Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Now displaying: Page 22
Mar 13, 2018

Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere has a passion for adventure, challenging her limits both physically and mentally, and exploring this wonderful world in which we live. 

After university Katie had the opportunity to build a career as a commercial model, on fashion shows for household names such as Marks and Spencer’s, Tony & Guy and Alexander McQueen, photo shoots and a number of Film and TV projects including having body-doubled for Cameron Diaz. 

Then in 2005, Katie met polar explorer Tarka L'Herpiniere,  and they were quick to find they had little in common. Tarka was less than impressed with her manicured nails and face full of makeup, likewise, Katie did not see Tarka as the ‘all-action hero’ that his accolades suggest, more a really ‘odd’ Frenchman who seemed to find enjoyment in throwing himself into frozen lakes! It wasn’t long before the facades were broken and by 2006 Katie had left behind her life as a model and made the gigantic leap from exhibitionist to expeditionist.

In 2007, after 167 days and 4500km Katie & Tarka, in an incredible feat of determination, became the first recognised people to walk unsupported the entire length of the Great Wall of China, from its western most terminus to its eastern most. 

From the completion of this challenge, Katie realised that any feeling of accomplishment, achievement or success is directly proportional to the effort, commitment and hardship put into achieving it. 

Having discovered this newfound inner strength, she has since gone on to fill her life with many more adventures. Including; the longest crossing of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap by a woman, cycling across Africa on a vintage African bicycle with no brakes or gears unsupported, raced in the Transcontinental unsupported single stage 4000km bike race across Europe, lived in a floating tent in -50C on the Arctic Ocean, and has nearly lost her life on many numbers of occasions.

Show notes

  • Living in France in a ski resort 
  • Growing up in Devon, spending time outside and riding horses
  • Being lazy by nature
  • Meeting a polar explorer…. Tarka
  • Being invited to walk to the North Pole!
  • Deciding to walk the Great Wall of China!
  • How her confidence evolved
  • Being open to new challenges
  • The conditions over in China
  • Dealing with the 40 degree heat and having to be rescued
  • Not being cut out for the expedition life
  • Dealing with compression of the spine and shrinking by an inch
  • Dealing with the biggest snow storm China had ever seen!
  • Why she kept going, even though she cried every day of the journey
  • What was it like finishing her first massive challenge
  • 2 showers in 6 months….
  • Reflecting back on the journey which was completed over 10 years ago
  • Their relationship while on expedition
  • Starting to plan the next adventure, almost straight away!
  • Being disheartened by adventure, and struggling to make a living from being an adventurer
  • No adventure for 5 years…
  • Discussing money…
  • Living at home with parents to cover the day to day living costs
  • Playing favourites with challenges
  • Why she is happy to say no 
  • Heading over to the Patagonia Ice Cap even having a fear of snow & ice…
  • Stopping breathing & dying on the ice
  • Waiting for a weather window to make a crossing, while living on half rations
  • Making a plan to get off the icecap
  • Mental tips and tricks to keep calm and to be resilient
  • Working with a sports psychologist 
  • Type 2 fun and not enjoying the experiences while she does them
  • Making the transition to solo adventure
  • Signing up for the Transcontinental Bike Race in Europe
  • What a typical day was like while on the road - riding, eating & tears!
  • When it all went wrong…
  • Recovering from challenges
  • Plans for 2018….The Silk Road Mountain Race (August 18th 2018)
  • Advice for women and girls who want to lead a more adventurous life


Social Media


Instagram: @katielherpiniere 

Facebook: @katiesenduranceadventures  

Mar 8, 2018

Jane was born in Edinburgh and brought up in North Yorkshire. After reading English at Somerville College, Oxford, she became an antiquarian book dealer, and later a writer. Her ten books to date have been critically acclaimed, and have confirmed her as one of our most engaging and original social historians.

Jane lives near Oxford with her husband and - during university holidays - her two sons. She writes full time, apart from when she's happily travelling to give talks or broadcasts about her books, or working one day a week at Somerville College as an assistant archivist.

Her most recent book came out in January 2018 - Hearts And Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote. This is a story of ordinary people effecting extraordinary change. By turns dangerous, exhausting and exhilarating, the Great Pilgrimage transformed the personal and political lives of women in Britain for ever. Jane Robinson has drawn from diaries, letters and unpublished accounts to tell the inside story of the march, against the colourful background of the entire suffrage campaign.

Show notes

  • Growing up in Yorkshire
  • Her passion and love for books
  • Getting interested in women travellers and women adventurers
  • Meeting a collector from America and how her life changed
  • Creating the first bibliography of women travellers
  • “Wayward Women" - First hand travel accounts written by women
  • Finding women, whose voices need to be heard
  • Being inspired by these incredible women’s spirit
  • Doing the research, one year to research and one year to write 
  • Common themes of her work - looking at social history through women’s lives
  • Women who headed out to the unknown, who wanted to see what was over the horizon 
  • Being naive… 
  • Dr Susie Rijnhart- a missionary based in China - travelling to Tibet
  • Getting personally involved in the stories being researched 
  • What she’s learnt from doing this research and writing the stories 
  • 2018 and writing the story of women and getting the vote
  • Not being able to identify with the suffragettes 
  • 1913 - The Great Pilgrimage
  • What is the definition of a suffragette?
  • The Marches and the narrative behind it
  • What was being shared in the women’s diaries 
  • Dealing with the real fear of violence from being on the pilgrimage 
  • Which women got the vote
  • Reading newspaper accounts when women got the vote
  • Her next book!


Visit her blog and website -

Mar 6, 2018

Hélène  has just come back to the UK after 18 months adventuring in her VW camper-van travelling with her bikes, and finding the best places to triathlon train in Europe!

In 2016 Hélène represented Great Britain at Age Group level for the European ironman and half ironman championships in Poland and Austria, in 2017, it was Ironman Austria, where she qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii!

