Monday, 31 March 2014

Five Week Challenge - 23 Days to Go

23 Days to go of My 5 week challenge which started  on Monday 17th March 2014. The Goal?  37 days to lose 1 whole stone. It sounded doable. The question is can I do it?

As of this morning, I have still only lost 3 pounds of the 14 I need to lose. However, that means 11 pounds to go, which means 3lbs per week is still the target I must hit.  Its a challenge, a tough one, but I can do it.

It is Monday today. I have been good food wise, possibly a bit too much. I think I have veered to not eating enough. Will have to be careful about that.

I still had very sore thighs today, and being on leave from work, my PT was at 1.45 today, so quite a bit earlier. Still aching, I headed off for my session with trepidation.

Today's PT session was largely circuit work in the studio area. It consisted of:

  • Step ups onto 3 stacked step boxes 2- x 4 sets
  • Chest presses 15 x 4 sets
  • Sprint up and down the studio
  • Squat jumps the length of the studio
  • Press ups on various box heights
  • Thrusts
  • Kettle bell swings - 12KG x 30 reps x 4 sets
  • Kettle bell sweeps - 12KG x 30 reps x 4 sets
  • Lunge walks with weights
  • Leg raises holding x 4 sets
  • Tricep dips x 4 sets
  • Sprints on cross trainer
  • Step jumps

All in all today was the hardest session yet. He pushed me to the point where I was actually shouting out and making some very strange grunting noises! My legs were already burning before I began. Strangely, they feel better tonight than they have all weekend. Odd but true.

I was a red faced sweaty mess today. It felt amazing getting into a hot shower afterwards! I didn't want to get out of it again though!!

Tomorrow is a gym day and a 1 mile sprint run is ahead of me. I can do that. Compared to today, a walk in the park!

So 23 days to go. I have been very good this weekend, so come on those scales, move it will you!! Check back for tomorrow's progress here. 11 pounds to go, 23 days. c'mon!!! 

My Week with Kings of Leon Day Three - Molly's Chambers

Day Three of My Week with Kings of Leon brings me to Molly's Chambers. This was the second single taken from the Youth and Young Manhood album in 2003.

This single made the Top 40 in the UK charts, but peaked at number 23. I think it should have been higher, but this was the one of the first songs from the band, and they hadn't reached mainstream at this point. Bigger things were still to come.

This is a shake your head and swing your hair, and jump about rock song. Think guitars and drums and gravelly gritty vocals. Its a brilliant song. Apparently Mollys Chamber title came from a Thin Lizzy song.

The video features the band on a stage,  Just them on the stage with some effects and images flashing on screens behind them. They sport lovely big hair and moustaches and lots of double denim. Very grungy feeling, but it matches the song.

The lyrics are ones you can really belt out along with the song. "You want it, she's got it, Molly's chamber gonna change your mind". Its one of those songs that you can only imagine what it is about. I doubt anyone but the band actually knows. It could be a girl, it could be a drug - who knows? Its a great rock song.

For Days one and two, and more about this great band, check out My Music page here. Happy listening. :)

Tales from a Driving Lesson

Over at they are running a little comp for a £50 Nando's voucher, in return for tales from driving lessons and driving tests. Here is mine:

I was on my third driving lesson, and the instructor was taking me up a road I had not driven up before. I knew the road well - it was steep and winding, and you had to keep in third gear and keep the revs up.

Half way up, there was a crow eating road kill straight in my path. I tried to slow, but with dual controls the instructor pumped the accelerator. I tried to veer around it, but the instructor was having none of it.

With no choice, I aimed the wheels so they wouldn't hit the crow but would go either side of it. Unfortunately, the crow took off as I was passing it, and hit the underside of the car. I don't know if it was ok or not - the instructor wouldn't let me look, and there was no way he was letting me stop.

I was shrieking "Oh my god the crow", when I glanced in the rear view mirror and there it was, still eating the road kill!! It clearly was unperturbed by its adventure and had not let it put it off its meal, despite it nearly joining it! I on the other hand was not ok, and was traumatised!!

My instructor was great though and I probably wouldn't have got behind the wheel again had he not been so calm! Happy to say I passed my test, but I will never forget that crow! x

A bit about the Kings of Leon

I have chosen this band as my choice for My Week with reviews. Seven songs, seven days. But lets have a look who they are and more about them shall we?

If you have been following my blog, you already will have seen Day One - Pyro, and Day Two - Sex on Fire were my track choices so you already know a bit about this band.

So who are they? They hail from USA - Nashville Tennessee no less. I had no idea that they were related. Brothers Caleb and Nathan Followill on lead vocal and backing respectively, plus instruments. Then we have Jared, another brother, and finally a cousin - Matthew.

Kings of Leon have been going since 1999. They are still going strong, and have released six studio albums:

  • Youth and Young Manhood - released 2003
  • Aha Shake Heartbreak - released 2004
  • Because of the Times - released 2007
  • Only by the Night - released 2008
  • Come Around Sundown - released 2010
  • Mechanical Bull - released 2013
Their early stuff sounds very different to their current sound, but you can still tell the Kings of Leon apart from others. They are a rock band, but they do change and adapt and try little bits of different things in their music. 

I shall choose a further five of their singles over the coming days, so check back for more on this great band. If you love music, you can also check out My Music page here for more on this band and others. Happy Listening :)

Monday morning Lie in - Bliss

I have a rare day off work today, and have made up for it by having a lovely lie in. The only interruption was the noisy seagulls outside giving it some about 7am!!

I have had my weekly delivery of fruit and veg from a lovely company called Abel and Cole, so am excited at what I can have for my evening meals this week now with my new selection. More on this later.

Right now, I'm having a coffee and contemplating what to spend my day doing. So far, I have rearranged my PT session from 5.15 to 1.45. So I have from now until 1.45, then from about 3pm onwards absolutely free!!

This is a rarity. However, it is the last day of the month, so I think I will spend some time entering competitions as lots close on the last day of the month. I might watch a good film too. I could really get used to this!! Happy days :)

What are you up to today? pop me a comment :)

It's Monday Again - Be Happy!!!

Right then, its Monday. Clocks have changed, which means the dreaded M has reached us one whole hour early. Is that a bad thing??

You might be thinking yes, its a bad thing. You would be wrong.

Reasons to be glad Monday is here early:

  • It's an hour closer to the next weekend
  • It's the beginning of a new day
  • It's the beginning of a new week
  • It's the beginning - so start again - whatever it is that you want, make today day one. 
  • Take solace in the fact that everyone feels the same right now. 
  • Smile - its contagious. 
Happy Monday people. Let me know how your Monday was. :)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Feeling the Strain tonight!!

Its ten pm. Well, really its 9pm - its just the clocks!! My body clock doesn't realise its an hour forward.

I am struggling with the will power this evening. Thoughts of chocolate, prawn crackers and Pinot Grigio just will not quit. No matter how much I try to persuade myself that it is a worthy sacrifice, its not helping. Not one bit.

It doesn't help that my legs are burning, my shoulders aching, and virtually every muscle feels sore and tired. It also doesn't help that my other half is not on a diet, is not off the booze and smokes. I used to smoke many many years ago, and at times like this I can understand the habit!!!

I'm not going back on the fags, and I'm not going to have a chinese takeaway. I don't have any wine, and I only have weight watchers snacks, so there is no way I can give in to this craving. But it still feels awful!!!!

I just keep thinking it will be different tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day. Each day is a fresh start. Choose your analogy. Which is great - but it does not help right now, this minute!!! However, if this was easy, there would be no one overweight, and no one would have to diet. But boy at times it is excruciatingly hard. That time is now. :(

My Week with Kings of Leon - Day Two - Sex on Fire

Day Two of My Week with the Kings of Leon, and today it's Sex on Fire. Taken from their album Only By the Night.

Sex on Fire was the first single to be released, in September 2008. It hit number one in the single chart in the UK. The album Only By the Night was their fourth studio album, and came out in the same year, also reaching the number one spot in the UK album chart.

This song is distinctive as soon as it kicks in. This is a heavy instrumental full of guitars and drums, with lead singer Caleb Followill sounding absolutely amazing. His voice is strong, powerful and gravelly. This is a catchy song, but it's another one that its not 100% clear what on earth its about. It sounds awesome though, and sometimes that's all you need!

The video is not much clearer. It features the band, in what appears to be an empty warehouse, whilst Caleb writhes around on a bed. There are shots of band members eating chicken, one of them washing his hair, and ends with Caleb breathing out black smoke. Clear as mud. Interesting but I don't see any relevance to the song!! Watch it yourself, let me know if you get it.

Back to the song. The lyrics are puzzling. It starts with "lay where your'e laying, don't make a sound, I know they're watching." Who is watching? What? Then "soft lips are open, knuckles are pale, feel like your'e dying". Hmm - totally clear now. Finally the chorus "Your sex is on fire, consumed, with what just transpired".

Don't get me wrong, this is an epic, anthemic track full of rock and gravel filled vocals. The Kings of Leon are a mighty rock group, and this is a classic. It's a great song when you are out and one that you see people really rocking too. My guess is that they don't know what it means either! Still great, still worth a listen. Go and do so now. Happy listening :)

For more of My Week with check out My Music page here.

Five Week Challenge - 24 Days to Go!

