Tag Archives: Chemo

A f*ck it attitude, a feast and a fantatsic fundraiser

I’m so sorry that it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything! It’s been a very busy few weeks/ months! So where to start…

Ok maybe I should just get the worst over and done with… so the last I think I told you about treatment was that I had finished radiotherapy for my head and I was going to have a head MRI just to see that everything had gone to plan. I’m pleased to report that (touch wood) that all came back ok and it seems the radiotherapy is working it’s little magic ion/radon (I really have no idea what particle it is) backside off! So that’s a bit of a relief! However… and I know you were probably waiting for that bit because I am me after all… I also had a routine chest X-ray.

I’d kind of been struggling at college since the beginning of April, I was just feeling quite tired, coughing a lot and I was really quite breathless! Just getting to and from the train station was tiring me out (I did suggest to my parents that I should get a Segway but you can imagine how that went down!). Sorry, getting off topic. So after an X-ray up in London I always have my oncologist appointment with Dr Strauss and she is fantastic. She’s always been straight with my family and myself about treatment, cancer, side effects, etc. and that’s what we’ve always wanted. She’s been my oncologist from the very start and I couldn’t have hoped for a better Doctor!

So the X-ray, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I’d had a few problems but to be honest I thought it was probably just a chest infection! However, that wasn’t the case. We sat down in Dr Strauss’ room and she immediately asked me how my chest was feeling. I explained to her what was going on and she didn’t look surprised at all. She then listened to my chest and I sat back down in the chair. She said there’s not really an easy way to tell you all of this but the bottom of your left lung has collapsed (the lower left lung is where the tumour is, in which I had to have the chemo for and radio for). She then went on to say that there was sign of tumour growth on the left side and also on the right side. And that the lower left side was blocked from a tumour. Well that explained a lot… and all this time I thought I had a cough not a collapsed lung!

Ok, think you’ll agree, not great news. Dad and I were both a little stunned. Dr Strauss said radiotherapy was out of the question however there was one chemo left that we can use but to be honest ‘it’s no miracle worker’ and she said she would be more worried to give it to me in the thought that it might make me weaker and give me more chance of infection then actually do anything for the tumours.

So I think we pretty much decided then and there between the three of us that chemo wasn’t worth it. Dr Strauss gave me all of the necessary paperwork to look over in case I changed my mind and she said come back next week, we’ll do some CT scans and discuss any other possibilities.

So that’s what we did, over the week, as a family we discussed the option of chemo and we put a lot of thought into it! Although at the end of the day, it was my decision. But you know what, I didn’t feel qualified! I know it’s my lungs and my life but I really was pretty 50% / 50% for a while! How do you make a decision like this at 19?!

So we went back the next week and the CT scans confirmed everything that Dr Strauss had said. We decided on no chemo and I was supplied with a double bag of medication – yes double bagged because there was that much! They even asked me for ID and to sign some statement!! But it’s ok, I didn’t have to pay 10p for my bags (sorry, thought I’d try to lighten the mood with that one!). So yeaaaahhh… I have loads of medications and I still have appointments up in London with Dr Strauss every 3 weeks or so, just to check in but other than that I’m not on any treatment for my lungs.

I know it’s not a nice subject but I’ve always been honest with you guys! I haven’t been given a time or anything – Dr Strauss literally said ‘how long is a piece of string’, which completely makes sense, No-one knows what can happen! We are in contact with the local Hospice and we’ve had a few conversations as a family up there which I’m sure you can kind of imagine the stuff we’ve spoken about.

And, you know what, I’m ok with discussing it all, I’m not going to curl into a ball and pretend it’s not happening, what’s the point in that? To be honest the thought of having to go through chemo for a third time was a little terrifying. And yes, I am happy with this decision, I know there’s going to be good days and bad days but I have so many good friends and family surrounding me that I feel pretty ready to take this on. I’ve been to college a few times and I’ve started just doing things I want to do, which quite honestly is eating loads of food, have fun days out with friends and family and just enjoying my life! How many people get the opportunity to just do whatever they want?! Whether I’m ill or not I’m gonna grab onto that firmly with both hands!

