Smorgasbord Health Column – Women’s Health Month – Guest Post – Judith Barrow – Breast Cancer Survivor.


Earlier this week I share the first post about Breast Cancer with statistics and how to make sure you are checking anything suspicious out as soon as possible.

Now for this very personal story from Judith Barrow.

My thanks to one of the kindest and most supportive bloggers here on WordPress. Judith Barrow is also a wonderful author and her books have received amazing reviews. You can find out all about them at the end of the post.

Judith has had a complicated relationship with her breasts as she relates in her story but it became even more complex when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was over twenty years ago and one of the most important messages that I took from her excellent article is ‘Be bloody persistent‘ with your doctor…

You know your body better than anyone and if you believe that there is something that is different about your breasts and it persists for more than a week go and get it CHECKED. Don’t worry about wasting a doctor’s time as it is your time you need to be more concerned about.

As I have mentioned before, these articles are also for the men in our lives who also know us intimately. They too can spot changes in our bodies and also our general health, sometimes faster than we can.

My Breasts by Judith Barrow

I’ve always had a strange relationship with my breasts. They seem to have been a separate part of me since they started to grow–unwelcome–at the age of twelve. I was still into climbing trees, playing football; being one of ‘the boys’. The only thing they didn’t interfere with was my reading and writing, unless, of course, I chose to read or write lying on the floor on my stomach.

They were painful arriving. (I thought of them as appearing as unexpected guests in my body, much, I suppose, as I thought of the cancer, thirty years later). I left it as long as I could before asking my mother if she thought I needed a bra. She looked surprised; I suppose I was on the plump side and she hadn’t noticed. Anyway, off she went to Littlewoods store in Oldham to buy the most boring, white cotton bra she could find for me. (I made up for it in my later teens by buying the most exotic colourful bra and pants set I could find).

Those swellings on my chest grew to a size 36D by the time I was fourteen. Sport, my great love at the time, was curtailed by the bouncing around of those bloody boobs until I had the wit to fasten them in with two bras. Away from sport, the next two years saw me wearing the baggiest jumpers and all-encompassing coats I could find

It wasn’t until I left school after my GCEs and was in the Civil Service that I found out what an asset my now 38DD breasts could be. I didn’t dress in a provocative way (with a father like mine I wouldn’t have got away with that, even at the age of eighteen) but I made the most of fashion in the early seventies and, except for my breasts, I was slender. I passed interviews, gained promotions, without many an all-male board looking higher than my chest. I doubt some of them would have recognised me if they passed me in the corridors of those Government buildings. I knew what they were doing, but in those days girls had to put up with such Neanderthal behaviour; those who you could complain to were some of the ones acting like that. It angered me, but as far as I was concerned I gained my promotions justifiably: I was hard-working, efficient, organised; quick-thinking in every grade as I progressed. And I wasn’t going to change the way I was. Such behaviour would have them drummed out of their jobs now.

Even at that age, and working, my father didn’t allow me to date but I did manage to sneak out sometimes on the occasional date. But I was adamant; my breasts were mine; nobody touched!

Until I was married to David. My breasts became fun! And, for five years I revelled in my shape.

Then I had my eldest daughter. During the pregnancy my breasts ballooned; I felt a little bit like the figurehead on the front of a large sailing ship. After the birth, determined to breast feed I struggled for days until one of the nurses on the ward declared I was one of those mothers with ‘large boobs and no nipples’. My breasts were useless; hopeless in the function they were intended for. They’d let me down. Within days I got mastitis. The treatment was pain relief and to bind them. Tight. I was a failure. After a fortnight there was the grand unveiling of my chest. The health visitor pronounced she was satisfied. I wasn’t; these flattened breasts were someone else’s, not mine.

However I came to terms with them.

Then, after two years, I was pregnant again. This time, I’d be prepared; I knew what to do. Two months into the pregnancy, the midwife gave me nipple shields, hard rubber covers whose purpose was to extend the nipples to enable breast-feeding after the birth. In the end they didn’t work but, boy, were they useful when pushing through crowds.

The twins were unexpected; we only found out I was having them six weeks before they were born. The mastitis came back. And so did those damn crepe bandages.

It was eighteen months afterwards that I found my first lump. I was terrified. I had three children under three, my husband’s business was just taking off so he was working all hours of the day to keep our heads above water, and the rest of our family lived over two hundred miles away. My father forbid my mother to come and help; it was his opinion that we’d chosen to live in Wales, over two hundred miles away, why should she have to go all over the country to visit us; to help? We’d made our bed; we’d have to lie in it.

We did. We managed. I had an operation to have the lump removed. The lump was a cyst; benign.

As were the lumps I found and had removed on a regular basis over the next ten years.

Until ‘the one’. I knew it was different; it followed on from an abscess I’d had in the other breast. After two operations, a month of walking around with a drain in the abscess and daily visits from the district nurse, I’d taken my eye off the ball, so to speak.

