Sunshine substitutes

I don't know about you but I am struggling to keep cheerful. A few of our gang have had disappointing news this week and I am struggling to think of reasons to be cheerful in this BLOODY AWFUL WEATHER. I haven't got any bright ideas apart from shopping, comfort eating, nice music and for some reason wearing nice perfume.

Lovely Lizzie has the shopping angle covered and the smiley faces (which I can't do) I keep daydreaming about having a woodburner installed - yes that is sad bearing in mind its nearly May. So for those of us who need help - any suggestions? Suzique is normally good at raising spirits but she probably needs our help this week. Over to you.....

56 Replies

  • Sometimes it's a real struggle, Sarah. My suggestions may not be wonderful but here goes...

    Treat yourself to some beautiful flowers, or, even better, get someone else to buy them.

    Read an uplifting book like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

    Dig out your old DVDs of Fawlty Towers and watch a couple of episodes.

    Do you know about mindfulness? Google it and you'll find some good tips.

    All the best


  • Thanks Linda

    I have read the potato peel book and loved it. I often buy it for other people when they are fed up.

    Mindfulness is very interesting - thanks for that. Even it is raining ALL the time I should be able to enjoy a nice coffee on the settee in the dry.

    You have also reminded me of my fail safe - the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Yes v sad I know. Its a good job this is anonymous -ish.

    Am working on the flowers!!! I will be dropping hints this evening.


  • .Hi Sarah,

    Ah, yes , it has been a sh###y week .

    We need to have a good think and see who can come up with the best tips , stories etc to put a chuckle back in our day.. I'm away shopping to Morrisons so I will see what I can come up with when I get back . T.T.F.N

    Suzie que


  • Don't tell me nothing funny happened in Morrisons! There are usually a few funny types in our branch.

    I've decided to be indulgent until the sun comes out. Hope you can too. This week may have been crap but there's always next week.

    Love Sarah

  • I had SUCH an embarrassing moment in Morrison's, Sarah. Carrying a wire basket, resting it on my tummy and my Ladycare magnet dislodged, rolled down my trouser leg and under a shelf unit and clung to the underside of it. I was bereft without it (look up previous threads ;-)) and got down on the floor, lying flat, face down. Security guard ...."Is everything all right, Madam?" OOOOHHHHH, the embarrassment when I though what I must look like. Maybe you can imagine and have a giggle at the thought. I still cringe/laugh at this.

    I totally agree about the perfume trick, flowers, music, mindfulness, a good hug, a smile from a stranger, looking at birds etc etc .... but I am fed up with all this rain. Drought? Don't make me laugh :-)

  • Wish I could help to cheer you all up. Today is my Duvet Day and I'm nice and snug sitting on my bed with my laptop and a cup of tea. I don't feel much like socialising today. These are some of the things that have amused me recently:

    I downloaded Burlesque last weekend and enjoyed it so much I watched it about 4 times. I'd recommend making up a list of films you've missed and would like to see and have them on hand.

    A good read. I recommend The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to cheer the wettest day - even if you did watch the film.

    Theatre tickets - Singing in the Rain seems rather appropriate right now but depends what's available locally.

    Pull on some waterproofs and have a little walk even if it is absolutely lashing down. The spring blossom on the trees is stunning right now.

    For techies, dig out that big fat manual for the gadget - or in my case the numerous gadgets - you bought but never learned how to use properly.

    Think about buying or doing something daring that you've never tried before. I've never tried a flotation tank but have a mind to try it as I'm slightly limited now on the daring things I can do. I've found out there's one 10 miles away and I'm still plucking up courage to do it.

    Be irreverent. I found an offer on Groupon for an economy spa day and went along with my daughters. I haven't laughed so much for years. Lizzie - it's in the Forest of Dean near you!!

    Ring up your oldest friend even if it is in peak time.

    Post a blog to your friends on Ovacome and cheer them up.

    Sending good cheeer and better tiems to you all lovely ladies. xxxx Annie

  • Thank you Annie. This is a brilliant list. I haven't seen or read the Marigold Hotel. We ought to start a book group or at least a recommended reading list. I quite like reassurance before I start that there will be no illness, death or cancer in them.

    No I've never tried a flotation tank. Hope you give it a go. I've never had my feet nibbled by fish. Not sure whether that needs the approval of an oncologist.

    I will definitely call my best friend in Liverpool tomorrow. That is the best idea yet!! Thank you.