24 Days to go of My 5 week challenge which started  on Monday 17th March 2014. The Goal?  37 days to lose 1 whole stone. It sounded doable. The question is can I do it?

As of this morning, I have lost 3 pounds of the 14 I need to lose. Unfortunately the scales were up 1.2lbs this morning. I'm sure it will be down again tomorrow, this is the drawback to weighing myself everyday. However, that means 11 pounds to go, which means 3lbs per week is still the target I must hit.  31/2 weeks left. Got to keep going.

It is Sunday today. I have been good food wise, though I did have a few shorts last night, so I do need to be very careful today.

Being a Sunday I did not do my usual morning routine. I also have very sore thighs and I ache a lot. This is a result of 5 gym sessions this week, including 2 with my PT! I needed a day off the gym today.

However, me and my other half have been out for a long walk in the Consall Valley - up and down hilly paths on rough terrain. Walked 3 1/2 km so that's good. I have done a little housework too, and am on 8000 steps. I will easily hit my 11,000 step target today, which is excellent for a non gym day.
24 days to go, 11lb to go. Tomorrow is PT. I can feel that tomorrow I will see a good drop. Got to keep going anyway!! 24 more days. Its a deal. Come back for more on my progress as I get closer to the target date. Its a challenge that is for sure!!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Don't forget the Clocks Change tonight

At 1 am, it won't be one am anymore. The clocks change tonight folks, so do not forget. Spring forwards, fall backwards.

So we lose an hour. You will feel it tomorrow, but don't forget, the nights will get lighter from tomorrow. :)

Five Week Challenge - 25 Day to Go

25 Days to go of My 5 week challenge which started  on Monday 17th March 2014. The Goal?  37 days to lose 1 whole stone. It sounded doable. The question is can I do it?

As of this morning, I have lost 4.2 pounds of the 14 I need to lose. That means 9.8 pounds to go, which means 3lbs per week is still the target I must hit. £ 1/2 weeks - 3lb per week = 9 lbs. That's a big challenge!

It is Saturday. I have been good food wise. I have had a few shorts this evening, but vodka and diet coke, so nothing that should damage things and not too much of it either.

Being a Saturday, I did not do my morning routine. However, I did make up for it with quite an epic gym workout. Consisting of:
  • 5km run = 380 cals
  • walk - 20 cals
  • Cross Trainer - 100 cals
  • Stepper - 100 cals
  • 2 x sets of 80 abs
600 cals in total. Plus core. We then went to the marina this evening, still wearing my pedometer. I can happily report that I have hit 16,000 steps today. Tonight, I have not had a glass of wine. I have endured vodka and diet coke, which is not the same thing at all and tastes crap. However, wine = not losing weight. 

25 days to go, 9.8lb to go. If I can keep this momentum going, its in the bag!! 

Friday, 28 March 2014

My Week With Kings of Leon - Day One - Pyro

Day One of My Week with Kings of Leon, and to kick us off its Pyro. It was taken from their 2010 album, Come Around Sundown.

Kings of Leon are an American Rock band, and this is very rock and quite dark. It's strong on guitars and the instrumental intro is gorgeous. When lead singer Caleb kicks in with his gravelly vocals, you can tell immediately that its the K of L. They have a distinctive sound.

Come Around Sundown was their fifth studio album, and Pyro is the second single to be released from it. Radioactive being the first. The album hit the number one spot in the UK chart, and deservedly so.

This is a great song, although I don't profess to be entirely sure what its all about if I'm honest! I do love the line though, "I won't ever be your cornerstone". This is a dark song though, with lines like "Everything I cherish is dying or it's gone". Happy stuff. Kings of Leon are dark and brooding, and though this single was not a big hit in the singles chart, its a great song that should have been huge.

The video is interesting, if a little strange. Its set in what appears to be a grungy dodgy bar. A bar fight breaks out and everyone gets involved. Except for Kings who remain sitting on stools in the back singing the song. The fight gets worse, when suddenly, everyone starts to float. The guy who has been hit heals and floats upwards. Everyone seems happier floating. And that's the video. As I say, a little strange really! Interesting though, and it never ceases to amaze me how Caleb doesn't look like you think he would with a voice like that. Watch the video to see what I mean.

This is a fantastic rock song, from a great band. This is only day one, and I have already been drawn to these beardy guys. Tomorrow I shall post about more on the band themselves, as well as Day Two of My Week with them. Great track. Happy listening :)

The Five Week Challenge - 26 Days to go

26 Days to go of My 5 week challenge which started  on Monday 17th March 2014. The Goal?  37 days to lose 1 whole stone. It sounded doable. The question is can I do it?

As of this morning, I have lost 3 pounds of the 14 I need to lose. That means 11 pounds to go, which means 3lbs per week is the target I must hit. That's a big challenge!

So today, I have been extra good. I have eaten well, but kept the calories low. I haven't snacked, and I have eaten fruit and also salad! I have drunk water too - it's a wonder my body hasn't gone into shock!

My morning routine is becoming more of a challenge. I am pushing it that bit harder. This morning I upped the ante a bit:
  • 100 abs/crunches
  • 15 press ups
  • 15 tricep dips
  • 10 front kicks each leg 
  • 10 knee lifts each leg
  • 10 star jumps
  • 20 punches
  • 10 squats
  • 1 min running on the spot
  • 10 side steps
Today was also a PT day. This evenings session consisted of:
  • Fast sprints x 4
  • Squats with weights x 4 sets
  • Squat thrusts x 4 sets
  • Cross trainer sprint intervals x 4
  • 15 box jumps (on and off box) x 4 sets
  • Dead lift thrusts x 4 sets
  • Step up and step down (kneeling to standing) x 3 sets
  • Squat jumps x 3 sets
  • Core and abs x 3 sets of each
Tonight was the hardest session he has ever put me through. The abs were hell. to begin with it was lie on my back, legs straight. Hold onto the step box behind me, which he was standing on. Raise my legs right up then lift my bum off the floor and push up vertically. Oh dear god it burned. I had to do 20 of them.

Next it was holding the weight bar, and leg raises straight to the bar. He then pushed against my legs for extra resistance. Like I needed it to be any harder!! 20 of those.

Then it was full sit ups. 20. Then full sit ups with a twist. 10. And that was one set. I had to do that circuit, with intervals of stepping up and down from kneeling, holding a belgian bag, and squats jumps 3 times in total. I actually could not move by the end. Sweating just was not the word. 

Steps wise, I am up to 12,000 which is fantastic. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am enjoying the exercise, but I no longer hate it. It's hard work - harder than ever today, but people are starting to notice now. That's always a boost. I have also been able to get rid of some clothes that are now too big!! That's a nice feeling.

I have 26 more days and I intend to make each one count. Take tonight for instance - I am having no wine. Wine is high in calories in itself. It is also my nemesis in so much as it makes me hungry. Hungry at the time when the wine has weakened my resolve. So no more wine on the weekend, until I reach goal. Small sacrifice and it will be worth it.

26 days then, 11 pounds to lose. I got this!! 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Something Old Something New

It's not often that you find four generations all in the same room at the same time. We had new family addition Blaire, with her Great Granddad - seen here. 

Blaire's mummy and daddy were here too, as was my other half, the proud new Granddad. These are the precious moments to be cherished. 

My Next Week with is ..... Kings of Leon!!

Right then - my choice for my next Week With is Kings of Leon. Excellent news.

Over seven days, I shall pick on track each day and review it on my blog. At the end of the seven days, I shall consider my seven choices, rank them and place one track at the top of the list.

I have really enjoyed my previous choices, but I am mega excited to be spending a week with these guys because lets be honest, they rock!!

If you can't wait for the first song, then go check out My Music page for previous weeks and also my singles of the week here.

Now the difficult decision is which song to select first? Come back tomorrow to find out :)

My five Week Challenge - 27 days to go!

27 Days to go of My 5 week challenge which started  on Monday 17th March 2014. The Goal?  37 days to lose 1 whole stone. That means just under 4 weeks left to go. OMG!

As of this morning, I have lost 2 and a half pounds of the 14 to lose. That means 11 1/2 pounds left, which means 3lbs per week is the target I must hit.

Today's progress then - 3 proper meals, healthy snacks, and shock - plenty of water! My skin is starting to look better which is a side effect, and a good one!!

This morning before work I did a workout routine for approx 10 minutes, as I am starting to build it up now. The clock is ticking after all. Today it consisted of:
  • 100 abs/crunches
  • 15 press ups
  • 15 tricep dips
  • 10 front kicks
  • 10 knee lifts
  • 10 lunge jumps
  • 10 punches
  • 10 squats
  • 1 min running on the spot
  • 10 side steps
Today was also a gym day. This evenings session consisted of:
  • 1 mile run (120 cals)
  • fast incline walk (80 cals)
  • 2 x sets of 80 abs = 160 abs
  • Stepper (150 cals)
  • Cross Trainer intervals (50 cals)
  • Stair master (100 cals)
  • Interval springs (50 cals)
Total burned on cardio = 550cals. Plus abs. It took about an hour and a half in total. Quite intense tonight!

Steps wise, I am on a roll - 14,000 and counting! Whoop! All of a sudden, its like something has clicked into place. I don't dread going to the gym any more, and I find myself planning times to go rather than thinking of reasons not to!! 

