2014 – what a year!

What a year! I started 2014 in Sydney with my sister and our families, we travelled up the coast and had an epic road trip.  It has also brought me a hernia, a house move, surgery to create my jpouch, a couple of weeks in hospital, a new life learning to live without my colon or ileostomy bag and one more hernia!

I have been on the radio a few times, done talks all over the UK, hit my 100K views on So Bad Ass (now up to 160K) and started a writing course.  I also visited my aunty and uncle in Spain and honeymooned in Lanzarote with Timm  I made a new friend who has a stoma… we made friends because we have no colons but stayed friends because we are awesome and he makes me laugh in a rather unladylike fashion and knows, like really knows…  I made new friends without stomas who I now feel like I have known forever and I hung out with so many old friends who made every tough part of my year easier and every lovely part of my year happier.

We bought a hot tub, I got a big tattoo, I met Chuck D and Flavor Flav, went on a nudist beach and my sister came over to the UK to visit with her family.

I renewed my wedding vows to the best husband in the whole world in the BEST WEDDING EVER surrounded by all my absolute favourite people and married by one of my best friends Violet.

2014 has had it’s ups and downs.  The wedding was amazing, it was just the most beautiful and perfect day and to get to marry my perfect bloke for the second time was the best thing ever and my total highlight of the year.

The surgery was tough, 10 days in hospital after a long, difficult surgery and now 7 months later I am still recovering and learning how to deal with my jpouch.  The past 18 months have been the toughest of my life.  Being so ill and having life changing surgeries have been at times almost too much to bear, there were times when I felt so low, so broken and in so much pain that I just didn’t know how I would cope.

I learnt that coping is the only option.  Every day, no matter how hard it is, you have to just keep plodding, just keep swimming, just keep going… Having fantastic people around you helps and I am lucky enough to have some of the best.  My amazing husband, family and friends make it all bearable in those dark moments and I can’t thank them enough.

This year has seen So Bad Ass turn from a small personal blog into something that is read all over the world and (hopefully) helps people.  All I ever wanted from this blog is to make a difference to other people, to use my pain and my journey to help other people with IBD, to use it to raise awareness, raise money for Crohns and Colitis UK and to help people everywhere to have better self esteem, body confidence and to love themselves.

You are all amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for every read, every like, every tweet, every share, every kind word.  You are awesome!

Enjoy and I will see you in 2015!

 

xx

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ostomy photoshoot sexy ileostomy 50s pin up photo shoot so bad ass sam cleasby

 

Post Op j pouch ileostomy ibd surgery sheffield sam cleasby so bad ass

 

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new house

 

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hot tub

 

chuck d and flavor flav tramlines

 

cocktails

 

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best friends

 

family

 

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Thanks again for an amazing year, if you fancy doing something wonderful please go to my Just Giving page and give whatever you can to Crohns and Colitis UK.

 

Have an amazing christmas and a brilliant New Year!

 

See you in 2015

 

Sam xxx

Dear Ulcerative Colitis

Dear Ulcerative Colitis,

Well, what a journey we have been on!  Eleven years ago, you crept into my life with bleeding, diarrhoea and pain.  You were not a very welcome guest and so I ignored you.  You sat there in my guts getting angrier and angrier, your furious rage spurred you to make me so anaemic that I collapsed.  As I was taken into hospital in an ambulance with blue lights flashing, you were giggling to yourself, knowing that soon I would know your name and I would never be able to forget it.

We were introduced at the beginning of 2004, I knew nothing about you.  I googled you like a new girlfriend, trying to find out a little more.  The words blurred on the screen as tears filled my eyes when I read about the things you had done to others and what you could do to me.  I was 22 with two kids and ready to get married yet you suddenly filled my world.

You became the barrier between myself and everything I cared about.  You stopped me when I wanted to play with my babies, you laughed as you sat in-between my husband and I in bed, you revelled in your ability to stop me leaving the house and seeing friends.  You became the lump in my throat when I couldn’t bear to speak the words of ‘accidents’ and ‘soiled underwear’.

