Week of 9 October

Ha, Ha, Ha.  Christine and I went to a free Laughter Workshop.  Te, He, He.  I’m still laughing about it. It was bonkers!  Laughter does have health benefits though; it creates serotonin which lifts your mood and boosts the immune system.  My jaw ached after so I must have produced litres of the stuff or does it come in grams??  At the Pink Place last week Debbie, who works there, was interested in my research I’ve filtered from the web on boosting our immune system so she can cascade it to other clients.  The bulleted list is now a new page under ‘Wellbeing’.

No exotic travels this week. So it has been back to the oxygen and juicing therapies.  It’s 2 weeks before the next scan so I feel the need for a last minute concentrated effort.  In Tesco, I saw a pile of reduced organic broccoli for mere pennies and have been overdosing on broccoli juice.  My taste buds have been  screaming, ‘just die cancer die’ so I treated them and my eyes to a delicious Chocolate and Mint Bundt at the Pineapple Palace when I was there with Alex, Maureen and Marion.  It was beautifully presented. Debbie (a different Debbie) had followed a Hummingbird Bakery recipe using, of all things, mayonnaise to ensure it is moist.  And it was! Yum!

Mum, Jeremy and I popped into the Black Beauty Café at the ‘Home of Rest for Horses’! We were supporting the Horse Trust in Bucks where we met the Met and Military’s retired horses along with other residents.  They’d had very impressive careers. It was a super outing which I can highly recommend for all age groups.  Here we are sipping tea from attractive pottery and tucking into coffee and walnut cake. An excellent combination as the protein in the nuts prevent a sugar spike!

So other cake eating exploits included a Mixed Berry Vic Sponge at the Blue Café.  I was at the hospital for a blood test required ahead of the scan.  The sponge was a drier texture more like a madeira cake but lots of butter cream and berries:)  I always read the Daily Mail while I am there and my stars that day said ‘you’ve come so far and achieved so much that you deserve a moment to admire your hard work’.   Well so I will! As it’s the Daily Mail it must be true….

Also, Mum and I were at Angelina’s building up our strength ahead of carpet choosing.  Her recently painted hall and stairs look fab, we have asked Michael, the decorator, to quote for our house too.  Anyway, I had the lemon drop sponge.  Have I ever said, I never take the end piece in case it has dried out.  This slice was slightly bigger too and very zingy! Nice! We chose Mum’s carpet quite quickly!  Sugar isn’t supposed to help you make clear decisions…

Onto the non-cake highlight of the week: Marion, Judy and I attended a lovely soiree at the beautiful circular Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel (it’s been 35 years! Doesn’t seem it. Where’s the time gone?).  Here the 255 men and 3 Island ladies are remembered in this National Monument.  There were stunning flower arrangements, angelic eye-watering singing and piano recitals including one from the vicar along with prosecco and exquisite little canapés.  I’m attending a canapé making workshop next week and I rather hope they are going to be a little bigger…

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Week of 11 September

If you are a fan of the GBBO, then you may remember Christine Wallace from Didcot who was a Quarterfinalist from the first series.  She opened my first craft fair back in 2014.  Well she does ‘bake with me’ workshops from her kitchen.  So Sue (who lives round the corner from her) and I made macarons: a scrumptiously scrumptious salted caramel with a gooey caramel filling and a deliciously delicious raspberry with white chocolate ganache filling:)  Here’s Sue with the orange coloured salted caramel ones.  YUM! Sue managed to keep her apron immaculate unlike me.  I just get food colouring everywhere…

         

A top tip we learnt was to limit use of wooden spoons as they could harbour fatty deposits and are definitely no good for meringue making nor for stirring caramel ingredients; use a metal spoon for these. 

I did a second workshop this week: wired jewellery making.  It was a lovely couple of hours and I have mastered the art of using pliers to make round loops which are key to wired jewellery making. So I went away with some dangly earrings and a couple of bracelets.  Dead easy when you know how!

Jeremy, Mum and I popped into the Yew Tree garden centre and we had a coffee with a little star shaped shortbread biscuit.  A nice idea for a little something sweet to go with the coffee. Jeremy and I were back at Basingstoke Hospital this week and, in the Blue Café, I had a super chocolaty chocolate brownie before our meeting with Mr Cecil.  The Arc Centre was preparing for an auction that evening of all the painted bookbenches – part of the ‘Sitting with Jane’ idea celebrating Jane Austen – in aid of their cancer charity.

Mum and I had a coffee and shared (a term used loosely as I had the lion’s share) a slice of Victoria Sponge at Angelina’s.  It was a lovely golden colour and very moist with just the right balance of jam and buttercream filling.  It spurred us on to look at their range of carpets for her hall and stairs…

The cake highlight though was at my favourite place in Newbury: The Tea Cosy.  Here is my slice of the very decadent Chocolate Bar Cake. 

