Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Future Starts Here

I started writing this blog following my own diagnosis with breast cancer in May 2009. Now, three years later, it's time to move on - and to give something back.

My story has been told, both on this blog and in my book The Elegant Art of Falling Apart [Hachette, Australia; Unbound, UK].

But the Chemo Chic story continues with the launch of The Chemo Chic Project.

The Chemo Chic Project is about living well, now, in this moment. It's about looking great despite our hair falling out. It's about eating delicious and health-giving food. It's about getting through the tears and laughter that each day brings, sharing the load and helping one another. 

Here you’ll find useful information on everything from tying scarves and finding natural and organic make-up, to accessing benefits to meditation techniques and simple, healthy but delicious recipes. There are also links to all of the most helpful and fantastic cancer related websites on our Address Book page.

Chemo Chic is for everyone who has experienced cancer – now or in the past. Chemo Chic is for everyone whose friend, family member or loved one has experienced cancer – now or in the past. In short, Chemo Chic is for everyone.

We want YOUR input. From your tales of wigs to recipes to make-up tips or brushes with crazy cancer cures - your experience will make all the difference to someone else who is yet to face the trauma and triumph of becoming totally Chemo Chic.

Together, we can create a brilliant resource for anyone going through the trauma of cancer. If you have a story that can inspire others, or just some good practical experience, then you have something to offer to The Chemo Chic Project. 

I sincerely thank you for your support, love and attention over the past three years. Please come over and visit The Chemo Chic Project website.

Chemo Chic is not about me, its about sharing what I've learned. Now I am asking you to do the same - Jessica Jones, founder of The Chemo Chic Project.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

How the World of Wigs Has Changed

Deepa had to go through the trauma of losing her hair as a teenager. Now, she's facing it all over again. Deepa writes...

My first 'wig experience' was 29 years ago. I was 14 and had just been diagnosed with leukaemia. An NHS 'wig woman' came to see me in my hospital room. She did not like that my mum, my dad's work colleague and I were being silly trying on all sorts of wigs to help me deal with losing my waist length hair. Thinking that a bald head might be slippy, I asked her ,"what would happen if it is windy" (thinking the wig might blow off). She replied in very cold tones "well you'll just have to be careful won't you". I never did wear the appalling wig that was supplied. Now, so many years later I'm back there again contemplating hair loss as this time I face breast cancer. The person I am seeing couldn't be more different - kind, understanding and accommodating. It feels as if it matters to him that the wig I have should look absolutely real. Things have certainly changed.

I hope that Deepa will keep us updated with her wig story as it unfolds (photos please!)

If you have a story to share, please email it to: chemochic@02.co.uk

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

What's In Your Cosmetics? Who Knows?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Box Clever

My recovery programme has involved a truckload of therapies: chemotherapy; radiotherapy; adjuvant therapy; massage therapy; green juice therapy; brown rice therapy; psychotherapy… to name but a few. The therapy that has undoubtedly been the most fun is my patented Product Replacement Therapy

PRT* involves replacing all of my toxic cosmetics and beauty products with superior natural alternatives. Good Glamour is a subject that has become as dear to my heart as it is to my wallet. I’ve said it before: natural cosmetics are the new crack!

I do know, from experience, how dizzyingly confusing this whole subject of non-toxic beauty can be. I have kissed numerous organic frogs on the path to finding my Good Glamour ‘princes’. Mistakes are undoubtedly costly.

So I’m really impressed with the people at Amarya who have come up with a cunning plan to get you hooked on natural cosmetics. It’s called the Amarya Beauty Box. So simple: for £10 a month they send you a box containing a wonderful full-sized product plus samples of what’s hot on the market. Try before you buy.

Inside my Beauty Box I found a tube of Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream (30ml – normal price £23.95) plus a trial size of Caudalíe Gentle Cleanser (30ml) and a sample sachet of John Masters Organics Vitamin C Anti-Aging Face Serum (2ml). Reviews to follow - stay tuned. That’s gotta be £10 worth in anyone’s language!

Amarya don’t insist that you sign up for a year but, if you do, they chuck in some extra freebies!

The Beauty Box is going straight onto Chemo Chic’s list of top pressies to give to a woman who is going through cancer. The prospect of having such a delightful surprise drop through the letter box each month certainly fills me with cheer.

*Don’t forget: Product Replacement Therapy – Live! Tell me which beauty product you can’t live without and I will suggest a fabulous non-toxic alternative that will soon become your new must-have. Join in on facebook, tweet @itsjessyjones with the hashtag #PRT or leave a comment below.

Talkin' About Hair Loss Baby!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Product Replacement Therapy - Live!

Almost three years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I dived head first into researching and informing myself about every possible cure and contributory factor, no matter how insane. 

Once I'd calmed down a bit, I realised that there were about five areas where I could make fundamental changes in my lifestyle that would improve my outcome and, ultimately, my life. These were: 
1. diet
2. exercise
3. spiritual practices
4. getting and giving help
5. possibly the most tricky - beauty products. 

When I began to find out about toxic ingredients in my everyday cosmetics I was deeply confused. In fact, I did not want to know. It all seemed like too much information. I had other things to worry about. Yet the seed had been planted... Gradually, I began to understand what some of the issues are, what the alternatives are, which products actually work and where to get them. As my studies unfolded I became more and more horrified by what I learned. Over time I have replaced every single expensive lotion and potion in my bathroom with a safe - and superior - alternative. And, I promise you I do not miss those old 'friends' at all. 

You too may be concerned about what’s in your beauty products – yet feel overwhelmed at the prospect of digesting all this confusing technical information about ingredients, carcinogens, hormone disruptors and the rest. 

Do not despair – Product Replacement Therapy is here to help (see point 4, above).

Just tell us which beauty product you can’t live without and we will suggest a fabulous non-toxic alternative that will soon become your new must-have.

Leave a comment below or tweet your product to @itsjessyjones with the hashtag #PRT.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

And More Good News...

My book, The Elegant Art of Falling Apart, is to be published in the UK this Spring. Based on this very blog, the book tells the story of cancer, a bad boyfriend and good friends. Only with a lot less waffle.

If you read the papers or listen to cultural shows on the radio or indulge in any kind of communication with the big wide world beyond facebook, you may be aware that the publishing industry is going through seismic shifts at the moment with old monoliths of the book world crumbling at an alarming rate and new publishing models erupting all over the place.

Unbound is one such innovative venture and I am excited to be a part of it. Here is how it works: go to the Unbound website, there you will see pitches for a gaggle of books by a gamut of interesting authors. Select the book or books that grab you (I do hope that you will select mine), peruse the pitch, watch the video and read the excerpt from the book. Then pledge to the project that inspires you: £10; £20; £100; £10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000… it’s up to you.

In return for your pledge you will not only get the soul satisfaction of supporting a book that has taken two years of my life and a large chunk of my sanity to write, but you will be personally thanked by the publishers who will inscribe your name into the book for posterity. The more you pledge, the greater your rewards: signed hardbacks; bags of sumptuous natural beauty products; signed flower portraits and afternoon tea with the author are on offer (hey – why stop there?) Of course, your ultimate reward will be in heaven.

Please pledge and help to bring The Elegant Art of Falling Apart to British shores.

“More life-affirming (and funny) than any self-help book” – Grazia

Airborne Glamour

So now you know that I am in sometimes-sunny Sydney. Obviously I got here on 
an aeroplane but unless you’ve ever done it yourself you may be unaware of just 
what a long and arduous flight it is from the UK to Australia… even for brats like 
me who insist on spending every penny of their hard earned cash on a business 
class ticket (best deals: Trailfinders). Which was just as well because after 
Royston drove me to the airport at 99 miles and hour with AC/DC’s Highway To 
Hell blasting at five thousand decibels I needed a bit of a lie down.

