The Fortnightly One #2

21 April 2014

"Apply" - The Products
My skin has been rather problematic and generally 'unhappy' this fortnight, and the only thing that seems to be turning its frown upside down is two drops of the Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil (£20) in my night cream before bed. Organic, affordable and effective, everyone needs a bottle of this. // In an attempt to aggravate my sore skin as little as possible, I switched from liquid foundation to the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder (£31) and it's true love. It gives a totally flawless but undetectable finish, and although I find that it doesn't last very well on me, I'm rarely out of the house for more than a couple of hours at a time these days and so longevity is no longer an issue for me - silver linings and all that!

Pai + Laura Mercier = happy skin
"Watch" - The Films, Series & YouTube
So UK Netflix got American Horror Story and as a horror film fan, I enjoyed having a new program to watch that wasn't such easy viewing and quickly finished every series. I'd heard rave reviews about Coven, so I kind of rushed through Murder House and Asylum to get to the final series and was slightly disappointed, as I thought the first two were just as good, if not better. The acting is impeccable, and Freak Show can't start soon enough.

"Our one defining trait is a numbness to the world, an indifference to suffering"

My other Netflix addiction this fortnight has been The Office, which is fast becoming one of my favourite series ever. In a way I didn't want to like it as I felt loyal to the UK version, but the humour is both up my street and my cup of tea. It's similar to Gavin and Stacey in the sense that the casting is so spot on that no other actor could play each role, and I just love it. Now that I've finished Modern Family, this is my new go-to program. Pam 4 Jim forever.

Stanley Hudson fanatic
As for films, I've watched a ton but the most notable include Ghost World, American Psycho, Celeste and Jesse Forever, High Fidelity, Goodwill Hunting and Fargo. // In terms of YouTube, I can't get enough of Essie and Aslan's vlogs - they're such a great couple and so entertaining. I was over the moon that they found little Oprah's owners, a Vlogster miracle! On another YT note, I'm sending all of my love to Charles and Alli

"I can't relate to 99% of humanity."
"I can't relate to humanity, either... but I don't think it's completely hopeless."
- Ghost World
"You don't know about real loss because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself."
- Goodwill Hunting
"Eat" - The Food
PANCAKES. I used to only eat them one day a year, and now I can't get enough. Easy and quick to whip up, they make the best breakfast - I like mine topped with red berries and Greek yoghurt. Usually I try to avoid excessive sugar, but when it's Easter, it's rude not to. I'm not the biggest fan of Easter eggs, but the one I got this year was the nicest Belgian chocolate and came with a box of assorted pralines... yes, a thousand times, yes!

Me, post-pralines
"Read" - The Books, Blogs & Magazines
I finally finished The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and thought it was a really touching read, and one I'd highly recommend! I'm one of those annoying "the book's better than the film" people (because it's always true), but I watched the film afterwards and I have to say, Peter Jackson did a perfect job. It did the book justice and I knew which part of the novel they were focusing on practically down the paragraph, which I think is rare to find in film adaptation. I also read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn which is ahhh-mazing, there's some impressive character development and twists going on and although I wasn't sold on the ending, it didn't detract from how much I enjoyed the book. // My friend Hayley's blog has been full of wonderful posts this fortnight, my personal favourites amongst many good'uns were Positivity +2, It's Not Just a Blog, It's a Lifeline and Spring and Leg Appreciation. Go and have a read, she's such a babe and writes brilliantly, you won't be disappointed!

"Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained".
- The Lovely Bones

"Wear" - The Style, Sleepwear & Loungewear
Will, Kate and baby George are currently on the Royal tour, and so far all I've done is swoon over a) what a precious family they are, and b) Kate's impeccable wardrobe. I haven't been able to get out much recently and so the closest I've gotten to putting outfits together is making sets on Polyvore, but that doesn't stop me from scouring the web and creating wishlists as long as my arm. I love how Kate has made it fashionable to dress smartly again, I adore her and think she always looks so lovely - she makes me want to wear skirts like this pale blue Topshop number with crisp white shirts and tan wedges. // As I've been bedbound a fair amount recently, I've had to look to beautiful pyjamas for inspiration instead and recently wrote a post on nightwear which you can read here

"Listen" - The Music
I've been listening to alt-J again, and I can't believe I'd forgotten how bloody good their music is. My driving album of choice back in the day, the entirety of An Awesome Wave is addictive but Bloodflood, Something Good and Breezeblocks are my most-played. 

