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

Rumble in the Jumble 5!

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#RITJ

On Saturday 14th I attended the fifth annual Rumble in the Jumble on behalf of Oxfam Fashion.

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If you’re anything like me, you love having a root around through piles of second hand clothes, hunting for something that you can picture yourself wearing. Now imagine that a huge number of those clothes and accessories were once owned by your fave celebs and it gets pretty exciting. The cherry on top of this massive fashion cake (you know what I mean..) is that proceeds go to Oxfam GB – supporting the Music Circle’s work in Myanmar! I was in second hand/celeb/charity heaven!

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TOMORROW is ALL about.. (@themusic_circle)

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What is Rumble in the Jumble?

RITJ was set up in 2012 by TV presenter Dawn Porter, Caroline Flack and Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney and now run with additional help from The Music Circle, a subsidiary of Annie Lennox’s The Circle.

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Where?
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Oval Space, London, E2

Who was there?

Gemma Cairney was hosting so was busy keeping shoppers and stall holders happy and had boundless energy all day (impressed & jealous). I also spotted and chatted to Laura Whitmore, Caroline Flack, Dan from Bastille, Angela Scanlon and Georgia LA

Why?
The Music Circle will be funding Oxfam who intend to make long-lasting changes to gender equality in Myanmar. Increasing women’s political representation and advising on policies which will influence the whole society to include and welcome women in positions of authority. In raising awareness that it is right and appropriate for women to share decision-making roles with men, changes will become widespread and sustainable.
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If we lift up women, we lift up everyone. 

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Queues at 12

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As the doors opened at 12, the room was filled with hundreds of thrifty shoppers of all ages rooting between the stalls. There was a great mixture of clothes, accessories, books and records. I chatted to a few stall holders; some had been rumbling for years and for others it was their first year. But everyone was buzzing about the day ahead and mad busy selling, chatting, replenishing stock and dancing along to the great tunes the DJ’s were treating us to.

As well as my fave pics from instagram, I’ve included my own photos from the day. Designer gear, high street finds, kittens, DJs, vagina costumes and everything in between!

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This guy bagged a Fred Perry polo, previously owned by Yannis from Foals.

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Just wearing Keira Knightley’s maternity coat. Not pregnant, just fancied trying it on!

 

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Women empowering women

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This top once belonged to Olly from Years and Years – prettttty cool

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‘I found Kiera Knightley’s mac!’

 

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The smashbox team were busy glamming us up – great make up skills and hair tips for this season. Apparently we should be experimenting with hair braids by using different hair chalks and watching the colours blend within the plaits 🙂

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Salem, is that you..?!

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Actual Elton John’s ACTUAL sunglasses.

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Can you guess who once owned this…? Only bloomin’ Kate Moss! I chatted to the lucky lady who bagged this; she is real life buzzzzzing to wear it on holiday

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A Maccabees mac for this lovely lady

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Angela Scanlon in her fave find, fluffy, bally, worn in red Lacoste jumper.

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Marina’s dress from Marina and the Diamonds – so cute. So jealous.

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Signed Bastille, the 1975 and Marina gear

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With Clara Amfo after her DJ set

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An anti FGM charity showing us that vagina’s should have fun too

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Fill a bag for £5?! Er, yes please.

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Having a hunt for our fave items; loving this bright Topshop jumpsuit

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Gemma and Angela getting their pose on

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Laura picked up Caroline Flack’s floaty ASOS number

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Pips Taylor is the sequin queen

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Just a little bit in love with Laura Whitmore’S puppy Mick

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Labrynth’s blazer – you know, to just wear casually and blend in with the crowd…

 

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View the whole album hereeee

 

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🙏🏼 #RITJ

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Flack fam 💕💕💕

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🐶👜 @karllagerfeld ❤️ #choupette #mickspics

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Because it was such a great day, we trended number on Twitter in the UK – sooooo decent

MASSIVE shoutout to you reading if you came along on the day – I hope you had as good a time as I did!