As the years went on, I learnt about every weapon I could use against you, my invisible passenger.  I learnt the names of the drugs that I hoped would kill you.  I took tablet after tablet, living with the side effects of medication that was almost as much of a twat as you are.  I ingested meds that reduced my immune system so much that I caught every bug going.

When I became pregnant with my third baby, you seemed to not want to share my body with my precious boy.  You made me thin and weak, you made me bleed so much that the doctors were fearful of my ability to deliver him and I had to have blood pumped through me to make sure we were ok.  But I make strong babies, babies that can kick your arse and when I delivered my boy, you were the last thing on my mind.

Eventually, in 2013 I learnt about a way that I could finish you off.  It was drastic but I hated you so much that I found the courage to stand up to you.  I gathered a mighty NHS team behind me to cut you out of my life.  I donned my armour that strangely was left open in the back and came with stockings…  With scalpels instead of swords, my team fought you.  They couldn’t get rid of you, so instead they took your home.  My colon was cut out, taking you with it.  No home, no you..

I awoke from this battle, wearied and worn.  My battle scars were patched up and my team surrounded me, telling me that you were gone.

I looked down to my body and gently touched the ileostomy bag that was attached to my stomach.  A sadness struck me but was swiftly replaced by a feeling of pride.  I had stood up to you and battled hard.  My bag was a symbol of this.  It showed that I was tougher that you, I wasn’t scared of you, I won you…

Months later my NHS team of awesome reconvened at the battle site, these wonderful people patched me up and reattached my small intestine to my bum ridding me of my bag and giving me a jpouch.

Over these post battle months I have realised that to beat you personally, I not only needed to find something special inside myself but that I couldn’t beat you alone.  My NHS team were those frontline soldiers but I needed to look around me to find a team that would help me with the massive changes.  A team who made everything easier by listening, by loving, by never judging.  A team who made that lump in my throat disappear, who made me know that I could say anything about you and they would still love me.

I am learning a new way of life now you are gone.  Oh, Ulcerative Colitis, you are gone in me but what no one tells you is that your absence leaves a whole host of other issues.  But having fought you and won, I know I can face anything else.

People think when you win, it is because of your physical claws in the guts of sufferers.  But in reality you win when you create the lump in the throat.  When you silence your victims like a parasite, whispering in their ears that you will humiliate them.  And so I am here to tell you… I won’t let that happen.

I won my own personal battle but there is a war to be won.

I will fight you every step of the way for the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK that you live with.  I will fight the lump in the throat by shouting from the rooftops about you.  You WILL NOT hide as an invisible illness while ever I have a voice.

I will talk about you.  I will #stoppoobeingtaboo.  I will talk about your awful ways.  I will never stop.

I will raise money until there is a cure.  I will support Crohns and Colitis UK.  I will fight.

Ulcerative Colitis, you think you know me because you lived inside me for so long, but you are mistaken if you think me weak.  I am powerful.  I am strong.  I am your worst fucking nightmare.

 

Watch your back Ulcerative Colitis, because So Bad Ass is coming to get you….

 

Sam x

 

Give us your f**king money…

Oh, apologies, I came over all Geldoff then!!

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

For the past 18 months I have been raising awareness, spreading positivity and sharing my journey with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  I do this through this blog, Facebook, youtube and twitter because it means so much to me to be able to share my story and let other people with IBD know they aren’t alone.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and in 2013 I had a colectomy, surgery to remove my large intestine, I had an ostomy bag for 8 months and then had more surgery to create an internal pouch.  My 11 year journey has been hard, the last 18 months have been to toughest of my whole life.  I battle every day and my road to recovery is long and arduous.

so bad ass sam cleasby

Crohns and Colitis UK mean an awful lot to me and so my aim for 2015 is to make as much money as possible for this great charity to get more support for sufferers and give money for research to find better treatment for the future.

I will be doing a variety of things to raise money over the coming months, and if anyone has a spare pound or two to put in the pot at any time, it will be greatly appreciated.

crohns and colitis awareness week

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

stoma ileostomy photo shoot woman beauty

Thousands of you are reading this blog each month and if you could all donate just a pound or two it would make a MASSIVE difference.

