ovarian cancer

Is Social Media Making Us Less Social?

Recently I took the plunge of deactivating my person facebook page. I didn’t think much about it…I just knew I was using it too much and decided a break could be of benefit to my health.

Wow, was I surprised my the reactions I got.

  • “Are you ok?”
  • “How are you feeling emotionally?”
  • “What’s the matter with you?”
  • “Why don’t you want to talk to people any more?”

These are just some of the comments I received to my very personal decision and it got me thinking: when did social media start to define how social we are?; and when did our use of social media become an indication of our mental health?

In fact, if anything, it could be said that social media not only makes us less social but also negatively affects our mental health as we get sucked into the ‘comparison mentality’. There are increasing studies that show it negatively affects our stress levels, sleep patterns and anxiety (to name a few aspects).

After a week of no facebook I realised that I – the person who previously had used it like a drug – actually didn’t miss it at all. So I deleted my account completely (as much as facebook will allow anyway…those terms and conditions are ‘interesting’). Then, a week later I went on holiday with my hubby and didn’t take my phone, instead leaving it in our house.

I made the decision to be completely offline. For three weeks!

It.was.incredible!

While I appreciate the prospect of not having a phone for three weeks will have made many of you gasp in horror, I want to share with you some of the wonderful lessons I learned and some tips for you to take this learning Ito your own lives – don’t worry, at no point do I suggest you bin your phone.

What I Gained When I Went Offline For Three Week’s

  1. I Fell Back in Love With My Husband – Now of course I have always loved my husband – he is an angel! However, I had forgotten what it was like to truly connect with him like when we first started dating. Primarily I had forgotten how f*cking hilarious he is and how much I enjoy his company. It is so easy when you have been in a relationship for a number of years for your life together to become habit, for each day to be the same as the one before and to not really connect. Add in a life-threatening illness like mine and it is easy for what made you fall in love in the first place to move to the bottom of the pile. Talk of work, hospital tests and mindless chat about social media can very quickly and easily take over. When I stepped back from this I realised that perhaps we were not as connected as I might have thought. For instance, I spend most evenings with Ewan, however many are spent watching a film or both of us on our phones. Now, in many ways we have always recognised this and we consciously make time every week for adventures, walks and days out together yet still, in the day-to-day, screen time can take over from face-to-face communication. What I realised when we were away together was that we were interacting with one another; we were laughing; connecting and stimulating each other’s conversation constantly. It was like setting the reset button on our relationship. After all, can you imagine a first date with someone who just sat looking at their phone?…
  2. Mental Clarity and Improved Memory – My mind become much clearer and more focused. Each day I would journal ideas for my second book and rather than my thoughts being stunted or blocked, they flowed freely. A surprising addition to this was old memories started coming back to me. A traumatic relationship in my twenties has meant that I struggle with memories in my school and university years. This was worsened by six doses of chemotherapy in 2016. However, I found that as my mental clarity improved, so did my memory and, as a result, many happy memories that had stayed just out of my mental reach for years, started to return. It’s as if my mind began to completely let go and relax and my inner knowing/guide/intuition/soul (whatever you want to call it) was no longer being silenced by the constant stream of information on social media.
  3. Time and Productivity – It was so insightful to me how much time I would normally spend on my phone looking at various apps. As soon as my phone was no longer part of my life I suddenly gained a ridiculous amount of time to do things that really matter to me (ideas for you to try are listed later in this post).
  4. A Sense of Calm – I am an inherently anxious, a-type personality who always has to be ‘doing’. However, the longer I was without my phone the more calm I began to feel. I no longer felt like I had to ‘do’ all of the time and instead found myself day dreaming, wondering and reflecting in ways I don’t remember doing since I was a child. The result was a deep sense of peace and calm. I hadn’t realised how much the constraint stream of information had influenced my anxiety levels.
  5. Better Connections – it’s ironic really that not using your phone would make you feel more connected, but it’s true. When you don’t have a phone, you spend more quality time with the people you are actually with because you aren’t constantly being distracted by conversations with other people through your phones.

How My Relationship With Technology Changed

Of course, I did miss some aspects of having a phone. For instance, I greatly missed being able to speak to the people in my life that I love dearly. However, I have noticed that as a result of this personal experience, my relationship with technology has changed – in particular my tolerance and patience.

  1. Group Chats – I am in many group chats. Some are where my family connects and shares as a group. Some are with friends who are stimulating, funny and supportive. Other are, well, not. The constant buzz of conversation that is mindless and not adding anything to my life suddenly felt suffocating and toxic. Having gained insight into how draining social media can be, and having a life-threatening illness has made me realise how important it is that all of the social interactions we have, whether face-to-face or online, need add value. Fortunately some apps allow you to mute groups.
  2. Multiple Conversations – social media allows you to be engaged in multiple conversations simultaneously, across various platforms. How can you truly connect with what a person is saying if you are having a conversation with 10 other people at the same time? The answer is, you can’t. As a result, it is very hard to have a deep and meaningful conversation with people through text on a screen. I should know, after all, I am the person who sent the message “it’s f*cking cancer” to several people simultaneous the day after I was diagnosed. What ever happened to picking up the phone? (I ask myself as much as I ask you).
  3. Society pressure – It is really hard to step away from social media because nearly everyone is on it. This creates a ‘sheep mentality’ meaning that if you decide to be the one who doesn’t follow the flock you can feel like you are missing out. Fortunately I have some amazing friends who send me the photos of their children that they would ordinarily just post on social media – this makes me feel extra special as I know they want me to specifically see them, and not just their whole friends list (I don’t doubt they think I’m a pain in the arse).

Things to Do Instead of Mindlessly Checking Social Media

Now you may be wondering, if I’m not on social media how am I meant to relax/connect/veg-out/and so on? Well, don’t worry, I’ve got your back…

1. Dance – dancing to a song that makes you happy not only stretches out your body but it also helps to lower your stress hormones and allows you to move from a state of ‘fight or flight’ to a healthier state of ‘rest and digest’. The same can be said for yoga.

2. Go For a Walk – even if it is just for a short walk around your neighbourhood, going outside and breathing in fresh air reduces feelings of depression; burns calories and improves your cardiovascular health.

3. Create – when was the last time you did something creative? Creativity is a form of meditation and mindful living and allows your mind to wonder and your brain to rest. Take some time to draw, doodle, colour or write.

4. Take Some Me Time – busy has become a badge people are proud to wear. Instead of constantly stimulating your mind, allow it to rest and relax with a bath (with you phone left in the hall!), massage, reiki, sauna, meditation or anything else that takes your fancy…

5. Phone Someone – how many of us send mindless messages to people without picking up the phone and having an actual conversation? I just had a two hour phone call with a friend in London and it was so stimulating for my soul (and hopefully hers). Take some time to have an actual conversation with someone you care about, rather than sending the ‘how you doing?’ message.

6. Speak to the Person/People You Live With – you’ve had a busy day at work and the last thing you want to do is speak to another person. It is so much ‘easier’ to mindlessly look at your phone and start scrolling. How about instead, you pause, take yourself to a quiet place (I have a friend with three children who’s ‘quiet place’ is meditating on her bathroom floor – so no excuses!) and when you feel ready, start actually speaking to the people in your home, rather than reading the text on your phone.

7. Journal – I had heard of journaling and I didn’t really ‘get it’, thinking it was for ‘other people’. However, I spent a lot of my trip journaling and it was mind opening. Simply sitting down with a notebook and a pen and taking a few moments to yourself (or longer if you have the time – which you do if you aren’t on social media) to write down your thoughts is very illuminating. You can even search online for some ‘journal questions’ to give you some things to contemplate if you are struggling. I’ve learned more about myself, my values and my thoughts since I started journaling than I ever have in the past. Now I know why the people I know who have journaled for a while are so interesting, self-aware and enlightening to be around.

8. Read a Book – In those first two weeks I didn’t have facebook (before I went completely without my phone) I read two books without making any extra time for reading. I simply always carried a book with me and whenever I had a moment where I would have previously reached for my phone, I instead reached for my book. I even bought a new handbag that fits a book in it (any excuse for a shopping trip). Stop making the excuse ‘I never have time to read’.

9. Have a Nap – who doesn’t like a 10 minute nap…enough said.

But We Live In A ‘Digital Age’…I hear you cry

Of course, since I came home there has been a need for me to use social media and technology. For instance, I run a business that relies, in part, on social media and me being contactable by phone. The difference now, however, is that I engage with social media in a mindful manner:

  • My business facebook is run by a facebook account which I don’t have any friends on and I still don’t have a personal facebook (it’s been over 2 months now).
  • I check twitter once a week – my blogs are set to automatically post there.
  • I check instagram once a month.
  • I only check my business facebook during working hours.
  • I only check emails during working hours.
  • I don’t have any social media apps on my phone…no business facebook, no twitter, no instagram, no emails. This means that I have to go on a computer to check these. This takes away the mindless habit…it is a lot more effort to go into my office just to scroll through social media.

By taking some simple steps to mindfully reduce your use of technology you will begin to notice dramatic changes in your life. Maybe you will even take a compete break as I did – if you do, I’d love to hear your reflections (once you are back online of course).

I believe it’s time for us to unplug from mindless online activity and instead plug into our souls, our hearts and our intuition.

