Just Say Yes

•7 November, 2011 • 1 Comment

Apologies for the lateness of my monthly update.  I was all set to post this column on the 1st Nov, however I received some very sad news that my friend, Andy Harrison, had tragically and unexpectedly passed away.  Andy was a genuinely wonderful, kind-hearted, good-natured, amazingly funny chap.  He was loved and admired by many, and his leaving us at such a young age has been a massive shock to us all.   He’ll be very much missed.

Andy Harrison



Horray – October brought with it the sunshine, which although a bit late for a summer is not to be sniffed at…  although all I have done since surfing last month is sniff.  Totally unable to shake the worst cold ever known to man* I carried on with the various bits booked into the diary, the first of which was this month’s Item 8 – Have a professional beauty treatment once a month.    This was to come in the form of another Groupon voucher for some Infra-light Toning Treatments at a ‘spa’ specialising in beauty and detox in Crouch End.  Hoping to help lose some of the ‘blobby’ from my frame, it was with slight trepidation I turned up at the allotted time, waiting to find out what lay ahead.  I was right to have been worried, as it turned out it was a rather odd concoction of the very loud female therapist that would not shut up throughout the whole one hour procedure, some really bad and also far too loud Greek music (instead of the usual muzak you have in a spa), and the occasional electric shock to my behind as the machine wasn’t quite working properly!!!   Needless to say, it wasn’t the experience I was hoping for and after the third zap to my rear, I decided to cut my losses and made a rather swift exit.  It certainly didn’t help my cold nor my wobbly bits, but as I have been fully refunded, I’m not going to name and shame, but neither am I going to do my usual link to their website, as I don’t really feel I can recommend them.  Oh well…

*perhaps a slight exaggeration

I returned to a more zen place a few days later with more lessons in Yoga, on the course I started last month.  We were to try hand stands and head stands this week, which had us all laughing as many of us tried and failed to get our legs over our heads.  How come something we used to do so easily as children has now become almost impossible?  In the end we were almost lifting one another into position which did involve getting a little close to feet in face for my liking.  I managed the head stand eventually, turns out that’s not a good idea when your sinuses are quite so blocked.

The 8th Oct saw Debs celebrate her birthday, with Karaoke.  Determined to get me to sing (I’ve turned down the opportunity of completing Item 7 – Do Karaoke and sing in public several times now) she organised the evening knowing that I wouldn’t be able to wriggle my way out of it – I’d have to say Yes.  Thankfully she sent out the list of songs that would be available for us before the party, so I was able to at least do a little bit of practice in the privacy of my bedroom first.  I picked out three songs I thought I might be able to manage, and hoped that people wouldn’t be left running from the building with blood pouring from their ears once I’d started.  As we climbed the stairs of the pub my hands started shaking.  The first person started his song, and oh my god he was brilliant.  Turns out he’s a singer.  Great.  Then another guy sang.  Again, brilliant.  Then Debs did her party piece.  Also amazing.  So with every ounce of bravery and a little bit of alcohol, I took to the mic.  “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Mama Cass started through the speakers.  I felt like I was about to audition in front of Simon Cowell.  As I began, I heard Debs ask who was singing (she’d been turned away as I’d taken my place, typing in the next lot of songs she was going to do) – oh god was I that terrible that she was going to grab the mic off me and ask me to stop?  I looked around and there were a few shocked faces.  Oh dear please let the ground swallow me now.  But I had to carry on, this was one of my challenges…    But then I noticed a smile.  Debs was smiling at me and grabbing for her camera.  Happy that I’d got up there to sing, and equally happy that her brain wasn’t exploding at the noise I was making.    Turns out, apparently I can hold a tune.  “Downtown” by Petula Clarke and “Rainy Days and Mondays” by The Carpenters were also attempted.  I won’t be recording my début album anytime soon, but at least I won’t be quite so embarrassed when I find myself singing along to some choons in the car.

If you look closely, you can see the terror in my eyes.  Debs also has video of me singing.  I haven’t seen it yet.  Perhaps I really was terrible and she’s being kind in saving my blushes.  Either way – Happy Birthday Debs!

The following day, nursing a little bit of a hangover, seemed like a perfectly good day to do something a little energetic.  So, I took myself off to complete Item 18 – Go skiing.  Now some of you snow bunnies might think this very easy, but I’ve never skied before.   So, to ensure that I didn’t do something stupid like head off to the Alps and instantly break my legs, I thought a lesson in the UK would be a better idea to get a taste of skiing.  Off to The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead then…  Booking in for a three-hour Adult ski lesson especially for the snow challenged (ie for those that had never skied before), I was again pretty terrified.  Was I going to eat snow or worse, break something?  There were six of us booked in on the course, four young chaps obviously ready to hit the slopes and very likely partake in some après-ski, an older guy wanting to ski so that he could holiday with his partner who had been skiing since she was little, and me.  Our instructor got us set up with boots, and skis and off we set to the bottom of the little slope – the kiddies slope.  There’s nothing more humiliating than some five-year old whizzing past you so totally able to do what you’re about to attempt without a second thought.  I know I wasn’t alone in wishing this was the kind of place you could accidentally put your foot out to trip someone up.  I didn’t obviously,  instead I began to get rather worried that I couldn’t actually feel my feet at all.  It wasn’t the cold, no, something else was wrong.  Turns out, I’d been given boots that were a size too small, and although I’d managed to squeeze my feet in, there was a distinct possibility that they might have to stay in there forever when they dropped off through lack of blood circulation.  After hobbling back to the kit room, and being correctly fitted for the right size boots, I lurched my way back to the group – snow boots don’t have much flexibility it seems, so walking is almost impossible without looking like you’ve wet yourself.  Anyway, on with the lesson.  We started with walking in skis, then sliding down the hill (about 3 meters to begin) then progressing onto the snowplough, then actually learning to control the snowplough rather than just ploughing into the safety barrier, before actually skiing albeit as an incredibly slow slalom down the hill between cones.  We got up to 8 cones by the end of the day.   I didn’t eat snow, and in fact I didn’t fall over.  I did have one moment on my knees when a turn got a little out of hand, but I got a well done from the Instructor, and felt rather proud.  Skiing – Tick. My ankles and shins however are still bruised from the tiny boots a month later.

A friend of the handsome chaps was watching from the observation deck throughout our three hours.  I’d spotted that he’d been taking photos, so when we were all changed and being handed our Achievement Cards, I took the plunge and gave him my card.  You see Item 32 – Give a Male stranger my phone number, no talking first (he must be cute!) was still to be done, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Having handed him my card, with phone number and email address clear to see, he looked a bit bemused, so then I spoke.  I asked him if it would be possible to get a copy of a couple of the photos he’d taken, so that I could put them up here for you to see.  He smiled and said sure, no problem.  In fact, he showed me a video he’d taken on his phone of my successful 8 cone slalom (I was right behind one of his friends which was why I was in shot) and said he’d be more than happy to send me that too.  He hasn’t.  He hasn’t emailed me a single thing.  Not a photo.  Not a video.  Nothing.  Dammit!

