What would you say to your 16 year old self?

A bit of a different post from me today, but after 2013 being a tough one with illness, surgery and learning to live with an ileostomy I have definitely begun to reflect more on my life.  I saw a post on Facebook from my friend and awesome parent blogger Corinne from Motherhood Journeys.  It was a photograph of herself as a youngster and she was thinking of what she would say to her 16 year old self.

It got me thinking as to what would I say to myself if I could go back 16 years and speak to the young woman I was then.  People who know me now don’t believe that I was a shy person, to be honest I still have days of crippling self doubt and a reluctance to speak to people in case they find out Im a fraud, that Im not nearly as grown up as I seem, Im thick and I am a total dork.  But at 16 I was basically scared most of the time.  I covered it with being loud and silly but I felt less than others around me, I idolised TOTALLY the wrong people and ended up boosting my self esteem (or so I thought!) with relationships with men who were, to be honest, fucking idiots!

my 16 year old self

Family life was difficult, I lived between home, with sisters, with an aunty, in a student house for a while and for a brief stint alone in possibly the most terrifying flat in Sheffield… I found myself entering the adult world feeling completely adrift, I had no idea who I was or where I wanted to go.  I clung onto other people’s dreams by following them into jobs and college courses that they seemed so excited about and so I thought it was the right path for me too. I drank alcohol because others around me did, I smoked, went to nightclubs and got myself into situations that were stupid and dangerous.

So what would I tell my 16 year old self?   I’d tell myself that it will all get better, that everyone feels that weight of doubt inside them and that there is no rush to grow up. I’d tell her that her weirdness is great and the sooner she accepts it the happier she will be.  I’d tell her to stay in college and go to university because she’ll regret it for the rest of her life if not. I’d tell her to travel the world before settling down and that kindness is the key to a happy life. I’d tell her to dump the man she is going out with because that dangerous flare of temper becomes a hell of a lot less sexy very, very quickly and  that the man she will meet in a years time may cause a few tears and at times the relationship will be stressful but he will become her best friend, her soulmate and her husband.

my 16 year old self

Id tell her that she can’t help everyone, that sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away from a terrible situation as though she is only trying to make things better, it simply drags her further down.  Id tell her that self esteem can ONLY come from within and NEVER from the men she thinks will care for her.  Id tell her that tequila is not her friend and it will end in a night where she will awake in a fountain.  (Don’t ask!!)

Id tell her she is enough.  That she is good enough.  That she has a kind heart and a good soul and the people who she wants in her life will see that, she doesn’t need to pretend to be anything she is not, she shouldn’t go along with the crowd and she should accept her ridiculous humour, weird personality and geeky self because it is enough.

Id tell her that her two school friends Tania and Hannah will be her lifelong closest friends, to hold them close and to remember that no matter how far apart you are, that they will always be the ones who will hold her up and make everything better.

Id tell her that everything will work out, that life is filled with ups and downs but with a good attitude and strong self belief, any situation can be overcome.  Id tell her that when you fuck up, an honest, heartfelt apology goes a long, long way.  That if you follow two life lessons of ‘Just be nice’ and ‘Try your hardest’ you won’t go far wrong in life.

And Id tell her if all else fails, go with your motto in life of ‘If you can’t sing well, sing LOUD’
So what would you say to your 16 year old self?

Love Sam xx

Struggling with a swollen stoma in the heat

Sorry it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post! We’re having such an amazing time in Australia that I haven’t had the time or energy. It has been non stop in exploring, visiting family and generally just having an amazing time!

My stoma and bag have been doing ok but the last few days I have been struggling. My stoma swells in the heat and when I’m exerting myself, I don’t want to miss a thing so I’ve been snorkelling, swimming, walking and doing everything I can. The problem is that my bag has to fit snugly around my stoma and so when I cut it to fit my swollen stoma, as the swelling decreases it leaves a gap and that gets the acidic output on my skin so I’m left with a Red raw ring of skin.

If I cut my bag to fit my normal sized stoma, when it then swells, my bag cuts into the edge of my stoma. It is now ridged, bleeding and very tender.

I’m in catch 22! If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated. I have texted my stoma nurse for help and I have arranged a clinic visit for when I’m back in the Uk. We fly home on Tuesday, I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 weeks!!

Apart from the issue my stoma and bag have been entire dealable. I’m really glad we came traveling and would recommend anyone with a stoma to not be put off by the idea of travel.

This trip would have been impossible during a flare up. My bag meant I have had a trip of a lifetime and been able to enjoy things I never thought I would.


Love Sam xx

UPDATE – I spoke to my stoma nurse who suggested using a donut (a sticky , mouldable ring) around my stoma before I put my bag on. This didn’t solve all the problems, but it definitely helped!!

When in doubt call your super stoma nurse!!!! Xxx

Ileostomy swimwear

I was a little nervous after my op about what sort of swimwear would suit me. I looked at a few specialist stoma swim wear places but couldn’t find anything I liked and so I have just stuck with my old stuff.

This dark swimming costume with large print totally disguises the shape of my bag and makes it feel secure against my body.

This was me on Christmas Day on the beach, it was a bit rainy and grey but I wasn’t letting that stop me jumping in the waves. My sister was another story though…


For bikinis I’m going for a fuller bottom, either little shorts or high waisted bottoms.

Having my bag and scar out does cause a few stares but I’m mostly ok with that, it’s usually from curiousity than anything malicious.



Today I was sat on a beautiful Australian beach in a bikini, I got a few looks but as I people watched, it got me thinking about just how many different shapes and sizes we all are. Some of us a skinny, some bigger, some busty, some flat chested, some of us have scars or even bags stuck to our stomachs. But the most beautiful people around are those who are confident, smiling and having fun.


So when people stare whether it is openly or surreptitiously, my first instinct is to feel upset, embarrassed or angry. I swallow it down and just smile.


Most people are good, I have to believe that and so I take their stares as folk being curious about something different that they probably haven’t seen before.

I hold my head up and be proud of how awesome it is that my body has healed me and my bag is making my quality of life better.

Sam xx