How to change the world. for free.

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‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ – sure. be the change. But, like, actually you’ve got to DO things to BE the change.

So do the things you wish others did to change the world. Be the person to make the changes. Because it’s all well and good saying you want to change the world, everyone wants to do that, but no one wants to change the loo roll. (quote from Nicola Adams right there)

Because money can be a big obstacle for many who ‘want to do something!!!!’, here’s some free ways to make our world that little bit better 🌍

1. Carry socks in your pockets 🧦

Clean socks that maybe you were looking to replace. Free socks you were given on the plane. Ugly socks your auntie gave you for Christmas. Carry a pair of these socks with you and if you meet a homeless person/rough sleeper you can offer them the pair which can make a huge difference. Of course the item is interchangeable with clothes, cosmetics, food etc but I find that from the people I speak to, they haven’t been given new socks before and it’s something they wouldn’t prioritise spending their money on but they’re vital for hygiene, warmth and comfort.

2. Vote ✅

General elections, local elections, the vote for how the company you work for is run, the vote for where your mates want to have their Christmas dinner. Use your voice, (register if you need to) and vote

3. Give blood 💉

See my previous post. It’s easy, takes less than an hour and will help to save lives.

4. Give compliments 👏👏👏

Cute jumper. Loved that article. Your whine is spectacular. Dinner was delicious, you’re a great cook. Giving genuine compliments can change someones day for the better.

5. Ask your employer about volunteer days 👷🏾‍♀️

Some companies offer 1-3 days out of your working hours to volunteer towards a cause of your choice. Your company might do this without you realising. Ask about it and make the most of it! I’ve got mates who have used it to volunteer at a festival. How fun?!

6. Look out for children 👶👯‍♀️

This includes stopping bullying when you see it happening. My heart breaks when I see kids being left out, pushed around or pressured into something they just don’t want to do by other kids. Ignore the risk of being the weirdo adult who’s intruding, because more often than not, you can step in and tell em to stop. Even letting children know you’re there if they need help can be so helpful.

7. Be a mentor 👑

Inspire, guide and motivate your peers. This doesn’t need to be in a formal setting but others deserve to hear your advice and learn from you. You smart hunny, spread that knowledge.

8. Share opportunities 🦋🦋🦋

This is as simple as sharing a post on social media or sending it round to you friends who might benefit from it. I’ve had countless opportunities and achievements thanks to a friend sharing a post with me or passing my name on and recommending me to the right people.

9. Share your tampons 💄

Could you afford to give up one tampon from each box? Even though I’m anti tampon and a huge advocate for menstrual cups, I still have a few random unused tampons floating about from when I used to buy them. They’re another item gratefully appreciated by countless women sleeping rough or even your colleague who is panicking about getting to the shops before your next meeting.

10. Speak the truth 🗣🗣🗣

Be true to yourself, be honest with your friends and speak up when somethings not right.

that’s all

Mary x

Bloody Mary 💉

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I’m 24, so thats 7 years I’ve put off giving blood, (IT’S BEEN 7 YEARS SINCE I WAS 17 WTF. WHY) because I’d either been to a high risk country, had a piercing, tattoo, ill or another kind of reason. But today was the day I actually did it and let the nurses at West End Blood Donor Centre take 500ml of my juicy juicy blood.

Ahead of my donation, I’d signed up on online, had a quick chat with a nice woman on the phone about what countries I’d been to, if I’d had Hepatitis in the past etc etc, I chose a date, rocked up, filled in a short form and had a 5 min consultation. To be honest, this was the trickiest part as she asked me where I’d travelled to in the past 12 months then which countries with malaria I’d been to. Ermm, Namibia 2012-13, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya 2015, back to Namibia 2014, oh and South Africa, oh and then Namibia again in 2016, and South Africa again, Morocco 2017.. aaaand I THINK that’s it? I don’t know. They test all the blood anyway so I think any slip ups will be accounted for.

Bloody Mary xBack to the actual process. So I was shuffled into a new room, asked to sit on an IKEA style curvy chair which was titled back. I offered up my right arm, they stuck the needle in and after 5 mins, they’d stuck a plaster on me and I was sipping on squash, feeling smug about my contribution to one of the 6000 donations needed everyday to treat patients in England alone. Madness.

And that’s it. Oh, and there’s loads of snacks (vegan ones too oi oi) to make sure you don’t get dizzy after.

So take this as a little reminder to book yourself in for a blood donation (especially if you’re black or asian) and join me on my moral high ground, it feels good. 🎉✨

You never know when you might need to be on the receiving end 🙏🏿

OH ALSO I GOT COMPLIMENTED ON MY PROMINENT VEINS 3 TIMES TODAY! Go me!

