Identity: Coping With Change Following A Life Altering Experience

Like most women of my generation, I have always been concerned with the way I look, how I present myself to the world and how I am perceived by other people. According to my mum, I had a crisis in a shop at the age of 2 when presented with a blue pair of shoes (god forbid) and I was wearing a green dress – What would people think of such a ghastly combination? Surely only a green pair would be suitable for such an outfit?! My foray into image consciousness continued into adolescence when I restricted food to lose weight (rookie error), wore tiny weenie midriff-bearing tops in the deepest darkest winter months (brrr) and even began smoking to look cool (foolish, very foolish). I think most people make similar mistakes when they are young, trying to appear more stylish, more mysterious, more like you’ve got your s**t together when really you just look like a complete plonker.

I have been through 2 really dramatically life altering transformations in the last 4 years which have really pushed me to my limits with regards to my self image (Oops, I’m getting a little bit emotional just thinking about it – I’m going to blame the hormones!). I really wanted to write about them and how I have coped with both in case any of you reading this are feeling a little bit wobbly about the reflection in your own mirror. So without further ado…

ONE: The first elephant continuously hogging any room I enter these days is paraplegia. What a word! I’m not a fan. Nor am I a fan of the word ‘disabled’ it just seems a bit diminishing… what about altered ability? Maybe not. Anyway, I digress. A split second before my accident I was a 26 year old athletic woman with her whole life ahead of her. I was living my best life out in France with my then boyfriend (now husband) working as a chalet host, snowboarding every day and cooking in the evenings. I remember telling everyone I was the happiest I’d ever been. I was also the most ‘body confident’ I’d ever been. Flash forward the blink of an eye and suddenly I was unable to move from the waist down and I was never going to walk unaided ever again – (insert expletive here).

Over time, following lots of rehab, I managed to gain some strength in about 25% of my lower body and learnt to walk with splints and a rollator (which I like to call my ’walker’). I couldn’t go too far but I was determined not to live out the rest of my days in a wheelchair. I was able to at least try to walk and felt I needed to do so because of this. However, when parts of your body are paralysed you obviously can’t exercise them. I had spent my whole life trying to make my butt look smaller and now it is literally as flat as a pancake! I remember sitting in a shower chair in one of the wet rooms in Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s Spinal Unit a couple of months post injury and catching myself in the mirror before promptly bursting into tears thinking ‘this is what I look like now.’

To be honest, it’s still a struggle. I tend not to look in the mirror so much these days unless I’m fully clothed. When I’m out and about either with the walker or in my wheelchair I can never decipher the expressions on people’s faces when they look/stare at me. Initially it really wound me up when I noticed the stares, especially the pitying, sympathetic faces some individuals would give me. After a while I felt like I was being paranoid – as if I was special enough for anyone to care who or what I was?! Now I seem to have subconsciously put blinkers on and I don’t really notice anyone at all unless I’m having a particularly crap day, usually due to something unrelated to my appearance. When I am on my own with my walker I remind myself of something my husband told me when I was newly injured when I had asked him to be honest about my walk. He said something along the lines of ‘No, it doesn’t look normal but you broke your back and you’re f***ing walking which is amazing and you should be proud. If people are looking at you it’s probably not because you’re weird, they should be in awe of your strength.’ – I definitely hit the jackpot with that guy!

It’s not just body image that alters with an injury like mine. I remember feeling like I couldn’t associate with all of the people in wheelchairs around me when I arrived at the Spinal Unit to start my rehab – how could I be one of them? I now realise how ridiculous it was for me to think like that but I have spoken to many other people with spinal cord injuries who felt the same way when they were first admitted to hospital. I had never known any disabled people before and suddenly I was one. All of those people in wheelchairs were in fact just like me and were dealing with their own new identities. Hopefully this should give you food for thought next time you see someone in a wheelchair or with a limp or using crutches etc. Not every disabled person has had a disability since birth – one can be acquired at any time.

