Radio Interview

For those of who who missed it, here is a link to our recent radio interview with Georgina from Radio Cardiff 98.7FM. Thanks for allowing us to come on the show to talk about 14 challenges for 2014, and I hope I got all the Scotty’s Little Soldiers facts right!


A busy couple of weeks!

Well, we have had a busy few weeks.

We have continued fundraising to cover the costs of our activities. We spent hours individually labelling clothes and jewelry, and took our supplies and cakes to the Cardiff University Students’ Union SVC Spring Market. It was a much more subdued event in comparison to the Bessimer Road Car Boot, but we managed to raise approximately £45 – it definitely is a case of every little helps!

On a rare sunny day a couple of weekends ago we also headed on a training walk in preparation for the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge on March 28th. We met on a Sunday morning with our boots on and walked up the Taf Trail to Castel Coch and back – about 13 miles round trip! Obviously, the Taf Trail is not equivalent to the mountains we are going to be climbing next weekend, but it was great to be outside and enjoying the sun, as opposed to in the pool. It’s so much more sociable too and I think we have a great team for next weekend.

Speaking of next weekend, it’s going to be a big one! We are aiming to start walking about half 4 in the morning from the base of Snowdon, followed by Cader Idris and Pen-Y-Fan last. We are really fortunate to have a dedicated driver (Dad to the rescue once again!) which means we will be travelling up through the night on Friday as the journey from Cardiff to Snowdon is not a quick one in itself! There have been arguments about the target for this one, as the general aim for groups is 12 hours walking time (not allowing for travelling) but knowing the comptetive group we have we will most likely smash it! If you know someone who is walking with us next weekend, please consider donating to our great cause – it’s so easy, either go to our fundraising page:
Or text
“GWSW98 £any amount” to 70070

We were also fortunate enough to speak about Scotty’s Little Soldiers and our challenges on a local radio station, radio Cardiff. We went into their studio in the Bay to talk to Georgina (Triple G) on her breakfast show – we were on live webcam too. If you missed it, don’t worry as we have a recording we will be putting up soon. It’s a fab set up down there, and all the presenters are volunteers too! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us Georgina, and for letting us pick your competition winner! We really hope to keep in touch throughout the year.


Gemma, Georgina, and Sophie at the Radio Cardiff Studio

As always, thanks to the people who have helped us already, either by baking or giving us your words of wisdom, and thanks to the people who have already donated. Wish us luck for next weekend, and we will be back soon!

Challenge Number 2 Completed!

Sophie and Gemma in the pool, mid way through the day

Finally it’s done!

So, there is another challenge over and done with – and about time too! Let’s start with the background – we have been training hard since the beginning of January for this challenge, but up until the big day we had never swum more than 3 miles in one go. Swimming takes such a long time, and with a three mile swim taking 1 hour 45 – 2 hours, we just couldn’t fit any more in! We had, however, sought out professional nutritional advice, and worked ourselves day after day in preparation (we had started to become immune to the lingering smell of chlorine). This almost went to waste when the 2 days leading up to Saturday were spent trying to fight off some sort of fever! But we had to get on with it! To let you into a little secret, we thought this was going to be the hardest challenge, and feeling under the weather was not part of the plan.

The big day – full of supporters

We were up at 6 am on Saturday 1st March (Happy St. David’s Day, by the way), in time to have a big bowl of porridge before our epic quest. Still feeling a bit groggy (and with an air of nervousness), we were lucky enough to have “Happy” glaring out of the radio to lift our spirits before we set off. We actually cycled to the pool (glutton for punishment) and arrived for opening at 8am, to see our lane being put out for the day. Sophie was in the pool by 8.20 and Gemma followed 5 minutes later. What followed was 640 of front crawl. We did have numerous breaks, especially as people popped in to show their support. Many thanks to:

