Some hairy reasons to be cheerful!

Once upon a time I wrote a post called ‘My life in bad haircuts’, but it stayed in drafts. Too trivial? Not funny enough? Too much about me? Anyway I remembered it today as I paid a very rare visit to an actual hairdressing salon, where I felt totally pampered especially as I got picked for a free hair treatment that included a massage chair and footrest while my hair was washed! Clearly much has changed since I was last there..

And my hair looks okay too. Also a big change from the life time of embarrassing hairstyles revealed by my collection of old photos – some shown on the right hand side below.

My life in bad hair cuts

It all started well. As a young child everyone loved my thick shiny hair, swung in ponytails or bouncing in plaits. Then puberty happened, and suddenly I was too old for plaits and my hair had turned into this dry, coarse, bushy, uncontrollable mess as I morphed into an ugly version of Kate Bush almost overnight.

I bet the local hairdressers cursed whenever I booked an appointment, knowing they’d send me away looking worse than when I arrived. I scoured the Jackie magazine for tips: I remember pouring eggs and olive oil on my hair, but it just stuck to my head. And the excitement when I first spotted a blue plastic bottle labelled ‘hair conditioner’ in my local Boots. Sadly that didn’t make much difference either.

In my late teens and early twenties, I was far too busy to care, so I wore it short and dyed, which luckily for me was the fashion in the 1980s. It looked fine from the front, but the side view was not so good, due to my unfortunate possession of an egg-shaped head and a large nose.

As a student I was always looking for cut price haircuts, with pretty desperate results at times and there’s nowhere to hide when you get a really bad cut, except under a hat. Which is what I did after one really disastrous cut which left me with these blue and pink feathery bits hanging from my crop. I went straight into the nearest department store and bought a hat and then legged it to the student union hairdresser to get the dangly bits removed!

Then I tried growing my hair long. With layers. And that made me look like an unkept lion (see photo haha).

I got it cut short again after giving birth to eldest, but then I stupidly began flirting with middle-aged lady helmet styles. Not a good style for me either, due to the aforementioned head shape and nose..

I’d almost given up on ever being happy with my hair, when along came the GHD hair straightener. It was finally able to give me what I’d always wanted: shiny flat hair, and I swear it’s one of my most precious possessions.

As my stylist complimented me today, I realised how lucky I am to still have a full head of thick hair with very little grey and the tools to manage it too. Time has stood still for my mane, in the best possible way.

I’ve a big family day coming up soon, hence the visit to the hairdressers. Of course I may still look like an extra from the Walking Dead due to the ongoing crisis, but at least I will have good hair. Hopefully something like this..

Walking Dead but good hair

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

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My new happy place

I climb the stairs slowly, trying to catch my breath. Sometimes it feels like I’m climbing towards the sun as the light usually bathes this upper floor. I pause at the door, but the studio is empty as usual, and a feeling of calm begins to flow gently through my limbs.

No music on this level, just whatever I choose to listen to on my headphones. No one’s watching, so I can do my own thing. Try out routines I’ve seen others do downstairs, practice my cartwheels and handstands, look silly: no one will know.

This is my new gym.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s taken a while to cement our relationship.

The weights room in the gym is where the hard work takes place. I take a tour of the machines until I feel completely exhausted, and there’s always other people around so I just do what I know. It’s noisy and hot and sometimes busy.

But few people bother with the studio upstairs.

I love that I can switch off completely. I don’t have to speak to anyone, and no-one is looking for me. There are no piles of dirty clothes or dishes demanding to be cleaned. No stacks of paperwork demanding to be sorted.

You’ll probably remember that my happy place used to be the beach, but not even the sound of the sea can drown out the negative thoughts in my head. Nor do I enjoy running alone right now for similar reasons, and also because I’m afraid of bumping into people and having to smile politely when they ask me how work is going, or tell me how great it is that I get a break while B is in her day programme.

So TG for the gym, and the chance to work it all out in peace.

