Thursday, 31 December 2015

Why Today Had To Be Different

Good Day Everyone,

It sure has been a while since I sat down to write a blog post. The past few weeks have been incredibly tough, primarily on the health front, although the house renovation has been another source of stress, and therefore a contributory factor to the aforementioned. I'll do a separate blog post updating you on the house soon as a lot has happened, and not always in a good way!

Coming back to the health issues, I've been firing or rather flaring, from all cylinders. I've been experiencing more migraine attacks than usual, and my body and scalp psoriasis has been going crazy. On top of this, my arthritis has flared up quite badly and I've been struggling with severe shoulder pain, as well as intense fatigue and exhaustion, despite doing very little physically. Things got really bad a couple of weeks ago and after several days of wallowing in teary self pity of "Why? Why is this happening to me?" I realised that I actually knew the answer to why, but more importantly, I took the mental step of acknowledging that no-one could put this right other than me (even though I already knew this too). You see, the thing with chronic illnesses is that you are battling those illnesses every single day, in fact it's every single minute of every single hour of every single day. The battle is continuous - there are no breaks, and it is absolutely relentless! With hindsight and some reflection (after all what else was I going to do when I'm in bed day after day), I can now see that I simply got tired of battling. I had no more fight left in me. I had surrendered, not only to the disease demons, but also to the temptations around me, which I fight on a daily basis.
So with the realisation and acknowledgement that I, and only I, had the power to change things, I...  started to change things ;o). Initially, the changes were all in my head as my body physically wasn't well enough to do anything, but over the last few days, I have started to turn those mental changes into physical action. They started of small, like me taking over juicing duties from hubby or being well enough to accompany him on a supermarket shop, but hey a step in the right direction is a step in the right direction, no matter how small, and slowly I'm moving on to bigger achievements.

Having been stuck in a bit of a negativity rut towards the end of this year, I didn't want to start 2016 on a negative note, no matter how bad my health maybe. And this is why I woke up today after a relatively decent night's sleep with a view that today had to be different. It just had to. I didn't want today, the last day of 2015, to be like the past few weeks. The same mundane routine. There had to be something new and there had to be some sense of achievement, no matter how small.
So the first thing I did was to check the weather forecast as it has been raining almost every single day this month and seeing that rain wasn't forecasted for a couple of hours, I suggested a sea front walk to hubby. We used to do these walks most mornings in Japan and found them to be very therapeutic mentally, as well as physically. Despite living next to the sea we haven't actually done many sea walks as hubby starts to work on the house as soon as he is up in the mornings. There was something very inspiring and awakening about today's walk- I started to feel like a weight was being lifted off my shoulders as I took in the crisp morning air and marveled at nature's beauty. The walk turned into a little breakfast stop off, and hubby and I used this rare quality time (we've had a great quantity of time together these past few months but it hasn't been of good quality) to reflect upon 2015, and discuss what we would both like to get out of 2016. Walking back we did get caught in the rain but it was worth it.

Once back home I took my first ever bath in our new bath tub to help my sore joints and whilst it only made them feel a little better and only for a short period of time, I think bath soaks will start to help the more often I do them. After my soak I made our daily juice and then set to work on doing some cooking. We very recently got to a stage where we have a fully functioning kitchen and yesterday hubby got our dining table and chairs out. This has made such a huge difference to the quality of our lives. So even though I was feeling quite tired physically, I decided to push ahead using my mental energy which was buzzing after the walk and bath, to be productive in the kitchen. I made fish pie, for the first time ever. I even made my own butter and parsley sauce, and it tasted great (even if I do say so myself ;o)). I made a batch of them so some can go in the freezer, and I'll be taking a few to my mum's this weekend as she's recovering from knee surgery (cue good daughter points lol).
I did a few more things that I won't bore you with but suffice to say, as I sit here typing this at 10.30pm on new year's eve, that today has been different to all the other days I've had lately. I have felt positive and got a real sense of achievement with today. Even though tonight is a quiet night for us, I feel excited, inspired and ready for 2016 to be a year of positive change for hubby and I. And on that note I shall leave you. All that remains for me to say is, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this and all the support you have given me, and I hope 2016 is a fabulous year for you and your loved ones :o).

Happy New Year Everyone! 

Love Sheen xxx
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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Singapore Vlog Part 2: CBD & Orchard Road

Good Day Everyone,

Today I share with you the second vlog from our stopover in Singapore. On this particular day hubby had work meetings and so I headed into Singapore's CBD (central business district) with him. I thought it might be interesting to show you some of the architecture of the CBD area. In and amongst all of the high rise office blocks there are streets of traditional shop houses which have now been converted into office spaces, cafes and and restaurants. There are also places of worship for the different religions within the CBD area including a mosque and the oldest temple in Singapore, the Thian Hock Keng Temple which is dedicated to Ma Zu, the goddess of the sea and protector of seamen.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
One of the things that struck me the very first time I walked through Singapore's CBD area, back in 2011, were the palm tree lined streets and green spaces. There are lots of small parks and gardens for people to enjoy and have their lunch. When we lived in Singapore hubby always used to say that it was a real joy to step outside at lunchtime, after being cooped up indoors with the air conditioning, look up and see bright blue skies and palm trees, and just feel that initial heat rush. Aside from the shop houses and green spaces, there are also numerous water features, some with koi carp, and art installations around the CBD area.
Water and art feature
Shop houses in the CBD
From the CBD, I jumped on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) which is Singapore's subway system and headed to Orchard Road - the famous mall lined street for a spot of shopping. Singapore's subway system is very easy to use as it is in English. Hubby and I still had our EZ-Link cards which we just topped up with cash upon our arrival back to Singapore. With the EZ-Link card you simply tap on the entrance and exit gates at the MRT stations. It is a cashless travel card which can be used on the buses too, and is available for tourists to purchase. Apparently the Oyster card system that we now have on the London Underground is based upon the Singapore EZ-Link card. You can see more in the vlog below :o).
Once at Orchard I went to one of my favourite malls, ION. This mall is full of lots of familiar brands like Zara, H&M, Victoria's Secret, Mango, Uniqlo, Muji,and the mothership aka Sephora aka makeup heaven ;o). It also houses a lot of the designer/higher end brands too. The basement levels of most malls in Singapore are full of food courts and lots of different restaurants and cafes. I stopped off at IndoBox for a spot of lunch and to rest my joints.
Malay food for lunch at IndoBox
Orchard Road is home to numerous department stores such as Tangs, Isetan and Takashimaya, as well as all the malls. The road is tree lined and is particularly beautiful at Christmas with all the decorations and lights. If you're not a fan of crowds then the best time to visit Orchard Road is definitely during the day in the working week as it gets very busy in the evenings, and ridiculously busy on weekends. There is always something going on at Orchard Road, be it pop up exhibitions, promotions, events or temporary art installations. On this particular day there was a display of Gundams. The Gundam Series is a Japanese science-fiction anime series featuring giant robots and these were absolutely huge!

The shopping malls in Singapore offer a good mix of western and Asian brands, and every year there is annual two month sales event, known as The Great Singapore Sale, which just happened to be on when we were there :o). After lunch I made my way down Orchard Road to Plaza Singapura which is another mall that I use to go to when we lived in Singapore, and this mall had a huge dinosaur display at its centre! I didn't vlog the rest of my day as we were meeting some friends that night for dinner and I didn't think it would be that interesting for you.
I hope this blog post and the accompanying vlog gave you a bit more of an insight into what Singapore is like. Have you ever visited Singapore? Did you enjoy it? I'll be back with the third and final part soon.

Love Sheen xxx
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