Show notes

  • Deciding to go on an adventure
  • Heading to Europe to do triathlon
  • Her introduction into road cycling and swimming
  • Her first triathlon in 2004
  • How her love for triathlon evolved
  • Getting to explore the countryside
  • Joining a running club to make it more social
  • Where are all the women?
  • Why you don’t have to be amazing at it all
  • Working and training and trying to get the balance in your life
  • Deciding to do an Ironman…. with 3 months to train for it
  • Dealing with anxiety and fear before a race and why self confidence is so important
  • Being on the start line for Ironman Wales
  • Learning to not worry about the things you can’t control
  • When the gun goes off & the mass entry of 2,000 people into the water!
  • The hills on the bike and why you need to pace yourself
  • Being Celiac and how it impacts on her nutrition and training
  • #VanLife
  • Buying her van in a car auction… (Victor the van!)
  • Planning and organised and why you don’t need to play your life to have an amazing time!
  • Being a female solo traveller
  • Leaving just before Brexit! July 2016
  • Expectations verses reality
  • Getting through the tough days
  • Racing triathlon in Poland
  • Qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona!
  • 3 months…. training… and why it wasn’t all plain sailing…
  • Learning to control her emotions
  • Why the only person who is putting pressure on you is you
  • The training plan
  • Heading over to Hawaii! Feeling serene on the day
  • The aggressive start in the swim
  • Transition… and dealing with the wind
  • The mental side of triathlon
  • Plans for 2018
  • Advice for women and girls and why it wasn’t an easy decision to make
  • Being Selfish and why you should go for it!

Social Media

Twitter - @WhereWheelsGo  

Instagram - @WhereWheelsGo  

Blog  -

Feb 27, 2018

Hope Virgo suffered with anorexia for over 4 years, before being admitted to a Mental Health Hospital in 2007. She lived in the hospital for a year, fighting one of the hardest battles of her life. Since being discharged, she has fought to stay well. 

Hope has now written about her journey with anorexia, in her book, Stand Tall Little Girl. Hope uses her experiences of mental health illness to champion the rights of others, inspire them to get well, and help break the stigma of mental illness.

Hope lives and works in London. In her spare time, she volunteers for refugee charities, and charities that support young and abandoned children. She is a dedicated runner, and has a keen interest in maintaining good mental health through healthy eating and exercise.

Show notes

  • Growing up in Bristol
  • Starting to run
  • Developing anorexic  
  • Having something else to think about
  • Being admitted to a mental health hospital at 17
  • Learning to talk about her feeling
  • Deciding to write about her story
  • Learning to open up and being in a place to share her story.
  • Taking with her mum while out running
  • Her relationship with her mum, why it’s had its ups and downs
  • Travelling around South East Asia with her boyfriend
  • Why she had to manage her anorexic every day
  • Her ‘friend’ - the voice of anorexia
  • How her running developed from the cross country team at school, to running half marathons
  • Doing her first marathon and over training
  • 3.26 marathon…
  • Making sure she has rest days
  • Trying to not get obsessed with weight training
  • The Brighton Marathon
  • What she thinks about while running
  • Negative thoughts in her head while running
  • Where her drive comes from
  • Working with schools talking about mental health
  • Talking about body image and mental health
  • What a typical week looks like
  • Life after a marathon
  • Cycling across Taiwan & staying with local people
  • What she learnt from the experience
  • Being an ambassador for Sure Mind Foundation 
  • Her book  - Stand Tall Little Girl 

Twitter @HopeVirgo

Facebook @HopeVirgo



Feb 20, 2018

Show notes

  • Loving sports & science
  • Coming from a sporty and academic family
  • Playing lacrosse at school and University
  • Deciding to take up high altitude mountaineering
  • Climbing mountains in South America - Heading to Bolivia to climb 6,000 m peaks
  • The struggles she faced at the start - dealing with the cold the wind and the altitude
  • How she moved forward with mountaineering
  • How she developed her skills with no money
  • Climbing a non technical mountain and learning through experience
  • The impact of altitude on her body
  • The next mountain and heading to Alaska!
  • Climbing Denali….with no guide
  • Being stuck inside the tent for 12 days…
  • The preparation that’s done in advance
  • Summit night on Denali
  • Fitting in climbing around her PhD
  • Funding her expeditions to the Andes
  • Collecting data and using the super computer!
  • Identifying all of the mountains over 5,000 m in the Andes
  • Finding Inca ruins on the summit of mountains
  • Getting to name the mountains…
  • 106 mountains over 6,000 metres….
  • Route planning in modern times
  • Adjusting back to life after spending time out in the mountains
  • TV opportunity and being approached by the BBC… Do you want to be an Astronaut?!
  • The tests!
  • Developing resilience
  • Being taken outside her comfort zone
  • Staying calm under pressure
  • Wanting to go into space & astronaut selection..
  • Being back in the academic world
  • Inspiring the younger generation with outreach programs
  • Dreaming about the mountains….
  • Having balance in her life… getting up at 5am, running, getting to work at 7 am, work…
  • Why routine is so important 
  • Learning languages… and why you have to challenge yourself and do things that you aren’t good at
  • Persistence, working hard and developing skills

Twitter - @SuzieImberSpace 

Feb 15, 2018

Anna, is a British born adventurer, motivational speaker, influencer and author. She was recently named by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the 50 most influential travellers of our time, and by the the Guardian as one of the top modern female adventurers . She is also proud to be the UK Ambassador for Girl Guiding, and the co-founder of Adventure Queens; the UK’s fastest growing women’s adventure community.

