Shellac Nails 

When I was younger I wasn’t that interested in beauty treatments, and when I started having kids it seemed pointless. I’m covered in snot, sick and drool 99% of the time!

Then a few months back we had a pamper day in honour of my mum and it was so wonderful my eyes had been opened to what I’d been missing. My days entail looking after my kids and having to rest to recuperate so there’s no ‘me time’.

At the time I watched my sister paint my mum’s nails and I looked at my stubby nails in despair. During the next couple of weeks I grew them, and my husband, knowing my plight, had enquired at work and discovered a lady who was a mobile nail technician. Perfect!

I think I’d always felt that there wasn’t a need for having your nails done, previously. But after I’d had them done I couldn’t stop looking at them. They were beautiful and I felt like I was someone who makes an effort, who has their stuff together, rather than someone who has no energy to care. I loved having that time that was just mine too. My nails also feel so good, so smooth and strong.

Aren’t they beautiful! They’ve never looked so good! 

I had Shellac nails (gel manicure) and it took 45 mins to apply (I sat up for it, so took some preparation for rest before and after. I’m sure it could be done lying down as well, if it was easy to get to both hands.) My nails were completely dry as soon as they were finished. My lovely nail technician would work on one hand whilst the other hand was under UV rays drying. I chose the French manicure look as I love the natural look.

The gel makes my nails much stronger and durable. I was told I should get 2 weeks from them, 3-4 weeks if I was lucky. My husband’s colleague has her nails done once a month, so that’s what I was hoping for. Mine looked fantastic for two weeks, but I could really notice my nail growth in the third week and the gel had started to peel off from the bottom. Everybody else said they couldn’t tell, unless I pointed it out.

4 weeks and one nail down! 

We’re now in the fourth week and my nails have grown so much! I attempted to peel some carrots the other day too and chipped my nail which resulted in its demise when coupled with bending the nail backwards after washing my hands 😟 Definitely time to get them re-done, and I’m glad I went for the natural look. They’d look awful if I had half a colour on there.

NB. The gel is tough to remove and it’s suggested you DON’T try it yourself as it could damage your nails. Your nail technician will remove it with an acetone bath.
Do you spend your spoons on pampering? What do you enjoy? Tell me in the comments below 😊


Living with M.E 

It would be remiss of me to not write a post about ME in the month of May, ME Awareness month.

I’ve lived with it for 8 years and come across people regularly who have no idea what it is or how it affects those who have it. Even people who are close to me, who have seen the impact of ME on my life, have little clue as to its true nature.

My new ‘normal’ and “I’m ok thanks” is a far cry from healthy. 8 years of living with a chronic illness and I’ve learned to adjust to a level of symptoms that would have had me in bed at the beginning. I remember having sick days from work and feeling so poorly I would wrap myself in a duvet and lay on the couch. This level of poorliness is now a very good day and I can function fairly well.

For 99.9% of the time there are many other symptoms added (different types of pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue, light and sound sensitivity, difficulty regulating body temperature, tingling in hands and feet – to name a few) and my body feels like it’s weighted down by lead so all movement takes Herculean effort. I can’t think like I used to either, it’s called brain fog – I forget things; I listen but can’t make out what has been said; I read but don’t take in what I’ve read; I can’t cope if too much is going on at one time. It’s like I’m dealing with all the pain and other symptoms that they make it difficult to focus on anything else.

Becoming ill was hard, my life changed completely and I grieved it’s loss. However, time is a healer and slowly you adjust to the new life and limitations. What I haven’t adjusted to is being dependant. My heart sinks when I have to ask my husband, family members or friends to add to their already busy lives. It’s only through sheer necessity that I ask for help, but that doesn’t make it easier.

8 years of living with ME has rocked the confidence that took me 20 years to gain. My mind and my body are unreliable and so I become anxious at the thought of responsibility and having to let people down. If I go out it has to be with somebody who knows and understands my limits and who I feel comfortable with  asking for and accepting their help.

Over the years I’ve made new friends and it’s hard that they don’t know the old me, the person I still feel like inside. The person who was bubbly, energetic, hard working, confident, helpful. I am that person still, even if my body won’t allow it.

Everyday I wake up and make the arduous journey out of bed ready for another day of relentless symptoms. BUT, I can’t finish the post like that…

Without ME I would never have known the greatness of the man I married. How caring, giving and selfless he is, how he chooses to be with me everyday and how he makes me feel like a blessing, not a burden. A true hero.

I would never have known the depth of the love my parents have for me, who continue to sacrifice and care for me and help with my children. And my sister who spends most of her days helping me in one form or another. 

I would never have known the depths of my love for my children and the effort and ‘spoons’ I willingly give to them.

I would never have known the kindness and generosity of friends and family.  Always willing to lend a helping hand or a sympathetic ear.

I would never have known the courage and strength I have!