Thank you Penny. I’m sure it was my turn to pay.  The cake was constructed with Kit Kat bars decorating the top and bigger one propped up all round the sides of a fabulous chocolate sponge with caramel.  It was scrumptious!

There’s certainly nothing wrong with my energy levels, which shows my immune system is functioning perfectly well.  In addition to the above, I had yoga, tap dancing, 2 aqua aerobics classes, an aqua zumba class, aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki this week! My current lifestyle is all about feeding and nurturing my immune system.  As soon as I start to get periods of tiredness, I’ll know that my immune system is struggling to cope with the growing cancer.  But on that note, mulling over Mr Cecil’s conversation (see last blog entry) Jeremy had asked him about the original tumour (Dr Jackson had reported it as being of ‘no worry’ and ‘it’s stable’).  Mr Cecil, who as a surgeon uses CT scans all the time, said in a long reply, that ‘the CT scan doesn’t give enough detail’ ….and in another sentence, ‘cancer can just disappear’….  Looking back, was he saying that the original tumour had shrunk/gone?  As a medic, he’s hardly likely to admit it as it means the complementary therapies have worked…  Interestingly, CT scans give enough detail that someone can be declared as ‘’all clear’’.  I’ll question it more when I have the next quarterly scan which is actually due in 4 weeks.

Must go and pack now for the next adventure…

Week of 14 August

You know, you have to deal with whatever s**t life throws at you – (see last post) – and just carry on. So today I went to a cartoon drawing workshop (2 kiddies and 8 big kids) where we started by drawing animals and then on to people. Then Simon did a cartoon of me! Haha

     

It was a lovely morning and I enjoyed a fiendishly, fudgey and filling fudge cake served by the Stockcross Village Shop. Then I went clothes shopping! Very therapeutic!

This week, Jeremy and I did a walk that took in the Wittenham Clumps, a spot favoured by artists. We walked through a lovely arboretum owned by the Earth Trust which had 50 species of trees and shrubs native to Oxfordshire. There was an upright apple tree with great red baubles for apples – it positively glowed from a distance. I felt like Eve in the Garden of Eden being propelled to this inviting tree and helping myself! They were delicious (Eat Apple. Be Happy!) It was a steep climb to the top of a Clump which we did together without stopping and well worth the view. Jeremy and I also went to the Hawk Conservancy this week. Their displays are excellent and there’s much to keep you amused all day.  Our favourites are the owls.  We chose a dry day fortunately as we knew the birds of prey would not want to soar very high in the rain….

On to cake highlights. I ate rocky road twice this week! Once at the flower arranging afternoon at St Georges. Here’s a picture of Mum and I with Ann and Fenisia.  It was a random conversation that Fenisia and I once had where we found out we had both lived in Raynes Park. Her dad and brother had hairdressing salons there and Mum and I went to her father’s salon. I was a small child and it was her Aunt Rosina who cut my hair – very, very short l add. What a small world! It was a fun afternoon and I gave my arrangement to Pat my reflexologist who I saw later in the day.

Then the second rocky road (and the tastiest) was at the café in the Willis Museum with Julia and Jenny. Yes , that is a rocking horse in the corner! We went on the Jane Austen trail around central Basingstoke in the sunshine finding some quite nice parts of Basingstoke we didn’t know….

I stopped at the Blue Café when at the hospital but it was nearly closing time and  the choice of cake was limited and I  chose a shortbread to nibble on whilst reading the newpaper headlines waiting for Jeremy to arrive.  Then we went onto see Dr Jackson after.

Also, I met up with Mum this week in Angelina’s.  I went straight from my aromatherapy session (it’s my third free one and I said to Anthea that I would continue with her sessions after the last freebe) so my skin was glistening and my hair greasy. I think I looked like I’d been caught in a rain storm!  There, my eyes fell in love with the Angel Sparkle cake…

 

 

 

 

Week of 17 July

What a great week! It started in Matlock, Derbyshire.  Jeremy and I visited Kenneth, Helen and Sarah who were holidaying there.  I can tick 2 places off the bucket list: Haddon Hall (I used to collect porcelain of the same name so the house held some mystery for me).  It’s a delightful Tudor house with many original features and I can tick off the beautiful Trentham Gardens, Stoke which we had passed many times over the years.  Some of the original house remains but it is just that – remains…

Whilst in Derbyshire, we visited Bakewell and looked out for the original Bakewell Pudding.  It actually looked inedible and very un-photogenic and no wonder Mr Kipling covered it with icing and stuck a cherry on top:)

        

A tea shop amongst the shopping village outside the Trentham Garden entrance had a great display of cakes.  We abstained, having had a cooked breakfast and going only for Americanos, but the double decker salted caramel gingerbread cake looked fab!

I met Jenny and Julia in Basingstoke’s Willis Museum and enjoyed a cuppa and slice of lemon drizzle cake before seeing the Angie Lewin exhibition.

