Chatting to a Friend

By Catie Friend

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.

Category: Personal Journals

Open in Apple Podcasts

Open RSS feed

Open Website

Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 1
Reviews: 0
Episodes: 59


Welcome to Chatting to a Friend. In this podcast I am chatting to incredible women from all walks of life about friendship, community, self care, adventure, sex, grief, boundaries and asking them how they look after themselves, how they manage their mental health and what drives them. It’s an enormous privilege to have the time and opportunity to learn from some truly remarkable women. I hope you enjoy it.

Episode Date
Chatting to Jenny Graham

Jenny is a joy to chat to. Funny, self aware and full of Scottish banter.

We recorded this epsiode about a million years ago but her book as just come out so it’s finally time to release the chat about teenage motherhood, growing up alongside her little boy and re-discovering her own passions.

Heavily featured is the world record breaking round the world cycle which makes her the fastest woman to circumnavigate the planet on a bike.

Instagram: @jennygrahamis_

Apr 06, 2023
Chatting to Amy Aed

Amy Aed walked the length of the Danube River. It was not the journey she planned. In fact, she hadn’t really planned at all so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that there were ups and down, stops and re-starts. However, sometimes that makes for the best kind of adventures. Join me as I chat to her about setting off with grand expectations, managing injury and travelling as a woman in a same sex relationship in countries where that’s not yet the norm.

Instagram: @wandering_everywhere

Feb 23, 2023
Chatting to Laura Collett MBE

Since recording this with Laura, more months ago than is polite to still not have published, she has gone on to win Badminton. Listen in though as we talk about early beginnings in horses, a life threatening accident and coming back to win gold at Tokyo 2021. Inspiring stuff!

Instagram: @laura_collett

Feb 21, 2023
Chatting to Victoria Evans. Part 2

Listen as Victoria Evans relives her voyage across the Atlantic to become the Guinness World Record holder. Recorded quite some time ago, my apologies to Victoria for the delay, but I promise it’s worth the listen!

Instagram: @seachangesport

Feb 19, 2023
Chatting to Preet Chandi

Preet Chandi was a tennis prodigy from a traditional British Punjabi family, living away from home from a very early age. She left school with very few qualifications, joined the army reserves without telling her family, got into university, became an officer in the regular army, got a masters and decided to go to the South Pole on her own.

This is a two parter in one episode about the grit, determination and drive of an extraordinary woman. She would tell she’s not extraordinary, but I challenge you to listen to this without being inspired to do something bigger than you, against all the odds and pre-conceptions of society.

I spoke to Preet before she left to eventually become the first woman of colour to reach the South Pole unsupported (spoiler alert) and then had the pleasure of catching up with her not long before she went back again to attempt to cross the whole of Antarctica unsupported, with the goal of being the first woman to do so.

The change in tone between the first half and the second is interesting. The talkative, enthusiasm is still there but you can hear very clearly the gravity that such an endeavour bestowed upon her. A maturity, a worldliness and perhaps a little bit of the unresolved frustrations she has experienced since her return.

Preet is out of the ice as I publish (Dec 2022) in her Phase 2 and you can follow her on IG @polarpreet and on her website

Dec 03, 2022
Chatting to Ursula Martin

Ursula Martin is also known as “One Woman Walks” after she walked thousands of miles across Wales and then across Europe.


Her Welsh walk started when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and our conversation takes us all over the place (literally) although actually we talk less about the logistical achievement of crossing Europe on foot during covid than how someone who needed a change of scenery took to adventure and never really looked back.


It’s a very personal conversation, full of insights and thoughtful meanderings which I don’t think either of us were really expecting to get into.


I loved chatting to Ursula. She’s very real and very modest with a dry sense of humour which I suspect has helped her through many of the struggles she’s faced.


Catch up with her here, where there is a link to her book “One Woman Walks Wales” or on Instagram @onewomanwalks

Nov 23, 2022
Chatting to Cathy O'Dowd

South African mountaineer Cathy O’Dowd was the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both sides. Her most challenging Himalayan epic was as part of team forging a new route on an 8000 metre peak.

Her many expeditions provided extensive experience with individuals and teams facing stress, risk and overwhelming challenge. She developed these insights into a 25-year career as an internationally acclaimed corporate motivational speaker.

Cathy remains an active adventurer. She lives in Andorra in the Pyrenees and spends her time canyoning, ski-touring, climbing, mountaineering and sea-kayaking.

Covid allowing, in the summer of 2022 she will be taking part in an exploratory sea kayak expedition along the coast of Greenland.

I first came across Cathy when I reqad her book in around 2003. I was awe struck and have remained a fan ever since. Her no nonsense approach to everything may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I find in equal measure a tiny bit intimidating and a huge amount inspiring. There is a part of me that wishes I could be as bold and forthright in my dealings with life. This is well worth a listen.

Instagram @CathyODowd
Facebook @CathyODowdEverest

Jul 12, 2022
Chatting to Frankie Dewar
Freelance Social Media goto and lover of big days outside, Frankie Dewar is a climber, hiker, skier and general fun seeker Frankie has cycled 3,000km around the UK to interview people older than herself about the outdoors to show that you don't have to "do it whilst you're young". In this conversation, we cover everything from how the podcast came about to how she coped as a young carer to her mum and how she burst into her 20s tyring to make up for time “lost” during her childhood. How envy can be a powerful motivator, musing over what “being enough” means, how to manage when the work you do is so closely aligned with your own identity and how to support a loved one on a journey, both physical and spiritual.
Apr 21, 2022
Chatting to Lucy Bartholomew

Running began for Lucy when she was 15 years old as a way to spend time with her Dad. When he decided to run a 100km race through the blue mountains 5 years ago she trained alongside him for every step of the way. On race day, she ran from place to place to see him and accidentally ran her first ultra. Then she decided that she wanted to complete a race of this distance and ran side by side with her Dad for 100Km, finishing in 12:36:00 and smiling. She was in love, not only with the physical and mental side of performing the art of ultra-running but the community and the environments it took her to.

The following year she entered this race again and ran solo finishing in a time of 9:30:00 to place her second female and suddenly she had emerged into this sport with potential. She then wanted to keep pushing the limits and so competed in a 6-day multi-stage race in the Simpson Desert in Australia finishing 2nd female and 2nd overall.

Fast forward a few years and in 2014 she ran as part of the Australian/New Zealand Skyrunning team in Chamonix, France winning the junior division of the Mont Blanc Marathon to become the junior world family Skyrunning champion. She then competed in the Ultra distance world championships of 85kms where she won the junior category to become the world ultra-junior trail running champion.

A second place in the 2018 Western States race catapulted her into the public eye but when she lined up again in the same race a year later, after a reassessment of her diet, lifestyle and health, her body shape had changed and that same public demanded to know why she was no longer the same runner.

This led to a recaculating of what was important, what she loved and a chance to take it back to basics and remembering the “why”.

This conversation covers everything from her start in running, her relationship with her parents, her body and her sport.

We discuss at length her movie “Running Out”, where she ran the 231km Larapinta Trail in the Autralian Outback and the extreme challenge that presented as well as where is “the line” when it comes to pushing your body. I cannot recommend the movie enough!

Lucy is a bright, bubbly spark of joy and inspiration and I loved chatting to her.

IG: @lucy_bartholomew

Feb 25, 2022
Chatting to Victoria Evans - part one

At the time of the episode release (January 2022) Victoria Evans is about to depart in February to become the 8th British woman to solo row the Atlantic Ocean. Setting off from Tenerife, she will row 3000 miles over the course of nearly two months to reach Port St Charles in Barbados.

It’s a challenge that’s been 3 years in the making, with Victoria forced to postpone last minute at the start of 2021 due to COVID restrictions . It’s an endeavour she’s undertaking to raise awareness about, and money for, UK Charity ‘Women in Sport’.

A sports lawyer herself, she didn’t start being active until her late twenties when she moved to Switzerland for work. Access to the transformational benefit of sport for all women and girls is a cause that she’s passionate about on both a personal and professional level.

We talk about her awakening into sport, equality for women in sport, how the culture needs to change, why she decided to do this row and how she got into sport relatively late in life and how much benefit she has gained from it.

Finally, we talk about the row and what she hopes to get out of it.

Part two will be after her row is completed and we’ll get to hear how the dream compared to the reality.

I didn’t ask her for a #challengecatie but I will when she gets back!

IG: @seachangesport

Jan 13, 2022
Chatting to Monika Sattler

Originally from Germany, Monika moved after high school to the US to play volleyball for a university team. After an uncomfortable start at one college, she graduated from another with a summa cum laude and was accepted with a full scholarship to the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. After graduation, she worked for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

But she felt there was an inner urge that there was more than settling for a job she was not completely passionate about.

So she quit that career-aspiring job with the World Bank and went to pursue her dream to become a professional cyclist while going for a Sports degree at the University of Minnesota.

But during this time, she realized that professional cycling is not what she wanted and she had trouble finding a suitable career in sports.

To return on the “right career track”, she applied to any job everywhere and got accepted to a prestigious consulting firm as IT management consultant. She worked first in Switzerland and then Australia.

But while now financially secure and on the path she was supposed to be on, the very same urge as two years earlier emerged in her wanting more from life.

She studied the world map looking for that place she would love to live. She packed her bike and flew with a one-way ticket to Malaga, Spain, where she decided to become the first woman to cycle the entire three-week long Vuelta de Espana just hours before the all male professionals did it.

It was a decisive moment of whether to stay in her comfort zone or to take a huge leap outside of it and face her fears of failure and pursuing something that seemed beyond her limits.

We talk diversity, decisions and doubts. How to make your own goals, leaving out the opinions and fears of others and how to accept when a decision you made is not serving you anymore.


I encourage you to take on the #challengecatie with me. It’s really quite an exciting one that involves nothing more extreme than sitting with a pen and paper and facing your lifetime of decision making.

Watch Monika’s TEDx talk here.

IG: @rad_monika

Jan 07, 2022
Chatting to Dot Bekker

At 58 Dot Bekker left an unhappy marriage determined that with her 35 plastic crates she would start life from scratch.

At 60 she drove, on her own, through West Africa to return to the country of her birth, Zimbabwe.

Since then, she has written a book about her journey, is raising scholarship funds for girls to ensure they escape early marriage and more and get into high school, she is collaborating with a water charity to bring much needed water to rural homes and developing opportunities in the rural area where she will soon be building a mud home amongst the community.

For Dot a new life began at 60.

