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Life changing magic

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The Life Changing Magic

A love letter to Flash Flashington

Today marks 5 years since this little dude came to live with us. 
5 years of the best cuddles on the planet. 
5 years of being bossed about by this grump. 
5 years of popcorn paws. 
5 years of ears you just want to make into pillows. 
5 years of incessant ball chasing, toy destroying and irrational hatred of things on TV.  
5 years of being my little spoon and hot water bottle. 
5 years of protecting us from people walking past the house and post coming through the door! 
5 years of kisses and slow dances round the kitchen. 
5 years of being waited for when we're out on a walk. 
5 years of unconditional love and dirty looks.  
Today is also, coincidentally, the day I finish my active treatment for cancer. I say coincidentally as it was Flash who first discovered my lump. This guy literally saved my life. He's my hero! I know everyone's dog is perfect but not many of them are as perfect as this little horror! 
I couldn't imagine my life without him. Or his brother. But this here is a love letter to Flash. 
Happy gotcha day little buddy! Love you as much as you love your ball!

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Oh, Radiotherapy, it's easy, right?

This week sees the end of my active treatment - as 5 weeks of radiotherapy, and more importantly, 10 months of cancer treatment comes to an end, so I thought it was about time I popped something up about this stage of what's been going on! 

I've lost count of the people who've told me in the last month that I must be glad my treatment is over. Or being told how easy radiotherapy is. Mostly by people who haven't experienced it. But I guess they, like me a month or so ago, don't realise just what a pain in the bum radiotherapy, rads, is! They don't know about the side effects that mean your skin might blister and become sore and they don't realise just how draining it is. How the fatigue will wash over you and leave you on the sofa for an age unable to drag yourself up. Or how sheltered I was having chemo at the private hospital because being in the radiotherapy department every day is overwhelming and full of people much sicker than me.  
If I am honest, I went into radiotherapy knowing more about the moisturiser I should buy to get through it than the treatment itself. That might still be true. But my radiotherapy has consisted of 23 sessions, over nearly 5 weeks. 15 of them were full boob radiotherapy sessions and then 8 boosters to the site of my lump. The boosters are apparently recommended for women under 40 so I'm taking my oncologists advice and having them too. 

But from what I've learnt from my nurses is that radiotherapy is essentially controlled high energy x-rays, targeted at the area of my cancer, that mops up and destroys any rogue cancer cells that might have made it through the chemo and the lumpectomy. 
So I now have a series of tattoos to help the nurses line me up on the machines. I get to wear these beautiful gowns whilst I've waited for the treatment. I've been shifted around and lined up to be fit with the soups and the infs the nurses chat about daily - I'm 24 this way and 92 that way. I've chatted to other people having treatment. I've read hardbacks. 

As for what happens during a radiotherapy session - I thought it best not to film it for you because my boobs are out and no-one needs to see that. But I lay on the bed, my hands above my head, clamped on to two bars, whilst the machine moves round me, shooting the rays in to me. And then for my booster, because this uses a different type of ray that doesn't travel very far into your body, there's an attachment that concentrates the effects. 
And as for the side effects. Man the tiredness has floored me. And it's a strange tiredness that comes in waves. Hits you when you least expect it. And inconstantly. But until this week I thought I was doing pretty well with the skin based side effects - I had redness, what I assume it's like if you're sunbathing nekid and burn your boob, but I thought I was going to get away with missing out on the 'skin breakdown' I got warned about so much. But nope, just as I come to the end, my skin has to split. Which is so frustrating as I really don't have the time for my skin to be all gross! Plus, it's pretty painful.

But there you go, a bit about radiotherapy, well, the radiotherapy I've received anyway. I can't praise my nurses highly enough. They've been wonderful, even when it's clearly been a stressful day, but boy am I ready to not have to see them every day! 
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Hello May

Oh my goodness. April was a terrible bloggy month for me wasn't it. 4 posts. 4. Thats a new low I think. But I am finding it so hard to concentrate these days and as odd as this might sound I don't have much free time to sit at my computer. 

