It’s alright Andy, it’s only Bolognese…

If that doesn’t ring any bells and you’ve think I’ve finally lost the plot, you clearly haven’t seen Hot Fuzz enough times.

At the end of summer I compiled a list of potential places to visit once I was back in the West Country. As I am the List Queen, it is naturally long enough to take me about 12 months to get through! So when Llama Supporter came to visit for the first time this term we decided to check one of the destinations out. I chose Wells as it was reasonably close by, upon google mapping it, I discovered it was the location for the above mentioned film. Much excitement ensued because I am a massive nerd and we set off. Naturally it rained pretty much all day, but for once it didn’t dampen my spirits. Llama Supporter discovered a map online of the different locations they used for filming, yes we went full nerd mode, and we set off round the town exploring.

I have attached the map on the off chance anyone is mildly interested and still reading.

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My initial reason for wanting to visit was because it is a beautiful City, technically the smallest City in the country in fact. Wells has City status due to the fact they have a beautiful cathedral, which should be reason alone to visit. It is absolutely gorgeous, even in hideous November West Country weather. As well as the cathedral there are countless adorable houses, hidden down beautiful cobbled streets, a castle complete with a moat and swans and plenty of shops. Naturally I went absolutely crazy with the camera before we decided we couldn’t stand the rain anymore and set off for the warmth and shelter of Coffee #1.

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You’d think that would be enough excitement for the weekend, especially at my age, but no! Llama Supporter decided that we should go to Brean on Sunday as the weather was glorious and he wanted to go for a cliff walk. The weather was indeed glorious, on the ground, on the top of the cliff was another story, thank goodness for body fat! Thankfully the views were completely worth the gale force winds that could have easily taken Dorothy to Oz and we even had a sit down on the grass to watch the sun starting to set.

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If you’re looking for a spectacular walk then I highly recommend it, the pathway leading up suits most ages and abilities of the two and four legged varieties. If you do take your adorable dog, please keep them on a lead, many weren’t and there is a very informative sign at the start stating that unfortunately several are lost over the side of the cliff every month. So please keep your best friend safe and happy.

Right, I shall bore you no more. I’m off to eat cake and watch Guy Martin. But just very, very quickly before I do… I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely people that came up on me at Soiree on Saturday to say that they liked my blog or my Instagram account. Honestly thank you so much, you really made my night even more lovely than it already was, you wonderful people.

Much love,

K x

Roman Llama

As it is absolutely pouring down outside I have finally found the time to upload my photos from Rome… 6 weeks after we went. As you know I am photo obsessed but I think this is the longest it’s ever taken me to share photos! I was also forced into it as my MacBook is now officially full and needs wiping. So here we go, I’m basically going to tell you where we stayed etc and then bombard you with photos.

We stayed at the Hotel Martis Palace for three nights courtesy of Mumma Bueno. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous and complete with a roof terrace and bar. It is a short walk, 20m,  from the Piazza Navona and pretty much right in the middle of everything you could want to do in Rome. The hotel also has access to a spa offering manicures, massages, swimming and much more if you feel like a more relaxing day or you need to rest your feet. As we there for four days, we decided on the plane what we wanted to see and then tried to fit one big sightseeing destination per day plus getting lost in tiny streets when we had spare time/looking for cake.

We visited The Vatican, The Colosseum, Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II also known as the Alter of the Fatherland, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, The Spanish Steps, Capitoline Hill, The Pantheon and Arch of Septimius Severus where we accidentally walked onto a film set. It is absolutely impossible to see everything in Rome on one trip, I don’t think 5 trips would even do it, so we are definitely planning on returning in the future. If you are planning a trip in the future, please visit Two Sizes and have the caramel tiramisu. I can’t even explain how good it is, and I am an expert. Llama Supporter would highly recommend the sandwich shop next door that also sells speciality beers and ales, he ate there every day.

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This is a mere 20% of the photos I took in Rome. I know, I have a problem. I’ve been on a photo break recently, due to many factors. I think that is about to change rapidly though, I’ve just moved 45GB of photos (or 12,000 photos if that gives you a better idea) on to a hard drive to save my Mac (lets see how long it takes me to fill it back up) and Llama Supporter is coming for the weekend! I will get round to uploading more of my favourite photos on Facebook and Instagram shortly but these are definitely enough to be getting on with.

Right I’m off to eat a gluten-free rocky road and listen to Dean Martin… yes the Christmas music is on and I don’t give a damn.

K x

Poppy Llama

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On Saturday I am entering the Poppy Run in London! I decided to write a post about what the Royal British Legion means to me and why I am making myself red faced and sweaty for them!

