Lost in Liverpool

Uncategorized

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

 

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_

 

 

I’m running 26.2 miles for ONE reason.

Africa, Europe, Sport, Uncategorized

Around a year ago I was well on my way to running 600 miles over 8(ish) weeks for VSO. I’d been running so much that a few gals suggested I may as well run a marathon. Let me stop you there. One does not simply run a marathon just cozzzz. But still, I signed up for the Isle of Man full marathon and ran the 26.2 miles on 9th August, my 21st birthday.

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look at me go, right at the front…

Not content with just the one marathon to my name, I signed up for the Lisbon marathon with my good pal (probably an over statement) Kate and we’re shimmying over to Portugal to take part on 2nd October this year. Soooo, we have less than 2 months to quit whining and get on with training for our second marathons (she ran the London Marathon in April).

Instead of raising money for a charity, I’ve decided to do things a little different and raise awareness for a cause quite close to my heart. (I say that, a lot of causes are close to my heart but stick with me here)

UK Youth Ambassadors

So, in return for me sweating my lil booty (and back, arms, legs, forehead, everywhere) off, I’d like my lovely friends and family to hear about and get involved with ONE campaign. I want to raise awareness for ONE and all the world changing, life saving work they do. See, ONE isn’t a charity. We (I’m a ONE member along with 7 million others) don’t dig wells, we scream n shout to get governments to change the law so a well has to be dug.

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I’ve been a ONE youth ambassador since March this year and their approach to ending poverty and  preventable disease is refreshing. It’s not always easy to get your local MP or media to care about your work with ONE but as a group of around 50 UK youth ambassadors we’ve managed to make a real impact resulting in meetings with MP’s, speaking in Parliament, creating university societies and visiting the OECD forum in Paris (yessss we ate all the croissants).

‘ONE’s 7 million members are critical to this work. They come from every walk of life and from across the political spectrum. They’re artists and activists, faith and business leaders, students and scientists. They take action day in, day out — organising, mobilising, educating, and advocating so that people will have the chance not just to survive, but to thrive.’

Fancy joining the 7 million people and making your voice heard?

What can you do?
First things first, get yourself onto their website – click here woo woo
Next, see what campaign we’re currently working on and choose what interests you the most and take action either by signing a letter or petiton.
Tell your local MP if they’re not doing enough about the issue and what they can change.
Write to your local newspaper about how you’ve put your name to something you truly care about.
Pass it on. Send this link to someone you know – let the movement spread
Let me know, a simple Facebook comment will let me know how many people stand with ONE just because they read this blog post.

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Why?
We’re one race. We live in the same world. Why should where you’re born determine your quality of life? I’m not asking for money, anyone can put their name forward to something they care about.

When?
Now would be fab. But any time before October 2nd would be perf.

What’s next?
I’ll be writing some more blog posts in the run up to the marathon. (Run. Get it…?!!?) with some more info on ONE’s work and what I’m personally doing as a youth ambassador. Sound iite?

OH and use the hashtag #MazRunsForONE when sharing – because errrrybody loves a hashtag

Thanks,
Maz

get involved.

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Just chillin’ with Mhairi Black at our launch

Why I’m so into activism & charity work

campaigns, Uncategorized

 

Because there’s no better way to get your voice heard

Because I think of my home as bigger than the city of Oxford

or the country of England

Because I enjoy meeting people who are passionate about something

Because it’s a great chance to travel

Because it will look good on my CV

Because it provides a chance to use and develop skills I don’t use in my everyday life

Because it’s really fun

Because I like being around like minded people

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Because I’ve made friends for life

Because I get to be creative

Because so many young people feel like they don’t have a voice

Because I think I’ve got ideas worth hearing

Because I enjoy having friends and second families all over the world

Because I can’t sit back and watch global issues continue

Because I have high hopes for the world around me

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Because I like filling my time with productive activities

Because I learn so much about the world around me

Because I get to do loads of really random stuff

Because I can change people’s minds

Because I can raise money for great causes

Because I find it hard to disconnect myself from other people’s issues

Because I know with other people we can slowly make a change

 

Mary x

See what I’m passionate about here 

See what I’m up to on Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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What ya doing in Oxford..?