We talk leaving why she moved away from Africa in the first place, leaving her increasingly unhappy marriage, the incredible charities and projects she’s been involved in since her return.

Then we get into the guts of it and talk about her journey through 18 African countries and 20,000km in her 2 wheel drive van, Bluebell.

She tells me what she learned, how she re-found her joy and sets me the most incredible Challenge Catie.


Facebook & Instagram: @goinghometoafrica

Dec 11, 2021
Chatting to Tracie May

Born and raised in NY, Tracie May grew up being influenced by artist’s work she had the opportunity to encounter as a child. From Picasso’s Guernica to Basquiat, and the Egyptian exhibits of King Tutankhamun at the Met to Salvador Dali, and contemporary artists of the Whitney Biennial, she was exposed to a wide variety of creative geniuses starting at an early age.


Tracie knew as a child that she would become an artist with skills in multiple media.

Upon graduating high school on Long Island, she left NY and found herself at Washington University in Saint Lewis. She graduated with honors and a BFA, and was also coxswain for her varsity crew team.  That allowed her to combine her love of sports and art. Then she moved on to graduate school at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan where she earned her MFA with a concentration in sculpture.


Her breadth of knowledge in contemporary art and her skills in all media including video, photography, installation, sculpture, metals, jewelry, glass blowing, sewing, construction, painting and more, quickly won Tracie an Artist in Residence award at the Cité International des Art in Paris, France.


From there, she moved back to NY full of ideas and motivation. It was during this time that Tracie rented a large loft in the now famous Chelsea region of NYC. She was able to create an artist’s collective in which she and fellow artisans could exhibit their work and create without the pressure of the gallery mindset.


She began revisiting her fondness for athletics and started ski racing again in upstate NY. She was quickly recognized for her prowess in speed while racing with her sister and was invited to the national speed ski championships in Colorado, where she placed 3rd in her first race. She was hooked and didn’t want to take a complete break from art while she pursued a speed ski career, so she found work at some of New York City’s finest museums. Working as a freelance metalsmith for the Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History and the Brooklyn Museum to name a few, enabled her to simultaneously pursue an athletic career in speed skiing.


Tracie found her job as a freelance mount maker at the Guggenheim the most satisfying of all the museums she worked at. This creative environment was just what she needed in the downtime of her athletic career, which was skyrocketing quickly for her to become the best in the world. During 14 years of hard work at the Guggenheim, Tracie also became a 5 time World Cup Champion, Pro world Champion, FIS World Champion and American Women’s record holder with a speed of 238.57 km/ hour or 148.57 mph. That is a record that has held since 2006, astonishingly over a decade.


This achievement was recognized in 2018 when she was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Recently she was nominated as one of 6 ahtletes for the US national Ski Hall of fame.


While Tracie is now retired from competitive Speed Skiing, she is still connected to the sport as a ski instructor in the Swiss Alps and a ski technician for her husband who still races.


She is currently getting her studio back in shape after a cancer diagnosis in 2019. She has been fighting hard and has finished her radiation treatments. She is relieved to have that segment of her cancer journey completed and knows she will have to fight more. She feels this will only give her more ammunition to be creative and continue to create artwork to share with the world. Her specialty and true love is still silver-smithing and jewelry.


IG:                               @swissbijou

Jewellery website:

Speedski website:

Dec 02, 2021
Chatting to Caroline George

Caroline George is a passionate alpinist and internationally certified mountain guide who has worked and played all over the world with a penchant for ice climbing, in which she competed on the world cup circuit for three years.


She is a mother to a little girl, which has empowered her to use the mountains as a vector for more equality and inclusivity for future genretions. She was the guide for the Swiss Alpine Club’s first women expedition team and is currently the technical coordinator, ambassador and consultant for Swiss Tourism’s peak challenge, a platform that aims to get more women to the mountains and in the outdoors.


Caroline feels that spending time outdoors is the alchemy of life.


This is a fascinating chat ranging from Caroline’s adventurous parents who took her to do all sorts of things as a child but nonetheless encouraged her to get “a real job”, to her training as a lawyer at the same time as she discovered ice climbing and a mountain community that gave her a sense of belonging that she hadn’t felt before.


We talk about inclusivity in the mountains and the “invisible mountain” that women have to climb before they even get to the foot of the real thing. The shattering facts - that the Swiss Alpine Club did not accept women into mountain huts until 1980 and that for a very long time the British Alpine Club would allow dogs as members but not women - are jaw-dropping.


The ripples and effects from the successful 100% Women Peak Challenge have been so exciting and we talk about how leadership roles become more attainable for women who have challenged themselves to do something physically hard which gives them the confidence to take on more roles, which in turn inspires younger women to do the same.


We stray into the territory of how language and art make men the dominant gender and women the “other” and then on to a female guide is just as safe and experienced as a male guide with the same training and hours in the mountain.


We finish with the #challengecatie which, I can report for the first time ever, was completed before the release of the episode and which was a 95% success… Listen to the end to hear all about it and understand that a trip to the cinema crumbled my resolve!


IG:                   @carolinewaregeorge


Nov 26, 2021
Chatting to Belinda Kirk

Belinda Kirk is an explorer and the leading campaigner promoting the benefits of adventure on wellbeing.


She is the author of the first book to explain why adventure is essential for our wellbeing: 'Adventure Revolution'. The life-changing power of choosing challenge. It’s the first book to explain why adventure is essential to wellbeing. Drawing on lessons learnt from leading groups into the wilderness and the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, Belinda shows how adventure has the power to transform the timid into the confident, the addicted into the recovering, and the lost into the intentionally wandering


For the past twenty-five years, she has led dozens of international expeditions and remote filming trips. Belinda has walked through Nicaragua, sailed across the Atlantic, searched for camels in China’s Desert of Death, discovered ancient rock paintings in Lesotho and gained a Guinness World Record for rowing unsupported around Britain.


She has led numerous youth development challenges, pioneered inclusive expeditions for people with disabilities and managed scientific research missions in the Amazon, Sinai and Alaska.


In 2009, Belinda established Explorers Connect, a non-profit organisation connecting people to adventure and has encouraged 30,000 ordinary people to engage in outdoor challenges. In 2020 she launched the first conference to explore the positive impact that adventurous activity has on wellbeing.


IG:       @explorerbelinda

#explorersconnect (For Belinda’s amazing sounding conference in March 2022).

Nov 18, 2021
Chatting to Sunny Lawrence

Sunny Jo Lawrence is a Utah native and has a college degree from Utah Valley University in the field of Psychology. She married James Lawrence (the Iron Cowboy) in December of 2000. They have five children: four daughters and one son. She has always loved being a mum, as well as James’ #1 supporter through all his accomplishments.

Sunny has been an athlete for most years of her life and has enjoyed the calmed down version now that she is entering the next chapter of life. 

She is perhaps best known for being the backbone and chief supporter of her husband as he sets himself and achieves ever increasingly difficult physical challenges, setting world records and pushing the limits of his body and mind. His most notable challenges have been the 50 ironman distance triathlons in 50 days in all 50 states in the US, and more recently the Conquer 100; 100 ironman distance triathlons in 100 days. (Ironman distance triathlon is 3.8km swim, 180km bike and a marathon).

In this conversation we cover her early, sport-obsessed childhood, wishing she were a boy with a mohawk to getting into triathlon and to the stage of not enjoying competitive sport and switching it to being for fun, fitness and therapy.

Going back to university while having five children and supporting her highly driven, unconventional husband as he decided what he wanted to do with his life are just some of the challenges she has faced. We also chat about how she manages the unpredictability of being married to James and how this is her greatest challenge and test to her faith.

There is a great section about managing her emotions and taking responsibility for how she feels and reacts to the next big challenge and all that that means for her personally. This clearly took some time and work on her part to work out when they were first married.

And finally we cover how her goal is to become the greatest female public speaker in the world. A lofty and courageous goal and one which I have no doubt she will attain.

IG: @sunnyjolawrence

FB: @sunnyjohatfieldlawrence

Nov 11, 2021
Chatting to Jane Harries

Jane Harries is a “soft” adventurer, a magazine editor, a former lawyer and a survivor of a prophylactic double mastectomy that went horribly awry.


She has travelled the world doing adventures including the Camino de Santiago, the Marathon des Sables, crossing the Karakorum Highway and white water rafting in the Zambeze river, settling in Australia for many years.


She qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships by accident (hear the full story in the interview), is a fierce advocate for indigenous cultures, including her beloved native Welsh.


In her early 40s, the huge decision to have a double mastectomy to prevent her from the breast cancer that killed her mother and one of her aunts turned into years of pain, illness and suffering.


We chat about her favourite adventures, why she set up her magazine Adventure She to tell more women’s stories, the years of her illness, gratitude for her friends, paying it forward and how she plans to adventure into her old age.


Facebook: @Adventureshe


IG: @adventure_she

Twitter: @adventure_she

Nov 04, 2021
Chatting to Ingrid Mackinnon

Originally from Canada, Ingrid Mackinnon is a dancer, movement director, choreographer and teacher.


Her movement direction credits include Regents Park, Royal Shakespeare Company, Arcola Theatre and Lyric. She teaches at dance and actor movement at schools such as Guildhall, Mountview and Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.


As a performer her credits include Dallas Black Dance Theater and Disney’s The Lion King in the west end. She has an MA in Movement: Direction & Teaching from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She lives in south London with her husband and son.


In this conversation, we talk about growing up in Canada combining her love of dance with her mother’s insistence that she maintain straight As.


She tells me about seeing a stage full of dancers of colour for the first time and how that spurred her on to become a professional dancer.


How her stints of dancing around the world, meeting her husband, moving to London, becoming a mum all shaped and moulded her into being the person she is today and how still often being the only of woman of colour in the room has influenced her growth as a person, a dancer and a movement director.


IG @ingridmackinnon

Twitter @ingridmackinnon

Oct 27, 2021
Season 1 Guest Bibliography

Thanks to my incredible guests for putting pen to paper and producing some incredbile books! Click on the link below for the full bibliogrpahy.

Click here for Guest Bibliography, Chatting to a Friend - Season 1
books photo 2.jpg
Jul 31, 2021
Chatting to Jenny Wordsworth

Jenny Davis is a lawyer turned professional athlete. She spends her time travelling the globe to compete in some of the world’s toughest races, events and expeditions.

Most recently she completed a solo and unassisted trek to the South Pole. For the last 100km, she was suffering from polar thigh, a condition that caused her flesh to start to rot and caused her unimaginable pain. Despite this she refused to be medivac’d out and persevered.