S&J Crafting Creations 

I’m amazed by all crafters who have the ability to create things of beauty, but through blogging I have had the privilege of getting to know some truly inspirational people.

Sonia, from S&J Crafting Creations, is one of those people. I got to know of her work through Conscious Crafties on Twitter. I was drawn to each tweet I saw of hers as I loved each piece.

You’d never know by looking at her creations but she crafts from her bed. After an operation on her foot to remove a ganglion tumour she developed CRPS type 2 (complex regional pain syndrome). Since then it has spread throughout her body. Her arms and hands are unaffected and so she is able to craft.

In her own words “CRPS has rendered me bedbound, so all my crafts are made in my bed with an old hospital ‘over the bed’ table to craft on. There is no cure for CRPS and the type I have is untreatable, many times a day I do sit here and totally ‘lose it’ and wonder what my purpose on this earth is, and why do I bother to fight and survive every day and then my wonderful friends from the conscious Crafties group remind me that I do have a purpose in life and I’m not just another statistic in someone’s medical book.”

If her example and courage weren’t purpose enough her creations certainly make her efforts worthwhile. It was her beautiful jewellery that first caught my eye, such stunning designs varying in style and colour.

multi coloured bracelet

After perusing her Conscious Crafties page I discovered Sonia also handmade cards. Each card is unique and her decoupage arrangements fit the theme she intends perfectly. Wonderful designs for many occasions.

handmade decoupage card
I’m really impressed with her knitted and crocheted items. They look professional,  with the detail and she puts together lovely colour schemes. With an array of items from shawls to baby wear and footwear, there’s plenty of choice to keep you warm, comfy and looking good. My particular favourite are the converse slipper socks – so clever!

crocheted converse style slipper

For more information and to browse through S&J Crafting Creation’s products you can visit:

S&J Crafting Creations on Conscious Crafties website. 

And follow Sonia on

S&J Crafting Creations Facebook 





jennifer barber
Hi, I’m Jenny, and I launched this blog to share the things that help me keep positive in life – my faith, positivity, creativity, healthy living and a little bit of pampering! 

Living with a chronic illness for over 8 years has made me more aware of the need to find the good things in life when it’s not so obvious and I share all I find on this blog as well as tips on how I keep positive and motivated. 

I’ll post as often as my health permits, so if you’d like to keep up-to-date and share in all the good things you can sign up to receive all new posts by email.

Who am I? 

I’m Jenny Barber.  In my previous life, before chronic illness hit, I was a graduate and worked as a mental health support worker. I was a non-stop exercise addict and a die-hard on the dance floor.

Now I’m a wife to an entertaining teacher who takes working full time and looking after a wife and 3 kids in his stride.

black and white 3 young kids cuddling

I’m a mum to two fun-loving, mum-loving, cheeky boys and one independent,  adorable toddler girl.

I’ve lived with ME/CFS/SEID for over 8 years but aside from being a completely different person and pretty much house and couch bound, it doesn’t define me or our family.

I’ve been blogging for a few years and found a passion in it. I love the new friends I make through it and being able to share my thoughts with you. Rather than be caught up in the struggles I find blogging a great way to capture all the good things of life.

quote on a starry background

If you’d like to get in touch or have something wholesome and positive you’d like to share, please email


5 ways to enable Positive Thinking 

You are the masterpiece of your own life … And you do it with your thoughts.

I first started blogging as an online journal. Writing my thoughts and feelings about my ill health was cathartic.

Over the years though I began to see that if I spent too long dwelling on my illness and its affects it started to wear me down emotionally and took even more of a toll on my health.

the beginning of a diary entry
I had been seeing an osteopath for the Perrin Treatment and through our sessions she would impart her wisdom on other subjects as she believes a holistic approach is needed in order to have full recovery. As the practitioner massaged my head, neck, back and chest to drain the toxins out of my lymphatic system she also gave me a strict diet plan to ensure I wasn’t adding toxins to my system and she spoke about the benefits of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), meditation and visualisation.
The more I practised meditation, visualisation and EFT I realised the mistakes I had been unknowingly making  and how powerful the mind is. I began to see that when I focused on my symptoms life became all about my illness and I didn’t want it to define me.

It wasn’t, and still isn’t, easy to focus on positive things. The negative thoughts that come with the stresses and strains of everyday life seem to effortlessly affect me, whereas I need to make a conscious effort to change my thoughts into positive ones.

Some of the ways that help me are:

Being grateful – Think of all the things you have that you are grateful for. You’ll be surprised how many you can think of!

Surround yourself with creativity – Other people’s or your own. Art, music, books etc provide a great source of happiness, healing and a connection with our emotions.

positive affirmations
Positive affirmations and visualisation board – Focus on what you DO want, not what you don’t want.

I love this comprehensive list of affirmations, choose the ones that fit you and place them in places you’ll see every day.