27 days to go. 11 1/2lbs to lose. PT tomorrow evening. Onwards and upwards (down on the scales ) :)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My Single of the Week - Coldplay - Magic

I heard this song for the first time yesterday. Ironically on the day I heard the news that Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow had called time on their marriage. It's a beautiful song, but it made me feel quite emotional. Possibly the reason for my choice this week, but still a gorgeous song.

The single Magic is the first to be released from their album Ghost Stories, which is their sixth studio album, and it came out on 3rd March 2014.

This isn't one of Coldplay's big anthems, or epic stadium fillers. It has a more subdued feel to it, and is quite slow paced, but still with more than a hint of rock to their pop quota.

Coldplay, and more specifically Chris Martin's gorgeous voice are distinctive. Being the first single I have heard of their new album, I am already loving it. I remember hearing Yellow for the first time and it made me tingly. This isn't Yellow, but it made me have that same feeling.

Its not in your face, it does have emotion and real feeling though. Taken on face value, it sounds lovely, but if you really listen, listen to the lyrics, you can only imagine what Chris Martin is feeling about his relationship. Take the line "I just got broken, broken into two". He continues "I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't want anybody else but you". Really sad now knowing they are over. Sad anyway, as its never a good thing to feel such things.

I have chosen this song because it is beautiful, because its quite haunting, and because it is clearly real and raw. It's not an upbeat cheery number, and may not be a good choice if you are feeling a little low yourself, unless its a kind of therapy to release your emotions. I love this song because of its elegance. Its not a shouty screaming angry song. Its just beautifully morose. Have a listen, and let me know what you think.

For more music, check out My Music page. Happy Listening :)

Who shall I spend this week with??

Each Week I choose an artist to spend a week with. I choose a track each day for seven days from either a band, group, pop artist, rock star - current or classic, old or new and review it.

At the end of the week I look back over my seven choices and put them in rank order. I have so far chosen 6 artists - PinkTake ThatBeyonceOasisStereophonics and Blondie.

I now need to decide who to spend this week with. I am struggling to decide!

I am mulling over the following options - Coldplay, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Kylie, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Ellie Goulding. Or maybe Kate Bush, David Bowie or the Rolling Stones. But then again, it might be Rihanna, U2 or the Arctic Mondays, or even Morrisey!! I am spoilt for choice. I will make my mind up tonight, and tomorrow I shall announce this week's choice. Watch this space! :)

Boys are Back in Town

It's not often that we get to see the three of them together these days. They are all so grown up with their own lives, but here they are. My three lovely step-sons.

Currently two of them have shown their support for charity by taking a make-up selfie. If you are not familiar with this, its the male version of the no-make-up selfie that woman across the country are busy snapping. All I can say is I am going to need to therapy as a result, but good on them. x

Five Week Challenge - 28 days to go

28 Days to go of My 5 week challenge which started on Monday 17th March 2014. The Goal? 37 days to lose 1 whole stone.

As of this morning, I have lost one and a half of the 14 to lose. This may not sound much but trust me its going in the right direction after a small (birthday cake shaped) blip. It represents the undoing of the birthday damage last weekend!!

Today's progress - 3 proper meals, healthy snacks, and shock - plenty of water!

This morning before work I did a workout routine for approx 10 minutes, slightly longer as its a non gym/PT day, consisting of:

  • 100 abs/crunches
  • 11 press ups
  • 11 tricep dips
  • 10 front kicks
  • 10 knee lifts
  • 10 lunge jumps
  • 10 punches
  • 10 squats

When I got home this evening, I have done some jobs I have been putting off. This has involved organising my crammed shoe collection and sadly some shoes have gone to shoe heaven. I have stripped the beds and put clean bedding on, I have put washing on, and put clean away. I have also made up the sandwiches for work tomorrow and put my work clothes out and ready for the morning. Suddenly, I feel in control of my life. I feel like I can take on the world, and I know its just the confidence boost from getting my body and diet under control. It's a good feeling.

Steps - only up to 5000 but time to notch it up a bit. In any case, I am at the gym tomorrow evening, PT Friday evening, and a further gym session over the weekend which will total 5 sessions this week. I'm starting to get into this at last. 28 days and counting. Bring it on!!! :) 12 1/2lbs to go!!

My Week with Pink is Over :(

So My Week with Pink is over. I have chosen seven tracks, listened to them and watched the video, then reviewed them here. My conclusion is that Pink is up there with the greatest of them. She has been around much longer than I realised, and has continued to make great tracks, and not deviate from who she is.

Pink has a surprising range - deep and dark, to upbeat and cheery, but always with her own particular style. Occasionally straying a little into other's territory - namely the likes of Kelly Clarkson, but always with something a little different. For the most part she is unique, and when she isn't, its because imitation is the greatest of the flattery. Others copy her.

Her songs are always emotional, always powerful, and tend to take you on a journey. So now to the tricky part - putting the seven choices of my week with Pink in ranking. So here goes:

In at Number 1 - Try
At Number 2 - So What 
Number 3 -Trouble
Number 4 -  Just Like a Pill
Number 5 - Blow Me
Number 6 - Who Knew
Number 7 - Raise Your Glass 

So to Pink I say goodbye for now, though one or two tracks as usual are staying on my playlist. This is what I love most about music - new or old, you can always find something you love to add to your life. A track you have forgotten or didn't hear the first time around, or one you just didn't rate then for reasons unknown! We all transition through life and things change, so do we. Deep eh?

So who next then? Decisions decisions. Check out previous "My Week with" at My Music, where you will also find my single of the week choices. :)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Choc Heart Cupcakes - step away!!

As you know, I am just over 4 weeks from my holiday. I have set myself a challenge to lose one whole stone. So you can imagine how hard it is when friends place such temptation as this before you!!!

Resist, must resist. Step away from the cupcake!! 

Day Seven of My Week with Pink - Raise Your Glass

Its the final day, day seven, of My Week with Pink. Today's choice is the single Raise Your Glass. Released in 2010, this was the lead single from her compilation album, Greatest Hits... So Far!!!!

This song reached number 13 in the UK charts, but it made the top in many other places. Apparently the song was a celebration of her previous ten years and was a thank you to her fans. If you listen to the lyrics, that may not be all that much of a compliment to be honest! More on that point later!

My 5 Week Challenge - 29 days to go

29 Days to go of My 5 week challenge which started  on Monday 17th March 2014. I set myself the goal 37 days to lose 1 whole stone.

Things are firmly on track again now. As of this morning, I have lost one whole pound of the planned 14. This may not sound much in a week, but it represents the undoing of the birthday damage last weekend!!

I shall from here on in treat each day as a new opportunity to shift those pounds.

Today's progress then - I have controlled my calories. I have eaten healthily and have felt in control. Exercise wise I was excellent again today.

This morning before work I did a short routine (about 5 minutes in total) consisting of:
  • 100 abs/crunches
  • 10 press ups
  • 10 triceps
  • 10 front kicks
  • 10 knee lifts
  • 10 lunge jumps
  • 10 punches
I have also been to the gym this evening. Aching badly from PT last night, but determined none the less.

Todays session consisted of:
  • 2 mile run and 5 mins incline walking = 300 cals burned
  • Squats x 25
  • Stepper - 125 cals burned
  • 3 sets of 80 abs = 240 abs
  • 10 press ups - full ones
  • 20 tricep dips
  • Cross trainer sprint = 75 cals burned
  • Total of 500 cals burn plus ab and core
Steps in total = 11,000 on the pedometer. Excellent. So just over 4 weeks to go, 29 days left. 13lbs still to lose. Make each day count. Come on, send me some encouragement why don't you? :)

Monday, 24 March 2014

My five Week Challenge - 30 days to go

My 5 week challenge started  on Monday 17th March 2014. 37 days to lose 1 whole stone. 30 days still to go as of today.

Things started well, I went to the gym, I worked to control my calories. Then it was my birthday. Ahem. As of today, I have actually gained 1lb since last monday. Not exactly the progress I wanted. 15lb to go.

Nevertheless. Today is a new day. Started again.

Today's progress - I have controlled my calories. I have eaten healthily and I have undone some of the damage I did to my plan over the weekend. Exercise wise I was excellent today.

This morning before work I did a short routine (about 5 minutes in total) consisting of:
  • 100 abs/crunches
  • 10 press ups
  • 10 triceps
  • 10 front kicks
I have also been to the gym this evening. Personal Training no less. He pushed me hard.

Todays session consisted of:
  • Cross trainer interval climbs and sprints
  • Squats
  • Weights
  • Kettle Bells
  • Stepper - intervals at high level
  • Squat thrusts
  • Sprints on an incline
  • Side pulls and twists 
  • Rope work
Steps in total = 7,000 on the pedometer, plus 5,000 approx at PT. I have to work extra hard now to make up for the over indulgence - in the form of cake and wine!! 30 days and counting :) 15lbs to go. :(

My Movie Reviews - Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips is one of those films that comes out to a huge amount of fuss and media hype. Ordinarily, I wait until the heat dies down a little, in order to watch without any kind of pre-conceived ideas based on other people's opinions. Now I wish I had gone and watched it at the flicks - it is epic.

