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I think I had better start this review by apologising to anybody who finds it a bit graphic and while I will do my best to restrain myself I think the only way to review the product properly unfortunately involves talking about things you wouldn't talk about round the dinner table!
For those of you that don't know Always Ultra are sanitary towels and are for use when you have your period. They have been around for a number of years now and come in a variety of sizes and styles. The ones I generally use are the long with wings and the night time towels so these are the ones I will talk about but you can also buy them in the normal (shorter) size both with and without wings and get long ones without wings too.
To be honest the only real difference between the two types of towel I use is the length, with the night time towels being longer than the long ones. The extra length of the night towels is designed for when you are sleeping as your flow will naturally flow further back because you are laying down, however, I often use these in the day time just for extra piece of mind. Both of the towels have Always 5 signs of protection which are:
1.Cotton Like Feeling - this is as it sounds because the top layer of the towel feels soft like cotton which means they are comfortable to wear and don't irritate you down below like some other towels do.
2.Super Absorbent core - this is the blue bit in the middle of the towel and makes sure everything is kept in the towel.
3.Super fit - This is the double curved wings which wrap around your knickers to make sure the towel stays in place. This are an absolute must for me because I find that towels can move around if they don't have wings and the ones on these are really good as they are long and cover most of your knickers.
4.Secureguard - This is the part of the towel which makes sure everything stays in the centre as there is a sort of groove in it which stops your flow escaping and leaking around the edge of the towel.
5.Instantdry - This is a new thing introduced to these towels and it basically means that the towel is now even better at absorbing your flow quickly. This is also a brilliant introduction as there isn't much worse than the feeling of a damp down there to be honest.
One of the other great things about these is that they are so thin but they are still extremely absorbant. Unfortunately my flow can be really heavy at times but as long as I change them frequently I rarely have any major problems with these towels which is great because in the past I have resorted to using the thick type which really isn't very nice and to be honest does pretty much feel like a nappy. However, I can't really tell that I'm wearing anything with these which is nice, especially as there are plenty of other horrible side effects that let you know you are on your period! :( Also, as you may have read in a previous review I suffer from PCOS and recently had a period that lasted weeks so got very familiar with these and even though it did get very annoying, even after weeks of being on it was still bearable.
The towels come individually wrapped (purple for long with wings and the night ones are blue) and even after a few weeks of being knocked around in my bag they are still in one piece unlike some other brands I have used which have come unwrapped. To use them you simply rip open the wrapper and peel the towel away from the plastic before securing to your knickers. The adhesive backing on Always is amazing and in all the years I have used them I don't think one has ever come unstuck and I certainly don't think that would be true of some cheaper brands. The other good thing about them is that the wrapper has a little white tab on it which means you can use it to wrap up your previous towel before disposing of it in the bin. This is great as it means they look much neater in the bin and by wrapping them it doesn't smell.
An advantage of towels over other forms of protection is that they are so easy to use and are therefore ideal for younger girls who have just started their periods. They are also safer to use than tampons as there is no risk of TSS or leaving behind any nasty fibres in your vagina which can't be good.
Now to be very honest although these towels are great they are not perfect and I will admit that sometimes if I'm particularly heavy or passing clots that these don't always get absorbed properly into the towel which isn't the nicest of feelings. However, of all the towels I have used Always are easily the best in terms of dealing with my heavy flow and as I said before I rarely have a problem with leaks and as long as I change regularly I still manage to feel quite fresh.
The downside of all this greatness I suppose is that they know it and this can be reflected in the price. A pack of 12 long or 10 night time towels is usually about £2 and a double pack of 22 or 18 is about £3, however, there are often special offers on in the supermarket so I generally try and stock up when I see them cheap. (On a side note why do we still pay VAT on these essentials???)
I hate tampons and find them very uncomfortable so rarely use anything else when I'm on my period and would recommend these to anybody who needs them.
Ok, so I better start by saying that by writing this I am in no way encouraging people to smoke but for those that already do I will let you know what I think of these cigarettes.
First off I will start by saying that I have been smoking now for almost 15 years and whilst I probably should quit I find it really, really difficult so have no real plans to stop anytime soon. During my student days these were my smoke of choice and I still buy them on occasion if I fancy a treat but to be honest due to the cost which is around £6.50 for 20 I tend to smoke cheaper brands on a daily basis.
