What’s in my bag?

Hey Beautifuls!

Via DM a few of you ask what my everyday essentials are!? Thus, I have decided to share with you all my different styles. But as it’s come to the end of my first week back in work, I’d show you the contents of my work bag first…

My everyday Work Bag!

For work, I use a large handbag from Dune. It’s large enough to also fit my lunch and a refillable water bottle. See below… it’s HUGE!

A Rundown:

  • My Teaching Planner by Plum Paper Design
  • Palm print umbrella from H&M
  • Fiorelli Purse
  • Strawberry Strepsils
  • Slytherin Lanyard and work badge
  • Pink pencil case from a supermarket
  • Canvas pouch to keep liquids, gels and creams
  • VS Pink Hibiscus Hand Cream
  • Ventolin Inhaler
  • Pixi lip balm
  • NYX Lip colour in Athens
  • Rosie Perfume from M&S
  • Mirror from Primark
  • Anti Bacterial Hand Sanitizer from Bath and Body Works
  • Car Keys
  • Samsung A5 phone

Why do I carry so much!? Because I need to be prepared at all times in work. All of these items are my day to day essentials with perhaps one or two luxuries.

Without these items, I could not function.

From my planner which keeps me in check everyday, to strepsils because I have to shout and hand sanitizer due to contact with lots of different people and items. Although, I have saved you the horrors of all the wrappers and receipts hiding at the bottom of my bag!

My Ultimate “Dinner Date” Bag

My Vivienne Westwood is my FAVOURITE Dinner Date Bag; large enough for all essentials, small enough to look dressy rather than casual!

A Rundown:

  • Car Keys
  • Mini Perfume
  • Hand Sanitizer from Bath and Body Works
  • Mirror as before
  • Fraud Protection Wallet by Bebe
  • Chewing Gum
  • Inhaler
  • Tom Ford Lipstick (Colour: Smitten)
  • Maybelline Concealer
  • Samsung A5

I try to keep my going out bags to a minimal size so I have less chance of losing “stuff”. It also means my bag stays looking it’s best without lots of items being stuffed in, especially my Viv, as the opening is narrow and awkwardly shaped. Really must buy a larger one as I’ve been intending to for the last 2 years!

My General Day Out/ Shopping Day Bag

My Mulberry (Baby number 3- I have 4) is the perfect accompaniment to ANY OUTFIT! I love that it has an extra strap for shouldering when loaded up with lots of shopping.

A Rundown:

  • Amazon Kindle (Cover from Paperchase)
  • FM Fragrances 18 (smells like Coco Mademoiselle)
  • Inhaler
  • Protection Wallet from Bebe
  • Samsung A5
  • Mirror as before
  • Millie Mackintosh Luxe Glow Face Illuminator
  • Canvas pouch (for my cosmetics) from Home Bargains
  • Maybelline concealer
  • Pixi Lip Lift Max in Honey Sheen
  • Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Perla
  • Revlon Foundation Stick
  • Car Keys
  • Elemis Minty Moisture Lip Balm (Thank you BA Business Class)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Chewing Gum

My pet hate is having cosmetics rolling about in the bottom of my bag or lids coming off a product in one of the pockets. I found this medium sized pouch for an absolute bargain. It also includes my initial for bonus points! I now keep any cosmetics and gels in pouch so my baby doesn’t get messy!

My Night Out Clutch Bag

I picked up this small and sweet clutch when working as a Stella and Dot Stylist. I love that it limits the amount I can take out with me… meaning less rubbish to lose!!

A Rundown:

  • Protection Wallet from Bebe
  • Handbag Perfume from Victoria’s Secret (this one is Paris)
  • Samsung A5
  • Inhaler
  • Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Pink a Punch
  • Bare Minerals Plumping Lip Gloss in Dazzler

Many of you are probably unaware that I’m also asthmatic so my inhaler comes everywhere with me (so I don’t die) meaning my bags always need to be large enough to fit this bad boy in. My night out bags vary in size depending on the outfit. But the fact this has a self contained mirror built in… makes it my favourite clutch bag!

What are your essentials? Comment below!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Social Media- Like, Love, Hate

Hey Beautifuls!

I fancied a non Lymphie post so I got thinking about what most of my free time consists of. Gym, marking and social media updates. The latter is what I’m going to focus on during this post. Think of this as a virtual Snog, Marry, Avoid (Robert Downey Jnr, Tom Hiddleston and Tom Jones/ Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Why Social Media? Everyone these days tends to have some form of social media whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… It’s been in the news recently with the Facebook Data scandal. Also most of my readers find me via social media.

