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My anger after cancer.

These past few weeks, months maybe, I’ve found myself getting angry at the smallest things. Not the angry I feel when I’m hungry (just ask Jim about having to keep me fed!) but an angry that doesn’t make much sense to me a lot of the time. I know that some of this anger might be the tamoxifen messing with my emotions, but there is also an underlying anger I can’t shake.

I get angry when I have to caveat a comment about cancer with ‘I know I am lucky’ because if there is one thing I’ve not felt this last year, it’s lucky to have cancer. Yes, I know I am alive and so many people aren’t, but even more people didn’t have to have the year I just had. Yes I have hair when so many people lose theirs, but I worked bloody hard for it and quite frankly, it’s pretty shit hair compared to what it was, so it’s not to be celebrated. Yes, I kept my boobs, but they’re full of scars and they aren’t the same.

I feel angry when I get messages and see posts about how you can cure cancer with a vegan diet, or by cutting out alcohol, or when the man, unsolicited, in the post office starts telling everyone that sugary drinks are the reason people get cancer. Let me tell you now, that man felt my wrath!

I feel angry when people tell me they thought I’d have done more with having cancer. Then they point out people who run cancer blogs or accounts and have become ‘insta famous’ out of their diagnosis as if it’s a competition, when one of the things I tried really hard to do was not become purely a cancer blogger, mostly for my own sanity.

I feel angry at my reflection because this chubby, bloated person, is not who I want to have staring back at me!

And I feel angry when people complain about having a cold, or not having slept or that they have a headache, which is ridiculous because just because it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, it is a big deal to them, it’s a big think in their life right now.

And I feel angry that people don’t understand that having cancer has affected me more than I could imagine and I’m not the same person any more. Sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to have been ‘over it’ since I finished treatment, like I’m not allowed to be tired any more, I’m not allowed to still feel side effects. 

Sometimes it all boils up in me and makes me so angry. Sometimes it just makes me so weary. Sometime it just makes me need a large G&T. Please tell me it's normal to feel this way?

Travel: Long Island's Forks (or Adventures in Mini Golf)

I was so excited to head to The Hamptons because I've watched way too much Gossip Girl but the way the weekend on Long Island panned out, I fell in love with the North Fork rather than the Hamptons. But before starting researching this trip I had no clue that Long Island had two forks at the end of it - The Hamptons side and the North Fork side. I guess it's the 'rich' side and vineyard side. 
We used some of Jim's hotel points from his India trips to book a hotel in the middle of Long Island, about a 45 minute drive to both sides of the end of Long Island -  there was a hotel closer to the bits but we needed to save some points for NYC so we compromised. But the hotel was lovely and it had a fab pool that I made good use of. The best thing about using points is you quite often get a little upgrade and this stay was one of those times, we got bumped to a bit of a bigger room! Thanks Hyatt! 

On the first night there we were trying to find somewhere local to walk to to eat, but it wasn't really a residential area so our best option was a TGI's. On the map it looked like a short walk, but obviously it was America and people don't really walk places so we ended up wandering down the side of a motorway and dodging sprinklers! We also had literally the worst waitress in the world, but that's by the by now!
The next day, in glorious sunshine, we got in our car and headed out to the 'North Fork' towards Greenport, because during my Pinterest research I'd read about a cute little oyster house I wanted us to try. Our drive took us past so many vineyards that it made me wish we'd been staying closer so Jim wasn't driving and we could have stopped in. But we had to keep driving, right to the end of the island.
Greenport after a bit of a wander round reminded me quite a bit of a Cornish town, that would be my closest comparison in UK terms, but with much wide roads! Although, it doesn't take much to have wider roads than Cornwall does it? 

After a little wander round, some looking at boats (I am a sucker for some looking at boats) and my excitement at seeing the Hamptons Jitney we found the Little Creek Oyster Farm, which is where I'd read about. They do a shuck your own option, which kind of felt like the thing we should do. I saw we, but I was going no where near that knife, especially not when the protective glove came out! So we sat in the sun for an hour, ate oysters, drank local beer and chatted with our table mates about cameras, where to go in New York (us) and trips to castles in Scotland (them).