Never mind, a few days later it was time to see Debs for her belated birthday present.  I’ll quickly explain that when I first put my 40 for 40 list together, Debs was one of the first to see it and was very kind in agreeing to come along to a few things with me.  One of those was Item 11 – Have dinner at The Ivy and so, as a treat for all of her amazing support this year and just for being a fabulous friend, I decided to take her there for her birthday.   She however didn’t know this.  Instead, I told her to be at a suitably close meeting place, at a certain time, dressed to impress, and to come hungry.   After a quick glass of fizz, we wondered up St Martin’s Lane, at which point, Debs twigged where we were going and got very excited.  Just as well really as I’d had to book the table 8 weeks in advance!  We had a great night, carefully trying to see if we could spot any celebs without looking too obvious.  We weren’t left disappointed.  Michael Stipe, Nick Frost, Thom Yorke, & Toby Jones were all there.  The food wasn’t too bad either.  We weren’t papped by the paparazzi when we left…

I had a date with a Vicar the following week.  Actually a really fun night out, joined by Liz and Donny.  Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be becoming the Vicars wife, so no judging the Victoria Sponge Cake at the Summer Fete for me, but it was wonderful to meet Adrian (the Vicar) and to get to know Donny a little better.

This months Item 15 – Do something ‘cultural’ every month came in the form of Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre,  with Liz as my date, we were also able to celebrate her news of getting a place at Uni to do Speech and Language Therapy.  She’s so bloomin’ clever!  Anyway, the show was extraordinary.  Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, which are far too funny and clever for me to even think of commenting on, Matilda and all of the kids were just incredible, and the set is truly enchanting.  I know I often go gooey at even the thought of a musical, but this one really really is worthy of all the awards it is going to win.  I loved it so much I’ve bought the music and am seriously thinking about going back to see it again.

Oh, one last little thing I managed to do, Item 34 – Make a Photo board of the happy times from childhood till now.  Took forever to do, but I like it…  I’m not going to put it up here for you to laugh at all the bad haircuts I’ve had over the years just yet, as someone might be getting it for Christmas… Shhhh!

So that’s it, October is over, November has begun –  the last month to complete as many of the 40 for 40 list as possible.  There may be one or two that don’t get completed by my birthday (Item 2 anyone?!) but I’m still going to do my best to complete as many as I can…


‘Till the next time…


Come September

•1 October, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Another month gone.  Seriously where does time go?  This year is whizzing past so fast, I can’t believe it’s October already, especially as September was so much fun.

It’s was a busy month at work as two new series I’ve been working on were coming to an end after six rather intense months, so between getting tapes from one place to another, ensuring programmes got delivered to the broadcasters, keeping up with invoices and budgets, and remembering to find time for some of the 40 for 40 things, things have zipped by.

Starting this months challenges was Item 31.  Go to a strip club.  Having thought about asking Mr Stringfellow if he’d let me into his club ( I met him once, he wasn’t wearing any underwear, but I’ll tell that tale another day), Jude rather marvellously came up with the idea of going to a Burlesque night at Proud Cabaret on a Groupon deal.  Now before you shout at me, I do realise that the art of Burlesque is something very different from Striptease, however for the purposes of my list the end result is almost the same, as ladies with amazing bodies take of their clothes for the enjoyment of the surrounding crowd.  Anyway, we decided to get into the spirit of the evening and get dressed up Burlesque stylee ourselves, so with boobs in Basques and feathers in our hair, four of us, Debs, Jude, Vykkie and I, headed out.  The evening included a three course meal, as well as our entertainment.  From the singing Compere, to the rather freaky bendy lady who tap-danced on a table with her head underneath her legs (don’t ask, it wasn’t pleasant to watch), an acrobatic chap who left his DNA on me, as well as three lovely ladies with rather fabulous nipple tassels, we had a pretty good laugh.  We were all a bit shell-shocked at one point, but that just added to the fun.

Some of you may remember a while ago I completed Item 28.  Take a Yoga Class and that I really enjoyed it, so much so I wanted to continue on in my Yogic path.  And I have.  I signed up to a 6 week beginners class again at The Life Centre, which started this month…  as if I haven’t given myself enough to do this year!  Anyway, so far, it’s been very enjoyable.  Really lovely people in the class and the teacher, Sandy, is explaining all the poses to us as in fabulous detail, as well as reminding us to breathe throughout the class – thank goodness as I’ve felt myself turning blue a few times as I try to bend my way into some strange contortion and seem to forget the most important bit of keeping alive!

Mid month saw me attend a work BBQ where I enjoyed a few Vodkas, go on a tour of the newly revamped Wimbledon Studios with Jude where we enjoyed a couple of glasses of Pimms, catching up with my wonderful next door neighbour Linda, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner over a bottle of Prosecco, and attend the launch of Square Eyes again with Jude where again we enjoyed a few more drinks…  I gave my liver a few days off though as next it was off to Cornwall with Liz for a bit of a weekend mini break and there’s always booze with the pair of us.

Meeting at Paddington for the 10am train to Newquay we packed a picnic (OK, we bought some lovely goodies from M&S) and jumped on board.  We chatted all the way there, only occasionally stopping our gossip to enjoy the stunning views.  On arrival at the hotel, we both crossed the first of four more 40 for 40 things off my list, Item 23.  Have a Hot Stone Massage.  Two hours of pure bliss and indulgence.  Seriously, it was worth travelling all that way just for that massage.  My therapist was amazing, even though at one point I couldn’t stop giggling (it seems I’m rather ticklish).  Incredible.  If you’re in Newquay,  highly recommended.   Liz and I then enjoyed a bottle of bubbles on our balcony watching the beach bums (Yes, actual bottoms, as people changed out of their wetsuits) whilst overlooking Fistral Beach.  Glorious!

Friday saw us head into the water ourselves for Item 13.  Take a surfing lesson as we joined Francis of Hibiscus Surf School as she took us under her wings and taught us to surf.  What an absolute hoot!  Several hours passed very quickly and were full of giggles as we tried and failed, and tried and failed to get up on the boards.  Liz did manage for a few seconds, but I only got up as far as my knees.  Still, we caught a few waves, and certainly got a taste of the rush proper surfers enjoy – we also tasted quite a lot of seawater!  Glug!  Brilliant though – and another activity I’ll certainly be doing again.  Maybe in slightly warmer water next time…

Surfer Chicks! Note to self: Wetsuits are not flattering, not flattering at all...