So please make a donation, make a difference…

 

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Love Sam xxx

The 10 best things about Sheffield

I bloody love Sheffield and so thought I’d share with you the 10 best things about the mighty Sheffield… (In my humble opinion)

 

1. We breed the very best folk

Jarvis Cocker, Arctic Monkeys, Jessica Ennis to name but a few.  Sheffield is home to a huge amount of amazing people, the great Sean Bean, Joe Cocker, Michael Palin also hail from our great city.

But it’s not just the famous folk, the people of Sheffield are the warmest, funniest, most generous in all the land.  After the farce of the Sheffield Half Marathon this year (officially cancelled minutes before the start) Sheffielders came through and did us all proud with local people handing out bottles and cups of water to the runners who ran anyway.

People of Sheffield are proud and no matter where they live in the world, Sheffield is always in their hearts…

jarvis cocker best sheffield folk

Totes braggy photo of me and Jarvis…

2. The Snooker makes us all fans and experts once a year

Once a year, everyone in Sheffield becomes a snooker fan! The World Snooker Championship held at Sheffield’s mighty Crucible Theatre is a sporting highlight that shines a light on our great city.

It matters not if you never look at another snooker table for the rest of the year, throughout the championships Sheffielders are experts on 147 breaks, snooker tactics and we all DEFINITELY once saw Ronnie O’Sullivan in town…

cue ball snooker sheffield

 

 

3. We have the best music scene

Sheffield has always had strong ties to live music, we have some great larger venues, but even better smaller ones that host such a range of music that fit to all tastes…  From Corporation to The Plug, Leadmill to the The Harley.

Music in Sheffield is exciting and I believe this is because we nurture young talent, a good Sheffield band take a place in your heart and are supported strongly.  And because Sheffield is the world’s biggest village (see number 10) everyone knows everyone in the music scene… This is a nice thing! Going out in town means bumping into the who’s who of Sheffield music and collaborations and musical appreciation are rife.

Go take a look at Exposed for a foray into Sheffield music awesomeness…

Some Sheffield musicians are Arctic MonkeysBring Me the HorizonPulpDef LeppardRichard HawleyLongpigsMilburnReverend and the Makers, The Long Blondes… to name but a few!

sheffield music

 

 

4. We have our own festival… Tramlines

Sheffield has it’s very own inner city Glastonbury, Tramlines festival is HUGE and takes over the whole city with venues all across Sheffield from the main stage through to bars, pubs, parks and pretty much every space going.  It’s one weekend a year where music lovers, families, hard core festival goers and festival virgins alike don a wristband and experience three days of music, arts and Sheffield love.

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5. Hendersons is KING (and we are a bunch of foodies!)

Hendersons Relish… It’s a Sheffield staple.  We hold Hendersons to our heart and have a ridiculous amount of love and pride for this spicy relish!  We sing about it, make art from it, dress up like it.  It’s as big a part of Sheffield as the now destroyed Cooling Towers (See number 9!)

“It was Mr Henry Henderson who first began manufacturing his own special type of sauce back in the late part of the 19th century. Originally manufactured at 35 Broad Lane in Sheffield, Henderson’s Relish is still being made and has been in uninterrupted production within half a mile of the site from which the first bottle was filled.”

hendersons relish art jarvis cocker

This image of Jarvis Cocker is painted in the spicy yorkshire sauce

You can buy prints of this amazing work here by Neil Antcliff.

hendersons relish sheffield

But we aren’t just about the Hendos, Sheffield is fast becoming a foodie capital with amazing places to eat.  Pub grub is so much more at The Great Gatsby by Shyboy Cantina and for something a little smarter the amazing Wasabisabi is a must.  Sheffield Food blogger Feast and Glory is a great place to look for reviews and ideas on where to eat next time you are out!

 

6. Sheffield is the greenest city in the world!

61% of Sheffield’s entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District National park. There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, and an estimated 2 million trees, giving Sheffield the highest ratio of trees to people of any city in Europe.  There are 4 trees to every person in Sheffield… I love that fact!!

