feel it on the first

‘It’s nearly Christmaaaaaaas’ I hear you all singing from the top of your lungs as soon as it turns midnight and becomes December 1st.

It’s not. Or at least it really doesn’t feel like it to me. I’m now a part of the working world, and 9-5pm office hours with the addition of a tram journey commute really don’t make you feel that festive (even with the addition of a cheesy Secret Santa and plans for a lunchtime buffet.)

What I did feel today, however, were my boobs.

Yep, you heard me right. I said boobs.

I switched off my alarm, pulled off the duvet (albeit reluctantly) and got ready for my shower. After standing under the water and letting it wake me up, and rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, I checked my boobs for any changes.

Those of you that know me personally will have heard me shouting about the wonderful breast cancer charity, CoppaFeel! and know I support the message they’re spreading to young people, which is literally saving lives.

That’s why I regularly check my boobs (with the help of handy text message reminders which you can sign up for here!) and their campaign ‘feel it on the first’ is so important.

I’m only 22, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be affected.

Although breast cancer is rare in younger people, it can still happen as both men and women have breast tissue. Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 40, with 1 in 8 women in the UK being affected by breast cancer in their lifetime. (Stats from Breast Cancer Care)

 

In the UK…

  • 1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Around 400 men are diagnosed every year.
  • Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 40.
  • Every year in the UK, around 5,000 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with breast cancer. (Stats from Breast Cancer Care)

CoppaFeel!’s website has lots of handy hints and tips of what to look for, and how to get involved if you’d like to help spread their message. There mission below is just a snippet of what they do in order to make survival rates higher, and spread the word that knowing your normal could save your life.

Our Mission

To ensure all breast cancers are diagnosed early and correctly by…

  • Encouraging you to check your boobs regularly from a young age.
  • Educating you on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
  • Empowering you to seek advice from a doctor if symptoms persist.

If you’re too cosy in bed to get up for work, instead of snoozing for five minutes why not get to know your normal? Or sign up for monthly reminders that come straight through to your phone? Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your cat. But most importantly, feel it on the first!

love sophie

oh what a wonderful: trek

I find it unbelievably difficult to describe or talk about the adventures I’ve been fortunate enough to go on. There just aren’t enough adjectives, or the right words, to express exactly how incredibly challenging and life changing they have been.

When I come home and someone asks me how I got on, I am never able to truly do it justice no matter how hard I try. How can you really describe hanging onto the edge of the mountain you’ve been traversing across for eight hours, or walking along a tiny ridge in the pitch black with a thirty foot drop right next to you? Nothing seems to ever come close enough.

A year ago today, along with sixty other people, I headed to Heathrow: destination Oman. I was part of a group trekking across the Musandam Peninsula to raise money for breast cancer charity, CoppaFeel! We crossed wadis, scrambled up mountains channelling our inner mountain goats, and sweated our weight in water in the forty plus degree heat, all in the name of boobs. We were championed by the boob queens themselves, Ellie and Maren, as well as Gi and Mario who were our team captains, rallying the troops with constant enthusiasm and support.

It was one of the most inspiring and encouraging things I have ever done. And as soon as I got home I wanted to do it all over again (I’m sure a lot of the other trekkers would say the same thing.) But even to this day, I can’t do it justice when I try and explain the challenges we faced.

It was mentally testing trying to keep positive day in day out, and physically exhausting spending so much time on the mountains in the midday heat, with only the occasional acacia tree or tarpaulin for shade.

The friendships I made, and the stories we all shared on those mountains, will stay with me for life.

But, more importantly, the fact we managed to raise a quarter of a million pounds for CoppaFeel! makes me so immensely proud. We got the message out there that men and women everywhere should be checking their pecks, and knowing their bodies. We each played our own part in sharing CoppaFeel’s story, and helped them spread their life saving message.

The money we raised means that CoppaFeel! can continue to educate young people on the importance of knowing their normal, and what to do if they notice something out of the ordinary. Whether it be going to schools, work places, or just local community groups, they work hard to promote self checking and awareness of our bodies. The difference it can make is priceless.

“When we saw the team CoppaFeel! and Charity Challenge banners, we all linked arms in two rows, led by Gi, and walked up to the final peak of the mountain. Doing it together as a team felt amazing after the challenges some of the group had encountered earlier in the week. Once we reached the top we could hear The Foo Fighters blasting out of Dave’s 4×4. What a moment. What an achievement. We all chanted be more goat before a much needed and deserved group hug.”

For more information on CoppaFeel! and the work they do, have a look at their website! And, for anyone thinking of taking on a challenge like this: do it. I promise you it will be something you remember forever.

love sophie

sophievictoriaroweart

In May, after a couple of nudges from eager friends, I set up an Instagram page for my cards and pictures. It was initially to help me reach my fundraising target for the wonderful CoppaFeel! but it has proved more popular than I thought so I have continued doing it.

All the profits I make head straight over to them, to help them continue spreading boob love and educate people about knowing their bodies.

If you aren’t on Instagram, but would like to order some art, you can find all the different things I do on this blog… I’ll update this art section with seasonal things, as well as recent commissions and things I just love drawing.

And if anything takes your fancy, or you have any questions about any of it, you can email me to place an order/have a natter.

Thanks for looking! (Now go check your boobs!)

love sophie

book club: goodbye, perfect (proof)

I was very fortunate to land myself one of the beautiful proof copies of Sara Barnard’s Goodbye, Perfect and have thoroughly enjoyed worming my way through it. I was completely transfixed by the characters and am incredibly excited for it to come out in full publication glory in February. It was captivating, honest, and blooming fab! I love Barnard and don’t deny she is definitely my girl crush.

But seeing the proof got me thinking about how much goes into the publishing process and how long it takes for a story to go from being a blank word document to a bound and beautifully marketed book.

Once I finished the book and put it down (and after a ‘I’m-sad-that-it’s-over-but-feel-better-brew’) I sat for quite a long time just staring at it and then at my own word document which was open on my laptop. It made me realise that the book I’d just read was once a Word Document, being edited, read, reread, deleted. Just like mine.

We’re in the middle of NaNoWrMo at the minute (National Novel Writing Month) and, although I’m not taking part, I have been using it as motivation to try and up my word count.

I felt that the beautifully bound book I had in my mind was so far away, but looking at my word document made me realise it’s a lot closer than it could be (18,583 words closer to be exact.)

In November alone I’ve written 6,000 of these words. Now, to some people, that’s nothing, but to me, it’s huge (especially seen as I wasn’t actually in the country for one week.)

I realised, sitting between my unfinished manuscript and Barnard’s proof, that the key to writing is reading. It is such a catalyst to great words and great works. I struggled to keep on top of reading when I began my manuscript, especially reading for pleasure. I was too deep in thick research and books I would never usually choose to read that I lost my way with reading.

This year, since I’ve started the MA, I’ve found my way back. Although it’s not always for pleasure, I find that I’m reading a lot of good stuff which is helping to nourish my own work.

Reading Goodbye, Perfect made me realise that the challenge of writing really is worth it. That the pudding really is sweet and delicious and worth the trials and tribulations the process brings.

So, read. It doesn’t even have to be a book. Read the ingredients on the cereal box, read the road signs, read the adverts on the bus.

The words do wonders to your own.

love sophie

 

Festifeel and other adventures of the boob kind

As I’m currently raising money for the boob-loving charity, CoppaFeel! I ventured to London, with some boob-baes to show our support and enjoy a day full of boobie banter, live music and glitter!

We had a great day listening to music from Pixie Lott and Fleur East (amongst others) as well as hearing some wonderful poets and hilarious comedians. It was a great day and it was filled with so much love and positivity.

Headed up by the boob queen Kris Hallenga and Fearne Cotton, the day paid tribute to the success of the charity and its many supporters.

I absolutely loved getting my glitter on and having a good old boogie to some of the best tunes I remember from my childhood. It isn’t every day you get to see Busted headline in such an intimate space. And it was boobin’ incredible!

I hadn’t met up with lots of the people from the Oman trek yet so it was a great opportunity to chat to them, have a dance and a couple of G&Ts!

House of Vans was an incredible venue and CoppaFeel! had received so much support that the festival seemed to have everything. From the live music to comedians, to boob booth and their very own Boobtown and Casa CoppaFeel! Artists were on hand to help with graffiti lessons for the vaults outside the venue, and skateboarders and other kinds of people on wheels were showing their moves. It was AMAZING!

And it all helped raise money for their wonderful charity!

Along with seeing lots of other fabulous people, including Ellie (the CoppaFeel Fundraising Queen), we also got to see Giovanna who will be leading my team on the trek across the desert.

It is so nice to have such a wonderful excuse to all come together on a Saturday to celebrate life and have fun sharing the boob love! (Covered in glitter!)

It made me even more excited for the trek, and having time away from my novel gave me several new ideas without thinking about it.

I will often find myself feeling guilty spending the day at an event/out and putting off writing, but I think it’s important to realise how valuable it can be. It’s first hand research.

I came away thinking that my protagonist would absolutely love the kind of music Busted and Pixie Lott sing, and it got me imagining how they would act at a festival. What a bonus!

Have you done anything recently, or been anywhere, that has inspired your writing? You might not have even noticed!

Let me know!

love sophie