Friday 22nd October 2021

Appreciation In August. #5. 2018.85.

Appreciation In August. #5. 2018.85.

Five weeks of Appreciation posts are concluding today with a list of people and businesses I wanted to share my appreciation for in my life and to spread the word to my readers and fellow bloggers. I have not been, as they say, sponsored nor paid for my post, I just tell things as they are. Enjoy!

The Big Hug Box

I first heard of the Big Hug Box and its founder, Lisa, via social media. Lisa tells her story on the website here and as a cancer survivor (from a rare cancer) she wanted to raise funds to give back to research. Lisa is a wife and an energetic Mum of 2 from Newcastle , who admired my hand-made book marks when she saw them.  I offered a suggestion of these as an inclusion in the gifts especially for those newly diagnosed with cancer & Lisa said “yes, please”. I love that my art can be made into bookmarks by me for others to use.

Thank you Lisa. I know we are yet to meet but I do know how kind and supportive you are. Lisa’s blog post about me recently.

Colour Me Well

Social media, specifically Instagram, was where I first saw the development of a colouring calendar from Sharon, at Colour Me Well. This is based on her experience as a cancer survivor where during her treatment she started making boxes on a page representing the treatment days, and colouring them to remind herself of how far she had come.

The calendar comes in a presentation box with a tin of quality pencils. Here’s my little story of becoming involved. Sharon was considering a new product, a greeting card/small gift with a message of kindness, connection and hope and she saw that a mandala would be an ideal mindful colouring pattern on the front.

I liked the idea, of course…mandalas..and set about designing specific once for Cards. Of the 6 designs available, four have been drawn by me. I have no payment for these. I did these out of love for helping others and again, of giving back!


Fight Cancer Water Bottle

This is another venture by a cancer survivor who is Sharon too. As I watched the Instagram posts of @fightcancerwaterbottle I soon realised we lived in a similar area. When we met one day by “happy accident” this snap was taken and since then we have been out for a coffee. To read the story of this special water bottle and where the funds from one purchased ends up, it is all on the website.


My Blogging Friend and C0-Owner of Skin Boss Australia is Kirsten.

Around the same time she and her husband started this unique business, I was in hospital recovering from my first BIG surgery. Via the kindness of many on a social networking group & this new business I was sent, among other items, Skin Boss Get Up and Glow and Skin Boss Sleep On It. (aren’t the names great?). To read more of the Skin Boss story…and to order some oils of your own as I have (the Body Oils were added recently ) go to the website. I did have to wait a while (some months actually) before I could regularly use the oils on my face as my skin was numb and tender. But now, it is a routine: day and night.

Little Blue Wren

I first heard of Jen (little blue wren) as she is a local Newcastle person helping develop products which help skin, specifically the lips. This product is part of the Big Hug Box. I also bought two of her lip balms and one sits on the desk where I am typing, the other on the desk where I create. They are lovely.

1 x Citrus and Peppermint Lip Balm – made locally here in Newcastle by Little Blue Wren. It’s blend of Citrus and Peppermint has been made with the highest quality “Young Living” Oils. (from The Big Hug Box site)

Find her products on Instagram.


Reading This. Listening to This Book.

I was drawn to this book by Megan Devine after following her Facebook page called Refuge in Grief. Her story as both a counsellor and someone who had the love of her life die in front of her is compelling.

I know that having a cancer diagnosis can feel like a death. Of the life that was an is no more. It is not something I dwell on much as I would rather not be consumed but I do know that listening to Megan read her book (I am a car listener) had me throwing out what were my beliefs about grief.


Kindness of “Strangers” ….the people in my Instagram know what I mean!

I have followed a delightful and generous woman who I will call Linda…because THAT is her name! I really cannot recall exactly “when” we started to know each other via the usual social media channels but I do know I lucked in with her as a friend. She is one of my “cheerleaders” and I love her for this more. Recently after arriving home from yet another trip to Westmead a LARGE and somewhat weighty packed was on the kitchen bench. I smiled, when I saw the sender…and then I laughed and laugh/cried when I saw the contents. An amazing and beautifully hand crafted crocheted blanket that almost covers my king-size bed…in MY favourite combination of colours AND with a mandala in the middle. Swoon. It is the BEST. As is she!



Now, as you already know, if you have come this far, that my skin has been problematic for more than a year. My lips especially. I needed something very very dense and something well-known as a salve for skin.

Lanolips was it. I messaged them and told them of my situation and within a week or so, I got some mail! I was sent three types of their product and the bigger one is used just before I go to sleep. It really really helps.

Here is where to find them: They are a wholly Australia product. On Instagram: @lanolips

Mindfulness and Meditation.

I have had more than 3 years taking time each day (or night) for some specific meditation activities. For 3 years I paid for a Headspace subscription  and with a 30 days of Cancer program found that really helpful in my early months after diagnosis. Mid year, I changed tack and now have the Calm App as my meditation (and sleep stories) as a great find. Then just last week I became a founding member of Buddhify (they have a free app too) because I wanted to have more variation and one to listening to during the day.

I have found of course, just going outside and being in nature helps as does creating but if you are looking at apps for yourself, there are 0nes I have appreciated and enjoy.

Beyond Five.

I have known about Beyond Five since my cancer diagnosis in May 2017 but I was not really in a ‘space’ to take on much of its important information about Head and Neck Cancer until I was further into my understanding of “my cancer’. Squamous cell carcinoma. More about all of that here in my page.

Back to Beyond Five, which is a charity wanting to spread the message of early and timely diagnosis of all Head and Neck Cancers. From May this year until World Head and Neck Cancer Day on 27 July 2018 Beyond Five ran its first fundraising venture called; Soup for the Soul. I joined in with a Virtual Soup for the Soul event and over $400 was raised just by that. In total, $28,000 was raised. Most work and spreading of messages is via Head and Neck cancer support groups of which I am a member as well as on social media.

Some ways in which I appreciate the work is to tell more people of its purpose, including meeting my Federal MP to let her know more. Find Beyond Five here: 

My Dressing With Purpose, Art Journalling and Coffee.

Long time readers and followers know that I dress, with purpose, each day (and have done, with few exceptions) for almost 10 months now. Every. Single. Day. I generally go out by myself to have a coffee somewhere locally (I am up to 17 places now!) and I take time to reflect in my art journal. I find if I do not, for any reason, get to do this on one day, I am really, really ready for it the next day. The wonderful and sharing Styling You, Nikki Parkinson, has an amazing website and blog here, recently celebrating 10 years of helping women make the most of themselves….well, that has worked for me as I often share my daily photo on the facebook group and have won a weekly prize of Nikki’s book called Unlock Your Style.


The best is saved for last. This person. With me.

Words are inadequate for the depth of love and appreciation I have for the man, my husband, who had held me, comforted me and told me to use my skills in re-framing my thoughts and oh-so-much more…and who kind of forgives me for not measuring up to his cleaning standards…especially in the kitchen! 

This is the first photo of us…for a LONG while…where I can smile fully and it was taken by our 6 year old granddaughter on Sunday. Thank you Miss E.

Who or what are you appreciating today?


Joining here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky.




  1. I’m really loving these appreciation posts, Denyse. Thanks so much for sharing them.

  2. Wow! What great people and organisations you’ve introduced us to Denyse! Some I knew of, many I didn’t. BTW – I love that photo of you and your husband! Your granddaughter is a wonderful photographer for just 6 years of age! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • I thought it was time to share more about these great people and what they do. Amazing how much cancer & illness makes people want to help others too.

      The 6 yo GD did an amazing job. Just getting my husband to agree was the first step! And we did not colour co-ordinate either!

      Denyse x

  3. What a great photo of the two of you 🙂

  4. Thank you for introducing us to so many lovely brands (and for including Skin Boss in the mix). It was such a great post to read and your last introduction was definitely the best. Such a fabulous photos of you both too x

    • Thank you my lovely friend. It is a pleasure to introduce these people and products of which yours in one very important one. Lucked in with the photo. It is getting harder for agreement to be in the picture so this is even more special.

      Denyse x

  5. The big hug box sounds brilliant, Denyse.

    Your husband and yourself have such a beautiful relationship.

    SSG xxx

    • Thanks so much SSG.

      Yes, many patients at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse have been sent them or given smaller Random Acts of Kindness. I love being a very small part of it.

      We are lucky to have found each other, to have a long lasting relationship (no matter what) and I guess that is the best way to describe it. Thank you.

      Denyse x

  6. Yay, what a journey you have been on and it is so lovely to see your ‘full’ smile again. i have really enjoyed following your #everydaystyle journey Denyse and like you I am a big fan of Kirsten’s products.

    • Thanks so much Jan. It still surprises me that I can smile fully again. Skin Boss is just right for my skin and I admit I am not one who cares greatly for using products consistently but these ones hit the spot.

      Denyse x

  7. I loved that last photo of you and your husband Denyse – you’re even colour co-ordinating with the purples and greys! Really interesting reading about all those who give to others – very enriching for my soul and it affirms that there are still a lot of really good people left in this world.

    • Thanks Leanne! I did not colour co-ordinate us at all but hey, it does look good.The fact that he was prepared to be in the ‘frame’ and smile is testament to his patience and love for me…he is not ever keen for a pic!!

      I am glad you had a read through. There is an amazing community of care out there I would not have know about if I had not been diagnosed with cancer.

      Denyse x

  8. Denyse, I came to this post via the Lovin Life link and I am awed by both the thoroughness of the appreciations and all the ways you are also giving back to this land of living with cancer. You are so inspiring (and I’m feeling very unworthy…must stop compare & despair!). I’m also thinking I need to dress with purpose more often – although I did wear my wonderful new pink pants the other evening for a girls night out … slow progress. And yes, I know I told you I would find my mandala coloring book… and I have not yet. Thanks for all the reminders of how to live each day fully and with appreciation.

    • Oh thanks Pat, you gave me quite smile there. The pink pants sound wonderful. I get cross at myself for doing the comparison thing too. Maybe we should both refer to ourselves as “works-in-progress” there!

      Lovely to read your words and as always, mucb appreciated.

      Denyse x

  9. What a great way of saying thanks to people Denyse! Your are a generous soul and your posts are a bright spark to everyone who reads them/ All the best.

    • Thank you Debbie! It is amazing for me to know just how many people and services have become known to me and that help others which I would not have known about if I had not had cancer.

      Denyse x

  10. How cool that you and water bottle Sharon met by happy accident.
    Looking forward to our cuppa Denyse as I travel through your area …

    • I know, and we both ” knew who we were because of Instagram!”.

      My date with you is on the calendar!! 1 Oct. Yes, looking forward to it too!!

      Denyse x

  11. Beautiful Denyse. This is a great roundup of valuable products and services… and amazing partners! Such a nice photo of the two of you. x