04 March 2018

An interview with London Marathon first timer Rachel Heywood

I’ve known Rach Heywood (nee Eversden) since I was 4 years old. We’ve been best friends for an incredible 30+ years. And boy have we experienced lots of fun adventures together from growing up in the rural village of Bradford Peverell, to attending the same schools, learning to ski in Austria, attending our first concert – Kylie Minogue through to being Rach’s bridesmaid back in 2013.

And now it’s a huge honour to interview Rach on the amazing challenge she’s about to take on tackling the London Marathon for charity, so without further ado let me introduce you to Rach Heywood…


Rach, tell us a bit about you…
Well, I’m Rach Heywood and very lucky these days to live by the sea in the beautiful Dorset town of Bridport with my lovely husband Ian, and two gorgeous children, Jack aged 6 and Evie aged 4, as well as Ruby the dog and Rainbow and Sweep the cats. When I’m not juggling children and animals, I’m a self-employed bookkeeper working in Weymouth.


So, how did you get into running?
I’ve enjoyed running since I was a teenager at school. When I was younger, running was more about keeping physically fit and losing weight. But now I’m older, and have adult responsibilities, running gives me the chance to have that all important ‘me time’ which can be hard to find when you’re trying to juggle life.

Running is a way for me to process and organise my thoughts which leaves me feeling mentally refreshed and invigorated. I love the freedom it gives me, if you have a pair of trainers you can run anywhere and at any time.

What inspired you to run the London Marathon?
I’m not sure exactly why, but it’s always something I’ve wanted to do. I’ve been unsuccessful through the ballot on several occasions and always told myself if I didn’t get a place by the time I turned 40 I’d apply for a charity place.

I’ve not quite reached that big milestone yet, but after losing both my grandparents it felt like something I really wanted to do in their memory, so when I found out I’d won a place it became more about raising money for the MS charity, then just a running challenge.


How big of a challenge is the London Marathon for you?
Well the biggest race I’ve taken part to date was the Dorchester Half Marathon in 2017 and that really challenged me. I wondered how I’d ever run 13 miles in one go and now I’ll be running 26.2 miles!

So, yes this is a big challenge and a nerve wracking one all at the same time.


How do you manage fitting in training with 2 small children?
It’s been really challenging at times balancing running, 2 active children, and working part time. I’m so lucky to have a supportive husband and family. Quite often Ian will get home from work and I’ll be straight out the door, so I can complete my training run and be home for the kids bedtime. It makes my life much easier having their full support.

At the moment, in a week I manage to run 4 times which on average is 4 hours a week. I really like having a plan to follow as it helps keep me motivated.

It’s also important to remember that sometimes life happens and you can’t always follow the plan too strictly and that’s okay.


Have you had to adjust your diet or take any extra supplements?
I’m much more conscious about what I eat these days compared to pre-training. In October, I took part in the Arbonne ’30 days to healthy living plan’ which focus’ on gut health and removing toxins from the body and its made a huge difference to my energy levels. 

The supplements on the plan are all plant based and I still take the protein powder daily and a natural energy supplement called a ‘fizz stick’. They’re amazing and really give me a much-needed boost. I also take a complete hydration sachet from their phytosport range before or after I run which makes sure I’m taking in electrolytes to help keep me hydrated and for my muscles to function properly.

What are you most looking forward to about running the London Marathon?
The atmosphere on the day and meeting the other MS superstars. We have a group on Strava and Facebook, they’re all so supportive and motivational, so it will be lovely to meet them in person.
My children and family will be there too, I can’t wait to see them on the way round.

I’m excited to be travelling to London the day before with my lovely friend Lucy who’s running for Mind in memory of her mum and has been a massive inspiration to me.


And what are you least looking forward to about running the London Marathon?
I’m most worried about not being able to finish. Sometimes you can do everything right with your nutrition, fitness, getting mentally prepared and sometimes your body just doesn’t want to play the game.

