Mondays are for Celebrating

Hello, you!

Today I was reunited with my best friend Leila – one of the most positive and sunny natured people I know. We were both super excited see each other after a fair while apart so we decided to continue our long standing tradition of eating a double cheeseburger and playing absolute TUNES… Us singing together in the car rapidly escalated to us blasting out the songs and singing to strangers passing by, lucky them!

We had SO much fun, call us sad if you wish but you can get a lot of happiness from driving round with happy songs playing at full volume, singing at the top of your voice – especially when the sun is shining. It was so entertaining that we ended up doing it for around THREE hours, driving allllll over the city and into different car parks. By the end of it, we had experienced a full range of reactions…

The most common reaction we had was people smiling or laughing at us, we massively enjoyed this, it’s nice to think you’ve made someone smile even a little bit, isn’t it? As for the laughing, we will gladly be the laughing stock so long as people are happy – ESPECIALLY on a Monday. However, as I’m sure you can imagine, we got a lot of dirty looks too… We stopped to let one lady cross the road and she glared at us as she walked from one pavement to another – this only spurred us on to find other people and make them SMILE. Another stellar reaction was one guy who awkwardly waved back at us, after we had shamelessly danced at him, then turned to his friend and seemingly said ‘what the fuck are they doing?’ My friend, we are having fun on a Monday, because life is for celebrating.

The BEST reaction of all was when people danced back… every time this happened we cheered and I don’t mean a little ‘aw yay’ I mean a big ‘WOOOOOOOOO!’ So many people danced with us and it was brilliant every single time it happened, it was so lovely to see people joining in and just having a laugh, not taking themselves too seriously. A particular highlight of mine was when we had slowed down in the ASDA car park and a WHOLE FAMILY started smiling and dancing with us to ‘Celebration’ by Kool & The Gang, as they were casually loading their shopping into the car. Another brilliant moment was when a guy danced across the zebra crossing to our music in the Tesco car park – all the applause for this jolly man!

My favourite thing about this was that we made so many people smile and that so many people responded happily – laughing, smiling and joining in with us! There’s enough misery in the world at the minute, it was lovely to see people happy even just for a second. Mondays are normally dull, the beginning of a long week at work or whatever, so let’s make them positive… Mondays are for celebrating.

Stacks of love,

Soph x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Only One in Your Race

Hello, you!

I’ve been away for a while – after the last health debacle, I felt relatively peachy for a grand week and a half before I felt the pain again. Back to hospital we went and after many doctors and surgeons, I had my appendix taken out. Since then, I’ve been lolloping around in pain, taking my morphine, binge-watching The Blacklist (10/10 would recommend) and waiting to get better!

Due to this pain in the arse, persistent illness, I’ve had massive chunks of time taken out of revision which has meant I’ve had to defer to of my uni exams. Although this isn’t the end of the world, I’ll admit, I’m a bit miffed. Some of you might think ‘HOORAY, what’s the miserable cow complaining about?!’ but it’s hard to see everyone celebrating with their prosecco (not that I see the hype, in fairness) while I’m sat on the sofa in my space jimjams (oh yes they made a VALIANT return) unable to celebrate. 

At times I thought, ‘ah everyone has finished but I have to wait till summer’ and there have been other times in my life where I’ve felt the same – like when they thought I’d have to be put back a year because I’d missed so much school when I first got my chronic pain. THEN, I think ‘I am the only one running my race’.- I can celebrate when I cross the exam finish line in my own time and celebrate in summer.

Society has so many time specific expectations – it’s ‘the norm’ to go to university at 18 and graduate at 21 – but does it really matter WHEN you do it, so long as you eventually achieve what you actually WANT? To me, the answer is no and this really helped me to decide to take a gap year, which I really needed to do, but I was worried about starting uni later than the average person. Starting a year later has made no difference in my opinion, and I got the time to rest and properly recover. A lady I know struggled in school and didn’t get the grades she needed to get into uni, she didn’t even really know what she wanted to do – so, she started working in a shop to earn money in the mean time. After a few years, she decided she’d like to be a midwife so started an access course, now she’s completed it and on her way to uni to become one. She got where she wanted to be in her own way and in her own time.

image1 (1)

You see, nobody else is going to have the exact same experiences as you – what, when and how they occur will shape every person differently, so you can’t really compare yourself to anyone else. Any progress is progress no matter how slowly you go or which path you take to get their. You’re running your own race, other people are on a completely different track – let them jog on and focus on yours!

