guide for some weekend shopping!

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1. The first item comes from yours truly! Christmas Date With a Book is still on offer for Fiver Friday over the weekend. Date with a book is ideal for bibliophiles. A mystery vintage novel, hot drink, bookmark and optional upgrades of more handcrafted items such as crocheted coasters or Christmas decorations.

2. Next up is a beautiful print from the talented Faye! This beautiful personalised unicorn print is only £4.95 with free first class postage. So beautiful and a wonderful present for unicorn lovers!


3. If you’re on the look out for cute stocking fillers, Mic’s got you covered. She has a selection of beautiful hand engraved keyrings and jewellery ranging from £5 upwards.

4. The next item is also from my Conscious Crafties shop. I have two beautiful handmade pendants for sale for £5 each with free shipping! One is orchid themed and the second is rose themed.

5. Continuing with the jewellery theme, Lisa has some totally beautiful wire work beaded bracelets and beaded bag and phone charms. There are so many different designs, colours and themes. Totally beautiful for between £3.50 and £4.50.

6. On sale in my store is my fundraising artwork for the wonderful Project Parent. The A4 wall art is £5 with P&P. Your £5 will be donated to the incredible Parent Parent. Lots of different styles in stock.

7. For ultimate cuteness factor, you can still decorate your christmas tree with Kelly’s adorable little pug baubles. They are just £4 and can be personalised in time for Christmas.

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8. Last but not least are Lynne’s beautiful products. She has some truly wonderful Christmas fayre including wish bracelets, angel decorations and remembrance snowflakes. Lynne is so talented!


If you support Crafties, you are not only supporting a small business but you are also supporting someone with a chronic illness or a carer. What a wonderful way of spreading some incredible Christmas cheer.

Happy shopping and wishing you such a wonderful Christmas.

Changing The World: One Book Date At A Time

PieLiving with a chronic physical and mental illness had led me to spend a lot of time managing feeling poorly and struggling. Having spent time in hospital, including a year as an inpatient on an eating disorder ward, I learnt a lot about self care and soothing myself when things are hard. Gradually I realised that I could come up with an idea that combined my love (and the boost it gives to my wellbeing) of craft, vintage and reading to come up with something that might help others who are going through a challenging time. #DateWithABook was born and it has continued to grow from there onwards.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me– C.S. Lewis.

Illness can lead you to feel really isolated. You can face days where you are really limited in the amount of energy you have, or motivation to do the things you would love to be doing. This was one of the starting ideas for my book dates. I wanted to reach out to people who might be finding things tough and offer them something to help them through that moment. I’m a lover of everything old and vintage and the idea of rehoming a beautiful old book felt like the best way to go. Giving these books a new lease of life whilst helping others just seemed perfect! The idea is that a book date is a way to reclaim date night and rest and rejuvenate with a hot drink and a cosy homely coaster with your set.

We read to know we’re not alone– William Nicholson, Shadowlands.

So, what do I hope to achieve with my little book dates? Well… quite a lot! I believe that sharing a #datewithabook can be a huge act of kindness, offering someone who is struggling a piece of calm, distraction and an excuse to have a night off. Or it can be a perfect piece of self care for yourself, to help with the stresses that we face day to day. A date with a book can be a way of reconnecting with someone who needs some extra love or showing you care when you can’t ‘fix’ a situation someone is going through.

Praise for #datewithabook

I absolutely loved recieving my date with a book parcel in the post. Kate made one up based on my likes for me to enjoy on maternity leave. Good value for money and such a wonderful idea for a treat to yourself or for gifts to others. Will be ordering from her again in the future.- Jenny


I received my date with a book yesterday and it’s wonderful. I almost didn’t want to open it as it looked so pretty. I’m currently about to sit down and start reading. I will definitely be using you again. It is such a lovely idea.– Lindsey

Fantastic idea. Love this. Date with a Book. Something really different, original & unique. Brought for a friend, who Loved it to & has been showing friends. Whole thing arrives Beautifully packaged in soft tissue paper. Makes a Wonderful gift for Any occasion. Or No occasion at all.. Just to say, Thinking of you. Hello. Etc.– Annette

