bike in shed

Yes you read that right and yes I will forgive you if you burst out laughing, the thought alone makes me burst out laughing, only my laughs verge on the hysterical.

Remember last year for my hen do I climbed Snowdon with a group of nutters who go by the name of Team Honk I raised around £500 which went towards the massive £10,000 raised overall by Team Honk and I was very proud of my achievements. It was one of the best days of my 2013 and I’d do it all over again even if I couldn’t step down a kerb for a week after.

Thank you to every single person who sponsored me, all of that cash went to Comic Relief and was used to make lives better around the world.

This year it’s Sport Relief and Team Honk are organising a baton relay from Land’s End to John o’Groats, they’re calling on bloggers from all over the country to join in and take the baton from A to B in their area making it the longest, slowest trek up the country but a fun one.

Some irresistible force from deep within that ignored every single bit of sense I possess made me put my hand up and say ‘I’d love to help.’

You know when you hear yourself saying something and think – Why did I say that? but it was too late, I will not let the Honkers down and therefore I must take the baton from Gravesend, my home town, over to Southend where the Essex team will take over.

So peeps on the 25th January – and it has to be that day. I will transport the baton over to Southend. IF you want to help and share the mileage then PLEASE (begs) get in touch as I could do with all the help I can get here.

Gravesend – Southend

I ruled out running as I have no training and I hate it, it would be absurd to even think I could run 24 miles so I didn’t. I also ruled out walking as 24 miles in one day is too much for me.

I doubt very much I can swim or row across the Thames without being taken out by a massive container ship leaving Tilbury as it is such a busy shipping lane so I am left with

Cycling.

See my rusty, dusty bike above … 

I bought the bike for £25 from an ad in the local supermarket, you know the cards you stick up with details and a phone number? I put it in the shed ready to use straight after purchasing back in 2006 and it hasn’t seen daylight since apart from the day the removal men transferred her from our old house to our current abode.

My route so far

Link to my Endomondo route – all information gratefully received

gravesend - southend cycling route

Cross the Thames on the Tilbury Ferry, 

Head towards Stanford le Hope

Onwards to South Benfleet

On to Leigh on Sea, Westcliff on Sea

and collapse on the Southend Pier where I hand over the baton to the Southend team.

I have spoken with a trusted cyclist who cycles for charity frequently, I have informed him of my sorry state of fitness and he says I can do it, so I’m going to give it a go.

Team Honk have also said it will be ok to change the plan on the day if bad weather stops the ferry or other unforseen stuff happens.

What I need – can you help?

A pair of padded leggings and other cycling gear

A helmet 

A bike health check

Do I need anything else?

Information about the route I’m talking – nice places to stop for photo opportunity? Do you know a local cafe willing to offer me a bacon buttie on my journey and be promoted across the UK via Facebook, Instagram, twitter  by Team Honk, Sport Relief and all of the thousands of followers?

Southend people, it would be lovely to stay over with my family on the 25th and explore your town, advice on hotels, restaurants and family fun in your area would be great.

I’ll be back with more information about where you can donate to and an updated route once I get some serious feedback

Thanks everyone and cross your fingers for me once again – off to drag the Wii Fit out for a bit of training

On the 2nd March I climbed Snowdon with Team Honk and I vlogged the memory of climbing Snowdon too. I am so glad I did as I now have a better perspective of just how difficult that climb was! Meet my TeamHonk climbing companions and enjoy the spectacular views.

One big thank you to everyone who sponsored me, I contributed, thanks to you, over £450 and overall TeamHonk raised £9000 for our climb

THANK YOU XXXX

snowdon summitWhat a fabulous, marvellous, amazing, awesome experience I have just had, it will easily go down in my best evers.

I climbed Snowdon

The culprits of this expedition are #TeamHonk who I’ve been talking about now for a good few weeks. They sent me a postcard from Ghana and their latest hairbrain was to climb Snowdon to raise more funds for Comic Relief.

We stayed at the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel The drill was: up at 7.00, breakfast at 7.30, leave the building 7.45, meet up at the bottom of The Miners Path at 8.30 start walking at 9am.

Timings were non negotiable, estimated climbs say 3-4 hours up and about the same coming down plus Marit and Al, friends of Gemma‘s who had volunteered their time to accompany us wanted us safely down before sunset. Nikki from Stressy Mummy was our driver and we were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day.

Snowdon Miners path Excitement in the car park as red lacy knickers from Who Made Your Pants were handed out to all climbers to wear over our trousers, @HiTecSports had very kindly sent us along some super warm socks (not one blister!) and Mummy Barrow handed out bags of delicious brownies sent by @GowerCottage for energy snacks on route and encouraged her husband Bruce and son Johnnie as they started out on their trek with us

Snowdon Miners Path form Peny pass

The Miners route is a ‘gentle’ start working us in nicely, warming our muscles up and presenting us some spectacular views on route. Kate (Kate Takes 5) and Laura (My internal world), who had come over from Ireland thanks to Stena Line kept me company on the first part. Kim brought Hettie the hoover with her and her son Miles (testing the icy lake below)

Our first break was 1 hour into the trek at a beautiful iced lake set with a breathtaking backdrop of scraggy mountains.

