Bride on a mission – 100 shots

Bride on a mission – 100 shots

Nope, not the hen do. But it’s always an idea.

No, I’m talking barre. Again.

Happy 5th birthday to the Barre Workout in Newcastle! As part of their birthday knees up (quite literally) we were treated to free classes of barre bingo and free taster classes for anyone who wanted to give it a go. Also yummy cakes and fizz. Because all things are improved by yummy cake and fizz.

But that’s the biggest news, no, the big news is that I’ve now done 100 barre classes. Unbelievable. If anyone had told me (or my PE teacher) that I would complete 100 classes of any exercise I would have laughed at them. But I truly love it. So here’s to the next 100 classes and the results I hope they’ll bring!


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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Wedding adventures


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Bride on a mission – ballet

Bride on a mission – ballet

Ballet. Yes. Ballet. I know.

I’m the shortest, roundest person ever, with one too short leg and one foot smaller than the other. Not a good start.

As you know, I’ve been doing barre for quite a while now and I was curious. Where does arabesque come from? What is an attitude? Why do we do this? When we point our feet, what’s the best way to do it?

I knew what this meant. It was either go and read a book on ballet, watch some you tube videos or go to a class.
I browsed the books, I you tubed the videos, and eventually, I felt brave enough to look for a class.

One place that came up time and again was the Newcastle Dance Centre. It was 15 minutes away from where I live, the classes were on a drop in basis and were also reasonably priced at £6 a class. It took me a few days, but I finally plucked up the courage to email and ask about someone like me (short and hippo like) joining something like their adult beginner ballet class. I had two very positive emails within a few hours. Both encouraging me to come along and try it, reassuring me that all kinds of people learn to dance and they had no problem with my size or inexperience. So I picked the date and then spent the next two weeks fretting about it.

I sat in the car before I went in, tweeting about how terrified I was. And I was. I was genuinely scared. As far as I was concerned only humiliation and disappointment waited behind the studio door. Thanks to a big push from some lovely people on twitter I made it through the door.

And you know what? It was the most fun I’ve had in ages!

Our teacher, Steph, was friendly, welcoming, I didn’t feel judged by her at all, she was just pleased to see us all there. I was by no means the oldest and by no means the biggest. All shapes, sizes and abilities were represented. We laughed when it went wrong, we worked hard, we tried our best and it was great. The one to one moments with the teacher are invaluable and she’s very good at reassuring you and offering good feedback.

I leave feeling exhausted, exhilarated and wondering why I didn’t do this years ago. Mondays are now my favourite night of the week, it’s a great atmosphere and the school is so friendly. They do all kinds of dance tuition for all ages and abilities. They even do first dances for weddings, I’m still trying to convince Mr H to come for a few lessons, but I’ll drag him in.

If you’re in need of a confidence boost, a few lessons to help with that first dance or just want to have fun and let off some steam in the run up to the big day, I would highly recommend them. Check them out


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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Wedding adventures


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Bride on a mission – skincare

Bride on a mission – skincare

No, I’m not venturing into the land of the beauty blogger, fear not. I am the last person you would come to for advice on eyeliner. I aim for Elizabeth Taylor, I might on the odd occasion, get somewhere close to her remarkable flicks, but more often than not it ends up a bit Amy Winehouse.

No. This is about my dreadful skin and my fear of it being seen by so many people and also picked up on camera by the photographer. I have never had acne or any really major breakouts, just red, sensitive and that weird oily/dry thing going on on my face. I do have eczema, but thankfully not anywhere near as bad as some people do. This mainly affects my legs, so the summer is a minefield for me. Brilliant. I’ve booked a summer wedding.

So, something had to be done. I sought advice. I asked around. I sidled up to people with nice skin and asked them in my best ‘not a serial killer, honest’ voice, how did they get such lovely skin. People were forthcoming. Everyone had an opinion. Everything from “just use soap and water” to “I know this place where they’ll burn off your skin and start again with new skin”. Hm.

Clinique popped up a few times, and I have to say, the people who mentioned it do have lovely skin. So I made an appointment for a consultation. What I liked about Clinique was that pretty much everything was suitable for use on my extremely sensitive skin. The consultation was thorough and we managed to nail down my concerns. I hated the redness in my skin and the uneven tone. So we worked out a routine and tried the products, it didn’t feel like a particularly hard sell as all the products you liked are stored in your file and you can come back for them whenever you like.

