6 Healthy Habits for 2019

As we start the New Year, I’ve considered some habits, some old some new, that I want to introduce to 2019 to make it a healthy and prosperous new year.

 

Destress and Practice Mindfulness
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The first one is to de-stress. This one is inspired by a podcast I listened to this by the Food Medic with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. Chatterjee talks about plenty of interesting distressing tactics, one was to introduce a healthy morning routine with the 3 M’s- Meditation, Movement, Mindset. He suggests putting your phone on airplane mode, and playing a meditation app on your phone (I use an app called Zenfie) for around 10 mins. Then either doing some yoga stretches, maybe just a simple downward dog, or even just touching your toes in the morning. Then, read a small exert of a positive book, if youre not reading anything you can do some affirmations. Try ‘I am calm, I am happy, I am stress free’. Chatterjee says that as futile as it sounds, you can expect to see a change in your stress levels throughout the day.

 

Cut the Sugar
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As a lot of you already know, a couple of months ago back in August I was pointed towards a dairy, yeast and sugar free diet. It completely changed the way I think about food. Chatterjee suggested that you think of food as information, as the gut and the brain are directly linked with each other. There is research that links anxiety and depression with excess sugar intake. My mood was so much more stable and consistent when I cut the sugar. To put it plainly sugar is just awful. It causes weight gain and can lead to diabetes, it also causes acne, heart disease, high blood pressure, poor joint health. I won’t turn this into a rant but if you’re having more then 30g of sugar a day then you have a higher chance of developing any of those problems. When you put it like that its pretty simple right? That being said it’s so difficult to cut out sugar because we crave it so much. My advice this year is to stock up on really yummy treats that aren’t full of sugar, my favourite is Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate that has something like 11g of sugar in the entire bar. You can also get Lizi’s Organic Granola that has 12.9g of sugar per 100g with some mixed frozen berries which makes a devious breakfast or snack. These healthy alternative can be saved as emergency reserves when that sugar craving creeps in and you just have to cave. That is much better then having a craving and running to the shops for a bar of Cadburys that has a STAGGERING 56g of sugar per 100g. You will not believe yourself after 2 weeks of a low sugar diet. After letting myself go over the Christmas time (and let me tell you I feel crap for it) I cant wait to get back to my low sugar diet in 2019.

 

Cut the Dairy

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There is literally no excuse not to have nut milk alternatives to dairy these days. There are soo many tasty options, I’ve recently been LOVING coconut milk with my porridge and in coffee. It’s so delicious. The lady who I saw, who suggested the particular diet I went on, said that pretty much every single patient she sees can improve symptoms (that range from low mood, asthma, eczema, migraines, IBS and any sort of stomach problem) by going on a sugar and dairy free diet. Those of you thinking about all the health benefits of dairy, I hear you. Calcium is good for you, dairy not so much. Cows milk is literally made FOR calfs who have four stomachs and NEED to gain a hell of a lot of weight to grow into an adult cow. I will trying to cut dairy where possible this year, even if thats just one day a week.

 

Go Vegan One Day A Week

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Speaking of which, another thing I will try to achieve this year is to go vegan one day a week. I really enjoy veggie alternatives and considering I cut most dairy out anyway, so I don’t think it’ll be that much of a challenge. My favourite vegan recipes involve chickpea curry, and black bean mince. The vegan community is growing everyday so you may as well hop on board.

Cut the Screen Time

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This one is so important to me. Ever since Apple released the Screen Time feature on iPhones I’ve been meaning to do something about the 5+ hours I spend on my phone. A lot of that time is taken up by texting my boyfriend Andy as we are in a long distance relationship and find communication KEY to making us working. Ironically most of our worst arguments happen over text and therefore have decided to cut down on texting and set aside time to FaceTime every 2 or 3 nights instead. By cutting down on texting someone everyday you have less small talk but more important face to face conversations.