Love and light, Fi xxx

ovarian cancer

Every Encounter is an Opportunity to be Kind

“Every Encounter is an Opportunity to be Kind”

This weekend, rather than get caught up in the madness that is ‘Black Friday’ my hubby and I went away for an amazing weekend break, involving great food, open fires, spa treatments, an outdoor hot tub and sauna and all in a small dog friendly hotel. It was bliss.

Of course I had some of my random act of kindness envelopes with me and this weekend they went to two very special beings…


Those of you familiar with my story, know that I hand out RAOK when someone catches my eye and touches my heart. Well, this weekend was no exception. 

We were sitting on one of the sofas in the fire lit lounge in the hotel when a couple arrived carrying two gorgeous dogs. Their light filled the room and soon we were having a relaxed chat about travel – one of my all time favourite conversations.

The warmth of this couple struck me instantly, there was just ‘something’ about them. Had our encounter been fleeting, I would have given them an envelope instantly, however I knew that we were staying in a very small hotel together for the next few days and, as surprising as it may be, I always get embarrassed handing out my envelopes. So, I put the thought to the side and concentrated on relaxing.

The following day, my hubby and I were sitting in a different room of the hotel waiting for a day of pampering in the spa – this was a rare edulgent weekend of relaxation – when the couple arrived for their breakfast with their two gorgeous dogs. Well, I am a sucker for fur babies so, of course, within seconds my hubby and I were giving the dogs cuddles. One even ended up sitting on my hubby’s knee while the couple ate their food – again chatting away to us.

In fact, at every encounter with the couple two things were clearly evident: firstly, they had an immense love for one another that shone out into the world in rays of kindness towards all whole encountered them – seriously you could almost ‘touch’ their positive energy. It was contagious in all the best ways. Secondly, they adored their two dogs. This is something I can relate to as my two ‘fur babies’ are a huge part of my life (trust me, if they weren’t cats I’d take them on holiday too!) Also, my parents are exactly the same as this couple with their two dogs.

I couldn’t get the thought of giving them an envelope out of my mind; if ever I’d met two people that represented all I hope for this world this couple was surly them. However, I decided to do something a bit different this time. Instead of giving them an envelope I took one of the envelopes I was carrying and addressed it to their two dogs, Crystal and Sparkle (I told you this couple were right up my street – how awesome are those names!) When we were checking out of the hotel I gave the envelope to the staff member and asked her to pass it on which, I’m pleased to say, she did. 

Why did I pick the dogs and not the owners? Quite simply because I knew that the couple would appreciate the act of kindness being extended to their furbabies much more than they would have if I’d addressed it to them. In a way, I was hoping that this gesture would add to the kindness.

I was right to think so as we arrived home to this lovely message from the couple and, of course, lots of photos of their dogs.

Hi Fi wow what an inspiration u are. We feel truly honoured to have met you and after everything you have been thru puts everything in perspective! What a kind thing to do with the envelope and so thoughtful. The dogs appreciate this and will be treated! They luved u and Ewan! What a wonderful hotel and so friendly. I do hope u had a wonderful time and felt relaxed. I can’t imagine what you have been thru but u r a very brave lady indeed with a determination to live and life to the full!! We really enjoyed meeting you both. Will keep following your journey. Wishing you both a wonderful time in Brussels and a Happy Anniversary. Keep fighting Fi. You deserve to have a wonderful life. Wish there were more people like you. Stay in touch. Best wishes and thank u again love Jane, Mark, Sparkle and Crystal xxxx

Sparkle and Crystal – shared with permission from their ‘mummy’

We can all learn a lot from this wonderful couple; love completely and spread kindness. The key to living a happy life is that simple. I am grateful for meeting them. They honestly brightened our trip and I thank them deeply for them being just the way they are.

Of course, we can also learn from the recipients of the envelope – Sparkle and Crystal.

  • Always run to meet the people you love.
  • Enjoy time in nature.
  • End the day with a cozy cuddle.
  • Take time every day to have fun.

On our way home from the hotel we stopped by our local organic farm to buy some food for the week ahead. While there we paused for lunch. The cafe was unusually busy, it turned out we weren’t the only people avoiding Block Friday. Sitting at a table diagnoly from us was a family. The dad had long hair in a pony tail and his young daughter was insisting on playing with it. Rather than dismissing her he embraced this whole heartedly, even when she tied it into a mini ponytail on top of his head so that their hairstyle matched. I caught his eye and smiled.

Here was a man caught in a moment with his daughter making a beautiful memory, I felt honoured to be witnessing it as I ate my lunch. On our way out I approached them and gave them an envelope in recognition of the joy and love that they were radiating towards one another.

Kindness doesn’t have to cost anything. It is found in the simple acts of love we do each day for the people we love, but it can also be found in the joy we offer to complete strangers. It’s amazing what difference a smile or a friendly word can make in someone else’s life, and in ours when this gesture is returned.

