Filed under Miscellaneous

Spin yourself Thin

SPIN BIKE

 

So in an effort to drop the pounds (new year, new me! Hashtag, emoji etc!) I have taken a few measures, one of which is joining the bandwagon of doing spinning. Spinning used to be something frequented by over 40 mums who needed an outlet and a place to spin out their frustrations – and let’s be fair – they were ripped.

Now millions of us do it and it’s proving to be quite the fun class to do, whilst also burning a shed load of calories – no mean feat. At first, I was afraid (I was petrified) thinking I could never survive, spinning on my hide, but survive I did. And it definitely gets easier. My first class was agony for my bum. (Cue sniggering for the dirty minded out there,) the seat is basically a slender slab of METAL, and you spend your time pummelling your cheeks against it as you spin enough to take off. This made me enjoy the time that my arse was off the seat and I was cycling whilst supporting my body weight in the air. Some find this very difficult. I actually do not. This is because I have a lot of strength in my legs. I grew up on a farm lifting hay bales, mostly using the thighs. I can’t lift for shit with my arms though – I don’t have much upper body strength. Maybe this is why this works for me.

Having had 3 different teachers in as many classes, I have found out that there are many different ways to teach this class (and experience it). Not all of which are that pleasant, but effective no less. I will say that as a woman, I do not enjoy the battering my groin takes. Women will concur, men will wonder what we are on about. Apparently you get used to this, but to get round it I just spend as much time as possible, out of the seat.

One teacher we had was utterly bonkers; she kept inviting passing customers to join in (there is a ceiling to floor window wall)  and then at certain intervals she would actually dismount her bike and walk around the room to check whether you were working hard enough, and bear down on you if you weren’t. Wasn’t a massive fan of this to be honest, neither was the rest of the class if the feedback I heard was anything to go by. The rest of her class was tough, with her telling you to yam up the resistance, but  a good workout no less. Another teacher spent the whole time telling us about the pasta and chips she had before the class (what were  you thinking woman??) and how she might puke, NICE. She also kept saying ‘I know that this next bit will REALLY hurt’ – which isn’t motivating at all. Her music was also shit. Amazing how much difference music makes to a work out. It can really push you when you have that rising crescendo and you feel yourself being geared up until the chorus -when you go NUTS spinning for your life.  The third woman told us we were fat, and that’s why we were in her class. I can see what she was *trying* to do, offensive no less. I didn’t like her class as it concentrated on alternating between on the seat, off the seat with too much emphasis on leaning forward which put a great deal of strain on the knee – not good.

The good news is that it DOES get easier. The more you go the more you can cope – even if you have to push though that first 15 minutes where your body is in shock going this again? Really??

And at 45 minutes it’s not *too* unbearable an amount of time.

More good news? I’ve shifted 11 pounds since Christmas. So let’s all torture ourselves together, and come to Spin class! Wahoo. Just don’t tell Spinning that I sometimes cheat on it with Circuits. Hey, variety is the spice of life.

Making the Jump.

Leap-of-Faith-Quote-by-Margaret-Shepard

Someone once said that ‘success is right outside your comfort zone’ and I reckon they are probably right. The problem is doing those things that take balls. I find it hard to do things that scare me as I came from such a sheltered upbringing. I wasn’t allowed near water till I was older (my mum was terrified about us drowning) and consequently I was terrified of pools and didn’t learn to swim till I was 16. This did not help me, obviously. It only hindered me.

If we suggested back packing our father warned of ‘murderers abroad’  and I wasn’t even allowed to go to my school overnight party at 13 in case the teachers ‘weren’t responsible.’ It all added up to me feeling anxious and on edge a lot of the time.

So is it any wonder, these neuroses?

 

The battle ever since has been doing things that are scary, but could be amazing. And for the most part, I have tried to take a leap, but it’s definitely not always easy.

There are so many things to consider, so many scenarios,  balls to juggle,  people’s expectations to manage.

And then recently (but not soon enough) I realised that I only had to manage my own expectations. That as much as I feel like I’m being selfish (because we grew up with a truck load of guilt poured on us, about EVERYTHING) that life is short. You may be wondering how this has only just occurred to me. Well, of course I have always known life is short. But we spend a lot of time thinking about how stuff *might* turn out, and how other people *might* be affected. We play things out in our heads a million different ways. But guess what? You can’t make everyone happy, in fact you won’t no matter what you do.  And however much you picture things in your head, if you don’t do them, you’ll never know.

I am guessing we all spend way too much time hypothesizing about the ifs and buts. But I really don’t want to be thinking about that when I’m 80 and wondering ‘what if’ instead of ‘wow that was good. So glad I wasn’t chicken shit and just did it.’

So this is the year I have decided to get scary! I mean we all know I’m a bit scary but I mean I am going to try and do stuff that I normally wouldn’t. No I don’t mean drugs, (that would probably result in a mild case of death knowing me.) No I mean just taking a leap of faith now and then.

