Exciting Stuff

Orange water!

When life throws you curved balls…

It’s been one of ‘those’ weeks, you know the ones, I’m sure everybody has them… at least I hope they do! When you start out with best intentions and that’s about as far as it gets.

My plan was to get the girls ready for our road trip to Tennessee, attend a ‘learn to play the harp’ webinar prior to the online course starting in September (I’ll fill you in on that in another blog!), do a Yogaburn workout, take puppy to the kennels, help to pick up the hired minivan (there was no way we were doing a road trip with three teenagers in anything smaller!) and be at the airport to pick number one son up at 4:45pm. That was just day one.

Corralling two teenage girls is never easy, ensuring they’ve packed everything and making sure the chargers, headphones etc. were easily accessible along with a variety of random snacks is key! To be fair this went reasonably smoothly… could’ve been a lot worse…

I did a quick tidy up loaded the dishwasher, pressed ‘go’ and nothing… literally nothing… at this point number one daughter pointed out that the white stripes on her Nike top were orange… 

The orange thing does need explanation as it’s the one thing about living in the states which has literally made me cry. I love my white sheets, white tee shirts and I happen to have a pair of white shorts that actually look good on me. 

Since moving to the states everything has turned a blotched orange, I’ve binned all my white tee shirts and it’s only thanks to discovering ‘Iron Out’ that I’ve managed to keep my white shorts (there’s an orange line on the seam but it’s not overly noticeable). It’s been getting steadily worse too…

I phone our landlady – first time in ages, to be honest she’s lovely always really helpful – this is another British thing, we tend not to ask for help but just ‘muddle through making the best of the situation’ which is great but sometimes a careful question can save so much time and in this case, clothes!

Upshot is that not only do I mention the dishwasher (it’s being sorted on Tuesday) but due to my slightly elevated stress levels I also mention the orange water – I’m quite proud of myself for not bursting into tears, time is marching on and we still have so much to do, now to include washing up!!

It turns out that we’re on a well water system – we were aware of this but as I’d never come across this in the U.K. and water came out of the taps etc. I gave it no more thought, apparently it needs salt.

However at this point I don’t have time to sort it out, so on with the washing up!

This makes us late for the kennels – not late as such, but behind schedule, upshot is puppy dropped off, running happily into her enclosure without so much as a by your leave – just the same as the kids heading off to school for the first time, you’re so anxious and they don’t even give you a second glance – but the webinar starts before we can get home – plan B swings into action and I load the meeting space onto my I-phone and dail in while my husband drives, not the best way to attend a meeting but it works!

I’m starting to feel like some sort of wonder woman! 

We get home, a couple of slight technical glitches later and I can join the second half of the meeting on my I-pad – much easier to see, hear and interact with 🙂

The rest of the schedule starts to regain momentum and we reach the airport as the plane lands – by the time we park we have five minutes to wait before number one son walks through arrivals and I get a big hug = one very happy mum 🙂

We start our road trip – we are breaking the journey with a stop at a motel, number one daughter has watched way too much trashy Telly and is convinced we will be murdered in our beds.

Breakfast was rubbish. We weren’t shot. 

The next afternoon we arrive in Tennessee in a wonderful lodge overlooking the smokey mountains, the wine is open and the views are gorgeous.


The next three days are spent in Dollywood – I’ve always wanted to go, other kids wanted Disney, me I wanted to go to Dollywood!!

My kids had never heard of it and were a little sceptical – I was terrified in case it didn’t live up to my expectations…

All I can say is what an amazing place! It’s the most family friendly fun place I’ve been – it helps that American schools have gone back, UK schools don’t start till the beginning of September – subsequently no queues for any of the rides!! 


I love the sculptures, the theatre, the rides, there’s even a steam train!


All on board for the Dollywood Express!!

We drive back home in one go, 15 hours including stops… and I have to say all the kids were amazing! It really does help having a car with multiple charging points, a plug for number one sons laptop and audible books for us in the front – Wolves of London by Mark Morris… it was tempting to take an hour detour to finish the book, but not that tempting, especially as there’s another airport run soon!