Just before watching alt-J play at Reading festival, 2012 ∆

"Inspire" - The Quotes
Recently I stumbled across one of my favourite quotes - "a smooth sea never made a skilful sailor" - beautifully designed by Cristina Blanchard. I've felt slightly overwhelmed with my illness as of late, and even thinking about the task of recovering is impossible at times. It helps to remind myself that everyone has struggles, life isn't always plain sailing but each obstacle we overcome helps us to be stronger and wiser.


Meg Says Eat Turns One!

15 April 2014

Today marks an important day... it's Meg Says Eat's first birthday!

Starting my little health Instagram on April 15th 2013 has turned out to be one of the best decisions ever. From humble beginnings as an exercise and clean eating motivation account to get me in shape for summer, MSE has been a constant before, during and after becoming chronically ill with ME and I've loved updating my feed over the past year. If you'd like to read the story of Meg Says Eat, I wrote a blog post here about why I created the page and how MSE's subject changed from fitness to illness in a matter of months.

At present, MSE focuses on being as healthy as possible whilst living with moderately severe ME, and the trials and triumphs that come along with doing so. I aim to post daily, and mainly talk about how I'm trying to improve my condition through a clean diet, as well as how I'm coping with the illness, and lifestyle bits and bobs such as style and beauty. 

I really didn't expect to still be running MSE a year later, but I've met some of the best people who remind me that I'm not alone and encourage me to keep going no matter what. Putting myself out there for the world to see wasn't easy, but I'm a firm believer that if we aren't open and honest about illness then understanding and awareness won't be able to change and grow. It's been a great journey so far, and that's all down to the individuals who leave me the sweetest comments every day. It means the world, I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for the Meg Says Eat family and I wouldn't have continued to post without the constant love and support. I wish I could give you all the hugest hugs!

A million thank you's to everybody who has made Meg Says Eat what it is today - I woke up to 2k followers this morning - thank you! - you inspire me, bring me light on dark days and have given me so much happiness. I couldn't do it without you, and wouldn't want to. 

All my love, and tons of X's and O's...

Current Nightwear Wishlist & Favourites

12 April 2014

I spend the majority of my time in pyjamas and any fellow ME-suffering compadres will hear me loud and clear on this one: comfort is paramount when you're constantly poorly and therefore a nice pair of pjs are a necessity. Since becoming housebound, I've amassed quite the collection and with the exception of my extra good days (we're talking going outside here, people)... 
                   you'll find me in one of the following items

Commencing with the queen of nightwear, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's collaboration with M&S is complete I-want-every-piece perfection. If I had to narrow it down and choose my favourites from Rosie For Autograph, the Luxurious Satin and Pure Silk 'Revere' pyjamas are beautiful, as are the camisole and French short sets (particularly in Oyster, although Mushroom comes close). The teddies (which used to come in a dove grey that I tried to buy on many occasions and my size was always sold out - go figure) are so dainty and cute, and it's a tie for my last most wanted item between the Printed Chiffon in Light Cream and the Silk in Winter White. Let's face it...
RHW could design a bin bag and I'd want it

Rosie For Autograph camisole and French short set
Whilst we're on the topic of beautiful blondes who make us want to buy sleepwear, let's talk Candice Swanepoel for a second. Have pyjamas ever looked so good? Not since Rosie wore 'em, that's for sure. Notable Victoria's Secret pjs include The Sleepover cotton and The Afterhours satin - both in the iconic pink stripe, obviously. Winter pjs sorted, VS also do boxer short versions of their classic pyjamas like The Cotton Mayfair that are nice for warmer months. Last but not least, their sleepshirts are so comfortable and have that whole man's shirt on a woman thing going on, but prettier. 

