October is always an exciting month don't you think? It's the season of change and autumn officially arrives and the clocks go back. Plus there's Halloween to look forward to as well.
I typically want to hibernate when October arrives, but I've actually been out and about quite a bit this month. First things first, you can probably guess by my main blog post picture, one of my October favourites has been seeing seeing Grease at the theatre.
And what was brilliant about it (apart from the actual show of course), was that Peter Andre appeared as the Teen Angel. Everyone went wild when he arrived and he put on a great performance.
I'm not a huge theatre goer if I'm honest, but I did appreciate what a great show it was – by the end of the night we were all on our feet dancing and singing along – it was a buzzing atmosphere!
Next up on my favourite finds for October has got to be this oilcloth that I picked up in Sainsbury's. It was originally £20 and I picked it up for a tenner – surprising considering it's ‘of the season' – and something I would have thought would be in hot demand given autumn has arrived.
Still, I wasn't complaining of course – I snapped it up and spotted a few end of line items that the supermarket was trying to clear to make way for new goods. It's always worth checking out the sale items as you never know what bargains you'll find!
I know that mentioning Greek salad as one of my October favourite finds might seem a bit odd – I mean, there's nothing new about Greek salad, but what I didn't come to realise was how much I'd count on Greek salad to get me through the immediate days following chemo.
As I write this, I've only got two sessions of chemotherapy left before moving onto radiotherapy. Immediately after my chemo sessions, my taste is hugely affected – everything seems to taste like cardboard and my mouth always seems dry. The only thing that I seem to stomach is VIP's Greek salad which tastes …. normal.
It has become a bit of a tradition now – and in a way I may well miss his Greek salad dishes once the chemo is done and dusted, but for now I really look forward to getting that bit of taste normality every week.
Christmas is coming
Every year I vow to get my Christmas shopping done early, but it never quite works out like that. I start with good intentions and get a few presents sorted, but then there's always a mad rush at the end.
For this year though – and trying to be better prepared – I thought some nice personalised mug gifts for the grandparents would be nice. The kids seem to be growing so quickly at the moment, so before they officially reach adulthood, it's nice to capture their teen and tween years.
GoCustomized kindly offered me the choice of a personalised gift and I opted for the mugs as I'm anticipating that they'll get the most use. However, there are plenty of other options to go with if you're thinking of something a bit more unique including things like personalised phone cases and even smaller items such as t-shirts and even power banks. My two mugs came to £16.65 excluding delivery and I'm sure will be cherished for many years to come.
Another gifted item – and something that I only intended to write about for the BritMums' website – were these essential oils inhaler sticks from GO2.
Having a condition called hyperosmia means that I'm incredibly sensitive to smells. In fact, they affect me so much that certain smells can even trigger migraines for me. It can be very debilitating and has meant that I’ve always got to think ahead and take precautions (usually a scarf) to avoid any migraine-inducing smells.
So when I had the opportunity to trial some natural (essential oil) inhaler sticks, I was intrigued as to what impact they would have on me. I was sent a selection of four – designed for relaxation, sleep, focus and energy – and I've really enjoyed using them.
Two days after my weekly chemo for example, I have a huge slump in energy, so the energy stick really helps with this. When I’m working and I have too much going on in my head I use the ‘focus’ stick – just a couple of quick inhales, while the Sleep stick has promoted a more restful sleep – especially when the steroids have fought to keep me awake!
What I really appreciate is that the product is made using essential oils; I’m keen to avoid any unnecessary chemicals in my day-to-day life so these tick all the boxes. They cost £3.99 each, last around three months and are available from Go2.
H20 to go
Talking of all things natural, how's this for a pretty incredible claim: ZeroWater is the only water filter that removes 99.6% of dissolved solids in tap water; the equivalent of purified bottled water.
When I was offered the opportunity to try it out, I had to find out how it worked – and if it really did. I discovered that the filter has a unique five stage filter. The first layer of filtration, activated carbon and oxidation reduction alloy removes the chlorine taste you are familiarised to with tap water.
The Ion Exchange stage removes virtually all dissolved solids that may be left over from public water systems or even leached into your water from piping such as Aluminium, Lead, Zinc, Nitrate and more. Three additional stages are included to remove other contaminants and to ensure your water receives the appropriate amount of treatment time to deliver a “000” reading on your water quality meter.
So I had to test it out for myself and was shocked to discover that my normal tap water had a read of 300, which is “exceptionally high”. After the water was put through the filter, the reading went right down to zero! I felt rather smug about drinking water that had virtually no dissolved solids, that was 99% free of all fluoride and was certified to reduce lead and chromium.
You won't be surprised to hear that the ZeroWater pitcher (which costs £39.99 from ZeroWater) now takes pride of place in my fridge.
Flutter those lashes!
One of my October things I've tried are Eyelure's C-Lash. I spotted them in a magazine – they were invented by a girl called Codilia Gapare – a cancer survivor who invented the lashes after being frustrated when hers fell out after having chemotherapy.
The great thing about C-Lash is that you don't already need lashes to be able to wear the fake ones – lucky for me as most of my lashes have fallen out! The lashes have a sticky back to them – and failing that there is some gentle glue that you can apply them with.
Anyway, I bought them from Boots for £5.25 to give them a go and see if they were any good. As you can see from my photo, it seemed like I could get one of the lashes looking good – and the other one looked like it was about to fall off!
It might well have been because I needed to spend more time applying the lashes to perfect the look (I'm a novice!), but overall the look wasn't too bad. I think if I were going on date night with VIP that I'd be bothered to apply them, otherwise they seem quite fiddly.
I'm definitely a summer girl and tend to hibernate in autumn and winter, preferring to get my PJs on as soon as possible and snuggle up on the sofa to relax and watch a bit of telly.
And if there's one thing we're good at in this country, it's some great telly. I've been enjoying The Great British Bake Off recently; whenever I watch it I always want to go and bake a cake or cookies! I've also been enjoying Celebrity Hunted. It's one of my favourite programmes and I get so excited when it's on every week. I might have mentioned this before, but I'd really love to appear on the show give half the chance.
When all my treatment is over – and if the non-celebrity show is still running – I'm definitely putting my name forward to give it a go. So where would I go? Right now, I have absolutely no idea, but I like the idea of going rural – no cameras in the middle of a field right?!
So what about you? What have you enjoyed and discovered in October? And what are you looking forward to for November?