The reason I like Lucky Strikes are that I think they taste really good. The packet tells you that the tobacco is toasted to give it a better flavour and whilst the cigarettes are quite strong in theory they don't have that harshness that some others do. These days they have also got quite creative with their packaging and often their packs will open in an unusual way which is quite cool (although again, this is not a reason to start smoking kids!) especially when a mate asks to nab a fag and then spends an age trying to work out how to open the packet!
For those that are interested they contain 10mg Tar and 0.8mg nicotine which is pretty standard these days for a full strength cigarette although I'm sure years back they used to be stronger?!
All in all I would say that these are a cigarette either for the rich or for those occasions when you just feel like splashing out unless you can get them on the cheap from abroad that is!!!
First off I have to start by saying that I absolutely adore bags and have somewhere in the region of 50 the last time I actually tried to count them! I just think that bags and accessories in general are ace and just can't help myself when I'm in a shop and see something I like which is why I have ended up with so many. I always convince myself that it's the perfect bag to go with a certain outfit and then that's it, it's paid for but to be honest I never buy expensive ones so it's all good.
The bag I will talk about today is the one I have been using the last couple of days and is a brown leather style (I'm pretty sure it isn't real) bag from Accessorize. It is medium sized I guess and has a strap so I can wear it over the shoulder and keep it away from any nasty criminals that want to get at it's contents! It basically has 3 sections to it, firstly there is the main compartment and inside this there is a separate zip up pocket and there is also a smaller section at the front too.
So lets delve inside and have a look at the contents and do be warned I'm expecting there to be quite a bit of junk as I'm terrible for not cleaning out my bags and even when I stop using one the rubbish just stays in there!
The main Compartment.
Right so first off I have my phone which is a nice shiny new iphone 3gs which I love to bits. These days a phone is about as essential as breathing so this is always in one of my bags!
Then I have my diary, don't ask me why I don't just use my phone but I still like writing things down so I know what I'm doing in the days/weeks to come. All my mates birthdays are in here and anyone who's getting married or having a party gets there name in here too as well as other boring things like doctors appointments, etc.
Next we have a packet of cigarettes, filthy habit I know but one that I can't seem to stop. To be honest I like the idea of quitting but I find it so so difficult and know I'm just not ready to take that step just yet and so these look like they will be a fixture in my bag for a while yet.
I also have a small make up bag which contains a few essential bits and bobs. I don't wear a lot of make up but keep some lip gloss, concealer, mascara, foundation and some tweezers in here just so I have some basics to freshen up a bit if I'm out or staying at a mates for the evening.
There are also my two sets of keys floating around in here, one set for my flat and the other for the car so need to make sure these are kept safe!
I also have a spare pair of knickers, (just in case, lol) 2 pens, a packet of chewing gum, a can of deodorant, perfume, 3 lighters which I can never seem to find when I actually need one and countless scraps of paper, receipts, hairbands/clips and crumbs!
The inside zip pocket
I don't have too much in this one but it is where I keep my sanitary towels so they don't get too battered about in the main compartment, or heaven forbid drop out when I'm rummaging around for a lighter! I think most of us have these in our bags somewhere and I always make sure I have at least a couple just in case of an emergency.
This is where I keep my purse so that it's nice and easy to get my hands on when. It is only ickle and at the moment contains my debit card, credit card, library card, drivers license, a few receipts and precisely £10.37.
I've also got a half eaten packet of polo's, another lighter (which doesn't work!), more crumbs and bits of fluff, my work id card and of course, even more receipts!!!!!
So there we go, not the most exciting bag in the world but at least this review has allowed me to have a bit of a clean out. Just 49 more to go now, lol!
Now ladies we all wear bra's everyday, or at least most of us will, but are we wearing the right size???
Now I know what you're thinking, "of course I'm wearing the right size, I've been this size for 10 years" but is it actually the size you should be wearing? It is estimated that up to 80% (yes, 80%) of women could actually be wearing the wrong sized bra and this could lead to a number of problems as well as the general uncomfortable feel of wearing the wrong sized bra.