Back to reality, and into the basement… there’s a tank, a scuba thing and a sealed tank – I have categorically no idea what any of it is… however there is a phone number on the scuba tank thing, I give it a ring and speak to the most wonderfully helpful person, she talks me through what’s in the basement and with the help of a few photos texted to the company’s mobile I have a solution!


I now know that there is a filter system in the basement which has a bucket thing which you have to keep half fill with salt – there was nothing in it apart from a red scum like pool… there has been little to no salt in it for nearly a year… oops…

She even tells me where I can get the salt and how to kick start the system – it takes five 40lb bags to half fill the tank…

I follow instructions and then start up the washer (we have a lot of washing!) and OMG there’s no more orange, the water in the bathroom doesn’t smell or taste ‘funny’ – you have no comprehension as to how happy I am!!!!

Although a thought has occurred to me… I dye my hair (I’ve been grey since my late twenties and at fortysix have no intention of going grey gracefully, even if it’s the new ‘thing’ thanks to the Game of Thrones!) and my hair color fades to a really lovely copper colour, I wonder if it will still be copper now the orange water has gone…

Body Boss

Bodyboss week 12 – the final reckoning!!

Here it is, at last, the final week!!


Yep still don’t look like the girls in the book… good job my expectations were never that high!

It’s a ridiculously busy week this week loads going on at work, and at home, not to mention getting everything ready for our first trip back to the U.K. after moving to Connecticut nine months ago – my goodness the time has flown!

So far this week I need to:

  • wrap presents for god-daughters, 
  • paint a portrait to deliver back in the U.K. (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the fact that a paint in my not-so-spare time…), 
  • start a business plan for a nursery I still support in the U.K., 
  • do my forty hour a week day job, 
  • see Neil Gaiman in Hartford – I admit this is very far from a chore, I love Neil’s writing especially how varied his genres are, I can relate to being interested in a large variety of seemingly unrelated topics! 
  • Dye all the grey out of my hair,
  • fly to the U.K. 
  • and of course complete the Bodyboss program!! 

Who needs to sleep? 😆
So let’s get going!

Monday – legs and booty!

I really am fired up, it’s the last legs and booty, I will totally nail this, I am amazing, I can do anything!!!

Although maybe not Reverse Butterfly Kicks… by the time I get to the Squat Cross Jumps I can barely move, it’s taken me nine minutes to do the first set… I blame the 10 miles of walking round New York we did yesterday, my legs are like lead!

I do three rounds and I will admit that I ditched the Ski Moguls for the last two (I still don’t have a box to jump on so they were plain Ski Moguls not ones onto a box) – I manage a super speed shower and we’re straight out the door to go and see Neil Gaiman!

I’m glad it wasn’t a meet and greet as I don’t think my colour went back to normal until half way through the show!

If you love reading I would totally recommend reading some of Neil’s work, my favorite books of his are Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book and American Gods (which I believe has been televised) and if you like audiobooks he co-wrote Good Omens with Terry Pratchett and there is an excellent audible play version of it by Radio 4 which is the best I’ve ever heard, very funny!

The evening itself was brilliant, very inspirational especially as I can totally relate to his feeling of being ‘found out’ at any time, after all we are all winging it in some respects! 

I survive Monday…

Tuesday – Yoga Day!! Ah no, they’ve done it again, I should’ve guessed really with it being the last week that it would be a challenge day…

Six exercises, start the timer!!

Ok I can officially do all but one of the exercises… guess which one… yep it’s those pesky push-ups!

However I stop the clock, write down the time, and…

First week of Bodyboss pre-training this challenge took me 8 minutes, week 2 of the main program it took me 7:10 minutes, week 12… drumroll please…. 5:40 minutes!!! Get in!!!!

I think this is a hashtag happy bunny moment 😄

I take my euphoria up to the easel and paint a portrait of a dog. I do love painting 😊



Wednesday – Arms, Abs and Core… I’m glad it’s the last one!

Oh my goodness! I think I may pass out.

