Seaweed is in plentiful supply in the British Isles which does make you wonder why we don’t eat it more often. I hope your enjoy my interview with Jane who wondered and then set about setting up a seaweed business. I loved hearing more about her life and the really straightforward advice she offers women who are considering taking the leap of faith into a new business.

Seaweed Business

Tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years

I grew up in Cumbria with my mum and my sister. (My dad died when I was 2 years old). We were lucky to have a really outdoorsy upbringing with amazing access to the beautiful Lake District. I didn’t have any great love of food or interest in cooking as a young one, but I definitely developed a love of the outdoors which has never gone away.

What was your first career?

I had a seventeen-year career in the environmental sector – working for a number of environmental consultancies and then in local government. I did all sorts during that time – environmental impact assessment, environmental planning, renewable energy planning, and carbon management. I enjoyed it and learnt loads.

Where did your interest in food and seaweed come from?

I didn’t give food or nutrition much of a thought until my thirties, but once I started thinking about it, I couldn’t stop! Food and cooking became a source of huge pleasure and interest. I am an incorrigible experimenter in the kitchen. I enjoy looking at recipes for inspiration, but I find it almost impossible to follow them to the letter. I’m really into using food to optimise health, and trying to make food choices that benefit (or at least minimise negative impacts on) people and the environment.

I have always loved to be beside the sea, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to view the seaweed that grows around our shores as food. I had been talking to a friend who had worked for a stint on a seaweed farm in Japan about how incredibly nutritious it is, and why we don’t eat it much here. I went on a seaweed foraging course and started to learn which seaweeds were which, and about their different flavours, and my interest really grew from there. Seaweed suddenly presented a whole new and incredibly nutritious food group for me to experiment with, and experiment I did!

Foraging for seaweed is an absolute delight. I heartily recommend it. Once you start to see seaweed as food you can never look at the coast in the same way.

What led to you set up Octopus’s Garden Seaweed?

The more I got into seaweed, the more I wondered why we’re not all eating it on a regular basis. I found that there were quite a few businesses in the UK harvesting seaweed and selling it dried (either milled, or as whole fronds). But there was little in the way of seaweed from the British Isles being made into other products with seaweed as the main ingredient. I hadn’t realised that I had an entrepreneurial bone in my body, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a business angle there.

For me, seaweed seemed to provide a way of joining up my passions for food, wellbeing and the environment. My two maternity leaves gave me some headspace (or at least – time not at work!) to develop my business ideas a bit. I experimented with all sorts of seaweed products – pesto, tapenade, tea, biscuits and crisps. But I initially settled on seaweed stock as a unique product which captures some of the key nutritional benefits of seaweed (particularly iodine) in a user-friendly way, and with relatively uncomplicated requirements in terms of packaging, storage etc.

Much food testing later, I felt about ready to start trying to sell the seaweed stock. It was impossible to find the time whilst working and juggling childcare, so I decided to take the plunge and leave my job. It felt like a massive leap into the unknown, and a big risk financially but I couldn’t help but think if I didn’t try, I would always wonder where it could have gone.

Seaweed business

Tell us about your products and why you think they are special?

I now sell two different products – Umami Drops, and Pickled Seaweed.

People said they liked my seaweed stock but wanted something more concentrated where the lovely flavour of the Dabberlocks seaweed is more intense, and that could be used as a condiment on finished plates of food. So the seaweed stock evolved into Umami Drops, which are super-concentrated drops of seaweed essence that provide a delicious sweet / savoury flavour burst (without the use of sugar or salt! Clever stuff, seaweed!) and act as a natural flavour enhancer. They work really well on avocado, seafood, stir fries, soups, cheese on toast etc.
Pickled Seaweed is a revolution for the pickle category! It is nutritious, refined sugar-free and bursting with fresh flavour. It makes a great accompaniment for seafood, sandwiches, toasties, cheese and biscuits, burgers, salads, and just about anything else! It is made with just four ingredients – including root ginger which gives it a real punch.

I think the products are special because they are genuinely unique; they make it easy to eat seaweed; they taste delicious and they are really good for you. They have been carefully developed with quality ingredients and clean eating in mind. Not only that, but seaweed is a fantastic choice environmentally. It doesn’t take up land or require any freshwater, pesticides or fertilisers, and it makes total sense for us to eat it here in the British Isles – endowed as we are with a long coastline with an abundance of beautiful seaweed. The seaweed used in my products is grown on ropes at sea in a Marine Conservation Zone in Northern Ireland.