Our next stop was the beach. We drove out to Orient Beach State Park, which meant driving pretty much to the end of the fork, then down a little spit to the beach. It was a sunny Sunday and the beach felt pretty much deserted, save for a few people having a BBQ in the park behind it and a whole bunch of washed up jelly fish. I know we were there just out of season, but I couldn't believe how quiet it was!
After I'd filled my pockets with shells, and we'd spent some time hunting for turtles (we saw none!) we got back on the road to a mini golf place that Jim had found on Google Maps. Our second gold course in a few days. The course we found was so cute - such a different style to the one we'd played in Amish Country. Once again, even my fluke hole in one couldn't win me the game, but in all honesty I have more of a hit and hope approach that can't really beat his methodical game. 
Our evening was spent eating more seafood at a Greenport institution, Claudio's before heading back to the hotel.

The next day we woke up to find the glorious weather we'd been experiencing for the last 10 days had done a complete U-turn and it was absolutely teeming it down. Not exactly beach or seaside town weather. Which meant it was a laundry morning. The thing about going away for 3 weeks is that we have to do fun things like laundry ever so often and a rainy morning seems like the perfect time to do it.
I was so excited to see The Hamptons, but the torrential rain didn't really make for great sight seeing, so we drove down the South Fork looking for Ina and Jeffery, all the way to Montauk looking for Lobster Rolls. We missed lobster roll season in Maine by a few months and it turns out that the Monday before Memorial Day isn't the best time to hunt for lobster rolls! But on the great roll hunt of 2017 we did swing by the Montauk Point Lighthouse (and we know I love a good lighthouse!), found a brewery to buy some watermelon beer from, and drove around looking at the fancy ass houses. Luckily, thanks to the power of our hotspot wifi and Instagram we found a cute little place that sold Jim a Lobster Roll and me some Moules, in Sag harbour! 

I think I took about 8 photos all day because we barely left the car. But I can show you the bath of lobster that we got to hangout with over a late lunch!

Our adventures in Mini Golf continued with a trip to a monster golf course - a glow in the dark monster golf course, complete with glow int he dark balls and neon friendship bracelets! 
The next day we were heading to New York, but as we couldn't drop the car off until later in the day, we found ourselves an outlet mall for Jim to spend a fortune in and pretty much the best art deco diner for a trip back in time and some people watching!
Despite the rain, we had a fun time on long island. As always I wish we'd had more time to explore, but I think I'll always feel like that - especially in beach side places! My big disappointment is that I didn't bag myself a 'classic' buoy! They were selling them at the beach we went to and I still regret not stopping for one!

So, what do you think of our few days on Long Island? Have you ever wanted to go? 

Introducing Oh Gosh Silver

You might recall earlier this year I posted about a new hobby I had found myself – silver smithing. Well, I’ve been at it for a while now, and I’ve decided to start selling a few bits that I make to help fund more time in the jewellery studio. Silver smithing is not a cheap hobby by any means and post cancer Emma works 4 days a week to help cope with the fatigue I’m still feeling, so I don’t want to reach a point where I am struggling to afford to be able to carry on doing it, and as I am fast running out of fingers and arm space to wear the things I’ve made, I thought I’d start trying to make a little bit extra money from it!

I wasn’t sure whether to write about it here as I’ve mentioned it on social media quite a bit, but today I listed my first item – a replica of a ring that I made myself in the summer - and it felt like it might be the right time to do it.

I didn’t really want to set up an Etsy store as I’m not sure exactly how often I’ll be listing things, and having a shop front sitting empty if I didn’t have anything to list felt a little silly, so I’ve take a leaf out of Littlevaseco’s book and I’ve set myself up a new Instagram to share all my jewellery related posts and to run sales through until I know what I want to be doing with this new found love.