What time are you aiming for?
I’ll be happy if I can get under 4 hours 30 minutes. My average pace on a long run is 8.30 minute miles, but I need to factor in the crowds, runners in fancy dress and toilet stops along the way!

What’s your must have running item?
It would have to be my trusty Garmin Forerunner 25 to track my runs.

And my lush new Saucony Ride 10 trainers from Running Free in Poole. It’s so important to get a proper gait analysis done and try out other trainers to find the right one for you, plus the staff there are really patient and knowledgeable – which is definitely a good thing when you’re as indecisive as I am!


Which charity are you running the London Marathon for?
I’m running for the Wareham and Purbeck MS Society in memory of my grandparents. They were members of the branch for nearly 25 years and it was such a big lifeline for them both. I’m hoping to raise as much money as I can as my way of saying ‘thank you’ for all the support they gave them over the years.


How is your fundraising going?
When I was offered a place, I was more nervous about the fundraising than I was about the training.
To run for the MS Society, you need to raise £2,000 which is pretty scary, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of my friends and family. Not only with sponsorship, but by volunteering their time helping with ideas and supporting fundraising events. I really can’t thank them enough!

What else do you have planned?
On Sunday 8th April, we’re holding a Tractor Rally. It starts from just outside Dorchester and takes a beautiful scenic route through the Dorset countryside. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a tractor, there will also be a trailer ride along the route for any non drivers wanting to take part. There will be a prize for the best tractor. This will be judged by some members from the Wareham and Purbeck MS Society who were friends of my Grandparents, I’m so glad they can come it makes it all the more special that they’ll be there.


We’re also running a raffle which we’ll draw on the day. Tickets are £1 each. There are some amazing prizes kindly donated by local Dorset businesses. Here’s a selection of some of the prizes you could win:
  •         House of Health & Beauty voucher
  •         Munchkins play for a month voucher
  •         Art Hair Gallery, Poundbury cut & blow dry
  •         Tatty to Natty Furniture plaque
  •         Abbotsbury Farm family pass
  •       Signed Screwfix football by Jimmy Bullard
  •         Love 2 Shop £50 Voucher
  •         Running Free, Poundbury ladies running clothing
  •         Vinny at Six meal for 2
  •         Plus, lots of wine & food
Tickets can be bought on the day of the Tractor Rally, via my Just Giving (simply make a donation with the reference ‘raffle’ & your name) or contact Rach (Rach.Eversden@hotmail.co.uk).

How can people sponsor you?

Or via an old school paper sponsorship form, just pop a message in the comments below if you’d like one.

And finally, what do you have planned after the London Marathon?

I’ve signed up to the Bridport 10km in May and will hopefully take part in the New Forest Half Marathon with my training and marathon buddy Lucy in September. It’s good to have some goals to keep the motivation going. Also, I’m determined for Becca aka Country Bumpkin Chic and I to do another run together this year as we’ve only done one together which was the fun Run from the Romans night time trail race organised by Flying Fox Running!


Thanks Rach for taking part, we wish you all the best for the London Marathon, you’re going to smash it!!

04 February 2018

An interview with David Partridge from Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding

I first met David when I was on a surf trip last autumn in Lagos, Portugal. At heart I’m more of a SUP’er than a surfer, and was keen to get out on a board, which is how I met David. During my 1 week, I managed to cram in two river SUPs, a sunrise & sunset. So, was delighted when David, with a little bit of help from his lovely wife Holly agreed to be interviewed for Country Bumpkin Chic.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to David Partridge….


Hello, and thanks for the intro. I’m the founder and Chief Instructor of a brand new SUP experience called Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding, based in Lagos, south western Algarve, Portugal.
That sounds very exciting David and I look forward to finding out more. Before we kick off, can you give us a brief-ish history on how you ended up in Portugal?