And then, when I was well again, our eldest grandson was born. It was a time of celebrations.

So that morning, during a belated check when I found the lump, I knew. It wasn’t painful; it wasn’t hard; this was different.

Off to the doctors, then to hospital. I think the specialist was fed-up seeing me. ‘It’s the same as always, Mrs Barrow,’ he said. ‘No more needless operations. Ignore it, go home, enjoy the rest of your life.’ I tell no lie, those were his exact words.

Going home, we were stunned. But in a way, relieved.

‘He must know what he’s talking about,’ I said to David.

‘What do you think?’ he said.

‘It’s different.’ But I wanted to believe it wasn’t.

After days of argument he persuaded me to go back to the doctors.

It was round about the time that doctors’ surgeries first held their own budgets; our doctor agreed to send me to Cardiff University Hospital. There was money to pay for another check-up. But only a for second opinion, nothing else.

I remember that morning so well. I think what I noticed most was the quiet, the hushed whispers below the hubbub of the clinic; the rattle of trolley, the constant ringing of the telephone, the rustle of the nurses’ uniform, their voices confident as they went about their duties. We were a motley crew, those of us sitting on the grey plastic chairs; all at different stages of our breast cancers. Or potential cancers. There were the women–and two men– some accompanied by anxious relatives, others alone, who were quite obviously, like me, waiting for a verdict, a diagnosis of what they most dreaded. Then there were the others, some clad in headscarves, others unselfconsciously devoid of all hair. Some frail- looking, some, glowing with health. All with that air of waiting.

I’d forgotten to bring anything to read; to take my mind off why we were there; to take my attention away from my husband and his constant nervous drumming of his fingers on his knees.

The only magazines I could see were either about rock climbing or windsurfing. I kid you not. Someone had either donated them in the belief it would be something for us poor benighted souls to look forward to–or those publications had found their way from another ward. Perhaps the Orthopaedic ward? That thought gave me an unexpected inward laugh.

Eventually we were called in to see the specialist for an examination and then I was sent for a mammogram. After an hour we were taken to the specialist again and I was told I would need to have a biopsy. This had never happened previously; I’d just found the lump, had it confirmed as a lump, and had it removed. I suppose I thought it was different because we’d asked for a second opinion. They took a small sample of the lump out for examination. We waited for the result for hours. I can’t describe how I felt: it was as though it wasn’t really happening; I worried about the children, who we’d left with friends, I worried about David and how he would cope if the test came back positive How I would cope.

It did. I did. We did.

Thankfully the hospital ignored budgets.

When Sally asked me to write this post I didn’t want to labour over the operations, or the follow-up treatments and procedures. We got through them together, David and I, we were made stronger. Are stronger.

What having cancer did do for me, was to tell me that I should be brave enough, determined enough to live as I’d wanted; to share some of the pieces I’d been writing, secreting away, for years. So I did. And in those early years, I had poems, short stories published. Then I went further; I took a degree in English Literature, then a diploma in drama and, finally a Masters in creative writing. I wrote four novels. Five years ago I had the first of my trilogy published by Honno, an independent press for women. Quite apt I think.

Now I run one-to one workshops for creative writing and classes for adults with the local council.

My breast and I have called a truce. I agree to check, they agree not to produce any lumps.

And I have celebrated every day of these last twenty years.

I hope all of you, diagnosed today, can do the same.

©Judith Barrow 2021

Books by Judith Barrow

One of the reviews for Pattern of Shadows – book one of a trilogy featuring Mary Howarth.

Sandradan1 Will Mary finally put herself first?  Reviewed in the United Kingdom

The first instalment of Judith Barrow’s Mary Howarth series is ‘Pattern of Shadows’, a historical romance set in World War Two Lancashire that explores the challenges and new opportunities for women in wartime. Set against a male-dominated background where the aspirations of working class women have traditionally been put second, war brings change and some people adapt better than others.

Mary is a nursing sister in the hospital attached to a prisoner of war camp, nursing German soldiers captured and injured in action. Some people find that challenging but for Mary it is a satisfying and fulfilling job. Things get complicated when she attracts the attention of two men who could not be more different. One night Mary meets Frank Shuttleworth, a guard at the POW camp and, thanks to a combination of unforeseen circumstances, runs to a shelter with him during a bombing raid. This evening has far-reaching consequences for Mary and her flighty younger sister Ellen. There are tensions at home too with her argumentative irascible father and defeated mother, as Tom her older brother is in prison as a conscientious objector and her younger brother, injured fighting, must now work as a coal miner. Meanwhile a new German doctor arrives at the hospital. With two choices in front of her, Mary must decide whether to do what is expected or defy convention, to be loyal to her family who are not always loyal to her, or to be selfish and do something for herself.