    I hope you enjoyed your duvet day. I'm always a bit nervous that someone will knock at the door.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Sarah xxxx

  • Best Exotic Marigold Hotel... loved it! Delightful film xx

  • The book is so different and a page turner. I loved it though it's much darker - fascinating to see how a filmwriter expresses things so differently. July Dench was actually two characters. I recommend it highly. X

  • I could imagine how the book would explore in a lot more depth. I must try it. Thanks xx

  • Dear Sarah, I loved your blog . It got us all thinking of things that can raise our spirits and sharing them to help each other was such a positive thing to do.

    I think a book club or film list is a great idea. I watched 50/50 because it was a light comedy. There was something very uplifting about seeing the chemotherapy pumps and ward on a Hollywood movie but it also made me cry because it was too close to home.

    I do think films and books about disability or illness are good to raise awareness. I loved 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' by Jean Dominique-Bauby, the French Comedy Film 'Intouchables' directed by Olivier Nakache was brilliant, and the book 'The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nightime' by Mark Haddon was a page-turner.

    The flotation tank idea came from a friend. It's a massive tank of warm saline water with soothing music or sounds and lighting you can choose and you float in it completely weightlessly. It's not the sort of thing I'd have done when I was fit and too busy to waste my time floating about .... but these days it seems rather attractive. I'd be thoroughly scared of the fish tank pedicures and I'm not sure they're still available. I think they lost favour because they spread infections. Someone should have invented dentifrice for fish!

    I'm looking forward to reading more good happiness tips on your blog.

    Loads of love xxx Annie

  • Impressed with your list, Annie.


  • This might make you chuckle. What's the difference between a dog and a cat? To find out, read their diaries here.


  • Loved the dog and cat tale, thanks I needed a chuckle. Love Sue x

  • Definitely rather be in the company of my dog!


  • that diary has seroiusly put a smile on my face tonight !!thankyou me feels i might be a cat in dogs clothing ;) :) :D <3 mabel (dont ask how i did icons as got daughter to do some for me !!!)

  • Glad you all enjoyed it.


  • I knew there was a good reason why I am not keen on cats! Much too intelligent! The first book I remembervreading is "the Just So Stories" and I still remember 'The CatWho Walks by Himself' and its illustration.

  • Dear Linda - this is brilliant. I have both a cat (Mincer) and dog (Monty) and it described them to a tee. They do say we're either cat people or dog people - I'm definitely a dog person but hugely admire people who are cats and cleverer and cooler than me.

    Perhaps we should all 'fess up and say whether we're cats, dogs, or whatever - btw my nom de plume Whippit isn't a mis-spelling of my close friend the Whippet. No, if I were a dog I'd be a fiery little Terrier with a huge-dog bark. xxxx

  • I think I'd be a cross between a golden Labrador (sloppy) and a Jack Russell (snappy)!


  • Put on some make up look in the mirror and tell yourself you look damn great!

  • Mmm. Have you been spying on me? My appearance reflects my mood

    ie I look bloody awful. I've booked a haircut and will dig out some makeup. If I can bring myself to look in the mirror.


  • Hello gorgeous twin,

    I need a haircut too but can't bring myself to waste the money, since if I get my Rotterdam regime I shall lose it all again!

    My suggestions are a trip to the seaside, Thorntons Continentals and Morrisons Green Thai chicken curry. They are those expensive meals with the different elements in a semil-opaque white bag, but lovely quality and a nice alternative to a meal out.

    Loved Annie's list.

    Love Lizzie


  • Drawbacks: Not everybody likes rain and the seaside and Thai Green Curry and Thorntons probably comes under comfort eating!

  • Oh well Lizzie re the hair cut that's simple..........retail therapy for glamorous scarves for turbans, hats and didn't I read a blog recently about silk? Anyhow I olove your wig. AND there are no bad hair days!

    I bet ovacome wish they hadn't let us lot enrol!!

    Love Suex

  • Hi Sue,

    Husband is not a turban/chemo hat fan. So it will be wig and normal hats. I think ovacome/Health Unlocked will need bigger disks to hold all of this chatter! :-D

    Love Lizzie


  • Now I do love Thai Green Curry and I didn't know Morrisons did a good one and reassuringly expensive. You're right - not so keen on the seaside in the rain.

    Have you convinced your oncologist that you should have the Rotterdam regime? We can always pay him a visit if necessary.

    Love Sarah

  • Hi Twin,

    Just be careful with the Thai Green sauce curry pack. Husband opened it and it went everywhere. He cursed and said we weren't having one again. Of course as the terribly messy memory has faded, he has relented. The chicken in it is really nice quality.