However I can do Plank Rotations, I can do Jack Knives (sort of), I can’t do Spider Planks – well I can do a version that doesn’t envolve the push-up element so I do that… 

I face plant on the final Down Dog V Press.

Thursday – Cardio, and the next few chapters of American Gods on Audible!

On the basis that I’m at the hairdressers at 5pm this evening which means getting there straight from work I set the alarm to stupid o’clock and get up at 5am to do 40 minutes of cardio before work, how’s that for dedication!!

To be fair if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ll be on a plane and then traveling on Saturday I would’ve shifted the workout a day and finished on Saturday – this week that’s not an option! 

After the hairdressers I wrap gifts and sort the business plan out – all that’s left to do tomorrow is do the Power Up workout and pack!

The Final Power Up Friday!!

Oh blimey they don’t make this easy!!

Four exercises two of which I need to do modifications for and one is swapped out completely – it’s only the Butterfly Kicks with Clap that I can do!

I modify Aeroplane Push Ups to Plank Rotations, I swap Box Jumps with Bench Hops and try my best with Reverse Butterfly Kicks…

Ok now for the reckoning – how did I do?

Well I went to the doctors to weigh myself before we left and I’ve lost a total of ten pounds! Which considering there has been zero dieting going on is amazing!

I can now fit into the clothes I came to the USA with – result! The downside of this is that I’ve been working really hard and when I saw my friends and family for the first time in 9 months they didn’t notice a difference as I was back to where I was when I left!! It’s a good job I have a sense of humour 😄

But here is the photographic evidence of all the hard work – the before and after shots!


I am so happy!!

However now that I’ve completed the program what do I do?

I don’t want to let all this good work go to waste, one thing I have really enjoyed about this program is that it’s progressive but I want to have a change – I think I will return and do the program a second time, but not yet…

I have been thinking and researching whilst having a couple of weeks off – I have been doing tons of walking in the Lake District so I’ve not been sitting around!! And I have decided that the one thing I found I loved during this program has been the Tuesday yoga days…

So…

The next thing is…

Yoga Burn! Another 16 week program (if you include the extra four weeks of advanced training) let’s see what happens here!!

Body Boss · Uncategorized

Bodyboss – week 10 – officially Boss Level! Eeek!!

This is it, the last cycle, the toughest cycle, I am still in the game!! All be it on the ‘b’ team…

I don’t know if America has the concept of a ‘b’ team but essentially it’s the team that puts as much effort and work into their game but don’t quite make the grade… I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never be able to do a push-up, well, not before the end of this program. Maybe in another year or so, possibly.

I’m feeling a bit like that at the moment, don’t get me wrong I feel tons better than I did when I started and I’m so much stronger but I definitely don’t have the body that the girls in the pictures do, not even close.

Girl in book:


Me:

 
But… me at the start:

  

I need to focus on the positive:

  • I may not have a flat stomach, but it’s better than it was.
  • I have kept up with the program and not given up – that’s a huge plus!
  • I have to admit that I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would, even when I get stuck, I can modify and keep going.
  • I can do a headstand! Ok that wasn’t part of this program but without bodyboss I wouldn’t have even attempted it!
  • I can do a V sit-up.
  • I have lost a bit of weight – and that’s without any form of diet, which living out here is a minor miracle! In the U.K. I was always told to clean my plate, it’s a bit of a culture shock being able to ‘box up’ what’s left and take it home!
  • I went clothes shopping and was a size Small – still makes me giggle! As to whether I can fit into the clothes I brought over from the U.K. or not… we’ll find out after week 12!

After writing down all the positives I already feel better, it’s very easy to put yourself down, much easier than complimenting yourself.

I try to always be kind to myself, a very important lesson learnt by experiencing some tough times, basically there are enough people and things that will try to erode your confidence – don’t join them!

Monday – legs and booty! 

Oh my goodness… but I’ve got this! Well apart from the reverse butterfly kicks… and it takes 9 minutes and I am so rubbish at ‘jump rope’ especially when I’m cream krackered, all I seem to do is basically whip my ankles!!

