Don’t swipe if you don’t want to to see the wound!
After I tell people the injury is called polar thigh, I really need to remember to say it’s on my calf!
I named her Elsa. This is the injury (polar thigh) that I got from my last expedition. I was wearing three layers of clothing – nothing tight fitting. Caused by the wind and cold.
It started quite early on in the 70 day exped, it looked like a bruise to start with and then a scab. When the scab broke open, the pain got worse. I rationed my pain relief for as long as I could and had one tablet left for the last 2 weeks (I took that in the last 48hrs).
I dressed it daily in the tent but after the wound opened, I kept the dressing on. A few photos of my leg during the trip and after..
So many people helped me get through the injury – I had surgery at Derby Univeristy Hospital back in Feb this year and all of the staff were amazing 💜
Elsa is doing well, she’s a little hypersensitive (on touch) but healing well. And she loves her name!
Younger me did not know what an explorer was, I did not know anything about adventure and to be honest, when I learnt a little, I did not think it was for me. Where would I fit into this adventurer world…
Today I’m so proud of myself. I really hope that I am relatable to people and can show that you really can start from anywhere (Googling how do you get to Antarctica) and go and do anything. It was hard work to get here but so worth it.
Pushing out of your comfort zone can be absolutely anything. A few weeks ago, after “a little..” persuasion, my mum (aged 56) went on her first ever mountain ⛰️
She likes to walk, mainly done on pavements local to home. She made it about an hour from the top of the ⛰️, I’m so proud of her for pushing out of her comfort zone and getting that far. Next year we’ll go again with Khalsa Aid and hopefully it won’t be as much of a push out of her comfort zone.
The unknown can be scary but it is amazing what we can learn about ourselves when we take that first step. How much we grow and hopefully encourage others to push their boundaries too.
The walk up Snowdon was with Khalsa Aid and it is an amazing day meeting so many different people from the community, all for a great cause.
Running this competition was very close to my heart. When organising anything, it can be a bit stressful! Working full time, planning my exped, training and then trying to organise this competition. But it was so worth it!
I fell quite a lot in Antarctica, I faced many low moments. I would often look back at my sled at these 11 logos and smile.
Being able to announce the school winners each week and their words (why their logo should come to Antarctica) was a joy.
It took me a while to post this photo because I wanted to give it to all of the school winners first along with a small gift. I have now visited all of the winners of the school competition. Thank you all so much for taking part in the competition, it has been so lovely to meet you all 💜
I’m quite a passionate speaker, passionate about wanting to inspire people and show them they can push any boundaries so I hope this comes across in the talks.
Unfortunately I am unable to attend anymore schools. I’m back in my full time Army role and grateful that they allowed me the time to go to these school 🙌🏽
📸 all the logos on my sled. Taken just under 24hrs after finishing and about to leave Antarctica.
Whenever I come back from an expedition, I always receive comments about me being a millionaire and I have no idea where that comes from! The comments are generally from adults..
Maybe because I have been seen on the news – I do not get paid for the interviews.
I am in the Regular Army but took unpaid leave from work to do this expedition. My role in the Army is as a physiotherapist.
There is a huge contrast between the two expeditions I completed. Phase one was 700 miles to the Pole. Phase two was 922 miles. Other than the difficulty level, when I got back from phase one, I was in a lot of debt. I used my life savings and more to train for the expedition. This was a low point for me in training, I had used all of my money on training instead of for a house deposit and I still had no sponsors.
It took me over a year and a half to get my first sponsor on board for this trip. I emailed 10-15 companies daily and I’ll never forget the email when the first sponsor came on board.
For phase two, I was not being paid for the expedition as I took unpaid leave from work. I did not earn money from either exped but for phase two I did get enough sponsors to cover the cost of the expedition. This means I did not come back in debt 🙌🏽
The training and expeditions were tough but I also wouldn’t change any of it.
I’m not certain exactly what the future holds and there is a lot I want to do.. but I am currently back in my full time Army role.
One thing I can tell you is that I won’t ever stop pushing those boundaries..
📸 taken approx 4 hrs after finishing phase 2. On the plane on the way back to Union Glacier. Smiling because I know I get to have a shower in a few hours 😂
It feels strange to post my two Guinness world records with the title failure but hear me out.
My aim was to complete a solo unsupported expedition of Antarctica and finish at Reedy Glaicer. I fell about 100 miles short and failed to meet my initial aim. When I finished, I’ll admit I felt disappointed.
But when I use the word failure now I don’t mean it to come with negative connotations. I failed to reach my initial aim. I had to change the goal and that’s exactly what I did. I kept going for as long as I could. I finished on the 23 Jan 2023, the last passenger flight out of Antarctica was on the 24 Jan. I pushed as long and hard as I could.
So here I am, recognising and owning (probably for the first time) my achievement. I don’t know why I have this habit of downplaying the things I do. I have come across a lot of people I thought were arrogant and I wanted to be as far away from that as possible. I hope I can be humble, these achievements are only possible because of those that helped me get here (ALE, sponsors, every person that helped me train etc).
While I was on the ice, a post was put out that claimed my exped was solo, unsupported and unaided. The word unaided is no longer used in the polar expedition classification system. I don’t personally post on my social media while I’m on the ice but of course take full responsibility for anything posted. The last thing I would ever want to do is exaggerate or “enhance” any achievements.
