Saturday, 3 September 2016

Stratford-Upon-Avon

On bank holiday Monday we spent the day at Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Stratford-Upon-Avon is a medieval town in England that I hadn't visited till now. It's where Shakespeare is from and so when my lovely friend suggested we visit the area, I jumped at the chance.

It was so pretty! We drove down, four of us, and so it felt like a mini road trip - one of many more to come! I get quite excited by things like this because I love exploring new places, especially as they aren't too far away!!

The drive there was smooth as it was mostly dual carriageways and not the motorway and as a bonus, the weather was beautiful! I did apologies in advance at the heat in my car as I have no air-conditioning but luckily, it wasn't too bad - I warned them that they may experience what being a baked potato feels like.

We did a bit of exploring and there were beautiful Tudor style houses, in the centre and with the river running through! Taking a walk along the river made me feel much like a character from a Shakespeare play, or even Shakespeare and I'm sure he strolled to get ideas?!

We had some delicious food at the Royal Shakespeare Company and it really funny because we decided that before picking a place to eat, we'd have a look round. So we did. We walked up a few of the streets and looked at the options and then decided that the first place we went to was better - the RSC. So we headed back there! I'm quite glad we did because being upstairs in the RSC meant we had a lovely view as well as good food. The service was very good too and they didn't charge for water. :)

Anyway, what I wanted to share with you all - just before we were about to leave, we popped into a market and came across a jewellery stall. The two people running the stall were very lovely and saw me eying up ...well, everything. Then I found a few bangle type bracelets and tried some on and decided I liked it enough to buy it. As it was the end of the day (or she felt really sorry for me when I told her what my current job is) the lovely lady let my friends pick a dream catcher necklace for me to have for free!!!

And I love both! I love the bracelet because it's simple and the necklace is green and purple - green is my favourite colour and I wear a lot of purple. The bracelet I bought is silver plated rather than fully silver so I was told how to take care of it and that I can go back to get it re-plated at any time!

I've also decided that I may use the necklace as a headpiece - despite it being a necklace - because I think it looks nice!! Check out Viki Marks Jewellery on Facebook and pop to her stall if you are ever about in the area. I'd definitely recommend it!

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Laser Eye Surgery - Round Two

So, as you know from my last post, I was ready to have my eyes lasered until I was told that I wasn't going to have the procedure I'd initially thought I could. That's when it all went a bit pants up!

I sat there for a while wondering how I'd make it back into the surgery because I was freaked out enough the first time round and they wanted me to come again?! Did they have any idea how nerve-wracking the first attempt was? But I hadn't planned to be off that long and I had made plans to do things too so I would have to go back, there was not much space to budge really.

So I went back in two weeks later armed with appropriate time off work. The second time round was much quicker than the first - they didn't need to do all of the tests as they had already done them the last round. So I was called into the surgery area and spoke to the surgeon and the nurses and then was told to wait in the waiting room till I was called. This was a smaller room where a few patients who ere also here for laser eye surgery were seated.

Whilst there, I met a girl who lived very near to me! What a coincidence!!! I talked to her and her mum and it was actually really lovely- we joked about how we could have driven in together. Unfortunately I didn't get her name so I haven't heard from her since but I'm sure she's ok. Maybe I'll run into her at some point who knows!

Meeting someone who lived close to me really helped - it felt like time went a bit faster as I was called into the operating room. There I met the nurse who would be with me and then, after we introduced ourselves, they made me lie down to begin the procedure. They began by numbing my eyes and it didn't hurt at all.

After a few rounds of the numbing drops, the surgeon came in the room to perform the procedure. He explained exactly what would happen and what to expect and he explained it all again as he did it. I found this was, oddly, comforting as he talked through the whole process with me. It made me less nervous and I was quite amazed.

Basically, what they did (if you are squeamish skip this paragraph):
- numb the eye,
- clamp it open (it didn't hurt and neither was it really uncomfortable)
- put a pool of solution onto of the eye to loosen the top layer of my eye
- wipe the top layer off
- laser the eye
- wash out the eye with really cold water stuff
- insert bandage contact lense (it's just a clear contact lenses)
- cover the eye and do the same to the next one.

I'm actually really weird so I was sat through this thinking 'HOW COOL IS THAT?!' - I often find myself doing this, I think it's one of my coping mechanisms.

Then, once done - it took about fifteen minutes to do both eyes, I was shown what drops to take when and then I was ready to go. That was it!! I was all done.

This part was unreal because I could actually see pretty well despite having surgery done on my eyes, but as we walked to the car, I could barely keep my eyes open - they just closed themselves. So once in the car I let them close.

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Friday, 22 July 2016

Laser Eye Surgery - Round One

Ok, so my surgery date was about two weeks after my consultation. Off I went. Before you continue, if you haven't read my previous post about the consultation - here it is.

My surgery was booked for Bristol and up till this day I was slowly getting more and more worried about the surgery. I continued to Google the procedure and read up on it but I was pretty nervous. I told myself it was totally normal to be worried - it is!!

I talked to a few people but in all honesty I didn't tell many people because of how nervous I was. So the day came and off we went to Bristol. When I got there, the place was easy to find and the people were super helpful - very calming and friendly. I waited to be called and met the assistant who I had for my consultation - she was pleased to see me!

I took this before going - little did I know!
They began by doing some tests to check my eyes and my prescription before they did the procedure and then, whilst the surgeon looked at the results, I waited. They then repeated a few tests assuring me that it was just because the surgeon wanted to double check a few things - I wasn't convinced.