Released late in 2013, unbelievably this horrendous frightening tale of modern day piracy is actually based on true events. That is a scary thought.

The film starts with the always brilliant Tom Hanks as captain of a ship called the Maersk Alabama. The ship is one of those enormous container carriers - you know the ones that seem to go on forever defying logic that something that large and that heavy should float.

Hanks plays Richard Phillips, aka Captain Phillips. The ship is unarmed, and the crew's task is to take it from the pick up in the Port of Salalah, Oman, through the Gulf of Aden and onto Mombasa in Africa. The route will take them close to Somalia, which is renowned for piracy. Due to this, Captain Phillips has the crew practice drills for what they will do should they encounter them.

As the crew practice, two small blips appear on their radar. The Captain states that he doesn't like the look of it, and orders the ship to turn slightly to see if they follow. They do. Phillips orders the crew to speed up, and at first they think its still part of the drill. Soon they realise its real, and the ship is pushed to its max, powering through the water. Behind them, 2 small boats are chasing them. The boats are armed, heavily, and they start to gain.

Phillips bluffs by pretending to have made contact with base, and that an air support is imminent. This is enough for one of the boats, who turn back, much to the anger of the other pirates. The remaining boat continues after the ship, until it burns out and can't go on. The ship carries on, but Phillips and the crew know that the pirates will return. They discuss going off route, but Phillips reminds them that the waters are notorious and that going 6 hours out will be just as likely to encounter other pirates. Many of the crew are worried and angry, and Phillips has to quell their fears by telling them that they can leave when they reach their destination, but that for now, they have no choice.

The next day, the pirates return. Their boat has been welded and this time they easily keep up despite Phillips desperately trying manoeuvres to deflect their attempts to get their metal ladder attached. The ship turns hoses on the pirates, and constantly zigzags creating choppy water which causes the small boat to bang dangerously into the ships side. The pirates don't give up though, and finally, they make contact and board the ship.

Phillips orders the crew to cut the ship's power, and sends them off to hide. The lead pirate, Muse, takes control of the ship and demands money. Phillips tells him to take what's in the safe, which is approx $30,000 dollars. This isn't enough for Muse, who plans to ransom the ship.

Muse isn't daft. He doesn't believe Phillips when he tells him the ship was pushed too far and is broken. He demands to be taken to the engine room. Realising this, the crew, who are hiding there, no that they need to hide. They need to get the lights off. One of the crew sneaks out of the engine room, distracts the pirate who is stationed there with a gun and manages to cut the power. The engine room is totally dark, and the crew breaks some glass hearing that one of the pirates is bare footed.

The pirates enter the engine room, and one of them hurts his feet on the glass. Muse works out that it was deliberate, but the crew overpower him. The others escape, but the crew negotiate to swap muse for Phillips. They tell them about the ships life capsule, which the can use to get away. The plan almost works, but the pirates force Phillips into the lifeboat and take him with them, intending to use him to get the money.

This is where it gets very claustrophobic and extremely scary. The pirates start to fall out with each other, and Phillips life is in serious danger. The pirates lose contact with their mother ship, and the US navy intercepts them. Knowing that they cannot escape, they agree to send Muse over to the navy destroyer to negotiate. The navy make them believe that their elders are waiting there for them. Unbeknown to Phillips, the captain of the USS Bainbridge navy destroyer has made it clear that under no circumstances can the lifeboat reach the shore, whatever happens.

Phillips is no fool, and he knows that the navy won't allow the situation to deteriorate. He makes out that he needs the loo, and spies his chance, diving in to the water. The navy can't tell who is in the water or who is on the boat, so they cannot take any action, and reluctantly Phillips has to return to the lifeboat. The pirates fire at him, then fight with each other, knowing that if Phillips is killed they are dead.

Muse finally agrees to board the Bainbridge, becoming aware he has no other option. The navy negotiator keeps working with them, and the pirates eventually allow the boat to be towed. Muse goes ahead and boards the navy ship. In the handover Phillips makes the navy know what position he is in, and navy SEALs start to take position to try and end the crisis.

When nothing happens, Phillips begins to give up hope. He has been so strong, and so clever, but he finally cannot take anymore. He writes a goodbye note, but the pirate now in charge in Muse' absence gets angry. He blindfolds Phillips, hitting him hard with the gun. The other pirates try to stop him. The SEAL's can't get a clear shot, and it seems the pirates will shoot Phillips before they can.

Abruptly, the tow stops. Shots are fired, but at first its not clear what has happened. Phillips starts to shriek, and manages to get his blindfold down a little, seeing that the pirates have been shot. Muse, onboard the destroyer is arrested. The navy rescue Phillips, who is in a state of shock. They check him over, and he begins to sob. Its awful to watch. He thanks his rescuers and gives in to the despair and relief as they work on his injuries. The film titles come up stating that Muse was given 33 years imprisonment for his piracy.

As I said at the beginning of my review, this is absolutely terrifying, and is made all the worse for the knowledge that it is based on true events. The horror that anyone has actually been through this for real is unbearable, unthinkable. Hanks is superb. As always. Damn disgrace that this film didn't win an oscar. The pirates themselves were so convincing, so terrifying, that surely they should have been awarded.

Don't let that distract you though. The Oscars are Hollywood status, but not winning takes nothing away from the sheer brilliance of this film. Well scripted, amazingly acted, utterly absorbing and petrifying. The suspense had me almost groaning with despair and not knowing if Phillips would make it or what was going to happen.

This is an epic. I just cannot find any fault with this film. Its another 10 out of 10 from me. Like buses, I don't give a 10 out of 10 for months, then several together recently!!

For more movies, check out My Film Reviews here.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

My 5 Week Challenge - 31 Days to Go - Oops

31 Days to go on my 5 Week challenge. I was doing very well until Friday. Friday was my birthday. I had allowed for Friday in my plan. I hadn't allowed for Saturday.

This is the issue I now face. I weighed myself yesterday morning and found 2lbs had gained. I did not dare weigh myself again this morning! Yesterday I should have been back on track. However I struggled. I was hungry and I gave in.

I ate several weight watchers snacks, and before I even had my tea, I was up to my daily allowance. To make matters worse, I drank 2 glasses of wine, and had 2 quite generous measures of brandy. That wouldn't have been too bad.

I made things worse though. I ate chocolates, secretly. I also ate a piece of cake, again, secretly. Well, strike that. Not very secret at all - I left the plate out and the cake crumbs gave me away!!

I have resisted scoffing again today, but I am still hungry. I haven't done much exercise - a little walk outdoors and some housework, but nothing to what I should have been doing!!

I shall weigh myself in the morning. I shall face the music and dance. I shall push myself hard this week to undo the damage, but its not going to be easy now to get to the weight I want to be at for my holiday. I do like to make things hard for myself, that is for sure!!

31 days to go. 1 stone to go. Still. Arggghhhh!!! Right. I can do this. Think positive!! :)

My Week with Pink Day Six - Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

Day Six of My Week with Pink brings me to her single Blow Me (One Last Kiss). The single was taken from her sixth studio album The Truth About Love in 2012, and was released the same year.

Blow Me (One last Kiss) was the debut single, and it reached number 3 in the UK chart. This is classic Pink and it, as usual, doesn't mess about in getting to the point!!

Her voice is spectacular on this. She is quieter and lower in the verses, but the range is impressive throughout. The chorus is fun, upbeat, but still has her "don't mess with me" toughness that makes a Pink song so distinctive and instantly recognisable. She has a particular type of pop come rock that she does fabulously.

The song appears to be about a break up, and it delivers some killer lines and gets to the core of it. It starts with "white knuckles and sweaty palms from hanging on too tight". "Eyes on fire, and they burn from all the tears, I've been crying, I've been dying over you".

She gets to the chorus "I think I've finally had enough", then "I think this might be it for us, blow me one last kiss". She goes on to say shes had a s*** day and that life's too short for this. You can't argue with her logic. She does make a painful experience sound quite fun and perky!!

The video is a perfect fit to the song. Shot in black and white, it starts off with Pink having a very civilised picnic with her guy. They go to kiss, but his phone goes off. She throws red wine at him and storms off. The wine is actually red in contrast to the black and white, which is a stunning effect, very dramatic.

She meets another man and goes home with him. She is drawn by him wearing what appears to be just beads, and watches through the window as guests arrive for a party. Later, dressed in a tux with her hair scraped back, looking very gorgeous, Pink dances with a lady guest. The man appears and proposes. Pink accepts, but then realises he is actually proposing to her dance partner, the other woman.

The video moves to their wedding, with Pink dressed in black as if going to a funeral not a wedding! Above them, a flying bicycle is carrying a big pink heart. It explodes showering the couple and all the guests in red juice. Pink dances happily, and flies away with the cycle rider!!

In summary, this is Pink at her best. Defiant, resilient, deep, dark, but still powerful, upbeat and even funny. Her voice is awesome, and she looks amazing. The song is catchy and edgy, and I love it. Go and have a listen, and really listen. Its a great song. For more of Pink, check out My Music page here.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ant & Dec - Ant totally put his foot in it!!

Oh my word!! I am watching Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. Ant just went out into the audience, to do his usual chat with those who have been put forward, to put them on the spot with their tales and confessions.