I will also be cutting down on social media, because my mood is so influenced when I have spent a long time scrolling through my apps. On my worst days I used to spend almost 3 hours  in total over the day just picking up my phone and scrolling through instagram alone. Completely pointless. I just don’t need to focus on other peoples appearances and lives that much. I’ve set myself a limit of 1 hour a day on social media which means my apps lock after I’ve used that up. The Screen Time app has lots of different features like this: like setting Downtime hours where all your apps lock after 10pm (for example) to encourage you to use your phone less before bed.

Even if you don’t do any of this, I would encourage you to look at how much time you’re spending on your phone a day and even a week. Ask yourself, could I be spending this time doing something more productive than playing Candy Crush? For example, I’ve downloaded a language learning app and am going to try (very hard) to learn some basic Japanese. Therefore, if I am using my phone its going to be for something productive.

 

Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

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A pretty basic one but we could all drink a bit more water. See if you can drink 8 glasses a day, its challenge but everything in your body will thank you for it.

 

Bed before 10pm
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And finally, something I learnt from 2018. Go to bed EARLY!! Obviously your sense of ‘early’ will depend on factors such as work or homework or family but if you can get to bed by 10pm you are going to feel so much better when the alarm goes off at 7am the next day. If you don’t have that alarm set for 7am then you should still live by the 9 hour sleep rule (10 hours if possible). There are clearly lots of sleep study some even saying the opposite of me (that 6 hours sleep is actually better for you). I’m in full time dance training and if I don’t get to sleep by 9:30pm each night I struggle to get through classes that next day. The NHS recommend 7-9 hours a night and because I’m doing a lot of exercise I tend to stick to the top of that. If you’re not doing a lot of exercise then 8-9 is perfect. By getting into the habit of being in bed by 9:45pm and sleeping around 10pm you really give yourself the best shot at waking up at 7/8am feeling refreshed and ready for your day.

 

 

Christmas Baileys Hot Chocolate (Dairy Free) Recipe

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Hello everyone, today I have a lovely warming Bailey Hot Chocolate made with coconut milk and Almond Bailey to create a delicious dairy free treat. I love this on a cold evening after a long dog walk.

Today I’m using the Alpro Original Coconut Milk, but you can use regular milk if you like. I start off pouring coconut milk into the mug I intend to use, today I was making 3 cups (one for myself, my sister and my boyfriend). This way you know exactly how much milk to use and you don’t waste any.

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Then I pop the milk into a saucepan and heat gently on the stove. I used the simmering aga plate, but simply put on a low heat on a gas stove for the same effect.

I then put in 3 teaspoon of Bourneville Cocoa Powder into the simmering milk, one for each mug of hot chocolate I’m making.

Now, it’s up to you how much Baileys you want to put in, depending on how alcoholic you like it. I personally don’t like to be able to properly taste it, but I like the hot choc to have a kick. Therefore I put in just over a shot of Baileys for each person.

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And now it’s just time to pop on your favourite Christmas movie and light a fire and you’re all sorted for a cosy night in.

Whats your favourite Christmas drink? Let me know if you try this out!!

Love Ally x

Getting our Christmas Tree

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It seems like everybody else in the whole world has already put up their Christmas tree, and last friday we FINALLY got ours. It’s a long over due post, but its finally here… Getting our Christmas Tree 2018!!

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Every year we go to a lovely little place in Dunkeswell called Connetts Farm. This is our Christmas Tree Farm of choice mainly due to the lovely family who run it and to support their local business. They also supplies mince pies and chocolates as you pick from their wonderful variety of trees. Most importantly they have a snow machine, which obviously means…. far too many pictures!!

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So last Friday my Dad, Mum, sister and boyfriend and I all piled in the car and popped into Dunkeswell, where we chose two trees: one for the snug and one for the kitchen. The criteria was simple, tall for the kitchen and short/ bushy for the snug. That being said, my boyfriend is an excellent photographer and Rose, Andy and I all have Canon Cameras therfore we spent the majority of the time taking pictures instead of looking for trees (sorry Mum and Dad).

