Monday, 17 November 2014

Back on it!

Well it's been a while since I blogged. My list 101 has taken a back seat over the last year as I've been busy doing something very special. The only thing I really wanted to achieve during the 101 days but didn't dare put on the list. And here she is!

Yep, my baby girl arrived in June! Five pounds eight ounces of complete gorgeousnesss. Me and pregnancy did not get on -you name it I had it! Hyperemesis gravidarum, gestational diabetes and obstetric cholestasis had me feeling pretty rubbish and I reckon they're good enough reasons to have completely forgotten about my challenge list!

I missed blogging though. Missed being able to witter on with my random thoughts and read the random thoughts of my blogging friends. Decided it was time I was back!

I thought my 1001 days would be over but I've looked at my list and I still have 174 days left. I basically have zero chance of completing it though as lots of the challenges needed to be done over time and some just will not happen now I've got a baby. So my blog's gonna change a bit - basically you're going to get all my random thoughts. I've got a lot to say about a lot of things :-)

I think I will set up another list 101 as I really enjoyed all the challenges. I'll also be talking babies, allergies, football, World Vision fundraising, running (when did I turn into someone who talks about running?) and whatever else pops into my head. Not really sure where I'm going with this but I hope that somebody somewhere will want to read it.

Well off to make my list....

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A Great Swim

Hello and sorry for the really long absence. I am still alive although yesterday morning I wasn't too sure I would be saying that today. It was time to tick one of my big challenges off my list - the Great Manchester Swim.
The swim was a mile in the Manchester Ship Canal and I was really nervous. I was confident I could do the distance but having done no open water swimming before there was still the potential for disaster. My friend didn't help when she casually told me on the morning of the swim when she casually told me that a professional swimmer had drowned in the canal the week before. I think she was still suffering the effects of the previous night though so I'll let her off.
My wave wasn't setting off until 12.35 but I was there really early. It was a lovely sunny day which meant there were lots of people out watching so for an hour I just sat in the sunshine, relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere. As it got nearer to 12.35 though, I got more and more nervous. I just wanted to get in and get going.
Check in for my wave opened at around 12.00 so at about half eleven I got changed ready to meet my cheerleading team (my mam and cousin Niamh!). Because it was so hot wetsuits were optional but they recommended first timers wore them as they give you extra buoyancy. At this point anything that was going to help in any way seemed like a good idea so I decided to go with it. And first challenge complete - I managed to get into it. They are not flattering items!!!

Finally it was time to check in. The whole thing was really well organised. I had a chip attached to my ankle which not only timed me but was also tracked all the way around to make sure I didn't get into any difficulty. There were plenty of safety canoes out on the water too so despite being nervous I did feel very safe. Once I got through check in, there was an acclimatisation area to get used to the temperature and feel of the water. Apparently the water temperature was 22 degrees but it still felt cold when I got in. Soon warmed up once I was out there though.
After a quick dip in the acclimatisation area it was time for a warm up and then we were off! There were some pretty serious swimmers in there, triathletes etc and a couple of first timers like me. I decided right from the start not to worry about what anyone else was doing. My time wasn't that important to me, I just wanted to get round, raise some money for charity and enjoy the experience. And I did all three! I positioned myself near the back and just took it slow and steady all the way round.
Swimming in open water made more of a difference than I thought. In the pool I can do a mile in around 40 minutes, this took me one hour five minutes. I had expected a bit of a current but there was more than I thought, it's much easier to veer off in the wrong direction and weeds, twigs and leaves in your way are not fun! I loved it though, it's an amazing feeling out there. Just feel really free and a little bit naughty as this picture shows

Although I was towards the back I felt fine most of the way round but the final bit towards the finish line was pretty tough going. I could see the finish line but it felt like a very long way away. I wasn't giving up at that point though, I'd come too far to not finish it. And people have been very generous in sponsoring me so I wasn't going to let them or World Vision UK down. This is where my cheerleading team really helped me out. I could hear them both shouting and it made me keep going. I was a bit wobbly when they pulled me out of the water, but smiling and so proud!

So why did I decide to put myself through this? It's all part of my fundraising challenge. I've decided to concentrate all my fundraising efforts on World Vision UK. I've done the swim, I'm taking part in the Team World Vision running challenge, running a sweepstake and collecting used stamps. Please have a look at my fundraising website to find out more about all my fundraising activities.
So far the swim has raised £178 (£222.50 with gift aid!) online and I have more sponsorship offline which I need to collect now I've done it. If you've not sponsored me yet, there's still time. My sponsorship page is still open


Wonder when entries for 2014 open? I'd definitely do it again.,

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Running for their lives

I'm not a runner. Never have been. In fact, I thought Dan was a little bit crazy. He's the runner in this house and in true Dan fashion he doesn't do it half heartedly - he's obsessed!!! But I went to watch him in the Great Manchester Run the other week and all of a sudden I got it! I think the nice weather helped but it was just a really lovely day. Great atmosphere, kind of a buzz around town and after the run spent the afternoon with lots of his parkrun friends. Loads of people, all different abilities and reasons for running but all having a great day together. Started to think to myself 'I want a bit of this' and decided to get in training so I could be there next year.

