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How do YOU measure achievement?…

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So last week I turned yet another year older, or another year ‘younger’ as I like to say. Let’s face it, the word ‘younger‘ is far more welcoming than that of ‘old‘. In the words of my Nanny Mave in her broad black country accent, “Dow the time fly!!!”, said just before she reminds you of the date and that it will “soon be Christmas”.  She’s right you know, the time just seems to be flying by which is a terrifying reality. It makes you start thinking of the future, questioning what you have achieved. I don’t own my own house yet, I don’t have that Audi I’ve been dreaming of, I am absolutely nowhere NEAR starting a family, nor am I a managing director of that huge company you always thought you’d be a part of, on copious amounts of money!!! What have I achieved!? To most, they would say nothing. Late twenties and no further on in life.
To all you lucky people out there who only have to worry about what new shoes to wear with that new expensive dress this weekend, have you not seen what we’ve all been through this past year!!!?
What have WE achieved? EVERYTHING!
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So yes, I may have moved back in with parents, but as the saying goes… ‘Taking a step backwards after a step forwards is not a disaster, it’s the cha-cha’. Ok, so we may not be able to actually dance because most of the time it’s hard to physically move without being in some sort of pain but in our minds we are having a right little disco! Yes, I did just say DISCO. You know, those things we used to go to as children to show off our disco dancing shapes to the spice girls and eat jelly and ice cream? Ahhh those were the days! Slightly off topic but what do the youths of today call them? A dance? No, that’s the 1950’s. A rave? No, that’s the 1980’s. Please someone enlighten me… what are they called these days? Does a DISCO still exist?
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So back to what I am really writing about… achievement. It’s so strange how most people base achievement on what you own and where you work. I hear so many people talk about how ‘well‘ my sister is doing and yes, correct, she IS doing well. She’s doing amazing in fact. She’s about to move into her new 4 bedroom house with her fiancé, she’s due to get married on the beach next year in sunny Sicily, she has a sparkling BMW and never looks anything other than beautifully stylish. I’m so proud of her for achieving all these things because she’s worked so hard for them. It makes you think, wow, I don’t have all of those things and I’m the older one with the degree! I had so many prospects, what happened? Well, this happened. Severe eczema happened. Depression happened. I, happened. My priorities changed. No longer was my main objective to get to the top of my career as quickly as possible, my main aim became to get through each day without giving up. My focus wasn’t earning the cash to buy that expensive watch I’d always dreamed of, it was to remain positive for every second of the day which is far harder than it sounds, believe me. Staying strong and being positive every day when all you want to do is give up, for over a year is possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s physically and mentally draining. When I look at the facts, it turns out my sister hasn’t achieved any more than I have, which I know she will completely agree with, our achievements are just different. I guess what I’m saying, for all you people out there, and I know there is a lot, who feel like you haven’t achieved anything compared to others, is that you need to take time out for 5 minutes and think about everything you have gone through. It doesn’t matter what you own, it matters that you are still here today, living life. Yes, you may not be living life the way you always thought you would be but living you still are.
So you may have lay in bed all day because you’ve been in excruciating pain but you’ve got through it, ready to start another day! THAT’S an achievement. So you’ve had to quit your job because of your condition, but you’ve took one massive brave step to help get yourself back to good health! THAT’S an achievement. You’ve inspired others with the same condition and insecurities to get up and carry on! THAT’S an achievement.
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Don’t worry about what you don’t have and look at what you do! Brace yourself, I’m about to be super cheesy now… You have the strength of an OX (I image them to be rather strong), the determination of a hungry Lion (I image them to be rather determined) and the beauty of a summers day (There’s nothing more beautiful than the sunshine right?). You’re all amazing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Ok, so Sandra from down the road may look at you and say she thought you’d have been doing ‘better’ by now, but no offense Sandra, who are you again??? What significance do you have on my life again? Oh, none! That’s right. 😉
So all of you warriors, it’s time to be proud of yourselves, because you’ve achieved far more than you realise.
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Peace Out.