If you haven’t already seen me harping on about it on Twitter and Instagram, you can find my shiny new account here - OhGoshSilver!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been umming and ahhhhing about packaging and business cards, and pricing. Last week my tutor Emmie helped me work out my costs and showed me how to set my prices and I got myself in gear and ordered everything, so now I am set up to sell. As I mentioned above, my first item, a ring I’ve made because I got so many complements on the one I made myself, is live on there for sale now, and I do have a couple of other bits to list too – I’m just trying to figure out the best way to photograph them.  

It’s been a bit of a learning curve as it turns out a bangle I made last week is actually too heavy to sell as sterling silver (it’s 13grams and it needs to be under 7.78grams), without being hallmarked, and right now I don’t have the spare £90 to get myself an account with the assays office – so I’ll be squirrelling that one away for the future!

I’d love it if you could take a peek, let me know what you think of the stuff I’m making and also, if you have any tips on how to sell through Instagram – I am all ears!

Friends who bake together......

Back in March my friends, Lizzie, Kim and Abi and I won a competition on instagram for some Bake Box kits. Yay for winning because I literally never win anything - but maybe this is a sign that I'll hit the euro-millions jackpot if I ever remember to buy a ticket!

Now I know some people probably think we should have baked these by now, but we'd decided, as we'd all tagged each other in the competition, we'd bake them together! And you try organising 4 busy ladies, with holidays and jobs and kids, and, well, lives, to be in the same place, at the same time with enough time to actually bake! It was a challenge. 
But last week we finally managed it. We found an afternoon we were all free over the bank holiday and set about baking up a storm, aided by a mimosa or two, of course! We had kits for 3 different freakshakes, chonuts and brownies to make, and whilst we didn't manage to make them all, it was so much fun to spend the time together, making something, with a little help from our sous chef, Lizzie's eldest son, Jack.

Our afternoon started with some casual lego building, catching up, clothes swapping and gossiping, then evolved into some casual baking!
Jack insisted on making one of the freakshakes first - now I know i shouldn't berate a small child but he clearly didn't read the instructions right - that or his helper, Abi, didn't, because there is 100% not enough milk in the jar - but we'll let that slide because he had fun making it.It had a rice cripie square topper, with strawberry milk and icecream and smarties and fizzie straws. Just the sort of drink I feel you ought to give to a child!
Next up we set about making the brownies. 100% honesty here, I wasn't sold on the thought of the kits. I don't know why, maybe it's because I feel guilty about the variety of baking gear I have at home that I rarely use these days, so this felt like cheating. But I have to say I really liked not having the measure or weigh most things out. I mean you still had to cut up butter and use a jug for water and the likes, but knowing you could just tip the whole bag of something into a bowl and whisk was rather liberating.
Whilst I was making the brownies, Kim was working hard at making the dough for the chonuts. I don't think I'd have attemped them at home if I just had a recipe as I always assumed choux pastry was hard to make, but Kim aced it and made it look easy! Even if she was convinced her uncooked dough circles looked like poo!
I do wonder if we should feel a little guilt, Lizzie, Abi and I because when I look back it was Kim who did all the complicated bits. We had her making the pastry and then the salted caramel for the brownies! Then filling the chonuts too. But she was doing such a great job of it, I think we all left her to it - basically we drank mimosas whilst she did all the hard work!
She did an awesome job though, that salted caramel *kisses fingers*
The best days with frends are ones where you go home with parcels containing salted caramel chocolate brownies and colourfully glazed chonuts! Plus, because we were all on a sugar high, we've still got some freakshakes to make at another date! 
 That face you pull when you're caught "tidying up!"


Pops of purple in the peaks

This last month, every trip to the peaks has been more beautiful than the last. And more purple. I know from Instagram that there are lavender fields across the south, but the heather in the peaks is out in force right now and it couldn't be more stunning. 

So I wanted to share a few snaps from the last few weekends with you. Plus, it's a chance to share some puppy photos and you know I never miss a beat to share photos of Flash and Melle. 