Clockwise from top left: Victoria's Secret 'The Afterhours' satin pyjamas | Cath Kidston 'Boyfriend' nightshirt | Rosie For Autograph Silk teddy | Hush Silk pyjamas | Victoria's Secret 'The Dreamer' flannel pyjamas | Rosie For Autograph Satin Revere pyjamas
If clean designs and soft, feminine prints are your cup of Earl Grey, Hush will be right up your street. Their branding is spot on and I'm in love with their website alone for its beautiful photography, simplicity and book and music recommendations. Nice touch. They even post Pinterest quotes that'll make you want to curl up in front of the fire with a cup of cocoa - need I say more? I almost can't handle how lovely the Vintage Rose brushed cotton pyjamas are and they're easily my favourite of the bunch, closely followed by the modern and ever so cute Swimmers, summery Coral and timeless Silk
Hush, you're the answer to my pyjama prayers and I L-O-V-E ya. 

 Hush Antique Rose pyjamas 
ASOS is positively (jim)jam-packed - I just couldn't resist a pyjama related pun, forgive me - full of pretty pjs, housing a zillion different brands plus their own collection which also gets the sleepwear stamp of approval.

                                                       Here's the best of the bunch:

There's something understatedly chic about a button-down shirt and drawstring trouser pairing and River Island's Traditional Stripe pyjamas are no exception. Not to be overshadowed, their Paisley and Tiger prints are equally gorgeous in their own right, with honourable mentions going to their sugary sweet Cupcake set and elegant could-I-pull-that-off-as-a-dress CamiI'm a sucker for a floral print and nobody does it better than Cath Kidston. I'm wearing the Camberwell Rose as I type, love my Kentish Rose pair and have the Olympa Rose Henley set and Boyfriend Night Shirt in my ASOS 'Saved Items'. Other items waiting patiently for me to click 'Add To Bag' include the Jack Wills Classic PJ Set, Joules Hepworth Night Shirt and Gossard Flower Rush cami and French knicker short duo. Is it obvious how much I like florals yet? I also have my eye on the Wildfox Up All Night cami set which is entirely appropriate for a sleep disorder sufferer like myself and would be perfect for those awful attacks of sleep reversal. Having exhausted their nightwear section, let's move swiftly onto ASOS themselves and cut to the chase - my personal favourites are the Ditsy Floral teddy and Lace Trim teddy from the Boudoir range, and the entire Woven Floral Print line. I heart them all.

Left: Cath Kidston Kentish Rose pyjama bottoms | Right: Cath Kidston Olympia Rose Henley pyjamas
I'm personally not a fan of bed socks, but have taken the liberty of scouring the web in search of the cutest pairs for those of you are. Take your pick from The White Company or Pure for cashmere, Fat Face is worth a look for nice Fairisle prints and be sure to peruse Joules as their socks are apparently "so fluffy they're famous". If you don't want to break the bank, there's not a doubt in my mind that the ever-affordable Primark will have plenty of cheap, cheerful and cosy socks. However if you do want to break the bank, one of my bestest buddies kindly gave me a pair of Corgi Cashmere/Cotton socks after I'd had a particularly rough time with my illness, they're b-e-a-uuutiful and I highly recommend them if you're looking to splash out in the hosiery department. I'd happily wear any of those all day long, but shudder at the thought of actually sleeping in them... is feet claustrophobia a 'thing'?

The White Company cashmere bed socks
With sleepwear well and truly covered, I'm currently planning a part two on loungewear and also my stay at a pyjama rehabilitation clinic to curb my addiction. The first step is admitting I have a problem... and the second is to stop browsing Selfridges wishing I had £300+ to buy a pair of Olivia Von Halle's Silks.


'Meg Says Eat'

11 April 2014

'Meg Says Eat' (@megsayseat) is my Instagram account that I started in April 2013 as a way of being more active, eating better and improving my general wellbeing. I was still suffering from the serious virus I had in December and hadn't been feeling well since moving back to university after spending Christmas at home, but wasn't yet aware that I had ME and was quite an enthusiastic keen bean about becoming stronger and fitter.  

