My Fertility v Chemotherapy

On the day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the one and really only decision that I had to make was whether or not I wanted to take fertility preservation steps, ahead of my chemotherapy treatment. Yup, that’s right, aside from taking my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, fingernails and quite a few of my brain cells, chemo also had the ability to take away my chances of having naughty little (short) children.

As a thirty-eight-year-old woman, I was already pushing my luck a bit when it came to starting a family. Alex and I hadn’t quite decided what we were going to do and I was still far too in love with my sleep to go there. Being a nanny for around fourteen years might have did also play a part in the speed at which my decision was made!

When my oncologist told me I had an aggressive and fast growing tumour, he then just casually dropped in that I’d need to go away and think about whether or not I’d like to freeze my eggs ahead of treatment. To us, it seemed as though he was leaning towards starting the chemo treatment as quickly as possible, but oddly, they sent me away to take two weeks to think about it. Two weeks!

Now let me tell you, when you’ve been told you’ve got a fast growing tumour and you know nothing much about cancer cells, two weeks seems a hell of a long time. With that and the time it would take to go through the process of freezing my eggs, we decided I was better off getting stuck into the treatment as soon as possible, without going through the preservation steps. It actually took us about fifteen minutes of working through the pros and cons and boom, our lives were changed forever.

For those of you who don’t know, chemotherapy can affect your eggs, hormone levels and the functioning of the ovaries. There is also a risk of it bringing on early menopause in women who are close to the natural menopause age. On top of all of that, the Tamoxifen tablets (that I’ll soon be starting and taking for the next ten years), reduce oestrogen levels, so I’d have to take a break from them in order to attempt to get pregnant. The pregnancy might not even happen anyway, and it is not advised that I take that break for at least two years… when I’m nearly forty, people! Let’s be realistic here. Fertility treatment doesn’t always work the first time, I may not have many good eggs left already, and the NHS doesn’t tend to pay for women over that age to go through the treatment… so can you see where I’m going with this?

I recently went along to a talk hosted by a fertility specialist at a Younger Women Together Breast Cancer Care event. He explained about fertility in layman’s terms and I got more of a jist about how my chances might look, moving forward.  It’s definitely not impossible for me to get pregnant, but realistically, my chances aren’t that high. There is in fact, a blood test that I can do, which will show me how my eggs are looking after all of my treatment. Whether I go there is another matter though. Aside from everything else, the fact that getting pregnant could even bring back the cancer, is scary enough.

Every now and then, I wonder if it was the right decision to rush straight into chemo, but the fact that the choice has already been made, and there is nothing I can do about it, is reason enough for me to believe that it’s the path we were meant to take. Other doors will open somewhere along the line, and what good would it be if we had eggs sitting there in a chilly freezer if the cancer had spread to other parts of my body?

… Yes, that’s what we thought.

I’ll just keep thinking about the extra holidays that I’ll be able to take for years to come. Always a bright side to everything, eh? ;)

In other news… I started my four and a half weeks of daily radiotherapy today. I’m so happy to be doing that at St Thomas’ – It’s a bit of a trek for a ten minute appointment, but I’m just looking at it as a good exercise mission…

My Fertility v Chemotherapy

Until next time x

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My Introduction to Decléor

There’s no getting away from the fact that I love trying out new beauty products. I’d be the first to admit that my beauty shopping binges get a little out of hand at this time of year (I blame all the Christmas offers), but you know what… I don’t give two hoots. It keeps me happy and keeps my skin even happier!

When Beauty Expert asked me if I wanted to test out a few products from Decléor, my first thought was… um, yes please! No brainer. I’ve always eyed up the Decléor counters in many a department store, but just haven’t got round to bagging any of the goods. Silly me, my skin will not thank me for that.

Anyway, I finally got my hands on some and for the past few weeks I’ve been testing out the Decléor Micellar Oil and the Aromessence Neroli Oil Serum. Were they any good? Well, let me just say, Alex is getting a tad bit fed up of me asking him to feel my face. Smoooooth is the word.

Decleor Micellar Oil

The Decleor Micellar Oil offers up a blend of essential oils, including sweet almond and vegetal squalane (derived from olive oil), which maintains the skin’s optimum hydration. You apply it to dry skin (I personally like to gently massage in a few small pumps for a good amount of time), before adding a little water and then washing off with a warm cloth. As someone who currently has no eyelashes, it’s hard for me to say if it removes all traces of makeup including mascara, but it really does seem to get down into the pores and removes all other makeup, including my stubborn eyeliner.

My guess is that mascara would be no problem for this stellar product and I highly recommend it. It has definitely made it into my list of top three cleansers, and the fact that I don’t need to use a toner afterwards just adds to it’s greatness. I’d feel happy enough skipping my usual double cleanse on occasion, but not all of the time… It’s just a habit that I’ve got too used to and can’t seem to break out of.