Show notes

  • Social Media Experiment…. riding across Europe…
  • Thinking about journeys 
  • Being a planner & getting uncomfortable
  • Climbing over her back fence…. left, right, straight on??
  • What’s going to happen next?
  • Making a change from walking to cycling
  • Having an element of control
  • Wanting to see the monkeys
  • Focusing on the new opportunities & not dwelling on missed opportunities
  • Accommodation while on the road
  • Warm showers - 
  • The kindness of strangers and the people she met on the way
  • Getting home.. train..plane?
  • Going to Gloucester
  • The love story…. following your passion
  • Trying to be the sunshine in people’s lives
  • The next adventure idea!
  • Missing her brothers wedding 
  • Making it work with Jamie
  • Deciding on the route?
  • Testing out Kick Scooters
  • Loving the mountains and cycling up hills
  • Starting at La Paz & being hit with altitude straight away
  • Cycling Death Road, as a bikepacker
  • Navigation with MapOut
  • Accommodation while on the road… Wild camping!
  • The challenges on the journey…
  • Facing your fears and getting naked!
  • The wild dogs…. & being bitten by a dog..
  • Travelling with Faye and what she learnt from the experience
  • Being ready to finish the adventure & how they celebrated the end!
  • Dealing with the post adventure blues…
  • Heading over to Canada on a book tour with Jamie….. Plannada….
  • Book writing… the Prequel… (Cycling the 50 states America)
  • Being an Ambassador for the Girl Guides
  • The Adventures Queens….
  • The next challenge… A running adventure in 2019
  • Final words of advice and wisdom
  • Live your life, like no one else is watching!

Connect with Anna - Support & follow!

Website - 

Twitter - @AnnaMcNuff 

Instagram - @Annamcnuff 

Facebook - 


Feb 13, 2018

Faye found her adventure mojo in 2014, since then she’s taken on a new challenge each year;  from climbing Kilimanjaro, to cycling the length of New Zealand solo and most recently coming back from spending 6 months cycling the Andes.

Show notes

  • Living in Cornwall
  • Being shy & feeling homesick
  • Going to university and taking a gap year 
  • Learning to live off very little money
  • Spending time in Thailand
  • Being called an Adventurer & why she 
  • What she got up to after university
  • Deciding to climb Kilimanjaro & getting the adventure bug
  • Summit night on Kilimanjaro..
  • Making changes in her life
  • Micro Adventures and meeting new people
  • Joining the search and rescue team in Cornwall
  • Deciding to cycle the length of New Zealand
  • The fears, and making the decision to do it - 
  • Being a planner…
  • Getting to meet Anna McNuff
  • Starting her cycle ride in the South of NewZealand in 2015
  • Crying on the bike and having doubts
  • Wanting to quit
  • What she learned from her New Zealand experience
  • Your vibe attracts your tribe
  • Deciding to go on her next Adventure to South America
  • Fitness….
  • Flying into La Paz and dealing with Altitude
  • Being in South America - dealing with standing out, learning Spanish and the physical demands on the body
  • Being stung by a scorpion!
  • The end of the challenge!
  • Adventure Blues and coming to terms with them
  • If your going through hell, keep going 
  • Why its normal to have hard times
  • Changing her career aspirations
  • Future dreams and goals
  • Why you should do something that scares you!
  • Commit to it and be bold

Twitter - @Faye_Shepherd 

Instagram - @faye_shepherd 


Feb 6, 2018

Fiona is an adventurer, speaker and entrepreneur who loves to get outside and push her limits on expeditions big and small, meeting new people and discovering tasty cake stops en route. In 2017 she walked and cycled the length of Britain and in 2018 is due to set a new world record by becoming the first person to SUP Britain. When she's not adventuring you'll find her running Adventure Book Club and coaching entrepreneurs. 

Show notes

  • Who is Fiona?
  • Being inspired by Al Humphries
  • Being an entrepreneur and wanting to direct her own career and life
  • Hating the corporate life & quitter her job after 6 weeks
  • Setting up her first business
  • Getting into cycling
  • The freedom of Adventure and what she loves about it
  • The self development side of adventure
  • Cycling from London to Brighton
  • How she ended up cycling the length of Great Britain
  • Cycling home for Christmas
  • Not being a runner or a swimmer
  • Why she loves adventuring on her own
  • The challenges she faced while cycling and why she had to stop on her first attempt
  • Key learnings from her failures
  • Getting to the end of her challenge
  • Doing the same challenge again
  • Social media and how it interacts on an adventure
  • Mental resilience, mental toughness and mindset
  • Walking from Land’s End to John O’Goats
  • The pains from walking
  • Planning at the last minute
  • Getting injured
  • What she thinks about while walking and why she wants to digitally detox
  • People from Instagram
  • The plan for 2018 - SUP Britain
  • Stand up Paddle Boarding….
  • The 3 Lakes Challenge- March
  • Dealing with fears & funding for her challenge
  • The Adventure Book Club
  • #TakeAction
  • Words of advice and why you shouldn't be afraid of failure



T: @FionaLQuinn

IG: @FionaLQuinn

FB: /FionaLQuinn

M: @FionaLQuinn


Jan 30, 2018

A former corporate business management specialist within the banking sector, she's now fully focused upon soul sustaining adventuring with purpose. Megan has mountaineered across the globe and has scaled some of the world’s most famous peaks such as Elbrus and Mera Peak. Megan is one half of the all-female adventure team Dare two Do. Megan is an advocate of adventures in any shape or size, is partial to an overnight bivi wild camp under the stars as well as an epic self-powered voyage, and is an avid fan of all that’s deemed a challenge.

