Bloganuary Day 26: What language do you wish you could speak? #bloganuary

I was so happy when I found out what today’s prompt was. My reaction was “Yes! The language question!” because I knew I’d get to talk about Spanish and other languages.

Languages have always been something I’ve loved. Language was always an area my doctors said I was good at.

I speak English and Spanish.

Spanish was my favourite subject at school but I also learnt German and studied Italian for a year. I studied some French as it was mandatory to do so and then pick between French and Spanish in my first year of secondary (high) school. I was taught Spanish first and had firmly decided I wanted to learn it instead of French because I had learned a little French at Junior school and found it difficult, so I wanted to learn something different.

I wanted to be able to talk to people when I was on vacation in Spain. I always wanted to put my Spanish to good use, and I dreamed of one day falling in love with someone who spoke Spanish so I could speak it all the time.

Family and friends say my dream has come true.So do I.

I would pour my heart and soul into learning Spanish at school. and be the most eager to answer questions in classs. I would dream in Spanish, and drop some words in here and there in my conversations so my friends and family would learn some.

I always thought Spanish was a beautiful language, and I still think it is. Picking Spanish at school is one of the best decisions of my life. I could talk all day about Spanish (as those who know me well knew I always could) so I’ll save more about my passion for that for another post.

I really wish that I could learn many different languages, but the ones that I would like to learn most are:

Irish Gaelic: I tried to learn this online and want to keep trying. Because I’m half Irish and want to be more culturally immersed in my heritage.

Italian: So I can build on what I learned at school

Portuguese: I’ve always wanted to go to Portugal. I did once use a Portuguese course on CD which my library loaned me and I’d like to learn more.

Quechua and Aymara: To learn the languages from my husband’s home country.

What language do you wish you could speak?

Review: MUA Luxe Smoke & Smoulder Eyeshadow Primer

I’m no stranger to eyeshadow primers. I’ve bought primers from Urban Decay, HEMA, and Wet ‘n’ Wild. All these were white/cream, which is the standard colour.

Years ago, I found an eyeshadow palette online that had both black and white eyeshadow primers (I don’t remember the brand, it really was years ago). I tried locating the palette through Google before dictating this post, but was unsussesful.

Back then, I was really intrigued by the idea of black eyeshadow primer, especially when I found out it’s used to make colours appear deeper. I love deep and smoky eyeshadow colours anyway, and I hoped one day I’d find a black eyeshadow primer.

One day whilst searching on my drugstore site, I found a black eyeshadow primer!

The one I found was MUA Luxe Smoke and Smoulder Eyeshadow Primer.

Superdrug says:

Create a fabulously sultry look with this eye primer. Instantly turns any shade into a darker smokier tone whilst ensuring long-lasting wear without fading or creasing

Product Specification:


The product has 4ml of primer which isn’t as much as Urban Decay or Wet n Wild (10ml), but MUA Luxe Primer costs 1.99€. It has an applicator and is in a glass tube. The colour looks good and it covers the eyelid well.

Disadvantages are that using a very light eyeshadow (white, beige, cream or pale pink) over this won’t work, as the colour won’t show up over the dark base.

The lightest colour I pick as a base eyeshadow colour for this primer is a mid-brown shade and then put another colour over it.

Those who don’t have visual difficulties may find the primer makes colour look darker, but I don’t notice anything.

The primer does keep shadows on all day. The tube has so far lasted 10 months. But some product gets stuck at the end of the tube and not even my husband could get it out. I won’t buy an eyeshadow primer in a tube like this again. It has an applicator which is like a ligloss applicator. My husband had to apply it for me.

It’s not sold anymore but I wouldn’t buy it anyway.

Verdict: 5/10

Wheelchair Positioning Evaluation: Third Time Lucky?

Today, we went to a different wheelchair dealership. It was only 5 degrees when we left to go, but it was sunny and so looked beautiful.

We got to the shop and had to wait a little. A worker started talking to us and took us to an examination room.

The lady we were talking to (who it turns out is an occupational therapist) was knowledgeable and noticed my in-turned feet (even in my winter boots) scoliosis (curved spine) kyphosis (hunched back) and lordosis (abnormal inward curve of the lumbar spine). She noticed that my lumbar lordosis is also cervical. I wasn’t shocked about this, as I half thought it would be given the other spinal deformities I have and the amount of neck pain and pain at the base of my skull I live with daily.

