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lipstick saved my life ...


a post inspired by National Lipstick Day 

I have always loved lipstick, especially red and fuchsia, but I never thought that lipstick would help me through something as hard as cancer. But it did.

Cancer doesn't only affect you physically and emotionally but your self confidence takes a huge blow too. Chemo attacks your body as well as the cancer, causing your hair and lashes to fall out, your skin to become sensitive, dark circles become a permanent feature due to massive fatigue and in my case, thanks to steroids, put on weight (nearly 20kgs!!) When I looked in the mirror, in fact even now, I didn't  recognise myself, all I saw was a monster, a shadow of what was once Emily. Some people are OK with this, or don't mind necessarily looking ill. They embrace being bald and wear a head scarf but I wasn't  strong enough so instead I made a point not to look ill, not only for myself but for those around me. I did not want to be pitied or seen as ill, and the way I did that was with fabulous wigs and of course LIPSTICK.

I wore lipstick to every chemo!! My three favourites being MAC Wonder Woman Lipstick in Russian Red and Lime Crime Lipstick in Centrifuschia and Countessa Flouresent. These three colours all bold, bright and beautiful, gave me the confidence I needed to get through the 5 hours of chemo every two weeks and even the days I didn't have chemo. If was just feeling a bit low or feeling ugly I would apply some lipstick and then get on with the rest of my day!







       my lipstick sister and ray of light Joy (one of my chemo nurses)  - wearing Russian Red by MAC






Me walking the Electric Run for Cancer - wearing Countessa Flouresent by Lime Crime and a fabulous wig!

Its amazing how something like lipstick can bring so much confidence and help you get through a bad day, it may not work for everyone but it sure worked for me and still does!

So to end this post I want to say A HUGE Thank You to MAC and Lime Crime for helping me get through the hard times, in their own little way!

afternoon in the pool - Hitchin Outdoor Pool

Yesterday we had gorgeous weather again so we decided to spend the afternoon at the Outdoor Swimming Pool in Hitchin.


We had such a wonderful time! There was a lovely pool for the little ones as well as a full length pool for the older children, all looked over by lifeguards to make sure everyone was safe. Both were very clean.
My son (15 months)  loved the baby pool and my friends daughter Anya (12)  loved the big pool and spent the afternoon jumping into the deep end and practising her mermaid skills. Although the pool was VERY busy there was still lots of places to sit on the grass or by the pool side. There is also a little cafe and a large sand pit area for the little ones to play once they have finished swimming.


I did however get into trouble for taking photos :/ which I was a little sad about as I would have loved to have got some shots of Ben with Anya in the pool but I guess rules are rules. You can always take a few sneaky shots with your phone I guess...

If you live in this area I would definitely recommend it as a summer holiday activity. The outdoor pool is open between 25 May - 28 August, 8am - 6pm . There is an indoor swimming pool too but that's not as fun when the sun is shining.

Prices - peak

Adult (16-59) £5.20
Junior (4-15) £3.10
Under 4's FREE
Family of 4 £13.00

for more info - link or link

DIY - googly eyed balls ...


My son absolutely loves playing in his little ball pit and today I decided to make it a little bit more fun and even a bit more educational by adding some googly eyes.

Its so easy to do!

What you will need

goggly eyes in various sizes
a glue gun
and balls

How to do it

Just sick the eyes on the balls! Simple :)

How the game works

When mixed with the other balls they have to rummage through and try to find the balls with the googly eyes. When they find one make sure to praise them and then watch how excited they get.
The game seems to give them a sense of accomplishment as well as teaches them to tell the difference between objects.
Ben, my son loved it and even gave himself a round of applause every time he found one :)





























Why not give it a go and see how your little one likes it.

PLEASE make sure your child does not pull the eyes off and put them in their mouth. ALWAYS keep an eye on them!

sparkling blueberry lemonade...



It has been so hot in Hertfordshire lately and what better way is there to cool yourself down then with a deliciously cold glass of lemonade and not just any lemonade but sparkling blueberry lemonade. This is so easy to make and is made in just minutes, - inspired by the fabulous Joy The Baker

Ingredients

1 punnet of fresh blueberries (frozen berries would also work)
2 1/2 medium lemons squeezed of all their tangy goodness
1 cup sugar ( I use caster as it dissolves a bit better but granulated is fine)
1 good handful of  fragrant fresh mint
4 -5 glasses of sparkling spring water (still water is good too but I like bubbles)
ice to serve

method

1. Bung everything in the blender minus the ice. Wizz until everything is blended together.
2. Pass the mixture through a sieve to get rid of all the bits.
3. Pour into a jug full of ice and top with sparkling water.

and thats it... so simple,so satisfying.



toad in the hole...