Show notes

  • Walking away from her stable job
  • Being drawn to the outdoors
  • Heading to Borneo when she was 17 & getting to climb her first mountain
  • Getting distracted by university her job and her career
  • Deciding she needed to do something with her life
  • Running away to the mountains at every opportunity
  • Everest Base Camp, the preparation before hand and getting ready to go there
  • Arriving into Kathmandu & meeting new people with a similar mindset
  • Being changed by the whole experience and having a need to be in the mountains
  • Getting up-skilled and learning about alpine climbing
  • Her first taste of being scared in the mountains
  • How it changed her future expeditions
  • Deciding to quit and do adventuring full time
  • Having a purpose to her life
  • Heading of to Mexico to climb 
  • Taking the step and why it took her 4 years to get there
  • What will other people think?
  • Heading back to Nepal in April 2015 to climb Mera Peak
  • Taking some time out to figure out what she wanted to do
  • Going to Climb Mt. Elbrus
  • What did she want from her life - trying to figure it out
  • The decision making process
  • Feeling like an imposter
  • The Paddle Pick Up with Love Her Wild
  • Creating - Dare two do
  • The first Challenge - The Grand Union Canal
  • Plans for 2018
  • The Great Pacific Race!
  • Advice and tips for you to follow your own dreams


Instagram: @meg_hoskin

Twitter: @meghoskin


Jan 23, 2018

Mina is a 36 year old Primary School teacher who discovered the beauty of long-distance running in her late 20's. She would say she’s very ordinary and just someone who has a love of long distance running and spending time outdoors. 

She hopes by sharing the different challenges and adventures she has, that it might in some way inspire you to take that step to actually do the things you really want to in your life. She believes that just by telling people the things you want to do it will start to make them more of a reality. 

So say out loud what you want to do with your life and see what happens! 

Mina is not a sponsored athlete, she doesn’t win the races she enters, she is a normal woman who has followed her passions!

Show notes

  • Based in Wellington in NZ
  • Being someone who loves being outdoors and loves running
  • Not being a runner & being un-sporty
  • Why it all changed in her mid - 20’s
  • Her first Half Marathon…& how she got into long distance running
  • What if she could do the Marathon des Sables?
  • 3 years to train.. the pressure?
  • Training in her final year.. including an ironman!
  • Becoming obsessed with her plan!
  • Training with her partner and by herself
  • Managing her nutrition and food
  • Her highlight from the MDS..
  • Why did you start? What are your reasons?
  • Taking it to the next level and deciding to run the full length of a country!
  • What if….
  • Getting to the start line on the 16th November 2014
  • 77 days on the trail!
  • Getting past the first 7 days and why day 8 she hit a low..
  • What’s going on in her head while she’s out on the trail..
  • Key moments on the trail
  • Dealing with the rivers…
  • The final day, the final 65K & reaching Bluff
  • What happened after the run?
  • Deciding to live on a boat!
  • Deciding on her next challenge!
  • Wanting to see more of Great Britain
  • Planning the GB run
  • Expectations verses reality
  • What’s she learnt from doing these challenges
  • Advice for other women
  • Future plans and ambitions
  • Emilia Lahti - 
  • Sisu Not Silence - 
  • What her role will be as a supporter of the challenge
  • Family Violence - #ItsNotOk
  • How to keep updated with Mina and her challenges -
Jan 16, 2018

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent is a travel writer, TV producer and director of Edge Expeditions. She’s written three books, penned numerous articles for magazines, set an unlikely Guinness World Record for driving a tuk tuk 12,500 miles from Bangkok to Brighton and filmed in remote locations from Bolivia to Borneo and beyond. 

Her latest book, Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains: A Journey Across Arunachal Pradesh – India’s Forgotten Frontier.

Show notes

  • Living in Bristol and growing up in Norfolk
  • Being inspired by her parents and her grandmother
  • Family holiday
  • Going straight to University and using her holidays to travel
  • Deciding to drive a tuk tuk from Bangkok to London in 2006
  • “Ting Tong" the bright pink tuk tuk and raising £50K for the charity MIND
  • Quitting her job, planning the trip, and raising the funds!
  • Getting ill in Bangkok
  • Taking a month to cross China
  • How the trip changed her perceptions of herself
  • Adjusting back to real life after the trip
  • The Ho Chi Minh Trail adventure and how it evolved
  • Loving the history and the research behind the trips
  • Travelling by herself & being terrified
  • The day that stands out in her mind
  • Having a scary day in the Cambodian Jungle…
  • Treating writing like a job
  • Being a self motivated person and being consumed by what she does
  • Her latest book….
  • Money -how she funds her trips…
  • Getting to the remote parts in India
  • Getting drunk with the nuns!
  • How happy and content the people seemed
  • Her routine while travelling
  • Missing her boyfriend & hot baths while being away
  • Edge Expeditions
  • Future expeditions
  • Wanting to go to Pakistan
  • Advice and tips for travel
  • Talk on 2nd Feb -  London - Destinations Website

Social Media

Website -

Jan 9, 2018

Maria Leijerstam is a Welsh British polar adventurer and a Wales 2016 Year of Adventure ambassador. She was the first person to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the continent in 2013.

 Leijerstam started her expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf at the edge of the Antarctic continent. She cycled for 10hrs to 17hrs each day with no rest days, and the total distance cycled was 638 km (396 mi).

Leijerstam cycled a uniquely designed, three wheeled Polar Cycle, a modernised form of polar travel, demonstrating that cycling can be more efficient than skiing to the South Pole.


