By Joanna Barnes 18 Oct, 2017



·        Military charity Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) supported 1,180 ex-servicemen and women in 2016, an increase of 97% on the previous year.

·        WWTW hoping to raise vital funds this Christmas for our wounded ex-servicemen and women.

·        Those who sign up to the Christmas appeal will be supporting our wounded as well as reducing their own risk of developing depression and anxiety.

Military charity Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) is estimating it will treble the number of ex-servicemen and women it supports in 2018, following a 97% increase last year to more than 1,000. With Christmas fast approaching, for many a time of financial pressure and loneliness, more ex-service personnel than ever require support. “This time last year I was living in the woods. Thanks to WWTW, this Christmas I am in a job and have a roof over my head”, says Richard , who served 4 years as a Trooper in the 13/18th Royal Hussars.


This December, Walking With The Wounded is asking the British public to sign up to their Christmas appeal, Walking Home For Christmas, to raise vital funds for those wounded who have little to look forward to this upcoming festive season. The charity hopes to raise a quarter of a million pounds which will enable the charity to change the lives of more than 400 men and women. The campaign is proudly supported by Wolsey, who during World War 1 supplied over 18 million woollen jerseys, scarves and pieces of underwear to the British Armed Forces. [1]


Evidence shows that there are still thousands of ex-service personnel like Richard who are struggling or haven’t yet sought the support they require. Walking With The Wounded’s mission is to support all ex-servicemen and women with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long term security for themselves and their families. In Richard’s case, he spent 9 months travelling on foot and sleeping rough, having gone through a ‘dark spell’. At one point, he was living in a ‘basher’ (a military shelter) in the woods for 15 months.


Andy Sloan, Events Manager at WWTW said: “Too many of our ex-military have little to look forward to this Christmas. They’ve walked in far more dangerous environments for us, so it is the least we can all do to organise a walk for them.”


Andy Sloan continues: “We want people to throw on a Santa hat, call up old friends and raise some funds so that we can support these men and women back into work, back into independence and into a place where they can look forward to and enjoy Christmas with their families.”


This Christmas, Walking With The Wounded is asking people to do a walk of any sort between Friday 8th – Sunday 17th December for our wounded ex-servicemen and women ,those who without our support will be on the streets, without a job, isolated from their family, in debt or in prison. Richard said: “I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my godson and his family. I’ll be able to buy them presents, something I never thought possible.”


In addition to supporting these vulnerable men and women, Rod Eldridge, Clinical Lead at WWTW , reminds us that: “Walking as a form of physical activity is well known to be associated with improving mental health, particularly lowering rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.” It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 30% lower risk of depression and up to a 30% lower risk of dementia. Some scientists think that it can improve mental wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge. [2] Thus contributing another reason why WWTW are urging the great British public to get out and about this December, get active and in turn serve those who have served us.


For more information, please visit .


How to take part:


·          Sign up at

·          Receive your Santa hat and fundraising pack in the post.

·          Set a date and put your best foot forward between Friday 8th - Sunday 17th December.




Last year Tom (age 9) walked to school with his dad, Wendy (age 62) walked everyday in December in her local town, dressed as Father Christmas and Adam (age 36) ran from Bath to Belfast to join his family for Christmas Day. Whatever you decide to do, your steps will make a difference to the futures of our wounded.


Have a question?


Email or call 01263 863902

By Joanna Barnes 27 Sep, 2017


3 slices crusty bread, cut into small cubes

3-4 tbsp olive oil

70g pack lamb's lettuce

175g cooked chestnut, broken into bite-sized pieces

200g cooked beetroot (not in vinegar), peeled and diced

4-6 slices serrano ham, halved

1 eating apple


For the dressing

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

4 tbsp walnut oil

By Joanna Barnes 19 Sep, 2017
 "Learn to get over the big "R" ... resentment. If you can get past that then everything will become a lot easier. It's natural to resent your husband for not being here for you or the children or when something ultimately breaks when they are gone. But they are doing their job and it's not fair to be angry or resent them for that. They are away too.  Also I find a cup of tea with my mum to vent helps massively. Never argue on a phone call it's not worth it and you'll feel worse after. And like Winnie the Pooh quotes 'How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard' " - Charlotte Lloyd

"People won't come knocking at your door. If you want a social life, go out and make one. Also stay away from WAGS Facebook groups they are full of bitter nasty women!" - Leanne Pollard