Catching a wave...

...then falling off...

meanwhile, Liz is standing up! Show off!

After all that exercise we obviously needed to refuel, so we spoilt ourselves (again) by going to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen for dinner.  And not just any dinner, this was the 6 course Tasting Menu.  Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, and yum!  Every item in the menu is explained to you, every glass of wine (there was a different one with every course) is described in fantastic detail.  We took our time and spent over three hours melting at every mouthful.

Saturday called for a bit more exercise, ony this time is wasn’t us doing it – instead we did Item 12.  Ride on Horse back along a beach.  It wasn’t 100% what I had planned in my head when I put the list together, the rain certainly didn’t help, but good fun none the less. Oh, and there will be a photo of me on my horse Maeve soon, but I couldn’t take one of myself and hold the reins, so that’s Liz in front!

Having had such an amazing meal on the Friday night, we kept on in a similar fashion on Saturday, getting dressed up and pootling off to Padstow for a night at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant.  Before we left, I made up my perfect menu in my head – if I could have anything it would be Scallops to start, Dover Sole Meunière for Main and Crème Brûlée to finish.  How lucky am I?  Every single item was there on the menu ready for me.  And every single mouthful was outstanding.  Liz got crabs…

After all that, it was time to come home, so we packed our bags for Bodmin and travelled back to Paddington with bellies full, but we did manage to squeeze in a quick Clotted Cream Scone on our way back (OK two scones, but who’s counting?).  Liz – thanks for being such a fabulous friend!

Now you may have noticed that I said I completed four items during the little trip to Cornwall.  So far, I’ve only told you about three of them…  The fourth, well, I’m not going to say too much as I might end up as an embarrassing video on YouTube.  All I’ll say is that the glorious pool at our hotel had twinkling lights like stars in the ceiling…  so it might relate to Item 6 but I’m not saying any more than that.  Not a word.

As if I hadn’t done enough this month, I rounded things off with another Item 15. Do something ‘cultural’ every month taking a trip to the theatre to see Les Misérables.  This show has been on my list of things to see for years ( it’s now in its 25th year), and I’m so glad I made the final push to see it. And lucky too, as Alfie Boe took the lead as Jean Valjean.  Wow, what a voice that man has, in fact the whole cast was brilliant.  A special ‘wow’ goes to Alexia Khadime in the role of Eponine.  We all know the song “On My Own” but Alexia truly brought a new level to it for me.  Simply superb.

So that’s it, September has rolled away and October come to say hello, bringing with it the summer, so that’s my cue to say goodbye…

‘Till the next time…


It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing…

•1 September, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Starting the month with a bit of culture this time for Item 25, as Debs and I trotted along to Shakespeares Globe to watch a brilliant production of “As You Like It”.  Thankfully we had seats in the slightly covered area of the beautiful open air theatre as a couple of times during the production the heavens opened…  Very glad not to be stood for the very long play, as we watched several people soaked to the skin, hopping from foot to foot having been stood up for so long.  I’ve only seen Shakespeare done a few times, and it always takes me a few minutes to get into the rhythm of the language, but once my ear is tuned, it’s so enjoyable.  We laughed and giggled along with the comedy, and had a very pleasant afternoon.

Of course we didn’t just pootle off home straight away, which would be wrong on a Sunday afternoon; instead we sat and enjoyed a few drinks while waiting for an eBay auction to end.  Not just any auction mind you – this one was to actually auction Debs off for a Dinner Date for Trekstock the charity she’s been raising funds for before she climbs Mount Kenya next month.  What a successful auction it was too – she sold for £780!!!  Thank goodness I don’t have to pay that every time I see her…

Then most of this month has been spent cleaning up dust at home, as I’ve had some lovely chaps in replacing all the windows in my house, which doesn’t sound terribly interesting, but oh the new ones are lovely.  I feel like I need to go up to them from time to time and just gently stroke them, but I don’t as the neighbours would probably wonder what on earth I was up to!  Oh but they are lovely…

I did manage a little more excitement however, by completing Item 30 – Swing on a Flying Trapeze.  Attending lessons for three weeks at Aircraft Circus having bought a Groupon offer earlier in the year (again another fabulous coincidence having written the list in November, Groupon very kindly obliged with a suitable deal in February) and actually I managed to swing quite successfully.  I’m still a bit too blobby to attempt any tricks, but I didn’t do too bad with the swinging.  OK I couldn’t lift my arms for a week afterwards, but it was great fun.  And I even have a couple of iPhone videos to prove it!

Flight number three at my first lesson…

Flight number two at my second lesson… bad take-off… ooofff!

This month my Item 8 took place at my local beauticians, a relaxing bliss facial.  I’m not so sure about the relaxing part when I had to hold a metal rod in one hand while the therapist waved two wands across my face, something that felt like mini electric shock treatment, but my skin was clear and sparkling by the time she finished, so I guess it was a worthwhile form of mini torture, and actually I was very relaxed as I took the three-minute walk back to my house afterwards!

Then, came the final weekend of the month, the start of the Bank Holiday three-day weekend, which is always a treat in itself, but added to this I had the pleasure of Mummy and Daddy on the Saturday to belatedly celebrate Mummy’s birthday.

We started with Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason (Item 26) which was delicious.  Mini nibbles and soup, followed by finger sandwiches, clotted cream scones, then as many mini cakes as you can scoff, all washed down with a delicious pot of tea and a glass of champagne.  Part way through the afternoon, the pianist who tinkles gently in the background throughout the day broke into a rendition of Happy Birthday, which was accompanied by a special little cake and candle for Mum handed to her by one of the rather handsome waiters.  We counted five renditions of Happy Birthday while we were there; it’s obviously the place to go for a birthday!

We wandered around the store for a while after our tea, looking at all the lovely gifts and trinkets you could purchase including some very lovely Christmas Crackers, but at £500 for 6, we decided that maybe we’d save buying those for another day.  Instead we jumped in a taxi, Mum thinking we were going home, but actually heading across town to see The Lion King at The Lyceum Theatre (another Item 25, that’s two theatre trips in a month!)

I’ve never really wanted to see The Lion King, which is odd as I love a musical, but for some reason this one has just never appealed. However I knew Mum had mentioned it a while ago and as it was her birthday, I managed to get us some decent tickets.  And you know what, I actually rather enjoyed it.  It is a little self-indulgent in places – I don’t really need to see people pretending to be grass whilst dancing around a stage – but the costumes are superb and the show is very enjoyable.  Sadly, as happens so much in theatre today, the music often overpowered the lyrics, so you knew someone was singing something about something to do with the circle of life, but we weren’t really sure whether it “hooves our mall” or “moves us all”…  Apart from that, jolly good fun.

