Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Faryl Robin from Summer to Fall


My friend Elizabeth introduced me to the Faryl Robin brand and it was pretty much love at first sight. I wanted to share this fabulous designer with everyone so tried to put together a selection and found I couldn't contain myself to just one of their collections. What do you guys think? Are you as into them as me or not? What are some of your favorite brands?
Ciao,
xoxo

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Mia Infatuation



There's a local shop here called Mia that I have fallen for head over heels. It's not what I call affordable fashion per se, but none the less, I love it. These are some of my favorite items from their shop. Maybe if I'm extra specially well behaved for the rest of the year, Santa Claus will put some of them under my tree. No? Ah well, a girl can dream! Do you love any of these items as much as I do? I especially love the red flower motif inside the black umbrella! It seems like such a peek-a-boo surprise and I can always use with one of those on a rainy day (the peekaboo surprise I mean). 
Ciao,
xoxo

Monday, August 29, 2011

In the garden...










Just wanted to share some photo's of one of my favorite places to be. If we were talking about utopia, this would come pretty close for me. It's beautiful and peaceful and the outside world just doesn't seem to exist when I'm there. Have you ever found a spot that feels like that for you? 
Ciao,
xoxo

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Unexpected


We had to do some back to school shopping for the kids and our mission lead us to Christchurch. This amazing cross stands in the middle of a ton of shops. It was so out of the blue, but so lovely. It's one of the many things I love about this area. You never know what you'll find.

Do you have something special and unexpected in your area? I'd love to hear about it!
Ciao,
xoxo

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Heart Beats



A lot of things have hearts on my brain lately. Everything from health, food, life, love and relationships.

Have you seen the latest news about "The 'heart attack proof diet'"? In short, it requires: no meat, no eggs, no dairy, no added oils. Would you be willing to take the plunge and go for that if you were guaranteed to be heart attack free?

There is enough heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes in my family history to make this a really tempting approach to life. With that said, I just can't bring myself to dive into that. 

I'm not a nutritionist or specialist of any kind but health and weight is something I've struggled with for a long time. Personally, I know my entire family struggles with an essential fatty deficiency. Whether it's a genetic thing, where we just don't break down or absorb them well or something else, I'm not sure. I just know that essential fatty acids are important for us. So when I read no meat all I could think was, 'not even salmon?'. Throw in no eggs and no oils and our ship is pretty much sunk. I mean, we have a deficiency and that's while eating all of those things. Working around picky kids who don't eat that wide of a selection of food makes it even tougher. 

I think so many of us struggle with food, health, and body image these days. It can often be refreshing to  get an inside glimpse from those who we might never suspect struggle with the same things we do. Just the other day, one of the people I find really inspirational, Garance Dore, wrote an amazingly open post about her life changes since relocating to New York and how it's affected her relationship with food. 

While this diet might offer a heart attack free existence, I'm going to have to pass. I can't imagine the stress, worry, and anxiety trying to follow it would cause and I'm pretty sure that would completely undo any heart saving qualities that might have for me. I think I'm just going to continue trying to eat "clean" and balanced foods and embrace whatever life might have in store for me.

What do you think? Do you have kids and would you ask them to jump on board with these new food restrictions? Are the heart saving promises worth it to you?
Ciao,
xoxo


Friday, August 26, 2011

Great Green Smoothie Goodness


I keep coming across mentions of amazing spinach smoothies. I'll be honest, that just sounded strange to me. What sounded even stranger, were people who were championing avocados as a great creamy addition to the mix. 

I did some digging and came across a really simple recipe. I've never been much of one for following recipes. Call it the rebel in me but it seems to work out alright. 

The recipe I started with inspired me to start out with roughly 1 cup of frozen spinach and 1 avocado puree'd with 1 cup of Cawston's Apple and Ginger juice. My version probably lost some of the nutritional value that theirs had but I'm all about working with what I have. 

I've tried this smoothie with fresh spinach and it's just as good. Several of the Cawston apple blended juices are also very tasty in it but I have to say I really liked the Apple and Ginger one the best. Toss in a chili pepper if you feel like adding some real heat. And since I was using juice instead of an actual apple, I added some ground flax seed to gain back some fiber. 