The products are available on my Website – www.octopusgardenseaweed.co.uk

What tip would you give to someone who wants to set up a business for the first time?

Maybe it’s useful to think about what’s the worst that could happen, and if you’re willing to take that risk – then do it. Perhaps it’s useful to compare with the worst that could happen if you don’t do it, as well. For me – that would’ve been always wondering if I could have made a go of a seaweed business, but not doing it, and that wasn’t something I wanted to live with.

If you could recommend ONE book to women, what would it be and why?

Not just for women, but for parents (and their children) – I love many of the books by Dr Seuss. They never get boring to read and some of them come with really important messages packaged in an amazing way for children. If I had to choose just one it would be The Sneetches.

If you could recommend ONE website to women what would it be and why?

If like me you need regular reminders to be more present to the moment then I really recommend https://www.facebook.com/LifeWithoutACentre/. Reading these posts that pop up in my Facebook feed can really change my perspective on my day, and help me to remember to treat it as more than a list of tasks to be ticked off.

Victoria Bryceson is passionate about advocating a cruelty free, environmentally-friendly lifestyle and helping animals in need around the world. She is vegan and organises a series of Vegan Events UK festivals up and down the country. She is also founder of animal welfare and education charity Miracle’s Mission. Here she tells her story of how she became vegan and the benefits of adopting this compassionate lifestyle.

vegan

From vegetarian to vegan

“I became vegetarian 22 years ago when I first fully realised what meat was and where it came from. I also gave up eggs and wearing any leather clothing or footwear. This is the point when I made the connection that meat on my plate used to be a living breathing animal and I didn’t want to be any part of taking away an innocent and loving creature’s life, just to put food on my plate that I didn’t even need to be eating to survive. The only thing I continued to consume that came from an animal was milk as I was not educated about the dairy industry. About ten years ago I came to realise that the dairy industry is just as cruel if not more so, than the meat industry and I then became fully vegan and have never looked back. It was the best life decision that I have ever made and one that I just wish I had been born into. Becoming vegan was such an easy decision for me and the transition was so incredibly easy knowing that the food I was eating was no longer harming animals. Today with so many more vegan options and substitutes it is even easier to go vegan.

Vegan

Vegan variety as the spice of life

I am so happy in my life since going vegan. I am so at peace with the knowledge that I’m living an amazing life and not harming others to do so. I feel healthier, I have more energy and I do so much more with my life. I live the most fulfilling life, I have the very best purpose and I absolutely love living a vegan and cruelty free lifestyle. I don’t miss out on any foods that I ate previously as every single food type is now replaceable with a vegan version. Vegans can even eat many vegan and delicious versions of cheese, chocolate, scrambled, boiled and poached eggs and there are now so many different varieties of plant milk available we are really spoiled for choice! I get so excited every time I see a new vegan product because the more new products that are coming out demonstrate the growing demand, which is amazing. Since going vegan I have also transitioned my four dogs onto a vegan diet and they are now absolutely thriving and love their vegan food and vegan treats.”

Vegan Festivals

Her festivals feature all the food you’ve ever enjoyed but with the unhealthy bits taken out. You can try before you buy and sample foods that are so new they haven’t even hit the shops yet. You can also bathe vegan too – with a range of deliciously scented soaps and handmade bath bombs from brands like Iuvo Skincare. And if you’re feeling stressed from a busy week, you can have the chance to chill out in a relaxing yoga session.

There’s something for everyone – with lots of cool children’s activities and entertainment on hand to amuse the little ones. And if your teenager is into the latest trends you can check out cool designer vegan labels such as the gorgeous range of ‘Viva La Vegan’ hoodies and Tees. If you’re looking for a new pair of shoes or boots, Alternative Stores will be on hand to help. Plus there’s a massive range of gifts and goodies including candles, jewellery, and even treats for animals. It’s also a great place to shop if you’re looking to go plastic-free.

If you’re looking to get more in-depth, the festivals also feature useful talks on nutrition and the vegan lifestyle as well as some inspiring, fun cookery demos to get you started.

Helping animals in need

Victoria runs her events in partnership with animal welfare charity, Miracle’s Mission. She explains “I’m really looking forward to our exciting new series of festivals. They’re set to be even bigger and better than last year’s. We received so much positive feedback last year and there’s now so much demand that our festivals are becoming regular sell-out events. I think it’s partly because people really love the friendly atmosphere. And also because it’s one of the best places to network and meet others who are vegan-curious too. The wonderful thing about our events is that they’re for everyone whatever your lifestyle. Just come along and bring your friends for a great, fun day-out. You’ll have everything you need there, whether you’re looking for some retail-therapy, some ‘me’ time, precious family time or just a lovely meal out with some friends.”