Stacks of love,

Soph x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

P.S. Image is not my own but by The Latest Kate – found herehere and here!

Everyday Champions: Nurses of the NHS

Hello, you!

Well, this hasn’t been my finest of months… From mid April I’ve had a stabbing pain in my lower right stomach – after being seen by MANY a consultant ‘is it the appendix?’, ‘is it her ovaries?’, the assumption is that I have a pelvic infection – and so begin two weeks of antibiotics and heavy painkillers. My immune system is practically non-existent so I’ve had a fair few infections in my merry time, but I’ve never known anything like this. Given that doctors couldn’t work out exactly what was causing the pain, even after multiple scans, I was in hospital, discharged and readmitted three lovely times in ten days – demanding painkillers left right and centre.

Now, this isn’t a ‘break out the violins’ post – it’s been horrific but people battle far more troubling illnesses and I, by no means, feel like I’m the worst off. Instead, this post is to talk about the absolutely WONDERFUL nurses I was treated by – the champions of care and kindness. I understand that some people think the NHS is pretty shambolic at the minute, and with waiting times at an all time high, I can appreciate that. However, I think it’s important to acknowledge that doctors, nurses and everyone else are still working crazily hard to look after people.

From my trip to the walk in centre on the first day of the pain to the day I left hospital  – every single one of the nurses I have come across have been kind, compassionate and hard-working to ensure the best care possible for their patients. Whilst I appreciate this is their job, we don’t hesitate to shout about musicians and their ‘great new song’ or sing the praises of footballers on their ‘excellent defense’ and in my opinion, nursing is one of THE most important professions and they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. 

image1 (2)

In my bay on the ward, the average age of the patients was probably about 60 something, brought down significantly by me a humble life span of 20 years. It was a privilege to hear some of the conversations that went on between the nurses and the elderly patients, some of whom were clearly lonely; they took time to talk about what they had done when they were young and to ask about their families, while also making sure their hair was brushed and they were nice and clean – important things in making sure a person still feels like a person and not just a patient number on a chart.

The nurses were also brilliant at reassurance, I must have heard the phrase ‘don’t worry, we’ll get you sorted’ a solid number of times and every time I heard it, I felt more at ease – sometimes simple words can make a big difference and it’s important for them to be said. My mum, shoutout to Glenda here for being THE BEST Mum that has walked the earth (sorry to you other mothers, it’s true) sat with me the whole time and made me laugh even though I felt my worst – as I’m an adult now (HA HA, so laughable, I’m just an oversized child) she wasn’t able to stay with me through the night but the nurses were all ‘don’t worry, mum, we’ll make sure she’s settled and we’ll look after her’ – bless ’em. As I’m not a parent, I can’t begin to imagine the stress of watching your child in pain, but I would imagine it’s a great comfort to hear that someone will be watching over them when you’re not there.

We’ve also got to cheer for the sheer persistence and determination of the nurses to get their patient seen and reviewed by doctors, surgeons and the rest. Obviously, consultants oversee SO many patients and are doing the best to prioritise and get to each one as soon as they can, and as much as it’s understandable, waiting for hours can be so frustrating when you’re in agony. ENTER THE NURSES – each one of them putting up a bloody good fight for their patients to be seen. It’s important for everyone to have someone speaking up for them and this is what they do. Special shout-out to Adam, a nurse in his final year, that got a consultant to see me by paging him non-stop until he got a reply – he admitted it wasn’t the most professional way to go about things, but in his words ‘if it gets you seen, I’ll do it’ and there’s something about that scrappy determination that I really respect. 

