Archive for the ‘Charity Swims’ Category

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For fear of this turning into a ‘Monster’ blog I thought I would post about other things for a change. Namely, what happened to my swim watch and the last, final, complete end to the series Reign.

About a month ago I realised that my Swimovate Poolmate watch had gone missing. Normally I am very organised and if I can’t find something then I usually retrace my steps. However, since having Monster (there they are again), I have been experiencing bad memory issues and as I continued to search for my lost watch with no avail, I went from slightly irriated to anxious.

I have owned this watch for over 6 years and it has been there for me helping me train for every event, so I have a sentimental attachment to it.

After checking with my local haunts, Eltham Leisure Centre and Charlton Lido, I had nearly given up hope and so I purchased a new watch because it felt strange swimming without one. I purchased the next model up, but went for the same look as I have skinny wrists and I knew it would fit, only this time it had a black face instead of blue. Luckily as I was part of the Channel swimmers for Heart Research UK last year Swimovate were, opportunly, running a discount for the charity’s swimmers.

Needless to say, the new watch arrived and there was still no sign of the old watch.

Then at the weekend, I was manoeuvring Monster’s trike out of the shed to pack the top section with some snacks for a trip to the park, because when going out with a toddler you can never pack too much, I checked the top storage compartment of the trike and oddly enough (mainly because I don’t remember putting it in there), there was my watch.

I was jumping up and down with joy which surprised‎ me as I didn’t know I could still jump for joy, nor could I be that lively considering I had been up since 5:00am.

So where this blog was supposed to say goodbye swim watch, it now says goodbye and hello. I was convinced it had been thrown out in a plastic bag I use in my swim kit to store wet items.‎ Needless to say, I now need to keep a close watch (excuse the pun) on where I put it.

In additional to swimming technology, I recently purchased a new underwater MP3 player. I have used several over the years and my favourite has been by far the Speedo Aquabeat (first generation), however we now have a very close rival.

It has flexible innovative memory wire on the headphones also they bend to the shape of your ear for a great fit under your swim cap (if you wear one that is). The sound quality is really good, I can’t complain (and I am the type to, trust me), clear large and easy to press buttons (particularly good under water), MP3/WMA/WAVformats, 8GB Memory, built in Rechargeable Battery with up to 12 hours of listening time. It is lightweight as one would expect, the dimensions are 36 x 51 x 19mm and the weight is 20.2g.

The only downfall, I must have missed the section where it says that it does not support Windows 10. Overall though, a nice bit of swimmers kit.

 Those who watch the series Reign on Netflix will have learnt that the ‎final final episode aired last Saturday. I didn’t actually realise it was the last one even though I know the story of the two Queens very well.

We, the audience, were approaching the point where King Darnley was about to meet his maker, but I was unsure where the Reign writers would take the series following Mary Stuart’s arrest. We know other things happened during Mary’s incarceration but the writers decided to end it and it was a very tear-jerking but also happy ending – contradictory I know.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it and if you haven’t watched the series at all, I strongly recommend it. If you liked The Tudors then you will like this series too. It is filled with exceptional actors, it keeps to the story we have in records (with a little creative writing in places of course), but if you want to watch an entertaining series that will invoke every emotion and will leave you wanting more then watch Reign. It will not only captivate you, but it will also remind you how far women and society in general have come, both in the British Monarchy and overall.

Admittedly, that was a long title, but it should tell you what the content of this blog  refers to.

It has been a massively busy start to the year, in fact the word ‘busy’ is an understatement, but I am hoping that once all of the grunt work (so to speak), is out of the way, then it will all be worth it.

I’ll end this post with some frivolity, so you will need to wait to hear about Twerky and the Unicorn (sounds like an Icelandic pop band), unless you want to scroll down to the end but then you will miss everything in between.

No Food Limits

This is something I started last year and so far the direction is sound, it is the productivity that is lacking somewhat. The aim is to educate people to eat what they want without impacting on their health. It sounds like this has been done many times before – the over profiting organisations that in essence don’t work. If they did, they would be out of business by now. For me, I am not out to make lots of money, No Food Limits is all about the education. When you have seen people die, or have life impacting health problems, which could have been avoided if a change in eating plan had taken place, then getting rich is the last thing on your mind.


Since having Monster, I find that my training has reduced by quite a bit. I also made the comment on Twitter earlier on in the year that given my decades of swimming experience, why not start my own events that in the interim, only cater for me. I have organised many charity events with work in the past, I shouldn’t have too many issues trying to pull this off.

