Should I be honest when you ask me if I’m ok?

For the longest time, when someone asks me how I’m doing, I said “fine thanks!” It’s bright, breezy and if we are honest, what most people want to hear.  

Lots of people I know in the real world read this blog, and so when I see them, I think they feel they have to ask after my health. Being British and having the polite factor drummed into me, I respond with the usual answers of “good, how are you?” “Fine, thank you” and “not too bad!”.  

Sometimes I see the confusion in their faces and realise that they’ve probably just read a heart wrenching description of my mental health and that I shat myself that morning. (Oh the joys of being an oversharing Blogger!) 


It’s a worry when you have a chronic illness that you are going to become too much for those around you, that it must be hard that you are always ailing with something.  I worry that people will get bored of me and my illness, that they wish I’d just be better and stop banging on about it! 

I also feel pressure to be sunny and positive, I think sometimes people expect it of me because of writing this blog. I feel I have to be a shiny, happy person and not talk about all the many negatives. 

It got me thinking about why I say “fine” when I’m anything but fine. And I think some of it is embarrassment, some is habit and some is my issue of opening up to people unless it’s in the written word or if I’m standing in front of an audience! Yes, I realise that’s quite fucked up. 

So I thought I would start trying to be honest when I’m asked how I am. The results have varied! Most people seem taken aback when I say “I’m not great to be honest, I’m back and forth to the hospital and it’s really getting me down” I think it shocks them to get a genuine response to an everyday, casual question. 

When this happens I feel a bit embarrassed and that I’m flaunting some unwritten rule that I should have a stiff upper lip, nod and enquirer how they are doing without actually wanting to know the answer. 

But I’ve also had some great responses, from those who are asking because they care. In that fleeting moment where I tell them that I’m struggling and they reach out, touch my shoulder, tell me that they’re there for me if I need anything. Those interactions feel so real and genuine and human. 

So you’ve been warned. I’m going to try and be honest from now on. If you don’t want to know, don’t ask! 
Sam xx 

Breastfeeding a two year old – is it controversial?

Ahhhhh other people telling women what they should and shouldn’t do with their bodies again. And heaven help us if a mother does what feels right for her and her child. 

Tamara Ecclestone has been defending herself after images of her breastfeeding her two year old child were shared.


Via Tamara Ecclestone Instagram 

The breastfeeding debate is ridiculous, it shouldn’t be a debate at all! Breast milk is the perfect food for babies and infants, it adapts to your child’s needs and it is awesome. 

Some people can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. They give their children formula milk which is the very next best thing. 

Some women feed for a few days, weeks or months, other for years. It’s really no one else’s business. Parents are just doing their best for their kids. 

This photo is beautiful and reminds me of religious art through the ages, the comments are disgusting and ignorant. 

The worst people for this are other women and I truly believe their defensiveness comes from fear. The scariest thing for a parent is to feel others are judging you and think you’re a bad mum. Mums face constant judgement on every aspect of parenting and it’s easy to feel you have to defend your way by attacking others. 

When I couldn’t breastfeed my daughter, seeing adverts telling me breast is best made me feel like they thought I didn’t want the best for my child. I felt the mums breastfeeding were eyeing my bottle of formula and thinking how shit a person I was. It made me so defensive. 

The reality was that those mums didn’t give a shit how I fed my daughter, they just were thinking of their own kids! 

When I breastfed my son for 10 months I felt judged for feeding him publicly, it was ok when he was a newborn but when he was a strapping kid turning his head, laughing and babbling to me, people liked it less. I was asked to feed him in the toilet, sent to bedrooms at parties, tutted at, laughed at and told that once they had teeth you should stop. 

We all need to be a lot kinder to each other, mums have gone through so much. 40 weeks of pregnancy where your body is changed beyond all recognition, birth (i.e. The act of removing a baby human from your body!!!) and then being responsible for another human being, often feeling that you lose your identity along the way. It’s hard work, man!!! 

So it’s easy to see how we get defensive when we feel attacked. We have created the worlds best child (yeah, we all think ours are the best!!!), we are exhausted, stressed, in love, overwhelmed and the most happy and tired we’ve ever been. So when we feel others think we’re doing it wrong, it hurts. And the easiest thing to do is to attack the opposite opinion. 