What I like about Cawston's juices: No added sugar, no sweeteners, not from concentrate, no colourings, and no preservatives. 

I'd really like an organic version of their juices if it were available but overall, this is a juice I don't feel that bad about drinking. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Weed


I have no idea what this flower is. I'm not much of a gardener. In fact, if it's a plant and you want it to live, your best bet is to not give it to me. This flower popped up in the middle of a gravel pathway in the garden. I thought it was amazing what mother nature can do so I'm sharing it. 
Ciao,
xoxo

Monday, August 22, 2011

Funchal



Lately, I've been thinking that I should probably rename my blog to something like, "My marvelous misadventures" or "The Misadventures of Me". If you've spent one day with me, you know why I say  this. Here's a small sample for you in case you haven't had the pleasure of witnessing one of my days first hand.

The wonderful Diana Teodoro, challenged me to try Portuguese food and ever since, I've been juggling real life around this mission. After her last suggestions, I didn't have the heart to let Nando's be my first experience so I went all out and unearthed what seems to be a family owned spot called Funchal. (I'm not sure on that but that was the impression I was getting.) Full of vim and vigor, my husband, the kids and I piled into the car in the miserable rain and whipped out a smart phone to get directions. The phone spit out directions to Funchal, Portugal......Right. Really nice idea which I hope to do someday but that was a bit further than we'd intended to go for the day. With some tinkering we got the right directions and headed out. 

Gobs of stop and go traffic, crazy amounts of rain, and interesting GPS navigation choices eventually lead us in the general vicinity of where we needed to be. Parking was a breeze and we all piled out of the car with our mountains of rain gear, umbrellas, and my obligatory camera gear. Somehow, the miserable cold rain that had been drenching us on the way, miraculously cleared and the sun was blazing down on us as we exited the car park. Never mind! Who cares that we're now carrying way more than we need? You never know. The rain could come back! And off we set uphill, full of our sense of adventure.

Shepherding kids, uphill, over dressed, in sunny warm weather is always a treat but none the less, we found it. The magnificent oasis of Funchal. There's scaffolding across the front, the lights are out and in the windows are signs saying, "Closed for a kitchen refurbishment. Sorry for any inconvenience." I'm really starting to think this just isn't meant to happen. And just for the record, I could see inside where the words "Piri piri" were actually spelled correctly. 

We back tracked and branched out. We ended up eating at the lovely cafe, "Beau Monde". I had an extremely tasty smoked salmon and shrimp sandwich. 


My quest for Portuguese goes on. I'm starting to feel like Captain Ahab ever in search of his white whale. Maybe Diana will save the day and find a recipe to share with us. 
Ciao,
xoxo

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Red Arrows


Part of the Red Arrows airshow in Bournemouth 20-09-11




Boats for as far as the eye could see in any direction


People lined the beaches for miles 

I was so excited to come home and share our day at the air show with everyone. As we arrived, our neighbor greeted us and asked if we'd been down to see the Red Arrows. It turns out, while we were there, one of the Red Arrows crashed, hopefully the pilot is okay. 

Ciao,
xoxo


**The BBC is now reporting that the pilot has died. My thoughts and prayers are with any family or loved ones he leaves behind. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

A day next to the sea



Today was extra lovely after a day of torrential rains so I went exploring with the kids to a local sea water pool. All the other kids were running around in predictable and practical wet suits, but not these adorable siblings. They made their own retro statements which I couldn't let slip by unphotographed. 
Ciao,
xoxo

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Confessions, Perspectives and Observations


Jordan Blackshaw, left, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, both pleaded guilty to using Facebook in attempts to fuel riots in Cheshire. They have been jailed for four years.

I have to wonder if four years of community service might not be a better option for rioters who weren't guilty of assault or greater offenses. If someone was sentenced to community service and they failed to fulfill their requirements, the courts could then fine the individual and have the fine directly garnished from the individuals wages. What do you think?

The setting


the sun goes down upon us
brilliant pinks highlight the sky
the type of artistic nature
that produces a wistful sigh

angel's breath kisses the horizon
with purples, pinks and mauves
fingers lacing through the clouds
lit from the sun below

slipping away so slowly
to become someone elses muse
poetic images fill my mind
nature's beauty I cannot refuse 

by Barbara

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spasticity...


Have you seen the new milk lobby ads? Some people are really up in arms over them. Other's find the ads hilarious. I don't find them particularly funny or offensive but the guy in them does seem a little spastic to me. 

The ads seem to be based on a study from archinternmed that proclaim calcium and vitamin D intake are linked to PMS. When the ads were first released by the milk lobby, they also created a microsite called "everythingidoiswrong.org" however, because of the reaction to the site, they've replaced it with gotdiscussion.org

It's making for some interesting discussion around women and men relations but I'm more interested in the original topic because I'm all for reducing PMS. It's time for one of my confessions. Once upon a time, I heard a story about what exactly is in cow's milk. The "stuff" that bothered me the most was pus (has anyone else heard that claim?) That alone makes me shudder and increases my neuroses by one. I have no idea if it's true or not. But ever since then, I have approached it with caution. Last year, I had a naturopath and other health professionals recommend I avoid dairy. My understanding of it, wrong or right, was that for me, dairy was coating my intestinal tract with mucus and leading to malabsorption. You have no idea how hard giving up dairy was for me. I drank milk in my coffee, put it in cereal and let's not even talk about cheese.....(sigh) I love cheese. 

With time and lots of effort, I found a replacement for milk that all of my kids would drink. It was So Delicious Coconut milk beverage. Sadly, they don't have that here in the UK (at least, not that I've found.) So instead, we're using Rice Dream milk. It works in cereal but when it comes to tea or coffee I still cave to real milk. 

This report reminds me just how important eating greens, beans, and nuts is to our health. So I'm looking for inspiration. What are you making for dinner tonight? 

Ciao,
xoxo 

Playtime revisited


Every time I turn around, I'm seeing stars everywhere from the red carpet to out around town, wearing jumpsuits. Sandra Bullock wore one to the premier of The Change Up, Zoe Saldana on the streets of LA, to Keira Knightley in Chanels ad campaign. 

Earlier this year, I saw jumpsuits termed as "playsuits" in their short legged form with spaghetti straps or strapless. Whatever you want to call them, they don't seem to be going away any time soon. On my latest ventures into the stores, I saw them everywhere. 

Ladies, raise your hand if you remember your mother ever putting you in a jumpsuit when you were about 5 years old. I'm not bashing on jumpsuits. They can look really fun, flirty, romantic, and downright sexy. 

Despite all of that, all I can think of every time I look at one, are those times as a kid, when I would have to go to the restroom in a public place. The restroom stalls in America generally seem to be larger than the ones here in England. Moving here has highlighted even more so, how traumatizing this would be for me personally. Those moments where you have to essentially strip down half naked in a public stall, holding up the top half of your outfit, while you hover above a toilet, getting the best thigh workout you've had all day so that you don't have to risk touching it, does not sound like my idea of fun. Forget about these feats of masterful balancing and clutching if you've been out having drinks with friends or family. How disgusting would it be to redress yourself, if you've made even the slightest mistake and the top half of your outfit has touched something? 

Or is that just me? Am I just too neurotic for these suits? Is the fashion statement worth the risk to you? I'd love to hear what other women think on this. 


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blessed




Today started out really weirdly. I wasn't sure if I wanted to post blogs on the weekend or not. Sometimes it feels good just to completely unplug. This morning, I sat down with an idea for a blog post, completely unsure of whether or not I would post it today. I was struggling horribly with making things work the way I wanted them to. Other events that I will spare you from, left me feeling very frustrated, down, and well to be perfectly honest, raw. Then we went around to my sister-in-laws for a cup of tea. 

She and her boyfriend made us a beautiful polenta cake with strawberries and cream. 
The graveyard with the chapel in the background seemed so serene and awe inspiring. Their lovely company reminded me how lucky I am. I truly feel blessed, no matter what the world throws at me. I hope you have people in your life that make you feel blessed too!

Ciao,
xoxo


Friday, August 12, 2011

And the Eye's Have It Part 3

Caiti's eye clean and fresh, ready to go

Boot's False Lashes, Ultra

Caiti's eye with the lashes, liner and mascara

Caiti agreed to be my guinea pig today. Thankfully, she's inherited my love of all things beauty related so it didn't take that much convincing. (Actually, she was begging me to do it :D) 

This was a really different experience to when we experimented with the individual lashes. We used Boot's cheap and cheerful Ultra lashes. The adhesive that comes with it is white and a bit runny. Previously, when we did our experiment with the individual lashes, the adhesive had been clear and fairly gooey. This made for some interesting moments of cleaning up. I had to ask Caiti to try to keep her eye closed while I gently pulled her lid taught from above to make sure I could apply the lashes right at the base. When you tried to adjust one end by pressing it in tighter, the lashes natural curve could mean that the opposite end would pop up so that's something to be aware of while you work with it. The glue wasn't that difficult to wipe up or rub off if you got some where you didn't mean to. While I prefer the clear, slightly thicker adhesive that came with the individual lashes, I like the overall appearance of these better. With the individual lashes, despite using all 3 different lengths that came provided, they could often look "blocky" if you used more than one of the same length near another. These Ultra lashes, with their criss cross pattern help achieve a more natural appearance. At least that's what I think. How about you? Do you have a favorite brand or style of lashes that you prefer to use? What about the adhesives?

Ciao,
xoxo

Materials used: Boot's Ultra False lashes, Maybeline New York's One by One Volume Express mascara in black, Collection 2000 Extreme 24 Hour felt tip liner

I'm BACK, baby!!!

My trusted and busted Pearl Izumi's

A day of rest fixed me right up and I felt good enough to get back in the gym today. In my head, all I could hear was my own personal soundtrack 'Back in the Saddle Again' sung personally to me by Aerosmith. (Gah, wouldn't that be a dream come true? Confession: I had a huge crush on Steven Tyler when I was a teenager, which yes, was ages ago. It didn't matter that he was old enough to be my Dad. He was hot!) So, upon reflection of my last visit and it's affect on my back I remembered I'd pushed up the resistance during my time on the stationary bike in the last 5 minutes. Armed with that knowledge, I made sure to stay a bit more aware during those last five minutes on the bike, made some minor adjustments to my posture and how I was pushing my weight through my legs to the pedals. (Another confession, I'm an awful pronator with my feet so pushing my weight through the center of my feet can be challenging. As if any of you wanted to know that. :D) I kept my pace slightly lower on the treadmill and I finished with flying colors. It feels really great to be able to make a recovery with that and not end up in a bad position where I couldn't work out again without an osteopath's assistance. 

And, despite my love affair with my trusted and busted Pearl Izumi's, I'm on the hunt for a new pair of trainers. Do you have a favorite brand that you find you go back to over and over? And did you ever have a secret crush on a musician, rock and roll icon, etc etc when you were a teenager? I'd love to hear who yours was.

Ciao,
xoxo

Sold!

Portuguese coat of arms

If you haven't visited Diana Teodoro's site, you're truly missing out. She's funtastic! No, that's not a typo.  If I can't think of a word that appropriately captures my mood, I've got no problem making one up. She read my post on my first experience with Spanish food and completely sold me on the idea of trying Portuguese cuisine. It has become my official mission. I'm on the hunt people! If you know of a Portguese restaurant in the UK, let me know about it. In fact, if you don't know of a restaurant but can make me an authentic portuguese meal then I'll come over for dinner! Ok wait, that might get weird. How about this instead? If you have a favorite Portuguese recipe, share it with me! 

Ciao,
xoxo

I tried it and I liked it

I love make up but I have to confess, I don't wear it very often. I'll go crazy with the eye make up, blush and even lip liner, lipstick, and top it all off with a gloss. But I have to be motivated to it. One thing I almost never use, is foundation. It's mostly because I detest the way it looks and feels. I hate walking around looking like I have a pound of caked on anything all over me. I hate seeing that line of color from the face to the neck, and yes I know all about "blending" it. I have even had the good fortune of finding shades that match my skin tone really well. So many of the foundations though, seem to sit on top of the skin, collect oil throughout the day, or highlight any blemish you might have that's healing. So I have been on the hunt for a tinted moisturizer. I saw a brilliant write up about Clarin's Hydraquench Tinted Moisturizer so I thought, why not? Let's give it a whirl. Here are my thoughts:

