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Budapest Diaries: Buda Castle, Szimpla Kert and staying up 24 hours

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Hello everyone!
(I wish I could say I knew 'Hello' in Hungarian but sadly, I don't)
A few weeks ago I hit the 3 month post-op period and it was time for me to get back travelling! My best friend Ella and I like to plan trips around our birthdays, last year we went to Barcelona and Stockholm so this year I picked Budapest. Budapest is in Hungary which is a country I know very little about but after seeing the beer bikes on Jack Whitehall's 'Travels with my father', hearing rave reviews from friends and of course loving George Ezra's song, I decided it was where I wanted to go.

After a surprisingly short flight and not much sleep, we got to Budapest around 2pm and checked into our hostel. We stayed in 'The Hive Party Hostel' which if you're like us two and love a good night out, then I would highly recommend staying there! But if you actually want to sleep at reasonable times and get up early then I'd suggest somewhere else.
 It was pretty basic but it was cheap, we paid £90 each for 3 nights and got our own private room, bathroom and the location of the hostel was perfect.

We spent the afternoon getting our bearings and wandering over to the Buda side to see Buda Castle and Fishermans Bastion. As we hadn't done much research on Budapest, I was half expecting to have to pay when we got to these monuments but nope, you could walk just about anywhere and it cost nothing! Buda castle was pretty impressive, the grounds we walked round were so beautiful and I was 100% living out my Princess fantasy in my head. Something so small but something that made my day was the fact they had escalators and lifts so you didn't have to do the steep walk up to the castle. I'd say we walked half and got the escalator half but still, I'm on my holidays I'm allowed to be lazy!

Fishermans Bastion was so impressive, through the archways you could see the whole Pest side and it seemed to go on forever. The architecture around Buda Castle and Fishermans Bastion was so breath-taking, it reminded me of buildings described in all the gothic literature I studied at college so I was just imagining Dracula popping out to say Hi. 
One of my favourite things to do is to just wander around and thats exactly what we did, we crossed Chain bridge getting back into the Pest side and found a lovely restaurant to eat at having the classic Hungarian food of Pizza (oops).

That night we hopped around the city and it was so so fun.
We started at the ruin bar called Szimpla Kert and I've never been to anywhere like that before, it was so cool! I'd describe it as a big alleyway filled with bars, beer and a lot of buzzing people! We ended up watching some live music which was pretty good and trying to be chatted up by many 40+ year old men, this we came to accept as a common thing as it's such a huge place for Stag do's, you've just got to role with it!
After there we headed to a club called Instant which was AMAZING!!
I always go on about Razzmatazz in Barcelona being my favourite club ever but Instant was certainly up there. We didn't have to pay entry, drinks were cheap and they had 8 bars in the club all playing different kinds of music!
I've been on a fair few nights out in my time and this was definitely up there.
 It got to about 3am and we decided...
'We've been up since 5am yesterday, lets go sleep'
but we weren't staying at any normal hostel, it was 'The Hive Party Hostel' and what we didn't realise was that there was a club on the bottom floor of the hostel which stayed open till 6am every night!
So of course we went and got another drink, carried on dancing and didn't get to bed till 5:30 am.
A full 24 hours done!

Lucy Jane



Happy, healthy and having the time of my life!!

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

So I've been wanting to write a blog post for the past three months but didn't really know where to start. There's been so much going on and I'm only just about getting my head around it all. Life went from hospitals and doctors, to taking it easy in recovery, to living my absolute best life and not looking back! There's so much I want to talk about, so much that I want to do but I'm just going to start by sharing some moments over the past three months of the new and improved Lucy Jane...