The primary aim of Meg Says Eat in its early days: to eat better and get fitter
This was around the time that health and fitness 'fitspiration' accounts on Instagram were getting big, and all those motivational quotes and photos of girls with incredible bodies in bikinis gave me the kick I needed to get started. I was feeling run down and unwell, but I thought that leading a healthier lifestyle would boost my energy levels and have me feeling on top of the world. With that in mind, I created 'Meg Says Eat'. 

The Nike Frees I saved my £££ for!
Ever since I was little I've always preferred healthy food and getting my diet as 'clean' as I could came as second nature to me. The fitness side of things wasn't so simple as I'm one of those people who isn't naturally sporty and has to force themselves to work out, but I was determined and exercising got easier with each day. For anyone that's interested, I'd really recommend YouTube workouts whether you've joined a gym or not and I used them all the time. My favourites are the three C's: Cassey at Blogilates, Carly at Carly Rowena and Carlie at Carlie Stylez. A trio of absolute babes! I began frequenting the local organic health shop and eating as cleanly as I could on a student budget, donned sports leggings and grabbed my iPod every morning for an early pre-lecture run and was enjoying updating my little fitness feed now that others had started following me.

However, the energy spurt I was waiting for never came, and it was only a matter of time before the strain I was putting my - little did I know - diseased body under began to take its toll. I have a horrible memory of walking out of my apartment building to go food shopping and losing the use of my legs, and for a terrifying half an hour I sat on a bench unable to get up. I was only about fifteen steps away from being back in my flat, but I was paralysed and couldn't move. It's clear now that I was experiencing 'boom and bust' - a classic feature of ME where overactivity leads to decreased function - to quite a serious extent. By this stage I'd heard of ME and related to the symptoms, but was none the wiser that I actually had it or that I was causing more harm than good by implementing a fitness regime.

Documenting my deteriorating health: one of the many medical tests I underwent to be diagnosed with ME
Fast forward twelve months, and I'm pleased to say that 'Meg Says Eat' is very much alive and well. So much has changed in that relatively small space of time and I feel like my little Instagram account has been a constant throughout being diagnosed with ME, having to leave university and becoming housebound. The main focus of MSE is predominantly on health as I mainly post about clean eating, my illness and everything I'm doing to be more healthy and help myself in any way I can, as well as nutrition and how I'm coping. Other posts include anything that takes my fancy really, from 'Lipstick Tuesdays' with other spoonies and my new favourite products, to the odd selfie, OOTDs and life.

My first 'Lipstick Tuesday' submission
When I started MSE, the 'purpose' if you like was purely to motivate myself to work out more and eat better, gain inspiration for healthy meals and look better. I genuinely thought I would delete my account by the time summer was over, but as you'll know if you've followed me since the beginning, my health began deteriorating and slowly but surely I lost most of my ability to work, exercise and study. I was pretty gung ho about eating well, so I continued posting about wholesome and nourishing food with the odd update on medical tests and the journey towards being diagnosed with ME. 

Becoming visibly disabled with ME
The healthy eating continues
A huge source of positivity for me and one of the few good things that has come from being chronically ill, I'm truly glad that I kept MSE going. The support and love from other sufferers has been utterly overwhelming at times, I'll hold my hands up and say that it makes me a tad emotional when I receive such heartfelt comments from people who genuinely wish for me to get better. 'Meeting' other young people who are in the same position reminds me that I'm not alone, hearing from sufferers who have managed to overcome ME and live normal lives again gives me hope, and it makes my heart smile when people tell me that I've helped them deal with their illness in some way. Before I knew about the 'spoonie community' (read Christine Miserandino's spoon theory here) I didn't realise how much of a helpful support system social media could be - every good day comes with words of encouragement, and every bad day with words of kindness. I'm so happy to be able to say that I've met some amazingly brave and brilliant people through 'Meg Says Eat', and I'd love for you to come and join the IG family that I have nothing but love for, too.


