Blog No 158 – Chocolate Toothpaste Tart

Completed 1 Tart

Another UK school dinner favorite, although I’m not a huge fan. I’m sure chocolate lovers will love this recipe, as no baking is required, especially if you purchase a ready made pastry case. I assume the name chocolate toothpaste comes from the consistently of the filling representing toothpaste.

Makes 1 Tart

Ingredients

  • 70g margarine
  • 150g sugar
  • 20g instant hot chocolate powder
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 230g dried milk powder
  • 1 ready made pastry case
  • 150ml warm water

Method 

Cream together 70g margarine and 150g sugar until smooth. (I used caster sugar as the granules are smaller)

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Add 20g hot chocolate powder and 20g cocoa powder to the margarine/sugar mixture and cream together.

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Mix 230g dried milk powder and 150ml warm water together in a separate bowl until smooth.

Blend both mixes together until smooth and thick .

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Pour into a ready pastry case and put in the refrigerator until set.

I apologise for the messy edges to the pastry case, I wasn’t having the best of days.  Enjoy

(Written in UK English)

Blog No 157 – Happy 10th Birthday Lottie ❤️

I can’t believe we’ve had Lottie for 10 years. I can still remember the day we got her. If you didn’t know already, she’s my little Canadian. We drove towards the USA border in whiteout conditions. The snow that day was very heavy and visibility was poor. We met the sellers in a Tim Hortons (Coffee Shop) car park and exchanged money for our wee bundle of fluff.

She was a tiny little thing and the rut of the litter. I didn’t care as her advertisement photos were just adorable. She got the name of Lottie from me as I loved the name. She was the cutest thing ever, her legs were so small the actual stairs were bigger than her. She was toilet trained to go to a pee mat, which was a blessing when she arrived.

She’s never been any trouble, ok she does get excited when people come in. I think that’s normal for most dogs and she yaps again when people stand up to leave. I think that little habit came from when she was a puppy. People would love to pick her up as soon as they came in and again when they left because she was so cute.

She’s been by side everyday and still to till this day she is all over me. Mr Zebrakat will spoil her with treats, yet she favours me. She is wise too, I know when the cancer is being naughty again as Lottie will sit on the spot. She loves snuggles and when I sleep, she will sleep too. Here’s some facts about Lottie

  • She still only weights about 4lbs
  • Her favourite drink is water
  • She loves a walk
  • She has no interest in toys
  • She loves cheese and ice cream
  • She paws you for belly rubs
  • She loves snow and the sun
  • She hates rain
  • She’s doesn’t have a go at the postman
  • She’s smaller than Hamish the cat

She’s been my most loyal pet to date. I would be lost without her. Happy Birthday Lottie!!! Thank you for 10 years of snuggles and happiness. ❤️

Blog No 156 – Travel Visualisation Board

I don’t know if anyone has read the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. The author is huge believer in visualisation boards. Basically having a board with pictures of your dreams, therefore your dreams go out to the universe and they become reality.

When I was looking for artwork for my hall, I decided to do travel visualisation boards with words and not pictures. There is an extended list of places/locations that I want to visit or revisit with Mr Zebrakat. I did 2 visualisation boards of destinations, nevertheless dreams can come true.

Visualisation Board

There is a few destinations that I may have visited with/without Mr Zebrakat. For this reason, I’ve added them to the board for a revisit, for instance New York. We visited December 2005 and we were fortunate enough to see the dropping of the ball on NYE. It was a beautiful place to visit at Christmas time and all the festive decorations were stunning. I remember the weather being freezing cold, which I had never experienced cold like it before. Mr Zebrakat has never been to Dublin, I have done it many times. I really want go with him, to be a tourist and for him to experience my irish culture. Canada, we lived there for god sake but we never got to the west coast. Both of us want to visit Vancouver and I’m sure we will slot back into Canadian life there.

The list was inspired by us both but I want to continue travelling after my cancer treatment/covid-19

Let’s see how well I do within the next 12 months. I will write a blog this time next year and let you all know. X

Blog No 155 – Soda Bread

I did an Ancestry DNA test a couple of years ago and I was 100% Munster Ireland. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never made soda bread until recently, yet I’ve eaten it all my life.

My grandma was a fantastic baker and she would make a currant soda bread too. I have fond memories of her baking. She would get out the homemade blackcurrant jam, irish butter and a freshly made soda bread.

All my aunts are fabulous bakers, yet my mum is not a baker. She’s an excellent cook but she’s more than likely to bring out a nice cake from the cupboard to have with your cup of tea.

The photo above was my first soda bread. Therefore I would like to share the recipe I used. Serves 4 – 6 people

Ingredients

  • 450g / 1 lb Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 400ml/14 fl oz Buttermilk

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220’c/425’f/Gas Mark 7.
  • Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk. Mix well together using your hands. The dough should be very soft but not too wet. If necessary, add the remaining buttermilk.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly. Shape into a 20 cm/ 8 inch round tin.
  • Place the bread on a greased baking tray, cut a cross in the top and bake in the preheated oven for 20 -30 minutes. When done it should sound hollow if tapped on the base. Eat whole warm, soda bread is always best eaten on the day it is made.

