Saying goodbye to being a biological mother

As Facebook reminded me thing morning that’s been its two year since I started to be seriously unwell, I decided it was a good time to share a post I’ve had written for a while – talking about how I have tried to say goodbye to ever having a biological child.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a mum. Being from a single parent family, being a solo mum wasn’t something that phased me. In fact I would day-dream about being pregnant and having a baby rather than finding a soul mate.

Then I met the husband and I would think about how our child would look – would they have his family’s blonde hair (which both his sisters have) or would they have my thin mousey mop? Would they have my blue eye or his green – and so on.

So one of the biggest – perhaps the biggest – thing I’ve had to come to terms with is that I will never give birth to my own child. That there will never be a child who has a biological link to me and the husband. Before I got my diagnosis, whilst we were struggling to get pregnant, we talked about adopting and we both didn’t reject it. In fact in some ways, the conversation we had about wanting to be parents not just me being pregnant was a bit of a life changer for me. But whilst the ability was still there, I still had hope.

I only broke down and screamed at the world twice during the horrendous time between August and December 2014, the first time was when I found out my sister-in-law was pregnant (really early on and two weeks before I had my hysterectomy), the second time was when I was told I wasn’t able to harvest any eggs – twice. By the NHS because my BMI was too heavy and by a private consultant because pumping me full of estrogen would likely cause the cancer to spread. Even typing this now it makes me cry. I cry because I’m grieving for a child I will never have. It’s taken me a long time to realise that I have a legitimate right to grieve for that. Just as I grieved for my dad when he died.

And it’s not something I can put behind me and get over, because twice a week when I slap on my new hormone patch I’m reminded of why I need to do that. I’m currently recovering from an operation on my knee – where I had extensive cartilage repair work. Something most people don’t need until they’re in their 50s – except my body is in its 50’s as far its concerned. So there’s another nasty reminder.

I’ve tried counselling, I’ve tried focusing on what I do have (great husband, good home life and ok-ish job!) but I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing that is going to truly help me overcome this is to actually become a mother. And whilst that child wont be mine in DNA wise, they will be the most wanted thing in the whole of my life.

So that’s what I’ve been focusing on – from making sure I’m the fittest and healthiest I can be  both mentally and physically. To making sure we have the room to adopt – so we move in mere days to a bigger place. And I know this wont be easy – but I’ve survived cancer, I can cope with this. We both can.

And you know what, having a hysterectomy is going to save two lives – mine and the child we adopt. Because we will give them the best life – one full of love, support and guidance.



Be Bright and Simply Bold

Bright and clashing prints are all the rage for spring/summer 2016. One of the colours I’m most excited about is burnt orange. Its fast becoming my favourite accent colour – almost (almost!) replacing mustard.

I picked up these burnt orange culottes from Simply Be – although the hit me at the ankle on my stumpy legs – and they’re great! I wore them on Monday with a black jumper and my elephant print scarf.

Which bright colours are you loving this season?






The Reason for the Season: Simple Ways to Enjoy a Relaxing Christmas This Year

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I love Christmas but I hate that it becomes so stressful. We put so much emphasis on having it a certain way that often if that doesn’t happen in the right way it can become a bit of a headache. That’s part of the reason the husband and I are spending the day just the two of us – possibly with friends – but we’re just not making such a big deal about it.

Here are some other things I’m going to try and do to make it feel more chilled.


Start Writing Christmas Cards Now


Take it slow by buying blank Christmas cards and start filling them out now. Work on them for a weekend. Try to think about good three good things or three good experiences you’ve had with the person and write them down. Tell the person how much you care about them and that you hope they have a wonderful holiday season.


This activity will be part soul-searching, part relaxation technique. The idea is to calm your mind and forget about the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Focus on the people you love and care about and why.


You could recruit your children or significant other to help you and make it a family event. Or, keep it solo so you can enjoy some alone time.


Sign Up For Deals and Wait


Sign up for deals from major retailers and wait for them to come rolling in. They will. Bed Bath & Beyond Black Friday deals, for example, are some of the best deals you’ll find on housewares, and gadgets.


Getting on a mailing list also exposes you to some gift-giving ideas – not just for the holidays, but all-year round. It’s a great way to start being more proactive about gift-giving too. Most people wait until the last minute to do their shopping. But, not only is this incredibly stressful, it’s not very productive. Of course, you might want to wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving to score some Black Friday deals. That’s perfectly OK, and it doesn’t have to be stressful.


Some gifts require planning, and the best gifts are well thought out in advance. And, when you have time to think and plan, you can use Black Friday coupons to save yourself some coin, and get what you really wanted to get for that special someone.