My Introduction to Decleor

The star of this show for me has to be Decléor’s Aromessence Neroli Oil Serum, and it turns out that this was the brand’s first ever super serum (created in 1974). This stuff is the bomb. I’ve been using it every few days in the morning. It can be used twice a day. but I like to go a little easy on the more concentrated oils due to the fact that my skin is prone to little break-outs if I go overboard.

Since using this product, my skin has been so soft and supple. I have also had a few comments about how good my skin looks recently and one of them was from the beautician that was up close and personal giving me my new cosmetically tattooed brows. When I apply this product in the morning I can still feel the effects on my skin well into the evening, especially if I haven’t applied any makeup and have just gone au-naturel for the day. I love this stuff and if you are a fan of oils, then you will too!

Have you tried and Decléor products, and if so do you have any recommendations?

Until next time x

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Confessions Of A Useless Vegan

I have a confession to make… I know this will upset a few of our buddies, but we have strayed and are no longer one-hundred percent committed to being vegan. On the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I walked out of the hospital and one of the first things I said to Alex was that I wanted to adopt a vegan diet for the duration of my treatment and so we did. I really do think it helped my recovery after each chemotherapy treatment, as well as with my general health. We upped our fruit and veg intake tenfold, Alex shrunk to nothing and I also lost 5 kg. We didn’t really need to lose the weight, but I quite liked it on myself… Alex, on the other hand, needed to learn to eat a whole lot more than usual!

Since we took up the vegan lifestyle back in March, my skin has been so much better. Aside from all the extra fruit and veg I have also been drinking a lot more water, which has also helped immensely. I can’t comment on my energy levels during chemo, but since finishing, I have to say I have a lot more energy than before and generally feel a whole lot better about myself. “So why the change?” I hear you ask…

Well, when I say we are not committed, we are still aiming to eat only vegan produce in our home. However, we were really missing going out to supper clubs and the like, as eating out was a big thing for us before I became ill. It’s just not quite the same going out for dinner when there aren’t many (if any) great vegan places close to home. London is certainly getting much easier for the vegan lifestyle, but I’m talking about just popping out ten minutes from home when you don’t feel like cooking. We don’t always want to trek into the centre of town for a nice tasty meal out. I also struggle quite a bit as I also have to keep my wheat and potato intake as low as possible, due to allergies… Definitely limits my food options even further, but luckily for me sweet potatoes are allowed.

We certainly aren’t going to make it our mission to hunt out a non-vegan meal on our one day off, and we aren’t going to the extremes by eating massive slabs of meat. For me, it’s probably going to be a little fish in a sushi meal or a little dairy in a dish that is vegetarian-based. We don’t really miss meat at all and we will still continue to search for more vegan and vegetarian places to eat, but we will, however, still be taking in the odd supper club once every six weeks or so, should we so feel like it. I definitely think this is the best way for us as we have a set day and we’ll stick to it, rather than constantly craving the foods we miss and risking totally abandoning the vegan lifestyle altogether. We did it for health reasons, but I also like to think of myself as a conscious eater and I definitely feel guilt and pleasure at the same time as stuffing my face with the ‘good’ stuff.

Anyway, I just wanted to get this one out there as I feel like I have sinned by not announcing it.

My name is Zoe and I am now 90% (ish) vegan and better for it.

If I’m honest, it’s really all about the cheese… mmm cheese.



We’ve been eating some great vegan food along the way. Here are a few of my favs…

Polish Soba Noodle Salad – Salad Samurai 

Polish Soba Noodle Salad

Tofu Vietnamese spring rolls, stir fried Chinese cabbage and brown rice

Vegan Food

Vegan and gluten Free homemade pizza…

Vegan Pizza

Tasty take-away treats from Tibits

Vegan Tibits

Love this dairy free coffee drink from Rebel Kitchen…

Vegan Coffee - Rebel Mylk

And finally… Who needs dairy milk when you’ve got this?!

Vegan Chocolate

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Win Hotel Chocolat Goodies

I have a confession to make. I have never been into a Hotel Chocolat store before. I’ve never eaten chocolate made by them, and I’ve never even purchased gifts for anyone from there either. Yes, you heard me. Never.  I’m not really sure why, but it has now been brought to my attention that I’ve seriously been missing out!

I’ll be honest, when Hotel Chocolat asked me if I’d like to review some of their products, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When I realised I could try the products and offer one of my lovely readers the chance to win some as well, I thought it had to be worth the taste test. I know how much some of you love chocolate. I obviously had to check they had vegan products and luckily for us, it turns out they do* – and quite a lot of them at that. Bloomin’ marvellous.