So, not the busiest of months, but once again lots of planning for upcoming adventures…  Still no mention of Item 2 – whoops!  Maybe next month…

Till the next time


You Spin Me Round

•2 August, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Ooops – it seems I missed an update at the end of June but, Dear Reader, that’s because I’ve been so busy doing lots of fabulous fun things and ticking lots off my 40 for 40 list !  So, where to start…

After a fairly foodie May, June started with the dreaded Tax Return – Eugh…  Two weekends of sorting through receipts and spreadsheets – Enough said!  So by the middle of the month I was all set to “Boogie Like Britney” with Debs, who is currently in training to climb Mount Kenya for Trekstock, a great charity that supports young people with Cancer, so we thought heading to a dance class would be a more enjoyable way to train, sadly the place we went to was a bit scuzzy with a rather creepy man watching people entering the changing area, so we ditched that and went for Dinner instead…  Oh well!

I did however do some exercise in the form of Item 28 – Take A Yoga Class.  I headed along to the recently opened Life Centre in Islington, for a “New To Yoga” workshop led by Graham Burns, which was brilliant.  I’ve sort-of attempted yoga at home following a DVD before, but aways end up forgetting to breathe and tying myself in knots, so as I’d never been to a proper class I thought this would be a good introduction.  It was.  Being clearly told what to do, and guided into position by a very gentle instructor, really made me understand why so many people rave about yoga!  This is something I am certainly going to continue after the 40 challenges are done.

Carrying on the slight holistic theme, I had my Item 8 – Have a professional beauty treatment once a month in June at Eastern Natural Care in Covent Garden.  This consisted of a full hour-long back and shoulder massage followed by 15 mins of Hot Cupping.  It’s a very odd sensation when the cold glass cup is slapped on your back and you can feel your skin being sucked inside.  You’ve probably seen photos of Celebs with strange round ‘bruises’ on their backs, and yes, I had them too…  I took photos – but it’s not pretty so I shall save your eyes from that.

As the following weekend was rainy and miserable, I finally got around to something I’ve been meaning to do since January, Item 17 – Watch the Godfather Films as FilmFour very kindly showed all of them, which I’d recorded, but just hadn’t watched.  WARNING – I may lose some of you forever at this point, and I do realise what I’m about to say could result with me finding a horses head in my bed, but I was a bit “Mehh!” about them…  Yes, the talent is amazing, yes the cinematography is stunning, yes I’m sure some people do thing they’re the best films ever made, but they’re just not my kinda thing.  There I said it.  My name is BlobbyJogger and I didn’t really enjoy the Godfather films.  Sorry.

Moving swiftly on for those of you still with me, another item on the list Item 15 – Do something ‘cultural’ every month  this month was less cultural, more Camptastic, as Liz and I went to the O2 for Glee Live!  We had amazing seats on the floor, and could almost touch Chris Colfer and Lea Michele when they were on the middle stage.  Was a bit sad that Sue Sylvester wasn’t there, but we sang our little heads off anyway.  Fab night!

Not the busiest of months June, but I needed to get ready for a very hectic July – especially as my Brother and Nieces were visiting from California.  As I see them in person so rarely, I took a couple of days off work to spend with them, and managed to complete several items on the list at the same time (I do love a bit of multitasking!)

Heading to my parents house for the first weekend of their visit, we all – Granny Grandad, Brother, Devon, Charley and I – went for a day trip to the Milton Keynes Museum.  I personally didn’t realise Milton Keynes was interesting enough to have a Museum, but actually isn’t  bad… OK, it’s pretty rubbish, but the sun was shining, and I got to stroke a ferret, so that was Item 15 Do something ‘cultural’ every month done.

The following week, and excited to make the most of my time with my family, I took two days off work and my Brother and the girls came to stay with me in London, where we spent a very brilliant afternoon catching up and having fun at the local park, and then a wonderful day on the South Bank, doing Item 39 – Be a tourist in my own town, starting with Item 24 – Visit the London Aquarium (which I want to go back to – it is brilliant!), before going on a Duck Tour (again, fascinating and fun!), and going round on the London Eye (tried to see my house but there was a building in the way!)

After a very full day, lots of sunshine and a Flake 99, we all headed into China Town as Devon wanted a proper Chinese meal – but poor Charley was pooped and nearly fell asleep at the table!

On the Saturday I sent the family packing back to Granny & Grandad, as I it was finally time for Item 20 – Have a night at the opera in style.  Liz and I put on our fancy frocks and headed to the Royal Opera House for Madama Butterfly.  In a word AMAZING!  For those that aren’t sure about Opera, do try to go – they even had subtitles so you know what all the warbling is about.  Yes, it was horrendously expensive, but for a very special night out, it was worth it.  The Champagne and Smoked Salmon sandwiches were pretty fab too.  Although the very old lady I saw wearing the exact same top I have in my wardrobe wasn’t…  Hmm, don’t think I’ll be wearing that again!

I then rejoined the family for their final day here on the Sunday as we headed to Dunstable Downs for Item 36 – Fly a kite on a big hill.  Very convenient of them to hold the annual Kite Festival while the girls were over here.  Armed with my £4 Tesco kite, off we went.  We had to dodge the torrential rain a couple of times, but I got to fly my kite (rather good it was too – especially for less than a fiver!) as did the girls, before they found the fairground rides a bit more exciting.

After all that dashing about and saying goodbye to my family for a while, it was time for the July Item 8 – Have a professional beauty treatment once a month so I went back to Floatworks for a bit of a calm down.  Ok, it doesn’t strictly tick the box of a professional beauty treatment, but it’s relaxing and calming and I came out feeling very Zen again with lovely soft skin, and that’s all that matters.

I was very very very lucky to be invited by Debs to be her ‘plus one’ at the Coldplay gig at the Roundhouse iTunes Festival on 22nd.  The evening went something like drinks, laughter, friends, dinner, laughter, drinks, music, drinks, dancing, laughter, drinks, chips, laughter, blisters, bus, bed…  Brilliant!

Finally, last weekend, Debs and Jude accompanied me to complete two more items.  Item 19 – Do the Maze at Hampton Court and Item 21 – Ride a giant rollercoaster.  Pretty self explanatory, we started at Hampton Court Palace, where I nearly had an adult tantrum when I saw the maze.  Not sure why, but I had something totally different in my head, much bigger and better and far more impressive, so I was a little disappointed at first glance as it’s a bit tatty and worn to look at from the outside, but once inside we had (OK, I had) a race to the middle.  I won.  To be honest I’m not sure the others were really joining in the race, but they got there eventually.