I believe unaided was previously used to explain that I had no other aids (eg, kite support) which I did not have but as the term is no longer recognised.
I have removed the post using the word “unaided” and apologise for any confusion caused.
My injury is healing well and my body is starting to feel back to its normal self. Though for the last three years I’ve constantly been trying to put weight on for the 2021/2022 expedition and then the most recent expedition. Now I’m trying to get back to a healthier diet and not constant snacking!
I’ve also been picking up smaller illnesses recently and realise I’m not quite back to full health.
I am currently doing engagements but these are mainly for my expedition sponsors. I notice I feel very tired after an engagement and I’m for once not trying to squeeze too much in!
I’m trying to take much better care of myself this year. Last year after my expedition, I was completing a lot of school talks and engagements and working full time. I realise now that I didn’t give myself anytime to recover from that trip.
This year I’m taking my time and looking after myself more.
It is incredibly heartwarming to have so many requests for engagements and school talks. Sadly I can’t manage a lot of them at this time.
I’m not quite sure what the future holds for now but I have no doubt boundaries will continue to be pushed 🙌🏽 with some down time in between..
📷 Dressing change pre surgery at Derby Hospital. I was looked after brilliantly by the whole team. Will update re: injures recovery with photos soon.
Recovery update: I’m getting there.. The hardest thing is being patient with myself.
I’m over 2 weeks post operation. My dressings are being changed weekly (still rocking the dressing in all my photos..) The donor site (my left thigh – where my graft was taken from) is the most painful part. I feel like my energy is much better but still feel tired after walking for around 15 minutes. I’m still keeping my leg elevated whenever I can and have limited the swelling.
I have been snacking a lot since I have been back and started getting a lot of tooth pain. I hate tooth pain.. It definitely distracted me from my leg though.. I think this is the first time I had to tick yes to so many things on my initial dental paperwork.. Have you been in hospital for anything recently ☑️ Have you been snacking a lot ☑️ Have you been having a lot of fizzy drinks ☑️
I know the last two aren’t great but I’m still enjoying the “I can eat and drink what I want” but I will start to get back into a routine at some point.. anyway, the dentist has put me on antibiotics and the tooth pain is settling.
I still haven’t left the house that much but have been to some big events when I do. Last week I went to Windsor castle with my family. I don’t own no.1 dress (what I’m wearing) and want to thank my fellow sisters in the Army for not only offering their no.1 dress but also bringing it to my home address..
Every time I’ve left the house I’ve been helped a lot with lifts and making sure I don’t have to walk far. Thank you so much 🙏🏽
I haven’t managed to catch up on emails/messages/social media. Trying to focus on recovery though 💜
Surgery went well yesterday, thank you all for your lovely messages 🙏🏽
I had a wound debridement and a split skin graft. So the wound was cleaned on my left calf, skin was shaved from my left thigh and placed onto the wound.
I had the option of having a spinal anaesthetic as everything was being taken below the waist, I took this option so I was awake for the procedure but everything below my waist very numb and I couldn’t feel anything.
The procedure was pretty quick and then I went back to a room to wait for the feeling to come back into my legs.
My left leg is bandaged from upper thigh to above my ankle. The skin graft is close to my knee so I want to prevent too much knee bending and I’m keeping the limb elevated. I’m wearing my mountain equipment trousers which have a long zip on the side so it’s easy to put them on over the dressing.
The surgery was done as a day case so I was home for the evening. It does feel a little strange being a patient as I’m usually on the other side but everyone has been so amazing.
A huge thank you to everyone at Derby Royal Hospital and everyone involved in helping me.
I still have a few other injuries that are healing.
Neck pain that I got early on in the exped from dragging a heavy pulk and looking down at the compass (since finishing my neck movement is coming back)
a few superficial cold injuries that are healing. You can still see the ones on my cheeks and nose.
a few smaller musculoskeletal niggles which are healing (luckily I know a good physio – that’s me by the way.. 😉)
Earlier this week, it was my homecoming event which was organised by my expedition sponsors.
Since I’ve come back to the UK, I haven’t left the house much. This was the most I had been out the house since I’ve been back. I felt exhausted when I got back to the UK on the 28 Jan but I’m feeling more alive daily and my body is recovering.
I was actually a little bit nervous about spending so much time out of the house. This is not like me at all, I’m usually quite an energetic person. My energy is coming back just not as quick as I want it to.
And I had nothing to feel nervous about. I got lifts to and back from the event and it was so lovely to see so many people that had supported me.
I was absolutely overwhelmed by all of the support in this room. Thank you everyone ❤️
And it was my birthday! I turned 34 and yes I’m wearing a birthday badge (thank you to Dave, my partner, for supplying the badge..). I love birthdays and love to celebrate them. I’m sure I’ll have further celebrations later in the year when I’m fully recovered. And I truly believe that birthday month is a real thing although Dave disagrees.
It was really nice to be able to dress up. I have a dressing on for my leg injury but decided to wear a dress anyway and I’m glad I did. You can see my dressing on the second photo but i think it adds to my style…
A huge thank you to everyone on the Lorraine show for doing my hair and makeup that morning!