Finally we went on the Orient Express…

Is my desire to dress well with a stoma that important in the grand scheme of things? No, probably not.

Surviving cancer - vital. Dressing well - not so much.

But, and it’s a big but (just like my own ;) hahahahaha) dressing well, can change how you feel. If you feel you look good then it adds to your confidence and that leads to feeling good on the inside.

Some days I struggle to summon the effort and energy even get out of bed but I do it day after day because that’s what we do. On days I don’t feel so glowy on the inside I make an extra effort to look good…to feel good. It’s not about vanity it’s about faking it to make it.

This attitude came in verrrrrry handy during chemo and radiotherapy. If I felt I was looking rougher I just added more make up. It works a treat.

I didn’t want to see a sickly me staring back at me in the mirror. And now I’m lucky enough to be fit and well I still only want to see the best me staring back.

It’s a challenge as I can’t do make up, I’m so not a girly girl. All I do is layer more slap on, and as I’m getting older it’s more like a thick tarmac-ing job, than a genteel dusting. Hahahahaha

A dear friend of mine has MS, she’s told me before that on some of the forums people try to “out sick” each other. In a “well I’m far worse off than you” contest.

This blows my mind, I can’t think of anything more debilitating…and is the complete opposite of how I have lived and still live my life. OK, so I don’t have MS, but my friend does and she certainly doesn’t want to be the sickest person in the room that’s for sure. I never ever ever want to be the sickest person in the room either, good lord who would?!?

The irony that the winner in the who’s the sickest competition is sadly the loser is not lost on me. Heartbreaking really. I’ve never been on a forum or chat room in my life, and I can’t see I’d start now.

Dressing well, being well and looking the best I can with a stoma brings me a lot of happiness. I think it’s pretty clear I’m not ashamed of my stoma, you’ve had to suffer enough of my holiday bikini shots to know I’m happy to wear it out and proud.

But all dolled up in my day clothes I want to look the best I can, preferably without my bag on show.

I enjoy people’s surprise when I mention that I have a colostomy bag, they usually tell me they’d have never known if I hadn’t have said anything. Which I think is pretty great. Again, no, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by it, I simply want to look the best me that I can,

I’m really lucky because I get to do lots of lovely things and get the chance to get proper dolled up.

Some days I just slob about in my trackies. It’s a free county and I do as I please. But getting dressed up makes me feel alive and happy

Last week alone we took clients out on another train ride. It’s such fantastic fun.

The carriages are startlingly beautiful. Restored to their 1920’s/1930’s glory. Oh how I’d love to have been fancy enough back then to have traveled in such style.

But sadly as my actual profession in this life was a children’s nanny I’d have just been staff back then. :)

Dress from Zara, Shoes from Jimmy Choo, Bag from Burberry

Dress from Zara, Shoes from Jimmy Choo, Bag from Burberry

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This trip was slightly different to the others we’ve done on the Belmond British Pullman trips out.

As we arrived we realised something was different immediately. The vast majority of the other guests arrived with suitcases…not the usual baggage for a day trip.

But then we noticed the signage had change too. Whilst our guests and us two were only going as far as Canterbury for the day, some of the other passengers were off on their adventure on the Orient Express.

The Belmond British Pullman train takes them to Folkestone, where they get off the train and get on a coach to cross the channel via the channel tunnel train. Where on the French side they will board the actual Orient Express to Paris, Venice or even Istanbul.

What lucky lucky people, whether they’ve worked hard for it is irrelevant, it’s still lucky in my view to be up to the trip itself. After all the world is full of hard working people but not all of them will ever get the chance to do something so wonderful.

Some of the travellers may have left it a bit late in the day, I can’t say I’d find it terribly easy to sleep in bunk beds at 46 let alone 76 or 86 like some of them. Hahahahaha

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It’s an incredible experience, even if I’ve only done it for day trips. Michelle was so excited about it she bought me a little pressie to say thank you for inviting them. Got to be honest, as kind as that was it wasn’t necessary, it was our pleasure. Her and Mark are great company and we had a fabulous day in Canterbury.

England is full of beautiful towns, and villages. I’ve been to Canterbury many times as one of my dearest friend’s daughter went there for uni so I used to go and visit her.

I had never been to the cathedral before and I now know it was totally worth a visit.

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My trusty walking shoes. I like to dress well yes, but I don’t want to be crippled by my stilettos all day. I admire those than can, but these strange little duck feet can’t cope.

My trusty walking shoes. I like to dress well yes, but I don’t want to be crippled by my stilettos all day. I admire those than can, but these strange little duck feet can’t cope.

