Merry Everything and A Happy Always

30 December 2015

Seeing as around this time in 2014 I wrote a post entitled 'Had A Holly, Jolly Christmas' and felt it summed up the festive period rather nicely, I thought I'd follow suit again this year and have a little chat with you. How was your Christmas? I hope it was a really lovely one! Ours, as always, was very family-centric - lots of board games, port and cheese, quality time spent together enjoying each other's company whilst the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special plays in the background - you know the drill. It's my absolute favourite time of year and once again I'm sad to see it pass quickly, but I'm so excited for 2016 that I don't mind waving goodbye to the Michael Bublé Christmas album for another eleven months. Yep, eleven, because you'd better believe that I crack that little chestnut out in early November.

Christmas seems to have passed extra quickly this year because of Vlogmas, which is where you vlog up until the 25th, and honestly all of the strength that I could possibly muster has been spent on that - its been a whirlwind of fun and I'm really grateful to everyone who spent the month of December with me and my loved ones. The playlist is here if you didn't catch it, and a big thank you to all of you who welcomed me sharing my life more intimately with you with open arms and a whole lot of kindness. As always, it's very much appreciated and I couldn't be happier or luckier to have the audience that I do!

My body has well and truly called a 'time out' after the strain I've been putting it under so New Year's Eve is looking like it'll be a quiet one - does anyone else still not have any plans even though it's tomorrow? If so, high five for making me feel better about that! I get really into New Year's and although I'm not quite at the 'new year, new me' stage I do really love making plans and resolutions, as to me a new year truly feels like a 'clean slate'. Now that we're all grown up and my lovely group of friends are living in different parts of the country I've been spending my energy on seeing them whenever possible rather than creating videos, and as a result I feel super behind with all of the festive content - I'd planned a New Year's makeup look, 'What I Got For Christmas' and 'Best Bits of 2015' videos amongst many others (my December Favourites hasn't even been filmed yet!) but again, I've got such an understanding audience that I know you all 'get it' when I just simply don't have the good health to do it all. Thanks again for that pals, very fortunate to have you.

So, how are we all feeling about 2016? I've got this inkling that it's going to be a great one - 2015 was glorious in so many ways and things really are looking up. If you're making any resolutions do let me know, because as I mentioned I'm big on working hard to improve your life in small or large ways so I'm always keen to hear about how others are planning on doing that, and I truly hope 2016 is as wonderful as you are!

Thank you for all of your support this year, YouTube has been my biggest highlight of 2015 by a mile (I rambled on about how much it means to me here) and it really has been a pleasure. Cheers, everyone - here's to a merry everything and a happy always!

What Having M.E. Is Really Like

19 December 2015

When a problem arises, I try my best to find a solution for it. Recently, I've had concerns that people who follow me will assume that the snippets of my days - and I mean snippets, sometimes it's ten minutes out of three weeks - represent what it's like to live with M.E (myalgic encephalomyelitis). It definitely doesn't in the slightest, so it's a scary thought as I've always tried my best to raise awareness for this illness and the last thing I'd want to do is cause confusion about how it affects those who have it inadvertently through my hobby.

The best way I could think of to solve this problem was to call on the aid of my fellow sufferers to help explain what it's really like to live with M.E, and I hope this paints a better picture than a smiley girl who enjoys sharing the positive parts of her life on YouTube. And a better picture than the one the media sometimes paints for sufferers, might I add - this is it straight from the mouths of the people who know M.E better than anyone.