Although unfortunate, I feel that with my accident came a shift. Once the trauma and the heartache of grieving for my past life was over, I had a new found love for my body. It might not look quite as youthful or as strong as before but it is certainly awesome. I happen to love my life. I can appreciate so much more knowing it could have all be taken away. Having to either walk very slowly, trundle along in my chair or cycle around on my electric trike means that I have more time to see the beauty around me. My perception of everything is different and for that I am glad. The only thing I regret not doing before my accident is giving my body the recognition it deserved. I wish I had taken the time to be thankful for a body that worked for me, allowed me to walk around, jump on a horse, go snowboarding, enjoy every piece of equipment at the gym instead of shaming it for not looking like the ones in magazines. I think we should all be thankful for what our bodies can do – we are all very lucky to have them.

3 and a half years later and I have since moved house twice, become a dog owner, got married, travelled around Europe, gone back to work and had a baby.

TWO: Becoming a mum also comes with huge bodily transformation. During pregnancy there’s that awkward first trimester where you just look like you’re bloated (which of course you are but there is a little seed growing in your tummy too). Then comes the backache, the protruding belly, the dark circles under your eyes and if you’re lucky like I was, the swollen feet and cankles. You may also acquire stretch marks, varicose veins and piles – wow. During this time it is also important to be mindful that your body is creating miracles. Somehow, without you even having to try, a real life human being is developing INSIDE YOU! If that isn’t baffling I don’t know what is.

After the baby arrives, whether out of the big V or the sunroof, you’re going to have a whole host of amazing (and sometimes quite grotesque) events in store. I won’t go into detail as I don’t want to ruin the surprise for any expectant mums but in any case, please try to have a sense of humour about it – it really does help.

With the pressure of the baby’s head on my bladder, I spent the last month of my pregnancy in my wheelchair because it was causing painful spasms which were difficult to tolerate. 3 months after the birth of little Ru and I’m still in the chair. I had envisioned being mobile throughout my pregnancy and even walking out of the hospital once baby arrived but these things don’t always go to plan. I don’t have time to concentrate on walking at the moment, there are more important things to think about and I am totally fine with that – walking can wait. I’ve actually just bought a new chair which will allow me to take my baby out and about with a little help from my Baby Bjorn carrier. I now feel an overwhelming sense of pride when I take my little boy out in public. People are all smiles and I’m happy to talk to anyone who approaches me (no one can resist a cute kid). I’m in a wheelchair and I am perfectly capable of looking after my son because of it. My body might be lacking in some areas but my love for it is immeasurable for everything it has given me.

To any new mum I ask you to take a moment to think about all of the wonderful things your body has done for you. Wear your stretch marks as if they are badges of honour, embrace your new curves and leave any thoughts of dieting and exercising behind – looking after your baby is more than enough daily activity. Your body will tell you when you’re ready to make the next move. You have a new identity and it’s a pretty enviable one.

I hope this little entry has settled any uneasy minds when it comes to change. The human body is a wonderful thing and can adapt under the most bizarre circumstances. Give yourself a break when it comes to striving for perfection – not surprisingly, it doesn’t exist.

Peace and love

Lucy @Rewired 💕🌿

Maternity Leave Musings…

So… it’s been almost a year since I last posted on The site had become pretty much exclusively about food, which was super fun and I love coming up with recipes, trying out new ingredients and exploring the world of veganism BUT fast forward a year and so much has happened. Now feels like a good time to add new content and to share a little more with you. There are a few things I want you to know about me and hopefully, through this blog, I can reach out to others with the same or similar experiences, creating a little community of likeminded people – how lovely would that be?! Here are three things that have shaped who I am today:

The D word
The label ‘disabled’ has applied to me since the 27th of February 2014 when I was 26 years old. I had a snowboarding accident and broke my back. My L1 vertebra burst and part of the bone pressed on my spinal cord, leaving me partially paralysed from the waist down. I am now unable to walk unaided although, with a lot of effort, I did manage to get back on my feet with the help of splints and a four wheeled rollator (yes I do look a bit weird walking around town!). As time goes by, I do acknowledge that my determination to walk everywhere has actually disabled me further with regards to how far I can go and how easy places are to access hence I have decided to invest in a posh new wheelchair (more on that in a future post). My aim with regards to the D word is to talk openly about my experiences, good and bad. I want to share information about equipment I have found useful, places I’ve been/want to go and how accessible they are as well as the internal, emotional challenges I face living with a spinal cord injury. I usually choose to laugh instead of cry about my injury – hopefully I can bring some humour to a ‘not so funny’ situation.


