Sunday, 12 October 2014

CLASP: Walk Out of Darkness

It is fair to say that yesterday was pretty incredible.

On Friday, it was World Mental Health day. So yesterday, a 10 mile walk was organised around London raising awareness of mental illness and suicide. Of course, I took part..!

Several hundred of us congregated at the Southbank near Waterloo. I knew a few people taking part and met many more along the way. Everyone was there for a special reason - because they may have lost or nearly lost someone to suicide or because of their own personal battle with mental illness.

I did it to raise awareness, help stamp stigma and to meet other like minded people - I think I achieved all my objectives. Norman Lamb MP was meant to be there and he was hugely supportive of the event but sadly he had to be else where.

The morning started with several emotional speeches - highlighting the importance of the event, people sharing their stories....

This was the route, roughly. Starting at O (Oxo Tower). Heading East / Anti Clockwise. Finishing where we started at N / O. It took about 3 hours and 15 minutes (including a brief pitt stop in Battersea Park), which felt like no time at all. 

The route took us past some of London's most iconic landmarks - starting at the OXO tower, going past the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, MI5, MI6, Battersea Dogs Home, Battersea Power Station, the National Theatre...

The sun mostly shone, which helped a lot...!

Of course, I wore my Miranda T shirt and couldn't understand why everyone I walked passed was smiling at me - It says "I can't keep calm, I'm a Miranda".

This is me with Inesa, who is training to be a mental health nurse. If I had my time again, thats what I would do at university. I am in awe of people like her. 

At the end, we were rewarded with sandwiches and Krispy Kremes! I was allowed to take a box of twelve home... yum!

Kenny Johnston, the founder and CEO of the Charity CLASP, organised the entire event single handedly - and it was only when I spoke to him afterwards that I realised what a HUGE amount of planning and thought had gone into it.. It was a great shame to learn that other, larger UK mental health charities would not support the event because there was no money in it for them.

The walk will hopefully become an annual event - and perhaps other people will take the initiative and organise walks of their own around the UK. It was the kind of thing we've been saying needs to happen. Except - next time, I hope even more will come along. 

24 hours after the event, I am now sitting in Gails on Portobello Road.. feeling slightly stiff but so happy that it was so much fun and such a success. I'm already looking forward to the next one..hope you'll come with me!

I'm now off to see Matilda the Musical, which is the perfect way to end such a fun weekend.

Finally - as it was World Mental Health Day on Friday, please take a moment to watch the TED talk at the top of my blog...

Friday, 10 October 2014

Dear Tesco

Dear Tesco

I know you've been having some trouble recently. Actually, let me rephrase that - A LOT of trouble recently. It was so kind of you to send me a few vouchers BUT I want to point something out to you and my readers, which is quite puzzling and as a Nutrition graduate, I feel it needs addressing...

Do you think its really sensible to send a voucher for a FREE Diabetes Type 2 test along with another voucher that gives me SIX FREE packets of crisps ???? REALLY ???

Can you explain or see the logic ? I can't. The hilarious thing is that the free crisps weren't the most exasperating and ridiculous vouchers I received along with the FREE Diabetes check. Other vouchers included 

"70 p off Gu Puds" and 
"Save £1.50 when you spend £3.00 or more on any cheese". 

The world is massively (pun not intended) burdened with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease - and its the supermarkets like yours offering stupid deals like these which are largely contributing to the problem. 

Why would I need a Free Diabetes Check, anyway ? If I was remotely concerned with my health and thought I might need to be tested for diabetes, I would visit my doctor. Thats why we have an NHS. I don't intend on ringing my local Tesco branch to see a GP. 

I hate the fact that supermarkets are now not just the place you go to for food. You can buy home appliances, insurance, bank your money, book your holidays..... Just monopolising the high street and taking away the independent retailers. 

Tesco: Every Little Helps. 

Well, no actually Tesco: you are not helping. You're just contributing to the problem. 

There is so much more to say about this but thought I would just bring it briefly to your attention. I hope you think more logically next time you are kind enough to send me vouchers. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Catching Up

I'm very conscious of when I don't blog for a while. I hate not having the time to do it. 

Actually, this week has been the quietest I've had in ages and I have enjoyed nothing more than coming home at about 8 pm and just collapsing in front of the television with my favourite supper. Its very unlike me to sit still and concentrate on something on TV so its been good practice. I've decided Wednesdays have been the best - Great British Bake Off and Scott and Bailey... #gripped

How do you think I celebrated watching the GBBO Final ? With a Cronut of course, from CocoMaya...! It was exactly a year since I had my first one so it was Happy 1st Cronut Anniversary to me. 

In previous weeks, I have been doing something almost every night of the week, which was fun but also totally unrealistic and was making me exhausted. Although - they were ALL really amazing things - like meeting Stephen Fry and going to see Dawn French live on her tour. I KNOW.

The concert in Covent Garden in aid of Charlotte's Helix was incredible. 

This weekend I am doing a TEN MILE walk for Mental Health Awareness. Please pray for sunny weather. Will blog about it properly next week. Its been organised by CLASP. Hopefully, it will help stamp stigma. I'm also going to see Matilda the Musical, which apparently is out of this world and has been top of my bucket list for ages. So excited. 

Ruby Wax is at TED talks in Rio, Brazil. I AM SO JEALOUS. Emma Freud popped there too as Richard Curtis has a film premiere out there - she tweeted "TED talks are as brilliant as I always imagined. Like Disneyland for the brain." Very good summary. 

I'm still enjoying my peanut butter / banana on toasted bagel breakfast. Heaven. 

Speaking of breakfasts, this morning I finally got to meet the extraordinary Rahla Xenopoulos for a cup of tea on Portobello Road. She lives in Cape Town and is the most an extraordinary writer. It was a real privilege for me to sit opposite her for an hour. 

Finally - I just LOVE this video by the BBC - see how many famous faces you can spot -