Europe, Uncategorized

Who knew over 80 of my Facebook friends gave a fudge that I was moving to Oxford?!

So yeah. On Sunday I moved to Oxford after 3 months in Welwyn (post Kenya.). I’m currently a very happy bunny because I somehow managed to land a 3 month job on the social media team with a pretty big UK charity. They work towards the issues that I’m most passionate about and operate on such a huge scale. It’s very easy to work out which charity it is but I won’t say it here cos I don’t need no drama.

It was a speedy transition from jobless, to application, to interview to starting out. Which means I had a day to rush around south Oxford viewing flats & houses that would take on little old me for just 3 months (this came after countless messages to landlords which is always super fun).

I decided on a cute house share in Cowley with 3 other guys. It’s in a residential area so not crazy lively but it’s spacious and clean and convenient so all round great. On Sunday Georgie, Chad and I went to Birmingham to see our cousins and family then drove to Oxford on the way back to drop me off.

I unpacked and prepared for the week ahead. I started the new job in Monday; the first days have been a bit of mix. Overwhelming at times, also pretty calm and chilled. I’ve sat in on a few exciting meetings (that sounds sarcastic but it’s actually not.), been given a few responsibilities and been up and down the 2 flights of stairs to my desk a million times. but yeah, so far, so good. The entry into the ‘world of work’ is a little different for me because I’ve spent so long either working to my own hours or just having such a relaxed schedule and tasks that very little could go wrong (African time is real). Now I’m on the opposite of the spectrum so woah, surprise surprise I’m not allowed to just jam outside with the kids, chill on the beach or wear shorts and t shirt because I’m profesh now hunnay.

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Yesterday Papa Mandefield happened to be working like 100 metres away from my office so we met in Costa and did a lil supermarket shop cos my fridge shelf was feeling empty and sad. I went for a run round Shotover Country Park because the weather was iiiite. I was surprised at how much open space there was, right next to the dual carriage way and there were so many monkjack deers!? Monkjacks are one of life’s greatest mysteries. They’re so bizzarre. Their faces are proper deer-like but the back half is like an overgrown rabbit.

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Tomorrow I’m going to play a casual game of Ultimate Frisbee with a bunch of people I’ve never met before (pray for me plz). I reckon I’ll come back to London on Friday night to see a certain Miss Gaynor but after that I’ll shimmy back to Cowley. SoooOooOOo0o if anyone fancies a day/weekend out HOLLA at me. I don’t have a working phone because I may or may not have smashed it on the morning of my first day… but message me on the old faceboookkksss.

That’s all for now chumps. Exciting shizz coming up next week (… did someone say speaking at parliament..?!)

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i wear work clothes cos i’m a proper office gal these days. 

Mary xoxox

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!

34 hours in Vienna

Europe, Uncategorized

As of Tuesday I hadn’t been out of the country since December last year. Me. Mary Mandefield; travel addict had not used her battered, overused passport in nearly 3 months. Fiercely unacceptable.

My sister has been swanning around Germany for a few weeks on a Tina Turner tribute tour (that’s a lot of T’s) and Chloe and I had been looking at flights to go and see one of her shows in April with not much luck. Most of the venues were in small towns far from airports and trains to the various places seemed to cost more than the actual flight. Long. In the mean time, G suggested I head to Vienna to see the show there and in the same trip I could spend time with my cousins and aunty and uncle who happened to live there. Good shout G. What else do you do when you’re pretty much unemployed and cheap Easyjet flights are calling your name?? I booked flights the next evening.
A week later and I’m packing my bags to go. I changed my euros at the post office (how do thy always manage to get you buy more than you intended?!), sorted out my hair (currently rocking some very home made looking Senegalese twists), rummaged through wardrobes to track down tights and headscarves that G had asked for, shopped for chewing gum and porridge for Gs friends and managed to fit all this and my clothes into a tiny wheelie case.
Flying from Gatwick is my family’s pet hate. Whenever any of us are looking to leave the country dad is quick to bellow ‘as long as you don’t go from Gatwick!’. Yeah yeah it’s a pain to get to. We get it Kev! Because I was working Monday evening, had to be back for a training course on Thursday morning and Georgie was performing on Tuesday night, I didn’t have much wiggle room in terms of flights. So I booked a flight from Gatwick on Tuesday morning and sorted a train from St. Albans at 5am so no one had to drive me for more than 10 minutes. After 3 hours sleep I was up and dropped off at St. Albans station. With tickets in hand I turned towards the departures board. Cancelled. All of them. Literally every train was cancelled and 2 lucky ones that remained (not going to my destination mind you) were delayed by over an hour. Argh, dad had already left and was on his way to work in Oxford. I didn’t have another choice but to phone him and luckily he agreed to come pick me up and drive me to the airport. I couldn’t even ask him to drive me to London because all the trains from there were cancelled too. The drive was dull and rainy but I’m very lucky he could take me and only moan about me booking flights from Gatwick a couple of times… Thanks paps!