Toad in the hole is a real family favourite and I love how quick and easy it is! Its so comforting and homely, a real English dinner.

Ingredients

125g plain flour, sifted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
150ml milk
2 tbsp oil
4- 8 pork sausages
salt and pepper
steamed veggies and onion and time gravy to serve

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220'C (200'C fan oven).
Put the flour into a bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the eggs and the milk. Whisk the batter thoroughly and season well with salt and pepper.
2. Put the sausages and oil into a large oven proof dish and cook in the oven for 10 minutes turning once or twice.
3. Pour the batter into the dish and continue to cook for another 15min - 20min or until the batter is puffy and a rich golden brown colour all over. Serve straight away.

- you can also make individual portions as shown in the picture, I tend to do this for my son as he eats earlier then we do. 


a family day out - Tropical World, Leeds ...

Last weekend we took a mini road trip to Leeds to see a friend and visit Tropical World .

Tropical World at Roundhay Park,Leeds is one of the UKs most popular tourist attractions and home to the largest collection of tropical plants outside of Kew Gardens.

When we arrived in Leeds it took us a little while to find it, that could be down to our sense of direction, but once we did we found parking straight away right outside, which was fantastic and it was free.

First we took a walk round the gardens which were beautiful, I think we had just missed them at their best but that didn't matter as there was still plenty of beautiful flowers to look at.
It is all very child friendly  with a little fence around the water, thank goodness as Ben tried to climb over to get to the fountain, and there is plenty of space to run around.





After our walk round the garden we decided to go across the road for a drink at The Roundhay Fox. It is a lovely bar and restaurant, beautiful decorated with plenty of space inside and out and wonderful service. Unfortunately we didn't try anything on the menu but I am sure we will next time.



After a bit of refreshment we popped back over the road to Tropical World. 
As you enter you are immediately transported into a topical paradise filled with beautiful flowers and plants and the sound of birds chirping.
As you walk through there is plenty to see from giant koi fish, beautiful birds, butterflies, terrapins and even a crocodile. Our favourite however was in the desert section where you could find more birds, tortoises and meerkats. The meerkats were adorable with lots of babies. Ben loved it as there was a great viewing window.






There are many more animals, insects and fish to see such as snakes, spiders, lizards, catfish, Egyptian fruit bats, pygmy slow lorses and tenrecs  and to top it all off there is even a waterfall.

For a more detailed look at Tropical World and its different sections visit their website - Tropical World, Leeds for a virtual tour.

Overall it was a wonderful family day out and at 3.40 pp it was a cheap one too. I highly recommend a visit there, just be sure to take lots of water as it is very hot and humid. 
For mothers with small children/babies it is pram/pushchair friendly. Ben is only 14months so he spent most of our time there in his pram.

Tropical World Details

Opening/Closing times
Summer10am until 6pm (last admission at 5.30pm)
Winter10am until 4pm (last admission at 3.30pm)


Charges
Adults : £3.40
LeedsCard : £2.70
‘Extra’ cardholders : £1.70
Breezecard : £1.70
5-15 year olds : £2.30
Under 5’s : Free





a good day...


Yesterday I got my final PET/CT scan results back and finally after a week of waiting  I can say I have beaten the Purple Monster! (Hodgkins Lymphoma)

Here is my story for those that don't know...

In December 2013 just days before a dream holiday in Aus with my family, my life was turned upside down with the news that I had stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma and instead of lying on the beach I was going to start a 6 month course of chemotherapy!Not only was I hit with that news but I was also told I would probably never be able to have another child.What could have been soul destroying i chose to use as motivation! After all I was still here, I had a gorgeous baby boy and allot of life to live!

I am now finished with chemo, the lumps in my neck are gone and I am 100% cancer free!I am one of the lucky ones and one of the grateful ones. Grateful to be able to live life! It has been a very hard and LONG journey, but thankfully it has finally come to an end!

Don't ever under estimate the power of  a positive attitude and the prayers of friends and family. I truly believe it was that that got me through this - and the consultants and chemo nurses. I have five years of check ups ahead of me but I am pretty sure that the cancer has gone for good!

For those who are still fighting or know someone that is. Keep positive, keep praying and know you are never alone in this fight.

Much love to you all
Em
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