But it just becomes a vicious circle. From breastfeeding to weaning, stay at home mum to working mum, helicopter to free range… were pitting ourselves against the wrong people here! Mums need to join forces, whatever our parenting style, however we feed, play or work. We’re a vastly untapped powerhouse of humans! 

Being a mum is hard work and we need to look after each other more. We need to celebrate mothers more. We need to stop being arseholes to mums just trying to do their best. 

Sam xx 

European Crohn and Colitis Organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim

I was very pleased to be asked to talk at the 12th congress of the European Crohns and Colitis Organisation in Barcelona.  I will be attending next weekend and speaking with a panel of people from around the world about what life would be like if everyone in the world had IBD.

 

ECCO barcelona IBD speakers

 

The Boehringer Ingelheim group asked me to be part of their innovative talk hoping to encourage a new way of thinking for medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies.  They hope a discussion where the patient is put first will make people consider what it would be like if IBD wasn’t an illness but the norm.

What would treatment look like? How would buildings be designed? What would work, social and personal life be like for the world? With this thinking, perhaps patients with IBD will be more at the forefront of medical professionals minds when they are treating us.

sam cleasby public speaker disability

I love public speaking, it gives me the opportunity to use my experiences to educate others and to offer support to members of the public.  This event is a little different as it is aimed at medical professionals, I hope by taking part that I can help to shape the way doctors, surgeons, nurses and health professionals look at their future IBD patients.  And for that I feel very grateful, honoured and proud.

 

Sam xx

Public cervix announcement

Right, people with a cervix, let’s talk about vaginal health!
Not a usual topic for me, but today I wanted to share my latest escapades and remind you all to think about your cervix.

I am up to date with my cervical smears, but for the past six months I have been having odd symptoms ‘down there’. Bleeding and spotting inbetween periods, bleeding after sex, weird discharge and pain.

I went to my GP who examined me and sent me for further tests. I had swabs for infections that all came back negative and had an ultrasound scan where they looked both at my abdomen and groin and also internally.

From there I was sent for a colposcopy where they found some cell changes in my cervix and an area of bleeding.

We had to talk about the possibility of cervical cancer as well as abnormal CIN cells that could be Pre cancerous. It’s been a few very tense weeks of waiting for results.

I’m over the moon to say that there are no signs of the big C, just some cells that have changed slightly. I am going in to have cryo cauterisation where they’ll remove all those cells and the area that is bleeding.

It was easy to ignore these symptoms, to put the pain down to my IBD and operations. After all, my smears came back normal 2 years ago.

But I did the right thing and got it all checked out, all though it’s been a scary, old time, I’m so glad I did.

According to charity Jo’s Trust, 1.12 million people did not take up their screening invitation in the past year and figures show cervical screening coverage in England is at just 72.7%, meaning one in four women may be at risk of a potentially life-threatening cervical cancer diagnosis.

Please guys, if you have a cervix, then look after it. Go for your regular screenings, they save lives. Check now, yes right now! When was your last smear? Are you up to date? If not, call your doctor and book it in now.

And if you are up to date, but are having any symptoms that aren’t normal for you, then go get it checked. Don’t wait for your next planned smear, do it now.

When you have other illnesses, it’s easy to forget about the rest of your body, or to put symptoms down to your health problems. It’s easy to forget about the regular screenings you should be having when your life is taken up with Drs appointments, meds and treatment. But it’s so important to take care of yourself.

I was terrified that my results were not going to be healthy, that I had cancer and it was going to be terrible. I’m lucky and I am going to have a minor procedure and have no huge concerns.

But even if the news had been that the big C was lurking up there, the sooner it is detected, the better the treatment.

So please, go check your dates and if you’re overdue, get booked in TODAY! And if you have anything not quite right going on, get it checked out.

There are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer that you should be aware of. These include;

  • Abnormal bleeding: during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
  • Post menopausal bleeding: if you are not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or have stopped it for six weeks or more
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
  • Lower back pain.

These can all be symptoms of things other than cancer, but they do need to be checked out.