I tend to both love and hate social media.

LIKE

Why and what do I like about social media?

  • I like that I can find out information quickly at the touch of a button. Want to know why the road is closed? Facebook. Want to know why there was traffic? Twitter. It’s great to find out the latest gossip.
  • I like that I can keep up with the goings on of my friend’s lives. Want to see what little Felicity managed to do today? Snapchat.
  • I like that there’s always a silly quiz to take or a stupid article to read if I’m bored. Thank you Buzzfeed and Quizly- What kind of potato am I? Who would be your celebrity husband? Which colour are you? Which breed of dog are you? (Hash brown, Zac Efron, orange and a Boston Terrier apparently!)

HATE

There are aspects I hate about social media.

  • The amount of time that can be wasted just sliding your finger up and down a screen. Do I really need to read that waste of a time article that is click bait and filled with adverts? Probably not, do I do it anyway… probably.
  • The competition. Everyone, including me, only posts the best aspects of their lives. Social media means you don’t see what is on the cutting room floor. That one perfect selfie has another 45 attempts on the camera roll that didn’t quite cut it. That happy mother child just posed for the photo before the child started screaming. We are obsessed with posting the best version of ourselves. It’s so unhealthy.
  • It takes over social gatherings. When I’ve been out to dinner with friends, we’ve laughed at some groups of friends who don’t talk to each other, just smile during selfies that they’ll post on social media with hashtags such as #friendship #mybestgirls #bestfriendsforever #funtimes and then brag what a fun time they had… it’s really a sad affair that this world is coming to. The way I know if I’ve had a good night out… if there’s only 1 photo from the start of the night. No photos means it’s been such a good night that you haven’t had time to get your phone out for a cheeky scroll.
  • You can’t help but be drawn into the social media hype. New filter. Need to try it. New hashtag. Need to use it. Check for notifications. Every. 5. Minutes. (During the writing of this article I’ve checked my phone 13 times- for messages, emails, notifications, time. Due to the fact I’m going for a meal with gym friends later and don’t want to miss out on the gossip of outfit choices etc).
  • It ruins our self esteem. It ruins any inch of happiness we had. It encourages us to feel terrible about ourselves. Whether that’s because you’re not back in your pre pregnancy jeans with washboard abs, 3 months after giving birth like Person A. Or because you can’t do your eyeliner like Person B. Or your social life is non existent and you’re broke unlike Person 3 who is out every weekend and buying bottles of champagne for their table and you’re both the same age. It’s so unhealthy.

LOVE

I did mention I love social media too. Why?

  • I love social media for the very reasons outlined above. You can organise social gatherings, keep in touch with friends and family around the world, document your life.
  • I love that it brings groups of people together. My best Lymphie girls and I would never have met were it not for Facebook.
  • It helps you feel less alone in rubbish situations. I had never come across someone else with Lymphoedema until Facebook arrived.
  • But most of all. It’s where those of similar interests etc. can be a community and help each other.

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Happy Easter!

Hey Beautifuls!

Hope you all have an egg-cellent day celebrating with your families! Must admit I’ve been a little spoilt by my nearest and dearest. ❤️

Started the day with giant mini eggs in my coconut porridge. For lunch, a family meal and prosecco dessert. Then to overload on chocolate for the remainder of the day.

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Misconceptions about Lymphoedema

Hi Beautifuls.

Over the years I’ve stumbled across a few common thoughts about me and my condition. I thought I would do a little a post about some of the common misconceptions!

In no particular order:

1. But you’re young…

I’m so bored of people assuming Lymphoedema is only for the over 70s! Luckily for us youngsters (ok, I’m not as young anymore but I’ve had this since I was 12…) Lymphoedema does not discriminate based on age! Woohoo! I have been lucky enough to meet many sufferers of all ages. I’m lucky enough to have met some amazing friends, of all ages, via Lymphoedema and Lymphoedema groups.