Anyway… I always was a strong believer of getting the worst bit over and done with first! Kind of like eating all of your peas before you eat the nice stuff on your plate for dinner. Sorry to any pea lovers out there!

Right, I WENT TO THE FAT DUCK! And it was bloody amazing! I went with my friend Kirstie, her Dad and his Girlfriend and I think we all had an incredible time. The restaurant it’s self was actually pretty hard to find. It’s in Bray, in Berkshire and it didn’t really have a sign or anything, just a woman standing outside what looked like a pub in a Victorian dress! We followed her in and stood in a mirrored room for a minute or so and then we were taken through to the dining room.

We started our meal with a small liquid nitrogen meringue, flavoured to a cocktail – I had Pina Colada. It was just like cold, pina colada air in your mouth, crazy! We then went onto a beetroot macaroon with a horseradish filling, which again was so light but the flavour came bursting through!


The Macaroon


Next was a dish of a smoked salmon royale with a pea consommé and an artichoke sorbet. That was followed by a soup, this one was a real eye opener to me! It was a rabbit and mushroom soup that was served in a little clear teacup. The left half of the soup was cold and the right half hot, however, they both had the exact same consistency and flavour! Not going to lie, I was pretty mind blown!

Next on the list was a box of cereal… so I always remember my Nan and Grandad buying these little variety boxes of like 8 different cereals and you’d always eat coco pops first and cornflakes were always left last! So this was a similar idea but with completely new ‘cereals’. The cereals were flavoured as tomato, bacon, black pudding and the milk poured on top almost solidified to enhance that kind of salty, greasy fry up kind of texture – ok, I’ve made that sound disgusting but it was actually really good!


Our cereals with our toy to build!

Our next adventure was sound of the sea! The waitresses brought out a huge sea shell for each of us with headphones in it playing ocean noises. And then a postcard was brought out to me, now beforehand Kirstie had been sent some questions through from the Fat Duck and one of them was what is your favourite childhood memory. I lived in Cyprus with my Mum, Dad and Brother from the age of 5 -9 and I said that’s where all my best childhood memories are. So on this postcard it had a picture of Cyprus and on the back it was addressed to me and said ‘Childhood in Cyprus’. So I was pretty in awe of that!


Anyway, the dishes…the first dish had a sea foam with pickled herring, pickled octopus and samphire, and it was definitely fishy! The next were three little ice creams! The first a celery and watermelon rocket lolly, the second a smoked salmon, avocado and horseradish twister lolly and the third, a crab ’99’! Next on our seafood stop was a jellied crab sitting in a rock pool like plate. The waitresses poured over a crab consommé to melt the jellied crab and reveal some caviar and flaked crab!


These are the ice lollies.

We then moved onto a forest theme, the first dish was a mushroom and truffle dish with lots of different textures but predominantly these flavours – now not being a mushroom lover this didn’t really hit the spot for me but the presentation and work that had gone into it was incredible! We then had the ‘Mock turtle soup’. This came in a clear teapot in which we had to dunk golden tea bags into a clear beef consommé which we then poured over what looked like a quail’s egg (actually an artichoke jelly) with some pickled vegetables and some smoked ham pieces. This was a fantastic dish and the beef consommé had such a rich flavour! Then a tiny toasted egg sandwich was served.


Next we were given our ‘menus’. The starter was a cuttlefish cannelloni with textures off peas, the main was venison, which was so succulent it was almost melt in the mouth! The dessert was a selection of textures of dessert wines and grapes, I really enjoyed this! The textures of cold sorbet and a biscuit crumb with a caramel shard was perfect! Next we were served 5 little whisky jellies which varied from strength, well I ate them all so I think I might be a new whisky convert!

The light above us then changed to a night-light colour, to show we were reaching the end of our meal. We were given fluffy spoons that smelt like talcum powder and the dessert was served after we all had a malted milk meringue. The dessert was a malted milk crumb with meringues, a caramel filled marshmallow and a goat’s cheese sorbet and it was delightful!!


Here is our dessert.

The last course was called ‘Kid in a sweet shop’ which was fantastic, a tiny little Doll’s House/ sweet shop was wheeled out and opened up to reveal lots of little drawers. So like I said before we had been asked a few questions and one of them was what is your favourite fruity flavour: Strawberry, Raspberry, Apricot or Blackberry. I said strawberry and was served 4 little strawberry sweets, some you could even eat the wrappers from! They were all lovely!!


We had such a fantastic evening and even got to look in the kitchens at the end! We didn’t get home until about 1.30 am but I think it was worth it!

On Friday 22nd April we had our annual Teenage Cancer Trust Dinner! It’s always such a great night with friends and family and this year we determined to go bigger and better!! We managed to get the most amount of guests we ever had and this year we had some really generous donations of raffle prizes and auction prizes. I think we were all willing to really push it this year!!

I was in the pastry kitchen this year but I did sneak off for some peeps of what was going on in the main kitchen and the restaurant a few times – I’d decided I wanted to be a bit of a photographer, well that was my excuse and I was sticking to it!! We were really highly supported this year and with some new ideas like the ‘photo booth’ and Teenage Cancer Trust coloured pick ‘n’ mix sweets on the table, I think our guests were suitably wowed by the evening! With many saying it was the best menu and dinner that we had held!!

I think I enjoyed it most this year with many of my friends and my Boyfriend, Will’s friends being there too, it really was a fun night! I did a video this year instead of a speech which I think really took the pressure off! Also I was worried if I did a speech I would just cough all the way through!!

We managed to raise just under £5500 which is the most we’ve ever managed! This means over the past 3 years we’ve managed £15000!! I couldn’t be more thankful to all of the Chef’s, students and other fantastic people who helped out, and of course everyone who came to support us! The meal tends to sell out really quickly so this year I had some friends ask if there was a way they could donate to Teenage Cancer Trust so I have set up a Just Giving Page… feel free to take a look! Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated!


Here are some photos from the evening:

So that is me for know, I’m sure you’ve had enough of me prattling on! I’ve already started the Bucket List but I think I’ll save that for my next post, hopefully I’ll have done some more by then too!

Over and out! For now!!


1 Cycle down, 5 to go!

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A lot has happened over the last 4 weeks! I think when I last posted I was about 4 hours away from getting on a plane to Australia – really strange to think that was just a month ago!

So Australia… wow! I arrived incredibly dazed from a lovely (as you can imagine) 24 hours of flying and aimlessly wandering through airports. Well, to be honest for such a long couple of flights it wasn’t that bad! The planes were always quite full but it wasn’t too cramped, the films were pretty good and the food really wasn’t that bad! On my trip out I had 3 full meals which were all pretty nice and on the flights back I had four meals (two were breakfast which I don’t really understand because they were about 6 hours apart and one was afternoon tea – I don’t know either but it was all good, and I’m never one to turn down cake!).

When I arrived in Perth the heat and humidity hit me straight away, it was 2.30 am and the temperature was about 22C – not to make anyone jealous or anything hehe! My Uncle picked me up, we got to the house and I went to bed and didn’t get up until about 1pm the next day (I know, typical teenager!). The first few days I spent trying to work out why it was light outside but I thought it was midnight, but I figured it out eventually! My Aunt showed me around for the first week and we had a great time exploring Perth and trying out all of the cake and coffee shops we could find! One day we went to a wildlife park and we got to walk through Kangaroo and wallaby enclosures and at the end I got to hold a Koala!

The second weekend my Uncle showed me around, on one of the afternoons we went to a restaurant which was about 30 floors up and revolved really slowly which was incredible! Ok, at first I felt a bit sea sick but when the food came out (which was so good!) my appetite mysteriously returned. I visited Perth city a few times on my own and it was really different from anywhere I’d been. It was like London with all of the tall buildings and shops but like Canterbury because it was quite small.

It was an incredible trip and really amazing to see My Aunt and Uncle and their family again. I had such an amazing time and I’m so glad I got to do it before starting treatment again.

So when I got back (after being met at the airport by my Mum and Dad and a massive balloon!) it was back to business. I got back to college on the Monday (2nd March) and after a day of scans and appointments on the Wednesday I started the chemo on the Thursday. It’s a different chemo from last time because obviously it’s trying to affect a different area and tumour. I need to have 6 cycles, each 3 weeks long and I am going to loose my hair again (so far not yet, but watch this space!).