A well-paced story combining stalking, prejudice, domestic violence, homophobia, poverty and family strife, Mary is the only unselfish, balanced person in her family. Will she finally put herself first? This is at times a grim story set at a difficult time and at first I worried this was misery fiction and longed for an occasional bright light. But the setting and time period are so well researched I soon relaxed into the story as the character of Mary and her predicament drew me in. I admire her stubbornness, her selflessness and loyalty, above all her bravery. Sometimes she is misguided, always well-intentioned, I look forward to reading more about Mary in ‘Changing Patterns’, the sequel.  

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK –  Follow Judith: Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

 

About Judith Barrow

Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, a group of villages on the edge of the Pennines,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for forty years.

She has an MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions..

She is a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council and holds private one to one workshops on all genres.

Thanks for dropping by today and your feedback is much appreciated. Judith is on a blogging break at the moment but I will pass all your comments on to her.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Crime – Presumed Missing (Foxy Mysteries Book 2) by Fiona Tarr


Delighted to share the news of the latest release on September 15th  by Fiona Tarr – Presumed Missing (Foxy Mysteries Book 2) – Also Book 1 – Death Beneath the Covers is on offer at 99c/99p for the rest of September.

About the book

Most Runaways are Found Within 48 hours. So where is Gemma?

It’s been nearly two weeks since her disappearance. The police investigation has hit a brick wall until Liz, a high-class escort and part-time private investigator, takes on the case.

Detective Jack Cunningham thought he’d seen the last of Liz. But now her missing girl case has been linked to two interstate murders. With everyone on high alert, Jack and Liz team up once again.

Liz has no choice. She must jeopardise their budding relationship and lead Jack into her dark past to uncover a side of the sex trade he never knew existed. With a deadly predator at large, it’s a risk she’ll have to take, because the clock is ticking for Gemma.

One of the early reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 07, 2021 Ellen rated it Five Stars

When when I started this book I was very apprehensive, reason being the author’s previous works in the historical gendre like Destiny of King’s. Alas I have been pleasantly surprised!!

Great storyline, strong character and good flow throughout the book. This is a feather in the author’s cap that she can write about a character that is involved in the shady side of life, and she does that with empathy and gives you a glimpse into the motivation for the character’s actions.

Needless to say, when I started reading I had to finish it and I can recommend this jewel to anyone who loves strong female characters.

Fantastic read!! Thanks Fiona 

Head over to buy the book: Amazon Au Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Fiona Tarr

One of the recent reviews for Death Beneath the Covers – on offer at 99c/99p for September.

Ms Rachel Ratajczak 5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew Adelaide’s underbelly could be so riveting? Reviewed in Australia on 7 June 2021

With a powerful female lead Ms Tarr flexes her sleuth muscle in her new exciting novel.

With great characters and a riveting plot line, Ms Tarr’s unique knowledge of the landscape brings to life the torrid underbelly of Adelaide.

Being a fan of her previous work, it’s fantastic to see her talents can pivot in a different genre.

Read the reviews and Buy: Amazon Au Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Follow Fiona: GoodreadsWebsite :A Time 2 Write – Twitter: @FionaTarr 

About Fiona Tarr

Fiona’s novels feature strong female leads, romantic suspense themes and adventure, all set against a backdrop of social justice and equality.

From Historical Fantasy to Mystery suspense, you’ll find romance is the common themes across all her books.

It turns out writing is in the blood. Fiona’s Great Uncle was Australian Literary author George Johnston (My Brother Jack) and although her style is different, her Uncle’s social commentary tone is evident.

Fiona lives in Noosa Australia with her husband, and not far from her two adult sons. A self confessed people watcher, Fiona loves to interpret body language and social cues, which you’ll find evident in her character development.

Recently compared to Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh, Fiona’s mystery/romantic suspense novels have been well received. Currently writing two series, Foxy Mysteries and The Priestess Chronicles, Fiona expects to release more books more often over the coming years.

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you would share the news of Fiona’s new book  thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1963 Part Two – South Africa, South Pacific, Younger Than Springtime


I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life. Often when I was a child and teenager the songs I loved came from the musicals.

1963 – South Africa – South Pacific – Younger Than Spingtime and I’m Going To Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair.

With my brother in our school uniforms Cape Town.

When we lived in Cape Town, my father was stationed at the Royal Naval base at Simon’s Town . In addition to his duties in communications and weaponry..he was also the station film officer, making sure that there was a steady supply of entertainment for both those living on the station and the families who lived off base. This included the Saturday kids club which my brother and I would be taken too each week and also enabled my father to bring home certain films to show friends and neighbours after Saturday night dinner parties.

We where sent to bed with promises of left overs for breakfast… a treat not to be missed, especially when it was some of my mother’s strawberry shortcake dessert. However, I loved movies and as soon as the guests were settled, and I heard the projector whirring in the background, I would creep up the darkened corridor and sit with my back to the front door watching the screen that had been erected at the far end of the room through the slightly opened lounge door. In those days most people smoked and some ventilation was required.

