Phoenix from the flames

There is a reason for this title, the closing ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics was Sunday night and above the Olympic flame rose a Phoenix.  I thought this quite apt on a London/Great Britain level and on a personal level and the image has stayed with me since.
On a London/Great Britain level because we had so many doubters as to whether we could hold the Olympics in this country, was we ready for it, would the buildings be ready and adequate? Could we get any medals? Transport issues or strikes despite extra money being paid to many people?  Would we fall flat on our face at a great cost in a very public way? Well the answer is WE DID GREAT!!!! Not only finishing 3rd in the medal table but I am happy to say we held one of the most successful Olympics ever. No security issues, no strikes, no riots, I was proud as the whole country came together and we can hold our heads high as Great Britain was on the map and we showed a comeback!  I was actually thanked by an American whilst away after the opening ceremony, he said “thank you for that great opening ceremony and thank you for holding what will be a great Olympics”, I felt proud!
On a personal level the Phoenix was an image of how I have risen above issues and adversity and I am still here and still strong. I may have a wobble every now and again but thanks to the people around me I can pick myself up and carry on. People come and people go but I am lucky to have my loved ones to count on and I know I am loved.  The Phoenix right now is me getting my health and study back on track. It shows that we all have a chance to rise again despite what is up against us.

It was sad when the flame went out though, 16 days of brilliant sport in the UK and some great athletes who should be an inspiration to us all.  However, we haven’t even seen the full story because  the para-Olympics start on 29th August and we will see not only another set of great sports men and women but people who have overcome so much, they are like a phoenix rising from the flames too and I will look forward to following these games when they start.

Things never are straightforward, a small niggle with my car turns into a new car purchased.  Ho hum so much for me saving money when back from holiday.
Well it may save me money as I am downgrading engine size and back to petrol instead of diesel (diesel has got so expensive recently) and I hope these downgrades will reflect in money saved further down the line.

On the book front I have just finished Junk by Melvin Burgess , it is part of my reading list for my Open University EA300 Children’s Literature course starting in October.  Firstly I would not call it a typical children’s book, as the title suggests its about junk in other words drugs, also deals with the subject of child runaways and more sordid subjects.  However, even though I was reading it under ‘duress’ I found that I was drawn into it and as the story moved on I wanted to know what happened next.  A good read told from different perspectives and at times very unnerving and I am not even a parent, had I been a parent I could be worried!  This book won both the Guardian Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal and I can see why and I will read it again when all my studies are over as it was a good read.  Available from Amazon from this link and its probably available from other book shops!

On the gym front I have been busy:
Today was an hour spin class followed by a PT session with Mike. We completed the following:
Leg press40kg 20 reps 4 sets, between each set alt step/shin reach of 20 reps.
Pulldown 15kg 20 reps 4 sets, between each set lat step/shin reach of 20 reps
Chest press 5kg 20 reps 4 sets, between each set touch toes then up to ceiling of 20 reps
Power plate squats for a minute set at 30 and low
Power plate massage

My heart rate monitor had stopped working so I have no clue on how many calories I have burnt during these two sessions but I felt good despite my lack of exercise recently.  Although I did feel shattered after spin and felt that I could have bailed on the PT session but glad I had booked it and held strong.

Have a good week!

Training again.

Time to blog about my training at the gym, writing down my sessions not only helps me keep on track but I hope it provides inspiration to others too!

My first PT session after the holiday was on the 10thAugust.  In this session I completed the following:

Warm up was a walk on the treadmill for 12 minutes incline was set at 2.
Leg press 40kg 4 sets of 20 reps, between each set alt reach step 4 sets of 20 reps.
Pull down 20kg 4 sets of 20 reps, between each step lat steps 4 sets of 20 reps.
Kinesis press 5kg 2 sets of 20 reps however this was reduced to 12 reps then 10 reps on the final set, between each set touch toes and reach to ceiling 4 sets of 20 reps.
Treadmill intervals on incline 2 walk at 5kph for 30 seconds followed by jog 7kpm for 30 seconds each 30 second interval continued until 13 minutes and then a walk to cool down, taking it to 20 minutes on the treadmill.  I covered 2km in 23 minutes.
Session ended with a stretch.
Back in the gym Monday.
Weigh in for me is today I wont publish here what damage I have done  weight wise but I will be noting a start weight and recording what is lost (I hope) over the next few weeks.  I need to be fit and healthy for my new job and I have Christmas 2012 and Summer 2013 as goals!
This session was hard work but it was expected to be hard after being away from the gym for what felt like a long time.  I felt good afterwards but it will be interesting to see how the next week’s sessions go and if I am on the right track back to fitness.  I had noticed that the gym have scheduled new classes and I am looking forward to giving them a shot over the next few weeks.
On the university front I have started my ECM proposal, I am not keen on what topic I have chosen to investigate but time was running out and I needed to get something down on paper.  I was hoping for inspiration but have gone with my first idea, I cant put here what this idea is until after the cut off date but I am hoping it will provide me with a pass and then onto the home straight.
Studying with the Open University has been a long hard slog, it has had its highs and lows and it definitely has not been easy to do whilst working and trying to run a home and fitting everything else in.  I would recommend the Open University though, they have so many subjects and if I am honest I think I will find a new subject to study once this degree is over but by then the pressure will be off.  If you want more information about the OU subject range visit