Please share your recipe with me? Is your ingredients different?

Blog No 154 – Sywell Aviation Museum

Sywell Aviation Museum, Northamptonshire,

This weekend we had our 10 year old niece (M) over for a sleepover. She’s a beautiful girl with impeccable manners. She is always dancing and singing. She has a comedian type personality with multiple one liners. She’s guaranteed to make you smile and everyone laugh.

Airport Tower

We took (M) to Sywell Aviation Museum, a place of local interest . (M) recently had done a history project of WW2, therefore she would see some artefacts mentioned in her project.

Sywell Aviation Museum is in a nissan hut and is full of wartime artefacts. The entry fee is free and so is car parking. You’re able to make a donation at entry. The museum is managed by a majority of unpaid volunteers who have served in the armed forces.

The nissan huts were originally POW camp huts from Snape Farm, Derbyshire and used to form the museum. The artefacts are British, American & German. Here is some photos of artefacts, I didn’t take photos of everything, nevertheless it gives you an idea.

I understand the aerodrome was used during the wartime as a training ground and for doing repairs to aircrafts.

Blog No 153 – PRRT During Covid -19

Hello Everyone

Sorry, it’s been some time since I last blogged. Life took over, covid -19 took over and PRRT symptoms took over. I don’t think anyone is going to forget 2020 in a hurry. I can’t wait to see what the history books say.

Let me start, by telling you I’ve had PRRT #3 last month and I will be having #4 is in October. My PRRT goal was to improve my daily symptoms and if it slowed down my progression that would be a bonus. I have been typical patient in respect of symptoms, hair thinning, pain, flushing and fatigue. It’s also true that your symptoms do indeed get worse as treatment goes up.

I was initially an in patient over 3 days but due covid -19 the hospital started to do the treatment as a day case. Personally, my preference is getting the treatment in a day but I don’t like the travelling home situation. On a good day it can take up 90 mins, nevertheless if traffic is bad it can take longer.

Once the treatment takes hold, I did endure tumour pain. As the tumours get inflamed, you know the treatment is on track. It can aggravate your carcinoid symptoms too, which intensifies your flushing or bowels. Lucky me, I was exposed to both. The next treatment had been delayed due to me sustaining bone pain. Therefore, we are allowing 12 weeks instead of 8 weeks I was doing, between treatments.

Covid -19, has been challenging for everyone and more so for many people. I personally think people has become complacent, ignoring the rules etc. I don’t understand people’s ignorance but I guess that will always happen through any situation. I would like to say thank you to all workers, key workers and the medical profession for working through a particularly hard situation.

During treatment and covid -19, my mother was diagnosed with a secondary cancer. She’s being tough, however she has suffered additional side effects and her chemo has been cancelled on a couple of occasions . She is fighting through the obstacles like a trooper. Mother & daughter going through treatment at the same time, just blows my mind. It certainly would make a great book.

I’m going to embark on my blogs again so please watch this space. Love to you all.



Blog No 152 – Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy

I started this blog prior to commencing my first Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) treatment.

Since my diagnosis I’ve changed in so many ways. I have learned from my disappointments and grasp the opportunities when they arise. The opportunities, allow me to be normal and not as patient like I do everyday.

I personally can see now that I look sick and I can’t say that I’m a lover of it but I’m accepting of the situation. In spite of that I’m normal with no visible illness. There’s no dramatic weight loss or evidence of me wearing a headscarf to cover hair loss.

Last weekend, we travelled to Bath to distract us both from the upcoming treatment. We were both grasping the opportunity of normality in a beautiful part of the UK. It rained buckets but we had a wonderful time before heading to London

The PRRT treatment will hopefully allow me to be more managed and not a case of the cancer managing me.

The proposed short term side effects are

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Mild Hair Loss

The leas common side effects

  • Bone, Liver and Kidney Toxicity

I am experiencing some short term symptoms and it’s not easy. Who in their right mind says yes to radiation via an IV. The answer is any person who wants to extend their life and that’s me. My life is not over and I have more goals to achieve.

Blog No 151 – Being Vegan

I became vegan at the end of October to see if my daily symptoms would improve. Im happy to report, there is definitely some improvement. Mr Zebrakat became vegan at the same time and had noticed, he’s never hungry now, his sleep has improved and he feels fitter whilst playing football/soccer.

As I said previously, I actually became vegan to improve my daily symptoms. Years ago, I was informed that I have an egg white & cows milk intolerance. Therefore I had always drank my coffee & tea black. If I was to have milk in cereal etc, I would have rice or soya milk. Subsequently, I wasn’t good at avoiding milk or eggs in products. I didn’t always read the labels to dodge the products that I was sensitive too.

Being vegan eliminates animal based foods, like milk, eggs, meat, fish and honey to name a few. I’m used to buying alternative milk products although I had never tried alternative cheese or cream. Essentially vegan makes it easier for me disregard those products, whereas being vegetarian I would still be eating products with ingredients including cows milk, cheese or eggs.