Again, we saw that:

My current seating system (backrest and cushion) is not doing what it needs to to support me

That my head/neck positioning is not good, and it’s expecially important to get that right for me so my head and shunts are well supported.

That this and overall body positioning is a challenge for me and that the postures I adopt are very exhausting for me.

She’d heard of the products I am interested in which is great. I talked about my having been a preemie at 29 weeks and my brain bleeds and resulting diagnoses.

We also talked about batteries and my wheelchair motor which sounds like a vacuum cleaner but the chair still moves well and as it should do.

We also talked about a future new powered wheelchair and the complexities of head and foot positioning for me, as in as well as shoe holders, a knee support for my left knee to help how much it turns outwards and falls to the side since I can’t control this on my own. She said because my feet are severely rotated, foot holders may not help the deformities completely but they will stop my feet falling off the footrests when the wheelchair moves and buckles will be better protection against spasms than velcro straps. I told her about when I had custom footrests and velcro straps and the force of the spasms ripped the straps open.

She said she was familiar with this happening in people with CP who have spasms.

She noticed when I was tired and I thought she was very patient and understanding.

I was tired when we got back from another early start, but it was a good day.

We are feeling good about today and hopeful and glad that the store workers are also occupational therapists.

Bloganuary Day 25: What is a song or poem that speaks to you and why? #bloganuary

So many songs speak to me that it’s impossible to pick just one.

Having taken part in Bloganuary last year, I already have a very detailed list of songs on my playlist. Ant they are premanently on there, because I just love them.

A song I have loved since last Christmas when we saw The Greatest Showman on TV is the song This is Me by Keala Seattle. It’s just so positive and I love the words.

Here’s more about the song, plus some videos.

Other songs I love are:

Searchin’ My Soul by Vonda Shepard because it just makes me feel good.

Angel of Mine and Oh Baby I by Eternal. I’d listen to these and some day dream of falling in love.

Hello and Set Fire to The Rain by Adele because they are heartfelt and she has a great voice. I loved her concert at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on October 24, 2021. We saw it on TV.

My Universe by Coldplay. It’s a short song, but the lyrics are romantic.

Fuego by Eleni Foureira who represented Cyprus in the Eturovision Song Contest in 2018 and we think she should have won. The song is amazing and always makes my husband dance around.

SloMo by Chanel because Spain did great in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022

What is a song or poem that speaks to you and why?

A Love to Last a Lifetime by Clare Swatman @clareswatman @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:

The one that she wants…
Adam Bowers; handsome, funny and with the charm of a rock star, from the moment she laid eyes on him, teenage Erin was smitten. But first loves don’t always last, and after a whirlwind romance, Erin and Adam go their separate ways. Yet, Erin never lets go of the feeling that Adam may have been her soul mate…
The one that she needs…

Greg fell in love with Erin in their first week at university. Solid, trustworthy and hopelessly devoted to Erin, he knows he’s better for her than the feckless Adam, who is forever leaving Erin broken-hearted, before winning her back with his charm. As far as Greg is concerned, it’s easy to promise the world, but it’s harder to love someone for a lifetime.

The one that got away…
Years later Greg and Erin are married, and although life hasn’t always been easy, Greg’s love for Erin has never dimmed. But when Adam comes back, in desperate need of Erin’s help, everything changes. Erin starts to wonder whether fate is trying to tell her something…
Will Erin risk it all for the man she had thought was ‘The One’?

About the Author:

Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages. She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines. She lives in Hertfordshire. Before We Grow Old, was published in January 2022.

Contact Clare:

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My Review:

TRIGGER WARNING: Early onset dementia, sudden medical diagnosis, brain injury.

What happens when a past love reappears?

I was really looking forward to this. I did not find the characters very well fleshed-out or very visual though, which is a shame. I struggled to get into this novel, but it grew on me because of the pace and plot.

The plot was good and I loved the way that songs were woven into it and the therapeutic aspect of them in the characters’ lives and as a kind of life soundtrack. I remember liking some of the songs, and I have some on CDs. The plot and songs bought me back to my own teen/university years and was nostalgic. There’s so much emotion in this book.

The writing style is easygoing and relaxing and the chapters are a good length. A Love to Last a Lifetime is a great combination of past love, loyalty to the past or present and made me ask who Erin’s true love really was. Her teen love or her husband? I liked Erin’s friend and Erin’s parents, but Erin was hard to like. She seemed self-centred and indecisive.

I felt like maybe this was intentional though, as the other characters were so different. There’s a real feeling of doubt and being hesitant about what you really want in life running through the book as a theme.

