Blog No 146 – Going Local

The Blitz Tea Room – Kettering, Northamptonshire

Last weekend, Mr Zebrakat and I took a short drive for some lunch. The Biltz Tea Room & Jazz Lounge had been on my radar for a while, therefore I was very curious what the building interior was going to be like.

The Blitz Tea Room is a family run business. The venue is located adjacent to the Kettering Public Library. The name of the venue, obviously gives you a little clue of the theme of tea room. Hence, I was expecting to see some 1940’s memorabilia, dark wood furniture and classic wartime crockery.

Here’s a couple of photos of the venue.

This photo is pointed to the ceiling to try and capture the sky, the planes hanging down and flags etc.

The menu was a ration book with a choice of sandwiches, omelettes and panini’s etc. A vast choice drinks in specialty teas. I took a photo of a page from the menu, which references Vera Lynn and Churchill both 1940s icons.

Mr Zebrakat chose a pot of speciality tea. He was given a special timer, which determines the strength of tea you like. The longer the timer, the stronger the tea. The milk was served in an old fashioned milk bottle. It’s a miniature size of the original size of a milk bottle. This particular size bottle was given to us as children in primary/elementary school. The sugar was served in cubes a wartime ration.

We both chose different sandwiches, which was served with salad & crisps served on cute flowery china.

We then indulged in fruit scone each served with raspberry jam and clotted cream.

Some of the venues memorabilia on the walls and display cabinets.

Although the food was wonderful, it was quite pricey. I would recommend you go and experience it yourself. There was a couple of parties there, clearly celebrating special occasions which is unique.

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Blog No 145 – Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday we celebrated our wedding anniversary. Another year has passed, yet it only seems 5 minutes ago we got married. It was such a perfect day we celebrated with family and friends.

We’ve done so much in our married life, I hope there is room for more adventures to come. Mr Zebrakat told me last night, wouldn’t it have been good, if I had taken you back to our honeymoon destinations. He said he was going to hand me flight tickets to Miami and then on to the Bahamas. I would have been shocked but it wouldn’t be the first time he had surprised me with a trip. I just remember the heat in Miami this time of the year was unbelievable temperatures. How I would kill right now for a blue sea, an ocean breeze and sand in my flip flops.

Instead my sister in law invigorated me with coffee aroma and sweet bakes. Basically speciality coffees, plain scones with butter and jam preserve. The last couple of days especially Tuesday, I was so ill, I feel like I’m starting to get a bowel blockage again as I have the typical symptoms. Them dam pesky tumours won’t leave me alone, they are always wanting a nibble of my fine dining.

Mr Zebrakat gave me a beautiful bouquet in our wedding theme colours and took me to a local Italian restaurant. We both started with drinks as neither of us wanted a starter. Our main course choice was the same.

Beef Involtini Stuffed with Parma Ham, Pine Nuts & Basil in a Rich Tomato Sauce with Linguine & Garlic Buttered Green Beans

And for dessert, the top plate is Rhubarb and Custard Semifreddo with Poached Rhubarb and Pistachio Cream

The bottom plate dessert is Elderflower Infused Panna Cotta with Raspberries & White Chocolate Crumble and Peach Syrup.

The meal was excellent. A very quaint restaurant in the town and even though it was a Wednesday night the restaurant was fully booked and they had to turn people away.

Mr Zebrakat thank you, thank you for absolutely everything you do for me. You are an amazing individual with the kindest heart and I couldn’t wish for a more dedicated husband. Happy Anniversary ❤️ Now leave me alone to continue dreaming about blue seas……..

Weekly Blog No 139 – My Birthday

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

I’m falling behind again in my blogs due to symptoms. However I’ve made another birthday, how amazing is that. I have currently reached 5 birthdays since diagnosis, what an achievement.

Last year my birthday was post op, Mr Zebrakat decided to make my birthday this year a little bit more special. He had organised a weekend in London. Although it’s quiet difficult for me, I was up for the challenge. Who doesn’t like a change of environment and to feel normal again.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel in South Kensington adjacent to the museums. The hotel treated us like VIP guests. They also left me a bottle of claret, a gift box of spa products and a nicely handwritten card from the Hotel Manager. The hotel decor was stunning, the cleanliness was immaculate and the customer service was impeccable.