First off, and especially if you are wearing a tight top, the wrong size bra will cause you to have that double boob look if it is too small and be very unflattering. It will spoil the line of your profile and it is something I notice a lot with my mates and just want to scream at them to go and get properly measured! (Sorry, just a pet hate of mine)
Also, wearing the wrong size bra means that you are not actually getting the right support for your bust so it can actually cause you to get back problems, especially if you have bigger boobs. This is caused because instead of your bra taking the strain your force your back to do it instead and if your do have larger breasts then this is actually quite some weight that needs supporting your whole waking life! In turn, the back problems can also lead to bad posture as you try and compensate for the pain by standing, sitting, walking, etc. in unnatural positions.
It has even been suggested that the wrong sized bra can damage breast tissue and increase your risk of breast cancer, however, I will point out that from what I have read there does seem to be some debate about this and it could be that other factors were at play. Still though, if there is a chance that it could be doing you harm and there is an easy fix then why not take it?
Now, lets move on to the easy fix! A Professional bra fitting service! Now a lot of high street stores will provide a bra fitting service including M&S, Debenhams, La Senza, Bravissimo and I'm sure lots of others too but some are better than others. I know a lot of people rave about Bravissimo but I have never personally been measured there because their bra's are really expensive and I would feel compelled to buy one if I got fitted somehow so have never been measured there. I think they do it more based on simply how you look and then just pick the size they think you should be. For example, if you go in wearing a 38C they will look to see if the straps fit properly and if the cup size looks big enough and then through experience they will suggest what size they think you actually are and you probably end up walking out a 32E. It sounds very unscientific to me but apparently it works!
Personally I can speak of the service you get in both Debenhams and La Senza. Now for me Debenhams certainly do the better job as it just felt more personal and I felt that I did actually get a bra that fitted properly at the end of it, whilst in La Senza it was a bit weird because the lady measuring you was also busy with other things and personally I didn't actually agree with the size I was told at the end. (I also find the sizes in La Senza can be very strange too which doesn't help!)
The Debenhams fitting itself was very good, I just walked into my local store and into the lingerie department, asked about their fitting service and within a couple of minutes a very helpful lady was there to help me. Now for anyone worrying about having to get undressed in front of a stranger I will point out that, in my case anyway, I was left alone to take my top off and then she came back in and measured me with my bra still on! I think this is very normal and as long as you aren't wearing a massively padded bra it won't make a difference to the fitting itself. Being a slightly larger girl myself I'm not the most confident person when it comes to wearing next to nothing in front of strangers but the lady in Debenhams really made me feel comfortable and we just had a bit of a natter whilst she was getting on with things.
Now once she had taken her measurements she went off and picked out a couple of bras in the style I had asked for in the size she thought. She then left me alone to try them on and on each occasion came back in to check whether it was a good fit. As all bras are made slightly differently she also brought in slightly different sizes of each type too which I also tried on, we then decided on my new size and as I needed some new undies I then treated myself to a couple of new bras which weren't overly cheap but not expensive either (about £15 each I think).
All in all I was very impressed with the service I got and as an illustration of why it is important to get fitted often I have gone from a 36D when I was 22 to a 36F at 27 (I have been measured between those ages by the way!!!) so I would definitely suggest getting measured every couple of years at least or obviously when you know your bra is too small/big!
I know it can be embarrassing for some people to be undressed in front of others but come on, we all have smear tests and that is way worse than being seen with just a bra on top so I would urge everybody to go and get measured because apart from anything else the comfort of wearing the right sized bra definitely makes it worth it!
I have had this phone now for about a month so thought I may as well write about my experience with it so far!
First off I will point out that this is the first "smart phone" that I have owned and also the first piece of Apple equipment I have used since about 1996 at school!!! However, I was still able to get on with this very well from day 1. The phone is very easy to use and set up and even though there is a distinct lack of instructions that come with it I think even the biggest technophobes would be able to cope.
When you get the phone (and this was explained to me by my network when I signed up) you will have to download itunes onto your pc and set up an account using a credit or debit card. Again, this is very easy and it is so you can download apps from the app store!
The next thing to do (also explained to me) was to use the little tool to remove the sim card holder so that you can put your card in it and again this was very straightforward.
After I had inserted my sim I used the USB cable that came with the phone to connect it to my PC to sync it with itunes and then I was away! I now have all of my contacts from my sim card and all of my songs from my PC on my phone so I can now listen to whatever I want, wherever I am!
