Where do I start? Literally just asked myself that out loud, yep, I’m home alone just talking to me, myself and I. I’m not a writer, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d have written anything other than a shopping list and yet I have written an anthology of blogs that have been read over 50 thousand times!!...I’m as far away from the possession of a good grasp of diction and grammar as you can get, a dyslexic, dyscalculic, dyspraxic who some how managed to get through the school system without any assistance and in tact mentally and emotionally for the most part (I have to admit there were a couple of teenage years where I was on self destruct, but luckily was just a phase and it made me who I am today so it’s a case of lose ~ win win winnnnnnnig), what I lack in academic ability I make up for in gumption, determination and the ability to use my voice for the greater good, with humility and humour to tell a story...even if the content is littered with grammatical errors, you really are just going to have to suck it up on that score, in my world good grammar is one of your parents mums, who bakes you cakes and buys you lollies. Hahahahaha.
The build up to my weekend was fantastic, I met up with my friend from school, Donna, we weren’t close at school ~ she was one of the cool kids...and I was not, very very not, hahahahaha, but we were friendly, we reconnected at the end of last year when Donna was diagnosed with bowel cancer. We’ve met up a couple of times and Chris and I attended Donna’s end of chemo party in the summer.
Unfortunately for Don her tumours managed to grow during chemo, which is incredulous and shitty in equal measure. She’s now on fortnightly chemo with some ops to come, but she is bold and brave and willing to give anything a go, this girl rocks!
We met for lunch at a lovely restaurant in Harold Wood, with Hayley another school friend. Hayley and Donna were besties at school, a shared interest of horses and bunking off bonded them for life...hahahahaha. I was far too much a goody goody to have any real fun times. I often think if I were to ever have regrets it would be that I was too fearful and too well behaved at school, afterall I was quiet and compliant but still left with no qualifications...what a rotten mixture! Hahahahaha
You might think that a lunch with someone on chemo would be a somber affair, think again, we spent a good 4 or 5 hours cackling like witches laughing, I’m sure the staff were relieved when we finally left and said our goodbyes.
*A little helpful hint if you happen to have a friend or family going through cancer, try and just be normal with them. I know from brutal experience that some people are so uncomfortable or so wrapped up in their own grief about it, they don’t know what to say and they walk away, we experienced that a few times, from the most surprising of people.
When faced with a loved ones diagnosis, the best thing to say is “I don’t know what to say” and let the conversation start from there.
Never fret and worry about not knowing what to say. None of us have the right words once we hear that big old crappy cancer word. Even I don’t know what to say and I have been the mother of a child with cancer and also a patient with cancer and it still renders me bereft of any words of comfort to offer. But by starting the conversation with “I’m lost for words, I’m sad, I’m angry for you but I’m here for you all the way, let’s go out for dinner like we usually do when you’re up to it” means that someone you care about doesn’t feel so alone.
Cancer can be very isolating. Don’t get me wrong there are positives that come from it. The people that walk away from you during this time were worth nothing to start with, life is better without them, take it as a positive that they upped and left.
You do truly find out who your friends are. Our real friends and family were incredible, we owe them a debt of gratitude. They were on hand to offer support day or night, both emotional and financial.
We discovered through our journey that we have been blessed with some incredible earth angels. xxx
It was such a great afternoon, there was reminiscing, there were revelations it was absolutely fantastic and hilarious.
For example, apparently and I have to admit I don’t quite remember this but Hayley reckons that during a home eccomics (food tech) class I made some very nice little fairy cakes, Hayley’s however had turned out like road kill so I gave her mine and I took hers home...a sweet and tragic story all at once. So desperate was I for approval I gave away my pretty cakes and took the rotten ones home. Anyway Hayley very kindly bought some fairy cakes to say thanks for mine way back when. Hahahahaha
We laughed about it a lot, I have to say Hayley’s must have been an utter disaster for mine to have looked better than hers, I do so lack finess and fine motor skills for making anything pretty. Hahahahaha.
We had the best time catching up and I’m very much hoping we can do it again before 29 years has passed. ;)
Donna and I making the most of the autumn sunshine.
Hard to top such a great day out but my weekend was mind blowingly good.
I hate “bucket lists”, I just hate the connotation, but there are and always have been things I want to do.
Our weekend away was one such occasion. We went to Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, in Oxfordshire, It was absolutely amazing. Beautiful to look at and stay in.
Now, it is a 2 Michelin star restaurant too, which is somewhat wasted on me as my palate stopped developing at the age of about 5! Hahahahaha my favourite dinner is and always has been a Birds eye fish finger sandwich avec ketchup - pure class that! Hahahahaha, but I’m not such a philistine that I won’t join in, I had the 7 course taster menu but it was just pretty lost on me.
The couple we went with are absolutely lovely, and very informative as it happens. I’ve been getting vertigo and severe headaches again and I’ve been getting increasingly stressed about it because I do have mild hypochondria/health anxiety for fairly obvious reasons. If my experience has taught me anything it’s to panic every time. But Alison happened to mention that she had labrynthitis some years ago and her doctor informed her that once you’ve had it it can make you prone to it returning in the future. I had severe labrynthitis two years ago, and it looks like it’s come back for part 2! So not only were her and her hubs wonderful company on a fantastic weekend, she also put my mind at rest.
Le beautiful Le Manoir.
Although the hotel is fancy you don’t have to be. I felt comfortable in my jeans and a shirt, even though this outfit apparently makes me look gargantuan, I felt perfectly relaxed, and as I’m on a special trip away the only thing you should feel is relaxed.
Top from Holister, Jeans Joni’s from Topshop.
The evening meal is a slightly more formal affair, so I dolled myself up.
I bought this dress in Saks outlet store in NYC, I was 10lb heavier when I bought it and it was slightly baggy back then. But I’ve discovered a wonderful dress maker called Louisa, who has single handedly been revamping my wardrobe, taking things up and in, making all my clothes fit me perfectly. Kim keeps wanting praise for changing my life as she gave me Louisa’s phone number, credit where it’s due, I’m very grateful in equal measure to both. Hahahahaha
Dress from Calvin Klein, Shoes from Jimmy Choo, Bag from Christian Dior.
This dress is gorgeous and is made of a very soft velvet, cut out fabric, which was just enough of a pattern to disrupt the outline of my bag, not always a guarantee with a fitted dress, the chunky gold zip at the back, beautifully ties in with the gold detail on the shoes and bag...I don’t just throw this stuff together you know, it’s an art form to create an outfit. Hahahahaha
A spectacular evening was followed by a beautiful but rainy morning, the grounds are too good to miss out on so we grabbed the hotel brollies and had a wander.
Shirt from Holister, Jeans from Topshop, Gilet from Moncler, Boots from Dubarry
I don’t want to jinx it but my stoma and hernia have been behaving themselves of late. Which has been an absolute dream.
I’m drinking plenty of water, or at least attempting to when I remember. I’ve also been drinking Kefir, a fermented, cultured milk drink, so who knows maybe that’s aiding a stable transit. Plus I’ve taken up Pilates, hard to say if it’s anything but coincidence taking place but I like to think being proactive is helping me.
How can to top an incredible weekend at a 5 star hotel?...well you can’t really but a shopping trip to Bicester is always a treat.
Like a disheveled little drowned rat I shopped till the bags started filling with water. I think that’s a clear indication that it’s time to go home. Hahahahaha
*please feel free to like and share. Xx