If you are concerned about embarrassment or discomfort, know that the staff are so well trained and understand that it’s not the easiest or most pleasant thing to do, but they aim to put you at ease.

Also if you aren’t cisgender and don’t identify as female but have female genitalia, don’t overlook this important part of your health.

If you’re under 25 and not been called for a smear but have any concerns, call the doctor and speak to them.

If you’re over 65 and aren’t up to date or have issues, call now!

Basically I’m speaking to all your cervix owners! Look after yourself and get checked.

And so this ends your public cervix announcement.

Much love

Sam xx

Stupid bloody fatigue 

Sorry, I know that isn’t the most mature title but I’m pissed off.  Yesterday, for once, I felt like I had energy, I had all the spoons in the world. I was living in a spoon factory.

If you think I’ve lost my marbles then go have a read of the Spoon Theory.  “It’s a disability metaphor used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness.

Spoons are an intangible unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Each activity requires a given number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person “recharges” through rest. A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished.”


Anyway, I had allllllll the spoons yesterday and so I did what I always do when I feel good which is, too much. Too much of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t out raving. My version of too much is working, cleaning, cooking tea, playing with the dogs, having a bath.

Rock n fucking roll eh?

I felt like maybe I had turned a corner and that my energy levels were up and the fatigue had gone. Stupid, stupid me.

I woke this morning feeling like I am dead. Every joint is stiff and painful. My head is full of cotton wool. I feel like I haven’t slept in a year. I can barely move. Imagine you have a stinking hangover and you ran a marathon yesterday, that is how I feel today (and most days).

And so I’m mardy. Man, I am a grumpy fucker today.

I feel like yesterday was some sort of sick joke that only occurred to make me remember what it’s like to feel human so today I can just feel the full force of the shitstorm that is my life.

I’m always exhausted. And today I feel shit about it. I almost wish that I hadn’t felt good yesterday and today feels so much worse.


Sorry for the whinge, but fatigue is probably the worst thing I deal with. It sucks and I can’t put a happy face on it today. My mood has dropped through the floor today and I can’t see the silver lining.

And so I’m going to wallow.

Because some days, wallowing is ok. Some days, it is ok to have a face like thunder and feel like shit, it’s ok to not feel positive, it’s ok to to be miserable.

So here’s to all the badasses who need to wallow sometimes.

Sam xx

Dear tea lady,

Dear Tea Lady,

I am so sorry that I don’t know your name, but every time we have met (which has been probably 20 times over the past three and a half years!) I have been dreadfully ill and self indulgent.  I do genuinely feel bad that I can’t remember your name as you have been one of the most important people in my recovery.  But I’m going to blame the drugs.

So dear Tea Lady of the Northern General hospital, I wanted to write a big thank you letter to you.  I have had 4 of my 5 surgeries at your hospital and benefitted from the wonderful care of top surgeons, consultants, anaesthetists, specialists, registrars, doctors, students, nurses and support workers.  All of these people gave me the most brilliant support and health care, I am so lucky to live in the UK and get free at the point of care, world class treatment.

I have had my colon removed, an ostomy created, a jpouch created, a jpouch removed, two hernias fixed, a rectum and anus removed and another ostomy created.  I have also spent weeks and weeks in hospital receiving medication, treatment, blood transfusions and care.

hospital pouch ibd ulcerative colitis

But you know the person who made me feel so much better every day? Yep, it was you!

I saw my consultant for a couple of minutes on their morning rounds, the doctors if something is going wrong, nurses through the day who are so busy and overworked and though I am sure they would like to spend a little more time with patients, they just can’t, I saw support workers, specialists and that huge team for the surgeries themselves.  Yet it was your face that made me smile several times a day.

You make your rounds with your tea cart and after day one, take the time to remember, not only my name, but also how I take my tea! It is a small yet important part of my hospital day, a little feeling of personal care and a reminder of home.

You made me feel special, when you spend a lot of time in hospital, you very quickly become institutionalised, it’s so easy to end up feeling like a number.  But you made me feel like a person, a person who likes their tea strong, yet milky and with one sugar.