What can you do to spread kindness to those around you?

Love and light, Fi xx

Health Blogger of the Year 2017

Author of ‘Love, Light and Mermaid Tails’

health, ovarian cancer, yoga

Raw Food for Post Cancer Holistic Health – Day One

Hello and happy Tuesday!
I’ve been thinking over my health lately and realised that it’s not quite where I want it to be…it’s been nearly 18months since I was diagnosed with stage four cancer and after months of being sugar free, vegan (except for occasional fish) and not eating processed food (plus 8 years of being gluten free) I still feel my diet isn’t optimal.

This weekend I went away with my family and found myself slipping easily into old habits of sugar and processed food. Not where I want to be at all!

The result? Today I woke feeling sluggish, tired and all in all a bit ‘meh’. And my skin has broken out again too! Eeek!

So what to do?

Well, after months of researching I’ve decided to embrace a raw food diet under the belief that live food is best for our health.

Now, let’s get one things clear, I’m not doing this for weight loss! I am a happy and healthy size 10/12 and I walk/practice yoga/run ever day. This is about achieving optimal health and helping my body to heal from the inside out.

So, today begins my journey with raw food. I’m under no illusions that it will be easy but hey, it can’t be as bad as high dose chemotherapy and major surgery can it?

I’m a complete novice so I’ve decided to share my story with you all in a ‘video diary’. If you have any advice or tips please let me know!

Here goes!

Love and light, Fi xx
Follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

⭐️VOTING IS NOW OPEN!⭐️

I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’. It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

You don’t need to provide any details (not even your name!), you just have to tick a box!

The winner receives a prize of £600 and if I win then I pledge to use it all for my random act of kindness to help spread more joy and raise awareness for ovarian cancer!
With your help I can reach more people and help to spread awareness of ovarian cancer; living with stage four cancer; invisible disabilities and so much more! 💜💜💜

New to my page? In Jan 2016 , at the age of just 30, I was diagnosed with non-genetic, stage four ovarian cancer. There is no stage five. Since then I’ve been campaigning to raise awareness of ovarian cancer in the hope that my diagnosis will help save lives. I have been handing out random acts of kindness to strangers as envelopes containing £20 and a card with the symptoms of ovarian cancer. I do this in the hope of spreading kindness and joy whilst also helping to get people to take about ovarian cancer! 💜⭐️🌈

In August 2017 I published a book entitled “Love, Light and Mermaid Tails” about my story and how I strive to live an incredible life with ‘terminal’ cancer. Get it here.

ovarian cancer

My Book is Now Available to Buy

It’s been an exciting week! I’ve finally achieved my life long dream of becoming an author and published my first book!

It is currently available to buy on Amazon in the UK, USA and Europe!

‘Using her values as a compass Fi shares a message of hope, not fear, about how you can heal your life even if you can’t be cured. A powerful message for us all.’ Lesley Howells, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Centre Head, Maggie’s

I’m giving away a free signed book over the weekend 🌈🦄💕🙏🏻 Please just visit my Facebook page for more info 🦄

Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement. I couldn’t have done this without you!

I hope you enjoy the book!

Love and light, Fi xxx

—-

“Fi Munro was diagnosed with non-genetic stage four ovarian cancer. In that moment, after months of pain, tests and assurances that it was ‘nothing to worry about’, her instincts were proved right and her worst fears were realised.

In the months that followed, understanding her diagnosis, recovery and health became her full time job.

Using her expertise as a researcher she dedicated her time to understanding everything she could about her diagnosis and subsequent prognosis.

In this honest, open and often tear-jerking account of her journey back to wholeness, Fi openly shares her story from diagnosis with stage four ‘terminal’ cancer to living an incredible, healthy life full of joy and laughter.

This book is a guide for anyone, not just those with cancer, who wants to embrace a happier, healthier and more caring approach to their life.

May it bring you peace, courage and, above all, hope.”

“Fi Munro (PhD) is a multi award winning researcher, author and public speaker recognised internationally for her presentations and articles on her journey and holistic health. She has been featured in two BBC documentaries, in TV and radio shows, and in newspaper and magazine articles across the globe.”

kindness, ovarian cancer

RAOK – Paying it Forward 

I delivered another Random Act of Kindness today. It is honestly still my favourite thing to do! This one was extra special though as it came from someone else…

Despite the fact that I am meant to be resting I needed to go and order new glasses as I broke mine teaching kids yoga. Yes I know, if I’d been resting they wouldn’t have got broken…blah blah…

Anyway…I used to work in my local opticians so I let them know I’d be popping by. One of the women that works there reads my Facebook (**waves**) and so she dropped me a message to tell me to say hi when I was in.