Show notes

  • Why she doesn’t call herself an explorer
  • Growing up and wanting to be an astronaut 
  • Her childhood
  • Getting into more extreme adventures
  • Always living in a mans world
  • Joining the Officer Training Corps
  • Learning how to look after herself
  • How she started her journey into adventure
  • Doing the Marathon des Sables!
  • The lead up to the race, dealing with nerves and preparing her body for the heat
  • Knowing how your body responds during a challenge
  • Learning how to manage pain
  • Why you put your body through the extreme challenges?
  • Being the 200th person to ever reach the South Pole
  • Doing an adventure race & what she loves about it
  • The last wild race in Patagonia
  • Handling team dynamics during adventure races
  • When races fall apart…
  • Dealing with discomfort and managing your pain
  • Colour therapy
  • 4 years preparation to get to the South Pole
  • Testing out equipment and figuring out what was going to work
  • £100,000 needed to do the expedition and how she paid for it
  • Dealing with rejection
  • Getting onto the ice and the relief she felt
  • What she leant from the experience of planning and doing the polar expedition
  • Coming home and returning to Wales
  • Future goals and plans
  • Being a mother of 2 and how she fits fitness into her life
Jan 4, 2018

Follow Beth on Social Media


If you have questions about me, the podcast, what I’m doing… then please check out my website

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If you have questions regarding the Marathon des Sables - Please read  - Tough Girl Sahara Challenge 

If you have questions regarding climbing Kilimanjaro - Please read - Kilimanjaro Tips for The Top


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Jan 2, 2018

Beth French, an ultra-marathon open-sea ocean swimmer who was once a Buddhist nun, a single mother who home schools her autistic son and an adventurer who suffered from a crippling illness (M.E. aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) in her youth. 

During this podcast we speak to Beth about her journey to swim across the seven most dangerous sea-channels in the world, an official challenge called ‘Oceans Seven'. For extreme swimmers it’s the ultimate test; only a handful of people have ever completed it, but it took them many years.

In September 2016, Beth set out to become the first person ever to conquer Oceans Seven in a 12-months period.

Her motivation: to prove to her autistic son that you are not determined by your circumstances and that you can fulfill your dreams and ambitions by confronting obstacles head on.

Show notes

  • Not living close to the water
  • Self employed single mum who home schools her son with autistic needs and sea swims for sanity
  • Having ME as a teenager…
  • What life was like growing up - the challenges she faces and how she overcame them
  • Not being able to walk..
  • Coping strategies to numb the pain
  • Hitting rock bottom
  • Going to see an alternative therapist 
  • Being told it was her fault at 17
  • Writing a wish list 
  • Having a wake up call and taking responsibility for her life
  • Becoming a Buddhist Nun - meditating for 17 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 months
  • Having a 2 week holiday which turned into an 8 year adventure!
  • Swimming in the ocean and falling in love with it
  • Learning the mental side of endurance
  • Being told she couldn’t have kids… Getting pregnant and being terrified
  • Wanting to adventure with her baby
  • Can she do it with a baby? How did she?
  • Her version of motherhood
  • The Channel Swim! Generating the right emotions to push her through
  • How to be true to you and to live your truth
  • Why you should be full of yourself
  • Not celebrating
  • Heading to Hawaii for the winter
  • What’s going on inside her head while she’s swimming
  • Tattoos and why she has them
  • Vulnerability as a strength and what’s she learn’t
  • Why she stopped her last project - Oceans 7
  • Going for the world record and pulling the plug on it
  • Making the toughest decision she has even made
  • The next challenge/adventure!
  • Top tips… advice..
  • Learn more about Beth via her social media channels- see below!


“I'm in it to swim it and it's not over till I run out of water.” 


Social Media



On Thursday - hear more from Beth on Tough Girl Extra - The Quick Fire Round!!


Dec 31, 2017

What a journey it has been! There have been high points (a new baby!), low points (trying to raise £21K), focus, dedication, commitment, success and failure. New skills have been learned, new challenges ticked off bucket lists and fears overcome.

I would like to extend a massive thank you to all of the seven women who have been involved in this project since December 2016. It is not easy to put yourself out there, and to share your story with the world (the tough girl podcast is listened to in 172 countries).

These women, all stepped up, they have shared honestly about their experience, the good bits and the bad and I hope you have all managed to take something away from all of their collective experiences.

For the full show notes - please visit

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Dec 30, 2017

2017! What a year it has been!! So much has been achieved, but where has the time gone? The weeks have disappeared and flown by! I for one am so excited to be able to look back on the year and see what I've learned on this journey! Here is to a fantastic 2018 as well!!

You can listen to my reflections on 2016 and plans for 2017 here

Show notes

  • Tough Girl Challenges was started in 2014
  • What I do and why I do it
  • Questions to help you reflect on 2017
  • What went well? 
  • Setting the scene - writing my bio for Web Summit 
  • Not being able to admit what I wanted to do in 2017
  • Deciding to go for it
  • Breaking the year down into thirds.
  • Having the support of the Tough Girl Team
  • Getting 3.5 months of podcasts uploaded
  • Watch the vlogs from the Appalachian Trail - HERE
  • Listen to my interview about the AppalachianTrail - HERE
  • Vlog 97… the emotions…
  • October - starting my Masters…
  • Not giving 100% to everything I’m doing
  • The growth of Patreon - 150 Patrons
  • Number  - Tough Girl Daily - 22,000 downloads, Twitter 7,707, Instagram 6,677
  • What might not have gone so well?
  • Very comfortable in my bed and in my comfort zone
  • Wanting to get more into vlogging
  • What surprised me?
  • The kindness of strangers, the patrons, family & friends
  • What did this year teach me?
  • Completing 3 goals….out of 7!
  • What do you need to leave behind?
  • Knowing the value of my worth
  • It has to be a business and not an expensive hobby
  • 2018 areas of focus - podcast (500,000 downloads), masters, the tough girl tribe
  • I have to move out of home in 2018
  • 2018 is going to be the Year of the…. Tribe
  • Tribees… (Love this so much!!)
  • Big picture ideas…
  • Internship with the UN?
  • Travelling…?
  • Lots of variables…. 
  • 1000 patrons….. who knows what would happen!
  • Being open to new opportunities
  • Wanting to do another big challenge….. 
  • Top Goals…
  • Ideas for the tribe… events… leaflets…stash… meeting tribe members
  • Please do take the time to reflect on your own personal journey.
Dec 26, 2017

Megan has spent time working and living with native communities all around the world, from the San bushmen in Africa to the Sami reindeer herders in the Arctic to the Iban jungle dwellers in Borneo and many more.

