Friday, 30 March 2012

Fundraising Friday No.1

So the blog and my fundraising page have been up for a full week now and I am already up to 18% of my total (My Fundraising Page), which is amazing considering I haven't actually done anything yet. But I have plans!
Firstly, I have an unspeakable amount of clothes in my wardrobe that have barely been worn (some even still have the tags in!) which I plan to sell on the wonderful ebay. Any money I make from the sales of these clothes will be added to the fund and I'll make plenty of space for all the new summer stuff I have just ordered!
Secondly, I am planning on holding monthly 'afternoon tea's' in the office, where I will be offering homemade cakes and sandwiches for a small fee. I'm hoping this will encourage people to take a break from their desks, talk to their colleagues and enjoy some yummy homemade goodies instead of the usual stale fodder found in the local supermarket.
And lastly, we are holding a company conference in May and I am hoping to be able to take over the evening's entertainment portion to put on something fun that will get the donations in. I have a few ideas floating around my head so far including pub-style quiz, karaoke competition or some sort of dance lesson to get people on their feet... what do you think? Any further suggestions welcome!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Thursday Thanks No.2

So this week's thanks goes out to Mr Mike Blows, who should have been in last weeks post but I didn't notice the donation until after I'd posted - oops.

The next thank you goes to Liz Hodge for her generous donation.

And the final thank you goes out to my amazing Mum and Dad, thank you so much for your huge donation and support. I'll be making at least one trip to see you in France to get some practice in the heat over the summer!

I'm now up to £265 which is 18% of my total target, so thank you. As I was mentioned in this months company newsletter I expect the donations to start flooding in (fingers crossed!) and I can start planning some events to raise even more money - so watch this space!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wedding Wednesday No.1

Welcome to the first Wedding Wednesday! Here you’ll read about how our wedding plans are coming along and our ideas and thoughts on the big day. This isn’t going to be a weekly feature as first of all I don’t intend to be doing wedding things every week, and also I don’t want to give everything away before the day.

So… the wedding. For those that don’t know I proposed to Andy on his birthday in July last year – I’m not the most patient of people (understatement of the year!) and so the fact that I had waited almost 7 years before proposing is fairly amazing – and thankfully he said yes. So after telling everybody and enjoying the many messages of congratulations that came our way it was time to get down to business. We settled on the date – 19th January 2013 – I’d always wanted a winter wedding and setting it 18 months away meant we had time to save the money to pay for it. Next task… the venue; we knew what we wanted – a barn with a fairly informal feel that we could decorate and really make ours – and though there are lots of places around they were all out of our price range. And then my Dad stumbled on Field Place in Worthing, a mere 5 minute walk from their house, and it was perfect.

Field Place is a council owned facility and is used for a wide range of events; there is an 18th Century Manor House set in 8 acres of grounds which comprises of 2 barns and various sporting facilities. For weddings they hold the ceremony in the house and the reception in one of the 2 barns which are just across the green – so exactly what we were looking for. As luck would have it they were having a wedding fair in a few weeks’ time so we took the opportunity to go down and have a look at the space and speak to the team. The staff at Field Place were great, happy to chat about all aspects of the day and full of information, they really seemed genuinely interested in helping you plan your day. The venue is super flexible with regards to timings, catering, set up etc. which meant we could really do exactly what we wanted. We decided to go back for a second time a few weeks later to talk to someone in a bit more detail and again the person we met with was full of information and really helpful, so we made a provisional booking there and then.

Date set, venue booked. DONE!

Next time... THE DRESS.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tuesday Training No.1

Welcome to my first Tuesday Training update! This is where I will be entertaining you with my training tales from the week, looking at where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, how many buckets of sweat I’ve created and other fun stuff. I’m planning a variety of things to get me into shape for this so hopefully there will be something in there you’d like to try too.

As you may have seen, I went out on Saturday morning for my first weekend walk with Andy. The sun was shining and we ambled along at a steady pace along a fairly flat route by the river Thames – nothing too strenuous at this stage but a good distance covered (19km) and it certainly worked up a good appetite for lunch when we got home! Sunday was spent at a Christening for my cousin’s little girl so no exercise then.

Yesterday I cycled to work and home again for the first time in quite a while; it’s only 3.4km each way but a nice way to make sure I am actually awake in the mornings, especially now that we are coming into spring. I also managed to get myself to the gym for the first time in about a month for a bit of a workout and a swim.
I have recently discovered the Power Plate, it’s amazing and if you haven’t tried it, or even heard of it, get yourself down the gym and have a go. Basically it’s just a platform that vibrates at a really high frequency so that when you do things on it (lunges, squats, press-ups etc), it makes your muscles work much harder than if you were just doing it on the floor. (Lots of info here: So I did a quick warm up on the cross-trainer and then on to the Power Plate; I kept it quite easy for my first workout back after a few weeks off but I am definitely feeling it this morning. The thing with the Power Plate is that it makes muscles work that you didn’t even know existed, so be prepared to ache in some strange places!
I also managed a little swim of 10 lengths in 7 minutes, again, nothing too strenuous for my first workout back.