M x

Just Peachy.

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📍Sydney, Australia
📆 January 2019
Earlier this year I had a message from my sis asking if she could ring me. I crawled out of bed half asleep, sat on the loo, saw another message from her that read ‘it’s bad news’. I racked my brain for which family members are getting on a bit.
This was so unexpected. My dog had died.
I sobbed, crawled back into bed, sobbed some more, had a much needed cuddle with Jacqui in her bed, was joined by her 2 dogs who wanted to lick my tears clean off my face, got up, went into town to take my mind off it and then cried some more. I’d say it took me around 3 days to actually feel ok thinking and talking about Peachy. She was the best dog. Seriously.
We collected Peachy at just 8 weeks old after my bratty teenage self asked my dad for a puppy for my birthday. I don’t know if he obliged to keep me happy or because he wanted one as much as I did.
It’s cliche but she had a bloody amazing life. So whilst I’m still incredibly sad about her being gone, I can’t help but smile when I see her toys still scattered around my flat. Because, as a family, we couldn’t have made her life any better.
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Some of my favourite Peachy moments:

  • Let’s start at the beginning – when we visited a long legged Westie in basildon, 2 male puppies were dozing off whilst the female was running into the wall, rolling over herself and climbing over us. It was obvious which one we wanted.
  • We’ll never forget the time she left the walking path in the Lake District to go and chase mountain sheep. When they charged at her, she ran so fast that her ‘Just Peachy‘ top slipped off and we lost her in the distance. After passing a farmer who claimed he’d ‘shoot that dog if he found her first’, we were starting to panic. Her escapade ended hours later when we spotted her shivering under a tree.
  • Every single time she managed to escape from the garden. At one point she would come running back to the sound of her bowl being shaken. One time she fell straight into the neighbours pond.
  • A simple school night walk to the lakes ended in drama yet again when a bunny caught Peachy‘s eye. I climbed through fences and nettles to eventually find her perched on the train tracks deciding whether to pursue the rabbit on the other side or me (frantically chanting ‘ham, ham, cheese, ham’). I limped home with her and mum took her straight to the emergency vets.
  • The strict instructor at puppy training classes brandished Peachy as ‘a BAD dog!!!’ when she’d finally had enough of all the rules and went for all the others dogs and bit the instructor.
  • When she’s being so very patient with Alfie who hasn’t quite grasped the hierarchy of a family and see’s it as ‘Peachy‘s House’
  • When she was still little she got so excited by someone at the front door that she’d flip and fall down the stairs but would be wagging her tail as soon as she got up. (Nathan Persaud so the most spectacular displays of this)
  • Learning to rollover and dance on command but not capable of walking without stopping to pee every 5 metres.
  • That time Pets at Home made me pay an extra £5 because she’d bitten the groomer.
  • Rolling onto her back to her tummy scratched by anyone and everyone.
  • Countless adventures to Knebworth, Birmingham, Manchester, Saxmundham, Cockermouth, Cardiff, Oxford, London and more (and being hidden in few house shares from landlords)

 

She had such a good life and we, the Mandefields, were so lucky to have her! Wherever she is now, I reckon she’s chasing squirrels and maybe she’ll even catch one.

R.I.P Peachy Flower
Mary xx
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I’m b(l)ack.

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Sorry blog.

I’ve literally mistreated you and neglected you for a whole damn year oops.

I’m kind of used to blogging/writing/venting when things are awful, that’s when I want to share with y’all (mainly my mum) because it’s cheaper than therapy. Like, remember when the kids I used to look after would just piss themselves in the park and refuse to move or let me take them home. Or that one summer’s day when I got deported and was on my own with no idea where to go or what to do. Or that time I went to Kenya and got actual worms. UGH. Good times lads.

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It’s kinda cathartic to get out all those frustrations and confusing moments out onto the notes app on your laptop and into a blog post. Once its published you exhale and think ‘you know what, it aint all that bad, and actually, its quite funny’. My life is funny, like proper hilarious. And I’ve missed documenting it! Instagram definitely isn’t a reflection of what I get up to, and when I think about it, my ‘life’ highlights and general musings are all trapped in the voice notes to my mates. Mainly to Jacqui, apologies for the sometimes 8 minute ramblings.

Because I’m back to my keyboard, you might be thinking I’m feeling Flo Rida Low, but thats not the case at all, I’m promise. Life is fabulous, so let’s see what it’s like to write about the good times. And I currently have no weak bladdered children in my care. Thank ya Jesus.