Our conversation ranges from this particular expedition to mindset, to her support of women in sport around the world, growing up in Borneo and adventures in the jungle with her brothers.

We also cover grit and resilience and how it can be learned and improved.

We chat about being a new mum and how to test whether she still has the drive to adventure (she does!) and how that looks, with regards to sponsors and family support.

It’s a great conversation and while I completely forgot to ask her for her #challengecatie, you will hear perhaps a challenge to beat all challenges!

IG -

Jun 30, 2021
Chatting to Veronica Rojas

Jun 23, 2021
Chatting to Cath Wallis

Cath Wallis is an Australian ultra endurance athlete who has completed some of the world’s toughest foot races.


She is also a mother of three with a busy career and those had been her passions and her focus for many years. It was during a step up in her career, aged about 40, when she realised she had nothing interesting to write in her bio for the new job that life changed forever.


She dug deep and realised that the thing that really lit her up was the great outdoors and being in wide open spaces so she embarked upon what one might consider a foolish endeavour – she entered a 100km race with no previous walking or running experience and with only three months to get fit. She completed it within the time – just – and swore she would never do anything so stupid again…


At this point it is probably worth mentioning that Cath does not look like society tells us a trail runner should. She is a big person, as she puts it, and her mission is to encourage people who may never imagine they could do something extraordinary to take those first steps and conquer the fear. To get on and live out their dreams and hopes and adventures in the only body they will ever have and to hell with what they should look like/be like/feel like.


Her chat is brilliant, funny and full of great anecdotes about her adventures (for example The Canberra 100, The Big Red Run, The Oman Desert Marathon, Hellespont Race and Race to the Wreck) and especially the most recent one: competing in the Simpson Desert Ultra, as its ambassador, with a team of 18 amazing women who took it on having never done anything like that before.


For more info on how you can join Cath on her adventures:


IG: @cath.wallis


Jun 16, 2021
Chatting to Mimi Anderson

Mimi Anderson began running at 36 very quickly discovery her love of running silly distances. Mimi is a multiple Guinness World Record Holder taking part in races around the world running across Deserts, mountains, jungle, surviving the freezing temperatures of the Arctic and the extreme heat of Death Valley in America setting records and on occasions beating the men!

As well as taking part in races Mimi enjoys organising her own adventures; in 2004 she ran from Paris to London starting with the Paris Marathon and finishing the 300 plus mile run with the London Marathon.

In 2014 Mimi ran 1,242 miles across South Africa and in 2017 ran 2,217 miles across America in an attempt to set another World Record that sadly was brought to an end due to injury.

She is well known for taking on some of the worlds toughest races and not just doing them once but running back to the start once she has finished. Mimi has now embraced endurance cycling and has overcome her fear of water taking part in her first triathlon! 

We chat about anorexia and beating it so her children wouldn’t grow up to think it was normal. We talk about going from no running experience to doing the Marathon des Sables within a year!

The conversation also covers her world records, losing her father while in the middle of the Yukon and just “knowing” the very minute it happened, despite being thousands of miles away, and how she regained her identity when running was no longer an option.

Mimi’s book first book “Beyond Impossible” and her new book “Limitless” are available on Amazon. 
@marvellousmimi - instagram 
@MarvellousMimi - Twitter 
MarvellousMimi - Athletes Page FB

Jun 09, 2021
Chatting to Rea Kolbl, Martina Valmassoi and Grace Staberg

Rea Kolbl is a professional athlete, competing in obstacle course racing, adventure racing, trail running, mountain biking, and ski mountaineering. She is the current Spartan Ultra World Champion, 2x World’s Toughest Mudder champion, and undefeated at endurance OCR for race distances 30 miles or longer. She loves outdoor adventure, multisport projects in the mountains, and exploring the world self-propelled. Her biggest adventure yet was the World’s Toughest Race: eco-challenge Fiji, a 670km+ expedition adventure race where her team Canada Adventure finished in 2nd place. When she’s not outside training and exploring, she’s coaching other athletes, cooking, and working on her adventure van.




Rea’s record:    13th March 2021, 55,045ft/16,777.72m, beating previous world record of 50,656ft/15,440m



Martina Valmassoi is a mountain lover. She grew up in an active family starting sports early.

She grew up as Nordic skier and then moved to ski mountaineering when she was 17 and became part of the Italian National team for 10 years, until 2016.


After that as she was traveling a lot in summer with her job as a photographer so decided to leave the skimo World Cup but didn’t quite give up racing. She is also a trail runner.


Best results:

Multiple times top 10 in Skimo WC

2 x 3rd place Skimo World Championship, Alpago Tambre 2017 . Team Race and Relay.

7th in the individual 

5 times podium at the Sellaronda Skimarathon.

2 golds and the actual course Record with Laetitia Roux.

2 Silver ( one in mixed team with Anton Krupicka)

1 bronze at my first Sellaronda back in 2013

3 podiums at Pierramenta 


3th The Rut 50k in 2015 (first long race)

3th Tromso Skyrace 2016

5th Trofeo Kima 2018

2nd 90 km of Marathon du Montblanc in 2019






Martina’s record:  22nd March 2021, 57,890.42ft/17,645m, taking the world record after only week



Grace Staberg  is a mountain athlete, competing in skimo racing and trail running. She has multiple World Cup podiums in skimo, 2 World Cup Vertical wins and a silver medal in the Vertical race from World Championships. She loves exploring the mountains and human-powered adventures. When she’s not training or racing she attends the London School of Economics, studying Finance. 






Grace’s record: 26th April 2021, 56,153ft/17,115.43m, taking the North American Women’s Record from Rea

Jun 02, 2021
Chatting to Annabel Abbs

Annabel Abbs is a writer and hiker, whose latest book, WIndswept: Walking in the Footsteps of Remarkable Women, looks at how distance walking in wild places changed women of the past and asks why we know so little about them.


In this entertaining and fascinating chat, we cover her wild and unconventional childhood in the wilds of Wales and her parents’ interest in schooling her and her sister based on the principles of the French author (and serial child abandoner) Jean-Jacques Rousseau.


We talk about the motivation for the book, to discover the women walking and to make public their extraordinary feats and why what they did was so different from male walkers and adventurers. Hint: it’s less about conquering and more about resetting and finding freedom.


We talk about the fear (to a greater or lesser extent) that all women carry when partaking in in such activities alone and her absolute belief that we can harness this sensation and make it work for us.


The discussion also covers motherhood, its all-encompassing role in the life of women with children and how walking, moving, being outside near water, trees and open spaces can help everyone.


If you’re wondering where I got my information about acknowledging fear, thanking it and asking it to get behind you, it’s neither Glennon Doyle or Brené Brown that I heard it from (as I muse in the interview) but a woman named Andrea Callanan. It may not be hers originally but it was from her that I heard it.

@annabelabbs (Inst and Twitter)

@abbsannabel (FB)

May 27, 2021
Chatting to Emily Woodhouse

Emily Woodhouse is an award-winning adventure travel writer, published author and Guinness World Record holding adventurer.


Founder of Intrepid Magazine, she works to help break stereotypes about women in the outdoors. Previous expeditions include walking all the tors on Dartmoor and cycling to Switzerland and back.


She holds the Guinness World Record for climbing the most 3000m peaks in a week, which she did in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain in 2020. We have a good old chat about her tough week and what she learned from it.


The conversation ranges from growing up outdoors to understanding how much she needed it in her life as she left home for university. We also discuss her life-long passion for writing and how she has found herself combining it with her other love, adventure, to forge a career. Her website, Travelling Lines, and her magazine really are incredible and very inspiring.


Finally, we chat about defining adventure and that realising that doing what you think you “should” be doing is never a match for, deep down, what you really want to do.


We didn’t talk about Emily’s #challengecatie for two reasons: 1. I forgot to ask her (sorry!) and 2. When she did tell me about it, it made more sense to not tell anyone about it on a re-recording.


It is this: to go camping by myself, only telling one person for safety’s sake, where I will be and not telling anyone else about it. At all. Ever. So that it’s an adventure just for the sake of adventure, not to boast or “name drop” or be validated. I like it. How much, you’ll never find out!


@travellinglines on Instagram/Facebook


@travellingline on Twitter

May 20, 2021
Chatting to Jo Moseley

Jo Moseley, 56, is a Mum of two sons, aged 24 & 20. She lives on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Jo describes herself as a beach cleaner, joy encourager & midlife adventurer.


In August 2019, Jo became the first woman to SUP (stand up paddleboard) coast to coast 162 miles along the Leeds Liverpool Canal, picking up litter, fundraising and raising awareness of the problems of single use plastic.


She loves writing, speaking about adventure and wellbeing and making tiny films about the joy of the outdoors for our mental health after losing her Mum + a difficult menopause. Her films Finding Joy and Found at Sea have both won awards.


Jo launched her wonderfully received podcast on Christmas Eve called The Joy of SUP - The Paddleboarding Sunshine Podcast.


A documentary film about her adventure has just been released to a great reception and 4 sell out online screenings. It’s called Brave Enough - A Journey Home to Joy. The trailer is here:


She also has a newsletter called Postcards of Joy - Stories to Lift the Soul. Here is a copy of April’s.


Twitter and Instagram @healthyhappy50 @thejoyofsuppodcast_


Facebook The Joy of SUP Podcast


The link to Jo’s RGS talk is


The link to the Ikigai book’s Instagram @ikigaibook


The link to Lisa Nichol’s talk on storytelling and “the dip”

May 12, 2021
Chatting to Rosemary Brown

Rosemary J Brown is a London-based journalist and author. An avid traveller, she is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Churchill Fellow.

In her quest to put female adventurers ‘back on the map’ she speaks at the Globetrotters Club, Women of the World festivals, Women's Institute and schools. She helped to organise the first-ever Heritage of Women in Exploration conference at the Royal Geographical Society.

Her book, Following Nellie Bly: Her Record-Breaking Race Around the World was published last month. Journalist Nellie Bly circled the world faster than anyone ever had in 1890. She travelled alone, with just a Gladstone bag, and shattered the fictional record of Phileas Fogg arriving back after 72 days. Awed by her achievement and shocked by its present-day obscurity, Rosemary set off to re-trace Bly's global journey 125 years later. Both of their journeys are captured in the book.

Rosemary volunteers for people seeking asylum, homeless people and community groups. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, plays in a ukulele band and escapes to her beloved hilltop village in France when she can. She has lived in Washington, DC, Florida and Paris, France.