As you can see it really was a magical afternoon and I had so much fun taking pictures with my two favourite people. I can’t believe we’ve never taken pictures there before, especially with how picturesque the snow machine makes it.

Back to the trees!! Mum and Dad found two beautiful trees and loaded them into the car. I’m sure you can relate to me when I say, we drove back with the end of tree poking into the back of my head.

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We spent the evening decorating the tree in the kitchen with sliver and white bauble baubles and cold blue lights. We had Christmas music on and we even made some mulled wine. Coming down to the tree this morning really made it feel like Christmas. Now we just have to do the other tree!!

Do you get a real tree for Christmas? Have you decorated yours yet?

Love Ally x

Orange-Infused Mini Mince Pie Recipe

It’s that time of the year again!! There’s nothing like pulling your loved ones close in front of a cosy fire and a Christmas movie (my favourite is Love Actually) with a mug of mulled wine and a mince pie. Todays post will be my mothers special orange infused mini mince pie recipe that tastes so good and is so festive. Let’s get cracking!

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Firstly, I pop on a Christmas playlist. I’m really enjoying this Christmas Cracker playlist that Spotify have created. If you’re going to do some festive baking then you must put on some festive tunes. I also threw on my Christmas jumper that you can see later on in the post.

Scroll down to find the recipe for shortcrust pastry that we used. You want to start off rubbing in the butter and flour. This is a method of joining the two ingredients together in a way that doesn’t beat all of the air out of it. We actually have a food processor that you can use to pulse the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs, which is more time efficient if you have one too.

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Then we grated the zest of an orange and included that in the mixture. If you really want to emphasise the orange flavour you can also squeeze half an orange into the pastry too. We also added  2 tbsps of water and joined the mixture together by pressing it gently, careful not to bash the mixture around. Then, it’s time to roll out the mixture and cut out small circles and press them into the tin. This mixture makes 24 circles including lids. Then, prick the bottoms with a fork or your mince pies will explode!

Then, add the mincemeat to the pies. Make sure not to over fill them, for obvious reasons. Note: the Christmas jumper!!

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Then prick the tops of the lids and pop them on top and with that they are ready to be baked. They took only 10-15 mins in our Aga, mainly because its very hot in there and also because you can’t control the temperature, but in a regular oven they should take 15-20 mins.

BEFORE COOKING:

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AFTER COOKING:

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Then it’s time to take them out of the oven and put them onto a cooling rack. Make sure to wait a minute or two or they’ll fall apart.

Tip: I would recommend not leaving them in the tin to cool as they will get stuck, and if you don’t clean the tin straight away the mincemeat will set and be a nightmare to wash.

All that’s missing now is a dusting of icing sugar and a mulled wine to accompany it.

Let me know what you think, will you be making or buying your mince pies this year?

Ally x

Shortcrust Pastry Recipe (BBC Good Food)

  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  1. Sift 225g plain flour into a large bowl, add 100g diced butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Stir in a pinch of salt, then add 2-3 tbsp water and mix to a firm dough.
  3. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. 
  4. Ready to cut!!

 

 

Life Update: Coming Home For Christmas

Hello lovely readers,

Today, just a little update: I have now gone home for Christmas and all is well in the world! I have packed up a suitcase and trekked back from London to sleepy little Devon where I will spend the next month with family. I didn’t go home for half term this year so have been very homesick this last month or so. I can’t describe how happy I was to see Mum, Dad and Hattie (our dog) pull up next to our house in the car- hugs all round! As many of you know, I study BA Theatre Dance at London Studio Centre which has an incredibly busy schedule so its been non-stop since September. Rose and I, ended the term on a high note performing in Student Platform with ‘I Will Never Leave You’. It was fantastic to put myself out of my comfort zone, especially considering last year when I watched Platform I remembered thinking “I could never get up and sing in this”. That being said I’m now in full Christmas mode, we are getting our Christmas Tree this weekend when my sister comes home and I have lots of Christmas shopping to do in the mean time. I also plan to do lots of Christmas baking with my wonderful Mum, let me know if you’d like any recipes!