M.E physically feels like:
 you're engulfed in a constant state of absolute exhaustion and pain that never eases
 your body is 'running on empty' and there's no way of filling your tank back up
 your head is too heavy to hold up and everything hurts, even your hair
 you are dying, and that at any moment you could breathe your last breath
 you're treading through treacle, every day
 you're carrying a baby elephant on your back
 a constant barrage of symptoms leaving you bedbound for twenty hours a day, often in a dark and silent room with little to no human contact
 living in the body of an ill 85-year-old, even at age 15
 every tiny tasks takes a mammoth amount of effort, as your limbs feel like they've been filled with concrete and you don't have the strength to lift them
 your body is screaming as you push it from bed to bathroom, like its the last half mile summiting a 10,000ft mountain
 you have weights all over your body, then someone has beaten you with a bat
 relentless agony
 you've run a marathon whilst jetlagged, hungover and with the flu - every single day
 your body is a faulty phone battery that's always about to die, and you have no charger
 you're completely drained of all energy and 'life'

M.E is like:

 running a race you cannot even begin to keep up in, watching others run by whilst you struggle to reach the finish line - all whilst being judged as able to run a marathon
 being the hare trapped in the tortoises' body
 only being able to achieve a fraction of what you want to
 having a different "normal", because everything is heavier and every task more difficult
 having the carpet pulled out from underneath you, taking your freedom with it
 trying twice as hard as everybody else to achieve only half as much
 living behind a glass wall, watching everyone else have fun whilst you're stuck at home
 life has been put 'on hold', it's paused and you're experiencing each day in slow motion
 everyone else is running on paved roads and you're struggling through waist-deep water
● not being able to post your 'good days' or special moments on social media as you're scared people will assume you're 'not that ill' and judge you
struggling to walk whilst counting every step and working out how long it'll be until you can sit down, when you used to be an active and 'carefree' person
 being stuck at the bottom of a well, you can hear life going on above and every so often the light from the sun will hit your face - but then it's gone again and you're still stuck
 having to pick between what you want to do and what you have to do, with the consequences of pain and suffering either way
● wanting nothing more than to be well and have your life back then being told by family/friends/doctors that you're 'lazy' or that it's 'all in your head'
● being utterly weighed down - with pain, fatigue, sadness and stress

M.E mentally feels like:
 you're a prisoner in your own body with no release date for a crime you didn't commit
 you are never taken seriously
 you're a shell of your former self with zero social life
 you're separate from the 'real world'
 you should be ashamed, as because your illness isn't widely known society looks at you like a 'nothing' person with a 'not real' illness
 you're trapped in a body that has betrayed you
 you're constantly frustrated with your body and brain for 'letting you down'
 you are simply 'existing' rather than living
 you're living in a 'poorly bubble', watching the world keep turning but you can't keep up
 you are useless, especially as a mum - it hurts
 you're misunderstood at every turn but everyone thinks they know how you feel
 you've been buried alive, and nobody comes to your rescue
 your goals, dreams and desires have been killed
 you're becoming less 'yourself' and more an 'ill person'
 you're haunted of how poorly you've been in the past and what could happen in the future
 you're a burden to your loved ones
 you're wasting time, because life is passing you by and you're too ill to live it
 you're guilty for not being healthy enough to have a job or see friends, when you know it's not your fault

For many this is the reality of living with M.E. It's important to note that the scale of severity varies hugely, so the ability level of someone with mild M.E is very different to that of someone with severe M.E - and symptoms fluctuate in every sufferer, so it's possible for someone to experience days like this one as well as days where they're physically more 'able'. M.E is also an invisible illness/disability, so the appearance of a sufferer doesn't always show the symptoms they're experiencing (you can read more about those here or here).

I'd like to say a few words about M.E sufferers, because they're some of the best people I know. Reading this post you'd think that we're all on the brink of giving up, and whilst I'm sure we all have our days, every M.E sufferer I know is filled with love - they're brave, grateful, determined and positive souls who never lose hope. They're university graduates, parents, business owners, disability advocates - hardworking, decent people who raise funds for biomedical research so that a cure for ME can be found, help others whenever they can and teach us all a thing or two about looking for the silver linings.

More information as well as support can be found at the ME Association and Action For ME, and many find friends in fellow sufferers through the #mecfs hashtag on social media. If you have any links you'd like to share or websites you've found useful et cetera, please feel free to share those in the comments to help others.

Thank you for every single one of you who contributed towards this post, we are making a difference and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And thank you to you, reading this post right now, it means a great deal!

