Thursday, June 29, 2017

Running Away to Join the Circus

Anyone who knows me knows I LOOOOOOOVE to talk about 'my studio'. Pure-Studios, my home away from home, has been apart of my life for 4 years now and I can't imagine staying sane without it.
I've had difficulties adjusting to life in the UK and with life in general, but when I found Pure-Studios 4 years ago and started Pole Dancing, I knew I found my tribe. I started Pole Dancing once a week, on and off for about a year and a bit, then took to new adventures--tried a Chair routine, a burlesque routine, and a hoop routine. Then a brand new studio brought a range of classes throughout the week and I was sold--Unlimited Classes Membership please! 👍
 
Now, I normally like to do 2 nights a week, maybe an odd 3rd every so often, but lately I've found myself doing 4 nights, 9 classes a week--and that's not even a full docket.


I was thinking about everything that I've been able to do at the studio (so far I've only NOT tried 1 discipline and only a handful of classes), and which were my favorite/least favorite disciplines.




So here are my thoughts on all the disciplines offered (the ones in blue are classes I've tried in each discipline) in order of my personal favorites:
  1. Pole Dancing
    Offered at Pure-Studios: Beginners Pole, Improvers Pole, Mixed Ability Pole, Spins Flow |& Trick Combinations, Pole Flow, Sexy Pole Flow,  Beginners 6-week pole routine, Improvers 6-week pole routine, 6-week Sexy Pole Routine, 6-week Spinny Pole Routine

    My Point Of View: I love pole dancing because there's such a stigma attached to it that it's trashy, but it actually takes a lot of grace and hard work to balance yourself and bend your body unnaturally against metal. Personally, I prefer the Flow classes or 6-week routine courses because its more dancing to music rather than just learning and executing a move, but pole will always be my first love.
  2. Aerial Hoop/Lyra
    Offered: Beginners 6-week hoop routine, Improvers 6-week hoop routine, Intermediate 6-week hoop routine, Hoop Tricks & Combinations, *Aerial Training, Youth Hoop 6-week course, Kids Aerial Hoop, Kids Improvers Aerial Hoop

    My POV: LOVE! possibly my favorite discipline after dancing around a pole. Again, I prefer the 6-week routine courses so I can dance to music, but I find the static moves more achievable in a hoop and can look pretty on their own. Hoop was painful and hard to start with (I cried by first lesson) but I've grown to love it and it's the class I get most excited for during the week because its fun and it challenges my strength and ability no matter what level I grow to.
  3. "Smoothment" (6-week course)
    My POV: I've only taken this class once, but it's one of my favorite classes. I learned a lot movement and how I could take how I move and make it more fluid, softer, and prettier. This was something that I learned a lot from and can take into my other forms of dance. Plus the warm up was hilarious and the music was so soooooothing.
  4. Burlesque (6-week routine)My POV: I love the art form of Burlesque--the history behind the 'art of the tease'. It's not all about taking clothes off, it's about how you get there in an entertaining way. I love learning choreography and each style of burlesque is unique and entertaining to work with.
  5. Chair Dancing (6-week routine)My POV: So much fun. And each instructor brings out a different style or interpretation of chair dancing--sexy/sultry, music video-esque, Fosse style.... There are some challenges with Chair dancing, whether that's new chair balances, or getting a very specific transition move, but I enjoy really getting stuck into a new routine.
  6. ContortionMy POV: I prefer this over stretch & flex because I've seen more results of increased movement and flexibility in myself.. I also prefer the stretches more in Contortion; I've always had trouble with my back and I can feel more movement in my upper back when I come to contortion.
  7. Stretch & FlexMy POV: I don't go to this class too often anymore because of everything that is offered at the studio but it's a really great 'easy' class that can improve flexibility and have a less intense workout (active stretches!).
  8. Static Trapeze (Beginners 6-week routine)My POV: At first I did not believe it--there is something more exhausting than Silks and more painful than hoop. That was my first lesson. I soon learned I was being a whimp. I've only just started Trapeze, but it's growing on me.  I've come to realize that although similar to hoop, it is hard and it is painful, but that's just the body getting used to laying on a straight metal bar instead of curving your body into a hoop. I prefer hoop, but the jury is still out on this one....I may have to take another course to make an informed decision.
  9. Aerial Tissue/SilksOffered: Foundation 6-week course, Beginners 6-week routine, Improvers 6-week routine, *Aerial Training

    My POV: Not my thing. I've tried silks 3 times and I still cannot get over how crap I am at it. Some things I can do and make it look pretty, some moves are hard but if I push myself I can just about get them, then there's some stuff that just seems unachievable and that's quite discouraging for me. 
  10. Ballet (6-week routine)
    My POV: Haven't been, so I couldn't say. But ballet, although pretty has never been something I wanted to pursue. All I know is that Beth, who teaches ballet is lovely. :)

Overall, the classes and the instructors are all great and people who come to this studio are welcoming, inclusive, and friendly. I love learning new things, I love having fun while I work out, I love making friends with people who I have common interests with, and I love feeling confident strong and capable of doing things that others never dare to try.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chiropractic’s, CAT-tastrophes’, and Coping



So a few things happened in the last week or so.


