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…

Yoga burn

Yoga burn!

Now that I’ve completed the Bodyboss program I feel pretty damn good about myself!

I know there is still work to do, my core and upper body strength are not the best – see my complete inability to do push-ups in my previous posts, but thanks to Bodyboss at least they’re not completely nonexistent! I would love to be able to do some of the inversion poses I’ve seen on instagram, (my one attempt at a headstand has got me hooked!) I figure to be able to do yoga you need to be strong…

So scrolling through Facebook I keep hitting a promotional post for yoga burn, it looks interesting and it’s in budget, it also professes to be a progressive program building up to the more challenging poses whilst boosting your metabolism – I’m still refusing to diet by the way! – the one thing I really liked about Bodyboss was that it told me what to do each day, I need that as I’m rubbish at organising myself… I will always pick the easy option, especially after a long day at work… I order the program!

After about a week my DVD’s arrive, Bodyboss has better packaging. But it’s the content I’m after so I open the case. 


You also get a digital download which is good as it has the option of the audible version, I’m assuming once you figure out what the poses are you don’t need to watch the screen, plus it gives the option of doing the routines outside which I like the sound of, although being the type of person that mosquitoes dream of I’m not sure how relaxing it would be… I’ve yet to summon up the courage to apply the quantity of deet that would be necessary.

I watch the intro, there’s more to this than meets the eye… isn’t that always the case!!

The idea is to do the three ‘burn’ workouts within a seven day period, in addition there are also ‘tips and tools’ and ‘tranquility flow’ which you can do on the other days along with gentle exercise – I always like the sound of ‘gentle exercise’, to me that’s walking to the fridge and getting some tonic for my gin, I suspect that’s not what they mean… but if it’s not specific… and it’s a reasonable walk to the fridge if I detour upstairs to put the washing in en route…

In your first package you also get a months trial of ‘yoga monthly’ which is four weeks of three different practices a week plus meditation, beginner flow and pose tutorials… this effectively means you’re doing a practice a day. Every day. In fact you could probably do more, probably.

I decided to pay for the monthly subscription for at least another month to give me more variation and the time to decide if the monthly DVD’s were worth it. It also gives me an idea when to change from ‘phase one’ to ‘phase two’ of the main program.

Let’s go! Week One!

Ok, this is definitely not as easy as it looks!! 

For anyone else thinking of doing this I would recommend watching the routine before you attempt it. She moves really quickly! I got completely lost! 

The burn routines are fifteen minutes long and you repeat them three times in a session, this is not relaxing yoga, you sweat, a lot. And when you sweat in a ‘down dog’ position the sweat runs up your nose. This was not anticipated. I honestly don’t think you can do anything about it either…

Some of the balances are pretty challenging, not impossible, but not easy!! There’s a twisted pose that ties you up in knots… falling over is not an option, there simply isn’t enough time to unwrap before you hit the floor. 


I probably should have sucked my tummy in more for the photo however I was using all my concentration on remaining upright…

There is also a balance pose where you go up on tip toes and then bend your knees as if to sit down, far trickier than it sounds by a lot!!

I have been doing the program for three weeks now and I think I need a picture goal in addition to the ‘after’ picture from Bodyboss – that’s my starting point, although the two week break in between programs didn’t do me any favours, well I was on holiday! 

One of the gentlier practices involves sitting on the mat in the centre with your heels on the mat in each corner… you then drape over each knee in turn to stretch… sounds so easy… looks so easy… my goal is to get the flexibility to have my heels on the mat!

This is my starting point…


I have a little way to go yet! 

To reduce my spare tyre to be able to ‘drape’ anywhere would also be useful…

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!!