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Big up to all the DJ’s – the tunes were fab the atmosphere was great.
High five to the amazing brands & services who donated items for RITJ. You allowed us all the find some jazzy pieces, cool services & raise even more money.
Thumbs up, hugs and endless fist bumps to the celebs who donated clothes! Kate Moss, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Fearne Cotton, Stormzy; the list goes on and on. Here’s to you superstars for using your platform for such a great cause & contributing to making the crazy world of fashion a little more sustainable. You da best.
And lastly, all the congratulatory gestures (can’t think of anymore.. pat on the back!?) to the organisers & stall holders! Gemma, Gen, Kate and everyone involved – such a great event pulled off with style. AH-MAZ-ING
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That’s all for now but stay tuned for my next post where I’ll show you my fave purchases from the day & how I’m stylin’ them. And head over to Oxfam Fashion Blog for more goss from the day and celebs fave items – coming in the next few days 🙂

Peace
Mary x
Where to stalk me.
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Speaking in Parliament for ONE campaign

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Tuesday 12th April 2016

I left work in Oxford early, caught a bus to Headington then on a coach to Victoria and a tube to Westminster. I do go into London quite often, but this day was a bit different to the usual. I was on my way to meet a few ONE youth ambassadors to see a screening of ‘He Named Me Malala’ in Portcullis House and then onto a reception and panel discussion at Speaker’s House. I’d been lucky enough to be asked to speak on the panel about ONE’s current campaign – Poverty is Sexist.

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Portcullis house – photo: the telegraph

Although the speaking in parliament part was a massive deal, it wasn’t overlooked by the fact that the film was amazing! I’ve looked up to Malala Yousafzai since I read her autobiography ‘I am Malala’ late last year. If you don’t know much about her, she is a Pakistani activist for female education and was the youngest ever Nobel Peace prize winner. Her story is complex (so either read her book or watch the film – or do both) but she was one of the only girls to stand up to the Taliban when they banned girls from going to school in her country. She was then shot by them on her way to school. She miraculously recovered (with the support of some big names, Beyonce included!) and continued campaigning for girls rights to an education. The Malala Fund was set up to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities.

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The film showed how Malala is just a regular girl, going to school, arguing with her little brothers but continually stands up for what she believes in. Her courage has been rewarded with physical awards and unseen respect and impact. She.is.amazing.

After the film we walked through a secret tunnel passageway to the Speaker’s House in the House of Commons. The sun was out and it looked like we walking through a film set, unfortunately we were told strictly no photos were allowed. We walked through to a reception of drinks and canapés and got chatting to the other guests who were mainly from charities or members of parliament.

The panel was hosted by Mark Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Ceredigion. Mark Williams is also co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global Education for All

“For far too many girls around the world, education is still little more than a pipe dream. Globally 200 million children have not completed primary school and around 60 per cent of these are girls.

“The scale of the challenge to provide each of them with a quality education is substantial but, as was shown by Malala, it is a vital one.” – Mark Williams

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inside Speaker’s House – photo: lemberth.co.uk

Soon it was my turn to represent ONE campaign; I was sat with the 3 other women speaking; Philippa Lei, director of policy and advocacy at The Malala Fund, Cate Turton  deputy director for youth and education at DFID and Francesca Danmole a representative from Theirworld.

Each person spoke confidently about why and how they were working towards females rights to education.

‘It’s unacceptable that girls everywhere don’t get a full 12 years of education. It gives girls wings to fly.’ – Philippa Lei

 

‘It’s not just about children’s access to education but their right to education’ – Cate Turton

 

‘I’m part of a global campaign to make sure all girls get an education’ – Francesca Danmole

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When it was my turn to speak I was 95% excited and 5% nervous. That 5% doesn’t usually exist but that’s because I’m normally faced with a crowd of mostly uninterested teenagers – on this occasion I was faced with a very elegant room full of MP’s and charity directors. When it was my turn, I spoke about ONE’s current campaign, Poverty is Sexist. 

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‘Poverty is sexist. There’s not one place on the planet where it’s better to be a woman than a man.’ – Mary Mandefield

This disturbing statistic is because nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities.

‘Some 62 million girls are denied the right to education. Half a billion women can’t read. 155 countries still have laws that discriminate against women.’ – ONE campaign

Sometimes the number of women and girls living by the injustice of gender inequality can seem hard to get your head around. Because of this, I spoke about my host sister in Kenya.

‘I was reading I Am Malala while in Kenya & saw girls challenges first hand. I had to tell Malala’s story.’ 

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Stella, who I lived with whilst volunteering in Ngare Ndare last year, is the same age as me. But our present situations and future appear to be very different. As a woman she is expected to prioritise marriage and starting a family over education or a career. She is a wife and a mother whilst I am a still a girl. A girl with a job I enjoy and a future I have control over. FGM, HIV, unstable health, forced relationships and lack of education (which subsequently leads to relying on partners for everyday tasks) are real threats to women and girls all over the world. These problems could quite easily be avoided if our world leaders took a stand to make education for girls a priority.

Educated girls become powerful women. Powerful women lift up a whole community. Gender equality isn’t about women, it’s about all of us. 

Malala stood up for her rights and was shot by the Taliban. She wasn’t silenced, whats more, her voice rose louder.

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Using your voice can be difficult if you don’t do it often, but it can also be very easy once you start. Emma Watson, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Mark Zuckerburg, Bono and Mary J Blige are a few who’ve signed our letter already. And you can too. 

Thank you to those fellow ONE youth ambassadors and Billy who were so encouraging and supportive on the evening. I’m so grateful to be part of a group who are so passionate about taking actions to make a change.

Mary x

Chat about what you’re using your voice for on twitter – @mandefieldx

or Facebook – Girl got lost

#ONEyouth2016

#withmalala

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my host mum, sister & ONE campaign material. – follow me on instagram – @girlgotlost_

Such a cringe night.

Awky Maz, Uncategorized
mooood mooosic 😉
I like to say yes to any new experiences that crop up. That probably explains why I ended up living in random places all over the world, once appeared in a Jedward music video, and was talking about Ben Shepherd on Radio 1 last week … amongst other random crap I fill my time with.
It’s one thing saying yes to new opportunities and it’s another seeing an opportunity arise and volunteering to do it. One of my fave bloggers, Emma (girl lost in the city) tweeted about an event that she couldn’t attend but highly recommended and said how they needed people to read. It was called ‘Cringe London’ and was basically an open mic of people reading their cringe worthy teenage diaries. I tweeted the lovely lady in charge and signed up (as well as sending her a nice cringe photo to be displayed behind me). I invited Sara to come along for moral support because I wasn’t quite ready to cringe on my own.12874421_10208882327515240_910696778_o
Looking back, I wasn’t really one to keep many teenage diaries because I was too busy bitching about my teachers, avoiding doing my homework and testing my limits on how much vodka it took me to pass out in a field (joking, that never happened if you’re reading mum…). But in Namibia (my gap yaaaaah) I found myself with lots of time for diary writing – because let’s face it, living in the African bush without a TV can get dull at times. I took along two diaries to the Phoenix pub in Cavendish Square and kinda bookmarked what I remembered as a bit embarrassing. Ana suggested I go up second or third to kinda get it out of the way. Down in the basement of the pub Sara and I munched on some sweet potato fries and happily watched Ana go first. She had some great stories from when she was around 15, rating the boys in her class.
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More stories came from teenage years in Canada, jumping between boyfriends and scripting what you want to say on the phone to your crush. When it came to my turn I was uncharacteristically nervous because the other readers so far had been friggin hilarious. I’m talking, I could’ve wet myself laughing. Although it probably doesn’t seem like it on paper; reading your very private teenage diaries to a room full of hundreds of strangers in a pub basement is strangely cathartic.
I talked about that time Senanses stole from Fran and I (we were pissssed), dull church services in Namibia and being chased by antelope. I was mid sentence when I got a tap on the shoulder ‘sorry can I interrupt you for a second. Does anyone here know first aid!?’ A girl had fainted. Oh shit. Hoping she was ok and also thinking ‘how weird that me and saz were talking about needing first aid a second ago’. Luckily she was fiiiiine! I carried on where I left off after an interval with minimal drama. It was reassuring to hear a few laughs and not just the total silence I was expecting!12873671_10208882329635293_149873362_o
A few more readers went after me who were so frank, honest and hilarious.There’s no filter with these readings; everything’s included from ‘warm sloppy kisses’ to ‘his hand in between my legs’ and all the cringe in between. I won’t dish out all their secret 15 year old fantasies but we were absolutely pissing ourselves. New Year’s Eve parties, holiday romances that didn’t go past a kiss on the cheek and a lot of ‘is God even that powerful?!’ remarks. We had to dash off at the end but it was great to hear from a few audience members ‘you were so funny!’ – yes that is people laughing at my cringeness.Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 22.23.46
Reading my diary aloud to room of strangers made me realise; what you imagine at the time to be legit life changing moments, turn out to just be awkward, embarrassing blips of teenage confusion. We all have them, and they’re friggin hilarious to read back on. There’s one more Cringe London event before Ana gives birth – I might not be in London then but will try my best to go. I will force Sara to read and anyone else who fancies a proper cringey laugh should 100% try it. (have I said CRINGE enough..??)
ALL THE LOLS
Maz x
p.s. check out Cringe London here on –
and meee here –
xox
Thanks again Ana for having me!

Seeking new arrangements 

Au Pairing in Paris

Plans don’t always go as expected but that’s not to say you can’t still enjoy your night. We headed to champ de mars last night for wine and I did no less than 7 hair braids (a new record for little old me). It was nice to see some au pairs I haven’t seen since September(!?)    

