19. Wigs, Istanbul, Time at home and Natural skincare

Well I’ve been slacking off the ould blogging lately! With all the coming and going between Istanbul and home… I’ve just given myself a little break! Back now and feeling inspired to write some more and share some of my findings with you. I’ll start off with a little update of whats been happening since the last post. Well you all know that I lost my hair and it was no biggie. Have taken to turban wearing and am loving changing up my look every day. I also got a few wigs from Aliexpress to play around with but I’m not sure they’re much use really. You really need to try on a wig before you buy it, all’s not as it seems on the internet!

I’ve had a pretty easy time of it this last few weeks. Since I overcame the initial sickness and shock from the first chemo session, I haven’t been too bad! Have been exhausted at times and not sleeping particularly well. Come to think of it, my appetite has been off at times too but it is nothing like as sick as I was. Almost feel like a normal human again, albeit a balding ould man type of human stuck in a skinny 30 something’s body. It could be worse! This time in Istanbul, I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my oldest and bestest friends accompany me. And it’s been so nice to spend time together, it has been years since we’ve been in each others company for more than a few hours. How life can grab us and pull us in separate directions, it takes something like cancer to reunite us. But it’s been great and I’m delighted to be getting the chance here in Istanbul to spend time with the important people in my life. Over the 5 visits, I will have had both friends and family come with me and it’s been really, really good! I’ve been a bit of a hermit at home the past year so this is nice.


Last trip home was really nice and chilled. I didn’t do much apart from eat good food, spend time with Ali and Paul and my family and met up with some friends in Dublin. I hired a chef to help me for a few hours a couple of times a week with the diet I’ve been struggling with. I’m delighted about this, it’s been hard to stay on track when I don’t have energy to cook. And I need to be quite strict with it so having someone to take a load off is brilliant. She’ll have some food prepared for me for when I get home (can’t wait for the seafood chowder!), she’ll visit once while I’m home to help out again and then she’ll visit before I come back to Istanbul to help me prepare food for over here. It’s also hard to stay on track here unless I’m very organised so I really need to bring back a lot of food with me. It was really essential for me to get this help as the diet is a huge part of the treatment protocol. The clinic I attend have published a study they did on a triple negative breast cancer client with very exciting results. I’m hoping to see similar results in September.

I also decided to go out and have some fun last time I was home, it had been a while since I had any fun in my life. I went to see a show called RIOT in Vicar St. with some friends and family from home. We met the star of the show Ronan Brady and also met some Dublin friends. It was a great night. RIOT isn’t on anymore but I’m sure it will be back. Go see it if you can, it is the best show I have ever seen!

Right, a change of direction… What’s in our skincare, what to avoid and some recommendations…

Now I’m no beauty blogger but I know what I like and I know what works for me. And I’m pretty picky with what I’ll use too. Living a (mostly) toxin free life has limited what skincare and make up I can use. And I’m lucky that there is a great selection of organic and natural products on the market these days to choose from. It’s getting better all the time and I have transitioned into natural skincare, toothpaste and other toiletries. I’m struggling to replace all my make-up though, I’m still looking for the perfect foundation to suit me. Anyone got recommendations?

Anyway, I would highly recommend the Kinvara skincare products. I have the  Absolute Cleansing Oil, Active Rosehip Day Cream and 24hr Rosehip Face Serum. Let’s start with the oil cleanser. It is everything you need in a cleanser. I don’t wear make up every day but when I do, I love to use this at night to give me a good deep clean. It is used with a hot cloth which feels very luxurious, almost like a mini facial treatment for yourself. It is great at taking off stubborn eye make-up without stinging your eyes and is gentle on lashes too, something I’m trying hard to protect these days! I was afraid to use any make up on my eyes at all. I think I’ve lost a few lashes but not many, hoping to hang on to the rest and I’m not afraid to use this cleanser on them because it’s so gentle. Next onto the rosehip serum. I am now a loyal Kinvara serum user, I don’t think I’ll ever change from it. My skin has never been better. I’m not sure if it’s a combination of using a few of the Kinvara products or if it’s down to the serum. It is light and a tiny bit tacky which I like. It doesn’t soak in immediately and disappear which is nice as it gives you a dewy look if you don’t apply anything after. I love it at night, my skin feels nourished and hydrated when I use it and I look fresh in the morning too, well, most mornings! I use the Kinvara rosehip day cream too and I credit this cream with ridding me of my pesky dry cheeks. Although I’m not mad about the texture, I have noticed a big change in my skin after using it for a couple of months so I will continue to use it. I prefer a lighter day cream. This is not as thick as a night cream by any means but I think it’s somewhere in the middle. I still love it though, love the smell and how it has transformed my skin which makes it a winner in my book and a welcome member of my skincare routine! I can honestly say since starting to use these products, I look after my skin more. I was never one for being very kind to my skin but they make me want to be a better person! Or at least look after my skin a bit better. It feels like a treat to use these products, they feel so luxurious! Also, I used to have bright red cheeks after every time I showered. They would take hours to calm down and I would have to cover with make-up if I was leaving the house. Well not anymore! Coincidence? I don’t think so. Check out my make-up free, filter free wig photos above, my skin is in such good condition! I can’t remember the last time I had a spot either. Kinvara to the rescue! Now to get that one last product for my collection… the eye serum. My friend Jenny swears by it and it has won awards as have all their other products. And an added bonus is that they’re an Irish company. Support local, home grown and all that.