Last week on Tuesday I went to see a new Chiropractor for my back and ended up not having the greatest experience. This resulted in my going home really upset, posting a review about my experience, and ending in a long email conversation back and forth with the Clinic Director.


Then the following Friday I got a call from Hubby when I arrived at work saying the our Cat Charlie had gotten into some sort of accident and he needed to be taken to the vets. Turned out, something ran over his tail, pulled it and he has to have his tail surgically removed. So, now he's a stub-tailed cat, high on pain medication at the moment and feeling sorry for himself cause he has to wear 'The Cone of Shame' until his stitches come out. :(


That combined with a busy, stressful week at work did not make for a very happy Jenny.


But I'm coping. I've been having a battle with my emotions recently and these events certainly put my through the ringer. But I'm still here and dealing with it all. Luckily I have a busy life to keep me distracted, most of the time.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Collectormania Convention

Today I went to my very first geek/nerd convention!

And I dressed up! #firsttimecosplay

The convention, Collectormania, was a combination of lots of different fandoms and it was all very exciting with lots to see and do.

  • There were stalls with lots of memorabilia--games, comics, nostalgia items, sports stuff, clothing, and loads of different types of tv, movie, and geeky collectibles.
  • There's a 'Cosplay' zone, where you can hear from the top cosplay experts. 
  • A 'Prop' Photo shoot zone where they had stuff like Ecto-1 (the car from the original ghostbusters), a console from the Tardis in Doctor Who, and a lifesize Groot from Gardians of the galaxy that you could pay to take pictures with.
  • Several Photo Shoot Zones and Autograph tables where you can meet and greet with Celebrity guests.
    and....
  • The Main Stage: where some more exciting celebrity guest could talk to an audience, answer questions etc. 

All sorts of people were there: Cosplay stars, football legends--like Pele, WWE wrestling people (meh), and actors from TV and Film (Game of Thrones, Buffy/Angel, Harry Potter, DC/Marvel Shows, Terminator, etc).  But I came for a select few.

I toured around the stalls for a few hours and bought a few pieces. There was soooooo much I wanted, but ended up with only these:



I got Autographs from John Barrowman and Carlos Valdes.

Didn't get much out of John but Carlos and I talked for a few minutes. He's so funny, genuine and charming. At previous conventions (there's youtube videos) he's told fans that people(especially his brother) tell him his doppelganger is the werewolf guy from twilight--Taylor Lautner.

I told him while he was signing his autograph "You know that everyone tells you you look like that guy from twilight?" He kind of looked up and had an annoyed-ish look on his face like 'oh here we go again'...then I told him that Taylor and I grew up in the same town, and that people I know from theater who went to school with him said he was kind of a jerk and that in my eyes Carlos is definitely 'the better doppelganger'.

He smiled and chuckled a bit and then made a joke about keeping that one to himself for sake of ruining Taylor's reputation and thanked me for the compliment and for coming up to see him.


Later in the day I also had a photo taken with Carlos. He recognized me and said hello again before taking the picture with me. There were ALOT of people queued up to see him though, so it was just a quick hi, take photo, goodbye and go. But man....for 5 seconds having his arm wrapped around me felt good and my fangirl heart went 'Sqweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!'


After that it was all talks at the main stage:

First was John Barrowman--he came out in his Captain Jack Harkness Coat to the Doctor Who theme tune....then reveled that he was wearing a Tardis dress, blue leggings and heels underneath. This man is sooooooooo flamboyant and we love him for it.

He answered questions for an hour, including mine, which was about if he had a 'dream role' in terms of Broadway and the west end (he said no, but he'd love to be in Le Cage Au Follies again), but then that led to him asking if we wanted to hear him sing which of course we said yes. :) Your Welcome audience.