We went to V & A Museum, there is no way you could view all the exhibits in a day. The venue has 145 galleries, therefore an incredible amount of exhibits. From architecture, furniture to sculpture. Well worth a visit and a walk through history.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

On my birthday we went to see a West End show called “Thriller”. A spectacular show of Michael Jackson hits. The resemblance of MJ was unbelievable. The hits just kept coming and coming. The dancing phenomenal throughout the show.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

We also visited the Imperial War Museum, Lambert, an insight of war history. The museum exhibits WWI, WW2, The Cold War and the Holocaust and much more. I’m not sure if the Holocaust exhibit is a permanent exhibition but its anniversary is on my birthday, which I will never forget.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat
Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat
Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

One lesson that I had learned from Canada was we don’t explore our own country enough. In my past life, any opportunity for a break away from work. I would jump on a aeroplane and leave the country for sunshine & culture. Clearly forgetting that there is so much to see in the U.K. Canadians are fantastic at exploring their own country. I’m starting to realise now the U.K. has a lot to offer but it’s not always cheap. You need to shop around and grab online deals when you see them. It’s unbelievable that a city break in Europe is sometimes cheaper than a weekend in the U.K.

On our final day, we went to Harrods for breakfast. What a wonderful experience that was, the service was errorless. The food was of the highest quality, served on china. The tea set was silverware. The ambience of the room was art deco with background music of the rat pack. A divine experience on how the other half live.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all my family & friends for cards, gifts, balloons and flowers.

To my awesome husband, for making memories, treating me like a queen and always putting me first in life. You are one of kind and I won’t let you forget that.

Love to you all.

Weekly Blog No 135 – Overview of 2018

 
Overview of 2018

Wow what a year, it’s been. I started the new year recovering from post op with an open scar. I had high hopes that I brought myself more time but that wasn’t to be the case. The cancer was very determined to grow and cause me ongoing symptoms. I took the stance then, that I was going to attempt to do things before I couldn’t do them anymore. Here’s an overview of 2018.  

January – Birthday Celebrations

In January I turned 49 and 4 quarters, it was an amazing birthday. I was lucky to be showered with flowers, gifts and cards and so overwhelmed by people’s kindness. The love shown to me was outstanding and still to this day, it blows my mind.

February – Scan-a-thon

February was the month that my scans started again and have remained  continuous throughout the year. It was also the month that my new bathroom was taking shape to the point I was able to use the facilities. I was no longer feeling I was showering in a telephone box unable to stretch out my arms. 

 
March – Sailing the Seas
 
March was my delayed birthday trip from Mr Zebrakat. A week on a Mediterranean cruise. It was lovely to have a week away  to relax. It was pretty much house arrest on the ship due to symptoms and of course I forgot some of my medication.  Never in my life, will I ever forgot to take all my medication again. Lesson learned for life. 
 
 
April – Welcome Hamish
 
As many of you know, we got another 4 paws to join the family. Hamish is a ginger tom cat aka Frank the Tank. He’s is still only just over 10 months old and he’s huge. He’s a great addition to the family. 
 
 
May  – Royal Wedding/Oxford
 
May was an exciting time in the U.K, as everyone was so hyped up for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan, the Duke & Duchess of Sussex. I remember the day very well as I had to travel to London for another scan. The roads were so clear as everyone seemed to be glued to the television watching the build up to the wedding. Meghan looked stunning and they looked so in love.  
 
We visited Oxford during the Royal Wedding. Oxford nicknamed it the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’. A city known for a prestigious university made up of 38 colleges. Honey coloured buildings of stunning architecture. A beautiful city and well worth another visit sometime. 
 
 
June – London is Calling
 
We went to London as Mr Zebrakat was attending an award ceremony to receive is fellowship membership. The ceremony was in a beautiful building and the event was exquisite. I’m so proud of Mr Zebrakat in everything he does and achieves. 
We took a quick ride on the DLR to Greenwich. Another hidden gem of prettiness and such a glorious day too. 
 
July – Renovations
 
The renovations have continued and the house is starting to take shape. The loft space, study area and store on the 2nd floor is ready for painting. The 1st floor, bathroom is complete minus a touch up of paint.  The master bedroom and walk in wardrobe is complete but we have to find our extra clothes, shoes and bags from storage. The linen cupboard shelving is nearly complete.  
 
 
Aug – Off to Weegie Land/Glasgow
 
We flew to Glasgow for a couple of days it was important for me to go with Mr Zebrakat to see places that where emphasis in his family tree. It was good for him to show me were he lived, went to school etc. We have previously been to Glasgow but it usually involves visiting people not this time. This trip was about him and for me to take things at my pace due to my difficulties. We had such a lovely time as it was 10 yrs since our last visit. 
 
 
 
Sept – Ibiza Sunshine
 
I don’t have a bucket list and I don’t want one either. I don’t feel the need to put pressure on myself to do things before I go. All I do know, is even though its hard for me to do things now, I need to push myself now before I can’t do it at all. 
 
I’ve had a lot of appointments etc and we decided to get some rest in the sun. Who doesn’t need some sunshine in paradise. I’ve never been to Ibiza and it was only a couple of hours flight so perfect for a mini vacation. 
 