Most of her expeditions involve working closely with native peoples and she always aims to support local communities where possible.

Megan’s primal drive to travel and explore means she can often be found breaking trail through waist deep snow, swinging in her hammock in the depths of a jungle or sharing stories sat around a campfire under the desert stars.

Megan’s Knowledge and skills make her a world leading expert in all aspects of remote wilderness area expeditions, survival and TV filming.

“In the wilderness the only person you are in competition with is yourself. You should constantly strive to be better, to push your own limits and explore your own relationship with the environment.”


Show notes

  • Working in the UK - for once!
  • Growing up as the oldest of 4 children
  • Heading up Snowdon at a young age
  • Finding the Military Cadets
  • Why it was never about gender
  • Careers outside academia?
  • Taking a gap year and going back to uni
  • Travelling the world
  • Going down the mountaineering route
  • Having a love - hate relationship with the jungle
  • Running into trouble
  • Developing a coping mechanism for dealing with stressful situations
  • Getting push back on decisions
  • Being chased by Drug Cartels with AK47s
  • Connecting with local communities
  • Moving back to North Wales
  • Maintaining her fitness
  • Building in yoga and stretching
  • Where the book came from
  • The mental aspects and psychology of survival 
  • What makes people resilient?
  • Advice for women trying to get into the industry
  • Do you enjoy being outside?
  • Her favourite pieces of gear
  • Plans for 2018
  • Would she leave it all for a 9 to 5 job?
  • A lifestyle or a job
  • Having a back up plan
  • Getting her dog - Tugg
  • How to get a signed copy of her book
  • Final words of advice

Learn more about Megan and visit her website -

Dec 19, 2017

Laura is a British adventure athlete with a passion for the endurance capability of the human body.  A strong believer in the positive impact that adventure and sport can have on children and adults alike, Laura uses her human powered journeys as a platform to inspire and encourage others to get outside.

Previous adventures include solo kayaking in Russia, solo cycling the world's longest coastal route in Ireland and circumnavigating three of the Channel Islands using three different sporting disciplines as part of a rather extreme triathlon!

Show notes

  • Learning more about Laura
  • Growing up on a farm then going to theatre school
  • Falling in love with sport again
  • What can I get my body to do?
  • How a pub quiz led her to wanting to kayak the longest river in Russia
  • 8 months to prepare for her first big challenge - Including funding…
  • Telling her parents about her challenge
  • Getting into Russia and the first 24hrs not going to plan
  • Having her trip go viral on social media…..
  • Tracking/being tracked? 8,000 views on her tracker map every day…
  • Where is Laura? Bring stalked? Enforced hospitality…
  • Feeling vulnerable and deciding what to do about it
  • “there is a fine line between being a badass and being a dumb-ass”
  • Her learnings from Russia and why she’s ok with failure
  • Deciding to cycle across Ireland
  • Being a women and being mindful when traveling and doing adventures
  • The Wild Atlantic Way….
  • Planning the trip and the challenges involved especially getting use to wild camping again
  • Wanting to prove something to herself
  • Dealing with the miserable days!
  • Paddling the Thames home as a fun mini challenge!
  • Making up her own triathlon around the Channel Islands!
  • Why she loved the cycling!
  • Pushing her body to her limits - her tips and tricks
  • Having a busy 2017 and working with Keen #TrailFit
  • Tackling her fear of running & why she thought she would never be a runner
  • Getting people to take the first step
  • Why fun is so important!
  • Future plans and adventures - working with schools
  • Mindfulness 
  • Struggling with balance
  • Final words of advice and why you should follow your own inner spark

Learn more about  Laura!

Website -

Twitter @KenningtonLA 

Instagram @laurakairos  

Facebook @kenningtonlaura 


Dec 12, 2017

An adrenaline junkie, Della has completed marathons, 100km walks and skydives, and is currently into walking, cycling and photographing nature along the way. 

Della was a circumnavigator on Hull and Humber in the 09-10 Clipper Race and then returned for numerous legs of the 11-12 race as a videographer/producer with then Clipper Race documentary makers, North One. She now works for Clipper helping to inspire other people to take on the challenge of a life time! 

During this podcast we learn more about Della, what drives her and why she wanted to take on this challenge!

“The race was a hugely challenging, positive and inspiring experience for me. It was a huge learning curve and it did change my life”

Show notes

  • Who is Della?
  • Why she wants to live an adventurous life
  • Being happiest in nature and having a love of the water
  • What is was like for her growing up
  • Adventurous jobs and leaving home at 18!
  • How she got into sailing!
  • Wanting to make a change - but not being brave enough 
  • Having no money…
  • Starting her training and not knowing what to expect
  • Getting out of her rut and what she has leant 
  • Achieving all of her goals
  • Having a career break - Doing Camp America & doing a ski season!
  • Following her gut instinct and knowing she wanted to sail around the world
  • Making the decision and getting to the start line
  • Using your friends and working with other women to make it happen - make sure you do ask for help
  • 9 months to get ready for the first stage of the race
  • Working with local school so children could follow the race
  • Going in with an open mind and her first day stepping onto the boat
  • When reality struck… and getting to meet new people on each leg of the trip
  • The days that stand out! The good and the bad!
  • Dealing with challenges while out on the sea…
  • Reflecting back on what she learnt from the experience
  • Having more confidence in her own abilities
  • Working for the Clipper Yacht Race!


Social Media Links


Della’s Website - 

Twitter - @MissDellarella 

Clipper Yacht Race

Clipper Yacht Race Website -

Twitter - @ClipperRace 

Facebook - @clipperroundtheworld 

Dec 5, 2017

Jen was born without legs & put up for adoption, her amazing adoptive family, gave her one simple rule, “Never say the word, Can’t.”

