My Experience with the Contraceptive injection

I've seen several posts where people describe their experience with various forms of contraception. The only one I've seen about the contraceptive injection was very negative, so I felt like I should share my (in the end) positive experience.

I will start by referring you to the NHS information about the contraceptive injection. I will also say that this method does not protect you from STIs, so you should use it alongside condoms or once you're in a long-term relationship and have been checked and are clean. It may also be a bad choice for you if you use it for other reasons, not just contraception. You should have a conversation with your doctor about the method that is going to be best for you.

I have struggled with impossible periods from the start. They were very sporadic – 2 in 2 weeks and then a gap of 5 months kind of irregular. They were also incredibly painful to the point where when it came to GCSEs, having already tried taking 2 prescription painkillers alongside paracetamol (17 pills a day) to try and cope with the pain, my doctor suggested the pill. The pill was great and it got me through GCSEs, A levels and my BSc.

I started struggling with the pill though (mood swings/making my depression worse) and I came off it for a while but after a condom broke and I had to take the morning after pill – I knew I needed a better form of contraception. I had also been struggling with anaemia because during my periods I was losing so much blood.

I tried to have the hormonal coil fitted but my cervix is apparently a bit twisty so I'd have to have that under general anaesthetic – which seems a bit much for contraception! So, I decided to try the contraceptive injection, which you have every 12 weeks.

I'm going to be completely honest, my experience for the first few injections was horrendous.

So with my first injection about 7 weeks into having it, I started bleeding and I had awful cramps. AWFUL. So I had a 5 week period. I should also say that even when I was taking the pill – if I tried/had to run two packs together I would just start bleeding as soon as I finished the first pack, right to the end of the second. So, if that's you and you hate that – this may not be for you.

After my second injection I ended up having a 4 week period at the end but it wasn't leaving me curled up on the floor at work crying – bonus! After the third injection I bled for the last three weeks but again not too much pain. I did also find that towards the 12 week point I would be turning into full on pre-period hormonal crying mess Fleur but once in 12 weeks? I can deal with that.

Now a year and a half in, I've had my first 12 weeks without bleeding! I'm not going to lie, it's been annoying. Especially when I arrive at work and go 'oh shit' because there's blood everywhere and I have nothing on me because I haven't bled in a couple of months.

I've found my mental health to be a lot more stable and easier to cope with. Not having periods has been great for both my anaemia and having no pain (even when I have been bleeding, certainly for this year, it's been a tiny amount). I haven't had to buy more than a few packs of the thin liners this year, so it's saving me money.  It means I don't even have to think when doing sport. I don't have to think about contraception – all I have to do is put a reminder in my phone to book a nurse appointment two weeks before I need my injection.

The only issue now is that it is an injection and I HATE injections. The first time I had it I almost fainted and had to lie down. Since then I ask to have it lying down and I make sure I wear loose, comfortable clothes so they can easily access the top of my bum. Apart from one awful experience where the nurse moved the needle and it HURT and I bled everywhere it's been fine!

Apart from breakthrough bleeding I haven't found any other side effects. I may have put on weight but I was also finishing my masters when I went on it, so was cramming food in my face – so I have no idea if it contributed to that.

I know that my doctors suggest not being on the injection for longer than 2 years if you haven't had children yet as it can take a while for your body to get back to normal cycles. So, I'm going to have to have a chat soon to see whether I can stay on it. If not, I may choose to go for the hormonal coil (even with GA) as it's the closest option.

I hope you found this helpful if the contraceptive injection was something you were considering. I know my experience sounds pretty awful to start with but I'm beyond happy with it now. If you have any questions the NHS page I linked at the top of my post may help, otherwise I'd suggest talking to your doctor as I am not a healthcare professional and this is just my experience!

xo Fleur xo

Makeup I’m currently trying not to buy

I’m pretty sure this post is going to end up with me buying things I probably don’t need… There are so many gorgeous products that have just arrived/I’ve been saying no to for too long already. Whilst I’m usually good at saying no, there’s a few that I’m struggling with at the moment! So I’m hoping that by writing them all down, I can get them out of my head.