We all recognise the vibrant red poppies that start to appear on people’s jackets at this time of year. Worn for many reasons, sometimes in memory of a loved one who didn’t make it home, a life changed in battle or simply as a mark of respect for those who gave and still give their lives for their Country. For me it’s worn for my Great-Grandfathers and my Grandfathers. All of which made it back home again, some injured, but nevertheless back to loved ones. So I thought this was a good opportunity to tell you what wonderful men they were and still are.

Both my Great Grandfathers fought in WWI, both becoming injured and lived the rest of their lives with shrapnel constantly migrating round their bodies. My Great-Grandfather Brooks, died as a result of complications due to this, when my Granddad was 14 years old. Leaving a wife and four children. My Great-Grandfather Ketley, was much luckier, I even remember him being around when I was tiny. Towards the end of his life every hospital visit drew more questions as the shrapnel would always be in a different place from last time. My Granddad O’Kearney was in The Red Cross in WWII and had to help patch people back up, including a man who had lost half his head and they had to put his brain back in and secure it with a metal plate. Miraculously he survived despite everything, a man in at the same time with a graze died from infection. At the end of the war, he was left stranded for weeks in France long after VE day. Waiting to get back to his loved ones. Despite the war being over, everyone left stranded was still being killed, the enemy went on the rampage killing everyone in their path as they felt they had nothing to lose now the British had apparently won. They were informed that it was each for yourself, meaning he had no help to get out of France and was left to die whilst the country at home was celebrating. The only way he made it home was being saved by the French resistance and they managed to get him on a train to escape.

My Granddad Brooks, the man who has taught me many valuable lessons in life and was my best friend when I was growing up, spent the ages of 18-21 in Egypt fighting in the Suez Canal Crisis. He spent his 21st Birthday on guard in the desert. Of all the war or conflict stories in the family his are the most vivid in my mind and I ask him to tell me about them regularly. From when he fell asleep on duty in the night to when he caught on fire and the cans of water and petrol looked the same so his friend had to take a gamble and throw one on him hoping to put him out. Thankfully he picked the right one and he lived to tell the tale. I have two contenders for the top spot though, one happened in Egypt and the other back home in the UK where he continued to drive for the Colonel. The one in Egypt, Granddad was sitting in his Bren Gun carrier eating a tin of peaches. The Colonel comes matching over and orders him to drive, so Granddad safely hides his peaches in the tank and sets off across the desert with the Colonel standing out the top of the tank. Unfortunately, Granddad didn’t see the sand dune finish and proceeded to drive off of it, with the Colonel still sticking out the top. When they finally came to a halt Granddad looked round to a Colonel with a broken limb and a tin of peaches on top of his head with the syrup running down his face. The second story happened in Hampshire, as I said when he returned from Egypt he continued to drive for the Colonel and would pick him up from various soirees and events. The cook would always make sure there was a meal waiting for him when he got back and one for Granddad too. One night the drunk Colonel told my Granddad to put his foot down because he wanted to get home. Granddad didn’t need telling twice and shot off, he said he remembers seeing a large vehicle in the distance and they were gaining on it quite rapidly. As they overtook the vehicle my Granddad glanced sideways and realised the vehicle was in fact a Fire Engine on their way to a fire, with the crew half way through dressing staring at them whiz past like a couple of idiots. You can let me know which story you prefer!

Supporting the Royal British Legion is my way of trying to give a little bit back to a charity that helps people like my Grandfathers and many other peoples Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Dads, Mums, Sons and Daughters. So please, please if you can sponsor me, I take old pound coins…

I’ve set up a Just Giving page which you can find below, if you prefer not to give your details online, then I can collect it from you if you wish. If nothing else please buy a poppy and wear it with pride! This isn’t about supporting a war, it’s about supporting families and loved ones past and present, some of which didn’t have a choice if they wanted to give their lives for their country or not.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kellylouisedore 

Much love

K x

Yoga Llama

Fear not, I’m still alive. Term is now in full swing and I’m trying to stay on top of everything! Some days more successfully than others, yesterday I tried to make a cup of tea without a tea bag. Quite a bit has happened since I last posted, a whole 3 weeks ago. I’m just going to stick to 2 things this time and fill you in on more stuff as the weeks go by to get you back up to speed.

Some people have enquired as to why I am yet to blog about Rome. The main reason I didn’t in my last week off, was because I managed to give myself concussion and couldn’t really see well enough for a week to write anything. I couldn’t even drive, the first time I got behind the wheel again was to drive back to uni. So that ruined the last week of Summer quite a bit! I will get round to it hopefully in the next few weeks! So prepare to be bombarded with photos of me squinting in various Italian locations.