Damage limitation

So back from holiday, suffering a little with jet lag but ready to get on with life back in the middle lane until September when life moves quickly into the fast lane.

So things I need to complete or start before I start work on 3 September.

1-start new gym routine
2-finish TMA06 for E303 (current open university level 3 module)
3-start ECM for E303
4-read books for EA300 (final open university level 3 module)
5-organise work filofax
6-organise house
7-start Slimming World
8-plan a starter for new school

Doesn’t seem much when I write them down but they are big goals and I don’t have as much time as I would have liked.  The title says it all for me, I know that this time next year I want to fit into and feel good/look good in a Hollister bikini!!!

I haven’t weighed myself yet, I plan to weigh in on Sunday and see what weight I have added whilst being on holiday, I am not strong enough to see it right now and my body is all over the place with the jet lag.  So weighing in right now would have the chance to tip me over the edge and give up before I have even started.  However, I have booked up gym classes for next week and I hope its the kick start I need to get into a routine.

On the gym front I am annoyed, I booked an aqua class for Thursday morning to start my new routine, I got into the pool with the others and waited and waited, 10 minutes later we were advised that the instructor was on holiday and cover has not been arranged therefore class was now cancelled.  So annoyed as I didn’t have my swimming stuff with me goggles etc and as I was in the pool I could have gone onto the gym floor if I had my gym stuff with me.  I went off fuming and did a steam room session instead.  I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come at David Lloyd, we have had issues before but recently things had been OK, I don’t want to start looking around for a different gym that puts people first.
Booked for next week:
Monday RPM and PT session
Tuesday Zone Cycling
Wednesday RPM
Thursday Yoga and Zumba
Friday Spin and Zumba

I have PT session today, not looking forward to it but I have to get back on the wagon and reverse the damage.

Whilst on holiday I did plenty of reading thanks to the joys of kindle, I plan to post about good books worth reading in the future on this blog in the meantime this is what was read whilst I was away:

ASBO: A Novel of Extreme Terror by Iain Rob Wright – A fictional story that could be fact, worrying and frightening insight into what ‘could’ happen in the real world.

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson – Amazing book that I could not put down, repetitive to start with for good reason with a fantastic twist to the plot.

Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum by Mark Stevens – A brilliant insight to why Broadmoor was built and some of the inmates from the early days, factual and interesting.

The Crew by Dougie Brimson – Started off well, all about football violence in the 1990’s but thought the ending was disappointing.

Inflight Science: A Guide to the World from your Airplane Window – Read whilst on my flight to Mexico.  A great little read and almost put my fears about flying to bed.  Lots of facts about inside and outside a plane and around the airport.

Its Your Time You’re Wasting by Frank Chalk – Written by a supply teacher brilliant insight in how some schools are and the children within them.  Good reasons behind behaviour by kids and staff, eye opener when you realise that some of the things described in the book happen for real.

London by Tube: A History of the Underground Station Names by David Revill – Bit of an underground geek after travelling on it for many years and wanted to understand some of the history.  Was also a cheap book for the kindle and pleased I purchased it before the Olympics so I could gain knowledge of the east end.

Shadow Of The Minotaur by Alan Gibbons – It was a ‘have to read for work book’ wasn’t looking forward to it but once started I found it enjoyable.  Good for boys if they are reluctant readers and with more than a nod to Greek mythology anyone who has an interest in that field should enjoy it.

I know my taste is different to others but I have found some good reads by looking at what others are reading via kindle ratings and will continue to search out good and different books to read.

