Why I went to Camp and you should too!

In June I got aboard an Aer Lingus flight bound for Boston. No friends, no family, just me and a suitcase heading stateside.

I set up my account with the agency, Camp Leaders in November 2016. I knew I really did not want to spend my summer in Ireland again but had been finding it difficult to get friends to commit to going abroad. So, when I heard about applying through an agency to be a camp counselor it sounded like the perfect fit.

Going through Camp Leaders meant that I had lots of support, especially when it came to visa paperwork which can be far from simplistic.

On March 4th 2017, the day after my 20th birthday, I ended up getting a job as a dance teacher in a summer camp in Maine.

The best summer of my life began when I was met off the bus in Rockland, Maine by a woman that I came to know as Bisi. Her smile and hearty laugh made me feel at ease instantly.

I knew going in that I was going to be out of my comfort zone but honestly, I wanted to see how I coped with that. Even looking back now I know that I didn’t truly know what I was signing up for.

Within a week of arriving at camp, I felt like I had been there my whole life. Credit is due to all the staff that had actually been there for years because they made me feel like I was welcome and included which went such a long way.


Jaw surgery: That’s all folks! 

Hi everyone, it’s been a while but I’m back with my final jaw surgery post!!

Nine months have passed since I sat in that hospital bed feeling sick with anticipation for a surgery that I knew would change everything. Looking back now though, it’s changed even more than I could have imagined.

A lot of people thought I was absolutely insane to put myself through such a painful surgery but at the end of the day, it was me that had to go through it ( shout out to my parents that were my rock solid support system and helped me through every jaw spasm, hunger pang and blended meal).

I am so much happier in my own skin for having undergone this surgery. It sounds silly that I let my hatred of my own smile get me down, but it did. Now I love that I can say (with a big stupid grin on my face) that the hatred  I felt, is referred to in the past tense!


My confidence has soared since I got my new smile. When I look back at the old photographs, I don’t even recognise the self-conscious girl that’s in them. I feel like a new person!

The surgery has become my little reminder to myself that I can be pretty brave when it counts. Whenever I’m scared to do anything, I always say to myself “You’ve had your face broken! Pull it together!“.


If you’re thinking about getting this surgery done, I have one piece of advice. Do your research.It can be bloody and gory. The recovery process has its tough moments and you need to know what’s ahead.

But if you do all that and it’s still on your mind,  just do it. It hurts and the hunger is like nothing else, but the way I feel now completely reinforces the fact that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. As dramatic as it sounds, it changed my life.


Love, Ash


Jaw Surgery: One Month 

  It’s been one whole month; Thirty two days to be exact, since I put my bravest foot forward and underwent jaw surgery. Oh and Madonna? Time doesn’t actually go by as slowly as you say.

I’m now free to take my elastics off for up to six hours a day and in two weeks this will increase to eight hours. I tend to take them off for two hours at a time usually coinciding with breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Each morning, the side of my face I sleep on is slighty puffy but this decreases as the day progresses. 

My top lip is still quite stiff from the stitches. The numbness in my face is gradually fading, leaving a tingly sensation extending from my right eye, along my nose and into my top lip.  

I’m back eating solids completely and have even tested my limits eating chewing gum and bread rolls. The only thing I haven’t tried, that would be part of my normal diet, is steak. 

My life has returned to its normal state. I’ve taken my hobbies back up  and am currently working in an office. Things I did not expect to be doing this summer at all. 

My recovery has been a swift one and for that, I am grateful. 

Every body reacts differently when undergoing a procedure like this but in my pre-surgery research, I came across endless tales of long winded recoveries. I’m glad I can show you a different side to it. 

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that my life didn’t come to a halt for six weeks, as I had anticipated. Instead, I was, fortunately, back on my feet in half that time.

For those of you that are feeling unsure about the surgery, I cannot stress enough how it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I had extremely sceptical members of my family and friends who, having seen me since the surgery, cannot believe the difference. I cannot believe the difference

However, my recovery is nearing its end, meaning so are these posts. I have not forgotten the food post I promised (It’s coming soon) but jaw related posts, after this, will be becoming more and more sparse. 

However, if you have any questions that I have not answered in my posts, please do not hesitate to ask! 

So with my surgery behind me and my leaving cert results looming, it’s time to take my blog in a new direction

You can stay up to date on all my latest blog posts by following me on my social media platforms, by clicking in the icons in the sidebar (or below for all my fellow iPhone users) .

Onwards and upwards from here!


Ash xxx

Jaw surgery: Three Weeks On..