I wonder if you know just how important your role is? Do you understand that you become a part of so many people’s recovery story.  You are the person I saw the most, a constant, nurses change from shift to shift, you only see doctors if something is going wrong, yet you are the person I saw several times a day, every day.  Your days off is always a sad one.

And so I want to thank you.

Thank you for all the tea, thank you for the extra biccies on the evenings where you thought I looked like I needed them, thank you for remembering me, thank you for knowing I am a person, not just a patient, thank you for the times you noticed I looked sad and came and touched my hand and made eye contact, thank you for taking your time to speak to me, thank you for the magazines you brought over when I was bed ridden, thank you for telling me about yourself, thank you for the gossip, thank you for being wonderful.

Tea Lady, you are awesome. (And I am really sorry that I can’t remember your name)

Sam xx

What to pack when going into hospital for ostomy surgery

Over on my Facebook page, Natalie got in touch saying she will be going in to hospital for ostomy surgery soon and it got me thinking about what you need to pack when going in to hospital.  I mean, we all know about the usual toiletries etc but I decided to ask my lovely readers what they would recommend to anyone going in for surgery for a colostomy or ileostomy, and man, they took it and ran! I got some amazing replies, over 70 in total and so I thought I would collate them all for a comprehensive list of what to pack when going in to hospital for ostomy surgery.

 

Hospital checklist

Lots of nightwear and underwear, more than you think you’ll need just incase of leaks or spills whilst you’re learning how to change your bags.

Baby wipes – Nicola

Room spray air freshener

Body lotion –  you dehydrate so fast in hospital – Vicky

An eye mask and ear plugs

Take a small pillow to squeeze whenever you need to cough, sneeze or laugh following surgery, it helps hold your stitches together and makes it hurt much less – Jaime

Jelly sweets, boiled sweets, salted crackers, hand cream & diluting juice. I liked having a little snack with me. Couldn’t eat much but found these little things handy, even through the night sometimes! – Jennie

Ear plugs or headphones are a must and slipper socks with rubbery bits on the bottom – Zoe

I took some poo pourri in because I had to measure my stoma output and it made the smell more bearable – Sue

Always salted crisps for me after surgery… my body craves salt at those points! – Nicola

Marshmallows to thicken liquid output before bag changes – Kate

Nightshirts that button up rather than pull over (if you’re having open surgery) – Amy

I took my own pillow and my iPad full of books – Sharyn

Slippers that are easily slipped on and off – bending down isn’t an option for a while. Dry shampoo, baby wipes, books, oversized PJs or nightie (so no pressure on tum) and large, plain cotton, high waisted undies that come up to at least the belly button – supportive and no extra pressure – Emma

A mirror to see stoma in full when bag changing, learning shape and how to clean properly etc – Kate

A nice scented body butter (just not anywhere near the bag seal haha) hair bobbles, baby wipes, dry shampoo, stuff to freshen you up and make you feel nice. And magazines/kindle to keep your mind busy – Katie

Warm socks, my feet always get really cold in hospital  – LT

Shorts and track bottoms and t-shirts as they’re loose and comfortable especially after a nice shower nice warm slippers as hospitals are pretty draughty hence cold floors, basic hygiene stuff shower gel, deodorant etc,and bio oil to treat the scars for improved healing – Kevin

I took one of my lovely feather pillows from home it really helped with sleeping – Vicky

Something that reminds you of home or comfort item such as a blanket, soft toy or photos. Having major surgury is tough, especially ostomy surgury. So having something with you during this tough time to help comfort you between visiting times and through the extremely long days and nights – Robyn

Jelly babies, lots to read, lovely clean big knickers, and lots of nighties. A bag you can keep everything in close by, you can’t move about much at first. Nice smellies, clean flannels – Carol

Lip balm for after surgery, moisturiser for hands and feet, baby wipes, make up wipes, maternity V shape pillow and a big comfy dressing gown along with some headphones to help you zone out the noise from the ward!! – Charlotte

Bed socks as they never tuck in the bottom of the sheets for sensible reasons and your tootsies get cold – Anthea