Next I saw a panel of Game of Throne Stars
Daniel Portman-"Podrick Payne"
Gemma Whelan-"Yara Greyjoy"
Kristian Nairn-"Hodor"
and Ron Donachie-"Rodrik Cassel"

I also got to ask a question in this panel (two actually). I told Kristian that I've had the pleasure of hearing one of his DJ sets, and asked which he prefers more acting or DJing? --He said he loves doing both, but he can't imagine himself not creating music.
Then I asked Gemma when she got the script for the infamous 'horse riding scene' at the beginning of her arch, what was her reaction? She said Confused. Because in the script, Yara is referred to by another name at that point, so she didn't realize that would be her. It wasn't until the day of shooting that she realized--someone told her when they were on set. And she was like 'Why not?' She had scene what happened in the first episode so the whole incest thing wasn't a shock.

Last was a 'Buffy' talk with Charisma Carpenter (Cecilia from Buffy/Angel) and Julie Benz (Darla from Buffy/Angel). They were so much fun. Charisma couldn't understand people's British accents when they asked questions so Julie had to keep on translating. Charisma also kept answering question with 'I don't know I'm not a writer, I'm not that creative' to any questions speculating where plots would have gone, or if they could make a spin off movie/show about their characters what would happen. And Julie was just like....'Id love to see darla in the 50s as a loving housewife' , or 'I'd love to see Darla in the 70s' Good stuff.



Then sadly it was time to go home. They ushered people out fairly quickly for 6pm, but oh well....it was fun while it lasted. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Healthy Eating Progess


Well as of last Sunday, Lent is officially over. Here are the things I've learned:


1. Eating Healthy is not as boring as you may think it is. 


Sure there are only so many times you can eat plain fruit/veg before you get sick of it, but by reinventing healthy snacks with some 'treats', makes it seem less like a chore

For example, I ate Celery almost every day as a snack, but i paired it with a natural Peanut Butter dip that added some flavor to the otherwise dirt-dwelling vegetable.

When I had my salad boxes for lunch, it consisted of Romaine or Baby Gem Lettuce and Tomatoes as a base (very healthy), but then I would add a few (and I mean only a few) croutons, or artichoke hearts & sun-dried tomatoes to make it more interesting. Yes, the Artichokes and Sun dried tomatoes were kept in oil, but I reduced the oil intake by padding them out on a paper towel, before putting them into the salad so I only got the flavor bursts I needed.


Breakfast....
Instead of having Pancakes, with Maple Syrup, and Sugar on Top (an overly indulgent breakfast),
I had Tesco Protein Bread with a thin spread of coconut peanut butter, topped with bananas--
Healthier and soooooooo yummy!

2. Balance is key. 

It's all good if you get cravings. But over-craving is a different story. I used to overload my diet with things my body 'craved', and with this Lent experiment, I learned to train my body out of unhealthy habits. 

Every Day.....crisps, chocolate, biscuits, coffee, hot chocolates.....any chance I would get I would go to the cafeteria at work to get a full English for £3, or have a Costa or Starbucks at my fingertips whenever possible.

They say it takes at least 21 days to make or break a habit. 

With 40 days of starting to live Caffeine-Free, Alcohol-Free, and cutting out the little temptations at work, I started to form GOOD habits, but every so often my body still got cravings.

At work one day I was talking to a colleague about different types of Cider and I got a craving to have one of the best Cider's I've taster--Mortimers. So I went home, and instead of having a pint and starting to over indulge again, I literally only had about 30ml. That's it. That's all I wanted to satisfy my craving.

Moral is....don't suppress cravings. Everything in moderation is fine. Just don't let cravings get the best of you.


3. There is something to be said about portion control. 

Even though I was eating healthy snacks, natural fruit and veg, I fear that the first 3 weeks I was making a lot more food than what was necessary.

I have a desk job, so my constantly eating snacks--no matter how healthy--wasn't necessary.  I found later on, that if I made smaller portions, and only ate when I was truly hungry, I was able to up my intake of Water.

If I started to feel 'snacky', I would drink more water and if after a few times of 'ignoring' my 'hunger' and water just didn't cut it....I knew my body was actually in need of nourishment instead of being dehydrated.

4. The Balance Between Healthy Eating & Exercise.

If you are reading this and your goal is to lose weight, Dieting alone won't cut it, just like Exercising alone won't cut it. There needs to be a balance between healthy food intake and a proportional amount of exercising. And everyone is different so, this formula will change from person to person. 

For me, having a sedimentary job, I need to find ways to exercise on a daily basis. I do anywhere from 2-9 classes a week of Pole Dancing, Aerial Hoop, Aerial Silks, Burlesque, Chair Dancing, Contortion, and Yoga. 