See what I mean - isn't it just stunningout there - I reckon you've got a week or tow more before it all disappears so get out and see it for yourself! 

Travel: A night in Amish Country

When we were planning the trip we had a few days spare, and the two options available to us were Amish Country, or to go to Jersey Shore. As, I think you'll probably be able to see from the title, we chose to head inland and go to Amish Country. 

One of my favourite things about driving from place to place on a holiday is the sights we see on the way. We made a decision to not use any of the toll roads, partly because the man at the car hire place said we'd not be able to do the route not taking toll roads and partly because you see so much more when you're not on the motorways! The drive through the countryside took us about 40minutes longer I'd say but was worth it 100%! 

My main job on the road is to supply car snacks and find new radio stations as we went out of signal! And readingqA the map. We took a spare phone with a simcard that had 20gb of data on it, so we used that phone as a hotspot but also a map. 

The drive took us past fun fairs and ghost towns and water parks and oddly named fast food joints and drive through cash machines and a thousand fields. 
We were only in Amish country for 24hrs, and most of it was spent in the car sightseeing but we achieved our main aim - see people on their horse and carts, just out in the world and visit a farmers market! 

We stopped in Lancaster at their market first as the internet told us we should, and quite honestly we were underwhelmed. Lancaster was a bit run down and the market, nothing special, but luckily someone there told us about another, outside market, Green Dragon, which was much more along the lines we were after. An abundance of fruit and veg, quaint little stalls, handmade wooden goods, and tonnes of food - Jim picked us up a pulled pork thing that was part pasty, part giant bao. It was delicious. Jim also tried some of the local version of root beer, Birch beer, which tasted just as much like germaline as root beer does. 
It was so interesting to see the mix of Amish and 'normal' stalls coexisting - although it did confuse me whilst we were there that the Amish live at home without electricity, but yet they work with fridges and electrics in the day. I know that things like health and safety must mean they have to, but if your work life lets you use them, why make your home life harder? Just my thoughts! 

We then found ourselves back on the road looking for the motel we'd booked into. It wasn't anything fancy, but at $40's a night, you can't complain. Plus on a trip where we were staying in Airbnb's and hotels, throwing a motel in there seemed appropriate! The only problem was NOTHING was near anything, so you had to drive everywhere. Which was fine for me as the passenger, but I did feel a bit sorry for Jim. Having said that I loved being driven around the area, it was so open and vast, interspersed with farm houses and towns. 

At dinner time we drove to a BBQ restaurant which was okay - nice - nothing fancy or special, but nice enough, then, because Jim loves a good game of mini golf, we stopped at a crazy golf course that was open until late. Obviously I let him win. I mean I did get a fantastic hole in one but I let him win - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

The next morning, before we prepared for a drive to Long Island, and after a breakfast of what might be the biggest pancakes I've ever encountered, I dragged Jim off to look at a historic covered bridge. I know we probably should have gone covered bridge hunting in Vermont but we didn't, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity here! Full disclosure - Jim sat in an illegally parked car whilst I hopped around taking photos! 
And with that, we hightailed it out of there, for a long drive to Long Island, so I could see the sea, the Hamptons and for lobster rolls. I know we didn't visit the working Amish village, or go to the traditional doll museum and we most certainly didn't go to the $150 a ticket religious theatre next to our motel, but the aim was to just see the area, and with only 24hrs to do it, I think we did ok! 
(Pretzel m&m's and wild berry skittles were the road trip snack of choice!)

Travel Info – where we stayed, how we got about, that sort of stuff;
Accommodation - We stayed at the Dutch Treat Motel - it was $40 a night whilst we were there. It was cheap, cheerful and easy to get to the attractions in the area!
Getting there - We drove in from Philadelphia on the back roads. This took a bit longer than it would have on the motorways but we saw more of the state that we might have otherwise. 
Getting about - You need a car to get round here. You really do. I can't see how you'd get places without it. Hire a car if you're off to see the Amish!