My thighs hate me…

Tuesday – yoga day!

I love, love, love yoga day. I especially love it as my wonderful husband joins me.

This week is my choice so we’re doing a fundamental basics with Adriene, it’s great, looking at focusing and grounding your basic balance. I love how you concentrate on working and stretching, becoming aware of you muscles and then the wonderful relax at the end… a workout that leaves you completely stress free… I think I could get into yoga…

Wednesday – arms, abs and core – hmmmm

Ok I’ve now got the bench hops right, apart from not quite getting the height – twice – not pretty but I keep going! 

Leg lifts – again I think I’ve cracked it, I was having serious issues with my back arching when I tried to lift my legs but now I put my hands under my bottom which prevents my back arching and forces my stomach to do the work, boy do I know I’ve worked my stomach!!

Still can’t do push-ups. I have a theory though, I’m going to start stood up and doing push-ups on the breakfast bar, I then intend to lower the height to the bench building up my strength until I can do a full on push-up… it’s a cunning plan, so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel! (If you’ve never watched Blackadder – you should!)

Side planks are also still an issue, I manage 20 out of the 40… three times… 

I have decided to practice my headstand after each workout, I’m trying it against the wall – again I figure if I get comfortable against a wall I can start to try to balance slightly away until I eventually can do them properly.

Thursday – cardio day!

I’m quite looking forward to today, it’s the last hour of my book ‘The Elementals’ by Michael McDowell it’s great listening to a book whilst on Satan (my running machine) as you don’t realise how long you’ve been walking/jogging – forty minutes goes in a blink of an eye and it was quite exciting! 

It’s a really good book, based in Alabama it’s a slow burning, gothic horror, although I felt it was more haunted house than horror… it worth a read/ listen! 

Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ next, he’s one of my favourite authors so I’m looking forward to the next fourteen hours on Satan – not all at once though!!

Friday – Power Up!!

Hmmm only four exercises but two of them are tricky I.e. currently impossible…

Box Jumps – slight issue being still no box… still no intention of getting one, it really would spell disaster!! I substitute with bench hops…

Push-ups – I start my experiment and do push-ups against the side shelf thing, it’s sort of breakfast bar height but it’s a random shelf in the basement… anyway it’s hard work but I can do them! 

Here marks the end of week 10 and my goodness me I am certainly feeling it this week!!

I can hold a headstand against the wall for about thirty seconds and get down without breaking my toes – bonus!! I may get my wonderful husband to video it next week!!

Two weeks left before the final reckoning and I’ll see if I can fit into the clothes I brought over with me… I really don’t know if it will be a success… 

Body Boss

Bodyboss – cycle 3, week 9… I think I’ve reached the top of the wall!!

I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! Especially after the last two weeks…

This week not only am I doing Bodyboss but I’m also doing a daily yoga challenge – it seemed a good idea at the time.

Funnily enough the challenge has given me a new confidence in my abilities to do some of the bodyboss exercises, after all who would’ve thought I could do a headstand (ok it was only for a nanosecond but that’s not the point!) I would never have even attempted it without the last 13 weeks of Bodyboss! 


So on with the program!

Monday – legs and booty – I can so do this!!

Frog jumps, extra effort put in, a whole 40 of them, 3 times… good grief I certainly know my thighs exist!

Plank leg lifts – got it!

Reverse butterfly kicks – what on earth?!! I’ve been doing really well actually doing exercises I couldn’t do at the start but these? I mean seriously how do you lift both legs up when lying face down on your yoga mat? I can lift one leg up at a time… that will have to do…

Squats with side kicks – I can do these, although my side kicks are more waist height than shoulder height, still, they’re off the floor so that’s technically a kick!

Bench hops... ahh…. after looking at the instruction photo more closely I’ve realised that I’ve been doing these incorrectly… I’ve been holding the bench near the end of the bench and sort of hopping from side to side lifting my feet about a foot off the ground… apparently I should be the holding the bench at the top of the bench and actually jumping my feet over the bench – to be fair it makes more sense now… 44 is an odd number to do, 40 would be neater, or maybe 30? I’m good though and go for the prescribed 44, three times… I only tripped over the bench four times – success!! 