I've been lucky that I've got Dan as my very own coach. He's just the right mix of bossy and supportive to keep me going. He got me a training plan together and off we went. And then I saw this.

If you know me well or you read this blog, you'll know that World Vision is a charity I support. I sponsor a little girl through them and think they do fantastic work. I'm already doing some fundraising for them with my Great Manchester Swim challenge but this just seemed ideal. Dan is a regular parkrunner and has been nagging me to go along for a while. I'd already managed to get myself talked into going today so why not take on the challenge.

The idea of the Team World Vision 5k challenge is that you commit yourself to running a certain number of parkruns in a year. At first I was going to go for 12 but I thought that was a bit of a copout so I've gone for 24. I think going from absolutely nothing to 2 a month is challenging enough.

So this morning was my first parkrun. I was down at Alexandra Park with Dan nice and early. Too early for my liking, it just gave me more time to get nervous. Seriously, I felt sick and I was frightened to death. I don't even know what I was scared of, but I was scared! I was convinced I wouldn't be able to do 5k, we've not gone that far while training yet, and even if I did I was sure I was going to be last. So much so that when they were explaining the course route and said just follow the person in front I was convinced I wouldn't even be able to see the person in front they'd be so far ahead.

So the run - it was hard work!!! But I made it, and I actually quite enjoyed it in a I'm going to die kind of way. Oldham parkrun is hilly - VERY hilly and it was hot out there. I still managed to get round four minutes faster than my last 5k run (a long time ago!) though - and that one was flat!!! I was hot, tired, sweaty and looked a mess but I made it in 41 minutes 15 seconds and I was very proud of my little self. Oh - and I wasn't last!!!!!

There's even photographic evidence for those (like me!) who can't quite believe I spent my Saturday morning running. One down, twenty three to go - you can sponsor me here or by texting JANY£5 (or whatever you want to donate) to 70070. Thank you so much.

Oldham parkrun #145 8th-June-2013

Sunday, 12 May 2013


It's been a busy old week at Dotty Towers (aka my house). I've been in the kitchen all week getting ready for my Cake Break event - part of my challenge to raise £1001 for charity.

Actually I only started baking on Thursday night as I wanted everything nice and fresh. It just feels like I've been at it all week. Normally I love baking but I've found this a bit stressful. I love a bit of party planning too so I don't know why I was so stressed out. I think it was because I had no idea how many people were coming so I didn't know how much to bake. I didn't want to do too much but I didn't want to run out. I had enough really but I was still up at silly o clock yesterday baking emergency scones.

As well as scones I made chocolate cake, carrot cake, brownies, vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes and loads more. I was in such a tizz yesterday morning. I just waned it all to go well and was worried that nobody would come. I wanted to get the room looking pretty too and just felt like I had far too much to do and I'd taken on too much.

Everything was fine though. I got it all set up on time and people came!!! I was pleased with how the table looked and nobody noticed the blood on the bunting! (paper cut). My mum did a brilliant job brewing up and the cakes went well. The quiz was popular too and got everyone talking to each other.

I didn't set prices for the cakes, just asked for donations. That was definitely the best way to do it as everyone was very generous. So far I've raised £153.30 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society so it was well worth all the stress.

The total raised for my charity challenge is now £256.23. My next charity event is the Great Manchester Swim for World Vision. Not long now, probably means it's time to stop eating cakes.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

An Update - and a Cake Break

I've had a complaint :-( Apparently my mother doesn't know what I've been up to as I've not blogged for a while. So just for her (and anyone else who cares) here's a quick update.

I've completed 18 challenges now so my list is 17% complete. I've got loads more in progress too. My postcard challenge is coming along nicely thanks to my wonderful friends and penpals. I've got a load here that have come in over the last few weeks so I need to get them photographed and added onto here.

I've found another Dave!!! If you read my blog you'll know I've been rubbish at getting Dave's to have their photograph taken with me. I've not even asked every Dave I know never mind geting started on strangers. People who know me don't believe me but I'm shy really. There was a Dave on the FC coach to Rushall last week though so I've got a photo with him to add. I still need to work on that challenge though. I'm not even into double figure Daves yet - a long way from the 101 I need.

I had a lovely day at the rugby with my dad a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately I couldn't manage to be the lucky mascot against Bradford twice but despite getting beat it was great to be back down at Hornets. I'm hoping I can get to a few more games. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed rugby.

I'm still working hard to raise £1001 for charity. The Great Manchester Swim is getting closer and outdoor training starts this month. Getting scarily close now. A more enjoyable way of raising money will be happening on Saturday when I'm holding a Cake Break event.

Cake Break is an annual event to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. I love baking so thought I would use my hobby to raise money for a good cause. Basically I bake and all my lovely friends come along, eat cakes, drink brus and donate whatever they can to the charity. I'm holdng the event at Hope Methodist Church on 11th May from 10-12. Everybody welcome, please come along.