My wife, Holly and I stumbled across this unique corner of Europe, quite by accident. In 2013, the two of us set off from Holly’s home in Cornwall, UK and cycled more than 26,000 kms, across the world to Australia, my home country. The journey was truly epic and awe-inspiring.


However, the ultimate challenge still lay ahead of us in choosing a place to throw down the anchor! In actual fact, we looked at the world atlas and weighed up every possibility from Reykjavik, Iceland to the Cambodian islands. There was one consistent theme occurring, we were still seeking an adventure!

A family friend had founded a surf school here some years ago, so we gave him a call to ask what to expect. It didn’t take much to sell it to us, 4 days later we stepped off the train at Lagos and have not looked back since. Of course, being an Aussie, I have many more stories I can share with you, but you’ll have to join me on a tour for the best of them!

And I can confirm, you have some very interesting stories. So, how did you get into SUPing?

I began Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Jervis Bay, Australia and immediately realised the versatility and potential that ‘SUP’ has to offer. I’ve previously trained at an elite level in athletics and was impressed at the fitness benefits that could be gained from Stand Up Paddle Boarding without a great deal of experience. More to the point, we had so much fun as we were able to make our way around the bays, paddle upriver amongst the mangroves and try surfing some small waves. We even had stingrays skating under our boards at one point. Both Holly and I saw immediately the potential to strap a dry bag on the deck and once again, start exploring from a whole new perspective.  


So, tell us more about your new business venture Nowwhere2far Stand Up Paddleboarding.

Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding introduces you to the world of SUP while exploring breath-taking scenery in the Algarve, Portugal. We’re perfectly located between two vastly different, yet extraordinary coastlines in the south-west of the Algarve, affording us the unique opportunity to paddle at several exciting locations. We’re focused on encouraging everyone of every age and ability to join in the fun and see for yourself how versatile and accessible Stand Up Paddle Boarding can be.

I’m an ASI qualified Stand Up Paddle Board instructor with extensive experience in coaching both fitness and SUP. Every tour is tailored for you, offering instruction for absolute beginners, right the way through to wave-riding and paddle techniques for advanced paddlers. I also offer bespoke private tours for the ultimate experience.

Here are some of the exciting tours to choose from:

Sunrise SUP discovering hidden caves and grottoes at Ponta da Piedade, Lagos.


Full-day River Tour at a stunning location in the Vicentine Coast Natural Park. Including a fun introduction to wave-riding at the mouth of the river and lunch on a spectacular beach.


Sunset on the Lake. The ultimate way to calm your mind as we explore the pockets and inlets of this peaceful landscape, as the sun falls away on another perfect day.


And if all of this has you hooked, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination, we’ll just keep going. That’s the beauty of SUP.. Nowhere is too far.   

What boards will you be using for 2018?

We’re super excited to have just received a brand new fleet of Red Paddle Co, inflatable SUPs, unquestionably, the world’s leading manufacturer of inflatable stand up paddle boards, with patented technologies that put this brand ahead of the game. The fleet includes a range of board sizes, which I’ll be able to talk you through the basic features of a stand up paddle board and choose the optimal board for your level of experience.  

That’s great news, and does it matter if you’ve never SUPed before?

No matter your age, ability, or experience, Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a great water activity to try for the first time. Before we launch, I’ll give a demo on the beach and answer any questions. Our Red Paddle Co boards have been meticulously chosen to accommodate both beginners and advancing paddlers. The boards are stable, rigid and responsive, so straight away you’ll be off to a good start.  

One of the most significant factors in determining your first-time success will be weather conditions. Learning in smooth water with minimal wind is optimal, so I will always keep an eye on wind conditions and choose the best location to get you started. Once you’re afloat, you’ll be surprised how quickly you adjust (with a few deep breaths maybe!) and before you know it, you’ll be so distracted by the striking scenery, that you’ll be putting in perfect paddle strokes and balancing nicely on the board. Once you’ve grasped the basics, I’ll be right alongside you to help improve your paddle technique and build your confidence.    