So, yeah, I’m back.
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I’m also black. My ethnicity gives me a decent amount of melanin on a good day but spending 5 weeks in Australia and New Zealand during the height of their no ozone summer has really pushed the brown skin to new levels. That post holiday glow is still giving me a little life even if it is hidden under a whole lot of grey jersey (oh, I’m freelance now. What are normal clothes, please? I’m drowning in a cycle of joggers and slipper socks).

I’ll tell you all about my travels v soon, but for now, I just wanted to say HEY. I’ve missed ya!

Mary x

 

sunscreen, routine and ‘where do you get your protein?!’ – two thousand and seventeen.

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2017 began on top of Primrose Hill. I had Jordan on one side and my cousin Li on the other. Standing on a picnic blanket in the cold and drizzle, glitter on our cheeks and face paint smeared around our eyes. The fireworks exploded ahead and the crowd surrounded us with tipsy cheers and chat. I’ve had worse New Years Eves and staying sober was surprisingly still fun; we drove home screaming the biggest hits of the year out the car window and Li rolled her eyes before dipping in and out of sleep.

2017 has been a good’un. It’s probably the first year of my adult life where I haven’t lived overseas and nothing dramatic has happened. It’s nice to have a year to rest I guess. But to be honest, I haven’t rested, things have been hectic and busy and upsetting and brilliant and stressful, and for the most part I’ve been pretty happy.

I worked as a childminder in St Albans and looked after a girl (7) and a boy (5) – the family were and still are bloomin’ amazing and I felt very at home straight away. It took a little longer than I’d hoped for the kids to warm to me but I persisted with singing Dua Lipa in the car and cooking them food that was good for them rather than the potato smileys which they so tirelessly begged for. My patience was tested everyday but on the whole I had a lot of fun and was grateful to not be stuck behind a desk. I drove a car which was older than myself and I successfully locked the keys inside one day whilst the kids screamed and wished ‘mummy was home and we never have to have a nanny like you again!!!!’. Building fairy gardens and making race tracks out of bins were the highlights of the job, reverse parking in a diagonal space each week was definitely a low.

As a special treat to the kids, during half term I took them out to Pizza Express. The waiter gave them crayons and paper – the girl showed me her drawing, I expected a little family portrait or a rainbow, sun or something on that level of sweet. She shows my a yellow box with a ghost outline inside; underneath she’d written ‘snapchat’ and explained this was the logo to the app that she loved so dearly. ah.

I cooked bolognese in the slow cooker, roast chicken, carbonara and a whole host of meals with meat for the kids. I’ve been veggie on and off for years and am a pretty strong willed one at that. However, during my time with the kids I would feel awful guilt for throwing away uneaten food from the kids – and for the first time in a long time I would casually eat a forgotten sausage from their plates. Or help myself to the last serving of spaghetti Bol. Before I knew it, I’d served myself a portion of the same things they were eating. I always felt awful for it afterwards but couldn’t put it down to whether it was the action of digesting meat or just the feeling of guilt afterwards. When I finished working there I didn’t touch a single piece of meat.

In January and February I was obsessed with the gym. The mornings, nights and what seemed like a large chunk of the day were dark, wet and miserable and the gym was my go to for a quick pick me up. I didn’t bother with a training plan but threw myself into cardio and classes and felt great for it.

Valentines day was a bizarre one. My little dog Peachy was due a holiday (or my dads friend fancied looking after her for a few weeks) so with the excuse of driving North, I took the oppurtunity to treat Jordan and myself to a weekend in Liverpool. The second hand shops were fab, the food was more than decent and we discovered so much beauty that the city offered. We stayed in a converted prison and took lovely photos and generally had a really good time. That was until we went back to the car, ready to go home. The car windows had been smashed and there was glass shattered all over the seats. The guys who worked at the car park told us how a man had smashed windows of three cars, looking for things to steal. He’d taken about €2 euros from the car but left the sat nav. We spent all morning ringing our insurance company and car garages before finding a place which would put a temporary clear plastic sheet over the passenger window as no one in Liverpool had our window in stock. The plastic sheet was noisy and let in a lot of cold air, which wasn’t that entertaining on our 6 hour drive home in the rain.

