Monthly Archives: January 2012

Update…and a bit of begging


I am officially registered to go to Kenya, deposit paid and the first lot of info sent off.   It is all getting a little exciting and very close.  I leave on February 24th at around 7pm (flights are TBC) headed for Mombasa.  That gives me a grand total of 30 days!!!

As yet I have very little detail on where exactly I will be going, all I know is it is Mombasa or Diani Beach which is just outside the main city.  I may actually change my mind on this and end up in Nairobi as I feel they need help more….I am torn right now!!  As soon as I have made up my mind and know a lot more, then I will update you all.

To be able make all this happen & allow me to donate my well-earned holiday, I need to raise some money and I am looking for help!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect or even want all of you to reach into your pockets just out of the goodness of your heart….what fun would that be?!?!

NO…I want you guys to have some fun along the way!  I will be running a pub quiz over the next couple of weeks which is all very exciting and for those of you involved in #rugbyunited & #rugbyquiz something you should be great at!I am looking at a venue and a plan this weekend and it could be a good money-making effort! I know some of you are not London-based but those who are I will be posting info here, on twitter and on facebook so would love you all to come along, have a giggle and some drinks & help me raise some money!!  There will be a prize I promise!!   I am pretty certain I may make a night of it as well so have a band and some cakes on sale (I have been told by a pastry chef in a 5* hotel that my brownies are amazing) and maybe even a raffle…yep I am pulling out all the stops!

For those of you who are not based in London but still want to help out….I will be probably holding an auction or a raffle.  Looking at a possible meet & greet with the Quins team, some signed rugby gear, maybe a hotel stay and possibly some other swanky prizes/items!  With that in mind, if anyone has any contacts (or in fact can help themselves) who would be willing to donate something to this amazing fund that would be great and please get in touch.

And if NONE of that strikes your fancy, I want to be able to take out some toys, colouring books, pencils and things like that to this amazing place.  SO….I am also looking for donations to be able to support this, whether you want to send some toys and things directly or donate to the cause I will not turn it down! There will be a paypal or just giving site set up very very soon so if you do think what I am doing is worth a £ or 2 then keep your eyes peeled!!!

All in all I am looking to raise around £500, any more is just a huge bonus and will be directly benefiting the organisation I go and volunteer with.

Love to you all


And so it begins!


Jambo, and for those of you who don’t speak Swahili…Hello.

Yep, you guessed it….Kenya here I come!  I got the yes today, my GM agreed and my manager signed my form!!!   So, 2 weeks in Kenya starting February 24th to go and help some of the most needy people in the world.

Over the next few weeks this blog is going to become the centre of my planning and fundraising world, so if you want to keep updated on where I am going and how I am getting there & what I will be doing when I am there please keep an eye out for updates.  I will be tweeting away as well so if you don’t already follow me & you would like more updates (as well as the odd bit of ranting & the occasional rugby related babble) please feel free to hit that follow button!  I am even going to branch out into pictures on this blog. (oh, if anyone knows how to make it look all swanky please get in touch!!)

As I mentioned, there is going to be some exciting fundraising going on, with 5 weeks to go (and counting) and quite  bit of money to raise I am going to be pulling out all the stops!  Think bake sales, pub quizzes, auctions, I may even sit in a bath of baked beans….doubtful, but possible! Don’t worry I won’t be begging you all for money but if you do feel that what I am doing is worth a couple of your hard earned pounds then I will be posting a ‘justgiving’ site up here soon.

I am also looking at doing something with an exciting group called Big Foot Immersion Africa (@BigFootIA) in the run up to me heading over to Kenya so I will keep you all updated!

For now, let me say a HUGE “ASANTE” (the guys from Big Foot are teaching me Swahili – this means thank you) to all of you for your support & kind words on this whole thing! I am really touched.

Lots of Love


A bit of background to the next couple of posts…


I have been meaning to write a post for the past week, and after the past few days of emotion I think it’s time to get writing!

10 days ago I got an email that set the tone for the days that followed.  No prizes for guessing who the email was from.  It said (in a very lovely & heart wrenching way) that he is in Sudan, the aid effort has been increased tenfold & he is going to extend his trip to help.  He hasn’t told me when he is coming home and I can only guess that it will not be for a while.

After crying for a bit I finally pulled myself together enough to realise that what he was doing is something that I would love to be doing myself.  So, I headed to google to see what I could do.   Now, all this google action must have affected my cookies & therefore my ‘targeted ads’ on facebook.  Facebook became the trigger for a whole new drama!!

I managed to come across which has some incredible volunteer programmes in some insane places! After hours and hours of research, focused mainly on the African projects I had finally made up my mind that my remaining annual leave would not be spent on a beach in Mexico or hanging out with friends in Savannah, but in an Orphanage in Kenya.

I had to spend some serious time thinking about this, and have some lengthy conversations with mummy; I also had to ask work if I could take the time off.  This is where the emotional trials started.  I have 9 days holiday and 1 lieu day to take, including weekends that equates to 14 days….the trip needs 16… There was only 1 thing for it… ask for a day of unpaid leave… Queue huge stress!

I need to back track a little here to give you the full picture.  Prior to Christmas my team of 4 & a manager dropped to 3 & a manager, a week ago, another member of the team handed in her notice which leaves, as of Monday, me, Anna, and our manager in an office that needs at least 5 staff to function properly!   For this reason they really don’t want to give me my hard earned 9 days in 1 go, never mind an additional unpaid day!! I had a plan, I was going to speak to the GM, ask for the days I needed with some really good reasons, well, it’s not like I am going to go lye on a beach right!? And if she said no….go higher…and use the fact that all of my colleagues are about to take 2 weeks off to head on holiday to my advantage.  

Today I spoke to the GM… she hasn’t yet given me a definitive answer but her response was a huge step in the right direction…. ‘I don’t see a problem with that Gemma, put it in writing’.

So I am 1 step closer to spending my holiday in Mombasa, Kenya!

Keep your eyes peeled for updates, fundraising posts and general excitedness!

Lots of love to you all,


Trending Topic? Not quite yet


There is a new trend sweeping thorough my feed on Twitter and until today I was pretty happy about it.

The #RugbyUnited feed is one that is really interesting.  Full of genuine rugby fans sharing banter, their passion for their teams and their passion for the game as a whole.  The idea is that you tweet about your team, add the #rugbyunited hastag and watch your followers grow.  In return you follow these new followers back.

Now….here is where I do not QUITE agree.  To me, Twitter is not about ‘how many followers do I have?’   It is a site where I vent, have a bit of a giggle with people I may or may not know and I also catch up on news…for example the Danny Care issue today, or the Stephen Lawrence verdict (I was sick in bed & didn’t want to move to turn on TV). 

If I followed all of my new followers, I would most certainly miss something I want to read whilst my twitter feed is full of #glawsfam or some other random hashtag I don’t really care about (I am all about #warriornation).  Yes, it is about social interaction, but should that not be with people you find interesting and not just those who follow you?!  Before anyone comments, I am the first to admit that my tweets can be exceptionally BORING, but as I said, I sometimes use twitter to simply vent! 

I am not saying I do not like the #rugbyunited concept.  In fact I love it, the banter is hilarious, the people I have met through it have (mostly) been great, funny, full of good rugby knowledge (and occasionally hot – you know who you are!)   I am learning a lot more about the game I love and meeting people who share my passion for it, even those who support different teams.  That is what it is all about after all, inclusivity.

Today, I felt a little less love for the idea.  I apparently upset a grown man (or 2) because I didn’t follow them back!!! You don’t know me, I don’t know you, I obviously did not find your tweets interesting enough for me to want to fill my feed with them.  As a fellow tweeter, naming no names, said “you have to earn a follow”

So, I have come the conclusion that although I love the people I have met through #rugbyunited I don’t think it is as inclusive as its fantastic creator @trevorlarge intended. 

Remove the need to ‘follow back’ (which in itself is a 12 year old girls concept – see #teamfollowback) and have the community become one where you CHOOSE who you follow based on matches in interest (isn’t that the idea of twitter anyway) and you will have an even bigger hit than you already do!