Friday 23 November 2012

Christmas suggestions for your favourite Dysautonomia patient

I have heard of these strange people who are actually organised with their Christmas shopping. People who start planning for the next Christmas on the 26th December, and start purchasing gifts for their loved ones shortly after. Freaks.

I am not one of these people.

I am the person who even pre-sick was running around like a chook with their head cut off in the last couple of days before the 25th, freaking out that they haven't managed to buy all the necessary gifts. Since becoming sick much of this shopping has been delegated to a poor Mr Grumpy, who loooooves shopping (insert large amounts of sarcasm right here).

However, this past year I discovered the joy of Internet shopping. I know, I've got my finger on the pulse, right? Just call me hipster of the morning, up to date with all the latest newfangled things. So this year I thought I'd put together a list of my favourite Internet shopping spots and gift ideas.

Being chronically ill and often stuck going stir crazy inside my four walls, my shopping needs differ a little to that of regular folk. For me it's all about the pampering and beautifying of my small pocket of the world. 

I should add I am in no way associated with these brands. They are simply the ones I've had personal experience with and/or have on my own wishlist. 

PJ Alternatives:

I spend a ridiculous amount of time in pjs these days. When you are chronically ill you want to be comfortable and old battered flannelette pjs fit the bill perfectly. However, these can leave you in a bit of a funk. Prior to going into hospital in August I surveyed my collection of threadbare, yet comfortable, pjs and realised I really didn't want to be wearing them in public. So started my search for some cute pjs or pj alternatives. Luckily my search coincided with a tweet from the fabulous Claire Bowditch about Lazybonesbe still my vintage loving heart.

Lazybones have some beautiful vintage inspired clothing and housewares. I have my eye on a number of their dresses not that I go many places anymore. I ended up buying quite a few pieces to take to hospital. Not pjs, but definitely comfortable and pretty alternatives (check out the Relax range). Mind you I also took in my red, and sparkly silver ballet flats to wear. Who says you can't look good in hospital? Now home, I wear them all the time (I'm actually wearing a pair of their pants and a cardi as I type). Comfort should never be underestimated and if you can match that with fashion, why not.

I am aware that many of us living with chronic illness are living on super tight budgets, being sick is an expensive business. But Lazybones do have quite a fabulous sale section where you can pick up many great pieces for a bargain. A quick review of the current sales and there are a lot of light, pretty and comfortable options for great prices. 

(I'm a complete sucker for any company that goes the extra mile. My order, complete with "brown paper packages tied up with strings....", well played Lazybones.)

I also have a thing for funky t-shirts and Threadless fit the bill. Again with a budget in mind they often have a $9.99 clearance range on offer. The designs cover a wide range of popular culture and geeky themes so fits me perfectly. I have quite a few of their t-shirts now and wear them on a regular basis. I will say it does take a while for them to make their way to Oz so if you want them for Christmas, order now. 
(Green Recycle t-shirt)


Just as we spend much time in pjs, those of us with chronic illness spend a lot of time in bed. Some beautiful bed linen can make it seem like less of a burden to be stuck in bed. Currently my bedroom is about as inspiring as old cardboard. The previous owners were either in love with 80's salmon/apricot vomit inducing paint/curtains/carpet/fixtures or got a great deal on an end of stock clearance sale. It's like we are living inside a house made entirely of salmon mousse. 

Recently I discovered the beautiful work of Peacocks and Paisleys. I love vibrant colours and patterns and have always loved the aesthetic of Indian fabrics. Her collection is stunning and made using hand block printed textiles from India. I am in love her Modern Bohemian collection, so pretty and vibrant. So now I am saving my pennies to purchase one of her lovely quilt covers, and maybe some curtains. If I can't get out to my garden on a regular basis, then I'm going to bring the garden inside. Okay so this isn't really a bargain option. But it is the kind of purchase that will last you a long time and I am willing to do my own version of layby (ie put any left over cash into my money jar until it starts to add up) to save up and buy such a lovely piece. 

Body creams:

As regular readers know I am a huge fan of MOR Cosmetics. My sister first introduced me to MOR a couple of years ago via a care package she sent when I was going through a rather rough phase. Since then I have been a complete convert to the Marshmallow range, be it the body cream or the lip silk. I'm of the mind set if you find something you love why change. Recently, I purchased the perfume oil. This purchase coincided with a really rough health phase for me where I was stuck in bed for a number of days. Lifting my head was hard, let alone trying to rub in body cream (my usual pampering/feel better routine). But with the perfume oil I could do a quick dab and voila!, the beautiful Marshmallow fragrance with little to no effort. It's amazing how smells can make you feel better.

I love that they are a local Melbourne company, that they pay attention not only to the product but the packaging (too nice to throw away), have great customer service, and they were kind enough to support my last giveaway. Additionally, for the budget conscious they frequently have great deals for members. They also add little samples to your order. These are perfect to take along for hospital stays. And lets face it, you need a little pampering when you're in hospital.
(See I'm not joking when I say I love their products)


My fondness for Lindt Excellence with A Touch of Sea Salt is well known. I still see this as the perfect Dysautonomia  present. It has dark chocolate which contains potassium, and salt, for which we are one of the few disorders where your cardiologist will strongly recommend increasing your intake. In my mind this is therefore a purely medicinal product. And a block is definitely budget friendly. 

I always have a stash in the fridge and the boys know to keep their hands off. I also cook with A Touch of Sea Salt, making everything from brownies to toasted sandwiches (if you haven't tried a toasted chocolate sandwich you haven't lived) or a fabulous hot chocolate with a pinch of cayenne. Lindt Australia were also kind enough to support my last give away, so they do have a special place in my heart. A while back Mr Grumpy visited one of their many stores and brought me home some delicious Excellence 70% chocolate macarons/delice. They were fabulous (hint hint Mr Grumpy). I did see on their site they have a salted caramel version, again surely this is a perfect gift for the Dysautonomia patient! 

Water Bottle:

If you have Dysautonomia you need a reusable water bottle, so why not make it pretty. There are multiple brands that offer cute reusable water bottles these days. You can pretty much find something for everyone. I stumbled across the Thermos water bottles by chance a few years ago. I always think of Thermos as being for hot drinks or soups, so was surprised to find they do one for cold drinks. I love mine. It keeps the water icy cold (great coming into Summer) and is pretty much indestructible. Mine has be thrown around, dropped, kicked, you name it, and still works and looks a treat. 
(This is the one I have but they have many different styles. I also quite like this one and this one)

These products pretty much fit my daily life, pj alternatives, lovely bedding, body creams, chocolate and water. I don't have much in the way of energy and I am at home 95% of the time. Sometimes it's just about making that time as pleasant as possible. 

Happy shopping.

Michelle :)


  1. Good list... and I love that you just discovered internet shopping... ha!

    I do not start this early at all for holiday shopping, am always impressed and a teeny bit creeped out by people who are that efficient.

  2. All great ideas! And guess what... Thermos and Lindt chocolates will donate 5% of your purchase price to Dysautonomia International if you shop their websites through and identify Dysautonomia International as your charity of choice. It doesn't cost you anything extra. What a great way to give added meaning to your gift to your favorite dysautonomia patient - and the rest of your family too.

    There are thousands of other online retailers participating through too. Some give 1%, some give up to 30%.

    Guess who is doing all of her holiday shopping online this year? :)


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