Oh hello pale, naked face!!!… Eeeek!

For the first time EVER this is me sharing with you my completely normal naked face and to be honest I’m feeling somewhat nervous about it! I’ve gained so much confidence when I’m covered in eczema that I’d forgotten what it feels like to be insecure about the way I look without make-up when I’m eczema free. People can be cruel sometimes and it’s hard to read negative comments. I guess I’ve just become so used to having a face full of eczema that I’d actually forgotten what I really look like. All of those old feelings of hating the way I look just seemed to come flooding back when I first looked in the mirror, but this time it’s different. This time I’m thankful for all of those features I’d spent so many years despising. How does the saying go again? ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’… I couldn’t agree more. You can only work with what you’ve got at the end of the day and this is just what I have to work with.

naked face 1

Pushing aside my insecurity for baring all…
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!? A CLEAR FACE!!!! This I have not seen for years. I’d forgotten what having a smooth face felt like. The other day a lady said to me “Gosh, you look pale, are you feeling ok?” :O I was literally skipping with joy inside! For the first time in over a year I just look ill because I’m deathly pale and not because I have a flakey, patchy, weepy, swollen, bleeding face! I’ve never been so happy to look ill before! I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m still pretty much covered in eczema everywhere else but my face, neck and chest are giving me hope that one day my whole body will look as good as this.
I can’t stop feeling my smooth skin. I never thought it was possible to love my forever troublesome skin but here I am, completely in love with my super paleness! I used to get so down about people saying how pale I was, and suggesting I need get a tan but now that’s all beautiful music to my ears! I AM SO PALE I LOOK ILL AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER! 🙂 I absolutely do not intend to get a tan and I will cherish my paleness for as long as I can. I don’t doubt that this won’t last so for now, I’m going to enjoy every inch of it. 🙂

A little message to all of you wonderful people out there: Whatever problems and troublesome times you’re going through right now, whether that’s physical issues, mental issues or just issues with life in general, keep battling and think positive. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like you will ever see the light again but this is proof that things do get better. It’s easier said than done, I agree, but you just need to give it time. 

If I can do it, so can you 🙂 
Peace out you beautiful lot.





(Image taken in Taormina, Messina, Sicily, Italy)

Life is art. Art is life. Some are true artists. Others, not so much. Others, you. You are not a natural. You never listened in art class. You don’t know the techniques. Your hands shake, forever dropping the brush. The vast variety of brushes make it hard for you to know which one to use. You paint the sky. Red. It is wrong. Blue. Blue is right. How can you correct your error when you can’t erase the red? Blue over red makes brown. Brown is wrong. Blue is right. Why? Why blue? Why blue? Brown is wrong. Blue is right. But why? Why blue? Blue, is not your colour. You and blue don’t mix. Brown is wrong, but brown is you. You are not wrong. You are just different. Just because your colours don’t mimic reality doesn’t mean your picture is any less beautiful. So paint the sky red. Paint the ocean white. Draw the grassland as marshland. Draw the marshland as savannah. Live in the absurd, the mad, the crazy. Be bizarre, be strange, be colourful. Make mistakes to create new pictures. Discover that red and blue don’t make brown. You were never brown. You were always purple. You have the brushes. You have the colours. Now paint…