My parents love musicals as well as Hitchcock thrillers, so I did see some films that were not always PG… but South Pacific was one I immediately fell in love with. Luckily for me, the guest W.C was through the dining room and next to the kitchen, which meant I was largely undisturbed in my lookout.

I have seen the film many times since and when my mother became more forgetful, we would enjoy a good sing along and reminisce about those fun days. There is one song that is guaranteed to get the tears flowing, and that is Younger than Springtime, and I had a crush on Lieutenant Cable (John Kerr) for many years…I did not know, nor care that his voice was actually dubbed by Bill Lee of the The Mellomen

South Pacific is a 1958 American romantic musical film based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, which in turn is based on James A. Michener’s short-story collection Tales of the South Pacific. The film, directed by Joshua Logan, stars Rossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and Ray Walston in the leading roles with Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary, the part that she had played in the original stage production. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning the Academy Award for Best Sound for Fred Hynes. Wikipedia

Here is Younger than Springtime.one of the beautiful tracks from the film..sung by one of my favourite actors and tenors – Julian Ovenden with the John Wilson Orchestra

And here is one of the fun clips and songs from the movie… with Mitzi Gaynor.. I’m Gonna Wash that Man right out of my hair…thanks to Rodgers & Hammerstein

You can buy or rent South Pacific: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

I hope you have enjoyed this musical interlude and more in a couple of weeks….thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Autism Karen Ingalls, #Poetry Jude Itakali, #Family #ComingofAge Matthew Keeley


Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review is for the latest release from Karen Ingalls which is an essential guide to autism for parents and teachers. Learning About Autism: One Mother’s Journey of Discovery and Love: A Charter School, Teaching Methods, & Resources

All proceeds from the book sales go to gynecologic cancer research.

About the book

Carol Tucker travels the road of autism and cerebral palsy with her adopted son, Justin, now a young man who routinely astounds physicians with his achievements. She is a special-education teacher, recognized leader in children’s advocacy, and one of the founders of Florida’s first charter school for autism, where she served as director. Through photos and stories, bestselling author Karen Ingalls shares Carol’s journey, then offers a wealth of resources, teaching methods, school choices, and financial-assistance options. With Karen’s unique insight, Learning About Autism shows how one very determined mother and her family can rise above daunting challenges to thrive and find happiness.

A recent review for the book

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing example of love and understanding.  Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2021

“Learning about Autism” is not only a great resource of information but inspiring. Carol and Allen Tucker are almost empty nesters after raising their two children. They decide to adopt a special needs child into their family, Justin, who is dealing with cerebral palsy and autism. Later, they add Joshua, who has down syndrome. The book details how they loved and helped these boys and covered Carol’s path to opening her school for autism. I learned a lot reading this and came away with more understanding of the challenges and gifts raising and advocating for these boys. There is plenty of help and knowledge, but there is also an amazing example of love. This is a great book that I recommend for those looking for advice and those who want to be inspired and understand. 

Other books by Karen Ingalls

All proceeds from the book sales go to gynecologic cancer research.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Karen: Goodreads – Blog: Karen Ingalls – Twitter: @KIngallsAuthor

The next review today is for Jude Itakali for his poetry collection – CROSSROADS (Winds of love): Poetry and Prose

About the collection

In the corridors of love, at the crossroads of loneliness, we stand at our most vulnerable. As the winds of love swirl, we are often ill prepared for the portends and promises that they carry. The longing, lust, fear and deception. But also the hope, renewal and lessons of love. In this book, may we be strengthened by the memory of things we have survived, soothed with the understanding of perspective, and comforted with the hope of things yet to come.

May these poems, prose and short stories touch each of us in our own particular way.

A recent review for the book

M. Reynolds 5.0 out of 5 stars Relatable Poetry for Everyone  Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2021

Poetry is rarely my favorite form of literature, but every once in a while I found someone who writes poetry in a way that I can connect with it. This is one of those books. Jude Itakali takes the art form of poetry and makes it relatable for everyone. The main theme of this collection is love, but not in its typical way. Instead, Itakali makes it a place with high peaks, low valleys and winding roads weaving throughout our love and our
lives. Enjoy the journey.  

Read the reviews and buy the collection :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Follow Jude:GoodreadsBlog: WordPress – Tales Told Different – Facebook: Kirya Itakali Jude – Twitter: @jude_clutch

Delighted to welcome Matthew Keeley to the Cafe and Bookstore with his coming of age novel The Stone in My Pocket.