Amazing, so when would you advise people to visit Portugal for a SUP holiday?

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the Algarve is ideal for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding all year round. However, when it comes to the time of day, we’ll do our absolute best to persuade you that a sunrise SUP discovering the caves and grottos of Ponta da Piedade, is an experience not to miss. Be sure to bring sun protection all year round!


Tell us more about SUPing in Portugal?

With the Atlantic Ocean rolling in from the west, Portugal is firmly on the map when it comes to world-class surfing. But do not let this phase you. Move inland and you’ll discover unspoilt lakes, winding rivers and tranquil landscapes that will take you back in time. Not only that, as you escape to the southern Algarvian coastline, most of the bays and inlets are protected from the western swells, enabling us to get out and paddle amongst the spectacularly sculpted sandstone cliffs and explore the magical caves and grottos.  


And I’m going to say it again - if you want to be the first ones to break the glassy water, prepare to peel yourselves out of bed just before the crack of dawn and launch from the beach just as the first glimpse of warm Mediterranean sun saturates the vibrant rock formations. Disappearing into caves and under archways, right at the moment where the sun is low enough to flood the way, is an unforgettable experience and something I believe will inspire you long beyond your paddle boarding adventure.  


And where’s the best place to stay if people want to come to Portugal for a SUP adventure?

As part of our service, we can pick-up and drop-off our paddlers from locations within 15 km’s of Lagos, or on route to our launch location. There is accommodation to suit everyone’s requirements here. From tipi’s and tree houses to surf lodges and private villas. For further information, shoot us an email and we will always be happy to help.


What else is there to do in Portugal?

If you love everything outdoors, the Algarve is your adventure playground. With phenomenal coastline and pristine beaches to explore, this is a paradise for walking, biking, and watersports. There are also superb mountain bike trails that pass through local Portuguese villages, vineyards and authentic eateries, or if you would prefer to take it a bit easier, there are several companies offering 4x4 guided tours to favourite spots like Cabo Sao Vincent (the most south westerly point of Europe) and Monchique (the highest point in the Algarve). 

Golfing and tennis are hugely popular across the Algarve and if you really have your wits about you, then the Skydiving centre in Alvor is recognised as one of the best drop zones in the world! In between all of this action, everyone must try the local eats like a Portuguese ‘Pastel de Nata’ (a custard tart on another level), Monchique black pig (Porco Preto Iberico), Bacalhau (essentially a dish derived from salted, dried codfish. Love it or hate it, Bacalhau is something of a national obsession in Portugal) and a unique Portuguese wine called Vinho Verde, which means ‘green wine’.

What’s the best way to get in contact with you?
Follow us on Instagram: Nowhere2farSUP
Facebook: Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding
For bookings and information:
Email: Nowhere2far@gmail.com
Or phone: +351 914 737 288/ +351 910 313 426  (both are available on What’s App).

Thanks, David and Holly, your passion for SUPing is infectious and I hope its inspired my readers to think about booking their flights to the Algarve for what would be a fun adventure in the sun. I wish you both all the best for 2018 and look forward to seeing you on a board soon!

28 January 2018

An interview with Claire Williamson from Sea Legs Cartoons


I started following @sealegscartoon on Instagram before Christmas and admired the fun surfboard cartoons, they can't fail to make you smile and think of catching fun waves in the sunshine. So, I invited the artist behind the cartoons, Claire Williamson, to appear on Country Bumpkin Chic.

Hi! My name’s Claire Williamson and I’m the illustrator/cartoonist behind the surf cartoon Sea Legs Cartoon

Hi Claire & welcome to Country Bumpkin Chic. Where in the world are you based?
I’m lucky enough to spend my time between charming Vienna, Austria and beautiful Dunsborough, Australia.