Mum’s the word
On the 4th of June this year, the biggest, brightest light of my life entered this world – all 5lbs 13oz of him. Reuben is now my favourite human (although my husband is right up there in the rankings too!). Becoming a mum has been the most incredible adventure so far and I’m so excited for all that is yet to come. My world has been turned upside down and I’m loving it. I might not be able to push him in his pram or walk around the house rocking him to sleep but I know I’m the best mum there is for my boy and that he is the perfect son for me. I’ve actually found the challenges of parenthood quite motivating and very rewarding when I overcome them. I want to show everyone that when it comes to raising a child, even with a disability, almost everything is possible – and if something is beyond your ability, there is always another way.


Conscious living
It feels like there has been a real shift in recent times when it comes to conscious living. The social movement of veganism is becoming increasingly powerful and it seems that eyes are opening all over the world. This makes me happy. I decided to embrace the vegan diet 2 years ago and never looked back. I definitely still want to share new recipes with you, although when the inspiration comes to discuss vegan-related issues, I will more than likely send the articles over to (you definitely need to check this website out if you haven’t already). I have found that since going vegan, I have subconsciously become more compassionate and more eager to contribute to the health of the planet and thus live more consciously. Here on Rewired, I will be posting about the little changes I am making over time to lessen my impact on the environment. I will be reviewing cruelty free, vegan products as well as any books, documentaries and anything else I can find of intrigue.

There you have it! I hope you’ll join me here at Rewired, leave a comment, make suggestions, share any ideas you have or all three. I’m excited to get started (again!).

Peace and love

Lucy @Rewired 💕🌿


31. Hearty Lentil Soup

🍁🍂 The final day of Blogtober is here! I have really enjoyed coming up with these recipes and being disciplined enough to get them ready each day. Today’s meal is great for lunch or dinner and will fill you full of goodness whilst keeping you warm from Autumn through to winter.

What you will need (serves 2):
– 2 medium potatoes chopped
– 2 carrots sliced
– a handful of shredded kale
– 2 diced tomatoes
– 1 tin of green lentils in water
– 1/2 cube veggie stock
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
– 1 tsp Cajun spice
– 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
– salt and pepper to taste

Step 1
Add all of the veggies to a pan in some shallow water on a medium heat along with the spices. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 2
Pour in 750ml water and add the veggie stock. Season with salt and pepper. Leave for 15 minutes with the lid on.

Step 3
Add the nutritional yeast and the green lentils. Let this cook for 2-3 minutes then season to taste.

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that this bowl of deliciousness is a healthy one.
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in it for you as there are not enough to be worried about.
* The ingredients in this meal have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Tomatoes are packed with vitamins. They are great for your skin, your heart and your eyes. They also help to repair damaged cells from smoking so put your cigarette out and eat some tomatoes.
Potatoes are awesome. They contain lots of vitamin b6 which is great for athletic performance, helps with brain cell and nervous system activity and is actually good for cardiovascular protection.
Green lentils are a great source of plant protein and iron. They are full of dietary fibre and B vitamins. Whoop!

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

30. Chocolate Orange Cupcakes


🍁🍂 Day 30 is here with a special treat for you all and you will NOT believe they are vegan! My husband thought I had bought a cake mix and asked me if I used eggs or butter – pfft as if?! I am so excited to announce my vegan baking success and share it with you. These only take 30 minutes to prepare and bake and taste the bomb 💣

What you will need:
– 100g self raising flour
– 100g light brown sugar
– 2 tbsp cocoa powder
– 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
– 130ml water
– 1 tsp orange extract
– Orange icing (you can make it or buy ready made if you don’t have time)
– candied orange to decorate

Preheat your oven to 180c fan/200c convection oven

Step 1
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Melt the coconut oil and add The wet stuff to the dry ingredients. Fold together with a wooden spoon or in a mixer.

Step 2
Spoon your mixture into cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before decorating.