Going back to the concussion, I haven’t felt at my best the last few weeks but put it down to hormones initially and the start of term. Unfortunately I started to feel worse, not better, and my eye sight was really not as it should be. As some of you may know, I’m partially sighted in my left eye so am absolutely paranoid about anything to do with my vision. So I trundled straight off to the Doctors, after phoning 57 times, to get checked out. After various tests he said that he thought I had Post-Concussive Syndrome and proceeded to print out a 6 page document for me to read at leisure. I’ve added a different one, the NHS Choices leaflet here on Concussion if anyone would like to read it. Headway have also produced this ebooklet on the subject, that I am slowly working my way through, as it has loads of great advice on how to get on as normally as possible and tips for remembering things etc.

After staring at him blankly he told me it could last anywhere between 3-12 months. So I had a cry, he told me I need to keep my stress levels as low as possible to ensure I have a speedy recovery and don’t develop any further complications. I informed him, stress is the only emotion I feel at Vet School so was already fighting an uphill battle on that front.  According to the information supplied, symptoms vary patient to patient and can include a whole host of things. At the moment mine include:

  • Migraines
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of attention span and reduced concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Irritableness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite

I have never been sea sick in my life, but after the last two weeks I sympathise with people who suffer with it a lot more. With my increased anxiety it’s quite hard to stay relaxed and the weirdest things have been setting me off. I am also incredibly frustrated with my lack of attention span, especially in lectures and how long it is taking me to get through work at the moment. I will openly admit I am a nerd and I do work hard and pay attention so this is like having an alter-ego.

So I knew I had to come up with some sort of plan to try to deal with the symptoms for as long as they intend to hang around for, as well as juggle everything else that’s going on. After a chat with The Tooth Fairy on our way to dinner about how much Yoga had been helping her with her posture and for relaxation, I thought it was time to give it a go. I am now on Day 9 of 30 Days of Yoga with Andriene, which you can find for free on YouTube here.

I can honestly say I didn’t think I’d feel enough benefits from it to stick at it before I started. Yes, I know I’m only on Day 9, but let me tell you, it’s changed me in ways I didn’t even consider. Plus it’s refuelled my competitive streak and still gives me that post work out buzz. After 7 days I could touch my heels on the floor in downward facing dog and yesterday I managed one legged pigeon with ease. Which felt so rewarding. It’s also making me work harder as I know I need to timetable it into my day, so I need to get through my to do list in order to get on the mat.

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I call this one, dead pigeon

Something I didn’t even consider when I started, was what it would do to my IBS. With my anxiety levels through the roof I’ve been struggling recently even though I’ve tried my hardest to stick with the FODMAP diet. Since I started Yoga I haven’t had stomach ache once. Not a single occasion, well my abs hurt from working them, but I mean IBS pain, that feels like someone is stabbing you. I haven’t had a single night where I’ve gone to bed with bloat (this is me on a normal day). I can’t remember the last time that happened, for me, normal is getting progressively more uncomfortable as the day goes on. Don’t get me wrong this is not some miracle cure for IBS, I still have it, it’s just made me so much more comfortable.

My posture has also improved, something Llama Supporter tells me off for every day. I also feel stronger, taller and more determined. This is not a paid promotional ad I swear and you can scoff all you want, it’s honestly changed so much for me and I am determined to stick at it. Right I’m off to read some more notes and plan the rest of my day!

Much love as always

K x

One Llama

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The Dramatic Llama blog is officially a year old and this is post number 50! Clearly time flies whether you’re having fun or not! I thought this was the perfect opportunity to have a bit of an upgrade too if you hadn’t noticed, we’re now a .com! I got way too excited about that but I am a nerd after all. I have also thrown millennial pink everywhere, this was definitely a good move and can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. If you check out the menu option on the top right you can also now click on specific posts to read them, instead of having to scroll through previous ones to find them.  So please let me know what you think of the new look and features, as always feedback is greatly appreciated.

I also thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on where it all started, if you can remember that far back. The original thought process for all of this was to try to get me through Vet School Year 2 MkII, as well as dealing with everything else life was throwing at me. It’s been far from a smooth ride, at times I’ve felt like a wheel has come off, or my sister was driving and I was looking for the non existent brake pedal in the passenger footwell. But as most of you know, I passed and we’re already half way through week one of third year. Summer feels like it was just a weekend break! It’s quite nice to be learning fresh new things after the last 12 months, but I’m already missing home terribly and wishing it was still harvest time.

So it succeeded! Yay! *Happy dance* But what I didn’t expect when I started, was everything else that came with it. It has become so much more than getting me through a repeat year. Which if anyone has been there will know is awful. It’s been a creative outlet, one of the best therapists I’ve ever had (I’ve seen a few), I’ve shared things that I thought would haunt me alone forever and it has brought me closer to people. Something I didn’t even consider when I started it. So a massive thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read my posts, shared their own stories with me, been supportive or just shown an interest. It’s such a nice feeling when someone tells you that they tried something new after reading about your experience of it. Or another blogger from around the World reads your post. This was never about becoming a blogger and having followers, it was an attempt to keep me afloat in that little boat I told you I was sinking in with all those suitcases. There have been many storms, but I’m not shipwrecked yet (If you think that was ridiculously soppy, I wasn’t even trying!). So it looks like you’re stuck with me now for even longer!