About the book

A poignant coming-of-age story following a teenage journey into mediumship, independence, 90s pop culture, and a new millennium. ‘The Stone in My Pocket’ is an engaging chronicle of adolescence; a tender family drama; and a supernatural mystery, exploring the passage to self-acceptance and how it feels to be different. Seventeen year-old Nathan hears a voice crying in his garden at midnight. Later, a ghostly figure stands in his bedroom doorway then vanishes. The crystals Nathan collects on his shelves fall. But he can’t tell his devout parents any of this. They don’t believe his strange stories anymore. Seeking answers, he turns to Iris: the medium who owns the village bookshop. She reads tarot cards and divines that Nathan’s grandfather is communicating with him from the spirit world. And he’s bringing grave warnings for Nathan’s family.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Apr 16, 2021 Sanrizz rated it five Stars

This review is LONG OVERDUE! I really loved the story of Nathan! I rooted for him from beginning to end. It’s the second time a book brought tears to my eyes, so I applaud the author. It’s a firm recommendation to anyone who’s interested in reading about a person who’s been misunderstood most their life and is trying to make sense of it all. 

Also by Matthew Keeley

Follow Matthew Keeley:Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Follow Matthew: Goodreads – Website: Matthew Keeley – Facebook:Matthew Keeley Writer – Twitter:@matthewjkeeley

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday September 21st 2021 – Jacqui Murray, Jan Sikes, Robbie Cheadle and Harmony Kent, John Howell, D.G. Kaye with Frank Prem


A small selection of posts I have enjoyed over the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.

Jacquie Murray shares a post on a useful project management tool for writers.. Planning a book or Marketing..

Google Drawings for Planning and Marketing Your Story

Google Drawings is a free Google Drive-based drawing tool that allows writers to create drawings, devise marketing pieces, brainstorm stories with concept maps, and more. Here’s how you use it:

  • Open your Google Drive account; go to New and select Google Drawings (it may be located under ‘More’).
  • Insert shapes, lines, an image, or text with the editing tools.
  • When finished, publish the drawing as a stand-alone or add it to a Google Doc, slideshow, or spreadsheet. As will all Google tools, it can be shared with others in a wide variety of methods.

There are a lot of drawing programs. SumoPaint, GIMP, and Photoshop are some of my favorites. All are wonderful in their own right and many more powerful than Google Drawings. So why use Drawings?

Head over to find out the eight reasons you should explore this Google tool further: Jacqui Murray – Author Tool Box Blog Hop

The next post is from Jan Sikes who will be sharing some of her passions over coming weeks including the stones she has collected over the years. Last week it was the Amethyst  which happens to be my birthstone. Jan provides a detailed background to the stone and its legendary properties.

#WednesdayWonders – #Gemstones – #Amethyst

Photo by Jan Sikes – A tiny portion of my gemstone collection

I love rocks!

Since I can remember, I’ve been a collector. When we’d go on family vacations, I always came home with a pile of rocks, much to my parent’s dismay.

But for me, that love tripled shortly after Rick passed away.

After his death, and my decision to leave our home, I started the process of packing. Then about six months later, I moved into a new house and started the unpacking process.

I had (have) lots of Rick’s paintings. As I was deciding which ones I wanted to hang in my new house, I opened all of the boxes and pulled them out. Then as I made my choices and returned them to their packing boxes, there was one box that the painting wouldn’t fit back into. Puzzled, I turned the box upside down, and lo and behold, this fell out.

Head over to find what fell out of the box: Wednesday Wonders – Gemstones with Jan Sikes.

The next post is by Robbie Cheadle and is part of her Treasuring Poetry series and this week she interviews Harmony Kent and also reviews Harmony’s Slices of Soul collection

Treasuring Poetry with Robbie Cheadle – Meet poet and author Harmony Kent

Today, I am delighted to feature poet and author Harmony Kent as my guest for Treasuring Poetry. I have read one of Harmony’s fictional books and her non-fiction book, Creative Solutions for the Modern Writer: Inspirational Tools to Fire Your Imagination, and they are both excellent. I have read and reviewed her poetry book, Slices of Soul: A Collection of Contemporary Poetry.

Welcome Harmony! Which of your own poems is your favourite? 

Head over to find out which of her own poems Harmony considers her favourite and read Robbie’s review for Slices of Soul: Robbie Cheadle interviews Harmony Kent

Over the last 18 months I am sure that like me you may have bought more items online.. I have been very lucky but as John Howell points out.. ‘Buyer Beware’ with Ten Things Not To Buy Online!

Top Ten Thngs Not to Buy Online

onlineshopping

This list is inspired by having some unpleasant experiences with items purchased without having the luxury of trying them out first. Although extreme, this list represents some of the potential disappointments a buyer can experience in shopping online.

Top Ten Things Not to Buy Onlne

10 If you are shopping online, do not buy that cosmetic kit that promises an instant youthful appearance. If you do, at best, you’ll learn that what seems too good to be true is too good. At worst, you will need an intervention by an expensive dermatologist just to remove the facial mask. (And don’t you look good with a Jim Carrey green mask?)

Head over to discover the nine other items to avoid buying online: Buying online guide by John Howell.

The final post today is a book review from D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies for the poetry collection Voices in the Trash by Frank Prem.