This I did and I’m so glad! She is without doubt one of the loveliest souls I’ve ever met. No I’m not just saying that because she will read this! She welcomed me with a warm and enthusiastic hug like no other and then surprised me by giving me a ‘random act of kindess’ envelope with money inside and asked me to ‘pass it on’.

I was so touched! I love when other people join in!

Leaving the shop I was still smiling when I went to buy some ‘jeggings’ – I hate that word but basically I need jeans with legging tops now I have a colostomy bag…anyway I’m going off topic (again!)

So I was trying them on and while doing so I could hear two friends chatting through the curtain of the cubicle next to me.

Their utter joy and laughter was infectious! From their ensthusiastic batter I gathered that one was helping the other buy a selection of clothes for various up coming events. What struck me was their passion. The one trying on the clothes was so unashamedly grateful for her friend’s help. Lsughing loudly she kept thanking her and declaring that she had ‘never looked so good’ and ‘couldn’t wait to show people’. The whole dialogue screamed LOVE!

I was really touched and knew straight away that I’d have to give them the envelope I’d just been passed moments before.

As I left I slipped the envelope into one of their hands and was met with the usual look of confusion and a mumbled ‘thankyou’ which, when combined, always translates  as ‘who the f*ck is this crazy woman handing me an envelope’.

As ever, it gave me so much joy and I hope the ladies got as much out of it as I did. I just love being able to pass on acts of kindness in this way.

So, tell your friends you love them;  be unashamedly you; and scatter kindness around wherever you go!

Oh and always remember you are beautiful!

Love and light, Fi xxx

ovarian cancer

Kindness Needn’t Cost a Thing

So there I was sitting in my favourite cafe enjoying a quick lunch whilst editing my book. Across from me was a woman and her two little boys. One was sat opposite her whilst the other, ‘shiny new’ [I have since discovered he is 3 weeks old] was sleeping soundly in his car seat. Their soft, loving ‘chatter’ was the perfect ‘background noise’ for my writing.

Suddenly ‘I need a poo’ broke the calm as the little boy voiced his urgent concern. I recoognised the look in the woman’s face. ‘How am I going to get all of this stuff, including your little brother to the toilet with you in time?’ came her silent tormoil. However, calmly she began to lift all her belongings, including the ‘shiny new’ baby brother.

‘Would you like me to watch your baby?’ I asked, wholeheartedly sympathising with this gentle soul.

Her relief was clearly evident.

‘Would you mind?’ She asked.

‘Not at all!’ I exclaimed. I’d had similar struggles trying to get all my luggage to a toilet in time(!) I couldn’t begin to image what it would be like with another tiny human in tow.

She introduced her beautiful, thankfully sleeping, baby to me as Andrew and slipped off to the loo with her other little boy.

Now, never in all my days have I so desperately willed a baby to stay asleep! Watching a stranger’s baby for two minutes is one thing but having to comfort said baby would have been beyond my means!

Thankfully ‘baby Andrew’ obliged and his mum was back without a single stir from him.

We exchanged some small chat, through which I sensed what a wonderful woman she was and the struggle it can be to get a toddler and a new baby out for the day – a struggle I’ve seen so many of my friends experience. Don’t get me wrong, this woman never complained, she merely discussed her day.

I continued with my writing and she continued to eat her lunch whilst amusing her toddler with a game of ‘4×4’. Every word she spoke was gentle and kind. This softness was mirrored in her little boy whose heartfelt ‘thank you’ at his mum buy him ice cream was adorable.

Their exchanges touched me. Here was a woman who had clearly given birth only weeks before, she was likely stressed and sleep deprived yet her son captivated her attention. I am sure that the little boy had no doubt that he was his mum’s ‘whole world’. It was admirable.

When I went to the till to pay my bill I asked to pay for theirs too. I didn’t give them one of my usual random Act of Kindness envelopes. Instead I did this silently and slipped out of the cafe without a word.

There was something even more magical about doing the act anonymously. It felt entirely selfish of course – afterall I get so much joy from doing acts of kindness and I had felt honoured to have witnessed such a loving family.

Perhaps we can all learn to give the people we are spending time with our undivided attention. It costs nothing to make someone feel like they are out ‘whole world’ as this lady had done with her little boys.

Also, of course, we should realise that kindness needn’t cost a penny. Sometimes the simple act of recognising when another soul is in need of help and reaching out is all that is needed. Sometimes even just a smile is enough.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

Love, light and healing, Fi xxx 

ovarian cancer

Love, light, kindness and the magical universe

So, many of you now know about my recent health update…my markers have risen and whilst I could have chosen to get down about the news I decided that life is for living…truely madly deeply LIVING and, with that in mind, I am far too busy having fun to waste any energy on feeling sorry for myself.

