Poo pourri review

Who has seen the Poo Pourri campaign? I LOVE it, it’s a brilliant advert that after I fell on the floor howling, I wanted to try it straight away! Take a look…

With over 31MILLION views on YouTube, I’m not alone!

Here’s what they say.
“When you spray Poo~Pourri into the bowl before-you-go, our proprietary formula creates a protective barrier on the water’s surface. This barrier is designed to trap unpleasant bathroom odors beneath the surface and keep them out of the air. All you’ll smell is a refreshing bouquet of essential oils!”

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I can honestly say this product works!!! I thought my crazy explosive jpouch poos might be Poo Pourri’s nemesis but even for me, it works. The bathroom actually smells better when I leave!

I know it seems expensive, but it really lasts. I got my bottle for Christmas and I have barely used a quarter of a bottle and that’s with me going 8-10 times a day!

I take it out with me if I’m going to friends houses or out in public and it’s just an extra little safety blanket to know that I’m not going to feel embarrassed of the smell. This is super gross but because my digestive system is cut short, food isn’t broken down in the same way and so sometimes my poo smells a bit like vomit! (YUK!)

I love Poo Pourri and think they need to do an advert for people with IBD, ostomies and Jpouches!!! (If you need someone for that ad, I am IN Poo Pourri!!!!) I actually left a review for them, something I never do, as I am so behind this product.

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Smell can be a massive issue with people with IBD and a product like this can help a lot. I recommend this all the time and wholeheartedly think you should try it. They do a ‘stink free guarantee’ and if it doesn’t work, they’ll give you your money back!! How’s that for confidence!

Give it a try, you won’t regret it!

Sam

 

This review is not paid for by Poo Pourri or endorsed by them, it is a genuine review of a product that I love.  If you buy it through the links in this site (the amazon ones), I will earn a few pence for recommending it.  It will cost you no more but helps fund this site a teensy bit!

Thanks x

 

More Than Meets The Eye – Campaign for Invisible Disabilities Awareness

After my post on using accessible toilets with an invisible disability went viral with over 2 million views, I knew I had to harness this amazing audience and do something good with it and so after spending the week talking to people with disabilities all over the world and also Disability Charity Scope, I am over the moon to launch More Than Meets The Eye, a campaign for invisible disability awareness.

In the open letter to the woman who judged me for using accessible toilets, I wrote “I know you saw me running in, with my able bodied legs and all. You saw me opening the door with my two working arms. Without any visible sign of disability.  My lack of wheelchair may have suggested to you that I was some lazy cow who didn’t care. You may have seen my face blushing as I caught your eye and assumed I was showing guilt at blagging the disabled loos. You tutted loudly.”

I’ve received THOUSANDS of messages from readers who have faced similar judgement from members of the public because of their own invisible disability. People with cancer, prosthetic limbs, autism, Tourette’s, brain disorders, bladder issues, partners with dementia and so many other issues… All saying the same thing.

That there is more to them than meets the eye. Their disabilities may not be visible at a glance but they are so real and they make their lives difficult at times.  That not every disability requires a wheelchair and that using an accessible toilet or disabled parking space isn’t a luxury or a privilege, it is a necessity for them to lead their lives.

I have learnt so much from the people who have contacted me, I had a chat with amazing charity Scope and they agree that more needs to be done to raise awareness of invisible disabilities…

And so begins this campaign… #MoreThanMeetsTheEye is my way of making a stand for all the people who contacted me and for the millions around the world who live every day with an illness or disability that affects their lives but is unseen by others.

People with an invisible disability don’t want special treatment, but for society to be more aware that they exist, for everyone to think twice before judging someone who looks seemingly able bodies, and to be more compassionate and kinder to their fellow human.  More Than Meets The Eye is a way to bring the discussion of Invisible Disabilities into the lives of everyone.  To share real stories and explain how it is to live with an illness or disability that can’t easily be seen.

No one expects for the public to know about every single disability and illness but rather than immediately judging someone you see using accessible toilets or disabled parking, stop and remember there is a human being on front of you who may have many different issues that they shouldn’t have to explain to you.