YouTube | Twitter | Instagram - Beauty | Instagram - Health | BlogLovin' | Google+

Depression & Suicide: You Are Not Alone

11 December 2015

A couple of months ago something came to my attention via a hard-hitting documentary on BBC Three called Professor Green: Suicide and Me, and I'd strongly urge you to watch it. I never knew that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in Britain, and that was only one of many shocking facts that came to light and left me crushed. A few weeks later on International Men's Day, I noticed that the hashtag #BiggerIssues was trending on Twitter - statistics were being shared like '41% of men who contemplated suicide felt they couldn't talk about their feelings', and it reminded me of how affected I'd been by Suicide and Me. I wanted to help, but again I wasn't yet sure how I could.

Then, my friend Harry got in touch. His message explained that he'd seen how people with M.E had been helped by me talking about my illness, and he wanted to do the same for others suffering with depression. I can't tell you how brave and selfless I think this is, and in the same way that I applauded Professor Green for being so resolute in his bid to bring awareness to the fact that men struggling to talk about their emotions can end in devastation, I'm applauding Harry. It's something we don't talk about enough, clearly, and I'm really proud of Harry for helping to end the stigma. Here he is to tell you his story.


I'm a typical boy in that I don't like talking about my feelings, but I'll do my best and just try to be straightforward. I tried to kill myself again last Friday. I won't go into details why here, but I had a broken bottle and walked onto the beach and cut long ways down my arm. A few friends found me and got the police and they took me to the hospital. I got blood all over my jeans and shirt. If I think completely selfishly, I wish I had killed myself. But I can't think like that, because I have to believe there's a little bit of good left in me, a bit of selflessness that doesn't want my friend to have wasted her time sitting with me in A&E for hours until a doctor could see me. I got a glimpse of what it would do to my family if I had bled out like I intended. I was drunk and on my own. At one point I asked one of the police officers who picked me up why they wouldn't just let me die, and they told me they'd probably lose their jobs if they did that. That probably sounds a little cold, but I wrote this for Meg's blog to try to show other people who maybe have been through something like this, are going through something like this, or know someone who is, to show them that it is in no one's interest that you kill yourself. Even though the words of that police officer might seem cold, it shows that even when there's no reason to care, people still will look after you. You might feel isolated and alone, but the only thing you are isolated in is wishing harm on yourself. No one wants you to die. Someone is always ready to talk to you if that is what you need. Someone loves you and cares about you. I love you if you need me to, and I'll listen to you if you need me to. There are good people in this world. Maybe if I help people like me, I won't want to kill myself anymore. Maybe I'll always want to kill myself. It feels like that some days. Some days you don't want to get out of bed, and I'll be honest, I probably wouldn't if it wasn't for my family nearly dragging me out sometimes. I normally don't write this poorly, so I'll finish with some words from someone who is endlessly more eloquent than me, and has done his best to help people like us.

“I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather.

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It’s real.
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.


It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.”

- Stephen Fry

I'm going to leave an email address at the bottom of this post that people can contact me personally if they have any questions, and I'll do my best to respond to anything I get sent. I just want to say thanks to Meg for letting me do a guest post here, even if it is scatter brained and poorly written, and to anyone reading this who feels similarly to me, it's worth it, stay alive, even if it's just for me.


Thank you so much to Harry for this, and for reminding us all that we're never alone and that somebody cares. He's also been kind enough to create an email for you to contact him on, which is - and here's The Samaritans and Suicide Watch.

Staying Positive with Chronic Illness

10 December 2015

Where many other bloggers may be most frequently asked "which lipstick are you wearing?", I'm asked "how do you stay positive with your chronic illness?" It's a question that I get on a daily basis and it's not always an easy one to answer, but you know what - I’m going to give it my best shot!