I’ve been using the Clinique redness treatments and large pore treatments for a few months now, and even by the end of the first week, Mr H even commented on how good my skin was looking. It’s got better and better. I’ve now added Clinique foundation and powder to my routine and it’s the first time I’ve ever had a foundation that truly suits my skin tone. I’m impressed. My skin feels less red and prone to irritation, it’s also a great base for make up.

So, face sorted out and feeling much happier about things, I decided it was time to tackle the dreaded eczema. I’ve discovered several things about this over the lifetime I’ve had problems with it. One, lanolin gives me all the itchy. Two, anything from the e45 range gives me all the itchy. Three, anything overly scented/faffed about with/tatted up/cheap/or luxury spa brand will bring on a bout of eczema so horrific I have to hibernate for days.

The summer is never easy. No one wants to see my legs, but the sun does help them to get better. But what’s this!? Sun lotion triggers my eczema. FML. Ok, so a few minutes brief exposure it is then. Brilliant. Undeterred, I went on a product sampling rampage. I seem to have hit on a good combination and amazingly it’s inexpensive. This is a first for me.
Now, I appreciate that we’re all different and finding your triggers, avoiding flare ups etc are different for all of us. So I recommend, but use with caution.

I’m now using the boots Dermacare range, including their hydrocortisone cream/ointment for those itchy little flare ups. I’m also using Palmer’s coco butter for my all over moisturising needs. This has the benefit of smelling like you’ve been dipped in chocolate, but I’ve also found it not too greasy, easy to rub in and it lasts for ages.

Add to this my fantastic friend Clare made me my own special body butter and body scrub for getting my skin into shape for the wedding. She’s really quite amazing and quite clearly has a sixth sense for whatever I’ve been fretting about. Both work brilliantly and the scrub is no where near as harsh as some I’ve bought. So thanks Clare, you’re a star!

I’ve got my hair to sort out next. Wish me luck! 20140720-175047-64247080.jpg


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Bride on a mission pt2

So I’ve reached the end of my monthly barre workout pass and have I seen a difference? Have I ever!

I had pootled along quite nicely for a while, one or two classes a week. The same class at the same time. Going to gym for an hour 3 times a week, the same machines, the same exercise. Truth is, I was bored and in a routine, habits are good I think so I never did anything to push myself. The times I did push myself like going to BRX, I would feel so frustrated with myself that I never tried it again.

So getting a monthly pass was a bit of an eye opener for me. I was determined to use it and abuse it, so I booked in for a class almost every day. Even if it was a 30 minute express class. The change in classes, pace and moves was an absolute eye opener. I could slouch into class after work feeling tired and fed up and leave on cloud 9, happy knowing I’d pushed my body and got a little bit stronger every day.

BRX was the elephant in the room for me. The class I’ve always wanted to do and in my eyes, the one i always failed miserably at. I usually ended up feeling deflated and weepy and very frustrated with myself. But instead of facing up to it I refused to go and try again, so it just got bigger and bigger in my head.

So after a month of feeling great, strong and probably in the best condition I’ve ever been in I was talked into BRX. On the day I felt sick, nervous and spent most of the day making excuses about how rubbish I would be. I wasn’t really listening to Clare by the time the class started, i’d talked myself into being rubbish so I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled the best BRX class I’d ever done out of the bag. I almost (almost!) enjoyed it. It was hard, really hard and my muscles still ache but I felt amazing by the end of it, like I could take on anything. I’ve said it before and I say it again, for all my body is short, dumpy and a bit squidgy it continues to surprise me with what it can do.

If you don’t know what BRX is, it’s a bit like the TRX kit you see at the gym but done with a strap hooked over the barre. So you work with your feet in suspension.

I did a 1st barre class today two days after and yes, it was hard, but I survived and could do everything. I think even my press ups improved a little!

I have loved doing a barre class every day and I’ve become quite curious about ballet and the origins of the barre workout, so I took a HUGE step for me and booked myself into a real life, actual proper ballet class for grown up beginners. Class starts on Monday. Wish me luck!

