All posts by kentrollergirls

Kent Roller Girls were the first competitve league located in the county of Kent. Like most other roller derby leagues in the world, we follow a "for the skaters, by the skaters" ethos and all matters are run exclusively by members of the league. We are financed entirely by members and we rely on donations and subscription to maintain our league. The league itself was established in 2010 with the first practice taking place in July at Herne Bay on the historic pier. Created to bring flat-track roller derby to this little corner of England, KRG is made up of an eclectic mix of ladies and gentlemen of all ages and all backgrounds. We have grown from a handful of members to participating in games against both national and international teams. In 2015 we took part in the British Championships, coming third in our tier. KRG encourages people of all backgrounds to participate, regardless of ability and we are all dedicated to helping each member reach their goals. All members of the league are encouraged to play a part in the running of the league, whether it be fundraising, promotion, merchandising or recruitment and all members are encouraged to have their say. Kent Roller Girls are proud to be a member of the United Kingdom Roller Derby Association (UKRDA) and follows the current Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rulesets. Want to know what roller derby is about? Want to join? We have a Recreational League for new recruits aged 18+ to learn everything you need to know to become a Kent Roller Girl! Please see our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Kent-Roller-Girls-151751578225509/ Don't want to skate? No fear, Non Skating Officials (NSO's) and Support Crew are a very important part of our team and we're recruiting! Where we meet WEDNESDAYS (Main league members) 8pm - 10pm - Lordswood Sports Centre, North Danes Way, Chatham, ME5 8YE SUNDAYS (Main league members) 7pm - 9pm - The Bay Arena, Herne Bay High School, Bullockstone Road, Herne Bay, CT6 7NS SUNDAYS (Recreational League) 4pm - 6pm - The Bay Arena (small hall), Herne Bay High School, Bullockstone Road, Herne Bay, CT6 7N

27 Tips for Passing Your 27 in 5 (Part 2)

Welcome back to part two of our 27 Tips for Passing Your 27 in 5! We hope you tried a couple of tips from part one and we’d love to know how you all got on, why not leave us a comment?

Part two brings you even more skating stars, your favourite KRG players and plenty of off skates tips to hopefully keep you motivated and push you to reach those tricky last few laps. First up is a roller derby mega-star, Lady Trample.

If you are brand new to roller derby and you haven’t heard of her yet, I recommend calling in sick to work for the next week and binge-watching any Victorian Roller Derby League (VRDL) games you can find online! She is a fearless jammer for this team (who are currently sitting at the #1 spot in the world) and when she’s not on track you can find her shredding up skate parks with Chicks in Bowls, encouraging and inspiring quad skaters all over the world.

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15. My best piece of advice for anyone learning to skate is to do it as often as possible. Sounds obvious but if you’re training for fresh meat and you only lace up for your set lessons you’re limiting your learning. Go for a cruisey beach skate or a roller disco night… Put your skates on in the kitchen when you’re doing dishes. The MST is hard to pass when you’re not comfortable or confident on your skates to take sometime to get to know them.

If it’s laps in particular that you’re struggling with, find a pump up buddy to do some practice runs with you. Someone who can do it within the time frame that is willing to skate along side you and help you get your pace right. A motivator is super helpful.

KRG newcomer and Lady Trample superfan Abi Oborne describes how the hard work she put in to smash her laps wasn’t just a one-off and carries over into every training session she attends.

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16. For me, as a fairly new skater. I found that putting in a lot of hard work with extra practice on skates and extra fitness off skates was what really helped me to crack the 27 in 5. Life is exhausting and I think it takes real motivation, hard work and drive to level up at derby. If you can keep pushing yourself even when it’s really hard work then you’ve already got what it takes. When you don’t feel like going to training, or you can’t be bothered with off skates fitness, or maybe you are scared to go to a practice scrim or it seems like a pain to drive to that bootcamp. I think that these are the golden opportunities that you have to really improve at derby. If you have the drive and commitment to push through at these times. If you are willing to work hard after the novelty of skating has worn off. If you can push through then, I think that’s when you’re going to really start to grow and improve. I think if you’ve got that then you’re already really there. It’s just a matter of time.

Treble Maker agrees that practice really does make perfect when it comes to nailing those skills.

17. This is extremely obvious but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t actually spend any extra time practicing their skills. Some people just kind of expect they’ll be good at something without ever working on it, usually because they see a more veteran skater doing that skill with ease. What they don’t see is the hours of work that vet has put in! So, whenever you get the opportunity – before training, after training, during breaks, at home, outside, on skates, off skates – practice, practice, practice!

Optimus grime is a powerhouse of a jammer for Power of Scotland and recently back from taking part in the Mens World Cup in Barcelona. He also travels from league to league passing on his derby knowledge, signature moves and enthusiasm for the sport. He believes the way to take on any challenge is all about identifying all the possible variables and preparing the best you can to take them on.

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18. Variables: 1. Cardio, 2. Rhythm and 3. Fear. 1. Start exercising off skates. Its all about preparing yourself. If you do cardio regularly you make the 27/5 half as hard. Your CV ability is 100% in your control. Doing cardio derby eliminates fitness as an issue. 2. It’s not about speed or sprinting. It’s about a consistent rhythm. Prep by listening to fast music prior and moving your stride to a set tempo. Then aim to maintain it. 3. Get a veteran skater to do it and watch them move. Watch their skating line and body position and copy them. Seeing what it involves eliminates the fear of the unknown.

Adrian Wordsworth is an accomplished speed skating coach and draws from his experience at the highest level of the sport, with an in-depth understanding of all aspects of speed skating on quads and inlines.

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19. Set an even pace (don’t go mad in the first couple of minutes and blow up). You should be lapping in 11 seconds or less to achieve 27 laps comfortably. Get a friend to call out your lap times so you know you’re on target. Get them to call out the remaining time every 30 seconds too, so you know how long you’ve got to go, and can push on towards the end.

Alistair Hines (Shank McCoy/Hines) and Blitzkrieg both skate for Southern Discomfort and England Men’s Roller Derby. They may be men of very few words, but they really understand the mechanics of skating and get straight to the point with their tips:

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20. I like to think of your body as a spring. Thinking about the biomechanics of skating, getting lower gives you the most potential energy in your coils on wheels (legs) so sit nice and low and get the most out of every push.

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21. Fast but quiet and gentle feet to maximise speed but limited energy wasted.

Getting your laps is not just something to practice in training. Our recreational league only train once a week and for many people that’s enough, but for those wanting to cross over from recreation to competition, that’s where the extra training comes in. Not just on skates training as well, skaters need to start cross-training to start building muscles and endurance. Dirty Deborah Harry discusses how you also need to take into account your body type and size.

22. I was never actually a Freshie because I could already full-on skate when I joined derby in 2006. When I joined derby though, I was 38 and the heaviest I had ever been. I weighed in at about 225lbs. Soooo… I skated my butt off when I started because I was lugging around a lot of extra weight! Are you consistently training for the 27/5 or are you only doing it a practice? Are you switching up the training? Are you doing a straight 27/5 or are you doing interval, fartlek and tempo training? If not, get on it! It is so much more fun than just trying to do 27 in 5 over and over again.