We are currently storming ahead in a vote for Sheffield to be the best UK city for country lovers

These facts come from the Creative Sheffield site;

  • Despite its urban location almost three-quarters of the city is taken up by natural vegetation and waterways.
  • More than a third of the city is located in the Peak District National Park – no other city has a National Park within its boundary.
  • In addition you’ll find 150 woodlands and 50 public parks all within Sheffield and it is rumoured that there are 4 mature trees to every person living here!
  • Over 44 per cent of Sheffield residents live within a five minute walk of a wood and half the city’s population live within 15 minutes of the open countryside. Imagine that!

sheffield green city

7. We have our own language

After thas finished tha snap tha can av some spice, orate?

Gi’or wi thisen, thas gorra get dahn thi jennel.

Neyow.

Understood? I love the confusion on people’s faces when they listen to a full on Sheffield accent, like the Full Monty but further…

In case you were wondering the above statements say

After you have finished your food, you can have some sweets, alright?

Give over with yourself (stop yourself, calm down), you have got to go down the alleyway between two buildings.  (It is DEFINITELY a jennel and NOT a ginnel…)

 

8. We have a band who play ukeleles, make puns and swear a lot… Everly Pregnant Brothers

I love a ukelele.  I love puns.  So I was always going to love Everly Pregnant Brothers! A group of Sheffield men, including artist Pete McKee and singer ‘Big Shaun’, they play Sheffield ukelele versions of classic songs such as No Oven, No Pie (No woman, No cry) and Hendos (Yellow).

everly pregnant brothers timm cleasby the picture foundry

A Tramlines favourite, EPB are everything that is right and good in silly, funny music that doesn’t take itself too seriously…

If you are over 30, you may remember the Hole in The Road?! Yes? They sang about that too…

9. We all mourn the loss of the cooling towers

The Cooling Towers were an important part of Sheffield, the beacon on the M1 that said you were nearly home (or just getting to Meadowhall, yeah yeah I know I should probably have included Meadrall/MeadowHell or it’s many incarnations but you know, it’s just a massive shopping centre!!)

When they came down in 2008, a city mourned. There was an attempt to save them by artists, but alas they were demolished and an icon disappeared.

You can buy beautiful art prints by Jonathan Wilkinson here, seen below.

cooling towers sheffield

 

But plans to reuse the site for a £500,000 public art project are to go ahead and so perhaps we will soon have a new icon to behold!

 

10. We are the biggest village in the world!

We really are!  Despite a population of over 550,000, Sheffield manages to redeem the feeling of living in a large Village.  Perhaps because the city centre is the heart, with clusters of great areas surrounding or perhaps it is just the great people of Sheffield.  Either way, you know on a stroll through town or a wander on Ecclesall Road you will most likely bump into a lot of people you know!

views of sheffield

Sheffield just has a great feel to it, it has a character and an authenticity that Sheffielders hold close to their hearts.  It is a great place to live and whenever I have been away for a while, coming back into the city always lifts my soul and makes me smile.

 

Sheffield and proud x

 

Its #PurpleFriday

This week is Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week and today is #PurpleFriday – so don your favourite PURPLE gear and get your selfie on with #purplefriday to help raise awareness of Crohns and Colitis.

Join the event on Facebook or head over to twitter and search #PurpleFriday

Purple Fridays Crohns and colitis

 

crohns and colitis awareness week

Want to make a difference? Donate here….

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Love Sam xxx

Fecal Transplant – Would you? Could you??

A fecal transplant, also known as Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT), fecal bacteriotherapy, fecal transfusion, stool transplant, fecal enema, and human probiotic infusion (HPI), is a procedure where fecal bacteria is transplanted from a healthy individual (usually a partner or close relative) into a recipient to introduce healthy bacterial flora to a person’s gut.

Am I talking about eating someone’s poo??

Well, yes kind of! Transplants occur either through an enema straight into the back passage or through a nasogastric or nasoduodenal tube… The healthy stool is taken (after many health checks on the donor) and mixed with saline to create an infusion that is then given to the recipient.

“The aim of this procedure is to reestablish the normal composition of the gut flora, restore balance in metabolism, and stimulate both the acquired and the humoral immune responses in the intestinal mucosa after disruption of the normal flora” MARKUS D. AGITO, MD

bristol stool chart mug

C.Diff (Clostridium difficile) is a type of bacterial infection that can affect the digestive system.  The symptoms can range from mild to severe and include: diarrhoea, high temperature and painful cramps.  It can also lead to life-threatening complications such as severe swelling of the bowel from a build-up of gas.  In cases of C.Diff, fecal transplants can cure the infection in just one treatment so you can see why some experts are calling for it to become the firstline treatment!!

