A Letter To My 18 Year Old Self

Hey Beautifuls, 

If you are on my Instagram you’ll have seen that this month I celebrated my 30th birthday. I thought what better way to reflect on my condition than to write a letter to myself… a la Victoria Beckham.  So, here’s what I wish I could tell my 18 y o self: 

Hey Lauren or L as you’ll be known,

I’m going to try to keep this short, leave out the lessons you’ll learn. You need to make those mistakes on your own! BUT… If there’s 1 thing I could say to you, it’s this. You’re life isn’t going to turn out like you thought it would. You go through the normalities… graduate with a degree in English Literature, you then work in Housing Benefits and a PRU before graduating with a PGCE in Secondary English Education. You don’t have an easy ride though. Although you aren’t going to be married owning a house and kids at 30… You will meet the love for the rest of your life at 28. By 30, you’re planning your life abroad, together. You’ll never guess, but you’ll be a relatively successful blogger in the Lymphoedema community… practically a household name. The best part is that you’ll have made the most amazing friends who have the condition too. 

In terms of your Lymphoedema, it’ll fluctuate. It will be larger than you’ll ever expect. This will be because you got lost in the system and will be left without garments. BUT, you’ll eventually get a referral to a clinic in Newport where you’ll receive Multi Layer Bandaging. It’s here you’ll meet the professionals who change your life, attitude and leg. They are fab, they become like friends where you swap details of each other’s lives at each appointment. This will mark the start of your confidence. You start a trend of cutting 1 leg off your jeans for bandaging. It will be the start of you wearing dresses and heels for nights out instead of knee high boots. You’ll give up your palazzos and give up caring what people think of you. Your leg will eventually stabilise after a lot of hard work. And you stop noticing the stares as much. 

You go on holiday to Costa Adeje and take a photo of yourself in a bikini. This photo will go viral around the LE community of Facebook. You’ll be called inspirational and will trigger confidence in others. Your life completely changes over the last few years of your 20s- you finally take pole lessons and become rather good, you train in SHORTS at the gym, you drive an Audi TT convertible, have hand luggage always packed, a purse with 3 different currencies, a constant tan (real, not St Tropez) AND you go Brunette!! You change so much. So much so, you bump into your bullies and they don’t recognise you. 

By 30, you are so resilient and proud of yourself, you should be! 

You are a jetsetter… every school holiday sees you jet somewhere exotic- Dubai, Bahrain, Bali, Singapore, Paris… at one point you visit 7 new countries in a year. The places you travel are a little different to Ibiza and Magaluf with the girls. You eat at the most amazing restaurants- for Valentines Day your boyfriend books the Tasting Menu at Ossiano at the Atlantis in Dubai! Yep, you have so much to thank him for. He is amazing. You are so lucky! 

I’m sure you’re dying to know what you do for your 30th!? Put it this way, it’s so much better than your 18th! You wake up to huge, bright pink 30 balloons and banners through your kitchen. You have a Tasting Menu booked at Moksh, you have a Patisserie Valerie cake. Your gifts are insane- a Mulberry double Bayswater, tickets to see Lady Gaga in Zurich, a holiday to Mexico, an Olympus PEN camera… to list a few. 

Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your life turns out amazing. Better than you had EVER imagined! Just let all the rubbish that occurs never dull your sparkle or your hope. 


Lots of Love 

L xoxox 

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Moisturiser Review: Palmers Coconut Oil Body Lotion

Hey Beautifuls! 

As promised… better late than never… my review of Palmers Body Lotion. The reason I chose Palmers is because So many people use coconut oil to moisturise but I don’t like the idea of rubbing coconut oil over leg. This seemed the perfect compromise! 


Looks

The bottle was a miniature trial size so looked very cute. The colours were those typical to the brand- white and brown, also reminiscent of a coconut. Doesn’t look amazing on my dresser, but it’s a classic brand to have on show in the bathroom.

First thoughts

On first application I loved the smell! It went on smoothly and absorbed well. It did stay tacky for a little while before it dried, but it wasn’t too long so that it was uncomfortable throughout the night and sticking to all surfaces and bedsheets. The next morning my leg still felt soft and hydrated. I didn’t need to use a lot for a small area which was lovely. A dollop the size of a 10p coin managed my lower leg- ankle to knee-without worry.