K x

Addicted Llama

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I’ve open and closed this draft post five times already and deleted it. I can’t work out exactly what I want to say. But I keep coming back to it because I do want to say something. This may sound absolutely ridiculous but please bear with me, sixteen days ago I stopped myself from clothes shopping. Cold turkey. You may be sat there thinking big deal, but actually it is. A massive deal, it’s recently become slightly obvious that I have developed an addiction. When I first started counselling sessions three years ago, I was warned that I may experience behaviour changes and develop obsessive disorders. These have ranged over time and started as a mild case of OCD with my belongings, a sense of control was paramount for me as a coping strategy. I am slowly getting this under control but my anxiety triples if someone comes into my space and starts moving things.

This was a major problem when I first started going out with Llama Supporter, as I couldn’t cope with his backpack and laptop invading my room. Writing it down sounds absurd but it gave me horrendous anxiety. He now has a side of the room in the cottage which has helped a lot as my area remains the same and I don’t mind him leaving packets of digestives around quite as much. The other things seem to creep up unnoticed, my coping strategies used to be horse riding, having a bath and going shopping. Since going to uni only one of these was freely available, shopping. I’m not at the level of Confessions of a Shopaholic. I have never missed my rent or bill payments, I don’t have a credit card, it’s not so much the financial side of it. It’s the accumulation of clothes. I’m not a hoarder, if they’re worn out I get rid of them. Over the last year, with help that I am very grateful for, I’ve sold 4 bin bags worth of clothes that no longer fitted or were no longer my style. So I have attempted to reduce the quantity. I never buy anything I don’t like just for the sake of it, I like all of it. But I don’t need a lot of it.

To most this may sound so easy, but I’ve made a decision to stop buying clothes until 2018. Seventeen weeks from when I started, 2nd of September 2017. So I am just over two weeks in, as I mentioned before 16 days. I have avoided shops when I can but this was particularly hard in Rome as beautiful fashion and shoes were absolutely everywhere. I found it very hard to leave an orange embroidered jumper with a wasp on it in Mango. I did consider trying to reduce it instead of going completely cold turkey, but I felt this would be setting myself up for a fail. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle stuff when life gets stressful, but hopefully by then I will have learnt not to rely on new things to make me happy.

I’ve written myself a list of places to visit that are photogenic so that will take up some of my free time and I have a 10K coming up that I really need to get back into running for. If all that fails, then my sewing will have to go into overdrive to keep me occupied. I also have 100s of potential outfits in the cupboard that need to be seen in various locations. So if you fancy catching up with me, it’ll probably be over cake or for a walk armed with cameras, at least until January anyways.

K x

Anxious Llama

I’m back already! Isn’t that a surprise, I have been contemplating writing this but then felt that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be completely honest. I’ve been awake since 5am today with anxiety. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, it’s sent my IBS into overdrive and I look approximately 7 months pregnant. Some days I think I’m doing ok, then bam. I’m sat on the sofa eating gluten free rice crispies and I feel like I could have a panic attack and cry into my bowl of lacto-free milk. Unfortunately it’s the same thing that’s set me off this time, as it has been setting me off for the last two months. Today I was planning on going to see Llama Supporter. Something that used to give me an excited tummy, now gives me anxiety levels that would tip any scale.

We’re getting on better than ever, it’s his house. Ever since he moved in June I haven’t had a single visit that hasn’t resulted in a panic attack and nights full of countless nightmares ranging from being assaulted to having arguments with people. I can’t relax, I never feel welcome or safe, which may sound absurd, but it is there none the less. I never unpack my stuff so I can leave if something sets me off, which it does frequently. I fear Llama Supporter maybe near the end of his tether. He literally is the best and tries lots of different things to make me feel happier, but I’m sure everyone has their limits. I was hoping with time, it would improve, as change always unsettles me. Last year Mummy Sue moved the living room round when I came back from uni and we ended up in Tesco at 4am because I couldn’t cope. But with this, it seems to be getting worse not better.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful at all, because I’m really not. I feel so supported and loved by Llama Supporter but I’ve tried all my counselling tips until I’m blue in the face and at the moment, the only thing that works is a bubble bath. Which is wonderful, but I can’t spend the entire time as a prune. And I’ve used all my Lush bath stash up now. I know anxiety isn’t something people talk that freely about, but it should be, it affects so many people. According to Anxiety UK, 6 million people in the UK are sufferers, I know I’m not alone in this. So please, if anyone has any advice, tips or can help please let me know, it’s driving me absolutely insane and I just want to sleep and have nice dreams, be happy, comfortable and more carefree!

K x