It has also been hailed as a treatment for Ulcerative Colitis, with studies saying that multiple infusions of the poop soup could bring long term remission in IBD patients.  Fecal transplants for Ulcerative Colitis are still in the investigational stage, so panic not that your consultant is going to make you eat poo quite yet! I would be wary of any sites that profess the transplants as a ‘cure’ or the ones who offer tips on DIY fecal transplants… *shudder*

But as medical options are often looking back to more natural, traditional ways perhaps studies can proven that this works? The concept of treating fecal diseases with fecal matter originated in China a thousand years ago and called “Yellow Soup”, who knows what the future will hold for this, perhaps in years to come this will be the norm?

post op so bad ass sam cleasby j pouch surgery sheffield

At this moment in time, the thought of it makes me feel sick, but I do remember being so poorly, so ill in hospital that I would have done ANYTHING to feel better and so perhaps if it had been offered to me then, I would have taken the chance.  After all, the medication we pump ourselves with have a list of side effects longer than the colon they took away! Why not look at natural remedies?

The CCFA (Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America) says this:

“CCFA has adopted a position on FMT which states “Clostridium difficile infection can occasionally be very difficult to eliminate and usually requires the administration of more antibiotics.  In cases where antibiotic treatment fails, use of fecal microbial transplantation has been implemented… A more challenging question is whether fecal microbial transplantation can be a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, in the absence of Clostridium difficile infection. It is known that the gastrointestinal microbiota of inflammatory bowel disease patients contains different bacteria from that of people without IBD or those with IBD in remission. These observations suggest that FMT may be a possible treatment for IBD.  There have been, however, no definitive, good quality research studies.   Only small case series have been reported suggesting that FMT may be beneficial for treatment of active IBD but there is concern that the results may have been biased by the low quality of the study methods utilized.  It should also be noted that unlike for C. difficile where a single treatment may be effective, in IBD patients, maintenance treatment with multiple coursed of FMT may need to be considered.  Therefore, treatment of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis with FMT should be considered experimental and only performed as part of a properly designed and supervised research trial.”  

It is available on the NHS for treatment of recurrent C Diff, their website says it “is probably the best treatment currently available.”  With studies being done, if it is proven to work for IBD, this could become a normal treatment for people with Ulcerative Colitis!

So what do you think?? If you were offered this treatment that was safe, proven and a LOT cheaper for the NHS but is frankly, gross, would you?

Could you?

 

Love Sam x

Dehydration and ileostomies

I was warned when I was in hospital that dehydration is a massive problem for folk with ostomies and pouches, this is because your large intestine absorbs water from your food and a lot of the salt your body needs so if you don’t have a large intestine, you are in for a bit of trouble.

This means that I am always thirsty and drink litres and litres of fruit squash a day, I find water goes through my system too quickly and was advised by a doctor to try adding dilute squash to it as the body has to digest it and so hangs on to the fluids for that little bit longer.  I keep a store of squash in my ensuite bathroom as I drink two or three pints just through the night and so it stops me having to go downstairs at 2am.

Ostomy Lifestyle recommend this…

“People with ileostomies, particularly if the stoma is formed higher up in the bowel, can have more difficulties with their fluid intake. This is because it is the role of the large bowel to absorb water (and salt) and for people with ileostomies this is no longer being used. The small bowel will, with time, adapt to absorb more water and more salt, however careful attention should be paid to ensure that you are drinking an adequate, varied fluid intake (e.g. water, juice, cordial, herbal/fruit teas, etc) to maintain kidney health. Remember, you are aiming for light straw coloured urine.

For those who are more active it is even more important to pay attention to your fluid intake. Fluids lost through sweating contain electrolytes, so it is important to replace those with specialist sports drinks. 