Wishing you all a good weekend.

Nearly panicking

Time is ticking on dear reader, as I write I have 2 1/2 days left in my current employment before having a 6 week break and starting in September, somewhere new.  So where is the panic you ask? Allow me to explain……….

Putting a football spin on it I have it in my head that my new employment is the premier league of places and I have almost been promoted up a few divisions overnight, like going from a pub league to premiership in one swoop.  I almost feel as if I am not worthy but now it’s all happening I can’t let them down and I won’t either.  It means hard work and maybe long hours but I hope the rewards will pay off when I need them to.  With this in mind I need to get even more organised than before so I will be reviewing new ways of organisation during the break and also tweaking my current work filofax set up as I need to be on top of my game.  Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

My second form of panic is my EMA proposal I have to do for the OU, again on the face of it why am I panicking after all I have been studying with the OU since 2009?? Again allow me to explain I need to choose a topic on something that has been covered by the course and write 3000 knowledgeable words on said topic.  Problem being is that my mind is blank at the moment and before I embark on holiday next week I need to have a few ideas in mind so I can start research whilst away.  I have spent days reviewing topics and books but have drawn a blank.  I could write about 1000 on anything but 3 times as much I don’t think so.
I guess I have to just keep looking in the hopes that something in the next 2 days come to mind.  After which panic will set in and that will be no good to anyone.

So back to my current situation, 2 1/2 days left hmmmm let me think about it for a second, am I sad to be going?  I am in some ways, I will miss the lovely ladies I work with and most of the students but there are many things I won’t miss.  The lack of focus and team bonding being one and a sense of ‘them and us’ being the other both killers to a persons morale in any work place but even worse in an education establishment as the students also have the same treatment and lack of support and that’s not on.
This place prides itself on its ethos but over the past year this has faded somewhat and whereas I would have done anything for this place a year ago the situation has changed now.  I am not sure if the change was as a result of turning to Academy status or to the change of outlook by the staff expecting the change of status to affect them.  I have also discovered some things in recent days that have not show the some members of staff in a good light in some cases some actions have been morally wrong and the least I have to deal with that the better.  Karma will sort those people out and I would have moved on by then!
I am not going to turn this into a rant about here, I will be forever grateful for the chances given to me by this place and there are some wonderful talented people here, I hope the 1 or 2 rotten apples wont affect the good people.  I will miss this place but like the students in year 11, they move on and so should I.
The change in job means a change of wardrobe, thanks to the brilliant sales that have been on I have been able to update lots of key pieces this past month, the best sale has to be Monsoon 50% off, so stocked up on trousers, skirts and blouses.  There are sales everywhere and I have been lucky to get most of what I need before going away, the rest I will sort out if I need to when back but at least that’s not to panic about as its not essential.

Once back from my holiday I need to get focused again on the things that will help me come September, I have already mentioned organisation but I also need to get back into a routine in the gym.  These last few months have been dreadful what with one thing or another; I am now finding that my health has got a little worse than before.  I am suffering from headaches more and tiredness but unable to sleep through a whole night.  Hoping that exercise will straighten my issues out.  I intend to hit the gym whilst away but new routine will start when back!!

So there you go dear reader panic and mayhem for just a few more days, then I hope for a relaxing time before I am up against it again in September

Being the better person

Aunt Alice passed away this week.  I was not at home when I received this news as I was away for the weekend, so I had the chance to reflect on my own about life and where it is taking me.  This then gave me the chance to take stock of my current situation as it stood at that point.

I want to be a better person both inside and out and on the whole I do think I am, but there is a but.  I do think as a result of my nature I get taken advantage of both professionally and personally, when I think I am being a good person I actually being taken for a ride.  I am pretty easy going and due to my generic make up I aim to strive for the best whilst trying to please others and this week has really shown to me how I have failed myself.  I have, I feel, massaged others egos and not had the favour returned.  I will not force myself on other people, if they want to know me then great, if not they so be it.  People are looking out for number one and getting what they want and neglecting perhaps the one person who could be there supporting them and making a positive difference to their life.  There will come a point when these people realise that they should have kept me on side as I am a force to be reckoned with when I need to be, but I just wont have time for them.
So in light of this I have started to look after number one and stop suffering fools gladly, I am speaking up more for myself and in some cases walked away from a situation where I think I have been taken for a ride.  I will not be used any further, I wont be used only for that user to move on elsewhere, that’s too boring for me!  I have taken advantage of some situations this week and turned them to my benefit  I am a firm believer in karma, what goes around comes around and I will sit back and watch knowing I still strive to do the right thing and help where I can but not to be taken for a fool.  I will not be spoken to or treated in a certain way and if I respect others I expect that respect back.