First of all the Urban Decay Jean-Michel Basquiat Tenant palette – £35

I’m surprised this is still in stock tbh as it was released a while ago and I’m sure it’s limited edition. I wasn’t too interested in this when it came out but I’ve seen so many tutorials using it now and it seems like such a good quality palette with all the shades I really love. I know I could get so many different looks from this palette. It also works out at £4.38 per shadow which is nothing really.

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Next up, I mean LOOK AT IT the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette – £39.50

I think this is an absolutely gorgeous palette, both in it’s packaging and the shades within. It’s definitely a palette I’d get so much use out of but I also have most of the shades already… I also feel like it’s really missing a gold which I know I’d want. I’m also trying to remind myself that I never reach for my Naked 2 palette!

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The Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick in Cobalt – £18

Having watched a swatch video of this collection I’m kind of in love. I love matte lipsticks but I really don’t love liquid lipsticks and I feel like these are the perfect option for me. They’re really matte but still apparently wearable and non-drying. Also, the shades they’ve come out with are stunning. I could wear all of them! I’m in love with the shade Cobalt but also Peachy is so pretty.

 

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The Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette – £41

Despite the horrible controversy around this palette, I still want it. I’m completely in love with the shade Axis and haven’t seen anything similar before. In fact I love all the shades and I know I would get so much use out of them. It must be so hard for ABH right now, having worked on something so gorgeous, to have faulty batches. You can buy this directly from ABH but its £1 more expensive? So I’ve linked Beauty Bay but you can also find it at Cult Beauty.

abhsubculture

The Googlybear Unicorn Highlighter from Phee’s Makeup Shop – £12

I honestly don’t know how/why I haven’t bought this already? I mean, look how gorgeous it is! This would be the perfect inner corner highlight for so many of the looks I do (I already almost exclusively use Phee’s highlighers for my inner corner highlight/highlight in general).

googlybear_Phees_makeup_shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Indy Luxe Merbabe brushes – £35

I 100% do not need any more brushes. In fact, considering probably about 75% of my brushes have been in a bag, unwashed and ignored for the past three years – I just need to get those out, give them a good clean and actually start using them again?! BUT how gorgeous are these? As someone who has always been obsessed with mermaids these are just ideal.

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The Sugarpill Pro Palette – £111 full

I already have one Sugarpill pressed eyeshadow and it’s absolutely gorgeous. They are £8 each but based on my experience they’re totally worth that price. I’ve even chosen out the colours I want and any extra I decide I ‘need’ I could just pop in my magnetic palette. Whilst I do have colourful eyeshadow palettes, I don’t have all the colourful shades I want and a lot of them just don’t have a great level of pigmentation. This is definitely something I would get a lot of use out of.

Sugarpill_pro_palette

So, I’m craving over £300 worth of makeup which just isn’t going to happen! I think the two things I will get are Googlybear and Subculture. They’re the things that I think would add most value to my life on a daily basis. I may also get the Lipstick in Peachy, as much as I want Cobalt – I can’t wear it on a daily basis so it isn’t worth the £18 price.

I think I will also start getting my Sugarpill Pro Palette but I’ll go for buying it in small chunks – basically spending enough to get free shipping haha! Also, if I get the Sugarpill shadows I don’t think I need the Basquiat palette as well, as gorgeous as it is.

What are you currently wanting to buy?

xo Fleur xo

Little Things I do

As always I’m inspired to write posts by conversations. This one was about mental health and had a person saying ‘you need to do x, y and z to improve your mental health’ and it really was one of those moments where I agreed but also disagreed. Everyone is different, everyone is experiencing different things and what makes one person feel better could make someone else feel worse. BUT I think sharing the things that helped us, can help someone else – provided we’re not being the pushy arsehole that thinks their method cures everything. Also, I’m really not suggesting any of these things are a cure, maybe they are for some people but they most certainly aren’t for me. They’re simply things that help me stay stable.

