Sunday, 16 October 2016

I'm coming back to work, I've missed you! ...

This year has flown by so far.

I always seem to say that but this year has flown by faster than ever before and I know that the main reason for that (for me at least!) is due to the fact I found out we were expecting baby Jones mid way through January of this year.

It was a MASSIVE shock for us! The word shock has now been substituted for "Surprise" as baby Alfie Jones is now almost 2 months old and in typical mummy fashion I really can't remember what life was like before he arrived :)

I had my plan in place regarding work / Aspire Hair ....

  1. Carry on working through the morning sickness (I was so lucky that I never got sick!)
  2. Carry on working up until the "bitter end" - IE, until my waters break or my contractions become so painful Mr Gary Jones and my staff are required to carry me out of the shop as I can no longer work.
  3. Have the baby and get right back to work after a week or at a push two
  4. Be super women / mummy

Oh gosh how unrealistic I was!

I blame that on not being pregnant / giving birth for 8 years and I had totally forgot (blocked out??) what going through labour and birth is REALLY like.

I believe it's definitely one of the most, if not the most, difficult things a women will ever do in her life! It's physically, emotionally and mentally hard.

So here I am, almost 7 weeks after giving birth and I am finally starting to feel like a human being again. Not 100% but I'm getting there.

I have been blessed with what I can only describe as the most relaxed, chilled and easy baby I have ever known. I didn't even think babies like Alfie could exist! He hardly ever cries and he sleeps through the night most nights already. Maybe he took one look at me after he was born and thought 'OK, so maybe I should cut mum a little slack. She looks a big old mess!'.

I love being a mum again even though I had convinced myself that I wasn't going to have any more kids. I love feeding him, cuddling him and (on the odd occasion that he does give us a little cry) I feel excited for an excuse to pick him up and rock him back to being settled.

I can't believe how much has changed in the baby world in the 8 years since I had my Daughter, Mya. The amount of products and devices you can buy that make life that little bit easier is crazy and I will be forever grateful to my Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine. Money VERY well spent there I'd say :D

OK - so I'm babbling on now with my baby talk and steering away from the main purpose of this post which is that I am returning to work running consultations part time from November 1st. Our lovely Georgia will still be running her consultations along side me and the shop will be open full time as usual.

I'm looking forward to getting back into a work routine as I had a niggling worry that I maybe wouldn't have the time or energy to give it 110% like I did before Alfie was born but I needn't have worried.

Aspire Hair is not a fad or faze to me. It's a big part of who I am. We go hand in hand now.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The emotional side of hair loss (and how little support we get) ...

OK, a serious one for you today lovely,

Hair loss can and does effect everyone in different ways but if there is one thing that I've learned in my 22 years of living with hair loss and my 7 years of running Aspire Hair it is this ...

No matter how it effects an individual it does have SOME kind of effect and not just in the obvious physical way. It effects a person emotionally and that my lovely lady is a fact.

Another fact (and a pretty sad one at best) is that so many women experiencing medical hair loss take themselves off to their GP's looking for help and advice and, sadly, they leave with neither. The emotional side of hair loss seems to be swept to one side and many of us then go on to beat ourselves up about things.

I realised very quickly that my job at Aspire Hair was going to be so much more than simply "selling wigs" to women that needed alternative hair.

I didn't want a job that was purely down to selling anyway. I'm not a trained saleswomen and when Aspire Hair was created I had no background experience in sales but what I did have a wealth of experience in was wigs and wearing them.

I also had a good many years of experience with actually living with hair loss and living on a day to day basis with the feelings and emotions that came along with having alopecia.

The bottom line was that I wanted to help people if I could and help them feel confident again. Help them to feel more like themselves again.

As luck would have it this little introvert that I am through and through had always had a bit of a nack when it came to listening to people and empathising with how they felt.

I can't even tell you how many times complete strangers have started randomly chatting away to me when I'm out and about doing my daily things and 20 minutes later they'd still be chatting away about things that are happening in their lives and thanking me for the chat.

" Well it's been wonderful talking with you and thanks so much for the advice!"

