Body Image.

Lets talk about body image!

We can be so critical in how we see ourselves. Too fat, too skinny, bad skin, bad hair…every person has one aspect of their bodies that they do not like or wish they could change. Add in chronic illness, surgery or an ostomy; these insecurities amplify.

During my first few years of having an ileostomy I hated myself. I was just so desperate to feel and look normal again. I was desperate to dress like my friends and not have to worry about my bag leaking or showing through my clothing. I felt so pressured to ‘fit in’ or look a certain way.

I found it really hard not to compare myself to others, especially when I wasn’t as confident with myself as I should  have been and having an ileostomy is a big part of why I felt like this.

I was 13 when I had my ileostomy, I am now 22 and my mindset has completely changed. I am more confident than ever about my body and my ostomy. I have learnt to accept and love my insecurities. It took time, but it happened.

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( Illustrations by the very talented @emjayuc http://www.mjpix.com )

The reality is that no matter how body positive we consider ourselves to be, we sometimes can’t help but feel like something is wrong with us… Because that’s what we’ve been told from Day 1. Personally, I preach self love constantly. But does that mean I wake up every day feeling like Beyoncé? No.

These days, I don’t usually take it out on my body at least. I know that it isn’t my ostomy’s fault that I’m feeling down. I know that those feelings are a product of a culture that seems to think that scars/stretch marks or cellulite is the worst thing a person can have. But that acknowledgment can still result in misery.

if you’re struggling with body image and loving yourself and your insecurities then here’s some tips on how you can start to love yourself again.

Talk about it. Share your feelings and experience with people who have gone through similar things. There are so many amazing charities and individuals on social media that post about their experiences and stories. There is an amazing ostomy community filled with inspirational people. Reach out, share your story and connect with others.

Accept your insecurities. Looking at your scars for the first time can be emotional and every person is different. Don’t feel pressured and choose a time when you are ready. See it as proof that you have survived. Without it, you could not be whole.

Fake it till you make it. Even if you don’t feel confident about how you look try to have a positive outlook. When you’re getting ready for the day, tell yourself you look good, even if you don’t believe it. Replace a critical thought with a positive affirmation: “I look great today!”. Post pictures of your insecurity, show people what you’ve overcome and how much you’re rocking your scar/ostomy. By posting pictures you’re not only raising awareness but you’re also educating others on what you’ve been through.

Take your time. It won’t happen overnight but give yourself the time and space to accept your new body. Your scars will begin to fade and become less visible. And gradually regaining your regular schedule of work, leisure and exercise will help to make you feel more like yourself.

As a society, we are becoming more open to discussing our body image and challenging the perception of an ideal body. Reminding yourself that you are not the only person feeling this way can help you feel a little less alone.

As aways, Thanks for reading.

Angelina x

 

It’s been a little while…

First of all, I’d like to apologise for my lack of social media posts. It’s been really difficult trying to launch a company, keep up with my normal life and write blogs. I promise to work harder on keeping you all in tune with Aura Clothing.

We’ve worked tirelessly on ensuring that our product is the best that it could possibly be, We want it to be high end and affordable and that in itself is a challenge. After months of hard work, patience and rigorous testing, we can finally say that we are so pleased and proud of the final product.

We are currently in the process of manufacturing our first batch, after working alongside some of the best manufactures in Europe that have exceeded our expectations.

The next step will be looking for models to showcase our jeans on the website. We will be working alongside a talented local photographer who is amazing at capturing raw and beautiful photographs. If anyone is interested in modelling our jeans then please contact us via social media or email.

In the meantime we are currently finalising our website, making it elegant and easy to use while incorporating all the great things that makes Aura Clothing so special. As well as working on the website we have also been very busy designing and creating more exciting collections that will launch throughout the year so watch this space!

I hope all my fellow Ostomates and friends had a lovely Christmas and New year!

Thanks for reading,

Angelina

Denim designed with YOU in mind

First of all, I’d like to say what a wonderful experience it was to have taken part in the Purple Wings Charity fashion show this year. As well as showcasing our first collection we also met some amazing and inspirational people and had excellent feedback on our jeans.

 

After posting pictures of our jeans on our social media we received some great feedback from our future customers as well as some questions. In this blog post I’ll be going over some of the questions and making sure I answer every single one of them with as much detail as possible.

So, What is so special about our jeans?

Premium Quality

We have been working on perfecting our product for two years. We work with the top denim designer and manufacturer who caters for big brands like River Island, Marks & Spencer, Next and Lee. We use the highest grade materials and manufacturing procedures to ensure that our jeans are the best quality that they can be.

