CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WITH AN ICE MAIDEN! & GIVEAWAY

Happy International Women’s Day (IWD).  Celebrated throughout the world on 8th March commenorating the movement for women’s rights.  This year the theme for IWD is #pressforchange.  With global activism for women’s equality finally getting the coverage it deserves which has been fuelled by movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, there has never been a more pressing time for change for women.  Indeed the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report notes that gender parity is some 200 years away!

 

sophie ice maiden

 

While us women still have a way to go for equality, there are some women making changes and challenging the role of women now.  They are also paving the way for other women to follow.  One group of inspirational women doing just that is the Ice Maidens.  The British Army’s ‘Ice Maiden’ Expedition has become the first all-female team to cross the Antarctica continent from coast-to-coast using muscle power alone.

 

Over 62 days on the ice, the team travelled up to 43 kilometres a day, navigating crevasse fields whilst pulling sledges weighing up to 80kg and battling temperatures as low as -40°C.  The idea for the expedition was to inspire women of all ages and abilities.

 

I am delighted that one of the Ice Maiden’s – Sophie Montagne – took time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions regarding her recent challenge.  I hope she inspires you as much as she and the rest of the Ice Maidens have me.  Remember to connect with Sophie below on social media and her blog.

 

 

What was your motivation for wanting to take part in the Ice Maiden challenge?

I wanted to escape my desk job, I felt bored and unfulfilled, frustrated with mundane life and I desperately wanted to see Antarctica – a totally unique landscape. I wanted to do something physically and mentally challenging that I would remember for the rest of my life and see if by sharing my experiences I could inspire others to take up a challenge and have the determination to see it through.

 

What were the positives of taking part?

So many, it’s changed my life! But the main thing was the incredible sense of team work and belonging that I had with my 5 team mates. I’ve never met such strong and inspiring women and, although we didn’t know each other before Ice Maiden, by the end I could read them better than my oldest friends. Knowing exactly how to cheer each other up when we were feeling down, or how to motivate each other when we were having a tough day was what made our expedition such a success.

 

What made you smile during the challenge?

My team mate Jenni – she was always dancing on her skis, singing along to Celine Dion and causing mischief and she always, always made me laugh. She’s morale on tap!

 

What challenges did you face during your trek?

We had temperatures as low as -56 degrees Celsius and a storm with 100kph wind that kept us trapped in our tents for 2 days. There was also the risk of falling into a crevasse and, if we were injured, help was a very long way away. Most of all though, it was the endurance – we skied 1,704km from one side of the continent to the other which meant 10 hours of skiing every day for 61 days. That was exhausting and I can safely say that every part of my body hurt!

 

ice maiden challenge

What did you learn about yourself during and after the challenge?

I learned that I have a lot to give a team, that I’m very easy-going, very positive and a good listener. I also discovered a new confidence – we went from zero polar experience to completing an unguided and unsupported Antarctic crossing. Before us, more people had been to the moon than done that, so I feel that I’ve achieved something really unique.

 

What women inspire you?

Clare Balding is such an awesome role model (and I would love her job!). She is so warm, every generation love her, and she is knowledgeable, successful and pioneering, but with great humility. She has quietly become a national treasure and nobody has a bad word to say about her.

 

If you could give other women 3 pieces of advice, in terms of facing challenges, what would that advice be?

  1. Break your challenge down into manageable chunks. If it’s huge it can seem overwhelming at the start so set short term goals that will give you confidence and a sense of achievement as you go along. This will help build the motivation to reach that ultimate goal.
  2. Sign up! If you don’t put your name into the hat nobody is going to pick you. When I applied for Ice Maiden, along with 250 others, I never dreamed that I had what it takes to make the final team. I thought I’d enjoy the ride until somebody told me to get off the train…and then I found myself in Antarctica! Don’t rule yourself out of a challenge before it’s even begun.
  3. Don’t let people put you off. I’m an optimist and people are always trying to stamp on my dreams! It takes a lot of strength to ignore the doubters and keep believing in your goal, despite the many hardships and setbacks along the way. Never, ever give up because the planning is always the hardest part.

 

ice maidens

 

 

I also asked some bloggers who inspired them and this is what they told me:

 

Vicky from Millie Beach Huts is inspired by Dr Kate Granger, young doctor with a passion for patient care.  At just 29, Dr Granger was diagnosed with cancer.  As a terminally ill cancer patient, she had been informed she may only live for another 14 months. But over the five years post her initial diagnosis, Dr Granger achieved so much. I’ve been humbled and blown away by the courage, pride, commitment, love and dedication she has shown to us all at her most vulnerable times.

 

Chloe from Marble Beauty is inspired by Otegha Uwagba who founded Women Who which is a community for creative, working women Her ‘Little Black Book’ motivates me to work as hard as I can, to build a business for myself!