March came by and I got a new job at Oxfam. The whole process was strange but pretty painfree. This was my third role at Oxfam so I had manageable expectations and knew what to expect when moving to and living in Oxford. Spareroom.com became my weapon of choice once again and I spent hours trawling through listings of dingy, damp and disgusting homes. I picked the best of a bad (and pricey) bunch and drove down the m40 to see potential new homes – Jess Glynne blaring loudly so I could strain my voice and give myself a headache signing along before I’d even arrived. Houses in Oxford are generally very old. Therefore houseshares are old and unkept. Your housemates are likely to be students, publishers or working at Oxfam. I saw houses that were so cluttered that there was nowhere to hang your coat, put your bag or even sit down – pots and pans hung from every wall in the kitchen, rugs were covered with piles of newspapers. I just saw shitty houses. I spent another 2 weekends seeing rubbish places that cost £500 – £700 a month for a room. Which is damn right insane. As I was losing sanity and hope of living within a decent distance from town and work, I saw a place in Cowley on Hollow Way. There were 2 female housemates, one guy and a visiting dog. If the dog wasn’t enough to sell it to me, the price was. It was the cheapest of the bunch, right by a bus stop that could take you to Cowley Road, town or the station in 20 wish mins and I was a 9 minute walk from work. I messaged them straight after I’d seen in it and moved in a week later.

Turns out all wasn’t peachy as my room was teeny tiny, a lil mouldy and we had dramas almost every week. My (female) housemates totally made up for it though. We had a good thing going on and could laugh off the annoying instances that seemed so frequent.

On April 23rd I ran the London Marathon. I decided to raise money for Otjikondo School Music and Arts fund. So many people I know understand why Otjikondo is so important to me and music and Arts at the school is something I always get stuck in with when I go back to Namibia to visit. I’d been really lucky with my training, I took things slowly and it had been enjoyable for most parts. Knowing I was doing this all for my lovelies at Otkjikondo gave me the motivation I needed for early starts, long runs, stretches and good nutrition. The day came and I wore an Ovambo outfit kindly made by my mum – my name was spelt out on the front with ‘Otji’ on the back. I arrived at the start line with my friend Lucy, the atmosphere was as everyone describes, ‘incredible’. As we stepped over the start line, I looked to my left and saw Prince Harry, William and Kate cheering on the crowd – I screamed ‘omg the royals!’ And they full looked at me and waved. Maybe if I’d made a little more effort, I’d be planning a royal wedding now instead of writing this out. The run was amazing – you forget about the pain in your legs and the weight of your feet when you have what feels like the whole of London out to push you on. My name was called out every 5 seconds or so and I spent so much of the course jumping around and spotting people I knew. You also realise that no matter how much you plan, you will never know where your friends or family are standing, so you are on and off your phone (whilst running still), whatsapping, sending your location and phoning people for the few seconds of joy when you see them. The signs in the crowd had me cracking up and some of the costumes were fab. The final stretch down the Mall is something I
I’ll never forget; the crowd are going crazy, you find this energy from somewhere and I sprinted the length of it, posing for photos as I went. I collected my medal, goody bag and walked towards my friends. My legs buckled, I froze up and hand to physically pick up my legs to walk along. We spent the afternoon walking (thanks dad), drinking and chatting about the day. I went to work the next day and felt like a zombie for the rest of the week.

Festival season came around faster than I could expect and it was my job to lead the Stand as One campaign – reuiniting refugee families in the UK and overseas. I drove to, set up at and lead the campaign at Common People, Download, Glastonbury, Lattitude, WOMAD, Reading and Bestival. I was lucky to be working on a campaign that so easy for myself and the public to get behind. Although the work was fulfilling, it didn’t stop it from being tough. I really struggled with the workload and hours and would often be at the office from 8am until past 8pm. I told myself I needed to put my all into it but it meant I was worn out and physically exhausted. The perks were driving my beloved van (it became my second home) and meeting so many passionate and genuine volunteers. Nothing compares to friendships I made over the summer, as well as catching up with friends from 2016 when I was also volunteering. I made it through 7 music festivals with the help of volunteers, friends, colleagues and family. It’s something that taught me so much (how to tow a van out of ankle deep mud, how to negotiate for free food, how to put up an 8 man tent in gail force winds, how to blag your way backstage, how charge 30 phones in a caravan and how to keep my nerve around people who are no help at all) and I experienced moments which others only dream about, but I think one summer is enough. It puts a strain on yourself and everyone around you and my energy and wellbeing was something I didn’t want to give up again. Despite the tough times, we achieved some awesome things; my team of volunteers signed up over 19,500 people to Stand as One and because of the support behind the campaign, Angus MacNeil MP has chosen refugee family reunion as a Private Members Bill, to be heard in Parliament in March 2018. Plus I tatted some awesome clothes, costumes and more cider than I could carry.