I’ve actually applied for some competitions, instead of having the mind-set ‘I’ll never win’ and I actually have won some as a consequence – one of which was to appear on 4music – which I have done a few times now, on video crush. This mostly serves as a bit of exposure, some fun and the chance to do something a bit different and I’ve really enjoyed doing it.

It sounds so cliché but the saying you have to be in it to win It’ is kinda true. What did Michael Jordan say? ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’

My friend recently told me that I needed to change my outlook, and that I was being too negative. Even though I went mad at him at the time, he has a point. I need to stop being afraid.

So I have decided that 2015 is going to be fucking awesome. And I’m going to be brave.

A Life Less Ordinary

BIRDS 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I look out the window longing and dreaming.

Imagining a life less dust and more ‘gleaming.’

This life isn’t bad, this desk is not coarse.

But this day is mediocre and I’m feeling so lost

And this becomes the next, drinking all my time

I wish I could tell you I was feeling just fine.

The birds migrate, they have somewhere to go.

But I’m still here and I’m feeling so low.

I watch them pulse in a crowd, and get so small

As they eclipse the horizon; I can’t see them at all.

A plane in the clouds, this comforts me so.

I want to go lasso it, and see where it goes.

This life isn’t bad, this tea isn’t cold

But I want to do something, before I get old.

I watch the skyline, golden with trees

Each finger of turquoise piercing the breeze.

I think of the magic, I try every day

A new door closes; a new hope frays.

I’ll plant some fresh seeds, drown out the doubt

Wait for the buds, or wait for the drought.

I look out the window and wonder what will be.

But this life isn’t bad

It just isn’t for me.

 

The Perils Of Social Media

 

 TWEETING BIRDS ON WIRE BLOG

 

It’s true what they say. You really are what you tweet.

 

Literally once you put something out there, you are fair game for ridicule, agreement, praise, embarrassment, encouragement, a meeting of minds.. the list goes on.

We are definitely a generation of tweeters. Companies tweet to promote their goods,  customer service is increasingly dealt with on social media.  I get all my news fixes in 140 characters – condensed and without the doomsday presenters – the way I like it. We tweet because we love the sound of our own voices, but also we hope that someone in the ether is listening.

It’s no secret that I love tweeting.

 

I met a previous love interest on twitter. It broke my heart at times.

YOUR HEART IS OVER CAPACITY IMAGE TWITTER

 

It started with a tweet commenting on something he did. He started following me. I followed back (almost immediately, I have never been good at playing it cool.) We started chatting, we met, we got on, and the rest is history as they say. And we are still close now, (ish) so it’s all good.

DATING CHRIS TWITTER IMAGE

 

This is an example of when social media can be magical. The whole thing was thrilling. Will he tweet me, won’t he? Listening out for that glorious sparkling xylophone jingle pinging out of your phone to signal the fact you have a new social media message.

 

But there are times when it is not so glorious.

If you tweet about someone, they can literally find you, at least on cyber space.

I read an article, in the Daily mail no less, about a ch4 show documenting the life of ‘an overweight woman, on benefits’  (I know, I’m trying not to judge – and failing miserably ) who made her boyfriend ‘take a lie detector test every time he left the house’  because she was jealous and paranoid. I commented on twitter that it was ridiculous (which it is) and that she was obviously insecure and maybe focusing on doing something for herself would maybe distract her.

Now, even though I didn’t use this woman’s full name, or hashtag her, or the article -  somehow she found my tweet. Which is just even sadder because she was obviously having a little troll and combing the internet for any comments about her.  I didn’t even tweet during the program – I saw an advert briefly whizz by on the TV.

She started this barrage about what a bitch I was and how I shouldn’t comment about people  I didn’t know and what a terrible person I was etc.

Hadn’t this just come full circle? Weren’t her comments just as (if not more) offensive? I didn’t actually tweet it with the intention of her seeing it, or being hurt by it. But somehow her vitriol towards me – she deemed it justified.

My gran hates Facebook with a passion. ‘Why are people airing their dirty laundry in public? It’s so crass.’ She has a point. How many times do we see the ‘oh my life sucks, and my boyfriend left me and then took my car and stole my pet dog’ statuses – those people are almost like a culture of their own. They are prime attention seekers and they are boring. When my mum was in hospital last year I didn’t post it anywhere because it was private, and I was worried.

Married couples who argue on social media make me cringe – argue in person you weirdos – stop making everyone else live through it. It’s the online equivalent of being subjected to your parents arguing when you can’t leave the house.

Recently someone I saw on Facebook revealed themselves to be an absolute loony.