Don’t worry, we had to google fartlek training too! It’s a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. It’s really helpful to assist with changes in speed when skating and to give you that extra bit of power when you need it most. Treble Maker also recommends High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short.

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23. High Intensity Interval Training is a method of exercising that is made up of short, very intense periods of exercise followed by short periods of rest – kind of similar to skating then coasting when doing laps, right? HIIT makes your lungs and legs burn and you have to really push yourself to put in maximum effort… also kind of similar to laps, right?! If you never practice under those conditions, you’ll be unprepared when the time comes and nerves can get the better of you.

Try introducing some HIIT workouts into your off-skates training a couple of times a week – you’ll improve your fitness, ability to recover more quickly AND you’ll be strengthening your mental muscle!

HIIT example: 20 seconds work / 20 seconds rest –
– Skater hops
– Squat jumps
– Skater Hops
– Fast Feet
– Skater Hops
– Lunge Jumps
– Skater Hops

Commander Pain Shepard, KRG’s current captain and triple threat on the track explains why it’s important to train your mental toughness just as much as your physical fitness:

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24. Technique and fitness are frequently taught in training sessions, while the mental aspect of achieving your laps can often get overlooked. The last minute of laps is the hardest and also one of the most important. It’s the point where your lungs are burning, your legs feel like lead and everything is screaming at you to give up. The only thing that’s going to get you through that is the determination and drive to keep pushing for those last few seconds. You have to tell yourself that you can do it and, more importantly, that you will do it.

It might seem difficult to train yourself to be more determined, but it can be achieved by making small changes and repeating them until it becomes normal. For example, if you’re planking in the gym and you usually hold it for 30s, challenge yourself to hold it for longer or even until you burn out. When the voice in your head tells you that you can’t do it, it’s important to be able to think of the reasons why you can do it.

Optimus Grime’s next tip is to train your brain with rewards. We like that he specifically mentions cake!

25. Reward vs incentive. Tell yourself: It is ok to fail the test. But not more than twice. Telling yourself it’s ok to fail eliminates the fear of failure. However don’t make this a pattern. If you fail make yourself do something as gentle punishment so you don’t fail again. Such as no chocolate for a week. But if you succeed reward yourself with something. Such as new toe stops or cake etc. Eliminate the problems and then its 100% in your control.

KRG skater Finch transferred to Kent with a huge amount of derby experience under her belt. She has coached and captained a WFTDA team and has seen many skaters struggle through their minimum skills tests. In her opinion, it might be time for a new method to test the fitness of future derby skaters.

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26. I think a big problem with 27/5 as a skill, is that it’s often viewed as the pinnacle of the learning process. A huge proportion of skaters I’ve worked with have struggled with it in some way or another. I’m a big believer in taking the pressure off and focusing on correct form and seeing where that gets you. I’m not against an endurance test (certainly at the higher end of derby), but I don’t believe that 27/5 is conducive to good performance in our sport. I have seen plenty of slower skaters who are incredible derby skaters. I have also seen plenty who are fast and agile but not necessarily great at the game.

When looking at the principles of training for improvement in performance, the guideline is not to train at above 50% more than the upper limit of your sport. To put it into context: a 100m sprint runner will often train at a 150m distance to increase performance. There is very little point in them training at 400m as the fundamental skills required will vary at that heightened distance. I believe the same goes for derby. I see so many passionate, dedicated people give up because they just can’t quite get that last lap and I think that is such a shame for our sport.

Our final tip – yes, we made it to 27! – is from Treble Maker. Sometimes it’s hard to realise you’re making progress when you’re a newbie and you’re so fixated on the skills you haven’t managed to conquer yet. Just take a moment to look back to the first time you turned up to practice; nervous, wobbly and probably a bit overwhelmed, and then think about how far you’ve come.

27. So you might not have got your 27 this time but did you improve on your previous time? Even a half or quarter lap is a huge improvement. Did you do crossovers all the way round the track this time? Awesome! Did you maintain a good line? Perfect! Did you not feel freaked out by the other skaters on the track this time? Amazing!! All improvements are important and every small success is a step towards your main goal. 27 laps is hard by anyone’s standards so congratulate yourself for every fraction of a lap or extra crossover that takes you closer to it. As long as you keep moving forward, you’ll get there!

For more derby news from Kent Roller Girls click through here to follow our Facebook or Instagram pages.

You can also see Shep, Finch and Abi at Kent Roller Girls next home game on the 26th May. We’ll be taking on the mighty Portsmouth Roller Wenches in a double header. Get your tickets now!

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27 Tips for Passing Your 27 in 5 (Part 1)

Passing your minimum skills can be tough! Most new roller derby players come to the sport having never really skated before and some without having been involved in a sport for a number of years. Although we are all keen to get on and learn how to play the game, if we don’t manage to nail that one-foot glide or get stuck on the cone weave or the 27 laps in five minutes, it can be really frustrating.

Passing your 27 laps in five minutes is perhaps the biggest obstacle for a lot of skaters so here at Kent Roller Girls we decided to reach out to some of our own personal skating heroes to pick up some of their best tips for nailing those laps and acing the minimum skills test in general. They replied with some incredible nuggets of skating wisdom.

We hope that you find something here that makes the difference for you!

Our first tip comes from Abi Crowe (Muscle Crowe) a KRG fresh meat success story who went on to play for London Brawling (LRG) and Windsor’s A Team after learning the basics with us and passing her minimum skills.

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1. My tip for improving your 27 in 5 is get low. Lower. LOWER!!! You’ll get so much more power from bent legs than when you’re stood upright. BONUS, it brings your centre of gravity lower making it easier to stay on your feet! This goes for roller derby in general too – everyone can always get lower!

Adrian Wordsworth is a 21 times individual and 5 times team British Champion speed skater, with over 40 years of skating experience. He very kindly came to pass on his knowledge to KRG at a training session last year and has given us some great tips. The first of which is all about preparation.

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2. Do a proper warm up including a skate and stretch, so you’re ready to give it your best shot. Select your wheels to give you the most roll without compromising your cornering grip. This will depend on the track surface of your venue but if your wheels are too hard they’ll slip in the corners and if they’re too soft they’ll drag (each of which will slow you down). Make sure your bearings are clean, lubed and spinning freely to get the most out of them too – every little extra bit of help will make a difference!

Dirty Deborah Harry grew up at her family’s roller rink. She has been a competitive figure skater, derby skater with the OC Roller Girls, coach and ‘all around rink rat’ in her own words! She also agrees about perfecting your skate set up in your preparation to take on the dreaded laps!

3. Make sure your skates are set-up properly. Do you have the proper boot fit? The boot needs to fit snug to your foot with no forward/back movement. Do you have the right cushions for your body weight and skill level? Do you even know what cushions are?! Are you skating on the right wheel that compliments both your body weight/skill level and the composition of the skating floor? Are your bearings all fully functioning? Have you removed all the hair/gunk/dirt etc. from your truck/wheels … (not even kidding about hair! hahhaha!) Are your trucks properly adjusted to enable you to hold an edge and then switch edges?

To find out what works for you, we always recommend trial and error; borrowing wheels, trying on skates and chatting to your more experienced league members about what they prefer. Our next tip is from another of our KRG alumni (and qualified personal trainer) Molly (Lady Killer) who took her KRG training all the way to the USA to expand her blammer knowledge with Sac City Rollers:

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4. It’s 5.4 laps a minute so tell yourself you’re going to do 6 or even 7. Make sure the person timing/counting for you is communicating what you need and you’re zoning into that one voice. Just like in the game, you’re never doing something alone – utilise that team mate. In the first and last 30 seconds (no matter how many laps you have left) do 3 minimum.

Jess (Lipstick Librarian) was a coach and skater also from Sac City Rollers (now Sacramento Roller Derby) and just happens to be Molly’s awesome wife! Together they’re both passionate about exercise, functional movement and utilising the power your body has:

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5. Use your arms to build momentum, deep crossovers that allow you to fall into a stride all the way around the track, and matching breath to steps to keep a steady pace.

Jenna (Jennapocalypse/Sharpe) has found that maintaining a steady pace is the best way for her to complete 27 laps too. Jenna has been with KRG for seven years, two of which as captain, and has also been involved in coaching skaters from recreational league to A Team level.

6. My lungs are terrible. I know if i’m going to make it round that track then I need to regulate my breathing and keep it nice and slow. The best way I’ve found to avoid those panicked and ineffective breaths is to count. I count my crossovers and make sure I get the same number and same rhythm each time; 1… 2… 3… Glide… 1… 2… 3… Glide… Tapping the rhythm with my fingers on my wrist guards can help too. This way I know there is always a rest coming after the 3rd crossover and I can get ready to really pack as much power as possible into my next 3.

Jamie Campbell (Sparky) from Teeside Skate Invaders and Team England Men’s Roller Derby remembers what it was like to be a new skater trying to master those minimum skills.

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7. As a rookie you’re finding your position in the game; searching for your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re one of those skaters that finds they struggle with 27/5 don’t worry! It’s always tempting to compare your laps with another rookie but just because another skater is progressing faster doesn’t mean you’re a weak skater. Your strengths will come through in ways you might not have even noticed yet. Don’t get hung up on getting more laps every time, the longer you play roller derby the better you’ll get, just focus on using the correct technique.

Speaking of technique, London Brawling and Team England star Kristen Lee likes to break skills down and practice each part individually.

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8. My top tip is to really be disciplined in breaking down the steps to crossovers and practising each one. Just trying to skate faster isn’t going to do the job. Low body position, getting powerful pushes with both legs, really break these down to their individual movements and do them over and over. Pretend you are a speed skater with each movement – don’t cheat yourself! It’s muscle memory as much as any other skill. Those legs will and should burn. Film yourself! Chances are you are not as low as you think.

Even if you plan to spend your whole derby career as a blocker, using all your skills to slow down rather than speed up and sticking with your pack rather than lapping them like a jammer, you still need to pass your laps. JigglyTough is an incredible blocker and will take you off your feet if you try to challenge her! Her tip is to use the other skaters on track to your advantage.

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9. Use the other skaters on track to challenge you to go faster/keep skating. If someone is in front try and catch up to them. If you catch them up overtake them. Similarly if there is someone coming up trying to overtake you, keep them behind, skate a bit faster use them chasing you to distract you from how long you’ve been skating, how sore your legs are etc. It’s only 5 mins then you can relax!

Treble Maker is the go-to skater for most newbies wanting to find out more about how get the most out of their training. She blogs at treblemaker909.com and you can pick up a copy of her ‘Mental Toughness for Freshies’ here. Obviously her tips for getting 27 laps are not to be missed! Here’s the first one:

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10. With laps, the saying “more speed, less haste” really is true! If you panic and rush because you must get 27 laps, the worse your technique and the slower you’ll be. Concentrate on your racing line, making sure you’re taking the most efficient route around the track (the diamond or the circle), make sure you’re in a nice low, speed skater stance, think about getting the most push and pull out of each crossover… Focus less on trying to be fast and more on trying to be clean!

Demi Lition is a personal trainer and all-round derby superstar who coaches all levels of skaters at both KRG and KMRD. One tip that she recommends is ditching the derby track completely:

11. Get outdoors on your skates as much as possible. Find somewhere nice and flat and really work on pushing out hard with each stride. After that, skating indoors will seem like a piece of cake!

Tristan Epps is a local hockey player and coach who has been skating for years and loves finding new, engaging ways to teach it to a range of different age groups. Although hockey has no equivalent to the 27 in 5 minimum skill, they do practice their speed regularly with shuttle runs.

12. My tip is to power out as many crossovers on the corners as possible. Crossovers are the the most effective way of gaining speed throughout your 27-5. Getting low and leaning right in should help in producing a good powerful cross over. If you find yourself going to wide, try and fit a few more in but with short pushes. This should take you tighter to the inside line.

Learning from other types of skating can be vital in your development as a skater, as we can see in Dirty Deborah Harry’s next tip:

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13. Right away I realized that most Freshies were suffering because they did not have proper technique AND they were reluctant to spend time practicing technique preferring to rush into game play. Some skaters could overcome this but most ended up holding up their own progress.

Can you really do a kick-ass crossover? Are you really going from a right inside edge to a left outside edge or are you simply picking up your right foot and setting it down over your left? If you need help, watch ice speed skating. Their technique is easily to spot and identify. Look at their body posture from the top of their head to their toe when it leaves the surface.

Chip took a while to pass her minimum skills but once she’d decided to really commit to derby she rocketed through the ranks to become an All Stars jammer, and a very successful one at that! Chip explains that a lot of the battle with laps actually comes from your own attitude:

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14. More than anything, I’d say mental attitude is important. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Worst case you don’t pass this time. So what? There’ll be another tryout. Just make sure when you are on that track, you are giving it your absolute everything… and then some! Be determined. Focus on the track and where you’re heading. So you fall over? It doesn’t mean you can’t still get 27 in 5… you already know how to get up quick! Don’t get distracted by others on the track or be afraid of overtaking. Just do it. The C in KRG’s motto H.U.C. is commit. Commit to doing your absolute best.

Next week we’ll be publishing Part 2 of our 27 tips, including advice from Lady Trample, Optimus Grime and more top tips from Treble! So for this and for more derby news from Kent Roller Girls click through here to follow our Facebook or Instagram pages.

You can also see Jiggly, Chip and Demi skating for Kent Roller Girls on the 26th May at our next home game against Portsmouth Roller Wenches. Get your tickets now!

KRG’s Makers and Bakers

At Kent Roller Girls’ last home game, a group of KRG members got together to showcase and sell their crafts and creations. El-Viral is KRG’s head NSO and a member of our recreational league; she explains where the idea came from:

“One thing I’ve always loved about roller derby is how it brings together such a diverse range of people. Everyone starts their derby life as a group of strangers sweating and falling over together in a sports hall and discussing nothing but the hardness of your wheels. However, as you get to know people, you start to learn their likes and dislikes, and their ‘real life’ jobs as well as the different skills they have.”

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Creative skaters: El Viral, Frankenmeanie (back right) and Dread Block (in the green kneepads).

“I’ve always been a very creative person, and I love learning about new crafts and letting them inspire my own work, so the idea of a creative collective seemed natural to me. It’s so hard for independent sellers to set up successful businesses and opportunities to sell arts and homemade items are often limited to a listing on Etsy and the occasional craft fair. So why not help each other out?!”

El sells her crocheted creations online and is often found with her knitting needles and crochet hooks at the ready between rec league practice and organising the NSOs for main league scrim. Needless to say the black and gold items are very popular within the league!

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“Knot Vegan was created to show that knitwear and cute crochet don’t have to mean animal fibres like wool and alpaca. Handmade in Kent, these gorgeous accessories are 100% animal free and still soft, stylish and luxurious, and suitable for everyone!”

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It’s Nim! practicing her skills at rec league.

It’s Nim! is another member of this creative group. When she’s not reffing games or working on her own skills, she likes to spend her time drawing. Although it started as just a hobby, Nim now sells her work online and is currently working on a portfolio of tattoo designs:

“I’ve always doodled and never known what to do with them. I suck at realism and so found my way with “messy art”, I like to throw my colours out there and scribble and see what happens. So, I thought it was about time I went on a little adventure with them and see where that takes me.”

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Frankenmeanie is another one of our rec league members, though she just goes by Georgie on her website for The Wildflower Kitchen. She has created her own dairy-free, egg-free baking kit company that has a range of different flavours which can all be created by the addition of a few simple ingredients we all have in the fridge:

“No eggs, no dairy, no subs… if you’re after an easy-to-make, all-natural cake mix without having to work out how to substitute eggs or dairy ingredients, then look no further! The Wildflower Kitchen is home to a delicious range of artisan baking mixes including a 2* Great Taste award winner – lovingly hand packed with organic and all natural ingredients, vegan friendly and easy to bake.”

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Jennapocalyse having a go at being a jammer during scrimmage.

Jennapocalypse is a main league skater who is currently on a break due to a knee injury. She’s using this time to work on producing and promoting her own art, as well as using her design skills to create posters and programmes for KRG games. Jenna sells her work online and has had a number of pieces displayed in exhibitions in London and Kent.

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“I am a fine artist working primarily with print. The printmaking processes I use often look very traditional, however they frequently combine aspects of other disciplines, such as digital photography, mixed media and textiles. I love experimenting with bold monochrome images, introducing only the smallest areas of colour.”

Dread Block is the final member of this crafty group. She is multitalented when it comes to creating, using a range of materials and technical processes. One thing that clearly connects all of her work is a love of bright colours and bold patterns. Her work is incredibly exciting and eye-catching! Chantel sells her pieces on Etsy: “I make handmade jewellery and crochet items mostly with an Afrocentric influence.”

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Whether these women are on track together or discussing knitting patterns, one thing is evident, they’re there to support each other. Just as it’s easier to stop a jammer if you’re in a wall, this group has found it’s so much better to work together to achieve their goals of getting their handcrafted items out to the public.

22788716_10101657717433384_3088671958321301594_n.jpgEl Viral and Frankenmeanie going head to head during training.

You can find all of these makers and bakers at our next home game on Saturday May 26th at The Bay Sports Arena, when Kent Roller Girls will be taking on Portsmouth Roller Wenches. Get your tickets now so you don’t miss out!

Kent Roller Girls Set to Take on Portsmouth Roller Wenches

Kent Roller Girls will be taking on the Portsmouth Roller Wenches on the 26th of May at the Herne Bay Arena. Roller derby is an aggressive, fast paced, full contact sport played on roller skates and this game looks to be a close match, with the two teams having faced each other on track several times over the years and being very close on the European rankings. The photos on this page are from the last time we invited the Wenches to our home at the Bay.

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This will be Kent Roller Girls second home game of the season with their first seeing them take a victory of over 300 points in their win against Chelmsford’s Killa Hurtz Roller Derby. The home games are open to all spectators and are an action packed and noisy affair with a bar, music, announcers, cheering crowds, charity fundraising and local craft stalls to browse through. Doors will open at 12.30pm and the first whistle is at 1pm.

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This match will be a double header with both leagues’ A and B teams battling it out on the track. KRG’s B team, The Knightmares, is made up of a number of newer skaters who will be playing in front of their home crowd for the first time.

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Team Captain, Erin Donovan (Commander Pain Shepard) said, ‘As captain, I’m honoured to be leading Kent Roller Girls into battle against these fierce opponents! Everyone has been working extra hard in preparation for this game, doing lots of off-skates training and increasing the intensity of our training sessions. It’s been nearly 4 years since our teams last met, and in that time we’ve both gone through a lot of changes, so it’s going to be a very exciting game to watch!’.

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Kent Roller Girls train up new skaters each week in Herne Bay by running a recreational league for over 18s alongside their competitive teams. Those wishing to have a try at the sport are always welcome, whether to learn to skate, referee or officiate. Contact recruitment@kentrollergirls.com for more information.

Tickets available now on BrownPaperTickets.com

Click here for the Facebook event

Photos by Andrew Paul Hayward

A Bunch of Mothers Like No Others!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world! Today we want to give a special shout-out to those who juggle the responsibilities of being a parent, with the commitment of joining a roller derby league. We wanted to find out how the mums of KRG find time to fit in those off skates workouts, find babysitters for short notice games, cope with missing bedtimes and still manage to be a bad-ass role model for their kids!

First up is a family with two derby mums who want to show their kids that anything is possible with skates on your feet!

Lucy (Luce Cannon) and Michelle

My whole family loves skating. What started out as something for me to escape to, has become something that my family has discovered they can enjoy for their own reasons. I love to skate with the boys, my oldest son and I have enjoyed artistic skating together, my littlest son is desperate to be able to do a spin on skates and wants Spiderman skates immediately. Now my partner has taken up skating, although it is limited due to disability, and she now knows the rules of roller derby far better than I do.

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Therefore together we skate, united in fun and the freedom of 8 wheels!

The KRG family allows that. The freedom to learn skills not just on skates but off skates too, so that everyone, no matter what, can be included. It’s meant that as mums we can learn and teach together with the boys. KRG also provides a space where our non-traditional family can be open and free, without the fear of judgement. I’ve found that KRG is made up of a diverse group of accepting people, and this makes life so much easier for me. It’s a great place that sets the stage for acceptance so when the time comes for my kids to come and watch their Mum in games, there is just the great family atmosphere where all walks of life are celebrated as being part of this amazing team.

KRG gives me a space where I don’t have to be ‘just’ a mum. I can be me, without the homework checking, laundry folding and routines that make up my everyday life. KRG allows me to be powerful, independent and free from worries. To challenge who I am and be better, even if that’s just being better at falling over!

This Mother’s Day we celebrate two mummies, who both get something from skating at KRG that we get no where else; to be adults again and a little time of from paw-patrol. But even better, it gives us time together so that when we get back home to the kids, sweaty and most of the time sporting a new bruise, we are ready. Ready to be the best mums we can be and give them our all. Plus teach them a new trick or two on skates!

Our next derby mum found the confidence to go from being a spectator to joining in at rec league, with a little support from her family and teammates.

Melissa (Kill Skatespeare)

Having been a mum for five years, when I gave up a lot of things for myself, it was time to get a new hobby and my husband pushed me towards derby. I loved watching it, but didn’t think I’d have any chance of doing it. I found the wonderful family of KRG and they give me the support and confidence I need to make progress. Mostly, though, the chance to get away and just be me rather than “Mummy” was irresistible.

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However, six months in to my roller adventure, my four year old said she wished skating could be her hobby and we started taking them to lessons. They are thriving. My husband is already capable and I love the idea of us being a family on wheels. Isla says skating is “200 good!” and likes that I go and do it to see my friends. Sophie is finding learning more challenging, but isn’t giving up, and thinks the fact that I roll around is “Brilliant!”

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We watched the Roller Derby World Cup together on the TV and the girls were hooked. I can’t wait to take them to see some live games and indoctrinate them fully. The chance to share a sport together and show my girls, who have to learn skills every day, that I am learning and persevering too means I get to be the kind of role model I want to be. Caring about sport doesn’t come naturally so derby gives me a way of connecting with my girls in another way and encouraging them to develop fully-rounded. Derby is making me a better mum.

Allyson and her daughter Emily both come to our rec league and it’s so much fun to see them training together, we’re not sure which one is more competitive! I bet not many roller derby leagues have a mother and daughter playing in the same team!

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Allyson (Ink-redible Hulk)

Nothing deep here sorry, I came along to a rec league session as I used to skate as a teenager and fancied putting wheels on again, without looking like some sort of ageing creep at the local skate park! My daughter skated aggressive inlines for years so comes along when work allows for a potter about. We tend to ignore each other at sessions as we make each other laugh and get nothing done!

Derby mum Abi has already shared some of her experiences in her great article Do You Just Want Your Body Back? Now she wants to explain how derby has become a therapeutic experience for her, enabling her let go of everyday stress.

Abi (Abi Obourne)

When I first showed up to roller derby, unable to actually skate at all and pretty unfit, I thought I would probably be the only Mum there. I’m not sure why I thought that. I guess because I imagined most people involved in derby would be mainly between the ages of 18-25. I was relieved when I found that actually plenty of mums and other women in their thirties were also getting involved and learning to skate. It made me feel like I wasn’t totally out of place.

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Once I passed mins and moved up to main league training I did worry about how I was going to manage fitting in all the necessary training, scrims and rookie games that I would need to progress in the sport. I also felt guilty that for at least two nights of the week I would not be around for the kids bedtime. I think that this is still a struggle and I do feel guilty when I leave them, but I think that guilt is an unavoidable part of being a mum. I know that they are just fine when my partner puts them to bed instead of me.

There are times when I have to miss a training session due to one of my children being ill or needing me to stay with them, but my teammates have been nothing but understanding and supportive about this.

When it comes to off skates training, I can’t take anymore time out of family life to spend hours in a gym so I have an exercise bike in the lounge and weights to use at home so that I can do a bit of a work out while the kids are watching telly before teatime. A lot of the time they then stop watching tv and try and join in or climb on my back when I’m doing press ups. There’s a lot you can do at home without spending lots of time or money going to a gym.

Sometimes I still look at the people on my team who are much younger than me and have much more free time to dedicate to the sport and I think, ‘why am I doing this?’ But, I think that weirdly, if I hadn’t become a mum I probably wouldn’t have found my way to roller derby in the first place.

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Becoming a mum and the early years of caring for my children while they have been so little is one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. Motherhood is amazing but it is also a battle. Not so much with the kids themselves, but with sleep deprivation, isolation and with still trying to keep a sense of self. Maybe in some weird way, it’s a battle I needed to act out. And at the end of a difficult day with the kids, which let’s face it, is always much harder than a difficult day at work, getting together and training hard as a team is a therapeutic experience for me. When you’re on track it’s not all on you. You support and encourage each other and I always leave training feeling better than when I arrived.

Mama is an integral part of KRG; head of rec league, A team skater and a fabulous coach. It must be all those years on skates and her dedication to teaching her whole family to skate!

Elaine (Mama MoHito)

I spent my childhood on skates, throwing myself down hills and racing friends down the middle of the street. (Less cars in the early 80’s!) Kinda stopped during the teenage years but got another pair of skates when I went to University. I used to skate all round Southampton – back from the student bar too!

Fast forward 20 years and 2 children later, I was looking for something we could all do as a family that was fun but active. I dug out my old skates and we took off to Herne Bay. It was great to teach the kids to roll and over the course of a couple of months teach them things I’d done on skates at their age. (Hubby is still a work in progress… LOOK UP, NOT AT YOUR FEET!) We all have our own skates now and take them wherever we go on holidays.

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I believe it’s been hugely beneficial to have taught my children to skate. At the same time I started roller derby my husband took up bike riding so the children have seen us become active and enjoy sport. They are both active although in very different disciplines Rugby and Irish dancing!

They are very supportive of me playing roller derby and enjoy hip checking me too. Although I can get a dramatic eye roll if I talk about it too much. I’m not really one for guilt so I don’t feel bad about leaving the family for derby training and games. I believe everyone needs their own ‘Me Time’, if you like relaxing in a bath, great….so do I, just after I’ve bashed some derby players!

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Roller Derby keeps me young and a bit of a role model amongst my kids peers. Their friends look at me differently when they find out what sport I do and I’m sure I’ve got my kids respect too (albeit grudgingly I’m sure!) It’s fantastic to see so many mum’s in our league now. When I started in early 2014 I was the only Mum in our Rec League and about 20 years older than everyone else. But that just made me more determined to make it into our Main League and also inspired my derby name and number. I’m proud to be a roller derby Mum and how old I am, oh and Mojito is my favourite cocktail!

This mum got fed up of giving up on exercise classes because she couldn’t commit to them with so many uncertainties associated with family life. Roller derby just clicked for her and fit into her busy life. If you want to join us like Kimm did, our recreational league trains every Sunday at 4pm and we can teach you everything you need to know.

Kimm (Skrimm Wilde)

I started roller derby in Jan 17 after one of the school mum’s flagged up a local class. At the time I was 43 with boys of 3 and 5 years. The main reason I decided to join derby last year was the timing. As a mum, who works, has a partner who does long hours and no family around, 7.30pm exercise classes don’t work for me! 4-6pm on a Sunday is such a great time! I had attempted a few mid week classes but kiddie sickness or partner regularly late back just meant more failed juggling and the feeling of letting down children, partner, class instructor or yourself so I would give up after a few months.

After the first few weeks of training with KRG I realised that there was no mention of pucks or sticks so it couldn’t be a roller hockey class, but whatever roller derby was, I loved it.

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The training sessions were fun, hard work, and with an amazing group of ladies of all shapes, sizes and abilities who laughed together. The three things I loved most about going to derby rec league are: 1. You came away sweating; I was finally burning off those leftover children’s dinners and sneaky haribos I’d been having for breakfast! 2. Every week I felt like I had achieved something and was just getting a little bit better at a highly competitive, athletic sport. 3. Probably most importantly, the skills, teaching and support of the main leaguers who volunteer to teach the rec league is quite incredible. They give up their time to make the rec league fun while offering endless encouragement and advice, making each person who goes believe that they can tick off all of the skills in the handbook to be considered to join the main league. Having done regular sport for over a year, I have to say that it has taken a lot of adjusting to take that time for me.

In December I was invited to start training with main league. This involves 2 training sessions a week and should see me doing more off skates training to increase strength and stamina and practice footwork. I struggle to put in the extra hours but have no doubt that working towards increased fitness, to participate in a team sport, that invigorates me, is one of the best reasons to grab back that time for me and I am inspired to get better, a little bit, week by week.

Our next derby mum also came to a rec league session with no idea what she was getting into! Now she’s fallen in love with the sport.

Karen (Hit and Rum)

As far as I remember I was born with skates on my feet. I lived on a steep hill in Brazil and used to challenge myself to go all the way down the street without swerving or breaking, but only jumping the speed bumps… there were numerous times that I crashed on the floor and that was when my passion for adventures and bruises started.

At the very young age of 4 or 5 my mum used to leave us with some awful ballerina clothes in the ice rink in a shopping centre to have fun and all I can remember is me and my twin sister hand in hand passing through people and running wildly, it was such fun!

Sports were always part of my life. I was part of the basketball, volleyball and handball teams in my school. I had all the time and energy in the world and all that kept me busy and active. As I grew up I started going to the gym, I moved to secondary school and then the team sports were gone so I started playing tennis and kept going to a skate park called “Bad Wolf” in São Paulo during the weekends. It was just like a roller disco but with ramps, competitions and groups of people dancing together.

When I was 17 I went to LA and bought an amazing new pair of skates and a handheld camera and rolled down the hills of West Hollywood filming my trip on skates and it looked proper awesome! I was young and felt great doing what I most loved, travelling and skating free like a bird with no worries in life.

After I became a mum at 23 years old I tried to keep exercising as much as I could and managed well until when I was around 27 years old. Life was hard with a little one and being a single mum then suddenly a busy life took over me and I stopped doing everything. When I was 29 years old I decided to move to the UK and my body began to feel the difference of being away from an active life. Being here without knowing anyone, no parents to help with childcare and everything new meant no time for myself or to do any sports. I left my skates behind and I was starting a whole new life.

Fortunately in December 2011 I had a party in a Roller disco in Southampton and I could barely believe I was going to skate again. That was the best thing that happened to me – I was still in shock trying to adapt to my new life. It took me another 5 years and another baby to get back on track with my life and with who I was. I desperately needed to find my inner self again, but I didn’t know how.

I Googled roller skates, I never heard of roller derby before, didn’t even know it was a sport. That’s when I found KRG in 2016. I was excited and had no idea what I was going for. After my first contact, it took me another year to actually go to the Bay and see what it was all about. One Sunday I went and I had no chance to escape. The girls were so welcoming and nice that all they said was: “There you go, get some skates, get some pads, start to fall on your knees”! I am forever thankful for that. I found my essence again.

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I believe that I still can be the sporty active woman that I used to be when I was younger. I love having time for my self and I feel no guilt having to go out for training on Sundays. It’s been 1 year that I have been training now and I am still on Rec league but have almost all my minimum skills ticked off. I taught my eldest about sports and how great it is for your body and soul when you engage on something you love doing. Unfortunately he’s never been sporty like me, apart from swimming, but now he is starting to be interested in gyms, weights and healthy eating. I hope that although his competitive inner soul hasn’t emerged yet, that he becomes someone that loves sports like me.

My little boy enjoys my skates and has his own kit now and whenever I can I take him to a roller disco. All I can say is that it is never too late to start again. That the problems that I thought I had about my weight or my stubborn middle section after becoming a mum is also not a problem with roller derby but a strength that helps me to bash my teammates harder!

Being a mum and a sports woman is amazing. My family still don’t have too much idea of what I do and what it means to me. They think it is still just a hobby that I go to keep active but for me is much more than that. Roller derby is another whole new world for me. It is a passion I was born with, it is my second family, it is something that makes me feel alive again. It is when I become that young, free, powerful teenager I once was and it is not about appearances but about how you feel when you are training and on the tracks.

We are mums with superpowers on skates!

If you want to come and see these super-mums in action, Kent Roller Girls’ next game is at our home venue, The Bay Sports Arena on 31st March. Get your tickets now!

Meet The Derby Couples of KRG!

Happy Valentine’s Day! In KRG, we’re lucky enough to have a whole load of couples; we have ref couples, skater couples, jammer power-couples, super competitive couples and couples that transcend the boundaries between rec league and main league! Just for fun, we decided to interview each half of these couples separately, to see how much they really know about each other and how they feel about dating in derby.

When we put the answers back together… Well, it turns out they were just plain adorable!

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Hellen Degenerate (Helen) and Finch (Jaime)

Do you call each other by your derby names at home?
H – No I am actually one of the few people who use her real name most of the time!

Who is the better skater?
H – Probably me but that’s only because I’m less broken, Jaime has the much better derby brain.
J – She is (obvs).

How many games have you played together?
H – Must be around 10 now.

Who is your partner’s derby crush?
J – Arocha.
Is she right? H Arocha, she is awesome! – Correct!

If you could invent a penalty for your partner, what would it be?
J – *whistle blow* Gold 2 unintentional flirting!

Do you go easy on your partner if you’re scrimming/playing a game or go extra hard?
H – Extra hard she will kick my ass otherwise!!
J – Extra hard. Every time.

Favourite derby position?
J – *smirks*

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Ty (Issy) and Chief (Ryan)

Do you call each other by your derby names at home?
I – I call him by chief more than I call him Ryan, and boy does it confuse my family!

How long have you been together?
I – Just under a year – KRG’s home game last march was our first date.

How many games have you played together?
R – None. But reffed many many.

If you could invent a penalty for your partner, what would it be?
R – Sassy eye rolling.

