On the Razz

One of the best and worst things in my life is that I’m surrounded by people who encourage me to pursue the things I’m passionate about with absolutely zero fear and often, zero consideration of whether they’re actually a good idea.

So when I say things like “Hey, I could totally throw a blogger event for Cancer Research”, I frequently find myself standing in a basement bar in Dalston, surrounded by goody bags, helping a lovely beauty therapist set up a mobile massage chair.

The Razz for Life was on.

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I put on my party dress, laced up my converse, inked up for the Pink Army and casually took 30 goody bags on a rush hour bus in 25 degree heat. Not for the first time, I feared I might be slightly mad.

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We would be Razzing it up in the basement of the fabulous Farr’s School of Dancing in Dalston, which is every bit as cool as you would imagine a basement bar in Dalston to be.

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Of course, I couldn’t entertain a big bunch of bloggers all on my ownsome, so I enlisted help from some of the coolest cats I know.

First up was Richard from Sniffy Wiffy, a body lotion brand that I absolutely adore. I met him and his wife last year at a blogger event and have raved about them to anyone who will listen at every available opportunity since.

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Their lotions are made with just five ingredients, smell incredible and each label contains instructions on how to perform self-exams on your breasts and/or testicles (delete as appropriate). They also donate to Cancer Research UK and Ballboys every time you buy a jar. My guests barely got through the door before I was wheeling them over to the Sniffy Wiffy table and thrusting pots of Kiwi and Lime body lotion in their faces. Luckily, they all seemed to enjoy it.

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I knew that all this talk of body lotion would put my ladies in the mood for a little pampering and luckily I had the lovely Sarah from Spa by Car on hand to help me spoil them rotten.

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As well as charming the pants off us with her gorgeous South African accent, Sarah was treating us to mini manicures and amazing Lava Angels hot shell massages. Hot. Shell. Massages. I know. I was too busy running about the place like a mad person to take advantage of this, but I have it on good authority that it’s probably the best damn massage you’ll ever get. I’m totally booking one in as soon as I get paid this month.

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Getting spoiled is hungry work, so I’d arranged some sweetness to tide us over. I met Polly from the Cake Diaries at the Benefit Pop Up Bar back in March and immediately fell in love with her scrumptious blog. When I first got in touch with her about the event, I suggested an idea that I thought might be a little out there, expecting her to say no. Instead, she took it and ran with it, making me doughnut kebabs instead of cupcakes, but retaining that all important message that rang out through the event:

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Look me in the eye and tell me that those are not the coolest cakes you’ve ever seen ever. I think I ate about seven sticks of these.

I’d also put out some Race for Life back signs, some glitter glue and some transfer tattoos, worrying that I was being painfully uncool by expecting people to be into arts and crafts. I went upstairs to get a drink and came back down to this:

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Everyone was totally into the arts and crafts. And I got to pass on my plentiful transfer tattoo knowledge to a non 90s kid.

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The goody bags inevitably drew everyone’s eye and after much shuffling and peeking, they were doled out, along with some fabulous raffle prizes. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the brands who donated to my goody bags, as well as the folks from Sniffy Wiffy, Spa by Car, Lava Angels and Farr’s. Their generosity meant that I was able to put on my event completely for free, meaning that every penny of donations went straight to Cancer Research UK. And my ladies got some amazing treats as well as helping out a great cause. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have undoubtedly seen my brilliant sheet mask selfies at the hands of Timeless Truth Beauty Masks. These babies aren’t just good for scaring the life out of your partner though, they pack a serious skincare punch. I love to use them to give my skin a quick pick me up if it’s looking sad. They also got some lovely samples from Inlight Organics, including the night balm, which I literally kissed for a photo in my bumper skincare post a while back. Hifas da Terra, one of the quirkiest beauty brands I’ve come across, donated a whole load of their magic serum, which utilises the healing power of mushrooms to perfect your skin. They’ll also get the chance to try out Forever Living’s Aloe skincare range, which I haven’t had the chance to sample yet. Report back, ladies, you know how I get about skincare.