    I spoke to my Specialist nurse yesterday and my onc said to her that he was going to have to think about it carefully. I have an appointment to see him this coming Friday. Hopefully by then he will have the recipe from the Professor and a hospital where I can have it cooked. I have a horrid feeling though he won't want to do it and I will have to try and find someone who will and that is more delay.

    I don't think I can hang in too much longer, things are getting tough now. I am sooo bloated, hard to eat and just had to have new/stronger anti-nausea pills. Sleeping on sofa now as it seems to be comfier than any bed. Not sure this has helped cheer you up. :-D

    Hope you are doing OK physically.

    Love Lizzie


  • Lizzie, speaking for myself and, I'm sure every one else among your friends on here, wishing you so much good luck in your quest to get the treatment you deserve and need. Hang on in there and we will all send love and positive energy to you via the cyberwebthingy. I always appreciate your ideas, your comments and your positivity. Keep hoping and praying

    Much love, Wendy xx

  • Last week my husband went to play golf and while he was gone I ate all of my choccie stash AND his. Did enjoy it!!!!!!!

    Love Suex

  • Sarah,

    I think everyone has all the cheering stuff covered, but what I find cheering is doing something creative .. it calms the spirit. Hand-knitting is a peaceful pastime, and if you do it for a good cause (there are many), it brings lots of satisfaction:-) Honestly!

    As far as the weather goes ... well here in BC, Canada, the last of the winter's snow has finally left and 3 days ago 2 crocuses poked their petals through the leaves that should have been raked in the fall, but were not. So, that was a cheery thing:-)

    I know it's tough to keep smiling when your friends have had bad luck. I know how it feels. It helps to know they have your love and support when that kind of thing happens. I hope you get some nice warm sunshine so it can bring a happy smile to your face.

    Bye' for now ....


  • On the creative front, I have written a few poems. Some about things I have done and some about the journey I am on. I also did a cross stitch my sister-in-law sent me on first line chemo and agree being creative can be quite theraputic.

    In my garden it is the Irises which are stealing the show the mo.

    Love Lizzie


  • Thank you very much Sandy. I have done a lot of knitting over the past couple of years and I agree that its v peaceful. I made the mistake of tackling a v complicated pattern which is still on the needles 1/4 done after 4 months. I must bite the bullet and abandon it and start something easier. Even if its is cold with you I hope you have some sunshine. My cousin lives in Manitoba and I know she finds the long winters hard.

    I've just walked out into the garden to feed the chickens who are looking miserable and there is lots of colour out there - especially the honesty.

    I'll keep smiling - even when I don't particularly feel like it.

    Sarah xxx

  • What are your favourite perfumes Twin?

    I am a big perfume fan, and have far too many, and I wear one every day.

    These are the ones I love and am currently using. Except Gucci by Gucci, they all remind me of things you can find in nature like flowers, fruit or vanilla.

    1) Infusion of Iris - Prada

    2) Light Blue - D&G

    3) Le Parfume - Lalique

    4) Flora - Gucci

    5) Gucci - Gucci

    6) Addict Shine - Christian Dior

    I also have Channel No 5, but it just smells like a chemical conconction to me.

  • Agree about the No5. I can never see the attraction. I love Private Collection (Estee Lauder) and Coco, Safari by Ralph Lauren and for a cheap treat to spray around the place, Yardley Royal English Daisy is light, affordable and fresh smelling. If I go within a yard of White Linen, I get a migraine. Goodness knows what chemicals are in that!

  • Try E. L. Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia. It smells a lot nicer than it sounds.


  • Dear Lizzie you might like Molton Brown perfumes as they're based on natural perfumes from different continents and their room spray is the only one I'd ever use. It's very refreshing and calming - though expensive so when I do use it, it's a treat. I should have added that to my happiness list above.

    I'm really sad to hear you're feeling so uncomfortable and now this awful wait for the consultant's deliberations. Hope you have a favourite blanket for the sofa. I bought a powder blue one in cable knit from Laura Ashley last year especially for times when I feel a bit down. It's very soft and comforting. Just letting you know I'm thinking of you and sending happy thoughtwaves your way. Xxx Annie

  • Hi Annie,

    I'll keep an eye out and give it a squirt if I find a tester. I just can't buy any more at the moment though, I have so many on the go already!

    Love Lizzie


  • My favourite was givenchy 3 but they have stopped making it! I had funny skin chemistry before chemo and most scents smelled like cats pee after 30 minutes on my skin. I haven't found another I like as well though Cool Water by Davidof is one of the few that doesn't react with my skin. Chemo though has made my sense of smell very acute and I cannot bear anything scented, it all makes me feel sick! Literally! Heigh ho! Hopefully this will improve!

