Who Am I?


On Nov 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall came down. A child of 15 sat at home writing poems about the way the world was, trying to express concern through words. Childlike poems, and poor examples of poems but heartfelt. This was written 4 days before the wall came down. It is interesting to see how much has changed in the world and how much really stayed the same.

Who Am I?

When we tie the wire around a turkey’s throat,
do we ask whether this hurts?
What would we do without Christmas dinner?
Christmas presents under a tropical rain forest tree!
Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
We cage up the hens, so they can’t run free, we clip their beaks,
so they can’t peck each other to death
but what would we do without bacon and eggs?
would listeria and salmonella do?
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
We drink to the limit and smoke when intoxicated
and pollute the environment with things like this
What would we do with only public transport?
no cars, no smoke, no fumes, no smog?
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
We kill our rats to find a cure for aids
we won’t find a cure ’till we’ve killed thousands more
Drugs not to be tested of human people
as we are protected by the law and the steeple
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
We waste our food, our possessions and our lives
this is the disposable age that we live in
We’re left with chemical and nuclear waste
and what do we do? Burn it and bury it
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
We continue to build the atom bombs
Russia and Germany have them – so we must too
Hiroshima two is just a threat – I bet
“Have you seen my new pet, the radioactive cat?”
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
We burn waste on the bonfire
November 5th is here once more
More Carbon Dioxide, the temperature rises
but Africa’s floods don’t get us wet
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
We ruin our atmosphere with chlorofluro carbons
pain the town red, white and yellow
We need the ozone layer, we can’t destroy it
“ozone friendly” – what a lark
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?
I am a South African Black
I didn’t really say this
These issues don’t really exist
the government says all’s ‘fine’ and dandy’
but Who am I to change the world, in a world that doesn’t care?

How Important is Fitting In?

I have spent most of my life not ‘fitting in’ in one way or another but I only recently began to think about how important fitting in (or not fitting in) is in my daily life and for my well being in general. 

How often do we hear the expression that someone’s ‘face doesn’t fit’?  The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘face doesn’t fit’ as follows, “If someone’s face doesn’t fit, their appearance or personality is not suitable for a job or other activity”. 

To not fit in, requires being different in some way or being perceived as being so. While in reality everyone is different, being the same is seen as a safe choice and excluding or ostracizing those that are not perceived as the same is often (and obviously wrongly) seen as a way to ‘cement’ that feeling of being the same and of belonging. History has shown the dangers of this type of thinking and parts of the world continue to be dangerous as this train of thought continues to be prevalent. 

In addition to not fitting in because others see someone as different in some way, many people feel that they don’t fit in because of the way that they see themselves and how they relate to others. Not fitting in is not always the fault of the group but can also be a self imposed burden or blessing and is often subconscious. I am very aware that there are many ways in which I do not fit in that are entirely due to my own thinking rather than the thinking of others.

For most of my life I have not fit in. I think that I have been aware if this for as long as I can remember. Sometimes people see it and sometimes people are blissfully unaware of it. The fact remains, that there are very few places where I feel like I fit in and there are very few people with whom I truly feel that I fit in. 

These are just some of the reasons that I have not fit in, over the years or do not fit in now.

My Accent – I started life in Manchester in the UK and my accent reflects this. When I lived in Texas in the USA as a 7 year old, I stuck out like a sore thumb! Later, when I lived in Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and London, I still sounded different. Ironically by the time I returned to Manchester about 20 years after I left it, Mancunians couldn’t tell where I was from. Again, I was different! In addition to sounding a bit strange I also no longer had the shared memories or experiences associated with being from Manchester.

Nationality – As a Brit in the USA I was very different and rather a novelty. In Israel, I am different to Israelis born in Israel and I am culturally different to my South African, Australian, New Zealander, North American, South American and European friends and colleagues.

Language – I am an immigrant of 10 years. I am not fluent in my second language. I am different because I don’t understand everything that is said and because I can’t express myself well.