Step 4
Roll out the icing and cut into circles before placing them on top of the cupcakes. Add some candied orange and they are ready 🍊

Nutritional Spotlight-
I can’t say that these are the healthiest foods you will ever eat, but what I can say is this; it’s far healthier to eat a cake with ingredients like coconut oil (seriously healthy) and cocoa powder than with butter or eggs. Chances are, you’re not going to clog your arteries quite so quickly with these cupcakes and you can relax knowing that you won’t be consuming any funky hormones/antibiotics/infections from animal products *ends rant here*

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

29. Comforting Cooked Breakfast

🍁🍂 Weekend breakfasts are really good when they’re greasy and cooked. Blogtober day 29 has an oil-free alternative that won’t feel like your missing out and will still give you that hangover cure feeling.

What you will need:
– 2 hash browns yes they are vegan, just check the packet to make sure
– 1 large tomato
– 1 handful of mushrooms
– 1/2 tin of bakes beans
– 1/2 tsp smoked paprika or cayenne pepper optional

Pop the hash browns, sliced mushrooms and halved tomato on a baking tray with parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper. Leave in the oven for 20 minutes at 200c fan/220c convection oven.

Heat up your beans on the hob for 3-4 minutes. Add some spice if you wish (I think it tastes extra good with it).

Serve up and possible garnish with basil, it looks pretty and actually tastes awesome in this breakfast.

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that this plate is a healthy one.
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in it for you as there are not enough to be worried about.
* The ingredients in this meal have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Tomatoes are packed with vitamins. They are great for your skin, your heart and your eyes. They also help to repair damaged cells from smoking so put your cigarette out and eat some tomatoes.
Beans are amazing. Everyone should incorporate more of these into their weekly diet. Cannelini beans help with collagen production, vision and nervous system function and are also great for appetite regulation.
Mushrooms are known to help with metabolism and energy usage.

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

28. Polenta Served With Italian Herb & Wine Infused Veggies

🍁🍂 Another day, another post for Blogtober. Today I have a really simple dinner idea which looks sophisticated but really only takes 10-15 minutes to make. It’s great for date night or an evening with your bff and is especially tasty with a nice glass of wine 🍷

What you will need (serves 2):
– 1/2 red onion
– 2 handfuls of button mushrooms
– 1 courgette
– 4 large tomatoes
– 1 handful of green beans
– 1 handful of olives (black or green)
– 1 tbsp Italian herbs
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 50ml red or white wine
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1tbsp olive oil
– 300g ready made polenta
– a sprinkling of nutritional yeast (optional)
– fresh basil to garnish
– balsamic glaze

Step 1
Chop all of the vegetables and add to a pan with the wine, garlic and Italian herbs. Let this cook down for 10-15 minutes on a low to medium heat and season to taste.

Step 2
Slice the polenta to 1cm thickness and add to a pan with the olive oil on a medium heat. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, sprinkle a little nutritional yeast over the top if you wish.

Step 3
Plate up, garnish with basil and drizzle balsamic glaze over to serve. Bellissimo 👌🏻

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that this plate is a healthy one.
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in it for you as there are not enough to be worried about.
* The ingredients in this meal have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Tomatoes are packed with vitamins. They are great for your skin, your heart and your eyes. They also help to repair damaged cells from smoking so put your cigarette out and eat some tomatoes.
Basil is an excellent antibacterial herb. It is also anti inflammatory so can ease the pain of arthritis and gastrointestinal conditions.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats – don’t be scared of the word fat because this is a good type of fat. It helps to prevent disease including diabetes and cancer and metabolic syndrome. Be careful when frying food with it – always use a low to medium heat to prevent carcinogens from raising their ugly heads.

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

27. Frozen Cherry and Almond Cupcakes

🍁🍂 Day 27 and we are so close to the weekend I can almost smell it! When I have some extra time I like to experiment in the kitchen (shocker) and this is what I came up with last time. These pretty little things are the perfect balance of naughty and nice as the ingredients are healthy but they taste delicious 😇

What you will need (makes 6):
For the base
– 1/2 cup of peanut butter
– 1 1/4 cup of oats
– 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– 1 tsp almond oil
For the topping
– 1 cup of pitted dark cherries (you can buy these frozen to save the pennies)
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp sifted icing sugar

Step 1
Mix all of the ingredients for the base together in a bowl. Add spoonfuls of the mixture to a cupcake baking tray (trying not to get carried away ‘taste testing’ the mixture). Pat the bases down into the holes until they are smooth.