The motto she tries to live by is: leap and the net will arrive. Unusual facts: she has no cavities, was married in a shelter for homeless women and named her daughter after a mountain.

We talk about her background, her sense of adventure, her wish to bring female adventurers to the forefront of modern exploration lore and her wish to change the world through her journalism and her charity work.

Twitter: @Rosemary-Nellie

Instagram @rosemaryjbrown

For the bookstagram starting on 10th May 2021: @penswordbooks

May 06, 2021
Chatting to Squash Falconer

Born and raised on a farm in the UK Squash Falconer is a record-breaking adventurer, speaker and presenter.


Combining her love of different sports Squash was the first British woman to climb and paraglide from the summit of Mont Blanc having ridden there from the UK on her motorbike.


Squash has climbed many mountains around the world, she has summited Mount Everest and holds claim to be the worlds highest ever bum boarder -a title she gained on Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world.


In 2013 Squash completed a 3000mile journey on an ElliptiGO setting a new distance record for travel by Elliptical bicycle.


Squash has self-shot many of her trips and received accolade for the short films she’s produced.  In 2014 a project saw her ride thousands of miles through South America on her BMW GS 800 presenting an adventure travel documentary. 


Passionate about sharing her adventures, Squash has a unique and quirky outlook on life and firmly believes that with the right attitude every one of us can achieve our goals and dreams, or at least, something extraordinary.


The discussion is about mountains and how she found herself in that milieu, but it’s also about what the combination of her sports gives her. As with many of my “mountain guests” it’s often not what you think. It’s not about being an adrenaline seeking junkie, scaring yourself for kicks with near death experiences. It’s about the freedom you feel, about the empowerment that comes with finding how what it feels like to push your limits and find new depths to yourself.


We talk about the different approaches women and men take to adventure sometimes, about being comfortable in your own skin and how it is important not to just “do, do, do” all the time.


We also discuss her becoming a mum, and how the challenge of being a single mum in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for 6 weeks was the hardest challenge she has ever faced but how she organised herself like she was on expedition on Everest to keep herself well and healthy so she could look after her tiny little girl better.


Believe in your crazy dreams, don’t let anyone stop you from trying and brand fatigue after telling her story so many times are some other themes we touch on!
Facebook : squashfalconer 
Twitter : @squashfalconer
Instagram : squashfalconer

Apr 29, 2021
Chatting to Frit Tam

Frit Tam is a transgender Chinese adventurer and loves exploring the outdoors in as many ways as possible: climbing, hiking, skiing, cycling, paddleboarding and rollerblading.


As an adventure filmmaker and photographer with 10 years of shooting experience, he creates adventure films under his film studio, Passion Fruit Pictures, whose sole mission is to add diversity and colour to the adventure industry.


His latest adventure documentary, Brave Enough, has had multiple sold out screenings. In May 2021, he will be embarking on his latest adventure, Glide for Pride - a 2000km rollerblading and cycling trip across England to tackle the issue of belonging in the LGBTQ+ community.


You may have noticed different pronouns in these show notes to all the previous ones. This is because when I invited Frit to be on the podcast, he was identifying as a gay woman. By the time we did the interview he had come out as transgender.


Regardless of the pronouns, I really wanted to chat to Frit because I loved his story, I loved the passion with which he tell the stories of others who are grossly underrepresented in the outdoor adventure space.


And I wanted to hear about his latest mission to travel all over England by rollerblade and bike to raise awareness for the LGBTQIA+ community.


It’s a very open, vulnerable conversation and I am enormously grateful to Frit for taking the time to talk to me about a very personal journey.


We discuss two of his latest films, how “conquering” is the narrative in the adventure world that has stopped so many other amazing stories being told and how he wants to change this.


We talk about fitting in, about finding your place in life, about how to extend the reach of his projects so that people who may not otherwise have watched a film about a veiled Muslim hiker or a middle aged paddleboarding mum can see the shift in perspectives and learn something that broadens their views.


Frit’s #challengecatie is for me to make an adventure film here in the Alps. Ridiculously excited about that one!!


Instagram                                            @passionfruitpictures_


LinkedIn                                              @fritsaritatam

Clubhouse                                           @frit_tam

Twitter                                                 @frit_tam


FB group Skaters Gonna Skate 


Apr 22, 2021
Chatting to Elspeth Beard

In 1982 at the age of twenty three Elspeth Beard set off on a solo trip to ride her 1974 R60/6 BMW motorcycle around the world. The journey took two and a half years, covering 35,000 miles. She set off alone with no sponsorship or support, in an age before email, mobile phones and satnavs and it was not until 2008 that she discovered that she had become the first British woman to ride a motorcycle around the world.


In 2008 BMW commissioned and published a short article about the round the world trip for BMW International and as a result of this her story gradually spread.


In 2015 she decided to write a book about the adventure and her book ‘Lone Rider’ was published in the UK in 2017.


We talk about how little interest anyone really had in her trip, before, during and after and how she felt about that.


We talked about resilience, stubbornness and determination in the face of accidents, robberies and even a miscarriage.


We discuss how she managed her money and how she dealt with many many unwanted threats to her personal safety.


There is a poignant and vivid theme throughout the book of a young woman discovering herself and how to understand love, with a tangled love story mixed in with the girls’ own adventure stories.


The chat comes almost to an end with us talking about how this formative trip helped to shape the rest of her life, giving her the confidence to take on anything and everything.


And finally, we discuss who should play her in the movie. Sadly, we’re both too out of touch to know anyone currently able to play a very tall, very bold 23 year old biking pioneer. Answers on a postcard, please!


Instagram:       @elspethbeard

Apr 14, 2021
Chatting to Baz Moffat

Warning: some subjects may be a little adult for very young listeners. It’s all important information but adults should decide how much they want to explain to their kids depending on their age.

This is a podcast for everyone! If you are a woman in sport, a man or a woman who trains women and girls and/or if you have daughters, you should listen to this. It’s mind blowing and life changing, I promise you.

Baz Moffat began rowing at the age of 21 to meet new friends. Four years later she was sitting on the start line of the GB trials. She later made the Women’s 8 and won a medal at the 2007 World Championships.

Her greatest weapon in sport was probably her mind-over-matter approach, a performance mentality which got her into the boat, onto the team and up on the podium. It pushed her body to do things nobody believed it could or should. She, by her own admission, naively assumed this mentality was an asset that would help her in life.

When she retired from pro sport she was handed a fairly brutal reality check.  In ‘normal’ life, she still believed her best tool was the ‘eyes-on-the-prize’, and ‘just-push-through’ approach. But you can’t master life like that and her body began to rebel.

She had a sudden realisation that it wasn’t all about body; she needed to broaden her mind too. She found she had to harmonise mind and body, instead of seeing one as master of the other.

As she began to see life through a new lens, the outputs were so significant she began to introduce new thinking and techniques into her coaching work.

In this conversation, we discuss her sporting background, her time in the GB Rowing Squad, her brutal first labour and birth, followed by therapy and her empowered life changing second birth.

Then we talk about journey into being a pelvic floor specialist that led her to her newest iteration as co-founder of The Well HQ with Dr Emma Ross and Dr Bella Smith and their absolute mission in life to change the way that women stay healthy, get involved and stay in sport and how everyone involved in a woman’s sporting life – from herself to her dad to her coach and the schools and clubs she belongs to – can make it the glorious, empowering journey it’s supposed to be.

We talk about sports bras, periods, menopause, science, sporting environments and SO MUCH MORE!!

The Well HQ founders are writing a book called “Train Like a Woman” and while it has no release date yet, you can sign up on their website for updates as to when that is likely to happen. They run regular webinars, some free, some paid. They have courses for both interested women and for coaches and trainers.

Don’t forget to listen in to the end for this week’s #challengecatie (which is actually a life long challenge – can you guess what it is?)

Instagram        @thewell_hq

Twitter            @thewellhq


LinkedIn          @thewellhq

Baz’s accounts:

Instagram        @bazmoffatstrongtothecore

Twitter            @bazmoffat

Facebook        @BazMoffatStrongtotheCore 



Apr 07, 2021
Chatting to Jo Bradshaw

In 2004 Jo Bradshaw was a Business Advisor for Business Link in Buckinghamshire, living a very normal, risk free, comfort loving and safe life.

Over the next 3 years she took part in three cycle challenges, finally being offered a role as challenge crew by Discover Adventure (DA) which she did during my annual leave. In late 2007 DA offered her a job in their offices near Salisbury running the Open Challenges and life since then has never been the same.

She moved the 120 miles from Bucks to Wiltshire in early 2008, halving her salary, selling her fancy 4x4, renting out her house and went from suits and business events to jeans, walking boots and a new way of life.

She worked at DA for two years, leading many a trip over and above the office work and gaining invaluable experience. The office job was getting too busy to allow me out and about so she left the safety of a regular income and went freelance in 2010, gaining her Mountain Leader qualification and headed off into them there hills!

Her job title is now Outdoor Instructor and Expedition Leader and since going self-employed she have now led 35+ expeditions on Kilimanjaro along with numerous other expeditions on foot, two wheels and horseback, most at high altitude, all around the world with both charity and private clients.

In the UK she teaches and assesses the expedition element of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award from Bronze through to Gold as well as leading many a challenge on bike and foot in the UK and Europe. She also helps to deliver corporate team building events and expedition training weekends as well as public speaking about her experiences before she discovered the outdoors, Everest, the earthquake and beyond to corporates, schools and groups.

She never thought she would ever summit Snowdon even once let alone any other mountains. Becoming the 3rd British woman to reach the true summit of Manaslu (the world’s 8th highest mountain,) standing at 8163m in September 2013 and then being the 36th British woman to reach the summit of Everest in May 2016 have been huge and unexpected achievements.

She has gone from having severe vertigo and a great ability to say no way too often to facing her fears, saying yes more and turning my life around. She is now en route to complete the 7 summits and continue to raise funds and awareness for children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

This is a great chat about life before realising how adventurous and resilient she could be, to talking about challenges big and small. How do we learn to know how to push ourselves but know where the line is between safety and possible danger to life?

We talk about the seven summits on seven continents challenge and how she got to be that person. Jo is funny and interesting, the chat is peppered with musings and advice on finding out how to be your own champion, growing in experience and confidence and enjoying the journey as much as the end goal.

Mar 31, 2021
Chatting to Bev Logan

I totally stole this from Bev’s website because it’s way better than anything I could write about her.

What it doesn’t tell you is that Bev started this amazing community called Badass Mother Runners when she was in the depths of depression and in a really bad place. She took her misfortune, turned it around and used it to help other people.