One of the nicest days this week was Pauline’s garden party when the sun decided to make an appearance. Mum and I, along with 25 other ladies, enjoyed tea and sandwiches plus scones that even Nadia would  approve of!  No need to cut a perfect scone in half she says just break it apart!  Pauline’s scones were therefore perfect…..

So the week ended today with Lindsey and I going to the Global Retreat south of Oxford at Nuneham Courtney.  We had a day of meditation with a tour of the fabulous Georgian house and extensive grounds which just 3 gardeners keep immaculate.  I’m not a great fan of Indian food but their vegetarian lunch was delicious.  A nice chilled end to a lovely week.

Week of 17 April

This week is about disappearances!  Our new chimney  was finally completed (the bricks were spawling onto our neighbour’s drive).   Mick the Brick’s noisiest days were the ones I was in hospital.  Lucky me.  Not so lucky for Jeremy as he had to deal with it all. On the first day, M the B’s ‘mate’ disappeared after 30 minutes never to return – didn’t like the ladder – and when he found a new ‘mate’, he didn’t turn up on his second day!    Don’t they want to get paid?

I can happily report that the giant bagel left by the laparoscopy had deflated (another disappearance).  I can’t believe 2 minute incisions create such discomfort – they must have had a good rummage around!  One incision is in the belly button and one 5 cm below – on the zip line!  I can wear jeans now and, great, the old muffin top has disappeared too!  Onto nicer things: cake.  I met with Penny this week and we went to Mochachoc for a catchup sharing holiday tales.  We had one of Silvana’s Uruguayan treats – little cinnamon tartlets covered with white icing which disappeared (haha) down the hatch very quickly..

Also this week, whilst shopping, I popped into Angelina’s and had a rather nice vanilla and raspberry chocolate brownie cake.  Never had anything like it before. Two cakes in one. Fab!

Well there was more tea and cake (in aid of the Royal Marsden) at the Dunsborough House Tulip Festival.  I’ve had an entry carried forward in my diary for 2 years to go to this annual event and it was worth the wait.  Tulips are my favourite flower and to see so many varieties and colours in the tulip meadow was really uplifting.

This is non cake but I met with Alan for a second hypnotherapy session. The problems he has helped people with are astounding – just by going back in the unconscious mind to the cause of the issue and making corrections.    It’s fascinating. For me, we are following Simonton’s method of  psychoneuroimmunology!  We are using visualisation on the unconscious mind to change the chemistry of the cancer cells so the immune system can identify them and destroy them.  Another disappearance!  And one we want to happen!  Only I have to wait for the results of the next CT scan to see if it works for me!

Do you know, it was a year ago this week that we met with Mr Cecil to hear him dismiss  surgery due to the amount and spread of the cancer.  We can remember it like it was yesterday….

Week of 30 January

The MacMillan’s guide I was given last week on ‘Healthy Eating and Cancer’ says  ”sugar in your diet doesn’t directly increase the risk of cancer or encourage it to grow”.  Goodo!!  But at a Nutrition workshop held by Maggie’s in Oxford’s Churchill hospital this week, I learnt that sugar ”depletes the body of essential nutrients and interferes with the fine balance of bacteria in the gut”. Oh dear!!  I’ve had a few cakey exploits this week to tell you about.  At Maggie’s, we sampled a plate of Tofu Cakes! Yuk!  The monthly Essebourne Ladies Lunch was this week: Val, Norma, Margaret, Cathie, Sandra, Heather and I enjoyed another delicious lunch!.  And, although not cakes as such, we had some lovely petit fours to finish off……  Which plate would you prefer??

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I guess the highlight this week was hearing the results of my CT scan from Dr Jackson at the Basing Unit that ”there has been greater than average shrinkage”.  More on my 2017 page.

wp_20170202_002Jeremy and I shared a (healthy) granola bar in the Blue Café – part of Basingstoke’s Arc Cancer Centre while we were there.  Secretly I hankered over the rocky road!!  And that night we celebrated with a glass of Bouvet (a lush sparkling red best served cold)!

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So also this week,  I met Carolyn to take her to the Tea Cosy but got there and found it is closed on Tuesdays and so we headed back to Mocha Choc for a cuppa! Next time!  The Supper Club ladies: Pam, Judy, Marion, Alex and Ann and I met at at the Pineapple Palace where I was the only one to eat cake!  A lemon drizzle with a lovely crunchy topping!  I had tap dancing that evening so I may have worked off some calories….I was back at the Pineapple Palace a few days later for a ceramic course with Sophie to make tea light holders.  Here’s me at work cutting out hearts in my clay with a slide of coffee cake on the side!  Perfect! Jeremy and I did do a 6 mile walk in the afternoon!!wp_20170205_001

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I said there were a lot of cakey exploits this week…. Mum and I went to Angelina’s at Camp Hopson for a coffee and natter – we were very restrained – we had a little pastry each! The filling was similar to praline – very nice – and just enough not to undo all the hard work I had put into Aqua Aerobics about 2 hours earlier….