  • Jess McFarlane – for being totally awesome at social media, who made it for the first stroke despite initially turning up to the wrong pool, and who brought healthy and not-so healthy treats too! (check out her blog for other ways to be awesome)
  • Geoff Smart – turning up after Park Run and entertaining us with pool side yoga.
  • Our grandparents – Linda and Geordie – for being amazing and supporting us pretty much the whole day.
  • Luke and Alex – for popping in at just the right time for Sophie’s break!
  • Tom, Elliot and Ed – for turning up at just the right time to push Gemma through the hardest part of the day (I really was hitting THE wall at that point) and also for the doughnuts and lucozade.
  • Emma – for travelling up to Cardiff to offer your support 😀
  • Ellie – for joining in, and staying to cheering on our final mile and a half.
  • Wendy and Steve – for helping to push us through the “sprint finish”.
  • Chris – for casually “popping in” to join us and actually doing 5 miles himself!
  • Mum – for supporting us, taking photos, and getting in to do some lengths too.
  • And finally, to Dad who ran 8 miles in the morning, arrived at the pool to do a mile with us, and then returned for the final mile where he really pushed the pace to allow us to get down to about a 34 minute mile again – definitely couldn’t have done that without you leading the way.

Everyone who turned up did so at just the right moment! Apparently we made the swimming look easy (the people who said this definitely couldn’t see the burn going through our arms at the 7 mile point). There were some real crunch points, where the pace definitely slowed, or where we had to get out of the water to rest our arms, but the final mile really was the last push, and a special mention goes to Dad once again for getting in there and picking up the pace, when Sophie had forgotten that she’s meant to kick with her legs rather than just drag them, and when Gemma was down to breathing every two arm strokes rather than four (and you could forget the tumbleturns!). To get back down to under 35 minutes for a mile was amazing.

Preparation (and nutrition) is key.

 We are so chuffed to have swum so far, and for so long, but like we said before, we couldn’t have done it without the nutritional advice. Other than the porridge, we at protein bars, protein shakes, carbo shakes, mars bars, flap jacks and bananas (I for one will be happy not to see any of those things for a little while – Gem).  So a big thanks goes to Chris for giving us all the tips and help we needed in that department. Secondly, a big thanks to the Dave and Olly at Agile therapy – the sports massage 2 weeks before really helped Gemma train so much harder than she would have been able to otherwise – your support is invaluable, and we’re definitely booking ourselves in for another appointment asap.

Another big thank you goes out to the Heath Sports and Social Centre, who let us have a dedicated lane for the entire day, and who also put a sponsorship form on the front desk to collect additional money for us. The support we receive every time we train really does help us push that little bit harder.

The final thank you

Finally, the biggest thank you goes out to everyone who has donated. As of tonight (Sunday night) we are on £331 pounds for the first two events, but this is less than 20 % of our target, if you haven’t donated yet please consider it. Yesterday was by far the toughest sporting event we have ever been through, and donating just a couple of quid will make all the difference to children who parents have been killed whilst serving in the forces. Donating is easy peasy:

  1. Go to the website:
  2. Text: “GWSW98 £10” to 70070 (the 10 can be changed to any amount, and this amount will be added to our total, and taken out of your phone bill – please see the website for full T & Cs).

Sunday “rest day” right?

You’ll be glad to hear we took the whole “rest day” idea and threw it out the window to go paint-balling  (there’s no rest for the wicked). Pretty sure we are going to regret that tomorrow. We will now be working towards our next challenge, a rather more sedate walking challenge as we will be aiming to complete the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge at the end of March!


Jess’ ways to be awesome:

Chris’ Nutrition

Agile Therapy

Heath Sports and Social Club

Nerves are kicking in!

Only one week to go until our second challenge!

Only one week to go until our second challenge!