As for the phone itself, it's basic features are all very easy to use. You simply click on a person's name to call them and to text you just choose your messages and away you go. I personally find the touch screen to be great and rarely make mistakes with it but I do find it easier when texting to turn the phone horizontally as it makes the letters bigger!
The other thing you get with this phone is the apps and as the adverts say "there is an app for just about everything"! I've bought hardly any but you think of it, it is there. I personally have Shazam so I an always find out what the name of a song is, Aroundme so I can get the numbers of take aways and find the nearest pub, Facebook, Google and a few others too but I have barely touched the surface of what's out there!
For me though, other than the fact that it is an ipod and phone all in one the best thing about it is the internet. Basically the phone turns into a mini laptop as you can pretty much access whatever site you want, wherever you are and although there are a couple of problems that I'll touch on later it really is amazing. I'm forever checking emails and facebook, etc. or popping online to check the latest news or something and you can even use eBay!!!
Now there are a few problems with the internet such as not being able to install flash player but I generally don't use that many sites that require it and if I do then I just wait until I get home! Another problem with the phone is that it seems as though it is impossible to get a "cool" ringtone unless you buy it from itunes which is rather annoying but then that may just be me!!!
All in all though it is a fab phone and I am very pleased with it. I would say that they do cost a lot to buy outright but if you get the right contract you can easily get one for about £35 a month with pretty much unlimited calls, texts and internet!!!!
With the weather starting to get nicer again it can only mean one thing - the festival season is almost here!!!!
Being a veteran of several Leeds and Glastonbury festivals and being the proud owner of a Glasto ticket for this year I thought I would share a few thoughts on festivals, how to survive them and the important things to take!
First off, it is important to realise that festival sites are basically small cities so any possible problems you might get when wandering around a city, you could also experience at a festival. Now I am not saying this to scare people and personally I have never been a victim of crime at a festival but it is important to remember that whilst you might be there to have fun you need to keep your wits about you just in case these is some idiot there who wants to nick your phone or spike your drink!
Now the first thing to consider about a festival I think is how and when you are going to get there. Most festivals these days do not just open their doors on the morning the acts begin playing but usually about 2 days before. Personally I like to get their early to get a good camping spot and be able to camp with all of my friends and would certainly advise other people to do this too. I just couldn't imagine turning up to Glastonbury on Friday morning and trying to find a camping spot, it would be absolute hell and you would probably end up in a ditch or something!!!!
As I mentioned you also need to think about how you are going to get there. Glastonbury certainly now has a coach ticket option whereby you get travel included in the ticket price and are able to get on a coach at a nearby town or city and then get a coach back there after the festival has finished. Personally I have never tried this option but as long as you turn up on time it does seem a pretty good way to travel and certainly helps with your carbon footprint! Most festivals also have some sort of deal going on whereby there is a free shuttle bus from the nearest train station to the site and again this is a good way to travel whilst limiting the damage to the planet! However, most people still seem to drive to festivals these days so I would definitely suggest organising your friends and lift sharing as best as possible. Again, this makes it cheaper for everyone, a more fun journey and helps limit our environmental impact. Also, make sure you leave in plenty of time as traffic around festivals can be notoriously bad and a normal 2 hour journey could turn into 6 or 7 quite easily. Personally I would suggest leaving as early as you can because that limits the chances that you will arrive in the dark and have to put a tent up at night!!!
Now once you are there and in and have your tent set up it is time to start enjoying what you spent £200 on attending!
Festivals can be amazing places to go with friends and have fun, apart from all the bands to see there are loads of other things to do. Most festivals will have some sort of fun fair type rides, a huge selection of shops selling all sorts of crazy stuff from clothing to bongs, a huge selection of food and drink stalls and other forms of entertainment such as night club type places or comedy tents!!! Glastonbury especially is great for the "added extras" and pretty much there is something to do from about 10am right through to about 6am which is pretty awesome!
Now being a festival I guess the main reason for going there is the music so one massively important thing to do is get yourself a festival guide as quickly as you can. These are often free or for sale just as you walk onto the site and will contain the full line up details. It is then down to you to plan what you are going to do and who you are going to see. Now, it is worth remembering that depending on which festival you are going to the distances between stages can be vast (45 min walk) so you need to make sure you leave enough time to get from one place to another and way want to try and limit how far you have to walk as festivals can become very tiring very quickly as walking in thick mud in wellies isn't the easiest of things!!!