Make a List


Make a Christmas list of all of the things you want to buy for your friends and family. Go through a prioritize everything in order of importance. This will be key in keeping stress levels down. When you don’t have to think of things spontaneously while you’re out shopping, Christmas shopping is a breeze. Like a grocery list, you just go down the list and tick off the items as you buy them.


Plan a Day with Your Best Friend


Plan out a day with your best friend. We never spend enough quality time with the ones we care about. If something were to happen to them unexpectedly, we might blame ourselves for not seeing them one last time or telling them “I love you” or telling them “I’m sorry” about something that happened once, a long time ago. Only, there’s never enough time, so carving out a special day makes the time you do spend with that person extraordinary.


Order Some Gift Cards


Order gift cards for people whom you don’t know what to buy or who have specifically requested them. Gift cards sometimes feel like a cop out, but many people prefer to get them so that they can spend the money any way they wish. It’s like getting free money that the person can spend guiltlessly on themselves. And, that makes most people feel good.


Write a New Year’s Resolution


Write your New Year’s Resolution letter. The letter should detail what you plan to accomplish over the next year. Set challenging, but achievable goals. Make them action-oriented and practical. Make them relevant, and in-line with your personal values. This will help you look forward to Christmas, and the new year, rather than seeing it as a time of stress.


Sarah Zambrana has trained in alternative therapies and likes to share her insights on relaxation techniques and other related topics with an online audience. She writes for a number of health and lifestyle websites on a regular basis.


A big jumbled up mess

According to Instagram, its 46 weeks tomorrow since my operation and 44 weeks since I found out I had cancer (although I found out two weeks later that my operation had removed all the cancer and I didn’t need further treatment). However, I kinda stopped counting in weeks when I reached around 12.

For the first part of this year, all my energy was focussed on getting physically better. For the first time in around two years, I had energy; I didn’t feel unwell or weak, or sick. I wasn’t bleeding. It was amazing and this was wonderful for my emotional state. I was walking lots, eating and sleeping well – especially once I got my hormone patches.

I foolishly/hopefully believed this was it. That the enormity of what had happened to me wouldn’t hit and I would just carry on as I always had done.


It’s crept up on me slowly – bit by bit things have been hitting me:

Fuck! I had cancer.

I’ve had my womb removed.

I’ve not only had my womb removed, I also had my cervix and my ovaries removed too.

Sex feels weird now. Will it always feel this weird?

I will never have my own baby.

Why does everyone around me get pregnant? Can I not just have a break?!

Why do people think I’m just going to bounce back? That I will be the same? That I’m “ok” now?

Why is it me that has to apologise for how I feel?

I wonder if it’s because I didn’t have something that people can physically see. I haven’t lost a limb (or a boob) and I didn’t need any treatment like chemo, so I still have my hair etc. My scars are tiny or internal and under my clothes. Or is it because people need me to be the same?

The other thing is I’m grieving. I may not have lost a loved one but I have suffered a loss – the loss to be a biological parent, to carry my own child, to have a child that is a part of me and my husband. The feelings I have about this – the anger, the utter despair, the heartbreak – is the same as I felt when my dad died. And as I pointed out to my husband in a recently meltdown, you wouldn’t expect someone who was grieving due to death to bounce back after six months.

The third point I wanted to make is – if you wanted to take away the hysterectomy and the cancer and leave in place the trauma I went through between August and December last year, which alone is life altering. Think about it:

  • The bleeding so heavily, it was like I was haemorrhaging
  • Three operations
  • Hospitalisation due to an infection
  • Poor treatment during that hospitalisation (I was in hospital for 12 hours before treatment was finally started!!)
  • Fat shaming before one of the operations – the anaesthetist was more concerned about whether I was going to lose weight rather than keeping me alive during my second general in six weeks
  • The constant unknown for three months of whether I was seriously ill or not
  • The horrific experience of the anaesthetist right before major surgery being unable to get a vein and just stabbing me all of over the place despite me being hysterical


“So what do you want people to do?” I hear you ask. Well I don’t really know. On one hand I don’t want to be a victim or a survivor about what happened to me but at the same time, some acknowledgement about what I have actually been through would be appreciated.


As the title of this post suggests – I just needed to blurt out some of what I’m feeling. And having done that, maybe that will be enough!