Everyone should bear in mind that alcohol is a dehydrating fluid in the most part and caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee cause you to lose more fluid in your urine. The majority of your fluid intake should therefore be from fluids such as water and fruit cordials.”

The other issue is salt.  As you don’t absorb salt well it is recommended to increase your salt intake at least for a while after surgery.  I find I crave salt and add it to pretty much everything since having my bowel removed.  I am a big believer that if you are craving something, it tends to be because your body needs it.

“Salt is important for nerve and muscle function and is found naturally in most food and drink. There are risks associated with both having too much and too little salt in our diets. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which can make you more likely to develop heart disease, or have a stroke, while too little salt can cause headaches, cramps and fatigue. While there is some evidence that people with ileostomies can lose between 35-90mmol of sodium per day (equivalent to up to a teaspoon of table salt) because this would normally be absorbed in the large intestine, each person with an ileostomy will differ in terms of the amount they lose. There is also evidence that the small bowel of someone who has an ileostomy adapts over time to compensate for absorption issues. But, in the first few weeks after surgery you may need to add salt to your food and have additional salty snacks. There is conflicting information about long-term addition of salt to diet but evidence shows that most people have adequate salt in their diet to make up for what is lost through their ileostomy and there is no need to add more.”

Stomawise says…

“It is important to know the signs and symptoms of dehydration as well as preventative measures.  These symptoms can include thirst, dry tenting skin, abdominal cramps, rapid heart rate, confusion and low blood pressure.

Dehydration can occur after ileostomy surgery as the purpose of the large intestine is to absorb water from the indigestible waste and then expel the waste material from the body through bowel movements.

During ileostomy surgery, a part or all of the large intestines is removed, which prevents the body from absorbing water from the waste before it is excreted from the body. Dehydration can occur when the person does not drink enough fluids to replace the fluids lost as the waste moves through the stoma and into the attached bag.

Your Daily intake of fluids should be 8-10 (8 oz.) glasses per day and can be of any liquid containing water (soda, milk, juice, etc.) to help meet your daily requirement.

Dehydration can also upset your electrolyte balance (especially potassium and sodium) When the colon (large intestine) is removed, there is a  greater risk for electrolyte imbalance, Diarrhoea, excessive perspiration and vomiting can also increase this risk.

You should be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance is more common with an ileostomy as opposed to a colostomy.

Dehydration
Increased thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, decreased urine output, fatigue, shortness of breath, stomach cramps.

Sodium Loss
Loss of appetite, drowsiness and leg cramping may indicate sodium depletion.

Potassium Loss
Fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, decreased sensation in arms and legs, and a gassy bloated feeling may indicate potassium depletion.”

I am researching Himalayan Pink Salt at the minute for a future blog post, I’m not sure what I think yet but will write about it asap!

These are issues that most people don’t even think about, I thought I would bring it up as I recently spoke to two different people who highlighted to me that there are so many other issues and side effects to having Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a stoma or a pouch that people just do not know about and so thought I would share.

So next time you see an IBDer downing a pint in one or having an extra shake of the salt, you may just understand a little more.  And if you have a stoma or jpouch, take note and keep an eye on your hydration as the effects can be grim and we don’t need any other reason to feel crap!

 

Love Sam xx

You are So Bad Ass… Timm Cleasby

On my old blog I started a series of interviews with some of the interesting folk of Sheffield, one of them is my favourite bloke of all time, my husband, Timm.

I talk about him a lot on So Bad Ass as he is a huge part of my journey, illness and recovery and so thought it would be nice to share it here.

 

 

With a music career that spanned two decades, Timm has worked for so many bands, there are too many to mention so I’ll just mention a few of the Sheffield bands, Reverend and the Makers, Richard Hawley, Human League and Arctic Monkeys.

In early 2005 Timm started working for Arctic Monkeys, he spent the next 6 years touring the world with them, watching the band grow from a bunch of teenage kids to one of the most popular and influential bands of our generation.

Then after almost 20 years in the business, he decided he would stop.  That he wanted to do something different.

Photograph: Timm Cleasby

We have three kids together and touring 9 months of the year just got too much.  He tells me that one day he was sat in a suite in some exotic location, in the bar downstairs were a group of young, beautiful famous faces partying.  And all he wanted was to be back at home with me and the kids.  So he stopped touring…

He was interviewed by Mixed in Sheffield, about his life and work in the music industry, its a really interesting watch, take a look.