This post, however, isn’t about my health situation or even cancer for that matter…it is instead about my favourite topic…kindness!

I had another one of those wonderful moments that makes me grateful for the incredible universe I find myself  in and the wonderful way in which it works.

I’ll get to the point….

On Sunday I was meant to be at a day long yoga event. Tiredness and listening to the signals of my body, however, led me to retract my place in favour of some time at home. My hubby was taking my car to the garage to get my tyres changed and asked me to come along. I contemplated staying at home but he insisted, explaining that I would just be sitting in the car. Agreeing I went along for the journey.
However, the garage had a delay and we were faced with an hour wait. Rather than ‘wasting’ the time, we decided to go out for lunch and found ourselves in a local cafe in Perth.

Whilst sitting there waiting for our food the people at the next table caught my eye. Something about the man at the table reminded me of my, much loved (and missed)  grandad. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Perhaps the glint in his eye, the way he spoke to the children at the table, the love he showed them. I got that feeling I get when I know I need to hand out one of my kindness envelopes.

I waited until we were leaving and then, nervously approaching the table, I handed the man one of my kindness envelopes. And then I forgot all about it. It was literally as if it had never happened. That is, until the man got in touch with a beautiful message.

Hi Fi

We met (or passed) briefly in Reid’s Café Perth this lunchtime when you left something very special on our table. I hope you had as much joy with your act as the profound affect it had on us. Truly inspirational.

When I get time I will read some more of your interesting and inspirational blog. From what I have read so far you have been through the very same experience my sister had 12 years ago and she is still going strong.

I wish you the very best for the future and thank you for the gift. By gift I mean the inspiration from the thoughtful act of random kindness which is truly infectious.

Now, I am sure you will realise the significance of these words. Here I was having recently been told that my cancer markers were rising, I’d just decided to stop further treatment and, as if by magic, I was having a conversation with someone who could offer me a beautiful message of hope. The universe was once again passing on the very words I needed to hear at the exact time I needed to hear them. It may seem crazy but this gave me the validation that my decision was the right one.
The wonder of this recipient didn’t end there. Oh no, this person is actually quite magical…

They are handing out their own kindness envelopes and spreading my message through what they affectionately refer to as the ‘kindness virus’ – I’m glad to see I picked someone with my sense of humour!

My first thought soon after I opened your envelope was to donate the money to charity but since then I have decided I would like to follow your example and spread joy, inspiration and hope like you. I will certainly donate to cancer research again and follow your lead with “Random Acts of Kindness” envelopes. With your permission I would also like to forward the one you left for me along with your card so that others might learn from your story.

He’s even written his own message for his kindness envelopes…

You are probably wondering why you received this gift from a stranger.

The same thing happened to me recently, the only difference was that the envelope also contained a card warning about the early signs of ovarian cancer.

The card also gave links to the website and Facebook page of someone who I later found out to be a truly inspirational person who is on a mission to spread awareness, inspiration, joy and kindness through her story, activities and quest to deliver “Random Act of Kindness” envelopes to strangers.

Her name is Fiona Munro and her website is fkmunro.com and her Facebook page is facebook.com/thefkmunroblog.

As well as the happiness and joy she experiences giving gifts to strangers I am sure she would love to hear if recipients have been touched by the kindness or are encouraged to spread the message of kindness through actions and/or gifts to strangers. 

I am anonymous because I am only a ripple in the pond where Fiona has cast her kindness stones.

Isn’t this magical?!
That night I went to see Prof Brian Cox give a talk in Edinburgh. Amongst his many mind blowing explorations of the universe he delved into the subject of mortality. ‘The world will one day cease to exist’ he explained. ‘The planet we love and call home is finite.’ ‘This doesn’t make me sad. Neither does the fact that I too am finite,’ he went on. ‘Rather it is this fact that encourages me to do more so that I can change the world and leave a legacy.’

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

So, thank you my dear latest kindness recipient for being part of my kindness legacy and pledging to keep it going.

Perhaps those of you reading this will be inspired to do the same too…

Love and light, Fi xxx

gratitude, kindness, positivity

Love and Kindness – RAOK Envelope

Yesterday I handed out one of my random act of kindness envelopes. It’s been a while I know! – for those of you who aren’t familiar with these cash envelopes I hand out out to strangers you can read more here.
I was out having lunch with my hubby and two friends in a local cafe when I spotted the owner having cuddles with another customer’s dog. Now, I’m never one to miss out on the chance for any kind of animal encounter so, of course, I made my way over to join the fun.

I was met by a huge dog full of affection – a result of a clearly loving owner! As I was walking back to my table the owner of the cafe explained that the women and the dog were regulars and that the dog is provided with a tuna sandwich all of its own when they visit. Yes you read that right!

Well I was so touched by this clear act of love. As many of you know my dog was a huge support to me during my treatment and so it’s always a joy for me to see similar relationships. So, without hesitation I got out an envelop and asked the owner to pass it on to them without telling them it was from me. This was a new approach as ordinarily I pass it on myself.

The feeling was just as wonderful as always – knowing that through a simple act of passing on the kindness that had been giving to me I was brightening a stranger’s day. I LOVE it! I hope that it will have brought joy and love to this person in an, all too often, sad world. 

More importantly I hope it will have reminded them (and you reading this post) that kindness is a wonderful and powerful thing that can really change the world.

I love being able to pass on this kindness to otherrs and I’m so grateful to each and every one of you who has ever donated to my ‘kindness’ pot.

Remember, kindness doesn’t have to be the ‘gift’ of cash. It can be a smile; holding open a door; forgiving someone; listening; hugging…the list is endless. What act of kindness will you do today?

With love and light, Fi xxx 

EDIT: I received this beautiful response from the recipient…

Hello Fi. Yes I had to investigate and discover the kind person who chose me as the recipient of your gift. What a surprise it was. I’m still getting my head round what turned out to be a memorable Saturday. I was taken with your joy when meeting Mia and the look on your husband’s face when you were leaving was also notable – now I know. You have been through the wars and I am pleased to learn that you are surviving and making the most of life. I hope that I may encounter you in the future but meantime your kindness is much appreciated. Keep well 💜

ovarian cancer

The Importance of Going the Extra Mile

Today I had an absolutely incredible experience I want to share with you all!

A dear friend invited me out for afternoon tea at Malmaison Dundee – this was a potential nightmare for me!…due to range of allergies and stage four cancer I follow a strict no dairy, no gluten and no sugar diet and, historically, that basically eliminates everything in an afternoon tea.

I nervously called the hotel and explained my allergies weeks in advance. ‘Not a problem at all’ they explained. Still, I was nervous. I so didn’t want to be ill and, selfishly, I also didn’t want to be faced with a dull salad I could make at home while my friend was spoiled.

Well the pastry chef went above and beyond! She carefully prepared a beautiful selection of food for me. Each item met my dietary needs and she even carefully didn’t use any artificial sweeteners either! She went one step further and came to introduce herself and explain genuinely that she had enjoyed the challenge of creating something new!

This was without doubt the best eating experience I have had since diagnosis! For the first time in months I felt I was eating like a ‘normal’ person and it was incredible! The simple act of this wonderful woman taking pride in her work gave me an amazing experience.

In fact, all of the staff were exceptional and I feel truly blessed!

This post is a HUGE thank you to Sara the pastry chef at Malmaison in Dundee and the rest of the team…especially our waitress too (she was awesome as well)! The world needs more people like you who take a pride in their work. Thank you for being awesome!

Unsurprisingly I gave Sara one of my random Act of Kindness envelopes too!

Perhaps we can all learn from people like Sara. We can…

  • Enjoy our work
  • Take a challenge as an opportunity to learn
  • Help others
  • Smile
  • Be kind
  • Go the extra mile

I feel truely blessed to have had such a lovely experience.

Thank you to everyone involved!

Love and light, Fi xxx

kindness, positivity

RAOK Christmas – Days 11 – 15

Where has the time gone?…

I pledged to hand out one of my kindness envelopes every day between 1st and 24th December but it simply hasn’t happened for many reasons including a lot of resting and also some much needed time with my nearest and dearest!

I’m still, of course, handing out 24 envelopes in December (I don’t break promises) but now I’m just handing out multiple on the days I do venture out.

So, this is a wee update on 5 envelopes I handed out over a week ago. I hope these short stories inspire you to do good and to be kind.

Christmas Envelope  11

Many of you now know that I recently did a shark dive for Maggies’s Centres. It was an incredible experience that I’ve wanted to do for over nine years but had been putting off. If it hadn’t been for the support of my incredible oncologist and Macmillan nurse it would have remained a dream as my health conditions would have prevented it becoming a reality. However, with their support I was able to do it and I’m so so grateful! It was absolutely mind blowing.

Yup that’s me with a tiger shark!

Anyway, as usual, I digress. The dive took place at Deep Sea World in Scotland. It’s one of my favourite places as I love the sea more than anything else – a result of growing up on Guernsey. We’d been there the week before for my original date for diving and I’d handed out a couple of envelopes but my dive had been postponed for medical reasons so we were back again. Now, what you may not know is that we’d also been there the week before my surgery. It was one of the special things I did with my hubby to celebrate life that week.

That was back in May but a chance meeting with a wonderful woman who worked there had stuck with me and I was so glad to see her again that I gave her an envelope.