Such a unique idea! It was very exciting to receive the package as you don’t know which book you will get and I was not disappointed! I received a book from an author who I’ve never heard of, and I cannot wait to read it! Prompt delivery too!!– Bisma

There are lots of different #datewithabook sets available in my Conscious Crafties and Etsy stores. I’m just in the process of a big restock to make way for a beautiful array of Christmas gifts, ideal for the person who has everything. Use the discount code BLOG10 to get 10% off any orders over £10. I also have a #datewithabook advent calendar full of literary themed items.


Beautiful Autumn Finds

In my spare time, I do a lot of crafting. As we head into Autumn (my favourite season), I’ve been thinking a lot about beautiful seasonal products to add to my Etsy and Conscious Crafties sites and channeling the beautiful seasonal colours and cosy feels. 

Now, I may be a little biased, but tis the season for #datewithabook! My novel-tea gift sets are beautiful and special; whether you’re looking for a unique and beautiful gift for someone special or a little something to give you some self care time, I have the solution!


#datewithabook was the brainchild of time spent dealing with chronic physical and mental illness. Having been unwell and isolated at times, I learnt that self care was a huge part of my recovery. I wanted to create something that could be a small piece of special self care or a really thoughtful and unique gift for someone who was going through a challenging time. #datewithabook has evolved outside the realms of chronic illness into a more mainstream personal gift idea. But the original sentiments are still there, with me often creating book dates when I am poorly.

I’ve been looking around and have found some totally beautiful Autumnal makes that I would love to share with you all.

I have recently started selling on the wonderful Conscious Crafties website which is full of crafted items, made by incredible people with chronic illness and disabilities or those who are carers.

Here are some of the beautiful Autumn makes you can find on the site: 

Of course there are book dates!


The next of my craftie features is from the incredibly talented Stephanie; a crafter who has made me feel extra welcome in the Conscious Crafties community. Crispy crunchy autumn leaves come to mind when I look at this beautiful handcovered notebook.


Connie sells the most beautiful autumnal shawls, this one is called ‘The Phoenix’ and I can totally imagine feeling like I was rising out of the ashes in this glorious piece!


Next up is a beautiful fairy created by the super talented Dee, I am already eyeing up these beauties for my Christmas tree!


Now, once you’ve chosen your #datewithabook, make sure you have a beautiful coffee cosy to keep your cuppa all hot and delicious. Jenny’s cosies are adorable!


Linzi creates gorgeous beaded jewellery in seasonal colours. This necklace would look so beautiful teamed up with some earthy coloured knitwear!


Now, Autumn is also a super cute season, with images of woodland critters preparing for the winter everywhere! Alyson has designed some adorable little hedgehogs who are getting ready to hibernate for the winter… I might be joining them when it gets cold!


To overcome the chilly days ahead, Morag has you covered! These beautiful made-to-order Celtic cowls come in any colour you desire and look so snuggly and warm.


Samantha-Jane’s shibori flame necklace has me thinking of bonfire night with it’s fiery colours. It’s made from beautiful shibori ribbon which is a traditionally dyed ribbon from Japan.


Last but not least, spread the autumn feels all around the house with a beautiful canvas made by the talented Karen! Check out her facebook page to see when this beauty is listed!


Then, over on Etsy… I’ve found some more lovely items to add to my wish list and treat myself too on payday! 


Amelie Renee Designs have super cute rustic door wreaths.


Daisy Chain Makes has the most beautiful autumn pumpkin garland.


And I found these super cute leafy fairy lights made by the talented Melanie Porter Design.


Of course, I have a whole lot of love for anything that encourages a good bit of snuggling, so this beautiful reclaimed wooden sign definitely has a space in my heart. You can find it in Kindred Kraft By Louise’s etsy store.


You can also get some beautiful Autumn themed cards from Peony Design.


These will be so perfect for all of my snail mailing!

Then how about a beautiful piece of glasswork by A&D Creations, such a cute piece that would really make the house look beautiful all year round!