The rest of the exercises go without a hitch, although I’m absolutely cream crackered!

Tuesday – yoga day 😊

My wonderful husband has picked another video to help his back – it was really relaxing and helped with my yoga challenge. I do love yoga… 

Wednesday – arms, abs and core… oh good…

With the extra yoga challenge I’m certainly feeling my muscles this week!!

We start with Butterfly Kicks – the right way up!! That’s a relief!!

Followed by Plank Rotations – which I can now do – yey!!! 

It then goes a tiny bit downhill… meet Jack Knives – these are the big bad cousin of V Sit-ups, I’ve just got the hang of V Sit-ups, Jack Knives are practically impossible – in fact at the moment they are impossible! My legs don’t straighten… oh well I guess I’ll just have to keep trying… after ten I swap to V Sit-ups…

Spider Planks – I can do half spiders… the legs are there(ish) but I can’t do the dip down bits, but I do the best I can!

All the rest is totally do’able! I put all my energy into doing all three circuits! I think I may pass out…

Thursday – cardio day!

40 minutes on Satan listening to my book, I can do all 40 minutes at 4 miles per hour with about 4 minutes jogging at 5.5 miles per hour – not too shabby!! 

Power Up Friday!!!!

Totally nailed it!!! Although I did swap out the Aeroplane Push Ups with Plank Rotations…


Cycle 3 complete! Only three more weeks left and do you know,  I really think I can do it… 

Cycle 4 – Boss Level next, it says ‘Disrupt Yourself’ hmmm….

Exciting Stuff

Making some income from blogging…

My initial ideas on blogging was to improve my writing skills, and to stick at my exercise program, and so far I have succeeded – well no one has told me to stop writing which I’m taking as a favourable response…

But everyone who knows me knows that I have a rule that all my hobbies are self funding, in fact my art hobby has paid for a few family holidays as well as all my paints which is pretty amazing! (trust me I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to paint or actually anything stationary based!).

So I started looking at ‘affiliate schemes’ – essentially these are adverts on your blog and if readers click on them and then purchase something I get a percentage. Sounds reasonable.

I was discussing this with my wonderful husband who asked a very interesting question…

“Why do you want to sell other people’s things when you have your own?” 

Not something I had considered… research is on going… watch this space, things might get a tad exciting!

Some of my art will be involved but not as paintings… intrigued? I hope so!

Here’s a taster of some of my previous art work…



Let me know what you think and watch this space!!

Body Boss · Uncategorized

Bodyboss - cycle 3, week 8 – still with a wall but I’m trying to scale it!!

This is tougher than Toughy McTough on a tough day!!!

But I am soldiering on in true British style, there have been several strong cups of tea required this week, a small weep and the saviour – a pool! I will explain…

This is the picture that greeted me this week – after last week I was tempted to go back a cycle…


Don’t get me wrong, this is inspirational, however I didn’t look like that in my teens, so my mojo is still not quite on track. 

But then I had a little ‘chat’ with myself, at the end of the day I’m 46, I’m never going to look like I’m in my teens again – I’m dammed sure I didn’t appreciate it at the time! 

I dug out a photo of me aged 17 to prove to myself that actually I was ‘ok’ and realistically I am actually ‘ok’ now, I just need a rather overdue tune-up…

Me at 17, behind the scenes of a production of ‘once a catholic’ waiting for my cue…


It was quite a good show even though I had the worst line EVER “you will still respect me in the morning, won’t you Cuthbert?” I still cringe at the thought of saying that with my dad sat happily in the audience!! 

So on reflection I need to pull my socks up, get a grip and get on with it!

Monday – legs and booty (this used to be my favourite day…)

Ok I’ve done a long day at the office and I don’t want to exercise. So much for my pep talk. I phaff about until my wonderful (I wasn’t quite thinking that at the time) husband told me to jolly we’ll get on with it as tea wouldn’t be ready until I was finished! Food, unfortunately, is always a good motivator – it was a healthy tea so that’s ok! 