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I am sharing with you some messages I have received from readers of So Bad Ass. Please join me in sharing your own stories using #MoreThanMeetsTheEye or perhaps you can take a photograph naming your invisible disability or how you feel?

I will be doing a bit of blogging and writing for Scope in the coming weeks and really hope to raise their profile as they do a fantastic job at supporting people with disabilities as well as educating, raising awareness and working hard for equality.

This is an issue for millions, so many people are sharing their own stories of being judged, but I genuinely don’t think that all the ones doing the judging are nasty or mean people!  I think they believe they are defending the rights of those who they think are entitled to use accessible toilets or disabled parking spaces.  I have had so many telling me that they have been the person tutting but it is because they see someone seemingly able bodied and think they are helping.

The reality is that there are so many reasons why people need extra support and we all need to be more aware that invisible disabilities exist on so many levels and that judgment just makes lives more difficult.

Please take a look through some of the images below and take the time to read real quotes on how it feels to be judged for something that is beyond your control.   The first one is from an email I received from a mum talking about her little girl.

“She was born at 26 weeks and had to have part of her bowel removed.  We use disabled toilets and the disgusting glares and tuts we get are unreal.  I refuse to explain my daughter’s complex health issues with strangers so they usually waltz off believing they’ve put the world to rights.  In actual fact they’ve just made a disable little girl and her family much more anxious about going out.”

Read that and remember it the next time you see someone seemingly able bodied using an accessible toilet and think you are helping by telling them off…

Take a look through these quotes and I hope they will make a difference to the attitudes of society, I would love to see these printed in and around accessible toilet areas! Together we can make people realise that there is #MoreThanMeetsTheEye

invisible disabilities more than meets the eye

 

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For every person with an illness or disability that can’t be seen immediately, I want a brighter future, a happier future and a kinder and more compassionate future.

Please share and get involved, I am so overwhelmed at the viral attention and think we have got people talking, but we can go further with #MoreThanMeetsTheEye and actually make a difference worldwide!

You can share your own stories of Invisible Disability using #MoreThanMeetsTheEye on Facebook, twitter and instagram or share them with me through my contact page and I will display them on the More Than Meets The Eye Page here on So Bad Ass and on all my social media.

You can find me on twitter @so_bad_ass, Facebook and Instagram.

Let’s make a change and get people talking.

✌️& ❤️

Sam x

 

You can contact Scope on their website or by phone on 0808 800 3333 or email at ku.gr1498454450o.epo1498454450cs@en1498454450ilple1498454450h1498454450

Your messages…

Thank you so much for all your comments, reads, shares, emails and messages. I am so overwhelmed by the outpouring and humbled and honoured to read your stories.

I am getting thousands of emails and comments. Some are deeply personal stories and are heart breaking.

I am trying my best to reply to as many as possible, please bear with me, if your issue is important and requires a reply and I haven’t come back to you in a week then please try again.

But please know that I am reading every one.

To be given the opportunity to have a glimpse into your lives and those of your loved ones is amazing.

Thank you so much. Please know that it means a LOT! I don’t take this responsibility lightly and I am very proud to be trusted with your words.

I’m learning a lot too, I thought I was well informed but your stories are teaching me so much and I’m sharing this knowledge with the world.

Every one of you is awesome.

You lot are so bad ass…

✌️& ❤️

Sam x

Bbc breakfast

I will be on the couch with BBC breakfast today at 7.40am!

I’ll be talking Ibd and *that* letter!

*Update*

You can see my interview here…

http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31636415

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Well that escalated quickly…

So the past few days have gone WILD! My post about using disabled/accessible toilets when you have a hidden disability went viral and I can’t believe it, but So Bad Ass has had over 1.3 million views!!!

On Tuesday evening, I wrote the post, an open letter to people who judge others using public loos. It was about human courtesy, kindness and not judging a book by it’s cover. By the time I went to bed, it had a couple thousand views and I was over the moon! When I woke in the morning, the post was at 20,000+ and I was gob smacked.