And that’s you all updated!! If you need me I’ll be cuddling my dog next to a roaring fire! What are your plans for Christmas? Are you spending it with family?

Love,

Ally

Christmas Markets: Southbank

As we approach my favourite season, I want to share one of my favourite Christmas Markets. Southbank Christmas Market is always decked out with so many lights (essential ofcs) and if that’s not enough, the beautifully festive smelling drinks and food should convince you. Wow, what I wouldn’t give for a mulled wine right now!!

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Southbank is on the Northern line which means it took Rose and me just over 20 minutes until we were at Waterloo, which is the nearest tube station. If you walk under the bridge you will first come to a small court yard with a small street market. This is lovely, despite not actually being an official part of the Christmas market.

Sidebar: I’ve eaten at this market before and I can highly recommend the duck fat fries and the pulled duck wraps. This particular market is there all year round and is a top London spot for street food.

The Southbank Centre has all sorts of performances and exhibitions that are a MUST for a rainy afternoon but if you’re looking your Christmas fix as Rose and I were, then head down to the river, where you’ll be lit from above by a sheet of fairy lights.

 

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To the right of the Southbank Centre adjacent to the river is the first run of Christmas Markets. It was packed, as it was the year prior, which unfortunately gives off quite a touristy feel but admittedly adds a buzz to the place. With stalls ranging from churros to candles, and duck wraps to dainty lights it is as close as you’ll get to a German market, this side of the English Channel (that being said London has so many Christmas Markets you’ll have to visit them all and be the judge of that).

 

Once you proceed out from under the bridge, you’ll meet a van titled Beltane & Pop which provides all your favourite festive boozy drinks. Rose bought a mulled wine from here and it smelled so warming & hearty and I was reassured that it tasted divine. They also do mulled cider and if thats still not what you fancy, they do hot chocolates which you can add a shot of whiskey or baileys too for an added kick.

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From there you can head to the Underbelly Christmas Market that’s tucked away in a tiny little court yard. In the summer its turned into the Underbelly Rekorderlig Summer Festival, and I’ve spent many a summer afternoon drinking passionfruit cider from there. I can safely say both are equally enjoyable.

The path down to the Christmas Market is covered by trees and lit with fairy lights. Theres a few small hot chocolate and waffles stands on the way down and then further down the steps it opens up to a big courtyard. Theres a large Rekorderlig Cider Lodge in the centre that’s usually packed whenever I visit and surrounding the lodge are small food and drinks stands.

Its a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I had such a good time. If you can get down to Southbank Christmas Market, you definitely should.

Make sure to let me know if you go!!

 

 

My Morning Routine: Stage School

7:00am

As soon as I wake up I will either shower or just go straight into putting my contact lenses in and moisturising my face. I then go to my kitchen and put on a pot of porridge. My porridge recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

Half a Cup of Plain Rolled Oats

Cup of Coconut Milk

Teaspoon of Chia Seeds

Manuka Honey (or any other toppings such as blueberrys, nuts, banana etc)

Put the oats in a pan with the almond milk, once brought to the boil simmer on a low heat and then add the chia seeds. Leave to cook for around 10 mins.

While my porridge is cooking I will go back to my room and do my make up.

7:30am

I will then put my porridge in a bowl and stir through a spoon of Manuka Honey. I’ll eat this while watching something on Netflix, either Friends or How I Met Your Mother.

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7:45am

This is about the time I start putting on my clothes for the day, I will wear my leotard under a pair of leggings and a top. I’ll grab my lunch from the fridge which I usually prepared the night before, if not i’ll typically wake up a little earlier so I have time to cook some quinoa or rice. My bag should already have everything I need inside but I’ll check my timetable anyway to make sure I have everything.

8:00am

Now is when I’ll put my hair in a bun ready for my first class of the day, Ballet. That means that when I get to class I can focus on warming up for the day rather then getting ready still.