2019 line-up of events across the UK
Saturday 2nd March – Essex Vegan Festival
Saturday 9th March – Glasgow Vegan Festival
Saturday 23rd March – Leicester Vegan Festival
Saturday 6th April – Northern Vegan Festival – Manchester
Saturday 20th April – Portsmouth Vegan Festival
Saturday 27th April – Nottingham Vegan Festival
Sunday 12th May – Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival – Leeds
Saturday 8th June and Sunday 9th June – Brighton Vegan Summer FEST
Saturday 29th June – Liverpool Vegan Festival
Saturday 6th July – Plymouth Vegan Festival
Saturday 20th July – Bath Vegan Festival
Saturday 31st August – Dorset Vegan Festival
Saturday 14th September – North Wales Vegan Festival – Wrexham
Saturday 12th October – Watford Vegan Festival
Saturday 2nd November – Manchester Vegan WinterFest
Saturday 9th November – Bath Vegan Festival
Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November – Glasgow Vegan Festival
Sunday 1st December – Portsmouth Vegan Festival
Sunday 8th December – Great Yorkshire Vegan WinterFest – Leeds
Saturday 14th December – Essex Vegan Festival

Entry is from just £3 (under 16’s free) and this includes entry to all areas and activities. Standard tickets are purchased at the door on the day. VIP tickets, £15, include fast track entry and a goody bag full of vegan products, samples, discounts and offers can be purchased in advance but sell out quickly. For more information please visit www.veganeventsuk.co.uk or www.facebook.com/VeganEventsUK

Strong Soham Mums have joined forces to produce a charity calendar with a cheeky twist. They are getting naked but all in the most amazing cause. I don’t often ask people to share my posts in a begging type fashion but this time I am and I think you will see why when you read on.

Who are the Strong Soham Mums?

They are like you or me in that they are  mums who love their children. The difference with these mums is that  they have all lost a child and all live in Soham. We all know that losing a child is the biggest fear of any parent so I urge you to empathise with these amazing mums and lend your support to their collective efforts. They loved their children so much and they lost them which is gut-wrenching all the time but perhaps particularly challenging at this time of year.

Alison’s story

“My husband and I lost our son, Charlie in June 2017.  He and our younger son have a rare immune condition.  After a couple of very dangerous bleeds, and worried that the next bleed could be fatal, the doctors wanted Charlie to have a bone marrow transplant.  Unfortunately after 5 long months in hospital he lost his fight for life.  Our lives will never be the same and we will continue to love and miss him forever.”

Alison’s story is so sad and every mum in the calendar has her own tragic tale to tell. We cannot bring their children back but we can get behind their fundraising efforts by purchasing their calendar and spreading word of mouth far and wide.

Strong Soham Mums Calendar 2019

As I say the photos in the calendar are more boudoir than boardroom. They are tasteful and were taken professionally. At just £9.99 the calendar is great value for money and will raise a giggle at Christmas or the New year as well as giving you that feel good-factor of helping good causes.

Where is the money going?

100% of the proceeds will go to Addenbrookes Hospital, Children’s Wards and the Road Victims Trust.  The Strong Soham Mums have chosen Addenbrookes Hospital as it is local to them.   Road Victims Trust was also chosen as a few of the mums lost their children in road traffic accidents.

Two requests

Please spread the word about this calendar via your social media networks and in the real world too. It will make a great gift for Christmas and the New Year.

Please consider buying at least one of these calendars because it will make these women feel they did the right thing and help some amazingly good causes.

http://www.strongsohammums.co.uk/product/charity-calendar-2019/

Strong Soham Mums

 

Cuddle Fairy

Linked to https://www.clairejustineoxox.com/2018/12/the-christmas-forest-christmas-tree-review.html

Linked to http://www.reflectionsfromme.com/a-blogging-good-time-113/

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Setting up a new fashion brand is something so many of us would love to do. Emma Stewart is different as she actually went ahead and made her dreams come true, setting up Allta, which launched in July. I am delighted to share an interview with her which shows the calibre of an amazing woman.

Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years

I have always been tall for my peer group. When I was three years old my family moved to Sweden for a couple of years and there is a picture of me with some friends from kindergarten and I am head and shoulders above the others. I was always self-conscious because of my height. I am fairly shy and always felt awkward and clumsy. Both my brother and I are tall (he is now 6’5” and I am 6’) and were often thought to be older than our years because of our stature. I had a pretty average childhood, growing up in Basingstoke in Hampshire, doing well at school and attaining a place at university. I decided to take a year off before heading to Hull (where I had a place to read American Studies), and went to Germany for a year as an au pair. I subsequently switched degree courses to study German, which was a good choice and helped me get some of my first jobs.

What was your first career?

I worked in publishing selling foreign rights to German, Dutch and Scandinavian publishers. Basically, as the publisher, we would put the concept of the book together (this was illustrated non-fiction of the ‘coffee table book’ variety) and would then sell this concept to US and European publishers who would publish the books in their countries while we published the books in the UK. I used my German and travelled to Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia on a fairly regular basis as well as visiting book fairs in the UK and in Frankfurt. After a few years of this, I decided I wanted a change and went to West Herts College in Watford to study for a post-graduate diploma in copywriting, journalism and radio and from there got a job at Bloomberg in London as a journalist on their radio team.

What led to you setting up your business? 

I had been working in an organisation providing facilitation to production companies wanting to make film and TV productions in the English regions (i.e.: we would help them find locations, crew and studios and liaise with the relevant local authorities to enable roads to be closed, etc.), but some people in my organisation were being made redundant – including my line manager, with whom I got on particularly well – and morale was at a very low ebb. I had been toying with the idea of a tall clothing brand for many years, but it was only when I met a bunch of my husband’s friends, who were all self-employed (as is my husband), that I really started to look into it in any detail. Running your own business sounded challenging but enjoyable and I liked the idea of being my own boss. I then sold a property that I co-owned and so had some cash behind me and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Who gave you information and advice to help you set up your business?

My husband had been running his own business for around 10 years when I decided to set up Allta, so he was very experienced in all aspects of being an entrepreneur. He became my business partner and took on all the boring but important aspects such as insurance, the bank account, accounting and anything involving a spreadsheet, leaving me free to focus on the more creative elements of design and marketing. The London College of Fashion was also an invaluable source of help and information. I have now completed four of their short courses: Essential Guide to the Fashion Industry, Starting Your Own Fashion Label, Introduction to Fashion Design, Adobe Illustrator for Fashion. The information and contacts made through these courses have been extremely helpful and I have found out about all the various trade bodies and trade shows to attend.

What is your biggest life challenge to date?

Shortly after deciding to pursue this new business venture and just seven weeks after getting married, I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury after a cycling accident, where I fell off my bike, fractured my skull and suffered some bleeding and blood clots on the brain. Emergency surgery, 10 days in intensive care and a further 8 weeks in hospital followed and it was a full six months after the accident that I was able to return to work part-time. All plans for starting my own business were put firmly on the back boiler.I have now managed a full recovery, although have been left with epilepsy, which I understand is a fairly common side effect when the brain reacts to the scar tissue caused by brain surgery.

Who supported you at this difficult time?

My husband and entire family and network of friends were amazing during this time. My husband of course, bore the brunt of both the emotional impact of the accident and the practical aspects of visiting me in hospital (every day for over 2 months; not easy when you have your own company to run) and helping to ease me back into the pattern of everyday life when I was back home. My friends and family were also superb. The accident happened when we were down in Studland for a weekend of camping and I was initially admitted to Southampton Hospital. My husband and I live in Oxfordshire but some close friends living in Winchester, who were on holiday at the time, allowed my husband, parents (who live in Somerset) and another good friend to stay in their house for a couple of weeks to allow them all easier access to me in hospital. My sister-in-law is a senior nurse and was superb and cutting through any red tape we encountered in the hospital and just keeping everyone positive and well informed.

My friends rallied round, visiting me in hospital and back at home afterwards, but the big plus was that after months of negotiations, which had always ended in a firm ‘no’, my husband finally agreed to us getting a dog, so my fur-baby, Wilf the cockerpoo, came into our lives.

Tell us about your products and why you think they are special?

As a tall woman, I struggle to find ‘regular’ fit clothes on the high street to fit my proportions. It is not impossible, but it is pot luck. When you do find something that fits, you almost feel compelled to buy it just because it is such a rare find. Long Tall Sally is the only tall fit brand that most people have heard of (there are others, but I had never heard of them until I started to research this niche. The Tall Fashion Adventures blog has a good, international list (http://tallfashionadventures.com/shopping-lists/), which means that tall women have a fairly limited selection of clothing to choose from if they want something that is guaranteed to fit properly.I am also keen to use natural fibres as so much clothing is made from polyester, which isn’t breathable for your skin and is bad for the environment. So, we are about producing good quality garments that will last and are made out of natural fibres that are less damaging to the environment. This is an area I want to research further and do what I can to support.