By the end of the day, it was 100,000, and the next two days were hundreds of thousands each!!!

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Today my little website has hit well over a million hits.

1,000,000 +

WTAF?! I feel like I’m dreaming!! I have had thousands of messages, emails and comments. An unending stream of tweets and Facebook shares and media attention from newspapers and websites around the world!

I write this blog for one reason. To make a difference to the lives of others and so to know I am reaching a huge worldwide audience is just heart thuddingly wonderful. I am so humbled to be able to helping so many people. I’m excited and over the bloody moon that this is happening!

sam cleasby blogger

This website is my baby. 18 months ago I started writing to document my journey with IBD but it quickly became more than that. It became a way to let others know they weren’t alone, to inspire and support people with ulcerative colitis, Crohns, people with Ostomies and Jpouches.

As I wrote more about self esteem, body image and confidence as well as parenting, my audience grew to people without IBD and I realised I had an opportunity to share an ethos of being So Bad Ass.

I LOVE my blog, it means everything to me. Knowing that I make a difference and help people gives me purpose, drive and a deep happiness.

To see my baby blossoming into something that is being seen by millions is scary, overwhelming but makes me so proud.

The past 18 months have been the toughest of my whole life. But to know that something good has come of this means everything.

Thank you all

Be kind yo…

✌️& ❤️

Sam x

Talking ostomies and self esteem – Pelican Healthcare

I was invited to the Pelican Healthcare Life Your Life roadshow in Cardiff to talk about living with an ileostomy and self esteem.  It was a great day, there was a ton of information stalls and products as well as dietary advice, a reflexologist, the Get Your Belly Out team and lots more.  The super friendly team at Pelican Healthcare were on site to welcome the ostomates, family and friends and to chat and guide them through the day.

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My talk was filmed and you can take a look here… Enjoy!

 

If you want me to talk at your event, then get in touch!

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Pelican Healthcare provide ostomy products to people all over the UK, as well as giving advice, support and developing a community for people with ostomies. You can like them on Facebook and follow them on twitter.

Sam x

My beautiful scars

I have a lot of scars, and with another surgery planned in the next few weeks, I will have a few more too…  I am not ashamed of them, they are the signs of my IBD journey, the battle scars of my fight of the last ten years.

My family is half Indian, and so unfortunately I have some issues with keloid scarring.  When you have damage to the skin, in healing itself the body produces more of a protein called collagen.  Collagen gathers around the damage and builds up to help the wound seal over in a scar.

However, some scars don’t stop growing. They “invade” the surrounding healthy skin and become bigger than the original wound. These are known as keloid scars. Keloids affect around 10-15% of all wounds and is more common in people with darker skin particularly African, African Caribbean and Indian people.  (This information comes from the NHS website, take a look for more info and if you are concerned, then go see your GP)

For some people, scars can be associated with poor self esteem and negative body image.  They can be an external sign of their internal struggles and people may feel embarrassed or ashamed of them.  I get this, occasionally I feel self conscious if I see people staring at my scars, this only happens at the swimming pool or beach as I am well past wearing crop tops!

But I have always found scars quite appealing, they suggest a story, something interesting that happened to that person.  My husband is covered in scars from years of skateboarding and snowboarding and we always say that chicks dig scars… Turns out dudes dig scars too!

I have done a few photo shoots before to show my stoma and ileostomy bag before, and so I thought I would have a few of my post j pouch body.

I have been through a lot in the past couple of years, a lot of difficult times, embarrassing and upsetting events, yet I am pleased to say that through it all, my scars are one thing that I haven’t struggled with.  I know they are large, and some would say unsightly, I know they are really visible and somewhat shocking.  But I had three kids before these surgeries and so I already had a lot of stretch marks and a caesarian scar.  Perhaps having these before made the transition to more noticeable scars easier for me to deal with?