Step 2
Use a blender or a food mixer to combine the topping ingredients together. Pour the smooth liquid over the bases.

Step 3
Place your tray into the freezer for at least 3 hours to set. Use a knife to poke the puds out when they have been out of the freezer for about 10 minutes to soften a little.

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that these minis are pretty healthy.
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in them for you as there are not enough to be worried about.
* The ingredients in these raw cakes have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Peanut butter is a wonderful way to introduce good fats and proteins into your diet. You will be helping your heart, your body’s iron absorption, cell development and boosting your metabolism.
Coconut Milk is a great vegan alternative to dairy, rich in fibre and B vitamins.
Maple syrup is my favourite sweetener and it is unrefined and natural so far better for you than sugar or ‘stevia.’ It’s great for skin and digestive function and you maybe surprised to find that it is actually relatively high in calcium – amazing!

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

26. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

🍁🍂 Blogtober day 26 brings you an unexpectedly scrumptious snack. Salty and spicy and super crunchy, these little gems are still healthier than a packet of crisps or roasted peanuts. I’m never looking back 😎

What you will need:
– 1 tin of chickpeas in water
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– salt and pepper to season

Preheat your oven to 200c fan/220c convection oven

Step 1
Drain the chickpeas and pat dry with kitchen roll. When they are completely dry, add them to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir well with your hands or a wooden spoon.

Step 2
Pour the contents of the bowl onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Roast for 35-40 minutes until chickpeas are hard all the way through (taste a couple to be sure).

These are great to serve over a few drinks with friends or you could take some in your lunch box (I wouldn’t recommend eating these at your desk though as then crunch is audible!) 🙉

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that these nibbles are healthy ones.
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in this snack for you as there are not enough to be worried about.
* The ingredients in this recipe have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Chickpeas are fantastic for iron metabolism and red blood cell production. They also help with heart, muscle and immune function.
Cayenne pepper is thermogenic. It is a natural painkiller and reduces inflammation. It is also a blood glucose stabiliser.
Garlic is well known for it’s health benefits. It protects against cancer by blocking the conversion of nitrates and nitrites into cancer as well as inhibiting the action of aflatoxins (the substance found in peanuts which cause cancer). It can lower cholesterol and also prevents blood clots – a safer way than taking an Aspirin a day.

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

25. Pho

🍁🍂 Blogtober day 25 brings you a warming, aromatic Vietnamese-style bowl of goodness. It’s not the traditional pho but it’s my take on this delicious meal. It’s really easy to make and I swear it’s the ‘chicken soup’ of the vegetarian/vegan world as it makes you feel so good afterwards 😊

What you will need (serves 2):
– a handful of mushrooms sliced
– 1 carrot peeled and chopped
– broccolini (or any other green, kale is nice in this too)
– 1 handful of baby corn optional
– 2 spring onions sliced
– 1 chilli pepper sliced
– 1-2 tsp sesame oil
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 1/2 cube veggie stock
– 1tsp ginger
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon optional
– black pepper to season
– 1 lime or 1/2 lemon
– rice noodles
– coriander to garnish

Step 1
Add the veggies (apart from the chilli and spring onions) to a pan on a medium heat and add the sesame oil. Add the spices and stir for a few minutes until the mushrooms are soft.

Step 2
Boil 750ml water and crumble in the veggie stock to make a broth. Pour this into the pan of veggies, squeeze in the juice of you lime/lemon and add the chilli. Season with black pepper. Leave this to simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes.

Step 3
Add the rice noodles and spring onions. These only take a couple of minutes to cook through. Transfer to bowls and serve with lots of fresh coriander – delicious! 😍

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that pho is a healthy!
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in it for you as there are not enough to be worried about.
* The ingredients in this noodle soup have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Carrots are a source of beta-carotene which is excellent for your heart and your eyes (it is sometimes used to treat age related macular degeneration).
Broccolini is one of the most wonderful vegetables around. If you want protein, calcium, zinc, iron, omega 3 fats, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A,B,C,E and K amongst many other nutrients, broccoli is your best bet.
Lime/lemon juice adds so much flavour to this meal and also helps to keep you in top shape. It’s great for skin, hair and nails as well as digestive, respiratory and ophthalmic health.

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

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