Comfort

Although our jeans might look like a normal pair of high waist jeans, they are made with four way stretch denim which will be the most comfortable jeans that you will ever own. The four way stretch denim allows you total freedom of movement, extreme flexibility and comfort. It fits to your body like a second skin, and adheres to your movements 24/7 so you can look and feel your best.

Perfect Waist

As well as being extremely comfortable and fashionable, our jeans have a higher rise which means it sits on the smallest part of your waist allowing you to have that hourglass silhouette and whilst covering your ostomy or scars completely.

Special Inner Layer

We designed our ‘core inner layer’ which is made out of luxury and soft fabric that absorbs moisture and stretches with your body. The inner layer is there in order to conceal and support the stoma bag without restricting it. It keeps the stoma bag flat against the skin as well as hiding any lumps or bumps around the abdomen area. This means that you can wear whichever briefs you want knowing that the support is already built into the jeans.

Although our jeans have been designed for ostomates, others with surgical scars, tubes, stretch marks, hernias or individuals who are uncomfortable with their abdominal region can also benefit from our jeans.

Variety and choice

Our jeans come in four different styles and two different washes, this allows you to choose the colour and style that best suit your figure and style. You can wear our jeans with pride knowing that they have been created and designed with YOU in mind.

Price

Finally, all the above will be available at a competitive price! Brought to you by passion not greed.

I hope this answers any questions about our product. If you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to message us on our social media accounts.

Thanks for reading,

Angelina

Having an ostomy doesn’t limit my life.

 

 

Skiing is a sport that most people, especially those with an ostomy stay away from because it’s difficult, exhausting and requires a lot of physical strength. However I’ve never let my ostomy have a limit on my life.

In December I was lucky enough to go on a ski holiday to a beautiful little village called Grimentz in Switzerland.This beautiful village in the Swiss Canton of Valais is home to a few locals all year around, and hundreds of avid skiers in the winter! The region is famous for its beautiful mountains and picturesque views around every corner.

Grimentz

Being a beginner skier on your first ski holiday is challenging enough, but having to worry about your ostomy makes it even more challenging. My aim for the holiday was to enjoy myself, and not have the fun curtailed by even mild strains and aching joints.

Ski resorts are at high altitude which made it easy to become out of breath. Its pretty intense being on the slopes all day everyday. I made sure to always stay hydrated, to not over do it and to not take down a group of children learning to ski if I fell.

As a beginner, I wasn’t expecting to be great, but after having a few lessons in the snow dome I was confident enough that I wasn’t going to fall. But expectations and reality are two completely different things. I learnt very quickly that:

  • You will fall down, a lot
  • Its hard to get up and can be very embarrassing
  • There’s going to be six year olds skiing circles around you
  • You’re either going too slow or too fast. No in between
  • Some children will be better than you

As I improved I eventually went higher up the mountain. I felt intimidated by the poor visibility, cloud cover and the longer, steeper slopes. My main worry was falling on my stomach, which I understand is unlikely with skis on. Or whacking myself with the ski poles (I’m very clumsy). My other worry was over doing it and having complications with my ostomy, which thankfully didn’t happen. In hindsight, I really wish that I didn’t get so anxious about skiing, I wish that I was more relaxed and actually enjoyed it more instead of worrying about my ostomy.

My main advice for future ostomate skiers would be to:

  • Have light meals and snacks frequently
  • Always make sure you stay hydrated
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Make sure you have enough warm layers on
  • Take medical supplies with you including painkillers
  • Make sure you have health/travel insurance
  • Make sure you have enough protective clothing around your ostomy

Unfortunately there isn’t any specific clothing available for us when it comes to sports or activities. Because of this I had to make do with loads of high waisted layers which didn’t put my mind to rest when it came to skiing. But like everyone knows, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade (or margaritas).

Wouldn’t it be great if there were specific sports clothing for us ostomates?

What would you like to see in sportswear for ostomates?

Would you like to see Aura clothing create a sports range in the future?

Personally I am and always will be aware of my ostomy. It brings cautious feelings and careful behaviour. Im not necessarily nervous or afraid of trying new things but I believe only a fellow ostomate can understand the balance between having fun and staying safe.

For me, my ostomy is simply a challenge to overcome. Much like skiing, It’s not a barrier, nor is it a disability-and I’m not about to let it stop me from doing anything. After all, it’s just a bag.

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A huge shoutout to the Leliarts, Kavanagh’s and Harris’ for such an amazing holiday.

My fight to get my life back.

 

 

It all started when I was 12 years old.  After months in severe pain and time in hospital I was diagnosed with Crohns disease. Crohns disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can affect any part of the digestive system, unfortunately for me it affected my colon (large bowel). I was then sent home with a number of medications including steroids( prednisone) which I ended up taking throughout my journey with Crohns. One of the more visible effects of long term use of high dosages of prednisone is swelling in the cheeks and in the neck. This might also be called ‘moon face’.

