Saturday, 27 June 2015

A moment of reflection...

Technically, I have missed the 'official' anniversary of the calendar photoshoot, but it was in June so I'm not really too late! I have been wanting to write this post for ages, but have been struggling to formulate the words so it's actually as interesting and engaging as I want it to be!

At the end of 2013, I'd been trying to come up with a high-impact, engaging campaign to fundraise and raise awareness! I hadn't been able to come up with anything good, but then in January 2014 it hit me - let's try to recreate calendar girls, with a difference...

It was a feat to organise, but a lot of fun too! There was the venue to arrange, a photographer to convince, a sponsor to gain, accommodation, food (thanks mum for cooking for 20), props, helpers and a million things beside. After almost four months of planning, it came to fruition, culminating in possibly the most bizarre, strange and liberating experience of my life so far!

At 7.30am, four of us grabbed our first glass of champagne and got into a hot tub of all places, trying to look casual and relaxed as though this is what we do every weekend! It was AWKWARD, there is no other word for it, and I began to dread what I had done, convinced it would flop and I'd be hated by a group of equally awkward, probably also angry women who felt somehow like I had let them down! There was only one solution - alcohol at 9am (ouch), with Pimms, Champagne and G&Ts. Alcohol is something we were not short of that weekend and in fact because everyone had bought enough for an army, there was plenty to go home with us too!

The photographs themselves needed some serious tweaking before they could be printed! It's harder than you think ensuring no nipples or other bits are on show and I have to thank my designer Debi McCormack for her her skillful editing and tweaking.

From there, it was a whirlwind - checking and re-checking all the dates. sending it to print, gulping as I saw the size of the delivery pallet turning up, launching a website, sending out a couple of speculative press releases hoping it would get at least a little coverage to help with sales, then BOOM, off it took. Suddenly, our little calendar produced in Gloucestershire was winging it's way across Magazines, Radio, Newspapers and TV all around the World. We had the most glorious trip to appear on Good Morning Britain (which was ace by the way) and more importantly than all that, it started to sell; people all around the world were ordering via the website and I was making daily trips to the Post Office to drop off the latest batch.

In the meantime, all the other gorgeous ladies involved were also working to convince their friends and family that YES, a calendar of naked AND bald women was the best thing they were going to buy all year, and they did me proud. We're now hung on the walls of around 500 different people, which I appreciate isn't that many, but which is big for us!

This reflection started because I simply could not believe that it has been over a year since those photographs were taken. It's continued though and I've reflected on all sorts of things, like just how far I have come, how comfy I am without hair and quite frankly how I am not too bothered if it returns, how many fabulous people have come forward and shared their own story with me - a brave and humbling thing - and even how obscure some of my experiences have been along the way.

I guess what I can honestly say, and what I hope many of you my lovely readers are experiencing or wil experience, is the fact that yes, Alopecia and hairloss in general can be goddamn awful, but it can be a blessing too, and one that creates many memories of which I am particularly fond, and which I never would have had without it!

Victoria x

Sunday, 21 June 2015

B is for... A-Z of hairloss

Having just tried writing the title, I'm not sure it makes perfect grammatical sense, but hopefully you get the gist! As promised, I am continuing in the vein of our A-Z of hairloss and understandably opting for the letter B (it comes next apparently!). Here goes and don't forget if you think I've missed something, let me know! 

B is for...

Backwards - this is not a veiled insult to our intelligence, but actually reference to the process I went through with my hairloss. All the time, I kept thinking to myself, I'm going backwards - one step forward coming to terms with it, then two and sometimes even three back. Getting used to artfully arranging my hair to cover the patches, only to have the patches expand; making mini 'wigs' to adhere to the patches as a hair replacement, only to have the patches grow still more. Gaining a small amount of regrowth from steroid injections (which weren't worth the pain) only for that to fall out too. The list goes on and on...

It's not all bad though; yes, initially it felt like I was constantly slipping backwards, but over time, as I adjusted, this feeling became less and less frequent. and now, I am doing nothing but charging forward! I am a changed person (at least a little bit) and hopefully for the better. It hasn't all been rosy, but overall as an experience, my hairloss has been more good than bad - a feeling that I hope you get too, or at least a level of certainty that the 'backwards' feeling will pass.

Bald / Baldness - OK, I know this is an obvious one, but in the majority of cases, the ultimate outcome is some or total baldness. There are conditions, for example diffuse Alopecia, which create general thinning, and of course not all cancer patients or people with trichotillomania experience total hairloss, but baldness is a fairly good bet! This aspect was one of the worst for me - there was no hiding it and my appearance was so very different - but it has also turned out to be one of the best aspects too! Read more about my experiences here, here and here...

Bandana - another word for scarf obviously, bandanas are often an option for covering / disguising partial hairloss and as a head covering for total hairloss. This one doesn't work for me - it drives me nuts - but I know a lot of people that understandably love them too! They are low-cost, flexible, comfy, versatile and snuggly when it is cold. Many people opt to match them to outfits and there are soooo many ways you can wear then too! One added bonus; you can buy them pre-styled too, taking the hassle out of tying them yourself and providing a great alternative to hats!

Basics - Losing my hair really pushed things back to basics. I know this sounds strange, but it did this in many senses of this word. For example, I was used to my natural hair and knew how to wash it, style it, care for it; no hair = a whole new regime. Learning wig care, wig maintenance, skin care, nail care, everything that my condition has affected. I felt in many respects like I was back to being thirteen, learning and experimenting; at times it was fun, but at times it was uber frustrating too!

One other thing worth a mention is that like any 'test' that life throws at you, hairloss is very clarifying. It made me realise the friends I could count on, what was important in life, what made me happy and what I really want to achieve in life. It took me back to basics and put things in perspective and many people I know have said this too!

Beauty - I'm not sure I can do this 'B' justice with my explanation / writing. There are so many things it represents and means to so many people, but I'll give it a go...

Beauty is something that we are judged by and that we judge people by. On the one hand, there are the sayings like 'Beauty is more than skin deep' and 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder', but on the other hand, there are also adverts which tell us our long glossy hair makes us 'worth it' and that the wrinkles on our face make us less so. I, and many others that I know, really struggled to adjust to the aesthetic changes that hairloss brings; not only is it incredibly emotionally challenging, but I was terrified that I would be somehow less beautiful and therefore less valuable without my hair. In true terms you aren't; it's simply a different beautiful look, and your personality feeds in a lot too, but that doesn't change the fact you feel less beautiful along the way. As an aside, I do now feel beautiful and perhaps more so than when I had hair even - I have a boyfriend who I love and who loves me, masses of confidence and a unique look, but it took me a while to get back to 'beauty'.