I also want to cheer for the brilliant student nurses who looked after me – these girls and guys were at a similar age to me and cared for me so well – like holding my hand while I was crying. I have such an incredible level of respect for them, they’ve chosen a career path of looking after people and I think it’s so admirable. One time I was admitted over the weekend, on both the Friday and Saturday, two lovely nurses looked after me and had a chat with me to distract me from the pain, they could have been out on the piss let’s be honest, but instead they’ve chosen a path of look after people and credit to them. 

So, I don’t for one minute think that doctors and surgeons aren’t doing a remarkable job – but special shout-out to the nurses, the absolute champions of care, who deserve all the recognition in the world for their kindness.

Stacks of love,

Soph x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

P.S. Please excuse any grammatical errors in this post – codeine makes my head spin.

Faith in Humanity

Hello, you!

It seems like every day there are more reports about horrific events occurring around the world and my heart absolutely breaks for the people that are suffering. Of course, it’s vital that these stories get news time, but when you’re feeling shitty already they can really take a toll – one of my friends messaged me the other day saying ‘the world is fucked and I can’t be arsed with it’ and I get that, because look at the horrors that are going on around us. However, I do genuinely believe that there’s ultimately more good in the world than bad, and every so often there’ll be a gem of a story about a random act of kindness and I’m reminded that there are some wonderful people out there. Here are a few…

1

I’ve been lucky enough to go to Jamaica twice and it has become my favourite place I’ve travelled to, purely because of the wonderful people I’ve had the privilege to meet. The country is so poor in wealth but so rich in society and life values. While I was there, we spoke to a lovely waitress, Natalla, every day. One time, we talked to her about about this specific type of mango that we ‘HAD’ to try. She told us that we’d be able to get some at the market further along the beach and we were really grateful – let’s be honest, you can’t beat local knowledge. Anyway, the next day we saw her and she told us she had something for us, she scuttled away and out she came from the kitchen with four mangoes she had bought for us – we insisted that we give her some money for them but she refused and said ‘this is my gift to you’. I know that a lot of the people in Jamaica barely have any money but their kindness is truly on another level.

2

Recently, I’ve had the privilege of meeting one of the loveliest people I have ever met. We’re gonna call him LP, short for Lovely Person because creative cover names are clearly my strong point and his request of ‘Thunderwolf’ somewhat detracts from the tone;) When LP was young, he had a paper round and every day he would deliver the paper to an elderly couple who would sit outside together reading. One day, he noticed that the lady was on her own and asked where her husband had gone, she told him that he had passed away, so LP said ‘would you like me to read the paper with you?’ and sat down to read with her. LP still visits her whenever he’s home from uni and if that doesn’t warm your heart, I honestly don’t know what will.

3

My beautiful but incredibly clumsy best friend, Leila, fell off a train one day – if you know her, you’ll know this is a very typical occurrence. On this occasion, she split her knee open and had no tissues or anything to wipe up the blood. A man who had been standing on the platform and saw her fiasco came over to offer help. She asked if he had a tissue but he insisted that she take his whole pack of Kleenex and also, his bar of chocolate, he then offered to walk her to her next train to make sure she was okay – what a sweetheart.

4

In 2015, I was out with one of my best friends, Billy, when I was spiked. Billy called my best friend, Leila, and my parents to come and help but I don’t remember any of this. It would be easy to look at this event and think ‘wow, what absolute dicks spiking someone’ but you also have to look at the kindness that occurred too – a few girls stopped and found Billy on his own, clearly panicking, and stayed to help in any way that they could. When Leila arrived, they asked her if she could take their numbers and keep them updated about how I was doing once I was taken to hospital. These lovely ladies were complete strangers, but showed such care and concern for someone they didn’t even know. A few days later, I got their numbers from Leila and messaged them to say thank you, to which they replied ‘you don’t need to thank us, we’re just glad you’re alright’.

5

In 2013, I’d already had a few years of bad health so I decided to start writing down all of the little things that made me happy each day and putting them in a jar. At the end of the year, I sorted all of the post-it notes into sections for each person so I could show people that they had helped make that year great. I noticed that a lot of the post-it notes were actually from things random strangers had said to me, or done to help me. It makes me smile so much knowing that every single one of these post it notes contains something lovely from someone who doesn’t even know me. This is how many there were.

thumbnail_image1

There’s no denying that there’s a lot of horrible things happening in the world, and these small acts of kindness seem insignificant in comparison – but, these are just tiny examples of the bloody lovely people that are out there, let’s not forget about them.

