See you again

Sorry for the lack of post last night. 

We went on our date night to see Fast and Furious 7, which blew us away. Definitely the best F and F yet. I am not going to spoil the ending for people who have yet to see it (even if you are not that into cars you will enjoy it – pure entertainment). For die hard F and F fans the ending is perfect and a fitting tribute to Paul Walker. For those of you who have grown up with Fast & Furious, take tissues as its a real tear jerker – it feels like the end of an era and that is very, very sad.

Today myself, my best friend and my daughter swam in a swimathon to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer care. Together we swam over 200 lengths and raised £230. It was tough but I was super proud of my daughter who did 70 lengths having not swam for a year and covered the distance in backstroke, freestyle and breast-stroke.

This was our fourth year doing the challenge and the sense of pride and satisfaction at going the distance still remains. 

I am hoping I will sleep better tonight as a result, as last night I was thinking about PW and the lyrics to this musical tribute – (today just topped the UK singles charts) –

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Constructive kick-ass

I am pleased to be writing this blog for Unicef, especially at times of crisis such as the Ebola outbreak. It is heart-breaking to hear how many families it has devastated so any support given to Unicef to help protect families from this horrific disease is fantastic.

Human resilience and perseverance despite the most awful conditions, both physically and emotionally, is amazing and if everyone can pull together it is possible to fight such diseases. I wonder how much longer cancer will be around for. I love the current advert about the progress to fight the disease, ‘cancer its time to die’. There is nothing like the feeling of empowerment to conquer grief and fear. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and get on with it.

If all else fails, get angry and channel that anger effectively.

The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and dull the pain, which the vice of alcohol and drugs tends to support all too easily.

I’m rambling now but I guess what I’m trying to say is when you are feeling low, no matter what the reason, shake yourself up and go kickass (but in a constructive not destructive way).

This blog is for Unicef,a charity that has been kicking ass on behalf of vulnerable children for decades.

Thanks for reading.

2014 – bring it on!

Wow its 2014! What a Christmas was had in the South East of the UK. Power cuts, floods and general chaos. At one point we contemplated barbecuing our turkey outside on the chiminea because of the power loss (which would have been interesting as it was a bird big enough to fed 8-9 people). However Father Christmas came to the rescue and brought power with him as well as present for my  daughter and son (a rather lovely painting of a Swift 18 sail-boat for my daughter and a fire-engine for baby boy).

We were lucky, many people were out of power for the entire Christmas week. One day was a novelty – wrapping presents by head-torch, eating supper by candlelight, kids unable to watch TV) but beyond that it was a nuisance. My in-laws were putting up with a freezing cold circa 1600’s house, giving them a glimpse into what life was like for the inhabitants when it was first built. When the power eventually returned they then they lost water. We all got a healthy dose of realising what we take for granted.

This year we actually did something for New Year’s Eve. A few of us went round to a friend’s house, brought food and children and then proceeded to wreck the place (the children made quite a mess too). My baby boy eventually passed out at 11.15 and my daughter counted down to midnight with some of her classmates. It was great and well worth the baking frenzy earlier on in the day as we all scrabbled to get food together. We also played a game where we wrapped unwanted christmas presents and swapped them round the table at each roll of the dice. It got very competitive and a bit random (husband wearing my friends pair of Calvin Klein pants that she got for Christmas from her husband but were too small). I have yet to try them on but don’t fancy my chances….

I looked back at my blog post this time last year and was glad to read that I had completed some New Year’s resolutions – I raised, with my friends, over 200 pounds for the Bhopal Medical Appeal (a charity that helps the victims of the lethal chemical spill in India in the early 80’s that killed thousands and maimed thousands more). I also swam nearly 100 lengths for Marie Curie Cancer Care’s Swimathon. This year I will aim to swim nearly 200 lengths. I also want to research aid for Haiti as I will be visiting that country later on this month as my Dad has treated me and my family to the holiday of a lifetime cruising the Caribbean.