So, these are the little things I try to do everyday/regularly to keep my mental health as even as I can.

I say no. I say no to a lot of things and I probably, definitely have lost friends because of this. I find going out tiring, I find socialising exhausting and when I get too tired my MH plummets. So saying no, or scheduling things for a time when I’m not busy is essential.

I exercise. It’s taken me a long time to find exercise that I’m willing to do on a regular basis (and that really is the key for me – regular). I’ve discovered that swimming, walking, cycling and aqua aerobics are all things where I’m willing to do even when I feel like shit. They’re not always perfect though, I have gone out for a walk and come back feeling worse. If I’m already having a terrible MH day, going for a walk rarely helps, so if people could stop suggesting it that’d be awesome. When I can stick to a routine and exercise three times a week, my MH is usually more chilled.

I avoid Facebook. I find Facebook destroys my MH, I’m not entirely sure why but avoiding it has really helped. I do also avoid spending too much time on Instagram looking at the perfection… I’m awful at it but time away from my phone/internet can be helpful in general.

I try to keep a routine. I find everything a lot easier when it’s an every day thing. Getting up at the same time, eating at the same time, knowing what I’m going to be doing ahead of time. I’m getting better at spontaneity – at least it no longer gives me an instant panic attack! Where I can though, doing the same things on the same days helps me. I also find during holidays etc, my MH will be a lot better if I plan a day ahead all the time. That means I get up and get going, rather than slumping and ending up sat crying staring at the wall all day!

I eat what makes me happy. This might not be the most responsible thing but I don’t find eating super healthily helps my MH. I do try to eat a balanced diet but supplementing it with a regular Dominos/cheesy chips/entirety of the veggie sweet section swept into my shopping basket also really helps me.

Showering. This is going to sound pretty random but the days where I don’t get my shower, I end up feeling wrong and miserable. I have been showering in the evening lately which isn’t as helpful, so I’ve been making sure to give my face a really good wash and sorting my hair out first thing.

Escaping. I find watching tv/films/reading a book/getting into a computer game and escaping myself for a bit every day so helpful. I struggle when I have a day where I can’t escape, even if it’s just for an hour. In fact when I’m having a truly crap day, curling up on the sofa with a cuddly toy and putting on The Vampire Diaries can mean that the evening/next day is infinitely better.

Sleep. I am on medication that helps me sleep and suppresses my joyous nightmares – so depending on how stressed I am and what’s going on in my life I change how much of that medication I take. I know a lot of people are anti-medication but I don’t know how I’d have got through the past few years without my meds. It means that providing I try to go to bed at the right time, I’m likely to get the sleep I need.

Cuddling. Probably the strangest thing but I have a lot of cuddly toys and I find cuddling them so helpful. I mean, cuddles with my OH are wonderful but I can have all night cuddles with a toy without feeling like I’m in a sauna haha. Also, my OH isn’t always around and doesn’t always want to sit and watch teen supernatural tv shows on repeat haaaaa – cuddly toys are awesome.

Having something to look forward to. This is for the really awful days, the ones where I want to curl up on the floor and never move again. For most of this year it’s been going to Italy with work and my OH’s dad’s wedding, now they’re over I do need to get something booked in. It doesn’t have to be anything big though, even just a plan to go to the seaside/out for coffee/getting a pre-ordered book. I find I can focus on those things and start finding some positives.

Essentially I kind of treat myself like a small child/pet (LOL) but when I stick to it (not always easy) I cope with life a lot better at the moment. I’ve also had CBT, counselling (for years) and was on antidepressants for around 4 years – different things for different times. The most important thing I can say is to find the things that work for you and get the help you need. I’ve found my doctor incredible helpful (I know, I’m very lucky) and also Mind.