Religion – I have been different over the years because I have a faith and a culture that goes along with it and not everybody does. I have also been different because I don’t practice my religion in the same way that everyone else does who shares the same religion (in name) as me.

Parenting style – My parenting style has differed over the years in many ways to that of people in my social circles and this has often led to me not fitting in.

Political and world views – I was brought up in a home where I knew from a very young age that good people are good people and colour, religion, race, nationality, sexual orientation, economic situation, gender and such like have no bearing on this. I believe that all people are valuable and deserve to be treated as so. Strangely, I often don’t fit in because I hold these seemingly strange beliefs!

Weight, height, size and shape – I started off being different because I was short and small. Later on I was different because I thought I was overweight. Later still and I was actually overweight as a result of thinking that I had been overweight. Now I am flat chested, something the world finds very different indeed for a female who identifies as a female.

Children – I am different locally because I have one child. I was less different in the UK in this regard but in Israel, I stand out for it. It is a curiosity and something to poke and probe about.

These are only a small number of the reasons that I don’t really fit in. There are so many more that I could add to this short list.

So does it matter? How important is fitting in?

I used to think that fitting in was imperative. I knew that I didn’t fit in but I assumed that at some point, in the future, I would find my place and my people and that I would truly feel like fit in.

I am now older and a little wiser. Life is a learning curve and I am still learning and growing but I know now that for me, fitting in, is no longer important. In fact I would go as far as to say that I don’t want to fit in. For me, to fit in, means to bend myself to a shape that I am not. I know enough about myself at this point in my life to know that I am flexible and I will bend but I only want to do this in ways that suit me and certainly not for the benefit of those who require it of me so that I can neatly fit in the box that they have allocated for me. That isn’t me. That would be a bent out of shape version of me.

So there it is. I don’t fit in. I don’t want to fit in. Fitting in is no longer important to me.

This doesn’t mean, however, that I want to be different or to stand out from the crowd. Quite the opposite.

This means that the only place where I need to fit in is within myself. If I can be happy with who I am, what I look like, how I think, who I love and who I want to spend time with then I am fitting in to what and who I should be and to what I expect of myself.

Double rainbow in Drinkwater Park, Manchester, on 2 December 2020. Photo Credit: Jennie Goldstone

So yes, I suppose I do want to fit in but not in the way that others may define it. I just want to be me because I am a perfect fit, for me, in every way and fitting better every day.

Visiting Manchester Science and Industry Museum

The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester in the UK is a fantastic place to visit for adults and children alike. I haven’t been in for a long time and I was staying on the same road last month I visited with my family. What a treat!

One of the most amazing things about this incredible resource is that like many museums in Manchester and in the UK it is completely free to enter. You can spend many hours enjoying the sights and not spend any money. In my view, this is always a bonus. On the other hand, if you have a short amount of time available you don’t have to feel like it ‘wasn’t worth the money’. You can enjoy just a little of it and come back another day.

The museum has welcoming and helpful ‘explainers’ who have clearly marked sweatshirts and t-shirts so you know who they are. There are permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, an air and space hall, a cafe, a shop, a station, talks and shows and lots to see.

We visited 4 parts of the museum.

The Revolution Gallery

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In the Revolution Gallery we learned about technological discoveries and developments that changed the world. I was particularly interested in the computing and de-coding machines.

The Textiles Hall

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I have visited a few museums with textiles and mill equipment but nothing on the scale of this one. The explainer told us all about what it was like to work in the mills and how the machines worked and were used.

The Experiment Gallery

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There were just too many things going on in the Experiment Gallery to take photographs and we were busy pressing, pulling and playing with things. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the car that you move with cogs though! This gallery was basically a delight for the children. I heard many languages but mainly I heard a lot of squeals of delight and exclamations of surprise!

As we headed to our final area of the museum we were drawn in to a fun talk about the sun.

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The Air and Space Hall

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You can’t beat old planes and cars so that was our last gallery!

