Win a Suburban Turban Hat

Surprisingly for me, my hair loss was the least of my worries when chemotherapy side effects started to kick in, back in April. Even though I was known to spend quite a lot a great deal of time making sure my hair was just right before stepping foot out of the door (only for it to be blown right out of place), I just seemed to take it on the chin as the time came for me to shave it all off. Perhaps, the constant arguments (with myself in the mirror), the shouting on bad hair days, and time wasted faffing, had finally had its day… Who knew it would take cancer to  put me at ease with myself!

Regular readers will know that I (Alex) spent a great deal of money on a real hair wig ahead of chemo, however, it just didn’t sit right and I couldn’t bring myself to wear it. I’d like to say the whole process of buying the wig eased me into losing my hair, but unfortunately for me, I had a wig-buying drama and then proceeded to have a bad re-styling experience afterwards. I certainly didn’t want those bad vibes sitting on the top of my head, so promptly started looking for an alternative.

This is when I came across the Kimmy hat on Suburban Turban. I spent quite some time trawling through so many sites, to try and find hats and scarves that weren’t going to make me look older than my years, and luckily ended up spotting just the right style to suit my very needs. I found that a lot of other stores seemed to think about practicalities, without adding any style, and as someone who attempts to keep up with the trends, I really didn’t want to compromise any further on my look that was to be altered so much by my breast cancer treatment.

The Kimmy is one of the more basic, (but still stylish) hats that Suburban Turban offer for those suffering from hair loss. One of the things I instantly liked about it was the way it added a little volume in place of where my hair used to be. It’s made of a really soft jersey fabric that is easy to wear for hours on end, without any discomfort at all. Although I opted for black, it comes in many other great colours, for those who are a little more adventurous than myself. The fit is just perfect.  I think it’s safe to say that I felt like I’d struck gold when I found the hat to suit me, and when I discovered some great scarves to complete the look, I was over the moon… That wig had no chance!

I doubt I’ll use anything other than the Kimmy until my hair  grows back to a length I’m comfortable with when going out in public. Who knows when I’ll be brave enough! I imagine I’m going to suffer more with the growing-out stage, but I had to face a bigger challenge somewhere now, didn’t I?

I hate to overload you with selfies, but here’s a look at how I wear my scarves with my Kimmy hat…

Suburban Turban Kimmy

Hats for hair loss

Stylish Hats for Hair loss

…and here’s a selection of my scarves – When I say selection, I mean I  can’t show you them all because I went a little mad on Ebay ;)

Scarves

…and more importantly, here’s a picture of me wearing the Kimmy on its own, to highlight the fact that you’re not too young to check your boobs and moobs regularly, for signs of breast cancer. For a better picture of the hat do head on over to the Suburban Turban site…

Hair Loss

Suburban Turban have kindly offered to give one of my lucky readers the chance to win a hat of their choice. With so many to choose from, I think you’ll find that this is a great prize for anyone who is experiencing hair loss, be it through chemotherapy treatment, or for any other reason. Go on, try your luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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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