Things that haven’t worked for me are meditation/mindfulness – it makes me feel better but I don’t enjoy it and can’t stick to it. Running/hard exercise – I swear it just makes me more stressed at the moment. Cleaning – no, soz that’s not the one for me and same with tidying. Putting on nail varnish/doing a face mask/having a bath – I do enjoy these but I don’t find they make my MH better overall.

Hopefully this might have given you something new to try/persevere with or at least, I hope it wasn’t offensive. Sending you so much love if you are struggling with your MH ❤

xo Fleur xo

Going Cruelty Free

I have a little announcement today – I’ve made the decision to go cruelty free when purchasing cosmetics! This has been something I’ve been thinking about this year since I first really encountered cruelty free bloggers.

For the first few months that I started looking into cruelty free products I found the information really overwhelming. It also seemed like there were no brands that were super affordable and there seemed to be so much conflict between what people were saying.

I think the main people who made it feel like this was completely possible were Steph – The Zombie Said, Courtney – Phyrra and Tara – Cattitude & Co. Through them I found amazing resources like Logical Harmony and also discovered that Superdrug own brand products are cruelty free! I think that was probably the turning point for me, seeing that there was actually truly affordable products out there. I know LUSH and The Body Shop aren’t super premium but they’re still out of my price range for an every day shampoo/shower gel (genuinely, I was buying mine from Lidl for under £1). I think there are plenty of CF companies so as not to feel restricted and I don’t want to be contributing to completely unnecessary animal cruelty anymore, there’s no argument for me not to go CF (if there really is for you, that’s absolutely fine – I’m only just starting this! I can’t judge anyone).

How cute is this bunny mug from Llama Talks? I decided to get it as a treat for making this decision!

I’ve decided that for now, I’m not going to worry too much if a brand’s parent company isn’t CF. I know for some people, that is unacceptable but I’m just starting and can also see the argument that it does mean they see exact numbers of how well their CF brand is doing – which could lead to them buying more CF brands/changing their practices. Yeah, it’s tenuous but it’s a start!

I’m also not currently going to be trying to buy only vegan products. I get that this means they’re not truly cruelty free but small changes. Same with knowing about whether they are cruelty free in terms of modern slavery, I’m making a start to more ethical purchasing and something is better than nothing. I know for some people this means I’m disgusting and not doing enough – I’m sorry but I’m trying in the best way I can right now.

I’m not going to be perfect to start with, I’m sure I’ll make mistakes. I’m also not going to be binning all the products that I have that aren’t CF. I will try and use up everything that I can and replace with CF products. Where they are products I’m not going to use up, like nail varnish, I’m going to go through my collection and donate the non-CF products to friends and family. I am going to try and buy CF household products too.

Alongside this, again something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m going to become a proper, full-time vegetarian. Up until now I’ve largely been Pescatarian but I always said to anyone cooking for me not to worry too much but this isn’t making me happy. To the point where my mum just served up meat without apology. I do still love fish and I will probably slip up and accidentally order everything at a sushi bar before going “shit” BUT I’m going to try. I would love to give up dairy too but I don’t currently know how to have a healthy balanced vegan diet. Also, I do believe in small changes. Not only does that make it easier for me to keep up but it does still help.

I’m so excited to start sharing new content with you as I’ve been trying out so many things from the Superdrug own brand range!

xo Fleur xo

Why I’m Loving Aqua Aerobics

This year I’ve really been trying to get back into working out. Mainly to bolster my mental health, I find it one of the most effective ways I personally can feel less depressed on a daily basis.

My partner and I initially started with swimming. However, we found that because of the timing of the aqua aerobics class on a Tuesday we were missing out on a workout on the day I’m often most enthusiastic. So, having talked to people who had been, we decided to give aqua aerobics a go and we loved it.


I have been to several aqua aerobics classes in the past and I will say, like any class, how good it is depends on the instructor.