FACEBOOK EYE IMAGE BLOG

They were complaining about the NHS and how the hospital had ‘TRIED TO KILL ME!’ (one of her choice statuses), meanwhile the posts were accompanied with selfies of her in the hospital in her robe looking doe eyed into the camera. It was very bizarre. People tried to gently venture that maybe she was over-reacting – to which she blocked every single one. Anyone who even slightly disagreed with her was greeted by a torrent of abuse  – ‘HOW CAN YOU SAY THIS. I’M BLOCKING YOU NOW.’ Then she wrote ‘DAVE HAS BEEN BLOCKED.’

I’m guessing she didn’t like what they had to say. It has made her extremely unpopular and pretty sure it’s  halved her Facebook ‘friends’ count.

Social media *can* be amazing – look at the ALS bucket challenge – it spread like wildfire amongst the public (and celebrities)  and raised a shedload of cash for a good cause. Lots of charities have gained attention and sponsorship through this method.

Social media also allows for keeping in touch with people abroad without it feeling forced (such as an e-mail might.) I certainly use it to keep in touch with all my American friends. When I see their parties, haircuts, boyfriends etc  I feel like I’m sort of experiencing it with them. I miss them so when I see them online, it reminds me of the times we partied together, and I feel like I’m not so far away.

me n girls in vegas (2)

(me with my US beauties.)

But with great social media –  comes great responsibility.  It has to be used wisely.

A recent case in point. One of my friends is chums with Steve Jones (I KNOW) and I had kept asking her to set me up – she never did. According to her ‘I can’t take the broken heart – and I’m not talking about yours.’  Liar.

Anyway, a picture recently popped up in my newsfeed of Steve holding my friend’s baby. He looked gorgeous and swarthy as per usual. I wrote underneath.

‘Any chance this time?’

My friend wrote back.

‘Sorry he’s taken babe.’

Pffssh. She’s useless I thought. I decided to go on Google to see who he was with, wine glass in one hand, and curiosity in the other. Sure enough a cocoa skinned goddess popped up holding his hand in the pics. ‘American’ and ‘model’ were the two words that kept jumping out of the page.

I decided to write back. (What a poor decision.)

‘Yeh, just seen, ‘some’ American chic. SIGH!’

A Few moments later a notification popped up.

I read the comment. I didn’t recognise the name or the woman… at first.

‘Yes, I’M that American woman. He’s with me.’

EEK!

FOOT. IN. MOUTH.

To say that I was mortified is probably an understatement. Thank GOD I didn’t say anything else. Can you imagine? ‘yeh she looks like a real ugger’ or ‘she’s punching above her weight.’ Thankfully, I didn’t.

But that certainly taught me folks. If you put it out there – it’s probably going to come back like a boomerang and bite you in the ass.

So tweet responsibly guys, and like driving, definitely best to avoid alcohol!

Beauty treatments are in the eye of the beholder

carrie wax

 

So this weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Ruby Salon in Carswell in Oxfordshire. It got me thinking about beauty treatments and what we consider our essential go-to treatments.

I have been getting my feet done more and more regularly at this salon as what you receive is so good.

 

I used to be a very infrequent visitor. I used to just get my feet done now and again – getting a pedicure isn’t really a priority for me. When it comes to beauty treatments my top two essentials and self-allowed luxuries are getting my eyebrows threaded and having my bikini waxed. I get waxed religiously every month – sorry if that’s TMI but it’s the truth. It is amazing what you will prioritize. I know people that only do this on special occasions, and even then it’s reluctant. I do it for myself. I like feeling clean and smooth.

 

When I lived in New York, I lived above a really kooky nail salon. A sign on the door said ‘manicure 15 dollars.’ Considering the pound was extremely strong at the time, this would have made the treatment under a tenner. Dirt cheap. My friends got theirs done there and were extremely pleased. Every morning I would leave my apartment building and as I passed it, I would think ‘ I must get go there and get that done.’ By the time I got to the subway the idea had wafted out of my mind and got carried away with the humid Manhattan breeze. The amount of times I eventually managed to visit that salon in my 3 months living in New York? ZERO. I guess it just wasn’t on my radar.

 

The mani-pedi may not have been at the top of my list,  however,  I made sure I visited a waxing salon. I had originally Googled a place that was Portuguese run and it was on my way here that I stumbled across another one – run by a very formidable Chinese lady.

 

I was just having a look in the window and she ushered me in. ‘What you want girlie?’ she asked, determinedly. ‘Er.. well I was thinking of getting a Brazilian.. I was just looking really..’

‘Ok, great. come with me.’ She was very authoritative for a woman under 5 ft.  I slowly followed her thinking what have I got myself into? EEK.

 

I lay down on the bed and she commanded I take my knickers off. The last time I heard those words it was on some stairs.. and he had at least bought me lunch beforehand.

 

Almost terrified I froze and went very bumbly and English ‘er, I don’t usually take my erm well my lady normally lets me keep them on.. I erm ‘

‘OH we have a shy one here hum’ she said in a very drawn out Chinese accent. ’Come on, i’m like a DOCTOR.’