Being - Hairloss can be traumatic (sorry that is probably understatement of the year) and I and many others really struggled emotionally. Sometimes it is important along the way to let yourself just 'be' - to live in the moment, accept what you are feeling and let it wash over you. Anger, grief, envy, anything. Just be!

Besties - Hairloss is hard, period! Your besties will be really important to you (as always) and there'll be a lifeline. For me, mine kept me from retreating into my shell and while I must have seemed like a total stuck record, they were there for me! Enough said!

Bitching - Bitching is something that I really worried about when losing my hair - would people judge me, and be horrible about it? As a victim of bullying growing up (not anything too extreme don't worry), I worried that I would be worth less and that I would be subject to bitching behind my back, but as far as I know, everyone has been really positive and friendly about it. No bitching in sight!

Blackheads - this is an obscure side effect to hairloss and certainly one that I have experienced. Hair grows from follicles and as it grows, it naturally pushes dead skin cells to the surface and removes dirt. Since losing my hair, commonly my hair follicles become clogged and my skin gains the appearance of hundreds of tiny blackheads, particularly across my shoulders and the top of my arms. Regular exfoliation keeps on top of them which is fine, but blackheads are definitely a new problem!

Bold - I do mean 'bold' rather than 'bald'. Going without a wig is 'bold' and some would say 'brave' too, but it is! You will get stares, and people will ask questions or offer an opinion, but if you want to do it, go for it! I switch between wig and no wig and it's entirely personal choice. If you want to, do it; if you don't, then don't. Simples!

Boyfriends - this is something that a lot of people worry about; will you get a boyfriend (if you are single), will it change the way they feel about you (if you have one), will you be needy? So, so many questions and obviously the answers will vary on a case-by-case basis, but in my experience, the right one won't care. I met my boyfriend about a month after my alopecia started and actually stopped dating him out of fear, but now we've been together almost four years, we own a house together and my hairloss didn't change a thing! He's been great about it, sees me bald ALL the time and is gorgeous! If it does change the way they think about you, then chances are they are a toss pot and aren't worth it anyway, so move on and find someone who loves you for you.

Brave - this is something that you will be called quite frequently if you are losing your hair. Whether you tell someone about it, show them, or venture out bald, people will call you brave. Some people understandably find this very reassuring and I understand why, but for me I found this TOTALLY irritating - I did not feel not brave and this statement made me feel like a fraud. Brave is rescuing someone, or standing up to someone, not feeling rubbish about yourself because your hair is falling out, particularly when you would do almost anything to change it. Looking back now, I understand why people say 'brave', because it is really difficult to know what to say and it doesn't worry me so much any more, but it did before and I felt very guilty about it! 

Breaking Point - I don't use this term lightly, but at times during my hairloss I hit what felt like rock bottom. It is certainly the lowest I have been (but perhaps not the lowest I can go) and at times felt like breaking point. No matter how awful I felt, I always got through it thanks to the love and support of my friends and family! I cannot thank them enough and remember the old cliché 'what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger'. Embrace it and see just how far you can go...

Please let me know if there is anything I have missed via FacebookTwitter or email...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Short-term changes to Pretty Bald

You may have noticed that once again I have failed to release updates over the last couple of days! You may also have noticed my apologies for failing to post daily are on the increase and that June is looking a bit scant...

The other day, we reached our 150 post anniversary since the blog launched in January - a milestone of which I am particularly proud! It signifies an ALMOST daily post for the last six months and I never thought I'd love doing it as much as I do! That aside, I do have to break the sad news that there will be some short-term changes to Pretty Bald! 😢

Don't worry I'm not stopping this post there; you, my lovely readers deserve more than that! For me, the summer of 2015 is lining up to be quite possibly the busiest time of my life! I thought last year was bad organising a charity calendar, but no! This year I am attending six weddings, four hen dos, a number of big birthday celebrations, work is happily manic, I'm prepping some exciting bigger plans for Pretty Bald and there's a lot of other things besides! Initially, I didn't think it would affect the blogging, but oh how naive can I be! I quite simply do not have the time I want to deliver the QUALITY of blog posts I like to, let alone the quantity!

What this prompted was a long hard look at what I want to do with Pretty Bald and more importantly what I am capable of doing! What I have decided therefore is that I will change my commitment in the short-term - just over the summer - to posting every Wednesday and Sunday night, then one more evening per week which will be flexible. I know that may feel a little like you are being cheated (or maybe I am just indulging myself with that belief) but I promise that in the most part, I will be posting more than half a week and sometimes even every day still! All I am doing is removing the guilt I have for letting you all down, when I simply do completely run out of time!

At the end of summer when I have a lot more cosy nights in, on the sofa with a cup of tea, then I'll most likely revert to daily blogging because I love it! 

In the meantime, there will be a post tomorrow and please, as always keep in touch!

Victoria x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The A-Team; our A-Z of hairloss...

You might have seen me announce yesterday that I'm attempting to compile an A-Z of everything hairloss, in a bid to create a useful resource for you to draw on! I KNOW I won't remember everything for each letter the first time, but whenever I remember anything extra, I will pop back over to the right letter, update it, then let you know via our social media channels!

Anyway, I'm wittering away and putting off the inevitable, so here goes 'A' in our A-Z of Hairloss . Enjoy!

Adjustable - It's a shame this is the one to start with, as it is a little bit of a stretch, but hey, that's how the alphabet goes! Anyway, it's a common misconception that wigs come in only one size, but that is simply not true! A lot (particularly synthetic) will come in multiple cap sizes AND will be adjustable! This is a great feature as you can see here...

Adjustment - hairloss is a big adjustment! From changing your routines, having to think about wig care (if you wear one), changing habits and even just adjusting emotionally, it is all an adjustment which will feel difficult at first, but you'll get there in the end I promise!

Alopecia (Areata, Totalis, Universalis, Androgenetic, Traction): A common cause of hairloss, alopecia can cause partial or total hairloss from the head and body. It is an autoimmune condition and you can find out more about it here...