"I became a military wife just under a year ago and the first thing I did when I got here was join a choir, now we're moving again and the hardest part of moving isn't the stressful packing, making sure you pass the march out, it's saying goodbye to the amazing women I have made friends with and leaving that choir is going to be so hard but I have already messaged the choir at the new camp we're moving to so joining them as soon as I get there as well." - Josie Kemp

"Always have a back up plan when making any plans... one that involves your husband and one that caters for the last minute "sorry the date has been moved forward/back" kind of moments." - Kim Twigden

"Make the most of where you end up. It might be miles away from friends and family but put yourself out there and make new friends. These friends will last a lifetime and they understand what you may be going through." - Hannah Paish

"Never make plans in advance, learn to drive as some of the postings can be remote and have a hobby of your own to keep you company when he's away. You need to have your own life to keep you sane. " - Clare Richter

"Be open and honest with your other half. Talk talk talk, yes this is difficult when they go silent and with limited comms but I mean generally. Communication is key in any relationship, being open and honest with one another is so important especially in military relationships when there is lots of distance often involved." - Jenna Hargreaves 

"Do something to keep your own identity, whether it be a job or joining a club. However also embrace the good parts, meeting lots of different people, experiencing living in different locations." - Laura Osling

"Forget the military part and remember why you're together in the first place. All relationships have their hardships and hurdles, it just so happens that the military cause 99% of ours! Lol" - Casey Matthews

"Embrace the diversity and opportunities that may come your way. You will meet some amazing people as a result and you'll make lasting friendships. Above all, enjoy the home-comings. There's no feeling like it! ❤ " - Anna Rogers

"Life is what you make it. Stay strong. Family is the world but you will make life long friends along the way and become a very good judge of character :) enjoy" - Nikki Parker

"Don't be sad that you won't have friends everywhere you go. Good friends are hard to find and they are most definitely worth the wait." - Jessica Sutton

"Plans will never be set in stone and will change a hundred times before likely going back to the original plan! But you will get used to it and it will get easier." - Sian Angharad

"Be prepared as soon as they're out the door 3 things will break down or go wrong, smile through it!" - Mechelle Cooney

"Expect the unexpected, take everything with a pinch of salt and ignore the Chinese whispers."  - Joanne Louise

"Make sure you make yourself a life outside the forces as well." - Amanda Hind

"Invest in a dry wipe calendar or use a pencil for all plans!" Angharad Billingsley 

"Buy lots of wine, and tissues!" - Sam Gregory
By Joanna Barnes 28 Jun, 2017
Who knew you could do so much more with Ribena than just drink it?! From Ice lollies to delicious brownies, why not try some of these tasty recipes? Don't forget to let us know how you get on with them! 
By Joanna Barnes 23 Jun, 2017

Get ready to experience a fashion and beauty event like no other…


British Style Collective presented by The Clothes Show, in association with Alcatel, will descend upon Liverpool for the first time this July to host a three-day, citywide fashion and beauty festival like no other… and you won’t want to miss it!


Taking place 7-9 July 2017, the hotly anticipated event will take over some of Liverpool’s most iconic landmarks for a celebration of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, health, celebrities, industry experts and education in the creative arts, along with a jam-packed programme of vibrant nightlife, entertainment and music across the city into the early hours.


Sound like the ultimate treat for you and your fashion-savvy friends? Here’s what to expect…


Whether in search of summer wardrobe must-haves or the latest hair and beauty products, visitors can expect a truly immersive shopping experience. River Island, Oasis, Elemis, Andrew Collinge, Monsoon and Accessorize will join a line-up of more than 300 high-street, online and boutique brands in Exhibition Centre Liverpool. A whole host of new and luxurious feature areas will add to the shopping buzz, including the Expert Studio and Digital Catwalk & Bubbles Bar courtesy of the show’s official drinks partner, Halewood Wines & Spirits.


At the heart of the action, the city’s hit music station Capital Liverpool will host the iconic Alcatel Fashion Arena for two show-stopping performances each day in its new home, Echo Arena Liverpool. Capital Liverpool presenters will be on hand to get the crowds roaring with an exclusive set before welcoming models and dancers to the stage for an hour-long fashionmeets-music spectacle, Rock the Runway, styled by the TIGI International Creative Team. The impressive arena will also showcase the hottest looks on the high-street this summer in a dedicated trends report brought to you by Liverpool ONE, where you can then shop the looks straight from the catwalk.


