I’m Trekking to Petra!

We may be in lockdown now but adventure awaits! I’m thrilled to say that in April 2021, I will joining 50 other people from my local area on a gruelling desert adventure in aid of a charity that’s very close to my heart!

This trip has been in the works for almost a year and I joined the team back in November 2019, but it’s become even more important in the current crisis. The charity we’re trekking in aid of is the Stars Appeal (registered charity no: 1052284), which is the in-house charity at Salisbury District Hospital. The Stars Appeal funds projects within the hospital which offer direct and practical support to patients and their families, over and above what the NHS is able to provide. Every year they require around £1million of funding to make patients’ hospital experiences as positive as they can possibly be.

The projects they fund include one-off items – like creating a brand new birthing centre, or purchasing state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for cancer patients – and long-term projects and services which need to be funded every year, including free WiFi for patients and their families, maintenance of the award-winning Stars Appeal Breast Cancer Unit, and purchasing toys and games for children in the Sarum Children’s Ward.

Have a look here for a comprehensive list of what the Stars Appeal hopes to achieve in fundraising this year: http://www.starsappeal.org/our-wish-list/

I volunteered my time at Salisbury District Hospital’s radio station, Radio Odstock, for two years and got to see for myself some of the amazing things that the Stars Appeal have provided. I was born in this hospital 22 years ago, as was my sister 5 years after that. Almost 30 years ago, my Mum suffered a spinal injury and having the specialist spinal unit, partially funded by the Stars Appeal, saves her travelling miles to a specialist hospital for the check ups she still requires every year. I have friends and family who’ve had long and short stays in this hospital and I’ve been a patient there myself on a number of occasions. What I’m saying is that this charity means a lot to me because the work they do effects everyone in my local community.

Right now, the hospital, along with every other NHS hospital is facing its biggest challenge ever, but the great news is that the money I raise ahead of the trek doesn’t wait until after the event to reach the Stars Appeal. The moment you donate, it goes straight towards the work they’re doing right now to make sure patients and staff are having the safest, most comfortable experience they possibly can during this time.

To that end, I am asking that you consider following this link to my JustGiving page and making a donation, however large or small you can manage, towards my fundraising goal of £3500. If you can’t donate, please share the link and tell your friends – particularly if you’re from the Salisbury area, have friends or family here or even if you visit often – you never know when you might need the benefits that this funding provides!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hermionepetra

I had lots of plans for fundraising events which of course have had to go on hold, so right now, sponsorship is the best way for me and my fellow trekkers to raise the hugely important funds required to continue giving the people in my local community the best care possible, making their experiences comfortable and efficient, and easing the pressure on our National Health Service.

I will of course, as with all my other mad projects, post updates here and on my Instagram (@hermionerose) as they come. This will include more information on the actual trek and what it is I’ll be doing next April – today I just wanted to share with you all how important this cause is to me. In the meantime, I’m going to keep asking nicely for sponsorship (pretty please, with a cherry on top??) and start walking up some hills in preparation for the desert trek that lies ahead!

Self-Isolation Shenanigans

Anyone else feel like they’re waiting to wake up from a bad dream? Life feels so surreal right now. The anxiety really started to set in for me today. I know people who’ve lost their jobs. My sister’s A Level exams have been cancelled and she’s gutted. My final year friends won’t be able to close out the university chapter of their lives the way they wanted to. We’re having to try and find a new normal and there’s no telling when life will go back to the way it was before, or even if it ever will! I know that sounds dramatic but this global pandemic is bound to have long-term ramifications for years to come.

However! I wanted to share what I’ve been up to while self-isolating because until today I’d managed to make it feel like a nice relaxing little holiday.

Firstly, I’ve had a couple of lie ins. I’ve been struggling with my sleep pattern lately and having to force myself to get up for things even though I’m exhausted and struggling to open my eyes. So it’s been really nice, while I’ve had nothing to do and no where to go, to just sleep in until my body decides it’s ready to be awake (or until the cat decides she’s bored!). This might not be helpful for everyone though – I know a few people who find getting up at the same time every day a much better coping strategy.

Yesterday, I had a big old clean and tidy of my bedroom. I caught up on laundry – I have a terrible habit of putting it in the washing machine, pressing go and then forgetting about it while it sits in the machine, damp and smelly. I washed all the hand towels too because I bet they’re a breeding ground for bugs! I dusted my bedside table, emptied all the old receipts out of my purse, tidied up the crap on my desk and moved all my clean laundry from the floor-drobe to the wardrobe! If you’re looking for mundane things to occupy your time during this period, I would recommend putting on some music and doing those silly little tasks that you don’t have time for in real life. They’re normally so simple and easy and you’ll feel a sense of achievement afterwards.

My proudest achievement was making a slow cooker bolognese! I got a slow cooker for Christmas last year and I haven’t used it a lot because I’m not good at forward planning. They’re very low effort but they do require deciding what you’re going to cook a few hours ahead of time. I threw in some lightly browned turkey mince (wanted to go for veggie but someone’s been panic buying all the Quorn mince!), chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, onions, herbs and a generous glug of red wine and then… went away and did something else! As you’d expect, it cooks for a long time on a low heat so you don’t have to watch it to keep it from burning, you don’t have to stir it very often, you just let it do its thing. I wasn’t hungry enough to eat it last night so I turned it off and just re-warmed it (there’s a setting for that on the slow cooker!) and ate it with spaghetti this evening. And I must say, it was delish. I’ve seen a recipe for making bread in a slow cooker so I might try that next!

Bolognese sauce in a slow cooker

Today, I had a looooong, hot shower. Full disclosure: I think the last time I showered was Monday. I know I know, that’s gross. You definitely don’t wanna know the last time I washed my hair! But today I did the full shebang, hair wash, exfoliate, the lot. And I felt much more human afterwards, naturally.

I’ve also started writing a novel. Kind of. I’ve always loved writing and have written snippets of ideas as they come into my head and then forgotten about them. But there’s an idea I’ve had for about a year that I really love and I’ve decided to start outlining and developing it. Who knows if it’ll go anywhere, but it’s a fun project to work on for a while.

I’ve been doing a lot of watching too. Mostly Merlin, from the beginning, on Netflix. I remember watching it as a child (it started when I was 10!) and I genuinely think I’m enjoying it just as much as an adult. Instagram Live, IGTV and YouTube are also platforms where I’m getting some of my visual content from at the moment. I’m really enjoying rambling chatty videos from some of my favourite female content creators. I mentioned them in yesterday’s post and on Facebook if you want to know who I’ve been enjoying the most.

I feel like I needed a mental break from life a little bit and while the current global crisis is terrible and uncertain, I’m trying to focus on being grateful for being forced to take that break. Working in Pharmacy, I know that as soon as I’m out of self-isolation, I’ll be back at work, doing as much as I possibly can to help my team and my community, so for now I will sit back for three more days, put my feet up and continue binge-watching Merlin!

Take care and stay safe xx