‘I attempted three Guinness World Records in one day – things didn’t quite go to plan’

I’ve always loved reading up on Guinness World Record holders, and after deciding to try and break not one but three in the space of a single afternoon, I began dreamily imagining adding my own name to the lauded list of champions.

When choosing my records, I had to bear a few things in mind, including coming to terms with not being quite fit enough to try my luck at becoming the world’s fastest woman.

I’d also be making the attempts inside The Mirror office, so anything too outrageous – like being covered in an ungodly number of bees – was most likely out of the question, unless I wanted to be shunned by my colleagues forevermore.

Therefore, I settled on three fun and deceptively simple-sounding records: the most giant Jenga blocks removed in one minute, the most omelette flips in one minute and the most balloons popped by sitting in 30 seconds.

The weeks leading up to my trio of attempts felt rather like the montage scene from Rocky, only if Sylvester Stallone had kept industrial levels of eggs in his fridge rather than a big punchable slab of meat.

Giant Jenga is one of my favourite party games, and so I arrogantly thought this would be a doddle.

The current record holder is Silvio Sabba, from Italy, a steely-fingered Jenga player who removed a total of 22 blocks in Milan, on January 14, 2020. Easy peasy, so I thought.

With an eye firmly on that lucky 23, I began timing myself nightly, getting up to a very respectable 19 during one particularly frenzied evening.

I quickly sharpened my senses when figuring out which blocks were looser in one second flat, scanning for telltale gaps and protrusions.

I also worked on thinking strategically, pushing middle blocks out first while constantly maintaining the overall structural integrity of the tower. A mad grab at random bricks from wherever just wouldn’t cut it.

Of course, as is the case within any sporting arena, practice is nothing like the day of the big game, with eager spectators – or in my case amused co-workers – watching your every move.

I had three tries at each attempt, which was lucky given I was a bag of nerves on the first go, being too careful to get up any real speed.

When the final 10-second countdown was announced, my heart raced and my fingers froze for a make-or-break millisecond.

I ended up removing 11 blocks on the first go, repeating this exact figure – somewhat frustratingly – on the second. However, by my third try, I hit my stride, cooling right down and clocking up a pretty decent 15 blocks.

The current holder for this particular record is Song Chuanqi, from China, who managed an astonishing 117 omelette flips on the set of a CCTV Guinness World Records Special in Beijing on September 9, 2013.

Now, I’m a dab hand at flipping pancakes, but omelettes are a different matter entirely as I learned after flipping and eating one for lunch every day for a fortnight. I really did have to get inventive with toppings after a while.

After a mere couple of flips, my omelettes would rip apart quicker than my overly optimistic world record ambitions, leaving a ragged, but still fairly tasty mess.

I started researching tips online for keeping omelettes in one piece, ensuring mine were completely solidified throughout before the all-important flip. One friend suggested sneaking in a bit of superglue, but I didn’t want to cause some sort of scandal.

In my final practice run at home, I managed 37 omelette flips before total destruction. Sadly, the end result did look rather worse for wear – nothing like the intact omelette required for an official record.

For a split second during my first official attempt, I felt quietly confident, with the omelette remaining a solid, golden cylinder for a good few flips. I began to flip faster, caught up in the moment.

However, all too quickly, my hopes began to disintegrate before my very eyes, eggy pieces flinging all over the place. Soon I was essentially chucking bits of cold scrambled egg at everyone, and the adjudicator quite rightly asked me to stop.

My best tally was 17, a good 100 less than what I needed to best Song’s score, let alone beat it. This was by far the hardest of the three, but it did get the most laughs.

Most balloons popped by sitting on them in 30 seconds

I would caution anyone giving this a shot to read up on how it actually should be done beforehand, and to always, always use a chair.

I already had a few partially deflated balloons in need of bursting floating around the living room floor, so basically flung myself around excitedly bottom first, Me and my still-sore coccyx urge you not to do this.

Practice-wise, it wouldn’t have been fair on my extraordinary patient boyfriend if I were to spend all night every night blowing up and destroying dozens of balloons. Instead, I took to timing how many low squats I could do in the space of a minute, trying to beat myself each time.

By the time I was ready for the main event, I was feeling powerful, convincing myself I was definitely in with a shot of besting Ashrita Furman, from the US, who managed a lightning-speed 50 in 30 seconds in Jamaica, New York on Christmas Eve, 2017.

I feel it’s important to mention at this point that I’m a home worker from up north, and this was the very first time I’d been up to the London office to meet everyone in person.

Now, bear this in mind when I tell you how, within an hour of my arrival, I was bouncing up and down on a series of party balloons in one of the meeting rooms, using all the strength my backside could muster.

I must say, this proved to be a pretty good workout/ice breaker. Afterwards, I felt as though I’d powered through a particularly intense spin session, and would bet there probably is a balloon-popping class at some trendy gym somewhere.

Some balloons worked better than others, with the more pumped-up ones bursting far more easily. We worked out a very effective big balloon pipeline, and very soon, I was completely in the zone.

So in the zone in fact I didn’t even notice my chair was rapidly travelling across the room with the sheer force of my frantic popping, nearly knocking into the poor adjudicator.

Eventually, it got to the stage where I was backed up against the wall, at one with the balloons, not daring to stop for even a split second to sort out the headband which had slid over my eyes. I managed 11 balloons in total, but it honestly felt like I’d zipped through hundreds.

I, unfortunately, didn’t smash any Guinness World Records this time around. However, I’ve certainly caught the bug for it.

Something about having a specific record to beat – or at least strive towards – feels very motivating. I can now absolutely see why people keep plugging away at record attempts year after year.

I’ll be forgoing omelettes for the foreseeable, and will need to rest my bum before any more balloon-related antics. However, I admittedly haven’t quite given up on my hopes of becoming a Jenga champ. Silvio, I’m coming for your crown.