8:10am

This is about the time I’m heading out the door and walking down the road to the bus stop. It can take between 20-40 mins to get to school based on traffic and for a ballet class its recommended that you spend 10-15 mins warming up prior to the class.

And with that I’m ready for my day!!

Brunch Spot in Crouch End

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My sister Rose and I love exploring new places, and surprisingly enough we have never been to Crouch End before, despite it only being a short bus ride away from where I live. I can safely say its worth a visit. It’s a lovely part of London with traditional high street shops such as bakers, butchers/ fishmongers and grocers which adds an authentic feel to it. We were blessed with a beautiful October day, with clear skies and a slight chill in the air and it was only a short trip on the W7 to get there. When we arrived, the first place we stumbled across was a beautiful little bakery with a Halloween display, as you can see Rose is really enjoying the pumpkin cupcakes.

After venturing into a couple of charity shops we decided to stop for brunch at a beautiful French Patisserie called Sable D’or.

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I’ve heard about Sable D’or before but I’ve never been in. I’m so glad I did because its a really amazing place for brunch, I can’t recommend it enough. With a modern and stylish interior, it gives off cosy and spacious vibes simultaneously. I find lighting so important when eating out, and the skylights in the Crouch End Sable D’or definietly create a bright enviroment.

With the various dietary requirements I now have (no yeast, sugar and dairy), I really struggled finding something I could eat. They unfortunately didn’t have any yeast free bread so I settled with the Butternut Squash salad with chickpeas, garlic dressing, mixed nuts, cumin and coriander.

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It was so tasty and so healthy and I wasn’t even bitter about not being able to have the avocado on toast.

Rose had a flat white and the NICEST looking pain au chocolate. It was the perfect brunch spot. The service was quick and well presented which made the whole experience completely enjoyable.

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Surprisingly cheap, Sable D’or is the perfect spot a spot of breakfast or brunch. It tastes as good as it looks and is aesthetic enough for instagram (obvs very important). I’m already looking forward to going again.

For more adventures in London follow me…

INSTAGRAM: allylucyfrancis

MY HEALTH JOURNEY: Chronic Nausea

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Many of you know, and for those of you who don’t, I’ve struggled with chronic nausea for almost a year now. It completely took over my life, I stopped being able to participate in dance classes, struggled with assessments and actually stop wanting to be sociable because I couldn’t predict when the nausea would come on. I can now say, a year later, that we have found a diagnosis and I’m nearly 100% better. It took a long time to get here, but I’ve never been happier that find a soloution.

It all started back in August 2017 when I began to feel very tired after I ate food. Ive always eaten very well at home, my Mum used to be a professional cook so knows how to make a nutritious and balanced meal. That being said I would have to lie on the couch for 30 mins just while my food settled because sitting in a chair was uncomfortable.

A couple of months later, it progressed into feeling sick after I ate. It started off with queasiness and developed into running to the toilet after a meal just to come out 30 mins later having not thrown up. This was perhaps the most frustrating thing, Ive only thrown up once this entire year, and that was a cold type thing. And yet every time I feel it, my brain is telling me ‘you need to find a bathroom, you will throw up’. It didn’t matter what I ate, and it didn’t where I was, it was constantly there.

It also didn’t help that Chester House (my accommodation) served hghly processed and fatty foods which exacerbated the situation further. I would finish my meal and always be the first one to leave the table and go back to my room. I cant think just how many nights I’ve had to lie on my bed for an hour just waiting for the sickness to pass.

Downhill From Here

It got to the stage where I knew I needed to see a doctor. I wasn’t really expecting a diagnosis and didn’t know how they were supposed to help me. The first GP I saw (one of many) told me that it sounded like it was anxiety but I could try antacids, which neutralise stomach acid if you have too much. Therefore presuming if it wasn’t anxiety it was some sort of heartburn, acid reflux type thing. After taking the antacid for a little while they didn’t ease the symptoms, if anything I was feeling worse.

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The next GP gave me ‘Omeprazole’ which is another form of antacids that unfortunately had a similar lack of affect on me.