2. But you’re really fit and you exercise…

Obviously due to my Lymphoedema I’m not allowed a life, I’m not allowed to create a healthy lifestyle for myself, and I’m certainly not allowed to enjoy exercise! Haha. Remember when I said that Lymphoedema doesn’t discriminate… yep, you guessed it… I was a healthy teenager who played netball and skated on a weekly basis. It still affected me. Ironically a lot of people assume exercise will have negative repercussions on Lymphoedema. However, exercise and a healthy lifestyle can aid your Lymphoedema in positive ways. My Lymphoedema is much better behaved when I lead a healthy active lifestyle compared to when I have sloth style weeks and eat my body weight in chocolate (it’s called balance).

3. But you haven’t had cancer…

I know many people who sadly developed Lymphoedema after cancer. Also, post cancer Lymphoedema is in the limelight more so than primary. I can’t imagine having a battle against cancer and winning then battling against Lymphoedema FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! However, primary sufferers have a difficult journey too. Many suffer Lymphoedema through the hardest years of their lives- their teenage years. The instant “Oh, I didn’t realise you’d suffered cancer!?” makes you feel like a fraudulent sufferer, that your Lymphoedema isn’t as bad or doesn’t deserve the same recognition. Where the reality is, you’re all in the same boat, you all order the same type of garments. However the primary sufferer took longer to be diagnosed!

4. But you don’t look like you’d have a disability…

My favourite. I make a conscious effort to not have a pity party about my condition. Nobody likes a Negatron. I purposely dress up, do my hair and make up and generally try to move focus away from my disability. The reason… I have a disability, but it doesn’t have me (Thank you VP!). I try to make the most of what I can now as in the future I may not be so fortunate and may not be able to dress how I would like. Everyone seems to think that disabilities mean bad fashion choices. I’d like to see what many people consider a disabled person to look like. I ensure I wear flattering clothes. I ensure I always look put together… because that’s who I am as person. I feel better about myself when I make an effort.

5. Why aren’t you on water tablets? Can’t it be cured?

A key one at the moment. Everyone I seem to follow on social media seems to be having surgery. Good for them. Really, I am chuffed for them. I am jealous of their results. Surgery is becoming more popular and most of the newspaper featured lymphies have had really successful surgery. Meagan Barnard to name one…Her legs now look identical! 😍 Honestly, nip over to her Instagram, her legs look incredible! But with surgery comes risks. Also, it’s not a cure, it makes your Lymphoedema more controlled and more easily manageable. It requires just as much daily effort to ensure it remains improved! Most non lymphies believe that you can take water tablets and it’ll go, because… surely it’s just like when old people have swollen ankles… wrong. We don’t have excess water pooling. Our vessels don’t work thus meaning swelling. We are affected by so much more than being sat down for extended periods. We are affected by our diet, exercise choices, weather, temperature to name a few. There is no cure for my condition, only steps to manage it.

Flamingo in a flock of pigeons

Do a Lymphie a favour… think before you comment! Ask before you assume! Most of all, be thoughtful around your planning. What is easy for you, might take a few days recovery for a Lymphie.

And Lymphies remember, don’t try to blend in when you were born to stand out!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Poppy Apparel

Hi Beautifuls.

I thought I would share some exciting news. Last month, I was asked if I would like to be a Brand Ambassador for Poppy Apparel Clothing, based in Baltimore.

After looking at their website, I jumped at the chance. Their stock is so beautiful. I was a little wary at first as ordering only online can be daunting especially in terms of sizing.

I ordered a sports bra in small, a shirt (pictured below) and a pair of sunglasses. They all arrived at different times and shipped from China which I was surprised at. They came packaged in the same way as any other clothing store. It did take a couple of weeks for my items to arrive, so wouldn’t recommend buying if you needed the dress yesterday! The clothing is reasonably priced which is a godsend. Also… you guys get a discount code further down!

I fell in love with this shirt on the site. I love the way the shirt ties; it really creates a statement! I ordered a a size Small and it arrived true to size… however, the sports bra is teeny tiny. I’m not in any way busty. So probably won’t order the sportswear again even though it is super pretty. The sunglasses are so trendy and unique- I’m often sporting them on my insta stories! They are fantastic at blocking out the sun… they are now a permanent feature in my car instead of my Marc Jacobs ones! The materials used and clothing seems of good quality; the shirt washed well after wearing.

I’m yet to order trousers or dresses… waiting for spring weather to start before I make any final decisions!!

Here is a discount code for your 10% off your shopping. Be sure to enter LYMPH10 at checkout!!

Shop here!

I can’t wait to share my future items with you all!

Keep up to date with my latest looks and gossip via my Instagram!