Now a hugely important thing about any festival is what to pack so here are what I think are the big essentials!
1) Tickets!!!!!! Please remember to take your tickets with you, how awful would it be to turn up after a huge journey to realise your tickets are "in your other bag" or something!!!!
2) Tent. You might not want/need one each but definitely make sure there is ample tent space for you and your friends! Also, bare in mind that if you fancy getting a bit frisky with a member of the opposite sex that it might not be ideal to have a friend laying down next to you!!!!!
3) Sleeping bag and roll mat! An absolute must if you plan on getting any sleep! Even better than a roll mat, if you have an air bed and pump bring that for ultimate luxury!!!
4) Wellies! If you are going to a UK festival then these are an absolute must! There is no way you would cope at a festival without these so make sure you bring a pair!!
5) Waterproofs! It's the UK - it rains!!!!
6) Food and drink supplies! Think about it, 5 days in a campsite where buying food and drink is very expensive?! Why not bring as much of your own as you can, obviously no fresh foods that will go off but canned food, packet food and general munch like crisps and chocolate are a great idea. I also make sure I bring some bottled water as it makes it easier to clean your teeth in the morning and that sort of thing. Alcohol is a must too if you are going to be drinking. Most festivals allow you to bring your own onto the campsite and some even allow it at the stages! As most festivals charge about £4 a pint and wine and spirits can be even more (if you can get them) it makes sense to stock up before you go at the supermarket!!! (Remember, you can't take glass bottles in so make sure beer is in cans and empty your spirits into plastic bottles before you go in!)
Smokers, make sure you take enough cigs to last you as they can be hard to find and even more expensive than usual at festivals. I find I tend to smoke a lot more at them too as you are up longer and partying the whole time without having to worry about the smoking ban too as it's all outside! Oh, and plenty of lighters as you are bound to lose them!
7) A BBQ! Bring a few portable BBQ's or a stove to cook your food on! No point bringing tins and packets and the like if you have nothing to cook them on!
8)Toiletries! Toilet roll is an absolute must (although Glastonbury often give it out for free) as you will not find it in the rather awful campsite toilets. I would also suggest taking baby wipes as these are the only realistic way that you are going to be able to clean your body for about 5 days which is pretty rank so you need something to help freshen up. Deodorant is almost a must to try and disguise and horrid smells!!
Ladies, personally I don't really bother with make-up at festivals because what's the point when you smell like hell and haven't washed your hair but maybe take a few essential bits just to look presentable! Also and this is a huge one, if there is any chance at all that you might get your period whilst you are there (and if there is, sod's law dictates it will happen) make sure you take sanitary towels or tampons!!! You really do not want to be wandering around trying to find somewhere selling those in an emergency! Personally I wear towels anyway but I would actually recommend even those that use tampons to consider using towels at a festival as the toilets are so rank that it can't by hygienic to change tampons in them.
Painkillers are also a must! 5 days of drinking are going to take their toll so make sure you have something to perk you up again the next day! Nobody is going to let you slum around in your tent all day so you will need painkillers to survive!
9) Warm clothes! Don't think just because it is June to August that it will be 30 degrees day and night! It might but it almost certainly won't and it can actually get very cold at night so make sure you have plenty of layers and some warm hoodies/coats!
10) Money!! As I said there is plenty to spend your money on so make sure you bring some. There will be ATM's there but who wants to spend there time queueing up for hours when you could have got some out before you went!
So there you have it, my guide to festivals, I have had some of the best times of my life at festivals and can't wait to go again this year but it can be a bit of a mission at times so being thoroughly prepared before you go is definitely a good idea!
Hope you enjoyed the review and please feel free to leave a comment and point out any essentials I'm going to forget to take this year!!!
As this is my first review please be kind to me with your comments and ratings :)! (I'm sure you will be)
Anyway I have decided to write about my experience of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is actually a relatively common condition among women in the UK but it can often remain undiagnosed for years so it is quite possible that some of you reading this will have PCOS without even knowing about it.
The condition has many different symptoms but the main one which is obviously caused by the PCOS is problems with your periods. Generally sufferers of PCOS will experience irregular periods and often when they do get a period it will be heavy or long or both. The condition is also linked with a number of other conditions such as obesity (and difficulty in losing weight), diabetes, high blood pressure, excessive hair growth, acne and problems when trying to conceive.
Sufferers of PCOS usually have a number of small cysts on the ovaries, hence the name of the condition but apparently this isn't always the case and you can still have PCOS without actually having any cysts at all. I think it is to do with hormone levels and that sort of thing but to be honest I'm not sure.
It is also quite a difficult condition to diagnose and can take years for some people to actually be confirmed with the condition.
I personally think that I may have had PCOS for years, I started my periods when I was 13 and by the time I was 15 they still hadn't really settled down and when I got them they tended to be quite long and painful so my mum took me off to the doctors where I was prescribed Cilest. The doctor didn't seem too concerned about things and said it was quite normal for somebody my age to have irregular periods and that the pill would sort it out. Now to be fair it did, after a few months my periods became more regular, less painful and less heavy and I continued on with this pill for about 10 years.
Then in 2008 I split up with my boyfriend and as I was no longer having sex decided that I should probably give my body a break from all the hormones I had been feeding it. For the first couple of months things seemed ok and to be honest I didn't even think about the problems I use to have because I just thought it was to do with my age and it was so long ago but then things started to get worse. My periods went back to how they were previously with me going for months without one and then when it did come it would last for up to two weeks at times and be very heavy and painful.
It was then that I decided I needed to go back to the doctors to see what was going on and it actually took until just before Christmas this year to finally get diagnosed. At first, I found it hard to get taken seriously, I think that a lot of doctors don't really seem too interested when you go and see them about your periods and are happy just to fob you off with the pill or tell you it will get better in time.
Personally I had a lot of different tests (blood and hormone) over an 18 month period and whilst initially being told I didn't have PCOS I was eventually told that I did have it! (I told you it was hard to be diagnosed and I still don't understand why it didn't show up the first time!) I was also sent for a vaginal ultrasound which isn't particularly pleasant I must say but this showed that I had about 15 small cysts on my ovaries.
After I was diagnosed I then went back to the doctor to discuss treatment and ways in which I can try and help manage the condition by changing my diet and lifestyle as apparently this can also have an affect on the condition. I was prescribed the pill again, although this time it was Cerazette due to some other health problems which meant the combined pill wouldn't be suitable. He also advised me on eating healthily and to try and give up smoking and although I succeeded with the first unfortunately the second is a much tougher battle to fight and I'm not ready for that one just yet! (I think the smoking part was to do with the risks of getting diabetes if you have PCOS though rather than the condition itself. Still not great though I admit!)
The pill itself is supposed to help regulate your periods and make them more manageable and possibly even stop them altogether with this one and it can also help to regulate your hormones which means some of the other symptoms like acne and excess hair growth become less of a problem too, although luckily I never really suffered too much with those things anyway.
There are other treatments available too which I haven't explored yet and I know that should the time come that I want to conceive I may need to get extra help as it can be very difficult if you suffer from PCOS. I believe that metaformin is often prescribed to help with this but to be really honest I'm not too sure what the drug actually does! And obviously, more direct fertility treatment can be an option if you can't conceive naturally.
Personally my experience with the new pill hasn't been too great so far. It went ok for the first few weeks but then about 5 weeks ago I got my period as normal and it still hasn't stopped which is extremely annoying, frustrating and expensive too! (I'm sure the Tesco clubcard people must wonder why I buy sanitary towels every week I go there!) I am going to give this more time though as the doctor did say it is a side effect of the pill and that it will hopefully stop eventually but I will be going back very frequently if it doesn't to see what else can be done! I already have iron tablets which have made me feel less drained and the bleeding is nowhere near as heavy as one of my periods but it is still definitely bleeding rather than spotting and having to wear sanitary towels every day for over a month is really becoming tiresome now!!!!
In conclusion I would urge anybody that thinks they have the condition to persevere with their doctor to try and get diagnosed and this actually goes for anything really. I think it is all too easy to accept the first opinion you are given and to take some pills which hide the symptoms but there is often more benefit in pushing for a proper diagnosis because then you can take real steps in sorting the problem!
I hope my first review was ok and you enjoyed reading it. I would certainly appreciate any feedback on the writing or the subject matter. I don't actually know anybody else with the condition so it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who experiences these things!