  
Checking in, boarding and the flight were all pretty standard and I reached Vienna at 11ish. I’ve done this a few times where I arrive at my destination and expect whoevers picking me up to be waiting at arrivals for me. Nahhh, Georgie and Marcia were nowhere to be seen. So I kinda shuffled to Macdonalds to get a sprite and saw a text from G to say they were on their way. I stepped outside to see where I could meet them and the cold hit me like an icy truck. And I’d left my gloves in the bottom of my suitcase. Cool.
After a while of Marcia driving around not having a clue where I was, we eventually found each other. Georgie explained how they’d gone shopping, showing me her new sunglasses from mango that now I really want. But have nowhere to wear.

  
We drove through town and stopped at Vapianos for lunch. Vapianos is one of my fave restaurants because if you’re super picky like me you can tailor make your meal and not have to worry about finding a rogue mushroom in your risotto that you really didn’t want. If you haven’t been before, basically you get given a card to which they charge your meal to and you pay off when you leave. They have little stations for pizza, pasta and salad and you watch the chefs making the food I front of you from scratch. I went for a salmon carbonara which was so yum but mega filling and Marcia and I ended up taking ours home in some fancy Vapiano Tupperware.   
We went for some quick cosmetic shopping before we went home. My cousin Li was there to greet us, we never used to see each other much but now we’re older we’re obviously quite happy to get a 2 hour flight for a quick visit. So the last time I’d seen her was last summer before I went to Kenya. G unpacked my case and put my stuff into hers because she wanted to swap suitcases. I took a nap on the sofa whilst watching Austrias version of ‘say yes to the dress’ which is so cheap and tacky. They make the brides balance on a teeny plastic stool to show off their dresses to their friends. I woke up to my other cousin Bo coming home from school. I don’t think he realised I was coming ‘Mary what are you doing here!?’. We had pasta for dinner and rushed out to the theatre across town to see the show Georgies performing in; Tina Turner the Rock Legend. The theatre was so much bigger than expected and the audience was a casual 2000 people!?  

 Our seats were great and the first half of the performance was really good. There was a live band, 2 narrators, 2 backing singers, 3 dancers and of course Tina. The cast were mainly German; one singer was a semi finalist on The Voice waheyyyy, the saxophonist was American and obviously Georgie and the other 2 dancers are from the UK.   
The second half was just as energetic and by the end the whole audience were on their feet singing along to ‘simply the best’ and subsequently that song is still stuck in my head 24 hours later. My favourite part was when it appeared on the screen behind them ‘lifss not about the journey. It’s about the desTINAtion’ looooool very punny. After the show you could meet the stars of the show and get autographs. 

  Obviously we had to get Georgie’s and some photos. Marcia and the fam left to go home whilst I waited around for Georgie to change and take off her make up. While I was sitting in the foyer there was a group still hanging around getting photos with Tina. One woman held her hand, looked straight into her eyes and passionately sang the whole chorus of ‘simply the best’ before trailing off and getting visibly emotional. ‘I am crying because I’m just so happy to be here with my idol’ she probably said next (my understanding of the German language is limited so you have to give me room to improvise) and she launched herself onto Tina hugging and kissing her. Calm down gal, she’s not the ACTUAL Tina Turner. 
Georgie lead us onto the tour bus (look at me. Hanging on a tour bus. Who am I) and we travelled to the hotel where the cast were staying that night. It was very fancy and I loaded up on sweets from reception (imagine Ross with the pine cones) and made use of the lush shower with giant shower head. Georgie headed to reception to get some water and a toothbrush for me but didn’t return for a solid 45 minutes. She came back apologising telling me about how the guy on reception was also a performer and was talking about working with Brian Friedman, Sisqo and whoever else. If you didn’t know already, dancers like to talk.   
We both had such a good nights sleep because hotel beds trump all other beds. In the morning we watched 2 Broke Girls in German and took a walk down the road to buy tissues and more water. Rock n roll. After a solid 3 course breakfast and nabbing some muesli and fruit for the road (G not me) I waved G off on the tour bus as she was off to her next destination and I waited in the foyer for my aunty Marcia to meet me. She works at the UN which happened to be a 2 minute walk away; I could’ve met her in there but security are scary and I’d undoubtedly get lost. 
‘Ive found a job for you!’ She’d text me. In the car on the way to the shopping centre she told me about a 3 month digital executive job a Oxfam I should apply for but the annoying thing was that the deadline was tonight. ‘Lets go shopping then you can apply when we get home’. Deal. We went to Burgerista for lunch and shared a lush bacon and cheese burger with chunky chips and drank very Pinterest worthy pink lemonade. A mooch around the supermarket, h&m, Zara, mango and kiko resulted in us having a fair few bags to take back to the car.       
Dickhead drivers seem to be out and about all over Europe this week (I feel like everyone I’ve shared the road with back home lately has serious commitment problems when it comes to driving like a normal person?!) and some old lady frantically weaves past us in the car park then a guy followed and sped straight through our car and the car in front. With 2 kids in the back looking frantic and angry at us because we physically couldn’t move to get out his way. Hey world, let’s take a moment from all the serious issues going on and focus on using our indicators, not cutting each other up and generally driving properly ugghhhh. Global development starts with the simplest changes!
Li was home when we got back and kindly let me use her laptop. An updated CV, cover letter, references, a skills questionnaire and more details filled in and I’d finally completed the application. Fingers crossed now eh.
Bo came home, Marcia bought the dog home and we sat on the floor chatting for a bit before we headed to their nearest train station. I bought a BaumKuchen (Baum = tree. kuchen = cake. The thing is it’s made on is wooden, geddit?!) from a little cart outside the train station. It’s basically dough twisted around a thick rolling pin and heated until golden brown and a bit crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside yum. Mine was then coated in melted chocolate (shokolade) and rolled in cinnamon (zimt). They put it in a little paper bag but obviously the outside is all chocolatey so it’s a bit of a mess to eat really. But really freaking delicious.   
My train to the airport was super speedy and the whole journey has been lovely and uneventful. Mainly because it’s a very quiet Wednesday evening. 
Oh I forgot, before I got to the my gate some salesman from a cosmetic shop in duty free called me over. I’d resisted buying make up and perfume so far and was feeling smug about it, so wasn’t intending on purchasing this random lotion he seemed to be waving in my face. But I was mega ahead of schedule and it was too awkward to now turn and walk away. ‘Hello gorgeous lady, ugh you are so beautiful. Argh yaaaas come and see what amazing product I have for you today!’ ‘Yeah I don’t have money to spend on cosmetics sorry hun’ ‘nooooo darrrling you don’t need to buy I just want to speak to you’ to be fair to him, it was so quiet in the airport that he probably did just want an excuse to speak to someone. ‘So tell me about your job in modelling world!’ ‘Yeah, I’m not a model’ ‘WHAT. Darling why? Is it because you’re too busy with your boyfriend?’ ‘I don’t have a boyfriend’ ‘UGHHH it might be because you’re not using this product’… Maybe he’s right on the money, he’s found out where millions have been going wrong. 
He slathered lotions onto my hand spread serums on my wrist all the while speaking at a million words a minute about how fab I was and how sexy my British accent was. And in the next sentence telling me about his beautiful girlfriend in Korea. ‘Maybe you could be girlfriend number 2?’ Maybe not. But you can’t knock a guy for trying. When I insisted I wasn’t buying this product he told me I could leave after I gave him 2 kisses. Nah thanks. ‘One kiss and a hug?’. Surprisingly no. ‘Ok, just a hug then’, stop chatting rubbish and get me some free samples. He excitedly ran off and bought out a box of Toffifee. I don’t want your confectionary babes, I gots to get a flight!
I went and settled at my gate, they soon started evacuating us because there was a minor bomb threat. Well they’d found an unattended suitcase, I think an old man eventually realised he’d just forgotten to wheel it along with him and we could go back to waiting for the flight. The flight was standard. Pretty empty so I have room to spread out and get told off by the flight attendant for not putting my phone on flight mode. Does it even need to go on flight mode if it doesn’t have a sim?! Is it radiating any kind of waves? Meh, dunno. 
I’ll land soon. Get a train home and hopefully be in bed by 1am. Sorry for the rambly post – basically, I had a very chilled 2 days in Vienna and enjoyed seeing G perform. Reading this I reckon some of you think I’m very un cultured and should’ve spent more time enjoying Austrias finest sights. Bear in mind I’ve been to Vienna about a trillion times; it’s beaut but the weather is miserable and I’d rather chill with my family than trudge around a museum I’ve been to before. 
Bye Austria, hiya UK. Tomorrow I’m heading into Central London to start my 2 days of training to be a ONE charity youth ambassador! As you all should know, I love me a bit of charity work and this seems to be a really interesting scheme so I’m buzzing to get started and meet everyone else. I think there’s a round 50 of us, training at the Groucho club and staying in a hotel near Kings Cross. A photographer from The Guardian will be there along with some great guest speakers so you’ll be sure to get an equally long blog post this weekend explaining how it all went. March is shaping up to be a good’un. 
Mary x 

  P.s. Vielen dank Marcia, Bernd, Bo and Li for hosting me, feeding me and carting me around! Ich liebe dich lots and lots 

  

#MySecondHandSelfie -Why we need to rethink our fashion choices

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It’s currently London fashion week. Clothes, design, and excessive consumerism are once again a huge talking point. I dread to think how much money I’ve spent over the last few years on clothes. Not much makes me happier than scrolling endlessly through ASOS, rummaging through the shelves of Primark or even tackling Topshop on Oxford Street in the sales. I won’t even go into the heaps of clothes that dominate my bedroom (and chaotic floordrobe…) but it’s rare that I take a moment to think about where my clothes came from, how they were made and how they reached me. Companies constantly shove it down our throats that they have a sale on but when was the last time you saw a high street chain be honest and transparent about the design and production of their garments?

‘Children work at all stages of the supply chain in the fashion industry: from the production of cotton seeds in Benin, harvesting in Uzbekistan, yarn spinning in India, right through to the different phases of putting garments together in factories across Bangladesh.’ – in many developing countries children are subjected to exhausting working hours, exposure to pesticides, dangerous working conditions, are often paid below the minimum wage and consequently don’t have the opportunity to go to school. Basically they are exploited for the sake of new clothes for the Western world. 

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credit – saybrook prodcutions

 

It got me thinking; I love to think that I live fairly sustainably, but how can I preach that to others whilst not even considering the effect of my consumerism on the world. One good part I play in this is that I have a love for second hand clothing. That doesn’t just mean the occasional charity shop find – I mean I seem to find clothes and even homeware items in a large foray of unexpected places. To me, second hand means anything thats been passed on from another owner before reaching me. I find second hand clothes at car boot sales, markets, vintage stores, ebay, depop and from friends or family members. Some of my favourite outfits are made up of second hand items.

