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The Wonder Years..how much of this life can we do? : May 2013

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Watch your posture! Pilates and Ballet and another inch taller..

Since last Wednesday I've been tucking my tailbone in! Odd I know, but after a visit to The Pilates Rooms in St Albans, my whole posture has changed. After driving past, I contaced Sara Waller to see if I could pop in for the free trial having done pilates in the past... and it was a real eye opener. If you've ever done Pilates on a mat, you'll know it's all about engaing your core. The likes of Madonna, Gwyneth - they're all fans.. but it's not that easy as you'll know if you've tried to do it, properly and thus see the results.

I spent a good few months, last year, preparing for my wedding, doing Pilates on a reformer, which is a sliding contraption which has varying springs on it, to enhance the resistance, and well as straps for your legs.  They have these at the Pilates Rooms, but I'd specifically asked Sara if she could show me some moves on the 'rack'

Now if you've read '50 Shades' you might have imagined something like this in the Red Room (or was that just me!) However this is a remarkable contraption. Before I got to try it, Sara asked me to stand normally and did an assessment of my posture. I was amazed at what she told me, as I thought I held myself pretty well. That's not so, as I'm standing incorrectly and therefore have a weakness in my lower back and I'm not using my tummy muscles properly. She quickly told me how to correct it, and I've never looked back. Sara also pointed out that my hamstrings were weak, which resulted in me agonising classes at Westminster Lodge (the Total Toning is highly recommended on a Wednesday evening).

Sara explained the kind of work I could do in Pilates and how she would help me, and we did moves on the 'rack' including one that had my knees of the bar on the side of the picture and I was then pulling myself into an upside down shoulder stand, almost knocking her out as my knees slipped off!

These moves take practice! We then did some work on the refomer, for my hamstrings, which were brilliant and hard - and showed me how much work I have to do. Although Sara explained how her classes work, as there's only six people at one time, so you will get the chance to work on the bits that need work and she'll be there to advise. In the past when I've done pilates at the gym, it might not have seemed that hard, as no-one corrected my tecnique.Sara also works one to one on the rack, which I'm very tempted to more of.

Next it  was over the the ballet studio, with Sarah Brooke Williams, for a quick introduction to ballet. Now I used to go to classes as a little girl  , aah look at that face.. but my teacher told my Mum quite early on, I wasn't really the right 'build' to really pursue my ballet dancer dreams!!

Needless to say, I got to train the the English National Ballet, and didn't do a bad job, I'm not a natural, but I didn't fall over...

Whilst doing my class at The Pilates Rooms, Sarah complimented some of my technique (i'm graceful!) Ballet does seem intimidating, but it's such good excercise especially alongside Pilates - and as Sarah and I did one of the ballet moves she explained how effective they were for toning - look at the definition a ballet dancer has and you won't see them doing push ups thats for sure.. Sarah said all ages are going to her classes, from those in their 20's to the Silver Surfer generation - but suprisingly not many men! I felt very calm whilst the gental piano music took me back to being 5, as did standing at the bar, in front of a mirror. But I still felt like a lump!But now I'm working on holding myself differently, I think I'll go back for another go. You should definately give it a go, if you have been thinking of trying Pilates, or fancy putting your ballet shoes on again. It's a great new business in St Albans. Have a look here www.thepilatesrooms.co.uk

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Have a listen to Sean Maguire on @HeartHCounties

Friday, 17 May 2013

Barbie's House Throught the Keyhole Part 2

Barbie world...it's openeing, we went 'Through the Keyhole'

GCSE Home Ec help - with mighty fine cheese gags!!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Meet #AstroGirl Sue Nelson who could be off to space!

Monday, 13 May 2013

'The only reason for being a bee, that I know of is for making honey, and the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it' Winnie the Pooh

I LOVE HONEY.. and have found myself recently driven to find out how I can do something to help the plight of the honey bee. 

I found Hen Corner online, after searching for 'Bee keeping courses in London' and instantly warmed to Sara Ward,  from her friendly you tube videos. 

Her email correspondence was equally as warm and I was really looking forward to her course. It was a beautiful day and Sara welcomed me into her lovely home and into the garden. There were just three of us on the course, which was brilliant and we started with a chat about what we were about to find out, along with a cold drink and one of Sara's homemade honey and oat cookies. 

Sara gave us a fascinating overview of her background and her decisions to keep chickens.

Then she moved onto bees. We were the first three to be fortunate enough to get this insight into Sara's Bee world, but you'd never know as he explanations of everything were clear and concise as you'll hear in our chat at the end of this blog. 

We then had a chance to observe the bees close up in a wonderfully restored observation unit, that Sara and her husband had fixed up just the week before. We spotted the Queen and learnt more about the worker bees. 

Then it was time to set up the 'smoker' to use to calm the bees as we inspected the hive.

I was at this point that my slight panic set in, as there were bees buzzing up close, and despite my fascination of bees and loving honey and wanting to learn more about bees... I do freeze up... Still I overcame the fear I think as it was amazing, looking in Sara's beehaus, holding the frames, using the smoker and learning more. 

We then all sat and had a honey tasting session which was brilliant, including getting to taste Sara's award winning honey - the interactive nature of what were doing made the course all the more memorable and fascinating. Then a cuppa and another of the homemade cookies as we chatted through the in's and outs of us all getting more involved, before we were given a Hen Corner goody bag, with eggs (which my hubby and enjoyed hard boiled on Bank Holiday Monday!) more cookies, some homemade apple and chilli jelly, home grown bay leaves ! Yum! 

I'm now trying waiting to hear back from www.earthworksstablans.co.uk who have bee hives,  to see if they could use another pair of hands to look after their bees. You can also find out more at www.hertsbees.org.uk. Unfortunately the St Albans Bee Keeping association says it won't have any courses until 2015 and i'm yet to hear back from them as to whether they'll let me  help out at any of their apiaries. It's really not advisable to just turn up despite bee keepers having a reputation of being friendly. So a starting point can be www.hencorner.com and then the wonderful world of honey can be your oyster!

Have a listen here to my chat with Hen Corner founder, Sara Ward


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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

What we found on on National Honesty Day yesterday