Then we had to find our way out.  Jude cheated and took the Buggy exit.  We had a picnic lunch in the gardens before taking the short drive across to Thorpe Park to go on a Rollercoaster.

Now, I’ve done ‘rides’ before, but never a big fat, think you heart is going to explode, full of fear, scream your way around, eyes screwed shut, can’t walk afterwards with wobbly legs, rollercoaster.  I have now.  It’s called “Colossus”.  And “Nemesis Inferno”.  Poor Debs had a bit of a moment in the queue for Colossus, getting quite anxious, but she had said ages ago that she hated rollercoasters, so we let her be our official photographer instead.  We waved at her at the start of the ride, full of smiles, happy at that time – unknowing of what was to follow.  Fear, screaming, swearing, screamyswearing, panic and seeing the sun above my feet as we hurtled through the corkscrew going upside down about 10 times – that’s what followed!  And I loved every second. We did manage to get Debs on the slightly calmer, but no less petrifying Nemesis Inferno a bit later in the day, which I think she secretly rather enjoyed.  We went on Tidal Wave too – which has this sign while you’re in line…

It isn’t lying!  We were soaked through.  In fact if we had jumped in the water we could not have been any wetter.  However a quick ride on the backwards and in the dark “X:/No Way Out” and “Zodiac” dried us off a little – Zodiac is how I imagine getting into the spin cycle in a washing machine would be!  Giggles, Screams, Laughter and friends – a fab fab day out.

And that’s it.  Another month (actually two) done.  And twelve more things crossed off the list. You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Item 2 at all.  I’m not going to either…

Till the next time


Forward Looking Back

•31 May, 2011 • 3 Comments

I’m now six months into this year of challenges and nearly half way through the list, and the merry month of May has been a busy and slightly ‘foodie’ one on the 40 for 40 front, as I’ve successfully and happily managed to tick off five more items.  After finishing April in a state of Zen following the at home massage, the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend was just as peaceful and relaxing, in readiness for a busy month ahead.

The first weekend of the month being spent on Item 27 – Learn to make my own Pasta.  I headed off to join 24 other eager students under the excellent tutorship of  MaryJo and her amazing team at Gastro School where we were to learn how to make our own pasta dough, and from that, some delicious ravioli.   Grouped in small teams of three or four, we were clearly shown step by step how to mix and kneed the dough to perfection before leaving it to ‘rest’ while we created our stuffing of Butternut Squash and Amaretto.  Every step was very clearly demonstrated to us all before we returned to our tables to try to replicate what we had just been shown.  Despite most not knowing anyone else in the class, before long we were all chatting and laughing together – a great compliment that we all felt so relaxed under MaryJo’s helpful gaze.  And when the instruction was done, and the ravioli made, we got to eat our work – and it was delicious!  Of course I ran home to look for pasta machines on Ebay – this is a dish I will absolutely be making again.

On 12th, it was off to Liz’s for a ‘surprise’ birthday dinner.  I say surprise, she knew something was happening but didn’t know who was turning up.  From 7.30pm friends arrived loaded with dishes of food and bottles of booze, helping the Birthday Girl celebrate in style.  Balloons were blown, cake eaten and lots of laughter had.  Happy Birthday Liz!

On 14th I met up with Debs to ‘assist’ her in her training to climb Mount Kenya later in the year.  Really, we just went for a lovely long walk through the wonderful Parkland Walk, from Highgate down to Finsbury Park, following a disused Railway Track.  Now, I’ve lived in London for over twenty years, five of those in Highgate, and fifteen near the Finsbury Park area and I never knew this wonderful walk existed.  If you’re not sure where you’re looking it’s a little hard to find at first, as we found out having wandered around for about 15 mins before we found the entrance, but once you’re in, it’s an absolute treat.  We did plod through the 8km trail we took quite quickly as it was supposed to be a training mission, but I’d highly recommend this little gem for a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll if you’re a local.  Of course we undid all of our good work and calorie burning by the time we got to mine by heading out for dinner and drinks at my local.  Oh well, I’m not the one walking up a mountain!

A quick Mani Pedi was had on 16th (Item 8 – Have a professional beauty treatment once a month), in readiness for another big one from the 40 for 40 list.  Item 22 – Have a weekend in Milan.  As some of you may remember, lovely Liz surprised me on my birthday with flights to Milan, and after a bit of diary jiggling, we headed off a week after her birthday so that we could both be celebrating throughout the trip.  Flying out on Thursday afternoon we arrived in Milan just in time for an Aperitivo, a traditional drink before dinner with a few delicious munchies provide by the bar.  A tradition of which I was very happy to partake!  Then off in search of a proper pasta dinner, we stumbled across a great restaurant not far from the hotel where we stayed and enjoyed our meal with a bottle of local wine.

An early rise on Friday as we took the 9am train and headed up to Lake Como and Bellagio for the day – Clunting as I decided to call it – or Clooney Hunting for the more polite.  Sadly we didn’t find him, but we did have an amazing day.  The sun shone as we took the lazy two-hour boat trip to Bellagio where we wandered the cobbled streets, ate the freshest of salads (then had a Gelato to stop it from being too healthy!), then back to Como for more exploring, another aperitivo and a simply outstanding dinner – so good we had to have seconds.  All washed down with Prosecco of course!  The train was delayed by 50 mins on the way home, but sitting outside the station at 10.30pm at night in just our shirt sleeves listening to the cicadas chirp, just made it feel so relaxing and very much a holiday.

Another super early start on the Saturday to see the main attraction.  DaVinci’s “The Last Supper”.


Booked three months ahead, we made our way to the Santa Maria Delle Grazie the small unassuming church where this stunning artwork lives.  Allowing just 25 people at a time, through two air locked temperature controlled rooms to bring our temperatures and humidity down, we were allowed inside the chapel.  I’m not sure why but I had a vision in my head that it was a large painting on a wall around 3m x 2m.  I had no idea it was so big (it is actually 8.7m x 4.5m), and in person, so impressive.  Despite hundreds of years of abuse, including a door being knocked through the bottom of the painting where Jesus’ feet would once have been, it still gave us both shivers as we stepped in front of it.  A guide gave us the story of how it came to be, what it symbolised, as well as why it’s not actually Mary sitting next to Jesus (as any DaVinci Code reader would think – and I still believe it looks like a woman!) for an all too short 15 mins before an announcement is made that your time us up, and the next group must enter.  Back through another air locked room, and it’s all over – but it won’t be forgotten.  Of course we made a quick trip to the gift shop to buy a postcard or two so that we will remember this sight for years to come.  Incredible.