1. Creating the Bag Ladies

If you don't know, the reason I've become the new and improved Lucy Jane is because in February 2019 I had my colon removed and I now live my life with an ileostomy bag. Throughout my journey with Ulcerative Colitis I was constantly sharing online and reaching out to other people in the IBD community, when the prospect of surgery became very real I knew I needed to find support online so I didn't feel so alone. It astounded me how many people similar age to me reached out and offered their advice and words of support. I always say it and I'll say it again but if it I hadn't have had people their to look up to or to chat to about what was going on, I know I wouldn't have handled having surgery in the same way.

A few weeks after surgery, my friend Alisha (who also has a bag) and I came up with the idea of creating an instagram account which was like a girl gang but for ladies with stomas. We came up with the name The Bag Ladies and the account was made straight away! 
The support we are receiving is incredible and I hope that big things are to come for these girls and I, I treasure them all so dearly and honestly think they're some of the most inspirational people in my life!







2. I did some photoshoots... IN MY UNDERWEAR

I'd never class myself as a model but here I am having done a few photoshoots and absolutely loving it!

Pre-bagged life I was pretty insecure about my body, I was always wanting to loose weight, get more toned and if I posted any exposing pictures online I had to look a certain way which you can tell by some of my posts last year. It's sad but social media wrecked my perception of myself and I never valued my body for how amazing it actually was. 
After my operation I sort of had an epiphany. 
My body has been cut, battered and bruised and now I've been given the chance for it to shine.
I'd look in the mirror and feel a sense of comfort and happiness by what looked back when I'd previously thought what I'd feel would be disgust and shame. 
My bagged bod was a healthy bod and no summer body goals could ever compare to what that felt like!

When I was asked if I'd be involved in an underwear shoot 6 weeks after my operation I was terrified but thought to myself...
'Lucy, if you can do this 6 weeks later, own your bag and wear it with confidence, who knows what you'll have achieved in 6 months time! This bag doesn't define you but it makes you unique and if the world can't appreciate that then cyaaaaa!'
So I did it, bared my bag and it felt amazing. 
I'll always think of that day as a big milestone in my recovery and the girls who were involved made me feel so at ease, it was a day of celebrating all our bodies and girls supporting girls!
WE SHOULD DO THAT MORE OFTEN!


3. I HAD MY OWN FESTIVAL PARTY

I turned 20 and had the festival party I'd been dreaming of for the past two years, LSB FEST CAME TRUE!
All my friends came and to be surrounded by the people who I care about so much for the first time since surgery felt incredible, a lot of these people were the reason I kept a smile on my face the past two years and I thought I may as well throw a sick party to thank them!
My birthday was the first birthday in a long time that I loved and will remember forever.
Fuck Coachella, it's all about LSB FEST!!

4. Sally took her first trip abroad!

I went on my travels to Budapest and I'm off again to Cyprus tomorrow eeee!

Travelling for the first time after surgery made me a little bit nervous I won't lie, but as soon as I jumped on that plane I knew everything would be fine. I think the saying fail to prepare, prepare to fail is so true when travelling with a bag as if you plan for every possible outcome then nothing will come as a surprise!

Budapest was probably up there with one of my favourite places I've ever visited, it was so much fun and I think I'll do a few posts on what I got up to as I snapped so many pics I want to share them.


So that's a quick update on me, I'm 3 months post-op and pretty much living my best life. I'm making the most of waking up everyday happy and healthy and I don't think there's anything wrong in that.
After what I've been through, I deserve some fun!
I'm considering starting a youtube channel as I want to write more posts about my hospital experience/what I've been through but I feel it'd be so much easier to put across on camera, plus everyone seems to want to see more Charity Shop DIY's over on insta so may be I'll get into doing those!
Who knows where life will take me but I'm happy, healthy and having the time of my life!!

Lucy Jane



Finding my comfort with my Stoma Style

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Top: Topshop // Skirt: Charity Shop // Coat: Charity Shop // Boots: Nasty Gal // Bag: Topshop // Belt: Primark // Bag: Topshop // Earrings: Asos

The art of fashion and having my own style is something I treasure so dearly. It's my way of expressing myself and freely experimenting with anything and everything without being scared of judgements! When it became apparent to me that the prospect of my fashion freedom may become slightly more limited due to my ileostomy bag, I thought to myself 'Absolutely not!'. Some people completely change their wardrobes, find things more adaptable to your new body but I didn't really want to change my look!
So this is how I'm finding my comfort with stoma style...

