Charity fizz night: Why we’re raising cash to target ovarian cancer

We’re holding a charity fizz night in Maghull on August 24. That’s nice, you might be thinking.

Don’t just disappear just yet … keep thinking and read on.

There probably isn’t enough money to go around, from the likes of you and me, to support all the deserving causes we hear about every day.

I doubt Sir Philip Green will be selling one of his greasy yachts in a magnanimous gesture any time soon.

The world is flooded with charity requests, all good causes in their own right.

This is why we’d love you to support ours and raise cash for Target Ovarian Cancer.

New friendships can pop up unexpectedly

I met Mandy Owen through Twitter, randomly enough, as Mandy was raising cash for dementia.

I was touched by that, because of my mum’s story. We met for coffee.

We haven’t met many times since, but sometimes you just gel with people.

Mandy’s full of conviction and ballsy and works for the ambulance service and is a spot-on Top Bird.

Mandy Owen and hubbie Lee

For months Mandy has been planning for her dream in years ahead, living in Spain with her policeman hubbie Lee.

But life doesn’t leave us to weave our way merrily along straight paths. It usually dumps some mounds of poop along the way.

What happened next and why we’ll be drinking fizz

I read that Mandy was going through a cancer scare and had started to raise money for Target Ovarian Cancer to raise awareness among ladies like me. I wanted to help.

The team at Target Ovarian Cancer says that 11 women die from ovarian cancer in the UK every day. By raising cash to fund life-saving research, we can help to double survival rates.

I don’t cook cakes, I don’t knit blanket squares. I’ve been and done the jumping out of planes and walking over hot coals and charity stand-up comedy.

Nowadays I love to excite people about wine. If I can help people spot a good prosecco from an ordinary prosecco, then that in my book is worth ten home-made Victoria sponges.

Which is why we’re holding a charity fizz tasting night in Maghull on the Bank Holiday weekend with all proceeds going towards Target Ovarian Cancer.

More on that in a minute. For now, I’ll let Mandy tell you what’s what in her own words, shared from her fund-raising group Recycled Wives.


The journey of Mandy’s cancer scare

In the Spring, Mandy visited her GP thinking she had IBS. She had intermittent episodes of constipation and bloating.

A CA125 blood test came back with a raised value of 217 and an urgent scan revealed a mass on the right ovary almost as big as a football.

In June, Mandy had surgery to remove that large mass, plus her ovaries, tubes and womb.

After surgery, Mandy said:

On April 25th, I was told there was a high chance that the large mass found by the gynaecologist was cancerous and I had CT scans of my pelvis and also my chest to check for spread.

The bottom dropped out of my world.

Last night, my gynae oncologist, Mr MacDonald, telephoned me at home to say the lab results had arrived on his desk and it was benign.

The relief is incredible, i cannot describe it.

The day before surgery. Defiant as ever.

As women, we have to stick together and empower one another to not be afraid to talk about this. 

In January, we were all stunned by the sudden death of Dianne Oxberry. She passed away just 11 days after discovering she had ovarian cancer.

She was 51 and had two young children.

Dianne had no idea that the symptoms she had were so serious. It would take her life.

That’s 11 days for her family to let the news sink in before she was gone.

Diane’s best friend has emailed me to offer her support with the awareness campaign Recycled Wives 💪

Spot the signs for an early diagnosis

We are told constantly about how to check our breasts for lumps, get your smear tests and keep an eye on moles but nobody tells you what to look for with a gynaecological tumour.

We need to do it now.

A change in bowel habits. Bloating. Needing to pee more often. Abdominal discomfort. Irregular bleeding. Feeling fuller quicker. Reduced appetite. Just one symptom is enough.

Early diagnosis is everything. 

Let’s do something good. 💙


More on the charity fizz night and how to buy tickets
Our charity fizz night will be wonderful fun

Right-io.

What happens next.

At our fizz nght we’ll be sharing AT LEAST six wines including prosecco and cava and cremant and franciacorta and champagne.

The price is £22.  The venue is The Fox in Maghull.

There will also be a raffle and so far we’ve received some wonderful prizes. Watch out for our Raffle Heroes Roll of Honour.

Then  there’ll be music from Mad Ukes from 9pm.

Let me say that again – at least six glasses of fizz, a fantastic raffle, a ukele band. Tickets £22. Just £22.

Buy tickets via this link (with booking fee) – or if you know us properly in person, then give us a shout.


If you live miles away you can still help Target Ovarian Cancer

You can follow news of Mandy’s fund-raising via Recycled Wives on Twitter and on Facebook.

To donate, Mandy has a Just Giving fund-raising page

 

Isle of Harris Gin: A people’s gin with an island’s economy at its heart

Isle of Harris Gin

 

Rachel MacDonald, brand ambassador for Isle of Harris Gin

I had a smashing chat with Rachel MacDonald, the brand ambassador for Isle of Harris Gin and discovered a fascinating story and a very delicious gin.

Rachel was making a flying visit to Liverpool (where I live) and when she asked if I’d like to meet for a chat about the gin, well, it was just the tonic I needed.

The gin’s heart and soul lies on the island of Harris on the west coast of Scotland in the Outer Hebrides.

The People’s Gin

The Isle of Harris Distillery, or the Social Distillery as it is referred to, was the vision of Anderson ‘Burr’ Bakewell, who had visited the island for many years.

The Isle of Harris is home to  less than 2,000 people. During the 1950s there were over 4,000 people living in the community.

Rachel told me that Burr’s purpose was to create year-round jobs, to try and halt the population decline in the Outer Hebrides.

That’s just fabulous.

The distillery opened in October 2015, in the small harbour village of Tarbert. Five local distillers and two young apprentice distillers make a single malt whisky (still to be released) and  the gin.

Alongside them, 30 full time staff help create the spirits and welcome visitors from all over the world.

The Isle of Harris Gin botanicals

A local diver harvests sugar kelp which is found in the sea around the island. The kelp is steeped with botanicals for 24 hours and is removed before the distilling begins.

The botanicals are juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, cubebs, bitter orange peel, liquorice and cassia bark.

The kelp leaves subtle coastal notes and creates a fresh, delicious gin. It’s as if the winds and the coastal air from Scotland’s coast are washing over me.

The Isle of Harris lies in the Outer Hebrides
This is a gin with people at its heart

The islanders keep control of the business by sending every bought bottle directly from the island.

This means that if you buy one,  there might be a delivery delay if the island weather disrupts the ferry!

The Isle of Harris Gin bottle design

Rachel explained that the ripples across the bottle reflect the beaches on the island. There’s even a “dip” on the side as if the sand has been flattened and untouched by the retreating sea.


Buy the gin ( (RRP £37)  via click and collect outlets across England, Scotland and Wales.  You can find details at their website, harrisdistillery.com