 

Catalina from Stylish Confidence is inspired by Mihaela Noroc founder of Atlas of Beauty. In a world that cares too much about appearance, Mihaela demonstrates we should forget about set standards.  

 

Kate from Ever After with Kids has been inspired by Rose Mcgowen and the countless other women speaking out and standing up against sexual harassment – so brave to put themselves out there and face torrents of abuse and name calling – but paving the way for a better future for our daughters. 

 

Marie from Restless Soul Adventures is inspired by Katherine Johnson and the many other African-American female mathematicians who worked at NASA in the sixties. Being a techie myself, I see these women as true pioneers for women in technology.

 

Lucie from Call Me Dumpling is inspired by the author and journalist Xinran. In the 90s she had a radio programme in China, documenting the stories of womenpost Cultural Revolution; she later wrote a book based on the lives and experiences of the women she’d encountered on her show. She touches on topics like the one child policy, gender hierarchy, and the lost daughters of China in her novels.

 

Mel from Raise the Waves is inspired by Claudette Colvin. In March 1955 (9 months before Rosa Parks did the same thing) then 15-year-old Claudette refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white person. She was arrested and convicted of violating segregation laws, disturbing the peace and assault.  To have that kind of courage, not only as a teenager but as a black teenager during an extremely racist time in the US, is inspiring and motivating.

 

 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mountain_Sophie

Instagram: www.instagram.com/Mountain_Sophie 

Blog: sophiemontagne.com

 

 

 

Other blog posts in Why She Inspires Me Series

Why B from Boost My Budget Inspires Me

Why I’m Supporting Female Bloggers

Why Becky from Cuddle Fairy Inspires Me

Why Sarah from Life in a Breakdown Inspires Me

Why Emma from EmmaDrew Inspires Me

Why Gwennan from Twentsomethingmeltdown Inspires Me

Why Francesca from Pennies to Pounds Inspires Me

Why Laura from Mum On A Mission Inspires Me

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me

 

 

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WHY SHE INSPIRES ME – CELEBRATING FEMALE BLOGGERS – SARA – DEBT CAMEL

Why she inspires me, celebrating female bloggers is a blog series that I started to stand up and celebrate the strength and resilience of wonderful women. Female bloggers who, in my eyes, are quite frankly unstoppable. I wanted to celebrate these women and share with you their blogs in the hope that they inspire you too.

 

Sara Williams

 

This post is about Sara Williams from Debt Camel.  Sara is retired, however she is a CAB advisor and blogs at Debt Camel to help demystify all things to do with debt.  I have to applaud Sara for her dedication to helping others no matter where they are on their debt journey.  Her approach to simplifying the process is to be admired as there are many people out there that often get the wool pulled over their eyes by financial jargon.  Sara’s straight talking approach is different from the other debt websites out there.

 

I really do hope Sara inspires you as much as she has me.   You too can help celebrate female bloggers by connecting with Sara below and all others in this series.  Read on to find out a bit more about Sara.

 

debt camel

 

 

  1. What makes you smile?

 

Pretty normal things – good food, good wine, the company of my adult children, walking my spaniel when it’s nice weather.  I used to love travelling, but I’ve seen a lot of places and there really is nowhere better than home!  As a blogger, finding the right turn of phrase, or way to structure an article, can be very satisfying – a quiet smile that no one else sees.

 

  1. If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

 

I’ll swap lives with Theresa May please! One day will be plenty of time to go out on the steps of Number 10 and announce that I had given Brexit my best shot and there is no way it is going to be anything other than a disaster for the country, so it’s cancelled.  I would also like the swap to be on one of the days when I volunteer at my local CAB. I think it would do the Prime Minister good to see the real problems people are struggling with.

 

  1. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

 

First has to be my two children. They are the best! It has been a privilege to watch them grow up and develop.  I used to work in the City devising and implementing some big projects in a rather obscure niche. I had a free hand to build a team and get the job done and my team were great, a pleasure to work with. The hours were daft, and ultimately incompatible with being a single parent, but for a few years it was the best job in the world and we worked miracles together. I am still so proud of what we achieved.

 

And I am now very proud of my blog. I never expected more than 50,000 people a month would be looking at it. Nor that people would contact me with news stories to publish. It has turned into a huge amount of work but it’s very varied – in the last month I have written about topics varying from very old student loans and ways to reduce your Xmas spending to the new forms people get sent if they are being taken to court for a CCJ.

 

 

  1. If you could give your 16 year old self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

 

Don’t worry about what you are going to do when you are grown up! Your working life will be long, you will do several completely different jobs in it, most of which weren’t planned in advance and which you could never have imagined aged 16.  So keep learning new things, keep interested in the world around you and keep your eyes open for what you could do next.

