London Marathon 2016 #PituitaryPromise

14 June 2015

A month and a half ago, I embarked on a campaign that is going to play a rather exciting, wonderful, scary and massive part in my life over the next 10 months.

I will be running the London Marathon in April 2016 for The Pituitary Foundation.

Firstly, big shout out goes to Rosie. On the day I found out I had been offered a place to run, I drove round to her house screaming 'help me!!' and both she and her hubby reassured me I was doing something absolutely amazing. Classic me, playing it cool as always.

Why am I crazy enough to be doing this?

- My Dad suffered a brain tumour in 2008, and whilst going through radiotherapy, his pituitary gland was 'zapped' by mistake and killed off.
- Although he is 'well' from his brain tumour, he now lives every day on a concoction of pills, injections and gels to give him replacement hormones that his pituitary gland cannot make. Without the crazy amount of medication he has to take daily, he would die.
- The Pituitary Foundation are a small charity. Their funding is tiny compared to many charities, and I want to make a difference and give them the airtime and awareness that they deserve. They only get 1 place in the London Marathon every 5 years, which is ridiculous. I'm proud to be doing this for them.
- Over 50,000 people in the UK have a rare pituitary disorder, and it makes life incredibly hard. Imagine living life without hormones? No. I can't either. But over 50,000 people have to.

My Dad's life will never be the same. Every day is a struggle for him and our family, but I wanted to prove to him that anything is possible. He is very much a glass half empty person, but I'm a glass half full girl, and my glass has champagne in. He is lucky to be alive, and despite the complications, life is worth living and more awareness needs to be made about the 'Master Gland'. We all have this gland after all, but most of us don't even know its there.

Over the next 10 months, I will be training hard for the end goal..the London Marathon, and will have a number of challenges along the way, including Run or Dye and the Bournemouth Half Marathon. There will also be a number of exciting fundraisers on the way, including things to do with my music.

This video explains it all much better than I can in a blog post.

I hope you join me on my journey, and if anyone can spare any cash, nomatter how much, then YOU are helping me to make positive change. My JustGiving page is here, and please follow my #PituitaryPromise campaign as much as you can.

Thank you xxx

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Life Lately and a giveaway!

12 June 2015

Happy Friday! What escapades have you all been up to? Here's a little update of my life:

Back in late May, I went to Bournemouth 7s festival. It's a sport and music festival that sees thousands of people get together to play rugby, netball, hockey and dodgeball in teams of 7, and obviously incorporates some alcoholic beverages and goes on late into the night with music and DJs. I only went to one day, but it was really brilliant. The guys didn't win the rugby but they had a rather good, albeit hungover from the night before go!

I've been spending a lot of time with friends, old and new. One thing about being an independent person is that I have to take it upon myself to meet new people. I met Megan (above) at Bournemouth 7s as she's one of the girlfriends of the guys, and she's pretty much my new best friend now. She's the same height, born one day apart and we just had such a similar personality. I also started at my new book club with Rosie that she had invited me too, so met a group of new girls there who were also lovely. I'm excited to start reading our book for this Summer which is 'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern. I'm going to start it on the plane to Orlando so I can really get stuck in!

I injured myself over a week ago in a bootcamp class. I honestly never injure myself, so I was absolutely gutted as my gym manager told me I had to rest for a week. I find it so difficult to rest - I need to be out keeping active, whether it's at the gym, or a quick run, cycling along the seafront or walking Max, so to be banned from doing anything was pretty awful. However, I'm back at it and went straight into boxing and bootcamp again. In my workout on Wednesday, I did what felt like 20,000 kettlebell swings and my body was crying afterwards. I keep getting asked about my fitness routine and the blog post is on it's way so stay tuned!

There have been some rather beautiful sunsets recently. This is a sunset from Hengistbury Head and it's just divine. I love walking Max at dusk (much to my dad's disgust..keep safe and all that!) but the sunsets are just too good to miss. I could spend so much of my time at the beach, and watching the sun go down is a great time to think and can bring a whole lot of clarity, especially when you have lots on your mind.

I also have a giveaway for you! The Power of Poison exhibition based in Whitechapel, London are letting me giveaway two tickets to their exhibition for any day before it ends in September. It's a creepy but educational tour about the history of poisons, hosted by a variety of actors. There are also interactive sections to the tour where you can get involved with certain things. I will be going to see this exhibition once I get back from Orlando and am really excited because I love science and learning about things like this.

To enter, just use the widget below - the giveaway ends in a week and I will announce the winner via Twitter, and you will be emailed by a member of the Power of Poison UK team to sort your tickets. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Suitcase Essentials

7 June 2015

Holiday klaxon! I fly to Orlando in 13 days, and to say I'm looking forward to it is the biggest understatement of 2015. It's more can't sleep, can't eat, must hug Mickey Mouse as soon as I get there excitement. I'm not going to even begin to describe about my Disney obsession as you all know about that already.