SwimFor allows me to raise money for my own charities and swim the distances I want to swim in the desired locations. No more jelly babies in the Solent for me (it takes away the salt taste for those that don’t know).

The second event is due to take place in April 2017 and is called Swimfor2k. It was originally #swimfor2 and then we realised that this sent a completely different message.

Swimfor2k is also a little misleading in the sense that the swim distance is not 2k, it is 4k overall (2k per charity), but the idea is that next year when is says #swimfor3k, it will be 3k per charity.  Any charity can be picked, there won’t be a set charity per event, and the number of charities will not be limited. Providing the venue can cater the distance, the only requirements are to raise money for charity, swim the required distance and have a witness present to adjudicate. If you can take pictures even better but I am aware that many pools have a no photography rule.

I am hoping to open the event up next year to more people.

I can see Monster also getting into these as they get older. At present, I have limited Monster to swimming every other week as I am convinced that they are overdoing it. They get excited once they see the water and there is no stopping them. To the point where I have had to buy a float suit just to take the pressure off of my shoulders and back, but that is a different post entirely.

Kelly at swim

Dragon Realm Chronicles

I have been writing DRC for many years now and realised that I don’t have a website for the books to advertise them. Given that a few other authors have chosen to publish their books with similar names (naughty naughty), I thought it would be silly not to have the original series advertised under its very own domain, so now there is

The fourth book in the series is due out very soon.


Dragon Realm Chronicles – Book 3 in the series

Here’s Twerky

‎Without further ado, my husband and I have been having great fun with Monster’s Christmas presents. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do when you have kids?!!?

‎The BeatsBelle (aka Twerky) is one of the bestselling toys on the market. The idea is to play music and dance so it gets aspiring little walkers on their feet and moving. At first glance, it does look like a twerking anime k-pop character which displays different colours on its body that could no doubt, if sped up, induce neighbourhood wise seizures.

It also has a voice recording system which replays in a chipmunk voice‎ to a beat. This feature has given my husband endless fun and as a result, Twerky has been nominated as his organisation’s new mascot.

Monster looks at Twerky awkwardly, like it doesn’t understand, but then again it’s not like they get to spend much time with the toy.

The Unicorn however is surprisingly effective, given that it was one of those 90% off Groupon jobbies. It lights up the room with effects of flashing stars and ‘z’, or the lights can be still. It has a calming baby planetarium effect which actually works. You can opt to have sound, but wisely I brought the version that did not contain sound. It has helped Monster sleep every night so far. Result!


I have now got to point where my calendar is an extension of my brain. Completely. It has always driven my other half into a state of less than calm, the amount of reminders that go off on my Blackberry on a daily, hourly someones hour quarterly basis. Since having Monster I think I have completely given up using my memory. Even to the point I joked the other day saying “…in 5 mins I will receive a reminder that I have to go and do the shopping…”.
Sure enough 5 minutes later there it was.
This often leads me to the train of thought that if I did go totally reliant on technology for my reminders would my brain and/or memory just melt into a useless state needing to be controlled by a host for the rest of my days.
Yes, I know, too much Dr Who watching combined with an over active imagination. There really is no hope for Monster. Bless.
Aside from Monster keeping me out of the water, strangely enough the main reason for my lack of swimming, has been due to insufficient earplugs. It sounds like a weak excuse, but being a long distance swimmer your kit has to be as good at performing as what you are. Most of the time when I’ve had a bad swim it has been due to goggles, audio device playing up or more recently being unable to find earplugs that stay in my ears.
After many years of research into the perfect earplug, I settled for a long time for using the Speedo Biofuse. Of course it had to be Speedo (says the former Speedo tester), but I genuinely do love the brand.
The Biofuse earplugs are corkscrew shaped and designed not to move. They actually look like something that would feature in a sadomasochist’s wardrobe, ‎but following the birth of Monster every time I tried to use my trusty earplugs my body would reject them. To the point where I would insert the earplugs look in the mirror and could physically see my ears push them back out again.
It got to the point where I would either have to put up with them incorrectly positioned pushing on surrounding nerves and coming out of the swim in discomfort, or not wear any at all. Both scenarios presented potential lasting damage to my ears so I had to stop and think about how I was going to solve this.
I came across some highly rated earplugs called Cirrus Healthcare BioEars Earplugs from the Allearplugs website. They like putty which forms to the shape of your ear. ‎endorsed by Olympic athletes for £4.49 I thought that if they don’t work then I won’t be losing much. Well I am happy to say that for the first time in months, I had a comfortable swim.
The earplugs are silicone which make them soft and mouldable however, unlike any other silicone earplug they contain ACTIValoe. They do feel odd when wearing them but they are very easy to get used too once you get to grips with the idea of putting a substance like Play Doh in your ears, but the idea is that they cover the ear hole forming a comfortable water resistant seal. As with most ear plugs, insert them when the area is dry and you will see better performance and ignore the feeling that they might fall out because they won’t.
From a swimming perspective there are no annoying handles that can get caught on your swim cap, but be careful if you have long hair, as with a pliable substance like this, your hair will get stuck in it. You receive 3 pairs in a pack and a carry case. They are reusable but it is advised not to tear the plug, just let it form to the shape of your ear. I have small ears and it provided comfortable coverage over the ear hole.
Highly recommended, 10 out of 10 and I will definitely be purchasing these again. Click on the link above to order yours, or if you want to check out the Speedo Biofuse on Amazon, please click here.

Since the last entry, the little human (known as Monster) is moving around a lot more, and is contributing to a lot of conversations, in fact monster tries and ‘over talks’ most people and you can see people’s faces cringe when this happens – yes I am now the woman with ‘that child’. However there is a difference between ‘talking’ and whinging and I think that most people recognise this. In recent days one side of the line still holds the 0-3 month clothes, while the other side now has 3-6 month clothing. Where did that time go?

Speaking of baby clothes, I am astounded by the price of baby swimwear. For a normal 3-6 month swimsuit this can set you back £16.99. My swimwear costs slightly more and that is designed for sports and endurance training – have babies starting swimming marathons now? Also, like with most babies clothing, it is hard to know how much is too much. For example, do you just keep it to normal swimwear such as a swimsuit, or add a warmer over the top. Given that I will only be taking Monster to indoor swimming venues for the time being, I think we will just stick to a normal swimsuit for now.

With regards to my kit, for those that don’t know, I have swum for over 30 years, this of course is most of my life, but in the last decade I have incorporated more events and worked on my endurance swimming. Swimming has always come naturally to me, so it only makes sense that I take advantage of my ability to swim long distance, both for the fitness and wellbeing aspects, but also it fuels my competitive side and the need for personal goalsetting – Urg corporate phrasing much!

As one can imagine, swimming for long distances can be both time-consuming and it can make your mind wander. An example of this was last year when I did a 12 hour overnight swim. For the first time in an event, I actually suffered boredom with the swimming. As time went on through the night, it became more challenging due to fatigue, seeing where one was going, and the other drawbacks that can come with such an event, such as chaffing and if in salt water, the salt will irritate even the smallest of wounds you have.

To relieve any monotony when training I use aids such as an underwater MP3 player. I have used several makes and models over the years, all of which will have their pros and cons, and all will have an element of endurance themselves. My favourite was the Speedo Aquabeat, which unfortunately is no longer in production. I had one of the first models and as soon as the upgrades began for Windows 7 the Aquabeat would no longer connect to a computer as it would only run on XP. While the device was still useable, this meant that I could not change the music which soon became boring – thus the circle was complete. So it was time for a new device.

My latest device took a while to get to grips with, I couldn’t get it to work in the pool, the earphones were unsuitable (for some reason since pregnancy I have only been able to use particular earphones), and when I managed to get the thing working (which in the end took several weeks), I then accidently wore it into the showers after the swim and got shampoo in it. Oops. Anyway it still works so all is right with the world.

Over the years when using devices such as this and my Swimovate Poolmate watch (which I love), it has got me thinking do these devices hinder the swim more as opposed to their original purpose which is to aid motivation and performance? In which case would it not be more productive using the time to swim and train rather than, for all intense purposes, faff around with reinserting headphones, changing the track on said MP3 player, adjusting state of the art goggles, realising your watch which was supposed to start counting five lengths ago isn’t switched on and so on….

Most of the time, given the distances I swim, I feel like I need an aid as even though most of the time my mind is going a mile a minute, if on the rare occasion my mind is blank, or I am not having a great swim, or I experienced road rage on the way to the lido, then I need something to either distract or destress me while the swim works itself out.

All in all, I would really like a new and improved Speedo Aquabeat or alternative given that they are no longer in production. For now my new one will do the job, but I feel the search will continue for as long as I swim.

Following my debut into parenthood I am currently swimming 22 miles over a maximum of 12 weeks for Helping Hearts. If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving page.