I reluctantly peeled them off. I guess I did want the wax.

 

‘Wait’ I said, as if I suddenly remembered something.  ’how long have you been doing this for?’

To which she leaned close to me and said ’25 years, longer than you been BORN!;

Yikes.

 

So she proceeded to wax –  zip, zip, rip rip. Like lightning.

 

In all honesty, despite the terror, it’s the best wax I’ve had to this day. The precision, the smoothness,the lack of pain. It was amazing really. It set me back $75 (ouch) but definitely worth it and it lasted a long time.

These days, as I’m living in the slightly less glamorous Oxfordshire – not so much big apple as tiny pip – I like to visit my trusty salon in Didcot that has been doing my waxes since I was 18.

 

I guess having my feet done has become my third luxury. The appointment is an hour. You get a foot soak, dry skin taken off, foot scrub, another soak, moisturiser and then glorious foot massage. After that you get a full and proper pedicure  with nail cutting, cuticle clipping, cuticle oil, and nail polish of 4 coats added. You also get a cuppa and magazines and that’s all just for £20. Bloody bargainous if you ask me.

 

If you want a great pedi with foot massage visit Ruby salon carswell –  http://www.rubyhairandbeauty.co.uk/

For a great brazilian visit premier beauty http://www.premierbeauty.co.uk/

Happy preening ladies. (Or men – if that’s your thing)

 

 

The Hacker in the Rye

So, Jennifer Lawrence et all have been hacked.

And it’s the naked pics.

What else? Of all the things to hack? Why couldn’t it have been what really went on at Area 51, or the whereabouts of Lord Byron, or what REALLY happened to Amelia Earhart (sabotage??! – this has fascinated me for years). THINK of the potential. This probably took the hacker a good while of planning too. Think of what could have been revealed… but no. It’s something so base.

 

It happens to be nude selfies, that ‘celebs’ have taken in the privacy of their own homes, for either themselves, or a romantic interest. Way to go hacker, great job.

It kinda makes me want to find the hacker, take a picture of his tiny penis (let’s be honest, this WILL be a bloke, and a sad one at that) and put *that* on the internet, so we can all have a look at that. And he can shrivel up inside, like I’m sure these women have, upon being exposed in such a way.

It’s much more interesting when someone hacks things that have meaning, that we have all been wondering about – and why the whole Wikileaks thing was so potent. I’m not condoning hacking of course (some of us have jobs) But at least *that* had a message. What’s the message here? Some celebs have taken naked pics of themselves, gasp, and now you can all see them. Hmm.

What makes this all worse for the women hacked, has been the vitriol thrown their way. So much so, that even Emma Watson has felt compelled to address it. What’s the motivation behind mud slinging them? What exactly is their crime? This is just adding insult to injury. These people need to shut up. I’m sorry, but he who hath not ever taken nude pics of yourself, cast the first stone please..

 

We even have Ricky Gervais weighing in with the tweet basically saying that if you have a nude picture of yourself on your computer, you have asked for it.

Of course Gevais doesn’t take pictures of himself naked – he’s kinda gross. He would make himself sick, let alone anyone else. Also even if he DID. No-one, but no-one, wants to see that.

 

Unlike Jennifer Lawrence who is sculpted perfection. Really JLaw, I wish I could have a chat with you and tell you that you have NOTHING to worry about – that you are glorious and that while this IS a shitty thing, and certainly a violation of your privacy, at least you can hold your head up high and go – you know what? I look banging. No unflattering pics there.

 

Now, people like Gervais need to just hush up. Why shouldn’t people in the public eye be naked in their own homes?  Why not? are celebs not human? Do they not bleed? Who hasn’t done this in a relationship? You’ll be lying if you said no.. Are we we meant to think of those in the public arena as not occupying the same space as us? Should they be saintly because they have been afforded a rather pleasant and luxuriant lifestyle? They are people.

 

Hell, even if you do it for yourself, to appreciate yourself. That’s your choice. I never use the cloud. I always thought it was bollocks and now I think that even more so. This hacker, undoubtedly has issues, and while he may think what he did has taken skill, it actually just proves that the cloud is not secure. If Jlaw and MEW and the Upton chick had taken those pics on a Kodak and given the pictures to a friend or lover, the only way to get those photos would be to get it from said lover – it wouldn’t be out there in the ether. It would be her negatives, and the hard copies. The hacker’s ‘prowess’ would be useless in that situation.

 

So yes, you are going to look, it has popped up everywhere – and I’ve looked myself. But it just made me appreciate what a goddess she is,  I mean really beautiful… and how I seriously need to just eat celery, and do more push ups. From now until.. ooh 2015? That or save up for lipo.

 

JLaw, I salute you.

 

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