As a child, she was obsessed with gymnastics, and her idol was gold-medalist, Dominique Moceanu. 

Seemingly against all odds, she went on to compete against able-bodied athletes, and became a State Champion in power tumbling. As part of her story, and also as a twist of fate, she later learned that her childhood gymnastics idol, Dominique Moceanu, was actually her biological sister!

Jen transitioned into an accomplished acrobat and aerialist. She traveled internationally with Britney Spears’ World Tour, and appeared as the headliner at the prestigious Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, New York’s Lincoln Center and the Shangri La Hotel in Dubai.

Jen is currently living in Los Angeles, and her goal is “to inspire & motivate others to BELIEVE that anything is truly possible.”

Show notes

  • Growing up, her childhood & the amazing memories!
  • Being passionate about community and why she is a product of her community
  • Knowing she was adopted from a young age
  • Having her identity linked to sports and being an athlete
  • Gymnastics and becoming obsessed
  • Moving away from home and leaving the protection of family and friends
  • Dealing with new reactions
  • Learning more about people and controlling her emotions
  • Writing her book - “Everything is Possible”
  • Getting a new tattoo
  • Life on the road and travelling the world
  • Working with Britney Spears
  • Dealing with the pressure
  • Developing new skills that she could apply to other areas of her life
  • The dream list
  • Her love of travel and why it has changed her life
  • Visiting the great wall of China
  • Her idol in gymnastics
  • Finding out about her biological family
  • How her whole life changed in 2008 
  • Future plans - heading to New Zealand 
  • Words of advice


Learn more about Jen

Visit her website 

Follow on Twitter - @JenBricker1 

Facebook - Jen Bricker  

Instagram - @Jenbricker  


Nov 28, 2017

Anna Blackwell - The Going-on of an Adventurer! Walking 500 and 1000 miles across France and Spain along ancient pilgrimage routes

Anna is a 24-year-old adventurer who has a love of the great outdoors and pushing her limits. This has led her to completing a series of adventures over the last few years: trekking across the wilderness of arctic Sweden with just reindeer for company, walking 500 and 1000 miles across France and Spain along ancient pilgrimage routes, summiting the highest peak in North Africa, and hitch-hiking to Morocco (amongst plenty of others!)

2017 has been a slightly unusual year for her as she’s been working full-time for the majority of it, but she’s still found time for some fun, whether in the form of tackling my first 4000m mountain in North Africa, attempts at trekking in Arctic Norway, or just setting up her bivvy bag to sleep under the stars on a hillside in Oxfordshire!

Show notes

  • Finishing university 
  • Not being sporty but loving the outdoors
  • Camping with her Dad
  • Hating the Duke of Edinburgh
  • What changed?
  • Dropping out of uni and travelling solo
  • Figuring out what she wanted to do with her life 
  • Deciding what adventures to go on
  • Why walking 500 miles wasn’t enough of a challenge
  • Deciding to walk 1000 miles
  • Not doing that much planning and throwing herself into it
  • Not needing all the stuff she had
  • The lifestyle
  • Getting up at 4.30 in the morning to catch the sunrise
  • Coming to the end of her first adventure
  • Not living in the past
  • Being underwhelmed by the finish
  • Thinking about what she was going to do next!
  • Lonely?
  • Getting through the challenging sections
  • Know yourself - know your body
  • Getting away from it all - including the people
  • Deep thinking - Deep Questions
  • Kindle - Camera - Journal
  • Remaining positive through out the bad weather
  • What’s next?! April 2018…. The Plan
  • Having an adventure mindset
  • Advice for you!
  • Tribes!
Nov 21, 2017

Melissa Urie - Nurse from Australia who was the 2nd Women to ever finish the EPIC 5 - 5 Ironman in 5 days across 5 different islands in Hawaii!

Melissa is the second woman ever to finish the Epic 5 - an event which consists of doing 5 Ironman distance triathlons (that’s 224km or 140 miles of swimming, cycling and running) every day over 5 days on 5 different Hawaiian Islands!

Melissa lives in Melbourne, Australia working as a nurse. 

Show notes

  • Growing up and moving to Melbourne
  • Getting into health and fitness
  • New Years Resolution that stuck
  • Around the bay in a day - a cycle race in Melbourne
  • Being naive and not really thinking about it
  • Getting involved in a triathlon and how it has become her lifestyle
  • Nursing and doing shift work and how she fit her training into her life
  • Her 1st Ironman….
  • Getting a coach
  • Working on her nutrition
  • Not going for a specific time
  • Just surviving the day….
  • Ultra-man event in Canada
  • Taking it to the next level - why?!
  • Getting injured before a big race and finding out if she could still race
  • Dealing with flat types and being exhausted
  • Being mentally tough
  • Learning from her experience 
  • EPIC 5 - what it is and why she wanted to do it
  • Training and preparation for EPIC 5
  • What a training day/week looks like 
  • Being on the cusp of over training but managing to get the balance right
  • Being motivated to get up out of bed - “Don’t think just do”
  • Heading out to Hawaii
  • Finding it easy to relax and taper
  • Being the only female & why it is a big deal
  • Dealing with internal pressure that comes from her
  • Celebrating!!
  • Not getting the challenge blues
  • Next challenge!!!

Learn more about Melissa

Follow on Twitter  @rangamel  

You can also listen to Melissa on Sparta Chicks Radio - which goes into more detail about the EPIC 5 Race

#014: Melissa Urie on Using Your Mind to Achieve the “Impossible” [Podcast]


Want to do more?

Become a Patron and donate a small fixed amount every month to help fund my mission

If you want to support my mission - you can also donate via PayPal 



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



Nov 13, 2017

Alice believes that learning to swim is a human right, and that whether you’re swimming your first 25metres, splashing in tarns or crossing the English Channel, swimming can empower our lives both in and out of the water.