These are the reasons I love it so much, above most other classes I’ve ever done:

  • You’re water cooled. This sounds a bit weird but it means you can exercise harder before you feel like you’re cooking – it’s awesome.
  • You’re not just doing cardio. You’re constantly pushing against the water, so building muscle as well. I really prefer this as it feels like a better workout. There are also so many benefits to building muscle.
  • It isn’t just standard aerobics (obviously depending on your instructor’s training). We’ve had one class that’s combat, one that’s like legs, bums and tums, we’ve done circuits… We’ve used water weights, pool woggles, resistance gloves, floats… Every week can be completely different and it keeps me interested and excited.
  • It’s lower impact. There are benefits of both but especially if you’re not perfectly fit, having some lower impact exercise as part of your routine can be very helpful!
  • If you don’t feel it was a strenuous enough workout (most places) you can stay and swim after/before. We regularly swim for 10-15 minutes after our class, as it’s only a 45 minute class.
  • You’re already wet and walking out into the showers – so having a shower doesn’t feel like such a pain as after the gym can. Or is that just me showing my laziness?
  • You really can take it at your own pace. As you’re in water, no one can really see what you’re doing. So if you need to take it easier one week, or on a particular exercise you can without anyone noticing. You can also go really hard and push yourself.
  • If you are finding it too easy, you can invest in a pair of the resistance gloves to wear for the whole lesson. You’ll definitely start getting an awesome arm workout with those (again, you can find these cheaply).
  • All you need is swimwear. If you look somewhere like Sports Direct you can find one for around £10 most of the time. Obviously you’ll still need to pay for the class but you don’t need a whole outfit and trainers.
  • One final added bonus. Due to it being low impact, you’ll usually get a lot of older people in the class. Whilst they do always seem to be disturbingly fitter than me, their eyes feel a lot less judgemental and they’re rarely taking a class too seriously. I like that!

If you haven’t tried aqua aerobics I’d highly recommend it. I find it so fun and it’s really kept me wanting to go back every week! What’s your favourite exercise class? Or do you hate them all?

xo Fleur xo

Conversations about weight #7

This post was very much sparked by the awful LUSH Instagram post. If you haven’t seen it, or the outrage around it – they decided to fat shame. They have since apologised but I don’t think weight is something they should ever have tried to talk about, whatever. Overall, though, it got me thinking.

Which type of health do I focus on? My mental health or my physical health? Both?

I think the tweet that stood out to me most was

‘Why did fat people feel attacked? as a “thin” person I didnt think “fat” I thought obese and unwell’

and from LUSH’s actual post

‘70% of deaths and morbidity are largely lifestyle related and preventable’

I’ll deal with the comment first. I’m obese. How does this automatically make me unwell?! I’m not. I’m not in hospital, I don’t need to go to the doctor… I’m not unwell but I’m also not healthy. The health problems I have, I had when I was a healthy BMI and still have now I’m obese. So I wouldn’t consider myself to be healthy but I won’t be healthy at ANY weight. I don’t have that luxury AND millions of people have it worse than me. If I want to bawl at the constant “as long as you’re healthy” when I never will be, then consider how anyone who has a serious lifelong health condition must feel.

My problem with the quote from LUSH is that death isn’t preventable right now. Not to put a downer on your day but you will die of something. Yes, your lifestyle plays into that and essentially helps decide at what age you die but wtf? DEATH ISN’T PREVENTABLE LUSH.


Which leads me back to what I really want to talk about. Health isn’t just about size or just about physical health. Which type of health do I focus on? My mental health, my physical health, both? Or is there a balance? I currently feel like I can’t have both but can I?

I have continuous acid reflux, which means ideally I need to be a healthy BMI because being overweight makes it worse. Since I hit 15 stone, the drugs I take to stop the acid reflux really don’t work as well – so I’m having to take gaviscon regularly. I also can’t eat certain foods and most alcohol gives me acid reflux for days. Being overweight is also making my knees and back hurt constantly and I’m pretty sure that long term the extra pressure will cause damage. So to improve my physical health, I really need to lose weight.