Getting out of hospital was a huge relief to me, it sounds so silly but I was so excited to see my wardrobe! I'd spent 16 days rotating between my primark sloth nighties, old band t-shirts and we can't forget the beautiful stockings that 100% finished off the look. When you're ill, appearance is the last thing on your mind and I knew I was starting to get better when I wanted to make an effort and actually get dressed!

My go-to comfort pieces were high waisted joggers, wide leg trousers and midi skirts. Anything with an elasticated waist which wasn't tight became my best friend as my abdomen was still very sore from my wound and basically from being sliced in half! As my stoma lies about the same level as my belly button, I opted for all my high waisted clothes as you don't want to be putting pressure on your stoma or on your bag or else it could be a bit of a mess! Luckily for me I generally go for high waisted things as they've always suited me much better so there was no pieces in my wardrobe which I looked at and thought 
'Great, I can't wear this anymore!'
Even if there was, I would've found a way around it...
 I avoided denim and any bulkier materials for a while, I'm not a great fan of jeans but I found that if I tried to wear them they'd pull on my wounds. Anything extremely tight on my stomach was avoided. I'm still quite cautious of tight things now, more for the fact that the pressure might pop the bag (what a messy situation) rather than the fact tight things expose the outline of my bag a lot more.
I own my bulky belly!

Midi-skirts were and still are my go to piece for when I'm wanting to look slightly more chic, yet 100% comfy. Our high street is completely riddled with a variety of midi-skirts but honestly, the nicest ones are hidden in the Charity Shops! I'd been after a black one for so long and had been tempted to purchase a Topshop one but of course, I came across one in my favourite £1 Charity Shop.
It has a slight floral pattern to it which adds a lil bit of interest, but the main thing is that it pretty much feels like I'm wearing nothing, what more could you want?! It's not tight anywhere, doesn't cling to anything and is a piece that has made me feel really confident with my look now I'm living the bagged life. 
A black midi-skirt will match with anything, a chunky knit, a cute off the shoulder blouse or a basic tee, bagged bod or not, get yourself a black midi skirt!

So I'm still finding comfort with my stoma style but I really don't think it's going to change what I wear.  With more time will bring more experience and more advice that I can share, I'd love to do some 'Stoma Styling' posts, that's got a good ring to it!

Fashion is where I'm most confident, the fact I have an added accessory now is more exciting than upsetting, of course I'm going to own it!

Lucy Jane






Thank You

Saturday, 16 March 2019

This blog post isn't about me, it's about you.
Everyone always asks me
'How are you so brave?'
'How are you so positive?'
'How are you still smiling?'
The simple answer is because I have so many reasons to do so but the one main reason that keeps me going is you.
The people who support me.

The past 6 weeks may have been the hardest 6 weeks of my life but I have never felt as loved and supported by so many people as I did then and still do now. Every message or comment I received online, every card that I got sent and every single person who has seen me, given me a big hug and said the loveliest things to me is truely the reason why I've handled everything so positively.

So this post is a to say a 
HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE THANK YOU!!!!!!!
to you all.
 I wish I could come hug you all or buy you all a drink but for now this will have to do!
So thank you so much and I honestly will cherish the support forever!

Thank you to anyone who commented on any of my instagram, facebook or twitter posts, so many people are quick to be negative about social media but those little comments pushed me through some of the worst nights in hospital. 

Thank you to anyone who liked my pictures, showing support in a small way which still meant the world and raised awareness!

Thank you to anyone who messaged me! Those personal conversations were like little sparks to keep my fire going, knowing I had people behind me made me determined to not put the fire out!