March Favourites

1 April 2014

I'm at an age now where I'm regularly surprised by the date and say things like, "where's the time gone?" and "hasn't the month just flown past?" 1st April 2014 was no different as March - far too quickly for my liking - whizzed by in a blink-and-its-gone fashion. The past four weeks have been more eventful than usual for me due to various appointments in addition to a trip to my university city, meaning I've actually left the house on a few occasions (bliss) and have therefore been able to satisfy all of my product junkie needs. 

Being a cosmetics fanatic who's mostly housebound, getting the rare opportunity to wear makeup again is one that I grab with both hands. I picked up one of the new Revlon ColourBurst Lacquer Balms (7.99) for free - kind of - in the irresistible Boots 3 for 2 offer, which I'm super glad about as it's fast becoming one of my most loved colours after only two wears - some sort of record, surely. Cherry reds are my favourite shade if I'm going for a statement lip, and 'Provocateur' is glossy cerise perfection. (P.S. can we also just address how darling Emma Stone looks in the promos - what a babe).

In the same deal, I purchased an item that I've had my eye on for quite some time - the Real Techniques stippling brush (11.99). I'm strangely excited to have finally added a pink-handled brush into my gold and white collection, and now I can't wait to complete the little quartet with a purple one. If you're a beauty lover too, you'll understand that the thirst is real. An absolute dream for applying pigmented blush or bronzer and cream products, I've been reaching for it whenever I've needed some perking up in the complexion department, which - hi, fatigue related chronic illness - is every day.

Whilst we're on the topic, let's talk about the products that've been gracing my cheeks for the past four weeks: 1) the discontinued (why oh why?MAC Sheertone Blush in 'Pink Swoon' (£18) - my go-to everyday blush for its bright but light petal pop of colour, and 2) Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in 'Lush Nectarine' (£20.50) - a beautiful shade that I was first introduced to by Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup who used to talk about this constantly back in the day, and with good reason. One pink and matte, one peach and sheeny. Spring cheeks = done

Apologies for the stock photos - I'll get a camera soon!
Moving swiftly onto skincare, the Origins Make A Difference Plus+ rejuvenating moisturiser (£34) has been a stand-out item for me in March as I've used it twice a day every day, and have no complaints. I'm out of night cream at the moment (and on the hunt for a new pot - I've got my eyes on the thisworks No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture (£46), but recommendations are welcome) and all of my skincare hopes, ergo, have been pinned onto this gem of a cream to perform in both my morning and evening routines. To its credit, it has well and truly stepped up to the plate - it needs two drops of Pai's Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil (£20) to bump up the moisture levels in the PM, but for the AM it's perfect by itself and I for one am impressed.

As for my body, I've needed to pull out the big guns to combat my lacklustre limbs - enter The Body Shop and a product that every female I know has knocking around in their bathroom: their coconut body butter (£13). I feel like I've had a tub of this stuff in various scents since the age of about thirteen, anyone else? Smells heavenly, and well, it just works. A true essential that I'll never be without.

My sleep, as per usual, was pretty terrible this month and I didn't spend nearly enough time in the land of nod. However, the few hours that I did get were aided by the thisworks Sleep Balm (£12) - a natural little number that packs a lavender punch. An absolute dream to work into pulse points, I feel the scent sends a much-needed "it's time to sleep" memo to my poor foggy brain and allows me to wind down in peace. My insomnia hasn't been cured - wishful thinking - but it certainly comes to my rescue in times of snooze-deprived need and is a nice addition to my deep breathing exercises.

Venturing past my front door on a number of occasions in March meant that I was able to wear perfume again, and for me it has to be the one and only Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (£68). It won't make you disappear in a puff of sparkles à la Keira Knightley in the new advert, but it does smell pretty darn beautiful. You know when you've worn a perfume for so long that it becomes your signature scent and people say "it smells of you"? Coco's mine.

All that I've been sporting on my nails has been Essie To Buy Or Not To Buy (£7.99), a shimmering light lavender that feels very Spring-appropriate. It falls into the 'bad Essie' camp, but with a steady hand and three coats it soon errs on the 'good Essie' side. It's a pretty, easy and wearable shade that I predict I'll wear the heck out of over the next few months.

What products did you love in March?