After my first son, I went from a size 6 to a size 16… I gained a lot of weight and was COVERED in stretch marks.  I was embarrassed and upset by them, when a family friend told me that I should rejoice in those marks.  They were my tiger stripes, my war wounds, the sign that my body had created another human being!!! Those marks, she told me, were beautiful and something to be proud of.

These scars are a similar thing, they are the marks that show the struggle I have been through.  They remind me of my bravery, my fight, my winning.  They tell a story and they make me smile.

My scars are beautiful.

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All photographs are by Timm Cleasby from the Picture Foundry and cannot be used without permission.  Take a look at The Picture Foundry website, it is the photography company I run with my husband.

 

Sam xx

Dating older men – The Kylie/Tyga furore

I don’t watch The Kardashians, I am not a fan of Tyga, (I’ll be honest, I had no idea who either Kylie or Tyga were before yesterday) yet I found myself googling them after my twitter feed became filled with a slut shaming, paedophile questioning bitchfest.

So, incase you too are in blissful ignorance of this story, Kylie Jenner is the 17 year old sister of Kim Kardashian and has begun dating a rapper named Tyga who is 25.  They have been publicly mocked and there have been many comments discussing whether this man is a predatory sex offender for dating a girl 8 years his junior, whilst other “celebrities” have waded in calling each other sluts and hoes… Classy right?!

So why do I care?

Well, at 17 I met my husband, who was 26.  It raised a few eyebrows, but we shrugged and got on with getting to know each other.   Sixteen years and three children later, we are still together, very happy and the nine year age gap is unnoticeable.

I genuinely don’t care about these so called celebrities, I have no interest in reading about their sex tapes, clothes lines or celeb drama.  But I do find it interesting that people on social media have shown such outrage at the age gap.  That Kylie has been called a slut and a slag, she has been picked apart and mocked. Tyga has been called a paedophile! He has been ridiculed and there are many suggesting he groomed a child.

Whilst dating a man 8 years older than you isn’t the norm for all 17 year olds, you can hardly call the life of a Kardashian normal, here is a girl who has grown up on TV, she lives a celebrity lifestyle with all the riches and benefits of having a lot of money.  Her relationships will be shaped and moulded by her experiences, the average 17 year old doesn’t get offered clothes lines with TopShop do they? So it is hardly surprising that her choice in partners doesn’t fit with the average mould.

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My life was far from Keeping up with the Kardashians, I lived in and out of my family home from the age of 14/15.  With my sisters, aunties, friends and in a terrifying flat in Sheffield where I left after having all sorts shoved through my letter box and being afraid to leave the house.  I had an absent father and a step father who wasn’t my biggest fan.  I wonder if there is a reason why I have always dated older men? At 16 I dated a man in his 30s…  I sometimes joke that I have father figure issues!

The reality is that I met and fell in love with a man.  We grew together, learnt together and joined as one and made a family.  He was nine years older than me and I was 17.  But that age gap is not what our relationship has ever been about, we have so much in common, we are different in many ways, but that just compliments each other.  We just fell in love.

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I am not an advocate of age gap relationships, I am an advocate of being open to who you fall in love with.  And as long as relationships are filled with love, trust, respect and care, then whatever the age difference we should be accepting of how other people want to live their lives.

 

Sam x

To the woman who tutted at me using the disabled toilets…

Dear lady who loudly tutted at me using the disabled loos,

I know you saw me running in, with my able bodied legs and all. You saw me opening the door with my two working arms. You saw me without a wheelchair. Without any visible sign of disability.

You tutted loudly as I rattled the handle with my hands that work perfectly and my able voice call to my kids that I’d be out in just a minute.

My lack of wheelchair may have suggested to you that I was some lazy cow who didn’t care. Some inconsiderate bitch who was using something I wasn’t entitled too. (I actually carry a card to explain that I’m entitled to and have a disability key if you’d have cared to ask). You may have seen my face blushing as I caught your eye and assumed I was showing guilt at blagging the disabled loos.