What is the most romantic derby-related thing your partner’s ever done for you?
I – Took me on holiday to Malmö for D1 Playoffs, for *his* birthday present!

What is your partner’s favourite post derby snack?
I – Baked potato with cheese, beans and coleslaw from Wetherspoons. Occasionally extra coleslaw and garlic bread if he’s extra peckish.
Is she right? R – Jacket potato. Healthy carb replenishment. – Correct!

Couples who play derby together stay together, agree or disagree?
R – Agree – We’d never see each other otherwise!

What’s your partner’s favourite derby position?
R – Head ref. Total control of all the day.

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Lawrence of A-Lay-Bee-Ah (Nat) and Roxy (Serena)

Who is the better skater?
N – Obviously she is, she’s been skating for ages.
R – Probably her now! She’s really grown in such a short space of time! Keeps me on my toes anyway!!

How did you meet?
N – At a mutual friend’s James Bond party. She was wearing a ball gown. I was 007 obviously…

How many games have you played together?
N – About 5 … One challenge team against each other.

Who is your partner’s derby crush?
R – Smarty Pants (she like realllly loves her).

If your partner could play for any derby team, which would it be?
R – Texas so she could wall up with smarty. Or team USA so she could wall up with Smarty.
Is she right? N – Wherever SmartyPants is obviously… Hehe! – Correct!

Which is more important, date night or skate night?
N – Ooo so tough… She’ll probably say something about burritos though haha.
R – Burrito night… Is that an option? It’s Thursday.

Would you ever consider having matching/couple derby names?
N – OMG Han So-Low & Princess Lay-Herout. She will say no though so I am me and all that boohoo
R – *puke*

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El Viral (El) and Grazed Anatomy (Rachel)

How did you meet?
R – We met through KRG, El was already in rec when I came to an open day.
E – She was a newbie and I was a stereotype…

Who is the better skater?
E – Rachel – Except she talks to me as if I am, and it is beyond sweet!

How many games have you played together?
R – None yet, but I can’t wait till we can play in gold together. I will be in the crowd with a giant sign when she plays her first game!

Who is your partner’s derby crush?
R – Probably V-Diva, especially after we watched her play champs with a broken wrist!

Does your partner prefer being on the black or white team in scrimmage?
E – White – She genuinely got confused during one scrim because she was on the black team!
R – Black – Is there any other colour? Her white scrim top is still unused at the bottom of the drawer.
Are they both right? RI tend to wear white since no-one else likes that colour and it means I don’t have to change my shirt before scrim that often! – Correct!
EPredictably, black! My white scrim top has still never been worn to training (Cliché)! – Correct!

Which is more important, date night or skate night?
E – Quite often the same thing…

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Commander Pain Shepard (Erin) and Jennapocalypse (Jenna)

Do you call each other by your derby names at home?
E – Jenna calls me Shep more often than my real name, but “Jennapocalypse” is a bit of a mouthful!
J – Yup, 100% Shep all the time.

How did you meet?
E – We met through KRG… First time we spoke properly was at the Christmas party, and we were both drinking whisky… It was meant to be!
J – Derby/drunk.

Do you go easy on your partner if you’re scrimming/playing a game or go extra hard?
E – Hell no, we challenge each other to be better.
J – Extra hard… I always used to aim for the ribs too.

What is your partner’s favourite post derby snack?
J – If it’s an away game then KFC on the motorway home.
Is she right? E – MEAT! – Correct! (Pretty much!)

Do you talk about derby at home is it banned?
J – We talk a lot about derby. We watch a lot of derby. Our house is full of skates and pads and training plans and merch…

What’s your partner’s favourite derby position?
E – Blocking, most likely as a pivot!
J – Pivot!

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Mortal Kimbat (Kim) and Ronin (James)

Do you call each other by your derby names at home?
K – No, he is in my phone as Ronin though!

Who is the better skater?
K – It pains me to say James.
J – I’m faster not necessarily better.

Do you go easy on your partner if you’re scrimming/playing a game or go extra hard?
J – We are both insanely competitive so going easy is never an option!

Have you ever given your partner a penalty?
J – Quite a few, but mostly cutting which is kind of expected when they’re a jammer right?!

How did you meet?
K – Skating baby! I taped his ankle, he said the physio was cute…

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Trauma Trevor (Amy) and Skate Winslet (Lee)

How did you meet?
A – Lee came up to me at a bar (almost 11 years ago) and said “you look cool, where do you hang out?”

Who is the better skater?
L – She is by far, she actually taught me how to skate and got me into it all! She’s much better at the physical side (i.e the skating) as well as having a good derby head on her. I just try not to fall over and hit people!
A – Annoyingly Lee. He hasn’t played roller derby as long as I have but he has absolutely excelled in the last year and I’m very proud.

What is the most romantic derby-related thing your partner’s ever done for you?
L – She actually bought my skates for me as a surprise, that was nice!

What is your partner’s favourite post derby snack?
L – McDonalds!
Is he right? A My favourite post derby snack is obviously nuggets! – Correct!

If you could invent a penalty for your partner, what would it be?
A – The not listening penalty. You know, when you’re taking to your partner and they don’t even acknowledge you are saying anything lol!

And now for the most important question: I love my partner so much I’d even wash their pads, agree or disagree?

Shep – Agree.
Lee – Totally agree!
Jaime – Haha disagree! (she looks after my kit!)
El – Agree – they stink, but so do mine, and fair’s fair!
Roxy – Probably…
Helen – I do this regularly and air them after every practice I don’t think Jaime has touched them in the last year!!!
Trev – Yes, i have even scrubbed the mould from his skates before haha.
Chief – My pads are the worst ones so easy agree.
Nat – I don’t think she’s ever washed her own kit since we’ve been together.
Jenna – Agree. Shep stinks so it’s better to do it regularly.
Kim – Done that!!

Kent Roller Girls’ next home game is on the 31st of March, buy your tickets now to guarantee your space in the crowd! Click here!

Gift ideas for the roller derby addict in your life.

Valentines day is fast approaching and you may well be scrabbling around desperately wondering what the hell you are going to buy for your darling partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/secret crush/beloved friend/dog/cat etc as a thoughtful little gift to say ‘I love you.’

Chances are you have clicked through here because your partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/secret crush/friend/hamster is particularly into roller derby so you are looking for some inspiration.

So, what kind of gift could you buy for someone who loves roller derby?

Well, if you already know the world of roller derby pretty well then you probably have a few ideas, but if it’s all a bit of a mystery to you and you regularly find yourself asking your loved one how ‘that rollerblading thing’ is going or how they got on in ‘that roller hockey match’ then you need some help.

Don’t panic. I am here to give it to you. Thanks to some help and inspiration from my fellow Kent Roller Girls, here is a whole list of gift ideas for the roller derby addict in your life. I’m sure you’ll choose something they’ll love.

Pins, Badges and Patches.