We had a blast and I would go back in a shot. There was plenty that we didn’t see and lots more to do. If you get a chance to go then do take the opportunity. It has a pretty fantastic shop too. This photo just shows half of it!




Veggie Steady Go!

I have been a vegetarian for 31 years. I have been cooking vegetarian food for the same period of time. I also cook (and therefore eat) a lot of vegan food, almost by accident. I don’t plan it but it often turns out to be vegan.

When I have a clean kitchen, good kitchenware, great ingredients and some time on my hands I really love to cook. At all other times, like everyone else, I throw something together and call it dinner! When it comes to eating out – that is a treat that I do enjoy when something special is on the menu.

This December, I was in Manchester for two weekends, with my husband and son, visiting my parents. As my parents are temporarily based in the City Centre we had a different ‘view’ of Manchester to the one that we usually have when we visit and we ate in some different and interesting places as well as the one place we were already looking forward to visiting, just a tram ride away.

On Friday, the day after we landed, my husband and I got the obligatory shopping out of the way and then had time for a quick bite before returning ‘home’. A great vegan eatery had popped up since last time we had visited in the Arndale Shopping Centre market selling Vegan Junk Food. It seemed rude not to check it out so check it out we did. We ordered Kentuck Fried Cauliflower Burgers with the full works (onion rings, vegan cheese, pickles, lettuce etc.) accompanied by Tater Tots. There really were no words for how amazing this meal was.

I admit that the following Friday with just a little time to spare we did pop back for a bite to eat. This time we just went for Katsu Tater Tots. The food on both occasions wasn’t fast and it wasn’t cheap but it was very tasty and well worth the visits.

On the first Saturday evening, we popped to Vertigo, a plant-based restaurant, on Jack Rosenthal Street. They have two restaurants and I had been to this one once before with my parents. This time, all 5 of us went and enjoyed a good hearty meal.

That left us with just the second Saturday night and we had reserved that for our favourite Vegetarian Indian haunt, Lily’s in Ashton Under Lyne. We had been going to Lily’s for a long time before we left the UK for Israel so when we moved it became one of the special places that we love to visit on trips to the UK. Just over a year ago it moved into bigger premises and became more of a restaurant than a cafe (although I loved it as it was!) and this was our first visit to the new restaurant. We traveled almost door to door by tram which made it super easy to get to and had a really fantastic experience in the new place.

On the menu for us were Crispy Potato Bhajia, Paneer Pakora, Papdi Chat, Paneer Butter Masala, Tarka Dhal and Onion Rice. To drink we had Mango Lassi, Chai Masala and a cold beer. The problem when we visit is that we like pretty much everything on the menu so we try and have some things we know and something new – in this case, the Paneer Butter Masala was our new dish of the day. As expected, it was exceptional, like everything else that we ate.

As we were being good we shared one portion of Shrikhand for desert. It was the best we had ever tasted! We could have eaten one each. Alongside the food photographs is the amazing mural that they now have on the wall. There are nods to all the family members involved in the business in it and we spent a good while enjoying finding the nods and the people as we know the family.

So until next time I suppose it is time to get back to my kitchen – onion bhajis coming up.

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My Top 10 Photographs of 2019

I have always liked photographs. To me, they freeze a moment in time and are something to treasure. I could ‘waste’ hours sitting with old photographs and enjoying the way that they make me feel. I like my own photographs, family photographs and those belonging to friends and new people that I meet. You can pretty much guarantee that if I come to your home and see photographs displayed I will be straight to them and asking about them.

While the digital revolution has seen a big change in the way that we store and recall information, including photographs and I admit to enjoying this I do miss having all my photographs printed and ready to be held and felt. I am trying to embrace printed photo books and have a few of these as a sort of ‘in-between’ solution. I am, however, still guilty of getting some photographs printed. I had about 400 prints made after my son’s barmitzvah and for my husband’s birthday this year, I got a cherished photograph, received from a relative, printed for him. It now has pride of place on a wall of our new home.