Pain: 0/10 Discomfort: 2/10 Hunger: 0/10 Weight 10st 7lbs (10lbs total weight loss)

It still feels surreal that I actually underwent jaw surgery. I keep thinking that it hasn’t actually happened yet, that my surgeon is going to turn around and say I haven’t had the procedure done. I have to keep running to the mirror each morning to make sure I didn’t just dream of this new overbite that has graced me with its presence. 

The last week has flown by and I’m really starting to feel like me again. My body is still not fully up and running again after the operation but it’s getting there. The first two weeks were hell and there’s no denying it. It was a painful, emotional and hungry time in my life but I’m beginning to feel like I’m out the other side. I can officially say, getting jaw surgery is the best thing I’ve ever done

I did a vlog this week as I felt it would be the most informative way for me to show you how well I’ve recovered and that it’s not as bad as even I expected it to be. Both myself and my surgeon are absolutely over the moon with my barely-there swelling and my speedy recovery.

I hope you find the video helpful!

If you have any questions or feedback please do not hesitate to comment below. Also don’t forget to follow me on social media by clicking on the icons in the side bar (or below for all you smartphone users) to keep up to date with all new blog posts!


Ash xxx

Eating Your Way Through Jaw Surgery, One Slurp At A Time.

The eating element of the recovery was, for me, the most difficult. I quickly grew bored of the liquid diet and craved everything I couldn’t have.

As a picky eater however, it’s probably the healthiest I’ve been in my life. While I usually stay as far from fruit or veg as possible, I was forced to drink countless smoothies and soups. My skin and body definitely welcomed the change, but I longed for something I could sink my teeth into.

My post-jaw surgery diet was fairly simple. I made big pots of soups to last me a few days and had a constant supply of fresh fruit and yogurt. Everything I ate had to be consumable via plastic cup or 60ml syringe.

  • Breakfast:Smoothies, Petite Filous, Ready Brek, Weetabix
  • Lunch/Dinner: Home-made soups, smoothies. **Note: Beware of blended meats in soups! Just trust me, those shreds of meat are lethal when your teeth are wired shut!.**
  • Dessert: (YAY!) Ice cream and a chocolate bar of your choosing = heaven!

By week three, my surgeon had given me the go ahead to be without elastics for three hours a day (an hour per meal) and liberating doesn’t quite cut it! Chewing was slightly restricted but I was pretty much able to return to a normal diet. Steaks were a no go obviously, but everything else was pretty much edible.

My elastic wearing hours decreased as time went on and my eating returned to normal. The liquid diet lasted a whole 2 and a half weeks which wasn’t too long thankfully!

I recovered significantly quicker than I could have ever imagined and I really believe my determination to get back my independence as soon as possible played a massive part in this.


Ash xxx

Jaw Surgery:  One Week On…

Pain: 3/10 Discomfort: 7/10 Hunger: 4/10 Weight: 10st 9lbs

I cannot believe my surgery was a week ago! It really has flown by despite the numerous difficulties I’ve faced in such a short time. This post will be a long one. I feel like there’s so much information I want to share. There is so many things that are affected because of this surgery so I’m going to break them down for you all as best I can. 

When it comes to swelling, I seem to be extremely lucky and definitely feel that the Arnica played a major role in keeping it to a minimum. When I look in the mirror, I can’t help but laugh. So don’t feel bad if you do the same at the pictures. I look like I’m constantly doing the chubby bunny challenge!

A place that I hadn’t even thought about swelling was the roof of my mouth, so that was a shock to wake up to. My poor tongue is also trapped between the swelling and elastics. You really don’t realise how often you use your tongue until it’s caged behind your teeth. 

Brushing my teeth has also been a no-go because of the stitches. Mouth wash is my new best friend and while I expected to have a green fog emerging from my mouth by now, it’s actually not as gross as I thought. I’d still kill to give my choppers a good scrub but the mouthwash is bearable for now.

I can already see and feel the improvements in my bite. I’ve noticed a small gap between my upper and lower front teeth as a result of my new overbite and I love it. My nose has also changed shape. It’s shorter and the bump in the bridge that I’ve always had and always hated has been significantly reduced.

The feeling in my face is slowly but surely returning. I’m honestly delighted that this part is happening gradually because I’m becoming increasingly aware of the stitches behind my lip and they’re freaking me out! My nose has also been numb since my surgery. It’s like I’m breathing with a nose that’s not my own. That’s been weird.

Eating has been difficult. I’m not going to lie; I’m already getting sick of the liquids. I woke up after a nap the other day to realise I’d been dreaming about sausage rolls! I’ve been thinking it’ll be easiest for me to do one long post on all things foodie at the end. There’s just so many things to say and I now understand why some bloggers avoid it altogether . Basically it’s been smoothies, soups and Ready Brek. Sometimes, I get adventurous and have Petit Filous watered down or chocolate milk. One day, my mam buzzed up a white Magnum with some Nutella. Heaven! I never quite got the hang of using a straw, so it’s been plastic cups and syringes all the way!