Final thoughts

After using for a few days my legs felt super soft. Definitely one I’m going to alternate with my usual Body Butter from The Body Shop. 

4.5/5

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Legology Air Lite Moisturiser Review

Hey Beautifuls! 

I wasn’t expecting to review this product. HOWEVER, The Lovely Kate from Legology offered a free sample via my Instagram page. Who am I to turn a free sample down, especially as I had been eyeing up this product for holidays! Although received for free, I’ll still be offering honest opinions about the product. I truly can’t thank Kate enough for introducing me o this product! 


Looks

As I opened my brown box I was greeted with this lovely personalised message on a gorgeous bright yellow postcard. I must admit, my heart warmed instantly to the up market, expensive looking pot of lotion. The packaging reminds of Creme De La Mer and I enjoyed keeping it on my dresser. I liked the pot as it had 2 layers of protection, one being obviously the container’s lid, the other hidden like a film to stop any lotion moving into the exterior lid and causing a mess. Big thumbs up! 

First thoughts

When I opened what is now thought of as the pot of joy, I was greeted with a summery citrus aroma. The texture was very jelly like, even similar to blancmange… but this made it easy to apply. It smoothed across my skin and absorbed well. My skin felt instantly soft. After around 10-20 minutes my skin started feeling invigorated making my leg feel lighter and full of life. It dried relatively quickly meaning no sticky and tacky feeling for long. The next morning my leg still felt Silky smooth.

Final thoughts

After a week of using, my skin feels soft. My leg doesn’t look different, but it’s nice to have the feeling that the moisturiser is working on more than one level. It would be interesting to see and feel the difference after a month of use! I’ll definitely be taking this on holiday with me and be using it before I put on my garment before flying! Really impressed, I’m hooked! 

4/5

Lots of Love 

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Dove Body Oil Review

Hey Beautifuls! 

As mentioned previously, I’m going to be reviewing some of the moisturisers available out on the high street. This week I’ve tried out Dove Dermaspa Goodness Silky Body Oil. The reason I chose this was for the idea that dry brushing works well with oils… so why not try an Oil that purposely moisturises your skin! The products are bought by myself, I have not been asked to advertise any products. Views are my own and not influenced in any way. 


Looks

The packaging is typically Dove branded in the blue, white and transparent package. It’s a trusted brand by the 30s age demographic. I can’t say I was excited to use the product but I was intrigued!! I found the packaging very awkward to use. The bottle has a screw top. This means after you’ve applied the Oil you can’t screw the top on without spreading Oil on to it meaning messy bottle for future use. A flip top would be much easier and fuss free. The Oil itself is a beautiful yellow colour and shimmers. Yay sparkle! 

First thoughts

As I was applying I found the Oil easy to manoeuvre over my skin… perhaps too easy. I didn’t need a lot of the product for it to go a long way. However, I also found that it remains as a slimy layer on top of your skin rather than being absorbed efficiently. 

Final thoughts

Over the week my leg remained soft but it felt a hassle having to apply the Oil. I didn’t automatically want to use it due to the slimy texture. On the last night I used it as an aid when dry brushing (there’s an article coming for that!) which worked better than just using as a moisturiser. I won’t be hurrying to buy another bottle! 

2/5

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Moisturiser Reviews

Hey Beautifuls! 

On one of the Lymphoedema Support Groups on Facebook, a friend of mine, Kelly, asked people about which moisturiser lotions people used on their limbs. 

The top 5 were as follows: 

  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter
  • Aveeno
  • Diprobase 
  • Dermol

This then inspired me to see what is on the market! My favourite has always been The Body Shop’s Hemp Body Butter. But a change is good. 

I picked up 3 different moisturisers (paid for by me)- Palmers Coconut Oil Body Lotion, Dove DermaSpa Goodness Silky Body Oil, and Soap and Glory Hydrating Moisture Mist- that I thought I would road test for around 3-4 days allowing 2 days for in between testing.

Firstly looking at Soap and Glory then the other 2 over the next few weeks! 