But Lily is not one to be idle for long. After reading the in-flight safety card, the 
in-flight menu and the in-flight movie programme, I put my time on the twenty-
four hour flight to work on your behalf researching in-flight beauty. 

For several years now our travels have been blighted by airport restrictions on 
what and how much we can take aboard planes in liquid, gel or lotion form. So 
packing the right products for a long flight takes meticulous planning.

After a great deal of deliberation about what I couldn’t live without for a whole 
day I have devised the Chemo Chic In-Flight Beauty Bag:

Products classed as liquids that must be carried in a clear plastic zip-lock bag.
  • Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate facial oil: mix a few drops with the moisturiser for extra richness. Because of limited space I use the moisturiser/ rosehip oil mixture on my hands as well, rather than taking a separate hand cream.
  • Comvita Propolis toothpaste: try to save an almost exhausted tube so you can roll it up and it won’t take up so much space in your zip-lock bag.
Products not classed as liquids.
  • Silk eye mask (the aeroplane ones tend to be plastic backed and scratchy).

Friday, 3 February 2012


First bit of good news that I've been meaning to tell you about:

To: Canalily
Subject: Congratulations!


I’m writing with some exciting news, which is that Chemo Chic has made
it into 4Beauty’s round-up of the best health blogs:

We love your blog and are so pleased to be able to feature it on the

Congrats again and Merry Christmas from the 4Beauty team.    

I am beyond pleased to be featured on their site. Channel Four's 4Beauty isn't just any old beauty website. It is, if you like, the Delia Smith of beauty sites - a gold mine of really useful basic information: make-up videos; fashion tips; how to wear lipstick and guides to creating glamorous hair styles. This is the kind of stuff that fashion magazines just don't tell us, the kind of stuff that I spent years figuring out.

My pick of the day from 4Beauty is How to Apply Mineral Makeup, something I've been meaning to write about but haven't quite found the time to do. I suggest that you read it immediately and save me the bother of writing a similar piece.

Best mineral foundations:

Oh My Goodness Is That The Time Already?

I know! I have abandoned you and I’m sorry. Every day I intend to write a piece 
for Chemo Chic. And every day the beach and the sunshine beckon me away from 
my laptop. By the time I return with my hair full of salt and my brain befuddled 
with bliss it seems that the only realistic course of action is to lie on the couch 
and languidly eat a mango whilst Samantha makes us a nice cup of tea.

I’m in Australia, in case you hadn’t twigged. In a way, I’m having the holiday that I 
missed out on two years ago when Nick did the dirty and our 'dream vacation' all went lurching hideously sideways. I’ve spent time in Tasmania, visiting Mum, Aunty Noni and my cousins Fay and Matilda. The weather was sublime. We swam every day with the giant 
stingrays in the aquamarine water of the bay. Stingrays are gentle souls really, as 
long as you don’t step on them. They hear you coming and just glide ahead like a 
guard of honour. I spent a lot of time standing on Mum’s verandah watching 
them moseying around on the sand, doing their stingray thing. Tasmania is rightly 
famed for its food. We did all the usual being attacked by catching fish from Noni’s boat, collecting mussels and samphire from the rocks and raiding Mum’s garden every evening 
for salads, beans, peas, zucchini, potatoes, corn, kale…

Then it was back to the city to catch up with all my Sydney friends: Mandy and 
Tony, now deep into married life; Lulu; Jimmy and of course Samantha, Lyla, Lily
Felix the cat and Lola the one-eyed pug. Living in Watson’s Bay is as bonkers as 
ever. Thank the Lord.

And now so much time has passed by I’m at a loss as to where to begin the catch-
up. So I’m just going to start posting up snippets, going back and forth in time to 
try to fill in some of the details of the past six or seven weeks.