This one though wasn't so much about the story. That paled into insignificance. What cracked me up was that Ant approached a man in the audience.

He began to speak to the man about a bet on the horses. He then mentioned the man's mother in law, and went to speak to her. Putting the microphone to the lady, the man said "that's my wife"! His mother in law was on the other side of him! His wife did not look at all happy, not one bit!

Ant just carried on, and said "awkward". I was absolutely helpless laughing!! Can you even imagine how embarrassing? Stunner. Made my night!! :)

My Movie Reviews - The LEGO Movie

I went to the cinema the first time I saw The LEGO movie. Under the guise that my 8 year old step daughter wanted to watch it, yet secretly do did I!

It begins with a lego figure in the shape of a wizard called Vetruvius. He tries to stop the villain of the piece, President "Lord" Business, from getting the super weapon called the Kragle. He fails, but as Business takes the Kragle, Vetruvius, now blind, warns him that there is a prophecy and that "The Special" will come forward and save all. Business takes no notice of him.

Eight and a half years later, we are introduced to Emmet Brickowski. He lives by the rules. We see him wake up and follow instructions to get dressed and ready. Off he goes to work, still following the rules. He works on the construction site. They start to sing along to a very cheesy, but actually quite catchy song called "Everything is awesome". Then, they finish work and are going to the pub, but Emmet's manual blows away.

He tries to catch it, but spots someone on the site that shouldnt't be there. He finds that she is a woman, called Wyldstyle, and he tries to follow. He is such a clutz that he falls in a hole. At the bottom of the hole is a red relic called the Piece of Resistance. He touches it, but passes out.

When he wakes up, he finds that a good cop/bad cop figure is interogating him (the good cop and bad cop is the same person just his head swivels around to change his personality!) It transpires that bad cop is working for Business. Emmet also finds that the Piece of Resistance is stuck to his back. Before anything can happen, Wildstyle comes and rescues Emmet, believing that Emmet is the Special, and that he is a master builder. She soon realises he isn't!!

Meanwhile Business demonstrates the power of the Kragle on Bad Cops parents, permanently freezing them. He doesn't like everyone making things and moving!! He erases good cop by removing the other lego face!!

Bad Cop gives chase going after Emmet, Vetruvius and Wildstyle. Vetruvius and Wildstyle are still convinced Emmet is the Special, but when they enter his mind they find nothing. Other than a double bunk sofa! Utterly empty.

Bad Cop is hot on their trail, destroying everything he comes across. The travel through the Old West, where Batman, who turns out to be Wildstyle's boyfriend, rescues them. They head on to Cloud Cuckoo Land. The master builders have gathered to hear Emmet's speech. When he reveals he isn't a leader and isn't a master builder, they start to leave, disappointed.

Bad Cop suddenly appears with his men, having tracked Emmet through a device stuck onto his leg. Emmet and Wildstyle escape, but Bad Cop captures most of the master builders. They plan to get into the office tower, but their plan is foiled. Vetruvius tries to fight back, but he gets his head cut off. He manages to tell them that he lied and that there is no prophecy.

Vetruvius ghost comes back and tells Emmet that he might not be the special, but he can still be a hero. Emmet realises he is attached to a battery, as the clock ticks down and they all face destruction. He manages to roll towards the edge, and throws himself out into the Edge of the Universe taking the battery with them. In doing so he sacrifices himself to save the others.

Wildstyle appeals to lego world to rise up and be creative. To make whatever they can think of to save their world. As they begin to realise what they can do, Emmet finds himself on the floor in the real world as a small plastic toy. He sees that this is all being played out in the imagination of a little boy. His dad comes down, the man upstairs and its none other than Will Ferrell! He tells his son off for playing with his lego, and starts to glue everything in place.

The little boy, Finn, notices Emmet has managed to get off the table and sends him and the Piece of Resistance which has also landed their, back into Bricksburg. On his return, Emmet realises he is now a master builder. He builds a mega robot, and breaks into the office tower. Business uses the Kragle on Emmet and freezes his leg to the floor.

Back in the real world, the man looks at the creations his son has made and stops gluing. He tells his son he can play with the lego. In Bricksburg, Emmet convinces Business that he should enjoy creating things and stop freezing everything. Business puts the Piece of Resistance onto the Kragle (it turned out to be the lid) and it blows up.

Everyone celebrates. He wins the girl, as Batman steps aside letting Wildstyle who is actually named Lucy to be with Emmet. You think its all going to be ok, when a load of DUPLO aliens arrive, signalling that Finn's little sister has been allowed to play too!!

This is a colourful, fun, kids film. But it has adult humour and is clever enough to keep the grown ups entertained too. I had several laugh out loud moments watching this and came out singing the "Everything is Awesome" song, much to the embarrassment of G!

This is made all the more fun because of some serious big hitters providing the voices. Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, and unbelievably Liam Neeson as Bad Cop!! I thought this was fabulous. The 3D filming made it even better. This is fab for kids, but better still for grown ups!!! 10 out of 10. Fab. :)

Birthday Fun = Diet disaster - 32 days to go!

Yesterday was my birthday. This resulted in going for tea and having a jolly good time.

Food wise, I was good. No starter, and a main of chicken skewers with sweet chilli sauce. I had a plated side salad instead of chips and onion rings. I did however, have 3 large glasses of wine, a double vodka and a brandy.

We came home, and I had a large slice of cake.

Weighing myself this morning I am 2lbs heavier. Oh dear. I am also very hungry today and have done zero exercise. 32 days to go, and I have a long hard slog ahead of me now. Just short of five weeks, and its going to be hard hard work!! 4 weeks isn't long though - I can survive that!

Now if I can just get through today without giving in to the cake's calls from the fridge, then I might just be on the right track!! why is dieting so hard?? :(

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Its Almost my Birthday!!

Well not long now. It is my birthday tomorrow. Eeeek!!!

Strange feeling sitting here right now - in 19 minutes time it will be the day of my birthday and I shall be one year older.

I'm not a huge birthday fan as a rule - I'm a year older - what's so good about that then?

What I do enjoy is spending time with my friends and family. That's the good bit. Off to bed shortly, and when I wake up, my years old will be different!!

Good night x

My 5 Week Challenge - 34 Days To Go

My 5 week challenge started  on Monday 17th March 2014. 37 days to lose 1 whole stone. 34 days still to go as of today.

Today's progress - I have controlled my calories. Today's temptation came in the form of chocolate digestives and jammy dodgers at a training course this morning. I resisted. Pat self on back.

Exercise wise I was excellent today. I have impressed even my own cynical self.

This morning before work I did a short routine (about 5 minutes in total) consisting of:
  • 100 abs/crunches
  • 10 press ups
  • 10 triceps
  • 10 lunge jumps
  • 5 star jumps
  • 10 punches
  • 10 front kicks
I have also been to the gym this evening.

Todays session consisted of 500 cal burn in total on the cardio:
  • Stair-master - double and single steps, fast and slow at intervals (60 cals)
  • Cross trainer interval climbs (100 cals)
  • Jogging 2 miles (240 cals)
  • Stepper (100 cals)
  • Abs x 3 sets of 80 per set. 
Steps in total = 13,000!! Whoop!

Tomorrow it is my birthday. However, I have 34 days to go. Tomorrow the challenge will be to stay in control. I want to enjoy my birthday, but not at the detriment of damaging my plan. Going to be a tough one!! 34 days - I can do this. :)

Watching Davina - Inspirational woman!

I'm watching the Sports Relief program that shows Davina Macall and what she went through for the cause. That woman is awe inspiring.

Watching her cycling in what appears to be bloody freezing conditions, running up hills, generally tired, achy and having to take ice baths. Good grief. She has made me really stop and think that what I am putting myself through with my gym efforts and walks pales into insignificance by comparison.

She is going through hell, and all for other people. Swimming in 5 degree open water on Lake Windermere. Oh my lord - you wouldn't even get me in that water let alone swim across it.

Its hard watching but you just cannot fail to be inspired by the woman. If you haven't done so, you should either do something yourself for the cause or donate. How can you not do watching what she is going through?

In addition, when I am tired and my muscles hurt like they are right now, she is who I will think of to keep me going. If she can do this I can beat my own little challenges. Thankyou Davina. xx

My Week with Pink - Day Five - So What

Day Five of my week with Pink, and today its the single So What, released in 2008. Taken from her fifth studio album, Funhouse which was released in 2008.

So What was the debut single from this album, and it smashed into the charts in the UK reaching the number one spot. This is another track co-written by Pink and its funky pop-rock is very cool and very catchy.

Don't be fooled by the upbeat, seemingly quite light hearted lyrics and sound. This song is based around Pink's real life temporary with Carey Hart (she got back with him later).  Its actually quite an aggressive song when you follow the lyrics, and seriously you would think twice about messing her about - she comes over very tough!!

The video is fab, Pink looks smoking, but still it gets the point over about break ups. Pink is undeniably a very physically fit and attractive lady. The only problem is that she can seem a little hard and harsh. In this vid she sports short blond hair which suits her, but is quite stern.

She plays the part brilliantly though. First off she is driving down a busy road on a lawn mower drinking beer, as you do. Then she streaks down the red carpet. She finds a tree on which she has carved Alecia and Carey (her real name is Alecia) and proceeds to saw down said tree with a chainsaw. Perfectly normal behaviour!