Back when I was a teenager I spent a week on a photography course at Loughborough Summer University. I loved it. I learned about things I knew nothing about and really enjoyed the experience. Nowadays I know nothing more than I learned back then and things have changed rather a lot with the introduction of digital photography.

I know nothing about photography apart from the basics. I rarely get my digital camera out and usually use my phone camera and it is nothing special. Point and shoot, don’t shoot into the sun, take more than one photograph just in case. In reality, this is all that I need to know. It is good enough for me. I am not charging for my ‘work’ nor entering any competitions. My photographs are for my enjoyment only. I enjoy them and that is good enough.

As we enter 2020 I thought it would be a good time to share some of my favourite photographs of the last year. These are photographs that make me smile because they evoke memories. For me, this is what a photograph represents. While I firmly believe in living for today and making every day count there is a great deal of comfort to be had from remembering the journey that we have taken to get to today.

Enjoy my slideshow!

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Happy New Year


Alone and Lost

I’m home alone.
There’s the ring of a phone.
I’m not at work. This is personal.
Don’t they know I won’t answer?
Don’t they know I can’t answer?
I’m the other me.
My words are gone.
My chest is tight.
The ringing stops.

I’m lost alone.

I’m alone in a crowd.
A sea of costumes and colour.
All around me are people.
Don’t they feel claustrophobic?
I am in the centre.
My mask goes on.
My big red nose.
I’m anonymous.

I am lost in a crowd.

I’m alone on the stage.
Heels, music and glitter.
Out in front are the people.
Don’t they see me as I do?
Bright exterior shining.
Inside wilting and dying.
The lights come on.
The curtains rise.

I’m lost on stage.

I’m alone with my family.
Love and laughter surround me.
I’m the brave one, the fighter.
Don’t they see that I’m shaking?
Cant, they hear that I’m crying.
The sun goes down.
The sun comes up.

I’m lost with my family.


Fried Cauliflower Treats

The cauliflower is a rather humble vegetable. Growing up, we had it boiled, steamed or cold in a salad.  There is so much more to do with it though.

It is quickly becoming an upmarket ingredient starring in TV programs such as Professional Masterchef with dishes like ‘Cauliflower Steak’ and ‘Cauliflower 4 Ways’ regularly featuring in the lineups.

While staying with my good friend Rachel Creeger (Comedian, Director, Writer and Speaker!) recently, I was treated to a very decadent pan-fried cauliflower steak. I can’t imagine where the idea came from!

My favourite home recipes for cauliflower are roasted cauliflower with techina (sesame seed paste), cauliflower curry and fried breaded cauliflower. After a little trial and error, I have perfected my fried cauliflower treats and the bonus is that they are vegan (I am vegetarian) and can be gluten-free if using gluten-free bread crumbs!

Here is my take on the humble fried cauliflower – as always, I don’t use weights and measures and everything is to ‘to taste’. It is how I keep my recipes stress free.


  • Lentil Flour
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Cauliflower
  • Water
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Coriander
  • Oil for shallow frying (or deep frying if you so wish) and some kitchen paper/kitchen towels/clean cloth to drain excess oil


Lentil flour and water makes a paste or batter. It can actually be fried like an omelette and is delicious with spices and/or cheese. You can use chickpea flour to do the same thing and in this recipe instead, but the colour won’t be as good. Using Lentil or Chickpea flour adds protein to the recipe. Its super easy to work with and you really can’t go wrong amounts wise.

If you don’t have nutritional yeast or don’t like it (or know what it is), just leave it out. It adds flavour but it isn’t necessary for the recipe if you don’t want to use it.

You can use any spices that you want to use. Don’t be limited by my meagre list. I was in a hurry as always.

Yes, you could oven cook them. No, they probably won’t be quite as nice.


Here comes the easy bit. There are basically three stages.

1. Make a batter and pop the cauliflower into it.

To make the batter, add some seasoning to some lentil flour and add a little water. Add more water and stir until you get a batter like paste, that will stick the cauliflower, rather than running off it but isn’t too ‘gloopy’.