I didn’t forget my medication this time and enjoy my days sitting at the poolside absorbing some vitamin d. I was all ready to begin scans the following week.  
 
October – Additional Storage 
 
I wanted to design some more storage and a bookcase in the area under the stairs. Who doesn’t have enough of storage for specific items. I have a lot of books and thought this area would be good for my paperbacks. I want to keep specific books by favourite authors but I’m also good at giving books to friends & family. I need to paint the bookcase etc but we haven’t chosen a colour scheme for the hall as yet. 
 
 
November – Petting Farm 
 
My niece had a sleepover so we took her to a local petting farm. I don’t know who was more excited me or her lol. I did love stroking and feeding the animals. Seeing my niece getting excited and Mr Zebrakat teaching her how to stroke animals. These are precious moments and it’s times like this, you do wonder how many more precious moments I will  have. 
 
 
December – Cardiff Christmas Market 
 
Mr Zebrakat and I took a trip to Cardiff before my spine appointment. There was a Christmas market on and we met up with friends who live in Wales. What a beautiful place Cardiff is, and the people are very friendly. We did an open bus tour, which is an excellent way to see key points of interest in the city. I would definitely return to this lovely place and beyond. 
 
 

 

Weekly Blog No 127 – My Life Continues

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Kat who dreamed of travelling the world but she was stuck down with a disease called cancer. How her life changed……

No one can prepare you for life with cancer, it’s an ongoing assault course. I don’t want pity but everyday its a challenge. It’s wasted energy, which I would have preferred to use in my career. Cancer was not my chosen career, however it is a full time job of manoeuvring through symptoms, medication, side effects, appointments and procedures.

My last blog, I did mention there may be more tests between appointments. Subsequently there was, I even had some scans last Sunday, ready for my Oncologist next week. Hopefully he will have a treatment plan, which may involve a clinical trial with PRRT. As soon as I’ve been to the appointment, I will update you within a couple of days.

I’ve also been to see my Neurologist, who would still like to stick a needle in my head. I’ve chosen the less invasive action of increasing my medication for migraines. Sometimes the medication is not so effective that the only solution is a drink of Coke or Pepsi. Don’t ask me why it works but it does.

Let’s move on to more happier events in life. Mr Zebrakat has been awarded a Fellow in the construction industry. There was an award ceremony in London and I couldn’t be more prouder of him. He deserves the acknowledgement for his contribution to the construction industry

Whilst in London, we went to the London Docklands Museum. I will do a separate blog for that visit.

Although going out is a challenge, Mr Zebrakat & I have adapted to my needs. Only now, did I had realise what precautions we actually take to make travel more accessible for me. It’s become the norm for us but there is a degree of planning & organisation. You learn to adapt very quickly and I’m sure it’s the same for any illness.

The story continues……….

Weekly Blog No 63 – Overview of 2015 

 

This year has involved a lot of change in one way or another, some of it has been good and some of it not so good.

Births 

Two bundles of joy came into the world this year, a baby girl and a baby boy. Children bring such happiness to everyone and with Facebook nowadays you can see their continual development.

Bereavement

Death was on the agenda this year, losing loved ones is never easy. It’s one of those situations that is faced by everyone in life and can’t be avoided. Nothing prepares you for not having access to those people when they are gone, you continue life as if they are always going to be there. Memories is all you have and they can never be taken away.

Returning to the UK from Canada

Although it is wonderful to be home and close to friends & family, there are elements that I miss. I didn’t think I would miss snow but in a bizarre way I do and wonderful blue skies. I knew I would miss my friends, yet I didn’t realise how much. Thankfully nearly everyone has stayed in touch so too my Canadian friends a huge thank you.

On a funny note, I didn’t eat a whole load of chicken wings or hamburgers in Canada, strangely I still can’t face them. I’ve been back 6 months and the thought of them makes me feel nauseated.

Emotions

Not a person to get stressed and many people can vouch for me, I feel that I have packed years of being stress free into 6 months here. An international move or selling a house is less bothersome and that’s saying something. I just have to learn how to avoid tense situations, however it can be impossible sometimes when other people are involved.

Health

I’m thankful to be writing another overview, my 2nd since diagnosis. I do believe it’s down to a positive attitude and medical intervention. I am not 100% and can see a decline in my health in the last 12 months. Yes there has been some physical changes in appearance but people say I look no different. I have to agree with them to a certain degree and that’s the beauty of Carcinoid Cancer aka the good looking cancer.