She gets into a pillow fights, throws things at newly weds in a car, and finishes next to actual Carey by poking her tongue out at him. All very grown up and civilised - err sorry, not at all!

You know from the off that this is Pink having more fun when it kicks in - "na na na na na na na" and we are off. "I guess I just lost my husband, I don't know where he went". Subtle.

She continues on until the chorus, "So what, I'm still a rock star, I got my rock moves, and I don't need you". She continues to say "I'm just fine, And your'e a tool", straight to the point!!

The fact that her hubby actually is in the video makes this so cheeky its brill. Who wouldn't want to do this to their ex?? The only slight issue of course is that for anyone that has actually lived through a break up, you do spend time trying to convince yourself that you are alright when in fact you are not. Bit dark then really when you really think about it. Still great though.

All in all this is an upbeat, fun pop song, with an edge of rock and a darker underlying meaning. All in all this is Pink again being brilliant. Fab song, fab video, fab artist. If you want more of Pink check out previous days at my Music page here. Happy Listening peeps :)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

35 Days to Go on my 5 Week challenge

 My 5 week challenge started yesterday. 37 days to lose 1 whole stone. 35 days still to go as of today.

Today's progress - I have controlled my calories. I have resisted someone bringing in cream cakes for their birthday!! I have done my exercise.

This morning before work I did a short routine (about 5 minutes in total) consisting of:

  • 100 abs/crunches
  • 10 press ups
  • 10 triceps
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 punches
  • 10 front kicks

I have also been to the gym.Today was Personal Training for one hour of hell.

My PT today included:
  • Stair-master - double and single steps, fast and slow at intervals
  • Abs with weights
  • Shoulder work with weight
  • Tricep work with weight
  • Alternating planks (up onto hands and down onto elbows)
  • Rolling planks (elbow on gym ball and rolling)
  • Cross trainer interval climbs
  • Running on an incline
  • Pushing (making the treadmill go when its not turned on!)
  • Abs with weights
  • Abs
Steps in total = 9,000. 

Tomorrow I am off to the gym again! 35 days to go. I can do this. :)

Gravity - My Movie Reviews

I heard about this film being Oscar nominated. I knew it was about space and starred Sandra Bullock. I was utterly and completely unprepared for how utterly amazing, and at the same time how absolutely terrifying this film is.

It begins in space. Three astronauts are working on the Hubble Telescope. There is a problem with the comms system. Sandra Bullock plays Dr Ryan Stone, who is on her first space mission on the shuttle Explorer. With her is George Clooney, who play Matt Kowalski, who is a veteran on his final shuttle mission. The third suited astronaut - Shariff - is bouncing around enjoying weightlessness, whilst Stone is trying to resolve the comms issue on the telescope and taking things very seriously.

Whilst they work, Kowalski is talking to Houston. Ed Harris is the voice of Houston, although you never see him. Matt regales Houston with his tales, and laments that this will be his last space walk. Stone tells Houston she needs more time to get the shuttle fixed. Kowalski joins her and asks if she needs any help. Its all quite amusing at this point - Clooney being the king of flirts plays off Bullock's all business attitude.

He continues to tell his tales, as Stone works. A screw floats off and Matt reaches after it, safely tethered to the shuttle. Its quite unnerving how they are floating about. Houston tells them there is some debris heading close to their location, but it looks as though it will miss them. Matt continues to regales them about his adventures.

Suddenly Houston warns them that they are in the path of impending space debris, as it has collided with another satellite and they are now directly in its way. Houston commands them to abort. They try to reach their craft, the space shuttle Explorer, but it gets hit by the debris. Shariff gets hit, and the shuttle gets hammered by the debris which Houston says is travelling at the speed of a bullet. It tears through the ship. Matt manages to get behind something to shelter, but Stone's tether is dragging her. She releases it only to find herself catapulted away from the shuttle.

Stone spins off out into space, hurtling away, spinning over and over. As she spins further and further into space and away from the shuttle, she sees the blue planet beneath her. Utterly terrifying. She breathes heavily as her spin slows, but she continues to drift away, alone, isolated. Dr Ryan Stone. Alone, unable to control her spin, scared, and using her oxygen fast in her panic.

Matt's voice is still clear, and he tries to locate her, but she can't tell him anything. She is spinning so fast, she can't see anything to pinpoint her location. His voice stops. She continues to float. It seems she is lost.

Kowalski suddenly appears -his voice load and clear. He uses his manned propulsion pack to reach Stone and tether her to him. Using boosters to take them back to the Explorer, they find Shariff. He hasn't survived the impact, and she can clearly see that half his face has been destroyed by the impact. Sadly she sees a laminated picture tethered to him of his family.

Going forward to the shuttle, they find it has been devastated.  Everyone else on the shuttle has died. They are the sole survivors. The debris has ripped open the hull, exposing those inside to the extreme coldness unprotected. Matt tells Stone that they have no choice but to try and reach the International Space Station - the ISS.

Worse still, they work out that they have about 90 minutes before the debris comes around again, likely even more deadly having struck other satellites in its way. Tethered to Matt, they slowly work their way forward. Her oxygen is running low, so Matt talks to her about life on earth. Finally she confides that she lost her young daughter. She fell and banged her head at school, enough to kill her. Its then that you realise just why she is so serious, and she loses herself in thought.

They use the thrusters to reach the ISS - International Space Station. One of the modules has gone - the crew having evacuated. The ISS is also damaged, but Matt tells Stone that they could use it to reach another satellite - a chinese one that is closest to them. Its parachute has been deployed and is tangled all around the station.

Matt uses the final burst from his pack to send them flying towards the ISS. Stone manages to grab hold of something, but Matt bounces off. As he hurtles away, the tether between him and Stone pulls taut. His momentum starts to drag her with him, but her foot gets tangled in the parachute. The tether continues to pull them both further out into space.

Matt tells Stone that she has to make it home. Realising what he is going to do, Stone pleads with him not to do it. She tells him she has them both, but he disconnects. He floats away into space. This is truly awful. I cannot even imagine how that would feel, just to be floating away like that. Terrifying.

Matt however, continues to talk to Stone, advising her what to do, telling her she will make it. Her oxygen runs out, but Matt keeps talking to her. She finally manages to reach the ISS and climbs inside. Matt continues to joke that he will make the longest spacewalk record as she goes through the airlock.

Stone isn't out of the woods yet. She strip out of her suit, gulps in air, but then a fire starts in the unit. She rushes to the Soyuz capsule, and makes it just in time. She suits up and tries to get it to move. She can't go anywhere as the parachute has tethered the capsule to the ISS. She closes her suit and goes back outside in to space to free the tether. The debris cloud suddenly starts to bombard the area, and the ISS takes a hammering. Stone manages to get back inside, but can't go anywhere - she is out of fuel.

Stone tries to radio for help, but gets some guy that speaks another language. Giving up thinking its hopeless, she starts to drift away from reality. Suddenly there is a knock on the glass - its Matt! Matt turns the oxygen back on - she had turned it off in her despair. He tells her how she can survive - she can use the landing rockets. He tells her losing her daughter is hard, but not a reason to die.

Stone gasps and realises Matt isn't really there. Snapping the oxygen back on, she starts to come round. She realises it was her subconscious and uses the re-entry landing rockets to thrust her to the chinese satellite station. She cannot aim for it in the Soyuz, and when she is near enough, she has to leave the capsule and try to use a fire extinguisher to navigate her way to it. She works her way to it, but then slams into it, just about managing to hang on.

She struggles to climb inside as the debris having gone full circle again starts to pound into it. She works out how to get the capsule working as it takes a hit. Stone prays and tells Matt to say hello to her little girl for her. She survives a brutal re-entry and frantically tries all the buttons to release the parachute. Managing to do so, she slows down above the ocean. The capsule sinks down, as the radio crackles - Houston advise they are on the way. Stone releases herself into the water and swims to the surface.

She crawls to the shore, but her legs are wobbly and at first she can't stand. Slowly, tentatively she manages to stand. The sole survivor.

Make no mistake here - this is a truly fantastic film. Its a horrifying thought to be just lost in space. but more than that. It really does make you think about the job of the astronauts. How unglamorous it must when you are up above the world like that, how scary, how isolated and just how damned dangerous! I had never even considered space debris or where everything winds up up there.

Clooney is brilliant, but its Bullock that shines. She is phenomenal in this. Hard to believe its the same woman as in some of her more light-hearted roles. Here she is inspiring and talented. Its a very clever, very beautiful, very sad and very disturbing film. I've not seen a film this good in many a year. 10 out of 10. Absolutely amazing. :)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

36 Days to go - 5 week challenge

Yesterday I posted about my 5 week challenge. 37 days to lose 1 whole stone. 36 days to go as of today.

Today, towards that goal I have made a start. I have controlled my calories. I have done my exercise.

I have been to the gym - today I ran for one mile but the time wasn't my best - 9 minutes 14 seconds. I can do better.

My workout today was:

  • 200 cals in total on the treadmill (1 mile run and walking on incline);
  • 133 on the stepper;
  • 117 on the cross trainer;
  • 450 cals in total. 

I also did 3 sets of ab exercises. This involved 4 different ab exercises.

