Blog No 173 – Book Review – The Orphanage Girls, Mary Wood.

Anyone who knows me or who kindly reads my blog, will appreciate that I love to read books. I have a passion for historical fiction; therefore, I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to write a book review and be included in the @RandonTTours for Mary Wood’s latest book The Orphanage Girls

The book was released on 12th May 2022 and is available in most supermarkets, bookstores, and online retailers. Congratulations to Mary for another incredible book.

Book Description

Children deserve a family to call their own. Ruth dares to dream of another life far away from the horrors within the walls of Bethnal Green’s famous orphanage. Luckily, she has her friends, Amy, and Ellen – but she can’t keep them safe, and the suffering is only getting worse, surely there must be a way out of here? But when Ruth breaks free from the shackles of confinement and sets into east London hoping to make a new life for herself, she finds that, for a girl with nowhere to turn, life can be just tough on the outside.

Bett keeps order in the unruly part of East End and takes Ruth under her wing along orphanage escapee Robbie. But it is Rebekah, a kindly woman, who offers Ruth and Robbie a home something neither have ever known. Yet even these two stalwart women cannot protect them when the police learn of an orphan on the run. It is then that Ruth must do everything in the power to hide. Her life and those of the friends she left behind at the orphanage depend on it.

About The Author – Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool, United Kingdom during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

And on her web page: http://www.authormarywood.com

She is also on Twitter: @Authormary

Book Review

Oh my, I think I felt every emotion reading this book, happiness, sadness, fear, and empathy. The book focuses on Ruth’s life, starting as a 12-year-old orphan. Ruth’s life begins in an orphanage and along the way, she establishes relationships with individuals and the story is told. Initially Ruth’s life is plagued with hardship and cruelty, but she soon discovers people’s kindness and generosity in the outside world. Ruth begins to build a happier life and creates long-term and loving relationships.

Ruth is already a very compassionate person, nevertheless, she soon learns that life outside the orphanage teaches her diversity and culture. Ruth is enriched in love and along the way her life evolves. The book is very heart-warming and very hard to put down as the story captivates you to the bitter end, where you may shed a tear or two, like me.

Mary has the extraordinary gift of developing a story with an incredible imagination and dovetailed with her research. This book was awarded 5 stars from me and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Mary Wood’s Book Series

  1. Breckton
  2. Generation War
  3. Girls Who Went to War
  4. Jam Factory Girls
  5. Orphanage Girls

Blog No 172 – Cancer Update.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/postagestampartistry

Hello everyone, 

Wow it’s been a while, My life seems to be consumed with medical issues and I didn’t want to bore you all with the in and outs.  It’s been over a year since my last PRRT treatment, which was executed in London   Therefore it’s time for a little update. 

I can’t believe I’ve reached yet another birthday in January. Something I certainly didn’t believe I would achieve, following my cancer diagnosis. Life has unquestionably changed dramatically since that very day I was informed that I had a rare cancer. There’s an undeniably truth in the saying, your life can change in an instance. No-one prepares you for the enormous life change that’s about to happen. Notwithstanding this, there’s no better feeling, than to wake up in the morning for another day of life. 

I’ve learned to be exquisite, to challenge, and to do my own research. Everyday is a school day and i continue to deal with ongoing symptoms. I do feel that following my treatment there has been some improvement in my symptoms but others have just escalated. 

Hearing loss, I can hear you say hearing loss, excuse the pun. I’m that 1% who lost my hearing through treatment. I should stress that it’s not complete hearing loss but considerable enough to warrant two hearing aids. I saw an Audiologist about 4 months after completion of treatment as I felt my hearing was deteriorating. My useful skill of listening to two conversations had gone. I got retested a couple of months ago and it was confirmed that my hearing had deteriorated further. According to the Audiologist, the treatment had killed the nerve endings in my ears. I have to say it’s good to be able to hear but I’m now very noise sensitive when I have the hearing aids in.

Flushing has beyond any doubt increased. looking like a strawberry at times can be quiet embarrassing. Let me stop you just there, this not menopause but a cancer symptom. The tumours in your body secrete serotonin causing your body to flush. I can glow with various symptoms and one of them is the feeling of pain. Someone said the other day, my body looks like a bad case of sunburn, he’s right. Furthermore it glows from head to toe and can happen numerous times throughout an hour.