On to deodorant next. This is a contentious issue. Some people don’t want to sweat, some people don’t want to smell. Guess what? Sweating is a natural process which happens in our bodies. It is a mechanism used to regulate temperature and to cool down. Our bodies need to sweat. Clogging up the sweat glands can cause problems and it is no surprise that deodorants have been blamed for causing breast cancer. A quick google search will show you plenty of pages to dispel the myths but all you have to do is look at the ingredients on the back of the bottle and cross reference them with known carcinogens  (a substance capable of causing cancer to living tissue). It’s very easy to do. Examples of carcinogens are Triclosan and Silica. They are very common and you’ll find them on the ingredients list in a lot of products, avoid if you can. Another group of harmful ingredients which are common in shampoos, soap, nail polish and remover (lethal!) toothpaste, hair products and deodorants are the paraben group (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, Benzyl, Ethyl). It is common these days to see ‘paraben-free’ on a shampoo label. They mimic estrogens in the body. Increased amounts of estrogen can lead to breast cancer. These ‘xenoestrogens’ are found in a lot of things, plastic included. More on this another time, back to deodorant! So we’ve agreed we need to sweat because it is a natural and essential body process? So why don’t we let the body sweat? Why use anti-perspirants? If you are using these daily, check the ingredients and see what you’re putting into your body. Our skin absorbs a large percentage of what is put onto it and it is our largest organ. Would you spray your liver with Right Guard or Dove ‘gentle on the skin’? So what can you do? Just go about stinking the place out? Come on Mairead, we have to do something! It just so happens that there are amazing products out there that will help deodorise the smell while allowing you to sweat. There are a lot of options available in your local health food shop. I have used crystal rock salt sticks in the past which work a treat but can be a bit annoying as you have to dip them in water and rub them under your arm and pat dry the droplets that fall down onto your top or rib cage. They can be a bit messy even though they are excellent deodorisers. There’s also the crystal spray option, same issues with leaking down your top though. Lately I’m using a roll on which has similar ingredients. I’m in Turkey for the summer, it’s pretty hot here and I sweat every day when I’m out and about but I can promise you, I haven’t had to deal with the dreaded B.O! These health food shop alternatives really work. Give them a go! You’ll feel better about not putting toxins in your body and you’ll be allowing it to do its thing without repelling your workmates in the office!

Coming soon… What’s in our food? Is organic really better? What’s in our cleaning products? Is anything safe anymore!?

This post does not contain any ads or affiliates to Kinvara, I’m just a really big fan!


  1. Hi Mairead, LOVE your blogs! You were born to write! I’ve never met you but you have really touched my heart with your bravery and clarity. I think about you often (not pervy) but in a very positive manner because you enlighten me (and I’m sure everyone you touch) with your words. I wish you the very best on your travels and am delighted things don’t seem as tough as in the beginning. You will endeavour – I know it!

    • Thank you Christina! Such kind words! Things are getting easier for sure. I’m half way there with my treatment now which is brilliant, making great progress! Thanks for getting in touch, keep the perving up! 🙂

  2. Hi Mairead. I use a lovely chemical free foundation by liz Earle. It’s available in boots and a bit pricey but worth it. Keep fighting xxxx

  3. Great post, very informative, have to say loving the Kinvara range too, it really hydrates your skin, have my next order coming to Australia soon, thanks for putting me onto it, enjoy your time with the girls ❤️

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