Thanks to Clare Swatman and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

3.5 stars.

Where to Buy:

Bloganuary Day 24: How do you show love? (Plus The Story of Our Love) #bloganuary

Showing love is not hard for me. I show my husband love by telling him I love him, although many times we don’t need to tell each other to know that we love each other.

We have two days that we celebrate every month: the 11th which was the day we got married and the 23rd which was the day we decided we were going to be boyfriend and girlfriend. The 23rd was also the day we got engaged.

On March 23 2006, Alfredo took me to a square we liked and suddenly asked if I wanted to be his girlfriend. I said yes.

2 years later 23rd of March 2008, I was in bed but still awake when Alfredo presented me with a small red. velvet box. He opened it for me and put the ring on my finger. It was a white gold wedding band with a single diamond. Alfredo’s initials. LAP (for the names Luis Alfredo Perez) were engraved on the inside.

I cried and he hugged me. Then, I realized what had been going on….the time some months before when he measured my finger to get my ring size. I had suspected something was going to happen, but did not think about it and then, on the night we got engaged, he explained the whole story.

My engagement ring is from Peru and his sister had helped with getting it to me. I was so touched that it was so original.

The story of my wedding ring is a great one, too. I was so excited about our wedding. I thought “who needs a wedding planner?” and I was on wedding ring store websites for hours admiring beautiful rings. Tiffany’s and others were ones I visited.

We went to one store where the lady showed me gold rings that seemed too simple and we weren’t there long. “I want something sparkly,” I told her. She did not have anything.

So, it was back to the Internet. And….within five minutes, I had the ring. A gold band with 11 diamonds. It was beautiful. We went to the store which was on a sloping street and while we tried to keep me in my wheelchair, I was wanting to just find the ring.

The lady asked which one I wanted and I showed her the screenshot on my phone. The moment we got the rings was amazing.

Since that day, we support each other, and show love by occasionally buying gifts but mostly just by being there for each other.

I show love to those who mean a lot to me by:

Always asking how they are and respecting them

Being there for them as much as I can and more when they have problems in life

Remembering their birthdays

Sending ecards and emails

How do you show love?

One Day With You by Shari Low @sharilow @BoldwoodBooks @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:

One day, five lives, but whose hearts will be broken by nightfall?
It started like any other day in the picturesque village of Weirbridge.Tress Walker waved her perfect husband Max off to work, with no idea that she was about to go into labour with their first child. And completely unaware that when she tried to track Max down, he wouldn’t be where he was supposed to be.At the same time, Max’s best friend Noah Clark said goodbye to his wife, Anya, blissfully oblivious that he would soon discover the woman he adored had been lying to him for years.And living alongside the two couples, their recently widowed friend, Nancy Jenkins, is getting ready to meet Eddie, her first true love at a school reunion. Will Nancy have the chance to rekindle an old flame, or will she choose to stay by Tress’s side when she needs her most?One Day with You – two fateful goodbyes, two unexpected hellos, and 24 hours that change everything.

About the Author:

Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 30 novels, including My One Month Marriage and One Summer Sunrise and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.

Contact Shari:

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Where to Buy:

My Review:

I love Shari Low’s books, and have enjoyed the ones I’ve reviewed so far.

One Day with You was emotional from the start and I loved everything about it. The characters, the plot, the pace and all the themes. The book really made me think.

Thanks to Shari Low, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars

Bloganuary Day 23: What’s a lie you tell yourself? #bloganuary

When this question appeared in my inbox, I thought that it was a bit of a strange question, because I’m an honest person. I’m honest with myself about what I can and cannot do, or perhaps aspire to. I know what I think, feel and experience.

My sister once said I’m an open book as I don’t hide my feelings. I was bought up to believe that it wasn’t good to hide my feelings. I admit I did this sometimes for fear of punishment, like someone answering me angrily, or having something taken from me.

I always try to smile, no matter how bad things get, because we all need endorphins, and I feel a burst of joy inside my stomach when I do, like butterflies, but much, much larger. I am used to putting on a brave face even though deep down I am scared or uncertain or nervous or in pain. I’ve heard comments like ” but people with disabilities are always happy.” This is not true, we have good days and bad days just like anyone else.

I have happy days, but I also have my frustrated days, my sad days, my “I don’t know how to solve this” days and my completely inconsolable moments when I am at a loss as to what to do about something. I have my times when I miss my friends from home who are still in contact.