For me, shirts and jackets have always been the hardest to find. I have tended to buy jeans from Gap tall section and Levis and can cope with a 34” inside leg as, with a straight or skinny leg jeans style, I don’t think it matters if they are a teeny bit cropped looking. But shirts and jackets are very hard to find. That’s why I wanted to start with these staples. I love a good quality jacket and am often frustrated that the tall sections often just carry the safest colours of black and navy. That’s why I decided that as well as the trusty navy and grey options, we would also do a hot pink and turquoise jacket for our launch so that tall women can have a choice of some fun colours for a change.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to come and see the clothes for themselves, we are taking a stand at the Rare Brand Market Christmas Market at Goodwood Racecourse from 22-24th November

Why is it important for women to invest in themselves when it comes to fashion and style?

I mentioned earlier that I was very self-conscious when I was young because of my height and I think this is a trait that is shared by lots of tall women. As children and teens we all seek to blend in and be part of the gang and often anything that makes you stand out is something you want to hide and change. This can be anything but speaking from my experience, height is one thing you can’t change or even hide. The answer is to wear it with confidence and dressing well and feeling good about yourself in your clothes is one way of doing this.

I don’t think this means making sure you are up to date with the latest fashions and trends, but by wearing clothes that fit you and suit your height, shape and colouring, you can feel good about yourself and have the confidence to perform at your best, be that in your personal or professional lives. This is not just a tip for tall women, but all women should feel they deserve to look their best to give them confidence in themselves.

If you could recommend ONE book to women, what would it be and why?

Testament of Youth is a book that affected me very deeply. It has become a classic so is probably already well known to many but it is the story of one woman’s experience of growing up in early twentieth century England and the restrictive Edwardian environment she longed to rebel against. She then endured the loss of her brother, fiancé and friends in the First World War and did what she could to support the British war effort, becoming a firm pacifist in the process. It is a moving and inspirational story of courage, learning, love and loss. It puts our present day comfortable lives into perspective.

If you could recommend ONE website to women what would it be and why?

I would recommend noiclub.org. This is a fantastic resource for female entrepreneurs, sharing tips and events. It also has a really useful Facebook page where women can interact and ask for help and advice. The founders are very supportive as is the community they have established.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

It is never too late to start working on a passion project like starting up your own business. I sometimes think I should have started Allta when I was younger, living in London and had more energy, but now as I approach my 50th birthday, I have more money than when I was younger, I have a supportive husband, who didn’t come into my life until I hit my 40s, I have learned a fair bit about myself and my strengths and weaknesses, and I am not afraid to ask for help, which I may have shied away from doing when I was younger. If there is something you want to do but are waiting for the right time, it may never come along. Just do it, is my advice!.

www.allta.co.uk

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JakiJellz

One of things that struck me throughout my breast cancer treatment was what people said to me. I had an awful lot of very nice things said to me. Gorgeous, lovely, kind, supportive, empathetic, delightful, wonderful words spoken from the bottom of the heart. Words which made my heart swell, my face smile and which carried me through my treatment from the day of diagnosis to the end of a very difficult period of treatment. Words which continue to give me a warm fuzzy feeling and which help me now as I make my way through the tricky post-treatment period.

Cancer

But then again, I was also struck by some of the other things that people said to me. Some of the not-so-nice things. To be fair, I expect that most of the time it was because they didn’t know what to say: they may have been uncomfortable around cancer; they may not have had any experience of talking to someone with cancer; or they may have felt awkward around a cancer patient. But, whichever way you look at it, I had some inconsiderate, stupid, insensitive, thoughtless things said to me. Some things I let wash over me with a roll of the eyes and a little sigh, whilst other things have stayed with me, nibbling away, clinging on and not letting go.

So, I have taken it upon myself to use every opportunity I am given, to give guidance to people about what, and what not, to say to their friend or family member with cancer.

Let’s start with the easy bit. There are three phrases that you can say, all with their own variations, but basically as follows:

1. “I am here to support you no matter what.”
2. “I don’t know what to say.”
3. “Tell me what I can do for you.”
Simple. Easy. Straightforward.

And now onto the things NOT to say.

1. ” My aunt/friend/neighbour had breast cancer … and then she died.”

