Today is Red Nose Day. As I'm sure many of you know already,  I have been busy fundraising with Team Honk again this year and as a te...

Today is Red Nose Day.

As I'm sure many of you know already,  I have been busy fundraising with Team Honk again this year and as a team we have already raised over £3,000, which is AMAZING!

Thank you to every single one of you who have sponsored us/donated.

I've been up to quite a lot in the last few weeks leading up to Red Nose Day, so you might want to grab yourself a cuppa (or something stronger depending on the time of day) before you read on to find out what I have been up to .......

The Honk Line

On Saturday 11th March 10 members of Team Honk (myself included) got together to walk 10 miles across London to raise money for Red Nose Day/Comic Relief.... in fancy dress!
We started off in Waterlow Park, Highgate where we had breakfast and got ourselves ready for the long day ahead.  

As we were about to leave Waterlow Park Jamie Oliver scooted past us (literally ... on his child's scooter), and Mummy Barrow managed to chase after him, apologise for intruding on his family time, and then asked him for a Team Honk selfie.
Being the lovely man he is, he happily posed with us before we left the park for the first leg of our journey.

The first 2 miles went quickly and smoothly, getting us past the Emirates Stadium nice and early before fans started to appear for their match later that afternoon.

Our next stop was Highbury Fields where the wonderful Firepod team made us all a delicious lunch of pizza, which only took 3 minutes to cook in the amazing Firepod oven!!
They joined us for the whole 10 miles, pulling the pizza oven with them.
We were in pizza heaven.

Not only did we enjoy pizza for lunch we also had a selection of snacks and treats to share between us, including some gorgeous homemade houmous made by Vassos Kouzina, a company owned by one of our very own Honkers, Sarah.

At this point I may also have been drinking cava from a teacup. (I definitely was).

Of course, it wouldn't be Red Nose Day without humour, so we decided to 'gallop' through Highbury Fields in support of another fundraising team who were preparing to do the 'Miranda Hart Gallop' around Cheltenham racecourse for their fundraising.
I won't even mention how this particular video ended up on the Radio Times website.

Cue the embarrassing slow motion video evidence .......

After lunch we walked another 3 miles to Lincoln's Inn Fields, where we stopped to drink tea from china teacups and ate biscuits, cakes, scones and more.

The last part of the walk was a six mile trek and was definitely the hardest part of the day. 

By the time we reached the end we were all exhausted, but elated.

We did it! And by the end of our 10 miles we had already raised just over £2,000

After getting the train home I had a well deserved soak in the bath and a glass of wine before heading straight to bed.

I would just like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to Michelle from ABC Parties who came to my house at stupid o'clock in the morning to paint these amazing red noses on my face before I left for my 10 mile walk!

New Horizons Project Visit

On Thursday 16th March myself and 4 other wonderful bloggers were lucky enough to visit the New Horizons Youth Centre in London to see how money raised for Comic Relief is helping to make a difference.

I have been working with Team Honk for a few years now so it was really good to see firsthand where some of that money is going.

New Horizons is a safe haven for young people aged 16-21 and helps to provide them with support, guidance, helps to find them safe accommodation, and lots more besides.  
They are open 7 days a week and also have an outreach team who work on the streets and visit young offenders in prison, preparing them for life on the outside, ensuring they don't go straight back to the situations that got them there in the first place.

The first thing I noticed during our visit was the friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Every single person we encountered during our time in the youth centre were polite and respectful, holding doors open, smiling and saying hello.

Some of these people have been in situations we couldn't even comprehend, especially for such young people, and yet they were just like our own children.... laughing, joking and wanting to have a good time.

On arrival we were given a tour of the centre to see the facilities they provide.
There are laundry facilities, baggage storage and hot meals available twice a day, ensuring that these young people are able to find some normality in a safe environment where they can relax and make new friends.  

This is even more important for the young people who are currently living on the streets or 'sofa surfing'.  
New Horizons do everything they can to find accommodation for these young people who are in such desperate need, but unfortunately there is a severe shortage of housing available at the moment.

They also provide the young people with additional services such as access to a nurse for physical care, private counselling rooms, housing advice, and projects that they can attend, such as the women's group.

This is the group we had come to observe.

The full time women's worker is currently funded by Comic Relief and runs a workshop for the young women twice a week as well as being available to liaise with them and support them throughout the week, and liaising with the weekend staff to ensure continuity of care. 

A lot of these women have been victims of sexual exploitation and violence.

We were lucky enough to observe the women's group during their session, and the main thing I noticed was the respect that these women have for each other. Some of them were completely new to the group, but they all treated each other as friends and tried to help each other to feel relaxed by painting each others nails and sharing snacks.

The session was coming to a close at the time I observed them but, before leaving the women's worker Hazz asked each girl to say something positive about the person on their left, even if they had never met them before.
Each woman obliged, and you could tell how much it meant to each and every one of them to hear that positive remark.
Hazz then took the time to give each and every woman sitting at the table a compliment, while making it fun for them.

The group seemed relaxed and comfortable with each other, with absolutely no judgement being passed.

After observing the women's group we were then able to interview 3 of these incredible young women who were willing to share their stories with us.

*Please note - names have been changed to respect these women's privacy*

Farah was the first woman to talk to us, and had initially visited New Horizons with a friend before using the services for herself.  
She had been having problems at home, coupled with a sexual assault which she had kept secret from her family.  This led to her developing a drinking problem and spiralling out of control, especially when charges were dropped against her attackers due to a lack of evidence.
Her father disowned her and threatened to hurt her if he returned and so she ended up in a shelter.  This is when she started coming to New Horizons.
The woman's group has had a really positive impact on Farah and she is now pursuing a career in beauty and has been teetotal for a month.
Farah told us that the woman's group has turned her life around and that she is now determined to make the most of things.

Polly and Lucy then came in to tell us how they ended up at New Horizons.
Polly had fallen in with the wrong crowd and been in some trouble with the police, and Lucy came to the centre after living on the streets and developing a problem with alcohol.
Both women had nothing but positive things to say about the centre and the women's group, even going as far to say that it has changed their lives.
Lucy says she owes the New Horizons workers more than she owes her own mother.

The women's group has given these women confidence and the ability to find (and use) their own voice.  They feel safe there, and it is extremely clear that they have a lot of respect for the staff.

After speaking with Hazz, who has been the women's worker at New Horizons for the last 6 years, it is clear that she loves what she does.  
She wants nothing more than to help these young women to feel safe, supported and included.  Empowering them and helping them to find some independence after escaping some pretty horrendous situations.
And the women who attend the centre expressed how they felt they can tell Hazz anything and she will not judge them.

Comic Relief's funding has changed these women's lives.
Without it I wouldn't even want to think about where these women might be right now.  One things for sure, they would be in far worse situations than they are now.

Come Honk With Me

On Saturday 18th March I held a fundraising even at my best friend's pub; The Cornerstone, Shefford.

We sold tickets for the event and sold vodka jelly shots, cocktails, raffle tickets and cupcakes to raise money. We also had a 'guess how many sweets in the jar' competition and put a bucket on the bar for people to donate their loose change if they wanted to.

We had a brilliant night of music, drinks and dancing and managed to raise just short of £350!

A big thank you to everyone who came and supported me and helped to raise money for Comic Relief, and to my amazing friend for allowing me to commandeer her pub for the evening.

So there you have it .... I have been a busy bee for Red Nose Day and really appreciate the support of every single one of you.

It's not too late to sponsor me/donate if you would like to. Just click HERE.

Together we can (and are) changing lives.

Love Missy x

P.S ..... Here are some photos of Roo, Little Man and Bubba ready to celebrate Red Nose Day at school, just because ......

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