In my classic ‘Meg Says...’ format, I'm going to offer some adjectives and explain how they've helped me to cope and keep a smile on my face in the face of chronic illness - and I really hope that they'll help you, too.

what's happened
If, like me, you can remember a time when life was 'normal' and you didn't have to think about hospitals or pacing or medication, it feels extremely strange to go from being an active person to a disabled person. That moment for me was when I became too unwell to stay at university and had to go on medical leave from my degree; it seemed like one moment I was living in a city far away from home with new people, studying and enjoying youth and then the next I was trapped in a body that didn't function properly, unable to even sit up in bed. It took a long time to be able to accept that, but eventually I did - and anger at what had happened to me became one less thing I had to worry about. With ME, the more you 'push' the more you'll suffer and it's an illness that absolutely needs to be fought mentally not physically - and the sooner I realised that, the better. Accepting your diagnosis isn’t always the easiest of things however, so if you're not ready to accept just yet...

to your limitations
Adjusting is one of the best things you can do, for both your body and your mind. Personally, it was the realisation that I wasn't defined by what I could no longer do that truly helped me. It meant that I was looking forwards instead of backwards - I quit pining after what I used to be able to do and focused on what I could do at present. I stopped thinking "I'm not doing my degree, I'm useless" or "I've had to move back home, I've lost my independence" and started thinking "I can now read a few lines of a book per day" and eventually "I just washed my hair by myself for the first time in forever". Things weren't the way they used to be and I would wish for the 'old days' before Meg became MEg - see what I did there, hey! - but it only made me feel worse, and adjusting to my body's new needs helped to counteract that loss.

progress, even the tiniest of baby steps
I say "baby steps" because that's often what progress means with chronic illnesses, it's a long and slow journey that would be a cha-cha if it were a dance thanks to all of the steps backwards and then forwards that you'll take along the way. One tip is to celebrate those tiny improvements - and I genuinely mean with a candle in a cupcake if that's your thing - as we're not miraculously going to wake up one day magically 'cured', but you made yourself a cup of tea on your own for the first time in a year? Heck yes! Celebrate it. You couldn't do that at one point, and now you can. My friend Hayley (from Hayley-Eszti) and I go crazy with the party emojis every time one of us manages to leave the house, and my grandparents send "we heard you managed to sleep for a full night!" cards. I know how it feels to be completely up to your eyeballs in frustration at the fact that you could do these things aged eight, but it does nothing for your positivity levels to constantly beat yourself up that you can't do something. It's not your fault, and you deserve to happily punch the air every time you sip a cuppa that was made for you, by you. It's progress, and every little helps!

thankfulness and gratitude
It's easy to slip into a 'what have I got to be grateful for?' mindset. I've been there and it sucks. I don't want to call it a 'pity party' as that seems a little insensitive, you've got a chronic illness and you have every right to be completely distraught about that. It's not a minor problem that'll go away if you think enough positive thoughts or something that'll 'blow over'. Although we chronically ill folk can't shout our appreciation for our glowing health from the rooftops, however, what we can do is acknowledge our appreciation for the good things in life that we still have. It could be something big like "I'm ill but my family are amazingly supportive" or "I'm ill but I've still got a roof over my head and food to eat" or something smaller but whatever it is, know that you're still lucky in other aspects of your life. I'm not a big fan of the whole 'it could be worse' thing that people like to tell you a lot, but it doesn't hurt to count your blessings and be thankful for what you've got.

the bad moments
I think this is an important one. As we talked about in the introduction, people ask me all the time how I stay so positive and I might be having one of my worst days when they poise that question - I might be in anguish behind the computer screen and in hot, frustrated tears that life is like this and that there's not a whole lot I can do about it. Everyone has 'em and it's impossible for anyone to smile 100% of the time, so just know that you're normal if you have those low points where you hate your illness and you're angry at the world that it happened to you. It's an infrequent occurrence for me, which I'm really thankful for, but when it happens I just like to embrace it and indulge in it, almost. There's not much anyone can say to make me feel better - and sometimes you don't even want to feel better - so I just tuck myself in, stick something good on Netflix, grab some chocolate and feel awful. It's what I need and I always feel relieved after.

hopeful and optimistic
Not as simple as it sounds and a lot easier said than done but when all else is lost, hope remains. You never expect something like chronic illness to happen to you, and when it does you’re left with nothing but answers about the future. Often those are unanswerable questions, so instead maybe we should simply look at our future with hope. I think it’s really important to bear in mind how you far you’ve come and also, what you’ve overcome. Take your age and tell yourself, “you know what? In [insert age here] years and so far, there hasn’t been anything that I haven’t overcome”. It’s simple but powerful - you’re still here, whatever has happened to you hasn’t beaten you and you’ve always gotten back up after you’ve fallen, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. Keep going, as you always have. It might be really, really hard but... you got this.