A friends holiday was in order and we managed a last minute trip to Budapest. Im not sure how we managed to regain a friendship between the four of us (Mollie, Rhiana, Anna and myself) after all the puns – just a bunch of Budababes, buDABpest on em, getting Budapissed, budaboozy and the rest of it. We had a really chilled, fun time and joined the hoards of hen and stag dos – ‘yeah we’re on our hen do, our costume is that we all wear denim. Cool right…?’. The most ridiculous part of the holiday was the beer bike we signed up to do; a way to see the city and drink litres of beer whilst cycling on a 8 seater vehicle. It would’ve been great, if it weren’t for the fact that 2 pedals were broken, meaning we were all doing more work than we should’ve been. By the end of the tour we were outside the converted bike/car vehicle, pushing it along the road – tipsy but not drunk, as it felt like we cycled the Tour De France. Never again.

One day I woke up and decided to go vegan. No pre planning, didn’t need to watch ‘What the Health’ or ‘Cowspiracy’. Didn’t buy a cook book. Didn’t make a food diary. I just thought I’d give it a go. 7 months later I’m still well and truly vegan, and it’s so much easier than you’d think. Obviously there are loads of benefits; I sleep better, my skins clearing up (slowly albeit), I’ve lost weight and I do have more energy. But there are unexpected changes, at times I feel weak but its because I haven’t eaten enough (you have to force yourself to eat almost double as you used to), sometimes people will say you’re being difficult or anti social or ‘you’re not getting enough protein!!!!!!’ – but you have to trust your morals, body and education and know that you’ll be just fine.

Summer passed and I turned 23 at a surf festival in Cornwall (volunteering as a steward all the while). Our male housemate told myself and the 2 other girls that we had to leave the house in Oxford as the landlord wanted to refurb. It turns out he lied and just wanted us out so he could live with his deadbeat mates. If they wanted to live in a dingy house with added damp for decoration, then they were more than welcome to it. We found out they’d listed our rooms for rent without telling us, conducted viewings in our rooms whilst we were away (disgusting violation of privacy if you think about it) and didn’t even say bye when we left. We packed up a van and drove our belongings to London. I can confirm that this was probably the pit of my year; I was sick with the flu, we were stressed and had more stuff than we could’ve imagined. With a month still remaining of my contract at Oxfam, I moved into housesit at a gorgeous family home close to central Oxford. I spent my evenings cooking, gardening and reading. I felt like I’d gone to a retreat, only it was free. They did have a 16 year old cat however which screamed like a toddler and put its paws on my face at every oppurtunity.

I sat in limbo – nowhere to really call home, no job and no idea what to do next. As usual, I went overseas to fill the void. I spent 3 days in Brussels with ONE campaign. We were telling EU leaders why they should renew the Aid budget, which supports people all over the world to access good quality health care and education. Conference days were insightful but became tiresome when we were sat in the same seats, watching presentations for hours and hours. However, the food was top notch. As always, the vegans assembled and we ploughed through salads, sandwhiches, wraps, pies, veg, fruit, grains etc etc. Bono sent us cupcakes as a thank you our hard work (seriously) and we managed to convince MEPs to vote in the way we wanted them to. Not bad for a bunch of young activists from around Europe.

Scrolling through facebook one evening and I see an advert for ‘UpRising – Fastlaners. 18-25 and unemployed? Free course’. Hell yah I love me a free course and I was unemployed as heck. I signed up, had a quick chat with an Emma on the phone and received info by email. It was an 8 day course in London, visiting different businesses and places of work, designed to give you the skills and contacts you’d need to get a job you really want. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea but I had the time to do it so I got involved. As cliche as it sounds, I met some really awesome, like-minded people. We shared the pains of job hunting, application writing and just the general disheartening feeling of being rejected for things you know you’re perfect for. Each day took us to new workplaces; start up spaces, software developers, charities, corporate offices, media agencies etc. I loved how much we focussed on our own ‘brand’ and catered to what was relevant for us individuals rather than just seeing us as ‘unemployed young people’. My confidence grew (who knew there was space to go) and by the last day I was truly gutted to say by to the friends I’d made.

After completing the course, I went to a job interview at Comic Relief and heard the next day that I’d been offered the role. With 2 weeks until the start date, my mind turned to travel. I sat at the computer and googled ‘hot countries in November’. Fiji, Bali, Hawaii, Mozambique, South Africa, Australia. A few destinations were ruled out due to distance and some were uncharacteristically stormy for the time of year. Morocco popped up. I’d never been keen to go as I’d heard questionable stories from female mates who’d been. However, when I realised you could surf there, I changed my mind and booked flights and a week stay at a hostel in Taghazout. I planned to spend 7 days surfing and probably go to a few more cities before flying home from Marrakech. After a few days surfing, I knew I wouldn’t be in a rush to leave. The waves were decent and day to day costs were so cheap, I saw no reason to explore when I was enjoying relaxing and doing F all. The only downfall were the bed bug bites that covered my body. I was red and rashy and was told repeatedly that it was my clothes that were dirty and thats why I was being bitten. Errrr nope. It wasn’t until other guests started being bitten that they took me seriously. I moved bed 4 times, attempting to escape the mites which had taken over the whole hostel. Bugs aside, it was a well deserved break and being in the water everyday made me fall in love with surfing. Being in the ocean and experiencing it’s force is a powerful feeling and grounds you. I went from a newbie surfer to riding waves with friends who have surfed for years – I’m no expert yet but I’m a lot more confident in deep water and on bigger waves than I was when I arrived.

