Why you should consider joining Bone Marrow Register

This is one of those posts I’ve been meaning to write for a while but I could never quite articulate my feelings on it. Even now its a struggle. But I know there are even now people fighting blood cancers and lymphatic cancers who are desperately hoping for a tissue match and realistically the more people who are eligible to join the register that do drastically improves both the quality of life and survival of patients.

I consider myself extremely fortunate, neither myself or anyone I have been close to in real life has been so poorly to require a bone marrow transplant. However, D has, and when he was interviewing Andrew McMahon in 2014 (of Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate) it made me fully appreciate how important it is to get involved when you can. Here was a man who had nearly 10 years previously received a stem cell transplant from his sister following treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and was in great health and had just become a parent. As there was somebody at the gig from the Dear Jack Foundation we both joined the register that evening.

Considering I actually did my Masters in Cancer Biology and Therapy, I am as squeamish as a lot of people can be when discussing medical treatments, needles etc. One of the questions I got asked around the time I spoke to my friends and work colleagues about this was “won’t it hurt a lot if you have to actually make a donation”. The answer is yes and no, if you have to make a peripheral donation (which is most common) it will be similar to a blood donation. The actual bone marrow transplant is done under general anaesthetic and donors typically do experience bruising and side effects. However, I think its worth rationalising by remembering I’ve probably injured myself more when I’ve been drunk and fallen off bar stools. Also, that chemotherapy itself is pretty gruelling both physically and emotionally for the patient and their families; so if it helps someone out for the rest of their life, I can probably cope with some bruises (possibly with some moaning, I might be happy to donate but I’m not a saint).

Its worth noting that whether you join the Bone Marrow Regiaster through the Dear Jack Foundation or the Anthony Nolan Trust you end up on the same register so you don’t have to do it through both charities. Its your choice who you support or whether you wish to support another charity entirely).

I know this is more serious than most of my blog posts, but this is something I feel is important and I have been thinking about how to phrase this for a while. But the bottom line you will potentially be doing something wonderful and saving a life – basically the best gift you can ever give.

Information on who is eligible to join the register.

More on why your should join

Oh and in case I was a bit too serious, here is Andrew McMahon’s new single.

 

2000 Trees Festival, Gloucestershire

So this weekend marked my first experience (at the grand old ages of 27) of camping at a festival. Something I never imagined a couple of years ago I’d be doing. However, D being a music journalist with Already Heard got the opportunity to attend the festival with a press ticket so I went along for the ride. 2000 trees is an alternative music festival in its 9th year and its a lot smaller than the bigger names with a capacity of 5000. I highly recommend it, we felt extremely relaxed sitting in the sun with ciders listening to music in beautiful surroundings. In addition we watching some stand up comedy ranging from painful to hilarious. While festival toilets are pretty grim (especially first thing in the morning), at least we actually saw the portaloos being cleaned (while watching this was unpleasant I feel there are far worse alternatives).

I have experienced festival food at Slam Dunk and Pinky swear festival; and I really liked the setup of the latter. However, the food here was amazing and a must for any foodie who enjoys a healthy amount of live music with their street food. We dined very nicely on delicious burgers, pizza and local cider. In fact, I could almost cry with happiness as D will now eat Pad Thai! It must be said though, apart from our first day we didn’t actually drink that much over the course of the day. I feel this is important to mention anyone who is wary that it might detract from the fun and feel like the odd one out. Just enjoy your day and do what makes you happiest.

Anyway, some festival favourites for me were the following:

Skinny Lister – I loved the energy and how different their sound was

The Lion and the Wolf – beautiful acoustic music and the nicest man ever

Rob Lynch – nothing can stop you singing along with this man

The Subways – listening to their acoustic set gave me a new appreciation of their sound

Bury Tomorrow – while this music isn’t totally what I would normally pick I loved how everyone responded

Sam Russo – Understated and lovely

Also, I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful having a path was after 3 days of waking up in a hot tent and washing with cold water.

Love a bit of Ed Sheeran? Other music recommendations to help keep you happy and sane

DSC_0428Living with a music journalist has some major perks. I get to go to more live gigs and shows that I ever had opportunity to go to before (75% of the time as D’s plus one). The other thing is, having someone around who always knows about the latest album releases, up and coming bands and generally lesser known people who would otherwise have passed me by. Somehow as well, it has made me more aware of what others listen to and its made me want to spread the word about my new loves with others.

(Note; I’m not being snobby about people liking Ed Sheeran, the man is so damn likeable! I just thought I’d start with more acoustic style music as Ed Sheeran is so popular on the blogosphere).

1. Allison Weiss Literally the most adorable woman I have met. I watched her perform at the end of January and her songs just gave me so many feelings and hit me harder than music generally does. I ended up mopping up a couple of tears during her cover of “Call your girlfriend”. I have not done that before or since. Bonus points for her as Ma and Pa Ferg both wholeheartedly enjoyed themselves when she played.

2. Rob Lynch I have probably (by chance) seen this man perform more than any other musician. All of his songs tend to be stories about his life – the one in the link is based on a night with his late Father. You can tell he is truly genuine with his songwriting and I doubt anyone could experience his performance without at least doing the strange little jig of someone who is reluctant to dance in public. There’s something really touching about a performer sharing personal parts of his life through song, but I have never walked away from listening to him not feeling a bit happier, or finding something new to talk about.

3. The Lion and The Wolf So one time, my boyfriend was interviewing Billy the Kid (see below) at the Brudenel Social Club in Leeds and I started talking to the loveliest man, with the most wonderous beard about the pie and cake I had been making that afternoon. As you do. I did not, however, realise he was also performing and I was making him hungry. Anyway, enough about that. The Lion and the Wolf is the sort of lovely, chilled out music you want to listen to on cosy Sunday mornings when you’re thinking about doing something productive but you don’t know what (how about Spotifying some of this music, eh?). Plus, you have to admit, someone who can do a cover of the theme tune from the Raccoons (a classic 90s cartoon if ever there was one) and make it his own is pretty cool.

4. Billy the Kid Any person who can rouse and audience with a stinking cold is pretty awesome in my book and the second time we met Billy play she looked pretty in need of some Lemsip and a comfy bed before the show. She rallied miraculously and I take my hat off to her. She has one of the sweetest voices and is one of the loveliest performers. Somehow she manages to sound completely effortlessly polished (but not clinical) and still give a performance that feels intimate all at once. Please give her a listen now, you won’t regret it.

I know part of finding music is time. I know so many of my friends have a genuine love of music, but as they get older and have more commitments the time to pursue it lessens compared to when you’re younger. But it doesn’t have to be the end. Now you can use Spotify to listen to music before committing to buying things and Youtube is massive (and a great tool for watching hilarious animal videos) I think the music industry is changing again. It makes music so much easier to share and enjoy and that’s a wonderful thing.

(Mind you so is screeching along to the Greatest Hits of Fleetwood Mac in your car which I categorically deny that I do).

Craft corner – adjusting sleeves on your t-shirt

Another installment of my attempts to do crafts. This time I decided to slightly adjust one of my boyfriend’s t-shirts. This coincided with a trip to a music festival (ok, it was Slam Dunk and it was about 5 weeks ago!) I customised his beloved MC Lars t-shirt so that D could show off his tattoos. Anyway, here’s how I did it:

Fold up the sleeves of your t-shirt and pin in place

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Loosely tack the sleeves with a different coloured thread that you will find easy to see and remove the pins.

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Take a little more time to sew the sleeves with a similar coloured thread and use an iron to finish off the sleeves to make the whole thing neater.

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This shirt actually appears on several interviews conducted D who is a part time music journalist.

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A few things to love

You may have noticed I have been slightly quieter than usual lately (apparently I’m no quieter in the flesh!). I seem to be arriving home from work later and then, full of good blogging intentions, parking myself on the sofa all evening. Anyway, here are a few things that have been putting a smile on my face.

1. Cadbury with Ritz and Lu. I was lucky enough to be sent a few samples of these and being the chocoholic that I am I got wildly excited. In actual fact these are the perfect size to have as a post run snack (I basically only run to justify chocolate). I particularly love the Ritz bars, salt and chocolate always work amazingly together in my opinion.

DSCN1854cadbury dairy milk with ritz crackers & lu biscuits

 

2. Taylors new range of fruit tea.

I am particularly loving the sweet rhubarb tea after Miss B gave me a cup when we were both working late. I am one of those tea lovers who feels her troubles melt away as she drinks her tea. These are quite simply perfect. Plus, since moving to Harrogate I drink so much Taylors and Yorkshire Tea (just trying to blend in the locals).

3. Growing herbs. Making all my pasta, chicken and salads just a little bit more tasty this week. Plus they brighten up my kitchen and I can kid myself that I have green fingers while I keep them alive.

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4. The BBC Good Food Show which is on in Harrogate this weekend. I get far too excited about food shows. It’s the equivalent of the Toy R Us trips my mother used to take my brother and I on as a child.

Finally a non music related love:

5. New music. So I have a new boyfriend who happens to do a bit of music journalism. Perk for me as I get to see lots of new bands. Current favourites are Natives and the Summer Set. Perfect music to dance around the kitchen while I bake cakes (I categorically deny that I do this).