RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

On the 1st February 2017, I took part in the regional heat of the Chelsea Flower Show at Greenmount Campus. I came in 2nd place with 82 points and was so thrilled that I had done so well in my first competition. 

After this initial competition there was a long wait until April to find out whether or not i’d be going through to the final. A tuesday night in April, standing in my gym class, I got the word that i’d be going to Chelsea! I never imagined when I entered that I would actually be lucky enough to go, so I was ecstatic with the news! 

On tuesday the 23rd June, three of us from college flew over to London, with many boxes of flowers and tools, ready to get working. Upon arrival at the hotel, all flowers were unpacked and straight into water to get a good drink before we started glueing them. On tuesday night both of us competing (on different pieces) worked until 1am, doing base work and glueing foilage. We slept a bit and then got up to start work again on Wednesday at 7am. 

I remained in a separate room alone whilst the other competitor and tutor worked away in the other hotel room. I was lucky enough that my boss and friend Tracy Burrows flew over for two days to support me at the show. She arrived around lunchtime on Wednesday, we had some food (finally) and them got straight back to work. I worked away on my piece until about 9 o’clock Wednesday night , then it was time to pack up and get to the show. We were given from 10-2.30 in the morning to work on displaying our pieces and adding the finishin touches. Exhaustion took over and by 2am I was ready for bed, it was a tough night and by about 4am we finally got to bed.

Thursday was our first chance to properly look around the show and it was beautiful! Not as vast as I imagined, but so much hard work on show, and so many beautiful flowers! Results on Thursday for our competition were due to take place at 2pm, but unfortunately were held back until 4, this meant that Tracy missed results which was disappointing, but it’s okay, because I didn’t win! The category was very tough and everyones pieces were fantastic! To be competing with such talented people was an amazing experience! Even though I didn’t win a medal this time, I wasn’t far off and hope to get the opportunity next year to compete again! 

The show has such a lovely environment and atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed the Pimms and ice cream available! (For quite the price) It was a lovely experience to be able to go and look around the show myself and gather up some lovely photographs and even some shoes! 

I am so thankful for the opportunity I had, and all the support I’ve received from friends and family, and my church family, as well as all those who saw it on facebook or in the paper and visited the shop to ask or wish me luck! I still can’t quite believe i’m one of 14 U25 competitors and a finalist for the Chelsea Young Florist of the year 2017ūüĆł‚Äč



Being sick

So, in September 2012, when I was Upper sixth, I went on a trip to Liverpool and fell ill on the second day. ¬†I still don’t understand what exactly happened but, we were waiting in the dinner queue and I felt like I was going to faint so I headed back to the flat and got some toast and was looked after. ¬†The next day I felt like I’d woken up from a migraine but yet I’d had no pain at all. I felt horribly nauseas and dizzy for the next few days and the same when I returned home to Belfast. ¬†So I went to the doctor and they couldn’t work it out. ¬†So I continued being dizzy constantly and then the migraines started. ¬†Every single day for months I had a searing headache and was so dizzy I could barely walk around school and did have to stay in bed on occasion. ¬†Sometimes having to spend three or four days in bed before I could actually get up.

In around March 2012, I finally began a course of tablets which seemed to work, I’d tried a few but nothing was easing the pain or dizziness. The tablets I was put on worked for a while and then the dosage was upped, then upped again after another few weeks. ¬†A couple of months later I still had a headache so I was started on another tablet to decrease the headaches caused by the first tablets. ¬†I was still getting headaches, although less frequent they were still there and still causing a major discomfort, so in November 2013 I got a brain scan, after many appointments and a lot of waiting. It showed nothing. ¬†So again I still had no answer as to what was causing the pain. ¬†I had new glasses and extra tablets for use in the event of a ‘migraine attack’.

Eventually, sometime last year I was diagnosed with chronic migraines, which many people may think is just a lousy headache sometimes but it’s honestly not,¬†¬†‘The International Headache Society defines chronic migraine as more than fifteen headache days per month over a three month period of which more than eight are migrainous, in the absence of medication over use’. ¬†Doesn’t sound great does it.

http://www.migrainetrust.org/chronic-migraine ¬†I’m not going bore anyone with too much medical talk but if you wish to understand the condition better this is a good link to use.

