Cute Houses of Montreal


A Winter Cocktail

Life changing magic

Life changing magic
The Life Changing Magic

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? 

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! 

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? 

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! 


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 ;) 

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?

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?

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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! 

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! 

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*

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.

Learning how to make things with silver!

I have a new favourite hobby!

For my birthday my mum bought me a course of silver jewellery making sessions with The Jewellery Business. I found out about the class chatting to the lady who runs, Emmie Ball them at the Sheffield Etsy Fair and thought it'd be the perfect thing to try this year, given my word for the year is learn. So once a week, for the foreseeable future, I'll be in a workshop learning a new skill. 

I started on the classes last week and finished my first piece this week - my first plan is to make a collection of bangles that all work together but are all slightly different!  
It's really interesting learning the skills it takes to create something with silver - even something this simple. I've been sawing, filing, bending, soldering, sanding, hammering, shaping and polishing. I have to admit that when we started the bangle was WAY too small for my wrist, and it was amazing to see how it grew as I hammered the shape and the patterns into it.  
For now I just have the one bangle (and one that has been half started too) - but I love it so much, and paired with my favourite turquoise number and silver beads, I think it looks just perfect! Future plans include ones with pearls on it, and maybe another with charms of a sort. The start of a great arm party - don't you think? 

And now I also have ideas for necklaces and earrings and a plethora of other gifts for people! Be warned, if you know me in real life, any birthday gifts you're expecting from me might be silver and jewellery related. That's ok right? 

Hello March

I can't quite believe that I've managed to complete 2 months of 1 Second Every Day. Honestly, it's a small miracle to me that I've remembered to do it. I must be in a better video frame of mind these days. Although it is mostly videos of the dogs, but I guess that reflects the month I had - I spent a lot of time hanging out with those cuties.

February was mostly dog walks, some home improvements, my 5th chemo, I started a jewellery making course, started planning an alternative trip to America, saw friends and went on a little weekend trip to France - I'll share some photos from it next week! 

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Now, on to March - I'll be celebrating the fact I'll be finishing chemo on the 6th - and recovering from it. And I'll be starting radiotherapy at the end of the month. It's Flash's 5th birthday, and my Dad's 70th in the same weekend to celebrate. I've got a few days lined up seeing friends. And a lot of healthy eating to do.  Nothing too ground breaking but I think it might be just the month I need!

What are you planning to do? 

On why brave is NOT the new black

Earlier this week twitter was mourning the fact that Steve Hewlett had passed away after a very public encounter with cancer. I'll be honest, I've only caught snippits of the interviews he gave on radio 4. Maybe I should listen more. But what I saw from the tweets and mentions of him was a tribute that his fellow BBC journalist, Nick Robinson had written.

Since becoming public about my current brush with cancer I've received a lot of well wishes, a few comments from people who think I should keep this shit private, and about a billion people calling me brave and strong. Which I know is there way of expressing how they see it, but this isn't how I see it, and is why, when I read this note it really resonated with the way I feel.

Because I'm not brave. Or strong. I'm not fighting a battle. I'm not. I promise you. I'm not doing one tiny thing different to what I hope every single one of you out there would do if you were faced with this too.

Having chemo doesn't make me brave. It's unfeasibly pragmatic for me. It means I've thought about my future and I'm cutting the % of the cancer returning down by a massive chunk. Not bursting into tears* every 5 minutes over this and talking about it openly, doesn't make me strong. It means I need to be talking about this for my sanity and I want to share all this to help and inform people if they should end up in this situation. Or just so they have a better understanding. So they're a bit more informed. And it gives me an outlet which gives Jim a break from my moaning. Of which there has been a lot. Ask him. I'm sure he'll fess up to what a pain in the bum I am. 

If, and God forbid it does, cancer pops up in the lives of any of my friends, I'd be mighty disappointed in them if they chose any other course of action to the one I'm taking. Having treatment is sensible. Nothing more. If they start trying to cure whatever ails them with kale then they can be sure I'll be trying to have them committed for their own good! 

So this is why I've been very careful with the words on my social bios. I've tried to steer clear of using the phrase 'fighting' or 'battling' because I'm not.

I fight with my skinny jeans in the morning. I fight with Flash and Melle over toys and dirty socks and what time they should get their breakfast. I fight with Jim over stupid little things like what belongs in the dishwasher. But sitting on a bed, turning away whilst my nurses stick needles in me, that's not a fight. I can't even face the sight of my own blood! Trust me, I'd be rubbish in a real battle! 

So whilst I'm not trying to offend anyone who has called me brave or strong, I know you probably think what I'm doing is that. I'm just setting the record straight as to why I might wrinkle my nose when you say it my face or brush your social media comment under the rug a little. It's mostly because I thats not how I feel.

I'm just doing exactly what I should be doing to, selfishly, stay alive, only I'm complaining about it a bit too much on social media.

*oddly I've only cried a few times, which quite frankly is a miracle, given I cry at tv ads these days but you try telling your mum you have cancer and not crying. I hope you never have to try!

Why I love my dogs! (Or a reason for some gratuitous dog shots!)

Did you know it's National Love Your Pet Day? I didn't until I stumbled across the # on instagram earlier today. But it seems such a great opportunity to post some photos of my favourite two fur faces, and some of the reasons that I love them. 
They are the worlds greatest cuddlers - sometimes at night I wake up being spooned by a dog, or with one in my arms. 

They force us  to get out into the world. Whether that's just for a trip to the park or for a 10k wander round the peaks. They are always up for a walk. Sometimes they are too up for a walk. 
They give the best kisses. Flash gives kisses on demand. Melle just gives kisses. All the time. 

Melle is an actual shadow. Where we are, he just wants to be. Sitting on the sofa, he's limpit-ed next to us. Going for a wee, following you to the bathroom. Getting a glass of water, sitting at your feet whilst you do. 
Flash actually saved my life. For reals. 100% needs a medal. I'm sure ant and dec should pop by and give him one. 

They love each other at least 90% of the time. And play together so nicely when they want to. My favourite thing is when Melle creeps up on Flash, slyly trying to get him to play, and then Flash eventually gives in and they wrestle

Flash gives hands down the best dirty looks of any living creature I have ever seen. His disgusted 'what are you doing?' face is absolutely brilliant and makes me smile every time. 

Melle is still such a puppy. He has these bursts of crazy that will just have you laughing the minute he starts - whether he's been caught off guard by the fact he. has. a. tail, or has just seem himself in a mirror, or has decided that he wants his belly rubbing and needs to get your attention to do so!  
But mostly I love them because they are just so loving. They give us both the best companionship. But at times when Jim is in India, or away with work elsewhere, they are always here - these two little fur faces are here, to chat to, to cuddle at night, to shout at when they do something stupid. 

I couldn't imagine life without either of them, tell me, why, besides the fact they are all clearly awesome, do you love your pets today?