  • 20 x crunches
  • 20 x leg raises
  • 20 x full sit ups
  • 20 x medicine ball 5KG raise to straight legs
Steps in total = 11,000. 

Tomorrow I need to step it up and do the exercise routine in morning to boost my day and get me off to the best possible start. I have my Personal Training Session booked in for 6.15pm tomorrow. Its going to be a long hard 5 weeks and counting, but my god I am going to get this body in shape!! 36 days. I can do this. :)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Emergency Treatment for Bluebell

Last week, my mum announced that she had been clearing out the loft. She presented me with a bag of toys from when I was a little girl. In said bag, was Bluebell. 

Bluebell is a pale blue bear that I loved when I was younger. Somewhere over the years, she got neglected. I thought she was lost and I confess I hadn't thought of her for a long time. But there she was. 

She was looking some what worse for wear. She was also not so much pale blue, but mucky dirty blue. Presumably from several years stuck in the loft gathering dust. Emergency treatment was required. 

Bluebell had to have a bath. It was a risk to take. This is a bear that is well over 30 years old. (I shall not say any more on that subject!) Here she is taking the plunge. 

I was most concerned that she might shrink, turn a funny colour, fall apart! There was no choice to be had here though - she was too dirty and she smelled musty. 

I can report that Bluebell survived her ordeal and is now where she should be. With the other toys that I hold most dear. A happy ending for one precious little blue bear. :)

Cereal (diet) killer!

 As part of my 5 week challenge that I have set for myself, I shall be spending two evenings per week having cereal. 

I have tried this approach before. Normal breakfast, lunch as usual. Then for two evenings each week, cut it back and have cereal with lots of fruit and skimmed milk. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas - they all go really well. 

The last time I did this, the pounds melted away, and being just two evenings, I didn't feel hungry and I didn't feel like I was missing out. Last time it was Special K cereal in different flavours. 

This time, I'm changing it a bit. I'm currently on Weight Watchers cereals - plan, and one with apple. I also have some quaker oats sachets in different flavours. I have Special K porridge pots too. So I can change what I have, or have it warm if cold cereal doesn't appeal. 

Last time it really seemed to kick start my metabolism and boost the weight loss. Hopefully, that will be the case this time too. Fingers crossed :)

Pink - Day Four - Just Like a Pill

We are on Day four of My Week with Pink. Today its the song Just Like a Pill. This single was released in 2002, and gave Pink her first UK number one.

This single was taken from her second studio album, Missundaztood released in 2001. Just Like a Pill was the third single to be taken from this album and is Pink at her most raw.

It's a very edgy, darker, more rock track than some of her softer stuff. Its that blend again of being rock but still pop that Pink does so brilliantly in tracks like this one. Its another co-written by the lady herself, and deals with some dark issues - those being relationship issues and drugs. Very deep.

The video is dark too. Not just in tone, but the colour of her hair - black with purple streaks. She looks very different and very gothic. Dressed in black she writhes her way through this track, in various outfits consisting of not very much to be honest! At one point she is in her bra, then a very short leather skirt, and then randomly she is in a room full of white rabbits. Slightly bizarre, but that's Pink for you! As it gets towards the end, its a bit heading in the S&M direction. I shall say no more on that!

Back to the song. Pink has never been shy about her own issues, including drugs. Its got some serious lyrics It kicks in quietly with "I'm lying here on the floor where you left me, I think I took too much". Straight to the point. She carries on "I can't stay on your morphine cos it's making me itch". Not exactly subtle in its references, but its clever.

The chorus is louder, and shows Pink's voice and power. It includes the lines "run just as fast as I can to the middle of nowhere, to the middle of my frustrated fears, and I swear you're just like a pill, instead of making me better, you keep making me ill". Not only drugs being referenced, but a bad relationship. Cheery stuff!

All in all, this is a dark, edgy, cleverly written and thought provoking song. It all comes together though as a great track by a great artist. Pink is fantastic at this type of song, and this one in particular is one of her best. She does look a bit formidable in the video though - you would think twice before messing this girl around!

Go and have a listen and let me know what you think. Its a good song to stick on if you are wanting to vent a bit! Happy listening :)

My 5 Week Challenge - Lose one stone!!!

It is almost five weeks until I head off on my holidays. I have set myself a challenge to lose one whole stone before I go. That's going some, I appreciate. It has to be done.

So counting today as day one, here is the task ahead and what I intend to do to accomplish my goal.

GOAL = 1 stone to lose (14lbs)
Date to lose it by = 24th April 2014
Days to go = 37 days

Daily Plan (increase by 1 every day up to 37)
AM routine - minimum of 10 minutes every morning to include:
100 crunches/abs
10 squats
10 lunges per leg
10 burpees
10 press ups
10 tricep dips

Each day to hit a minimum of 10,500 steps on my pedometer.

PM - before bed
25 crunches
10 toe touch
10 side stretch reach
10 thigh stretch
10 calf stretch

Weekly Plan
2 x Personal Training Sessions of 1 hour each per week
2 x gym sessions of at least 1 hour per week
Minimum of 4 sessions per week in total, ideally five.

The 2 sessions on my own I need to do:
Session 1 - long run, 500 cal burn on cardio, 3 x ab routine
Session 2 - short fast run, 400 cal burn on cardio, 3 x intense abs and planks

So that's the plan. I do like to set myself a challenge, and this is the hardest yet!! Keep you posted on my progress. It will all be worth it in the end! (so I keep telling myself!) :)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Pink - Day Three - Try

Day Three of My Week with Pink, and today's choice is the single Try. This was the second single to be released from her sixth studio album, The truth about Love released in 2012.

The single was released in September 2012, and it reached number 9 in the UK singles chart.

This is a really powerful pop rock song, and it really does show the range and power of Pink's voice. It's all about the struggle of love. The ups, the downs, the turmoil, the frustrations. In the verses, she is softer and more quiet. Then the chorus is loud and powerful.

The video has me mesmerised. Pink isn't classically pretty. She doesn't have a curvy womanly body. She is hard and toned, and yet somehow in this video she manages to be both sexy and soft, yet still powerful.

It features Pink in a ripped dress paint splattered, and her male partner, also semi-naked and paint splattered. However, the way they move their bodies, and the skill, and control and they have is amazing. Its beautifully done, and you really do feel the anxiety and frustration that relationships go through when they are in trouble.

They twist and fight, and hold and push and bend and intertwine. Its the sort of video you can watch over and over again and not cease to be inspired and impressed. Its sexy but not explicit. It just perfectly sums up the song, with its tortured frustration between two lovers.

The lyrics are beautiful and painful. "where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone's bound to get burned. Just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die. Gotta get up and try".

Now, if that isn't one of the best lines from a song to sum it all up, I don't know what is. Relationships are hard. They hurt. But its not a hurt that will kill you. You can get through it.

This song is great and the video is probably the best music video I have seen. She is very talented. I certainly recommend listening to this song. Happy listening:)

My Movie Reviews - Cloverfield

This isn't a new film, it was released back in 2008. However, for me, its still great! Its a monster film - think Godzilla, Jurassic Park but with a different angle.

Its set in New York, which gives it a great back drop. It starts off with some young hip New Yorkers having a party, and one of them, a guy called Hud, is videoing it all on camcorder.

The party is a leaving do for another guy, Rob, who is leaving to move to Japan. The party was organised by his brother Jason, who is there with his girlfriend, Lily. Rob has previously slept with Beth, who comes to his party but she leaves early and goes home.

Soon there is a power blackout, and they think its an earthquake. Little do they know! The news reports that an oil tanker has overturned near Liberty Island. In the confusion, they all leave the building, thinking thats the safest thing to do. As they leave the building, the head of the Statue of Liberty flies past them, smashing into the ground.

Hud continues filming, and in doing so sees what appears to be a monster some blocks away from them. The Woolworth building is destroyed, and then the Brooklyn Bridge, which kills Jason.

The news shows troops trying to bring the creature down, but small monsters fall from it as they battle. These turn out to be just as dangerous and start to attack people.

Rob gets a message on his phone from Beth. She has reached her apartment, but is trapped in it. Rob is determined to go and rescue her, but it means heading into the path of the monster. Hud and Lily agree to go with him, and also Marlena who was also at the party. Everyone else heads away to safety, and they have to push through the people to try and reach Beth.

The closer they get, the more caught up they are, and eventually with the troops on one side and the monsters on the other, they have to escape into a tube station. Some of the small monsters, that are parasites are inside though, and they have to battle with them. Marlena gets bitten, but survives.

They reach a command centre and field hospital at the exit, and Marlena is taken away for tests. Her eyes are bleeding as she leaves them. She is taken behind a plastic screen, but clearly all is not well as soon blood explodes onto the screen. Marlena is dead.

The army tells them that they must leave the area, as the Hammer Down Protocol is to be executed, which will destroy the whole of the Manhattan area. Determined, Rob, Lily and Hud continue on to Beth's building against the advice of the troops.

As they near the building, they can see its badly damaged and is leaning badly - only held upright because its propped up by another building next to it. There is no way in. Hud jokingly suggests going up the undamaged building and climbing across, not being serious. Rob however, thinks its a plan and they go for it.