Finally, no autumnal house would be complete without a set of these adorable vintage patchwork pumpkins by Amelie Renee Designs.


Sending cosy wonderful autumn vibes to all of my lovely blog readers. Writing this blog has been a wonderful mindful activity for today. Now back to snuggling with my little Tortie.

A Message From Your Chronically Ill Friend


I’m the friend who has to cancel at the last minute, the friend who’s always ill and often not very specific about the exact reason I’ve had to cancel… so I thought I ought to provide a bit of an explanation! 

22251271_10155262155554531_1328950934_oWe’re due to be meeting up, I’m excited, we’ve made plans… it’s going to be awesome. But at the last moment, probably become quite predictably, I’ve sent you a message to cancel… again! It’s not ok, I should have given you more notice or not even made plans if I wasn’t going to be able to keep them. The truth is, I was ready to go. I’d showered and dried and straightened my hair; spent ages picking out something to wear, got excited about seeing you but then my insides rebelled and I was suddenly too sick to come and see you. I’ve ended up spending the rest of the morning sat on the bathroom floor being sick/trying not to be sick. It’s nothing you’ve done wrong. My body just has the most awful timing.

It’s now 3:45am and I’m wide awake. It seemed like the perfect time to write about chronic illness, when it was once again impacting on my sleep. My physical health has been really kicking my butt recently. But it’s hard, when it’s been flaring up for a while, because I worry that people will get sick of hearing that I’m sick. I’m equally sick of FEELING sick too! But unfortunately it’s what’s happening right now and I have had to adapt my life to fit around my broken body until it’s feeling a little better. Being chronically ill isn’t what it looks like in films; people aren’t able to drop everything to come and look after you and the reality is that my Mumma is over 200 miles away… so when I threw up all over my own socks at the weekend, all I could do was cry a little and man up to clean everything up whilst all I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa with a sick bowl and Mum hugs.


Despite being poorly, I have a job! Working from home is a godsend at the moment and I would have probably needed to take sick leave if I didn’t. Again, despite the common misconception that working from home means you lounge around in bed watching tv all day; I’ve still got to go to meetings, meet deadlines and manage my wonderful team of four. It’s been flexible so I can work my hours around when I’ve got the most energy or feel the least poorly, but it’s still really hard. I have to put on a brave face and nap in my break or collapse at the end of the day needing to go to bed at 6pm… only to wake at about 2am everyday when the pain and antiemetic meds wear off, until the next dose kicks in and I can get a couple more hours sleep before I need to get up for work again. It’s exhausting and sometimes work is pretty much all I have the energy for. Plus, my week is full of regular medical appointments which can increase when I’m not very well.

Thankfully, it’s not all bad. There are days when I don’t feel so poorly and times when I am not having a flare up, that I can be a relatively normal human… even if I do have the hobbies of a 90 year old. I’m used to being poorly now and am good at adapting and listening to my body (occasionally). I have a brilliant supportive army of friends, professionals and cats of course. And life is always good when you’re under a pile of blankets, with a cat and surrounded by wool or paint.

Things I’d love to be able to tell people when I’m struggling with my chronic illness:22217831_10155262157739531_533723081_o