A picture of my family, warm socks, nail file – Katja

Comfy pjs maybe a size bigger than normal, leaves extra room for any drains etc and easy on a tender tummy. An ipod full of lovely music, tv, films & podcasts. Those little bottles of concentrated squash (the ones where you put a couple of drops in a glass). Your fave jumper or cardigan. Trashy mags with puzzles in. A pen. Wipes. Make up to make you feel better. Photos of loved ones. Any keepsake that makes you smile – Julia

Snacks hospital food is a bit hit and miss – Vicky

Flip flops for the shower! sometimes gastro ward showers can be a bit grim – Joanne

Antibacterial hand wash for changing and emptying your bag if you are confined to your bed at first, mouthwash, a pen – Nicola

Lucozade Sport or Powerade – Shell

I always bring my vitamins, protein and fiber. I know what works for my body. – Amelia

Drinking straws in case you can’t sit up to drink, chap stick, bonjela (I had terrible ulcers from the diet/drugs), if you have a tablet get some music, films and simple games on there, you may not have wifi – Dan

A sense of humour – Nicola

Beanie for bad hair days, good headphones, mint tea – Winny

Pink and white marshmallows & jelly babies are always a must for me when I go in!! Marvellous for ‘firming up’ ya poop, especially ileostomy poop!  – Claire

NO VALUABLES – Sidra

Petroleum jelly! Soft pants and big sanitary towels – Kirsty

Headphones for phone/tablet/tv if you’ll have a roommate. A notebook or preferred memo app for logging medication info, questions, output – Regan

A scarf covered in your favourite perfume – Frankie

I took my straighteners and hair dryer in because the first time I had surgery I looked like the pigeon lady from Home Alone! Plenty of cash, these places aren’t cheap when the shop trolley comes round and you fancy watching some tv. Oh and decent luggage because guaranteed you’ll go home with more stuff than what you went in with! It’s also easier to pack when you get moved wards etc. Heat packs are also good for back pain etc – Donna

An extension cord or portable phone charger for when you can’t reach the plugs – Alice

Face wipes. I wasn’t wearing make up but it felt so refreshing to wash my face – Lee

Lavender hand cream and a little bag of lavender to mask the hospital smell – Liz

Dry shampoo. Phone charger. I couldn’t focus to read but I could scroll through Instagram or Pinterest. Also stretchyand bigger than normal clothes to wear home. There will be bloating and swelling. The last thing you want is anything restrictive. – Lee

Baggy shirts, sweatshirts & PJs, dark colored at first – Susan

If it’s a woman and she is taking birth control pills – she should pack some pads. If she isn’t well enough to take her pill she will get her period after a few days of missed birth control – Brandi

Post Op j pouch ileostomy ibd surgery sheffield sam cleasby so bad ass

Thank you so much to everyone who replied, you can see the whole thread here!

I hope this is helpful to anyone facing surgery any time soon, I know it is scary but all these little things will make it that bit easier and it is so great that they all come from people who have been there and understand what you are going through.

Sam xx

 

 

How to cope when your child isn’t heterosexual 

So recently, our daughter told us that she has a girlfriend and so I thought I’d do a little post about how to cope with this news.

I’m kidding, coping means dealing with a difficult situation. I don’t need to cope with this, it just is and it makes no difference at all to our relationship!

My daughter is an awesome human being, she is kind, caring, funny, intelligent, curious, exciting, passionate, loving, brave, beautiful and a total badass warrior queen.  She makes me so happy and proud for all of these reasons and so her relationships bear no relevance to how I feel about her.

All I have ever wanted is for my children to be happy.  And my role in her coming out is to ensure that she knows that we love and support her in all that she does.

We’ve talked a lot, she’s very open and honest with us and so we give her the same respect back. I have told her that as a heterosexual woman, I can’t know how she feels, but that I am willing to listen, learn and support.  I ask questions, I hear her answers and tell her that though I may not know the answer to any questions she might have, that I can damn sure try to find out.

I told her that as her mum, I hope she can always come to me, but if she feels she can’t, we can talk about adults who she can trust and speak to in privacy.

Has it changed anything? Certainly not in our relationship apart from me realising that she is growing up and dating.  Does it change anything for me personally? I suppose I feel more sensitive to comments I hear about sexuality and homophobia. I have lots of LGBTQ+ friends and would stand up with them against prejudice but it’s probably made me more aware of that prejudice.

when your child is pansexual

It made me check my privilege and realise that my sexuality isn’t questioned by others. That I never worry about holding hands with my partner or showing affection in public. It makes me realise that my sexuality is never an issue for people or up for discussion.

