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Lust List - B4BC Snowboard gear

It's been ages since I bought new snowboarding gear because I just don't feel like I ride enough to warrant new gear, but with a trip longer than just a few days looming, I need loads of things now. So, obvz as it's my post cancer snowboarding trip I’ve been looking at the Boarding For Breast Cancer kit. (I've also been eyeing up the new Burton Step On gear but as that's been sold out in my size since it launched, I'm abandoning those ideas!)
But looking was a bad idea. Because I am far too poor to be able to buy any of it but a girl can dream can't she......But here are some of the bits I love (And need!)

1. These Thirty Two snowboard boots are beautiful and I love how bright they are! My current boots are starting to wear a bit around the toes and aren't the most supportive so, a new pair is probably required!
2. And somehow I managed to snap my flat light lenses AND scratch my iriduim ones on my mid chemo trip, so new goggles are high on the need list and I’d take a pair of these Von Zipper bad boys in a moment!
3. One of the lasting effects of treatment has been a thirst that I just can't shake, not sure why, but I have - it does mean that I have a growing collection of water bottles in my house, I really like this Yeti one too! 
4.I also adore these Union Milan bindings – that pink ombre is just too pretty! Binding are right at the top of the list of things that need replacing though as my toe strap, no matter how often I replace it, just keeps popping off, which isn't ideal at all!  
5. And for good measure I'd throw in a pair of these awesome wolf socks from Volcom, because you can never have enough snowboard socks!

But it's back to reality for me - as much as I want and need new gear, these things will just have to be added to my Christmas list because there's not much chance of be kitting myself out with all new stuff for a while! 

Are you heading to the mountains this year? If so, what is on your must have list?


Beer-ing at Borefts

September will hence forth be known as the month of beer! More so for Jim than me as he beer festivalled every weekend of the month, but I did 2 beer festivals and 1 food festival in the space of 3 weeks!

One of my favourite stops in September was at Borefts Beers Festival in Bodgraven, Holland. We did Borefts on our trip to Amsterdam last year and loved it so much that this year we went back, taking a group of friends with us in the hope it would be just as good this time round, and it didn't disappoint! Hopefully it'll become a bit of an annual outing for us because it is such good fun!

Bodgraven is about an hour on the train outside of Amsterdam and is home to Brouwerji de Molen, the hosts of Borefts! Its a super cute town, that, from what we've seen, embraces the beer festival coming to town!
Our tickets came with the customary festival glass and 10 beers tokens but we also had 10 extra between the group so everyone in the party had 12 tokens, and each beer is one token - no matter the strength.
Last year, because I was mid IVF, we used some of my tokens on food, but this year we stopped at the local Albert Heijn for a picnic to take in so we didn't need to use tokens on feeding ourselves. It's pretty amazing how much picnic you can eat whilst drinking beer! 
The atmosphere at the festival was just as lovely as it was last year. Really friendly, really chilled out, really sunny and warm too, which I think helps. The festival themes itself each year, and this year the attending breweries made a flower-powered themed beer, which was 100% up my street because it meant there were lots of really nice floral and loads of sour beers for me to try, and I am a sucker for a sour beer - the sourer the better in my opinion!

Jim is more of a fan of his dark beers and so spent the day seeking out porters and stouts, and he also discovered a new to him, style of beer, the eisbock. We ended up sitting on a table with a couple of dutch guys, who had a couple of bottles of the Brouwerji de Molen Eisbock, one that they opened at the table to share with us - And Jim now has a date in 25 years with one guys we met to drink one of the bottles not consumed at the table! 
And so, in alphabetical, not drunken order, here are the beers that I tried at Borefts!  
  • Brouwerji de Molen - Gin & Jolly
  • Bakunin Brewery - Gone Wild: Cherry
  • Brew by Numbers - π | 12 Pilot Series - Orange Blossom Saison
  • Cloudwater - Spirit Animal
  • Cloudwater - Saison Tettnang
  • Hair of the Dog - Blue Dot DIPA
  • Brouwerji Kees - Oeuf's I did it again
  • Brouwerji Kwartje - Fusion Raspberry
  • Brouwerji Kwartje - Fusion Passion Fruit
  • MONYO - Yummy Mummy 
  • Stigbergets Bryggeri - West Coast IPA
  • Weird Beard Brew Co. - Cardinal Wolf