But as the medication alone did not comfortably remove all of the migraine or headache pain I was having I had to seek other forms of relief.  I got an allergy test done which told me that eating gluten and potatoes among other foods, could be causing the pain.  So I tried going totally gluten free, but was miserable.  Completely distraught at the lack of nutrition and taste, although this is because I hate cooking and have a lot of fruits and vegetables that I was supposed to avoid so I was buying the gluten free supplements instead of cooking nutritious food without gluten, so kudos to all the celiacs out there who actually do it!

I did this for a while, then gradually introduced ‘normal foods’ back into my diet, bad idea because I saw what I was doing, although I still was mostly gluten free I couldn’t stick to it that well. ¬†I have recently abandoned the whole thing because all of the gf food is too calorific and is causing me ¬†to gain much more weight than I should be, so I’m trying to just eat healthier and less high gluten foods than I would have before, having had bagels, cous cous and pasta as my main diet for a long time. ¬†So I have been mostly migraine free for a few months, only suffering from two or three a month, which is pretty good, but as I’m now going to change my diet back I’m scared I’ll be back in bed a lot, but I shall wait and see!

Just needed to get this all off my chest and hopefully help people see that chronic migraines are a real problem and help some people to realise that it is a medical condition.  This was a wordy post, apologies.

Just a ramble

okay so I normally hate these types of posts and this is the opposite of a normal transformation post. ¬†Instead of a weight loss post this is more of a weight gain post. ¬†Now I’ve never had an eating disorder or anything like that but, a couple of years ago I developed a bit of an illness which I will probably ramble about next as i seem to be in the mood! The photo that is attached is important because the one on the right was me last October when I seemed to suddenly loose a lot of weight. ¬†I was never that large to be fair, always between a 10 and 12, but suddenly I was finding myself closer to a 6 or an 8. ¬†At the time, I honestly didn’t think I looked that different, but a friend pointed out to me earlier that I was almost dangerously thin. ¬†It could have been a change in medication or stress of moving from home and starting uni that caused it, I’m not sure, but whatever it was, I didn’t understand why people were so concerned. ¬†Now I’m back closer to my normal weight, I do think I’m a little too heavy right now, but I am definitely much healthier than I was in the older picture! ¬†I think it’s important that you listen to people around you and you talk to you friends if you notice them loosing weight rapidly just in case, although I was not ill in an eating disorder sense, it’s still good to know I had people looking out for me. It’s also important to see that skinny isn’t always beautiful, and I was quite unhappy with how I looked, I’d lost my curves, so just keep an eye and learn to love you! ūüôā

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So this weekend my parents were away for their anniversary so I had some friends over, so did my brother! I cleared out the garage and set out chairs and stuff, the dart board and some ice buckets to keep the drinks cold.  The rain stopped so me and my friends decided to move some chairs and stuff into the garden and we started drinking and smoking and having fun out there.  

My brothers friends took the garage and were messing around until someone smashed one of the lights (one of those big tube lights) and so we had to lock up the garage because the glass was literally everywhere.

Two of my friends then said we should have a camp-fire, as I’m petrified, I wasn’t too happy but I was reassured this person used to do that all the time, I agreed. ¬†We started it in a little tin bucket but I remembered we have an incinerator so we made a bigger, warmer fire. ¬†There was plenty of drinks, cigars, laughter and take out food and it was just so much fun we stayed up pretty much all night and watch a couple of films and it waas just the nicest weekend ūüôā¬†

The Scandal of food prices

I have recently had to go gluten free to try and solve the problem I’ve been having with migraines. ¬†I went to Tesco to buy a selection of gluten free food that I could actually eat and it occurred to me that the food is so much more expensive than regular food. ¬†Gluten is very unhealthy but is present in most food. ¬†To me, it seems that if Gluten free food was cheaper, more people could afford to eat it. ¬†This could lead to a more healthy future generation and could reduce the strain on the NHS. ¬†Is it just me or does that not make sense?

Surely if the government reduced the price of healthy food of all kinds, more people would be encouraged to eat healthy and therefore be healthy, reducing the obesity issue in the UK and reducing the issues with the NHS, therefore making it more successful, seems like it would be a positive knock-on effect.

Just my thoughts!