Lumps. After treatment, I developed a lump on my forearm. The lump appeared from nowhere, for this reason my GP and I decided to play a game of watch and see.  Obviously it wasn’t joint related as the lump was in the middle of my forearm, it was under the skin, hard to feel and pain-free. As the lump appeared to continue to grow, the next course of action was an appointment with a Dermatologist for a biopsy. The lump was biopsied and turned out to be benign tumour but was very rare. I appeared to be a woman of rare health issues.

At the time of the biopsy I was asked if I had any other lumps and my reply was no. As the lump was not bothering me, no further action was required at this time.  

Subsequently a couple of months later my GP had to request another biopsy on behalf of my Oncologist in London.  At the time of writing this, there is an additional 3 lumps, we are maybe up to 4 now. I see the Dermatologist mid March.  I believe it to be the same rare benign tumours but I will have to wait and see. Surely there is a reason for these little devils appearing, maybe it’s due to my recent cancer treatment.  

Pain. I have pain in a couple locations both the spine and chest area.  The spine, I have sciatica in both legs down to my toes.  The Spine Specialist was meant to do spine injections a few months ago but I haven’t called him to arrange a treatment day.  He’s clearly chasing me, as I have a telephone consultation in the next couple of weeks.  

I will give you my reasons, I’ve have a lot going on and I’m trying to resolve those issues before going forward with another treatment. Besides, it doesn’t necessarily work, therefore I endured pain to have more pain. I don’t see the point of going again and again for something that doesn’t necessarily work and my GP agrees. This is a discussion I need to have with my Spine Consultant. I will get a second opinion by getting a private scan and have a discussion with my GP to take the appropriate action.

Additional pain is in the tumours in peritoneal membrane near the liver.  This is on another level of the Richter scale.  The Chronic Pain Consultant discussed the injections on the request of Oncology Consultant & my GP.  The approach was injections but when discussing it with the Consultant on my birthday if all days. I would  try the increase in morphine first and if I have issues, we would do the injections into the peritoneal immediately. I did inform her that it’s worth giving it a try but previously I haven’t tolerated too much morphine. I’m able to tolerate my usual morphine when sleeping and top ups of liquid when required, however increasing the tablets cause’s me too many problems to name. How do you find the balance?, it’s either suffering pain and have some normality to my day or for taking the edge of pain and zero quality of life. I had the injections yesterday and I will have my lower pelvic area done in April when the consultant returns after a month leave  

Endocrinologist. I have a lovely Consultant who monitors my thyroid, this is another issue brought on by the cancer. On the positive note my thyroid is managed well under his care. However he didn’t like some of my recent blood results and have requested I do further immediate blood tests, which I’ve done yesterday. Let’s see what happens there.

Other symptoms – You don’t need to hear the in’s  and outs of everything, nevertheless it can be challenging at times 

Novembers Oncology Scans – Suggest that I’m stable but my body is suggesting otherwise. I have tumours in the peritoneal, lower pelvic area, liver and lungs and wherever else the sneaky devils have put their head down. I feel there is even some reoccurrence to previous organs.

Although I’m challenged on a daily basis, I’m on this earth living a life many others don’t. Sometimes we feel things are done due to fate, which are either a lesson or blessing This situation is maybe a lesson it’s definitely not a blessing.

On the good days I’m still making art with recycled postage stamps. Check out my Etsy shop, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter   “Postage Stamp Artistry”  

Love to you all. ❤️

Blog No 171 – 2021 Reading List

My goal for 2021 was to read more than 40 books. If I could beat my previous years target of 66 books or more, I was going to be extremely happy. I achieved 43 books in total, therefore I superseded my target and averaged nearly one book a week, which wasn’t bad for last year.

