Hannah here: I have blogged before that during a down period last winter, I sought solace and therapy outdoors; in biting wind and rosy cheeks, in deserted beaches and windy woods, in wellies and woolens; chin tucked firmly inside my scarf. Slowly, I began to seek solace in my running shoes too and the time alone outside that they enabled. Being outside was the single biggest contributing factor to my short term happiness; I would wake up feeling heavy and glum, take Frankie-Rose to the beach and feel myself lighten and relax. My self-prescribed nature therapy along with some other practical steps I took to parent myself, helped me to recalibrate and feel well again and I have been keeping up with those self care steps as much as possible since. (You can read more about how I parented myself here) Running is about far, far more than fitness for me. It is time alone, time outdoors. It is rhythm and meditation, focusing on nothing other than the breath pulsing in and out of my lungs, sometimes ragged and strained, sometimes slow and measured. Running grounds me in the seasons, ensures I notice the small changes in the quality of the air, and the changing flora and fauna around me. It is precious me time. It is a little slice of freedom.
My increase in running has necessitated new running gear, something I haven't quite got round to spending my precious pennies on. I was however, recently given a T-Shirt by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan and asked if I’d be interested in up cycling it, and being a part of their campaign to raise awareness of the UK’s register of stem cell donors. I decided this would be a good chance to test out the workout vest tutorial I’d seen on Pinterest, and support this brilliant charity, one I have been aware of since I was at university.
Did you know that 25,000 people a year in the UK are told they have blood cancer and for some, a bone marrow transplant is their last chance of life? Every day Anthony Nolan give three people that chance by matching them with donors, but they need more people to be on the register.
The Designer Ashish has created a t-shirt*, which carries the slogan #IGiveASpit, highlighting that joining the register simply involves spitting into a tube! The register especially needs more young men and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. To register, see more info here. So in short, I was happy to be involved, and my husband and I have now done or duty with the spit tubes and await confirmation of our place on the register.
I wanted to think of a way of wearing the t-shirt as much as possible because the one I was sent was massive! To make it into something I would wear and use regularly, I decided to customise it into a much needed workout vest, using this tutorial .
This was so unbelievably easy and involves no sewing. Winner.
- A large T shirt* (a good opportunity to recycle something)
- Fabric scissors
- First cut off the armholes and the neck hole. Trim the neckline as desired. (see image)
- Then cut off the bottom of the T-Shirt, just above the hem line. Save the off cut.
- Turn the T Shirt around and make the dip of the neckline at the back of the t-shirt even deeper and into a V shape.
- Using the bottom bit of the t-shirt you just cut off, split the stitches open to double its size, then tie it around the two back straps, bringing them together in the centre. (see image). Wrap the rest of the piece of fabric around the straps, knot it and cut of the excess. That's it! Done!
Have you ever given blood (I haven't, but need too soon) or applied to be on a life changing register like this? It doesn't take long and could mean the world of difference for someone with cancer.
*If you’re interested in taking part in the campaign and customising your own tee-shirt, you can get one from the Anthony Nolan’s eBay site or visit YrStore in the Topshop and Topman on Oxford Street