Thank you to all my fellow ostomates, IBD warriors and people from the Crohn's and Colitis community who were there for me day and night to make me feel less alone throughout the journey. You all know who you are and you are all incredible people!
I'd especially like to thank Billie (@billieandersonx on instagram!). She answered all my weird and wonderful questions and was constantly an inspiration to me throughout the journey, you truly are amazing girl!!
And I'd like to thank Alisha (@alisha.vernon on instagram!). We connected in the Crohn's and Colitis forum as Alisha had her operation 3 days before me, we're the same age and needed some support. 
It feels like we've gone through this journey together even though we've never met and she's been a constant support as well as someone to compare all the weird and wonderful things that come with having a stoma. I'm so proud of you and so glad we've had each other through this journey, can't wait for the day we actually meet!

Thank you to all my incredible friends, you all know exactly who you are!
Words can not describe how much it meant to see familiar faces whilst being in hospital, all the nurses would make a joke of how popular I was but I'd say 'I'm not popular, I just have a lot of bloody amazing friends!'. 
Thank you to anyone who sent me a card, I'll keep these forever and want you to know that all these messages were very special to me, the little things spurred me on.
Just a huge thank you to all the closest people I've had in my life these past two years, thank you for sticking by me through everything and still loving me for me, with or without a colon!
I won't name names because I'll be here for an absolute age but to all my friends I bloody love you all and appreciate you more than you'll ever know, even though everyone tells me I've been amazing you're truly the amazing ones to me!
Hopefully I can say a proper thank you when my festival birthday party rolls around but for now, I hope you know how much you all mean to me!


Thank you to all my family for caring and supporting me so much all the way through, you saw my battle with the disease and helped me keep going.
Thank you to my Nana for being an inspiration to me and helping me through what she had faced 50+ years ago. I like to say we're now twinning at 19 and 82, she gave me so much confidence in having an ileostomy bag as she's lived with a stoma for so long and has always lived life to the fullest!

Thank you to all the nurses who looked after me at both hospitals and have throughout the past two years. Although some of my experience wasn't great this time, I'll always remember the nurses who went the extra mile to make me smile and keep me going. 
Thank you to the student nurses who I constantly told how amazing I thought they were, having someone there a similar age to chat to helped me so much and they all worked so so hard, to all student nurses you're amazing!

And finally thank you to TEAM LUCY!
These past two years Team Lucy has consisted of myself, my Mum, my Dad, my consultant Dr George and Jo my IBD nurse but after surgery it's only fair for my surgeon Mr Rate to join.

Thank you to my Mum and Dad for being there no matter what time of day, for sleeping on uncomfy chairs, spending days and days in hospital, going without nice coffee, doing everything for me when I was incapable of doing it myself and for simply being there.
 I have the worlds best Mum and Dad and I don't care what you say about yours, mine win.
 They go to ends of the earth for me and I am so so SO grateful!
I love you both millions!

Now these people probably won't read this but I have so much to thank them for.
Thank you to my surgeon Mr Rate, for diagnosing me with Colitis all those years ago. Little did we know it would come full circle and he'd be the person removing my diseased colon.
Thank you for doing a really good job, making my scar and stoma neat and giving me my life back!

Thank you to my IBD nurse Jo who is literally super woman and I have relied upon so much through my journey with colitis. Whenever something went wrong she always helped me make it seem right and without her I know my approach to my illness would've been a lot different. 

And finally thank you to Dr George for guiding me through my journey with Ulcerative Colitis for 2 years. Medications may have not worked for me, but with your help I'm certain I tried all possibilities and made all the right decisions. Thank you for making me feel so informed and supported every step of the way.
I'll never forget when he told me I was one of the strongest fighters he'd come across, that will stay with me forever.

So I think that's everyone I want to thank and I genuinely do mean every single word I say.
I kept fighting because I knew so many people were cheering me on and I'll forever be so grateful of that!

Lucy Jane








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