This always left me a little bemused because during almost all of the conversation I had usually said (and done) very little!.

I'd have said the ocasional "ah" and nodded my head in a sympathetic manner, offered a kind smile and (on the odd occasion) even a re-assuring shoulder squeeze but that was it.

I very rarely actually had given any advice!

I'm an introvert remember?

I'm quiet. I'm the girl seen walking with my eyes to the floor. Not because I'm rude. Not because I'm scared but just because ..... well, I'm me and that's me being me.

Never-the-less it was lovely to watch people walk away smiling.

During consultations at Aspire Hair we do a lot of chatting whilst trying on alternative hair and styling. It's almost like therapy and the difference now is that I feel qualified to give advice when it comes to wigs after all the years of wearing and craing for them. I understand those feelings so very well and can relate. I realised by accident that my purpose is to help others in the same situation I was in all those years ago.

It's just such a shame that some kind of emotional support Isn't always offered right at that first GP visit as I'm sure it would save a lot of heartache and anxiety for women with hair loss in the long run.

What was your experience at your Dr's like when you first started losing your hair?

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Well That Was Unexpected!

I haven't blogged in  ages.

I have a good excuse though I promise you! Let me start at the beginning ....

I started the new year full of all the usual motivation and enthusiasm that is not unusual for the start of a brand shiny new year. I was going to work super hard, blog at least once a week, really get to grips with Instagram (I admit, I struggle) and i was going to FINALLY lose that excess weight I'd been carrying around with me since I had my daughter (my baby weight) granted I gave birth to her over 8 YEARS AGO NOW!!

I was motivated. I was focused. I was gonna do all that and more. Just watch me!

Well I have to say I got off to an amazing start - really I did. I joined Slimming World and lost almost a stone in weight by the end of January and I was working hard, still motivated and busier than ever.

Happy days!

One day nearing the end of January I started to feel a bit sick and had some tummy cramps. Convinced I had a water infection I decided that as soon as I'd got the weekend out of the way I would go see my doctor and get some medication. I cracked open a cart of cranberry juice and promised myself I wouldn't drink wine that weekend.

At this point my Mr Gary Jones was looking all concerned and thoughtful. He nipped to our local store and when he returned he handed me a £5 twin pack pregnancy test!!

Was he kidding me?

I'd had 2 kids and I knew that pregnancy always made me ridicuously sick. I had HG with my first for crying out loud and I think I knew my body well enough to know a water infection from being pregnant right?

Well ..... 4 pregnany tests later (I just didnt trust that value twin pack so decided to upgrade to another 2 pregnany tests that were digital) it was confirmed. I was pregnant. Holy crap!

 Total surprise. I was in shock mixed with a good deal of denial for a week.

The funny thing was I'd managed to lose a stone in weight (my baby weight from my daughter 8 years ago remember?) during my first 2 months of pregnancy and I never realised I was even pregnant.

I'm now 24 weeks along and very VERY excited to meet out little man!

I hadn't planned on more children but this pregnancy has made me realise that everything happens for a reason and that I am truely blessed.

And guess what!?

I havent been sick once and hardly even felt sick. So far I am blessed with a very easy pregnancy apart from the usual aches and pains that pregnancy presents.

And that stone I lost during January. I still havent put it back on yet so I still weigh less than I did in November before I fell preggers :D

It's business as usual in case anyone is worried and My wonderful assistant Georgia is going to hold the fort in the shop whilst I take a few weeks maternity leave when the time comes :)

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

To the Husband of the Wife with Alopecia ...

It’s tough right?

Being a husband. 

Having a wife. 

Being married.

I get ‘ya Mr Husband man! 

It’s hard work having to be so ‘grown up’ 

Marriage / partnership is not always plain sailing and, as a women myself, I admit that sometimes we can be a little difficult to live with. 

Yes we have mood swings and we can often be found laying down with green gunk on our faces and cucumber slices over our eyes listening to Buddhist temple music through the iPod buy hey! ...  That’s part of our charm right? 

The way we take such pride in the way we look, take care of our bodies with exercise and watch what we eat so we can look and feel as great as possible. 