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This was my ‘moon face’ transformation.

I became unwell quickly after and I was fed through an NG tube to try and give my digestive system a rest. I was fed through a tube for six weeks which meant that I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink for that time. I was never hungry but missed tasting certain foods (pizza mostly). During those six weeks I didn’t  want to leave the house, and when I did I would come home crying because I felt like others were looking at me.

I then took the tube out on my 13th Birthday and shortly after that I fell unwell again, I was rushed into hospital where decided to have an infusion called Infliximab. It stopped the symptoms pretty much straight away and I was pain free for a total of 3 months before my body decided to reject it. After trying out all the possible procedures and medication I came to realise that I was really never going to get better. My last hope was to self inject Adalimumab. Just weeks later I was rushed into hospital where the doctor told me that if I hadn’t come in that day then I probably wouldn’t have made it through the night. I was immediately put on drips and TPN through a chest port and was kept in for a further four months where I was being told that I was having an ostomy.

I don’t think anything in the world could prepare you to undergo such a big operation at the age of 13. But I went ahead with it because this was my last hope in having a ‘normal’ life again. After having a ‘temporary’ ostomy I was still suffering. Years went by and I was still in and out of hospital. It wasn’t until two years ago where I finally decided to make my ‘temporary’ ostomy a permanent one. At the age of 18, I was finally pain free.

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Although having an ostomy improved my quality of life, I wasn’t aware of the emotional distress that came with it. It is the hardest transition that anyone has to go through physically and mentally. From a day to day basis I was reminded that I wasn’t ‘normal’ or even ‘good enough’. However, I was also reminded of how strong and brave I was to  go back to school and socialise.  It was only  until recently where I really started to accept myself. In my opinion being chronically sick has been the greatest blessing in disguise. When you’re sick you learn to tolerate the physical pain, you have to. But it’s the overwhelming emotional distress that makes you feel like someone holding your head under water. It’s so hard not to feel anxious and depressed.

Being sick made me who I am today. I may be biased, but I think that sick people, especially young sick people are some of the most amazing and inspirational individuals you may meet. When you’re Sick you understand things that others don’t. You don’t take things for granted or dwell on things. Being sick makes you weak, being sick gives you insight and knowledge on life as it eats away at your own. It’s so much more than having an ostomy or an illness. It’s having your life out of your control and fighting to get it back.

 

Photo credit: Matthias  Erhardt

http://mwme.photography

End the stigma; my ostomy saved my life.

Hi, so as this is my first ever blog post I’ve decided to talk about who I am, and why I’m here.

As you all should know by now, my names Angelina and I’m from South Wales, I’m 20 years old and I’m starting up a clothing brand called Aura Clothing. The brand was inspired by my past experiences and struggles of living with Crohns disease. Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect any part of the digestive system, unfortunately for me it affected my colon (large bowel). I was diagnosed with this illness when I was 12 years old and by the age of 13 I had my colon removed which resulted in me having an ileostomy. The purpose of this blog is to create awareness as well as giving my brand a personal voice.

I feel like todays society pressurises us to fit into the ‘perfect’ category. Thats a lot of pressure of a lot people, let alone people with an illness or a hidden illness. I believe that no one is perfect, we are simply the best that we can be and that is perfect to me.

The reason that inspired me mostly to create Aura Clothing was the fact that not many people are aware that 1 in 500 people in the UK alone live with some sort of ostomy. I wanted to create awareness for the different conditions and end the stigma that comes with having an ostomy. My main aim for this blog is to educate individuals and actually allow people who live with it to share their stories and connect with others. Its difficult to live with the stigma that is put on people like myself, so I will continue to perpetuate the stereotypes and turn something negative into positives.

My next post will be an insight on my life and my personal experiences with Crohns disease and living with an ostomy.

My Story

 

Hi, I’m Angelina (Ange for short) and i’m from South Wales. I am the founder of a new brand called Aura Clothing. This brand is inspired through my experiences of living with an ostomy. This blog will mainly be about how Aura Clothing was first developed and how I was inspired to create such a needed product. I’ll talk about my illness and how living with an ostomy affected me from a young age as well as how I managed to finally accept and love myself. The brand itself is in the process of launching so in the meantime I want to share my story with the world and create much needed awareness for individuals with an ostomy.

Aura Clothing is a new brand that focuses on bringing the innovative technical aspects and the finest fabrics to clothing for those living with an ostomy. Its created and developed through my passion of helping others and my experiences of living with an ostomy. My aim is to empower women and support them in feeling confident, sexy and special.

Lets be the change that this world needs.