Snowdon pitstop

Al pointed out a couple of climbers picking their way up the ice to the summit of Snowdon – little did I realise we would be doing something VERY similar shortly after. Greg, a fellow twin dad (Whisky for Aftershave) caught up with us having struggled to find parking and Emma (Bunny Pudding) and Jennifer (Jennifer’s Little World) enjoy a hot drink.

I asked Marit what was the next part of our route and she pointed to the sheer rock face in front of us where a stream of hikers were making their way up the tiniest shelf like path to a miniscule ledge higher up. Our next bit was to be

  • Sheer rock face
  • Icy covered rock face
  • Icy thin ledge to ridge
  • Snow covered slope to summit

In fact take a look at Annie’s blog Mammasaurus to see the trail for your self, she also has an.. er …interesting shot of my bloomers – g’wan take a look you know you want to.

Snowdon steep climb

This second part of our climb was hard going and testing but we took it slow and steady. The rocky mountain wasn’t too bad but as I lifted my legs and used rocks to pull on I knew my muscles were getting the workout of their lives. Hannah (Cupcake mumma) and Kat (Kat a Pillar) in pink tutus

Snowdon ice climb

The icy ledge in single file with sheer drop to the left and steep rocky mountain to the right. I thought, absurdly, of goats quite a bit.

The ridge was covered in snow with a few rocks pointing through and it was slowly turning into an ice rink. Below 1. Annie (Mammasaurus), Steph (I’m counting UFO’s) and Kat (Kat a Pillar) 2. Danielle (It started with a squish, who always managed to find a signal! 3. Kat (Kat a Pillar) 4. Penny (Alexander Residence) with lots of video to check out

Snowdon ice climb done

The last climb to reach the summit was difficult, it was icy, it was packed with climbers and it was steep but the shouts of jubilant cries coming from the top, the smiles on the faces of those who had made it was so inspiring NOTHING was going to stop me.

Snowdon summit

We made it, I sent a photo as I finally found a signal saying ‘I’m on top of the world with #Teamhonksnowdon and it’s the best feeling ever.’ It was sent and I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who saw it and RT’d it, liked it, shared it and spread the news of our challenge as #TeamHonkSnowdon had hit the £4,500 mark!

Snowdon lunchtime

The journey down was into Llanberis and trust me it may look gentle but it’s far from it. Luckily for me Annie (Mammasaurus) had a couple of gin-in-a-tin’s in her bag and handed one over, ‘After all it is your hen party’ she smiled at me.

Snowdon descent to Llanberis

The lovely Jennifer (Jennifer’s Little World) opening the gate for us. I had been warned that coming down was hard on the legs but I hadn’t realised how much. By the time the last few hundred meters were in sight my legs were giving way and Kat had told me earlier that walking backwards would help, I mentioned it to Penny and Jennifer who were with me at the time and we tried it, it was true! We managed the last bit past the pub and down onto a more gentle slope walking backwards.

Mummy Barrow was waiting for us at the bottom, lots of photos, knicker throwing and general laughter was had before setting off to the hotel for a drink.

mummy Barrow Snowdon photo

Would I do it again? Not immediately but yes. Somebody mentioned Ben Nevis, someone the Wicklow mountains but first I need to regain use of my legs and walk down the aisle!

Please visit the TeamHonk Snowdon fund raising page and a little love if you can xx We’ve teamed up with Clare Balding on her Twitter Million challenge

Another CRAZY week peeps. Last week I left you with cakes, daffodils and pretty pictures of lakes and sunsets. THIS week is another kettle of fish.

We ‘re taking it from Friday night as that was the biggie, my Hag party, why a hag? (hen/stag – kindly dreamt up by Jean) This is a second marriage for me and I think there’s an awful lot of ‘I really want to get this right this time’ having seen the last matrimony go so spectacularly down the pan. I wanted to make sure every choice had been thought out well and done ‘properly’. Last time round I asked my best friend at the time Claudia, to be the Italian equivalent to chief bridesmaid and, as life has a habit of doing, after a few years we never saw each other again. I have no idea where she is now and haven’t spoken to her in years. That’s not to say I don’t have feelings for her, I do, but we drifted apart.

THIS time round I chose my brother Dom to be my chief bridesmaid testimony. So it’s his job to organise the hen night, right?

Now I’m closer to 50 than 40 (I know you wouldn’t believe it but it’s the truth) so I didn’t want to be stumbling half naked around Dublin/Newcastle/add your own hen resort. I wanted a posh meal as it’s something we rarely get to enjoy these days.

MW Nails spitalfields

Organised to perfection by Dom er actually it was his girlfriend Jean but moving on – Nails beautifully manicured at MW Nails in Spitalfields with a glass of fizz whilst they’re being done (very posh) and yes, it is the inside or a real aeroplane.

The Ten Bells menu

Followed by a meal at the pop up restaurant The Ten Bells, I had fried squid, venison and chocolate pave. Dee.Li.Cious and then off to The Pit, which is a bar carved out of the underbelly of The Old Vic theatre in Waterloo.

Hag Party

The night was such fun we’ve decided to try and do one at least once a year and Paul can come next time too.

Saturday – I wasn’t on the best form ever but look at the Full English little bro prepared for me. He and Jean are working on all the printing for the wedding here’s a few glimpses hopefully without giving too much away

wedding ideas

Oh and I fell in love with one of Jean’s pictures hanging in the front room. It’s by an illustrator called Juju Delivery You can’t read it but her gloves have good written on one and evil on the other. LOVE that.

Juju delivery

Sunday – Feeling a bit better and whilst helping the girls do their ‘Bug Club’ online reading books, out of the window I see this bird feasting on the berries in our neighbour’s bush. As I write this (Friday) I can tell you he’s been back every day sometimes with the Mrs and now the bush is bare.

bird in a bush

Monday – Half Term is over and we’re back to school, the girls very excited at seeing their teacher Mrs H and their friends again. Sadly Lucas has moved to Australia over half term but we get to see lots of photos of him on Facebook so the girls can see him happy in his new environment.

back to school

Tuesday – I work and work and work, I write my something borrowed post to remind myself in years to come of all the lovely things happening right now as I have a dreadful memory.

something blue

Wednesday – People are sending me wine to drink! Thank you Gallo. This looks very interesting a red to chill, I’m looking forward to trying it after the climb.

Gallo summer red

Thank you @TescoWines and thank you to @KnackeredMutha too, I’ve been waxing lyrical about her recently published book this week which is a gem, please take a look and if you like wine then it’s for you. Get someone to get it for you for Mother’s Day ;) I also take part in a wine Twitter party – lots of fun.

Knackered Mother's Wine Club

Thursday – Getting seriously busy, suitcase half packed as I find things around the house that I’ll need with me and don’t want to forget for Climbing Snowdon with #TeamHonk. I have to prepare EVERYTHING for the girls whilst I am away, that includes a party so present and clothes, swimming bag and homework!

Friday – that’s now as I’m preparing this in advance. I took a sweet photo as Julia Boggio suggested, of me and the girls. She’s right when she says get IN the photos with your kids because when they look back they want to see you too. We must stop worrying about weight, wrinkles and grey hairs and get in the photos as our kids love us however we are.

red nose for teamhonk

Right, I really have to go now, THANK you to everyone who has sponsored me and #TeamHonk. We’re going to do you proud, I’m taking my camcorder and camera with me and a Bride to Be sash so you’ll spot me in the crowd should you look on the webcam and thank you The Boy and Me for linking me up whilst I drag myself up and down Snowdon x

Love you all and thank you so much xxx

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

snowdon summitIt seems really strange writing that, after all I should be our getting trashed with the mums on a jolly good hen night instead this #TeamHonk opportunity came my way and I snatched it with both hands.

You wouldn’t think so if you knew me BUT I do like walking and the last walk Paul and I took together pre-twins was Bewl Water close to Tonbridge Wells in Kent. At the time it had been on the TV a lot as the water level was dangerously low so we thought we’d have a nose and a good walk at the same time, 13 miles later I was exhausted but exhilarated. I don’t mind admitting that close to the half way point I nearly threw the towel in but of course the only way home was to er….walk round the other half of the reservoir to get back to the car!

Anyway, here’s the plan – today I catch a couple of trains to Stoke on Trent where Penny Alexander will pick me up and together with Danielle Adams we’ll Thelma and Louise it to Snowdon to meet the group of almost 20 bloggers joining us.

I have waterproof trousers, I have stacks of chocolate – energy guys, right? I have cotton wool for my ears (for the wind apparently) and I won’t be back till Sunday afternoon because it’s such a journey.

I’m told I will be wearing red knickers for the journey and I have my red nose ready for my photo at the summit.

Firstly I must thank Paul for looking after the girls whilst I am away, secondly I must thank all my hens who allowed me to cancel our party so I could participate

Thank you girls xxx

And lastly I must thank EVERYONE who has sponsored me so far, your generosity has been overwhelming and is really appreciated thank you very much.

If you would also like to donate please head over to my Red Nose Page and leave me a message too, I love reading them. All the money donated goes into the #TeamHonk pot and in turn we are connected with Clare Balding for her #TwitterMillion challenge

See you Sunday – or maybe Monday ;)

#TeamHonk - Marianne