But I am here now, and with another 1 Second Everyday video, because whilst I might not be able to concentrate to write blog posts, I have got the brain capacity to take a 1 second video every day. So, that's something. Right?

And on to the video. April has consisted of daily trips to Weston Park Hospital. Bless my parents, they are taking most every day too! There were countryside walks, visits from Jim's mum, visits to Leeds, there was jewellery to make and a garden to make over. There was snow and sunshine and a telling off from the radiotherapy nurses about catching the sun. There were some early nights to combat the radiotherapy fatigue that envelopes my body. And there were a LOT of hot flushes. There was random music during treatment. And there were many walks with the dogs.  

A post shared by Em. (@ohgoshem) on

And now on to May. So 3/4's of the month will be spent on holiday, which is amazing and I am super excited about it. Not only because it's going to be fun, but going away means that my treatment will be over! I've got some veggies to plant this week, Jim's sister is over too before we head awayand I've got some other bits in the pipeline that I can't really chat about yet. I was hoping to have a post treatment celebration with my friends but I very much doubt that will happen! 

What have you got planned for the month? 
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Hopcity Leeds - Hype beers and beards!

At the weekend Jim and I headed to Leeds for Hopcity - a hop lead beer festival hosted by Northern Monk brewery. Oddly their brewery is in the grounds of a building I used to work at in, ooooh, 2007 I think, so walking there was a little blast from the past for me! 

I'll be straight up with you, I'm not the most knowledgeable person about beer, I'm not a hops or a brewing geek but I know what I like (IPA's, sours, fruity beers) and what I don't like (mostly porters and stouts) and I really enjoy trying loads of new beers! Which is why beer festivals are perfect for me. Well, as long as Jim doesn't pick up too many dark beers!  
One of the reasons we were drawn to the festival was the fact that one of the breweries, Alchamist, that we stumbled across in Waterbury, VT last year was going to be there. Last year found their Heady Topper in a small beer shop and picked some up on a whim only to find out about how sought after it was later. So we thought we'd go see what else they had on offer. Because we'd had the Heady Topper before we thought we'd try one of their others - so grabbed a can of the Focal Banger. I'll be honest, it was OK, but not out of this world! 
We've got our beer festival technique down to a t now. We get a bunch of tokens and then have as many beers to share as we can - that way we get to sample loads of different flavours without getting stupidly drunk or spending an absolute fortune, so we got 9 tokens each and got to share 15 thirds of beers. Which i know doesn't add up, but the Heady Topper was 3 tokens a can.....
And completely randomly we popped ourselves down on a table opposite Ellie and Faith who I've recently 'met' on Instagram but love their beers too. It was so nice to put a face to an online account. 
Of course we couldn't drink all those beers and not eat anything. We chose bao from Dim Sum Sue, with the thought that we'd go back for a parmo later, but by the time we thought of moving to get food they'd run out. Gutted! But the bao was delicious!  
And if you want to know what we drank - here is our beer list;
  • The Alchemist - Focal Banger
  • Legitimate Industries - Identity Theft
  • Ridgeside Brewery - Wubalubadubdub
  • North Brewing  - Transmission
  • Northern Monk - Northern Tropics Pineapple and Grapefruit IPA
  • Zapato Brewery - Stereognosis
  • Stigbergets Bryggeri - Amazing Haze
  • Cloudwater Brew Co - Don Citra Southern Passion
  • War Pigs - Less is Never More
  • Siren Craft Brew - White Tips
  • Other Half Brewing - Green Down To The Socks
  • Beaver Town - Bloody El
  • Dry and Bitter - Fat and Fruity
  • Deya Brewery - Sunset Dreaming
  • O/O - Narangi
It's a long list, and so a lot to remember, especially as we didn't make specific notes and drank them all, but I really enjoyed the Northern Tropics, Narangi, and the Fat and Fruity. 


We've got a couple more beer festivals lined up this year, both of which we went to last year - Indy Man in Manchester and Borefts, the reason we went to Amsterdam. Have you got any boozy plans lined up for this year? 
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Recipe: Mini Egg, Creme Egg Brownies

Creme egg mini egg brownies
We all know that Easter is about a two very important things - Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs! And these brownies combine them both so you don't need to choose your favourite. They use my go to brownie recipe with a load more chocolate thrown in for good measure. Doesn't that sound like a recipe for happiness? 

I've made them for the last few Easter hols, last year for guests and this year for my WI meeting and I thought it was about time that I shared them with you. Because they are super easy to make and seasonal AF! 

What you'll need;

  • 140g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 90g cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 bag of mini eggs
  • 1 bag of mini creme eggs - chopped in half
  • 8x8 inch baking dish

What you'll need to do; 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line your baking pan with parchment paper so that it over hangs the pan. 
  2. In a microwavable bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt and pop it in the microwave. Cook the mixture until the butter is melted and with a few stirs the ingredients are fully combined. 
  3. Stir in the vanilla.  
  4. Add in the eggs one by one. Stir each of them until they are fully combined. The batter should look really shiny. 
  5. Stir in the flour until you cant see it any more. 
  6. Add in the bag on mini eggs and stir. Stir until the mini eggs are well combined. 
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking dish so that it's evenly distributed. 
  8. Chop the mini creme eggs in half (do it along the seam as the split easily) and pop them on the top of the brownie batter - egg side up. I try and space them out to create pieces. 
  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes until a pick comes out clean from the middle of them. 
  10. Leave to cool completely and then cut into squares around the creme eggs. Or just eat from the pan, with a spoon. Either or. Both are valid decisions! 
What is your go to Easter treat? Hit me up with links to your faves in the comments please! 
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House Plans: The Master Bedroom Update

We've made a bit of a leap in out house plans this week - I have booked to have our windows replaced, which means we can start planning the room renovations we've been putting off until they got done! It's a bit of a shame that we have to replace them as we have beautiful sash windows but they're all painted shut, cold and it's so expensive to fix sash windows.......but the replacement means I can crack on redecorating! 

And so, next in my sights is our bedroom.
First things first, our bedroom is massive. Its huge. I think it might be the biggest room in the house by a long way! It's fitted out with some dodgy 80's fitted wardrobes that don't hold many clothes, horrible wallpaper and bad carpeting. And being a Victorian house it has a fireplace that was painted orange when we moved in! But I have my plans. Many plans and I am very excited for them!

For ages I've had me heart set of having a navy blue, coral and aqua bedroom, so that's exactly what I am planning. I see a navy blue wall, with the other colours as accents - paired with some light grey or white, but probably a light grey. Knowing me.

I'll also be ripping out the built in furniture and replacing it with something that gives us more useful space - hopefully a wall of wardrobes, re-plastering, re-carpeting, replacing the wooden fireplace with something more fitting to the room's history. Creating a space that I love. Something a little more grown up but also a bit fun too. Well, that's what I am hoping for any way!

So here is my inspiration board for the space that I want to create - mostly so I can show Jim a little of what's in store for the room! But also mostly so I can get excited about it. 


All the products and images are linked to on my Pinterest board here

What do you think? And got any big house plans coming up? 
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Hello April!

Well, it appears my 1 second videos fell at the third month - missed a few days which you might notice if you count the days but i think we can all agree no-one has time for that! Although this month's vid is mostly dogs again! But lets face it, they are cuter than me! 

Anyway, March - March saw the end of chemo, and the following recovery, I had a few fun days out in Leeds and Harrogate with friends, we went for trips to the countryside, and to the seaside, I made a couple of bangles at jewellery, and then I started some radiotherapy planning.

A post shared by Em. (@ohgoshem) on

Now, for April - April will be mostly spent going to the radiotherapy department at Weston Park. I have daily sessions between April 5th and the 10th May. My dad and I are building raised veg patch planters, and sowing grass, and tiding up the garden, we're off for another trip the Leeds, I have a tonne of ideas of things I want to make at my jewellery class, and I have a couple of birthdays to make for too. We've also got a holiday to plan because right now we just have accommodation booked in one place of 4. And it's next month! Oooops. And I want to relish every minute I spend with the dogs because my days of hanging out with them all the time will be coming to an end when I go back to work after treatment!

And whilst I'm sharing movies and talking about the pooches, here's a little movie of the fur faces playing in the park, you know, just because! 



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The realities of cold capping - or how I haven't lost my hair during chemo

(My previous chemo hair cut!)
Recently we had a door to door charity collector come round for a cancer charity. I eventually managed to cut through her chatter and tell her I already give to a cancer charity (and have since my Grandad died) and that as I currently have cancer I wasn't looking to add to that list at the moment. Her first response was "But you still have your hair". Which is something I hear a lot. I imagine it's the first people think when they hear cancer. Hair loss. And I'll be honest it was one of my biggest concerns too. Which I know is a really vain thing to worry about but it was a real concern, and so there's no point lying about it. I've written about it before when I thought it was all going wrong.

There were many reasons that I worried about my hair, but most of them weren't because I didn't think I could rock the bald look (I could totally have done that!) but because my face is way too fat to rock a pixie cut when the shaved head was growing out. Which is why when I was offered the opportunity to use the cold cap I decided to take it. For those of you not in this world, The cold cap is a gel filled hat that is cooled to -25 degrees with the thought that cooling your hair follicles can reduce the chemo drugs from reaching them and reduce the chance of it making your hair fall out.

Now, I know that I am having my treatment privately, and not all NHS trusts offer the cold cap, but most of them do and it does baffle me that there are a lot of people who don't take the option if it is offered to them. I see women who find out they have to have chemo and just shave their heads, thinking hair loss is inevitable. Which might be the right choice for them and I respect that, but for those of you not wanting to take that route I wanted to write about my experience.

Because whilst I'll be the first to admit I had the thickest hair in the world to start with and I have lost a LOT of hair - maybe 60% of it - I still have a full coverage and I don't look like a cancer patient. Which for me is a big thing.
So, first things first - The cold cap I had is basically glorified riding hat that has been frozen to -25degrees, so, yes, it's cold. It goes on half an hour before chemo, and comes off when the drugs have been administered and gets changed every every 45 minutes. Yes, it's very cold. But I honestly didn't find it too cold to cope with. Which I know is the fear of a lot of people.

So, in case you have found your way here at the start of your chemo journey and you're considering the cold cap - here is a mixture of some advice I have been given, some things I have done that are totally against all the advice, and some of my observations on the realities of using the cold cap during chemo;

  • On my first time I took painkillers 20mins before the cold cap went on. Just after my anti-sickness. I haven't taken them since though and I've been fine. 
  • I make sure my forehead and ears are padded with gauze to stop the cold touching skin.  This is the most important thing as I can tell when it's changed if there isn't enough. I go with 3 gauze pads all the way round. I've heard a headband might work but i'd worry about where the back of it would go. Would it cover hair that should be being kept cold?
  • Wear something warm. It makes you cold having it on your head so wrap up! 
  • Make sure that it's really snug. You should be able to feel the cold all across your head - if it's not touching your head, it might not be working. 
I know there is another style of cap that requires a hair conditioner seal to be made, and leaves ice on your head - I did get some tips for this one, but as I've not used it I can't say, but if you do have any tips for that one please pop them in the comments, because I haven't used that one!

Once the actual chemo session is over, and the cold capping is done, this is where being careful about my hair had to start. And this was the bit that I was dreading really, because I'll be honest, it has been a bit of a pain in the ass - but it's been worth it to keep some hair on my head!
  • I currently only wash my hair once a week. That means there's only one hair wash for it to come out during. I wash it on a weekend which not only means it's looking decent if I have weekend plans, but as my chemo day is a Monday, it's washed quite a while after the treatment is given. Oddly a once a week wash hasn't really been a problem -maybe because of how dry my hair is after the cold capping! 
  • I was told to just use Simple shampoo and conditioner. And I did. for a while. But I have such frizzy hair I found it was easier for me to carry on using the Treseme that I had been using before. It's more moisturising and leaves my hair in a better condition I think! Plus, it seemed to fall out at the same rate no matter what I used! 
  • The advice is to only use a wide tooth comb on your hair to avoid pressure. I even bought a pink one! Personally, I found this was worse for my hair as I found the comb dragged at any knots and it came out in clumps. Using the large paddle brush I already had has, for me, been easier and I've felt my hair comes out less this way! I'm still getting a lot of hair in the brush, but it doesn't seem to come out in clumps the way the comb made it. I also brush my hair once a day because brushing it less (as I was advised) made it more knotted and therefore, it came out more. 
  • I was told not to straighten my hair or hair dry it. But I'll be honest I straighten my hair once a week. Not straightened, the frizz bomb that is my hair was knotting more, and therefore coming out more when brushed it. So for me, straightening, gently, is a far better option! 
  • I cut my hair from being long to a bob as I figured there was less weight on the hair, so less of a pull on the roots. I have no clue if this works, but I did it. 
  • It was suggested to me that I buy horse riding nets and a silk pillowcase to reduce hair loss at night. I bout the nets but found my hair got stuck in it and tangled up, so stopped that quite quickly. And I didn't buy the silk pillowcase as I thought that mu pillows were silky enough!  
My hair came out worst the week of the 2nd round of chemo (enough to fill a Tesco carrier bag in one go) and I honestly thought about shaving it then, but luckily Jim told me not to and I am so glad that I didn't do anything drastic after the shock of that loss. But be warned, there will be that moment when your hair starts coming out in clumps. But you'll be amazed at how much hair you actually have. I promise you. And full disclosure - it's still coming out now more than it used to, pre chemo. And I'm 3 weeks post my 6th one. But what you forget is that you shed hair normally, you're just more aware of it now, so some of the hair loss is normal!

See - hair - recently - in February!
The only thing I would say about keeping your hair is that it makes some people think I've not faired badly with my treatment, or that I've not been sick, that I'm cheating at having cancer, but in truth I've worked bloody hard to keep my hair and I'm pretty proud of the fact it's all there! 

And for those of you not facing chemo, or the hair loss - good on you for making it this far! That's one hell of a commitment to blogging. You've done better than I do with baby posts ;) 
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A lust list for March


Creating a lust list this month has been kind of hard. I have so many things that I want but they are things I want to make rather then buy this month! But there are still a few things that I have my eye on;

1. I have been on the hunt for the perfect boyfriend jeans for a while, something to mix it up with the skinnies, and I think I might have found them in this Hush pair! They're the perfect amount of scuffed up and baggy but still nice! 
2. Never has there been a truer sentiment on a necklace than this. Actually fuck cancer
3. I've got The Roanoak Girls, on my must read list - once I have worked my way through the pile of books I bought in my last shopping spree. But I've read such great reviews! 
4. I am a bit worried as normally I'm not a fan of rose gold or Toms but I kind of love these shoes, and that scares me. A lot! 
5. When a gin is your name sake and you've already drunk one bottle, you need to replace it don't you! Fishers Gin for the win! 

What are you lusting after at the moment?
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And just like that chemo is over......and I can get back to 'normal'

Chemo drugs

14 days ago I had my final chemo session. 

It feels so strange that the 6 sessions I'd dreaded starting last September, are over! And if I'm honest, what i thought would be a celebration was an anti climax. My nurses had had a shit day. One chemo patient had really bad reaction. And they'd left the ward before I had my shoes on so I couldn't thank them properly for the care they'd given me. 

Then I was hit hard by the side effects. I felt really sick by 6pm and just wanted my bed. So I sent Jim to play football and i went to sleep. Plus. Lets be honest. Who actually cared that it was my last session but me? So I'm yet to celebrate it. I doubt I actually will. It was such a long time ago now. The bottle of Moet in the fridge can just wait for another event. 

So here I am. Post chemo. Having taken my last lot of drugs. Being told left right and centre that I'm done with treatment. That I'm all sorted now. It's over. Mostly I just smile and nod. I don't have the heart to tell people that in a week I have a planning session to start my radiotherapy. That there are 23 sessions of that to go. That the CT scan they'll do at that session terrifies me, because who knows what's going on in my body.  That I have no clue how the radiotherapy might affect me. 

I'm told I can get back to normal now. But I'm not sure that people grasp that the 'normal' me that went in to this with won't be the normal that comes out. That I won't be the same. I won't be normal any more. Not for a while at least. 

How can i be? Chemo might be over but the side effects are still going strong; 

I can't straighten my arms without them hurting because of the cording in my veins.
I can barely make it round the park without stopping. Hell. I can barely make it through the day without a nap. I'm just so tired all the time.
I forget what I am doing all the time. I forget things I said I'd do. I forget pretty much everything unless I write it down.
My hair is shit. Really shit. It needs some moisture. And dyeing. And de-frizzing. It needs to be the 8 inches it longer it was this time last year.
And my stomach needs to un-bloat after the drugs.
And I burst in to tears all the time.
And I need to reassess how I'm spending my life.
Oh and lose the weight I've put on during chemo before I start taking a drug, for 5 years, that is known to make you gain weight. The joy!

So no. I don't think I can get 'back to normal' just yet. I'm going to try my hardest but it might not be as easy as everyone thinks it will be!

And if any of you have been wondering what it's like to have chemo - I made this video for Instagram a while back. I haven't shared it here but maybe it's time?


A post shared by Em. (@ohgoshem) on
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Creating Latte Art with the Nespresso Creatista

The thing I've discovered about having treatment is we're always having to make drinks for the people who come round to see if we're OK. Which would be fine if everyone wanted a glass of water but guests keep wanting coffee.  

I have no qualms with sending Jim to make drinks for people (it's his job because, you know, cancer and all that. On a side note - how long can I use that excuse with him?) But as we've been living with a slightly broken, really slow and fiddly coffee machine for the last, well, forever, it seems a bit mean to keep shipping him off to the kitchen! Especially as everyone we have round seems to take their coffee a different way.
But we might have a solution. This week a Nespresso Creatista arrived in our kitchen and it's already changing the way we entertain guests! It's the first pod coffee machine we've had but I have to say it's really impressing us so far. I've even gone as far as to set up a coffee station in the kitchen so if needs be guests can just help themselves. 
It heats up in a fraction of the time of our old machine, there are eight different coffee settings on the Creatista, including flat white which is Jim's drink of choice, 4 different levels of milk frothing, which I am loving playing with because the selling point of the Creatista is that it makes creating latte art easy. 
Although I am not sure that the people who created the machine and figure latte art is easy have met me. No matter which of the milk frothing settings I choose, I just can't make the patterns appear. Jim thought my first attempt looked really rude, and well, this latest one looks less like the heart that I intended it to be, and more like a bum! Although it's clearly due to lack of skill as my friend Zoe came round to see me and she managed to create some really pretty patterns! But I blame that on her barista training. I mean she has an unfair advantage right?

But you tell me - bum or heart?
Luckily for the people being subjected to my latte art attempts I'm off to the Creatista Studio in Leeds next week for some pointers in how to make the perfect patterns in the top of the drinks I'm serving them. I'll be beating Zoe at her own game in no time! The pop up will be in the Victoria Quarter until the 19th so if you're in Leeds drop in and see the Creatista team and see what art you can create! 
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Travel: We're off to Washington, Philadelphia & New York!

Earlier this year I posted about our travel plans for the year and I mentioned the trip we had planned to California snowboarding - but that had to be postponed due to my chemo schedule. Initially we thought we might take the trip, just later in the year, but we've decided that we want to take the California trip when we can go snowboarding so have put it off until next year!

BUT.........But........but.........we still had some airmiles that needed spending, and a celebratory end of treatment holiday to take so, after some moving of my radiotherapy dates, we have booked a new trip. 

So, the day after my treatment finishes our new trip we're flying First Class in to Washington, (yup, you read that right, First Class, thank you airmiles) driving up to Philadelphia, then on to New York and the Hamptons (Well, this Hamptons bit will be on if I can convince Jim that we should go. He's clearly not watched enough Gossip Girl as I'm just not sure he's up for it!) Then we're flying out of New York 18 days later. 

As we only booked it yesterday we've not planned how long we'll be in each place, where we'll stay, where we'll go in between. We've not planned what we should see, where we have to eat or any of the things we already had sorted for the California trip. 

So if you have any recommendations of what we should be doing, hit me up - I want to know your tips, tricks and must visits! 
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My new favourite timepiece from Welly Merck

No matter how much of my life is lived digitally, I will never be able to give up wearing a watch. There has always been a place in my life for them, from the pop swatch I got as a birthday gift in the early 90's to the Animal watch I bought with my first wages, or the G-shock I thought was so cool even though it stuck a mile off my wrist. I have always been a watch wearer. I always will be. And I like watch faces and moving hands. The digital watch life is not for me. I've tried it. I didn't like it. 

My latest obsession is this beautiful black and turquoise watch I got from Swiss brand Welly Merck. If you've followed me for a while you'll know I have a slight obsession for all things turquoise, so when I saw this beauty, The Classic Bern, with it's black face and mesh strap and bright blue hands, it was a must for my life! A little bit classy. A lot of fun! 
I hadn't heard of Welly Merck before discovering this piece, but there is the cutest story behind the creation of the brand; 
The Story

American boy Merck, born in a steel artisan family, is passionate for Iron craft and travelling. During a trip in Italy, Merck met a girl named Welly, who is from a traditional watch-making family. The two fell in love at first sight, unfortunately, they soon had to travel back after the trip. However their affection and passion continued though in distance and departure. Distance and differences didn’t fade their hope on plan for future. Though suffered a lot, they overcame various difficulties with the blessing of friends and relatives, Merck came to Switzerland and finally married his beloved girl Welly. To memorise their own love story, the two created their own watch brand ''Welly Merck'' after their marriage.
The watch face itself, whilst larger in face diameter than my other watches, is thinner, which makes it feel a bit more elegant. Less bulky and 'there' on my wrist! It also features swiss quartz Rhonda 762 movement, sapphire crystal glass, and on top of that, it's waterproof, which I never thought much about about until I cracked the face of my Nixon watch and realised how often it got splashed!
My only little niggle is that the strap seems harder to get to grips with than my other watches - but after a few days of wearing I've got it figured out. And speaking of straps, there is also the option to change the straps with the click of a switch, which, whilst I don't have any other straps for this watch, is a feature of my other current time piece that I love.

I have to say I've had this watch for the last few weeks now and I've so many compliments it. I think the bright pops of colour on the face make it stand out, plus and it sits perfectly with my growing collection of turquoise jewellery!
Tell me, are you a watch wearer? What's your go to time piece?  

*I was sent this watch for the purpose of this review, but all the views and words are my own*
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Travel: A long weekend in Morzine

Right now we're supposed to be in California, snowboarding in Mammoth, but as we had to postpone it, we thought we'd still take the chance to get out to the mountains for a long weekend on the snow! 
Luckily Jim's sister and her husband also wanted to escape for a few days too, so we had some partners in crime to plan with and we found a great chalet in Morzine that would accommodate our mini break. As we weren't going for very long it wasn't as easy to just book something, but we put a message on the Chalets Direct forum and Alpine Adventure got in touch and were very helpful and made sure that we had lift passes and ski's for Jane and Mark delivered to the chalet. Plus the hosts were really lovely too.
We chose Morzine as we've been before so we know the slopes a bit - which is important when you're only there a few days - and we all really like the town too, plus there's stuff there for me to do as I wasn't planning on being on the slopes all the time. It also turned out a couple of other friends ended up coming out to see another friend living there.  
We were so lucky in that we had bluebird sky days. The glorious sunshine and unseasonable warm weather meant the snow was a bit slushy, but nothing we couldn't cope with. 

I managed to snowboard for 2 of the days we were away, not full days, but I managed to get out which made me happy. And because of the sunshine, it meant chilling out mid runs, waiting for our friends wasn't a hardship. If there are better places to spend some down time than sitting on a deckchair, slopeside, in Avoriaz - I can not think of them. It would have only been made better if a waiter had come by and let me order a boozy hot chocolate.

We made it over to Switzerland on my second day riding but I abandoned the others to head back to France and somewhere I could chill out whilst they rode some of the slopes over there. We did avoid the Swiss Wall though - for one, it didn't really have any snow on it, and for another - it's hideous! 
On the day I didn't snowboard I took a trip on the free bus to Lake Montriond at the advice of my friend Zoe, who spent some winters living in Morzine, then spent the rest of the day wandering round Morzine, looking round shops, visiting boulangeries, before heading back to the chalet to sit in the sun and read. Thoroughly perfect way to spend a day recuperating I think you'll agree!  

Lake Montriond was beautiful, but as Morzine wasn't under any snow, I hadn't factored in the sheet ice that would surround the lake. I know. Foolish is a ski resort right? So whilst I didn't walk all the way round it as I know how clumsy I am and so I feared for the safety of my bones, I still got to see some of the lake in all it's beautiful glory. 
As our chalet was catered we didn't eat out in the evenings in Morzine, which is a shame as there are some great restaurants in town, but the yummy 3 course meals and free flowing wine made up for it. We did however have some lunches on the hill. On our first day we met up with some friends at Changabang in Avoriaz for nachos and burgers and a few beers. It's a totally unassuming little shop/cafe but it has a great terrace looking over the slopes and the food was great. Plus it gave us a chance to catch up with a couple of friends who weren't able to snowboard! 

And on the other day I snowboarded we ate at one of the restaurants in the Lindarets Bowl, Mamo's Cafe. Again, this was recommended by Zoe and it really didn't disappoint. Jane had the most amazing looking salad, Mark had a crepe thing with sausage in it and we had croque monsieurs, all with a beer and I think it came to about 60 which is really not bad for 4 to eat on the mountains! The lunch I missed on the swiss side on my lake day was about that for 2 to eat. Talking of that day off, I had what might have been the most rubbish cheese and ham baguette that has ever existed, so the less said about that the better!
And as for apres, we gave it our best shot. Some of us more than others! We made sure to grab a few glasses of biere peche at Dixie and a the boys had some Mutzig's, a local, super strong beer that is legendary in the town.   
Being in the mountains has a completely restorative nature for me. It clears my head and makes me happy. There is something about those never ending peaks when you're at the top of the mountains that makes me happy, and the snow and the atmosphere when you're there. It just makes everything better - which was sorely needed after a bit of a crappy 5th chemo session.

As for travelling during chemo, I found insurance through More Than. It was about £24 for a weeks cover - including winter sports - and that was declaring I was mid treatment. I took my chemo record, a plethora of drugs and my thermometer with me. I snowboarded with water in my bag, my anti-sickness tablets and some tummy settlers just in case. 
And in true me style, I made a little video of our trip. It's nothing too fancy but I hope you like seeing how we spent a long weekend in the alps. I sure had fun taking the photos and making the video! 
A long weekend in Morzine! from emma fisher on Vimeo.
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