Breast cancer awareness month – TLC and The Great Pink Bake Off

It’s fair to say that I’ve been thinking about boobs this week. Specifically my own and their soon to be new role as a mobile buffet. Monday was the first day of my maternity leave and I marked it by attending a midwife-led breast feeding workshop. This involved six of us (plus one very uncomfortable dad and a gran who wasn’t expecting audience participation) nervously clutching large baby dolls to our bosoms whilst trying hard not to be the one who dropped our baby on the floor. All in all it was a very positive and informative session, with the over arching message seeming to be “try it, persevere, if it doesn’t work out for you, that’s fine and we won’t judge you”.

Personally, it’s what I want to try doing because (a) as a concept it seems to have worked out ok for the mammals over the past millions of years and (b) it’s free and at the end of the day I’m a bit of a cheapskate.

Anyway. Hopefully next month even more women will be thinking about their breasts because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s range of pink products can be found all over the high street and it’s an opportunity to remind women to give themselves a little TLC.

Most cases of breast cancer are found by women noticing unusual changes, taking the initiative and visiting their doctor. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it – so you can see how important it is to make regular checks.
Being breast aware simply means knowing what your breasts look and feel like normally, being on the lookout for any unusual changes and getting them checked out by your doctor.
It’s as simple as TLC…
TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?
LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?
CHECK anything unusual with your doctor.
No one knows your body better than you and everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes – there’s no special technique and you don’t need any training.
For more information on how to Touch Look Check and changes to check for, visit

If you text SIGNS to 70500, Breakthrough will send you a credit sized TLC guide that not only includes the key signs and symptoms of breast cancer, it also includes information about what to do if you notice anything unusual.


This year, Breakthrough are also inviting people to put on their pinnies and join in the Great Pink Bake Off on October 18th (or any day in October, cake should never be constrained to just one day) by baking for friends, families and colleagues. So if you’ve been inspired by the Great British Bake Off on the telly, now’s the chance to show off your skills for an excellent cause (and have a look at this blog for an excellent round up of each episode).



Join the Great Pink Bake Off for Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Juneathon 5/30 – Oh crumbs

The last 24 hours have been very cakey. Perhaps too cakey. An excess of blackened bananas in the fruitbowl led to the quite faffy but incredibly light and yummy Butterscotch Banana Cakes from Dirty Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet.

Muffin top? I’ll show you muffin top…

This morning I baked a lemon drizzle cake to take to afternon tea at my mum’s. The cake was given preferential treatment being transported in the car, whereas once again I was thrown out at the side of the road and expected to run the last three miles of the journey. Not entirely coincidentially, the drop off point was mere feet away from a motorbike (suggested by Torsparkles) but the rest of the run didn’t yield any more treasure until I landed at mum’s.


There, I announced my arrival at the back door jogging on the spot and announcing that I couldn’t stop running until I’d seen some pretty bunting (Jen again!). One more lap of the garden and I’d clocked up two lots of bunting…

Patriotic bunting

More pretty bunting and if you look closely…

…and a bonus item of a teaspoon (added to the list by the wonderful Christine Evans AKA Artist on a Bike).

We couldn’t let this patriotic chap go unrecorded, especially as his tie originally decorated my gran’s coronation cake 60 years ago.

King of the Garden

There was then another treasure hunt around the garden and more cake.

Butterfly cake

Proper fairy cakes

And then a nap.

My very first half marathon – 6th Folkestone Half

I have completed my first half marathon and lived to tell the tale.

The weekend started with some last minute list crossing off and minor panicking before marvelling (again) at how easy it is to get from Wigan to London on the train. This was followed by a short mooch around St Pancras (posher than most shopping centres I’ve ever been to) then hopping on the high speed train down to Folkestone. Before we knew it, we were sitting outside the hotel in the sunshine drinking a pint (Ginge) and drinking squash but looking longingly at a pint (me). We had left grey, cloudy Lancashire behind and enjoyed the novelty of basking in unseasonal warmth. It was so sunny, I even showed a bit of ankle. After a spot of lunch with my aunt and uncle, we wandered into town, sized up The Hill (bloody big), wandered back to the hotel, neatly laid out all of my race gubbins (nothing had been forgotten, phew), had a bit of a snooze and met up for tea with Helsie, JogBlog, I like to count and Helsie’s mate Helen 1, where we gorged ourselves senseless on carbs (surely creme brulee counts? No? Really?).

Race day. More carbs (including my shameful little bag of homemade muesli rather than hotel variety pack cereal). Plenty of fluids. Lots of nervous excitement. Emptying bladder. Sock knitting to take my mind off the nervous aspect of the excitement. Lots of tweeting – I really enjoyed being part of the nationwide pre-race nerves instead of just watching from the side lines. Emptying bladder again. Slight panic that I’d forgotten my socks, despite knowing full well that I had packed my socks. Looking out of the window trying to convince myself that it was about to cloud over. Attempting to empty already empty bladder. Race number pinned on. Jelly babies crammed in back pocket, despite the fact that my pocket suddenly seemed half the size it normally is. Off to the start line.

Best good luck message ever

It is a matter of public record that I do not like running in the heat. I live in the damp and mild north of England, we mainly get drizzle. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to account for the fact that I was running with Helen “Bring Me Sunshine” Tamblyn. It turns out that Hels’s superpower is the ability to make races unseasonably and uncomfortably sunny. If you’re getting married, I would suggest that you encourage her to race in the vicinity of the ceremony to guarantee that you have decent weather.

I do love a bandstand

Anyway, the race. I set off well… And then spent the first three miles wishing that I’d worn my hat. When I saw Ginge on the sidelines proffering my hat, it was snatched gratefully from him with a cry of “I think I love you…” over my shoulderas I lumbered past.
At 4.3 miles, I overtook a man on a mobility scooter. He wasn’t part of the race and I shouldn’t really have been as pleased as I was with this.
After an alarmingly short time had elapsed, the front runner passed us (he finished in a course record of 1:08:00, 8 min 55 sec before the second placed runner) and not long after that, Shaun (I like to count) also bounded past followed by Hels’s mate Jimmy.
Around 5 miles, I started to feel sick. I know the feeling from previous attempts to run in the heat and I realised that I was faced with a choice. Keep running, inevitably feeling worse (and increasingly miserable) and possibly not making it around the course, or walk for a bit, take it easy and – as everyone had told me to – just enjoy it. Who am I to ignore the advice of wiser, more experienced runners eh?

Despite the run-walking, it was still bloody hard work. I was immensely grateful to the applause and encouragement of all of the spectators (particularly the lad showering runners with a garden hose and Ginge who just threw water over me) and marshalls around the course  – I just hope they all realised that my response to their cheers was a smile and not a grimace. I also had some wonderful psychic Shuffle random playlist action – starting the race with my motivational tune (Trinity Roots, All We Be), being told Don’t Worry Be Happy at mile 10 and singing along to Jolene (in my head you’ll be relieved to know) with the blessed Dolly as I plodded up The Hill.

Beach huts around the ten mile mark

On another day, I may have managed to own The Hill, but it was not to be and I managed about 30 seconds before resorting to walking. After that, I was determined to finish on a run and with gritted teeth, I ploughed on to the finish where I was cheered over the line in a time of exactly 2:33:00 before collapsing on the grass.

Before the day, I had set three levels of goal in my head: It would be acceptable to get round but…I would be pleased with finishing under 2:30 but… I would be ecstatic with somewhere around 2:15.

So am I happy with that result? Yes and no. Given the conditions, I was pleased to finish and in an acceptable and not too shabby time. I knew that my training hadn’t been at its best, I did everything I could to enjoy the day and the sobering sight of a runner receiving ambulance treatment near mile 10 (I hope that he was ok) reminded me that it’s more than possible to come to grief. However… I know that I can do better.

In summary – I had a fantastic weekend and it was lovely to meet up with my Southern running mates (especially as Cathy brought us homemade jam). The race was well organised and friendly, but I was undone by the general heat and lack of shade throughout the course (there really was no respite from the sun along the sea front). However, I keep referring to Folkestone as my first half marathon – this suggests that there will be more of them, so I must have enjoyed myself.

Fighting fit for Juneathon

This weekend I’ve truly had an athlete’s preparation for the forthcoming hell that is Juneathon. Let’s just say that it started with a sausage butty and has just ended with a chippy tea. In the middle, I’ve shovelled a tonne of gravel, had 2 trips to the tip, been scared witless by a 3 year old’s birthday party (but did enjoy the fire engine cake), listened to the Archers omnibus (oooh, that Pip) and been up to my elbows in compost. It’s been lovely.

On Sunday morning, I went out for an earlyish 3 mile plod around the village. It was a bit breezy, but the sun was shining and after sitting on the loo reading about the dangers of multitasking, I decided to make it a bit of a mindful one. I stuck with the tunes for the boring bits of the run (I find the sound of my lungs a bit off-putting) and trundled around the lodge taking in the sights and sounds.

Only two hours to go until it’s officially Juneathon… It’s a bit daunting that there’s so many participants this year (67  on the official list when I last checked over at Juneathon Central) and I don’t envy Iliketocount who has the unenviable task of judging the whole malarky. Good luck people!