The reasons for my silence

You may have noticed that I’ve not blogged for a few weeks. I just wanted to write a quick update to let you know that I’m ok.

There are two main reasons for my lack of recent posts. Firstly, I bought a new game for my Nintendo Switch which has been keeping me busy. I hope to share more about that at some point.

And secondly, a good friend died recently. As well as that this is also a difficult fortnight with anniversaries of three friends’ deaths, the birthday of one of them & the transplant anniversary of another friend who has since died.

I’m ok, but my friend dying made me overwhelmingly sad & then everything else coming at once has made me quite…umm, I can’t think of the word – not ‘thoughtful’ but thinking a lot/deeply about their lives, their deaths, their families, our friendships, my future…

I do hope to return to blogging soon but my head just isn’t in the right place at the moment.

Thanks for reading & take care everyone x

Cross stitch

I’ve got a few upcoming blog posts planned but in the meantime I thought I’d share a photo of the cross stitch I finished today.

Betty the ladybird

This was a frustrating project but I’m relatively pleased with the finished result, I just wish the spots were a bit neater. But I’m trying to be less of a perfectionist so it’ll do 🙂

As always thanks for reading & I hope to be back with another post soon.


As you’re probably aware from my recent posts, I treated myself to a Nintendo Switch games console a couple of weeks ago. I’m hoping to write a post about that soon which will include why it’s particularly accessible for me as someone with a chronic illness & which games I’m currently enjoying. But first I thought I’d write a post with some memories of gaming.

To start with I’d just like to make it clear that I wouldn’t call myself a gamer. Yes, I enjoy playing games but I’m not particularly skilled at them & definitely just do it casually.

Regarding games consoles, my heart lies with Nintendo. I have tried out other consoles that friends/family have owned though (& had a second hand PS2 for a while, but didn’t use it much) & used computers & mobile phones to play games.

I’m not sure what my first gaming memory is but I have two from around a similar time in my childhood.

Before we bought our first family computer, when I was about 8 years old, my older brother had one in his bedroom. I can remember playing a game on that & recently asked him if he remembered what it was called. It was Commander Keen, a side scrolling 2D platformer from the early 1990s.

One of my uncles used to work in London so he’d often come to visit me during hospital admissions. During the early to mid 90s he used a PDA for work & on it he had a couple of Sonic the Hedgehog games which I used to enjoy playing.

As I said previously, in around 1998, we bought our first family computer. It ran Windows 98. There are two games I can remember playing in the first few years of having it. The first was Frogger, a game where you have to control a frog crossing lanes of traffic & rivers. Even my mum used to play that. The second was Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, which is pretty self explanatory.

I also have memories of playing a game called Q*Bert on a friend’s computer a few years later & another friend had one on her Windows 95 computer where you played as a mouse collecting cheese. I had a computer game based on The Really Wild Show back in the days when that was still on TV & a Harry Potter game years later. I haven’t played many computer games but have also dabbled in a few online ones over the years. Of course Neopets (& then PowerPets) were amongst those when they were at the height of popularity.

Mentioning Neopets has reminded me of Tamagotchis. I don’t think I ever had an official one but definitely tried some of the cheaper versions. I also had a Digimon one for a while.

The first games console I owned was a Gameboy Color. I think I was 8 years old. My younger brother & I had both been pestering my parents for them for a little while but they were very adamant that we couldn’t have them. Until my younger brother had an accident. As a reward for being good/a consolation, my parents bought him a purple Gameboy Color. Due to sibling rivalry I wasn’t at all happy with this & didn’t want to wait til my birthday to get one, so that summer I sold lots of my old toys (such as Polly Pockets) at a carboot sale & raised enough money to buy myself a Yellow Gameboy Color & Pokemon Red. My younger brother had Pokemon Blue. I also had Pokemon Silver, Super Mario Bros Deluxe, Tetris DX & Harvest Moon 2. Our Gameboy Colors were very useful when we spent around 7 hours in the car on the way to & from our family summer holidays in Cornwall.