Alopecia - Me and my bald head...
Alopecia UK - if you are looking for support with your Alopecia, then Alopecia UK is the official UK charity who can help. Go check them out for great information, group support and anything else you need!

Alternative Hair - another word / description for wigs, 'alternative hair' is a common term and you can search online for an 'alternative hair specialist'. As well as wigs, this term also encompasses toppers, extensions, partials, and all sorts of other things too!

Anagen - Anagen is the 'growth' phase in the cycle of a hair follicle. Depending on genetics, the anagen phase will last 2-7 years for the average person. In cases of medical hairloss, the hair fails to return to the anagen phase, resulting in baldness.

Androgenic Hair - This is the technical term for body hair that develops after puberty. Its growth is affected by the Androgen hormone which means that typically men will have more androgenic hair than women. In many cases of hairloss, including both alopecia and chemotherapy hairloss, androgenic hair will also be affected, as well as scalp hair.

Angry / Anger - Unless you are becoming a #BaldHeadedBeauty by choice, it is inevitable that at some stage you will feel an overwhelming sense of anger! Whether you are angry about the 'betrayal' by your body, by the lack of support for you and your hairloss, the reaction of others, everyone will feel angry for a different reason and it is perfectly normal! You will reach a point where you need to let it go though, otherwise you risk long-term emotional problems!

Anxiety - As with anger, unless your bald look is by choice, anxiety will be a common emotion for you to experience. I certainly did - fear people would judge me or think less of me, that my wig was obvious, that my hair would never come back (although that no longer applies) and pretty much anything else you can think of! Anxiety is common, but you need to find coping mechanisms to ensure that it passes and you can handle it!

Appearance - hairloss will change your appearance. For some people, the close cropped look is a choice and for others it won't be. Either way, it will change your appearance, whether you opt for wigs to keep it concealed, or embrace being a #BaldHeadedBeauty it will change your appearance!

Artificial - Artificial can be used in two ways when it comes to hairloss. First, as another (less common) term for wigs or alternative hair, sometimes interchanged with synthetic. Second, some people say they feel 'artificial' or 'fake' or worry other people will think them so, if they opt to wear a wig! You shouldn't, this isn't a bad thing to do and you just need to remember, it is YOUR choice!

Assumption - This is most commonly a word used with alopecia; one of the things that happens to me quite frequently with my alopecia is the assumption that I have cancer, whenever I go out and about bald. Some people get offended by this, some upset and ultimately you will feel what you feel - for me though, I TRY (but don't always succeed) to embrace these assumptions, and use it as an opportunity to educate and raise awareness of my own condition!

Autoimmune - Alopecia is an autoimmune condition which means that the immune system is attacking the hair follicles and causing loss.

Awareness - Awareness is crucial when it comes to hairloss as it is so misunderstood by Doctors and in fact a lot of people generally. What awareness does is help sufferers encounter less negativity as each year goes by, not to mention helping with fundraising, research, improved care, support and many of things besides! If you feel up to it, get raising awareness - it is so important! This applies for alopecia, trichotillomania, chemotherapy hairloss and everything else too!

Awesome - some people (including me) absolutely love their hairloss, or at least grow to enjoy it! This takes time, but is something you can acheive! The reason I wanted to include this in the list is that otherwise, all the 'A' words like Anger and Anxiety are negative, and there are positives to hairloss too! Check out #100HairFreeDays for some of the reasons I have embraced my hairloss!

Awful - As with 'anger' and 'anxiety', awful is another descriptive words that many people will use about their own hairloss or somebody else's. It can be 'awful' and there were days (and still are now occasionally) when I struggled and this was the perfect word for it, but this too will pass if you want it to!

Phew! I think that is absolutely everything that I can think of, but there'll be something I've missed!

Have we missed something? Let us know via Facebook, Twitter or email...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

All about hairloss... My latest plan...

So you might have seen that a while ago, I set myself the #100HairFreeDays challenge, highlighting all the ways I have benefited from my hairloss! It was a definite challenge and I nearly didn't make it, but I also got a lot of chance to reflect on my own experiences!

Looking back, one thing that I really wanted, but couldn't find, was a definitive guide to hairloss - what to expect during hairloss so to speak! Sure, there were lots of guides, opinion pieces, individual articles etc., but nothing that collected it all together and joined it all up!

This got me thinking - how can I produce something that covers it all in such a short space; then it came to me! From tomorrow, I will be sharing a couple of posts a week (most likely Wednesday's and Sunday's) entitled 'The A-Z of hairloss' and guiding you through everything and anything you might expect! Any input will be gratefully received from you, via Facebook, Twitter or email, as we are sure to miss one or two things and want to make it as comprehensive as possible!

I'm really excited about this as a project and will share the first one 'A', tomorrow! Keep reading...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 15 June 2015

Meet Miss June, the sassy Kate...

It's about the middle of June (already?!) and I think it is about time that we meet our Miss June of the Pretty Bald 2015 Calendar!

Kate has Alopecia Universalis and lost her hair very rapidly over the course of two weeks, at the age of just 24. Despite buying a wig, it was one of the hardest things for her, saying "It was horrible. I liked the style but hated that it wasn't actual my hair. I hated how it felt, I hated that I had to actually put it on and take it off. I felt that I was lying to everyone by wearing the thing, and I felt less confident than I perhaps had ever done in my entire life. I wore it to work but other than that it remained shoved in a box with my shoes in a wardrobe. It stayed that way for almost a year."

For her, a turning point was the Alopecia UK Flashmob in September 2013, where she met others with alopecia for the first time. She says "I met people with alopecia from all walks and life and more importantly made friends who understood the things I had been through. I suddenly realised that I wasn't alone, I wasn't the bald girl anymore, and I was just one of a huge family of people. I found a new sense of belonging and a confidence to be whoever I wanted to be, I realised the importance of not allowing a condition to dictate the choices I make in life and to not let not having any hair stand in the way of what I wanted to do. Not a day goes by when I don't wish that I could wake up with my hair back but I am comfortable and confident with who I am now."

You can read more about Kate's story here...

The gorgeous Kate...
Enjoying Pimms as Miss June!
Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Wigs as an accessory...

The very first thing I did when looking for a wig was default to requesting a human hair wig, almost an exact colour, length and texture to my natural hair. It was about replacing / replicating my natural hair in a bid to ensure that nobody noticed or knew I had medical hairloss unless I wanted them to. At that moment my priority was discretion at all costs.

Unfortunately, my journey to finding the perfect wig wasn't a simple one! There was bad advice, poor fittings, unnatural hairstyles, not to mention the cost! I waded through too much information, and then alighted on a wig consultant who actually understood wigs! It was a revelation...

Since then, I have learned that actually wigs are great, either as a medical replacement for your hair, or merely as a FANTASTIC accessory that slots neatly into everyday life. For me, my original driver of discretion is a thing of the past and my wig is no longer a security blanket that gives me the confidence to be who I am.

You might have noticed that I am fascinated by hairloss - by its' causes and by its' effects. I love finding out how and why it affects different people and what they struggle with the most. Through these discussions, I have identified a number of common factors, which provide a good insight (and can sometimes be worrying) into the misconceptions of wigs...
  1. Wigs are expensive; and therefore do not provide a viable option, particularly with such poor NHS provision. Yes some are expensive, but there are also some fab, long-lasting, lightweight, comfortable and affordable wigs on the market which don't cost much more than a good-quality winter coat or pair of shoes from Dune. Wigs do not have to be expensive in order to offer a good solution to your hairloss.
  2. Wigs aren't the 'true' you; the hairloss community is very divided on the use of wigs. Some people are campaigning for their provision on the NHS, with an almost vehement assertion that we need to cover up, and others are almost the opposite, encouraging people to 'go bald' and be their true selves. Actually, neither is necessary and I myself have opted to use them as an accessory; a fashionable statement that enhances an outfit, a warm snuggly head cover when the wind is a bit nippy, and an option for my hairloss if I am feeling in the mood. It is about being comfortable in yourself, and the actions of others should not influence how you choose to deal with your own condition. RELATED POST: Why you shouldn't feel pressured to wear a wig...
  3. Human hair is the way forward; uh yeah, if you love styling hair and are happy to invest the time and effort, I own two human hair wigs and neither has been worn more than a handful of times. Unfortunately, for me they are high-maintenance and due to my lack of skills, often look more like a wig than some of my 'off the shelf' synthetic faves. Don't underestimate the versatility and quality of a synthetic wig - even five years ago they were heavy, unnatural, scratchy and ugly, but now they give natural hair a run for their money, are durable, low-maintenance and affordable. Get involved!
There is no right or wrong when it comes to wigs and each person will have their own approach; for some, only human hair will do, while others prefer to go au natural and have the confidence to do so! Great! Both sound good to me! I pick and choose according to my mood and no longer focus on the 'wig' as a covering, but more as an accessory - some outfits just look better with long curly hair, while others match a bald look and some just need a short crop or bob! Exceptional! I love this flexibility!

What got me thinking about this was a night out on a Hen Do last night! Into my bag, I packed my favourite beany (in case it got nippy), a short bob, and a long, curly number, along with a choice of outfits. In the end, we didn't even get a chance to change, but I LOVE having that flexibility in my back pocket!

Here is my range of looks...

Rocking the bald...
My staple bob - a synthetic wig...
Long curls - another synthetic...
What wigs do you opt for and when do you wear them?

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 12 June 2015

'Coping' with hairloss...

A question that I regularly get asked (and in fact got asked yesterday) is the 'secret' to 'coping' with hairloss. Are there any specific techniques to try; what can they do / copy; do I have any advice?

I have to be honest and say I am regularly stumped by this question; am I really qualified to answer? Can I really do anything to help? I don't know whether I can or not, but I do know that I have a policy of being honest and an ambition to answer a question as thoroughly and truthfully as possible, even if that is just to say 'I don't know'.

Being asked this question again yesterday got me thinking. How can you cope with losing your hair?

I think 'coping' methods will depend a lot on both you as an individual and on the stage of your hairloss journey. For example, take me; at the beginning of my alopecia, I did 'cope' - pick pretty much any cliche and it probably fits me, taking each day as it came! Roll forward to now, more than four years later and I no longer 'cope'; instead I 'thrive' and embrace my alopecia and what it brings for me.

Thinking this through, I have come up with a list of tips and tricks to help you come to terms with losing your hair and whilst this is not an 'official' assessment by a trained expert, I am drawing on personal experience. I have tried to ensure that it covers as many different angles as possible and suggest you pick the aspects that work for you, rather than using this as a step-by-step list. Also remember, that you cannot 'fail' - there will be setbacks along the way (I had my fair share), but the important thing is to keep looking and moving forward...

1. Start with what works for you...
I know this sounds like I am trying to teach Granny to suck eggs, but I'm not. When I went to the Ideal Home Show and met Katy Piper, she expressed an assertion that positive affirmation was key to her recovery. After that session, I came home and tried a few of my own - whilst I love the sentiment, they just aren't for me and I feel nothing, but I also know they work for many people. On my own journey, what I needed was motivation to get out the house - this is where my dogs came in handy and I spent every morning getting up and getting out and driving myself to look after them. For you, it might be yoga or meditation to relax, kick-boxing to let out your frustration, a night of too many cocktails with friends or something completely wacky. Whatever it is, build in regular things that encourage, inspire and motivate you, ensuring you can keep going, in spite of the hairloss.

2. Stick to your routine...
Initially my hairloss eroded my routine; I stopped going to the gym, to yoga (I was rubbish at it anyway), I worried about nights out with friends and I started doing less and less. I was entirely worried about and focussed on my hairloss - would people see, would they judge me, would I be laughed at? It was a self-fulfilling cycle and I got worse and worse. A combined intervention by my mum and best friend put paid to that and instead of allowing me to wallow in fear and self-pity, they propped me up and pushed me forward, getting me back out doing what I normally did and a few new things besides. The fear was definitely worse than the reality and once I was back out and about, I soon realised my world didn't collapse and maybe just maybe I was ready to have fun again!

3. Find a solution not a problem...
Hairloss is not a 'problem' that needs to spoil your life. In much the same vein as sticking to your routine, you also need to start looking for solutions that make you happy. For me, a synthetic wig was low-maintenance, flexible, affordable and realistic and I started to have fun with it, changing styles and lengths. For some, it will be a human hair wig that looks as realistic as possible. Hats, Scarves, Wigs, Camouflage Make Up and even bald and proud are all options and you just need to find the right one for you! Once you have, ensure this means you can maintain your normal behaviour (as per point two), because it's easy to talk yourself out of stuff because 'people might see'.

4. Keep yourself positive...
Unless you are new to PrettyBald, I hope you haven't missed our #100HairFreeDays Challenge. This was my own method to keeping things positive and it helped me keep plodding forward. On Twitter the other day, someone said to me "I go two steps forward and one step back", but why not look at it the other way - instead of this being a negative, highlighting that you aren't progressing fast enough, turn it into a positive and own the fact that you are STILL one step further forward than when you started, and another, and another.We can all create a self-pity pit and wallow in it to our hearts content, but don't let that define you!

5. Accept there will be down days...
I know this sounds contrary to point number four, but you also have to accept you aren't perfect and you can't hope to be; sometimes those people too determined to 'be on the right track' risk denying the reality of a situation and merely delay their emotions for a future day - that's not helping anyone. Remember the self-pity pit? Build it, get in it and cry your heart out, but remember there is a time-limit and you have to wade out, wash yourself off and embrace the next move forward.

6. Be honest...
At every stage, attempt to be honest. You don't have to apologise for losing your hair, it isn't your fault! Tell your friends and family how you feel and let them help you. You are NOT a burden and nor are you a martyr, so get chatting! Of course you don't want to drag them into your self-pity pit too, but you must also accept the fact that some days will be crap and there's nothing you can do to avoid that...

7. Don't grasp at straws...
Do your research on the causes of your condition and look for ways of tackling these problems, but also remember to be realistic. I know there is little or nothing to help with alopecia and once I came to terms with the fact there was no miracle cure or magic pill, life became easier. Hope can be brilliant, but make sure you are not just hoping for something that is unlikely to happen, because all that lies ahead is crashing disappointment!

8. Move beyond yourself...
Whenever anyone is going through something, they understandably start to put themselves first. Sometimes this is exactly what you need to do, particularly in the early stages, but be careful this doesn't become a negative habit. Instead, put yourself into someone else's shoes and use your hairloss as a stimulant to put yourself out there and help others. Nothing is a better tonic for self-pity than helping others, so volunteer for charity, set-up a social group, do something that isn't about you, but is totally about someone else! It will start to put your hairloss in perspective!

As you might have guessed, this post is a move away from some of my more normal styles and I found it really uncomfortable to write! I am not a 'gushy' person and whilst I am full of advice, I also hate the feeling that I may be patronising or devaluing someone and their own personal concerns. I hope this post IS helpful, but appreciate it may also not be, so in the meantime, I'll leave you with some of my favourite sayings as highlighted by fellow hairloss sufferers...

"No hair, don't care"

"I define my alopecia, it will not define me"

"I determined that it could take my hair, but it wouldn't take my mind too"

Love it!

It would be great if you can Tweet, Email, Facebook or comment below with your own personal coping mechanisms - it's great to share! Looking forward to your tips!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Be careful what you wish for...

If there is one thing that Home Alone taught me, it is 'be careful what you wish for' - whilst your wish may be something that's top of your list, the ramifications and side-effects of your wish may not be.

Yesterday, I posted about my battle with forcibly removing hair, when my body struggles so much to grow it; today, my 'wish' has come true and once again, I've had no choice in the method or area of hair removal. This morning I got up and glared blearily into the mirror, hoping to apply at least a semi-straight line of eyeliner to my lids. As I did, I noted that the individual eyebrow hairs that I was having such a love-hate relationship with had thinned; a few less than yesterday and then by the end of today completely gone.

To be fair, I am not too upset at the loss of these dozen hairs - I was debating their removal anyway - but it does clarify the thought that we should be grateful for what we have. While I was wasting time and brain-energy debating whether I should feel guilty about tweezing hairs, my body had other ideas anyway! How philosophical!

What it has prompted is introspection about how I would feel if the pattern was reversed and it was growing, not shedding at this speed, but I still maintain, I wouldn't want that at the moment!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Should it stay or should it go...

One of the things about hairloss is just how attached you can become to the remaining hairs - like they are akin to the 90's Tamagotchi's, being tenderly loved and cared for in a bid they will grow big and strong! As you might have read about my own journey, it was relatively slow and certainly a lot slower than many people I meet. Along the way, my hair thinned and I was left with a patch at the crown and two 'fringe' pieces that gave me an unfortunate look of having 'curtains'. Never before has hair been so lovingly tended, carefully shampoo'd and conditioned; teased and tamed ever so gently!

No, I was not having a love affair with my locks; I was merely desperate for my hair loss to stop and reverse and for my own hair to be back how it 'should' be - glossy, long and carefree. At the time, those remaining tendrils looked scruffy and ugly, but they were mine and they were a lifeline back to where I wanted to be.

As you may have read, the love affair did end and I handed my mum a pair of scissors with a vehement assertion to 'cut it off'. I was determined; determined that alopecia wouldn't take my confidence as well as my hair! Rolling forward four years and I'm pleased to say it hasn't. I am still me (and in fact many would argue a better version of me) and I am hairfree and carefree!

What has happened though is I've fallen out of love with having hair and therefore with regrowth. So far, my hair is showing little or no signs of regrowing, but I'm happy with that! Instead, I have gained a peachy fuzz on my head (which I don't expect to become ACTUAL growth) and a few eyebrow hairs too.

This is where it gets tricky..,

I appreciate that most people will see regrowth as a very positive sign; something to be proud of and hopeful of and something which indicates things might be changing for the better. As already highlighted, I don't believe that my regrowth is a positive sign - it's too sporadic and lacking any real gumption to convince me it is actually coming back. Instead, alas, I am left with occasional hairs that do nothing other than irritate me!

Increasingly lately, I have been battling with a desire to remove my current hair growth; to shave my scalp, pluck my eyebrows and wax my toes! Why am I struggling? It's a difficult one; but I am split between a feeling of inconvenience plus a desire to remove the hair, and one where I feel somehow disrespectful, like my body is giving me something back and I'm not grateful, even though I should be! Sounds nuts I know and I am sure many of you are baffled at my reaction, but I can't help myself. On the one hand, the single hair at the end of my eyebrow, which is accompanied by a cluster that would form a nice monobrow, are annoying me. They are isolated, misplaced, obvious because of my dark colouring and frankly irritating. Several times I have grabbed the tweezers, only to fall at the last hurdle as I think of all those who would give anything for signs of regrowth and who would probably be WAAAYYYY more grateful than I am now! It is that which is stopping me, and yet I'm still at a loss of what to do!