But the best thing about this event wasn’t the goody bags or the doughnuts (although both were pretty damn good), it was getting to hang out with so many totally awesome people all at once. I got to see Tara and Jo, who I became friends with during the Beach Body party, I got to finally meet Hayley from Curves ‘n’ Curls in person. I got to know a whole lot of fantastic, inspiring, sunshiney women, and I really hope I get the chance to see all of them again.

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Since I threw the Razz for Life one week ago, I have had three separate run ins with cancer. Some are people that I care about dearly, some are people that I only know by association. I get defiant about cancer a lot, and most of the time it’s a real positive, passionate defiance. But in reality, cancer doesn’t care how sassy we are. We talk about bravery and strength when it comes to beating cancer, but the truth is, cancer doesn’t care about that either. Every day, cancer takes incredible, courageous, wonderful people from us, and the only thing that will stop that is research. I am so, so proud to have raised over £200 with this event. That’s 6000 microscope slides. That’s a cancer support nurse. That’s a clinical trial. And if we managed to throw a little sass its way at the same time, all the better. Cancer, I am coming to get you. And I will never, ever stop.

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If you would like to support Cancer Research UK, my donation page is still open at https://www.justgiving.com/Fiona-Longmuir/. Thanks!

The Race for Everything

I was sixteen years old when my mum was diagnosed with cancer. Sophie was just twelve. For a lot of kids, that story doesn’t have a happy ending. For us, it was a happy beginning.

This is my mum, having just run the Race for Life, five years clear of cancer.

Snip20140506_1Since we decided that cancer could go shove it, the Race for Life has become a pretty big day in Sophie and I’s calendar. For those who don’t know (seriously, do you live under a rock, hypothetical reader?), the Race for Life is Cancer Research UK’s biggest fundraising event of the year. It encourages women to walk, run or dance 5 or 10k to raise money for research into all cancers. Don’t let the pink fool you, these guys are all about the less glamorous cancers. Wassup pancreatic cancer, we are coming after you. This year, our third Race for Life, we somehow managed to rope in pretty much all of the women we are related to and created the most thoroughly babein’ running team of all time. I say babein’ now. Deal with it.

BOOM.

BOOM.

Yes. Yes we did put our dog in a tshirt. And I stand by it as the greatest decision any of us have ever made.

Go on, tell me you've seen something better than this today. I dare you.

Go on, tell me you’ve seen something better than this today. I dare you.

In keeping with tradition, I was bawling my eyes out before we’d even crossed the start line, in response to all the beautiful, inspiring and occasionally tragic back signs. Everyone was racing for different reasons, motivated by different people and events but one message rang out loud and clear:

We are racing for all of us. We are racing for everyone.

One in three of us will be affected by cancer in our lifetime. Research funded by events like the Race for Life means that cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 50 years. Even a humanities student like me can tell you, that’s some damn good maths.

My back sign.

My back sign.

Mum's back sign.

Mum’s back sign.

As always, the Race was a totally awesome day out. Really, if you haven’t done it before, get signed up immediately, it is the most fun ever. I promise, I laughed just as much as I cried. I feel like that sentence may not have sold it to you. Okay, look:

BEST

BEST

DAY

DAY

EVER

EVER

The thing I find funny about the Race is that everybody congratulates you as if you’ve done something really incredible and amazing and brave. But the truth is…well, I mean, look at those photos. Running (and by running, I obviously mean walking) the Race is loads of fun. The heroes are the ones who gave up their daily coffees and threw a fiver our way. Who sponsored us again, even though they’ve given the past two years. Who managed to find a little bit of money, even though they’re totally skint. We even had real life superhero creator Mark Miller make a stupidly generous donation of £100 after I very cheekily reminded him of that one time that we met this one time. Every penny added up to an incredible, target-busting £1100.

To everyone who donated and supported us, you are my full on heroes. Honestly, I love you and you are so much more excellent than I can ever hope to be. I want to bake you all delicious cakes and have them hand delivered to your door by your choice of handsome young man or lady. It is because of people like you that my mum is still around to buy a dog and dress her in hilarious novelty tshirts.

Snip20140506_7If you’d like to find out more about the Race for Life and the research it funds, check out their website here! If you’re feeling a bit heavy with all your moneybags and want to become one of my lifelong heroes, you can sponsor us here! I will personally start your fanclub.

Until next year, folks.

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