She’s a very modest human dynamo and the community she has founded reflects that.

“Once upon a time there was a princess (okay… a tired mother) called Bev, who in 2016, discovered running at the very young age of um… 34.

After completing the epic quest that is ‘Couch to 5k’ (much to hers and her family’s astonishment!) she was completely bitten by the running bug! Fast forward 3 years and 9 half marathons later she… got injured. Now, Princess Bev did not get herself a running injury, no, she managed to tear a hip muscle picking up a folder from a shelf… oh the glamour!

With no running Bev got bored pretty quick. With a background in brand management and social media (but recently having been let go by her wicked ex boss) she sat at her kitchen table weeping and said to her one true love (handsome prince Christof)… “I wanna start an online community for running mums! We are all far too down on ourselves, it’s a bit shit! I want to make a safe place for mums to encourage each other that's maybe, on occasion, a little bit sweary. I want to call this magical place the ‘Badass Mother Runners Club’ (Because again it sounds a bit sweary and makes me smile). We will remind mums that they are totally BADASS and doing an amazing job, despite what they might think! Is that a really silly idea??? Pour me another wine please!”

But… handsome prince Christof said “why not have a go! (& here’s your wine fair maiden)”. So she did just that in November 2018!

And it grew, and grew, and the support for each other of the women who joined was awe inspiring! Then a couple of months in when people asked for hoody’s and so the ‘Mama got Merch’ range was born…. and they all lived happily ever after! (Because they had running, new friends and cool shit to wear!)”

Find Bev and the BAMRs here:

Twitter @motherrunners 

They’re also on Strava too!

Mar 24, 2021
Chatting to Alice Morrison

Alice Morrison is an adventurer and an explorer. She travels to the furthest places on earth and walks through its toughest habitats. She has been described as ‘Indiana Jones for girls’. Her aim is to bear witness to what is happening to the planet as our climate and our society changes and to tell the stories that bring we humans together rather than the ones that drive us apart.

Alice was was born in 1963 in Edinburgh. Six weeks later, her parents boarded a ship and sailed to Africa. For the first 8 years of her life, she ran free in the African Bush, roaming around the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda, hunting tadpoles and running away from snakes.

At the age of 11, it was back to Scotland to St Denis and Cranley Academy for Young Ladies,  followed by Edinburgh University, where she studied Arabic and Turkish. She spent six memorable months living in Damascus and then after university lived for two years in Cairo, teaching English and exploring the country.

Moving to London, she pursued a career in journalism which had started in Dubai at “What’s On in Dubai”. From there to Middle East Broadcasting, the original Arabic Satellite News Station.  The next step was to BBC News with jobs on BBC World TV and then BBC Arabic TV.  She went on to become co-Editor for the BBC News Channel output between 10 am and 8 pm.

For the new millennium she moved North to Manchester and onto the internet with Supanet where she built the ISP’s content from six pages to one million pages in two years. She also started to break out into mini adventures squeezed into the holidays: the Snowdon Challenge, crossing Costa Rica coast to coast, Kilimanjaro, ice climbing in the Andes, climbing the Ruwenzoris….

In 2002, she plunged into public service when she was appointed as CEO of Vision+Media, a quango dedicated to growing the creative industries in the Northwest and remained there for nine years. With a change in government policy, she was made redundant and left the rat race for a bike race.

She entered the Tour D’Afrique and raced her bike from Cairo to Cape Town: 12,500km through ten countries in 100 days with 20 days rest.

Bitten with the adventure bug, she entered the Marathon Des Sables, the toughest footrace on earth, 6 marathons across the Sahara in 6 days carrying all your own food and equipment. As a self-confessed “terrible runner” who had never even run a marathon, she decided to give herself the best possible chance by moving to Morocco in January 2014 to train in the sand and sun.

She loved Morocco so much she stayed and committed to her heart’s desire of becoming a full time adventurer.

In 2015 she did her first “world first” with the Atlas to Atlantic Trek, sponsored by Epic Travel. She and her expedition guide, Rachid Aitelmahjoub, became the first people ever to hike from the highest point in North Africa, Mount Toubkal (4167m) to the Atlantic Ocean (Agadir) straight across the Atlas Mountains.

She has also run the Everest Trail Race, became the first woman to Draa River in Morocco and then decided to walk across the whole of Morocco with three Berber companions and six camels!

We talk about her childhood, her career, her love of languages, the change in direction to become an adventurer, how one grows as a person in the face of adversity and lots more. I could have carried on talking to her for hours, but all good things must come to an end!!

You can find Alice in all the following places and her books are available on Amazon or through her website.


Podcast: Alice in Wanderland

Twitter: aliceoutthere1

Instagram: aliceoutthere1            

Fbook: Alice Hunter Morrison Adventures

Mar 18, 2021
Chatting to Chemmy Alcott

As a 4 x Winter Olympian, a career high ranking of 8th in the World, 7 x British National Overall Champion and the only British female skier to ever win a run in a World Cup, Chemmy Alcott is widely regarded as one of Britain’s greatest ever skiers.

In a time when competing at a Winter Olympics was unusual for a British athlete, Chemmy defied the odds and pioneered a skiing movement that has inspired a generation. Resulting in not just skiers, but British Winter Sport athletes as a whole seeing the Winter Olympics as a realistic and achievable goal.

Since retiring from competing on the world stage after The Sochi Olympics in 2014, Chemmy has immersed herself in the world of TV & media, where commentates on the World Cup Ski Series for Eurosport amongst being a guest on many other shows. Furthermore, she competed in ITV Dancing on Ice in 2012, where she finished 5th.

Most recently, she became one of the lead presenters of Ski Sunday, alongside Ed Leigh.

We talk about her childhood, her racing career highs and lows, her struggles with motherhood in the early days and trying to juggle it with a blossoming presenting career.

The lows from severe injury, from losing her mum very suddenly and most recently, from online abuse at the hand of cowardly, anonymous trolls, have given Chemmy a fairly thick skin and a resilience she shouldn’t need to have.

It has, however, stood her in good stead and combined with her 96mph skiing and her 100mph personality, she is inspiring young women to give their all to whatever it is they are passionate about. To really care and to not be embarrassed about having goals and dreams and drive.

Her new challenge has her ski touring and climbing up three 4000m peaks in Switzerland as part of an initiative by My Switzerland to encourage all women teams to climb all 48 of them between 8th March and 8th September. More info here:

You can follow Chemmy in the following places:

IG:                   @chemmyski

Twitter:           @chemmyski (BE NICE!)

Mar 10, 2021
Chatting to Sarah Williams

After working in finance for 8 years, feeling “grey and tired”, Sarah Williams quit her city job and spent 18 months travelling the world, climbing Kilimanjaro, backpacking around South America and doing a ski season in Verbier.

She used this time to help her decide on what she wanted to do with her life. She set up Tough Girl Challenges as a way of motivating and inspiring women and girls. She is the host the Tough Girl Podcast where she has interviewed over 300 inspirational female explorers, adventurers, athletes and everyday women who have overcome great challenges.

The Tough Girl Podcast has been downloaded over 1.5 Million times in 174 countries. It won the Women’s Sport Trust, Media Initiative of the Year Award in May 2018 and the She Extreme best adventure podcast in 2019.

Sarah completed the Marathon des Sables (6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara desert) in April 2016 and in 2017 she thru hiked the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles) in 100 days! 

She completed her Masters in Women & Gender studies at Lancaster University in 2018 and cycled the Pacific Coast Highway and Baja California solo and unsupported (over 4,000 km).

For me personally, this is possibly one of my most inspiring chats to date. Sarah feels more like me than many of the women I have interviewed and I could relate so much to her need for adventure, her desire to inspire and motivate women to get out and live their one life to the full.

She is infectious with her positivity, her drive and her generosity of spirit. I took so much from this conversation. Not just what she has learned from her incredible guests (as I do every week) but from her own adventures into the pain cave, delving deep to find out what we’re made of.

Listen to this and then binge listen to her incredible podcast. You can become part of Sarah’s Tough Girl Challenges tribe through the following links:

✩Twitter -

✩ Instagram -  

✩ Blog/Website -  

✩ FaceBook -  

✩ Pinterest -  

✩ Patreon -

✩YouTube -  

You can listen to the Tough Girl Podcast on the go via iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify & Stitcher!

Sarah has also written three books and you can find them here:

Mar 05, 2021
Chatting to Dr Phoebe Sneddon

Dr Phoebe Sneddon is a paediatric registrar in the NHS.

She’s a mum to four year old daughter.

She’s also a cyclocross racer for Team Magspeed and a Specialized ambassador.

She is passionate about everyone (especially children, young people and women) finding something they love doing, to improve mental health, to give joy and to give something other than likes on social media to think about.

I found Phoebe to be exactly as I had expected she would be from following her on Instagram: funny, authentic, self-deprecating, passionate about her job, her sport and her patients and bit cross about the state of the UK (and not afraid to say so).

We talk about her childhood being keen but “a bit rubbish” at sport, to her dismal attempts to be a soldier in Officer Training Corps at university and how she wishes sport could be a bit less competitive sometimes so that nobody felt embarrassed or worried about having a go.

She cares deeply about her patients and their lives, worries how children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds will get the support they need to find something they love, take up a sport or get out of the cycle they are often in.

She talks proudly about her family history of doctors, how she came to be a paediatrician and how she kind of just fell into bike racing because her then boyfriend (now soon to be ex-husband) was a racer and she thought “it didn’t look too hard”.

As a Specialized ambassador, she encourages women to get on their bikes and just give it a go, to help with self-confidence, body image, mental health and realising they have so much more within themselves.

We finish by talking about the big, scary ride she planned and executed to raise money for a friend’s new wheelchair and how privileged she always feels riding her bike when she knows so many people are not as lucky.

You can follow Phoebe on:

 IG:                   @snedatron

Twitter:           @snedatron



In a new addition to the podcast, I am asking my guests to set me a challenge within their area of expertise.

Phoebe challenged me to ride my bike to the top of a very steep hill (I live in the Alps so I have plenty of choice) as soon as the snow has melted and then ride it again at the end of the summer to see how much faster I am!

Challenge accepted. You can follow the hashtag on social media and follow me on Strava if you fancy it.

Feb 24, 2021
Chatting to Niki Doeg and Frances Davies

Niki Doeg and Frances Davies were half of the crew known as Yorkshire Rows, who rowed across the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 2015.

They subsequently wrote a book called “Four Mums in a Boat”, charting their journey from Saturday morning river rowing novices to full blown Ocean rowers.