My windswept hair and salty, sandy body returned to the UK and began working as a social media exec at Comic Relief. The environment is hectic but there are some helpful and cool people to help you through it. Commuting from my parents in Welwyn was a bore so I found a cute little room in a 2 bed flat in Clapham South and live with a girl called Kabeh. We get on really well because she’s a fellow Leo and generally a lovely, genuine person. I try walk to work most days and get the tube when it rains. I have a slow cooker which I’m strangely passionate about (err hello hot porridge ready for you when you wake up) and have busied myself with London life. Yes its pricey but its also equally great. Theres always an event to go to, people to catch up with and bars and restaurants to enjoy and I don’t actually know what I did with myself before I moved here.

I ended the year in Vienna – back with Jordan, Li (plus my aunty, uncle, and other cousin in Austria). The days leading up to NYE were a mixture of fireworks, waltzing, snow that turned to sleet, hours spent in comfy vegan restaurants, admiring Picasso’s work and sitting on my aunts pantry floor to try and warm up.

Admittedly, it is strange and very self indulgent to write so much about ‘my’ year, but its so satisfying to get it all out, reminisce and remind yourself of what you’ve been through and achieved in 12 months. Like I said at the start, I don’t feel like 2017 has been a momentous year. I look back and wish I’d of aimed higher or committed myself to something substantial. But if I had done that I wouldn’t have met half the people that I did this year.

Massive thanks to everyone who’s made it amazing – Mum, Dad, J, G, Rhiana, Mollie, Anna, Natalie, Kate, Jacqui, Emma, Kabeh, Max, Summer & Alan, Marcia & Bernd, sooo many people at Oxfam and my new pals at CR. (+ many, many more)

x

Lost in Liverpool

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alright laa?

After dropping off my dog with a family friend for a months holiday (are we the only family which do this…?) I chose to treat my boyfriend J to an evening in Liverpool for his valentines present, it was also just an excuse for me to go back to a city which I like a lot.

We had a fab day and a half and spent most of the time laughing at our awful jokes and lack of control when it comes to eating out.

I booked us into Bridewell Hotel – a prison converted into a short stay hotel. How cool?! a PRISON! We didn’t plan anything, just went wandering around nipping in and out of shops and taking photos at the dock.

Of course, no trip with me is complete without a hint of drama and that came in the form of a smashed car window. We checked out of the Bridewell at 11ish on Thursday, strolled back to the NCP multi-story car park (which the hotel recommended) to find my car had been broken into. What’s more, nothing had actually been taken. The staff at the car park told us they’d seen the damage to my car (and 3 others parked next to us!) at about 1:30 in the morning. CCTV suggested it was a drug addicted just desperate to grab some coins. We keep our coins for car parks in the bottle holder behind the handbrake and he’d obviously seen the ones in the little compartment at the front. Those coins were actually euros so he’d taken a grand total of €2 🙄🙄🙄

The guys at the car park kindly vacuumed out the car and we had the fun job of phoning our insurance providers and being passed back and forth between them and Autoglass. We were told they couldn’t replace the glass until Monday so we’d either have to be recovered or find a way to fix up the window just enough to get the car home. Luckily J found a windscreen place 5 mins away who taped it up for us for free. We parked back at the car park and spent a few more hours enjoying Liverpool.

In true Mary and J fashion, we went for pizza (J had black dough cos why the hell not) and to a few vintage shops. I like to buy a moonstone ring every time I go for a trip away; this time I was feeling the opalite jewellery more than the moonstone so bought a gorgeous little silver ring with a tear drop stone.

The drive back was windy, loud and cold but we put on some emotional R&B and sang away our troubles. Looking forward to our next adventure, maybe we’ll just take the train next time..

Enjoy the pics!

Maz x

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Marathon training – outdoors vs gym

Sport, Uncategorized

In April I’m running the London Marathon (Lord help me). I’ve always trained for half and full marathons outside but this is the first time I’m just too cold and stubborn to endure running outside.

When I get into the habit of going to the gym, you just can’t pull me away. It’s so addictive.