Oh wow, that sounds idyllic, so how did you get into sketching cartoons?
By total accident :D Although I’m always constantly drawing/painting/doodling/etc. I never had any intention of committing myself to a cartoon or even a specific drawing style. It was all just play. I drew and doodled Fin and his pals for yeeeears, before having the courage to show people outside my family. My family loved them! My friends loved them! But for some reason (hello shyness!), I never put much thought into sharing them publicly until I started playing around with Instagram a few years ago. I had random blogs and accounts, and one day I thought… What if I share these cartoons I draw?

And they’re fab designs, tell us a bit more about the story behind Fin.
Fin and his friends were born the day I saw Thomas Campbell’s movie ‘The Seedling’. In one scene, the camera follows a surfer walking with his board under his arm and, to me, the shadows that were created look like the surfboard had legs and was walking itself. My brain found that amusing and I immediately started drawing surfboards with legs. Fin became a fish pretty quickly as those are my favourite boards.


So, are you a surfer or super? And where are your favourite spots?
I SUP whenever I get the chance...so Spring/Summer here in Vienna, along the Danube River. As far as surfing goes, I am a total beginner :D  I grew up in a very beach/surfing oriented family, but as a kid, I was much more interested in art than sports, so I never progressed. As an adult, I learn more whenever I get the chance, but as I live in a landlocked city most of the time, I again have not progressed very far. Drawing Sea Legs is my way of staying connected with that part of myself until I’m back in the water. My favourite place to learn, to date, has definitely been Wategos beach in Byron Bay, Australia. I dream of getting back there… maybe this will be the year!

Image courtesy of www.ytravelblog.com
Do you own a board?
Yes, the first board I ever bought was a blue fish with thick rails and a ridiculous amount of buoyancy. It was so hard to duck dive! I chose to sell it when my trip around Australia ended and I decided to travel around Europe, just for the sake of travelling light. But I regret that decision every so often as I am a bit of a romantic and the thought of keeping your first board seems really sweet. Luckily, my brother is a professional surfboard shaper (@awol_custom) so I just borrow boards from him whenever I’m visiting. Now that I think of it though, I bet if I ask nicely, he would make me a pretty close replica...perhaps a bit easier to duck dive  ;)


What's your top tips for anyone wanting to get into drawing cartoons?
Just draw! All the time, whenever you can, with whatever you have. The more you draw, the faster you will develop characters, a storyline, and a style. You’ll learn what you love to draw and what you don’t like to draw (hands! ah!). I recommend spending any money you have for cartooning on pens… the paper isn’t important until you want to make prints, but bad pens can really take the fun out of drawing pretty quickly. As for gathering ideas, just look around you and find some way to record whatever strikes you as funny or odd.  You may be able to fit it into your cartoon later.

And where do you get your inspiration from?
Oh man, everywhere; surf blogs/magazines/movies, my family. I have tons of pieces of paper, notebooks and notes on my phone, filled with random jokes, incomplete Sea Leg cartoons, phrases I read or overheard that I would like to turn into a joke, things I find amusing, etc.

Who do you follow on Instagram?
There are so many amazing artists out there, but to name a few:
@piaopfermann: great illustrator and super sweet person :)
@jamesredmaynewriter: his ‘TheSurfing Animals Alphabet’ book is so cool!
@lizzyartwork: I love her sweet, feminine style, and colour palette.



So, what’s next for Sea Legs?
An online shop with prints, stickers, annnnd hopefully shirts/tote bags/etc! I’m mega stoked and can not wait to open the virtual doors :)))

Where can we find out more about Sea Legs?
For more Sea Legs, please feel free to check out my website: sealegssmile.com and sign up for the newsletter. You’ll be first in the know when the shop opens and see new cartoons before anyone else!


Huge thank you to Becky for this interview! I’m so flattered and had a great time answering your questions :)) 

Well, thank you, Claire for inspiring us through a very grey January! Stay tuned for more interviews on Country Bumpkin Chic.
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