The fact is that I have no bowel. I have a pouch formed from my small intestine which can’t handle volume and so I have to go to the toilet and poo several times a day. My lack of large intestine means that my stool is totally liquid as I have no means of absorbing the fluids in food and so its really hard to hold it when I need to go.

I sometimes have accidents which means a large toilet that has a sink right by me means I can clean myself up when things go awry.

I hate having to use the disabled loos as I have to deal with people like you staring, nudging, tutting. And whenever I can, I use the ladies toilets. Just so you know, disabled loos usually smell bad and don’t seem to be cleaned as often or as well as the ladies and so I wouldn’t choose this option unless totally necessary.

Whilst I’m at it, I’d like to address the cleaner in the supermarket ladies toilets I used this week. As I ran in, knees together, bursting through the door and running to the cubicle, I’m sorry that the noise of my (lack of) bowels made you burst out laughing.

I can actually take the sniggering as since I had a pouch made from my small intestine because my disease ridden colon was removed during surgery, the noise I make when I defecate is hilariously loud. Seriously, I get it. It’s comedic in it’s volume.

But before you ran outside the loos and called to your friend “OH MY GOD! You should hear the noise in there!!! I wouldn’t go in if I was you!!!!” Perhaps you could have noted my daughter who was waiting outside with our trolley because her mum had had to leave her stranded to run to the toilet. Perhaps you could have stopped and heard me sobbing with pain because the acid in my stools has no way to be neutralised because I don’t have a large intestine and so opening my bowels actually burns my skin.

Perhaps you both could have shown a little empathy, a little compassion, a little understanding.

Poo is funny. Disability is confusing.

I get that.

But humanity and care for fellow human beings is a choice.

To everyone else reading this, the next time you see someone who doesn’t “look disabled” using a toilet.

Or someone bursting through and crashing into the toilets noisily.

Take a moment. Remember that not all people who have the right to use disabled toilets are in a wheelchair. Some of us have a jpouch, a lot of us have an Ostomy bag that needs emptying and changing with the use of space, a sink and a bin. And even more of us just don’t want to shit our pants in public.

Think about the nearly 300,000 people in this country who have inflammatory bowel disease (not to mention the huge number of people with IBS!!!) who need to use the toilet urgently, noisily, smellily…

It’s an embarrassing enough thing to deal with before having to see disapproving looks or hear your laughs and jeering remarks.

Be kind yo…

Peace out

Sam xxxxx

Hernia surgery update

I have been awaiting a date for hernia surgery, I am hoping this op is going to set me back on a healing path. My hernia isn’t large but it’s uncomfortable every day and is stopping me doing the things I want to do.

Anyway I heard from my consultants secretary this week. Mr Brown was unhappy with the time I’ve been waiting and has asked for me to be booked in to the private hospital in town rather than the usual one.

It’s a bit of a shock but for once, a nice one! Surgery should be within the next few weeks and will be with Mr Brown rather than just on the general list as was planned before. This has calmed some of my anxiety over this operation.

I was adamant that 2015 was going to have two things NOT happen for me. No house moving and no surgeries!!! After two huge ops in 2013 and 2014, I was really hoping for no cutting open of Sam!! Unfortunately that’s not to be, and I have been feeling really upset, angry and anxious. So the knowledge that I will be under Mr Brown’s care has really lifted my spirits and calmed some of my nerves.

Mentally I am struggling at the minute. I have just so much jumbling through my mind right now. Illness, jpouch, hernia, accidents plus my cut hand that’s still strapped up along with parenting and personal issues are making me feel fucking crazy. I am filled with self doubt, anxiety and sadness.

I’m carrying on regardless. Trying not to piss off everyone around me and just keep going. My head is swimming but I’m trying hard to work through my anxieties and sleep issues. I’ve downloaded a meditation app that I’m using at night to help me relax and sleep.

We are off to Filey for a few days next week and though we still have to work, it will be really nice to get some sea air, get out walking and have a change of scenery.

I’ll be photographing and instagraming my break next week so if you don’t already, head over and follow me over there (samcleasby)

Sam xx