Posted in: lifestyle

How To Cope With Chronic Fatigue: The 5 Basics

cope with chronic fatigue syndrome

I’m sure most of you are aware by now that I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The extreme tiredness wrought by this illness has impacted all aspects of my life – I spend most of my time in bed, I had to quit my job, and my social life is lacking (to say the least). It’s about as awful as it sounds, but after a while I found myself developing handy coping mechanisms and energy conservation techniques that have allowed me maximum energy to focus on the things that are important to me and lead a productive life.

make up essentials, chronic fatigue
1. The ‘Exhausted’ Routine

On days I’m exhausted from the second I wake up, but still have to face the world, my ‘exhausted’ routine is a life saver. Having a specific routine for these days minimises the need to think too much about things or make decisions that use up the little energy I have.

I have an easy breakfast, I wear my ‘uniform’ – something that makes me feel good but is still comfortable – and I do the most basic hair and make up I can. A minimal wardrobe concept will really help here.

I don’t try to clean or tidy until the important tasks of the day have been done. I will leave mess where it is if I have to, and tidy up when I get home or when I next have energy. The tiniest little shortcuts make all the difference and ensure you have maximum energy for what needs to be done. 

Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise!

My make up essentials: Lancome’s Effacernes Longue Tenue / Chanel Rouge Coco Shine #88 ‘Esprit’ / YSL L’Eyeliner Noir / Revlon Blush #006 ‘Naughty Nude’

2. Convenience is Key

Make life easier for yourself: move everything you need throughout the day as close to you as possible. Not having to get up continuously for little essentials really helps conserve energy. I keep things like water, hair ties, moisturiser, lip balm, a candle, books, and medicine within arm’s reach. Usually I will get up for food because I like to have some movement in my day.

If you find yourself regularly getting up for certain things, just move them closer to you. That’s really all there is to it.  You: 1. Chronic Fatigue: 0.

3. Don’t Schedule or Plan

Too much. By all means, keep your goals in place, but if your energy is unreliable you need to learn how to be flexible. Having set plans that involve very specific schedules can work if you know yourself well and factor in things like rest times, but a “go with the flow” mindset is worth getting used to. I’m not always the most flexible so I personally found not planning too much the best approach, and to base everything on how I feel, but everyone is different! You might be a genius at scheduling and have no issue with this.

I usually plan week-to-week, and only plan further ahead for big events. When making plans I warn people from the beginning I might have to cancel or change plans at the last minute. You don’t have to go into detail about your health (don’t ever let yourself feel pressured to talk about the details – it’s completely your choice what you share); simply mention that your health hasn’t been so great lately, and that there’s a chance you may have to cancel. Easy and polite!

However it’s still your responsibility to know how to ration your energy! Don’t make plans with the idea that you can just bail out last minute. It’s very dishonest and rude! I got better at figuring out how much I could do per week as I went along. The key thing I’ve learned is not to be afraid of losing energy through plans! It’s easy to become anxious about energy loss and avoid doing things because of it, but in my opinion having a good time is always worth the days or weeks I might have to spend in bed in the aftermath.

chronic fatigue

My little coping treasures: Things that smell nice, comforting books and DVDs, essential skin hydration, pretty little things that make me happy, my day planner, and the magical portal into a land of no boredom (laptop).

4. Listen To Your Body!

This is the most important thing you can do. Learn to listen to your body and stop fighting it – it only wants what’s best for you. Your body sends you hints about what it wants, but a lot of us ignore it and do whatever we had “planned” instead. I know from experience that this isn’t wise – the amount of times I’ve disabled myself for a week or more by doing something I knew I shouldn’t is too many. 

Listen, be gentle, experiment. Discover the limits of your body – how much exercise, if any, can you do before you exhaust yourself? How long can you spend out of the house (or out of bed) before the tiredness caused by today’s activity carries over into the next day? Do these numbers change based on how tired you already are that day? If you listen, you will be rewarded with more energy to spend on the things that are important to you.