2. Pour the cauliflower into breadcrumbs.

You can put the breadcrumbs in a tub or dish or on a place or in a bag and throw the cauliflower on top/in and toss it all around till coated as best as possible. You can add more seasoning if you like too. We aren’t doing Masterchef here – it will taste fine however it is covered. Don’t try too hard and spoil the enjoyment, please.

3. Fry in small batches.

Heat some oil until ready to fry and use a slotted spoon or similar utensil to fry the cauliflower morsels in small batches that do not crowd the pan. If you have a deep fat fryer you could use it I imagine. I have never had one and I don’t see that changing in the future. It would simply take my diet to new levels of unhealthiness. (I’m currently drooling over the idea of deep-fried onion bhajis and vegetable pakoras in the said imaginary machine.)

That’s it – it is that simple. Enjoy.

Going Flat – Off with her Breasts!

Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy without Reconstruction (what?).

Six weeks ago I had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction. In lay person’s terms, I had my breasts amputated and I will not be replacing them with ‘new’ ones.  The prophylactic part just means that I did it to keep me safe, based on the facts available to me, rather than because I am in any immediate danger, which I am not. I am now 3 years cancer free and doing well.

To Blog or Not to Blog

I really wasn’t sure that I was going to write about this on my blog or if I did write about it, when or how I would do it. This is partly because there are so many wonderful women writing about their experiences with mastectomy with and without reconstruction every day that I wasn’t sure if I would have anything unique to say. It is also because my blog is supposed to be about what I do in my spare time and not just my health. However, having been asked and asked by friends and family if I would be writing about the experience I now feel that my story deserves to be told and who better to tell it but me. Keeping myself safe is what I do in my spare time so I guess that kind of works too!

The Background

I have known for about 3 years that I would be removing my breasts but I had to wait for a period of time after I had radiotherapy to be able to have a successful surgery leading to the best result possible.

The Problem

At first, like so many other people in similar positions to mine, I was bombarded with breast surgeon and plastic surgeon appointments and repeatedly educated about the different ways that my breasts could be reconstructed when the time was right. There are numerous methods of reconstruction, some suiting me better than others.

Brown Train Railway Near MountainIt felt a little like I was on train going fast to who knows where except that I didn’t feel that the direction was right for me.  Even though I wasn’t quite sure where it was going, it wasn’t  quite right. Something didn’t feel right but it took me a while to speak up.



The truth of the matter is that as soon as I knew that I was going to remove my breasts, I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to replace them with anything. This was at the time  a really difficult concept to verbalise, especially to the most important people in my life. When everyone around you assumes that you will want new breasts to make you feel ‘whole’ or ‘normal’, even the doctors and the nurses that you see so often, and everyone speaks as if they know what is best for you, it’s really easy to go dumb and go along for the ride. I let myself be ‘dragged’ along this path, very slowly, for about two and a half years.

During this time I met with people that had reconstructed to see if it made me feel better about what I was going to do. It didn’t. They had done something that was entirely right for them but something didn’t feel right about it for me.

I browsed the internet tirelessly looking for a ‘sign’. Looking for something that would help to make me comfortable with the idea of adding these foreign bodies to my chest and having what would be a third surgery since the journey started and not necessarily a final surgery, to achieve this. I didn’t find it. The more I read and the more I spoke with people, the more off-put I was becoming.

I knew that in theory there was the option to remove my breasts and not reconstruct but it wasn’t an option that had been offered to me by the medical profession. None of my friends or my family had suggested it. I wondered if I was being selfish even thinking about it. If I removed my breasts and didn’t reconstruct, it wouldn’t just affect me. I have a husband. I have a son. I have parents. I have friends. What would this mean for everyone else? All these people that had been part of my journey for the last few years. I managed to sort of joke about it a few times with my husband and with some close friends but I never really talked about it as a viable option. I was still being carried along.