Last night I ran 13.1 miles (equivalent to a half marathon) in the gym. I love the gym for a number of reasons and have avoided running outside for the past month. It got me thinking whether or not I can do all my marathon training in the gym? Or will I get a bit bored of running on a treadmill and not getting anywhere.


Pros of the gym

  • Accuracy

I can accurately track how far I’ve run, my speed, incline, calories burnt, time etc etc. Obviously, I have tracking apps and a sports watch to do all this outside but I never 100% trust them (or can be bothered with the faff sometimes).

  • Protected from the elements

As someone who has spent more time in Africa and Spain than the UK for the past few years, I’m really not used to the rain and general darkness of horrible English weather. When I’m in the gym I can be a little spoilt princess who doesn’t have to get muddy or accidently step in a puddle and run for 2 hours with a soggy foot.

  • Watch TV

I take my iPad, watch First Dates or Graham Norton and be pretty entertained for the time I’m running.

  • Safe

Even though my gym doesn’t have staff there after 9pm, I feel a little safer to be inside a building and have people around me in case I start to feel weak. I also like running at about 11pm and as much as I love the thrill of jogging through town and the woods at that time, my parents aren’t super keen on it…

  • Toilets

My God, not much is worst in life than needing to pee or poop when you’re 6 miles from home. I have been known to just stumble into the nearest KFC to use their loo but it’s not always that simple. At least at the gym I know I can go whenever and fill up my water bottle.

  • Places to stretch afterward

I really enjoy putting my headphones on and taking a good 20 mins to stretch out afterward and it’s so much easier at the gym. I obviously stretch at home sometimes but there’s always someone there in the way or pestering you to go and shower because you smell.


Pros of training outdoors

  • Fresh air and nature

Yep, this is my fave part of running outside. I discover new places, can watch the sunset at the lakes, see cute dogs in the woods etc. Adorable.

  • You have no choice but to finish

When you’re on a treadmill you can press ‘stop’ and get off whenever you fancy. If you’re an hour from home, you kinda have to keep going so you can get home. (Although, I used to carry my metro card around with me in Paris so I could just hop on the train to come home if I was tired. Lazy girl problems)

  • Getting used to hills, bends, uneven surfaces

A marathon always has twists and turns, obstacles to avoid and the roads can get slippy. Being on a treadmill removes all of these unknown factors which is lovely but you’ll need to be prepared for when they come up during the marathon.

  • The marathon isn’t in a gym

At the end of the day, as great as the gym is, it’s just not what the marathon will be like. Maybe I need to get over my fear of the cold/wet/dark outdoors and get my body and mind into the state of being prepared for the conditions of the marathon.


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What do you think? Do you enjoy training outdoors, in a gym or a mix of both?

love

(a very tired and sore) Mary

x

 

My fave places to clothes shop

Uncategorized

Yo, it’s your girl Maz – a bit of a stranger to the blog. Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve taken to my laptop and published a decent string of blog posts but hey ho, Girl Got Lost is all about the phases of business and chill.

As most of you probs know, I’m pretty keen on the old sustainable shopping front. I don’t buy any new (as in 1st hand) clothes so when I do shop for clothes & accessories I head to a few random places IRL and online.


Here are some of my faves:

Kilo shops

Ugh, such a great concept. Buying clothes by weight. Ok, in reality, it’s not as simple as you’d hope but it does help to refresh your normal dull shopping experience. I used to enjoy visiting the Paris stores; great for basic items like shirts and blouses, not so great for heavy coats or jumpers.


Vestiaire

Vestiaire is a God send if you’re a self-admitting label snob – ok, I haven’t bought anything from there but I sure do love scrolling through the dreamy designer handbags. Vestiaire allows you to buy and sell ‘luxury’ and ‘premium’ second-hand items for a discounted price. Every item is checked by a member of their team to double check they’re authentic and up to standard. Yes, some things are crazy expensive but you can also find a bargain and know that the quality is top notch.


Oxfam Online Shop

Items that don’t sell in Oxfam stores can end up on their online shop. It’s really simple to use and there are honestly, SO MANY PRODUCTS on there. Not everything is second hand, some retailers will donate stock if they can’t sell them or just wanna do some good. Books, vintage, CD and vinyl, clothes, shoes – basically, you can get almost anything on their website so it’s defo worth taking a look.


Charity shops

An obvious choice for some but still, in 2017, so many people overlook the potential of charity shop shopping! They even have discount charity shops now, like in Hatfield, my fave is one where everything is £1(?!?!?!) Before going to Glastonbury last year I was stressing out about buying new wellies and managed to find a pair in my size in there; so fab for a quid.