I’m always sceptical when trying new things and really wary of ingredients that go into products. Let’s face it, half of the ingredients in a lot of products are completely alien to most of us. How long are we going to keep putting unknown products into our extra sensitive skin exactly? It’s time to sit back and start to take note of those added bits in those floral smelling dream creams you have there. Are they really as natural as they make out?
Well talking of real natural floral dream cream I’ve been doing a 4 week trial on a product that I just had to share it with you guys.
I’ve had a love for lavender since I can remember and this product has lavender written all over it. I mean, granted, let’s face it, it kind of smells like your gran but everyone loves their granny right?
I was recommended to try the junior range which wasn’t necessarily a shocker. Am I right when I say most people recommend us eczema sufferers to use junior creams? What’s great about products for children is that you know 100% they are for sensitive skin. If you can use them on babies, you can sure as hell use them on yourselves. 🙂
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The ‘Salcura Bioskin Junior’ range consists of 5 different products that cover all of your/ your child’s daily needs. What I love about these products is the fact that they have written very clearly on the front of the bottles/tubes ‘NO STEROIDS’ which put a smile on my face as soon as I took one glance at them. I do love a good clear label!
There’s a ‘daily nourishing spray’, an ‘outbreak rescue cream’, and 3 products to help with bathtime troubles… 1. Bathtime Shampoo, 2. Bathtime Bath Milk, and 3. Bathtime face and body wash.
I’m presuming you want to know my verdict on them all now I’ve come to the end of my 4 week trial right? Ok, let’s get reviewing…
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This product I absolutely loved!!!! Like I said earlier, I love lavender and this smells of nothing other than that beautiful lilac wild flower. This spray is something really rather special because it helps the skin repair itself by building up its own protective membrane by supporting the growth of new cells. Now, I don’t know about you but when I have a massive eczema flare up, my skin gets ridiculously hot which makes it even more irritated. In these moments this spray was absolute heaven on the skin! The spray is so cooling that it really helped with calming the skin down. It doesn’t leave you with that wet, greasy feeling that moisturisers leave you with either, it’s light and absorbs really quickly. What was also great about this is that not only is it cooling and calming to the skin but due to it smelling of lavender it is extremely calming on the mind aswel. They say lavender helps you sleep, and as we all know, us eczema sufferers get anything BUT sleep. Whether this helped me sleep, I’m unsure but it certainly made me feel more relaxed.
RATING: 10 being super itchy, 1 being completely itch free…
I rate this product as a…………. *drum roll* a very itch free 2!! 🙂
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Now, out of all the products this one is my least favourite. It’s not that I don’t like it but it just didn’t really help me all that much. This product is specifically for those occassional moments when you’re having a flare up and are in need of a little help to stop that deep, constant, all over itch. What is good about this product is that you don’t need to use alot so it is quite long lasting. I just felt that when having a flare up, the ‘daily nourishing spray’ worked better. I think the reason for this is just the fact that my skin hates thick creams and as the spray is so thin, my skin can just handle it better. All in all, it’s a good product but just not for me. The good points for this though is that it’s completely steroid free and so there’s no worry of how many times you’re using it and no worry of doing further damage to your already damaged skin.
RATING: 10 being super itchy, 1 being itch free….
I rate this product as a…..*drum roll* rather disappointing 7!! 😦
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If you’re anything like me you’ll absolutely hate bath time! I feel like I’ve reverted back to my early childhood days where by I used to dread Sunday bath nights. I have to literally leave the whole evening free when it’s bath night as I just know my skin is going to kick off and give me just the worst time! If there’s one time that my strength is ever tested, it’s BATHTIME!
For this reason finding the right bath products is key if I’m going to heal my skin.
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Bath milk’s set alarm bells ringing whenever I hear the name mentioned. I usually find when using bath milk’s such as Olaytum that they leave a greasy film on your skin when you get out of the bath and that sets me off in a massive flare. The ‘Salcura Bioskin Junior Bath Milk’ however is totally different. It’s a non-greasy milk that leaves the skin feeling nourished and smooth without that slippery film other products leave. When bathing your skin dehydrates so this milk locks in that moisture, soothing those cracks created by severe dryness. Is this product long lasting? Not really but would I still reccomend it? ABSOLUTELY.
RATED: 10 being super itchy, 1 being itch free….
I rate this product as a……*drum roll* very happy 3!! 🙂
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I think one of the main problems with shampoos for me was not just the side effects it would have on my scalp if it reacted badly but also the hellish side effects I’d end up getting on my hands from having to massage it in. As you all know, my hands are highly sensitive but this shampoo left them feeling anything other than itchy. My scalp felt so much better after washing in this also which was certainly somewhat of a relief! Is my hair still falling out? Yes, but I guess that’s just TSW for you.
Do I like this shampoo? yes. Would I recommend it? CERTAINLY
RATED: 10 being super itchy, 1 being itch free….
I rate this product as a……*drum roll* very satisfying 2!! 🙂
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This has to be a favourite of mine. I mean, I don’t know about you guys but I find it hard to find products to wash in that one, don’t cause too much irritation and two, don’t dry out the skin. This however really was a welcome addition to my bathroom shelves! It’s weird I’ve just said ‘bathroom shelves’ because I actually don’t have any shelves in my bathroom which is a little awkward but I fear that if I say it was a welcome addition to my bathroom ‘draws’ for instance, it may sound rather inappropriate so I think I’ll stick to my imaginary shelves. 🙂 Anyhow back to the important bit. Once again, the lavender was rather potent, not in a bad way, as I’ve explained I love lavender so I am seriously in my element when using this. I found that it wasn’t particularly irritant. I don’t think I’ll find anything that 100% isn’t irritant. After using it, I would use the ‘Bioskin Junior Nourishing Spray’ which would cool the skin, helping calm down any irritation. As for drying out the skin, I found this really holds in the moisture. I mean I still wake up looking like a reptile with my scaly skin but as soon as I wash it all off with this face & body wash, my face feels refreshed and moist (I hate that word) which is a wonderful feeling! I must stress that it is super important to use a moisturiser after using this product though because as much as any products try to hold the moisture into the skin, water will inevitably dehydrate it.
Would I recommend this product? HELL YEA!
RATED: 10 being super itchy, 1 being itch free….
I rate this product as a…………*drum roll* huge smiling 3!! 🙂
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All in all I have to say that I really do like these products and I will indeed carry on using them. 🙂 If you’re not a fan of lavender then these products are 100% not for you, but if you are a fan then by all means, give them a go. You can find them on their website and searching ‘Bioskin Junior’
Have you already tried these? Want to know more? Leave me a comment and share your advice and questions with all! 🙂
I hope you found my review somewhat helpful.

A beautiful reflection of the last 365 days…


day 365

This week I hit ONE WHOLE YEAR of TSW!  I cannot believe it has been a whole year already. 365 days of looking like a crack whore and I’m still smiling! Well, smiling when my tight, dry skin lets me. For a year I have been like besties with hell. I’ve become a frequent visitor to that fiery furness!!  If this was the 15/1600’s I’d have been burnt at the stake for being a witch months ago! Not that I am ACTUALLY a Witch of course, but this constant weepy, itchy, smelly skin would surely have been mistaken for the devil by some curious Tudor citizens!  That aside… I’M STILL HERE! I MADE IT!

When I think back to DAY 1 I shiver. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but did I think it was going to be THIS hard? Absolutely not! Would I have still have gone ahead with it had I known? ABSOLUTELY!

day 27

day 30

Making the decision to stop steroids and go cold turkey was the BEST decision I have ever made however difficult the journey has been.  No, I may not be healed but I’m on the bumpy road to getting my life back and that is an exciting thought! Even good ole’Dorothy following her yellow brick road to Oz had to face a few “Lions and Tigers and Bears” (OH MY) on the way. I’m telling you now Dorothy, you’re a lucky lady because I’d welcome Lion and Tigers and Bears with open arms. I’d invite them round for a cuppa any day instead of having to dine with Mr. ITCHY, Mrs. SCRATCHY and Ms. WEEPY that’s for sure!!!

one month

I know Topical Steroid Withdrawal is pretty darn horrific but it has strangely had a huge positive effect on me. I have my moments, naturally, where I cry and scream and wish it would all just end but on a whole I stay as strong as a Ox (I think that’s how the saying goes?).

stay strong

Since I started sharing my eczema journey with you all last year, my life has substantially changed. Friends have become strangers. Strangers have become friends. I couldn’t have got this far without my amazing support network so for all of you who have supported me and have joined me on this difficult road I thank you so so much. You have been incredible and I will be forever grateful.

I’ve grown so much as an individual. I used to always be a person who would constantly worry about what other people thought. I’d worry about not being ‘beautiful’ and I’d frequently get upset because I felt ugly. My insecurities completely controlled me but actually, for all those years I’ve just been blinded. Absolutely blinded by the barriers set by society about what is or isn’t, the ‘ideal image’. WHO CARES?

Ever since I’ve shown you all my photos of my swollen face, my weeping skin, my blotchy body and my thinning hair I’ve had nothing but positive comments. I have had more people call ME beautiful since I’ve been showing my imperfections than in my whole lifetime.

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Beautiful… what is ‘beauty’?  If there is one thing this last year has taught me it’s that beauty isn’t all about looking good in that swimming costume you saw your friend wear last week, it’s not about having the perfect pony tail and the best tanned legs in that expensive dress. Beauty is about confidence, it’s about not caring what people think, it’s about loving you for you and not wishing you were someone else. We can’t change what we have so we need to stop wishing we looked more like other people and rock the hell out of what we’ve got. It’s about loving the very skin you’re in. Your imperfections make you different. Embrace them. Be your own kind of beautiful.  How does the saying go again? ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and this I cannot stress this to you enough.  I am so grateful to TSW for opening up my eyes and making me realise that actually, my very existence doesn’t depend on how attractive people find me and neither does yours. Beauty comes from within and since realising this I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my very sore, eczema ridden shoulders.

together we got this

I know that suffering from a skin condition may make you feel unattractive from time to time, but believe me when I tell you that each and every one of you are stunning individuals. To deal with all the issues that come with having a skin disorder and still keep smiling is an amazing quality to have. That love and strength that shines through inspires others to also keep smiling and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Smile and the world smiles with you.

Thanks again for all your support throughout this last year.

Peace out you beautiful, beautiful lot,




Not today eczema. Today, you lost…


This weekend was a big weekend for me. You may think, PAH! You, dressing up as a Tudor, performing? Difficult? Noway! But I swear to you it’s true! Performing yes, comes naturally to me but TSW really knocked it out of me and for a year I’ve been hibernating like a tortoise in my little Victorian terrace shell!


To put myself out there on the stage allowing everyone to stare at me, judging my skills as an actor is something I’m used to. Having people judging me because of the way my skin looks is also something I’m used to but combining the two really turned up the pressure.  Pressure= Stress. Stress= ITCHING!


It was a weird little feeling. I was so excited to be back doing what I love more than anything but terrified of throwing myself out there for all eyes to see. What if I can’t do it?  What if I have a flare up and need to have a scratching fit? What if I start shedding skin everywhere? What if I’m just not ready for this yet?  So traumatic.


The stage isn’t a place whereby you can fade into the back ground going unnoticed. I will be centre of attention, I will have everyone focused on me, judging my ability to act. Little would they know just how hard acting would be for me this time. Not only am I Suzannah Shakespeare, but I’m also performing as a different me. The professional, confident actress with no troubles in the world. How inaccurate. It wasn’t my ultimate best performance I’ve ever done but considering the circumstances I think did pretty well.

The anxiety I felt the night before heading down to Stratford-Upon-Avon kept me awake, which was rather a good thing considering I was on a 12 hour night shift.

I know you all say I’m so strong to get through this with a positive attitude but I still get the same insecure feelings as you all do.  I still get worried, anxious, upset. I certainly felt all of this whilst on the journey down there. It was going to be the first time I’d have saw the wonderful people at Tudor World for over a year, what if they don’t recognise this new me? So much has happened in the last year that I feel like a completely different person and what if they don’t like this new Amy-Lou?

the falstaff experience

Turns out all of this worrying was for absolutely nothing because as soon as I took the first step onto the original 16th century cobbles that lead up to the museum  I felt like I’d come back home and I was so relaxed. I felt inspired, rejuvenated, alive!


It was amazing to once again get stuck into rehearing and to be working with my awesome colleagues again! I was so busy it really distracted me from my itchy nightmare. My colleagues made me feel so at ease, even getting changed in front of them just wasn’t an issue at all. It literally took so much man strength to squeeze me into my dress. I’ve put on a whole stone since I last tried to fasten up this little number. I’m pretty sure that’s down to not being able to do any exercise since TSW because sweat and eczema do not get on! If you could have seen me trying to get into this dress I guarantee you’d have been on your back laughing!


 Once in that dress, I felt amazing! I felt like me again! The ‘me’ that loves performing, that loves making an audience laugh and loves being complimented. I DID IT! I finally, after 11 months of TSW got back on that stage! I am so proud of myself for it! If we can get through all the pain steroids have induced on us and still stay positive, we can do ANYTHING!

me and chris framed

I spent a day having people take my photo, calling me beautiful because of the dress and I loved every minute of it! My skin looked great and I felt great! When you’re smiling no-one even notices your imperfections because smiling is so contagious. I was at no point questioned about my eczema and for once, I felt normal. People didn’t want a photo with me because I was the girl in the paper for having a skin condition, I was just a girl playing a character in a Tudor costume anonymous to the general public and I couldn’t have felt happier.

me and kim framed

I still stick by not pushing yourself too far and accepting your limits but sometimes you’ve just got to get out there and start living again! Challenge yourself! Whether that’s leaving the house, getting out of bed or even just making a cup of tea, try it. It is just such a rewarding feeling when you’ve successfully achieved whatever challenge you may have set yourself. It will be worth every ache, pain and effort to just feel proud. Just replacing that feeling of failure with success will pick you up if you’re having a down day. It will make you feel positive, it will make you realise you can still live life, and it will give you a taste of what life may feel like when you get to the end of our super dark, itchy tunnel. If you don’t succeed the first time, get up and try again, don’t give up. What’s that song about getting knocked down and getting back up again? There’s no such word as can’t here, if I can do it, you can do it. We are all in this together and together we will beat this!


What challenges have you set yourself? What challenges have you already successfully completed? Or what are you currently trying to work towards?

I want to hear all! 🙂

Loves.xx ❤


PS. If you like ‘The Terrible Tudors’, you will love ‘The Falstaff Experience. Tudor World’. Check out the website for up and coming events…




Seriously guys… We know you are only trying to help but trust me when I say, you’re not!


WOW! Thank you for your advice Doris! I will stop scratching straight away! Who’d have thought it was that easy hey! If only we’d all been told sooner, we’d have saved ourselves from so much suffering! What are we like!!! *Rolls eyes*


Oh really!? Are we!? Aren’t we a silly lot…. Slap our wrists!!!  (Except, don’t do that as that may trigger a scratching fit… yes! We know… WE MUSTN’T SCRATCH)


YES! It is extremely contagious so you ought to stay the hell away! Like seriously, just talking to me means you may be able to catch it so better not breath another word in my direction! (There’s one way to get rid of morons)


Aaaaaand the award for ‘BEING ABLE TO STATE THE OBVIOUS’ goes toooo….. YOU! *Claps* What an achievement! And there we were thinking you were stupid!


Oh well that’s awkward! There I was thinking I was having a ‘good skin day’, I’d better put my long sleeve polo neck jumper back on then.


Well, it’s not is it but it’s nice to know you’d lie to my face just to make me feel better I guess. I will be sure to never ask you if “my bum looks big in this”.


Ok, let’s get one thing straight… Dry skin and eczema, not the same! Don’t compare your small dry patch to my itchy, scabby, flaky, weepy, eczema! Are you chronically under slept because of that dry patch you have there? I DIDN’T THINK SO.

So I mean really, the moral of the story is to take a leaf out of Ronan Keating’s book because *sings* “You say your best, when you say NOTHING AT ALL”.


Thank you,