Well it has been a while since I posted, mainly because life is as usual hectic, but even more so at the moment, which I didn’t think was possible. So here are some of the highlights:

  • Rogue Run is now officially no more, the company has been closed down – this was an unsurprising relief to me.
  • Lotus Magma tax affair – what happens when your accountant says they have filed your annual return, then you find out they haven’t, the tax office blames you and accuses you of not being accountable for your company and then gives you a small (actually a large) fine for the privilege of issuing you with a template letter. I wish I could earn that much for changing an address (and I have been involved with some of the biggest litigation cases of our time).
  • Close down of Lotus Magma – it was time to move on.
  • Perhaps a few too many swim events – one of which is detailed below
  • Project Fawks – watch this space (eta 2017)!
  • Project B – watch this space (eta March/April 2016)!
  • #standup250 – this is a new campaign to accompany the current campaign instigated by Sea Shepherd in the Faroe Islands, to help stop the slaughtering of whales and dolphins. Please check out the website and Twitter and find out what it is like to be a Shepherd, either onsite or by raising awareness.
  • Work, work and more work.
  • Finish touches to the new house…. and then the discovery of more jobs – which I suppose is to be expected.

Round up of swimming events

It has been a year of cancellations, but I agreed with the husband that the last swimming event for the foreseeable would be the 12 hour overnight swim in Lymmington.

Where only the niche and perhaps crazy swimmers apply this event began at 7.30pm on a Saturday evening and ended at 7.30am on Sunday morning. Check me out, circled in red below:

12 hour swim
It was a lot of fun, I was allowed not to wear a wetsuit (Yaaaay), I managed to raise some money for the charity Aspire and I was one of only 9 solo swimmers.

I learnt a few things:

  • This was Solent water and no matter how many times I get back in, I don’t think I will ever be used to the taste of salt water on my lips.
  • I love swimming at night. I knew this but I had never swum outside in the early hours of the morning before.
  • A con was that the venue needed to be bigger.
  • I needed to have at least 7 changes of kit (swimsuit, earplugs, accessories etc)
  • For the first time ever, I suffered boredom in swimming and couldn’t shake it.
  • In June, the sun rises at 3:30am.
  • You knock your knee when severely fatigued and it hurts so unbelievably much.
  • You need to be careful what you eat because it will repeat on you.
  • You can never have enough glow sticks in the dark.
  • Tides will always catch you out.
  • Chafing, oh my God, no matter how many long distance swims you do, you will never get used to that level of pain!

The rest of the points right at the very top of this post I think are self explanatory, so I won’t go into detail now, instead I will go and listen to the new Bon Jovi album Burning Bridges (which hopefully means the guys will be back in the UK next year, and figure out how I am going to make that giant Party Ring I saw on Pimp that Snack. Wish me luck!


I am aiming to get back into the weekly blog posts, though failing miserably and I can’t understand why. Work is in a reasonably good place, albeit a little quiet at the moment, training has been going well… except for my goggles that split this weekend and rendering me into using the emergency pair that indent my eyes and make me look like a plastered frog – but after a few set backs last year I think everything is well and truly back on track.

However, fate did decide to mock me again and throw a spanner in the works.

Keeping this story Feng shui and not over detailed before I lose you, I received a monetary amount recently which I thought covered the fundraising side of the swim. The fundraising I have always found to be the most difficult side of things, swimming is never normally the problem, but if you continue to take part in charity events per year you will inevitably tap the same people, and they will only donate so much. I personally cannot blame them for this. So when I received the money, I thought that was the stressful side over and done with I could get on with increasing my speeds and strength again.

Until I was taxed. Goodbye 40%, hello back to square one. It was like fate was waiving a pack of Ferrero Rocher in my face (my all time favourite) and then putting them in a bin and burning them in front of me.

Still never mind, back to the drawing board and on to the vulgarity.

Vulgarisms on Twitter


I unfortunately was subjected to some rather uncouth, boorish, nastiness on Twitter recently. I was going to dedicate a separate post to this but thought I couldn’t be bothered as it would just give those who were doing the abusing some limelight.

The story goes a little something like this; a few weeks ago Jeremy Clarkson had a bit of a ‘to-do’ with a producer on the Top Gear show resulting in Clarkson getting a bit fist happy – that actually sounds a bit strange. To clarity, from what we know, Clarkson punched a producer…. After he outed himself to the BBC powers that be, Clarkson was then suspended from work with his contract renewal waiving in the wind like a half cut down tree. At the same time the BBC decided to not air any of the remaining episodes of Top Gear, so the fans rushed to their Tweet decks to air their frustrations.

I was not necessarily on Twitter to join in the debate, just have a look at the controversial opinions. Of course we always get the “there are more important things in the world, why should this get the attention?” type Tweets, my response to these are that people can discuss more than one topic at once, others were happy that Clarkson finally could be getting his comeuppance, and everyone else who comments were just annoyed that the show could well and truly be over.

I perused the comments, not really taking a side, yes I am a massive Top Gear fan, but at the same time I am confident Clarkson (and if so choosing the other presenters) will fall back on another deal somewhere, at the same time it cannot be one rule for one and another rule for others under employments contracts, and even further why can’t we watch the remaining episodes in the meantime?

So what provoked me to comment – well on a particular thread that was aired on the BBC news channel (luckily with not my responses and those replying), I replied to one who basically said that ‘paedophiles watch Top Gear’, with the word ‘fact’ at the end of the post.

Firstly what relevance did this have to the discussion at hand, secondly how could this be fact unless this person had interviewed everyone who watched Top Gear to find this out? More importantly why would you insert such a taboo topic into this post when it is not really spoken about unless the media has found another to name and shame, perhaps the latest suspect under Project Yewtree. So I responded by saying how irrelevant the comment was and that it lacked substance. I was then told that I was crazy to be offended by the comment. I then replied with stating that by their comparison we who watch the show would all be, or associated with paedophiles, to which they replied that I chose to get offended and it was my problem.

I love that old chestnut.

I replied that they should take responsibility for the tone of their comments and the impact they have on others, and did my usual thing of being matter of fact and not brining emotion into my debates. This continued by a barrage of silly comebacks by the other person. I got to the point where I just did not answer back in the end, as I had better things to do, and only responded when this person stated that to be certain of the types of people that watch the show each and everyone should be rounded up, and interviewed by the police.

Yes I did respond to this. It was along the lines of ‘so you want our limited resources to interview everyone that watches a television show?’ To which they replied with a ‘yes’ starting with me. I then stated that this person should stop insulting people, and get into the real world, to which case I then was told that this person had not insulted or targeted anyone. Erm, yes they did.

This person in addition delivered worse abuse to another member that challenged them, resulting in some really vulgar remarks (obviously they couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say), and then I took the higher ground and just blocked them rather than continue with my debate, which I should have done in the first place.

I have since blocked others who have joined the debate to offer their unsubstantial remarks and insults towards me too.

While I don’t care what people say about me, it’s all sticks and stones after all, I am still amazed that people can be so blinkered with their comments on a public forum and then turn to vulgarity (which I have not included in this post, to spare everyone) when they cannot think of anything valid to say. They begin to lose and so start flinging insults, do they think they are immune to civil claims?

The moral of the story is, just let silly people comment and the will make themselves look… well silly. Keep out of it, go and debate with those who can bring valid comments to the table.

Sean’s swimming Britain

Sean Conway (Swimming Britain) - Hell and High Water book

Sean Conway (Swimming Britain) – Hell and High Water book

Those that are in the know, know that Sean Conway (the dude that swam the length of Britain), is currently running the length of Britain. Hopefully this year he will complete it without any mishaps with his knee… or disaster selfies.

I will produce another post on this, but I have just finished Sean Conway’s book Hell and High Water, it is an amazing and an insightful read into the world of open water swimming, those trying to achieve a goal at all costs, and the excitement of adventure.

I recommend this highly as a read for anyone who has a challenging goal in the pipeline, even if they are not into swimming.

Duck Goose Discovery


Finally, the last snippet into the warped world of The Fox, we have recently moved and are now situated near one of the biggest parks in London. Within this park there is an iconic lake which plays host to a range of birds from swans, geese, pheasant, ducks and do on. Not to mention the lovely dogs and their owners I meet every morning when walking to the train station. I have since become quite familiar to them, as more and more dogs come up to me to bring me their ball or a stick, I then thank them and have to apologise as I need to get to the train station.

Upon one of my morning walks, I have come across a rather unique looking goose. It is the same size as the other geese, but it is all black with hint of green that one would see on a male duck. So I naturally thought that perhaps a goose and duck had become friendly and duck goose (as I call him) is the result.

I of course have been told since that it is absurd, but how do other species form if not through this process. I did some research and came across the following page:

It seems that this may not be a duck goose and perhaps a duck hybrid cross with a mallard. If you look on Google you will find many variations of duck geese, whether they have clearly adopted an infant or they have created their own strain of species, therefore my notion is not quite ridiculous now. However, I doubt I will be able to log my name down in the books as discovering a new species any time soon.

In other news, I will be releasing two new books soon. The long awaited part 3 to The Dragon Realm Chronicles and another novella regarding the trials and tribulations of swimming.

Watch this space.

The Dragon Realm Chronicles - The Black Hole Wrath

The Dragon Realm Chronicles – The Black Hole Wrath