After that I skipped the Gameboy Advance but had a Gameboy Advance SP. I had the first 3 Harry Potter games, Sonic Advance & Yoshi’s Island for that.

In 2004 or 2005, so when I was about 14, I spent a period of time in hospital with horrendous nosebleeds which we now know were due to my liver failure. My dad stayed in with me but as always my mum visited regularly. One day she phoned before she set off & said that she’d got a surprise for me. All she would tell me that it was smaller than a shoebox. It was a Nintendo DS & I was over the moon with it.

Since then I’ve had a DSi & 3DS but have now happily settled with a simpler 2DS which does everything I require it to. This still takes DS game cards (as well as the newer 3DS ones) so over the years I’ve built up quite a collection of games – most of which I’ve bought second hand for bargain prices. I’ve got 60 DS games & 15 3DS games! Some of my favourites are Mario Kart (DS & 7), the Professor Layton series, Sonic games (Classic Collection, Rush & Rush Adventure), various Mario titles (New Super Mario Bros, New Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario 64 DS & Super Mario 3D Land), Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Trauma Centre Under the Knife & Soul Bubbles.

I didn’t get my first games console that connected to a TV until much later than I got my first portable games console. I have memories of playing on a friend’s dance mat, using her Sega console & playing a Tony Hawks game on her Playstation as a child though. Before I had my own standard games console my younger brother had a GameCube & I used to watch him playing games on that – mainly Animal Crossing. I can’t recall joining in though. We tend to have different taste in games – he likes sandbox style ones that give you a lot of flexibility & encourage you to explore (such as Animal Crossing & some of the Zelda games), whereas I prefer more structured games with clearer goals, like platformers.

I spent winter 2006 (mid November to mid February) in hospital following my transplant. I was 16. That was the winter that the Wii games console launched. My parents wanted to get my younger brother & I one each for Christmas (we couldn’t share one as we were apart) but they were like gold dust. I have no idea how they managed it but we both woke up to one on Christmas Day morning. I connected mine up to my TV in my cubicle & as I started to recover I thoroughly enjoyed using it. I can remember playing Wario Ware: Smooth Moves where one of the mini games required you to hold the remote on your nose like an elephant! I also recall treating myself to Monkey Ball from a shop in the city where my hospital was.

Once home I continued to enjoy using my Wii, especially racing others on Mario Kart, bowling on Wii Sports with my family & playing a platformer called Donkey Kong Country Returns in co-op mode with a friend. After that I had a Wii U for a short while but didn’t use it much. As my chronic illnesses progressed & my exhaustion increased I struggled more & more to play games on the TV. So when I had enough energy I’d play a game on my 2DS (or whichever version of the DS I had at the time) or my phone instead.

And that leads me on to phone games. There are so many available nowadays that it takes some work to weed the decent ones out from the rubbish. I’ve tried many in the years since I got my first smart phone but have a few definite favourites now. I particularly enjoy Alto’s Adventure & Alto’s Odyssey (fun little games where you guide a snowboarder to avoid obstacles & do tricks), Neko Atsume (a cute cat collecting game) & Emoji Blitz (where you match Disney emojis to reach goals & unlock new characters). I also enjoy playing card & puzzle games but won’t go into detail about those here.

My first phone was a Nokia 3410 so of course I played Snake on that.

I’m sorry this post is so long, it just flowed out of me. Don’t worry if you didn’t want to/weren’t able to read it all, as I think it was written as much for me as it was for others to read. As always thank you for reading & please leave a comment if you’d like to share any of your own gaming memories with me.

Quick update

I thought I’d write a little update about what I’ve been up to over the last week or so. I know a lot of people are struggling with social distancing/shielding but it really seems to be working well for me.

I finished this 1000 piece jigsaw. It’s definitely one of my favourites.

I’ve also been trying out more crafts.