Alice discovered open water swimming after being knocked off her bike by a lorry on her way to work, the day before her 31 birthday. Waking up on the tarmac as commuter traffic circled around her, too busy to stop to help, she realised it was time to change her path.

Since then Alice has pursued her passions of writing, social justice, water and the outdoors. She is contributing Editor of Outdoor Swimmer Magazine, lead scientist at the International Institute of Swim Cake Studies, a qualified swim teacher, Mandarin speaker,  and consultant focusing on projects relating to anti corruption, responsible business, water scarcity, the rule of law and the impact of technology on social and economic development.

When not in or writing about water, her research and advocacy  have taken her to China, India, No.10 and the UN.

Her swims include: a 4 woman English Channel relay; 2 woman Lake Zurich relay; the Solent; the Thames Marathon; Dart 10k, Sydney Harbour Swim, Scilly Swim Challenge, and the swimmer for Team Mel C vs Team Pendleton in the Human Race Women only triathlon, and competing in the International Winter Swimming Championships in China.

Show notes

  • Living in London
  • Getting out into the mountains for the first time
  • Wanting to spend more time outside
  • Going to China!
  • Heading up to Sheffield to study
  • Deciding to be a lawyer
  • The big dream
  • Problems that put life into perspective
  • Losing her connection with health and wellbeing 
  • When it all changed for her
  • Who do I call?
  • Knowing she was going to change her life
  • A Lotus Rises
  • Moving out to Chamonix
  • Getting back into swimming
  • The community of swimmers and how they supported her
  • The Lake Zurich swim and how it changed her life
  • Top tips for outdoor swimming
  • Did you swim today (Forum)
  • Body image issues and getting your body out there
  • The International Institute of Swim Cake!
  • Increasing the amount of people participating in swimming
  • The connection between the pool and the pond
  • Ensuring women are involved in water policy
Nov 7, 2017

Zoe Langley-Wathen - Walking Adventures include the South West Coastal Path, Wales Coast Path & Offa’s Dyke.

Show notes

  • Where her love of walking came from?
  • Growing up without a car
  • Going on night hikes
  • Getting married young and having her daughter at 24
  • Wanting to do something bigger
  • Letting her dreams stay dormant
  • Fears?
  • Are you sure you can do that?
  • Don’t put yourself in a position where you will be disappointed
  • The South West Coastal Path!
  • Deciding to follow her dream
  • How to celebrate her 40th birthday in 2011
  • Accountability
  • Planning - and giving herself 7 months to sort it all out
  • Did women walk the path on their own? Is it done?
  • Dealing with short sharp shockers
  • Her first lesson
  • Egg holder, frying pans!!!
  • Being on her own
  • Wild camping V staying with friends
  • Where was suitable to wild camp?
  • Meeting people on the way
  • The grief of leaving the trail
  • Why did I waste so much time!
  • Looking for the next challenge and how her life changed after the challenge
  • Supporting Arry Berresford-Webb (Now Cain)
  • Walking with other people
  • The ultimate walk
  • The Great Trail in Canada
  • The Ridge way
  • Walking around Dorset
  • Advice and tips for getting out walking and why you can walk yourself fit


Twitter @WathWalk - 

Facebook @WathWalk -



Oct 31, 2017

Anoushé is a champion for all those experiencing barriers and self-limiting beliefs.

Born missing her right arm below the elbow, living with multiple health conditions, a cancer survivor, a Muslim and coming from an ethnic minority, Anoushé has never let what society or culture thinks she should do limit her or dictate the direction of her life. She is constantly breaking the mould and challenging not only her own beliefs about her own potential but also that of society and her own culture.

She has become a role model to anyone facing a self-limiting belief or barrier and is sharing her journey to help others unlock their potential. Anoushé candidly talks about her life, how she has remained resilient in the face of huge obstacles and talks about issues that we as a society do not talk about enough. In particular, Anoushé highlights the plight of those stigmatised by society in order to change the misconceptions around these groups. She is heavily driven by teaching others learn to shed their self-limiting beliefs and help empower them to reach their potential.

A policy advisor by day, Anoushé is currently ranked 2nd in the UK as a paraclimber in just a year of training. She is also an Ambassador for LimbPower, the leading charity for amputees and those with limb differences.

Anoushé is the 2017 Asian Women of Achievement Award winner for Sport.


“Energetic, charismatic and overflowing with enthusiasm and a force for good. Anoushé Husain has overcome immense challenges of her own and yet she’s determined to have a positive impact on others.”

Judges of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards


Show notes

  • Who is Anoushé? - Living a diverse life!
  • Being born in Luxembourg, speaking multiple languages and growing up sporty
  • Dealing with heath issues, from being born with one arm, to have cancer and suffering from a genetic disorder
  • Getting in contact with - Reach a UK based charity
  • The concept of being different?
  • Sports at a young age and their impact on self confidence
  • Dealing with discrimination and being treated fairly 
  • Getting diagnosed with cancer at 22
  • Entering a surgical cycle and the impact on her life
  • Living in a cycle of fear and being afraid of what was going to happen next? How much worst is it going to get?
  • The impact on her career and her Masters course
  • Crossing the line and becoming a cancer patient
  • Scanxiety
  • Making the move to London 
  • Where does her resilience come from?
  • “If you fall - you get back up”
  • Climbing & wanting to get to the top of the route
  • Needing to find a way to get her arm better
  • Let’s go try!
  • Learning about the British Mountaineering Council - Para-climbing Series
  • Being ranked 2nd in her category
  • When there is pain there must be something you can learn from it
  • Being able to forget the world and all her problems
  • Getting over self-limiting beliefs
  • Not wanting to rest
  • Taking time off from climbing
  • Blogging for - This Girl Can campaign
  • Final words of advice



Visit her website to learn more!


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