Laser eye surgery: a whole new world.

Laser eye surgery review  LASEK OPTIMAX

I’m writing this from a rooftop pool in Patong, Phuket, watching the sun set over the island. I can see for miles. The beach. A small pier protruding out over the ocean. The roofs of small traditional Thai houses poking out through the trees which surround us. Cranes moving around building more tourist spots. And the mouth-watering burger station at the other end of the pool. I can see. Just over a month ago, these views would be a blur to me, an out of focus view through what seemed like constant drunken eyes. But after my Laser Eye Surgery in November, these views are now a reality. I can see.

I didn’t wear glasses in University, and over the four years of studying I slowly started to notice a change in my eyesight. Suddenly when I was driving home to visit my parents for the weekend, the road signs became less clear. I visited Las Vegas with work, and we ate at the restaurant of the Stratosphere, a 360 view over the strip which goes for miles. I couldn’t see the first hotel in front of us. When I was in Bora Bora the girls were pointing out the dolphins and puffer fish in the sea, but I couldn’t spot them. I look back and think of all the things I’ve missed out on seeing, or had to live through my camera lens to get a HD look at what was right in front of me. Going to the supermarket and forgetting my glasses was one of the worst examples for me, the bustle around, with the products being so small, the lights being so bright. It would be so disorientating and I’d leave with a headache, and usually without everything I went in there to get.

When I first considered getting Laser Eye Surgery I wondered whether my eyes were bad enough to put myself through the risk of something going wrong, but the odds of this happening are really small and I decided to bite the bullet. I visited one opticians for a free consultation, and felt pressured instantly into agreeing on the day that I would go through with the surgery. I went to the appointment alone and so wanted to discuss the surgery with my parents as it’s quite a big deal and no small feet to go through. I was asked “what discount would make you book it today?” And after that they went to speak to the area manager who was supposedly only in that day, meaning I would have to book it that day to receive the discount offered of £100. I again thanked them but said I’d think about it and let them know, they then called me on and off for weeks and it just left me feeling uneasy that this was a commission based money making scheme, rather than life-changing surgery which isn’t too be taken lightly.

I then found Optimax. Straight away Optimax made me feel a lot more at ease than the other opticians. I visited the branch in Bristol as they don’t offer laser eye surgery in Cardiff, and they informed me I was only suitable for the LASEK treatment due to my eyes being dry, which could affect the healing process and be prone to infection if I went for LASIK (more about this later!) The other opticians said I would be fine with LASIK. I again said I’d go away and think about it and they were a lot less pushy than the previous opticians and gave me space to decide and information to read over. They also offered me a discount in exchange for sharing my story which we agreed on.

You have to attend a consultation which is free, then once you decide you want to go through with the surgery you meet the surgeon who double checks you are suitable for the treatment. Then on surgery day, you visit the surgeon again who checks you’re still suitable and you’re happy with the decision to move forward with treatment. I had to rearrange my surgery day due to work commitments, and Optimax were super helpful and patient with me, and available over email when I wasn’t able to call. When surgery day did come, I attended on my own and the staff and surgeon were really helpful in putting me at ease. My surgeon was Dr Mughal and he was great at informing you of each step and making you feel relaxed, considering you’re about to get your eyes lasered! The treatment itself doesn’t take more than a minute per eye, but there’s around ten minutes of preparation ready for the laser. You have your eyes numbed so you can’t feel a thing during treatment, although as your eyes are being held open it is a little uncomfortable- the worst bit for me was flushing them out with water afterwards! When treatment is over you’re then sent away (preferably with a friend or family member who picks you up as your vision is pretty blurry from all the drops!) and booked in to come for a check up in a few days time.

As I had the LASEK, a treatment which doesn’t involve creating a flap which the LASIK does, my healing time was longer and the pain and discomfort was a lot more intense than what those who have had LASIK have told me their experience was like. I have dry eyes and so wasn’t found suitable for the LASIK as the risks of infection and dry eyes are higher with this treatment. You’re sent away with numbing drops for your eyes and eye drops to use for weeks after the treatment, along with some eye protectors to wear at night to stop you touching your eye- these are really uncomfortable and feel like what guys wear in their pants in cricket to protect their man parts are stuck to your eyes! And although they warn you that the pain the next day or so can be excruciating, I don’t think I was truly ready for how much it’d hurt. It felt like my eyeballs were falling out from the inside and I could do nothing about it. For 48 hours I sat in a dark room and binged podcasts until I fell asleep out of boredom. It was a pretty bleak 48-72 hours, but once you’re through that, it’s all up hill from here. Just make sure you dose up on painkillers!