Anyway, finally I met the surgeon and he was a quiet man who introduced himself and told me the reason for repeating the tests - something about the shape of my eye. Because of the shape of my eye, they had made a clinical decision that the procedure I was booked in for was not the one they would recommend for me to have. Basically I wasn't going to have the operation that I was told I could have.

Brief description of the procedure they originally told me about: they would create a flap in the top layer of my eye then shoot a laser through the lifted flap. Then close the flap and tada - done! The recovery time for this procedure is around two days and it's reported to be relatively pain-free.

Brief description of new procedure: instead of making a flap in that layer, they'd remove the whole layer altogether and then shoot the laser through. A bandage contact lenses would then be inserted and taken out a few days later. Recovery time is much slower than a week and vision can take from ten days to six months to settle.

Now'd you get why I hesitated and decided to re-book? The end result would be the same in both procedures but recovery time wasn't and this, at that point in time was my concern. So off I went home with a new date and my thinking cap on.

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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Laser Eye Surgery - Consultation

Let's begin at the beginning :)

I finally took the plunge and booked to have laser eye surgery. This is something I have been researching for a while - four years to be exact - but previously I had only ever skimmed the surface and then never actually done anything about getting the surgery.

But a few months ago, I did. I'd been searching Google for local hospitals that offered the surgery and finally found one - I was really excited because the doctor in question was the same doctor that had performed my grandparents cataract surgery - he had a lot of experience.

So I rang up to see if I could get an appointment but unfortunately, I hit a brick wall. The assistant on the phone told me that the doctor had stopped performing laser eye surgery over Christmas and the alternative was too far away for me to travel. In all honesty I was quite annoyed at myself because I was thinking about this before Christmas and had I actually done anything about it, I could have booked for an appointment locally. Bummer.

No more poking my eyes out or glasses?!  
So I left it till about eight weeks ago when I booked myself an appointment at Optical Express. I have always known about Optical Express and have met quite a few people who've had their eyes done there - my lovely aunt and uncle have too and they loved it! When I got there for my consultation the people were really nice. The assistant who did most of the tests on me was reassuring and had seen and knew a lot of people who had laser eye surgery. We talked about it and when it came to booking an appointment, it just happened that they had an opening in two weeks time. It was that or a good few weeks later. That's when I had my 10 seconds of courage and told her to book me in for the appointment in two weeks time.

I knew that if I left for later, I wouldn't do it. So it was done. What's really lovely is that she told me she'd be there when I had the surgery and it's always nice seeing a familiar face. They gave me a profile of the doctor who'd perform my surgery and as soon as I could see, I Googled him. What I mean by 'as soon as I could see' is that I had some eyedrops put in that meant I was super light sensitive and I couldn't see anything close up. For a good few hours my phone was just a blurry block of lights!! That was really freaky.

Anyway, I found a fellow blogger that that had had the surgery at the same place by the same doctor! And she seemed to be doing well! Read her posts on it here :)

Read next week to see how the surgery went...oh the drama!

Have you had laser eye surgery? What was it like? Is it something you're considering? Let me know.
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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Back To It

Hi Everyone!

I went on a break. Well, actually that's a lie. I didn't actually go anywhere, I just had a small break from blogging. It made me quite sad!

Can you see me?
It was a self imposed break - partly because I was at a loss of what to blog. I have draft posts but I lost my momentum when something I had waited for a long time to happen was put to a halt for reasons beyond my control (posts on this to follow, fear not!). I was also actually quite busy at home and work too - it's been a busy month!

But finally I'm back at it. I have my momentum back! So looking forward to posting regularly again!!

How have you been?

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Tahajjud Prayer

So my aunt phoned me the other week because she had an idea. She had an epiphany. I love epiphanies!! It made me really excited because it is something that we would do individually but collectively - I know this doesn't make sense right now but read on and hopefully it will! :)

Now, I take credit for exactly 0% of the original idea. The idea belongs to my aunty who was inspired from this lecture by Sheikh Omar Suleiman. In this lecture Sheikh Omar Suleiman tells the story of Salahuddin and Jerusalem. He describes how Salahudin strove to unite the people rather than cause bloodshed and within this, he mentions Qiymul-Layl. This is significant here because Salahuddin used Tahajjud as a means to conquer Palestine. He united his army in prayer by waiting till he saw that people were actively engaged in worship at this time.

Source
And this time is very important. It was reported by Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said "Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: 'Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for my forgiveness so I may forgive him?" (Bukhari and Muslim).

So my aunt had the idea that we should all make an effort to pray at this time too and remember Palestine and places and people who are experiencing hardships in our prayers. And what better way to get into this habit than in Ramadan. In Ramadan we are already awake for Suhoor and therefore, by waking up a little earlier we can read this prayer too. The best thing about this - we will be doing this for the next month days and then, once the thirty days are done, we'd hope for us to continue this.

Guess what! Tahajjud can be prayed all year round no matter where you are in the world. We can do this everyday and so Ramadan is a great time to start - now is a great time to start. So let's do it!

By reading Tajajjud, let us all unite in prayer and make the most of our time.

Facebook page for this campaign: click here :)
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Note: We should, first and foremost, concentrate on fulfilling all of our fardh salah - so reading Tahajjud is in addition to the five daily prayers. This is extra, it's optional. Fardh duties are our priority, please don't forget this!




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