The classes I take are fun, they keep me interested and all of them focus more on strength than Cardio, but I know that if I want to lose weight, I have to commit to more than just a 3 minute song moving around a pole or a hoop to get enough cardio.

Personally, I HATE Cardio...with a passion. So, although I have fun, I don't lose weight in the way I'd like. But that's my burden. I'm not willing to do massive amounts of Cardio to look like a supermodel, but if nothing else, getting even those short bursts of cardio prevent me from GAINING more weight by doing nothing....so I'll take that as a win.


5. It Starts with a Single Choice. 

None of this happened overnight and I'm still working towards my goals of being a healthier person. But there is no better choice than to start NOW.



This 'Lent Challenge' has helped boost me in so many ways, but i didn't decide to give up everything at once....it happened in stages, when I felt I could take the next step.

Even before Lent started, I had already decided to curb my diet by cutting back on Soda.

Then when I started this challenge, I was cutting out Coffee, and tea (to keep me caffeinated), and trying to drink less alcohol.

After a week or so of that, I decided to replace my lunches and snacks with more fruit and veg.

Next step was more exercise = more classes per week.

The step after that was trying to cut down portions.


So, you see it's a process and one I'm going to keep continuing. 

I'm not perfect.... I snack on unhealthy things occasionally. I decide I'm too exhausted to go exercise, I forget to drink enough water, but I've been making conscious efforts to be healthier and I do feel MUCH better for it. 


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Lent Challenge

I have never been one of those people who 'give up' anything for Lent because I'm not catholic; however, some of the girls at work were talking about what they were giving up and I saw it as a personal challenge to myself to start giving up something I know is making me unhealthy.

This started by me giving up caffeine in the form of Soda, Tea, and Coffee. In my job it's very easy to fall into the trap of that daily caffeine fix to keep me going, especially when there's a small shop, a Starbucks and a Costa Coffee on campus within 5 minutes of my office.

I also decided to tack on giving up alcohol 'for lent'.

There are certain times where I have had a soda(when i'm out for a meal, in lieu of an alcoholic drink), or I will have a cup of tea as a comfort thing, but neither of these are being used to 'keep me awake' or caffeinated.

With that going well, I decided to up my game and start packing healthy lunches and snacks for work so that the temptation to 'mindlessly snack on unhealthy things' (ie: the endless supply of office biscuits, or getting a full English breakfast from the student cafeteria as a 'mid morning snack') won't be as tempting.

So far I've been doing this for about 3 weeks. On the weekend I buy, wash, chop, and portion out all my fruit and veg & make up any sandwiches or salads I have during the week, then I put them into cute little travel size containers ready for the work week ahead.

Week 1:
Meals-One Tuna & Cumber Sandwich, Two Ham, Swiss and Mustard Sandwiches, 2 'Super Salad' Boxes
Sides and snacks- Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Carrots, Celery & Peanut Butter
Quick Dinner Snacks(before going to my evening classes)-Veggie Fritatas/Egg Cups

Week 2:
Meals-Two Ham, Swiss and Mustard Sandwiches, 2 'Super Salad' Boxes, & One Tofu Ceasar Salad  
Sides and snacks- Blueberries w/ Vanilla Yogurt, Strawberries, Raspberries, Grapes, Carrots, Celery & Peanut Butter

Week 3:
Meals-Three Ham, Swiss and Mustard Sandwiches, 2 'Super Salad' Boxes 
Snacks- Bananas, Apples, Strawberries, Raspberries, Carrots, Celery & Peanut Butter
Quick Dinner Snacks(not pictured): Hard Boiled Eggs

I've been pretty consistent with what I like and will eat. But I try and change up my ratio of salads to sandwiches and always try and find a healthier and more transportable option for my meals and snacks.

Sandwiches: I prefer using seedy or protein bread, but it's usually the same ham, cheese, mustard--that's it.

Salads--I experimented with salads containing some sort of protein....tuna or tofu, but I seem to have fetish for thinly sliced Ham when it comes to my meals.
Usually I make a 'super salad' which contains a bed of Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, with artichoke hearts and diced ham, topped with Avocado.

When I am home for dinner, which tends to be about half the week because I usually go straight from work to my evening classes, I try to squeeze in at least one healthy alternative recipe that I've discovered. This week it was trying out a Veggie Tofu Stirfry.

Asparagus, Carrots, mushrooms, tossed with Tofu, cashews and a nut butter sauce. 