  • Despite the devastating effects of rain on rivers I cycled over the flooded Ouse last night and the reflection of lights in the floodwater as I pedalled over the elegant Millenium Bridge quite took my breath away with the beauty of it. One thing to be said for this b****y disease isthat it has made me apreciate the beauty of such moments and the pleasure to be gained from simple things. So many great suggestions here!

    If anyone gets the chance to see the English Touring Theatre's production of the Globe Theatre's production of Anne Boleyn do try to go! I saw it in Darlington last week before I had my good news and was quite blown away by it! A real uplifting evening!

  • Doesn't it have a bad ending though? Something to do with a sword and her head?


  • The play starts with James 1 and is a series of flash backs! Anne is portrayed as a very feisty young woman it was funny and brilliantly acted!

  • This paints a great picture. Like you I sometimes have overwhelming feelings of euphoria when I see/experience beautiful things. That would n't have happened to me before. We just need to find a way of bottling them.

    I am seeing 'Henry V' on tour next week. Partly educational reasons for our two boys. I would have preferred something more romantic for our 20th wedding anniversary but that's another story!

    Keep cycling by moonlight.



  • Hi Sarah!

    I remember seeing Olivier's film of Henry Vth in 1947! I borrowed the lay from the school library and havebeen in love with Shakespeare ever since! Walton's score must have begun my love of 'big' music as well. I envy you!

    I am seeing Northern Broadsides production of Measure for Measure on Tuesday!

    It has tipped down all day today so I have been 'trapped' in the house!


  • Me too, Sarah! Since having OC, I just get blown away with happiness sometimes, mainly with nature and it's effects, often really small things too. It is quite unnerving for my friends! I can stand looking at something beautiful for quite a while....... they want to rush on to the next thing :-O.

    It's an unexpected bonus

    Love Wendy xx

  • HI everyone, I got a couple of DVD's of Tom and Jerry from Sainsbury's for my girls (two for £5!) and we all ended up cuddling up on the sofa and watching yesterday- I was laughing as much as them!

    Other than that my sunshine substitues seems to mainly revolve around expensive coffees and cakes. For the first time in years I am actually gaining weight and am now 8 stone 8 :-)

    Funny but since chemo I can't stand perfumes and other artificial scents. Have taken down suggestions for books and films however- thanks xxx

  • There's a firm called St Kitts Herbary in Cornwall, who do natural, pure products. They do mail order and their stuff is gorgeous. I use their Rosemary and Bergamot handcream, liquid soap and body lotion. It smells gorgeous and is guaranteed not to have any chemical nasties in. They do perfume too, which my sister says the patchouli is great. First smelled their stuff at Watergate Bay hotel and 15 (Jamie Oliver's) restaurant down there. I saw the name and tracked it down to their website and have done several orders since. Worth a try!

  • Like you Lizzie I love poetry , not the romantic sonnets as such , but more with a touch of humour to it . I have kept a diary from the beginning of my illness and I am trying to turn it into book , it is very therapeutic writing it all down. Here's a sample of one of my first outings as a bald headed woman.......

    It was a glorious, sunny day and we, that is Sylvia , Brenda, Jude and Jan met at “ The Mile” , a local watering hole that serves lush, tasty meals .After we had our lunch , we took ourselves outdoors to soak up the sunshine and vitamin d. The sun was quite hot , it was a glorious day. I’m glad I came prepared, I brought some sunscreen with me as I have to be extra careful, as the chemo makes your skin more sensitive to the sun and I sure as hell didn’t want to add sunburn to my list of problems . I asked the girls if they were ok if I exposed my bald head to the elements , you know , give it a bit of an airing . Of course I knew the answer , but I didn’t want to assume they would be ok with that.

    Anyway , I lathered my factor fifty on my bald pate and there we were , nattering away, the wine and soda was flowing and creating the perfect ambience in the sunshine, when a man , an intoxicated man, with crutches,( yeah, under the influence and in charge of crutches) approached our table .He was looking at me when he spoke.

    “ Do you mind if I say hello to you , and can I say how much I admire you and what you are going through “. I couldn’t believe what I just heard , the girls were quiet . “Sorry ? “ I said “ I don’t know you and you don’t know me or what I’m going through”. Still, the girls were silent and embarrassed.

    ” Oh, but I can see you must be going through some kind of treatment ( nodding to my bald head ) my wife has been having treatment too, can I buy you a drink to say well done .” He said. Then , whilst perching his elbows on the hand grip of his crutches , he took out his wallet and put a twenty pound note on the table, and placed under my wine glass. Then looking at my pals he said “ This is one special lady , you lot look after her mind “.