One Wonderful Year

6 December 2015

For me YouTube was a never just a website - it was a world. I'd get off the school bus and do that half-shuffle half-jog thing that people do when they're in a hurry but don't want to run in public, just so that I could get through the front door a minute earlier and start catching up on all of the shiny new videos in my subscription box. That was around eight years ago now, and ever since I discovered YouTube my fascination has bloomed without any sign of stopping. For almost a decade I've consumed video after video, hundreds of hours of footage created by people I grew to know and love, almost as friends because I felt like I knew them so well. I enjoyed what they did so much that I wanted to do it too, but for various reasons like shyness and illness it seemed ever so slightly out of my reach.

On this exact day one year ago I sat down, very apprehensively, and said hello to a camera. Little did I know, hey?

Uploading that first video and taking Meg Says from typed words to spoken words turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. Honestly, YouTube has surpassed every expectation I ever had; if I thought it'd feel good to have 100 subscribers, it felt extraordinary. If I thought it'd be nice to have people say that they enjoy my videos, it felt indescribable. If I thought I’d be happy to share my life with those who appreciate seeing it, I felt over the moon. So far, its been the most rewarding and truly enjoyable experience and I genuinely couldn't be happier or more grateful to be doing it.

'Do what you love' is a phrase I see often on social media and it's wonderful to be able to think, 'I am'. We're getting really soppy here I know, but if I could travel back in time and tell 14-year-old Meg that one day she'd be making videos weekly for the most lovely audience, she would've 100% been the most pleased and impossibly excited young lady on the planet. I don't throw the word 'dream' around lightly, so to say that YouTube has been my dream means a lot to me and the fact that I'm doing it - ahhh, I'm really DOING it! - means even more.

The most important thing to say here is thank you. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to watch my videos, to leave me such positive, heartfelt comments and for being so compassionate about my life and what I battle daily. I couldn't have asked for a more compassionate, thoughtful, intelligent and kindhearted group of people and I'm ever so proud to call you my audience. Looking back to blog posts I wrote last year like this one make me feel so emotional as you really have helped make my wish come true. You all inspire me and you know what, I think we bring out the best in each other!

Thank you once more. I filmed a special 'first YouTube birthday' video here if you'd like to see it!

YouTube | Twitter | Instagram - Beauty | Instagram - Health | BlogLovin' | Google+

The Perfect Autumn/Winter Bag

5 December 2015

Whilst at other times of the year I'm all about the big 'yep, I've got the kitchen sink in here too' handbag that ensures your preparedness for any situation you may happen upon, in the colder months I opt for a smaller, niftier version of my usual Zara City - and you know what? I think I might've found the most perfect autumn/winter bag that's roomy enough to fit all of your essentials but also feels neat when you're wearing nine layers (with a hefty coat on top for good measure, of course).

It comes in the form of the Frances Lock Croc Bag by Kurt Geiger and it's the most beautiful deep wine, I'm completely in love with the colour and I'm yet to find an outfit in my AW wardrobe that it doesn't compliment. Thanks to its structured shape and sturdy handles it's both sophisticated and practical, and I can confirm that its two compartments hold a lot of items so we can stay organised without the bulk, hooray! I haven't used another bag since I nabbed it in the sale (£39, say what?!) and think it's such a gorgeous, well-made piece that I'm sure will be a trusty friend to me for years.

If you'd like to see everything I lug around in this baby, I recently uploaded my first What's In My Bag video here - just call me Meggy Poppins!