I suppose I do feel slightly more protective to her, I want to be able to shield and defend her from any comments that will upset her.

Some responses I have had, or others have told me about have been:

“It’s a difficult life she will have now”

“Oh, but you’ll never have a big white wedding for her”

“Is it a phase?”

“What about grandchildren?”

“She’s very young to make these choices”

I find these all pretty bonkers.  The wedding and children ones make zero sense. Firstly, I never assumed that she would marry or have children, she may choose not to do either whatever gender her partner is.  And those are things that can happen whoever she is with!

“Is it a phase?” She has told us she is pansexual, this means you are attracted to the person, not the gender. So she may date men, women or transgender men or women in the future. She says she doesn’t know what her future holds but she doesn’t want to rule anything out.  So if by phase, you mean, could she date men in the future, the answer is yes. If you mean, is she trying something new, the answer is yes, this is new.  It makes me uncomfortable for others to question her motives, it’s kind of none of your business.

“It’s a difficult life she will have.” Fuck, life IS difficult! But I’m fairly certain it is more difficult to live a life where you hide your true feelings.  Could she face prejudice in her life. Of course. She’s a woman. It’s going to happen regardless of who she dates.  Does adding pansexuality to the mix mean she could face more prejudice? Yes. But that really is society’s issue and not her burden to bear.

“She’s very young to make these choices” Sexuality isn’t a choice. I never made a conscious decision to be straight, it’s just who I am and it’s the same for her. She isn’t making choices, she is expressing her feelings.

when your child is pansexual

As a half Indian, disabled, working class woman, I have had my fair share of prejudice and it’s not a nice feeling to know others are judging you on aspects of yourself that you have no control over and the same goes for my daughter and her sexuality.

Are you allowed your opinion? Of course! But I’ll warn you now, never bring a negative opinion about this onto my child. Because I’ll go mama bear on your ass and it won’t be pretty…

The only genuine advice I would give to any parents who have recently found out their child is LGBTQ+ is to be open, genuine and accept that you may not be the only person your child needs right now, get googling, there are support groups for kids who may want to talk, my daughter is going to an LGBTQ+ youth club.  Also remember that this isn’t about you.  It’s about them so make them the centre of your thoughts and feelings.

I think something my daughter has appreciated is that we are asking her questions, she’s the only expert of how she is feeling and so I am treating her as such.  In doing this, we can show her that we accept, appreciate and listen to her and that we know we can learn from her.

I am very proud of her, she is a fantastic person and always has been, her passion for learning, kindness of spirit and beautiful soul have ensured that pride.  Yet now Pride has a capital letter in our relationship because her pansexuality is something that changes nothing between us, yet is a huge part of who she is.

So here’s to my daughter, my wonderful, hilarious, intelligent, pansexual queen of a daughter.
Sam xx 

#MyDailyIBD – a 365 photography project for IBD Awareness

As we approach a new year, I came up with a fun little project that I thought might help share our IBD stories and raise awareness while we go.  I love photography, it is so special what we can emote in one image and so I thought I would begin #MyDailyIBD.

The idea is that you take one photo a day that shares an element of your IBD life relating to a specific topic.  Each month, I will share a board with the topic of the day and you can take a photo and share on social media (instagram, twitter, Facebook, pinterest).

You can be as literal or as creative as you like!  Using the hashtag #MyDailyIBD and tagging me in means others can look at your images and you can see what other people are sharing too.

This is meant to be a fun project that anyone can get involved in and by this time next year, you will have a photo diary of your IBD life.

IBD is often seen as an ’embarrassing illness’, the poop factor makes people feel uncomfortable talking about it.  My aim with this blog has always been to raise awareness, to #StopPooBeingTaboo and to let the 5 million people worldwide with IBD that they aren’t alone.  This project encapsulates all of those ideas and I hope it will be a positive and helpful project.

Don’t worry if you miss a day, just pick up on the next day and carry on.