Festivals

Speaking of festivals, they’re well worth a nosey around if you’re into stand out, eccentric clothes. Summer 2016 took me to no less than 7 festivals and I did my fair share of clothes shopping between stuffing my face with falafel and belting out a tune alongside Adele. Shambala and Lattitude really impressed me with the amount of stuff on offer – picture sequins,  bum bags, unicorn horns, tutus, fairy wings and more. Keep an eye out for bargains on the final evenings of a festival; a lot of stalls don’t have room to take much back so they lower their prices at the final chance. I’ve nabbed an army jacket for £1, 2nd hand Topshop jumpsuits for a fiver (down from 20) and countless deals on socks and cosy hoodies.

 


Overpriced but still fab –>

beyond retro

Pretty much the ASOS of the vintage clothing world.

Rokit

The River Island of the vintage clothing world?


Lastly, if you have a tad more patience and don’t mind wading through more random crap, I recommend shopping on Facebook Marketplace, Depop and eBay. You could even stretch to Gumtree if you’re feeling reaaaally crazy (I once found the prettiest never been worn River Island kimono on Gumtree for a tenner so wahey, it can be done).


Hope you enjoyed the post.

Don’t forget to follow me (online, not in real life plz)

Ta.

Maz xxxxxxoxxxxxx

10 reasons why everyone should visit Namibia at least once in their life

Africa, Uncategorized

Africa is a big ol’ continent and I’m incredibly lucky to have visited 5 countries within it. As much as I’ve loved each country, Namibia has always held a special place in my heart and I discover new reasons to love it every time I go. As one of the most unheard of and underrated countries, I thought I’d put a little list together to tell you why it’s worth visiting the beauty that is Namibia.

1. People

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Everyone says this about everywhere they go so I’m going to join them and tell ya that the people you meet in Namibia are just so so so lovely. As well as being kind, caring and smart; the friends I have in Namibia are also ridiculously hilarious.

2. Sunrises and sunsets

Get up early (I’m talking like 5am), find a hill or building to climb up and watch the sun rise along the horizon.

Watching the sunset is equally as stunning; the colours change each evening and you’ll feel like you’re in the real life version of The Lion King.

3. Culture

 

Namibia has an estimated population of 2.2 million people, made up of 13 ethnic groups. They are: the Herero, the Damara, the Nama, the San (Bushmen), the Rehoboth Basters, the Coloureds, the Whites, the Caprivian, the Kavango, the Topnaars, the Tswana, the Himba and the Owambo. Visit Opuwo in the north to see how the Himbas use ochre on their skin and hair.

4. Drinks

Windhoek lager and Tafel are brewed in Namibia. Savanna and Amarula are from South Africa but readily available at all times in Namibia. You’ve gotta give them a try.

5. Etosha

Etosha National Park is a game reserve in Northern Namibia and should be on every bucket list. You can expect to see lion, springbok, gemsbok, impala, hyena, giraffe, rhino (black and white), elephant and if you’re lucky; leopard and cheetah.

Instead of following radios and keepers to find the animals, you can self-drive and wait for the wildlife to come to you at a waterhole.

6. Braais

Afrikaans for BBQ, but so much better than a pathetic British attempt at grilling meat outside. Braais don’t take days/weeks of notice and hours of preparation. Just call some friends, bring drinks, meat, make a fire and enjoy.

7. Ghost towns

Vogue photoshoot worthy ghost towns (yass, really), Kolmanskop is worth a visit if you want to fill your insta with artsy pics of abandoned houses and a forgotten town.

8. The landscapes

If you enjoy wide, open spaces then this is the country for you. Namibia is huge (3 times the size of the UK) but with 62 million fewer people living in Namibia than the UK, there are a lot of open spaces. You can drive for hours on end without encountering another person.

From rocks, to bush, the desert – the changing landscape is a major appeal to tourists and photographers from all over the world.

9. Sossusvlei

Who knew a visit to the desert would be so tiring?! Sossusvlei will test your endurance and tolerance to extreme heat. In return, it will reward you with breathtaking (seriously) views, wildlife, a sense of accomplishment and pockets full of sand.

10. Swakopmund

Feel like Mad Max as you speed through the desert to reach the German town. The ideal spot for souvenir shopping, eating fresh seafood, hopping between cute little cafes and getting your adrenaline fix with quad biking and sand boarding tours.

Spot flamingos, climb Dune 7, walk along the jetty, collect shells on the beach and enjoy the cooler weather of the coast.


So there you have it, just a few reasons why I might be addicted to travelling to Namibia.

love, Mary

x

p.s. follow on insta for more wanderlust worthy pics: @girlgotlost_