Telling Phyllis to Move On

Now I don’t often swear, and rarely swear on here but today I’m going to make an exception, so if you’re likely to be offended then please just skip this post. I hope you don’t though, because it’s about cancer which quite frankly is offensive and indiscriminate.

Sadly cancer isn’t a stranger in my family, or yours too I suspect. My parents have both had their own battle with the disease (which they both won) but unfortunately my FIL wasn’t so lucky and we lost him last summer. I’ve friends that have encountered cancer, with mixed success, and I’m sure you have too.

One of those is Emma from Island Living 365 who has recently been diagnosed with Bowel cancer and who is bravely sharing her cancer journey online. Despite her recent post entitled Running away from Bowel Cancer she’s doing far from that. Instead she’s planning to run - or as she would say - plod, in the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK in Jersey at the end of May. While she’s already smashed her fundraising target, it would be great if we could add to her total, if you’re able to, to help beat cancer for everyone sooner.

Emma has named her cancer Phyllis and her updates regularly include #PissOffPhyllis - today many of the blogging community are showing our support for Emma and encouraging Phyllis (and her friends) to move on, as they’re really not welcome. Anywhere. Any of them.

We’ve all got badges with the #PissOffPhyllis message (thanks Lucy and the BlogOn team!) and we’re wearing them proudly and hitting our blogs and social media to show Emma our support. If you’re able to share this post, or any of my social posts for this on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram then I’d really appreciate your help.

April is Bowel cancer Awareness month

So it’s only fitting that we’ve managed to get this arranged to sneak in to the end of this month, and appropriate that I include some information about Bowel cancer too:

  • Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK claiming more than 16,000 lives a year, that's over 44 people every day.

  • Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, after breast, prostate and lung cancers.

  • Every 15 minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s almost 42,000 people every year. Every 30 minutes someone dies from the disease in the UK. 

  • More than nine out of ten new cases (94%) are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and nearly six out of ten cases (58%) are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over. But bowel cancer can affect any age. More than 2,500 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year.

  • 1 in 14 men and 1 in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread. If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.

The symptoms of Bowel cancer can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo

  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit 

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason

  • A pain or lump in your tummy

So Phyllis, it’s time for you (and all your friends) to move on

You’re most definitely not welcome. In fact I’ve struggled to find anywhere where you are welcome.


If you would also like to support Emma beating cancer you can follow her updates on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Or if you can spare a pound or two then a donation to her fundraising page for Cancer Research UK would be appreciated.  Thank you.


Reflecting on my week #78

I ended last week’s post saying that I might be in the market for a pouffe, and while that was tongue in cheek, I think it might not be such a bad idea.  I had some good news at the doctors last week; my vitamin D which had been scarce back in December has hung around following that course of tablets, and I’m back in the normal range.  The recent blood tests also showed that whatever is making my hips ache, isn’t polymyalgia - which having read up on the symptoms, I was never convinced about.  But it’s not that, which is good news.

The less good news is that I still have the hip pain.  And so after trying to explain how and why, and if anything I was doing could be causing it (I don’t think it is), and the doctor moving my legs around in all kinds of ways, and in some ways I had forgotten they could move, he thinks the joints and the areas around them are inflamed.  So now I have a course of anti-inflammatories which he hopes will knock it on the head.  He’s not the only one!

The trouble is any tablets only work if you actually take them, the hardest thing seems to be remembering to take them three times a day.  Luckily they’re to be taken with or after food, so that’s less of a problem.  Imagine if they had to be taken before food, I’d really be struggling.  As it is, I’m jumping up about 30 mins after I’ve eaten and once I’ve remembered, hopefully it’ll become more usual before the course ends  

I hope they will do the job, and my hips will be on the mend, as in unrelated news we’ve booked a walking holiday.  This might not be the most obvious choice for someone with aching hips, but as I regularly walk 4 miles and 10,000 steps plus on weekdays, it’s not such a leap of faith. The longest walk day, and an optional one I think is 18.5km, so about three times as far as I’d normally walk. But when you’ve got the whole day to do it, and are enjoying the scenery along the way it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  I hope.

And I’ll finally get to Lisbon.  I think everyone else in my family has been, and said how good it is, and yet I’d still not been.  We almost got there, but it was too tricky to tag onto our Porto and the Douro Valley trip.  We’ve had a few holidays in Portugal, we’ve been to the Alentejo region a couple of times too, so it's a favourite of ours, and I have high hopes.