#MyDailyIBD

#mydailyibd sam cleasby sobadass

 

 

Each day take a look and share an image that relates to that date of the month, so on the 1st January, we will start with a New Year Selfie, share on whichever form of social media you like, use the hashtag #MyDailyIBD and #NewYearSelfie and then enjoy looking at what other people are sharing.

This might work really well, or be a huge flop! Either way, I will be doing this for a personal collection of photos of my year, so even if you choose not to take part, you can peruse my photos on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

I hope you will get involved and share the idea far and wide and we can get people talking about IBD.

 

Love Sam xx

Can we get this amazing song to Christmas number one?

Have you heard of the Everly Pregnant Brothers? They are a ridiculously funny and brilliant band from Sheffield who play ukulele puntastic covers of modern classics and if you haven’t heard of them, I hope by Christmas day, you will have as they have released their hilarious cover of Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon, Chip Pan on Fire with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to raise money for Shelter and Age UK to protect the elderly and vulnerable in their homes.

I first came across Everly Pregnant Brothers at Tramlines festival where they played at a tiny, riverside pub and took over the whole area with thousands of people hanging off railings to see them play.  With classics such as Pork Pie (Parklike), No Oven No Pie (No Woman, No cry) and Sheffield Calling (you get the drift, right?) they are a Sheffield staple and quickly became a firm favourite in the So Bad Ass household.  We bought all their albums and attended lots of their gigs for silly, funny and wonderfully Sheffield lols.

sam cleasby so bad ass every pregnant brothers tramlines

And so when I saw they were releasing this charity single for Christmas, it put a smile on my face.  How fab, I thought, that’ll raise a few quid and more of my friends can fall in love with them.  They started selling well, then it got serious, they were on TV on The Last Leg where they got a standing ovation, in the media and filling my Facebook and twitter feed, bloody hell, could they actually make it? A group of middle aged men playing ukuleles, not taking themselves or life too seriously, could they actually become the light at the end of the shitty tunnel that 2016 has been?

I became friends with Big Shaun (their singer) after a while, we would bump into each other at Tramlines and as anyone in Sheffield knows, EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE, so it was obvious that we would have mutual buddies.  I saw him put out a call on Facebook for musicians to play at a one off charity night with him to raise money for the victims of sexual grooming and exploitation in South Yorkshire and shyly got in touch, offering the services of my then 14 year old bass playing son.  He didn’t have much experience, not much more than a few gigs at school and so I fully expected to be politely turned down.

But I don’t think Big Shaun does turning people down, he has a big heart and a love of music and community and so he took my lad under his wing and welcomed him into the gang.  Weeks of rehearsals followed, each one with me collecting Charlie from a room full of musicians apologising for any swear words they may have taught my lad that week, and then came the gig where they kicked arse and raised lots of money for a worthy cause.  They also inspired my boy to have a love of old music, to realise that he could do this and to give his musical confidence a huge boost.  And for that, I will always be truly grateful.

everly pregnant brothers photo by timm Cleasby photography

Photo by Timm Cleasby Photography

And so here comes the science bit, can you afford to buy this single for 99p and not only be raising money for great charities but getting this wonderful band to Christmas number 1?

If you are still in doubt, here are a few reasons why you should…

  1. Ukuleles are flipping cool.
  2. Raising money for Shelter and Age UK.  Do it for the older people and those struggling with housing problems.
  3. 2016 has seen us lose so many musical geniuses, David Bowie would want you to buy this.
  4. You could piss off Simon Cowell and keep another x factor conveyer belt, cookie cutter singer off the number one spot.
  5. The video was shot with zero budget, these guys have no big marketing team and millions of pounds behind them, it’s just some Sheffielders doing what they love and playing tiiiiinnnnny guitars.
  6. It will put a smile on your face, guaranteed.
  7. All the cool kids are doing it.
  8. Sheffield is basically the centre of the universe and it is only right that we host the xmas number one.
  9. Wooooaaahhhhhhhhhhhh my chip pan’s on fire.  Best. Lyric. Ever
  10. Because I am asking you reallllly nicely.

Come on lovely readers, stick your hand in your virtual pocket and fork out 99p to make my year!

 

Sam xxx