Happy Shopping!!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Lymphoedema Awareness

Hey Beautifuls!

As most of you are aware, March is Lymphoedema Awareness Month. This week specifically has been Lymphoedema Awareness Week. This got me thinking… what is important to a Lymphoedema sufferer?

I managed to storms tens of ideas, but they all boiled down to 2 main things: Compassion and Understanding. Why these 2, I hear you ask…

Without these 2 qualities, no difference can be made.

Lymphoedema is a tough journey. You go through so much self hatred that it’s difficult to come out the other side. Only those with understanding and compassion can help.

You go through altering your lifestyle to fit your condition. Others with compassion and understanding can help.

However, compassion and understanding only become more noticeable when you speak out. Talking about your Lymphoedema triggers compassion and understanding from others such as friends and family members. It starts small. Talking to your nearest and dearest will help their understanding and will help you be compassionate towards yourself.

The biggest concern is the compassion and understanding that needs to be shown in parliament. I’m so proud of the many individuals who petition day in, day out, to make a difference for all of us.

I’m so proud of every single individual this week, who has shared a snippet of their life with the world, to try to raise awareness.

I’m proud of every single one of us who lives with this condition.

What have you done, I hear you cry? I’ve been advocating the cause over my social media platforms, I’ve contributed to articles, I’ve worn my odd socks, I’ve shared other people’s journeys as well as my own.

Lymphoedema awareLymphoedema Awareness

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Xpandasox with Lymphoedema Review

Hey Beautifuls!

I was lucky enough to be asked by Sharon Thorp (of Xpandasox) if I would like to trial a free pair. Obviously I jumped at the chance and responded quickly with a Yes! Through setting me in touch with a stockist in the UK (for quicker delivery) and selecting my pair, they arrived quickly. Currently wearing them whilst writing this review…

A little bit about Xpandasox

Founded by Sharon Thorp, Xpandasox is a brand under the 2DAYGIF inc. Xpandasox were debuted at Full Figure Fashion Week in 2015 in NYC. With a stretchy sewn in panel, they Xpand (see what I’ve done there!) up to 24+ INCHES! Not only is the company thinking of those with wider athletic calves and wider limbs due to health conditions, they give back too. For every pair purchased they give to their Sock Bank which then are given to those in need!

My Experience with Xpandasox

The stockist I was put in touch with was Pebble UK. I had a choice of 3 pairs. I chose the geometric patterned pair which I believed to be the ones I’d most likely wear. The sizes are in keeping with your shoe size which is fab. I ordered a size UK 3/ European 36. When they arrived, they did so with a catalogue for other compression based items they sell. This created a lovely 5 minute flick through the booklet for future reference, especially as there was a set of measurement guidelines inside the catalogue. Winning!!

I loved the pattern and material mixture. It was ostentatious enough to be deemed trendy but the right blend of colours to remain neutral. I decided I would try them at different points in the day. I would also try hand washing as well as a cool temperature machine wash… both times they washed well with materials returning to original size and elasticity.

I chose to wear them on board my flight to Doha. I was wearing my skinny jeans and Tods. I wrapped my lower leg in my farrow wrap and rolled my Xpandasox over the top of the 2 layers with ease. The ‘sox are fine enough to wear with shoes but warm enough that your feet don’t get cold. They were so comfortable on my legs throughout the 7 hour flight. There was no cutting behind my knee or tightness.

I also wore them as regular socks for the day beneath my jeans. Sadly, due to my jeans being so skin tight they did show the outlines, but would be fine beneath regular jeans rather than the extra skinny, second skin variety. Again, really comfortable, so much so I forgot I was wearing them! Always a great sign, especially as socks usually dig in to my leg as it swells throughout the day causing discomfort.

Lastly I’ve tried them over the top of my sports leggings and farrow wrap. I used my farrow wrap on both my foot and lower leg. Again, the Xpandasox rolled over the top of both layers with ease. Again, so comfortable. The great part is that the foot of the Xpandasox stretches so easily to fit the shape of wrapping or foot allowing comfort. There’s an example of how well the Xpandasox fit in the images below.

Xpandasox Lymphoedema Xpandasox Farrow wrap LymphoedemaXpandasox

I’m excited to see how they fit over multi layer bandaging in future. I’m not sure how I have survived without these life changers! I’m already planning my next pair… hmmm which colour to go for!?