Back in the daylight, we explored the centre of Milan.  Castello Sforzesco (the Castle), Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II (a church like shopping mall for all the REALLY expensive shops), Teatro alla Scala,  lunch (pizza and prosecco), the rooftop of the Duomo, inside the Duomo, Quadrilatero D’oro (more designer shops), Cafe Covo (for the most expensive cup of tea ever), another Gelato from Grom (if you’re ever in Milan be sure to find it – best ice cream EVER!) and a slow walk back to the hotel for a quick rest, then out for our final dinner of yet another plate of fantastic homemade pasta and of course more prosecco.  A couple of hours shopping on Sunday morning finished off our trip before we wandered with our suitcases back to Stazione Centrale to get the bus to Linate Airport heading home.  An amazing trip with a fabulous friend.

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Back in Blightly and there was just time to squeeze in two more items from the 40 for 40 list before month’s end.  Item 29 – Go in a Floatation Tank.  I actually bought a voucher through KGB Deals for this back in December to have a full hour at Floatworks near London Bridge, but have only just got around to doing it.  Oh my!  Friday night found me heading south for my experience. One hour in total silence and darkness, floating in the small bubble type tank with not a care in the world, every muscle relaxed and calm, I will certainly be doing that again.

And Finally, Item 38 – Slice and dice like a chef.  Liz, Jude and I set off to Jamie Oliver’s Recipease in Clapham on Sunday to learn some basic Knife Skills.  Blue Plasters are provided, but luckily none of us needed any.  Arriving at midday, we washed our hands ready to get a chopping, and a dicing and a slicing like professionals.  Leigh, our chef for the day, gathered us all around to show us what to do, and how to do it safely, before we headed to our own stations to chop and slice up various ingredients to make ourselves a meal.  Step by step we started, slowly at first, before the movement you need suddenly clicks and we were all sweeping the knife backwards and forwards, gliding through the food creating little piles of chopped up bits and pieces as if we’d been doing it for years.  A quick glug of olive oil, and a good slurp of wine served, we sat around the ‘chefs table’ to eat our seasonal Thai style salad with King Prawns.  Better still, after the session we were entitled to 10% off all products in the shop.  Bargain!

With all the fantastic food eaten this month, it’s just as well the plodding has been coming along.  Three mornings a week you may have seen me huffing and puffing around the local park… There’s still a way to go to fulfil Item 2 – Run for 30 mins without stopping, but I’m getting there. Honest!

‘Till the next time…


Magnetic North

•30 April, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Until yesterday, I really wasn’t all that fussed about the Royal Wedding… Of course I wished the couple all the best, but I had no intention of getting overly excited about the event.  That was until I turned on the television yesterday morning whilst eating my breakfast, only to be thoroughly caught up by the whole thing.  What and who would Catherine be wearing?  Would she get all of Williams’ names in the right order during the vows?  Would Harry behave himself?  And oh my goodness doesn’t Pippa look amazing…!  And that was it, until the Aston Martin left Buckingham Palace with William in the driving seat, I was glued to every single moment, along with the rest of the world!  Whatever you think about the Royal Family, I do hope they’ll be very happy together.

Meanwhile back in North London, my own plans on the 40 for 40 list have been coming along.  After the long weekend in Paris, March finished quietly.  Dinner with Jude, a home-cooked supper with Liz, and another chorus of Happy Birthday sung to my eldest niece Devon celebrating her 7th Birthday, before April began and brought with it some amazing weather!

I was supposed to have started April with my monthly treat, but unfortunately the appointment had to be postponed and rearranged for another day.  However the weekend was still fantastic as having moved into her new flat at the very end of Feb, Debs had me round for dinner.  With boxes now unpacked and pictures up on the walls, and with a balcony overlooking all of London from the very top of Highgate, her new place is charming.  I hope it’s going to be a wonderful and happy home for her for the coming year.

The following weekend I was once again all ready for the monthly treat having rebooked, only to have it postponed once more!  Hmmm, not great!  Instead I raced round to Paddy Power to put a bet on the horses in the Grand National.  One of my 40 for 40 things this, as I’ve never stepped foot in a betting shop before, let alone put a bet on.  After some careful research (ie asking someone at work what horse they suggested and being thrust a copy of The Sun newspaper) I decided to go ‘each way’ with my chosen few, and put £5 each on Ballabriggs, Oscar Time and Don’t Push it.  I came home thinking that was the last I’d see of my money, and settled in to have a cuppa with my neighbour Linda, enjoying the glorious afternoon sunshine in the garden, catching up on the gossip from the neighbourhood and generally having a good old natter.  Only when I returned home at 7pm did I find I’d backed the first three horses to come in!  Beginners luck most certainly.  Those winnings were swiftly invested in another 40 for 40 item as after spending over 6 hrs in the online queue trying to get tickets, I’ll be heading to the Royal Opera House in the summer to see Madam Butterfly.  I’ve pre-ordered the Champagne…

Mid-month I was invited by Debs to join her at the Shorditch House Literary Salon – and with the promise of a free G’n’T and slice of pizza I was very happy to accept.  Sadly that was pretty much the only good thing about the evening.  As several broadsheets and magazines had plugged the thing so much it was absolutely packed the rafters, which in itself is usually a good thing, sadly it was packed with people that really weren’t interested in the topics being discussed and were obviously slightly the worse for wear from one too many free drinks.  Stood at the back, we were unable to hear most of what was being said, whilst also being pushed about by someone who thought himself very important, so we waited for the pizza, had a quick slice and took our leave, heading to the pub instead.  I won’t tell you that we were a little bit naughty before leaving, trying to get access to a loo that we shouldn’t have been allowed to use… but let’s just say being overweight and a little bit bloated sometimes has it’s advantages!

The following evening I went to a seminar with Jude about Product Placement and how it’s going to affect the TV industry now that it is allowed.  Rather badly organised, starting over 30 mins late, and with a speaker that used too much jargon, another coughing loudly into the microphone, and PowerPoint presentations that weren’t clear or readable, it wasn’t a fantastic success, although some of it was very interesting.  I don’t think it’ll affect the programmes I work on for some time, but good to know all the same.  The Pear Cider, mini sausages and chicken skewers they event organisers provided were delicious however.