The Theory

I knew that there was a prosthetics industry. So by definition there must be a huge number of women out there that have removed one breast or more because these prosthetics must be being used. If all the women were reconstructing then there would be no need for these breast forms to exist.  It struck me that maybe there were a lot of women that weren’t reconstructing after all but because they wore some type of breast form under their clothing, it wasn’t so obvious. I knew I had to find out more. Maybe these thoughts that I had been having about not having ‘new’ breasts weren’t so radical after all.

The Research

I attacked my reading and research with a new vigor and from a totally new angle. Who were these women that weren’t reconstructing? Were they all wearing ‘fake’ boobs (or foobs)? Were there any support groups that I could access to speak to these women?

I started to ask, in passing, about people who had not reconstructed in some of the breast cancer groups that I am in on Facebook and a lady who ‘went flat’ told me about a group called ‘Flat and Fabulous‘. Initially I thought that she was joking. She wasn’t joking. I asked to join the group, answering the screening questions and waited with baited breath. Then I was a member. I was inside. I was suddenly free. I was home. I felt the weight rising above my shoulders.

The Answers

The group already had over 5000 women in it. It also had some spin off groups for particular aspects of being flat like fashion discussions or breast cancer issues. Some were considering ‘going flat’ like I was. Some went flat to try and avoid a cancer. Some went flat after non cancerous medical issues. Many went flat after failed reconstruction or after years or problems following reconstruction when enough had become enough. This is called ‘explanting’ and it’s a term that was totally new to me! Some are flat just on one side, having removed just one breast. It was enlightening.

Here was a group of engaged, positive people who were happy to answer questions, share their stories and even bare their scars so that people like me could make the best decisions possible. Some of the women wear foobs some of the time, some of them wear them all of the time and many of them never wear foobs. They just go flat. Flat and fabulous because why be ashamed? This wasn’t scaremongering or celebrity articles but real people with real stories making really positive decisions and supporting each other in these decisions. Not everyone who joins the group stays because some decide that reconstruction is the right decision for them (something the group and I entirely respect) and leave to join more appropriate groups.

After a little lingering I started to become active in the group asking lots of seemingly stupid questions and having them answered with open hearts. These people understood every aspect of the decision that I was about to make. I had never met one person until finding this group that could really understand what I was going through. No one in the group pushes being flat over reconstruction, rather they push the right to the option of going flat and to receive good information so that the best decisions can be made. So that no one gets swept along with the tide like I was being and like so many before me had been. Thank goodness I had found these ladies in time. I wasn’t going to be someone who was ‘explanting’.

Lessons Learned

I had learned many things.

  • Reconstruction doesn’t always involve just one surgery. It often requires more than one and it can be a process rather than a procedure, sometimes lasting many years and often requiring repeat procedures.
  • The surgery that was recommended for me was an 8 to 10 hour surgery and would have had a recovery time of many months. There was a high chance of failure.
  • Any reconstruction can fail.
  • Reconstruction can cause health issues.
  • ‘New’ breasts will have scars and patches of different colour skin and won’t look like the originals.
  • ‘New’ breasts in addition to the non real look won’t have nipples.
  • ‘New’ breasts can be cold and hard and have no feeling. They aren’t going to be an erogenous zone!
  • If you really want to look like you have breasts, from the outside of your clothes, it’s really easy to do.
  • It’s OK to want to be flat.

In my heart, I had now come to a very new place although I hadn’t voiced it outside of the group.