Choose goals that you want to achieve in life and put a picture representing them on a board that you see daily. Imagine yourself doing those things everyday.

Laughter – There is no better stress reliever than a good laugh. My kids and husband are great for making me laugh. If I’m by myself I watch my favourite comedies, or search for funny videos on YouTube.

Change the negative thoughts – Negative thoughts will come, but when they come recognise it and quickly change it by singing a song or repeating an affirmation.

Meditation and EFT also helped me stay positive, as well as being beneficial in other areas. You can read more about meditation and Emotional Freedom Technique on MEcuperate.

Would you add to this list? What helps you to think positively? Leave a comment and let me know 😀


Simply Naturals Sizzling Minerals Review

*This is not an endorsement or an   advertisement for Simply Naturals Sizzling minerals. This is an honest, unbiased review.

Everyone I know seems to be jumping on the MLM (multi-led marketing) bandwagon. All of them offer ‘great rewards’ for hard working new recruits, and the majority of budding “entrepreneurs” have come to me in hope that the amazing products they’ve found will improve my health.

Whilst I’d love a quick-fix miracle cure, if it was that easy I’d be better by now! However, I was approached by one friend whose numerous attempts to get me to try the product (at her own expense, I might add) were genuine. Her health hadn’t been good for the past few years and we shared quite a few symptoms.

She called me to tell me she had discovered Simply Natural Minerals and her health had improved massively since being on them. She had more energy and her hair and skin were in better condition. She told me how much more she was able to do now, and I admit I was impressed. She implored me to try them, but I don’t part with money easily, and I’m a sceptic when it comes to these things.

Over the next couple of months she told me of more and more people who had tried the minerals and improved with them, particularly one lady with ME. She also told me of an offer where I could try them and get my money back if they didn’t work. That was what swayed me in the end and I placed an order.

first pack from simply naturals sizzling minerals order

I chose the Cherry flavour. It wasn’t very cherry and it was quite tart. But I’m not a big fan of sweet drinks so I wasn’t put off by it. It took a couple of minutes for the wafer to fully dissolve.

cherry mineral wafer dissolving in a glass

The only difference I noticed during the first few days were that my number two’s were a green colour. Then the headaches started. I’m prone to headaches any way but these were a lot more intense in pain, concentrated in one area and sore to touch. I also got more intense pains in my arms and legs. After nearly two weeks I stopped taking the minerals and the symptoms stopped. I was told to cut my wafer in half and have half in the morning, half in the evening to help my body digest it better, but it didn’t help.

A month later I tried the orange ones to see if a different flavour would help. My sister gave me 4 of her wafers. I didn’t have any adverse affects to the orange ones but I also didn’t feel any improvements either. All the reviews I read and the people I knew who had taken them said they felt improvements within the first day or two. I decided not to continue; partly because I’d felt no improvements, partly because the side effects I’d felt in the previous batch had made me wary.

Although my experience wasn’t a great one, I do know they have worked for my friend and I gave the rest of my minerals to my sister who has had some health troubles since pregnancy. For her they did make a difference. She’s kindly shared her experience:

Before I got pregnant I would run every morning for half an hour and was a size 10. I would walk to get anywhere I needed to go even if it took me over an hour and wouldn’t bat an eye about it.

By 8 weeks in my pregnancy I got incredibly ill. Most days I couldn’t get out of bed or even look at a phone screen without being violently sick. At my worst I couldn’t even talk, if I did I’d be interrupted by vomit. The sickness eventually got better to the point that I could perform the basic functions of every day life.

As the pregnancy progressed my health got worse. I would get flu symptoms without having the flu, I would get physically shattered after standing up for 5 minutes to do the washing up. My daily choices energy wise became having a shower in the morning and getting dressed properly or doing the chores for the day.

After giving birth to the most glorious beautiful little boy my health did start to improve as in the sickness left and I could stand for a little bit longer but my energy choices were still the same and I still got the flu like symptoms without having the flu.

6 months on and the thought of exercise was still a pipe dream. My sister convinced me to try the sizzling minerals. They hadn’t worked for her but she thought they might be worth a try for me.

Sceptically I gave them a try. I was very pleasantly surprised. 4 days into taking them I walked for 40 minutes and still had enough energy left to make tea for the family and the flu symptoms had stopped. I had also started to eat very healthily around the same time as taking the minerals and I wondered whether my change had happened because of that and not the minerals so I kept eating healthy and stopped taking the minerals. After a day the flu symptoms came back and I was lethargic. I started taking the minerals again and 4 days later felt amazing.

I’m now 2 months into taking the minerals and healthy eating. I’m walking 10,000 steps a day, sometimes 20,000 and going to the gym 3-4 times a week. With being so unwell for a long time I’m now a size 16 so exercise is not as easy as it was but I’m on my way back to what I was and I’m feeling fantastic 😊