So how do you move on in your work life from touring the world with musicians? Well, we knew it had to be something that he loved.  So he took his years as an amateur photographer and put them into use.  We set up a photography company, The Picture Foundry, and have spent the last few years building it up into an amazing business where we work together every day and Timm is at home and there for his kids every day.

He also runs Responsible Fishing UK with his best friend James Brunt, creating natural art installations and working with children and young people to encourage arts and play.  He keeps his finger in the music pie as the Productions Director for Sheffield festival, Tramlines.

Let’s get to the interview…

Name, age, gender

Timm Cleasby, 40, Bloke

What do you do?

Photographer, Artist, Organiser of festivals

Photograph: Andy Willsher

How has living in Sheffield and Yorkshire affected your life and attitude?

Living in Sheffield has affected my life in so many ways, I moved here when I was 19 and from then on it’s shaped my life, from studying photography at Stradbroke college to getting dragged into the music industry gigging with local bands in the early 90’s. It’s also inspired much of my work and style in photography, I love industrial settings, probably due hanging out in too many dodgy warehouses and industrial ruins. I would have never had the opportunities I have had without being in Sheffield.

It’s affected my attitude in many ways too… coming originally from Barnsley it was a bit of a shock living in Sheffield, the multicultural nature of the city and the many characters and sub cultures that made up Sheffield in the 90’s challenged most of the conceptions I’d had living in Barnsley in such a positive way… and I’m glad it did.

Yorkshire has provided such an amazing place to live, I’ve had many chances to move away (London, Aus, USA) but I’ve always felt at home here, even though I’ve spent most of my life away Sheffield and Yorkshire has always been the place I come home to.

 

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Grumpy, Creative, Beardy, Happy, Bloke

 

Tell me something peculiar about yourself.

I have “Dude” tattooed on my left shoulder and the owner of a tattoo shop / bar called White Trash in Berlin, Germany has “Sweet”…. Yep we were drunk.

I’m going to be a 40 year old Grandpa

I like Fish Fingers and Custard

 

 

What are your future aims?

To have an amazing photo studio in a beautiful house that we can use as locations inside and out

To be a great dad / grandpa

To reach old age with my lovely wife but still act like kids

To have my own festival with my Best pal James

 

If there were a zombie apocalypse, what would your survival plan be?

Fight, fight, fight… Gather as many tools, weapons and vehicles as I can and FIGHT.

 

 

What is your favorite thing about Sheffield?

The fact the within 20 minutes I can be in the city or amazing country side or a big shopping mall.

 

Find out more about Timm at The Picture Foundry.  Follow him on twitter, like him on Facebook.

 

 

Love Sam x

Clumber Park – New Leaf Spa

I was invited to go hang out at the lovely New Leaf Spa at the Clumber Park Hotel and Spa and how could I refuse?? I LOVE a spa but have never been to one alone and so this was a new experience.

Located on Blyth Road near to the top entrance of Clumber Park, the spa is easy to get to, just a few minutes off the A1.  The spa has a separate entrance to the hotel, there is a big car park and so after easily parking I entered the building to start off my fab day!

The receptionist was really friendly, she was warm and welcoming, explained where everything was, gave me a form to fill in and let me know about lunch.

climber park new leaf spa review

I have been bitten by hotel spas before so wasn’t sure what to expect, as a note to hotels, a small, cold pool does not a spa make!  The New Leaf spa is small but perfectly formed, a warm pool with jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and outdoor hot tub.  There is a lovely restaurant and bar area with a relaxation to sit and have a tea or coffee.