You can find the full range here!

Again, I’d love to extend my thanks to Sharon Thorp and her generosity in donating a pair of Xpandasox for me to wear and review.

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Treat Yourself This Valentines!

Hey Beautifuls!

This month is the month of Love! Instead of just loving your SO, show yourself some love!

Whether you want to splurge or save, there’s something for everyone!

My top pink picks for this month:

Splurge on this stunning rose gold Pandora Band Ring. Perfect as an Everyday Essential at £90.

OR

Save on this equally stunning rose gold Jon Richardson Cubic Zirconia design at £18!

Splurge on Dior Vernis Couture Colour Gel Shine at £19.50 to brighten up the dull days.

OR

Save on this similar colour by Essie Gel Couture number 210 at £9.99.

Splash or save at Lush. There’s nothing better than treating yourself to some beautiful smelling bath and body products! Splash… £45 on this beautiful Believe in Pink goodies box!

OR

Save on buying one or two of your favourites starting at £1.95!

I love treating myself, especially if I’ve had a tough time with my Lymphoedema. Have a great February!!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

How to make the most of this year…

Hey Beautifuls!

I’m going to start with a super cliché. It’s the start of a new chapter of a new 365 page book… let’s write the best one!! Yeah… vomit inducing… however, they have a point. It is a new year, it is a good time to make a plan for the next 12 months.

January is probably the worst month to look for positives as everyone is skint, still feeling fat from overindulgence at Christmas and it’s cold, bleak and miserable outside. So, make a plan for the next few months, create something to look forward to instead of having a focus on the grey moments.

How can we make this year our best yet!?

1. Make a plan. Write down your goals. Make yourself accountable.

2. Start keeping a gratitude jar or journal. Write down everything good that happens to you no matter how big or small to read on the down days. I’m loving the 52 Lists Project book for this reason!

3. Focus on some positive affirmations, these are known to increase self positive feelings. Take 3 minutes out of your day to talk positively to yourself… The Lymphie Life has created a list to get you started so hop on over there after you’ve finished here!

4. Take time each week to treat yourself kindly… it could be as small as applying a face mask, painting your nails, watching your favourite film or be as extravagant as booking yourself a spa weekend with the girls or a trip away.

5. If you’ve booked a trip away, ensure your medical appointments coincide to have new garments in time as there’s nothing worse than having new garments arrive just as you’ve come home!

6. Have a commitment each month to look forward to… even if it’s to meet friends for a coffee date. It’s something to look forward to.

7. Change something about yourself. But be specific. It doesn’t have to be something physical. It could be, I’m going to ring my brother weekly… then actually do it.

8. Decide what to get rid of from your life. Do you spend too much time on social media? Need a change from watching Eastenders? What can alter to allow you that extra motivation!?

9. Say yes more often. It could be a risk that turns into an amazing opportunity.

10. Recommit to an activity you miss. Perhaps you used to do yoga and miss it? Or miss embroidery and craft club. Perhaps rekindle a friendship. Go for it.

There’s only one person who can make your year better… that person is yourself. Start talking to yourself with kindness and see everything else start falling into place.

Happy planning.

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

New Year New Us…

Hey Beautifuls!

Happy New Year!!

How quick has this year gone!? My life has been so up in the air over the last few months I’ve neglected you. I’m truly sorry. However, new year, new me, new chapter. This is the start of a new 365 page book, let’s make it a great one!

I thought I’d share with you some New Years Resolutions for the blog…

This year I’m creating a focus on kindness. Not necessarily to strangers, but to ourselves. As medical sufferers we tend to focus on the negatives and we are unkind to ourselves. I’m hoping to change this outlook. Kindness starts with being kind to yourself. Cutting off what makes you unhappy and clouds your thoughts with negativity.

We are going to love ourselves. We are going to worry about ourselves first, for once. I saw a fabulous quotation pop up on my Facebook feed saying 2016 was the caterpillar, 2017 was the cocoon and 2018 is the butterfly. It really resonated with me that hardship is to make us stronger and more beautiful. 2018 is our butterfly year. Let’s spread our wings for new exciting adventures.

Finally, I’m going to try and make older posts easier to view and revisit some topics.

My personal resolution is to be more selfish and take time to do what I want to do.

What are your personal resolutions? I dare you to make one that encourages you to look after yourself. Cheers to a fabulous 2018!!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

%d bloggers like this: