Kelly Bond, The healthy + chilled lifestyle orchestrator and Adventure instigator

Kelly Bond, our Girl On Fire , wants you to live on the wild side

Kelly Bond, 39, loves an adventure. Whether it’s snowboarding or camping in the wild, she loves the great outdoors – and pushing herself. And now she wants to persuade other women that happiness lives in the wild!

Grow Her Wild was started by Kelly as a way to share her love of the outdoors and adventure with other women, but it quickly became something much more, after she realised being at home with her little girl Millie wasn’t enough for her.

“Grow Her Wild came about because I’ve been at home with Millie and I kind of felt I need to have a word with myself,” she says. “I thought I’ve got to change something. I can’t just sit here, so I started to look at what it could do, rather than what I couldn’t.”

As someone who has always loved things like paddle boarding and bush craft, she decided this was the way to go.

“I kind of formed Grow Her Wild as a bit of a blog, but now what I’m finding is it’s turned into more of a lifestyle thing. It’s kind of taken on its own thing and covering so much more!”

Out of this world…

After suffering from anorexia in her late teens, Kelly decided to go into the health and nutrition industry as a way of trying to help herself back from the eating disorder. As well as providing her with a new career, it also propelled her into the world of bodybuilding! This was no ordinary body building though – it ended up with her placing third in Miss Galaxy Universe.

She says: “I booked a competition space, hired a coach and so the adventure began.

“5am starts. Eating tins of tuna at random hours. Training at random hours outside of working PT hours. A lot of sleep and money and supplements…”

Despite it being so gruelling she says she wouldn’t change it for the world!

“I was a woman in a bikini on stage with confidence BUT I wouldn’t recommend it to the everyday woman just wanting to feel good in her own skin,” she advises. “That’s why I now focus on the whole health of women and not just their packaging.”

Finding herself

While pregnant with her daughter, now a lively toddler, she suddenly felt unwell.

“I mean at three months pregnant, I was still doing CrossFit and in weight vests and then suddenly I really wasn’t well,” she recalls. “It took me a while to be taken seriously by doctors. Turns out it was blood clots in my legs and lungs and gestational diabetes.”

Her life was suddenly put on hold and she said she spent the following years in a world of confusion.

“I really didn’t feel like I knew who I was anymore,” she says. “I didn’t know who was looking back at me in the mirror. It was just bizarre.”

Thankfully earlier this year, she finally received a diagnosis of May–Thurner syndrome, a compression in blood vessels, which then causes blood clots. The mum of one has since had stents fitted and, in her words, feels “like a whole new woman.”

The one constant that has got her through tough times was her love of the outdoors, which led her to becoming a Bear Grylls Survival Academy instructor. While she loves pushing herself in the wild, she says that she hopes all women see that they can have a place in nature.

“Everyone is capable of something out there,” she states. “That’s the beautiful thing about it. You don’t necessarily need loads of kit or to be traveling miles to do it. You don’t have to disappear off to Kilimanjaro or wherever – you can just find a local bit of woodland and go for a trudge around it!”

On Fire Life Questions

What’s one of the favourite things about your job?
Seeing people connecting. I run family camps and you see families turn up – the kids are on the phone, they’re not talking to each other. There’s this kind of resistance when you first meet them then as you see them complete tasks like building a den and sleeping in it during the night, they start working together. By the end of it you see them all sat there chatting to one another. I’ve had parents come to me say the experience was amazing, simply for the fact they’ve spoken to their child about what was going on in their life. It’s just so special.

What is that one kernel that you’d like/wish that other women knew?
You’re far more capable than you give yourself credit for, whether it’s everyday little situations to massive mammoth challenges. You can do it! We all second guess ourselves. Just get started and get stuck in – you’ll get through.

What’s your quote that gets you through testing times?
You’re not failing, you’re just mid conquer. You know when you have those days where you feel like, Oh God, why am I bothering? It just kind of puts it in perspective a little bit then.

How do you approach the work/life juggle?
I’ve learned to take the approach of be organised to be disorganised. Sort what you can – the basics and everything – and all you can do is roll with the rest. As long as I know that all bases are covered that I can have covered and the rest just, go with the flow!

What would you tell your teenage self?
Never lose your young and give less f*&ks! Don’t lose that ability to be excited about even the little things. Just go for stuff and not care what other people saying.

"Don't lose that ability to be excited about even the little things. Just go for stuff and not care what other people saying."
Kelly Bond, The healthy + chilled lifestyle orchestrator and Adventure instigator
Kelly Bond

What’s your best self-care tip?
I take the approach of not being afraid to be selfish, because we all need different things at different times. It’s easy, as a mum in particular, to ignore those needs, no matter how small they are…  Once they go to bed, run a bath, have a face mask and a nice glass of wine, rather than tidying up.

Now we’re in lockdown, it’s actually a great time to look after yourself and use your time wisely – but wisely doesn’t mean setting yourself up to fail. Experiment with new recipes and new ways to exercise. Make a weekly menu. If upping your exercise is your thing and you fail on day two don’t beat yourself up; what will really work for you going forwards? I like to encourage one exercise multiple times throughout the day e.g. squat while the kettle’s on or lunge in your favourite box set breaks. Just make taking care of you actually about you!

What book, film or song has been a big influence on your life?
GirlBoss by Sophie Amoruso. It’s so real and unpolished and true to life. It’s one of the things that shows that you can come up from adversity, follow your gut and go for it. And nine times out of ten it should pay off in one way or another!

What’s the one thing you’d like to be remembered for?
Leaving a little bit of a legacy with Grow Her Wild and ideally helping millions of females all over the world to live a better way of life. Everyone’s got their own battles going on, but if you can help people get through life a bit easier then it’s winning.

Any tips for coping with lockdown?
I’m taking it one day at a time. If I think too far ahead, I feel too restricted and cut off. If I don’t think at all I lose a bit of drive and motivation. I wake up and roll with the day – having a toddler to hand makes this extremely easy!

What is the first thing you want to do when lockdown is finally over?
There’s so much… Visit & hug family and friends. Mix with strangers! Visit the local coast. Get out on a paddle board. Set up very laid back camp gatherings for women & children. Go between local shops (butchers, bakers, health food stores) without worry – and talk to people in them! Sit in a proper local pub. Get signed up to take part in some adventures. Basically – EVERYTHING!!

Follow Kelly on Instagram and find out how you can go wild on her official website Amoruso

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