The changing rooms were immaculately clean and your locker is free (a total bonus as I never have a pound coin to hand when I need it!), you get a towel, dressing gown and slippers plus lovely shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in the showers and then a dressing table of lotions, potions and cotton wool pads etc.  It just felt like thought had been put into everything to make it a pleasant stay.

climber park new leaf spa review

I was there on a Tuesday and there were around 8 other guests there when I arrived, this dwindled to zero throughout the day, at one point I had the whole pool to myself, though it picked up again later.  The steam room and sauna are quite small, fitting only perhaps 4 or 5 in comfortably, this was no problem for me as it was so quiet but I can imagine at busier times you may have to wait.

climber park new leaf spa review

The pool is surrounded by loungers and with the warmth and the relaxing music I fell asleep TWICE! I can’t believe how relaxed I was!! The steam room and sauna were lovely, I used them a few times throughout my day.  The pool was a great temperature and the jacuzzi fantastic.  I almost didn’t bother with the outdoor hot tub as it was a grey, dreary and drizzly day but you know, I am SO glad I did.  It was really relaxing sitting back in the heat surrounded by trees and the wintery cold day.

My lunch was included in the package and so at 1pm I headed for the restaurant, they reserve your seating for you and so it was smooth and relaxing with no waiting.  I ordered from the ‘Light Bites’ menu (my food was included but the prices on the menu were very affordable, my dish was around £7) I ordered the homemade fishcake with chips and mushy peas.  I wasn’t expecting much as it was a ‘light bite’ but the portions were great and food delicious.  The presentation was what I would expect from a nice restaurant rather than a spa and the food tasted fresh and beautiful.  Water is available freely and I was treated to a glass of prosecco!

climber park new leaf spa review

My treatment was an Elemis Facial that lasted around an hour and included a head and scalp massage as well as a neck and shoulder massage.  My therapist was Joanne who was so lovely, the room was beautiful, treatment bed really comfortable (some are so hard!!!) and thought had been put into every part of the treatment right down to the flowers laid on the treatment bed.

climber park new leaf spa review

The facial was AMAZING, I would usually go for a massage but I am not comfortable on my stomach for long periods at the minute and I have to say I am now a facial covert! It was so relaxing and the neck and shoulder massage was HEAVENLY!!!!  There is a chill out area with sofas to relax in before and after your treatment.  I returned to the pool area feeling like I was floating on air and chilled out for another hour or so before heading home.

I was genuinely impressed by the spa from start to finish.  All the staff were really friendly, the place was so clean and the facilities great.  I have been to some large hotels where the spas have been disappointing.  Guests not being provided with dressing gowns, no relaxation areas or jacuzzis, dirty facilities but Clumber Park New Leaf Spa was fantastic and I would definitely recommend it.  I spoke to a few other guests through the day and only heard praise of the facilities and staff, one lady said she regularly goes to day spas and this is one of her favourites, not the largest but the friendliest and most relaxing.

So feeling tempted? The New Leaf Spa are offering So Bad Ass readers an amazing offer, why not treat yourself or use the offer to buy a christmas relaxation gift for someone you love?

Readers of So Bad Ass can claim a whopping 20% off spa days when booking for a day for 2 people!

Simply quote Bad Ass when booking to claim your discount, valid between December 2014 to March 2015 terms and conditions apply, take a peek at their website and get booking!

Go to www.clumberparkhotel.com/sherwood-forest-massage now.

 

Love Sam x

 

I have not been paid for this post but my spa day was complimentary from the spa in return for an honest review.  All opinions are entirely my own.

If you would like me to review your business, product or event, please get in touch x

It's Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week

The 1st – 8th December is Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week, get involved by sharing, reading and talking.

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It’s the perfect time to #stoppoobeingtaboo (my favourite line as you may know!!) – let’s all talk poo. We all do it and noticing changes in your bowel habits can mean you need to see a doctor. If you have diarrhoea for more than a couple of weeks or notice blood or mucus in your stools, get to the GP and talk poo!

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260,000 people in the UK have Crohns or Colitis, there’s a good chance someone you know has one of these illnesses and I can tell you, living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD, the umbrella term for crohns and colitis) is hard. It’s an embarrassing, painful and at times heartbreaking condition. I talk openly on this blog about my journey but others might not find it so easy. So talk, be open, share…

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Tell me your IBD story…

You can get involved by reading IBD stories, sharing your own, sharing statuses and twitter posts that are using the #becrohnsandcolitisaware hashtag or mine which is #stoppoobeingtaboo.

For more information go to the Crohns and Colitis Website
Love Sam xxx