Stacks of love, 

Soph x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Drive? Drive.

Hello, you!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Big, big thank you to every single one of you who have asked when I’m writing my next post, you truly have made my day by doing that and you’re the reason I started typing this. To be honest with ya, I’ve felt pretty, bloody uninspired these past couple of weeks and felt very ‘urgh’ about things and as such, have been on many a ‘clear my head’ drive – which leads me onto the topic of this post, crazy how these things happen, ay?;)

I think there’s a lot to be said about the beauty of cars. Not in the ‘get me an Audi R8’ and ‘wow, what a brilliant engine’ kind of way, but in a ‘nothing cheers me up quite like driving around singing at the top of my voice’ type of way. Even when I’m in the best mood, I find it can always be improved by good music and a decent drive. On good days, I can be seen with the windows down (weather permitting, of course), blasting out songs like ‘One More Time’ – Daft Punk and ‘Galway Girl’ – not the Ed Sheeran tune but the original Steve Earle and Sharon Shannon song. There’s no feeling like driving down a country road, with the windows down and loud music. I’ve been really lucky sometimes have managed to catch some absolutely beautiful sunsets.

IMG_7240

There’s also real brilliance in going on a ‘pissed off’ drive – safely, of course, no lawsuits here, please and thank you. There’s something really calming about having your mind focused on driving and letting the stuff that’s irritated you go while you focus on the road. I love doing this on my own, especially if I’m in a really bad mood, it just chills me out so much. Last week, I just got in my car and decided I wanted to drive, so headed out of the city and ended up in the countryside on a gorgeous day.

It’s also great to go with one of your friends. Let’s throwback to… I was about to say throwback to when I used to go for pissed off drives with my best friend Leila and then I realised I still do. I have a lot of fun memories though from when I was really hung up on a guy last year and I wasn’t getting anywhere, cue a lot of drives singing to Beyonce, Ciara, Adele and ‘Hair’ by Little Mix on repeat – ever so tragic to admit but ever so true. And you know what? It BLOODY helped! Let me tell you, you can get a lot of laughs from editing the lyrics to sassy songs to fit your situation about a twatty guy. There’s also just a lot of fun in dancing in your car with your best friend, we often just start dancing and singing to the person in the car next to us at traffic lights and we’ve had some very funny responses, let me tell you. With some of the looks we get, anyone would think we’re driving around with Stormzy on full blast but there we are, jamming to 80’s hits and loving Lionel Richie. Side note, please don’t get too distracted dancing to Stevie Wonder and scrape your car on a post like I did.

thumbnail_FullSizeRender

Then, there’s also the beauty of a quick road trip. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve text my other best friend Alice saying ‘drive?’ only for her to reply two minutes later with ‘drive.’ Lots of the time we drive with absolutely NO direction, but we’ve driven back to Leeds loads, where I spent a lot of time growing up. By the time we end up back home, we’re feeling better and the back seats are littered with rubbish from the road trip essential – snacks. We’ll have stopped about five times on the way there and back to let Alice empty her SHOCKINGLY weak bladder and we’ll have picked up even more snacks at the service station. These drives are full of lots of laughs, conversations about things we need to get off our chest and Alice’s road trip essential which is sadly, music by Taylor Swift. I think there’s much to be said about getting out of where you live for a little while, even if it’s just an afternoon – it can really help to clear your mind, putting distance between you and whatever’s bothering you.

Finally, there’s the brilliance of ‘Car Therapy Sessions’ which involve sitting in a parked car and having a long, long chat. You can do it where there’s a nice view or outside of your house, I’ve found it doesn’t really make a difference, because the body of a car seems to act like a vault for secrets and shit that needs to be said. Honestly, I feel like there’s a real business venture in this because there’s something about cars which seems to make people more open – correct me if I’m wrong but you might have noticed it too. Extra points if it’s raining cause then you’ve got the whole ‘car talk movie scene’ thing going on.