I think over the coming days I will probably gain the courage to pluck them - after all, I can't change what is happening and whilst I would willingly hand over those hairs to someone who needs them more, I can't do that either! In the meantime though, I don't mean to sound ungrateful about my current hair regrowth, but it's just not what I was looking for and frankly, I'm a little bored of the uncertainty.

Anyone else struggle with how they 'should' feel and don't? Or struggle with the idea of regrowth now they are more accepting? Or am I just a fruit loop and standing out on a limb on my own?

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Hiding... The right word or a lacking definition?

"Hiding" is something that seems to go hand-in-hand with hairloss - at least from a descriptive perspective. Many people associate wearing wigs with "hiding"; many consider keeping hairloss a secret is also "hiding". Is it really though? Is that what we are doing? Hiding?

With the dawn of the internet and the ability to share anonymous commentary (or if not annonymous, at least faceless) comes a lot of opinion expressing. Freedom of speech is brilliant and is a key tenet of modern democracy, but it also inherently means that some of that commentary will be mean, scathing, or downright rude - things you probably wouldn't say to someone's face. What I would argue this has also created is a fear of what people will say and also a consideration of the opinions of others in the decisions we make.

At the beginning of my hairloss journey, I made a decision that I would be open and honest about my Alopecia; I would share (I admit sometimes too much) with those who were interested or intrigued by it, and with those who weren't too. My reasoning for this was that I didn't want Alopecia to 'define' me; I didn't want it to be a reason I couldn't or wouldn't do things; a reason I had to act a certain way. For me, keeping my alopecia a secret was worse than being open and honest about it - the stress of trying to remember who had seen which wig and when (I wanted to embrace the flexibility to change my hair daily) and of trying to keep it covered; worrying about the quality of the wig, the hairline, the position. For me, NOT telling people was a way of me hiding my true self.

This choice was an incredibly personal one and I spent a long time thinking about it, yet I maintain that it was the right decision - FOR ME! That definitely doesn't mean that it's the right one for everyone though!

In the same way that I personally decided revealing it was the best course of action, many opt to reveal hairliss to close family only and many don't even show them. Whilst in some cases I am sure this will be someone hiding in fear of reaction and ridicule, in the majority of cases it will be quite the opposite. Hairloss is a tough subject and one that people need to deal with individually. In the same way iI didn't want my Alopecia to define me and so opted to reveal it, many keep it "hidden" for the exact same reason. Not revealing it allows many to continue living the way they choose to in spite of hairloss issues; opting to not reveal it so that they can continue living unaffected and unchanged. I am struggling here to describe and explain exactly what I mean, but what I do know is that in no matter how you behave about your hairloss, don't let anyone believe you are hiding. Allow yourself to be who you want to be and if a wig makes you feel comfortable, wear one; if it doesn't, don't, but ensure that you aren't made to feel you are somehow hiding. The same goes whether you opt to reveal it or not and if you choose to be proactive about it or ignore it. Sure, there will be times when individuals you meet (or even you my lovely reader) will be truly hiding, but the majority of time, it's just a case of incorrect or inopportune use of the English language - when we lack a better word for what we do or how we behave. I haven't found a better word yet, but I'm thinking about it! In the meantime, I'd love to hear your suggestions for the 'right' word...

Victoria xxx

Monday, 8 June 2015

Getting married this year? Fancy helping with #HairlossAwareness?

Before I start this post, I must first apologise for the lack of posts in the last couple of days! Work has been manic and whilst I was hoping to write and post a couple of blogs before the weekend, I ran out of time, then gallivanted off to enjoy a wedding in Kent! That is a blog post for another time (yes I find inspiration everywhere), but in the meantime, I have an opportunity for you...

You may or may not know this, but as well as producing a few shows themselves, major TV channels also commission and buy the rights to show programmes from independent TV Production Companies. It's why you see 'produced by' at the end of many TV programmes and it also helps the TV channels keep a rein on their budgets and plan ahead!

Anyway, a few days ago via Twitter (yep, still loving it), I received a mention from Remedy Productions; they tweeted me a picture and asked me to retweet it. See it here...
I'm sure many people will be hesitant at the idea of sharing their special day and intimate moments with the world! I know I would be / am! However, I want you to put that aside for a minute and think about what it could help achieve.

Alopecia, Trichotillomania, Female Pattern Baldness and every other type of hairloss affect thousands of women (and men) every single year! As well as the physical effects and changes, there's the mental ones and the emotional challenges people face everyday. One of the reasons people struggle so much is a lack of widely-available support and / or research. These 'problems' are aesthetic not life-threatening and therefore are not considered a priority for research or proper support. It is exactly why charities like Alopecia UK and The Little Princess Trust exist, but even they are underfunded and struggle to do everything that they need to.

At best this lack of awareness leaves people without access to the support and help that they need; at worst it can leave people alone and isolated with negative reactions and potentially an impacted self-esteem. One of the ways we can change that is to drive for more awareness. Awareness goes hand in hand with education and education over time will help to improve reactions, encourage additional research, raise additional funds and generally improve the lives of those who suffer with it. It's what I strive for and aspire to do and what I use many opportunities for.

Granted, you may not want to appear on TV, but if you think you are up to it, why not get in touch with them? Jen from Alopecia UK did and it made a huge difference all around the world. If you're not up for TV but think you might be ready to talk about your hairloss, there's lots of other things you can do too! How about:

  • Emailing us your #hairloss story so we can share it on this blog?
  • Even better, become a regular contributor keeping people updated on your progress
  • Email your local newspaper / news website /radio station and ask to share your story. They love hearing real stories
  • Share your story on your social media and reveal your true self to friends
  • Think about fundraising for a charity, sharing regular updates about your progress
  • Whatever else you can think of...

One thing I will add is that you need to do something like this when you are ready; there is no pressure to let it be known that you have a hairloss condition and you may not be ready or want to share that with anyone. That is fine and is something you have to decide for yourself - sharing helped me, but it won't help everyone and that will come down to your personal characteristics and comfort zones! 

If you are getting married this year and you feel you could be involved, do it! If not, don't worry - there will be other opportunities and we will endeavour to share them with you!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 7 June 2015

#100HairFreeDays - The Conclusion...

I can't believe I actually did it (with a little help from you lovely lot!) We've successfully identified 100 reasons why hairloss is not so bad, which is a little bonkers if you think about it! Here are the final nine - enjoy!
  • no need to wear a mandatory swim cap in the pool #NoHairDontCare
  • from @CurlyWurlyGirly I just dropped a wedge on having my legs waxed, eyebrows waxed and tinted and lashes tinted
  • from @CurlyWurlyGirly much more versatility in makeup
  • from @CurlyWurlyGirly no neck cramp from vanity involving a massive hairpiece that meant I had to lean funny while driving
  • finding your parting after washing your hair is extremely annoying! Not so in wigs!
  • never having crap highlights after they weren't applied close enough to your roots - Arrgh!
  • no more getting your hair caught in the horrible hair toggles that have metal bits on - Ouch!
  • no more asking your Mum for a French plait and receiving a small face lift form it being so tight!
  • it's part of me, and really what's so great about hair anyway! Without it, I'm unique!
That's it folks! 100 reasons! I promised you that some would be a bit of a stretch and somewhat odd, but we made it! You can find out why this experiment started by reading the very first blog post here...

In the meantime, there were even three more reasons (which haven't been shared on Twitter and are exclusive to the blog...
  • No need to have a can of dry shampoo with you everywhere
  • No taking half an hour to dry your hair
  • Never burning your scalp or fingers with the straighteners as you try to do the back of your head
Hope you enjoyed it!

Victoria x

Want to read them all? Click on the links to the other posts here: Twitter: @PrettyBald

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Real Life Story: Meet Scott who opted for Scalp Micropigmentation...

Earlier in the month, I wrote about Scalp Micropigmentation as a potential solution for male pattern baldness and Alopecia Areata. With a little help from the Vinci Hair Clinic, we wrote about what it is, how it can be used and who can benefit and also promised to include a study to further illustrate the effectiveness.

Here, we share our interview with a lovely, charming gentleman called Scott. We asked him about his thoughts and feelings on hairloss, and also about Scalp Micropigmentation... Enjoy!

Tell us a bit about yourself...
My name is Scott and I was just 20 when I started losing my hair. It was difficult but Scalp Micropigmentation was so beneficial. I had to travel to London for the treatment and so, after seeing how life-changing it is, I approached the Vinci Hair Clinic and enquired about setting up a clinic North of the border in Scotland. I now run their clinics in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Obviously hairloss affected your confidence, but what was your biggest fear about going bald?
My biggest fear about going bald was my confidence evaporating. Growing up I played football, worked in the fashion industry and really felt looks played a major part in the success of your career in life.

Have you ever received comments about your hairloss?
I always wore hair fibres, basically a sort of "salt and pepper shaker", which hid the fact I was bald. I managed to hide it quite well, but I think I simply took the anxiety of being bald away and instead got anxious that people would notice I was wearing hair fibres.

Do you have 'before' and 'after' images of your treatment?

Scott thinning on top...
Scott after scalp micropigmentation
Brimming with confidence...
If you have any questions on Scalp Micropigmentation or for Scott, please let me know and we'll ask for you!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Joking aside... or perhaps not...

A couple of days ago, I overheard one of those terribly predictable but nonetheless funny jokes that start 'A blonde, a brunette and a redhead' and which inevitably end with a derogatory comment about blondes being stupid. I've told a few of them in my time and heard even more, but for the first time it occurred to me that these jokes exclude the fourth biggest sector of hair society - us baldies.

I started racking my brains to see if I had heard any jokes at all with reference to those of us that have alopecia, chemotherapy hairloss, trichotillomania, etc., but nope, I couldn't think of any! In fact, the only joke at all that I've heard was a truly terrible one in the comments section of a Daily Mail article about the Pretty Bald Calendar, which said:

"What do you call a group of bald people on a raft?
Beans on Toast!"

It barely makes sense, let alone being funny, but I have to be honest, it really is the only one that I can think of hearing / reading. Having puzzled out something new to think about, I did what I always do and popped onto Google; I searched "Bald Jokes" and whilst there were a lot listed, there were none I considered high-calibre, 'good' jokes and many more which offered poor, inadequate humour.

It got me thinking? Why is it that we don't have good humour relating to perhaps one of the most obvious targets on the planet? Is baldness still such a taboo that we dare not voice a joke in case of offence, let alone invent them in the first place? Have all the bald jokes through history flopped and failed to get a laugh? Perhaps it is just considered bad taste to point out a lack of follicles, whether to a balding man or woman? Or perhaps it just isn't a topic worth mentioning?

At the end of it all I am still not sure why; perhaps it is the fear of the unknown, not knowing how people will take it?

For me, I'm not sure I would take offence at a joke about my lack of hair, if made by a stranger, but I do suspect I'd probably be stony-faced and a little upset. It is not, after all, nice to be the butt of someone else's joke. That said though, my own family, and the friends who know me really well, have often made jokes about my lack of hair and my baldness, from drumming my head to stupid play-on-words about 'hair'. It is something for which I will always be grateful - teaching me that my lack of hair was not the end of the world and reminding me that it is important to laugh, no matter what life throws at you. Perhaps then, we do not need 'a blonde, a brunette, a redhead and a baldie walk into the bar', but in fact need to surround ourselves with people who know and love us enough to remind us, that hairloss really isn't so bad! You never know, in a few years time if we've managed to change societal perceptions of baldness, we'll be the proud owner of our own set of jokes that we can share with the world...

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

#HairTodayGoneTomorrow - The unpredictability and inconsistency of alopecia...

You may have noticed at the end of April, me referring to myself as Peachy, in reference to the thick, downy fuzz or fur-like hair currently growing on my face and scalp. The 'good' news is that it's still growing and is marginally longer and downier than it was before, giving me a 'she-wolf-like' coat when I get close up to the mirror.

Now as I have said many times before, and which you can read about here, I'm not particularly keen on the idea of getting my hair back; in fact, my preference would be an unchanging visage, that is predictable and stable. Over the last six months, apart from the fuzz (which is so light no one would notice anyway), I have had truly minor amounts of regrowth, but all in all I have been as I always was. Over the last six weeks however, something has changed...

I have acquired a full set of lashes on each eye, which have been as thick, if not as long as my pre-alopecia lashes. I haven't celebrated with a new tube of mascara, but the longer they stayed, the more likely it felt that they would. After the lashes came the eyebrows and I now have the grand total of five eyebrow hairs.

Two days ago, I woke up and noticed a sixth eyebrow hair is growing in, right at the end of my left eyebrow. Six whole hairs, which to many would be a delight, but to me I'm pretty indifferent to. I'm not sure what it means, or how long they will last, so I leave them be and tend to ignore them. Anyway, there I am with my full sets of lashes and my six eyebrow hairs, not to mention my peach fuzz and I wonder, what does this mean for my immune system? Is it calming down, or is it just the natural unpredictability of alopecia?

I soon had my answer, as yesterday I awoke, bleary eyed and stumbled into the bathroom. I'd left my glasses at my parents by accident so I am poking my finger in my eye putting in contact lenses. That's when I spot it - two days ago, a full set of lashes and now, over half of the top lashes on my left eye are gone. Just like that.


I can't say I am particularly bothered - I'm used to this cycle now - but I am definitely intrigued. Intrigued by the speed of the shedding (this is the fastest I've ever lost my lashes) and intrigued by the fact my left eyebrow grows and my left eyelashes shed.

All it serves to remind me is that there is such a lack of understanding of this condition and such an unpredictability and inconsistency to it, which for many I know makes it harder to handle. For me, it is that which we have to learn to accept and conquer and not actually just the hairloss itself, and I must say I regularly see friends post about their desire for their hair to 'make it's mind up'.

I guess all we will know for now and the near future is that it is what it is and we cannot seek to control or manipulate it. Instead, we must learn to at least tolerate, if not love this condition, otherwise quite frankly we risk going nuts!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 1 June 2015

My view on alopecia Twitter: @PrettyBald My twitter: @baldguyproblemz

Hi I'm Ben and this is my first blog!! Victoria has posted my story which you can find here if you haven't already seen it:


It doesn't sound particularly appealing does it?

That's because its not, there's not many people in the world who would voluntarily get rid of all their hair. And I have to say it's definitely the most difficult thing I have had to overcome in my life. Although I have come to terms with it and am much better with coping with it than I used to, I still wish everyday that my hair would come back.

It's probably not surprising and I'm sure there's many of you who feel the same way. But genuinely, I think about it everyday and wish it wasn't the case. I look at myself in the mirror and think 'eww'. I think 'how could someone find this attractive?'. And then I tell myself, 'shut up, what's the point in worrying about it, it is not that bad'. Hmm, perhaps that's a good or bad way to look at it, you can make a judgement on that.

'It's not that bad'... I think telling yourself this can either be seen as a good coping strategy or a misconception. On the one hand, it helps in being more positive and makes you more comfortable with your alopecia. But on the other, it can downplay what in reality, is a huge deal. I am not saying that it should be all consuming but just, it has the capacity to be. Sure you can say 'at least my condition is not life threatening' (quoting myself there) and although that's true and something you should be thankful for, it does not bring your hair back.

Personally, I think what takes the biggest toll, psychologically, is the fact that alopecia leaves you feeling helpless... It leaves you feeling that resistance is futile and it leaves you feeling that there's no hope for your follicles. The shear nature of something that's out of one's control has always been frightening, this is no different when it comes to alopecia, as it is a problem you cannot escape... It is literally right on top of you.

This 'problem' you cannot shake can often make you feel alone, it might make you feel like you are fighting an entire army on your own. However, we are not alone and this is something I have realised fairly recently and it has definitely contributed to my mental improvement recently. Realising that there are others like you, fighting the same fight, oddly, makes you feel better. It is always just nice to have someone or some people who understand how you feel and its something that people that don't suffer from can struggle with. It is nice to know that there are others, and since I have found a wider community of alopecians, I have felt much more comfortable.

There may be many of us but perhaps not as many as you expect... According to the NHS, there are 1 in 1000 people who suffer from some type Alopecia in the UK... Which means there are roughly 60,000 people in total who have either alopecia areata, totalis or universalis. Which sounds like a huge number but in reality that is 0.001% of the UK's population. Weirdly, this makes me feel better as it makes me feel very special. Furthermore, 1 in 200,000 people have my type of alopecia (universalis)... Which if you do the maths works out to 35,500 people IN THE WORLD that have the same condition as me (you could not fill most big sports stadiums with that amount of people)... Thats such a small amount of out of 7 billion; you would need 2.5X that amount of people to fill Wembley stadium!!

Apologies for the stats and football stadium comparisons but thats how my mind works!! The point is, that if you have alopecia, you should feel special because it makes you even more unique as a person. As I said in 'my story', it is what makes you, you. Having this condition builds up so much character and inner strength, that it will equip you to overcome any adversity that you will confront in the future; in this sense, view it as a strength!!

Lastly, I would like to mention my personal, most used coping strategy to my alopecia. I am always the first person to make a joke about it (rightly so), I do realise that occasionally that they are misplaced and/or not funny but making comments about it makes me feel more comfortable; I guess it really comes down to the fact that I think everyone else is thinking it (which they probably aren't) and that I have to say it to avoid others thinking it without my knowledge- I want to be in control of when people think about it I guess. That is something I've just figured out while writing this, its just a way of normalising alopecia for me. I do worry however, that people think I mention it too much and think I am doing it for attention when in reality it's my way of dealing with it!

All in all, to summarise my opinion on alopecia; I think it is unfair because no one deserves to feel like they are helpless against their own body. However, I do think it is important to think positively and remember that in the long wrong this condition will benefit you in terms of your character... I mean who knows, because of the fact that evolution occurs through natural selection of random genetic mutations, we could be the next step in human evolution; this mutation in our genes may be advantageous in the near future! I digress, I think it is important to leave you with my motto on the subject as you are so much more than your hair (or lack of):

Alopecia doesn't define you, you define alopecia

Calendar time... It's the first of June so flip that page!

I'm not sure if it is because I have my own calendar now, or whether I am simply more busy than usual, but I cannot BELIEVE we are entering the sixth month of this year?! Anyone else feel that time is just whizzing past?

Anyway, what this means is that it's time to turn your calendar page - right round to the June dates and this gorgeous little picture...

Anyone for Pimms? Shame the weather isn't looking too perky today - Pimms indoors it is then!

As always, we'll do a post about our June girl very very soon!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald