It’s been a long 5 months and no hiking…

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Good morning! Monday morning again, although the weekend was a good one so it doesn't feel too bad to be waking up early, ready for a week of work. The forecast was too good not to get out camping, which was our first time together since December last year when we camped on Haystacks (you can see that post here)! This was Erik's first time camping and his first night away from home. He coped so well, he curled up in his own sleeping bag and slept between us all night until early the next morning. I think he really enjoyed it, at least I hope so anyway because I'd love for this to be a regular thing.

On Sunday morning I woke up around 5:30. I really wanted to watch the sunrise, so I walked to the highest point near our tent and watched the sun come up. The clouds were rolling over the hills and it was so magical. There were quite a few other tents up where we were (at another 15 tents!) and I didn't see anyone else up and about. It was definitely the best part of the day and I got to witness it.

We got home by 10:30am yesterday, sorted out all our gear, put dirty clothes in the wash and packed everything away. We were going to go for a swim but decided to nap on the sofa all afternoon. It was just what we needed! Then we headed to our local for a drink and a bowl of chips and mayo, god I love chips and mayo! It was just such a lovely weekend that I wish the forecast was good enough this next one to do it all again somewhere different. Fingers crossed it is because I already have some ideas on where I'd love to go.

Anyway, time to work. Speak soon, L.

Update

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3 weeks since I last came here and wrote a post. I can't quite believe it's been so long to be honest with you. I started vlogging two weeks ago because I watched some old videos I'd filmed over the years and I loved watching them back, so I decided to make weekly vlogs a thing - for now anyway! I'd love if you would subscribe to my channel here. I'll be sharing lots of house progression and of course walks with little Erik! I'm dying to get up the fell with him but he's just too little at the moment, it's not good for his joints, so I've been trying to stick to 20 minute walks but it's so difficult to do. They often end up being half an hour or more on an evening. This evenings walk was wet. I don't think I've ever got as soaked as I did tonight. Not sure where all this weather is planning on disappearing to over the weekend but I sure hope the forecast is right, because we've planned to go on a little camping trip! We are heading in to the lakes to camp on top of one of the fells. It's only a little fell, about a 20-30 minute walk up which is ideal because, of course, Erik is coming with us. I hope he's behaved in the tent, i.e. no weeing! Because I'm not sure I will hold my shit together if he wees on our sleeping bags. I feel like talking about it will jinx it so let's not talk about it. You can see how we got on on Sunday because that's when I'll be uploading my weekly vlog. I may even have time to share a blog post with you too but I might be being a little optimistic. Anyway, how have you all been feeling? I still feel a little weird about the covid crack. I've been feeling weirdly insecure about myself lately too, about life and the way I look. Isn't it strange how all these horrible thoughts play on your mind. It's really hard to shake off but I find that exercising, walking, staying off my phone, cooking etc. really helps. I've spent WAY less time on my phone since we got Erik. My screen time is down half of what it was and I'm so glad. The only time I ever really go on my phone now is to video little parts of my day or to read emails and order clothes. I sometimes spend half an hour scrolling through Instagram after tea. I do like to gather inspiration from Instagram but I am very selective with the people or type of influencer I follow now. I feel like I'm rambling again. I did say I was just going to hop on here whenever I felt like rambling.. and tonight is one of those nights! Time to get some beauty sleep though now, it's been a hell of a long day. Sleep well xo

It’s Wednesday

It’s Wednesday.. again, where are the days and weeks going?! You may like to know that I finally.. finally downloaded the WordPress app on my phone so now I can blog from my iPhone rather than having to log in on the laptop, airdrop over my images and do it all on there. This seems much easier! I just hope it posts in the format I would like it to.

I’ve got a film stuck on Netflix, called Desperados. It looks like an easy watch, which is just what I need right now to send me off to the land of nod. I’ve been watching the Sinner most evenings but because it’s dark, I’m thinking too much before bed and this brain ain’t got the capacity for that before I sleep. Coming here to write a blog post is enough. I feel like my eyes are straining. Maybe I need an iPad? I’ve actually been looking at the iPad Pro’s but they’re expensive. I’d love one to use for creating prints. It would feel so much more natural than drawing on a Wacom. But we need to get the house finished before I think of treating myself to one of those. Not that I have any money to treat myself to one of those anyway but a girl can always dream!

Anyway, I went on a run this evening and I think I saw a big black cat. It was only the back end and at first I thought it was a big dog with a long tail, like a Great Dane or something. It stopped me in my tracks and I looked and listened for someone walking but there was nobody around at all. I’m definitely going back to check for paw prints! I’ll keep you updated! Love, L.

Ps. Sorry for the puppy spam. I promise I’ll up my game with better imagery and something other than Erik!

Weekend

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On Sunday morning we walked around the river and through the woods. We've probably been taking Erik out too much lately. It's meant to be really bad in the long run for their joints. It's such a shame though, he has so much energy and loves being outside.

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Whilst I did the food shop (the bane of my life), Josh, Aaron and Ben got on with the house. They completely insulated the master bedroom and started boarding!

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We now have a toilet fitted (not the part which is visible) and the shower valve and plumbing done (again, nothing that will ever be visible but without it it wouldn't work!).

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Then we stopped off at the pub for a pint. Yes, I actually had a pint! Of cider though, not beer. That was enough for me.. I was ready for bed after that. I did have one of the best nights sleep ever though last night. Even better because Erik is (fingers crossed) sleeping right through until the morning!

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Went home and made the most delicious burger. It consisted of.. a fried onion brioche bun from M&S, a beef burger from our local butchers, topped with melted cheddar cheese, salsa, fried onions and M&S burger sauce (which tastes like Big Mac sauce) is heavenly. Served with M&S coleslaw and home made fries... 

Hi lovelies. How has your Monday been? Work has been full on today. Literally haven't stopped! It was nice to reach 6 o clock and get outside for some fresh air. I really don't even care if it's raining or not, I just wanna be outside with my dog, ha! This weekend was super lovely. We worked on the house most of Saturday, and then went to our friends house warming. Erik had his first afternoon/evening at my friends house, which he thoroughly enjoyed. I can tell because he just wasn't even bothered about us arriving to pick him up. I think he wanted to stay! Then Sunday was spent on the house again, which is a bit sad because the weather was so nice but we (I say we but I mean Josh and his brothers) got so much done. I'm so happy with the progress at the moment, it's really starting to come together. We also had the tiler round this evening to look at the job. He's hoping to get us in in 3 weeks time because he's busy after that.. which means we need that top bedroom plastered out in 3 weeks time. And I don't mean just plastered, I mean electrics need to be finished, as well as all the plumbing. No pressure guys! But exciting times for us. I never thought we'd be getting so close to getting one room complete but it looks like we'll be in in no time, all being well! Now we have to decide on tiles for the en suite... this is going to be a super tough decision because I love dark tiles and then I love light tiles.. but then I want it all to feel really light and airy up there, so I want something light, but not too light it looks white/grey. Argh! Any ideas?!

Weekly photo diary and house update

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Erik went to work with Josh through the week, apart from Thursday and Today. On Thursday he had his 3rd and final injection. We went for a little stroll to the weir with my Gran on my lunch break and I treated him to some fish for dinner.

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Just before he went in to the vets on Thursday! Look at his gorgeous little face!

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Yesterday evening we went for a run around at my friends house. It was Erik's first time meeting Henry, Amy's cocker spaniel! 

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This morning we took delivery of all the plaster board and insulation for the house! It was an early doors delivery (6:30am!).

Hi loves! What a week it's been. I've been full of beans and so eager to get the house moving again. We've made the decision to move in when we have the bedroom and en suite finished. Tomorrow we'll start insulating and then Josh's brother is going to come and help with dot and dabbing on Sunday. Hopefully we'll get the plumbing and electrics all sorted soon and then we are almost there. Besides from needing a shower and toilet and then having it all tiled and then buying a boiler and having that installed too. Ah, there's so much to do but we'll get there soon! And it's looking like sooner rather than later because we aren't going to wait until it's completely finished! Anyway, I'm half watching episode 3 of 'The Secret She Keeps'. It's a bit weird but it's interesting. I'm going to have to sort myself out for bed, I'm way to excited to see some progress at the house. I'll share some snaps and videos over on my home account @verynorthernhome over on Instagram. Speak soon and have a lovely weekend, L.

This week

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Early morning strolls along the river with Josh and Erik are one of the best ways to start the day.

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Erik sits and watches me work most days. He's been reasonably well behaved the past week, although as soon as I say this, he goes back to being naughty again!

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On Tuesday evening I met the girls. We went for a walk up the fell and it was so nice to have a girly chat.

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Went on an incredibly wet walk on Friday evening. Introduced Erik to some cows which he started growling at when they approached us.

Good evening folks, Sunday evening already.. crikey! The weekends go nowhere. I wish we had three day weekends, at least it would give us chance to do something other than the food shop, tidy up, walk and whatever else needs doing and then do something fun.. not like we would do something fun anyway when we have a house to finish but you catch my drift? I've actually really loved the rain and the wind the past few days. Because it's warm, it's really nice to get my waterproofs on, get soaked and feel the rain on my face. Anyone else feel the same? We spent last night at my Mum and Dads, watched 3 games of football, although I didn't, I ate, drank and fell asleep! Talked about a potential holiday to Thailand next year.. yes, it is on the cards and I hope, hope, hope all will be okay by then. The plan is to visit my Thai granny's house, head North to the border of Laos, then to Koh Lipe and the other islands before heading back to Bangkok. I can't wait, I'm already researching everything I want to see/do and I'm so buzzing for it! More buzzing to see my granny and my sister though, I feel like it's been way too long! 🙁 Anyway, I'm pooped. I'm going to have to get a wash and get in to bed. I've promised Josh I'll wake up in the night to let Erik out for a wee because he does it every night through the week but I'm not looking forward to it already so I need to get some zzz's in before my alarm goes off at 4am. Anyway, have a good week. I had plans on what I wanted to share here with you this weekend but those plans obviously haven't happened. I was planning on sharing a post with you of things I bought this month but I haven't got round to taking photographs of it all. I'll hopefully get it done one morning or evening and share. It's a mixture of clothes, dog stuff, books etc. Speak soon, L.

Today

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Ah.. Rainy, cold Sundays. It's nice to be inside, all cosy.. Gran and I went food shopping early on. It was her first time out in the shops since the beginning of lock down, besides from nipping to and from the local post office, butchers and fruit & veg shop. It was nice and quiet though! I would have quite liked to have popped in to TK Maxx to see what there was in the home section but it was too wet to be moping about. I'll perhaps try there next weekend!

I've spent this afternoon sat at the dining table.. not eating but working on something for a friend of mine. I'm currently listening to 'The Great Indoors' podcast, I've missed just taking some time out for myself, listening to something I love, sketching, writing here on my blog. Ever since we got Erik, time goes by in the blink of an eye! Last night he settled quite early, so we sat and watched a bit of 'Meet the Fockers' and I made nachos. It was lovely, although I had one gin and I felt like it was time for bed, so I moved on to tea instead! I love tea and I must say, I make a pretty good brew..

This evening? Hm, I really should complete day 6 of Courtney Black's 28 day challenge... but do I feel up to it? Not really.. I may knock today on the head and get back to it tomorrow. I worked really hard last week, even in the heat. I don't mean to make excuses but a girl gotta rest! I might, MIGHT go on a run in the rain, although it is very wet out there. I really really need some new running trainers too, these ones I'm currently wearing are like 4 years old, they have no grip and are developing small holes where my big toes are pushing through. I just can't find anything I like and god, aren't trainers expensive?! Anyway, hope you've enjoyed your weekend. Speak soon, L.

Life with a 10 week old puppy

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Hi lovelies, how have you been doing? I can't believe I've left it almost 10 days since I last posted. I need to get back on it because I find coming here and writing about something really lifts a weight off my shoulders. Even if it's just to share a lil snap with you, I'm going to try and do it more often. So, if you come here and find I've shared just one image with a load of jibberish, you'll know why!

On Monday I started following Courtney Black's 28 day challenge after a few girls recommended it. I downloaded the app (£15.99 per month) and I'm going to stick at it and see how it goes. Today is day 5 (I skipped Thursday for Sunday), I haven't found the energy yet after going to bed super late last night but I will make the effort to do it some time before tea. It's hard in the flat because we don't have much space for such activities and I'm not sure I fancy working out at the house this evening. I'll clear a space and get on it though because although they are hard, I find that I feel so much better for it afterwards and I've been eating healthier too. I've taken some 'before' photos, so I'm hoping to see some changes over the next 28 days!

On Thursday Erik has his 2nd injection and the vet encouraged us to get him out and about and socialised wherever possible so we have been on a few small walks. It's been good because he's much more settled in the house but still isn't always telling us when he needs a wee and he is biting a lot, which really hurts! I'm trying to learn how to be more patient and tolerant but it's incredibly hard, especially when this is my first puppy. It's a little easier for Josh because he knows what they are like and how naughty they can be. I imagine it's the same as having a 2 year old child, they do say the 'terrible two's' is a naughty phase and I feel like that's where we are with Erik at the moment.

Yesterday, Josh and I met Alex and Josh's youngest brother at the lake for a swim and a kayak. It was surprisingly warm, although a storm was on its way. It was weird being in the water and being so dark over head. It was spooky but yet so revitalising at the same time. We got totally attacked by midges though. I have about 4 on my face, one of those being on my eyelid so it looked like I had a swollen eye! Very annoying, in fact this reminds me, I must get some more Skin So Soft from Avon because that works a treat for midges and mosquitos.

Speaking of mosquitos, I'm so so hoping we get the house done in time for a trip to Thailand in Easter. I miss it so much and I really want to see my family now more than ever after this whole shit storm. I want to hug them, squeeze them, drink Sangsom with them and never let them go. Even if we only manage to get away for 2 weeks rather than 3 and a half, that would just be lovely. Anyway, I've spent enough time writing this that I should probably start my work out now.. speak soon! L.

Photo diary from the past few days

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On Sunday morning Erik sat with me whilst I got ready. I had put my Lucy and Yak corduroy dungarees on but it was far too hot so I changed in to some thin floaty trousers and a baggy t-shirt.

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We introduced Erik to Otto. Otto is only 7 months old but he's huge!

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Then we headed to the lake! Erik slept whilst Josh and Alex went kayaking. I wished I had brought a book and some food to nibble on!

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I went for a quick dip and surprisingly Erik followed me in!

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This morning I went for a long walk. I felt so tired though!

Hello! Well.. I can barely keep my eyes open today. Not sure if it's a combination of lack of sleep and hayfever or if it's just because I haven't had a proper nights sleep in so long! Thankfully though, Erik has settled in his crate at night. Josh wakes up in the night to take him out for a wee and he goes straight back to sleep which I'm so happy about. I thought it would take much longer than only 3 nights in the crate but I think he's beginning to understand that it's only during the night and he will come out first thing in the morning. He's still a little weird with his toilet training, sometimes he warns us about needing a wee and other times it's like he doesn't even know it's coming himself! That should all change soon though when he learns to control his bladder. It's very difficult having to run up and down the flat stairs with him, especially now he's getting so heavy! He's also full of energy! The sooner we can get him out for walks with us the better, so at least then he can run around without the worry of catching some deadly disease. He's due in for his next injection next Thursday and his final one two weeks later, so there's only another 3 weeks to go but it's getting tough because we don't have a garden we can just let him go mad in.

Anyway, enough Erik talk. I bet you are getting fed up of him already.. although if you are then best you don't come back here because we all know he's all I'm going to be taking photos of! What are your plans for the weekend? We plan to fit the windows in the dormers if they are ready tomorrow. Although there's a good chance they won't be ready to collect until Monday. Fingers crossed it's tomorrow though! Then I'm going to spend the afternoon drawing. I have some ideas and I want to make my Dad a Fathers Day card for Sunday. I'm hoping to produce a few more cards and postcards soon, although I'm struggling to find the time now that I'm back at work and dealing with a crazy puppy in the evenings. If you have any ideas for prints or would like something for someone, please let me know! Lots of love, L.

Our week off

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I can't believe it's Friday already! Ah, this week has flown by! We spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday just playing with the pup, getting him settled in to the flat, taking him out for a little run around in my Mum and Dad's garden, checking on the chickens which have almost all hatched and nothing much else really, so I'm not quite sure where the evenings disappeared to!

Yesterday morning Erik had his first injection. We weren't allowed inside the vets but they took good care of him and he didn't seem at all bothered about it when the vets handed him back over. We were told he may be a little subdued later on but he wasn't at all, in fact he has been crazy the past few afternoons! I'm exhausted with trying to keep him entertained. Honestly, hats off to anyone who has children, pets, a job and keeps a house clean, tidy and manages to actually looks after themselves because I don't know how you do it! I need 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to functions properly and the past few nights have not allowed for that, so excuse the bags under my eyes, my untidy hair and for the spots on my face because I am breaking out majorly!

We also started work again on the house. We have so much left to do but Josh built the stud for the en suite yesterday and we started the storage cupboard space under the eaves today. I also tried to have a good tidy up downstairs but keeping an eye on the puppy and running him outside every so often takes up more time than you think, so I didn't get much done but I will finish it tomorrow! I really want to finish the first coat of emulsion on the ceiling too, so fingers crossed I have enough energy and time to crack on with that! Anyway, enough rambling, time to unwind, watch some tele and snuggle before sleeping. Enjoy your weekend, whatever it is you're up to and keep safe! L.

Our Erik | The GSP

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Well, I said that this time last year we would be expecting to bring back home a puppy and it came true. You can see my post from this time last year here if you don't remember! We had the choice between a GSP or a Vizsla, as both breeders had bitches expecting but we decided that a GSP was the right breed for us. I can't tell you how excited I have been these past few weeks! It's been even more exciting for us because we kept it a secret from my Mum, Dad and Brother so we surprised them on Saturday.. I have a few videos I'll put together for a short and snappy YouTube video next week. We were so undecided on a name for him, I liked Aldo, Morris, Bernie, Rollo and a few others but the only name we really agreed on was Erik (that's with a K, not a curly C). Anyway, this is our fourth night with him this evening..and I'd be lying if I said it was easy because, well, the past three nights have been hard. Especially when you live in a block of flats, are trying to train him and also have someone telling you how to train and not train your dog *sigh*. The past 4 days have been lovely though, he's played and ate, and slept A LOT! He even snores which is the cutest thing ever, even though I hate it when anyone else snores. He likes to fall asleep on your lap or behind you on the sofa. He particularly likes his head tucked away when he's asleep or pointing upwards for some bizarre reason. All of these little things make him such a character and I'm so looking forward to seeing him grow and become the greatest companion there ever was. It's so true what they say, dogs make everything better! And although I'm tired and lack energy, I wouldn't have it any other way.. besides from being in our own house with him but never mind. Speak soon, L.

My first smear test

Hello! Ah, I feel a little nervous sharing this post actually. I wrote this not long after my smear test back in August 2019 but then decided not to share it because I did think it was rather personal. Then I read that we were at an all time low for girls attending their cervical smear tests, so if it helps one of you girls and encourages you to go and get your smear test done, then great! I wish I could have read about more experiences after I received the news that I did.. so here goes!

You got this babe - pink and red hand lettering Art Print by allyjcat
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Images from Pinterest

You may or may not know that in November I turned 25.. and with turning 25 meant my first smear test. In all honesty I wasn't too bothered about having the smear done. In fact, I was pretty relaxed about it all as I don't find the procedure painful at all, just slightly uncomfortable. I nipped out of work one afternoon and within 20 minutes it was all over. I awaited my results but 2 weeks came and still no call from the surgery. A couple of days passed, by this time it was almost 3 weeks later on a Friday afternoon. I called the surgery and asked if they had any update, to be told that I would need to await a call back from the nurse. My stomach dropped. I can feel it now, the pain in my stomach I felt when the receptionist said it. Anyway, shortly after I received a phone call from the nurse who had done the smear, 2 and a half weeks earlier. I can't thoroughly remember how the phone call went but something along the lines of 'abnormal cells' were found, I would have to be referred to a colposcopy unit at the hospital to check them out, try not to worry, it is perfectly normal.

I went back in to the office and cried at my desk. I felt sick, my hands were shaking and I was sweating. I did not expect to be referred to hospital after my first smear test. I can't remember how long I waited for my letter from the hospital, I'd say it was 2 weeks max, as I was quite surprised how fast they had booked me in. Those 2 weeks were hell. I couldn't sleep, I started crying randomly, my head was in overdrive, I was expecting the worst. Cervical cancer was popping up here there and everywhere. I kept reading forums online and I was driving myself mad. I spoke to my friends who were also turning 25 but all of theirs were normal. I finally spoke to one of my friends and old work colleagues who had had the same experience, which eased my mind. But still, the sleepless nights continued.

The day finally arrived, when I would have the cells looked at with a camera. Josh came with me, to comfort me and hold my hand. I sat down with the nurse, who was absolutely lovely, she talked me through what would happen if she thought the cells needed to be removed, until I cried and said 'can we just get on with it please!'. You have to strip from the waist down and then you sit on a special bed which keeps your legs apart and up in the air. There were 5 of us in total in the small room, Josh, the nurse conducting the procedure and two other nurses (I think). One of them stood with Josh and myself at the top of the bed and the other at the bottom with the other nurse.

I'm trying to rack my brains with the order of everything but I'm really struggling to remember, as my adrenaline was sky high. From what I remember, a dye is first applied in to the cervix which detects the 'abnormal cells'. Then I was told that they would be going ahead with the LETZ treatment. I started crying, again. I was super emotional.. I already am an emotional person but the past 3-4 weeks had been a living nightmare. I was grateful to be sat there, being treated but also so scared for what could lie ahead. I had to have 4 local anaesthetics, which I was dreading after my experience of getting the coil fitted. However, the nurse asked me to cough when she was about to inject the anaesthetic which made it less painful. Once that had kicked in, the treatment began. She used a thin wire loop to remove the abnormal cells. You have to remain super still for this so I really blanked out and can't remember much from there.

Then, it was over. I'd say I had only been in the room for less than half an hour. I went back in to the room and put a pad on because they did say that I would bleed and have period cramps later that day. They kicked in a good few hours later and they were very very painful but I didn't care. I was just so glad that that was all over and done with.

A few days later, I received another letter from them to say that I would have to attend another smear test in 6 months time to ensure that all of the cells had been removed and that the treatment was successful. Phew, 6 months of not worrying.

6 months approached fast and even before it reached 6 months, I began panicking again. I called the health centre to make sure they hadn't forgotten about my check up and they assured me that I would receive a  letter soon enough, which I did. I went back in for my smear test, which was carried out again by the same nurse. I was a little worried because she mentioned that I had bled again whilst taking the smear but then said it can be because of a sensitive cervix. Thankfully the treatment was successful and I'm so glad I went when I did. Leaving it could have resulted in something so much worse, so I encourage you not to miss your smear tests. If you are nervous or anxious, talk to somebody, reach out to a friend or a family member you trust will keep you level headed because it is an emotional time and it can be scary on your own. I hope this helps and if you have any questions you want to ask me then please do. My direct messages on Instagram are always open. Lots of love, L.

Useful information can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/