So, who’s with me on this one? Cars are great for driving but they’re also a hub of laughter, fun and mood improvement. Go on a drive, it might help.

Safe travels.

Stacks of love,

Soph x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

To thirteen year old me…

To thirteen year old me,

You’ve just turned thirteen and you’ve stopped sleeping. Let me tell you, kid, this is the start of a very long road, you’ve got five years of illness ahead of you, so buckle up. You’ll have a sleeping disorder for two years, no sedatives will knock you out and box sets will become your best friend. The night can be a lonely place but you’ll get through it, you’ll be awake to see the sun rise, so trust that at the end of the darkness there is always light. Just as you start sleeping properly again you’re going to get hit by chronic pain. You’ll be in hospital six times within two months and the doctors won’t know what causes it; they work it out eventually, keep going. You’ll be loaded up to your eyes on painkillers and experience treatments so agonising you can’t even comprehend the pain and the pain will still be there, but you’ve got to carry on. While this is going on, you’re going to lose the most monumental man you’ve ever known and the pain of it will break you to the point where you feel like you can’t go on, but you will. Just as things start getting better, something else will hit you – this will happen a fair few times and you’ll question whether things will ever be okay again – listen to Mum, she’s right when she says ‘things can’t keep going wrong forever’ – you won’t believe her now but you will, and it’ll get you through. There’ll be days where you feel so unwell you’ll literally question whether you’ll survive, but here you are, at twenty – still standing.

Because here’s the thing, kid – you haven’t met some of the most important people in your life yet. Some of the people in your life right now are there to stay, and some of the people who are supposed to be there for you won’t, but that’s okay because the great ones more than make up for those losses. Your Mum, Mike, Nana Kath and Papa Ron will inspire you more than you can imagine – you’ll mould yourself on these four incredible family members and you’ll be so thankful that you did. You are so, very blessed to have them in your life; they’ll fight for you, and with you, more than you can ever imagine. You inherited the feistiness of the Campbells but you’ll learn from the patience of your Mum and Mike. These four will continue to fill your life with all the love anyone could ever need, so much so that it’ll spill out to your friends and they’ll become part of the family too.

Let’s start with the four girls. Leila will make you laugh so much you can’t breathe (she already does but this never stops), you’ll dance in supermarket aisles together in the middle of the night and pretend to be youtubers to guys in bars – the funny thing is that they’ll believe you, and it’s bloody hilarious. She will be there with you through absolutely every single thing life throws at you. You’ll gain a second family with her family and you’ll know what it is to say you’re not hungry in an Egyptian household, her dad will go through every food in the cupboard asking if you want it – it’s because he cares. Alice is your wild one, don’t even get me started on all the highs and party nights you’re going to have together, but she’ll stand with you through your darkest time too and tell you that you look like shit, because that’s what friends do. The two of you will keep each other going through some of your shittiest times. You’ve grown up with Rose and Bethany so far and you’ll continue to do that. You won’t believe Rose’s craziness once she gets going, she is so quirky and is an absolute burst of gold glitter on the cloudiest of days. You’ll be so amazed with Bethany’s strength, you’ll stand together as you always have – despite how she used to always blame her childhood pranks on you.

Then, there’s the boys. Firstly, there’s Hugh – you were never really pals in primary school but he’ll end up being one of your closest friends, always there for a ranting chat and a rational comeback to your anxious ways. In a couple of months, you’re going to meet Oliver – his mind will blow you away and his humour will keep you laughing for years, he’s in your life to stay and you can always rely on him to reassure you. Then, there’s your two brothers – Billy and Sam. You’ll meet Billy at your 17th birthday, you’ll stay in touch with him and he’ll become one of your best friends – he’ll always be there to party, so much so he’ll reach ‘number one party pal’ status, but he’ll be there to hug you when you’re crying too. You’ll meet Sam that year as well, you’ll completely take the piss out of him for looking like he’s walked out of 5 Seconds of Summer. Don’t worry, he doesn’t wear a bandana forever. Sam and you are twins born four days apart. These two boys will drive you up the wall, you’ll go through shitty arguments but at the end of the day, you can’t stay mad at them – they’re just too bloody lovely and they both have hearts of pure gold. Some of your best memories will be with them.

You also haven’t experienced some of the best memories of my life so far. You haven’t seen the beauty of Jamaica or felt the pace of New York. You haven’t been swimming in the sea in the middle of the night after a bonfire beach party. You haven’t danced all night only to come crawling back home at 6 in the morning. You haven’t sung songs in Dublin pubs with everyone throwing their arms around each other. You haven’t seen your Mum marry Mike and watch her be the happiest you’ve ever seen her. You haven’t met all the wonderful people at Headway who will inspire you more than words can say. You haven’t been in the two relationships I’ve had so far – these will bring you so much joy and sadness, but you’ll gain great memories. You haven’t been to Glasgow and heard a whole arena sing along to Coldplay while the sun is setting. You haven’t been on the best date of your life where you’ll laugh so much your ribs will hurt and the guy will literally start an improv session with the couple on the next table. You haven’t felt the pure joy of driving through the countryside on a sunny day, blasting out U2, with the windows down. Right now, you’re 13 and you’re only just scratching life’s surface. Now, I’m 20, I’ve had so many bloody incredible memories and I’m still only just getting started.

So, what I’m trying to say to you is, kid – you’re going to feel so ill that you won’t believe you’ll ever be okay again, but you’ve got to keep going, because you have so many fucking incredible things to come.

If all you can do is crawl, start crawling – but carry on.

Stacks of love,

Twenty year old you x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Best Advice I’ve Received…

Hello, you!

I feel like it’s worth talking about the best advice I’ve received. Well, technically it wasn’t given to me initially but I got it in the end. Let’s go back in time a bit… My mum was just about to take her nursing finals and was an absolute nervous wreck, bless her. My nana, said to her ‘if you get worried, just touch your left shoulder and imagine I’m sitting on it, right there with you’, how sweet. My granddad, Papa Ron, then turned around, in typical Scottish fashion, and said, ‘right kid, take three deep breaths, think fuck it and go in there and do your best’ now THAT is what I’m talking about. 

IMG_4892

I don’t remember when this advice was passed on to me, clearly it wasn’t at age three, because as much as I come from a long line of Glaswegians and Geordies, we’re relatively civilised;) Anyway, for some reason my granddad, the legendary Ronnie Campbell, told me this and I haven’t forgotten it since.

You see, we live in a society where everyone feels judged and people get too nervous to do things they actually want to do, but all it really takes is a few seconds of ‘fuck it’ and you can do it. Now, I’m not saying go out there and swing for your ex, please don’t… But there have been times where I’ve been sat there thinking, ‘ahhhh should I do this?’ then this advice comes into my head and the next minute I’m doing it. I won’t lie and say it’s all been plain sailing hahaha, I have landed myself in some VERY embarrassing situations but it’s all been a laugh in the end.

My best friends regularly end up roped into my ‘fuck it’ antics – one time I was stood with Leila and saw a guy I used to know when we were young kids, so I say to her ‘shall I say something?!’ to which she replies ‘oh my god, Soph, no!’ not even 10 seconds later I’m walking up to the poor chap saying ‘Hey! I used to know you!’… He had absolutely no recollection of my existence and turns out he was one of those #indie, philosophical, ‘I’m so deep cause I listen to Leonard Cohen’ types;)  I enjoy reminding myself of this situation, purely because of the absolute hysterics Leila and I ended up in. 

But, this advice has helped me in some of my worst times too. Throwback to when I was first got my chronic pain, when I was 15, and was in hospital left, right, and centre for some incredibly painful treatments. I’d sometimes sit in the waiting room, nervous as hell and think ‘fuck it’, then suddenly I didn’t seem as scared anymore. It’s helped me with exams too, when you’ve worked so hard you can’t work anymore but you still don’t feel like it’s enough. Sometimes you just have to remember you can’t control everything, something I’ve really struggled with, and think ‘fuck it’, let it be. 

It’s one of the best, if not THE best, pieces of advice I’ve ever been given and I am so grateful for it. It helps me to get shit done, get out there and make memories. Who knows, maybe it’ll help you too.

Stacks of love,

Soph x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin