Review: Eat. Sweat. Play.

June 16, 2016 in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Other Books, Sport

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Eat. Sweat. Play. EAT. SWEAT. PLAY. by Anna Kessel
Published by Pan Macmillan on 16th June 2016
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

What does it mean to be a sporty woman in the 21st century? From the launch of Net-A-Sporter, serving up sports clothing for fashionistas, to the introduction of #plankie as the new Instagram selfie for yoga bunnies; exercise for women has finally gone mainstream.

But if sweating has never been so hot for female celebrities, then why are there still so many obstacles for girls and women when it comes to sport? Why do girls still hate school sports lessons? Why is sport consistently defined as male territory, with TV cameras replicating the male gaze as they search out the most beautiful women in the crowd? Will women ever flock to watch football, rugby and boxing in their millions? Or turn up to the park with friends for a Sunday morning kickabout? How long do we have to wait to see the first multi-millionaire female footballer or basketball player?


Many of you know how much I love watching sport – football, F1, athletics – basically I’ll watch any sport with the exception of cricket.

These days I’m stuck in a situation where I can’t exercise; my illness confines me massively. I do those wee exercises that I can, the ones that the physio has given me. Putting my health to one side though, I’ve never been a very sporty person. I once convinced my maths teacher to give me a test I missed rather than run the cross-country! In fairness, she was pretty happy about it, as it meant she didn’t have to marshall in the rain! I was also an expert in getting out of P.E.

Outside of school though, while I might not classify myself as sporty, I was active. I cycled, I attempted to play football (I was never very good but I loved it) and I spent a significant amount of time as a sheepdog, rounding up sheep on the croft! Looking back, I was definitely active even although I hated P.E.

I’ve always been self-conscious though. I’ve never been to a gym – just the thought of it makes me feel ill!


Anyway, why am I sharing this with you? Well, I recently received an email about a book “written for anyone who has given up on sport, or perhaps were made to feel that they would never be ‘sporty’ in the first place”, and I was immediately interested. It sounded fascinating and I can tell you that it really is!

Eat. Sweat. Play. is written by sport’s journalist Anna Kessel. I’ve actually sat here for a while now wondering how best to summarise this book because it encompasses so much that it’s hard to narrow it down! Ok, so, basically, it’s a look at women in sport. Not just the professionals, but you and me too.

Anna looks at the reasons many girls dislike P.E., the reason why as teenagers we may have lost interest in sport and why that is still affecting us as adults today.

She encourages us not to worry about how we look or what others might think, and to MOVE. To enjoy that movement, to embrace it.


Something I’ve always wondered but never voiced is how professional female athletes cope with periods. Kessel discusses this, openly and honestly. She talks to athletes and even doctors with regards to how periods could affect performance. She answers all those questions I’ve often wondered about but never been brave enough to ask.


Kessel continues a look at the female body while discussing exercise throughout pregnancy. She shares her own experiences and draws upon the expertise of others.

But what happens after you’ve had your baby? How do you exercise then? She explores this in detail with suggestions as well as input from other Mums.


One of the areas I found most interesting was her discussion of being a role model as a parent. If your kids see you being ‘active’, they’ll see it as normal and do the same. This made me think of a friend of ours who keeps fit, plays sports and is a Mum. Her three-year-old daughter plays in the house, pretending that she’s going to Metafit class like her Mummy. It truly does have an impact, but until now it’s not something I’d ever really thought about.


Kessel is encouraging and honest. She includes not only her own experiences, including her own heartache, but those of others to motivate us to move.


A further area of great interest to me was her discussions on women’s sport as well as women working within sport. Sport itself is still largely very male dominated, and Kessel shares her own experiences of working in the industry – something I personally found fascinating, given my engineering background.

She also looks at the way top sportswomen are perceived, why they are judged differently from men and how the world of women’s sport is different from men’s in a multitude of ways – finance, medical knowledge, the media, support.


I found this to be a thoroughly eye-opening read. I can’t tell you how much I learned. This is a book you will want to talk about. I genuinely ended up discussing many of the issues in this book with my husband.  It’s also a book that will encourage you to have a better relationship with sport and fitness as a whole.


Project Brabham – Be A Part Of It

October 29, 2014 in Gifts, Promotion, Sport, Technology

Many readers will know that prior to becoming ill I was an engineer. I studied Electrical & Mechanical engineering at University and worked as an engineer until my health made it far too hard for me to continue. I’m sure I will get back into the field some day though, whenever I beat this thing! Anyway, coupled with my interest in engineering I was, and am, a huge fan of motorsport. I did my first rally (as a navigator) when I was 16, and continued until it no longer became possible. I loved it! These days my participation goes as far as watching it on the TV or a live stage via webcam, but my interest is still very much there…if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know just how much I love my sport.

So when I heard about Project Brabham, my interest was immediately piqued. Could this be a way for me to still feel part of motorsport and engineering, but from the comfort of my bed? Well, let me tell you a bit about the Project.


Even if you aren’t a petrolhead I’m sure you will be familiar with the name Sir Jack Brabham. He was an Australian racing driver, a triple F1 World Champion and one of the founders of the Brabham racing & constructor teams. The Brabham team was extremely successful, not only in F1 but across motor racing. In its latter days the team boasted F1 drivers such as Martin Brundle, Damon Hill and Mark Blundell, some truly talented Brits!

Sir Jack’s son David Brabham is one of the most successful and experienced specialists in sports car racing. He is one of only 4 Australians to have won the 24 Heures Du Mans!

credit - Peugeot Sport

credit – Peugeot Sport


He, together with others, has launched Project Brabham, an innovative new crowdfunding project which will see the implementation of a “model of open source racing to build and fund a sustainable team”. 

Brabham aims to return to the track in the FIA World Endurance Championship next season with a three-year LMP2 programme. In year four, the marque will finally return as a constructor by way of LMP1, with firm intentions of winning the only world title for sportscars and the greatest endurance race on earth, the Le Mans 24 Hours. Series such as the FIA Formula E Championship could also be a consideration while Brabham hopes to one-day return to Formula 1.

What’s this got to do with you? Well you can be part of this fantastic project! You can help to bring the Brabham team back to the race track by backing the Project’s crowdfunding. From as little as £1 you can be a part of this journey! The Crowdfunding ends on 1st November 2014 (EDIT the deadline is now 15th November 2014) and they are edging ever closer to their £250k target.

There’s more though. In these early days Brabham will be creating an online portal Brabham-Digital. It will be a place where the team will share knowledge and behind-the-scenes information. It will also be a platform where you can help to influence team decisions in these early days.



There are four packages available; Brabham-Fan (£25), Brabham-Driver (£75), Braham-Engineer (£100) and Full Access (£125). Each package will give a different insight into the team and you have until 1st November to sign up here!

I really love this concept! For me, it means I can feel part of this special project from the comfort of my bed. I can be a part of this pioneering project and help, in some way, to influence motorsport history. Pretty amazing huh?

There are various other ways you can support the team, from having your name on the car (£40) to being part of the team for a whole weekend with a Le Mans Hospitality Pit Pass (£5500).

With Christmas coming up there are also gift boxes available. For £50 (UK delivery) you could give the racing fan in your life an exclusive gift box including a one-off certificate and a limited edition, iconic Brabham Print (there’s more in there too, have a look over on the website for more information). It would make an amazing gift for the motorsport fan in your life.

Can you tell I’m rather excited by this project? I could go on and on, but I’ll stop! You can find all of the details, along with a list of all the perks available here. From £1 you could be part of motorsport history, I find that a very exciting prospect, don’t you?

For more information and to join in Project Brabham visit the website, but make sure you do it by the 1st November 2014!! EDIT: The deadline has been extended by a fortnight. The campaign will now endon 25th November 2014 at 23:59 (PT)

You can also keep up with Project Brabham on Twitter (@BrabhamOfficial) and Facebook.

Although I would have posted about this fantastic opportunity anyway, Brabham are very kindly sending an exclusive cap & potentially full access to Brabham-Digital. This has in no way influenced this post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and completely honest.

Kilt Up and Ceilidh For C-R-Y

April 24, 2012 in Charity, Sport

You all know by now that sport is a big thing in our house! Whether it’s watching it on TV or hubby playing it, we are huge fans.

Jonathon is the Chairman of Rottenrow Hockey Club, a fantastic, friendly, successful team that I have blogged about many times before. They have had a truly brilliant season, winning both of their leagues, and undefeated I might add. The 1st team are also into the semi-final of the District Cup (this Saturday!!) …. pretty good for a club founded in 2008 by a few pals!

Today’s post isn’t just to praise the amazing Rottenrow, it’s also to bring your attention to a charity ceilidh they are hosting on 12th May 2012 at Strathclyde Union in conjunction with Blue Sox Hockey Club. Their chosen charity? Cardiac Risk in the Young (C-R-Y).

C-R-Y is a Registered Charity (which raises awareness of SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) and offers bereavement support to those that are affected. Their current mission statement is to work with cardiologists and family doctors to promote and protect the cardiac health of the young across the UK.

This is an especially relevant charity with regards to recent sporting events, and also directly affects one of Rottenrow’s own team members, so it’s hoped that people will dig deep and have a great night to support the hockey team and this fantastic cause.

So if you fancy coming along and supporting this great charity as well as these two successful clubs tickets are now on sale at £12 each! For more information about the ceilidh and to get your tickets become friends with Rottenrow on Facebook or email Calum Easton.

There’s also going to be a raffle on the night! Who doesn’t love a good raffle? Details of some of the fantastic prizes will appear on this post over the next couple of weeks but if you feel you would like to donate a prize then please drop me an email or DM me on Twitter. Likewise, if you are a company who would like more information about the hockey clubs or C-R-Y please just get in touch.

To get your hands on some raffle tickets email Ally Millar.

Raffle prizes include (this will be updated over the next few weeks) –

  • Meal for Two (2 courses & bottle of wine) at Ad Lib, Glasgow. – with thanks to Ad Lib.
  • Meal for Two (2 courses & bottle of wine) at SoHo, Glasgow – with thanks to SoHo, Glasgow
  • £20 Di Maggios Voucher – with thanks to Di Maggios
  • Brabo Triple Stick Bag – with thanks to Hockey Factory Shop
  • £50 Viva Brazil Voucher – with thanks to Viva Brazil, Glasgow

PS depending on response there may even be a silent auction, watch this space….

Please note:

Half of all ticket money and raffle money will be donated to C-R-Y. The remaining money will be used to cover the costs of the event, and to contribute towards Rottenrow and Blue Sox equipment for next season.

An Accessible Day Out with Durham County Cricket Club

August 12, 2011 in Accessibility, Days Out, Sport

Last month my Mum visited the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground to see Durham Dynamos. Here is her review of the ground and its accessibility for mobility impaired cricket fans.

“My husband Iain is an avid watcher of cricket on TV but, since we live on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland, he has never been able to go to a first class cricket match – well, not until last month!  I have always wanted to arrange for him to go to a match but, as I am disabled and need to use a mobility scooter or a wheelchair to move any distance, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to join him.
I decided that we would go to the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground to see Durham Dynamos play Warwickshire Bears and combine it with a long weekend break in the area.  The website for the ground is very informative and made it seem as though I would be able to access all areas, so when we were given the opportunity by the Club to test its accessibility it was too good a chance to miss.
On arrival at the ground with my mobility scooter in a totally accessible taxi from Aura Taxis of Washington, we were allowed access to the first parking area so that I could get out of the taxi right in front of the ticket office, shop and restaurant.  We were able to do a reconnoitre with plenty of time before the match.
arriving at the ground
Iain went to find Block 18 where we were to sit and asked about a lift to the spectator seating area of the ground.  There are two lifts which can easily take a wheelchair or mobility scooter; unfortunately one of these was not working and word of mouth suggested that this had been the case for some considerable time but two stewards came to Iain’s assistance at the other. One seemed unsure how to work the lift but the supervisor knew exactly what to do and said just to let them know when we wanted to go to our seats and a steward would help.  So, once we knew that was organised, we went off to scout around more.

the working lift

It was clear there were very accessible disabled toilets, one near the lift, and that if anyone was going upstairs for extras such as hospitality there were lifts at every access point and stewards on duty at each one.

We had booked lunch at Austin’s Bar and Bistro for 12.30 but decided to have a look inside before 12 to see how accessible it was going to be.  There was no problem going in with my scooter. As described in the website, the bar and dining area is indeed spacious, modern and comfortable with friendly staff.  We were offered the chance to change our booking and eat straight away, which we decided to do.  A table was offered which was perfect for us to park the scooter beside it and a disabled toilet was available in the restaurant.  The food was delicious by the way – and very good value!

Austin’s Bar and Bistro
Then it was time to see what we had come for – our first cricket match and in a ground in a very picturesque setting too.  Great excitement!  As soon as we went to use the lift someone was on hand to help.  There were numerous bays available were I could sit on my scooter and observe the match and Iain was able to sit beside me on an ordinary chair.  What a great vantage point we had – looking straight at the wicket and able to see everything going on as well as the huge electronic scoreboard. 

view of the ground

I required to leave the ground a couple of times to make use of the disabled toilet and there was a steward on hand immediately I was seen to be making a move.  There did seem to be a slight problem with the lift on one occasion but it was soon sorted and I was accompanied to the toilet door by the steward which made it easier to keep the door open for access.  When it was time to leave, there was once again someone available immediately to assist us.  I had noticed earlier that when another spectator using a wheelchair decided to leave with his carer, a First Aider radioed immediately to tell a steward they were on their way to the lift, thus ensuring there was no delay for them.

using the lift


We had both been a bit anxious about how the day would go but all in all, we found no problems accessing whichever part of the ground we wanted to and we would have no hesitation in returning on another occasion.
The cricket was excellent too!”
For more information about Durham County Cricket Club visit their website
Thank you to Durham County Cricket Club for providing complementary tickets. No other reward, financial or otherwise, was received in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are entirely our own.

Mixed Summer Hockey Tournament

July 20, 2011 in Sport

In the past I have blogged about Rottenrow Hockey Club, if you missed that post you can find it here.
Rottenrow Hockey Club is a Glasgow based hockey team who welcome new players with any level of experience. It was created in 2009 by a group of graduates looking to create a social, fun atmosphere for playing hockey.
Rottenrow have won 2 successive promotions in the West District, both as champions! Scoring 130 league goals in their first season they are a successful club with great aspirations.
Mixed Summer Hockey Tournament
Rottenrow Mens Hockey Club are joining forces with Blue Sox Ladies Hockey Club to host a  mixed 6-a-side tournament………and the best part is it’s FREE!
Both teams are recruiting for the coming season (Sept – April) and would love to meet as many new people as possible.
Whether you have no hockey experience, or are just looking for a new club, this is the perfect opportunity to get involved and meet the teams! There will be a BBQ by the pitch-side, a bar and all round good banter!
So come along to Auchenhowie Hockey Pitch (Milngavie and Bearsden Sports Club, Auchenhowie Road, Milngavie, G62 6EJ) on Saturday 30th July, 10.30am – 3pm and join in!
Rottenrow does not currently have any sponsorship, and is consequently funded by players and fund raising events. If you are a company interested in sponsoring such a successful team please drop an email to Calum Easton to receive the club’s sponsorship pack.
For more information about Rottenrow Hockey Club visit their website or their Facebook page.