For newcomers to this blog, I write a post every day to encourage bloggers and visitors to WordPress to donate to Unicef – the charity that works to protect vulnerable children world-wide. For every day I miss a post, I donate one pound to Unicef. Over the Christmas period I have missed 8 posts, so that’s 8 pounds to Unicef. So far I have raised 92 pounds so I am now aiming to hit 200 pounds. If you would like to donate to the cause visit my page on Unicef’s site here.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Swimming for the team

We did it! Today we cracked the Marie Curie Cancer Care Swimathon challenge completing 200 lengths of our local pool between five of us (3 adults and 2 children). I had hoped to achieve a personal goal of 80 lengths but that would have meant tempering the enthusiasm of my daughter and her friend who were desperate to jump in and do more. At the end of each length they were nagging me saying “when can we jump in again?” So my friend and I conceded and did 50- 60 lengths each so that the girls could finish off the job.

It started off as more of a challenge in dodging the geriatric breast-strokers at the beginning of the session as my friend found she was expending more energy over-taking five older women than eating up the lengths. My daughter accidentally mowed one of the older ladies down with her speedy back-stroke, although soon returned to their pace again when doing breast-stroke as her technique is not quite there yet. 

It was a fantastic event made all the more enjoyable because we were working as part of a team and inspiring the younger members of our team to swim more lengths. They now want to do it next year and do it in their own team independent of the adults. My friend, who was a gala swimmer in her younger days, has only just returned to swimming and is hooked. She is keen to do the 5k by herself next year as her father reminded her that she did it when she was 11. 

Well done to Marie Curie CC for organising such a brilliant event and we look forward to doing it again next year in 2014 when sport relief will also be partnering the event. I might as well give 200 lengths a go next year too (gulp!).

I am blogging every day for Unicef to raise money for this important global charity. If you like this blog and would like to support the campaign, please visit my page on Unicef’s site.

Thanks for reading.

Ramping up for the swimathon

Just returned from having swam 60 lengths in prep for the swimathon on Sunday for Marie curie Cancer Care. I have been enjoying doing the Swimfit programme, which breaks up the distances into manageable chunks of 4 – 20 lengths. Drills include pool buoy and float work focusing on stamina and strength. I went this evening with a friend who used to swim in galas as a youngster however I only started swimming seriously in the past four years.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been away from swimming, if you have a good technique that never leaves you. When my friend did her front crawl sprint, I couldn’t keep up with her, despite the fact that the last time she seriously swam was in the 90’s. I am more of a plodder, endlessly ploughing up and down the lanes counting as I go. I have had lots of support from friends and family so hopefully our team will raise a significant amount for the cancer charity. For more information on Marie Curie visit their website.

On the subject of charities, I get requests for money on my doormat every week. The latest was from the BUAV, an anti-vivisection campaign, which had listed all remarks made by people in the animal testing department at Imperial College London – it makes for very unpleasant reading. lets just say animal welfare is not high on the agenda at Imperial college London – they just sound like a bunch of freaks that get off on torture – nice to know the next generation of scientists are level-headed caring human beings? The place should be closed down.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – please visit my page on their site for more info.

Thanks for reading.

Going to great lengths

I have just signed up for the Swimathon Challenge this Spring to help raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. I did it last year and swam a mile (65 lengths) but this time I am doing it with a team of friends and family (family being my 7 year old daughter) and attempting a team total of 195 lengths (gulp!). It isn’t until April so have gone into denial about how many lengths I will have to do.

I am going to have to up the prep as currently I swim once a week in the pool at my work and only manage 20 lengths in my lunch break – I am going to have to do a whole lot more than that so that I am not relying on my daughter and friends to make up the shortfall!

So why do it? Well I took up swimming late in life after buggering up my collarbone in a riding accident and was told that the front crawl/ freestyle swim would be good for it. So I took a few lessons (having always been a breastroke swimmer, the idea of putting my head in the water frightened the living daylights out of me) and I eventually got the hang of it. So to then take what I had learnt and apply it over a distance was a great challenge to enter into.

I would like to be able to do 100 lengths this year, meaning my friends plus children can divvy up the 95 between them.