  1. I’m not unreliable, my health is. Yes, this can mean that I AM unreliable, but I feel as awful about it as you feel frustrated with me. I am beating myself up about it already and have been worrying about having to cancel and hoping it doesn’t mean you hate me!
  2. I really wouldn’t cancel unless I had to and it’s probably better than me throwing up on you or having to spend the whole time leaving you to run to the bathroom or being unable to do anything because I feel so unwell.
  3. Please don’t stop inviting me, I feel so lonely with my chronic illness a lot of the time. Even though I often won’t be able to come or commit to seeing you. When I do see you, it means the world to me and I have the best time ever!
  4. I still really love you! Having to cancel plans is no reflection of how much I care about you. It’s really easy for friends to drift away from me because of how pants I am, but it’s really isolating and I miss you.
  5. Please be patient with me! 
  6. I want to be normal. I would give anything to not have to have the problems I am struggling with. It massively sucks for me as well as those around me. I would definitely prefer to be spending time with the people I love than having to be at appointments, being poorly or even in hospital (as happened recently).
  7. My health is unpredictable. So I may have to cancel on you one day, but feel a little better the next and be able to see someone. I have to take opportunities when they arise, it doesn’t mean I like someone better than you, often it’s just that there’s been a little respite from being ill so I have taken the opportunity to try and have a life!
  8. Social media doesn’t always reflect how I am! Sometimes my social media can show me having a relatively normal and fun life, I don’t often post about being poorly because I don’t want to bore people or seem like I’m fishing for sympathy. I’m not the type of person who’s likely to post ‘hospital selfies’ as I often feel ashamed of being ill or embarrassed. On days where I spend 50% of the time hanging out in the bathroom or curled up sleeping, I’m unlikely to post pictures or let everyone know (unless you’re my Mum, then you tend to get a play-by-play account of my misery and sadness 😉 ). I also don’t always post pictures on the day I take them, I might be reflecting on something nice that has happened recently but not necessarily post day-to-day pictures… or I just post pictures of cats, crochet and art journalling.
  9. I’m sorry if I don’t reply! I’m a bit useless at replying to messages on a good day, but on a bad day, it can be impossible. I appreciate people contacting me and it brightens my day so much, but sometimes I’m just focusing on not throwing up on myself… so I might be a little delayed in replying to you!
  10. My illness is pretty invisible! Sometimes I might look fine, but inside I’m really feeling unwell or my mental health is difficult. Please don’t judge me by my outside appearance. Plus… makeup is a mighty fine cover up!!
  11. Let’s alter our plans so we can still meet up! Sometimes, I might still be able to see you if we can change our plans. Coming over to mine is often much easier for me. It means I don’t have to worry about driving and if I suddenly feel unwell, I’m in my own home and it’s easier to manage compared to being out and about. If I’m not well, a crochet and coffee date can be a lot easier than meeting somewhere or walking for a long time. I get really fatigued when I’m poorly and sometimes I can manage going out for the day, but it wipes me out for a few days afterwards. So, talk to me and see if we can arrange something smaller and easier, so I can still have hugs and company!

It’s now 4.45am. I’m still fairly awake, but my insides are starting to settle a little. I’m fairly sure my bloodstream must be about 50% antiemetics by now. Hopefully I’ll get another hour or so asleep before I start it all again tomorrow. It’s hard being ill. I’m sorry for being unreliable. I’m sorry I’m not better by now too. I’m sorry I don’t look ill enough… but most of all, I’m sorry I have to be sorry all of the time. I’ve not asked for this and I would give it away in a heartbeat. I’m not asking for pity or sympathy. I just hope reading this helps with some understanding that I’m being crap for a reason, and I am trying my hardest not to be.

Shoutout to all my badass chronically sick friends, especially my Mumma, who’s the baddest badass of them all.


Project Parent Book Swap

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It’s been a very long time since I wrote a blog, and I’ve had the most perfect opportunity to talk about something really exciting I’m involved in. I’ve recently started volunteering for Project Parent, an amazing organisation that makes up gift boxes for parents of children who are in hospital over Christmas. 

I’ve been wanting to get back into volunteering for a while now. There has definitely been a bit of a fundraising gap in my life that I’ve been wanting to fill. During Uni I was heavily involved with RAG (Raising and Giving), including being one of the Uni RAG officers, throughout my time at York. It was such a fun and rewarding thing to be involved with and left me feeling really useful and like I was helping others. I’ve really missed that feeling and creative outlet. So I was delighted when I saw the opportunity to apply to be the Leeds Leader for Project Parent.

Project parent was founded by the incredible and inspirational Kate Stanforth in 2013. The first year involved making up gift boxes for parents of children in hospital over Christmas at the RVI Newcastle, but has since expanded to other hospitals across the UK.