Here is my reading list: –

  1. The Whitechapel Girl – Gilda O’Neil
  2. Quick Cooking – Mary Berry
  3. The Colliers Wife – Chrissy Walsh
  4. A Sisters Sorrow – Kitty Neal
  5. The Jam Factory Girls – Mary Wood
  6. The Abandoned Daughter – Mary Wood
  7. The Little Book of Colour- Karen Haller
  8. Joe Biden – Beatrice Gormley
  9. The Brave Daughters – Mary Wood
  10. The Wronged Daughter – Mary Wood
  11. An Orphan’s Journey – Dilly Court
  12. Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls – Mary Wood
  13. As Time Goes By The House – Anne Bennett
  14. Get Fit, Get Healthy, Get Happy – Mark Wright
  15. Another Mans Child – Anne Bennett
  16. Unnatural Causes – Dr Richard Shepherd
  17. Winter Wedding – Dilly Court
  18. Where’s There’s a Will – June Francis
  19. Girls in Tin Hats – Anne Murray
  20. A Girl From Woolworths – Elaine Everest
  21. Two Pence to Cross the Mersey – Helen Forrester
  22. The Case for Keto – Gary Taubes
  23. Suspects – Lesley Pearce
  24. Fortunes Daughter – Dilly Court
  25. A Promised Land – Barack Obama
  26. A Mother’s Secret – Kitty Neal
  27. The Patchwork Girls – Elaine Everest
  28. A Winter Love Song – Rita Bradshaw
  29. The Forgotten Daughter – Glynis Peters
  30. The Doctor Will See You Now – Dr Amir Khan
  31. Reluctant Heiress – Dilly Court
  32. It’s a Love Story – Martin Kemp & Shirley Kemp
  33. Rome is Where the Heart is – Tilly Tennant
  34. Over the Rainbow – Katie Flynn
  35. Keto in an Instant – Jen Fisch
  36. Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart
  37. Shamed – Linda Castillo
  38. The Stolen Baby – Diney Costeloe
  39. The Butler – Danielle Steel
  40. A Sinple Wish – Rosie Goodwin
  41. Meet Me in London – Georgia Toffola
  42. The Red Cross Orphans – Glynis Peters
  43. The Asylum – Carol Minto

Here’s a reading Q&A

What is your favourite time of the day to read.

I tend to read when I go to bed, however I do listen to audiobooks during the day whilst I’m undertaking tasks.

How many hours do you read a day.

I can read or listen anything from 15mins to 2/3 hrs. It all depends what I’m doing or how tired I am.

What is my favourite genre.

Historical fiction is my favourite, however I’m trying other genres. I do like biographies, I feel it’s an education learning someone else’s struggles. It can make me appreciate my life and have empathy and compassion for other people. Even though I have cancer, I’m always saying there is someone out there suffering more than me so I’m lucky.

Which author did you first get obsessed with.

I would say it was Lyn Andrews then Katie Flynn

Who are you currently obsessed with.

Definitely Mary Wood and Dilly Court. To be fair my obsession is growing with many authors.

Can you read multiple books at one time.

Yes I can, nevertheless I think two is enough for me.

Which book/books was your favourite this year.

I did love “The Orphans Journey ” by Dilly Court, “Patchwork Girls ” by Elaine Everest and “The Jam Factory”’Series by Mary Wood.

Who was your favourite author this year.

I would say Mary Wood because her books are all so different and clearly well researched. Her imagination is incredible and it blows my mind how creative she is with her books.

Which new authors did you try this year

I would say Tilly Tennant and Georgia Toffola this year.

Which book touched you this year.

It has to “The Asylum” by Carol Minto. The true story was about the horrific abuse by her family and Aston Hall, the asylum.

How many books do you intend to read in 2022

I’m think about 40 again, let’s see what happens.

Blog No 170 – Postage Stamps Artistry

Outer Space Copyright Postage Stamp Artistry 2021

I will update you on my health in a few weeks in regards to scans etc. In the meantime, let me introduce “Postage Stamp Artistry”. I’ve starting creating artwork using postage stamps.

Hope, Heal & Happiness. Copyright Postage Stamp Artistry 2021

Here’s the profile from Etsy shop.

I’ve always been creative, had a passion for colour and loved all things vintage. I’ve always been fascinated by stamps and how they can travel the world, if only they could tell us their story. Every stamp has a history and shouldn’t just be thrown away but recycled to create additional memories. I’m using stamps from various decades. Original
ink markings stamped by the postal service can be found on some of the stamps, which adds further character.

Postage Stamp Artistry brings every stamp/stamps back to life by creating wall art and other products. I like to design a visual piece of nostalgia that can be hung in both modern or character homes. All the products are designed by Postage Stamp Artistry and are handmade with love.

I’m also able to make custom or personalised pieces, therefore please send me a message request. Most pieces of art can be personalised with a word or a choice of words more relevant to you but there will be a word limit, which we can discuss.

I do intend to extend the range continuously so please favour ❤️ my shop in order to receive instant updates of new listings. I will welcome your reviews & photos of your purchases.