I then saw another GP that told me I had some form of IBS (basically just an umbrella term for digestive issues) and that there is information online about how to manage it, and that was it. ‘Some form of IBS’ and sent me on my way.

At this point it was Christmas and I was feeling extremely uncomfortable eating full meals, therefore started having half portions. As you can imagine, christmas is the last time of the year you want to be lacking an appetite. The only way I seemed to be able to manage my nausea was by not getting full and eating the bare minimum. This consequently meant I lost nearly a stone in the winter months. With the significant weight loss added to my list of symptoms, the next GP I saw took me a lot more seriously and referred me to a specialist consultant at the Whittington Hospital. He investigated my situation further by running tests and labs.

The Dreaded ENDOSCOPY

One of these tests was a Gastroscopy (endoscopy of the gullet, stomach and upper small intestine). Surpsingly the thought of having a camera pushed down my throat didn’t bother me when the consultant recommended I have it. It was only later when I received the letter confirming the date and time of the procedure, the REAL emotions kick in. Daily nausea had made me cautious and introverted. If I could get out of social arrangements I would, just incase my sickness was bad that day. The last thing I needed was to put my body under a huge amount of stress, and yet I knew it needed to be done, because my quality of life was so bad.

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Cut to the day of the procedure (the first attempt at least) and my mum came to London to be with me while it was being done. I had the day off LSC, all the welfare team knew I was having it done, basically everyone presumed this would be the thing that gave me a diagnosis.

They offer to put you under a conscious sedation during an Endoscopy, where you are still awake and conscious but I was REASSURED I would feel so relaxed and chilled I wouldn’t notice a thing (can you see where this is going). Little Miss Anxious over here managed to get so distressed during the procedure that she didn’t even let the camera get into her stomach before reaching up and pulling the camera out of her throat. They tried 4 times to perform the procedure before telling me that I was actually a risk to myself and they had to stop.

I then proceeded to have some sort of mental breakdown caused by a bad reaction to the sedation which caused me become very distressed and hysterical. They called a member from the Psych department down (I dont really remember this happening but I’ve heard about it from Mum). The Psych department saw this reaction and presumed that my nausea was also a result of anxiety. They suggest CBT which is a form of therapy. This distressed me further because I knew that it wasn’t just anxiety there was something going on physically. I was sick of doctors telling me that they weren’t sure what was wrong with me and that it may just be anxiety.

They kept me in the hospital until later that evening, when I was told they must perform the procedure again but they were going to give me a general anaesthetic. Therefore I wouldn’t be awake for any of it.

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This was done a couple of weeks later and you’ll be pleased to hear it went smoothly, I felt as high as a kite when I came around. I laughed far too much and received ice cream and flowers from Han and my family. And do you know what? the result came back completely clear. But sometimes things have to get really bad before they can get better.

The Nuclear Medicine Test

Gastric Emptying Test basically follows radio active food through your digestive tract to check for slow emptying or blocks. I had to eat an abnormally large amount of dry and powdery mashed potato that had a radioactive dye in, within 10 mins. My friend Han had to watch me struggle through a huge plate of potato with only a small cup of water to wash it down. You can imagine this was an unpleasant task for the average patient, let alone someone who struggles with food related nausea. I then had an MRI and had to lie still for A WHOLE HOUR. I was told that any movement would caused blurry pictures. Han was fantastic and played me Kinky Boots and Heathers and I couldn’t have done it without her.

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The Diagnosis

The Nuclear Medicine Test showed I had ‘delayed emptying in the fundic component of my stomach’. Long story short, my stomach muscles don’t contract properly and food stays in my stomach for longer then it should, therefore causing me discomfort and sickness. I did also have a couple of hours of therapy which arguably helped slightly but my main saviour was a drug called Domperidone which Ive come to call my food friends. I take them 30 mins before I eat and the food can pass through my stomach just as its supposed to. I’ve also seen food specialist who has put me on a particular diet that has completely irradiated the nausea (another blog post about my diet to follow). I went from feeling sick 70-80% to 1-2% of the time. Its been a year of constant GP appointments, trial and error medicine, and disappointment but I think I can finally say that I’m out of the woods. I cant wait to get back into LSC healthy, and that’s the happy ending I’ve been looking for.