What you may be surprised to hear is that we do all this for one person and one person only.

We do it FOR US. 

Yes of course we want to look good for you (my little snuggle muffin man) but in all honesty how good we feel about ourselves has a direct impact on how you as our husband / boyfriend / partner actually feel about yourself too. 

When your Wife loses her hair to alopecia trust me when I tell you she’s going through the poop pot of time and space and NOTHING you can do can make all those feelings go away for her. 

It’s hard for you. I know it is. 

No one wants to see the love of their life crumble emotionally this way before their very eyes but believe me when I tell you that you can’t fix this. 

At least not in the way you may think …

Words of advice

Don't Patronise her  - I know you really don’t mean to (you’re only trying to help, comfort and soothe her desperately broken heart and spirit) but please for the love of all that is holy and great in this Universe ever speak the following ‘ words of wisdom’ to her (I’m really hoping you’re sensing my tone here ..)

“It’s only hair sweetheart you should look on the bright side. At least you have your health!” 

If you EVER even so much as mutter these words to your Wife who’s hair is rapidly shedding and falling around her feet as I type this then I can pretty much guarantee you it will not be well received. 

Let me tell you how your Wife will translate this into her own words. It will go a little something like this … 

“ I shouldn’t feel upset about losing my hair when other women out there are going through so much worse (Cancer) and I’m a terrible person for even feeling the teeniest bit sorry for myself. I’m going to hell for sure …” 

Now, I don’t want you to feel bad Mr Husband man but please, don’t say that to your wife. I know you’re only trying to help but the end result of the above statement will only ever be one of total despair as far as your wife is concerned. 
Understand that she feels like she’s losing herself - The best description I’ve ever heard when it comes to a women losing their hair to alopecia is that you feel like you’re slowly but surely losing a massive chunk of your identity and femininity. 

You know that cute little hair flick thing she did every 30 seconds when you went out on that very first date with her all those years ago? 

Remember how you always loved running your hands through her hair when you embraced (she loved that as well by the way ..) 

Consider the thing that most scares you in this whole wide world and then throw in the word “Wig” and times that my a hundred (at least)  - Wigs are still surrounded by so much negative stigma that it’s easy to understand why your wife is freaked out by the mere mention of the “W” word. 

The truth is that in this day and age a wig or “alternative hair” as I personally prefer, doe’s not have to be at all obvious.

Don’t downplay depression  - Depression is NOT as simple as feeling a little down, deflated or defeated. 

Depression is a dangerous little bastard who will stop at nothing when it comes to trying to ruin your day, your life, your relationships and the way you experience joy and happiness.

Depression changes the way you see things in both a rhetorical and actual way. 

When you look at your wife and see a stunning goodness of beautiful with a heart and soul stronger than (insert fave goddess name) herself I can pretty much promise you that this is a thousand miles away from what your wife sees when she looks in the mirror. 

Your wife sees a broken women, unattractive and masculine. 

Never under estimate depression, not for a second. 

Can you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 18 January 2016

{GUEST BLOG POST} - Do you want your synthetic hair to last LONGER?

I suffer with androgenic alopecia and I have been wearing synthetic wigs for 4 years now and have a few tips on making them last longer.

I buy two wigs a year and have been wearing Codi by Rene Of Paris since the start. I find this style suits me and I love how convenient it is!

I usually stick to similar colours so when it's time to wear a new wig I tend to wear it just for work or going out and when I get home I take it off and put on an older 'conditioned' wig.

It takes just a few seconds but means the new wig is not on all day so doesn't need washing as much and of course it lasts longer.

How I wash my wigs: 

I have recently discovered a new product from Lush called Fun.

 It's perfect for my wigs and it makes them incredibly soft and smelling gorgeous for ages. The wig I'm wearing in the pic is 6 months old and was washed 6 days ago.

It still smells great despite me wearing my hair everyday and it is still very soft.

Please see the photo opposite with a step by step guide of how I use the Lush 'Fun' product to wash my hair.

I brush my wigs with a Tangle Teaser before washing and when my wig is fully dry.

Thanks for reading!