Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Ellie Birch - a different perspective

Happy, Proud and Determined!!

So – Ellie thought that she’d got away scot-free!  . . . . . . Not so, Lady – pin your ears back! Lol

It will come as no surprise to anyone when I tell you that Ellie is the most wonderful wife and mother but there is much, much more to this young lady.  I might be accused of being biased but those of you who know her will, I am sure, agree whole heartedly with my comments and observations.

Ellie has already explained the how and why our group was formed but it really didn’t “just happen” . . . . it was a far from easy journey.

Ever since her dear dad (and my very dear friend) passed away she has been driven with a desire not only to improve her own fitness and wellbeing but also to raise awareness of the cause and effects of heart disease and whilst doing so, raise funds for charity, primarily but not limited to the BHF.

From the very start, the enthusiasm and commitment with which she embarked on this crusade was contagious and the success of this change of lifestyle so obvious that friends and acquaintances became intrigued with her methods and wanted to know more!!

As with most new projects / ventures, the initial period is usually the most successful as determination, novelty and dramatic results provide the motivation to continue and improve.  This was certainly the case with Ellie as she shattered her initial weight loss target and discovered just how good life could be!!

Alas – some 18 months ago a shoulder injury and two subsequent operations meant that the training schedule that she so enjoyed had to be put on hold. The noticeable effect on her mental attitude and general habitus was a real problem for her!

Earlier this year, thank heavens, her injury was cleared and she was able to re-establish her training and healthy eating regime and start to overcome the frustrations of the previous months.

Ever searching for new challenges, Ellie had become involved with the local school during this relative period of inactivity and in so doing, opened the door to many new friendships and the inevitable discussions about her lifestyle.  It was the results of one particular liaison that inspired her to share her methodology (dare I say doctrine?) in a much more positive and open manner and so after much soul searching and deliberation about the best vehicle with which to carry this forward, the local walking group was formed . . . . . their first challenge being to walk the “London Moonwalk, 2012” . . . . . enter the Yorkshire Follies!

This group of dedicated, barmy, fun loving  keep-fit ladies has been a real  tonic for Ellie, and the friendships and camaraderie that has developed since its inception is evidenced by the seemingly endless banter and chit-chat on the groups FB page – who will ever get the last word!!

But make no bones about it people – this is a group with a purpose, driven by a lady who will only settle for the best and for whom the word failure  does not exist!

She is an inspiration, a wonderful example of what can be achieved by resolve, commitment and sheer guts and hard work.

She is my Ellie, my soul mate . I love her to bits  and I’m proud to be part of her dream!


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Ray Birch


Anyone that knows me will know that there is not just me!!  There is another part of me,  another half of me, the part that makes me whole and complete.

It all seems very 'Mills and Boon' but .......................Let me introduce you to my husband Ray Birch,  Since getting together with my soul mate in 2003 we really have been a team in every sense of the word.  We've battled through people not believing in us (completely understandable considering the circumstances), we've struggled through the shock of finding out I was pregnant when it was never even considered because I'd been told years ago that I would have to undergo medical intervention and then had to endure tragically losing our little girl.

We then lived the worry not only of being pregnant again but going into early labour and giving birth to Benjamin 10 weeks prematurely. 

Together we suffered the unexpected loss of my wonderful Dad who was not only my rock and mentor but one of Rays best friends.

Only recently Ray lost his Mentor and great great friend (and since losing his Dad his Father figure Lou Betros).  For the first time I saw him physically crumble.    How do you endure a 72 hour round trip to Kansas in the USA alone to say goodbye to your longest running friend of over 35 years??  Ray did and wouldn't have been anywhere else, that's friendship and thats the wonderful man I married.  He always puts on such a brave front and is so strong for others to help them through, this time it was our time to help him through and my turn to hold him up.

As you can see with such a small synopsis of our bad times (oh there are plenty more!) it would have broken many couples but with the love and friendship we have for each other it's brought us closer together, made us stronger and changed our lives.

I have to add at this point that it hasn't always been bad luck and trauma!  We have lived life like we would never dream.  We've walked and laughed the full length of Alcatraz together looking in every nook and cranny, we've hung off the side of trams in San Fransico just like Mrs Doubtfire.  We have sat in the square in Barcelona sipping on wine watching the world go by.  We've sat on our own patio until the small wee hours putting the world to rights, laughing about our experiences and planning our future.  We married aboard the Sea Princess just off the coast of France on 1st June 2005 which was one of the happiest days of our lives and we've watched our little boy grow up with such beautiful manners.  We've endured 10k's, half marathons, climbing the 3 peaks together to name but a few. 

We have met some wonderful friends and our door is and always has been open, our kitchen table holds more secrets and conversations than I would care to mention but he really has got the best shoulder to cry on and has seen so much of life and the world he is possibly the best source of knowledge that I would know. 

He is kind, generous and loves company, he always starts the day with a smile and I love him unconditionally.  One of my friends said to me only last week.  "If I'm HALF as happy as you and Ray are then I have found my way in life".  In response, I never dreamed I would be this happy and can't imagine life without my Raymondo

Ray is my biggest form of support and we now lead a healthier life TOGETHER.  Yes we enjoy a glass of wine and yes we enjoy entertaining but we are alive and we so enjoy living it.  We also know what needs to be done to compensate our luxuries and we enjoy training together so when I set out on my challenge of getting 'the girls' together it seemed weird that he wasn't involved. 

I know he would never have said anything and I also know that he was screaming inside to join us, after all he had done the previous two Moonwalks with me.  Before very long it seemed obvious to me that the girls expected Ray would be joining us in London.  All I can say is, your gonna have to step up to the plate love and get them legs a moving to keep up with us!

So he is now one of the team and we have his outfit all sorted for the London Moonwalk 2012.  Let's face it we just know he adores wearing he bra and flashing his way all the way to the finish.


Tina Muldowny


This particular blog is probably going to be a short one and you will soon see why.....

When we first started our walking group there were names flying all over the place and people dropping in and out of walks and conversations.  Eventually things settled down and culminated into 8 of us that were committed wholeheartedly into signing up for the London Moonwalk 2012.

I kept hearing the name Tina from everyone but to be honest I had absolutely no idea who had introduced her. 

I knew that she was aquainted with Jane because they had worked together and I knew there was a link with Annmarie because their girls Bethany and Elisha went to school together.  Her son Bailey is looked after by Christine, Annmarie's mum who is his childminder.  Are you confused yet???   Now you can see my problem!

Tina has only managed to meet us for a couple of walks because of work commitments and the demands placed on her by her children and a single parent existence.  What has struck me is the ease in which she gets on with everybody even though she is possibly the most shy person I have ever met. . . . .  another one of us with low self esteem it seems?  I remember that on her first walk she hardly said a word only to say how grateful she was that she was meeting new people and new friends.

When we set of on our journey we all committed to getting healthier, getting our fitness up to the same level and when we went out on team walks that we would help each other along.  Because of her sheer determination and enthusiasm for the challenge she has set herself and the fact she can't get out walking as often as others, Tina trains on the treadmill she has at home every night tokeep up her fitness. She hates the thought that she may get left behind but one thing is for sure,  the way she is going she will be running a marathon well before the rest of us!

I really do look forward to spending more time with Tina - on the few occasions that we have met she has been an absolute hoot.

Just one more Follie to introduce!!!.........


Monday, 3 October 2011

Caroline Whincup


I first met Caroline about 2 years ago when she came to see me about hiring one of my dresses for a ball she was going too.  As with all my ladies I made her feel welcome and hopefully made her feel special.  We eventually found her perfect dress and after a couple of spray tans away she went and had a fantastic night wearing a Simply Elliegance gown.  People are always grateful and say thank you but Caroline is one of the only people ever to have sent a thank you card to the business so I think I did a good job.

That was the last I heard until Jayne B said she was at a slimming club with a girl I'd previously met . . . . .  low and behold it was the same Caroline.

When I saw her again I was astounded at how much weight she had lost.  Well over 5 stone and looking incredible.  Before long she was showing an interest in walking with us but with so little self esteem and  thinking there was no way she would be able to keep up, she did not dare to say she would 'Walk the Walk'. 

It wasn't long though before she was setting herself her first ever Challenge of doing the London Moonwalk 2012.

Caroline has twin boys whom she idolises and it certainly shows in the way she talks about them and supports them.  They are her world and that is very evident.

Here is a lady that has developed from someone who would drive in her car to the corner shop to someone that now walks on the treadmill for over an hour each day; from someone that hated any form of exercise to someone who now lives at the gym and gains so much from it-  and it is showing.  Not only is her her physique changing but also her personality! 

When I've met people along my journey it always amazes me that I can somehow see myself in them. Is that what connects people do you think? Caroline has so much to give yet seems frightened somehow of giving herself any justice or reward. Not daring to try something just incase she fails and thinks she looks silly. Well she certainly is trying new things and is certainly not looking silly, all she needs to do is start believing she can do things and she will certainly amaze herself like she is amazing others.

I'm certainly looking forward to getting to know her better.