Well this is a bit scary. Only one week to go until (probably) our hardest challenge!Sophie and I are swimming 20 miles as part of our 14 Challenges for 2014 quest. There are so many difficult things about this challenge; anyone who knows us will agree that our strength is in our legs so swimming really has been a change of tack! Secondly, the planning going into this one challenge has been immense: we have had to decide how we will actually swim 10 miles (we have  been toying between 3 x 3 mile blocks with a one mile block at the end OR 6 x 100 lengths + 1 x 40 lengths); and how do we make sure we actually have enough food and water to last at least 5 hours swimming?! We have had some great advice along the way, although I have to admit that being told we can eat the equivalent of 3 Mars Bars an hour made my stomach flip! There are so many other questions too – how do we stop ourselves becoming too stiff between sets, how do we keep track of how many lengths we have done, will we be able to move the next day (on a side note, we are actually going paintballing the next day so I really hope the answer to that is yes!).
On the day we will be starting at 8 am sharp, and going non stop between the two of us until we are finished – there may be some periods where we will swim at the same time as the pool shuts at 6pm so we do have an ultimate deadline! We’re desperate for support, smiling faces will keep us going towards the end, and donations will obviously spur us on, knowing what a good cause we are raising money for!

We’d really appreciate your donations – just go to to donate online.

Thanks to everyone who has already supported us – we are at 8% of our target!



Swim Training

This is what Scotty’s Little Soldiers is all about. We’re sure that you agree it’s a great charity!

We have less than two weeks to go until our channel swim – preparations are going well, although I am fed up of permanently smelling like chlorine (apparently swimming 5 days a week will do that to you!). Make all the hard work worth by making a donation (however small) on our Just Giving page!

Don’t forget, if you are in Cardiff, please pop in to give us some support on the day!!

Fundraising at the Car Boot Sale

We were up bright and early this morning for a car boot sale on Bessimer Road, Cardiff. We had a massive sort out around the house and took a selection of old clothes and jewelry, household items, and cakes too. It was absolutely freezing but at least it stayed dry!

After much haggling (mostly on the buyers behalf as we weren’t budging on some items), we managed to raise a total of £123.28, but still have plenty left to sell at future events. After a chat with a fellow car booter we will mostly be heading for Sully Car Boot in April. The money raised will be used to cover some of the costs of our challenges this year (the triathlon was nearly £100 each!!) with any left overs at the end of the year going into the charity.

Today was a brilliant first experience for us, but we have got to say a big thank you to:

The Print Centre Cardiff for covering the costs of other printing a couple of posters to explain what we are doing,
Classic Sportswear for our polo shirts,
Matt for some gorgeous Chelsea Buns and Lemon Cakes,
Clem for the chocolate cakes and mixed berry cakes,
Andy and the team at Bessimer Road for slashing the cost of letting two cars in as it was for charity,
And lastly anyone who donated money and gave us their words of wisdom at Bessimer Road (inc a kind gentleman who donated a table for future use!).

Not long left til our swimming challenge so its back into the pool for us!

Change of dates and a call for donations

We have been training hard for our swimming challenge, and now have changed a couple of dates:

February 7/8th – no longer doing the Pen-y-Fan challenge (as our focus has been on swimming we haven’t had time to test this out yet, but we will be doing a training walk on the Sunday). On the Saturday we are going to a car boot sale to try raise some money to cover some of our expenses such as travel and entry. If you have anything worth selling at a car boot sale and would be willing to donate it then comment below! The plan is to move the Pen-Y-Fan challenge to middle of March.

March 1st – the swimming challenge has been moved to this date. We will be swimming all day at the pool at our gym, CMC Sports and Social Club ( We have been really fortunate and have managed to pick a date where there are no lessons, so fingers crossed the pool should be quiet. We’d really like any support you could give on that day – whether it’s coming down and counting lengths (we need to do 672 lengths each!) or getting in the pool to do a few lengths with us to make sure we aren’t slowing down too much, or even just popping in to give us a morale boost! Just leave us a message or pop in on the day!

Mid March – Pen-Y-Fan Challenge

March 28/29th – Welsh 3 Peaks (in under 12 hours)