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After a lovely guided tour of Canterbury it was back on the train for afternoon tea.

Is it any wonder I’m struggling with my weight?! Hahahahaha

And then came Saturday, we had such a great afternoon and evening.

We went to visit our friends for puppy cuddling! Oh heaven!!

I bought this dress at Oliver Bonas at Liverpool Street station when I went up to London for a meeting at Bowel and Cancer Research a few weeks ago. I love going in to an Oliver Bonas, it’s truly the most wonderfully random shop of all time, but they sell some cracking clothes amongst all the porcelain pugs, note books and drinks trolley’s etc.  I bought this dress in white too, it was too tricky to choose which one I loved best and as I was on a short time frame as I was meant to be heading to a meeting I made an executive decision. Hahahahaha

I bought this dress at Oliver Bonas at Liverpool Street station when I went up to London for a meeting at Bowel and Cancer Research a few weeks ago. I love going in to an Oliver Bonas, it’s truly the most wonderfully random shop of all time, but they sell some cracking clothes amongst all the porcelain pugs, note books and drinks trolley’s etc.

I bought this dress in white too, it was too tricky to choose which one I loved best and as I was on a short time frame as I was meant to be heading to a meeting I made an executive decision. Hahahahaha

Dress from Oliver Bonas, Shoes from Chloe

Dress from Oliver Bonas, Shoes from Chloe

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Oh my Lord, it was so hard to resist buying one, I even named her, and she was available but as I already own a very ill tempered, bad mannered dog at home I couldn’t in all good conscience bring a puppy in to that extravaganza!

And although I know my Pepper would love a puppy (although she couldn’t eat a whole one hahahahaha), no, she would do no actual harm to a pup but who in their right mind would bring a new puppy in the home to grow up and mimic all her badness and peccadillos?

A vet once told me most people would have had her put down by now. Very harsh, she is wholly misunderstood. She’s not a gregarious people person. She’s an obsessed with me one! Makes for an interesting life I can assure you.

I can resist everything but temptation itself…step away from the puppies lady!! Hahahahaha  After copious amounts of de-stressing and puppy tickling we headed out for dinner. It was Tanya’s choice and she chose very well! :)

I can resist everything but temptation itself…step away from the puppies lady!! Hahahahaha

After copious amounts of de-stressing and puppy tickling we headed out for dinner. It was Tanya’s choice and she chose very well! :)

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All fancy photography by James.

All fancy photography by James.

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We are blessed with amazing friends. Tanya chose very well, we headed to The Wolseley, in Piccadilly, I’ve never been before but it was fantastic, we had a great table up on a balcony. Perfect spot for people watching. We had such a good laugh. And bearing in mind there wasn’t a drinker on our table, much to the waiters disgust as he trudged away with his booklet of overpriced alcoholic beverages, we were fairly loud and joyful. The lucky bunch next to us should count themselves lucky we’re all living a very sober life now. Hahahahaha

Awww, look at my girls face, how could I say such things…for the love of God don’t tell her what I said about her! Hahahahaha

Awww, look at my girls face, how could I say such things…for the love of God don’t tell her what I said about her! Hahahahaha

I’ve had an epiphany when it comes to getting out and exercising. I was up until yesterday going out and half killing myself riding in the hardest gear I could manage. Which was absolutely exhausting me. I, misguided in my belief that the harder I was finding it the more good it was doing for me. I’ve since learned that it’s probably best to do the same distances, if not further but in a gentler gear choice. So you still get the exercise but not the all consuming fatigue.  I mean it makes sense when you know how. Hahahahaha  I’m very lucky as I can ride car free up the Flitch Way, a 16km disused railway line that runs from Braintree to Bishop Stortford. I can and do ride on roads (in fact I progressed to cycling round a roundabout the other day…ooooh, get me), but car free riding is a hell of a lot more pleasant and relaxing.

I’ve had an epiphany when it comes to getting out and exercising. I was up until yesterday going out and half killing myself riding in the hardest gear I could manage. Which was absolutely exhausting me. I, misguided in my belief that the harder I was finding it the more good it was doing for me. I’ve since learned that it’s probably best to do the same distances, if not further but in a gentler gear choice. So you still get the exercise but not the all consuming fatigue.

I mean it makes sense when you know how. Hahahahaha

I’m very lucky as I can ride car free up the Flitch Way, a 16km disused railway line that runs from Braintree to Bishop Stortford. I can and do ride on roads (in fact I progressed to cycling round a roundabout the other day…ooooh, get me), but car free riding is a hell of a lot more pleasant and relaxing.