5. Express those emotions

Chronic fatigue is horrible. It has bought a lot of misery to my life, I won’t deny it. But by committing myself to a positive attitude and environment I have been able to control the inevitable bouts of depression and hopelessness that I often face. I can have all the coping mechanisms in the world but I still get upset regularly, I get angry and frustrated, resentful and jealous… I’ve cried rather hysterically a fair few times, to my mother, to my doctor, and there have been times when I felt on the brink of giving up and not bothering to even try anymore. However, at the end of the day, I don’t want to give up. I still want to dream and hope and try.

So I try to keep a positive outlook. I complain when I need to, but I don’t go overboard (don’t trap yourself in the negativity, just let it out and let it go). I watch a lot of comedy television shows & movies (be careful of dramas, they are an energy drain), listen to uplifting songs, and make sure I have a few fun, light-hearted books to read in between the “serious” ones. A gentle yoga routine has been very helpful, too.

However, there’s also nothing wrong with struggling to find the positives either. If it gets too much, seeing a professional is a good first step to monitoring your mood and how you are coping. In fact, even if you are feeling good, a counsellor or psychologist is a great relationship and resource to have in your “coping repertoire”!

Remember: Healthy emotional expression, especially during illness and disability, includes the “negative” emotions. There’s a healthy balance to be found in rain and shine. (Corny but true!!)

Do you have advice to share on this topic? How do you cope with sick days and illness? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in: outfits, sewing

The Purple Polka Dot Skirt

Top: Dotti, Skirt: Handmade, Shoes: ASOS, Bag: Vintage

I said I was going to start sewing more of my own clothes. So behold, dear readers, my first creation. This simple A-line skirt is a pattern from Love at First Stitch, which is an absolutely wonderful book for anyone interested in making their own clothes (there isn’t a single pattern in it I don’t like, which I still can’t believe because I am so fussy). I’ve sewn before so I sort of already knew what I was doing. I found the pattern was excellent and well-sized, the instructions were clear enough for me to know what to do, and the finished product is very flattering to wear!

I had to hand sew in the zip on this skirt because we didn’t yet have an invisible zipper foot, but other than that it was such a quick and easy project, taking me about 3-4 hours of sewing time (and I’m a complete tortoise in speed). The fabric is from Spotlight – I’d actually purchased it forever ago and found it in the fabric cupboard again when I was taking stock of what we had.  I’m already making a second skirt in black, I’m that pleased with it! I can’t remember what this purple material cost, but the material and zip for the black skirt came to under $10 total…! I couldn’t even get a skirt that cheap on sale! After I finish the black skirt, I’ll be making a white blouse and hunting down fabric for the ‘Megan Dress’, which are both patterns in the book. I’m really looking forward to these projects!

PS – You might notice things looking a little different around here! I’ve been slowly making changes to the layout of the site and cleaning things up a bit. I’m not done yet but I’m already quite pleased with the changes. Please let me know if anything is showing up strange on your monitor, I’d be so grateful!


Posted in: wishlist

Wishlist: Summer Wardrobe Basics

Andrew Stevens black pointed flats Emily and Fin Modcloth Yellow Dress colette hayman white clutch bag

Pointed Toe Flat

Neiman Marcus

Yellow Spot Dress


Helen Ruche Clutch


the whitepepper white blouse mitsouko by guerlain modcloth gingham midi skirt

Embroidery Blouse

The Whitepepper

Mitsouko EDP


Brunch Hostess Skirt


As I mentioned previously, I have been taking steps towards that much-talked-about concept of a ‘minimal wardrobe’. The general aim of a minimal wardrobe is to have less clothes but more options. When buying for a minimal wardrobe, every item should be able to match or fit in effortlessly with everything else. I generally shop with this concept in mind anyway, but over the years I’d built up an impressively non-matching collection of clothes I wasn’t really wearing. Being ill with chronic fatigue means that I simply no longer have the energy to fuss over outfits, and not being able to find the top I wanted because it was buried under 5 other ones I never wear was not helping either. Hence the wardrobe clear out.