They reach the floor where Beth's building is touching it, and climb precariously over into her building. They find Beth's room and find her inside, impaled on a metal bar. They rescue her and climb back into the undamaged building. As they do, they see the monster rampaging and the military firing on it. They know they have to leave and fast.

They reach the evacuation site, and Lily is put into a helicopter. Rob, Beth and Hud are put in a second helicopter. As it takes off, they see the monster being blasted by a bomb. It drops down, but then lunges up and bites the helicopter. The helicopter then spirals out of control and crashes down.

You then hear a voice saying Hammer Down will commence in 15 minutes. Some time must have passed. Beth, Rob and Hud survive the crash, but the monster appears again as they escape from the wreckage into Central Park. Hud is still on the floor but keeps filming. You see the monster properly for the first time. Its head has pouches that expand as it breathes, and it looks mean. It sees Hud and bites him in half killing him.

Rob and Beth take the camera, and run under one of the bridges in Central Park. Air Raid sirens start to go off and as they shelter under the bridge, the bombing starts. Hammer Down has begun. Rob and Beth talk to the camera as the noise around them builds. They tell each other that they love one another, then rubble starts to fall. The last thing you hear is them screaming then it goes black.

All through the film, its footage that's been filmed, but occasionally you see glimpses of the video Hud taped over which was of Rob and Beth. The last scene is Rob and Beth on a sunny day. Beth says to the camera " I had a good day". The screen goes black.

There are no big stars in this one. It was produced by J.J. Abrams though, who is well known for, amongst others, TV series Lost, Alias and Revolution, and the film Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Cloverfield was kept under wraps when it was being made, as he apparently didn't want anyone to know anything about it beforehand. Quite exciting really!

All in all, this is a brill film. Its enjoyable, a bit scary, makes you jump, and doesn't have surviving against ridiculous odds to contend with. They die - nothing cheesy there! The way its filmed makes it seem more real, there is no gloss or glamour to this one. Its just a story, and told from a new perspective.

Now, that said, its not epic acting and there is no deep emotional connection. It is quite light on back plot, but its simplicity is effective. If you like sci fi and monster flicks, you will enjoy it. I watched it again this weekend, having not done so for some years now, and its still great. It still made me jump and I still love it.

Go have a watch of it and let me know what you think. I think you will enjoy it either if you haven't seen it before, or if you haven't seen it for a while. Happy watching :)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Win a luxury stay in Manchester's Palace Hotel

Win a luxury stay in Manchester's Palace Hotel

House Viewing Number 2 - small issue = no keys!

House viewing number two arranged for 1.30pm today. This one was a house that looks like it could be promising. It also looks like it might be empty and probably needs some work. I don't altogether mind that, if the price reflects it.

So I turn up, after missing the sign and driving straight past it first. Turning around, I pulled up and saw the estate agent sitting in her car. The estate agent was doing the viewing, not the owner, which also made me think it was probably empty.

She greeted me but looked concerned. She proceeded to advise me that the keys didn't appear to fit, and welcomed me to try myself. I did - the key went in the lock but wouldn't turn. We tried the side door - definitely not the right keys. So we couldn't get in!

Thankfully, I hadn't travelled too far. Back home it occurs to me that this is a promising sign. It means there cannot have been other viewings - couldn't have been - the keys don't fit! This is encouraging, as this, in addition to the fact that it is sitting empty means there could be more negotiation on the price.

They are calling me back on Monday to rearrange. I'm thinking a silly offer of way below asking might be in order if we like it when we finally get inside! This could be the one. Or it might not. Who knows - watch this space :)

Horizontal Jumps - the hardest exercise ever!!

Yesterday was PT day. Hard as ever. Lots of cardio, strength work, abs, weights, resistance - you name it. I survived it and lived to tell the tale.

One of the torturous efforts from this session was an exercise I have not done before. Its not going to sound that bad. Trust me - this is the hardest exercise to date!!

It requires no equipment, no machine, no free weights - just you and your body. Easy right? Wrong.

To begin with, stand feet shoulder width apart and squat. Low. Low as you can. Swing your arms out behind you. Swing your arms forward and use the momentum to squat jump forward, landing in squat position.

Do not rise. Do not straighten your legs. Do not lean forward. Remain in squat. Do it again. Then again. For the length of the room (I was at the gym, long long long room!). Once at the end. Turn around, and return to where you started - squat and jumping.

If you are doing it correctly your thighs will burn baby burn. If you reach the end, you will be out of breath, and your heart pounding. If you are doing it correctly, your legs will shake.

Now, imagine that you have already done half your hour PT session, and still have a half hour to go! Sounds fun yes? Enjoy :)

Chicken Caesar Wrap for lunch -yum :)

In keeping with my diet efforts, today's lunch is this yummy chicken Caesar wrap with side salad (and yes a few crisps only a few!) In all seriousness, dieting can be really enjoyable if you are sensible with your choices.

This is just a clean, plain chicken breast, with a teeny bit of dressing, but it tasted divine. Sometimes I wonder how I ever ended up over weight when there is so much choice to be healthier. It just takes a bit more time and some planning. :)

Friday, 14 March 2014

Pink - Day Two - Who Knew

Day Two of My Week With Pink. Today's choice is the single Who Knew. Released in 2006, this was taken from her fourth studio album, I'm not dead which was released the same year.

This single reached number 5 in the UK charts. This is Pink in a more thoughtful mood this song. Its not upbeat thats for sure. Its quite a sad rock ballad type of her usual pop rock combo.

This is another song co-written by Pink herself, and is about losing a friend through drugs. It starts with the line "You took my hand, you showed me how" and Pink sounds soft, but still powerful. She goes on to say "if someone said three years from now, you'd be long gone, I'd stand up and punch them out".

With her powerful voice this really does hit home. The lyrics are clever - all about loss and counting your blessings. You can't help be moved when she does this kind of song. She puts her all into it, and her voice has that commanding power that makes you feel satisfied when she hits the big notes.

The video was one I've not seen before. Its a video of two teens who seem to be in love. Secretly though, the boy is injecting drugs. It shows him spiralling away from the girl, and when she finds him collapsed and calls the ambulance, she walks away crying. This all takes place at a fairground. Supposedly a happy fun place. It really does make you think.

Now, I'm not at all sure about her hair in this video. Little bit like a clown wig - blonde and pink and very curly. It does nothing for her. But that aside.

The video features Pink in between the shots of the boy and girl, and she looks emotional and sounds it. Her hair is just a bit distracting though. Maybe it was the fairground setting...

The song is packed full of guitars - acoustic and electric, and keyboards, and drums, and Pink's massive voice. All in all this is a great song, and her voice is epic.

I do agree with some of the critics that it is a bit Kelly Clarkson sound alike, but that doesn't matter because its a great song. Go have a listen, and let me know what you think. Happy listening :)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Pink - Day One - Trouble

Off we go then with My Week with Pink. Day One is her single Trouble. Released in 2003, it was taken from her third studio album, Try This.

This is pink in her punk pop style. She is one of those artists that changes and evolves. Here, she is all big mouthed, hard and tough, pop with an edge. It reached number 7 in the UK charts.

This song is also one that you will have heard on loads of films and various TV programmes. Its perfectly suited to girl power like Miss Congeniality 2 and White Chicks. Its conveys that kind of message of empowerment, or at least its intended to.

Co-written by Pink herself, this single is all about the guitars and the title repeats over and over against that back drop. I'm trouble she repeats. The video is true to that!

The video is fab. Pink rides in on a horse, Western style, with her hair long and blonde and braided. She wears a very revealing can-can style dress, and proceeds to in short kick ass. Against those who tied up the horses, those that wouldn't serve her in the saloon, and those that are in the brothel! Well, I think that's what its inferring at any rate!!

Now this is what got my attention, the sheriff of the town is non less than Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker, MI) who I rather like. Back when this came out, I had not heard of him but there he is! Lucky girl she! Job well done, she rides back off - the heroine of the piece.

One thing for certain is that Pink's voice packs a punch. She doesn't show her true range in this one, but it shows her power. Shes raspy and gravelly at times, but there's no denying this girl can sing. Whilst it does get a bit repetitive this one, its a good pop song. I like it anyway, but I have a feeling there is better stuff to explore and this one perhaps won't bag the top spot at the end of my week.

Go have a listen and let me know what you think. Happy listening :)

Weight Loss - My Progress so far

Looking back to the 1st January this year, I set myself a goal as my New Years Resolution. That goal was to lose weight. The weight in question being the weight I had gained in July on holiday, followed by the weight I gained moving house in September and the following month, then the additional Christmas pounds.

My NY goal was to lose what I had gained. That equated to and a half stone. Additionally, I wanted to lose an extra half stone, 3 stone in total.

As of today, 13th March, I have so far managed to lose 1 stone and 6 pounds since 1st Jan. That's 20 pounds of fat. To reach my pre-gain weight, I have to lose a further 1 stone and 1 pound. Then half a stone extra. That's 1 stone and 8 pounds or 21 pound to go.

One more pound and I'm half way there. It seemed a very long way down back in January but already, I am half way to my goal. Suddenly the hard work seems worth it.

GOAL = 3 stone (42lb)
LOSS = 1 stone 6 lb (20lb)
TO LOSE = 1 stone 8lb (21lb)

I will keep you updated on my progress but it sure ain't easy that is for sure! :)