My favourites were the MONYO Yummy mummy, a hibiscus DIPA, and the Cloudwater Spirit Animal, which was an Elderflower Saison. And I really liked the Bakunin Cherry Sour too. I have to say that the least favourite would be the Gin & Jolly. On the surface, as a gin lover this should have been amazing, but let it be known that gin and beer shouldn't be mixed! Trust me! 
So, are you bored of the beer posts yet? Sorry if you are because there is one more left from our trip to Indy Man!

Freshly Squeezed! It's Mammogram Time!

Last week I had my first of my now yearly mammograms. My second boob squish to date, but the first post treatment.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have already read about the unfortunate start I had with it, but for those of you not over there, basically the the nurse that called me through to the area where you're given the mammogram, looked at me all confused and asked me to take a seat whilst she checked something. When she came back she told me they had me down for a mammogram but it couldn't be right, because I was so young! 

I don't know who it was more awkward for, me or her, when I had to explain it was right and my oncologist had organised it! Queue some chat about my treatment, the fact I still have my hair and my age - lots about my age! She also told me that because treatment only finished in May, it might hurt - and you know what, she wasn't wrong!

If you've not had a mammogram, let me tell you, it's just as unpleasant as you might imagine - you see that black plate on the machine in the photo - you pop your boob on that plate and it's essentially squished hard, like REALLY hard, whilst a nurse scans your boobs and manipulates your arms into strange positions!

But more than the physical pain, the appearance of this mammogram in my diary has had my emotions all over the place. The first time I had a mammogram was closely followed by a nurse telling me she thought I had cancer. It was the start of almost a year of treatment. It was the day when my life literally got turned upside down and I'm still dealing with the fall out of that day. Physically and emotionally. I'm still tired, all the time. I've still got a fog in my brain that makes words disapear from my head. I've still got a whole host of emotions that won't simmer down. And I've still got this fear that it could return!

I know I should be moving on with my life, but when you have appointments like this in the diary, and then a two week wait to see my surgeon following it, it's not the easiest thing to do.  

Travel: Beer Tourists

One of our favourite activities on a trip is seeking out awesome beers. It started on our trip to Canada a few years ago when we started hunting out new and unusual beers. Then we found ourselves in Waterbury, VT, and at Borefts beer Festival last year, and has spiralled ever since! 

This years holiday might have marked a turning point as not only were we seeking out beers to drink whilst we were away, but we were also looking for cans to bring home with us!

Each of our stops brought us a different brewery to visit and some new beers to try! Here are just a few of our favourite stops along the way. 

Luckily for me, Jim recorded (almost) everything we drank on his UnTappd profile, so I don't have to remember what we sampled. It's not a perfect list as there are still a few that he hasn't included but it's pretty conclusive!
We didn't drink all that much in Washington. Jim had a bit of a bug when we arrived and I was fully in the throws of post radiotherapy fatigue, but we had a couple of stops in the city we had to visit, and we found a fab little beer shop round the corner from our Airbnb too! First on our visit list was DC Brau, we went on our way out of town to the music festival we wnt to, so we couldn't drink in, as Jim had an hours drive ahead of him, but we did pick up a 6 pack of their Amageddan to try. 

Also on our 'must visit' list was The Partisan. Jim came across the bar through Cloudwaters' Instagram and after seeing their beers, it was immediately added to our list! My favourite that I sampled that day was a cherry number. But I am a sucker for anything cherry so that's not surprising really! Jim was raving about a stout, but it's a stout - they're not for me! The food didn't disappoint either. And the bar staff were really lovely too!
Mid way through our trip to Philly, we got the train out of town to visit Tired Hands Brewing in Ardmore. There are two locations in the town so we split the trip between the two and sampled as much as we could.For a tiny little town, this brewery has two really busy bars and a shopWe had some really tasty IPA's and an amazing cheese board with a honey dip on it. Yes to cheese and honey! 