SOAP AND GLORY MOISTURE MIST “SPRITZ ME QUICK”


Looks

I’ll be honest, I was drawn to it because of the packaging. The packaging is the typical Soap and Glory style… 1950s style housewife; pink and white and bold fonts. Importantly, it does look good on your dressing table, also it is easy to store. I like that I can store it standing up or lying down and it doesn’t affect ease of use as it’s liquid and not a cream. It reminded me of the spray sun creams and cooking oils! 

First thoughts

I was excited to try this one first as my friends Rave about Soap and Glory products. I also already possess their Hand Food and Body Butter. It was really easy to apply. The spray is so simple and works whichever way you hold the tube. Only downfall is that it disperses into the surrounding area too. It absorbs well into the skin without much effort. It smoothed over large areas easily, both sprayed into hand and over limb. It is very light in feeling, not heavy or thick like body butters. It instantly made my legs feel silky to touch and not too sticky whilst drying. Although, it does take slightly longer to dry than I would appreciate, especially if I used it in the morning before applying my stocking. 

Final opinion

The more I used the product, the more moisturised my skin became. I would say my skin was average after 4 days of use. I did enjoy using the product and I would use it again for a longer period. I think it works great as an overnight moisture kick. 

3/5
Keep your eyes peeled for the review of Dove Dermaspa Oil! 

I have in no way been asked to write this review in exchange for products or payment. The above views are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017 

The Pain Gain

Hey Beautifuls! 

All the jetsetting and working on my feet in this warm weather has caught up with me and I’ve been suffering with extra aches and pains recently due to this. It got me contemplating on the subject of pain and why we feel guilty. 

Pain is still a taboo subject. If you’re in labour, it’s fine to admit you’re in pain. Same goes for wisdom teeth coming through…. knocking your toe on a coffee table… stepping on lego… All of these are ok reasons to say you are in pain. If you are disabled, however, your disability should be suffered in silence… is this for you to feel better or for others to feel better about not having to deal with you and your awkward pain? Because, if you don’t mention it then it happily doesn’t exist! 

My leg has a constant hangover. It’s sluggish. It’s chubby and squeezed into all sorts of garments all day. Imagine wearing a swimming cap all day the next time you have a headache from drinking too many cocktails! Welcome to our life! I have a disability…so of course I suffer pain. 

So why do I dislike drawing attention to it!? 

  • I’m pretty much always at a 2.5 on a scale to 10. This means I’ve internally normalised my pain, therefore feeling I have no right to say I’m in pain because I’m now accustomed to it! 
  • The aches grow throughout the day. I don’t take painkillers, thus it’ll obviously grow worse! 
  • It’s self inflicted… if I’ve had a manic day running from one part of the school to another, then to the gym in the night… it’s surely my fault! 
  • I wear heels. People would assume my legs and feet ache from heels. I find walking in heels less painful as my ankle doesn’t fold over on itself. People would assume I feel the same ache and pain as girls who wear heels on a night out and need to remove them to walk into the kebab shop. Wrong. Entirely different aches. 
  • I choose to go to a gym. Surely that can’t help…. 

The pain I suffer grows worse depending on many variables. It could be from walking around in hotter weather. It could be from going on a night out. It hinders aspects of life you’d never think of! I’m planning my Mexico holiday itinerary around the likelihood of pain. For example chichen itza can’t be done the day of or day before coco bongos, just as coco bongo will be a no go the day before chichen itza (no, not just because I’ll be hungover!). The reason I do this is not ruin mine or my other half’s holiday. 

If you follow my Pinterest, you’ll spot I’m a believer of spoon theory. It takes so many spoons to do activities such as washing, going to work, doing the ironing. Heck I even cook like a flamingo (stood on one leg) to not create more pain for myself and to use one less spoon!! 

But still, no matter what I face I’ll plaster on a fake smile (unless around immediate family) and get on with it. I no longer see the point in complaining and holding a pity party everyday! 

How do you deal with the aches and pains of being a Lymphie? I’d love to know. Please put your answers in the comments section!! 

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Lymphie Life Balance

Hey Beautifuls! 

My last post was relating to healthy eating and swapping out those pesky processed foods! I decided to keep on a similar track… prepping for day to day life! 

People ask me, how do I do it? I PREP!! 

How do I prep? I PLAN!! 

How do I plan? MY BULLET JOURNAL AND LISTS!! 