It is a story of the highs and lows, the mum guilt, the juggling of jobs, families, training, insane amounts of organisation, fund raising and finally the row itself.

The chat is fun and funny. These two middle aged women regularly reminded me of my own girlfriends, trying to carve out precious time for themselves amongst all the noise and busy- ness of life.

We chat about the importance of just saying YES. Even if you feel you’d be no good at it, the slowest, the last, the least “natural” at it.

Saying yes to an adventure led them to finding their truest selves as well as best friends who became like family.

If you want to be inspired to step out of your comfort zone in order to achieve something great, then listen to these women.

Then read their incredible book and laugh and cry your way across the Atlantic with them.

Just brilliant.

Feb 18, 2021
Chatting to Libby Jackson

Libby Jackson is one of Britain’s leading experts in human spaceflight, having spent over a decade working at the forefront of the field.

Space was a childhood passion and after completing degrees in physics at Imperial College and astronautics and space engineering at Cranfield University, she has worked in the space industry ever since.

Libby spent seven years working at the European Space Agency’s Mission Control for the International Space Station in a number of roles including her dream job as a Columbus Flight Director.

She played a key role in Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station and continues to work in the field.

Libby is a frequent contributor on television and radio, including Stargazing Live, The Big Think: Should We Go To Mars? and Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?

Accompanied by my first ever co-host, my 10 year old daughter, Amélie, we spent a brilliant hour chatting with Libby about space, her earliest recollections of being fascinated with it and followed by some heart in mouth stories from mission control.

We discussed how space is such a huge industry now that there are so many ways for young people to get in and how annoying it still is that there are blue and pink aisles in toy shops.

Why is mission control such a quiet, almost spiritual, place that fills us with such awe and excitement? How does the extensive training prepare you for all eventualities?

And the moral of Libby’s tale – ALWAYS ask the question, the answer might be no but if you don’t ask you will never know if it could have been yes. 

Seize every opportunity that comes your way and find what it is you love and drive towards it full steam ahead!

Libby is passionate about sharing stories of human spaceflight and encouraging young people to follow their passions in life. Her first book, A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space was published in 2017 and Space Explorers: 25 Extraordinary Stories of Space Exploration and Adventure was published in 2020.

We have a copy of the first book and it is fascinating, supremely interesting and beautifully illustrated – the next one is firmly on Amélie’s birthday list!

You can follow Libby on:

Twitter:           libbyjackson__

IG:                   libbyjackson__

Facebook:     Libby Jackson

Website: (where you can order her awesome books)

Feb 11, 2021
Chatting to Nikki Scott BEM

In 2009, Nikki Scott BEM was 28 with two children under 5 when she got the knock on the door that every military wife dreads.

Her 26 year old husband, Lee, had been killed in Afghanistan and she was suddenly a widow, with no home of her own and a piece of her heart ripped out.

Over the next few months, she barely survived, watching her 5 year old son shrink into a shadow of his former self until, on an enforced family holiday, she saw him smile and laugh with his cousins and she realised she had to do something to ensure he stayed that way.

In this incredible episode, Nikki tells us how she used her grief, and her desire to see her kids grow up strong and loved, to set up Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The charity was founded to assist and support children of British service personnel in the event of them losing a parent.

She is passionate about children and young people feeling remembered and seen despite their very particular kind of loss. We discuss all the aspects of the charity’s incredible aims as well as her own personal journey to happiness.

Nikki’s story is tear jerking, vulnerable and so inspiring. How a young widow who had only ever worked in bars and nurseries set up a nationwide charity and was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to charity in the 2021 New Years Honours List, is well worth a listen.

To learn more about Scotty’s, see how to donate or buy their cool merchandise, go to

You can follow on social media on:

Instagram:       @scottyslittlesoldiers

Twitter:           @corporalscottyL

LinkedIn:         Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Feb 03, 2021
Chatting to Victoria Bagnall

Do you know or are you someone who struggles to get started on a task, gets easily distracted, is always excited by the “next exciting thing”, who is constantly late, losing things, who finds it difficult to keep their emotions controlled, does not seem to have a very flexible approach to life or does not seem to really understand themselves or how they are functioning?

It could be that they are struggling with their Executive Functions. These functions are what allow us to execute our lives, get stuff done, keep track of our things and function as efficiently as possible. They are located in the “new” part of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex, and they are vital for a calm and fulfilled life.

Victoria Bagnall is a pioneer in the field of executive function skills development and passionately believes that applying the latest developments in neuroscience is the key to unlocking the potential of the human brain. She regards poor executive functions as the bottleneck to productivity and is committed to working with people of all ages to help them overcome their executive function challenges in order to flourish.

Victoria is the Co-Founder of Connections in Mind, an organisation of highly motivated team of experts committed to supporting executive function development in both children, adolescents, education providers and adults.

In this fascinating and vitally important chat we discuss her story from dyslexic, “out of place” child to reading Geography at Cambridge while still managing some fairly troublesome challenges with her executive functions.

A small discussion on how to write an essay is followed by the question of the moment: “What are executive functions?” and why do people not know more about them. It appears no one has a perfect EF profile but for between 20 and 40% of the population are “neurodiverse” and find tasks that “neurotypical” people find easy, very hard.

This tendency to not be able to do what is seen as basic functions in life can lead to great feelings of shame as parents, teachers, bosses label these people “lazy”, “over emotional” and “stupid”. Yet, these issues are not character traits or personality flaws, they are skills like any other – learning to walk, riding a bike, driving a car… you can learn to improve them and make them work for you.

But you need to look after yourself. You need to eat well, sleep well, do the things that make you feel good so that the better you feel, the more able to are to engage that part of the brain and fight off the “old” prehistoric, instinctual brain that puts you into fight, flight or freeze mode on a daily basis.

We discuss the classroom, life at home and the workforce and how all these places could be so much less difficult if only we all understood what this all meant.

Victoria is passionate about all of this and it shines throughout her interview how much she wants people to know about this and to talk about it more. You will hear a lot more from me in this episode than in many of the others because this is something that has affected me all my life (without me knowing) and now affects my 10 year old daughter.

Victoria’s company is Connections in Mind and her website is

You can get hold of her on Facebook on @connectionsinmind 

On Instagram on @connectionsinmind

Victoria is on LinkedIn as Victoria Bagnall

The survey she refers to with 10,000 people taking the EF test is here

To find the books she was talking about “Smart but Scattered” please look here

Adele Diamond’s (leading EF researcher) brilliant article on nourishing the human spirit and Executive Functions here:

And finally, Russell Barkley’s findings on the links between ADHD and EF/self regulation are here:

Jan 27, 2021
Chatting to Shasta Nelson

Shasta Nelson is a leading expert on Friendship. She’s been quoted in magazines and newspapers, online and print, including New York Times, The Washington Post, and Readers Digest, and has been interviewed live on over dozens of TV shows, including the TODAY Show and Steve Harvey Show. Plus, if you haven’t yet seen her popular TEDx talk then you’ll want to watch that later!

Her previous books include Friendships Don’t Just Happen! which is a guide for making new friends as an adult, and Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness which teaches us how to make our relationships more meaningful. But it’s her newest book that we’re talk about today as she takes her expertise about friendship into the workplace in The Business of Friendship: Making the Most of Our Relationships Where We Spend Most of Our Time.

In this conversation we talk about loneliness and how it should never be a source of shame, how to gauge it and tell if that is what you are feeling. We touch on mens’ friendships and how the pandemic may actually be helping them to engage on a closer level.

One of the most important aspects for me was the discussion around how to take responsibility for your own part in your friendships and how to deepen them and improve them using Shasta’s Frientimacy triangle of positivity, consistency and vulnerability.

Lastly, we talk about how to maintain and even grow work friendships even though you may not even be able to be at work just now.

If you have friends, would like to deepen your friendships or understand where you are on the unfulfilled/loneliness scale and what to do about it, then this is a must-listen conversation.

You can find Shasta on:

IG - @shastamnelson

You can also check out Tipsy Tea on and use the discount code CTAF to get a free measure glass!

Jan 20, 2021
Chatting to Rosie Aiello

After a 25-year relationship, Rosie Aiello, engineered an international escape from the Middle East to save her young adult daughter and herself from domestic violence.

Stunned by PTSD and nearly mentally destroyed, she reinvented herself since arriving back in the United States, started her own business, and became a speaker, best-selling co-author and an international awarding-winning entrepreneur.

And found the “kind” love of her life.

With her Freedom Fulfillment Foundation system, Rosie helps women worldwide reclaim their voice, value, confidence, and courage so that they can create the joyful and productive life that they deserve, in both their personal life, and in work.

She is on a global movement to inspire 100 million + women and their children to release the shackles of abuse so that they can reclaim their lives, to believe that they deserve to be treated with kindness—because this is the foundation for their empowerment.

She is on a mission to create kinder intimate relationships, kinder families, kinder communities and therefore, a kinder world. It’s a win-win-win. To help with that mission she created National Love is Kind Day, observed on July 27th to celebrate that real love is kind.

It’s not cruel, it’s caring. It’s not terrorizing, it’s tender, it’s not threatening, it’s safe.

Rosie and her daughter Sunny will be sharing their powerful story of escape, healing and freedom in their joint upcoming memoir entitled: 11 Hours to Freedom.

In this conversation we get to hear the story of her marriage, the realisation that this was not how love is supposed to be and the subsequent escape to the United States from Lebanon.

We cover “how did you not know?” and “why did you stay so long?”. We delve into what is a narcissist and how do they fool so many people, including those closest to them?

Rosie shares how therapy, self-care and setting boundaries have helped both her and her daughter to realise how much they deserve kind and compassionate love. And how they are striving to help millions of women and children to find their freedom and their voices.

Some of this content may be triggering. It is a really important conversation to have and I hope it will help anyone in the situation and anyone trying to help a friend or a family member in a similar situation.

You can find Rosie on

On Twitter - @loveiskindtweet

On Instagram - @rosieaiello_loveiskind

On LinkedIn – Rosie Aiello, MBA

Podcast – Vulnerable to Valuable

Rosie is a frequent guest on live stages, podcasts and radio shows, including appearances on the BBC .

She holds certifications in Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP), Life Coaching, Executive Coaching, and Timeline Dynamics, Intercultural Communications as well as holding an MBA in finance.

Jan 13, 2021
Chatting to Mandy Hickson

Getting the new year off to a flying start (pun fully intended) with the RAF’s 2nd ever female fast jet pilot, Mandy Hickson. Think Top Gun with British accents and you’re right on the money!