It felt light going on and blended fairly well. I've got olive skin and have a little bit of a tan since we've been lucky enough to have some sun lately. I used shade #2 but I can easily see dropping down to shade #1 in the winter. I didn't notice my skin feeling particularly "hydrated" afterwards but I also never noticed any oiliness from it as the day progressed. That's really saying something for me. It doesn't provide the full coverage of a regular foundation so if you're looking for something like that, your journey isn't over. If you're looking to even out the red tones in your skin though, this can do the trick for you. I am also happy to report that I didn't break out from wearing it and I have fairly sensitive skin. 

Overall, I give this product a thumbs up. And no, Clarin's isn't paying me...but maybe they should ;)

Ciao,
xoxo

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lovely lunch at La Tasca



Paella de Carne

This was my first experience with Spanish food and I'm hooked. I especially loved the atmosphere inside the restaurant. However, being completely inexperienced I'm throwing myself on the mercy of those who might know more and begging you for your recommendations. 

Do you have a favorite Spanish restaurant? It doesn't matter where it is. I want to hear about it. Do you have a favorite Spanish dish?

Confessions, Perspectives and Observations



This particular blog entry is fairly difficult for me to write. I've read among other bloggers that often-times, followers start to feel as if they "own" the people they follow. I've even read someone's comments on a blog, where they trashed the blogger for not using their suggestions/demands. I considered all of those things before taking the plunge and putting my thoughts out on a blog. 

 Life in America has taught me that there are some things that are considered "hot button" topics and I usually prefer to stay away from them. Politics is one of them. When I first moved to the UK, I had an epic series of marvelous misadventures with British bureaucracy. When I mentioned that I was considering registering a complaint about the process, a family member advised me "it's best to keep your head below the parapet." I couldn't help but think, that it's when people begin to be afraid of complaining about the government, that they end up with a government that they aren't happy with. 

Riots aren't a new phenomenon and those happening around England right now, surely won't be the last.  There is a lot of conjecture about the root cause of the riots locally and internationally. There are articles condemning the rioters (or looters as some prefer) and others who explain why the rioters exist in the first place. What I haven't seen a lot of articles addressing, is what to do in response to these riots other than punishing those doing the rioting. 

In these astonishingly tough economic times, throwing more money at the problem seems impossible and unsustainable. Since so many people agree that those participating in the riots are youths who feel abandoned by their communities, I hope those communities can reconnect with the youths through increased volunteerism at the very least. 

I've made some observations as an immigrant about some differences between here and America. I was shocked to discover that the people don't get to directly vote on any legislation when obviously there are numerous laws that a lot of the public seem very dissatisfied with. As an American, I may not have gotten to vote on every law that came to pass, but at least I did have the option from time to time. 

A couple of the laws here in the UK that most of the populace seem to be displeased with, have to do with child welfare. 

1st law: I was beyond surprised to discover that a teacher isn't allowed to touch a student in any form or fashion unless they have a witness at hand. I could be wrong, but as I understand it, if a student falls over, that teacher isn't allowed to help them up or check on any injuries until a witness arrives. I can only imagine the implications if you're dealing with younger children who may have bathroom accidents and need assistance changing their clothes. 

2nd system of laws: Parents seem to operate under the constant imminent threat of child services if a child looks like they might even be slightly close to being disciplined. I watched horrified as a child in the super market the other evening, began screaming as if his father was ax murdering him, "Stop it! Let go of me!" Seriously, I have never heard a kid scream that loud without being seriously injured. Yet, we all could see all the father was doing, was holding his hand and escorting him extremely calmly from the building. The Dad didn't even have a tense jaw. I don't know how he maintained that kind of calm. But you could clearly feel the unease within the super market as everyone watched on. 

I'm glad that child abuse is something that is taken very seriously here but sometimes I think we can take the common sense out of things and distort the intent of legislation. Once upon a time, religion was a tool used by governments to control the populace. (In some places that's still the case). Regardless of whether one agrees with the legitimacy of religion, it did at the very least, teach a respect for authority. With religion clearly on the decline in the UK, what is left to fill its place when we remove a parents and school's ability to fill that gap? That's my perspective. 