I have my fed up, overwhelmed moments or the moments when I seem to be lost in my thoughts. Some people have confused these with being “bitter” or “angry at the world.” I am none of these.

Doctors were concerned when I was little that my premature birth, losing my twin sister and having the disabilities I do had made me “emotionally immature”. We moved a few times before I was 4 and a half.

This was back in the 80s and when I came across this, my heart ached for myself back then. I know I have always shown distress by crying and being withdrawn.

They said that I am best around people who will accept and understand me. I always gravitate towards those kinds of people.

To give myself confidence, I’d act more confident than I felt, and this helped me through situations. People did not know this way of acting was not the “real” me, and I found it worked in my favor, in terms of people who did not notice me before noticing me, and people talking to me more.

I always take the good from the bad: try to change things, or think differently about them. I won’t lie about having felt lonely or shut out at some points. Or feeling completely out of my depth. Or vulnerable, I know I am. Some have said “but you’re intelligent”.

Sure, CP or hydrocephalus does not affect my intelligence, but I am vulnerable. The amount of red tape you have to go through to get things is shocking and has left me feeling bored and more than a little confused, I won’t lie about that, but for the most part, 2 heads think better than one and that’s another reason I’m grateful that my husband can help me with things. We have realized that if you don’t do the paperwork or admin procedure, you won’t get what you are fighting for.

Society has so much to learn about being truly inclusive, and I am sad and disappointed about that. I know my fight for something in life will be more than someone else’s because of this. Sometimes I feel tired of fighting, I won’t lie about that and some things seem monotonous and I don’t like monotony. But something in me makes me keep going, because sometimes that’s the only choice I have.

I am glad to be with my husband. He says we are in this fight together, And he’s right. Whether it’s paperwork, or trying to get something I or he needs or just daily life, we are in it together.

When people ask how I am or feel, I tell it how it is, no matter how uncomfortable the truth makes them feel. Because my life is my truth. So the answer will sometimes be filled with the words “pain” “tired” “exhausted” or “uncomfortable” depending on what the day brings. “Happy” “proud” “accomplished” are also other words. I use.

I practice gratitude and pray silently daily. I thank Karin for this. I find practising gratitude daily positive and liberating and it always puts a smile on my face.

I am forever grateful to Maureen Sharphouse, a certified life coach who I have told things to that I tell very few. I am grateful to her for the breathing exercises that are calming.

I have my personality and am proud of myself and who I am. I can make my thoughts and feelings known in both English and Spanish.

I guess maybe the lie I tell myself is that things are OK when they aren’t. Or that things will be OK when I don’t know if they wil or not. This gives me faith and helps me through adversity.

There is a truth that I will always know: that I am strong and I am strongr than I ever thought I could be.

What’s a lie you tell yourself?

Sunrise Medical Jay 3 Deep Contour Dual Valve Wheelchair Cushion: 4 Years On

I remember how excited I was to get this cushion in 2018, and I still like it for comfort. It’s a cushion with a mostly foam structure, and a well at the back. I have the dual valve air cushion as my posture is very assymetric. I stil rate this cushion as the most comfortable one I’ve ever had. It withstands a lot and the ROHO air insert is comfortable and none of the air cells has burst or needed any patching up at all. I have not needed to replace the air insert at all.

I’ve been up steep slopes, up and down city streets, in and out of hospitals, health centres and supermarkets and over some areas of uneven sidewalk and cobblestone areas (which would usually have me telling my husband to avoid those areas when guiding my wheelchair).

Everything has been comfortable with this cushion And sometimes we’ll have the wheelchair speed set to 4 or 5 (5 being the highest speed, the equivalent of 3.7 mph) if we need to get to places quicker or are on a wider street or in an open area of the park.

I have, on occasion, even almost fallen asleep in my wheelchair with this cushion (either at home or almost during long waits at the hospital).

The unfortunate thing is that I was on the Sunrise Medical site around a few months ago, and couldn’t find the 2 air valve version listed on the order form. only the 1 valve version (standard cushion).

I quickly sent a message on Facebook. A month later, Sunrise Medical replied and confirmed that the cushion in the 2 valve version was not sold anymore. I’d asked about their custom service, Jay Your Way, as I have positioning wedges on my old Jay3 cushion and wondered how to fix them to the new one.