Mandy’s book, “An Officer, Not a Gentleman”, is a cracking read, charting her flying career from Air Training Corps as a teenager, via the years of intense training to 3 tours in Iraq and the latter years “flying a desk”.

In this highly entertaining chat, we cover much of that plus men’s mental health, crying as a healthy outlet for the “stress bucket” (or just at a weepy movie!), being shot at by a surface to air missile while flying in Iraq, how she built a career post-RAF teaching people about human factors - communications, decision-making, risk and threat analysis, leadership, team work – and how when it comes right down to it, having friends who know and love you make for the best times and the best memories.

Mandy was so easy to talk to - we found some shared life experiences - and I’m pretty sure two tall, blonde, gobby women could quite happily have put the world to rights over a glass of wine or six, but we had to make do with a very enjoyable hour-long internet chat.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You can follow Mandy on Instagram @mandyhicksonspeaker and get hold of her, and her brilliantly titled book, through

Jan 06, 2021
Chatting to Jill and Irene about 30 years of friendship

In my most personal episode yet, I chat to my two best friends from university. In October 2020, despite the utter nonsense the world was going through, the three of us celebrated (in different countries, sadly) 30 years of friendship.

In this episode, we go back to how and when we met, first impressions and a quick whizz through the highlights of our time at St Andrews.

We then move on to how we ended up doing what we do, how lack of solid plans seem to have led us to pretty good lives. We discuss having kids, the choices we make for them, mummy guilt and the constant worry!

Next up is the old perimenopause and the impact it has had on us and whether COVID has exacerbated it due to lack of social interaction.

How do we make ourselves happy, riding out midlife crises and best of all, friendship.

After we’ve finished, I have included a bit after the outro about a very funny incident involving the very talented band, the Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra (pronounced Scoobie Doo), and some stalking…

I hope you enjoy. It was fun to do so I hope it’s fun to listen to.

The happiest of Happy New Years to you and yours. As they say in Scotland. “Lang may yer lum reek.”

Dec 31, 2020
Chatting to Jacki Hill-Murphy

Jacki Hill-Murphy has spent the last 10 years researching female explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries and recreating their expeditions.

She does so as faithfully as possible, at the same time of year with similar forms of transport where possible.

This episode is a little different to the others, because as well as the incredible adventures and journeys Jacki goes on, part of the fascination for me was in the stories of these women. In an era where they had almost no rights of their own; were expected to marry; wear dresses and corsets, they decided to take on arduous, dangerous journeys with very little experience.

In this chat, we discuss how she got into this fascinating field, what she has learned about these women and their discoveries. We also discuss what she thinks they can teach the 21st century woman about adventure.

A lot of the chat, however, is good old rip-roaring adventures of the Victorian era, where a few intrepid women struck out on their own for myriad reasons and recorded their journeys, their near-death experiences and the cultures they discovered.

Towards the end, I discover how Jacki is also helping adults who were brought up in care to discover the great outdoors to aid their mental health – - and how she supports a women’s charity in Bristol that helps victims of domestic abuse.

Jacki has written three books on the subject of female explorers, two are available on her website,, and the third will be published in February 2021.

You can follow Jacki on Twitter on @jackihillmurphy

Dec 23, 2020
Chatting to Laura Penhaul

Laura Penhaul is two-time Guiness World Record holding ocean rower, physiotherapist and performance manager for high performing athletes.

She was the team leader of the Coxless Crew, setting two World Records in January 2016 as they rowed unsupported across the Pacific for 9,000km from California to Cairns. It took 4 years to prepare for the challenge and 9 months to complete it.

Laura has supported athletes through Vancouver, London and Rio Paralympic Games and previously was Lead Physiotherapist for the Paralympic Programme of British Athletics, and the British Ski Team.

She is now the Founder of Adaptive Performance, and in 2017 provided Performance Management support to Mark Beaumont as he circumnavigated the World in less than 80 Days by bike.

She is now co-hosting a podcast with Mark and they have written a book together, both called Endurance, giving an insight into the teams behind successful athletes and giving everyday sportspeople the chance to learn to access the support that they may not otherwise know about.

In this chat we cover why she chose to take on one of the world’s toughest ocean challenges, how useful it is to understand your own body literacy and how self-awareness is key to good teamwork and leadership. And what she learned from nine months at sea in a 8m boat.

We touch briefly on the huge and exciting topic of the sports science specifically in women’s bodies, training and sport. How to manage good mental and physical wellbeing, spotting the signs of stress, overwhelm and breakdowns, hopefully before you hit rock bottom, but crucially after you have been there to stop it happening again.

Then we discuss how she managed herself and her own wellbeing while supporting Mark Beaumont on his astonishing achievement of cycling round the world in less than 80 days.

It’s a varied conversation and I feel like we only brushed the surface of so many exciting topics. Since recording this podcast I was delighted to learn that Laura got engaged – massive congrats to her and her fiancé Matt.

You can follow her on IG on @laurapenhaul

The website for her business Adaptive Performance is

Laura and Mark Beaumont’s book is called “Endurance – How to Cycle Further” and is available at

Laura and Mark’s podcast, also called Endurance, is released every Thursday anywhere you normally get your podcasts!

Dec 16, 2020
Chatting to Géraldine Fasnacht

Géraldine Fasnacht is a Swiss snowboarder and wingsuit pilot.

She is a three-time winner of the Verbier Extreme in her home resort of Verbier, in south west Switzerland. She competed in the Freeride World Tour for 8 years.

In 2014, she was the first person to wingsuit off the Matterhorn, the iconic Swiss mountain. And she has other wingsuit firsts; flying off peaks in Antarctica, Baffin Island and Iran to name but a few.

In this interview, she teaches me that it is not all about the adrenaline seeking rush of popular belief. Rather about freedom, peace and communing with nature as she finds the perfect lines either in the powder on her snowboard or down the sides of mountains in her wingsuit.

We discuss her early career and the choice to give up a good, sensible job to take a chance on becoming a professional athlete and how that dream did not happen overnight. It took hard work, dedication and perseverance.

We discuss the passion she shares with her husband for wingsuit flying and how since they became parents nearly a year ago, they have not given it up but have changed how they approach it.

In common with many of my high-achieving guests, nature and being outside are a great force for good and a way to reconnect to what is really important. And she talks about how she equates what she does to the trust and communication needed in the workplace and in life.

You can follow Géraldine on Instagram on @geraldinefasnacht and on her website

Géraldine is an ambassador for Verbier, one of the world’s finest ski resorts, something of which she is enormously proud.

Dec 09, 2020
Chatting to Karen Darke MBE

A “sliding doors moment” is how Karen Darke MBE describes the climbing fall that paralysed her from the chest down, aged 21. I wanted to know if she thinks she would have achieved everything she has achieved if she had just decided to climb back down that day when it started to get hard.

Instead, she fell off a sea cliff and into a completely different life, one she says she feels fortunate to have lived.

It’s almost impossible to put into words how impressive the comeback from that accident was. From intensive care to going back to finish her Geology PhD in Aberdeen, to completing the London Marathon in a matter of years, quickly followed by handbiking across the Himalayas.

She is a two-time World Champion paratriathlete, has kayaked 1200 miles from Vancouver to Alaska, is a silver medal paracyclist in London 2012 and a gold medal winner in Rio 2016. All being well, she will be competing in Tokyo in 2021 just as she turns 50.

She has sit skied across 600km in Greenland, handcycled the length of the Japanese archipelago and climbed El Capitan by pulling herself up the rope – 4000 pull ups, in case you’re interested!

We discuss in length her belief that “what if?” should be replaced with “what if I don’t take this opportunity?”, our shared belief that you can have an adventure wherever you are if you have the right attitude and beliefs.

She shares her journey to visit a spirit surgeon in Brazil, where she witnessed things her scientific mind found almost impossible to comprehend and with that the expansion of her mind into how we are capable of so much more than we think we are.

She now runs transformational coaching, works with social enterprises and inspires people to inspire each other, something she truly believes we can all do.

Her latest adventure, Quest 79, has taken her into a whole new realm of expeditions on the 7 continents.

The aim to encourage people to find their own personal challenges and rise to meet them. She is also raising funds for The Spinal Injuries Association and the project will culminate with a trip to Antarctica in Jan 2022 – the 7th and final continent.

Her unwavering belief that everyone can find their “inner gold” is motivating and, dare I say it, inspiring – it’s not a word she likes to be used in conjunction with her, but it’s nigh on impossible not to mention it in the same sentence as her name.

I could go on, the list of adventures and achievements is almost endless, but you’ll need to listen and then devour her books; If You Fall, Boundless and Quest 79 to find out more about her physical, mental and emotional journeys.

They are all available on her website as is the opportunity to contact her about being on the incredible transformational adventures she is putting together, as mentioned in the ingerview, and to donate

You can follow Karen on IG on @handbikedarke and on Facebook

Dec 02, 2020
Chatting to Lyn Borsberry and Janet Whitelaw-Jones

Janet Whitelaw-Jones and Lyn Borsberry are not medal-winning, world record holders. They have not climbed mountains or sailed the seven seas but they are both extraordinary women.

They are friends of mine (who did not know each other before this call) who have both experienced baby loss and I am so grateful to them for publicly sharing their stories.

Janet and Kenny’s son, Joshua, was born at 25 weeks, nearly 20 years ago, lived for four precious hours and died in their arms.

Lyn and Tom’s beautiful boy, Pip, was born sleeping in 2016, four days overdue, after an IVF conception, a totally normal pregnancy and a night of labouring at home.

The conversation is about as special as I could have imagined.

Memories, moving stories, laughter, positivity and above all a sense that despite the life-changing, gut-wrenching loss they have both experienced, that their lives will go on. They are different lives to how they were before but they have learned to sit in it, let it be and live around it

We talk about how people can empathise and help friends and family who experience the death of a baby. We touch on IVF as well as making the decision to go on living and how to mark birthdays and include the loss in conversation and in family life.

Losing a baby is something that no one should ever have to go through and yet it happens all too often.

Both Lyn and Janet were helped enormously by organisations who specialise in this. They have lots of resources for grieving parents as well as for people supporting them.

IG @sandscharity

IG @petalscharity

What I learned: you can help by talking to anyone you know who is experiencing this, being kind, offering to help, asking about the birth and the baby, asking if they want to talk about it and treating them like the person they were before and not running away or staying silent because it’s too hard for you. Do not make it about your grief.

You can also donate or raise money for these charities, they really do do incredible work that helps so many people.