Love it, hate it, completely indifferent? Or do you have a completely different set of thoughts about it? And do you have any ideas on how to rebuild a sense of belonging to a community?

Ciao,
xoxo

These boots were made for walking...


Ok, ok so I confess, one of these is a wedge and not a boot. I'm not a fashion expert. I just know what I like and if we can call Dior's 'Muse' a studded boot, then miu miu's leather oxford can be lumped in there too. Besides, it's too cute not to get a mention. Has anyone else spotted any boots they're looking to buy?

Ciao,
xoxo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Le sigh...

Ye olde trusted and busted Pearl Izumi trainers

I didn't work out today. Yesterday, even though I adjusted my pace while on the treadmill, I still ended up tweaking an old injury in my back. It's a real pain in the literal... you get the idea. I thought at first I would just take it easy today and rehabilitate it so I could hopefully get back to working out tomorrow. However, the opportunity to shop, kid free, presented its self and me being the shop-a-holic that I am, I grabbed it. I saw a ton of lovely things today and had a lovely lunch out. I promise I'll tell you all about it really soon. I didn't have nearly as much time as I would have liked in the shops but something was definitely better than nothing. Maybe some good rest this evening with some stretching will sort things out. Wish me luck!

Ciao,
xoxo

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flats worth falling for


I've always been a dreamer so why should my wish list for shoes be any different? I talked about the sandals for summer I've been dreaming about, and here are the flats for fall. While these might be totally out of my price range, they're going to serve as good inspiration when I do get to go shopping. If I can find affordable options I'll be sure to post them. 

Top Left: Jimmy Choo Zephyr flat suede moccassins, Top right: Cynthia Vincent Sequoia flat, Bottom Left: Marc by Marc Jacobs Animal print calf hair ballerina flats, Bottom Right: Ala├»a spotted calf hair ballerina flats

Ciao,
xoxo

Today's workout



My busted but trusted trainers. Shoes: Pearl Izumi

I'm all coffe'ed up, (isn't that how you're supposed to get thru your workouts?) and raring to go. Armed with my water bottle, I hop on the stationary bike and start pedaling with my ever active commentator's voice running in my head...

9:00 a.m. ow ow ow... how on earth do these padded seats manage to bruise your bum? They're padded! Squishy. With all the technology we have today, you would think someone somewhere could design a bicycle seat that didn't bruise your bottom. pedal ow pedal ow pedal ow. Alright, alright - distract yourself and think of something else. 

9:01:16 Seriously? My inner thighs are already burning? Oh, right! The trainer who programmed this for me thinks I'm Wonder Woman...let's just quickly knock that down a few levels.

9:13 Woo hoo! Look at all those empty treadmills. Yeah, Baby! (Funny the stuff that can excite a person who's trying to get themselves through a workout.)

9:15 I'm doing great! I'm loving this music. Who is this? Is it just me, or is it easier and more fun when you pedal to the beat? Do other people do this or am I just weird? Maybe this is why so many people have Ipods when they work out. Are they all just secretly running/biking to their own personal sound track? Maybe that means I need another gadget to charge and keep track of. Hey! I can alway's put it on my birthday/anniversary/christmas wish list. Dang. That list is really getting long. 

9:18 Why is that lady putting a sign on that treadmill? "Please do not use..." Bah. Ok it's no big dea...wait, wait, wait. Look ladies - the two of you don't need to be getting on the treadmills really. You look lovely and I need one in just a few more minutes!

9:19 Oh come oooooon! What is this?! The lemming parade to the treadmills?

9:25 GRAB THE WATER AND RUN, RUN, RUN!!! Ha! I snagged the last treadmill. Yay, me! How is that so satisfying?

My 20 minutes on the treadmill weren't as easy as yesterday. In fact, I had to slow down from my target speed and heart rate in order to protect my back (that's a whole different story for another time).  I was a little disappointed for a minute but then I realized I was really grateful that I'd noticed the warning signs before I had an actual problem. I have to thank Janette at New Motion Physical Therapy on Bainbridge Island for teaching me that awareness. (To be honest, there's a lot of people I need to thank.) I got to finish my workout since I didn't hurt myself and regardless of whether or not I hit my target heart rate/speed, something was better than nothing. Right?
Ciao,
xoxo

Monday, August 8, 2011

Remember when...?