Now I’m on the 8 hour coach from Paris to London to see mum, dad and auntie Marcia before my grandmas 80th birthday party tomorrow in Birmingham. Then I’ll be back on Monday after and have less than 5 full days in Paris before I leave! 

Reflective moment – So proud of my friends here who can adapt if plans change beyond their control! They’re 100 times more ambitious and creative than I could ever hope to be and now this is just an excuse to make the next event bigger and better than before. Woo girl powaaaaa 

 

Mary x

 

 

LDN & journey to Murcia

Europe

Shopping in St Albans with Sheri, G and Aunty Doreen was well deserved; I hadn’t rummaged through TK Maxx in way too long. It rained, we went home and Sheri and I ended up going to see 50 Shades of Grey at the campus along with lots of 30 something women who’d obviously left their husbands at home to come and giggle at this ridiculous film. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet but I’ll tell you that we just laughed the whole way through. It was a major cringe fest. Rita Ora’s (non-existent) part was definitely a highlight for us…

On Tuesday we went into London to be tourists for the day (I honestly feel like a tourist in London now because i’ve forgotten where everything is. oops). We went to Shoreditch, Oxford Street, Knightsbridge and then back home from Kings Cross. Vapiano’s for lunch; the best salmon carbonara evaaaa.

Wednesday morning I was woken up at 3am by G and mum being angry at me for some reason. They dropped me off at Stanstead and I made my way through security. Stanstead is a miserable airport and my hour and a bit of waiting felt like forever. Plus point though, my plastic bag of liquids was used as an example to show the rest of the line (LOL thanks G). Then I was fully patted down at security and had to stand in a 360 scanner because my dungarees had multiple metal buttons and I probably looked a bit dodge because I had so many layers on.

Flying with Ryanair wasn’t the most luxury experience but I landed in Alicante and got a 5 euro coach to Murcia where my friend Kloe from Paris is living. I’m a bit rubbish at knowing where I am and it took me a few hours to realise I was in Spain and not France. It’s sunny (compared to London or Paris) and so nice to be in a new place again.

I have lots of photos to add to this post but I’m on my phone and it won’t let me, cry cry

Mary x

Back home & Travel Playlist

Uncategorized

Can I ever go anywhere without having some kind of slip up or fail? Apparently not. I didn’t sleep on Friday night as I needed to pack and generally sort out my trip. I’d intended to spend Saturday morning in central Paris, buying a few gifts before going to Bercy to catch my coach. Nope, I’d booked my coach from the airport, an awkward hour and a bit from my house. So no time for shopping, I rushed to the airport because last time I went there I almost missed my flight. Obviously I arrived way too early and was left hanging around. I read some of Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl (thanks Carys & Evie!) on the journey and am finding it pretty funny. How someone in the public eye can be that frank and honest is beyond me though. Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 14.31.48

The feeling of coming home for the first time in months and slumping on the sofa was short lived when mum quickly told me I wasn’t allowed to eat on the new sofa and to go upstairs, hang up my coat and put my bags away. Cool. She was actually directing me to a small pile of unopended Christmas presents and letters. I opened my TEFL certificate, I obviously knew I’d passed my course but it’s nice to see the document telling me I’m qualified to teach overseas, how grown up of me. Georgie had got me the nicest bag ever and I’d actually pinned it on Pinterest ages ago without her knowing so we obviously both have great taste. Rhiana and Nev came over for pizza, chats and Take Me Out. Still feeling emotional about Nick and Looci… Feeling happy to have seen the gals.

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I braved getting in the car and driving Nev back to St Albans in the morning then me and dad went to Shadwell to see Charlie, James and baby Alfie. It still amazes me that he’s a real person and he has the softest baby skin in the world. I want a baby to just stroke and cuddle.

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My cousin Sheri and Auntie Doreen are coming tomorrow and I’m so keen to go to TK Maxx and River Island becuase I haven’t been in forever. I just went into town with mum and G to buy some new running trainers as I’ve had my last ones since mid 2012. I ran on the treadmill and had my feet filmed to see if I needed support trainers, I ended up with Nike Air Zooms in pink and black, so pretty but so expensive aah

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On Wednesday morning I’m flying to Alicante to see Kloe (pal from Paris). I know I’ll be hanging around the airport forever as dad won’t let me rush. So I’ve made a travel playlist for that journey and then my coach to Madrid on Sunday. Personally, every trip or holiday has to have it’s own playlist, maybe I’m just OCD about that, check mine out on Soundcloud –
https://soundcloud.com/mary-mandefield/sets/spain-february-2015

Mary x