Inspired by the magical designs of a bygone era? Celebrate the very best in vintage fashion as HemingwayDesign presents Fine Tuned in the historic setting of Liverpool Albert Dock, featuring fiercely independent designer makers, street food vendors, vintage traders and performers.


If you’re a lover of all things designer, head to the beautiful St George’s Hall, where you can shop must-have designer collections, listen to inspiring trend reports, witness designer catwalk shows from Sorapol and Liverpool’s very own Philip Armstrong, and enjoy intimate ‘audiences with’ some of the most recognised names of the fashion and beauty industry. Experts on hand include Hilary Alexander OBE, Antonia O’Brien and Glamour magazine’s editor Jo Elvin.  


Pave your own career path in the industry with a visit to the show’s Creative Hub, a one-day pop-up event taking over the Baltic Triangle on Friday 7th July. Hear from industry insiders as they share insider tips and host a series of fun, interactive workshops for students, as well as unveil the next generation of ‘ones to watch’ in fashion design, photography, journalism, art and film.  


With all this and more to be revealed, British Style Collective is not to be missed from your calendar this summer!   

To be in with your chance to win a pair of tickets for either Friday 7th or Sunday 9th, visit our Facebook page and see the pinned post!

By Joanna Barnes 09 Jun, 2017
Part of military life is never being sure how long you are going to be somewhere. We've rounded up some great solutions to make your house feel like a home, even if you're only there for a short amount of time. It's important to remember that this place IS your home, and having items that you can easily take along with you to your next abode will help with the feeling of continuity, especially if you have children. Although you might be reluctant to keep spending on things like decorating and curtains, there are lots of little things you can do that will transform a room and that are easily reversible when you have to leave. It's the little touches that make it homely! 

1. Tile Stickers

Grotty old tiles can make a kitchen or bathroom look really drab, no matter how much you scrub them. Tile stickers are a fantastic way to re-vamp old tiles, with the added bonus that you can remove them easily and even re-use them in the next property if you are careful with them. They cost as little as £3.99 for around 40 on eBay and are wipe-able and steam and waterproof. 

2. Cupboard handles

Another good little hack to rework your kitchen cupboards is to invest in some new handles for them. Ebay is the place to look again for these, it will add a personal touch to your kitchen without breaking the bank and again you can take them onto the new property and replace the old ones when you leave. 

3. Rugs

Rugs are a brilliant way to cover any stains or threadbare parts of carpet. Go for plain, bold colours that go with the rest of your furniture, or any throws and cushions you have. It's really in style at the minute to have more than one rug overlapping which can cover a large area and will almost hide any carpets you don't like completely. 

4. Walls

Hanging art up might be a bit of a problem if you're reluctant to want to drill holes you will have to fill later, but a good way to get around this is to invest in large pieces of art that you can prop up against walls either from the floor or on to of dressers or other furniture. The same goes for mirrors, which also help to make a room look bigger and brighter. If you are up for hanging pictures, consider something a bit different such as a tapestry or macrame wall hanging, the fabric can soften up a room and can be a great way to match with your colour schemes. If you are pretty certain that you will be sticking around for at least a while in your property, it's always worth grabbing a big cheap tin of paint and giving everything a neutral makeover. Working with neutral colours is much easier as you don't need to worry about getting it back to how it was when you leave and you will be much happier living somewhere where you are not embarrassed of the state of the walls. It's still YOUR home and you need to be happy there. 

5. Plants

Plants are a fantastic way to brighten a room and inject some life into a property. Instead of spending a small fortune on fresh flowers every week, get something you can nurture and watch grow. Succulents and cacti are easy to look after and make great statement plants, or you might want to fill your kitchen windowsill with an indoor herb garden. 

By Joanna Barnes 14 May, 2017
Share Your Schedule

Worried you're going to miss one of his calls? Send your partner your schedule. List your appointments for the week, when you'll be in and when you'll be out (as much as you can predict) so he can try to time his calls as best he can so you won't miss them! We also suggest forwarding your home phone to your mobile and vice versa if you think you're more likely to hear one than the other. 

Set A Personal Goal

Take the time to do something for yourself. Train for a 5k or a marathon, start an online course in something that's always interested you or that might benefit your career further, or you could aim to lose some weight if it's something you've wanted to do before his return. It's a great way to keep your focus on something else and improve yourself at the same time. 

Take Up A Hobby

There are tons of hobbies you could start to use up some time and gain some new skills. You could finally get round to ticking some of those things you've pinned on Pinterest off your list! 

Tackle the DIY 

Write a list of all the little jobs that need doing around the house and aim to get them done before he's home. You'll feel much better knowing they've all been done and they aren't sitting around waiting to be done by him when he's back! 

Pamper Yourself

Deployments can take their toll. Make time for some relaxing you time, get your nails done, schedule a massage, try out a new hairstyle or go and treat yourself to a nice new outfit to wear for the next Skype call. 

Keep the Kids Busy

Chances are if you're down in the dumps the kids will be too. Having your partner away is tough on everyone but keeping everyone occupied and busy is the key. Talk about your partner on a daily basis with the kids, maybe start a scrap book with them that they can show him when he's back and they can share all the adventures you've been on together while he's been away. 

Make a Deployment Bucket List

You could involve lots of the above on it! And come up with new things. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to complete everything, but if you aim for as many things as possible the time apart will go quicker and you'll always be focusing on something new! 

By Joanna Barnes 03 May, 2017
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g rhubarb, halved lengthways then diced
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the crumble topping

  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g butter


  1. Heat oven to 220C/gas 7. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Stir the sugar and rhubarb together and set aside while you make the crumble topping. Mix together the muscovado sugar with the flour, oats and cinnamon, then rub in the butter until clumpy with your fingertips.

  2. Stir the oil and egg, vanilla and buttermilk into the sugary rhubarb (don’t worry if it’s a bit juicy). Now, add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir well.

  3. Quickly spoon into the cases, then scatter each with a thick layer of the crumble mixture. Bake for 15-18 mins until golden and a cocktail stick poked into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

By Joanna Barnes 24 Apr, 2017
Friendship is important to everyone, and maybe even more so within the military lifestyle. You may find yourself having to settle into a new area and make new friends every few years, so what happens to those friendships we wave goodbye to on the March Out, or the friends you had before you were flung into the uncertain, exciting and sometimes bewildering military life? In every stage of our lives we need friends. Even when we are married and have families, we will always need a group of friends we can lean on during hard times, celebrate with during the good and naturally, it's just as important to be able to be a good friend back. We spoke to Marie, a military wife of ten years who has been posted all over the UK and in Cyprus. Recently back in the UK but somewhere completely new once again, she tells us how she manages to keep her close friends close even when she's miles away. 

"The positive thing is that these day's we aren't limited to a long distance call or writing a letter" Marie explains. "There are so many resources available now that most of the time a catch up with a friend is only a click away. Even when my husband was posted abroad and there was a time difference to content with, I found it relatively easy to stay in touch with my family and friends back home. It takes a little more planning and thought, but with free messenger and call services such as iMessage and Whatsapp I didn't have to worry about the cost of a text message or a phone call as long as both parties were connected to wifi or mobile data, which these days we almost always are!"

"Other apps I find really useful are Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. It was great to be able to look through my friends pages and see what they had been up to throughout the last week or so, being able to see photos of their families and even the ones of their dinners and local areas that I used to be a part of were especially comforting at times when I felt homesick, although sometimes it did make me feel a pang of jealousy or sadness when photos of a night out with the girls popped up and I hadn't been there to enjoy it with them."

Marie went on to say that for her, making friends when moving around had become something of an art form. "I think I have had to make so many new friends over the last ten years I could write a book on how to do it! In the early days, when we were on our 4th move in 2 and a half years and I was pregnant with our first child, I did wonder if it was even worth the bother. Moving into married quarters, a lot of the people around you could be moving on themselves soon and I did find myself thinking 'What is the point in getting to know anyone? One of us will only leave!' My pre-military life friends were still back in the town I was born and raised, getting married and starting their own families just like I was. With most of them, I have stayed close but having a baby surrounded by your friends and family compared to me, preparing to have our baby possibly completely alone if my husband got called away (thankfully - he was home for the birth!) I found it all hard to relate to them much anymore, although they did try their best to understand. On our previous two posts, I had had friends but the relationships had quickly dwindled after we moved. But then, three weeks in to this new one, 7 months pregnant and looking very obviously blue, I was invited by a neighbour over the street to a coffee and cake morning and just thought, why not? I'm so glad I went, as that neighbour has now been a close friend of mine for many years. Our husbands became good friends too and although it's not always easy we make sure we meet up at least once a year for a weekend away together and always have just the best time. She was probably my first 'real' military wife friend and her experience and understanding was invaluable, especially as I met her when I was due our first child. We lived in the same area for just over a year that time and were lucky enough to live close by to one another on the next move too. These days we live almost opposite ends of the country and mostly stay in touch via text or Facebook but are as close as ever, even our children Skype each other regularly!" 

