Thursday, 26 November 2015

Spoonie Christmas Gift Guide

Hi everyone!

I did a similar post to this last year and actually a lot of people found it really useful. When opening some of my gifts I could clearly see they had paid attention. Some even said thanks for the ideas. So bring on a post where I shall be dropping some very big hints haha (ahem Pasha Kovalev please!). I did contemplate whether or not to create a gift guide again for this year but seen as I seem to have mistakingly deleted last years post that pushed me into deciding that I would create another for this year. Plus many of the items on last years might not have been available anymore. Having said that I want to point out that these are all just gift ideas, and the photos and links are mainly for reference. Click the title next to each number to be directed to the item. So for example if you see an eye mask or pair of pyjamas that you feel are more suited to the person you are buying for then of course opt for those ones. But hopefully this gift guide will help you to purchase a lovely gift that will mean a lot to the spoonie in your life and give you an idea what to look for. 

* A Spoonie is a nickname of sorts for someone that suffers from a chronic illness. In reference to Christine Miserandino's Spoon theory.

* All photos are taken from the websites referenced


Spoonie Essentials

1. Kindle Perfect if they enjoy reading but struggle to manage books. Kindles are lightweight and the touch screen ones make them even easier to use.

2. Kindle Fire  All the joy of a kindle but with more apps and internet access. As well as letting you watch films. Great all in one. If you want one lightweight device for multiple purposes.

3.  Mug All female spoonies are wonder women. But any mug with a great saying or cute design that matches their personality or interests is a great gift and helps bring a little smile to their day.

4. lunch boxes Great for keeping snacks in their room so they'e easily accessible and fresh. 

5.  Electric Heat pad Perfect for keeping warm and helping ease pain. Without the hassle of having to refill a hot water bottle. Plus you can lie on this to help soothe back pain. As well as adjust the heat setting. You can read my post on my Dreamland heat pad here.

6.  Starbucks Cocoa Duo As we can't always get out, being able to have our favourite hot drinks at home is a simple pleasure.

7. Book of Mindfulness Mindfulness can be a great technique in helping promote calm and acceptance. It can really help you cope with stress.

8. Eye Mask Great for light sensitivity and helping to get promote sleep. A mask with a funny message on it, is a fun touch too. Opt for one with a better strap, the ones with elastic that look like a hair bobble can be uncomfortable and cause pain.

9. Snack box Snacks are always handy, especially if we are unable to use the kitchen. This one is a vegan one but there are many to choose from, from retro sweets to gluten free. And these boxes are great for introducing us to new snack ideas. 

10. Hot water bottle As great as heat pads are sometimes you still need a hot water bottle too. Especially if you're on the move. 

11. This Works dream team set or bigger version here A lavendar spray and roll on are great for helping to promote calm and sleep. As well as help headaches. The mini ones are perfect for travelling too.

12. Colouring Book Colouring books are the latest trend in mindfulnes and calming techniques. There are a a whole range at The Works from animals to Game of Thrones and some come as a set with pens, find them here


1. Notebooks Whether we need to write down our symptoms or remind ourselves to do something notebooks are very useful. Especially if they're a blogger too.

2. Diary To help organize and remember all the appointments etc. Brain fog can't be trusted.

3. Line a day diary This kind of diary can really help you see how far you have come over the years.

4. Twinings tea set If they are a tea fan getting them a selection of their favourites is a lovely treat.

5. Big bag Whenever we leave the house we usually need to take a lot with us so a big bag is a must. 

6. Spoons Because spoons are always needed. Especially if there's dessert.

7. Wheat wrap Again in addition to a heat pad, these microwaveable wraps are great for neck pain or for lying on. And their lavendar smell can help relaxation too.

8. Lap tray Great for using your laptop in bed or even eating your meals in bed without burning your legs. Or making a mess!



Pampering gifts

Everyone deserves a good pamper, especially when you feel rubbish. Again think about their capabilities, if they can have a bath or a shower. Also think about their skin type. A lot of spoonie's will get dry skin stuck indoors a lot or have sensitive skin so select products with this in mind. 




4.  Zoella Beauty Cosy Toesy set Plus you get a cosy pair of socks. A spoonie must.







Crafty gifts

If the spoonie in your life enjoys getting their craft on or would like to take up a new hobby, then here's some kits to help them create some masterpieces.









Alternatively if you enjoy crafts then making them a personalised gift, made especially for them is really meaningful.


Nightwear

For people that spend a lot of time in bed or resting you can't go far wrong with nightwear.









Vouchers

Sometimes vouchers really are the best way to go. Especially if you are unsure what they would like or need. Obviously the type of voucher can depend on whether they are housebound etc. Not much use in a spa voucher if they can't leave the house at all. Here's some suggestions:

Itunes
Netflix
Snack boxes
Restaurant vouchers
Beauty boxes

Especially for Spoonies

I also wanted to point you in the direction of two fantastic small businesses that are ran by two chronically ill friends of mine, that specialise in great gifts for spoonies or in fact any one in need of some tlc and a pick me up. But you also have the added perk of supporting small businesses and gifts that are more personal and meaningful.

Each kit contains items to make the recipient smile and cope a little easier with the onslaught of chronic illness. Proceeds also go towards ME charities. 

There are several different 'hugs' to receive from colouring to a movie night theme. So you can tailor your hug to the recipient.