So I started at 11 am on Thursday and after 1 hour of one chemo and three hours of another quite honestly I felt fine. In fact I felt high! I didn’t think it was too obvious until one of the Doctor’s came over to me and asked who I was and where I was. Apparently that didn’t happen often and my pupils were like pin pricks! Once I was released – which took a while because I wasn’t particularly with it,  we went back to the hospital hotel and I fell asleep. We had to repeat this for two days (although after the first day they decided to slow the chemo down a little because they said as fun as high Emily was, they didn’t really want that again!). I got to go home on Saturday night.

Over the past week I’ve tried to keep up with normal life, I’ve been to college as much as I can and I’m planning to keep doing that. So far (touch wood) this chemo has been better than the last – so I’m just hoping it stays like that for as long as it can! At the moment I feel pretty normal (or as dad would say – as normal as Emily can be!).

I’ve been cooking lots of shortbread recently at college and at home and as you know I love a bit of orange flavoured chocolate so this is one of the latest recipes that I really like!

Chocolate orange shortbread


  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 125g softened butter
  • 3 bars (small ones) Terry’s chocolate orange


  1. Line a small rectangular tin with greaseproof paper and set the oven to 170C.
  2. Chop the Terry’s chocolate orange bars into rough chunks.
  3. Mix the sugar and flour together. Add the butter and the chocolate and mix by hand until the mixture becomes like breadcrumbs that you can mould together.
  4. Put the mix in the tin and using your hands spread it out into the tine. Mould it and pat it down into the corners.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the biscuit is golden. leave to cool for 5 minutes, cut into fingers. Then leave to cool completely.

Back in the Cancer Club

I’m going to start with the bad news just to get it out of the way! I’m sorry again that I haven’t updated in a while but unfortunately we’ve had some bad news. I had an oncology appointment last week and before every appointment I have to go for a chest x-ray. After my chest x-ray I went up for the appointment in which I was told that they had found an abnormality on the scan. A week later and after numerous tests – it’s been confirmed I’ve got a small tumour in my lung.

To be honest, I wasn’t too taken back by the news, I knew there was always a chance this would happen and quite honestly I’m just happy to have got this far! They say it’s going to be treated with chemo (again!) and then possibly an operation. But for now I’m looking on the Brightside because I’M GOING TO AUSTRALIA… and my flight is in 6 hours!

So, yeah, I’m going to Perth for two weeks! Now I must admit this has been in the pipeline for a while, unfortunately I’m not spontaneous/cool enough to say ‘Screw this, I’m going to Australia for 2 weeks’! And nobody panic because the doctors know I’m going and if anything they are the ones encouraging me to go! I’m going to be staying with family whilst I’m out there and I’m so excited. I have no idea what we’ll be doing but I’m expecting it’s gonna be a really good trip (No pressure for them then!).

So when I get back from Australia (Saturday 28th I think?)(That’s really bad, I should probably know that..) I’ll be back at college for a few days, scans on Wednesday and chemo on Thursday. They’ve said that I’ll only be  on chemo 3 days out of  three weeks this time, and I’ll repeat that 6 times. It shouldn’t be as ‘hard hitting’ on the body this time and it should only last 18 weeks so all in all I think it sounds a lot better than last time *touch wood*! This means that I could still go to college quite often which would be great!

Unfortunately I’m going to have to cut it short this week as someone (me) thought it would be a great idea to leave every single bit of packing until this afternoon – some people never learn! But I will take loaaaads of pictures and try to be much better at updating you than I have been recently!

A Painful Picc line

It’s been a pretty boring 10 days to be honest – but I’ve been at home so I’m not complaining!! So last Wednesday I’m sure you’ll all be surprised to know I ordered some ‘celebratory last chemo dominos’ and I’ve realised that if you don’t have something for a while it becomes a lot more special – so that particular dominos tasted really good!

On Friday I officially finished chemo! We went to the local hospital and they disconnected me for the last time.

I’ve got to say when I was first told I was going to have chemo I was terrified, I thought I’m going to loose all my hair and feel sick all the time and really weak. Obviously I did loose my hair but it wasn’t a huge deal – all of my friends and family were completely normal about it, which made me feel normal about it! Also there were (and still are!) a few times when I felt pretty ill and weak but then there were just as many times when I did feel fine and I was able to go out with friends or go out for a meal or something. I think when people hear chemo they immediately think it’s going to be awful but there are so many different chemos and ways in which to have them that it really depends. For me, chemo wasn’t that bad – but I’m not saying I want anymore haha! Also my hair is starting to grow back! I’d say I have about an inch so far – it looks quite dark at the moment which is odd because I was blond before, but I guess only time can tell (hopefully not too much time)!

Mum and I went out on Saturday night to Zizzis and had a lovely meal to celebrate the end of treatment.

On Tuesday I met up with all of my old school friends and we went down the beach for fish and chips!

Yesterday (Wednesday) was my ‘planning appointment’ for what will happen in the future. My oncologist said that the cancer in my pelvis responded well to chemo, but we will have to wait to see what treatment (if any) I will have in the future for it. I will be having azeta…something(!) acid every month which strengthens bones and in labs (not in humans yet) has actually been seen to kill cancer cells and I’ll also be having a check up with my oncologist every other month, and no doubt lots more scans!

I also had my Picc line removed yesterday. I’m not sure if I’ve spoken about my Picc. It’s basically a wire that was inserted for chemo and for taking bloods that was in my left arm. It had two little tubes that stuck out of my arm and then a wire that went in my arm and sat in one of the veins just above my heart. It was secured by two metal hooks under the skin. It meant that the chemo or any drips or anything would go around my body efficiently without me having to be stuck with a needle all the time.

The procedure to put it in was pretty big. I had to have local anaesthetic and it was done in an operating theatre by two surgeons but to have it out I was told a nurse just pulls!

I was a little nervous but I was assured by the nurse that I might just feel a little discomfort in my arm but it would be fine. All I can say is that discomfort is not the right word! I was asked if a student could do it with supervision and I said that was fine but unfortunately the student didn’t have enough force and couldn’t get it out. The nurse then tried, for about 10 minutes, to pull the two little metal hooks that support the Picc out of my arm! Apparently they normally come out a lot easier but my skin had grown around the hooks. Sorry that sounds disgusting – but that’s what had happened!! Sounds like me to be different!

Eventually (with lots of deep breathing!) they got the hooks and the line out! They say I’m going to have two little scars in my arm and it’s going to take a while to heal because my white blood cells are low at the moment but hopefully soon it will be all healed up.

I’m back up at the hospital next Friday for some end of chemo tests but for a while I think that’s it!

So last night Dad and I wanted to use up all of the veg in the fridge and we also had some turkey which we don’t usually have but we thought we would chuck it all together in a stew and see what happens! I think we’ve made a new recipe because it was lovely and I’m sure we’ll be making it again!

Mediterranean turkey stew


  • Olive oil (Just a little in the pan)
  • 2 peppers (we had a red and a green)
  • a white onion
  • a red onion
  • a courgette
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 500g turkey (chopped into bite sized pieces)
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • a pint of veg stock
  • a splash of white wine
  • squirt of lemon juice
  • Linguini (broken into pieces – big or small, it’s up to you)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice the onions and peppers, crush the garlic and roughly slice the courgette.
  2. Heat the oil in the pan and add the onion, garlic and pepper. When slightly softened add the turkey and cook for a few minutes, or until sealed on the outside. Add the chopped tomatoes and courgettes.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes then add the stock, wine and lemon. Leave to simmer for about 30 – 35 minutes.
  4. Whilst that’s cooking slice the cherry tomatoes in half. These will add flavour and texture.
  5. Add the broken pieces of linguini and the cherry tomatoes. The linguini is great as it thickens the stew and also gives it a different texture. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the linguini is cooked.
  6. Season to taste and serve with some grated parmesan on top.

You could swap the turkey for whatever meat you want – or obviously don’t add the meat and serve as a vegetarian dish. I guess you could say it’s a pasta dish with an interesting pasta sauce but we just called it a stew!


The end of treatment – for now!