I’m currently just finishing the Statue of Liberty using USA stamps.

Statue of Liberty Copyright Postage Stamp Artistry 2021

Link to shop http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/postagestampartistry

I also have a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter under the shop name Postage Stamp Artistry pls connect with me on one of the social media platforms.

Blog No 168 – UK Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK, therefore Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there. I’m unfortunately not a mother but I’m a Godmother and Aunt so I’m as good as a mother on another level. I got a beautiful card from my Goddaughter H for Mothers Day. Thank you H 💕

Considering I was living in Canada for years, I’m still tuned in to Mother’s Day being in May, I guess its hard to switch off. This year all mothers are in lockdown so I hope all children have been very creative. I’m sure more thought has to go into gifts and trying to make their day as special due to covid restrictions.

I’ve already spoke to my mother today and she is lavished with cards & gifts. She said she was going to have a relaxing day and have some chocolate.

To all those children who have lost their mother’s, I’m sure it’s a very hard day for you. Nevertheless, I’m confident that all your mothers are smiling as they’ve never been forgotten by their loved ones.

Can I include pets as my children, I’m sure there is a lot of people who do. My pets Lottie (dog) & Hamish (cat) have selfishly absorbed all the love today with cuddles and belly rubs.

I hope all new & old mothers have a wonderful day. Love to you all. 💗

Blog No 167 – 2020 Reading List

My goal for 2020 was to read more than 46 books. If I could beat my previous target of 46 books or more, I was going to be happy. I achieved 66 books in total, therefore I superseded my target and averaged 1 book a week.

Here is my reading list: –

  1. Girls in Tin Hats – Annie Murray
  2. Villa of Secrets – Patricia Wilson
  3. Hold on Hope – Jean Fullerton
  4. Perhaps Tomorrow – Jean Fullerton
  5. Sisters of Gold – Annie Murray
  6. A Glimpse of Happiness – Jean Fullerton
  7. I Owe You One – Sophie Kinsella
  8. The Teashop Girls – Elaine Everest
  9. No Cure for Love – Jean Fullerton
  10. The Secret Midwife – Katy Weitz
  11. The Volunteer – Jack Fairweather
  12. Permanent Records – Edward Snowden
  13. The House Across The Street – Lesley Pearse
  14. Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kaye
  15. The Whitechapel Girl – Gilda O’Neil
  16. Christmas With The Teashop Girls – Elaine Everest
  17. Finding Freedom – Carolyn Durand, Omid Scobie
  18. Royal – Danielle Steel
  19. The Orphan Twins – Lesley Eames
  20. The Rag & Bone Girl – Maggie Ford
  21. Going Hime to Liverpool – Kate Eastham
  22. The Country Bride – Dilly Court
  23. Liverpool Daughter – Katie Flynn
  24. A Springtime Affair – Katie Fforde
  25. The Light in Hidden Places – Sharon Cameron
  26. Goodnight Sweetheart – Pam Weaver
  27. Memories are Made of This – June Francis
  28. Pack Up Your Troubles – Anne Bennet
  29. How to Make it Happen – Maria Hatzistefanis
  30. Official Secrets – Marcia Mitchell & Thomas Mitchell
  31. A Daughter Ruin – Kitty Neale
  32. A Village Scandal – Dilly Court
  33. Many a Tear Has to Fall – June Francis
  34. Mothering Sunday – Rosie Goodwin
  35. It’s Now or Never – June Francis
  36. Walking Back to Happiness – June Francis
  37. The Spitfire Sisters – Margaret Dickinson
  38. Love Letters in the Sand – June Francis
  39. Shadows of the Past – June Francis
  40. Her Father Name – Beezy March
  41. How to be British – Tim Benson
  42. The Jones Family Food Roster – Alison Jones
  43. The Man Who Didn’t Call – Rosie Walsh
  44. An Ophran Christmas – Katie Flynn
  45. Diagnosis – Lisa Sanders
  46. The Orphan Thief – Glynis Peters
  47. Mind Over Clutter – Nicola Lewis
  48. The Prison Doctor – Dr Amanda Brown
  49. An Orphans War – Molly Green
  50. A Strong Hand to Hold – Anne Bennett
  51. Time To Say Goodbye – Rosie Goodwin
  52. The Organised Writer – Anthony Johnston
  53. The Christmas Wedding – Dilly Court
  54. Rag and Bone Christmas – Dilly Court
  55. For Better or Worse – June Francis
  56. The Winters Promise – Rosie Goodwin
  57. The Orphans of Halfpenny St – Cathy Sharp
  58. A Daughter Duty – Maggie Hope
  59. Do The Birds Still Sing in Hell – Horace Greasley
  60. Dilly’s Sacrifice – Rosie Goodwin
  61. Dilly’s Lass – Rosie Goodwin
  62. Dilly’s Hope – Rosie Goodwin
  63. The Mill Girl – Rosie Goodwin
  64. Will You Take Me Home – Julie Tottman
  65. The Convent – Maria Hargreaves
  66. Home Front Girls – Rosie Goodwin