I decorated this small cardboard box with decopatch:

And I made this fabric picture (which is yet to be framed):

I also started a paint by numbers & a flamingo made from socks but they were both disasters so didn’t get finished. In the past projects turning out badly would have really upset me due to my perfectionism but now I just laugh.

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying playing a variety of games on my new Nintendo Switch games console. I hope to write a separate post about that at some point. I’ve been catching up with some recorded TV & have still been continuing with the categories of activities I mentioned in a previous post.

My younger brother’s lovely girlfriend, T, sent me this a few days ago. It was such a lovely surprise & shows how well she knows me.

Take care & thank you for reading x

Looking after your mental health

As you know I’ve had quite a lot of experience with being housebound & socially isolated so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve found that help my mental health. I hope that if you’re having a tough time some of these ideas help you. I’d also be interested to hear what you are doing to keep your spirits up during this difficult time.

A few weeks ago I found myself struggling with motivation because each day was the same & I couldn’t see the point in doing anything. Routines don’t work for me due to my unpredictable health so I had to come up with an alternative. I made a list of categories of activities & on my better days I try to do at least one thing from each category. I find this helps my motivation, makes me feel productive & lifts my spirits. I know I mentioned this in a previous blog post but after a few people showed interest I thought I’d go into a bit more detail & show you my personal list (including things which fit into each category) so you can either take ideas from it or edit it to make your own if you so wish. If you do a similar thing then please don’t be hard on yourself if some days you can’t do something from every category.

Each day I try to:

  • Puzzle (newspaper, i app, puzzle book, apps)
  • Learn (online course, Duolingo app)
  • Help (family member or friend)
  • Communicate/socialise (PM, What’s App, text, video call)
  • Be active (stretch, exercise, dance)
  • Spend time with Fluffy Thing (train, puzzle mat)
  • Create (write, craft, colour)
  • Sort (declutter, tidy, clean)
  • Make someone smile (send post, funny/cute pic or vid)
  • Play a game (board or card with one of my parents)
  • Care for body (moisturise, cut nails)
  • Listen to music
  • Get some fresh air

Other things that help my mental health are:

  • planning things to look forward to, even if they’re just small things
  • thinking about what I’m grateful for each day
  • finding at least one thing that has made me smile at the end of each day
  • trying to do something productive, even if it’s only something little, each day gives me a sense of achievement
  • having a change of scene when possible – even if it’s just sitting in another room or in the garden
  • having bird feeders I can see out of my window to watch the wildlife
  • making an effort not to worry about things that I can’t control

What I’ve been up to

I haven’t left the house for almost 6 weeks now but I haven’t been bored so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been doing to keep myself busy.

Jigsaws (1000 piece Disney ones & smaller wooden ones):

Jewellery making:

Dot to dots:

Diamond painting:

Other craft projects:

Making pictures for our front window for children to spot on walks round the village:

Wearing Disney clothing & ears:

Enjoying the garden:

Socialising at a distance:

Having my hair cut (by my mum):

Drinking hot chocolate:

And some other things I’ve been doing but haven’t got photos of are:

  • Listening to music
  • Playing board & card games with my dad
  • Doing puzzles in the newspaper & phone apps
  • Playing games on my phone, 3DS & new Nintendo Switch
  • Watching TV
  • Watching things on Disney+
  • Studying short online courses
  • Refreshing my knowledge of French
  • Listening to a friend’s social isolation podcast on BBC Ouch
  • Having a go at BBC Radio 2’s Pop Master quiz each day
  • Using social media to keep in touch with family & friends
  • Doing colouring on a phone app
  • Trying to be active/exercise suitable for my physical ability/energy levels
  • Attempting (not very successfully) to teach Fluffy Thing some new tricks
  • Snuggling with & being entertained by Fluffy Thing
  • Writing blog posts
  • Reading blog posts
  • Watching Vlogs & other YouTube videos

Thanks as always for reading. I hope you enjoyed seeing my photos & that you’ve taken away some ideas of things to do to occupy yourself.