I have been reading social media, books and magazines to gain more knowledge about veganism. I’ve certainly learned some incredible facts, however I’m not going to quote them just in case they are totally incorrect.

Tell me …….Why does everyone have an opinion about someone being vegan. It does make me laugh the questions I’ve been asked by non vegans and vegans. Your either nuts or not vegan enough. I believe being vegan is making a small contribution to animals and the environment. Any contribution is surely better than no contribution at all.

Did you know there is accidentally vegan products too. These are products that are created without intentionally being vegan. (Free of animal products)

Here is a few products that are accidentally vegan.

  • Walkers Prawn Cocktail Crisps
  • Jelly Tots
  • Fox’s Party Rings
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chinese Chow Mein Pot Noddle
  • Bistro Gravy Granules (Original)

Hopefully I will continue to feel the benefits of being vegan. Roll on PRRT treatment (cancer treatment) this month.

Blog No 150 – 2019 Reading List

My goal for 2019 was to read more than 24 books. If I achieve 24 books or more, I was going to be happy. The target was to read 2 books a month and in some cases it was more. My reading last year took a real boost with a total of 46 books.

Here is my reading list: –

  1. The Tattooist – Heather Morris
  2. Christmas Rose – Dilly Court
  3. Always Smiling – Georgia Toffolo
  4. The Hiding Place – Trezza Azzopardi
  5. The Choice – Edith Eger
  6. Spitfire Girl – Lily Baxter
  7. Poppy’s War – Lily Baxter
  8. Wartime Girls – Anne Baker
  9. The Shopkeepers Daughter – Lily Baxter
  10. Whistledown Woman – Josephine Cox
  11. A Song for Bridget – Phyllis Whitsell
  12. The Empty Hearth – Kitty Neale
  13. After the war is over – Maureen Lee
  14. A Christmas in Disguise – Katie Fforde
  15. Into the Fire – Edric Kennedy-Macfoy
  16. The Barefoot Girl – Cathy Sharp
  17. The Little Orphan Girl – Sandy Taylor
  18. Liverpool Sisters – Lynn Andrews
  19. The Librarian – Dita Kraus
  20. Nettie Secret – Dilly Court
  21. Kitty and her Sisters – Maureen Lee
  22. I spy – Tom Marcus
  23. Under the Hawthorn Tree – Marita Conlon McKenna
  24. My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella
  25. In His Father Footsteps – Danielle Steel
  26. Come Rain or Shine – Pam Weaver
  27. Eminence – Morris West
  28. Brutal Honest – Melanie Brown
  29. Daughters of Courage – Margaret Dickinson
  30. Sing Them Home – Pam Weaver
  31. Christmas to Come – Carol Rivers
  32. This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kaye
  33. The Butlin Girls – Elaine Everest
  34. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  35. The Orphans of Bell Lane – Ruthie Lane
  36. The Winter Orphan – Cathy Sharp
  37. Bicycles & Blackberries – Shelia Newberry
  38. A Family’s Heartbreak – Kitty Neale
  39. Light Out Till Dawn – Dee Williams
  40. The Collaborator – Diane Armstrong
  41. A Precious Gift – Rosie Goodwin
  42. The Secret Orphan – Glynis Peters
  43. Clika’s Journey – Heather Morris
  44. The Titanic Sisters – Patrica Falvey
  45. The Orphan Thief – Glynis Peters
  46. Twas the Nightshift Before – Adam Kay

Last year, I wanted to open up my mind to new authors. I had introduced approximately 23 new authors of various genres

The books I had read were so varied from The Tattooist to I Spy. Reading books expands the mind and triggers imagination.

Books make me happy and give me immense pleasure. My well being is surely improved by reading. My goal this year is to be 46 books.

Blog No 149 – Cancer Update

Just before Christmas I went to London for more scans etc. Although my symptoms had been a mixed bag since stopping treatment, I was carrying on regardless. Subsequently I also tried to improve my daily quality of life. I went vegan at the end of October and Mr Zebrakat came along for the ride with no expectations. Believe me or not, we are both enjoying the change of diet. We are both benefiting from the change in one way or another, yet nothing can stop the pain but medication (Morphine). Fatigue and nausea etc can knock you for six too but that’s cancer for you.

On the 27th Dec, my Oncologist called me at home to inform me that my latest scans revealed more growth. Well that’s a surprise NOT. 😂 My Oncologist intends to commence PRRT in mid Feb. I’ve been chasing this treatment for over a year and now it’s finally happening.

How do I feel, well it validates my symptoms and concerns with my body. The specialised treatment has had some amazing results with Net patients. Remember this treatment is not a cure but can possibly extend your quality of life. This is my final trump card, hopefully it’s the best hand I have.

Addendum

I had a colonoscopy yesterday only for the Doctor to take 8 biopsies. I could see that I had additional growth in the colon. It was only 2 yrs since my last operation on the bowel.