I hope it’s not deterioration but just a case of my symptoms not controlled in a better way. I wish that I could live a life like other patients, who are able to work or travel. I do accept co-codamol (opiate) as a pain relief although I do find it unacceptable as a solution for GI issues in order to give me freedom. I don’t want to be addicted to narcotics just to get to a medical appointment, visit family or to a supermarket. Despite the fact I don’t agree with the treatment, I’m grateful for the freedom. Some days I feel so ill, therefore I am determined to change that and invest in people who are going to take care of me. Unfortunately I have a miss mash of care at the moment, which raises stress levels hence watch this space.

My husband J 

Can’t praise the man enough, there is one thing you wish for when you have an illness is undivided love & support. I have the love & support, therefore I just need the science. If I could manufacture him and give him to all people who are need of love & support I would.

As many of you know already, J worked as a construction professional leading major projects on an international airport in Canada . J is no longer working on an airport but is currently working on various projects big and small advising Architects, Engineers and Builders. This was also my professional role and even though I’m happy to hear about his working day it’s gut wrenching. I still agonise for work as strange as this may seem to some people. I do wonder if J misses the buzz of airport life like I miss employment.

Family & Friends

Since returning home I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent time with family and friends. It’s like I had never left in the first place. Just in the 6 months, I’ve laughed so much as banter is big in the UK. Memories are being made and let them continue.

Cooking 

My cooking skills are going from strength to strength and I feel that is down to having the time and  fabulous supply of wonderful ingredients in the UK.  My kitchen appliance of the year is my slow cooker, it’s my one pot stop lifesaver.

Books 

I love books and thanks to competitive shopping in the UK, books are cheap. I’ve already read a stash of books but I’m currently reading two at the minute, one on my phone and the other is a hardback book.

Music

I love listening to the endless radio stations in the UK, in Canada I would only listen to one. I’m in CD heaven again and now I look like a CD hoarder, the choice here is amazing. I’ve fulfilling my pastimes again since being back.

Overall Summary

I’m grateful to be here another year and to be able to enjoy both the good times and bad times. I shall look forward to 2016 with as much enthusiasm as 2015. Thank you to all the people who support me and Happy New Year.

 

 

 

Weekly Blog No 61 – Christmas Decorations

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This year it has become apparent that putting up your Christmas decorations in the UK is getting earlier and earlier. It seems the annual ritual is more in line with the town or city switch on of Christmas lights, which is towards the end of November. Years ago people would put up their decorations approximately 2 weeks before Christmas, oh no not nowadays. Are you that person?

I haven’t put up a tree or decorations as yet, for number of reasons.

  • I don’t have a tree, it was sold prior to me moving back to the UK. It was a tree fitted with lights so the electrical fitting is not suitable for the UK.
  • My Christmas decorations are hidden in a mountain of boxes, known has cupboard jungle. Gone are the days your Christmas decorations either in the loft/basement.
  • Do I put decorations up in my rental accommodation or wait until next year when we have our own house.

Here’s my Christmas tree from last year, sitting in my front lobby/hall.

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Decorating for Christmas early wouldn’t work for me because I’m one of those people who can’t live with clutter. I consider personally 4 weeks to be more than adequate for Christmas decorations as 8 weeks plus is far to long. Following the New Year I am already considering stripping the mantle piece of Christmas things.

Christmas decorations through the decades

Its time to take a trip down memory lane with and Christmas decorations used over last few decades in the UK. I can only assume that other countries had the same trends or similar decorations.

Lets start with paper chain garlands, they were very popular when I was a child. I do remember making them at school with sticky back paper. I’m sure there is a few of us that remember them too.

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Balloons were used in the corners of rooms or at other key points. Gone are the days of blowing up balloons or even using balloons for decorating at Christmas. From paper chains to paper garlands, they were steamed from one wall to another and looped on the way. Balloons were used to hide the drawing pins holding up the garlands when pinned to ceilings or walls.

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If you didn’t used balloons, you may of had paper bells etc (lets call them dangles) in various colours.

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Christmas decorations were starting to develop into other materials, foil.

Christmas Dec 1

 

 

Christmas tree decorations

Christmas tree decorations has also changed through the decades. Years ago as a child I remember getting the Christmas baubles out of cardboard sectioned boxes wrapped in tissue paper not like plastic cases that are purchased today.

baubles 2

Christmas baubles have generally remained round shaped but have been decorated differently over the years. Here are some photos of different styles over the decades.

Christmas art
I think most of us made our parents a Santa or Christmas related picture using tissue paper and glue. This picture will bring back a few memories of your school days at Christmas time.

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I’m sure this weeks blog will bring back a few memories for us all, in one way another. Its good to see that we have maintained some basic Christmas traditions in form of a Christmas tree. I think its the older generation that tend to recycle their Christmas decorations from year after year. I feel the younger generation change theirs more frequently following current trends. I wonder how many of us have Christmas decorations more that 10 years old.

Are you a recycler, trendsetter or a bit of both?