Unfortunately we were there on a Thursday and they sell their cans on a Wednesday and a Saturday so we couldn't add any to our take home stash, but grabbed ourselves a growler to take on the road with us, and not only because they do a growler swap, meaning we could exchange one of the ones we'd got in Washington for one of their super cool ones! 
In Amish country we stumbled across an awesome little place on our way to our Motel called St Boniface in Ephrata. This place was rather cheap so we grabbed a couple of 6 packs of the 3lb IPA and Libation DIPA, which were really good! We brought some of these back to the UK with us and they were just as good at home as on the trip!
Our next stop was Long Island - on the first day we headed to the Little Creek Oyster House for lunch and had some of the Greenport Summer Ale, which lead us to drift back to the car past their brewery too for a 6 pack. It was upstairs in the cutest little building and had some fab pump handles! 

We also made sure to hit up the Montauk Brewing Co. mostly because I wanted some of their Watermelon beer. It was raining pretty badly the day we were in Montauk, so we didn't hang around there too long, but we did grab some of the watermelon ale to bring home with us!  
In New York Jim was adamant he wanted to go to Other Half in Brooklyn, which was kind of our excuse to make sure we got to Brooklyn. They brewery was selling cans in 4 packs so he grabbed 12 cans and we popped into the tap room, which was super cool - and busy! Rammed in fact! 
But lets be honest - it wasn't all craft beer, there were cocktails and some gins and 100% we had to seek out some beeritas. (We may have drunk a few too many of these in Whistler) We went to Bubba Gump for them because my brother told me he'd got some points that needed spending but we didn't actually find any points on the card! Hmmmmmmmm.
And what did we do with all that beer we brought back? Well, because of our awesome flight choices (first out and business back) we had loads of luggage allowance which meant we'd taken an extra hold all and a box we could construct with beer can dividers in it to bring them home. It worked pretty well over all - one can got punctured in the air, and a few got dinged up a bit, but all in all it was a pretty successful beer run - because I got to sip watermelon beer in my garden all summer so you can't say much better than that! 

So, here's our brewery tour from our last trip to America. Have you got any places you have to visit on holidays? Or do you just think we're crazy? 

House Update: The Hallway Renovation

Our big project for the last well, forever, has been the renovation of the hallway. It's had to be done in stages due to time and budgets but we're finally there! And I just love how different it looks and how much happier I am when I come into the house. I never thought I would love a hallway, but I do!

So, let me take you back 3 years and show you the hallway as it was when we bought the house - It was yellow and orange woodchip on the walls, and we had mis-matching carpets up the stairs (4 different mis- matching carpets in all!) and white lino tiles on the floor downstairs. It was a ‘fixer-upper’ as they would say on a makeover show!

Obviously it couldn’t stay like this but it was a lot of work to even get it to a stage where we could start decorating it. It didn't stop me dreaming of renovating it though!

First off we had the woodchip to strip. We've got 3 floors of house and therefore 3 floors of woodchipped hallway to contend with. Luckily for us Jim's mum and her husband came over and did that for us. They did an awesome job – I have nothing but admiration for them in the time it took to get rid of all that woodchip.

But, like most rooms in this house, once the wallpaper had gone it unearthed some very uneven and patchy plastering. Which meant that we had to have the whole space plastered. Again, 3 floors of plastering required, which meant we had a little saving up to do to get it done. So for a while we lived with a bare plaster kind of look - if my hair salon can pull it off, our house can too - right? Plus, shortly after we had the hall plastered, we got my diagnosis and it threw us off our decorating game!

But now it meant we could start to make headway with making some changes. We'd decided that we wanted to add a doorway to the hallway (our neighbours have one and we liked it) to create a porch area for our shoes and coats, and to make the house warmer, but mostly to stop the dogs eating the post. Which they love to do!

I think this might be one of the best things we have done to the house. It's created an 'airlock' to stop the dogs going quite as crazy at the door, and it hides the mess of shoes and things from our sight when we're in the house.