I’ve also finished my crochet basket made from old t-shirts, it took about twelve in the end, but is a big basket. I think it looks much better in real life than in this photo, and I’m happy with how it turned out as it was a bit of a “suck it and see” project.

A completed crochet basket made from around 12 old t shirts

The lumpy bits you can see in the photos are the seams of the t-shirts, and I think add character.  Of course, if you were using bought t-shirt yarn you wouldn’t have this.  But you’d also have about 12 t-shirts too!

I’ve just watched the recycling challenge on the Sewing Bee (don’t tell me who won, I’m still behind - although I think I might not be surprised when I do find out!), and I was shocked to hear how much unwanted clothes go into landfill.  I can’t remember the exact amount, and daren't google it in case I stumble across the winner, but it was a shocking amount, and an amount that my twelve t-shirts will hardly make a dent in, but every little helps right?

it fits well into the cubby hole in the wardrobe

It fits well into the cubbyhole of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom too, and was quickly full of some of my vintage crockery which had previously been in much shallower storage which didn’t make good use of the space. 

The basket is stretchier than I anticipated, but it’s doing a good job of holding things together. I’ve plenty more old t-shirts and will be making more, but not just yet as I’m keen to get back to my Vintage Sweetheart blanket, and make some progress with that. It’s good to start new projects, but it’s even better to finish some of the ones you’ve started! 

Looking ahead to this week, I’ve some time away from work on Wednesday as I’m off to brunch with Heston Blumenthal, like you do. The event is to celebrate Everdure by Heston and the launch of the 4K, which the invite says “is the next innovation in outdoor cooking” - it sounds interesting, and I’m sure I’ll share more here - and on my instagram stories on the day - when I know more.

Reflecting on my week #77

My desk - messy but colourful

I wasn’t going to write a ‘my week’ post this week, as when I sat down it seemed that I’d be writing that it was busy at work, again. Which, while it’s true, isn’t very exciting to read, or to write.

But here I am, and although it’s late, it’s still Monday. And so I’m writing it.

We visited MOH’s family at the weekend and it was great to sit down, relax and kick back. There was good food, good wine and generally a good time. I’d forgotten my contact lens solution and case, and my thyroid tablets, but I think that says more about my working week than I care to admit.

I’d had a foot appointment during the week, which was another assessment. I left with some exercises - calf stretches, another appointment and the advice to wear trainers. That final bit of advice was a bit deflating if I’m honest, I’ve been mostly wearing trainers for the best part of a year now, and while I love my Vionic trainers which are still oh-so-comfortable, most of my wardrobe isn’t a trainer friendly wardrobe, and nor am I up for shopping for a whole new wardrobe.

I realised that I’m getting fed up of wearing trainers, fed up of wearing socks - my feet get hot and then the rest of me overheats too, and I’m fed up of wearing the same clothes. This sounds a massive whinge, and it is a bit, but it’s also partly the time of year I think. Now the nicer weather has hinted it’s around the corner I’m keen for it to be here and to shed my winter wardrobe and pull out something a bit more colourful.

Colour has been a bit of a theme, as instead of writing this post when I sat down Sunday evening I somehow started a new gardens and gardening linky. I know, funny how at times, something what seems quite random manifests itself. You may have seen the post earlier - ‘Get creative with colour’ this April which is part of a campaign to show how gardening is good for us.

I think I just needed an injection of colour. I thought the blue skies and yellow pom-pom bushes on the way to work might do it, but not even that was enough. Mid-morning when I looked at my messy, but productive desk I realised that that too screamed out colour, and that made me smile. There’s no escaping it colour is what gives me a boost when I need it. That and some shoe shopping - I’ve another pair of trainers, that have a bit of bling, on the way.

I’ve also been suffering with aching hips this week, so much so that alongside working later than I planned to and life generally, I’ve now missed a week of my new exercise routine, which doesn’t fill me with joy either. Through monitoring when they ache I’ve learnt it’s not related to my foot issue, it doesn’t hurt any more or any less if I adjust how far I walk, but they can feel better if I sit with my feet up. That was something I discovered quite by mistake in the reclining sofas which my SIL has. That means I’m off to the doctors again this week to see if those blood tests showed anything, and to see if there’s anything more on what the joint pain might be.

If not I think I’ll be in the market for a pouffe that I can put my feet up on!