Bitmo Sunday book review

Sunday Book Review – Voices in the Trash by Frank Prem – #Poetry

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today my review is for a short but lovely poetry book by Frank Prem – Voices in the Trash. For those who are familiar with Frank’s inventive poetry, you will enjoy this imagery plus poetry together as the author depicts what the images speak to him.

Head over to read Debby’s review for Voices in the Trash: Book review D.G. Kaye for Frank Prem

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full.. more on Thursday.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – September 21st 2021 -Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Lessons and inflight service


First Debby Gies with some funnies she feels you should not miss.. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

My thanks to Debby for spotting these.. and please give her a round of applause.

If you have not discovered the non-fiction books by D.G. Kaye: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Check out Debby’s latest relationship column here on Smorgasbord: September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care

Now something from Sally

A helping hoof

A man was driving down a country road in the middle of dairy farm country when his car stalled inexplicably. He got out and raised the hood to see if he could find out what had happened. A brown and white cow slowly lumbered from the field she had been grazing in over to the car and stuck her head under the hood beside the man. After a moment the cow looked at the man and said, “Looks like a bad carburettor to me.” Then she walked back into the field and began grazing again.

Amazed, the man walked back to the farmhouse he had just passed, where he met a farmer. “Hey, mister, is that your cow in the field?” he asked. The farmer replied, “The brown and white one? Yep, that’s old Daisy.” The man then said, “Well my car’s broken down, and she just said, ‘Looks like a bad carburettor to me.’” The farmer shook his head and said, “Don’t mind old Daisy, son. She don’t know a thing about cars.”

Inflight service

On a long distance flight on British Airways to Australia a mother took her young son to the toilet and told him she would be back in five minutes for him. He was finished in two minutes and headed off by himself down one of the aisles in the opposite direction to where his mother was sitting.

In the meantime a business man entered the toilet and locked the door. After the five minutes were up, the mother went to the toilet and knocked on the door and called out, ‘Do you need a hand with your zipper?’

From behind the door, a startled male voice said, ‘Good heavens, that’s what I call service!’

 

I hope this has left you with a smile on your face and please feel free to pass it on…thanks Debby and Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – New Book on the Shelves- #Fantasy – The Legend of the Taken Ones: Gateskin Chronicles Book 1 by Janice Spina


Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Janice Spina.. the first in a fantasy series – The Legend of the Taken Ones: Gateskin Chronicles Book 1

About the book

This is Book 1 of a fantasy series that will have six books in all. In this book learn about the three children of King Gateskin and his wife, Queen Solinara. The children have had powers since they were quite young..

Serena was three years old when she learned of her power to move objects with her mind. Her brother, Simon, can fly and their sister, Catalina, can become invisible or blend into her surroundings. They live with their parents in Sovorotskina, the Land of Light.

With these powers comes responsibility. The children must try to use their powers for the common good and responsibly to help others. The three children befriend a Sprite named Spindle who accompanies them on their adventure. Along the way they meet up with their aunt and uncle, their mother’s brother and his wife, Wizard Hotenfaran and Fairy Procelina. The group must travel into the evil land of Parotovina, Land of Darkness, to save King Gateskin, who was kidnapped, and also rescue some of the descendants of their friends and fellow Sovorotskinans who were captured and taken by the Evil Ones. These descendants have been waiting a long time to be free to return to the villages of their ancestors.

The children have many trials and adventures along the way. Will they be able to rescue their father and fellow Sovorotskinans without endangering their own lives? Will the evil King Kaposkaran and his Queen Beregina stop Serena and her siblings from being successful or will they turn Serena and her siblings to their dark ways?

One of the early reviews for the book

Michelle Clements James 5.0 out of 5 stars Wizards, Fairies, Sprites, and Adventure  Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2021

The Taken are the children of the Provence of Noella who have been missing from their homes for many, many years. They were captured by the Parotovinans to be raised under the evil king wizard. Now, King Gateskin of Sovorotskina, Land of Goodness and Light, through his wizardry learns that the Evil Ones are planning to capture the children of the Provence of Noella once again. With the help of his children, a tree sprite named Spindle, wizards, and fairies, King Gateskin goes to Parotovina to gain release of the Taken Ones. Along the way they will encounter dangerous situations.

Those who enjoy stories of wizards, fairies, sprites, and adventure will find this un-put-downable! This is not my normal genre, but I was mesmerized. The characters are beautifully detailed, and the plot is captivating. The Legend of the Taken Ones: Goatskin Chronicles, Book 1 is a five-star book!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Janice Spina

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina

About Janice Spina

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 18 children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat, Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier, The First Star, Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1-5, and MG/PT/YA books, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Books 1-6, Abby & Holly Series Books 1-6, copy editor, blogger, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors.

 

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news of Janice’s new book… thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Women’s Health Month – Breast Cancer by Sally Cronin


Having spent time on some of the more common health issues we might suffer from, over the next few weeks, I am going to focus first on women’s health first posted in 2015 and a number of times since as I consider it to be an important issue.. It will be followed by men’s health.

Apart from looking at specific problems faced by women, I will also be sharing some guest posts from writers who have experienced health issues associated with the reproductive system or have worked with the medical field associated with women’s health.

These systems generally conform to a set pattern of development, however there are times when nature has its own agenda, resulting in changes that we are now embracing more fully. I am going to begin with the female reproductive system, how it works and links to posts that I have written on related diseases such as breast cancer.

This series is not just for women or men specifically, but also their partners.

Understanding how your own body works is important.. but it is also important for the men and women in our lives understand how our bodies work too. Very often in a relationship it is our partner who notices changes to our bodies or our behaviour that can indicate a health problem.

Female Reproductive system – Breast Cancer

The most recent statistics from the World Health Authority news room illustrate the reach that cancer still has across the world.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020 (1). The most common in 2020 (in terms of new cases of cancer) were:

  • breast (2.26 million cases);
  • lung (2.21 million cases);
  • colon and rectum (1.93 million cases);
  • prostate (1.41 million cases);
  • skin (non-melanoma) (1.20 million cases); and
  • stomach (1.09 million cases).

In many developing countries that do not have screening programmes to detect the disease early, the diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence. Most of us live in countries where cancer research, early detection and personalised treatments are now available, and if you look at the survival rates of ten years and over, the news is encouraging. However Covid has made an impact on both diagnosis and treatment which makes it even more important that we are aware of the symptoms and get checked.

Breast cancer statistics on average in the UK each year; Against Breast Cancer.org

  • Over 55,000 new invasive cases and over 8000 in situ cases are diagnosed
  • 80% of new breast cancer diagnoses are in women over 50 years of age
  • Around one man a day is diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Breast cancer is the main cause of death in women aged 35-49 years and 1 in 7 women will develop the disease in their lifetime
  • The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year is increasing, which may be due to improved screening programs.

The US statistics can be found on this website Susan G. Komen In 2021, it’s estimated among U.S. women there will be:

  • 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer (This includes new cases of primary breast cancer, but not breast cancer recurrences.)
  • 49,290 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-invasive breast cancer
  • 43,600 breast cancer deaths

Although the survival rate in the UK and US is improving, the aim of course, is to ensure as near 100% survival rate for all those diagnosed with breast cancer. To that end, research has now become even more focused on identifying every factor involved in its development, from risk factors to individual tumour cell variations. There are some exciting new studies which you will find out about later in the post

The diagnosis of Breast Cancer strikes fear into the heart of us all. Not that the disease is exclusive and men too can develop this disease. But there are risk factors that are not down to genetic causes, but are a result of our lifestyle. The fact that it is estimated that 38% of cancers are preventable, should inspire us to look closely at our diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.

Risk Factors

Most of us in developed countries are living longer due to better diet and medical care. Recent research does support the fact that we all have rogue cells that might at some stage develop into cancer, particularly if we live into our eighties and nineties. If we have a poor diet full of sugars and have worked in a hazardous environment our immune systems may not function efficiently allowing for diseases such as cancer to move from harmless to dangerous.

There are a number of risk factors that have been identified, but apart from a clear genetic link to mutated genes such as BRCA1, BRCA2 and p53, there is only firm but not definitive links to other triggers. These include prolonged exposure to hormones such as oestrogen because of an early start to puberty before the age of 12 years old or a late menopause after 55 years old.

Lifestyle and diet are likely to play a role as a nutritionally poor diet is likely to result in poor immune system function allowing all pathogens to flourish. Our bodies are resilient and can fight off most serious diseases if our immune system is functioning efficiently. However, with a nutritionally deficient diet our immune system become compromised and cannot support us.

There have been studies which indicate that exposure to hormone replacement therapy and birth control might raise the risk factor as will being exposed to chemicals within the work place.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, recreational drugs and drinking excessive alcohol can be increased risk factors as they will undermine the body’s own defense system as well as introducing carcinogens into the body. In the case of smoking, each cigarette has over 4,000 chemical components, many of which are toxic.

You might also be at risk if you are severely overweight and take little exercise.

You can find more details: Breast cancer detection and prevention

Early Detection

If you notice any changes in your breasts that are not associated with your normal monthly cycle or pregnancy then contact your GP or health provider.

Here is an excellent article on self-examination that you should complete at least once every month: Breast Cancer self examination

In certain countries there are various health checks that are available to screen for specific cancers between certain ages and it is important that every woman take advantage of these.

The Good News.

If breast cancer is detected early and treated there is between an 88% and 93% survival rate. This drops to between 74% for stage two and 49% for stage three: Survival statistics

In the latest research it has been identified that there are at least 10 different variants of the disease (instead of the three already identified), and that tumours themselves may have variations in types of cancerous cells inside them and also when they spread to other parts of the body. This raises more challenges as it increases the need for very personalised treatment plans for patients.