The pain killers have been hit and miss. If you read my previous post (Jaw Surgery: Trust Your Body) then you’ll know I struggled with some nausea after taking a painkiller with Codeine in it. Thankfully I’ve switched and I’m now on soluble Paracetamol four times a day and Neurofen, anti- nausea meds and an anti-biotic three times a day. The Paracetamol on it’s own works so much better for me as it doesn’t make nauseous or nearly as sleepy as the Codeine did.

As for the pain itself, I honestly feel very little. Sometimes the stitches sting a little or I get a twinge up where my jaw meets my ears but when that happens I think of the fact I have broken bones in my face and am grateful it’s not any worse. The spasms have started and they aren’t fun. They are painful but only last a second or two, thankfully.

There’s been a few discoveries I’ve made. When I thought about how restricted I’d be after the surgery, I thought about the more obvious things; eating, drinking, talking. Then I moved on to the slightly less obvious; sleeping, brushing my teeth, putting on t-shirts. However, there are a few things that never even crossed my mind. Yawning, burping and coughing are all extremely difficult to do when you combine both stitches in your mouth and your teeth wired shut. The worst? sneezing. Thank the heavens above that I haven’t experienced this too often but when I do, it ends in a strangled sounding yelp of pain. Tor-ture!!!

I’ve lost eight pounds in a week. Last year it took me almost three months to lose half a stone and now, it’s quite literally falling off me. I do expect the first week to be the most drastic while my body gets itself used to a diet with significantly less amounts of carbs and fat. I’ve lost most of the weight so far from my hips, bum and thighs and I have a feeling my clothes aren’t going to fit at the end of all this. So if there’s anyone out there that would like to pay for a new wardrobe for my new bod, call me!

I find the worst part of the recovery, so far, is how emotionally trying it’s been. I don’t enjoy feeling like I can’t look after myself. I hate that even getting a shower tires me out. However, the scary moments, like on the first night, when I felt like I couldn’t breathe or when I felt like I needed to be sick, are easily overshadowed by the joy I feel each time I look in the mirror and no longer see an underbite glaring back at me. That feeling is priceless and is how I know that I can get through this.

 The pictures below start with a my pre-surgery profile and a picture everyday since, right up to and including today. 

Don’t forget to follow me on social media to make sure you’re always up to date! Click on the icons in the sidebar to be redirected!


Ash xxx

Jaw Surgery: Trust Your Body

I wanted to share the following incident with all my readers simply to inform about all aspects of the surgery. It was an incredibly frightening experience but thankfully, short lived. I’m not telling this story to scare anyone but simply to show that this can happen and I was assured by doctors that feeling this way is completely normal.

There’s been elements of the recovery that have been difficult but that I expected so I’ve been emotionally prepared. However, there have also been aspects that I had not anticipated. These have been, in all honesty, scary. 

During my stay in the hospital, my stomach felt queasy a number of times. When I was being discharged, we asked about getting some anti-nausea medication but were shrugged off and told it wouldn’t be an issue.  

As you can imagine, I’m on very strong pain killers. I was originally prescribed Solpadol (Paracetamol and Codeine), Nurofen and an antibiotic. On my second night home, I began to feel very sick in the stomach while trying to take my medicine. I began to wretch. Having your teeth clamped together makes getting sick a challenge, to say the least. I started to panic. If I vomited, I wouldn’t be able to breath and would most likely choke. My parents calmed me down and thankfully the nausea passed but I was then left afraid to consume any medicine or food. 

We called the clinic the next morning and they faxed a prescription for anti-nausea meds to my local pharmacy and I’ve since switched to just soluable paracetamol without the Codeine. 

I was assured that the chances of me actually vomiting were close to none as there is so little in my stomach as it is. The nauseous feeling was most likely a combination of very strong medication and very little food. 

I’m not telling you this story to frighten you or turn you off the surgery. Not only is this something that people don’t consider when they think about jaw surgery but I was aware nausea had been an issue for me but the doctors said I’d be fine and I trusted them. They were wrong. The moral of the story is really that I should have trusted my own instinct regarding my body. I should have pushed for that medication before I even left the clinic. So if you’re getting this surgery, or any surgery for that matter, Trust your body! You know your body best and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t feel sick!!

I’ve been keeping track of how I’m feeling, taking pictures everyday and I’m currently putting together a “1 week post-op” post. So keep an eye out for that and some other non-surgery related posts I have in the pipeline on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!!


 Ash xx