How to save money as a wedding guest

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When it comes to romance and love I am a complete sucker – I absolutely love seeing my friends with that happy, healthy, excited and slightly nervous glow that people only seem to have when they are in love! Weddings are some of my favourite events of the year, and living here in London I often get to attend those of my friends and family from all over the world.
That said, being a wedding guest can be bloody expensive! Yikes! I always want to attend and put my best foot forward, but when money is a little tight I can sometimes struggle to justify spending heaps on a new frock, accessories, gifts and travel. I recently used Experian CreditExpert credit check to have a looksee at my credit situation, and me and the hubs have been making a conscious effort to keep our finances in tip top shape (which is hard, because London is expensive and dresses are pretty and fancy cupcakes are so good!). We have a few weddings coming up this spring, and so I am already in financial planning mode to ensure that we can afford the expenses.

Here are a few things that I am planning:

· A wonderful dress – Thankfully, the two weddings we are attending have similar themes and the two couples are in two totally different social groups, so boom! I’ve already saved money by deciding to wear the same dress to both (so I can spend double on the frock? Hmmmm, that might not be how this works). I am stoked to monitor Modcloth, who have a fantastic range of plus sized dresses, as well as to continue to attend fat positive fashion swaps on the hunt for something person.
· A gift – My friends have gone the route of registering, and so it makes gift buying very easy. I am on the look out to see if any of the items on their list go on sale around Boxing Day, and of course I will consider gifting them with gift cards (some of which you can get at a discounted rate during promotions!). Here are some more nifty ideas for saving money on wedding gifts.
· Travel arrangements –One of the weddings is in York, and so I am taking this opportunity to ask my friend if we can stay with her in her house just outside the city. Once of us will have to drive, but this will be wayyyy cheaper overall than staying in a hotel in the centre of town. I’m also scouting train promotions like it’s my job – as soon as I see I sale I will snap them up.
· Hen do spending- This one is harder to plan for – hen nights can get out of control so quickly! I am going to offer my place for pre-drinking – I figure that this will help us all save money at the bars and clubs, and we can also eat nice party food from M&S for a fraction of the cost. Don’t worry – we’ll still go mental, but this will be way more affordable!

Do you have any ideas for me? What has worked for you? Leave me some more ideas in the comment sections below!

Come rain or shine: how to dress for unpredictable weather

Hello friends!

​Spring is notorious around the world for its unpredictable weather. But in this country even the summer weather keeps us on our toes. At this time of year, it’s a real struggle to know how to dress. How often have you left the house in a beautiful summer dress, only to return looking and feeling like a drowned rat? We’ve all been there! Luckily, with a few small changes to your wardrobe, you can be prepared and look fabulous come rain or shine. Here are some of the tips that I have found most helpful.

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  • Never leave the house without some form of head protection. Sometimes when the rain comes on, we aren’t caught in it for long enough for it to soak our clothes. But long enough for it to make our hair look like Monica’s from “The One In Barbados”. I always forget to bring an umbrella. But if I do remember it, chances are it will be left on a bus. If you are like me, get yourself a lightweight hooded parka or mac. It’s light enough so you don’t overheat, but it keeps your locks and outfit dry.
  • You need a good pair of spring-summer boots. This kind of footwear will keep your feet dry without being too hot. Thankfully a lot of shoe retailers have realised there is a demand for spring-summer boots, and you can find such styles in most high street stores. Suede brogues are my favourite. H&M do a great range.
  • It’s all about layering. We love layering in winter. But this technique still has a place when the weather starts to warm up. You can shed your thick winter jacket as your top layer. Swap it for a good woolen jumper from somewhere like Aran Sweaters Direct. You can wear these jumpers with just about everything, so it’s a worthwhile investment for your wardrobe. They look especially lovely over a shirt or collared dress with the collar peeking out at the top. Layer shirts over vest tops and skirts over leggings for more spring-summer practical and pretty outfits.
  • Scarves are your best friend in unpredictable weather. Every girl knows that a beautiful scarf makes an outfit. And it’s amazing the difference it makes to your body temperature when you wrap a scarf around your neck. They can be put off and on easily depending on the weather. And if you are caught out sans hood or umbrella, you can use them to protect your head while you seek shelter.
  • Take a big enough bag wherever you go. The unpredictable weather can mean sweaty upper lip one minute and dripping mascara the next. Make sure you can fit all your essentials like tissues, deodorant, makeup, etc. so that you are well prepared, whatever the weather.

 With a little planning and tweaking to your wardrobe, it is possible to create many stylish outfits that can cope come rain or shine.

 If you have any more tips on this subject, let me know!



It’s time for another swap! We’re back at the usual venue in Islington for another afternoon of clothes, cakes and chats! 

It’ll be donations on the door again – with the normal expectation that you donate as much as your comfortable with (so if you’re skint donating nothing is ok!) and you don’t need to bring clothes if you don’t have anything to swap. We always have loads left over! 

I’m looking forward to seeing you all!