A right royal knees up

LITERALLY.

How many social media channels can I share this news on?! I’ll be spamming other people’s blog sites next

(I wont).

Anyway, apologies if you’ve already seen this on Twitter, Facebook, Workplace or LinkedIn, but those bloody lovely people at Time to Change only went and got me an invite to Buckingham bloody Palace on World Mental Health Day!

A few weeks ago, Ellie from the Time to Change media team told me she had a Heads Together invite for me. I was like, nice one, cool, sounds good. Of course, I was expecting an invite to something far different…

However, she greeted me at Storycamp last month with a rather plush envelope and an invite to a reception hosted by the three young royals.

And despite having very little sleep due to a long late night trek from London to Newcastle, I am still buzzing.

Here’s my own version of Hello magazine.

Hello….mental health royalty you bloody brilliant bunch of stigma busters. But before moving on to the pics, massive shout out to the London cab driver who donated half my fare to Anxious Minds North East following our chat about mental health – what a fella!

Photo credits – In-Press Photography (if they’ good – if they’re not, they’re from the iPhones of us lot).

DLynHCRW4AE-gUJ.jpg large

Us lot! The Time to Change team. Full of royal anticipation.

image2

A sneaky group selfie taken by the inspirational Sue Baker OBE!

Buckingham Palace Reception_011

No caption needed, really. The royal young ‘uns with the big hearts and an even bigger passion for mental health awareness. Working the room to chat to their guests.

Buckingham Palace Reception_040

The KING of my favourite childhood telly programmes (got to love Melchett), the quite interesting facts and, of course, the mental health campaigners. A truly inspirational speech from Mr Fry. My new mate Dee was openly blubbing. (In-Press Photography)

Buckingham Palace Reception_080

The soiree. Favourite moment? Had to be Dee asking if the champers was cava. Response – ‘We don’t serve cava here’. (In-Press Photography)

Buckingham Palace Reception_090

Me and my new friend Dee making new friends from the Department of Health and a mental health charity. I also met some amazing people from Rethink who have a great approach to involvement (In-Press Photography).

Buckingham Palace Reception_091

The guy on the left is Steve. He almost made me cry within minutes of me meeting him. He’s been through so, so much. And has since spoken at the House of Lords, he lectures at Northumbria University and he has just had an amazing reunion with long last family. Amazing guy! (In-Press Photography)

Buckingham Palace Reception_088

The two Jos – on the left, Jo the Time to Change Head of Comms (and my new kindred spirit) and on the right, Jo the joint director (with Sue Baker). I could chat to these two all day. I’m not sure how they’d cope, mind. (In-Press Photography).

image1(1)

I became star struck with these two. The fabulous Paul Farmer of Mind and the amazing Bryony Gordon. I fan-girled her so bad she may be concerned that she has a stalker. Sorry Bryony (note the familiarity there as if we’re bezzie mates? I read her book, therefore I KNOW her. Joke.)

image3(1)

Joss’ crew with me, Jodie, Jo and erm….Prof Green. I’m not cool. In fact, sharing the group picture with me makes Professor Green look more kids’ TV presenter than edgy urban rapper (even just me saying the words ‘crew’, ‘Prof Green’ and ‘edgy urban rapper’ ruins his, and everyone else’s, street cred. Even saying ‘street cred’. Sorry. OLD.

Buckingham Palace Reception_219

Me and Jo. Totally need to share another glass with this one.

And to finish off a perfect day (other than my Co-Op tights falling down and my totally awks expectation that Alastair Campbell and Ruby Wax would remember retweeting me once) we managed to bump Steve and Angela (TTC regional co-ordinator) up to First Class (which I had got cheap – early birds and all that). So THANK YOU Virgin Trains – who, like my employer, have also signed the Time to Change pledge. Phew.

Right. Off to bed.

A series of unfortunate stereotypes

dreamstime_xs_64519018

My post for World Mental Health Day and Time to Change, written for the fabulous Standard Issue Magazine – ‘a smart and witty online magazine for women by women’ founded by the fabulous Sarah Millican.

A series of unfortunate stereotypes

Lemony Snicket’s Aunt Josephine is terrified of everything. Estate agents, leeches, the telephone, Count Olaf. And then, when faced with her fear, the Count pushes her into the water where the leeches devour her to her very death…

I love that film. But my God, that’s no motivation for someone who lives with anxiety. I’m no fan of those cheesy self-help books made popular thanks to Bridget Jones in the early noughties, but you do have to take action upon feeling the fear…

Read the full post here on Standard Issue