For those of you unfamiliar with Marie Curie Cancer Care, the charity provides nurses for people who are terminally ill, providing care for them in their homes or in a hospice. They are vital to helping patients and their families experience some respite from their illness and make life as easy and as pain free/ stress free as possible for all concerned. In addition they also campaign for better care for terminally ill people. One of my friends, who is joining my team, has just recovered from cancer and her mother is undergoing treatment for cancer at the moment. For more information on the charity and the swimathon, please visit the Marie Curie site.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. I aim to generate £1 a day from happy readers. If you are able to support the campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading.


Making a difference in 2013 – lets start with the Bhopal disaster

Hi all, hope you had good christmasses/ holidays and enjoyed seeing in/ sleeping through the new year. My mission with this blog is to raise money for Unicef. I hope to raise at least £100 this year through my blog if not more. I am seeking fellow bloggers to give a donation, no matter how small, to Unicef after reading my blog. If one blogger donated £1 each day Unicef would be able to buy a vaccination for one child – so if I achieve my target of £100 – then lots of children get immunised. Unicef also work hard to protect children in war torn and poverty stricken situations and this money will help their eneavours world-wide. I pay a fee to Unicef for my downtime. This year I will start with £11 as I have not blogged for 11 days over the Christmas period.

Over the past few days I have been thinking about what I can do to help the world be a better place for 2013. What happens to children in care or in families who are unable to buy christmas presents? Are there charities out there that bring Christmas to these children? Either way I would like to know if stores such as John Lewis have some budget in their corporate social responsibility expenditure to donate a few of their toys to children in need in the UK? I am going to look into this and keep you posted.

I am once again going to swim for Marie Curie Cancer care this Spring – but this time an even longer distance in a relay with my daughter and friends affected by cancer. Last year I did 64 lengths so would like to aim for closer to 100. My daughter has recently got her level 3 swimming badge so hopefully she will be able to do a couple of lengths with me along with her friends and my friends – between us we should be able to cover a few miles. I  must invest in a new costume though because the one I have was designed for when I was better endowed (they have shrunk to nothing since breast-feeding ceased) I am still mourning the loss of boob now :(.

I love powerhoop – an exercise craze that tones the midriff through hoola hoping with a weighted hoop. I am hoping to convince my instructor and fellow hoopers to do a rountine to music for Unicef on London’s embankment next to the EDF London Eye (will keep you posted on this too).

Finally I read a gripping book about the industrial chemcal leak tragedy in the eighties that left hundreds of thousands of people dead or maimed. The effects of which are still present today in the form of cancers, infertility and psychological disorders. It happened when I was only four years old yet I didn’t hear about it until now. It should be on the history timeline as one of the world’s greatest tragedies but sadly it isn’t (it should be on the same awareness level as the Titanic and September 11th 2001). I am referring to Bhopal and the American owned Union Carbide chemical leak that suffocated and blinded thousands of indian infants, children, women, men and livestock. What’s worse, Union Carbide paid out a miniscule amount in damages. Carbide’s managing Director, at that time, is still in hiding after the Indian government found him guilty of homicide. The company completely disregarded safety procedures, then tried to lay the blame on Indian workers. What’s worse, the factory is still rotting and contaminating India today. The company that now owns Union Carbide, the Dow Chemical Company, have not made any effort to clear up the mess of the Bhopal legacy and a US court, in all its infinite wisdom, ruled that the Indian Government is responsible for the clean-up – sounds fair doesn’t it?  In the article online there is a picture of Indian people calling for the hunt for Osama,  a few years ago, to be re-directed to the hunt for the Union Carbide president of the eighties – Warren Anderson. Their voice has gone un-heard – why? Because lives of people in the West are more important than Indian lives (of course this is not my belief but the belief of senior American officials and corporate executives who have to date done nothing to help India out of a humanitarian disaster caused by the actions of American industry). To make matters worse, the organisers of London 2012, in all thier infinite wisdom, allowed Dow to be a sponsor – nice touch. Just as nice was letting BP sponsor the event too not long after completely fucking up part of America’s coastline and environment. The consequences for companies who mess with people’s lives, livelyhoods and surrounding environment needs to be severe – allowing them to sponsor is just as bad as letting cigarette companies sponsor events – they aren’t allowed to do it so why should Dow and BP – they contaminate health too. Read more about the Bhopal Disaster on Wikipedia. Read more about the Dow sponsorship of the olympics here.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.