Here’s a reading Q&A

What is your favourite time of the day to read.

I tend to read when I go to bed. I can read everything from 10 pages to 100 in a night.

How many hours do you read a day.

I can read anything from 15mins to 2/3 hrs. It all depends how tired I am.

What is my favourite genre.

Historical fiction is my favourite, however I’m trying other genres.

Which author did you first get obsessed with.

I would say it was Lyn Andrews then Katie Flynn

Who are you currently obsessed with.

I would say Dilly Court and June Francis. To be fair my obsession is growing with many authors.

Can you read multiple books at one time.

Yes I can, nevertheless I think two is enough for me.

Which book/books was your favourite this year.

I did love “Rag n Bone Christmas” by Dilly Court. I also enjoyed “Will You Take Me Home” by Julie Tottman. This was a true story, which involved a Yorkie dog, therefore I brought the book for my goddaughter too as she’s a reader.

Who was your favourite author this year.

I would say June Francis because her characters in her books follow through her books, which I loved.

Which new authors did you try this year

I would say June Francis and Jean Fullerton were the most popular as I had read a few of their books.

Which book touched you this year.

It has to “The Convent” by Maria Hargreaves. The true story was about the horrific cruelty to children by a nun in a care home in Oldham, U.K.

How many books do you intend to read in 2021.

I’m not sure I’ll reach that target again but let’s see what happens.

Blog No 166 – Overview of 2020

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Happy New Everyone

Family & Friends

Thank you to friends and family for your continuous support. I have a huge amount of respect for people that consistently care and support Mr Zebrakat and I. Honestly from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for everything. Especially all the people who sent cards, flowers, plants, mags, chocs & sweets, biscuits and messages.

The year started with a trip to County Cork, Ireland to celebrate Aunt P, 80th birthday with family. It was was such a heartwarming celebration. Aunt P knows how to provide a party, we had it all, fabulous food, good company and magnificent entertainment. She’s a very courageous lady, she had literally just finished treatment for breast cancer and we were hopping on a plane. Thank you Aunt P for a wonderful time.

To my relatives in Ireland it was wonderful catching up with you all. We will be back when it’s safe to fly again.

Covid 19 played havoc with special birthdays, weddings and new baby’s this year. I’m sure these celebrations were as special as they could be.

Hamish & Lottie

Hamish has been part of the family now for 2 years. Lottie & Hamish are very much in a routine with toilet breaks, feeding and sleeping. Your more than likely to find Lottie at my side and Hamish sleeping on my bed blanket. I’m sure my neighbours must laugh at Lottie and Hamish when they are running into the house together from the garden. It’s quiet comical watching them following each other like sheep. They are known to kiss and lick each other first thing in the morning.

Hamish still looks like a lion and is slightly larger in stature to Lottie. Lottie can hold her own too, if Hamish tries to grab her. Pets are obviously very therapeutic.

Home

Copyright 2019 Zebrakat

We are still tweaking our current residence. It’s certainly changing in appearance and no longer represents a typical terraced house floor plan. We started in the roof space and now we are on the ground floor, working from the front of the property to the rear. I’m waiting for a replacement front door, which has been delayed due to covid 19. It’s been on the order since October.

I wanted to show you a cupboard that I’d designed earlier in the year and finally put into its place. I needed the unit to fit on a plinth in my guest bedroom. It’s made out of scaffolding boards. Anyone who knows me will appreciate I love a little timber in my decor.

The cupboard consists of doors, drawers and shelves. Behind the doors is some hanging space and some additional shelving. Its perfect for guests and now considered a new heirloom.

Health

I’ve already discussed my health in previous blogs. I’m glad treatment is over for now, I’m hoping my body gives me a little respite from medical appointments and health issues. I’m planning to continue as I do, live life and be happy.