I used to get caught up in ‘what do I fancy?’ Now I plan ahead of time. Today I’ve prepped 3 days worth of dinners and 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches. Tomorrow or Tuesday, I’ll prep another 2 days worth. It eventually becomes a habit. I break up my days, my clothes, my food in to manageable sized chunks. 

I’ll break my week in to 3 sets of 2 days and then Sunday. 

On a Sunday I focus on Monday and Tuesday. I’ll have notes for Wednesday-Saturday but they aren’t my focus. I’ll plan what I’ll be wearing, what I’ll be eating and what I’ll be doing on those 2 days. I’ll prep as much as I can over the Sunday and finish off on the specific day. For example; I’ve prepped 3 days of dinners- 2 enchiladas and sweet potato chilli. The filling of the enchiladas is the same as the chilli. I’ll add the cheese on top of my enchiladas before putting in the oven. I’ll boil the rice on the day I’ll eat the chilli. This frees up my time. I’ll then repeat this process on Tuesday. 

I’ll decide my outfits the night before and pack my gym kit the night before too. The only thing I need to add on the day are jackets, hoodies or cardigans weather depending. 

  • How do I manage my leg? Below is an insight to my usual routine.

My typical day: 

5:45- shower

6:00- check social media, emails while leg dries sufficiently to wear garment

6:15- make up and hair

6:45- eat breakfast (usually partially prepped day before)

7:10- change for work

7:30- out the door to work. 

8:10-15:10- working/ bullet journal on lunch break. 

15:45/16:00- gym.

18:00- shower, change into older garment 

18:30- eat pre planned meal. 

19:00- prep meals.

20:30- relax, massage, dry brush, remove any make up etc. 

21:00- hour or so of TV 

22:30-remove garment and sleep. 

REPEAT

I change my routine on a weekend to suit my needs.However, I find that keeping a routine is helpful in maintaining consistency with my limb. The more habitual it becomes the less pain the bum it becomes! It’s all about the planning!! 

Hope this aids your planning of your Lymphie balance! 

Happy organisation! 

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Health Kick Summer Vibes

Hey Beautifuls!

As many of my Instagram followers are aware, I’m on a HUUUUUUGE health kick. This comes after the over indulging in Manchester… so many great places to eat and drink (we attacked Australasia for the sushi, The Alchemist for crazy cocktails, and Albert Schloss to get our schnapps on!) meaning I needed to get back on the straight and narrow!

The reason isn’t weight loss… the reason, is that my Lymphoedema benefits from healthy eating and not over indulging! To get back on the health kick I’ve been using Kayla Itsines’ book ’28 day bikini body guide’. I’m not following strictly (cue the Baileys mocha monster I created), but using it to inspire my daily eating and ensuring I don’t get bored. The progress after only 4 days is staggering!! I’ve got more energy, leg is feeling lighter and squishier, and abs are showing through.

If you are waiting for a sign, this is it!! 

Not sure HOW to go about altering your food or drinks?

Try changing 3 parts of your diet… soda only once a week, dessert only once a week, increase greens intake 3 times a week. See how your body reacts!! You’ll be surprised! Most importantly, make it sustainable- a lifestyle change… not a diet!! That is important. Don’t deny yourself the cravings (again Baileys mocha monster) but try and work out WHY You are craving something… boredom? Distraction? Thirsty? 

I’m a huge advocate of flexible dieting. Meaning there’s no cheating! No right or wrong foods as long as it fits my macro output. Obviously, I’m not going to eat 3 mars bars in a sitting because it fits!! That’s just silly. However, I’m not going to deny myself half a mars on my proyo because it’s “bad food”. This happens to work well for me as I mostly eat healthy, natural foods, drink my fair share of water and exercise regularly. 

I’m going to share some of my meals over the last week for some inspiration! 

Above are some examples of the meal ideas that are in Kayla’s book!

Chicken Gyros includes seasoned chicken breast, spinach, cucumber, pitta bread and tzatziki.

Seasoned a Tuna, peas, green beans and brown rice.

Whole meal toast, plain yoghurt whipped with peanut butter, topped with strawberries and drizzle of honey.

Pasta Salad includes rocket, spinach, cucumber, asparagus, onion, pasta, dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard dressing.