And out of every spring clean comes the calm. After Summer I’ll have another comb through and pick out anything I didn’t wear, but for now I’m happy with where I am and am ready to start filling in the gaps. For my summer wardrobe basics I really want a pair of pointed flats, as they elongate the leg which is doubly necessary for me because midi-length skirts are a big staple in my wardrobe. I probably already have enough Summer dresses, but I’ve wanted a yellow one for quite a while, and the white collared blouse can be layered under it or paired with a skirt. A little white clutch bag is the perfect size and colour – my black quilted one looks a bit too formal and serious for summer. I actually already own Mitsouko but it is the perfect scent for summer – fruity without being candy sweet or tacky. I also want a pair of high-waisted trousers, perhaps in navy blue? Some more striped shirts in the classic white + black, white + red, white + navy combos can never go amiss, and a pair of sandals or strappy shoes would be nice, though I have a small horror of feet/showing them…

Admittedly I’ll probably make most of these things myself, sticking to my resolution of filling my wardrobe with breathable cotton – or rayon at a stretch – to suit the humid climate. I’m done with sweating through summer in polyester! No more, I say! If all goes to plan I look forward to sharing my sewing adventures here. I haven’t been very well lately, but I’m thinking of seeing a nutritionist as there’s a big chance a lot of my fatigue is related to diet so I’m really hoping I may see an improvement by Christmas!

Tell me about your wardrobe staples! I love classic, high-waisted cuts in dresses, skirts, and trousers, breton tops, & collared blouses. What about you?

Posted in: lifestyle

Emily’s Wardrobe Clear Out Sale

DSC_0704 DSC_0722

I’m Clearing It All Out!

Well, most of it anyway. It’s been long overdue, and it was time to start getting really honest with myself. These days I’m basically a cartoon character, wearing the same things over and over, and the climate where I live doesn’t really allow for knits and long-sleeved polyester. It’s summer for 75% of the year here, Emily. Time to stop pretending you live in a Winter wonderland.

I’m sure we’re all sick of hearing about the “minimal wardrobe” life, it’s all over the Internet these days, but that’s exactly what I’ve been aiming for over the past few years. I think I’m finally getting down to where I want to be, and am ready to start filling back in the gaps. My aim is to have a fairly large portion of my wardrobe being handmade by me. Not for any noble reason, really, just because, despite living in the sub-tropics, the shops insist that polyester is the way to go instead of cotton (IT’S NOT), and the fashion trends of late are driving me bananas. I dislike all of it! So handmade seems the way to go.

Everything is being listed on eBay over the next few weeks, you can view the listings here. Bidding starts as cheap as $0.99 or Buy It Now as low as $7.00! Go take a look and don’t forget to check back for more updates!

Posted in: reviews

L’Heure Bleue

guerlain, l'heure bleue, perfume, parfum

guerlain, l'heure bleue, perfume, parfum

L’Heure Bleue by Guerlain

It is Paris at dusk, the Ballets Russes, a huge bouquet of flowers, and dresses that twinkle in the candlelight. It is crying on Pont Alexandre III because everything is so beautiful and you never, ever, ever, ever want to have to leave. It is suspended emotion, a complex serenity. Notes of delicate flowers and powder create an air of calm before the oriental notes come to whisk you away, and suddenly you are too enthralled and breathless to notice anything else. It is pure romanticism, pure beauty.

I’ve all but sold my soul to Guerlain now; I am captivated by the scents of Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsuoko… I am still not well and am as ill and frustrated as ever, but these fragrances have served me well as an escape from the tired eyes and foggy brain. I can smell Paris c. 1912 lingering on my bedsheets in L’Heure Bleue, or carry a tiny little summer on my wrists with Mitsuoko… some days there’s a passionate love story on my neck thanks to Shalimar. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

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