Travel

Travel this year has been a bit of a washout, however I’ve still managed a few places. I was able to fly to Ireland earlier in the year, which was amazing. I’ve also visited Bath & York, both historical cities. Bath & York are full of beautiful architecture, fabulous restaurants and quaint shops. I would recommend both cities a visit, magnificent gems of the U.K.

Mr Zebrakat

Mr Zebrakat is working from home and on site as he works in the construction industry. It is nice having him around. On a positive note, covid had Mr Z at home when I was going through treatment. He unquestionably is happy he’s working and is one of the lucky ones still working.

Mr Z is undoubtedly been my tower of strength going through treatment and family hospitalisations etc. Thank you Mr Z for always being there as always as usual, what would I do without you.

Hobbies

Reading, I did about 66 books last year, so beat my previous years record. Watch out for my next blog for my annual list of books.

Covid has allowed me to frame up & hang some travel pictures etc. I’v also been filling up photo albums with old photos. I still have numerous to do but I’m getting there. I’ll then move on to filling up scrapbooks with memories and mementos.

Hopefully 2021 will no longer be a year of doom and gloom. We all need to be vaccinated and getting on with our lives. Love to you all 🤣

Blog No 165 – PRRT & Covid 19

What a year, with covid-19, I don’t think anyone is ever going to forget 2020 in a hurry. Did you achieve something positive through lockdown? I did, I hung up some pictures, sorted out my photo albums and filled them with lovely memories. If we hadn’t gone into lockdown those empty photo albums would still be there, looking empty.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones this year, as my cancer treatment continued in London throughout lockdown etc. The hospital had experienced numerous cases of covid-19 patients and precautions were put into place for the safety of staff and patients. I was required to have a covid-19 test locally prior to travelling to London. A negative result was vital in order for treatment to continue. I would like to thank all those individuals who were involved with my treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, London. Thank you so much.

My mother had a tough year after being diagnosed with a secondary cancer. Her cancer treatment continued locally throughout lockdown/covid 19 with a few hospital stays. We both had finished our treatments within 2 days of each other. She is doing much better now but she’s not still 100% as yet. She’s a tough cookie. X

PRRT treatment – everyone has a different experience but we all have similar symptoms. The treatment procedure is not that bad, the only symptom you may experience during treatment, is nausea. The medical team will give you anti nausea meds prior to treatment. They can also control the flow of treatment so you don’t experience nausea. The more treatments I had, the worse post treatment symptoms got for me. What’s funny is, I can’t face pasta since the last treatment. The thought of pasta in any form still makes me gag. I’m not sure I will ever tolerate spaghetti bolognese again.

I’m so relieved that we have finished treatment for now. We are 9 weeks post treatment and my bloods are still not to normal levels. They won’t exactly be perfect due to the cancer, nevertheless they still need some improvement. My Oncologist is keeping an eye on them for me, I’m in good hands. My hair has thinned a lot since treatment but it will grow back I’m sure. During my treatment my hearing was affected and it’s certainly not a known side effect. Yet it can’t be dismissed either. I’m also experiencing dizziness but we don’t know, if there’s a connection to the hearing or if it something else that is going on. I’m starting to get terrible migraines again so I’m monitoring that for the Neurologist. That’s the problem with an illness, it can lead to other problems.

My daily quality of life, I would consider has definitely improved. At the end of the day there is no cure for my cancer, therefore I wanted a quality life whilst I was living, that’s not too much to ask

The latest results following results following my recent CT & MRI scans was that I am stable. Stable means no new growth of cancer in other areas. This is a little questionable for me, because I only found out that I have tumours on my lungs whilst going through treatment. In my eyes that new growth but in their eyes it’s tumours over a certain dimension. I’ve obtained all of my records as I don’t like being kept in the dark. This latest scan gave me the dimensions of the new tumours in the lungs so I can monitor the growth. Even though I’m consider as stable surely the lungs is a new site of cancer, I have cancer in the peritoneal, pelvic area and liver and a couple of other questionable areas. My Oncologist is going to send me for cancer (Ga68) scan in April. This may give me a true reflection of what is really going on, although my scans don’t always reveal everything. I personally don’t think it will be long before I have another op on my bowel. You heard here first lol.