I’d spoken to the rehab doctor who’d suggested I sort out the issue of the positioning wedges at the wheelchair dealership. I found the wedges helped a little with my leg positioning, but that years being transferred onto and off of the cushion had made a hole in the cover of my last cushion. We took the decision not to put any wedges on my Jay 3 foam-air cushion, and that’s saved the cover. I also noticed that the wedges were creating pressure areas for me.

Not having wedges on the cushion felt strange at first. People in evaluations have seen that the Jay 3 cushion is not a good cushion for me positioning wise, and nor is the backrest. And they have seen I’m exhausting myself because of my postures and how they are naturally.

I picked the Jay 3 cushion with a technician as it’s a skin protection.and positioning cushion for people with complex positioning needs who are unable to reposition themselves. Of all the cushion filling materials I’ve tried so far, I prefer air.

Anyway, this cushion will be used for as long as can use it for, and I now know that I won’t be able to get another one, and nor is it advisable for me, as I need more posture support, although this already has a good level, but the evaluations have shown it’s not enough for me. The problem is : I can’t sit properly, so that needs to be adressed with my seating and I need seating that will relax me as I have tight muscles and weak ones.

I’m glad I bought this cushion, as I was cusious to find out how Jay foam bases and ROHO air inserts worked together. I know ROHO has a cushion with foam and air very like this, plus extra support at the front of the thighs called the ROHO Hybrid Elite and it has 2 air valves, but it turns out I need more highly contoured support for my pelvis and legs and not just the ability to adjust air levels between left snd right within.a cushion.

We tried the option of adjusting air with 2 valves, but apparently it does nothing for me.

So, now I’m thinking back to ROHO’s Quadtro Select High Profile cushion, although some technicians advised against this, as they thought an all-air cushion woud make me more unstable. I also know I am very unstable on the Vicair cushion I have, which I don’t use anymore.

So, it’s frustrating to find that, while air feels more comfortable to me, as in reducing pain and feeling good to my body with it’s deformities and unique sitting posture, as well as altered levels of sensation, I don’t know if another air cushion is a good idea.

Since the consensus is that I need seating that will help me relax. and so far, foam, gel foam-gel and foam-air hasn’t done that. I did find though, that air did not react to temperature at all, so I didn’t feel cold with it like I did on winter days with a gel cushion or gel-foam cushion.

I definitely rate the Jay 3 deep contour dual valve air cushion in terms of comfort and helping to lessen vibrations from the wheelchair moving over uneven ground.

Bloganuary Day 22: What was your dream job as a child? #bloganuary

I have always had a vivid imagination. I can’t work because of my disabilities, but I did have my ideas for a dream job.

I spent a lot of time in hospitals and I was inspired by the doctors and nurses who treated me well. I wanted to be a doctor (a family doctor or a neurologist) or a nurse.

Then as I went through all the tests and evaluations I needed as treatment for my disabilities and heard about ones I’d had as a baby, I thought about it some more, and asked myself questions:

Would I be able to give someone a lumbar puncture to check for hydrcephalus? Would I be able to draw someone’s blood if I myself felt nausea when my blood was drawn? Would I be able to carry and hold things? Would I be able to keep up with the pace of that kind of job? Would I be able to do everything that was required of me?

I knew I had the empathy for people, a huge desire to help people and personal experience of being in hospitals. No matter how I imagined myself doing a job like that and helping others, giving back to the medical world that had saved my life, I realized this would not work.

Then, my mind turned to omething else I loved: horses. I did therapeutic riding and loved it. I dreamed of having a large house with enough space for horses and I dreamed of owning my own adaptive riding school and of teaching people to ride.

As I grew, I realized how much money I’d need to do that, and so sadly realized that was not going to happen either. I did want to own a horse when I was a child, and I kept telling my parents this and saying we should make the garage into a stable, since the cars were parked on the street by the house anyway. I imagined how I’d rent land near where we lived so the horse could have more space.

I always wanted to publish a book. As a child, I used my voice dictation software to dictate stories on my dad’s computer as well as journal entries,

I’m glad I continued with my passion for words and decided to do my first NaNoWriMo in 2013 and have done all the writing contests I have since. I’m always learning more about the writing craft. Of all the job ideas I had as a child, I think writing a book was the most realistic one. I told the Occupational therapist I wanted to write a book and I am glad I’ve found my way to do so through assistive technlogy.

I hope, that one day my wish will comr true, and that I’ll publish my books. I will not give up on that goal. I raise awareness of my disabilities through my blog and I hope that people will get help and support from what I post there.

What was your dream job as a child?