The advantages of buying second hand are;

+ environmentally and ethically friendly

+ you can find unique pieces

+ you can find fashions from another era

+ clothes are often built to last; if they’ve made it this far they’re of decent quality

+ often cheaper – second hand clothing is on average 50% cheaper than the brand new equivalent

+ your money stays in the community

+ It’s green; cuts down on manufacturing demands and prevents clothes going to landfill

+ friendly service

+ there’s a possibility of finding designer pieces

+ constant new stock

+ you can find clothes for any season year round

+ if you buy from a charity shop you’re financially supporting that charity

If you struggle with finding second hand clothing you love, why not go the extra mile and make your own clothes? If you use unwanted or ethically sourced material you could create your own designs and ensure they’re totally one of a kind. 

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rocking all vintage

To join this fashion revolution you don’t need to be an expert or have heaps of time on your hands – you just need to think outside of the box! Here are a few ideas to help you become more stylishly sustainable;

+ hold a clothes swap party with friends

+ don’t think twice about lending your clothes to your friends

+ old t shirts can be made into scrunchies

+ old pillowcases can be transformed into shopping bags

+ revive a dull outfit with embellishment 

+ add new laces to an old pair of boots

+ tie dye t shirts

+ raid your grannies closet for cosy jumpers and cool jewellery – a clear out for her, new stuff for you! win win

+ change the purpose of an item to give it a new lease of life e.g. a bracelet as a hair accessory, wear a maxi skirt as a dress with a belt, 

+ use old socks as dusters

+ add studs to denim shorts

+ donate your old clothes to a clothes bank or charity shop instead of throwing away (or sell on ebay if you’re skint)

‘Yaaaas I love it Mary, how can I get involved?’ 

Do you know what 2016 needs? A new hashtag/selfie/challenge trend. Regardless of your thoughts on these (raising awareness or just plain vain?) it won’t cost you a thing to display your favourite second hand piece of clothing, homeware, book, whatever to inspire others. If it’s been passed on from another owner or customised or made by yourself, go ahead and show it off! I want to see a photo and short description of how it came into your possession posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or all 3 if you’re extra keen) with the hashtag #MySecondHandSelfie and tag me, @Girl Got Lost on Facebook, @girlgotlost_ on Instagram and @mandefieldx on Twitter. Make your post public so everyone can see it and tag a few friends who you want to nominate to do the same. Great chance to nosey into the wardrobes of your mates and encourage others to shop a little more second handedly. 

We have enough clothes, despite society trying to convince you otherwise. Stop saying you have ‘nothing to wear’ when you’re standing in front of a wardrobe fit to burst. Stop stressing about the latest trends and focus on finding things that make you feel great. Fashion doesn’t need to be so damaging and disposable. Let’s challenge ourselves to think creatively when it comes to clothing. 

Woah, I’ve thrown a lot of facts and ideas your way. sorry about that! I don’t mean that everyone has to become a braless hippie, I’m merely wishing to plant a seed of thought of how you shop and dress. Let’s celebrate second hand and hand made clothes and give a little less support to large corporations who exploit child labour and wreck the environment by importing materials from half way around the world. Let’s continue rocking vintage looks and living just a tiny bit more sustainably.

peace out.

Mary

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all of us working our preloved and borrowed clothes.

p.s. have a read if you want to find out more

https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/

https://www3.nd.edu/~jsherry/pdf/2012/FastFashionSustainability.pdf

and click here to see my first of many #MySecondHandSelfie 

My tips to prepare for running a marathon.

Sport

I’m at that age where people left, right and centre seem to be signing up to run a marathon… (I didn’t know that you’d ever done any physical activity since leaving school but waheeeey ok why not)

Running a marathon is one of those beautifully pretentious acts that allows you to feel smug forever more and to be perceived as a true hero for years to come.

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that face = eternal smugness

But before you can bask in your super fitness glory you need to prepare yourself. Big time.

Although I’ve only ran one half marathon and one full marathon (proper rookie over here.) I’m going to give my 2 cents and document my best tips for marathon preparation..

1. Don’t underestimate the distance/experience

Everyone will tell you how hard it is. Everyone will tell you how long it is. Everyone will tell you how rewarding it is when you finish. It’s all of those things; don’t believe it will be any different than that for you.

2. Know your course

Most marathons will have the course available to download with information of terrain, altitude, incline etc. Study this to prepare yourself. Practice hills if it’s a hilly course, train on the road if it’s a road race! I’ll never understand people who only run through fields and on grass before a road race. You’ll arrive on the day of the marathon and your knees will be like F you mate, you’re on your own baaaai.

Also, stalk peoples blogs to see how they’ve found the run in previous years. Their experience will be vital if it’s a smaller race with less info on their website. The better you know your course, the better you can physically and mentally prepare for it.

3. Food glorious food.

Oh the pre marathon diet. Some love the whole ‘let’s nourish my body!’ period, others loathe it and focus on everything they’re missing out on. Mate, adapting your food is honestly the most beneficial and enjoyable part of your training and you can tailor it to totally work in your favour. Carbo loading = all the pasta. You can eat pizza! You can eat chocolate! You can go out and drink. Just don’t be an idiot about it and take it too far.

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I just added more protein to my diet, totally cut out processed food and went for frequent small meals instead of fewer large ones (YES you can finally prep your meals in tupperware boxes like a top class knob). Add all the veg. Eat all the fruit and plan your meals around your training. I spent like 2 months eating non stop and still losing weight. Just lots of good food. Keep clementines in your bag, dried fruit, banana chips, whatever. Drink so much water and green tea that you spend half of your life on the loo. Happy days. A runners diet is nowhere near as bad as a bodybuilders diet.

4. track your runs

If you track your progress you can keep tabs on how you’re getting better. If you don’t keep track how do you know what’s effecting your performance? I used to have my Nike + app in my ear reeling off stats every kilometre, it’s super repetitive but I could predict my time of each run almost to the second. I then knew how new aspects threw me off or helped me along the way, e.g. a 15KM on a sunny day after a McDonalds was going to be 3 mins slower than one on an average temp day with no burger.
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5. whats your motivation?

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What’s that one thing that drags you out of bed and into your smelly trainers? What voice is telling you to turn down social plans for an evening in the gym? Why did you just casually drop £78 in NikeTown? If there’s nothing spurring you on then you’ll give up real quick, TRUSS MI DADDY. Realise your motivation early on and keep it at the forefront of your thinking. I once set a photo of a marathon medal as my phone background as a constant reminder. Very sad, I know, but bish I did not give up!

 

6. cheater cheater compulsive eater

Cheat meals and cheat weeks are the essence of life. Gurrrll (or guy) just live once in a while. Let your self slip off the bandwagon. Hell, trip over the bandwagon and break it into a million pieces. You WILL slip up. Build a bridge and quit crying. Untitled//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

7. be consistent

That being said… try and keep your training as consistent as possible. If you like yoga on a Tuesday afternoon, go every week! If you prefer early morning runs to after work ones then stick with that. If you have a routine you’re way more likely to stick with it

8. rest and recover

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Radox muscle therapy bubble bath will be heaven sent. So will bath salts. Adopt a consistent stretching method and commit a good 20 mins to cooling down from a run. I used this one and adapted it over time to include more yoga poses.

9. rewards

Rest day is a reward in itself, don’t ever skip it because you think you’re invincible. Buying yourself a new pair of shoes after a week of solid training is totally acceptable. Buy yourself all the treats. Have a bubble bath every once in a while. Watch a tacky reality show while you work out. Rewards are yours if you put in the hard work.

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10. have fun

Believe it or not, at some point this seemed like a great idea. Maybe once upon a time you actually liked running!? I found the fun parts were the classes I went to to keep up my fitness and cooking new meals at home. I wish I’d found more running buddies with similar goals. But yeah, make it fun. I’m all about making your playlist upbeat and going to classes which you’d not normally go to because why the hell not.

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11. it’s all in your head

I don’t care if you’ve heard it before – running is 10% physical and 90% mental. This is probably the most valuable thing I’ve learnt since I started taking running seriously; your mental outlook is the most important part. If you tell yourself you’re tired, broken and can’t go on, you’ll give up! It’s cheesy and cliche but you 100% need to have a positive outlook if you stand a chance of crossing the finish line. You can train and eat right and have the most snazzy sports bra but if your heads not in the right space you will fail. So, invest in some positive thinking books or apps, tell yourself you can and will do it and keep going.  

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You got this.

x