Onwards and upwards.
It has been a busy week, I really don’t know where I fit everything I do in, but on reflection its because I have a very good support network around me in my personal life and that makes me feel loved and strong.

Study wise I am now running 2 Open University modules, this is tough going as both courses claim they need “16 hours of study” that’s 32 hours of study a week then right? Well that’s impossible when working so I am doing the next best thing and picking up my books at every spare chance I get without neglecting family, job or gym.  These courses will be running together for a couple of months and then I have an exam for one then its just running one course until the next one starts.

Due to a shoulder injury incurred last weekend I thought my gym sessions would not go so well this week but to be fair I have held onto my own.  I was back in the gym for a spin class Monday night with the brilliant Joe, it was good to get back into the saddle after the weekend I had.  Tuesday was a rest day therefore I was in the gym again for a PT session with Mike, this is where my shoulder played up.  Mike is great and started with some gentle movement exercises on my shoulder some I could do and some became so painful that I just wanted to cry out, nevertheless I completed the session and felt OK at the end of it.  We used the brilliant TRX equipment for some of the session and I love using these.

Thursday was spin class again with the brilliant Hazel and it was good to see my friends back in too, the dream team back in action!  After spin I went for a swim and fantastic, my shoulder held out wasn’t painful as such and it felt good.
Tonight I have pilates booked and I think after the week I have had I need a good stretch out.  Being hunched over books, car steering wheel and a keyboard means my shoulders despite last weeks injury are tight and sore tonight’s class should help there.

I have not made any clothes/make up/shoe purchases this week, no time really but I have my eye on some sweaty betty stuff!

Normal service with the blog will be resumed next week.

Back in control (nearly)

Back in the land of the living after a whirlwind of a break in the States. Focus is currently very much on getting myself back in the right time zone and back to gym and work.

I spent a few hours of my flight thinking about some shoes I had seen in Monsoon before I had come away and I know this would be breaking a resolution but if they are in the sale I would just have to have them, perfect for the new look I hope to achieve this year. Black with a heel and platform, very smart and would work well dressed up or with jeans.
However before the shoe buying commences I will have to get used to the shoes I purchased at Nine West, a lovely leopard print with a platform hopefully making me look long and leaner lol.

Also before anything else it’s back to the gym, I have a PT session booked with the wonderful Mike Wednesday and I am booking classes for the rest of the week, need to get back into the spin class and I need to be slightly flexible so it’s Pilates on a Friday for me.

2012 is now in play and there are many paths to travel this year and each path must count.

Out with the old, in with the new

How many blogs will have this title I wonder?

2011 has been an interesting year full of highs and lows but I am pleased to report that there were more highs than lows thank goodness.  One of the highs for me was joining a new gym, it was the turning point for me into getting fitter and healthy.

I am also pleased to report that my university studies with the OU are still continuing and I passed many modules this year including one with a nasty exam.  I also passed my GCSE maths with a pretty decent grade, now why couldn’t I have done that at 16??

My job is still very fulfilling and does keep me on my toes, no two days are the same, however, in this past year the politics both within the school and within the country as a whole have had some impacts on me.  I keep clear of politics at work, there can be some back biting and I like to think I am above all that but still it goes on and try as I might I get caught.  A resolution for 2012 is to avoid the internal politics and keep my head above water as I love my job and nothing should be allowed to ruin it.

The year is nearly over and I am pleased that I have spent Christmas with the family.  The family situation has changed greatly this year, what was known at the beginning of the year is vastly different at the end.  The family saga is perhaps the greatest rollercoaster of the year, it rivals Eastenders sometimes (without the B&B fire christmas storyline).  You can’t pick your family it is true but sometimes you just need to front the situation and sort it.  If it doesn’t get sorted then there is always a chance to walk away, harsh I know but sometimes it has to happen.

So resolutions have been mentioned above and now I am going to put in writing what I would like to achieve in 2012.  Being in writing means I have to keep to it right?
1. Continue with the gym
2.Keep up the studying
3.Try not to buy as much make up/clothes/shoes this year.(I know I wont keep this one)
4. Keep away from work politics
5. Continue to be myself!

Happy New Year