Finding it, and enjoying it, is my main reason to be cheerful for this week.*

Gym Ballybough StudioR2BC at Mummy from the Heart

*I’m excluding the run at the weekend, which I will include in an entire piece on assisted running, when I get time…

Reasons to be Cheerful 9.11.18

Another reason I love this linky is because I think it actually makes me do cheerful things to make sure I have something to report! And I do…

Christmas Songs

I was giving out on Twitter on November 1st when my disabled daughter’s favourite music channel suddenly began playing non stop Christmas hits. But B is thrilled! I had no idea she would like Christmas songs so much, but as my eldest pointed out, they’re mostly upbeat, tuneful and happy, unlike much of the stuff she sees.

Books

After a break of about 6 months, I am finally reading again: I really enjoyed and learned from a book by an autistic blogger I follow: Aspies Hate Christmas by Amanda J Harrington. And now I’ve begun reading the Killing Eve series by Luke Jennings after watching the TV show

Funrun

I took a chance and entered a family fun run in aid of Brian Tumour Ireland with B, planning to use her running buggy without any arranged help. But people are very good and within second of seeing the two of us plus two buggies someone offered to assist, both before and after the run.

Shrek the Musical

Tickets were bought for this to celebrate a joint birthday for B and my friend’s son and we all went together to the theatre. Sadly the evening did not end well for B, but I really enjoyed the chance to dress up and make myself up too.

A New hat

Another bargain from Lidl that’s warm snug and fleece lined. I love it!

New hat

Going to the pub

I brought B with me to a nearby pub for an hour to have dinner out with friends. She felt very grown up, and all was well at home while we were gone.

Exercise

The more demanding the better, as it gives my stressed head a break. This week I went to my zumba class and for a run with my running group in the Phoenix Park: the autumn colours were stunning.

Phoenix Park

Power chair

B got to try out a powered wheelchair with specially adapted switches and she got the hang of ‘Green means Go’ within seconds. She will need a lot more training before she would be approved for a power chair, but it was a great start and I was very proud of her.

Powerchair training

More reasons to be cheerful over at Mummy from the Heart.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

No place for disabled people

The handles of her wheelchair were touching the door. The footplate was touching the toilet seat. If she could stretch out her arms, she would easily have touched the walls on either side. This was the disabled toilet in our local accident and emergency department.

My daughter wasn’t even the patient. But I am her sole carer, so if I have to go somewhere outside the hours of her day programme, then she usually has to come too.

I had to seize an opportunity and we left the house in a mad rush, just a few random things thrown into bags and hung off the back of the chair. No time for her to use the toilet, I just had to hope that there would be a usable facility available and that we wouldn’t be waiting too long. I *may* have been a bit too optimistic.

Phone calls were supposed to have been made, and we were promised we would be met on arrival. It didn’t happen. And when I saw how many people were waiting to be seen I understood why. There wasn’t an empty chair to be seen. Luckily my daughter was okay – one advantage of bringing your own seat with you everywhere you go.

Once I realised we were in a queue of indeterminate length, my first priority was getting help, and this is where Facebook is a life saver for me. I did text a couple of people first, but they were not available. And yes it was close friends who responded again, but I felt more comfortable putting out a general plea instead of approaching them directly and perhaps making them feel pressurised.

Being stuck in A&E means very little choice of food and drink, especially if you have a disabled daughter who needs a mashed diet. Again my friends were able to bring something suitable for her, and later a bag of (very good) chips for myself and the patient.

But my friends couldn’t really help with B’s toileting needs. I had to sort that out all on my own. I sat on the toilet seat and changed her while she lay half out of her moulded seat – dangerous and uncomfortable for both of us. I’m still amazed I managed it at all.

Later she was crying due to needing to go again, but I was trapped while the patient was getting attention and there was nothing I could do to help her until I got her home.

Really hospitals are no places for severely disabled people, even though the busy staff were friendly and welcoming and made sure we were seen quickly.

This particular hospital is due to get a new Accident and Emergency Department soon, and I really hope that a changing places toilet with a bench and hoist is part of the plan.

My daughter is very healthy right now, but that could change at any time, and she should have the same right to a suitable toilet as everyone else.