    “ That’s really nice of you , but take your money , I’m sitting in company , we don’t want a drink” I said , when I really wanted to say , “ Hoy , eff off and take your money with you “. I mean, how rude and intrusive was this man , I didn’t know him from Adam , bliddy hell .Would he have done that if we were sitting with our fellas, I doubt it very much . Then my pal Sylvia spoke, “ Ah , you are all right , we will look after her “ and she thanked him for his money and said that we would donate it to Cancer Connections.

    He nodded and seemed to be happy at that and walked away, I mean, hopped away, assisted by his crutches . We all just looked at each other and burst out laughing , it was a funny , but intrusive encounter .Then Sylvia said “Right girls , next time we come out we are all shaving our bliddy heads and we will make a sodden fortune “ Haha , we did laugh out loud , then Brenda had a few tears , she got upset for me , she is a right softy. Then ten minutes later he came back ,bliddy hell. What a pest. He continued to talk about his wife and how they had booked up for a holiday now that she was in remission from breast cancer . I had to interrupt him by saying we were delighted for him and his wife and we wished them well, but I was out for the day with friends . He then reached out his hand for what I thought was to shake my hand , but he didn’t ,as I went to shake his hand he kissed the back of mine !!!. Ah , he didn’t mean any harm and he obviously felt we had something in common . Good job Jim and my sons weren’t with me , he would of ended up with a bit more than a pair of crutches ( only kidding ).We laughed about it for ages after he left .

  • Like you Suzie I have kept a diary from the start and get a lot of my angst out on paper! For you poetry lovers i have a brilliant long poem in book form about the river dart from source to mouth. It changes throughout as the river does. Will let you know the name of the poet when I go up and look on my poetry bookshelf. I heard her on Woman's hour a couple of years back and bought the book while visiting my son & family in Dartmouth. There is something in it for every mood!


  • Hi Suzie

    It is so great that you can write all this stuff down. It does help to make some sense out of it all. I almost felt sorry for the man with the crutches in the end. He obviously needed someone to talk to but why pick on you! You just want to take your mind off things and enjoy yourself when someone starts talking cancer.

    Just the thought of drinking outside in some sunshine with friends....we need to be doing that now!

    Carry on writing it gives other people a way of seeing life from your point of view.

    Cheers Sarah

  • Your "gentleman" caller will shortly be singing soprano I guess, if he doesn't learn better manners! LOL! I had some similar encounters when I was bald! I still get that sickly "you are brave" tone in people's voices and I hate it! I even want to scream at the Macmillan ads on TV beause the actors on those are doing it too!


  • Just got back from a very therapeutic and relaxing hot stone massage , a wonderful treat from my daughter-in-law .I would highly recommend it for relaxing the mind and body .

    Suzie xxx

  • Fried egg on a crumpet for a breakfast treat (I had no appetite yesterday and bad nausea) and looking forward to the Tin Tin movie in 3D which my husband picked up at the super market yesterday. It is throwing it down here again today. Our water butt is about to overflow!

    Love Lizzie


  • That sounds like a hearty breakfast. Well done.

    We went to a chinese restaurant on the spur yesterday lunch time. It was very authentic and had to get advice as to what to order. I found myself eating tripe with chopsticks followed by Dim Sum. The most revolting meal I have ever had. Husband and I felt sick for most of the afternoon but we laughed!

    My favourite perfume at the moment is an Estee Lauder Private collection called Tuberose Gardenia. Not a v glamorous name. My problem is that I save nice perfume for 'best' which means it goes off before I use it. I might go and slap some on now.

    It has rained here non stop for the last 48 hours and we have a big pot by the back door with goldfish in (taken out of the pond to stop them eating the tadpoles). Their pot is now overflowing so we're in danger of goldfish on the patio.

    Hang on in there. Friday and your meeting with the oncologist can't come soon enough. I can't imagine what good reason he could give not to follow the Prof's advice.

    If I have any more delicious meals I will let you know.

    Love sicky Twin

  • MMMMMM I love that perfume too. Have been wearing Private Collection (classic) since about 1980. I keep coming back to it, but I agree the tuberose one is lovely. I figure each day is special, so I keep on wearing perfume. Hubby keeps finding me bargains of it on Ebay ;-)

    This thread is relaly unearthing some gems! You are a really lovely lot of women! Real friends <3 xx

  • None required this week. Live it up Twin.

    P.S. Good day today - not been sick for 24 hours and made it up the stairs to put jewels and perfume on. Not so glam is the pressure cushion that has been delivered for me, but it is all good as I have no bottom anymore - the cushion is like floating in heaven.


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