Over the festive period, there is lots of festive fun arranged for the children who are in hospital; whether it’s a visit from Santa or gifts, there are activities in place to help them feel the Christmas spirit. However, there is often nothing arranged for their parents. Project Parent means that parents can have something of their own on Christmas morning, and the boxes are geared to offer them comfort and support.

I’m so excited to be part of the project and am buzzing with enthusiasm to get started on my fundraising. I am working towards a goal of £500 and I’ve already got a couple of things lined up!

The first is the Project Parent Book Swap. It’s a great fundraiser that everyone can take part in. Whether you are ill or well, you can take part in this book swap from the comfort of your own home, helping to share the joy of reading and help others to feel less isolated.

I am arranging a book swap, run in a similar style to a ‘secret santa’,  but in the summer! I am hoping that lots of people will want to get involved and swap a book with someone else in the UK, whilst donating £2 to Project Parent. You can spend around £5-7.50 on your book, or you can pick one of your own favourites to send (you can rehome an old book if you want!) and then post it directly to your match. I’m really excited about this event and everyone is welcome to take part!

If you want to be involved please fill in this form and donate your £2 by Wednesday 20th September to take part in this event. You can pay your £2 by clicking on the Donate Now button on our Facebook page or using Paypal projectparent@hotmail.com. Please select ‘friends + family’ so we don’t get charged. If you do not have paypal, please get in touch for bank details.

You will receive you match by Friday 22nd September and we ask you to send your book by the end of September. Everyone who enters the swap will be entered into a draw to win a #datewithabook, which I am donating from my Etsy shop.


If books aren’t your cup of tea, then I am also selling some one of a kind art canvasses on Etsy and £5 from the sale of each one will go to my fundraising total.

Any additional donations would be gratefully received! Drop me a message if you would like to know more about anything in this blog!


A Message of Hope In Difficult Times

Just over a week ago, the world felt like a different place. Things felt a little less sad and scary than they do today. We are in the aftermath of great tragedies both close to home, Nationally and Internationally; and surrounded by the uncertainty of an election where it feels as though many people are feeling alienated by the politicians who are meant to represent them. Looking at the world feels terrifying, there is so much hatred and suffering right now and we seem to be in the midst of so much change, that it feels really unstable and messy. People around me are hurting and struggling and it’s hard to always find the positivity and hope to get through the tricky bits to a new day. What is the use in powering through if it’s going to just feel the same? In the depths of my struggles and battles with mental illness, I have felt really hopeless at times; I’ve had times where I’ve not been able to imagine a life without my demons and it’s felt awful, to say the least. But, despite the hard times, there were always little glimpses of hope. I think Dumbledore said it best:


In times of difficulty, it’s so important to take stock of everything around you that is good. Look out for the tiny positives, wherever you can find them because the little things can build up and grow to a much larger amount of hope and goodness. Once you start recognising the good around you, your mindset can be shifted and things can feel a little easier and more positive. When I was in inpatient treatment, we completed a task of noticing positives or negatives during the same day and reporting back to the group. We found that it was much easier for people to find negative things about their day as opposed to those who were looking for positives, however those who were trying to purposefully find something good in their day generally had a better day and noticed the little things that were good. People who were looking for negatives tended to slip into a spiral of catastrophizing everything that was happening around them and assumed their day was going to be bad anyway. Despite it just being a short and non-scientific experiment, it was impressive to see there was a difference between the two groups. Now, the effects of positivity and gratitude are

Now, the effects of positivity and gratitude are widely discussed, with examples of improvement health, happiness and wellbeing demonstrated.  Whilst looking for a little positivity or gratitude, or even trying to create a little for ourselves each day won’t fix the world around us or protect us from some of the horrible, unfair and upsetting things that life can throw our way; it can help to create the resilience and strength we need to find a way through the dark times and back into the light. These good bits of life are like the little glints of sunshine getting through, add them all up and you might find your days get a little brighter and you feel a little stronger.

We are in difficult times at the moment and it is so important to seek support from those around you or professionals if you are struggling. You deserve happiness and healthiness and you deserve whatever support you need to get to that place. Stay strong everyone.