I have been packing pretty much constantly for the last month. I've tactically had my Roxy suitcase to one side in my room so that every time I buy a new pair of shorts or a new top, I just whack in, and then I'm already half way there. Crafty eh? It now means that I have no last minute packing panic and all I need to do is just double check everything, zip it up, and head off to Gatwick for a glass of pre-flight champagne. Ideal.

So what are my suitcase essentials for this year? Read on friends.

001. Travel Documents - I'm going to Orlando as part of a group of family friends, and currently, I do not have a single travel document on me as I didn't book the holiday. However, when I do, they will be going straight in my Cath Kidston travel wallet, along with my passport and travel insurance. If you're a bit of a travel document freak like myself, then travel wallets are ideal. When I went skiing in March, I had extra print outs of all of our bookings and transfers just because I like to be careful. You never know people!

002. Toiletries - We're staying at Disney's Old Key West Resort, and I'm sharing a room with my total bff Rosie, so we've decided to be savvy and share toiletries to save room on packing, and it means there's more room for shopping when we're away (oh yes!). Obviously, we take the usual shampoos, conditioners, body wash etc, but I like to buy sun lotion when I'm in Florida. Australian Gold is divine and half the price as in the UK.

003. Clothes - Unlike a lot of holidays, you don't have to massively dress up in Disney. I'm taking a couple of Summer dresses, but am mainly packing comfortable clothes for days around the parks such as shorts, tshirts, mini dresses and flip flops. I'm also in love with my new Nike's for roaming the parks in. They will keep me rather comfortable all day.

004. Adaptors - This is probably my best tip (and one I have to thank Brogan for). I always pack an adaptor, but pack an extension lead as well. We've all been there when you only have one adaptor - someone wants to charge their phone and/or camera, someone wants to dry their hair etc. The extension lead eliminates all the hassle.

Now I just have to wait two weeks until I'm boarding that Virgin Atlantic flight, and I think time is going to go very slowly... It's been 6 months since I last gave Mickey Mouse a hug and I'm ready to see him again!

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Collaborative post with Age UK

Royal Bath and West Show 2015

3 June 2015

An invite popped into my inbox recently which I will admit, I was far too excited for than should probably be allowed. Nope, it was nothing to do with fashion week or anything like that. It was to visit the Royal Bath and West Show as the guests of Barber's 1833. The show is basically one big food/animal/agricultural show, complete with acres of stalls, food halls and animal shows. It's typically British and has my name written all over it. I'd been previously, but never as the guest of such a distinguished company. In the world of cheese (which is a good world to be in of course) Barber's 1833 are rather special. They are the oldest cheddar makers in the world, and their farm in Somerset has been going for many years, still being family run.

Rosie and I donned our Barbour and Tweed jackets, and off to Shepton Mallet we went. And I vlogged the whole thing, just for your entertainment.

We made some new friends at the show, in the name of pigs, cows and very loud sheep. I think we could have stayed in the animal sections for the whole day had we had the time. Rosie was particularly in love with the pigs, and I built a relationship with a sheep. 

Rosie found her calling in life - she's been in the wrong industry so far, so it seems! We actually tried quite a few cider's on the day, but this was definitely one of our favourite brands. I liked it even more as the packaging had a Jack Russell Terrier on the front.

Now, with Barbers 1833, the challenge was to make a rather gourmet cheese toastie. I can honestly say that I have never felt so pressured in all of my life to make, what I would consider, a rather standard meal. Our toasties were prepared and went out to a panel of judges in white coats and aprons. We had to use Barbers Cheddar in the ingredients, so I went for parma ham, spring onion and black pepper. Rosie went for four cheeses (including some delicious goats cheese) and chutney. Amazingly, I came second which was rather exciting.

We then had a talk from Sheppy's cider which is local to Taunton in Somerset, and had a tasting session to see what ciders went best with the Barbers cheddar. I absolutely loved this part as I enjoy learning about alcohol and what suits different ingredients. Rosie was incredibly excited by this part too, as you can see. That is a face of pure cheese and cider happiness.

We finished off with a talk about some of the winning cheeses, and this fellow with a rather nice 'official dairy judge' badge told us all we needed to know. Being in a room full of cheese was rather surreal but as you can imagine, we weren't complaining as there was lots of tasting involved. (Ideal). 

It was an absolutely fantastic day and I urge everyone to make the trip for a seriously wonderful day out. There is something for everyone at the Royal Bath and West Show, be it the animals, the amazing food, the shows or just the shopping. Rosie and I were in our element and we could have done with another day there if we'd had the chance. 

Thank you to Barbers 1833 for reigniting my love for yummy cheese toasties. 

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