As well as the healthy eating, I do realized that I looooove the junk food. So, a cookie here or there, a pasta with loads of 'the bad carbs' needs to have a counterbalance of exercise. I've been trying new classes as well as keeping my old standards and although it does take a lot out of me, I do love being able to do the things I do.


This is My Pole Dance T-Shirt courtesy of Mom&Dad. 💗😋

The university (my work) has a Yoga session for staff/students for only £3! 

This last week, I took a day off so hubby and I could spend some time together. Rob suggested we go to the Brecon Beacons, in Wales and go on the 'Four Waterfalls' Walk. It was challenging and absolutely amazing!
The Husband and I at the top of the 3-tiered waterfall on our hike.

I love my classes. Currently I am on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday rotation of classes.

Monday: A 6 week Pole Dancing Improvers Routine (1 hour), followed by a Tricks, Spins and Combination Drop In Class (1 hour)

Wednesday: Yoga at work (1 Hour) --> Then in the evening Contortion(45 min), 6 week Burlesque Course (1 hour), topped off by a 6 week Chair Dancing Routine class (1 hour).

Friday: A 6 week Improves Hoop Routine (1 hour), then if I can last that long after a long week, a 30 minute Sexy Pole Dancing Drop in Class (complete with balancing on heels 😬).


This week in Chair, since we finished the routine ("Mein Herr" from Caberet), we decided to do a little fun character work with 'fosse' dance style....which I see as a combination of 60s dancing, Michael Jackson moves, and traditional catwalk/voguing. We ended up holding a fosse dance off and I got to the top two!


video

I think at the moment Chair is my favorite discipline, followed closely my Hoop but it does change from routine to routine.

video


Today I went to a 2 hour contortion workshop with Pro-Contortionist Hannah Finn, who is AMAZINGLY bendy and super nice. It was jaw-dropping to see her get into all these contorted positions, but I'm super excited to take what I've learned today and allow myself to get for flexible so that my Pole/Hoop/Silks/Yoga/Chair/etc etc...can look just as amazing!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Weekend Adventures.

Normally my weekends consist of Food shopping, doing laundry, and lazing about on the sofa reading a book or catching up on my favorite TV shows, and skyping with my parents.


Every once and a while, I let loose from my routine and do something fun. Hubby (Rob) and I had another couple up to the Hotel for dinner and we spent time talkign about life and holidays and babies (cause Gemma, the wife is preggo and preparing for their first to arrive). We sat at another local establishment before dinner to have a drink (non-alcoholic for some), and looked out at the spectacular views of the Wye Valley:
Image result for the royal hotel ross on wye views














But before that, on Friday night I went to a 'Psychic Supper'.....a first for me.


I had never gone to see a Psychic, medium, tarot card reading, Ouija Board....or any of the crazy stuff, but I thought it would be fun and interesting to try. I went into it with an open mind but not looking for anything in particular.


It was quite an interesting experience. I did get a reading and I was amazed at some of the connections that rang true. Everything came in fragments, and you were only allowed to answer the mediums with a 'yes' or 'no' so you don't give them any clues and to move things swiftly along.


Some of the things that we said were vague and stretching the truth a bit. You had to kind of stretch the memory to find a connection. But there were a few things a medium said to me that were a bit close to home and made quite a lot of sense.


10/10 would try again. It's definitely an interesting experience and if you are open to the possibility of contacting loved ones from beyond the veil, then it's a nice thought that those we lost are still watching over us.


Friday, March 10, 2017

What do you call being back from hiatus?

Hello lovely people of the internet,


I've really missed blogging.... So I'm back! yay!


I started this blog so my friends and family could see what I was up to when I was on Holiday in England. Now that I live here, I normally communicated via Facebook, but I have come to the realization that I really do enjoy reading about the day to day adventures my nieces and nephews have on blogs. I decided to start blogging again in case anyone feels the same (or doesn't have Facebook....dad👈).


I did set up another blog: https://realhousewivesofrossonwye.wordpress.com/, but although aesthetically pleasing, word press is not all that great.








So, to catch you up since 2012 (my last blog).....highlights!


  • Working at Worcester University--really great job :) 10/10


  • Living in the father-in-laws Hotel, where Hubby works, get woken up every so often in the middle of the night, but it's not all bad. Free-rent is a definite perk. :)


  • Doing Aerial Arts: Silks, Hoop, Pole, Chair Dancing as well as Burlesque and Contortion. Keeps me busy and fit(depending on how many classes I do per week).




General good times. :) More detailed (pictured) posts will follow, for now I'm signing off.