I can remember being a kid and running around to play. I didn't think about how far, how long or how many calories I may have burned off. However, I'm no longer a kid. I'm a stereotypical middle aged American woman with body issues, who's decided to fight the good fight to get back into shape. I've sort of given up on being "thin" ever again. I just want to feel strong and capable. Know what I mean?

In an effort to achieve the dream, I've been sporadically working out. I even belong to a gym. When I joined the facility, the trainer who was giving my induction was extremely impressed that I'd managed to find and join a gym after only being in the UK for 2 weeks. I believe his words were, "At least you have your priorities right." That left me grinning ear to ear. I mentally patted myself on the back. If only I'd been using it this whole time. 

  I decided yesterday, that I'd let my attendance lapse too long and I needed to refocus. I had my little program and managed to plough through it but I realized quickly, this could easily become just another false start which I quickly abandon. In order to help myself stick to it a bit longer, I'm going to report on here how it's going. Hopefully, someone might even cheer me on to help me stay motivated. 

My workout is on various pieces of cardio equipment and the first one requires 25 minutes of dedicated effort. It was really gratifying to notice that today was easier than yesterday....until I hit about minute 16. Then it was more a matter of mentally coaxing myself to stay focused. I started to wonder what exactly was happening to my brain as the running commentator inside my head argued with different parts of my body, made observations of other gym users, and the especially odd desperation that seemed to take over as people began taking up the free treadmills (my next piece of equipment in my regimen.) My legs started pushing the pedals of my ridiculous stationary bike faster and faster as each free treadmill was claimed. I think I even muttered "Go away!" under my breath to some poor muscle bound bloke as he lumbered to one of the few remaining machines. I was horrified with myself. And no matter how often I reminded myself that pedaling faster wasn't going to speed the time up on my bike, I couldn't make myself slow down! 

Finally! Victory was mine as I finished my bike session and claimed an empty treadmill. I started my treadmill session and suddenly had the thought, "Oh dear God, please don't let that smell be me." It took finishing the treadmill and moving away before I was certain it wasn't coming from me but more than likely, the smell was coming from the big muscled man who'd turned the treadmill practically vertical to do his run. 

I finished my various cardio machines and made some mental notes to myself. 

Mental note #1: Those reassurances people give about no one else caring about what it is you're doing in the gym, what you look like, how you're dressed....they aren't exactly true. It was one thing when the tiny stick girl 10 years or more younger than me on the treadmill was running like a maniac. I told myself "meh- she's younger than you. It doesn't look bad that you're going about 1/10th the speed she is." I couldn't tell myself the same thing when the white haired old lady climbed up on the treadmill on the other side of me and started keeping pace with Twiggy the Wonder child on the other side. But, I persevered. 

Mental note #2: Spread the word via this blog to avoid direct confrontation and hurting anyone's feelings. For the love of everything that is holy, if you're someone who is particularly sweaty, stinky, and hairy and you use a towel to wipe the sweat off of you as you workout, do not use that same towel to "wipe down" the equipment when you're done and delude yourself into thinking you've done something good. Just go get the disinfectant that the gym supplies. Please.

I felt really great afterwards about my progress and about how I'm beginning to look (even if it's completely self-delusion on my part.) I felt so accomplished and in charge seeing as how I stuck it through to the end. Then this evening I stumbled across this article at Glamour.com

Well, it doesn't matter. I want to run like I did when I was a kid. Without worrying about what's hurting or how many calories I've burned. I just want to run for the sheer joy of running. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I sort of like it. Sometimes. Ok, well I like it after I'm done. Does that count? 
Ciao,
xoxo

Summer evening storm






Last evening, our attention was grabbed by the, now unfamiliar, sounds of thunder and flashing of lightening. Living in Seattle we'd almost forgotten what that sounded like. But, lo and behold, England has good old fashioned thunder storms that can easily stand toe to toe with those you often get in the deep southern states of America. All of these photo's were literally taken moments from each other as I would turn the camera to catch the incoming storm clouds. No effects were added to any of these photos. 
Ciao!
xoxo