You see, back in May I was in the middle of chemotherapy treatment and, a combination of extreme weight lose, muscle wastage and no hair meant that, despite my best efforts, I had the look of a typical cancer patient.

When we were in the cafe at Deep Sea World a member of staff asked if she could give me a hug. I must have looked confused because she had quickly explained that she had had cancer in the past and that so had her mum. We began talking and she explained that her mum had had ovarian cancer. The same as me! She’d also had a big operation and was now doing grand! It was such a blessing to hear and exactly what I needed to calm my nerves so close to my own operation. The woman gave me the peace of mind that nothing else would and over the coming weeks and months I thought of her often.

So, a few weeks ago, following my shark dive my family and I sat down for lunch in the cafe again and here she was working (oddly she hadn’t been working the week before so if my dive hadn’t been postponed then I wouldn’t have seen her). We chatted and hugged again and this time she told me how well her mum was doing. Again, she left me inspired and filled with hope.

This woman is an angel to me and so deserving of an envelope. In fact, it was one of my favourite to hand over. I only wish I could have done more for this beautiful soul.

Christmas Envelope 12

One of my other favourite things to do is go to the cinema. I have no idea why but for me it is one of the most exciting nights out. Perhaps it’s because you can loose all sense of reality whilst emerced in a movie. I don’t know but I love everything from the massive screen to the surround sound and dark room. I especially love the trailers which I call ‘mini movies’. If it was a choice between going to a bar or going to the cinema, I’d pick the cinema every time! So, hubby and I go on a regular basis.

Last week was no exception and we found ourselves in the queue with me buzzing as always at the thought of seeing a new film. In the queue behind us was a man and his wee boy. Just the two of them. It got me thinking…you don’t often see men out with their kids on their own. Well, not that often anyway. I remembered that every second Monday on my train journey to work I used to see a man and his wee boy having to say goodbye to each other. I watched this relationship for two years during which the wee boy grew from about two to four. Every goodbye was as heartbreaking to watch as the previous. The wee boy would be crying and telling his daddy how much he loved him. The dad would be smiling and telling the boy that he’d see him in two weeks. They’d talk about the fun they’d had and the adventures they’d have the next time. Every time the dad was wiping his own eyes whenever the boy wasn’t looking. It was one of my favourite moments, seeing this connection between two souls who unconditionally loved each other but couldn’t be together. It was both heartbreaking and life affirming to witness.

The man and his child in the cinema got me thinking about this and, for some reason, I knew I had to give them an envelope. The man looked somewhat bemused as people often do when I approach them but, moments later, I saw them laughing together at the sweet counter and I knew I’d chosen well.

Christmas Envelope 13, 14 and 15

A few months ago I was honoured to be asked to speak at two Macmillan lunches for Team McKeown. It was a real privaledge to work with such amazing people.


Following the events, Caroline McKeown who leads this team with her hubby Des, very kindly offered me free tickets to see Michelle MacManus perform in Glasgow with an incredible Indian meal before hand at Ashoka Regent Brasserie in Kirkintilloch. It was such an amazing gift and a wonderful act of kindness that meant I could take out some great friends who have supported me this year.

Everything was perfect from the meal – which was so incredibly tasty! – to Michelle’s performance.


Whilst at the show I had decided to hand out three of my kindness envelope but(!) instead of handing them all out myself I gave one to each of my friends (aka Christmas helpers) to hand out too.


I gave mine to a young couple looking very much in love standing beside me in the never ending queue at the bar.

One of my friends gave hers to a woman walking behind us as we left – sadly I didn’t get a look at her.

My other friend, however, gave hers to a woman that not only ended up sitting beside me but who had also seen me present at the Macmillan lunches and what a blessing this woman was to me…

Seriously! She was like meeting an angel. This woman spoke from her soul about how my presentation had touched her and inspired her to ‘no longer sit back as an observer‘ but to ‘take action‘ and ‘make a change‘. She spoke with such passion and love as she told me her story and loses she’d experienced. We held each other, we sang together, we laughed and we cried and, I can honestly say, that despite our brief encounter, this woman touch my soul.

I said to her, “you know I think we needed to meet.” She replied telling me that “yes” she’d needed the inspiration. “No” I laughed “I think we needed to meet for me”.

And you know what? I truely meant it too. I’m a firm believer that you never meet anyone by chance, that everyone you meet has a lesson to teach you or a story that you need to hear. Just with the woman in the cafe mentioned above, this woman came into my life with her story at the right time and I was listening. Thank you beautiful soul.

So, what my message to you all? Listen carefully to what the world is trying to tell you. You never know where the story could lead you.

Love and light, Fi xxx

Ps. On Christmas Eve I handed out an incredible 10 Kindness envelopes!!…I’ll post an update soon!xxx