  • I knew that I wanted to remove my breasts but I didn’t want to replace them with ‘new’ ones.
  • I didn’t want breasts that I couldn’t feel.
  • I didn’t want long difficult surgery and the possibility of more surgeries down the line.
  • I didn’t want ‘new’ boobs just to fill a t-shirt and look ‘normal’ to outsiders. My right breast tried to kill and me and I didn’t trust the left one (which technically at that point had a higher chance of actually killing me than the one that had had cancer did!).  Why would I want to replace these breasts with fake ones? What would they give me? I wouldn’t feel them. They wouldn’t look good. I knew that I would look at them and be sad whenever I saw them. They certainly weren’t going to ‘complete’ me. I felt quite complete already.
  • ‘New’ breasts would never replace what I was going to lose but would be a constant reminder that my body, as it was, wasn’t good enough, except it is good enough. It’s fought hard and deserves some respect.
  • I don’t need breasts or ovaries to feel like me. Me is who I am on any given day. Me is the woman who has been through so much and has so far to go because I am alive.

The Big Moment

It was time to speak up. I told my husband that I wanted to speak to him about the whole ‘surgery thing’ for a moment. I said something along the lines of   “As you know I have been thinking about this for a long time. I’ve done a lot of reading and found some support. What would you say, honestly, if I said I wanted to remove these breasts and not reconstruct. Not at the time. Not ever. That I wanted to live flat.”

His answer was “Get it booked!”.

I really had to fight the tears. That weight that was hovering above my shoulders was gone. I think I was shaking. I couldn’t believe I was hearing this. He had never tried to push me into reconstruction and I had no right to assume he would even question what I was proposing but this still blew me away.

123 Let's Go Imaginary Text


I emailed my breast surgeon and told him I needed to come in and speak to him about having a mastectomy without reconstruction. Not at the time and not in the future. (The way in which the operation is done is different if there is a possibility of reconstruction at a future time and I wanted to be flat, fabulous, finished and get on with my life. I was quite sure now. I felt at peace and I wasn’t worried at all. I had been worried for two and a half years.)

Not only did I feel elated I also felt very different. I also knew, at that very moment, that I wasn’t the sort of person that would wear fake boobs under my clothes every day, if ever, although I was going to order some knitted ones just in case, so that I could leave my options open.

When I met with my surgeon, he asked me to explain why I wanted to do this. He checked that I understood what it meant for my body image and that I was 100% sure that I didn’t want reconstruction in the future. Over the course of 3 appointments, he asked me to confirm I was sure, respectfully, each time. He never at any time tried to persuade me otherwise.

I was lucky enough to be in the know about some of the problems that can happen with this operation to larger ladies with good sized busts because of the Facebook group. I knew that I didn’t want to remove my breasts only to be left with lumps of fat under my arms that looked like sideways boobs (known as dog ears!). I talked it through with my surgeon and he agreed that my scars would go from my back, around my front and back to the other side, so that I would be totally flat and not have any pockets or lumps or bumps. He got it. He understood.

The Surgery

In the lead-up to the surgery, my blood pressure was normal for the first time since my diagnosis back in 2014. If ever there was as sign that this was the right thing to do, this was it.

When the time came, he did an incredible job. The surgery lasted much longer than he expected and was a little more difficult but the breast tissue is gone and the pathology came back clear. I had no reason to suspect otherwise but it’s still good to know.

How has it been?

Today, it is 6 weeks later. I am recovering well and I am back at work. I will start physiotherapy shortly because I have a restricted range of movement in my arms but this is already improving. I’ve had a small infection that has cleared but may leave a little scarring. I’m not driving yet. I still can’t lift too much and annoyingly can’t cut up food well to cook. The pain is much improved but it’s going to be some time before it is gone completely. I’m still completely wiped out when I walk too much or generally do too much and a nice afternoon nap isn’t to be scoffed at!

When you don’t have breasts and you aren’t very slim, you get a Buddha belly. My belly now protrudes from where the bottom of my bra used to be and I look pregnant (ironic as I have no ovaries). I’ll work on this as I get stronger. Even some really slim ladies end up with this. It seems to be the mastectomy legacy.

So far, apart from the pain thing, I am really loving being flat. I’m lighter and I can move more easily. I don’t need to wear bras. I can fit into size small clothes which is something I haven’t done since about the age of 12. I’m having fun with scarves and ruffles and new styles and my wardrobe is going to take a little work but on the whole, I love it. It was the right decision. My chest has sensation. It is waking up a little each day. I can feel it. I can touch it and know it is me. I will never be able to repay the help that I have been given both online and offline. The number of people that have cooked for us, chopped up food for me, driven me places, carried things for me. What a community I live in. I am so lucky!