 

Above shows my flexible side! 

The Baileys Mocha Monster included a can of Baileys Mocha, squirty whipped cream, a Lindt bunny head, white chocolate truffle, white chocolate shards!

Flex Proyo Bowl includes plain yoghurt whipped with cookie flavour protein powder, granola, blueberries, strawberries, half a mars bar and a drizzle of honey! 

Hopefully this has inspired you to go take a look at your eating habits and see what works for your lifestyle and your Lymphoedema. Cant wait to hear some of your favourite recipes! 

Lots of Love 

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

How to Survive a Concert with LE

Hi Beautifuls! 

If you follow my Instagram page, you’ll be aware that last Sunday I went to watch Craig David perform in concert at Wembley Arena. Omg! What a show!! 

However, some of you may be nervous about booking a concert or festival due to the amount of time standing. I’ve booked both seated and standing tickets for concerts in the past. Seated are easier on your limbs, however, you can’t always bag those tickets in time. 

I thought I’d share some top tips for the standing crew…. 

(I didn’t follow all my advice on the night which meant I took longer to recover… naughty Lymphie!! Please learn from my mistakes!)

1. Wear sensible footwear! This sounds pretty obvious. I love my converse and they make great shoes for standing for long periods of time. I’d advise against heels. Wear the cute trainers!! Not only will your feet ache less, your leg will withstand standing for longer.

2. Wear cool clothing. Yes, both ‘cool’ as in trendy but most importantly clothing that will stop you overheating. There’s nothing worse than feeling too warm in a crowded place with a Lymphie limb! I chose a dress from Topshop to keep my legs cool. 

3. Drink plenty of fluids. I stupidly drank plenty of fluids, just not the right ones! Champagne and cocktails do not count as correct fluids. Water is more beneficial. However, you only live once. If you want your prosecco and cocktails go for it. Just make sure you counteract it at some point. 

4. Rest up beforehand and afterwards. I found it really useful to do as little as possible on the day of the concert. The next day I also tried doing less than normal. I found this beneficial especially after consuming a fair bit of alcohol. We booked a hotel next to the arena to allow us more rest time and less worry about having a long journey after the show.

5. Don’t spend your night worrying. Just go and have fun. Just remember, you know your limb. If you have standing tickets, be sure to sit on the floor waiting until the first act instead of standing. Be aware of your limb, you know your limits better than anyone. 


Go enjoy the upcoming festival season! 

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Monthly Challenges- the beauty one

Hi Beautifuls!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been taking part in my first beauty challenge! I kept it simple! I chose fellow Lymphie, Kala’s Lipstick Challenge. Her rules were simple, her prompts were interesting and I might have been a bit biased as she is also part of the Lymphie family!! Her rules were you had to tag her, use a particular hashtag for the challenge to be followed and post your attempts!! Luckily we could interpret the prompts as we wished… especially as I was in work during this challenge!!

The Challenge


Good news… I survived a different theme every day. I’m so proud of myself. I didn’t get told off in work for any of the colours! Yay! I even had compliments on my lip colours that I would usually shy away from!

But… it was so hard! I’ve therefore decided to do the hard work for you!!

My collection for the challenge

My Top Tips for the Lipstick challenge. These could also be utilised for other monthly challenges too!

  • Read ALL prompts beforehand and make notes.
  • Root through handbags, purses, make up bags to collect all items in to one place!
  • Work out which prompts fall on workdays/weekdays and weekends/days off.
  • Pick out colours etc ahead of prompt for less fussing on the day!
  • If you need a colour you don’t have, try finding it in a bargain section or utilise an eyeshadow with lip balm.
  • Photograph challenge first thing in the morning in natural light.
  • Blot colours or tone down with lip balms if needed.
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway.

I found that, if I didn’t like the look, I’d wear it for 10 minutes minimum and not look in a mirror then check back. If I still wasn’t happy, I could wipe it off. Also, if a Look wasn’t suitable for work, I’d prep and photograph the look in advance. I also realised I’m the Queen of Pink lipsticks! Haha. 

Good luck for your monthly challenges! OR… Why not try this challenge in your own time!?

Hmmm. Which challenge next!?

Lots of Love 

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

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