As with everything these days, it took me quite some time to decide what I should opt for… It’s a tricky business choosing chocolate, don’t ya know! Here’s what I went for:

Gianduja Bombe Selector – Well, these were quite the surprise. Absolutely delicious. The thing I miss most about eating milk chocolate is the creamy texture. These certainly fill that gap without containing milk. They are smooth and creamy and have just the right balance of hazelnut for me – well, I say ‘are’, but they didn’t last long… More please!

Gianduja Bombe Selector

70% Dark Chocolate Batons. I love these! Again, these are so smooth and taste delicious. One should be enough to fill your craving, but I cannot tell a lie. I can often be found going back for another a little later. These would be ideal to take with you to a dinner party or why not just buy some for yourself. I know I will be doing just that. Alex isn’t overly keen on chocolate and I  did hear him utter the word ‘yum’ when he did a taste test for me. Enough said.

Hotel Chocolat

Hotel chocolat Calendar

I have chosen a Fruit & Nut Frenzy Giant 500g Slab and a Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar to give away to one of you lovely lot. I hate to say the C word, but we all know Christmas is looming and there is plenty to share out with this selection (if you do so choose). All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

Win Hotel Chocolat Goodies


a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • All Hotel Chocolat products are made in the same environment. There is a small chance these products could contain milk traces.

Hotel Chocolat use sustainable, ethically sourced cocoa beans in their products. What’s not to love?

Take a look at their Christmas store – So much chocolate goodness!

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My Lumpectomy Operation

Crikey, it’s been a while since I gave you an update, hasn’t it?! Sorry about that. No excuses… Er, maybe one actually – it’s definitely much easier to spread the news on social media than it is to write a long blog post, when you’ve got a sore boob.

Since last we met, I’ve had my lumpectomy and I’m recovering well. It does hurt, but that’s to be expected for a while, and it’s not unbearable, just frustratingly inconvenient. The good news is that I was told on the day of the operation that the cancer has definitely not spread to any other parts of my body. They only had to remove two lymph nodes, and now the tumour has been removed I’m effectively cancer free. Hurrah! Bottoms up… Drinks all round. Your round I believe.

When I look back on the day of the operation, I can only shake my head and once again curse the hospital that I’ve been attending. I was asked to arrive at the day surgery at 7 am, ready for my operation process to start at 7.30am. Alex dropped me off (I wouldn’t let him hang around), and I headed to the doors only to find they weren’t open. Fifteen minutes later and I was at the front of a queue waiting to get in. Finally, at 7.25am the doors opened and it turned out the receptionist was running late. The last thing I expected to be doing before my breast surgery was forming a queue in the freezing cold for 25 minutes. You can only laugh! Har. Har.

I’m not sure if any of you have had day surgery, but it’s most definitely no movie premiere. No red carpet, that’s for sure. The room I was in had ten beds on one side and ten on the other, with lots of staff buzzing around asking me the same questions over and over again. How lucky was I to get the nurse with verbal diarrhea? She just went on and on about her schooling, Lidl and God knows what else… I do love a bit of Lidl banter before a boob op at 8am in the morning! ;)


Yes, they are paper knickers on the top of that pile there, and I did have to wear them. In fact, I forgot to take them off and wore them home. Glam.

After my lumpectomy, I came round to a nurse offering me tea… It seems we Brits will drink tea on any occasion. I didn’t. I was lying (no doubt catching flies), trying to come round in some sort of graceful manner with all the other patients watching me from the other side. I was then hurried along, told to get dressed, given paperwork and eventually kicked out by 12.30pm, so the staff could prep for the next round of patients. Ah, at least it’s free healthcare. Mustn’t grumble. I’m just very thankful I had an amazing surgical team, which after all, is the most important part of the process.

Unfortunately, I had to return to the day surgery at 6 pm that evening and it seems we kept the whole surgical team waiting before they could finish work for the weekend. I had slept for most of the afternoon, only to wake up with blue dye all over my t-shirt and lovely white bedding. It had to be checked out as that was not obviously meant to happen, but it seems I was simply one of the very rare cases where the dye used to locate the tumour had leaked back out of my wound instead of passing through me. In fact, my surgeon said he’d never seen it happen before. Typical.

After the op…

My Lumpectomy Operation

After the discharge nurses got hold of me… Easy on the padding!

Breast Cancer Lumpectomy

Anyway, I’ve come out much better off and am now on the road to recovery with just four and a half weeks of radiotherapy to go when my wound has healed. As for the scars, I’ll probably barely notice them over time –  The surgeon went in through the nipple (eek!) and seems to have done a pretty good job of sewing it back on. Thank God for that!

I hope no one is offended by my pictures. I want to share as much as I can about my cancer journey as possible to help raise awareness, and hopefully help those going through the same thing. Close your eyes now if you don’t want to see my boob five days  after the lumpectomy. I was searching for info before I had my tumour removed, but couldn’t find a lot of what I wanted to know. So here it is for those that are curious. Nipples… We’ve all got them until something like cancer takes some away. 






Until next time x



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