Category: Chronic Illness

Rainbow reflected in the palm of a hand.

Wrapped By Alice During the Covid-19 Crisis.

The Effect of Covid-19 on Wrapped By Alice

As you may have noticed if you’ve been on the site, my shop has been closed for business since the start of lockdown here in the UK, all the way back in March! This is because, as well as being a printer of eco-friendly wrapping paper, and a lover of dogs, I am also the owner of a suppressed immune system – the latter I tend to shout about a little less than the first two!

It’s this faulty immune system that landed me in the ‘extremely vulnerable category’, and has kept me at home for the past four months; shielding from basically everyone and everything, including my business, and you, my lovely customers!

Up till now shielding, has made running Wrapped By Alice basically impossible, as the Covid-19 guidance is so strict; stopping me from having interaction with anyone other than my partner, Kenny, and my stepdaughter, Yasmin. So, we’ve been making our own entertainment (and biscuits!) at home.


Yasmin with her giant butterfly cookie.

While shielding has presented one obstacle to running the business, the other has been the toll that lockdown, in and of itself, has taken on my health. We’ve all had our lives turned upside down recently, and I think most people have felt challenged by that to some degree. But when the structure of your life is built around managing your health, and then that structure suddenly crumbles around you, it’s bound to have ramifications.

Pre-lockdown I had a very quiet, largely solitary life, where I worked my business and household responsibilities around my health. Then lockdown hit, and overnight, me, Kenny and Yasmin began sharing our space 24/7. Whilst the energy I would normally prioritise for the business was redirected to Yasmin – making sure she was happy and entertained and keeping up with her school work.

At times during lockdown, I have felt like I’ve lost much of what makes me who I am – no longer independent, but rather relying on Kenny for everything; not able to run the business, and too tired to be creative. The times where I was too ill to even help with looking after Yasmin were particualrly hard.

But I am nothing if not resilient (and at times, plain obstinate!) and I feel like I am starting to settle into my new role, and thankfully even have a little left over energy for business planning. Once shielding ends, I’ll be looking after Yasmin until she goes back to school in September. But once she’s back and settled in, I will be reopening; so, like the Terminator, I will be back! 😆 I’ll keep you all posted as to progress! Stay safe my friends x x

my workspace. my printing table with cube storage beneath and shelving above

Big Changes Mean Big Challenges: Chronic Illness in Business

Where I Have Been: Moving House and Beyond

Apparently today is National Writing Day, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to explain where on earth I’ve been for the last 3 months (apologies to the ‘gram, et al!) 

So, I did a rather big thing while I was away…no I didn’t have a baby! But I did buy a house, move into that house with my partner (not only the first time we have lived together, but also the first time I have ever lived with any partner). And, if that weren’t enough, in the process I also became a stepmum (I prefer the title ‘bonus mum’) to my partner’s 5-year-old daughter.

‘Wow, that’s a lot of stuff’, you might be thinking! Well now, just for good measure, add into the mix, the fact that I also have a number of chronic illnesses to contend with, and you may get some sense of the pile of quivering, overwrought jelly I have been for the past 3 months! Overwhelmed doesn’t cut it. Exhausted doesn’t cut it. But I’ve made it through, and am somehow sat in my new workroom, in my new house, telling you all about it, on National Writing Day!

This Is Going To Get Personal: Chronic Illness In Business

This is something of a sea change for me; I never normally share anything about my health; I guess I am a naturally private person, and, furthermore, a stubborn one – I never want to feel that I’m defined by my illness. Not to mention – and I can’t stress this enough – I don’t think that you, or anyone else for that matter, wants to hear me bore on about my ‘daily struggles’!

Nevertheless, it’s true that over the past 5 years, since setting up Wrapped By Alice, I have had to close the business on many occasions, thanks to severe infections (yay), surgery (double yay), or just being plain unable to get out of bed (…you get the idea). I’ve never really offered an explanation as to those absences, and fair enough – that is one of the perks of being your own boss, after all!

But, having said that, I don’t think that I’ve ever been MIA for quite as long as I have this year, and I feel like I want to let you in on a bit of what’s been going on. So, welcome to my new house! It’s been slow progress, but it’s already feeling like home, here are a few of my favourite bits so far…

Home Sweet Home: Pops Of Colour And Personality

Dining table, with placemats from Ebay. His and Hers Billy bookcases from IKEA.
Close up of my bookcase, adorned with lots of ornaments; all gifts from over the years.
Toy chest from IKEA, Lego Star Wars X Wing, DED ass artwork, antique bear (model wears his own sunglasses and space rocket).

However, no part of the house was as painfully slow to complete as my workroom; by this point I was running on absolute empty; I thought I’d only need 4 days to sort my workroom out once all my stuff had been moved over (what an uncomprehending fool I was!) It actually took over 4 weeks! I was desperate to get back to the business, and reclaim a bit of me, but days on end went by where I was too tired or too ill to do anything. And even on those days where I started with high hopes, I could only manage to get done a tenth of what I had planned; it was like wading through treacle… very, very thick, frustrating treacle!

But all in its own time, and with a lot of help from my brilliant family, finally it was done, and now I am writing this at my desk in my brand new workroom, having just recently reopened the business, and it feels so good!

My New Workroom: A Purpose-Designed Space

wardrobe with neatly stacked wrapping paper sheets
My beautiful paper, all stored away neatly, ready to send out to my lovely customers.

Last But Not Least: My Partner In Crime!

Shout out to my fella, for not considering my health problems, when deciding that I was the one for him. I was going to say, ‘he takes it all in his stride’, but that would be a platitude; it would imply that somehow this is easy for him. It is never easy to build your life with a person who has a chronic illness or disability; I mean it’s a hard enough thing to do as it is! But he accepts and supports me; he never makes me feel bad for the things I can’t do, and celebrates with me in all the things that I can do. I guess he’ll do!

me giving a kiss to my handsome fella.
Obligatory soppy photo of me and the boy.