Because of the type of treatment I had, my eyes take a little longer to heal and so 5 weeks on from the treatment my eyes still haven’t reached their full potential, but hopefully by the new year they’ll be in 20/20 shape. Every day I wake up and my vision is that little bit better, I’ve almost forgot what living through my old vision was like.

If you’re thinking of getting laser eye surgery, I would definitely recommend it as it really has changed my life. Most people are suitable for the LASIK which has a one day recovery time and less pain attached, so unless you’re a little unlucky like me your experience with discomfort shouldn’t be so bad! I can’t thank Optimax enough for changing my life and helping me see sunsets clearly again.

The Alternative Christmas Soundtrack: Podcast reviews

Nothing screams ‘it’s festive season’ like belting out Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas whilst decorating the tree, but sometimes we could all do with a break from the festivities (December is a long month right?) To help drown out the noise this Christmas, I’ve reviewed three of my favourite podcasts.

Happy Place Podcast with Fearne Cotton

Happy Place with Fearne Cotton

A special space for mindful conversations, Happy Place with Fearne Cotton was the first podcast which had me hooked. A follow up to her hit book ‘HAPPY’, Fearne uses the podcast as a platform to share her own experiences with mental health and explore the topic of feeling blue with a variety of well-known and inspiring guests.

The topic of happiness leaves an open invitation to endless conversation; What is being happy? And can you ever truly reach a state of happiness? The subject matter may seem a heavy one, but what Fearne is best at is making you feel as if you’re sat in your own living room having a natter over a cuppa tea with your mates. This easy-going approach to what are hard-hitting issues including depression, heartbreak and addiction allows you to reflect on your own emotions, and sit comfortably in the thought that it’s okay to not be okay. Featured guests range from the extremely funny Dawn French in the first series of the podcast, to none other than former secretary of state and leading ‘Nasty Woman’ Hilary Rodham Clinton in more recent episodes. Lesser known names but equally as inspiring, are the likes of writer, journalist and all round bad-ass Bryony Gordon, and Poorna Bell who courageously leads a discussion on grief after losing her husband to heroin addiction.

This heart-warming club of which we are all invited to join is Fearne’s greatest work yet, and I’ve blissfully adopted her noteful ‘Mmmmm’s into my every day life. Insightful, endearing and a virtual hug through your headphones, this podcast is perfect for anyone who needs a little extra support this Christmas.

Happy Place is available on all podcast platforms, for more info click here.

My Dad wrote a Porno

My Dad wrote a porno

I mean, it’s quite literally what it says on the tin. Jamie Morton’s dad wrote a porno, or to be specific- a dirty book about the pots and pans industry and a horny AF women called Belinda. But instead of burning it on the log fire and gifting his Dad coal for Christmas, Jamie turned his Dad’s filthy thoughts into a groundbreaking comedy podcast. I mean seriously, he really did. Joined by his two best mates Alice Levine and James Cooper, the cringed out trio narrate the books whilst picking apart the porn inside. It’s simply genius. The child-like laughter at the mention of bodily fluids and the grossed out sighs let-out by the three friends as they bond over the ludacris which is Jamie’s Dad’s sexual fantasies, teleport you right back to when you accidentally first watched a sex scene on the tv with your parents. Imagine Kevin and Perry Goes Large, but in 2019. No thank you Mrs Patterson.

The show has become a cultural phenomenom, touring the World as a Live show and garnering a loyal celebrity following. Ever thought you’d hear Lin-Manuel Miranda review an independent porn fiction? Well now you can with the addition of the Footnotes episodes. This podcast is probably not one to listen to whilst dishing out dinner with your gran (be sure to scrub those pots and pans kids), but it certainly will help break the ice at a work’s Christmas do’.

My Dad wrote a porno is available on all podcast platforms, for more info click here

The Guilty Feminist with Deborah Frances-White

The Guilty Feminist Podcast

I’m a feminist but I got paid money to pose topless for men’s magazines, and I enjoyed it. Yep, I think I qualify for a membership into this movement.

This comedy podcast is anchored by tear-rollingly funny comedian Deborah Frances-White, as White and her panel of mischevious accomplices share their 21st Century Feminist views, along with their insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that undermine them. As a self-confessed feminist who’s outspoken about the movement, I am all to aware of my actions, morals and principles which pop up on a regular basis and scream ‘BAD FEMINIST! BAD FEMINIST! GET DOWN FROM THAT MAN!”. Whilst we live in a society which continues to scrutinise eachother’s every move (can you be a feminist and get a bikini wax!?) this refreshingly honest series allows women across the World to breathe, and remember we are not perfect. Think you thought you knew what a Feminist was? Think again.

The show is filmed in front of a live audience and carries a similar feel to panel shows such as ‘Mock the Week’, keeping the content light in it’s delivery, but heavy in it’s topics. White is joined by a variety of guests, from fellow comedians to trail blazers and ambassador’s. This series provides women with a safe space to share their anger at the patriarchal society, whilst also admitting that we secretly like it when you pay for dinner. Me? Guilty as charged.

The Guilty Feminist is available on all podcast platforms. For more information click here

Check out the other blogs in the 12 Blogs Of Christmas and let me know what your fave podcast is!

Coachella: The Influencer Olympics or Just a Sign of the Times?

Coachella: The Influencer Olympics or Just a Sign of the Times?

I bounce down the dusty path with a rhythmic strut on, influenced by the poolside champagne mules and desert-dry sunshine. To the left of me is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. To the right of me? The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. In front of me? You guessed it, another female competing for the title of being the MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN I HAVE EVER SEEN. I have never seen so many good looking people in one place, and I’ve been in a lot of situations which involve good looking people. We que up by the gates waiting to slither through the electronic security scanners (UK Festivals take note… or don’t?). My see thru’ pale eyes are blinded by a sea of diamanté netted dresses with nothing but a black thong bikini underneath. Shell suits and bucket hats don’t quite cut it here when it comes to the epitome of festival fashion. “OH NO! WE’RE GOING THROUGH THE GA (general admission) ENTRANCE” a group of girls behind me gasp as it dawns on them they’re at the wrong gate and they’re at a high risk of catching cooties from the ghastly commoners who grace the general grounds, who paid just $500 for their ticket, instead of getting it for free from a brand.

Security cleared and the bag (entry) secured, I weave my way through the impressive art installations and even more impressive collections of individuals, all huddled around the infamous Ferris wheel trying to get that perfect Instagram shot. I want in on the fun. “Will you take one of me with the wheel?” I ask my agent (lol joke, my friend) rhetorically, not waiting for an answer as I thrust my camera into her hands. “Yeah can you like, get lower? Get the wheel in. Make my legs look skinny. How’s it looking?” In my head I look like all those other girls. You know the ones. With the perfect silhouette. The best background. The impeccable lighting. The face-wide smile. My friend hands back my phone and as we huddle around to look back at the ahem-magic- of which we’ve most certainly just created, we can’t help but burst out into infectious laughter. What the fuck is that. A Victoria’s Secret Model I ain’t. “It’s not quite the image I had in mind” I manage to mutter through the breaks for air in the childlike giggling. Not willing to take all the credit for the god awful creations, my friend isn’t a professionally trained photographer either, and what we thought would be the next hottest post on the gram’ turned out to be more “wham, bam, no thank you ma’am”. “It must all be in the editing” my friend comforted me, whilst lying through her teeth. But then again you see, it really kind of is in the editing. And the model of course. And the photographer. The lighting. The app. The location. The filters. The camera. What attending Coachella taught me is that the images you see on Instagram- well, they’re fake. There’s always a million people around you, whilst these influencers manage to be in a half empty field (or not at the festival at all). The lighting isn’t a bleached app hue and everyone doesn’t live under a permanent state of a sun-kissed warm tone. This doesn’t mean I enjoy the festival any less, in fact it’s allowed me to give less of a shit about comparing myself to the impossible professionally taken and edited Instagram posts I see online, and accept that the magic I can create with my face, a Judy and an iPhone 8s is a little bit different than what the girls being sponsored to be at the festival and being followed by agents, social media managers, content creators and professional photographers can produce- and that’s alright by me.

The not-so money shot.

We worm our way through the flower bed of influencers to collect our ID band- a tradition which has not been passed on to it’s British equivalents. This is my fourth time visiting Coachella (I know, I’m a lucky sod) but each year without fail the individual blessed with the importance of checking my pink plastic will still squint at me with a judgemental glare, and act as if they’re doing me a favour granting my 26 year old self exclusive access to the sweet fountain of alcohol that awaits. The alcohol system they have in place at the festival is one of the most obvious differences to me as a beer guzzling Brit. Whilst in a UK festival you’d be handed a warm can of Amstel for a fiver, here cold beer is on tap, which I guess is why you pay $11 a pint (this is the cheapest drink you’ll get btw, so you better get comfortable with it). If ever we decided to splash out and get the $18 *gulp* tequila shots in, then buy either State law or maybe just plain boring festival rules, they have to serve it with ice so you can’t just neck it- which kind of defeats the point. Then, in typical American fashion, there’s the awkward “How much do you want to tip?” Screen which flashes up and glares at you with it’s readily marked percentages. SOZ to say but not sorry to admit it, by pint 3 we’d reached British confidence level of selecting “no tip” and scurrying off before the server could give us the evil eyes. I know, I get it, we’re bad people. But you’ve literally handed me a readily poured pint whilst barely raising a smile, and quite frankly that’s just not enough to get a British person to part with their hard earned ca$$$h. Shuffling along with our tail between our legs and a pint in our hands, we find a spot to enjoy the liquid gold in our cups. Except we’re limited for seats. Because for some reason which I’m yet to fathom why, you’re not allowed to take alcohol out into the main area. Fenced in like cattle, you’re confined to the grounds within these white walls. Which might not be a problem for the average tee-total member of generation Z, but for two booze-guzzling Welsh women it certainly switches up your festival experience. There’s nothing better than the sun beaming down on your glittered and sunburnt scalp, a luke-warm pint of Carlsberg in hand, watching some indie-band playing songs you’ve never heard of whilst you’re being rained on by liquid which you hope is just beer, but in your heart know the likelihood is that it’s someone’s piss. But those sweet UK festival memories will not be made out in the desert; in fact it seems no one really gets steaming here at all. We succumb to defeat and find a spot in our pen to watch the main stage from, and that’s where we’ll set up camp for the next three days of the festival (you’ll notice on my Coachella vlog that all the clips of artists are filmed from the exact same angle – the bar!).

Where do all these people go in everyone else’s Insta posts?!

All around us people are posing for pictures. One girl is sprawled out on the floor, another is holding up a product, someone else is pretending to walk whilst going nowhere. Coachella is the only place in the World where you can look like an egotistical twat, and no one can judge you for it. But for all it’s fake-assery and pretentious-ness, there’s something about this festival which draws me back every damn time. The location is beautiful. The guaranteed sunshine changes your whole mood. There’s a laidback vibe to the place (this might have something to do with the stench of weed everywhere you turn). The art installations are incredible. The organisation is smooth. The acts are great. It’s just a bloody great place to have a bloody great time. I’ve seen influencers posting about how “it’s not what it seems” or “how it’s not fun anymore” and I understand everyone has a different experience, but your personal experience will be what you make it. Sure, everyone’s after that money shot for their gram’, but isn’t that just a sign of the times we’re in? People take pictures of the chicken nuggets and chips their mums made them for dinner, of course you’re going to want a picture next to a 100ft moving Astronaut. But it’s not all content creation and posing for photos. All around there are tens of thousands of people that are enjoying the music and making memories with their friends; soaking in the atmosphere and forgetting about how many likes their new post has got. If you’re being paid to be there, under the pressure of getting content to post for your sponsors and having to take separate outfits with you just to get a decent promo’ pic, then yeah, you’re probably going to have a shit time. But if you’ve been dreaming of visiting this magical place in the desert, to party with your friends and have a holiday of a lifetime, then go, and make it what you want it to be. Plus, imagine how good your Instagram feed will look afterwards. It’s a win, win if you ask me.

Catch my Coachella and LA Travel Vlog, going LIVE on YouTube Tuesday 30th of April!

Two beer’s in and Instagram content secured, you can rest in the knowledge that we were having a bloody great time.