Here is an extract from a very interesting article that I suggest you do read from Cancer Research UK. Increasing the resolution on breast cancer – The Metabric Study

Their study group, METABRIC (Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium), looked at the patterns of molecules inside tumours from nearly two thousand women, for whom information about the tumour characteristics had been meticulously recorded.

They compared this with the women’s survival, and other information, like their age at diagnosis.

While many other studies have highlighted differences between cancers, the METABRIC study looked at so many tumours that they could spot new patterns and ‘clusters’ in the data.

Their conclusion is that what we call ‘breast cancer’ is in fact at least ten different diseases, each with its own molecular fingerprint, and each with different weak spots.

This is simultaneously daunting and heartening – daunting because each of these diseases will likely need a different strategy to overcome it; and heartening because it opens up multiple new fronts in our efforts to beat breast cancer.

and from the same article – Genetic insights

Modern genetic technology is increasing our understanding of cancer

All of the tests described above measure the levels of proteins inside tumours. Recently, research has focused on testing which genes are switched on or off inside the cancer cells.

This has led to tests, not yet widely used in the NHS, such as ‘PAM50’. This examines 50 separate genes inside a woman’s tumour, and uses the resulting ‘fingerprint’ to group cancers into four subtypes’:

Luminal A cancers, which are usually ER+ and/or PR+ – and make up about half of all cases. They tend to have low amounts of Her2. Women with these tumours tend to have the best outlook.

I hope that you will read more on Breast Cancer at the links I have shared. Being informed is the first step in prevention, as is understanding how your body works, how it feels and how it might be changing.

On Thursday author Judith Barrow will share her story about Breast Cancer and I hope you will pop into read this informative and inspiring post.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here::Sally’s books and reviews

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1978 – Part Two – Bonnie Tyler, George Benson, Eagles, Bruce Springsteen


Each week William and I select two top hits from the charts in the US and UK starting with 1960 for two weeks followed by 1961 etc..through to 1985. We will also include some of the notable events in those years for the up and coming stars who were centre stage at the time. We are now in the 1970s.

Welcome to our show and we are excited to share decades of music with you in 2021. Here is my second selection of top 1978 hits which I hope you will enjoy.

News Event: June 16th Film “Grease” opens, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, based on the 1971 musical

Bonnie Tyler – It’s a Heartache

“It’s a Heartache” was one of the first recordings Bonnie Tyler made after surgery to remove nodules from her vocal cords, which left her with a husky voice, reminiscent of Rod Stewart. It became one of the best-selling singles of all time with sales of over six million copies, topping the charts in Australia, Canada, and numerous European countries, and reaching #3 in the US and #4 in the UK.

News Event: June 21st Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical “Evita”, starring Elaine Page, premieres at the Prince Edward Theatre, London

George Benson – On Broadway

“On Broadway,” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Well, was originally recorded by the Drifters in 1963. George Benson’s cover of this standard, from the album “Weekend in L.A.,” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the soul chart, winning Benson a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance .

News Event: October 9th 12th Country Music Association Award: Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle, and Don Williams win

Now time for my second picks from 1978 and I hope you will enjoy my selection too.

Eagles – One of These Nights

“One of These Nights” is the fourth studio album by the Eagles, released in 1975. In July that year, the record became the Eagles’ first number one album on Billboard’s album chart, yielding three Top 10 singles: “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It to the Limit” . “One of These Nights” is the last Eagles album to feature guitarist Bernie Leadon, who left the band after the One of These Nights tour and was replaced by Joe Walsh The Eagles – Topic

News Event: December 2nd Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” hits #1

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

“Born to Run” is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, and the title song of his album Born to Run. “Born to Run” was Springsteen’s first worldwide single release, although it achieved little initial success outside of the United States. Within the U.S. it received extensive airplay on progressive or album-oriented rock radio stations and the single was Springsteen’s first top 40 hit, reaching number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song ranked number 21 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the highest entry for a song by Springsteen, and is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Bruce Springsteen

Additional sources: On This Day – Music – Hits of the 70s: Playback FMWikipedia

Your Hosts for The Breakfast Show

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson

Sally Cronin is an author, blogger and broadcaster who enjoyed four years as part of the team on Onda Cero International’s English speaking morning show in Marbella and then for two years as a presenter on Expressfm the local radio station in Portsmouth. She co-presented two ‘Drive Time’ shows a week with Adrian Knight, hosted the live Thursday Afternoon Show and The Sunday Morning Show guests including musicians and authors. Following this she became Station Director for a local internet television station for two years, producing and presenting the daily news segment, outside broadcasts and co-presenting the Adrian and Sally chat show live on Friday evenings.

She and her husband David have now returned to Ireland where they live on the Wexford Coast where she blogs and continues to write books.

Books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

Next week 1979 Part One. We hope you will tune in.. as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.