Talking of Product Placement, a couple of weeks ago I was approached by the very nice people at Trion:Z to see if I’d like to test out one of their ionic and magnetic therapy Dual Loop Bracelets.  Being someone that prefers natural and complimentary health options where possible, I was intrigued to see if wearing this rather sporting accessory would actually make me feel more energised and able to train better (oh yes, the plodding is still ongoing, along with some boxing training and general workouts with my trainer).  Having measured my wrist and picked the colours I’d like (I went for a large white and pink one) it arrived the very next day.  After wearing the bracelet for two weeks – and having done a couple of sessions without it – I do think there was a bit of a difference.  Now I’m not a top athlete, in fact I’m far from it, but after cycling to and from work, doing a full on hour long workout with some boxing with my trainer, all following a busy week in the office, I still felt happy and bouncy and had a spring in my step at the end of the week.  I can’t say it has shaved any time off my plodding (or made it any more enjoyable) or made my boxing any better, but it certainly hasn’t done any harm.  Unfortunately I can’t wear the Trion:Z bracelet all day every day as it’s not really smart enough for work, but I’ll certainly slip it on whenever I’m able, and hope that I can still benefit from its powers.

Heading to the end of the month and three shorter working weeks with the double Bank Holiday weekends, I invited Ma & Pa to come and stay for the Easter weekend.  With the sun continuing to shine we took to work in the garden, cutting down several shrubs that had become trees, and two Ivy plants that had taken over nearly half of the garden.  Ten bags of chopped up foliage now sit in the front garden waiting for the Brown Bin Recycling men to come and take it all away next week.  All this work is in preparation for a bit of fancy landscaping either later in the summer or early next spring when I hope to get a patio put in so that I can enjoy the late evening sunshine at the end of the garden.  Ma and Pa were on very good form, laughing and joking whilst we chopped and chopped and chopped and chopped…

And that brings us back to today, the last day of the month.  Very shortly my monthly treat begins – rebooked and absolutely going ahead.  A two hour organic pampering package including full body exfoliation and massage – all in my own home – from the Organic Treatment Company so I expect to be totally zen and blissed out later this evening.  And I can’t wait…

‘Till the next time…


C’est Trop Beau

•19 March, 2011 • Leave a Comment

March started with a song.  Unfortunately that also involved me singing, as it was the birthday of my youngest niece Charley on the 1st of the month.  I feel it’s my duty as Aunt, to phone and sing to her on her birthday.  I’m not sure she appreciated it, but as she is now 5, hopefully it will be forgotten as quickly as the wrapping paper that her gifts came in, and I haven’t scarred her for life!

Headed out for a Chinese with Lovely Liz on the 3rd for some serious Milan planning.  We’ve picked a date in May that coincides with her birthday, booked the flights and tickets for a major attraction (more about that in May) and we’re so excited.

Then came the next ‘monthly treat’ this time with a visit to Bannatynes in Russell Square for a delicious Chocolate Body Wrap.  After changing in to the fluffy bathrobe and slippers that were supplied as part of the treatment, I slipped into the treatment room to be pampered.  Starting with a full body scrub, I was then coated with a sweet-smelling concoction of chocolate and minerals, before being wrapped in plastic sheet and a thick downy duvet, whist I was then given a lovely facial while I ‘cooked’.   After 30 mins I was released from my plastic cocoon, and waddled off to the showers to rinse the chocolate off…  My skin felt so soft and smelt amazing, so much so that as soon as I’d left the Spa I headed straight to Starbucks to get a hot chocolate.  Sadly I wasn’t told that as part of the package I could have used the Spa, Sauna and Swimming Pool for the rest of the day. If I had known I would have packed my costume and hung about for a bit, sadly the paper pants provided for the treatment really wouldn’t have been suitable.  Never mind, next time…

This treat was the start of a week off work, with another yummy Chinese with Shaheen, a shopping trip in Selfridges (oops!) and a couple of days of just generally taking it easy before jumping on the Eurostar on Thursday for a long weekend in Paris so that I could fulfil Item 14 of the 40 for 40 list: Visit The Louvre.

Wow, what an amazing place!  I decided to get the headset guide and follow the well-worn path to see the main Masterpieces including the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, the Galerie d’Apollon and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.   Now I’m not usually a huge museum fan, but this place is truly awesome.  After spending four hours within its walls I hardly scratched the surface of the over thirty-five thousand pieces of artwork on display.  I shall certainly be going back there one day.

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Now of course you can’t visit Paris without doing some other touristy bits, so I made the pilgrimage to the top of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, walked around the Latin Quarter and Le Marais, frowned at the modern art in The Pompidou, travelled on the Bateaux Mouche, inspected the Locks of Love on the Pont Des Arts, ate crepes and croissants, and drank Champagne (bien sûr!)  and I had a brilliant few days just seeing where Paris took me, and shall certainly return.  Paris, j’adore!

Now back to reality and back to work, but with more planning and plotting for other adventures still to come.  And it’s not even the end of March!

‘Till the next time


Razzle Dazzle

•6 March, 2011 • Leave a Comment

How did it get to be March already – I haven’t told you all about February yet!

First things first.  Plodding.  Hasn’t happened.  Not one single plod.  Not a step.  Oops.  However I fully intend to start again as according to the diary and the daffodils in my garden, spring is nearly here, and the weather is certainly better, but mainly because I’m a quarter of the way through this year of challenges so I really do need to get my running shoes on – pun intended.

So what else happened in February.  Well I had my monthly treat.  This month it was a delightful luxury facial with a neck and shoulder massage by the lovely Sarah at The Park Lane Hotel Beauty Room.  I headed off after work on a Friday and had the last appointment of the day and I’m so glad I did as I was so relaxed after Sarah had finished I almost fell asleep on the bus on the way home.  My skin glowed afterwards, you can’t ask for more than that!  I highly recommend heading over there if you need a treat too.

The monthly ‘culture’ visit was to the theatre with Debs.  We managed to get a couple of super cheap seats for Chicago which despite both of us knowing all the songs, we hadn’t ever seen the stage show.  Starting at Browns on St Martins Lane, a pre-theatre dinner was quickly dispatched along with a bottle of fizz, before taking our seats.

Unfortunately there were a couple of girls near us that could not keep quiet, and almost ruined the first half…  Even the management had to come and have a word with them a couple of times – they should really have been kicked out!  The show was good, even if the chap playing Billy Flynn missed his big note on every song…!  Despite the bum notes, it was a great night out.  We headed back to Browns afterwards for a pudding, and another glass of fizz finally stumbling home rather late but with a smile on our faces and a spring in our step.  Bob Fosse would have been proud!