Thank you for listening. It’s not always an easy listen, but it is so vital to talk about these things.

If you have experienced this as part of your life, I send you my love.

Nov 25, 2020
Chatting to Dee Caffari MBE

Dee Caffari MBE is a two-time Guinness World Record holding yachtswoman. She has sailed round the world no less than 6 times.

Her first record, awarded in 2006, was for being the first woman to circumnavigate the globe solo and non-stop against the prevailing wind and tide (known as the Impossible Voyage) and the second, in 2008, for being the only woman to have sailed solo and non-stop around the world three times. She still holds both these titles.

She is only one of five Impossible Voyagers to have EVER sailed “the wrong way” round the world solo and non-stop.

She has led round-the-world crews, run marathons, campaigned for the environment, is on the board of charities, speaks and lectures to corporate clients and, as she strives to ever improve, has her sights firmly set on competing at the Paris 2024 Olympics when she will be 51.

Having read her amazing book, “Against the Flow”, I was very keen to talk to Dee about the highs and lows of sailing as metaphors for life on land and how these have been valuable lessons in life, as well as the drama and adrenaline overload, however I found myself in a very different conversation than the one I had planned. Such is the absolute joy of speaking to women as amazing as Dee!

The first half is very much chatting about the adventure aspect, the toughness of life at sea and basically me geeking out over the the hows and whys of sailing around the world.

Gradually, however, we started to talk about teamwork, playing to people’s strengths, trust, leadership skills, communication and how she has taken what she learned in some of the most extreme situations on the planet and uses them to teach people about using them in real life.

We touched on how to encourage girls and young woman to stick with sailing despite the difficulties facing them during the awkward teenage years (no loos on boats, all male coaching and officials teams) and how more women are needed in the sport to make this more accessible for them.

And then we talked environment and how sailing all the oceans of the world has highlighted the need to end our reliance on single use plastic and how we can all play an important role in this.

Finally, we discussed going to the Olympics in your 50s and whether she thinks she has the appetite for another round the world voyage!

I came off the call wishing I had asked 1000 more questions about the drama of solo sailing, her most vivid memories on the ocean and other things, but you’ll just need to read her book to get a feel for the insane amount of grit and determination and a little bit of bonkersness needed to achieve such a feat!

Such a privilege to have this much of Dee’s time and energy. Well worth a listen.

You can follow Dee on IG on @deecaffari and her website is

Nov 11, 2020
Chatting to Rowena Samarasinhe

Rowena Samarasinhe (Samara-seen-hu) is a commercial lawyer with many years of dedicated experience in the sports industry.  Her experience ranges from working on some of the largest global sports properties, to negotiating major endorsement deals with some of the most prolific athletes in the world. 

She is a solicitor of the Courts of England & Wales (2006) with an MBA in International Sports Management (Loughborough University)

Her impressive roles currently include: Council Member, National Sports Council of Sri Lanka; Director, Professional Squash Association; Trustee, CIMSPA; Advisor & Coach, Equiida (board effectiveness, coaching and search company with a focus on diversity & inclusion)

She is currently leading CIMSPA’s initiative addressing diversity and inclusion in the UK sporting workforce in collaboration with Sport England. 

In 2018, Legal 500 included Rowena in their "General Counsel Powerlist" recognizing the most influential and innovative in-house lawyers around the world and subsequently, while now in private practice, she has been named one of Legal 500’s Next Generation Partners in Sport for 2020 and 2021.

She is also a woman. Born in the UK to Sri Lankan parents in the 1970s. A divorcee. A woman of colour in a predominantly white male industry. A woman whose lifestyle makes it easy to assume she “has it easy”.

In this episode, Ro opens up about a number of highs and lows. From working with Usain Bolt and being at three Olympic games, thanks to her very impressive career, to her passion for improving diversity and inclusion within sport in the UK and in general, to dealing with a “reset” following her divorce, a career-threatening moment and being blown up in a speedboat accident.

We talk about the importance of sport for children, especially for girls and how mums can have a huge impact on their sporting future. We discuss driving diversity and the challenges she faced in her early life and career to overcome barriers due to prejudice.

The impact of Covid on her new business and her personal well-being, including facing the fact she may never have children, something she struggles to come to terms with, and how society views a childless “career woman”.

We finish with some thoughts on processing, healing, being kind to yourself and living more in the moment and a quick chat about the Tokyo Olympics and the pride she feels at being able to give back to sport in Sri Lanka by being on their national sports council.

Settle in for a brilliantly honest and inspiring talk to a truly driven, positive and very human woman.

Ro’s company is

Nov 05, 2020
Chatting to Mireia Miró

Miriea Miró is a former world champion ski mountaineer, the youngest woman to ever hold the title, at the tender age of 22.

She was also a trail runner and a base jumper, constantly chasing the highs, the energy and the intensity.

Following a long battle with knee and gut issues, 4 years ago she finally hit rock bottom and from there has been on a journey to understand herself, to work on her belief system and ultimately to help others as a life coach.

We talk about her sporting career, the long road to her breakdown, the subsequent self-discovery in coming out the other side, self-care, acceptance, taking action and the importance of talking about mental health.

It’s an inspiring talk with someone who is obviously and rightly proud of the road she has been down. She is upbeat and honest about her struggles and so positive about the future and her enthusiasm for helping other people.

You can contact Mireia on or on Instagram on @mireia_miro

The teachings that Mireia follows are by and

Oct 28, 2020
Chatting to Lucy Shepherd

In the 4th episode I am chatting to Lucy Shepherd, professional explorer and adventurer. Can you imagine that was your job title?

At only 28 years old, she has been at this for a decade and in that time has been on expedition from the Arctic to the Amazon on foot, on skis and always in extreme conditions.

Obviously, the chat centred around adventuring and sticky, near death situations and how to survive for two weeks on the side of a mountain in a snowstorm (by keeping busy, is the answer!)

We also touched on, however, how to cope with post-expedition blues, how the world views a young woman who has decided to make this her career and how she feels about the future of our planet that she cares so deeply about.

A funny, insightful and enthusiastic chat with some deeper messages for us all about how to bring a sense of pride and achievement into your life on a daily basis.

At 23, Lucy was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is currently the youngest board member on the board of the Scientific Exploration Society, both titles she holds with great pride.

You can find more about Lucy on her website, including information on how to go on expedition with her to the Arctic in 2021.

You can also follow her on Instagram on @lucysheps

Oct 21, 2020
Chatting to Vedangi Kulkarni

Warning: some strong language

In this episode I’m talking to Vedangi Kulkarni, the youngest woman to circumnavigate the world by bike (unverified). At 19 she set off on her own, largely unsupported, to cycle round the world and take on the challenge of a lifetime.

En route, she faced ice, snow, muggings, tears and concussion as well as a true appreciation of what it meant to have friends who really care and strangers who helped when she needed them most.

We talk about her childhood, growing up in India as an only child with a self-conscious start to friendships and whose parents gave her the gift of travelling, both of which stood her in good stead as she initially moved to the UK for university and then took on bigger and bigger adventures.

We discuss the transition from awkward teenager to a young woman who has matured into striking up conversations with strangers and having a newfound appreciation for the closeness of people who “get her”.

You can find out more about Vedangi on and follow her on Instagram @wheelsandwords. Her adventure consultancy, The Adventure Shed, can be found at

Jenny Tough’s book, Tough Women Adventure Stories, is available on Amazon and in my opinion is absolutely brilliant and a little nuts!

Many thanks to Vedangi for her candid and hilarious stories.

Oct 17, 2020
Chatting to Karine Fragnière

Karine Fragniere is a 52 year old Swiss mother of 4 who did her first Ironman triathlon at the age of 50. She then went on to win her age category in the Zurich Ironman and qualify to compete at the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

We chat about how to juggle motherhood and sport, ensuring the essential element of self care and making yourself a “more available mother” to your children. How to deal with mummy guilt, how exercise can help with your mental as well as physical health.

We talk about the importance of friendship and community, the benefits to children of growing up with a sporty mother and all about her new book, Ironmum.

She is now a coach, helping to spread the love of sport, health and wellbeing to other people.

You can find her book and more information on her coaching on and follow her on Instagram on as well as on Facebook.

A really inspiring conversation that will motivate you to skip out the door for a swim, bike or run (or maybe all three!).

Oct 16, 2020
Chatting to Elisabet Barnes

Warning: adult themes

Elisabet Barnes is best known for being a professional ultra runner. She has twice won the formidable Marathon des Sables and has had an incredible running career.

In 2018 she “hit the wall” and had to find her way back to full health and, in the process, discovered a new passion.

She is currently training to be a sexologist and couples therapist and so our conversation ranges from her days as a management consultant in London to the death of her father, her journey to becoming ultra marathon royalty, self care, sex, relationships and to women finding joy and confidence in their own bodies.

Elisabet is still coaching running and you can find more info on that on Instagram on

Her other IG account is @elisabetbarnes and her website is

I woke up the morning after this interview thinking of about 100 other questions I wanted to ask. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

NB We chat about couples in a heterosexual context but I wanted to mention that Elisabet works with couples of all genders.

Oct 15, 2020
Welcome to Chatting to a Friend!

Hi and thanks for choosing Chatting to a Friend.

I’m Catie Friend and, yes, that really is my name! I’m a 47 yr old married mother of two, living in Switzerland, living a good life in the mountains - dealing with a perimenopause, anxiety, motherhood, work, being a wife and trying to figure it all out with a sense of humour and a pinch of salt.

In Chatting to a Friend, I’m talking to incredible women about friendship, community, self-care, mental health, living more adventurously, sport, motherhood, sex.

You name it, we’re talking about it.

Please join me as I try to get into what these women from all walks of life do to stay healthy, happy and sane.

Do they feel supported by a community? Do they have friends they can count on? Do they struggle with motherhood or life after the intensity of motherhood? How do they look after themselves in their daily lives as they achieve incredible things? What are their top tips for living with adventure, success and things that bring high adrenaline into their lives?

I’m on a journey to look after myself better and a mission to talk to other women so that none of us feel alone with the craziness of life and so we can all be a little bit inspired by someone who has pushed boundaries and made herself and her goals a priority.

I’ll be here every Thursday with a new episode. If you listen and you like, please leave me a review.

I’d also like to hear from you if you have suggestions of women I could talk to. Any profession, any achievement, anything you think would encourage and inspire other women to lead better and more fulfilled lives.

You can follow and DM me on Instagram @chattingtoafriend.


Oct 14, 2020