I am not a very trendy roller derby player, but I’ve noticed that the ones who are tend to collect these cute little pins, badges and sew on patches for attaching to their jackets. It’s what all the cool kids are doing and here’s some links to particular favourites from our league.

Laces

Roller derby players care about their skate laces. They send each other diagrams about it and give each other tips. They get upset when their skate lacing is not working out well. Get some lovely new laces for them and they will be well pleased. Get waxed or non-slip if you can. Here are some options;

Roller skate necklace.

I love everything made by Sugar and Vice, but check out this cute roller skate necklace which can be made in any team colours. It’s a winning gift.

Bandana

Bleaurgh, heads are sweaty things. Especially if you are working hard and wearing a helmet. I’ve never been into bandanas. They look a bit piratey on me, but since I started roller derby I always wear one under my helmet to soak up all the sweat (vom) and to stop my helmet from slipping around. Cotton ones are best. I’ve discovered you can buy them in art shops as a craft material in any colour and they are only a couple of quid. A handy little gift for any roller derby player’s kit bag.

Stickers

We all like a sticker to go on our helmet. Here are some of our faves from Jammer Candy. And these super shiny ones from our online shop.

Sharpies

When you play roller derby you have to either draw on or wear your skater number on each arm. At every scrim or bout there is always someone after a sharpie. A pack of black sharpies is the perfect way to say ‘I love you.’

Hockey Tape

Same with hockey tape. It only cost a few quid, but it’s so handy for taping on pads that have lost their Velcro stick or for taping over your skates so they don’t get too scuffed up.

Posh Water Bottle

I always use an empty squash bottle and I’m jealous of everyone else’s posh water bottle at training. A tiny one won’t cut it though, I’d recommend you go big or go home.

Roller Derby First Aid Kit

Arnica/Foot plasters/Freeze Packs/Pain killers/Physio Tape/Bruise Camouflage Make up…

This would make a thoughtful little package for a roller derby player, especially if you know they are the kind of player (like me) who has a very special relationship with the floor. Apparently, arnica helps bruises heal, plasters for hurting/blistered feet can be a great thing to go in a kit bag. A gel freeze pack to stick on your arse after a particularly bad knock can be a god send and I swear by some thick colour corrective concealer to help cover up the bruises for the next day at work. The Physio tape is for performing some kind of magic taping up of certain joints and muscles. I don’t fully understand it, but I know we get though a lot of it and that everyone seems to be covered in physio tape all the time. It’s also available in team colours!

Facepaint

Speaking of make up, why not find out their team colours and buy them some face paints to match. As a mum I would recommend snazzaroo for great colours, coverage and ease of washing off at the end of the day.

Glitter

A lot of people are really into glitter in roller derby. As a parent I know that glitter is actually the snot of satan but hey, roller derby players like to stick it to their faces a lot before games. Get them some glitter. They’ll love it.

Pad Spray

Ugh, the protective gear that roller derby players wear gets sooooo stinky. Some people’s pads literally smell like death. Apparently, this foam fresh stuff works wonders. It’s a great gift that their team mates will thank you for too.

Speed Cream

We all need a little extra lubrication from time to time and there’s no shame in that. This goes onto the skate bearings and helps those wheels turn faster. A great little gift to show you care.

Socks

Some people are really into funky knee-high socks. Some prefer good quality thick sports socks or blister proof socks. What do you reckon? Do they seem like the kind of person who would like sparkly unicorn socks or serious high-tech sport sock type things? Either way I’m sure they would appreciate a nice fresh new pair to stick in their kit bag.

Skate Tools

Here are some tools that are really handy to most skaters;

  • Allen Key 5.0mm
  • T shaped Skate tool
  • Adjustable Spanner
  • Bones Bearing tool.

Wrist Guards

Roller derby pads are expensive, but wrist guards are normally a very reasonably priced bit of kit you can get and are often replaced so they make a great gift. There are a few different brands to choose from but here is a particular favourite.

Number Bands

As I mentioned earlier, each skater must display their skater number on each arm in a way which is clearly visible to the referees. You can buy these wearable, washable number bands for around £10-£15 and they will be well received and used regularly. You just need to find out their skater number, but that shouldn’t be too hard as it’s likely that you can find it plastered all over their bout photos on facebook/Instagram.

Toe Stops

Roller derby skaters rely on their toe stops to help them sneak around the track or make a quick getaway. If your skater also likes to skate out doors in the summer or visit concrete skate parks then the chances are that their toe stops are wearing down fast. Here are a couple of favourite brands used in my league and they will fit most roller derby skates.

Toe Snouts

These are protective caps which are usually made out of leather and prevent your skates from getting really scuffed up. Strawberries and Scream on Etsy is one of the best places to look;

Crazy Sports Leggings

Crazy prints and bright colours are pretty popular. Everyone seems to enjoy a pair of crazy leggings. You could probably pick something up from somewhere like H&M but this shop is a particular favourite and has some amazing designs;

Bearings

These are the spinney round bits inside the roller skate wheel. So handy to have an extra set. Personally, I don’t think you have to spend a fortune on them. You need 16 to make up a set and this brand have served me very well so far.

A Voucher to spend at Double Threat Skates

If you want them to be able to choose their own bit of kit then you should get them a voucher for this great roller derby skate/kit shop in London. It’s so easy to get to as it’s right around the corner from King’s Cross and they’ll be impressed that you know about it and have bought a voucher to choose something from here. They also sell online if you are not close enough to London.

Boot Bananas

The concept of these things makes me feel a bit ill, but um basically they are these flaccid sort of banana lookalike things that go into your skate boots when you are not wearing them and they soak up all the . . . . *wretch* . . . foot sweat . . . and you know when you need to get some more because they start to turn . . . *vomm* . . . brown . . . like a real banana. You can buy them in outdoorsy type shops or on amazon or ebay.

Mouth guard Case

Nobody wants a soggy mouth guard floating around their handbag, eh? Collecting postage stamps from three years ago, dismembered pom bears and hairgrips? A mouth guard case can solve that problem and is such a romantic gift.

Skate pack/wheelie case

These rucksacks look great for putting all your kit in and have handy little pockets for your skates to stick out of the back (except what if it is raining?) but if you want to push the boat out a bit you could go for one of these snazzy wheelie suitcase things? It doesn’t have to be too big. In fact smaller is better. I’d like a wheely suitcase. At the moment I’m using a bag for life. The wheelie suitcases make it sound like we are all heading off to the airport for some kind of girls holiday when in actual fact we are all just heading towards a rather grim looking leisure centre to beat each other up.

Sisu Mouthguard

I know these are a bit pricey for a mouth guard, but trust me that this will be a much appreciated gift and that this brand is the most popular and the most comfortable.

And finally, this amazing Kent Roller Girls vest top with original artwork from ‘Tank Girl’ creator Rufus Dayglo

But seriously, who would not want this awesome top? So cool. Such a bargain. Also available in men’s or women’s sizes as a t-shirt.

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