Oh my goodness… most of the exercises I can do to be fair, I just seem to have zero energy… I have to say ‘single leg glute bridges’ are as horrific as they sound… I do normal ski Moguls rather than ones on a box as I don’t have a box and if I did I’d probably have an accident!

I do three sets as required, they take 9.5 minutes rather than 8 and that’s with only managing 30 squat cross jumps and 20 squats with front kick… I am not impressed with myself… I have two strong cups of tea to rebalance – I’m sure most of you would think this is herbal to balance my inner energy, it’s not, it’s proper Yorkshire tea strong enough to stand a spoon in. I am reasonably good and don’t add sugar (I really want to add sugar, really).

Tuesday – yoga day, my new favourite day, and breathe…

My wonderful husband has picked today’s class, it’s the beginner one for back pain (I have a little smile to myself that he’s finally realised that the beginner class is the best place to start).

It’s lovely, we have a none challenging, really good stretch courtesy of ‘yoga with Adrienne’ she had a new studio space – I don’t know how old the class was but it looked a lovely space 😊

Wednesday Thursday – arms, abs and core.

Yes I know, Wednesday turned out to be a bit of a disaster. I knew I had a hair appointment at 5:30pm and the likelihood of me getting back from work in time to do the workout before the appointment was slim (i.e. None) so I set my alarm for 5am to do them before I left the house at 6:30am. I get up with the alarm and put my workout stuff on (I’m not awake so the fact that it’s on the right way round is a success!) however on the way to the basement I have to pass our puppies crate… she wakes up… seriously who could walk pass this cutie!


Thursday it is then…

Rock bottom (at least that’s what I hope it is!) has officially been reached with the introduction of not only ‘aeroplane push-ups’ but also ‘side planks’ even the spider planks involve a partial push-up!!!

To say I struggle is a mahoosive understatement!

I manage two cycles with 10 out of the 24 aeroplane push-ups (and by push-up I mean dip-down) and 10 out of the 40 side planks…

This is the part where I need a moment to have a little weep… I find myself saying I can’t do it… And I really believe that…

But that’s when I think of my granddad whose favourite phrase was “there’s no such word as can’t”. Grammatically he is completely correct. 

I know that most struggles can be overcome with positive thoughts (admittedly not the easiest thing to master) but it is right, if you believe you can’t do something you won’t. 

My favourite poem is by Roger McGough and I memorised it as a teenager, I often think of it to help me ground myself, it’s called ‘missed’:

Out of work,
Divorced,
Usually pissed,
He aimed low in life,
And missed.

The motto being – aim for the highest and if you miss you still end up somewhere pretty good 😊

I decide not to skip a day but to shift a day and only have one day off at the weekend, after all if I keep trying I will get better!

Thursday Friday – Cardio day!

I’m quite looking forward to this, my book ‘The Elementals’ is getting interesting! 

I decide to do ‘as much as I can’ then work on seeing if I can get better at push-ups, I do 30 minutes of fast walking (4mph) with the occasional jog and then spend 10 minutes trying to teach my body to do push-ups, it’s not a resounding success but I think I’m getting better…

The filter system in our pool (we rent, it’s pretty cool and I’m going to miss it big time when we go back to the U.K.!) has been fixed today which means that although it’s a tad chilly (it’s not heated so it’s around 24 degrees C) it’s the best feeling ever to jump in when you’re extremely hot and sweaty!! I feel 100% better 😊

Friday Saturday – power-up!!!! 

Yey I’ve made it! Ok I’m a day late, but I made it!! 

I’m extremely happy and I manage to do the whole routine (minus a box for the jumps) – twice as instructed! 


I have also joined the ‘yogaclubchallenge’ which involves doing a set yoga pose every day for a week, hopefully it will inspire me and help with my core muscles… puppy Nya has decided that it looks fun…


Have a great week and here’s to carrying on regardless!!