Or you can make up your own personalised hampers full of their favourite things or on a specific theme. Below I've shown some ideas from Pinterest:

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pintetest

Wantfeed

Alternatively you can always set up a wantfeed account, which is an online wish list where you can list all the things you want from hundreds of different stores. That way people know what you would really want. You can even make money if someone buys that item by clicking buy and using the unique link. You can make separate lists for different ocassions like birthdays or Christmas. Set up a wanfeed here. You can see my wantfeed on the following link http://wantfeed.com/Queenie/wants

Finally I just want to make a quick note about wrapping your gifts. Take into consideration that some spoonies will struggle to open gifts. Whether they have painful hands or wrists or simply don't have the strength or energy. So consider using a gift box or bag. Or if you do wrap go easy on the cellotape, or use cheaper paper that's thinner and easier to rip. 

I hope this post has been useful and that it's given you some gift ideas. Spoonies be sure to share this post if you want to give friends and family some hints. 

Sian 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Spoonie Travel Interview with Lisa

Illness/ disability: ME

Destination: Cala Galdana, Menorca

Who did you travel with?
 My husband, Stuart
What airline did you use?
 Easyjet. We book a package deal with them on easyjetholidays

First of all, how was your holiday?
It was brill! I was so happy to have been able to travel and enjoy some decent sunshine and be by the sea.

What was your biggest worry before travelling and how did you overcome it/ justify it?
The biggest thing for me was worrying that the travelling would exhaust me and that I would then spend the whole 10 days in bed trying to recover and wishing I hadn’t tried to attempt the trip. For years going abroad hasn’t been an option as getting out the house for any reason was such a struggle. However, in the last six months I have been more resilient and as I love travelling and have missed it so much, it seemed time to take the chance. Reading other spoonies accounts of coping with travelling gave me a lot of confidence to go for it. 

Did you have to make any special arrangements for transfer from the airport to the hotel because you were in a wheelchair? 
 We made sure that we told Easyjet before we travelled that I had a wheelchair and they were excellent giving me assistance from the moment we got to Gatwick right to the hotel in Menorca. I was really surprised at how considerate everyone was and willing to help.

Did you notice any changes in your health whilst away? Good or bad? Any new symptoms? I didn’t have any new symptoms and was amazed at how well I coped. We quickly got into a routine that I could manage of late breakfast, rest after breakfast and then afternoon by the pool or on the beach. I only had one day when I couldn’t manage that. I used the wheelchair to get around the hotel for the first 6 days but after that was feeling stronger and was able to get around without it which was fab. The holiday was so restful I think it helped me get some strength that I didn’t have before. 

How was Cala Galdana as a resort/ destination in relation to your illness/ disability? (Access, flat, close to restaurants etc, quiet)
We stayed at the Melia hotel. I had spent a lot of time researching somewhere that sounded as if it would be suitable and manageable for me. The hotel wasn’t too big although it still had a choice of restaurants. The smaller restaurant was lovely and quiet. The hotel was right on the beach and had lifts so it was all very accessible for me. There were some steps from the bottom floor down to the beach but I could manage those. There weren’t steps in the hotel itself so it was very easy to use the wheelchair. 

How did you find attitudes/perceptions towards you by other travellers and from the locals?
Everyone was so friendly and considerate. It does worry me as it what people think when sometimes I use the wheelchair and then other days don’t. However, I quickly realised people probably don’t notice and I can’t tell what they are thinking anyway so I stopped worrying about it. I always feel like I am like a toddler with a pushchair – I can walk but I just get exhausted so it’s an energy saving device.

From your experience what piece(s) of advise would you pass on the other spoonie/ disabled travellers?
 I think be realistic about what you can manage and plan the trip to give yourself the best chance of coping. We wanted to make sure we flew from Gatwick as we felt it would be more manageable than tackling Heathrow, plus to have afternoon flights. I don’t cope with mornings so we made sure I would be at my best when heading off. I think this really helped me. Turning hassles like packing into a little fun project of planning outfits and just laying out a few things each day so it was manageable. Plus I made sure not to do any social activities at all for the two weeks leading up to the trip. I think lastly, just trust and have faith that you will be ok. It is daunting going somewhere different but tap into those feelings of being courageous and adventurous to keep those nagging concerns at bay.

Do you think that despite all the extra 'hassles' of travelling as a chronically ill person it is still worth it?
Absolutely if you are strong enough. I know it isn’t appropriate for everyone. However, I found being somewhere completely different really freshened me up mentally and it feels like a real achievement to have experienced somewhere different even if I wasn’t able to go hiking around the island and diving off boats.

What items would you not travel without?
 My ipod. I love just sitting back, watching the sea and listening to music. I also have lots of audio books loaded on it as I find reading tiring.

What other disability/ illness essentials do you pack?
 Noise cancelling earphones. These were great on the flight and waiting at the airport. I could block out the rest of the world and just sit back with a nice relaxing playlist.

What are your favourite holiday beauty products?
I like having a skin moisturiser. At the moment my one of choice is The Body Shop Vitamin E one which doesn’t smell too strong and is easy to rub in.

If you were to go on holiday again what would you do differently?
I don’t think anything. I am just glad that the research paid off and the destination was somewhere that felt like a pleasure and not a drain.

How are you after the holiday?
I have been good. I am very happy to say that even with the travelling home, I came back feeling stronger than I went.

Did your experience make you want to travel again? If yes where would you like to go?
Definitely, I would love to do more package beach holidays that are just all about soaking up the sun and sand. I would love to go to Mauritius or somewhere exotic – as soon as I feel I can manage the longer flight.

A big thank you to Lisa for taking part in this spoonie travel interview. I hope her positive experience and advise has been useful to anyone thinking of travelling in the future. Or she has given you some inspiration of where to travel to. From the photo (below) and Lisa's account Cala Galdana looks and sounds idyllic. For more inspiration and tips you can read all my trave tips from researching to reaching your destination on my travel tips page, click on the link or you can find it on the right of my home page. You will also find many more spoonie travel interviews there. In this stormy weather it's very easy to wish we were lying on a gorgeous beach, soaking up the vitamin D.