Today I’ve cycled to work and home again and I’m contemplating a Spinning class later on. Not sure I’m ready for it but it’s definitely a good calorie burner!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Weekend Walks No.1 - Chertsey Meads, Shepperton & Weybridge

Welcome to the first of my 'Weekend Walks'!
This is where I will be telling you about some of my training walks, giving you the route and where I found it, how far it is and how long it takes, terrain and any interesting points along the way.

The first walk was found on the Walking In Surrey website - It's a circular walk around Chertsey Meads, Shepperton & Weybridge and according to the website is 4.5 miles (or 7.24km) long, however we decided to walk to the start of the walk from home so actually ended up going quite a bit further.

Stats as follows:
Date: 24/01/12
Start Time: 10.15am
Length: 11.82miles or 19.03km
Time: 2hrs 55mins
Average Speed: 5.77km/h
Temperature: 18C

We left the house around 10am and stepped out into the sunshine. The walk took us along the Thames towpath from Chertsey Bridge up to Shepperton Lock. Here we crossed the river via the Shepperton Ferry and skirted the edge of Weybridge and through the Meads back towards the river. Our full route can be found here:,-0.476875&spn=0.021856,0.055189

The walk was lovely and flat, along well worn paths and several nice pubs to stop at along the way - The Kingfisher, Thames Court and The Minnow. Unfortunately we didn't stop to sample any of their delights but I can confirm that they all provide a lovely selection of food and drink and great gardens to enjoy it all in.

All in all this was a great start to my training; a good distance in nice weather on easy terrain with several interesting points along the way.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Feature Friday No.1 - The Trek!

Welcome to the first Feature Friday! Here I will be giving you a little more insight into all sorts of things, not just trek related. Feature Friday will be alternated with Fundraising Friday where I'll be letting you know the latest total and what I've been doing to raise the money.

So the trek... where is it and how hard is it actually going to be?!

The vague description tells me this:

'...a forbidding landscape punctuated by stark peaks, formidable gorges and bright oases.'

We fly into Ouarzazate, Morocco and the 5 days trekking starts off in Achberou, (the 'Door of the Desert') and the first day is a mere 2 hours covering just 9km. They are clearly trying to ease us in gently, the following 4 days look much much harder!
Days 2-5 are 6-7 hours walking each, covering between 16 and 28km on a variety of terrains from dry river beds to sand dunes, rocks to palm gorges. I tried to see the route on Google Maps but couldn't work it out and all the locations I searched for came back with no results

The average high temperature for nearby Ouarzazate in October is 26°c with 9hrs of sunshine a day so sun protection is going to be a big issue for me, especially with my blonde hair and freckles. I joke about returning from the trek looking like a sundried tomato but I'd really rather not! (Note to self: buy a BIG hat)

Other than the heat and sun issue, there will obviously also be the distance & terrain to think about. So that's 3 fairly major obstacles to deal with, only 1 of which I can prepare for with any real certainty - distance. As you will have seen I'll be doing plenty of training, both in the gym and out walking in the UK, so the distance is OK; it's not going to be easy for 5 days in a row but I'm confident I could cover those distances now without too much bother, the real test is going to be putting all 3 together, which I can't do until I get there, by which time it will be too late if I can't handle it... getting nervous yet?!

I'll be honest, the more I think about it the more scared I get, but if that wasn't the case then it wouldn't be a challenge, and that's really what this is all about. So all I can do is train hard before I go, and hope for the best when I get there.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Thursday Thanks No.1

Welcome to the first Thursday Thanks!
This is where I will be saying a big thank you to everybody who has donated or supported me in any way over the last week, so if you want to see your name in lights (well the faint glow of a computer screen) then donate your time and your pennies to the cause.

First thank you goes out to my cousin Julia Cox who was the first to donate and so will be receiving a small gift from Morocco, and because she donated over £25 will also be getting a copy of one of my photos from the trip - I suppose I best brush up on my photography skills!
The next thank you goes to my big brother Jon Crowley and his girlfriend Kirsty Butler who have both donated a generous sum.

So thank you guys! Your encouragement is greatly appreciated, especially as I only made this public about 4 hours ago and already have 5% of my target.

First of many

Firstly to introduce myself and my blog...
I'm quickly approaching 30 (eek!) and wanted to do something adventurous before I'm over the hill, so I signed up for a trek through the Sahara in aid of UNICEF, organised by the company I work for.
The purpose of the blog is to raise awareness and hopefully convince some of you to donate to this very worthy cause (more about that on the UNICEF - Sahara Desert Trek page). I'll be keeping you up to date on my training - gym sessions, countryside walks, blisters, aching muscles... the lot! - and letting you know how the fundraising is going.
This isn't the first and definitely won't be the last adventurous thing I do but it has the potential to be the hardest, so expect to be asked for your hard earned cash. And on that note, this is my donations page...
The first person to donate will receive a small gift from the trek and anyone who donates over £25 will receive a print of their choice from the photographs I take while there.
There will also be talk of my love of baking and desserts, wedding plans and general life stuff.
I'll be sharing recipes, restaurant reviews, walking routes and much more so keep coming back to see what's been going on.
So thanks for reading the first of many posts and I look forward to welcoming you back soon! x