To answer those recurring questions.

Are you going to reconstruct? No

Why? It isn’t for me. 

Might you do it in the future? No

Don’t people stare? Actually I have become invisible. People stared at me and my large bust all the time before. No one even looks at me now.

Did you ever order those knitted boobs from Knitted Knockers or Awesome Breastforms? Yes, I did. Just in case. I love them because they are purple but I honestly don’t see me wearing them apart from maybe for that odd special occasion when the dress with the boob place just has to be worn. Or maybe I will just have it altered. 🙂 There is a set with nipples and a set without and both came personalised from a wonderful volunteer. 

What Now?

So life is good and in my spare time, oh there is so much to do. I guess I did have something to say after all. As to if it unique or not, well I really couldn’t say.

The only real problem I have in life is that I can no longer laugh my tits off!

Coconut Fruit Sliced Into Two









Vegan Crunchy Bites

I’ve been recovering from a planned mastectomy for the last few weeks which means that at the moment, I can’t do some of the most simple things in the kitchen. I can’t cut vegetables easily, stir things properly or reach most of the shelves in the kitchen. Clearly, this means that my ability to cook is somewhat restricted but I decided to try anyway and this was the result.

I’m calling it Vegan Crunchy Bites but I guess you could also name it vegan popcorn ‘chicken’ or similar if you preferred! As a vegetarian, it has never been my preference to name vegetarian meals as if they were meat. They are a treat in themselves!

If you have read any of my previous ‘recipes’ then you will know that weighing and measuring really isn’t my thing. This concoction was no exception.

The bites are made from the humble TVP (soya) chunk. “Oh gross” I hear you murmur because if you have only ever encountered the TVP chunk in a boring sloppy dish where it had no flavour at all then I can quite understand your reaction.  This, however, is the way to deal with them. TVP is actually a great food as it is high in complete protein, has no fat, is incredibly cheap (never buy it branded, it is exactly the same thing!) and it is full of lots of other things that we are supposed to eat lots of!

The first step was to soak some chunks in hot water with a little flavour in it. Today I used a garlic clove and a little vegan garlic dressing but you can use absolutely any dried or fresh flavouring that you want to try. Marmite works brilliantly at this stage as would any type of soup stock or a stock cube.

After the chunks had soaked for about 30 mins I popped them into a clean tea towel and squeezed as much of the liquid out as possible. I didn’t go mad but made sure they weren’t dripping wet anymore and much of the liquid had been removed.

The key to this recipe is to coat the chunks in some type of spiced flour mix, then to drop them into some type of liquid mix, to coat them in another type if spiced flour mix and then to fry them until crispy and mouthwateringly good. I vary the way I do this pretty much every time according to what I have but today’s effort worked quite well so I’ll tell you about that!

First, I coated the chunks in red lentil flour (full of flavour and protein) and salt, pepper and curry powder. I did this on the plastic plate in the photo. Instead of the lentil flour you could use cornflour but actually, this worked much better and I think I will stick with it.

Secondly, I made up a dipping liquid of tahini (Wow more protein!), garlic powder and water. You could use any liquid here, of course, this was just today’s choice.

Thirdly, after clearing the plate to use again, I made a coating of polenta, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and garlic powder ready for coating the chunks. You could use any flour or crumb or substitute here too of course.

I think quickly dropped batches of the chunks into the liquid, then into the polenta coating and popped them straight into the frying pan.

The result – mouthwateringly yummy, moreish, crunchy vegan bites.

Today’s batch is accompanied by some HP Brown Sauce because although I live in Israel, comfort food has to have my tastes of Britain, my birthplace, for them to really comfort me. Its served on plastic because I can’t do the washing up easily either!

How do you make yours?






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