I thought I would start with a popular one. I think this has something to do with the inane need in people to find something in common with whatever someone else is going through. Often, I think mouths work faster than brains. You can see someone’s brain catching up with their mouth at the point where they come to the death in the story: they realise that the story doesn’t have a good ending but they have got so far in the story that they can’t just stop mid-flow. Please think before you speak – we don’t want to hear these stories.

2. “If you had done X, Y and Z/ not done A, B and C then maybe you would not have got cancer.”

Actually, no, it doesn’t work that way. Yes okay, there are some types of cancer which are scientifically linked to certain lifestyles (like smoking and lung cancer) but on the whole, cancer is indiscriminate and down to bad luck. It is bad enough that us cancer patients constantly (but to no avail) feel guilty and ask ourselves these types of questions, we don’t need anyone else piling on the guilt.

3. “Eating A, B, C can cure cancer.”

NO. IT. CAN’T. Eating a healthy diet is incredibly important. But not because it can cure cancer. It can’t. Our oncologists, breast consultants, doctors and nurses are not giving us chemotherapy, radiotherapy and all the other treatments for the fun of it.

4. “If I was in your situation then I would….”

But (luckily for you) you are not in my situation so it’s probably best if you don’t try to second guess what you would do (unless of course, I specifically ask for your opinion where you would need to put yourself in my shoes).

5. “It’s only hair.”

Yep, you can say that because you haven’t had to go and shave all your hair off but losing our hair is incredibly traumatic for many reasons: there is an association between the baldness and death; it can mean a loss of our personal identity; we can no longer pretend that cancer isn’t really happening once we lose our hair; and baldness tells the rest of the world that we are sick. Some of us feel defined by our looks so that we feel the loss of our hair can change who we are. Whatever the reason, or reasons, losing our hair and going bald is a pretty big deal.

6. “But breast cancer is a good one to get.”

No, it isn’t. No cancer is a good one to get. All cancers are life threatening, have horrible treatment and the chance of recurring or spreading (I won’t go into the statistics for someone with primary breast cancer developing secondary/terminal breast cancer – but let’s just say it isn’t a statistic that any of us are happy with). And it is not a who-has-got-the-worst-cancer-competition.

7. “You look well.”

Please don’t say this. I know you mean well and you are trying to make a positive remark in a horrible situation. But I am not well and the chances are that I don’t look well. And I really don’t want to have a conversation focusing on my looks when I look like a bald, eyebrow-less, eyelash-less, puffy, red-faced zombie.

8. “Sorry I’ve been rubbish and not been in touch” or, “Sorry I haven’t been here for you, but I have had [X/Y/Z] going on in my life and just been so busy”.

Have you been dealing with something as serious as a life-threatening illness and all the emotional and physical crap that a diagnosis and treatment brings? No? Well, I could have done with your support, maybe a text or a call or a note through the post. Something to tell me that you cared about me and that my existence matters to you.

9. “You will be back to normal soon.”

Unfortunately, no, although there is nothing I would like more, I probably won’t get back to “normal”. So much changes during cancer treatment: I look different, I feel physically different and I have changed mentally. Having faced my mortality directly in the face, I am not sure that there is such a thing as returning to normal. Yes, things will improve, a recovery of sorts will be made, but I’ll never go back to the way I was before. And that makes me really sad.

10. “If it was me, I wouldn’t want to be defined by cancer.”

I thought I would end on this belter of a comment. One that was said to me as we ate dinner around our kitchen table with friends. I had cancer. But I tend not to talk about it with family or friends. I don’t bring it up in conversations. However, cancer is a big deal. It worked its way into every single aspect of my life. I can’t help that. And because it was so awful, I decided to do something to help others who are going through breast cancer treatment by setting up my website and writing articles to help others who are going through the same thing. That doesn’t mean that cancer defines me. What defines me is that I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a lawyer, and now a writer, a blogger and someone who wants to help people who are going through breast cancer.

10 Things You Should Never Say To A Cancer Patient

Sara is the founder of www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com, a website dedicated to helping people through their breast cancer treatment from diagnosis to living life to the full once treatment ends. Aged 42 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sara decided to set up the website to support those who do not know which way to turn for help after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis; those who are overwhelmed by the breast cancer resources online; those who may be scared to go online for fear of what they might find; and those just looking for a comfortable, safe, calm place to turn for help. The website provides practical advice for each step of the way, together with many links and signposts to other online resources.

Cuddle Fairy
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