I have finally made it to my last chemo! Although it is one that takes a lot out of me, it doesn’t matter as it’s the last one!

My last chemo of the trial (last Mon-Fri) didn’t run quite as smooth as I’d hoped. I woke up on Monday morning to some bionic hip pain and clicking. As you can imagine it scared me quite a lot and as everyone was out I thought if anything does happen then I could be in trouble. Oh well, life is sent to test us!

Luckily as I was going up for chemo that day Nan and Grandad were soon around to escort me in the patient transport. I get patient transport up to UCLH (my London hospital) and the McMillan Centre (where I get my chemo) because of my operation. London transport is still a bit risky with all of my crutches and bags so a car comes to the house and takes us. It’s a great service and we haven’t had many problems but this time patient transport was 4 hours late. I’ve got to admit – it was a little frustrating as we were meant to be in London by 12, we got there at 4.30 in the end, but at least we got there!

Throughout the week my hip got a bit better, a physio came to see me and on Wednesday I had an x-ray. My surgeon and his team looked at it and said all was fine *touch wood!* so I was pretty relieved about that. However I was quite surprised how much it actually knocked my confidence in walking again. I really did regress last week, back to using two crutches and even wearing the brace for a few days (that’s how desperate I was)! However I was kind of proud of myself that I managed to deal with the situation and take sensible precautions. I know, me being sensible, I couldn’t believe it either! Maybe becoming 18 really does make you an adult!!

Anyway, I was home on Friday and had a nice relaxing weekend with the fam. Kirstie came over Saturday night and we made some massive home made burgers – but we had them with salad so they were healthy 😉 We also watched a Channing Tatum film which always makes everything good!! Then we ate mounds of ice cream but lets not talk about that! Healthy eating!!

So yesterday I was up at the McMillan Centre for my last chemo and again, the day didn’t run quite to plan. I had to be awake for an 8am pick up but again, patient transport was 3 hours late, however this time it was a bit more serious. I needed to have an echo (heart scan), have various blood tests, see my Doctor and get my chemo signed off all in 2 hours (because my Doctor had to leave). So we were a little pushed for time – but the nurses and Doctors, being as amazing as they are, managed to get it all done like clock work.

I’m allowed to take this chemo home, so it was a bit of a late night. The chemo was set up at 6 and I managed to get home at 8.30. Mum and I didn’t eat dinner until 9.30. It was a very long day but it’s my last one, so who cares?!

That brings me up to today, where I’m typing this with some bright red chemo running through me. However it’s ok as we’re having celebratory dominos tonight, (I don’t even care about healthy eating today as you might have guessed!) it’ll probably make me feel really rough tomorrow but I think it’ll be worth it!

I’m an annoying ‘Waste not, want not’ person and for some reason we have loads of apples! So today’s recipe is a spiced apple cake.

I’ve only just realised how badly this healthy eating thing is going… oh well!

Spiced apple cake


  • 750g Apples (preferably cooking ones but I’m doing half and half)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g demerara sugar, plus 2 tbsp
  • 200ml milk
  • 100ml sunflower oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a 23cm cake tin with baking parchment. Rub the base and sides with oil.
  2. Peel the apples, remove the cores and slice them. Put the apple slices in a bowl and toss in the lemon juice and zest.
  3. In a new bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and spice. Set aside. In a new bowl whisk the eggs with the 100g of sugar, the milk and sunflower oil. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until combined – try to  get rid of any stubborn lumps. Toss the lemony apples through the cake batter until evenly mixed and pour the mixture into the cake tin.
  4. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top and bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour until it is well risen and golden. Test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre – it should slide through the apples in the middle and come out clean.
  5. Leave the cake to cool and serve with cream or ice cream.

If you really like your fruit then I think adding some raisins and dried peel into the mix would be a great idea. Alternatively if you’re a chocolate fiend like Mum then maybe grate some chocolate in or mix in some drops. If you do want to add something, I would do that when adding the apple slices to the cake. Also instead of serving the cake with cream, you could make some kind of icing. Maybe a cream cheese or buttercream flavoured with some spice or lemon? Or maybe even some alcohol… well I am 18 now!!