Honest reviews, regular hauls and all things beauty.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

I want to talk about Lyme Disease: Cause and Symptoms


A classic bulls eye rash, which signifies Lyme Disease. Mine was on my bum so I don't have a photo to show you!


Have you entered my Pat McGrath and Natasha Denona palettes giveaway here?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional however these posts are based on my personal experience/knowledge as I have had to become my own medical advocate as it is so, so difficult to get help for this illness. 

As some of you know, I started this blog as a distraction from my illness but I've reached a point where I want to talk about it. I've started to received message and emails (not in a typical 'sooooo many of you have been asking') enquiring as to how I cope with it, what I've tried etc. I also want to raise some awareness as it is a very debilitating, yet invisible, illness. Prepare yourself for around five days of posts on Lyme Disease and invisible illness, in general, and then we'll get back to beauty but if you normally come here for beauty reviews, I would still really appreciate it if you read, possibly learn and even share these posts, as they are very important to me. Also, there are plenty of people out there suffering a range of symptoms but not knowing the actual cause and it may just be Lyme Disease.

Many people with Lyme Disease don't actually remember being bitten and don't actually develop the classic bulls eye rash - I did, but I didn't realise its significance! In hindsight, on that holiday there were so many alarm bells (even apart from the rash) - I was so fatigued that I just wanted to sleep all of the time and kept saying '5 more minutes' in the mornings and would fall back into a deep sleep, whereas I am normally a morning person who likes to get up and make the most of the day. At one point, we thought my drink had been spiked because I was so drowsy and had practically no control over what I was saying and doing - everything was hazy and this was just my second drink. I can remember excusing my exhaustion - there was always reasons to explain tiredness (too many late nights, working overtime, not eating healthily enough, not getting enough exercise) but none that would adequately explain why I suddenly felt like I had been hit by a bus. Fatigue are tiredness are two entirely different things. In any case, I just 'got on with it' - this was always my attitude to any adversity - just get on with it. It was only six months later when I finally, completely collapsed that I realised that I could no longer just 'get on with it'.

So, what are the symptoms of Lyme? Well, actually I was diagnosed with M.E. for 5 years before receiving a correct diagnosis of Lyme. For me, I always felt that the diagnosis of M.E. was just an umbrella term for a number of issues and I was determined to get to the root cause of what had caused it. I couldn't accept that I went from a person living a full life (working, socialising, giving private tuition, seeing family etc etc) to one who couldn't leave the house on her own and basically lived between the bed and the couch. Symptoms will vary from person to person but for me, my main ones were (and mainly, still are):

Fatigue - I am talking exhaustion to the point where you feel like you could vomit. Planning your week around the day you wash your hair (and that's on a good week) to having to be bathed and spoon fed at times. Having to ask your husband to turn you over in the bed because you physically can't do it (and then having to ask him to fix your wedgie as a result of being turned because you can't do that either - at least it will raise a laugh and a sense of humour is so, so important when you're very ill).

Very low immune function - if you sneeze near me, chances are I will get pneumonia and I'm not even joking! When I first became ill, I was with my GP on a weekly basis with sinusitis, tonsillitis, gastric bugs, an enlarged spleen, chest infections...... the list goes on. I just couldn't catch a break and, to be honest, to a large extent, still can't. 

Fainting - I fainted pretty much daily and sometimes, several times daily.

Huge sleep problems - I could sleep for 12/14 hours straight and still wake feeling like I hadn't slept at all. It would vary from this too insomnia or broken sleep but the one thing for sure is that I never felt refreshed after sleep, no matter how long it lasted.

Pain - muscle, joint and bone pain. 

Confusion - I couldn't concentrate on anything and words would appear jumbled when trying to read. 

Enlarged lymph nodes - I feel like I haven't seen my neck since 2000! But the lymph nodes in my arm pits and groin go through phases of pain and enlargement too.

Allergies - suddenly I became allergic or sensitive to so many ingredients/products and even light, at times.

Digestive issues - this could get very TMI so I won't go there at the moment but, thankfully, this is one issue that has vastly improved.

These are just some of the symptoms but they are the main ones that I experience and still do. Fatigue has ALWAYS been top of that list and it affects everything.

When you first become ill, it can be quite scary, confusing and lonely - especially when nobody has any real answers or solutions. You're trying to figure out if you let your body down or if your body let you down - maybe it's both, maybe it's neither. Added to this, the fact that some people don't 'get' it or understand it, because they don't see a broken leg/arm, it can be very isolating. My advice is to eliminate those people - you have enough to deal with as it is without having to justify how you're feeling.

The cause of all of these symptoms? An insect bite! It used to be thought that only ticks could cause Lyme but there are other hosts too. In basic terms, a tick will attach itself to your skin, suck in your blood, infect it with Lyme and the regurgitate it back into your system. At this stage, it is free to run riot within your system and the spirochetes multiply every 4 weeks. In my case, it was 5 years before I was diagnosed with Lyme so you can imagine the damage that was done. I had seen so many 'ologists' here but it was only when I went to Germany that Lyme was ever mentioned to me and all of the dots were connected. I was given a diagnosis of Chronic Lyme and finally rejoiced as I knew I had found the root cause of my issues - little did I know my battle was only beginning....

Lyme Disease is more commonly heard of nowadays, thanks to celebs who have been affected talking about it but also, there are a lot more campaigns to raise awareness. When I was diagnosed, I was part of an online M.E. forum and was the first to share my story and others then went on to be tested and find that they too were suffering from it. All had previously been diagnosed with M.E., which is a diagnosis of exclusion (as in, we can't find anything specific wrong with you so we'll label you with M.E.). The problem with Lyme Disease testing in the U.K and Ireland is that it is very easy to get a false negative as the tests are outdated and not very sensitive so if you have all of the symptoms above (and possibly more), if you have a good GP or Consultant, they may diagnose you on a clinical basis, if not, you will need to send your blood abroad to be tested, but it isn't cheap. The sooner you are diagnosed, the better the chance of recovery.

If you have made it this far, than you for reading. This really isn't a 'woe is me' post, it's simply my story that I want to share, Tomorrow I will start to talk about treatment...


Edited to add: Ticks don't just transmit Lyme, I also have Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlicia, Anaplasma, Rickettsia, Chlamydia Pneumoniae, Mycoplasma, Cocksackievirus, HHV6 & 8 and CMV. Those as well as iron-deficiency anaemia, pernicious anaemia (due to lack of intrinsic factor in the lining os my stomach, I am unable to absorb B12 via my food) and have suffered mini-strokes and ovarian cysts - all due to those bites so PLEASE, PLEASE be very careful and aware if you or anyone you know is bitten as one little bite can change your life entirely.

Thanks for reading! 

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All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been gifted without any obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.
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Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Giveaway! Win a Pat McGrath or Natasha Denona eyeshadow palette


Giveaway! Win a Pat McGrath or Natasha Denona eyeshadow palette
I bought both palettes myself with a view to running this giveaway for regular readers.


Before Christmas, I did a giveaway, which was just for my regular readers and commenters, both here and on Instagram (here) and I loved how well received it was. I love blogging and I started it because I love to chat about beauty, but without any readers, it would be a one way conversation and that would be no fun! To thank those who regularly engage, I wanted to give something back and what could be a more appropriate prize than an eyeshadow palette as you all know that I adore them! The two absolute queens of eyeshadows are Pat McGrath and Natasha Denona and regular readers will know how much I love them! There are two prizes for two winners - each will win a palette. The first winner chosen can decide which he/she would prefer and the second winner will win the other palette. The palettes up for grabs are Pat McGrath Mthrship Subliminal Platinum Bronze Palette and Natasha Denona Mini Glam Palette. Two palettes that I would actually love to own myself!
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Friday, 14 February 2020

Benefit Georgia Blush - a Look Fantastic Exclusive with a 20% discount!


Benefit Georgia Blush - a Look Fantastic Exclusive with a 20% discount!
This was kindly gifted to me.


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here


Can you remember your first Benefit box of blush/bronzer/highlighter? Mine was Hoola and it's one that I still repurchase to this day. Since then, I've gone on to buy a number of blushes, with GALifornia being my favourite. The latest release from Benefit is Georgia Blush*, which is exclusive to Look Fantastic at the moment. What's even better, you can save 20% by using the code LYMIN at the checkout. I love that Benefit now also now sell minis of products (and the code works on those too!).
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Thursday, 13 February 2020

The hype is real #10 Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour All Over Miracle Oil


The hype is real Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour All Over Miracle Oil, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour All Over Miracle Oil Review


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here

It's a while since I did a 'The Hype Is Real' post but since I started using Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour All Over Miracle Oil*, I knew that I had to post about it. I received this in the Beauty Expert Collection: Icons Edition (worth £170 but use the code LYMIN_20 to reduce to £63.20) (post here). Being completely honest, I was never crazy about the original Eight Hour Cream, - I didn't like the texture or scent and found it to be a bit sticky so I bought one tube but didn't repurchase, despite the fact that it was effective in terms of a lip balm and healing cuticles etc. Therefore, I did question if I would like this oil version but I have fallen in love!
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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Disappointing products from brands I love


Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation Review, Disappointing products from brands I love, Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, St Tropez Purity Water Gel,


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here


Brands can't get it right all of the time - none of us can! There is bound to be a dud every so often and it's also worth remembering that just because a product doesn't work for one person, doesn't make it a bad product. Today I want to share some products that I have been disappointed by from brands that I really love (they will have been featured many times on the blog). I would love to hear what products have disappointed you from brands you love in the comments below? If a product is marked with a * it was kindly sent to me without any obligation to post about it.
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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

The best footcare products....


Footner Exfoliating Socks, Margaret Dabbs Foot File, Margaret Dabbs Foot Hygiene Cream, Margaret Dabbs Intensive Hydrating Foot Lotion, The best footcare products,


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here


I know that in winter, most people aren't thinking about taking care of their feet but I like to take care of them all year round - not just in terms of keeping them soft but if you are on your feet a lot, getting rid of hard skin really helps in terms of comfort. I suffer from foot pain, due to Bartonella so I make it my priority to do what I can to help to relieve the pain and discomfort in any way I can. Today, I want to share the best products that I have found in terms of foot care and also suggest some more budget-friendly alternatives. This post isn't sponsored and I bought everything myself. 
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Monday, 10 February 2020

Valentine's Day Fragrance Gift Guide For Him & Her




Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here


Whether you think it's a Hallmark Day or a day to celebrate with the love of your life, Valentine's Day is arriving this Friday! For my husband and I, we don't make a huge fuss although we always exchange cards and flowers or fragrance. My parents are married 50 years and still exchange cards and small gifts so I suppose that's part of why I still like to acknowledge the day. Grand gestures aren't necessary, however a small gift is nice and my husband & I are big fragrance addicts and we tend to mark special occasions with the exchange of perfumes and aftershave. Today, I've compiled a gift guide of some really gorgeous fragrances for both him & her, which I hope will serve as some inspiration if you are planning on buying a gift for your other half!

Anything that was kindly sent to me is marked with * however this post is not sponsored.
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Friday, 7 February 2020

How to save on luxury beauty products....


How to save on luxury beauty products....


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here

I think we've established at this stage that I'm a big fan of luxury beauty, not just because they're high end brands (because that would be ridiculous!) but because I find that I get excellent results from a lot of products that happen to be high end.  That said, I always look for a discount code before I make a purchase or I'll wait for a good Gift With Purchase before I splash the cash. I'm not tight with money but I don't like waste and I like to get good value for money. Today, I want to share my tips and tricks with you! This post is not sponsored!
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Thursday, 6 February 2020

Becca Light Shifting Brightening Concealer - worth the hype?


Becca Light Shifting Brightening Concealer - worth the hype?


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here

Becca is a brand that is synonymous with glowing skin - their highlighters are unrivalled in terms of texture and pigmentation. I've tried (and loved) their primers and a foundation so it made sense that I would want to try their latest release, Becca Light Shifting Brightening Concealer. But, is it worth the hype?
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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The winter skincare kit for dry skin


The winter skincare kit for dry skin


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here

I noticed that on February 1st, some people were saying that Spring has arrived but whilst we are seeing some buds appear on plants, we are still well and truly in Winter, which the frosty lawns and roads confirm! Today I want to share some of the products that are in heavy rotation on my dry skin at the moment and (touch wood) my skin isn't suffering too badly, in terms of flakiness and inflammation. Anything that was kindly sent to me (without any obligation to post) has been marked with a *
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Tuesday, 4 February 2020

The best budget makeup products...


The best budget makeup products


Want to win a bundle of skincare and makeup products? Enter here


There's no doubt that the majority of my makeup collection consists of luxury brands but there are definitely some areas where budget brands perform just as well. Today I want to share products that I either have already repurchased or would in a heartbeat! I would love to hear what your favourite budget beauty brands and products are? If anything was sent to me, it will be marked with a *.
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Monday, 3 February 2020

Beauty bundle giveaway!


Giveaway, Beauty Bundle Giveaway, Win a bundle of beauty products,


As a blogger, I am lucky enough to receive some really gorgeous products. Some I already own and others I know I won't get around to using given that I only have one face so every so often I like to do a giveaway as a thank you for reading my blog. Today,  I have a mixture of skincare and makeup products - 17 in total to offer as a prize for one of you to win!
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