Now, on to the painting. In my head the best plan would have been hiring someone to do the painting but, budgets and all that meant that we had to do all ourselves. I'd had the paint colour for the lower walls sorted for a long time. I'd fallen in love with a shade called 'Anchors Aweigh'. It would have a little nautical theme to it. Of course! I was less worried about the colour for the rest of the walls, I just knew I wanted a slight off white and I basically picked the colour because I liked the name - 'Soft Wool'. The best way to pick a paint colour, right? As the downstairs walls were going to be two tone, I drew a line at 90cm’s and we painted beneath the line with Anchor Aweigh and above it, with Soft Wool. The walls upstairs, on both floors are Soft wool too!

I was lucky in that I'd been sent a couple of Valspar vouchers for their premium paint, as I couldn't attend an event they were holding. Whilst we’ve used Valspar before, I've never bought the Premium paint but I can honestly say it was a godsend. It meant no priming of the plaster and with all these walls to do, which was something that I was well up for.

I'm going to be straight up here - I was sent vouchers for 5ltrs of paint and we ended up using 15ltrs of paint, so I'm not being biased in this! I spent a small fortune on more paint and since doing these walls we've bought Premium for our dining room and plan to buy it for the bedroom we’re about to start on too!

We decided to paint the new porch area fully in ‘Anchors Aweigh’ as we thought the slightly darker colour would help disguise an mud that the dogs might bring in, and I think it was a brilliant decision for us, because I just love the colour, and it really makes the white shoe and coat racks pop.
Once we’d got the walls fully painted,  I got my dad over to put a dado rail up - it felt like the sort of thing a dad ought to do, and he was good at it! By this time chemo had started so I made sure he came to do it on a steroid day so I had the energy to help.....

So, we had walls painted, dado rails up, art on the walls (because I’m impatient sometimes) – so it was time to turn our attention to the flooring. 

I’ve wanted a striped carpet, herringbone floor combo for the longest time – I blame Pinterest, but but but, after falling in love with both items, I thought it'd all be too expensive - until my mum reminded me she was buying us the hall carpet as her (very belated) housewarming gift, which meant it was becoming more of a reality. We have a fab flooring shop near our house, Mintons, all our flooring so far has been from them, and I suspect the rest of the house will be too! We waited a good few months for the guy to come fit our floor, but it was totally worth it!

We've got the stripes running all the way up to the 3rd floor, and I just love the look of it. But the parquet flooring went down last week and it’s completely stolen my heart. Now, I have to say, it’s not real parquet, it’s a vinyl tile. Because, are you mad? We can’t afford real parquet – but it looks like the real deal thing and that’s the most important thing to me.

We still have a few things to do to fully complete to space – like painting the porch door (I just can’t decide what colour to do it) and switching out the paper lamp shades (the fittings I saw were £150 each and we have 7 fixtures, and I haven’t found anything else I like yet!) 

It might have taken us a while, but I’m 100% in love with what we have created. I just love how different the house feels when you walk into it. I can even overlook the fact that Jim dumps junk on the console table because I like it so much! 
What do you think? Have we made the right decision? Would you have kept the yellow woodchip? (if the answer to this is yes, you might need some help!)


Valspar Premium 'Soft Wool' upstairs and on the upper walls
Valspar Premium 'Anchors Aweigh' on the lower section of the walls downstais
Camaro Cambridge Parquet  wood flooring. Fitted by Mintons.
Carpets from Mintons 
Hallway Table - 123Furniture
Mirror - Mirror Mad
Hall lamp - Shopped from the house
Artwork from a variety of places - Mountain pics taken by me on holidays in the mountains , gig posters from concerts we've been to, fish print from Howkapow, Sheffielfd Map was a gift from Jim.
Console Table with handles from Antropologie
Blue and grey basket - Sainsburys Home
Wine Picnic Basket - Nether Edge Farmers Market
Skateboard - Lives and Levels
Scarf basket - Dunelm
Mountains hoop - Snowbird Artworks
Trones shoe storage boxes - Ikea
Sticks Coat Hooks - Umbra
Home Etc