 

  1. What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

 

I am lucky that I am retired and can do what I like. And very lucky that with my blog I can spend my time on a fascinating subject – debt advice in England – that also helps so many people. Sometimes writing the next article seems like a chore, but it’s comments like these on my blogs that keep me going:

 

  • “This month was the first ever in over 8 years I had no payday loans to repay.” (from a reader who has got refunds of the interest she paid on payday loans.)
  • thanks so much for this useful article. Armed with your information I challenged the Halifax to change a default date. They corrected it and awarded me £250 compensation .” (from a reader who had an error on his credit record).

 

Connect with Sara

Debt Camel 

Twitter

Facebook

 

Related posts about celebrating female bloggers

Why Emma from Emmadrew.info Inspires Me

Why Gwennan from Twentsomethingmeltdown Inspires Me

Why Francesca from Pennies to Pounds Inspires Me

Why Laura from Mum On A Mission Inspires Me

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me

 

 

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Read all about inspiring female bloggers in my series why she inspires me. Come and celebrate the wonderful women who are helping others.

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WHY SHE INSPIRES ME – CELEBRATING FEMALE BLOGGERS – GWENNAN – TWENTSOMETHINGMELTDOWN

This blog series is me wanting to stand up and celebrate the strength and resilience of wonderful women. Female bloggers who, in my eyes, are quite frankly unstoppable. I wanted to celebrate these women and share with you their blogs in the hope that they inspire you too.

 

This blog post is about Gwennan from Twenty Something Meltdown.  I have to let you in to a little secret, I absolutely adore Gwennan and not because she’s Welsh!  Although she has the Welsh spirit of dedication and passion.  Putting Gwenann’s heritage to one side, I wanted to include her in this blog post because she is a true inspiration.  She has grit and determination as she blogs and illustrates her way to the creative life she wants and deserves.  She is friendly, supportive and through sharing her passion of Bullet Journals inspires me to want to achieve more.  I was absolutely astounded and delighted in equal measure when I took out advertising with her.  She offers so much for so little and is determined to give her best in whatever she is doing.  You don’t have to take my word for it though, head over to connect with her and get to know her.  I know she will inspire you as much as she has me 🙂

 

Why She Inspires Me

I hope you will check out Gwenann’s blog, connect with her on social media and find out a little bit more about her by reading her response to my questions:

 

What makes you smile?

Millions of things! I’m very easily pleased, a real fan of the little things. My niece babbling away, the changing of the leaves on the trees, proper belly laughing with my friends, driving in the sunshine, a nice blog comment….I think it’s important to recognise the smaller things in life that make you smile so I strive to.

 

Why She Inspires Me

 

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

One of the Kardashians – I don’t even care which one! Just to live that life, see what it’s like to be THAT famous (I suspect I’d hate it), have a nosey round Kris Jenner’s house, walk into one of their closets. Can you even imagine?

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Getting shortlisted for the Blogosphere Magazine Lifestyle Blogger of the Year was a HUGE deal for me. This blog is primarily a hobby, a side hustle that makes me a lil bit of cash but to be recognised for actually being quite successful at it was a massive deal. It wasn’t just being shortlisted to the final amongst some of my actual favourite bloggers, being whittled down from 6000 entries – it was knowing my fellow bloggers had nominated me in the first place. My Twitter was buzzing all day the day it was announced with support and real genuine excitement from people I’ve never met and it meant a lot to me.

 

Why She Inspires Me

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

Life absolutely doesn’t work out the way you planned so don’t get disappointed when it doesn’t. I’ve always had life goals and plans and ideas and life just gets in the way of that most of the time and throws a curveball and it all seems like it’s gone to pot. I’ve discovered in the 9 years (!!) since I was 16 that what I thought was important to me in life maybe isn’t anymore and what I never expected to happen always will. These days I have less long term life goals and I think I’m happier for it.

 

Why She Inspires Me

 

What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

I am desperate to curate a life for myself that allows me to do what I want. Being an art student and now blogger I am too creative to be tied to an office job or a run in a supermarket so when I graduated I put everything on the line to make my career my own and became freelance. It’s VERY scary and very hard work but what motivates me to make it a good un is creating a life and a business for myself for my future.

 

Connect with Gwennan:

Twenty Something Meltdown

Twitter

Pinterest

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

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Why She Inspires Me

 

 

To read about other inspirational female bloggers:

Why Francesca from Pennies to Pounds Inspires Me

Why Laura from Mum On A Mission Inspires Me

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me

 

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WHY SHE INSPIRES ME – CELEBRATING FEMALE BLOGGERS – LAURA – MUM ON A MISSION

This blog series is me wanting to stand up and celebrate the strength and resilience of wonderful women. Female bloggers who, in my eyes, are quite frankly unstoppable. I wanted to celebrate these women and share with you their blogs in the hope that they inspire you too.

 

This blog post is about Laura from Mum on A Mission.  Laura blogs about her family life with her son William.  William was diagnosed with brain damage at 4 days old.  Laura documents their family life, the happy times, the difficulties, and the daily battles.  What inspires me about Laura is her kind heart, her determination and strength.  Many of us face challenges when we become a parent but Laura even more so.  As a champion for her son and other children with a disability, Laura has campaigned for children with a disability to be afforded the dignity that we often take for granted.  You can read the coverage she has received here.

 

Below, hopefully you will get to know Laura a little better.

 

 

What makes you smile?

 

Far too many things!  Of course, my son makes me smile every day.  Charlie Hunnam, Starbucks green tea lemonade, tacky reality TV, Comfy jeans, sunshine, chocolate and changing places toilets (crazy that a toilet can make you smile but if you have a disabled child they are pretty essential!)

 

Mum On A Mission

Laura & William

 

 

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

 

Easy… Charlie Hunnam’s girlfriend… for reasons which I won’t go into but are possibly quite obvious!  On a serious note though if I could have one day as PM I’m sure I could get a lot sorted for disabled people.

 

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

 

I am really proud to have persuaded Gatwick airport to purchase a special hoist which allows disabled people to be lifted in a safe and dignified manner when boarding a plane.  Before they purchased the hoist, disabled people were lifted manually which was dangerous and undignified, the airport now have several of these hoists and they are used regularly by disabled passengers.

 

Why She Inspires Me

William on a toilet floor – this is a photo I hate but I feel it important to share because people just don’t realise that every single day disabled children are being put on toilet floors because they are too big for baby changing units but don’t have any other alternatives. This is why I campaign for changing places toilets which provide an adult sized changing bed and a hoist to safely lift a disabled person.

 

 

Inspirational Female Bloggers

Photo of William in the eagle hoist I persuaded Gatwick airport to buy

 

 

If you could give your 16-year-old self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

 

Enjoy your 20’s, don’t eat so much crap and start going to the gym now.  Make the most of life pre-children and see as much of the world as you can.  Also, learn what SEO means and how to do it!

 

 

What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

 

My son.  His determination and smile motivate me every day.  He has huge daily struggles which are only made more difficult by the environment around him.  That’s why I try every day to educate, raise awareness and make changes to allow him and other people with disabilities to be able to access the world around them in a safe and dignified manner.

 

Celebrating Female Bloggers

Me and William with the loose ladies, we were on Loose Women last month talking about The DRM Project which was really great fun but also terrifying. Our appearance did help to raise more money for the project though which is amazing.

 

Please head over to connect with Laura:

 

Website: www.mumoam.co.uk

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mumsmission

FB: www.facebook.com/mumoam

Instagram: www.instagram.com/themumonamission

 

 

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Celebrating Female Bloggers

 

 

To read about other inspirational female bloggers:

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me

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Why She Inspires Me – Celebrating Female Bloggers – Katy Stevens aka Katykicker

This blog series is me wanting to stand up and celebrate the strength and resilience of wonderful women. Female bloggers who, in my eyes, are quite frankly unstoppable. I wanted to celebrate these women and share with you their blogs in the hope that they inspire you too.

 

This blog post is about the very helpful wonder woman who is Kay Stevens from Katykicker.

 

Katy is a unique and inspiring woman who runs a blog all about making money and saving money.  She took a leap of faith back in 2013 quitting her job and now works full time blogging.  What is so special about Katy, and what inspires me about her, is her nature to help others.  Help others make money online, help others save money, helping other bloggers who have questions, queries or difficulties all without a second thought.  Having such a compassionate instinct is so inspirational, it is central to why I wanted to include Katy in this series.  I also wanted to thank her for being such a great blogger.

 

katykicker

Here are some questions I asked Katy to get to know her a little better.

 

What makes you smile?

Being able to do nice things for others. This might be offering advice online, giving my time to help with something or spending money to enrich someone’s life.

 

 

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

I would trade lives with my husband. He is a little bit emotionless at the best of times and I would love to know what he was really thinking. We are really strong but it would nice to know if he REALLY wanted to share his ice cream with me, and if he really didn’t mind working so hard.

 

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my website in the online World and in the real World I’m most proud of my daughter Daisy. 7 years of infertility was hard going but she is here now next to me as I type this!

 

 

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

Try not to worry so much. Things WILL work out. You may not be where you want to be right now but it is all part of the journey to making it where you want to be in one piece.

 

 

What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

My family. For sure. My husband and daughter. I want to make more money and achieve more to be able to have the best life, have money for private healthcare and be able to enjoy lots of quality time together on holidays and days out. Also, I want to buy a nice house and be mortgage free before I’m 35…! Only 5.5 years to go!

 

 

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female bloggers

 

To read about other inspirational female bloggers:

Why Laura from Mum on a Mission Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me

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