I cannot believe it was a week ago that I found out I was through to the FINALS of Miss London and Miss Hippodrome 2016 and I cannot believe it was OVER a week ago that we took part in the semi finals! Time really does fly and it’s been such a busy week organising my charity music gig for Thursday night and visiting St Christopher’s hospice on Friday morning, so I thought I would keep you all in the loop and tell you a bit about my week 🙂
After our audition / quarter final round at a beautiful warehouse studio in Hoxton, I think there were 27 girls who hopped, skipped and jumped their way to the semi finals which were held last Saturday at the Hippodrome Casino in London, the official venue of the finals! We were escorted to the theatre where we were given our Badarians Property Management sponsor vest as well as our own sponsor sash.
After getting to know the other girls a bit we took our seats ready to be wowed by the make up techniques of the fabulous Soni Makeovers, how to get that flawless dewy look, a shimmering low key smoky eye and of course the 2016 trend craze of contouring. Soni is a London based make up artist who has worked on various high profile events as well as many pageant shows and specialises in Bollywood inspired makeovers – just check out the pictures on her website, they are gorgeous! http://www.sonimakeovers.com/
Next we met Angie and Jade, two of organiser Fay’s friends with inspiring stories. Jade spoke of her unfortunate diagnosis of cancer which she initially thought was just a dance injury, after having courses of treatment Jade is on the mend and spoke to us about her journey and how herself and her family were helped by the wonderful team at St Christopher’s Hospice. It was so beautiful to see how positive and bubbly Jade was and she taught us to not change how we talk to or perceive someone who isn’t well, they are still the same person and although having sympathy is a natural human instinct, it isn’t always necessary to express it in a manner that could be overwhelming. St Christopher’s Hospice is one of the 2 chosen charities for Miss London this year and we got to meet one of their patient’s Junior as well as carer, Sid. Junior was subject to an unfortunate incident where he played hero which resulted in him being paralysed and only able to communicate through a computer and some gestures. Junior actually wrote a speech which Fay read out about the support he has received in rebuilding his life and how he is learning to stand and take steps again, which he demonstrated to us. It is so important to stress that it is through such fundraising as we are doing that things like this are possible! And to see it first hand is just incredible.
Another charity we supported on the day was Flow Aid an active campaign to make sanitary products free for homeless women to provide them with the products they NEED, not desire. Hayley gave a very informative speech about how they are campaigning to various charities to start acting on an issue many often overlook. https://twitter.com/Flow_Aid https://www.facebook.com/FlowAidProject/?fref=ts
Another thing often overlooked are facts! True or false? Just ask Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity. Will from full fact told us about their work, they are a non biased charity who don’t support any political side or view and check claims made by politicians, media, pressure groups and other voices in public debates and push for corrections where necessary.
Now, to enter the Miss London, Miss Hippodrome / Miss England Pageant girls must be aged between 16-26 and what do us 16-26 year olds like to do? Take holidays, party, stay up late??? Ring any bells? Well we had the fantastic Paul Banwell of The Banwell Clinic talk to us about looking after our skin and guess what is most damaging to the skin? You got it, alcohol, smoking, not enough sleep and the sun’s rays! So if like me you feel you have a few crows feet creeping up on your eyes and dark circles that have mysteriously appeared and don’t show any signs of leaving anytime soon, get off that sunbed and get into your local Boots store to stock up on antioxidants, vitamin B3 and SPF! The Banwell clinic girls Judi and Aimee (who both had flawless skin and didn’t look a day over fabulous) talked us through some of the skin care regimes they recommend as well as providing us with a goody bag containing a face mask, skin repair night kit, skin protection day kit and a sachet of their famous skinade , a collagen drink for younger, healthier looking skin, here’s a quick video of me testing it out.
We then had a catwalk and posing tutorial with the fabulous Syria and Rissikat (winner of Miss London 2011 and now professional model). Not only was this great fun and a way to break the catwalk ice but we also got some valuable feedback on technique and posture that we can go away and work on ready to come back and nail the final next Friday. So a huge Thank you to everyone involved last weekend and of course to Fay for her wonderful, seamless organising!
Charity music gig
On Thursday night I hosted my charity acoustic music gig at The Duke’s Head in Putney, which by the way if you are ever looking for a gig venue this is perfect! An intimate setting of fairy lights and funky décor with a cosy stage area next to the already present PA sound system. First of all I have to say a humongous thank you to my friend Alex Bratt for playing sound man for the evening at VERY late notice and I do not honestly think I could have done it without him! If everyone could take a leaf out of Alex’s kind hearted book that would be great and the world would be a better place!!! The night was a huge success and we raised £150 for the chosen charities (St Christopher’s Hospice and Beauty with a Purpose [huge congrats to Julia Morley who won the Variety International Humanitarian Award]). Again I was overwhelmed by the amount of people that made the effort to come and support the evening, all my friends who came down and my cousin Mark for bringing about 10 people as well as my friend Will who rounded up a great number too! We had 5 amazing acts perform including Carolina Ryna, Rosanella, Charlie Holder, Matthew Dean, Beth Keeping and DJ for the night Mark Campbell who was in such demand with music requests that he physically could not escape until gone 12! A big thank you again to my sponsors Aston Rowe and Wandsworth Radio (who also won the music quiz and a bottle of bubbly! I can promise it wasn’t fixed!!!) Here are a few pictures from the event:
Visit to St Christopher’s Hospice
On Friday the finalists had the opportunity to visit St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, one of the 2 charities we have been raising money for. I drive everywhere so thought I would offer any girls who lived nearby a lift to the hospice so we could all go together, so myself, Larissa, Sam and Kailey met at Notting Hill Gate station and drove over. It was really lovely as the hour’s commute gave us the opportunity to get to know one another better and share our thoughts.
We were met at St Christopher’s by Sarah from the community fundraising team and Alison who first of all talked us through what actually goes on at St Christopher’s before giving us a tour of the hospice. For those of you that maybe aren’t familiar with St Christopher’s Hospice, they provide care for terminally ill individuals and support for their families, free of charge, both in inpatient wards at the hospice and from patients’ own homes. This statement from their website sums it up beautifully: ‘Our vision is of a world in which all dying people and those close to them have access to appropriate care and support, when they need it, wherever they need it and whoever they are.’
St Christopher’s provide care for some of the most deprived areas in London including Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. The hospice was founded in 1967 by Dame Cicely Saunders, a nurse, medical social worker and physician around the 1950s who was very involved with the caring for patients who were terminally ill. She wanted to not only provide clinical care, help and support for patients but also build a foundation for research and education. There is now an educational centre next door to the hospice and I think we can all agree that through St Christopher’s Hospice, the way in which society cares for the ill, dying and the bereaved has been revolutionised by Dame Cicely Saunders’ work.
On our tour we got to see the offices where volunteers organise community events and promote fundraising plans, the kitchen that prepares meals for inpatients, the tribute tree where families and friends can remember the life of a loved one through an engraved copper plaque whilst donating to St Christopher’s. The hospice caters for all religions and as such they have the pilgrim room where patients, friends and families can go to spend some quiet time, light a candle and write in the memories book. As we were walking through the hallways, the walls are covered in bright pictures, poems and photographs which are lovely to stop for a moment and read, it’s just another way St Christopher’s share their positivity and friendliness with the community. We also saw the gym where patients can have one to one or group training to build strength and focus on goals, we heard some fantastic stories about people who have wanted to run a marathon for a final time or take on a sporting activity, we also heard a great story about the new beauty clinic set up by a donation from a patient’s spouse which provides hair, make-up, nails and other beauty treatments free of charge to patients. Next we headed to the gardens where people can enjoy a bit of fresh air, these aren’t just any gardens either, they are beautifully manicured with benches to sit on and even a little stream, Alison was telling us that some people even got married here. There is an arts and crafts centre at the bottom of the garden for various creative activities too. One of the most lovely areas of the hospice was the Anniversary Centre, which is open to patients, out patients and the public, 7 days a week, there is a little cafe and often live music or a pianist accompanies the atmosphere. Junior who we met at the semi finals has a young adults group there on a Saturday.
St Christopher’s Hospice costs over £19 million a year to maintain their services, £13 million of that needs to be fundraised each year and I wanted to raise awareness of these figures and show that every little really does help. We do so many day to day things (going to the pub, going to the gym, having a morning run, meeting friends for coffee etc) you can really turn anything into a small fundraising event, it doesn’t have to be a huge organised affair. Why not take a quiz to the pub next time and charge people £1 or so to play, bake some cakes for the next coffee meeting or to take to the office and again charge £1 or so for a cake, or train with your friends to take part in a sponsored run/walk/assault course. I will leave you with that thought and would love to hear some of your fundraising ideas! Check out my short video of the day too:
Badarians Property Management visit
The official Miss London and Miss Hippodrome 2016 sponsor, Badarians Property Management invited the girls to visit their offices for lunch on Saturday 30th April. Unfortunately I could not attend as it was my boyfriend’s birthday and we were out of London. However it looks like the girls had a fantastic day, here is a picture of them all, courtesy of Charlotte Brooke (thank you for letting me steal your picture!)
So Badarians Property Management are based in Croydon and cover every aspect of the property world from lettings, sales, portfolio management and guidance for property investment whether you are a developer, building your portfolio or purchasing for yourself. From maintenance, construction and planning to referencing it’s all covered at Badarians!
Don’t forget to catch myself and the other finalists on Wandsworth Radio THIS Thursday 10-1pm www.wandsworthradio.com and come along to the finals if you are around, tickets range from £10 – £25 and can be bought online from The Hippodrome Casino http://www.hippodromecasino.com/events/miss-hippodrome-2/