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STAGE SCHOOL: My First Year Experience

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As second year approaches quicker than ever, I feel as if I should look back on the year that’s past. And as it always seems to be, hindsight has made the year look much sweeter now. Personally, I found studying 6-7 hours a day, nearly 20 dance classes a week, to be repetitive and mundane at times, but after a month off I cant wait to get back. I guess thats the most important thing to remember, you have to have contrast in life. There have to be the bad times to make you appreciate the good. As cliche as it sounds it was worth it. I have such fond memories of this year despite it being one of the most challenging experiences of my life.

The Ups and Downs

Moving out is, as you would expect, a daunting ordeal. I lived in Chester House which was private accommodation in North London, we were lucky enough to have catered accommodation, meaning we had breakfast and dinner provided for us. Despite that sounding perfect, it wasn’t. Without going into too much detail, and to put it plainly, there was no meal they COULDN’T ruin.

Freshers

IMG_6156.jpgSo here’s the thing about London Studio Centre, freshers week is not really a freshers week. My boyfriend Andy was starting uni at the same time as me so I was extremely aware of the contrast between uni freshers and dance school freshers. I remember turning up to an Under The Water themed event 2 hours after the starting time with a group of friends and being the only ones there. Not to mention, you really wanna get trollied with 9am ballet the following morning? I mean it doesn’t stop some people, but for a sensitive soul like myself, it does. That goes for the whole year btw (and these are words to live by) drink on a weekday? prepare for a weak day. Furthermore, as I was receiving goodnight texts from my drunk boyfriend getting in from a night out at 6am, I was waking up and getting ready to start my day. Safe to say no one goes to stage school for the nightlife. That being said, we’re the life and soul of a party and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When The Going Gets Tough

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Cut to a month into training, despite making friends and loving my course, I developed a condition which basically meant I had chronic nausea that could vary from queasiness to debilitating sickness and not being able to leave the house, and doctors presumed it was just anxiety- SPOILER ALERT… it wasn’t (I’ve written another post about my health journey this year if you wanna find out more). This basically just meant I found participating in dance classes and every day life, very difficult. London Studio Centre were fabulous and the welfare team are just the greatest. In the worst spells I would sit out of all my classes or even go home but it also meant that just on the daily I couldn’t push myself like I wanted to.

It seems first year flicked between tears of joy to tears of despair. So here’s the thing, you kinda know that stage schools gonna be difficult but you’re still a little surprised when it kicks your butt. So take the Spring Showcase, a performance for the general public at Easter that you can only participate in if chosen by a teacher. I gave myself such a hard time for not getting in. I’m grateful for how resilient it is making me and I appreciate the highs so much more now. The one thing I told myself over and over again when I was accepted into stage school was that the highs always make the lows worth while. In an industry of constant no’s, it’s extremely easy to let it get on top of you. As long as I still believe the highs make it worthwhile, then I’m still making progress and therefore someday will succeed in this industry.

Assessments

As assessments approached I noticed how the nausea would get worse with the more stress I put my body under. Despite that I managed to get grades to be proud of thats something I want to change this year, now that my nausea is manageable.

One of my greatest achievements is getting 66 in my Singing Assessment which is 4 marks off a First. I’ve really struggled with my confidence in singing and seeing such a great progress is one of the things I’m most proud of. I know I have lots of work to do on my dancing as I’m the first person to admit I’m not the greatest technical dancer but isn’t that the whole reason I’m here? If I was the finished article already I wouldn’t need training.

It’s All Worth It

Despite it all, nothing can compare to working hard all day and then crawling home and into bed. It feels like I’ve really been the best version of myself and even though everything hurts and I’m drained and I’m wondering how I’m going to get out of bed tomorrow, I know I will. Its all worth it in the end. So bring on second year!!

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