If you're not local or you can't make it along for whatever reason you can still donate and get involved. Theres four different ways you can join in.
  1. Buy a Cryptic Cake Quiz for £1
  2. Children aged 10 and under can enter a colouring competition for 50p
  3. Raffle tickets are available for 20p each
  4. Box of 6 vanilla cupcakes for £5.00
Options 1 - 3 can be sent anywhere by post. Cupcakes I can only do local really. Please get involved and help me support this great cause by clicking on the donate button below.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Lucky Mascot?

I've blogged before about going to the football with my dad but we also used to go to the rugby. We lived right next to the Athletics Ground where Rochdale Hornets used to play and from being tiny my dad would take me round there on a Sunday afternoon. I was rugby obsessed and even though I watch more football these days I still reckon rugby league is the best sport ever to watch as a neutral.

I've not got to a Hornets match since 2006 though. Don't know why really, I suppose I moved out of Rochdale and getting anywhere on a Sunday is a bit of a nightmare. They're still my team though and I always keep an eye on how they're doing. I miss my rugby and keep saying I'm going to get back down to Spotland for a game so I thought putting it on the list would make sure I did.

This challenge has been on my mind this week for a couple of reasons so tomorrow I'm off to the match. The first reason is this awful picture that appeared on facebook last week

It's an absolutely terrible photo but I don't care because it reminds me of good times back when I was a kid. For those of you who don't know - yep, the kid is me and I'm sat on the knee of Aaron Sawyer. He played for Hornets in the 80s and was my first ever hero. The guy was great!!!! He was my favourite ever Hornets player and the reason why Manly are the team I support in Australia. I didn't even know this photo existed until I was tagged in it on facebook last weekend. Brought back great memories and made me want to get back to the rugby - although possibly not sitting on players knees anymore!!

The second reason was the cup draw. We're playing Bradford Bulls. It got me thinking back to the 1990 -1991 season. That was a depressing year. The year before had been great and we'd gone up into the championship. Getting promotion was great, but we weren't really ready for it. We only won one game in that championship season - against Bradford! And yours truly was the mascot - looks like I was a lucky one.

So tomorrow you'll find me down at Spotland, cheering on the Hornets and hoping that just like on October 14th 1990, I'll be the lucky mascot.


Monday, 8 April 2013

On Top of The World

I suppose if you're one of my football-type-mates you'll think this is going to be a blog post about FC United. It isn't sorry - but keep reading and then have a look round. There are a few FC type posts. You could click on the join button too - that would be great ;-)

What I am going to blog about is my trip to Blackpool and more specifically to the top of the tower.Being up there really did feel like I was on top of the world. I could see for miles. Anyway I'd been up it as a kid with my dad but it was on the list of challenges because I'm terrified of heights. And I mean terrified! This is the girl who once had to have the mini baby big wheel stopped because I was crying so much.

The tower has changed a lot since I was 7. I suppose its a long time ago now. Its now the The Blackpool Eye. Looking at the website didn't make me feel any better about going up there, I mean a glass floor 380 feet up just doesn't sound like my idea of fun!

We went over to Blackpool on Saturday dinnertime mainly because Dan was running the Blackpool half-marathon on the Sunday morning. We decided to make a weekend of it as I love Blackpool and it would be a good chance to get another challenge ticked off.

Saturday was just a nice chilling day, wandering around the prom and the piers although every time I looked up at the tower I felt sick. I also managed to get another challenge ticked off when I visited Gypsy Sarah Petulengro and had my fortune told.

I've always been a bit sceptical of stuff like this but interested in it at the same time so it was really interesting to have it done. I thought it would all be a bit vague so you can read what you want into it but she was pretty direct and spot on with a lot of stuff. Still not sure if I believe in it or if it's just lucky guesses and picking up on signals but it was interesting and I believe more now than I did before.

Sunday afternoon was the moment of doom. We'd booked the tickets online ages ago or I'm sure I would have bottled it. My stomach was doing backflips as we walked down towards the tower. All the waiting around didn't help either. Once I got there I just wanted to get in the lift, get to the top and get straight back down again but I had to queue, watch a film and then queue again.

When we finally got in the lift it was made of glass. I hate heights and lifts aren't my strong point either - especially glass ones! Setting off and being able to see all the way down did nothing for the nerves and I grabbed onto the nearest person - luckily it was Dan! Once I got used to it it wasnt too bad though, I was just starting to relax and we were at the top - it only takes 69 seconds.

It wasn't actually as scary as I expected. The proper floor bit was fine but I wasn't too keen on the glass bit. I wanted to go on it but it just didn't feel right. I ended up holding onto a post and backing onto it VERY slowly. I did relax once I'd been up there a bit though, I was walking normally on it and I even managed to look down!!!!

So here we are - on top of the world (well Blackpool!), absolutely terrified but so glad I did it.