My ultimate goal with treatment was to improve my daily quality of life and I do feel we achieved this. I’m so grateful for my new found freedom in lockdown lol. Thank you to my friends & family who have always supported me through my treatment.

Just one more thing, I was giving support to another patient going through the same treatment. I will call her SC, she was a wonderful lady and I had found another loyal friend experiencing this same cancer. I have a few more cancer friends and ladies, you know who you all are. X SC was suffering from a lot of pain and I personally don’t feel she was getting the support she needed. Clearly there was more going on, therefore I was devastated to learn from her husband that she had passed away. I do believe that I’m still here because I do my diligence and I’m very persistent. I would say to any patient of any illness, go with your gut, and fight for you health. Rest in peace SC you will certainly be missed by me. X

Blog No 164 – Churchill War Rooms, London

I made the trip to London for more scans back in Dec 19. Whilst we were there, we took a visit to Churchill’s War Rooms in Westminster, just around the corner from the Houses of Parliament. London is oozing so much history and the architecture is incredible.

There is a fee into this museum but it’s certainly worth a visit. The museum is open from 9 – 6pm daily. Check opening times before you travel just in case there’s lockdown restrictions.

Chiefs of Staff Meeting Room

The heads of army, airforce and navy would meet in this room to discuss the war efforts.

Winston Churchill

This was Winston Churchill radio address from the Cabinet War Rooms to the people of France on the 21st October 1940.

Switchboard Operator

Every call taken by a Switchboard Operator was deemed as urgent at the Cabinet War Rooms.

Ismay’s Quarters

Room 61 was Hastings Ismay’s. He was the Chief of Staff to Churchill. He was the link between Churchill and the heads of the three armed forces. A senior officer would have the luxury of carpet in their room.

Access Point

The Camp Commandant was responsible for the day to day maintenance of the Cabinet War Rooms. The key rack with all its keys and labels.

The Map Room

The beating heart of the Cabinet War Rooms. The room was used for gathering intelligence to fight the war. During a shift there would be 5 officers. A duty officer, 3 officers from the armed forces and official from the Ministry of Home Security.

Map Room Supplies

A box of map pins sorted by colour ready to use.

Mrs Churchill’s Room

A little more of a luxury room with a dressing table and comfy armchair.

I would recommend a visit to the museum especially if your at the Houses of Parliament.

Blog No 162 – Diary/Bullet Journalling

Towards the end of every year, I always look forward to a new diary. It’s the one thing that I do obsess about. The diary needs to work for me and I’m very particular on its layout.

Back in May 2016, I discussed about doing a bullet journal in Weekly Blog No 77 – Bullet Journal. Then in Feb 2017, Weekly Blog No 94 – Bullet Journal Update, I gave the pros and cons of bullet journalling.

I’m always trying to improve how I set up my diary. Last year I attempted to use technology on my iPhone. Mr Zebrakat and I share calendar, so we are able to be more efficient. Subsequently I still maintain a hardcopy diary.

A diary allows Mr Zebrakat and I to check each other’s availability. We certainly don’t have to call each other up to see if an appointment is ok. If there’s no entry on the calendar, it’s free to book. This works very well for us both, therefore we shall continue this proven method.

I still have a hard copy diary and I’m able to glance on the monthly spread to see what appointments etc I have. I haven’t mastered that on a phone as yet. I can’t always look either, as I could be taking a call on my phone. Having a hard copy allows me quick access whilst on the phone

In Weekly Blog No 4 – Monthly Planner, May 2014, I discussed using colour to hi light appointments etc and my planner/diary was looking like a sea of pink. I have maintained using colour, it allows me to scan a page quickly. Maybe I’m a little OCD as I’ve maintained using colour for different things. This year Ive used Washi tape, a method picked up from bullet journalling.

This week I sourced bullet journal stickers from rebelinkco on Etsy (link below) to organise me better. I will use the monthly spread for appointments all colour coordinated of course. Red for Royal Free Hosp, blue for GP and yellow for scans etc etc. as

Colour is an excellent method for me to scan quickly when I’m searching for something in my diary. I did relay on my monthly calendar a little too much this year and hardly used the remaining diary pages.

Birthdays and anniversaries etc will move to weekly spreads alongside bills, pets meds and ordering medication etc. I will therefore use my diary a little more. See the various stickers above. I shall continue to use technology, my diary and bullet journalling methods. Surely I can only be more efficient and organised than ever before, let’s see, I will give feedback towards the end of the year.