Yet, eating makes me happy, trying to eat less makes me sad. I’m not the kind of person who can lose weight/maintain a healthy BMI without calorie counting and weighing myself. When I’m hungry I’ll eat and if I’m not paying attention I’ll happily consume 3000 calories a day without realising. I also comfort eat, I use food to improve my mood – I know that’s less than ideal but it works. Eating whatever I want, whenever I want, makes me really happy.

There’s also how I currently feel about my body. For the first time in my life I genuinely feel so comfortable and happy in my body. Other people might not like how I look but I don’t care. The parts I’ve never liked are still the same, I had a double chin and keratosis pilaris when I was a size 8. So I’m a size 18 now, so what? I feel confident, I feel great. My mental health is just fine with me being obese.


So I don’t really know what to do. Do I work towards better physical health and risk damaging my mental health in the process? Do I just continue on and focus on my mental health? Is there some medium point where I could have good mental and physical health, maybe where I’m overweight but not obese?

I’m currently trying to work towards that middle ground. What do you think? Is there an answer? There’s so many questions in this post I feel slightly ridiculous but I’d love to know your opinions!

xo Fleur xo

 

Um, I’ve regretted a workout?

Every so often the phrase ‘You’ll never regret a workout’ or ‘A workout always makes you feel better’ often followed by ‘but you will regret not working out’ pops up on my social media… I know this is fully intended to be inspirational and help people to get moving, which is awesome but every time I see it I want to shout no.

I’ve regretted so many workouts. I’ve regretted doing physical activity full stop and I love exercise.

If you haven’t been to the gym in a while, if you’re trying to coerce yourself out of bed after your rest day for that morning run then the idea that you’ll only ever feel better after a workout is SO motivational. I really do get that and I’m not trying to bash it but I did want to chuck a tiny bit of reality in too.

I’ve currently got a knee in rehab from overdoing it in a spinning lesson nearly three years ago. I 100% regret that workout.

I fell over whilst ice skating (I thought it would be a fun but energetic trip out) and had to take a week off work because I had soft tissue damage and was in a leg brace. I regretted pushing my body that far in what definitely turned into a workout.

I’ve pushed too hard at the gym and been unable to move for a week. I’ve regretted those workouts.

I’ve been so stressed and tried to get it out at the gym but ended up raising my cortisol levels instead. I came back more stressed out and regretting that workout.

I’ve been skiing (which I’d really consider an exercise holiday) and tore up my legs so badly I couldn’t walk for three months. I lost my part-time job (I was 17, had no contract, they needed staff and I was replaced) and my mum had to drive me to and from college for three months. I also couldn’t exercise for those three months. I regretted that trip.

I’ve gone to the gym too full and wanted to throw up, ended up desperately needing a wee but feeling too awkward to leave a class, I’ve been to awful classes with horrible instructors and I’ve tried to play team sports and left feeling pathetic and useless.

At the moment, as I’m getting back into exercise, my body hurts constantly all over when I’ve exercised. It’s hard to deal with that pain and still feel like the workout was worth it, it’s hard not to regret doing that exercise.

Usually though, I leave feeling elated. I have more energy, I feel more confident and happier. Regular exercise makes me, me. Without it I’m not the person I want to be.

So, if you’ve ever regretted a workout, you’re not alone. If you’re ever trying to force yourself to the gym for the 5th day in a row and you’re not feeling it – don’t feel bad and if you’re really not feeling it, don’t go. Those are the days you’ll end up regretting it. If you’re always hating your workout and never feeling positive afterwards, you’re doing the wrong workout.

It’s great to be positive but it’s also good to be realistic. We’re not all superheroes and there is such a thing as over training.

xo Fleur xo