"My motto now is to always try to keep in touch regularly with close friends. It's much easier to talk to someone you only spoke to a week ago than to let months go by without contact and then try to catch up all at once. I've also found it important to sometimes take the initiative, we're all busy and have hectic schedules between family, military life and our own careers. I try not to think 'Well, so-and-so hasn't called in weeks, and I called her last time so it's her turn' I try to think more along the lines that maybe she just hasn't had a chance, and that it doesn't mean she doesn't care, shes just busy with her own life. I will happily be the one to pick up the phone when I have half an hour spare or to leave her a nice message on her Facebook wall to let her know I'm thinking of her and miss her. If I catch myself thinking of someone I haven't spoken to in a while I try to message them in the next spare few minutes I have so I don't forget. It's usually just something along the lines of 'Hi! I was thinking of you today and hope you and your family are well, we must catch up soon!' rather than dabbling in small talk, or I will leave a comment on a photo or status on Facebook just to nudge them and let them know I care and take an interest in what they are up to."

Marie also explained that all this doesn't mean you should bust your butt to keep a friendship going that just obviously isn't working out. "People change." She shrugged. "It's natural for friendships to ebb and flow over the years and sometimes we do just grow apart from people for various reasons. I don't let these dying friendships bother me too much. I am very thankful for the close friends that I do have and I'm always open to making new friends when we move because I know how important they can be for both parties, and especially for the kid's sakes who find the moving around more difficult. I like to think I am a good friend and an approachable kind of person, and that I would always help someone else but sometimes when we move away from people we called friends the flame just dies out and you have to accept that. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong or that they harbor any ill feelings towards you but people deal with situations differently. A true test of friendship is maintaining it over a long distance, and I love that I have people in my life who I can not speak to for a while and then pick up the phone or visit and it's easy, like we've never been apart. Although I used to think the term Best Friends Forever was more for the playground, this lifestyle has definitely shown me that it isn't and your true BFF's will always be there, as casual and as easy and as loving as ever no matter where you are in the world or what is going on in your lives!"
By Joanna Barnes 15 Mar, 2017
300ml full fat milk
50g butter
500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
7g sachet fast-action yeast or easy-blend yeast
1 egg
75g sultanas50g mixed peel
zest of 1 orange
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cross
75g plan flour

3 tbsp apricot jam

Bring the milk to the boil, take off the heat and add the butter and leave to cool until it is cool enough to touch.
Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture and add the egg.
Using a wooden spoon, mix well and bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.

Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead well. Hold the dough with one hand and stretch it with the heel of your other hand and fold it back on itself. Do this for 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Tip the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple & cinnamon into the bowl and knead into your risen dough ensuring everything is well distributed within the mix. Leave another hour to rise, again covered with oiled cling film.

Divide your dough into 15 even pieces, and roll each piece into a ball on a lightly floured work surface.
Arrange the buns on one or 2 lined baking trays, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover with more oiled cling film and leave for 1 hour more.

Heat your oven to 220C/200 Fan/Gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross - add the water 1tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

Bake your buns for 20 minutes on the top shelf of the oven until golden brown.

Lastly, gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm brush over your buns to glaze and leave them to cool.
More Posts


5/11/2017 - Issue 15 is out now! Click 'Subscribe' to join our mailing list - it's completely free
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13/03/2017 - Not long until issue 13 is out! We are in full swing putting it together for you!
24/02/2017- Would you like to be part of our next Military & Me feature? Get in touch, we'd love to hear from you!
19/01/2017 - We have 10 pairs of tickets to give away for the Anglian Game & Country Fair!  Check our latest blog post for details!
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