Had a super busy weekend at the end of the month.  Starting with helping Debs move home…  one full van, three extra pairs of hands, three flights of stairs, and a bottle of fizz to celebrate and it was all done, in a super speedy two hours from door to door.  Then headed back to the homestead for Dads birthday, with a lovely dinner at one of my favourite restaurants, The Kings Head in Ivinghoe.  Super delicious.  If I could eat there every night I would.  I would look like a beached whale, but oh, it’d be worth it!  It was just a quick overnight visit, as on the Sunday Kate and I were booked into a cupcake decorating class.  Bit disappointed with that really…  If you’ve ever played with Playdough you would already have the basics down.  Not really what I was expecting but I did bring away 6 decorated cupcakes.  Two were munched almost immediately as I zipped around to Debs afterward to see how the unpacking was going.  Yum…

What else?  Well, you’ll notice from the list lots of things are booked.  Paris, Milan, Shakespeare, Pasta, Trapeze…  and lots more still to come!  March is promising to be brilliant, but I’ll tell you more about that next time.

’till then…


Wash Me Clean

•30 January, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Wow, how quickly time goes by…  I can’t believe it’s very nearly the end of January already!

So, first off, the plodding has come to a bit of a halt as I managed to twist my knee walking downstairs carrying a very heavy box at work the other day.  Hopefully after few days rest and it’ll be back to normal.  I have completed week 4 of the Couch to 5k programme, and was about to head onto week 5, so I’ll probably repeat week 4 as soon as I can then head on when I can.  I’m determined that I’m going to get to plod  for 30 mins at some point, even if it bloomin’ kills me (hopefully it won’t come to that!)

Sadly the treadmill from Home Fitness Solutions goes back on Saturday, so I do hope I’ll get to use it at least one more time before it’s picked up. I’m very glad I hired it, as, although there were a couple of weeks when I didn’t use it (and I now know that I prefer to plod outside rather than in one spot in my dining room) I do feel it gave me the extra nudge to do something from time to time rather than hiding at home in the warm in front of the TV. I’ll certainly hire one again, or one of the other machines available, especially if I know I’m going to head into a heavy period at work, that way I can at least try to get some exercise, even if it is at 11pm at night.

I’ve been working on other 40 for 40 list items, booking things in, registering for details, and generally planning in advance for several other treats, cultural things, as well as some of the bigger events.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, head over to the 40 for 40 page for the full list.

I’ve been helped out with items 17. Watch the Godfather Films as Film4 very kindly showed them all at the start of the month.  I haven’t had time to sit down and watch them yet, but they’re all saved on the Sky+ and will be viewed very soon.

In other 40 to 40 news, my Cultural event for January was a trip to see Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at Sadlers Wells.  I managed to get one of the very last tickets for a special night presented by Mr Bourne himself, introducing some local school kids that the Company had been working with.   They’d only had a few days to put a 5 minute dance together, which was a very modern piece with some of the Company members, and they were amazing.  Every one of them looked thrilled at the audience applause when they took their bow, which was well deserved.

Then came the main event.  A retelling of the classic Cinderella story, set in a London during the Blitz.  Against Prokofiev’s score (I nearly spluffed my drink when the lady sitting next to me said that she thought it was the music from Midsomer Murders) it was another fantastic event from the team at New Adventures.  I have seen most of the works by Bourne, and this certainly had some of the same elements as others that have gone before, but to me it was still magical and delightful to watch.  I’m only sorry that the run has come to an end as I would have loved to have seen it again.

The 40 for 40 January Treat is also complete, which doubled up as number 4 on the list.  Have a Colonic.  Now, I’m not going to go into too much detail (this is, after all, a family show), but it wasn’t the most relaxing of experiences I’ve ever had…

For a start, the place I went to wasn’t quite the oasis of calm and tranquility I was expecting.  Being squeezed into a tiny room with a machine on the wall that sounded like it was going to explode any second, mixed with the rather unattractive brown towel I was handed to cover my modesty (Yes, brown!) as well as a slight dusting of shabby and grotty in equal measure, didn’t easily lead to the feeling of wellbeing I was hoping for.  However, as I’d spent an hour travelling across London to get there, there was no way I was backing out.

So, after just under an hour of, lets just say, some rather uncomfortable moments, I was able to head back home. I can honestly say that I never believed I could feel so exhausted from lying back and thinking of England.  By the time I got home 90 mins later, it was all I could do to sit on the sofa and watch the TV.  I felt extremely tired, slightly queasy, and just slightly regretful.

All that said, when I woke up the following day, I felt amazing.  My eyes were shiny, my stomach was flatter and I was 4lbs lighter, and I just felt “cleaner”.  Would I do it again?  Hmmm, I’m not sure.  Probably, but not at the same place.  I think I’d try to find somewhere that had a bit more ‘Ommmm’ and a little less ‘Ewwwww’.

’till the next time…


New Year’s Day

•1 January, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Happy New Year!

I hope the holiday season was kind to you.  I had a pretty quiet one, at home with the ‘rents for a couple of days, where Santa visited (spot his footsteps in the snow) and the sun set on a lovely day,  then headed back to London for a bit of culture and the New Year Celebrations.


Santa's footsteps in the snow

Sunset over Christmas

The culture happened, sadly the New Year Celebrations did not…  Oh well.  2010 was a pretty rubbish year, ending in an almost identical way to how started…  Let’s hope 2011 is better to all of us eh?

Anyway, time to update you on the trials of the treadmill…  I’m up to week three of my Couch to 5k plan.  And yes I have been for a plod on it today!  Starting the year as I hope to go on… despite the slightly fuzzy head and limbs that would much rather be curled up under a blanket in front of the TV, I have completed another plod.  My personal best this year too!  Hehe!   And yes I realise for some of my fellow bloggers that week three of the Cto5k plan equates to just 9 mins of plodding over 30 mins which is really pretty rubbish, particularly for those fools brave enough to partake in the Janathon event, but that’s 9 mins more than I did yesterday!  Good Luck to all the Janathon-ers by the way…  I shall enjoy reading all about it.

In other 40 for 40 news, I completed my December treat and culture items from the list.  The treat you already know was a luxury mani pedi, which I had just in time for Christmas…

Ahh, pretty toes...

And the culture actually had a Brucie Bonus as I did two things!  On Mon 27th I went with Debs and Stephen to The Barbican to see the London Concert Orchestra play some of the magical movie music of John Williams.  To say we had goosebumps throughout is an understatement!  As we flew along with Superman, rode a Nimbus 2000 with Harry Potter, relived Han Solo and Princess Leia falling in love, got moved by the Memoirs of  Geisha and sighed at the sincerity of Schindlers List, it was the extraordinary emotions of E.T. that ended the evening.  Absolutely Brilliant!

Wednesday 29th, brought the Brucie Bonus.  Along with Kate G, we went to the London Science Museum.  I haven’t been there since I was around 8 years old!  It was much more interesting this time!  A gentle meander, a chat, a few buttons pressed and an amazing 3D movie at their Imax was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.  Although, next time I might try to remember to avoid the school holidays!

Right, I’m off to try to find some healthy food…  failing that, some Chocolate and Booze!

’till the next time…


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