My body is changing, In small ways to start, but it is. I still find looking at myself in the mirrors during barre a horrible experience, but I’m looking forward to the day I’ll be proud to see myself working out. I should be proud now, I’m doing better than everyone still sat on the sofa. I’ve lost half a stone and around 5 inches in total from various parts of my body, a pretty good start!

Thanks, as always, goes to the great team at the barre workout in Newcastle and all the lovely barre belles I’ve got to know a little bit better just by being there so often, you really can’t get a more supportive place to work out. No one has ever judged me or told me I can’t do something because of the body I have, I’ve only ever felt encouraged. If only all gyms and classes were like that. #nobodyshame

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Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


Bride on a mission

Bride on a mission

I’m honest about my body. It is short, chunky and not altogether fabulous. On the whole I can live with it as long I’m reasonably fit and healthy.

Of course, once the wedding date was set I flew into a full on body flap. I absolutely DID NOT want to look back at the photos in years to come and regret not doing more, to wish I’d felt more confident in front of the camera or, worse still, not look at the photos at all.

So I’ve taken action. I am a bride on a mission. You might be aware that I started weight watchers once before and gave up when life and events got a bit too much for me a year and a half ago. But, as things are fine again now, I’ve signed up again. I would like to lose 5st before the wedding, I don’t know if this is realistic or not, but I’m going to bloody well try.

I’ve also ramped up the exercise. The weight loss is nothing without the toning and sculpting you will only get through exercise. So I’m hitting the gym at least twice a week, starting a 0-5k challenge, a monthly challenge (this month, squats) and I’ve got a monthly pass for the barre workout in Newcastle.

Have I mentioned the barre workout? It’s amazing. I’ve been going for a while now, over a year and I love it. It’s done with a ballet barre – lots of plies, attitude, arabesque and some fab variations such BRX, Barrdio and express classes.
If you want a dancers body without the dance, this is the place to be.

You should know that I am about as elegant as a baby hippo on roller skates, but even I can cope with barre classes. I say cope. I have a coping mechanism at least. I feel stronger, more flexible than I have ever been in my life, I am continually astounded at what my body can actually do if I ask it to and as a result I am a more confident person. Getting married doesn’t scare me, the thought of all those people looking at me while I do it, does. But if I can get through an hour of pretty intense sweaty barre class in leggings and a t shirt (and yes, I wear leg warmers and I bloody love it) in front of a beautiful professional dancer/instructor and a lot of other people and STILL feel good at the end if it. I’m not going to worry about a 100 normal people watch me marry the man I love.

I want to walk tall down the aisle, I used to walk everywhere with my head down and hope not to be noticed, this is my typical ‘fat day’ behaviour. I refuse to have a ‘fat day’ on my wedding day. With diet, exercise and lots of support I will be the bride I want to be.

I want to take a moment to thank Suzy for introducing me to barre and all the lovely people I’ve met by going there. Also, big thanks to Natalie, Clare, Maxine and all the barre workout gang. And my colleague Sarah who has been a weight loss and fitness guru to me over the last few months, she’s an absolute machine (and a top notch lady). Also Christine who runs my weight watchers meeting, she holds me to account every week and her motivational messages are always a great midweek reminder!

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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Wedding adventures


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All new for 2014-2015

Yep, crap blogger. Never update this thing. But things have changed a little bit recently and I’m going to need somewhere to pull all my thoughts together and try things out and also to have something to look back on after all is said and done.

I’ve been with my other half for a long time now, over 8 years and we’ve been through a lot, good stuff/bad stuff, like everyone. We always knew we wanted to get married but it’s only just come together. We’ve made it official and will be getting married in August 2015.

I won’t be making my own cake, I won’t have time and I don’t want the added faff, plus I know some fabulous cake makers running excellent cake making businesses.

There will be an element of DIY, I want everything to have a personal touch and for our guests to know that it is very ‘us’. I’m guessing that everyone would like something along those lines, so I’m going to use my blog now to try out different DIYs, Pinterest ideas etc while there’s still time to make changes and try lots of things.

My dress is a secret, meet me for coffee and I’ll show you a sketch. Maybe. But I also hope to introduce the various vendors we meet along the way, and some honest reviews of their services after the event.

Wedding fever has hit. We are excited. Stand by.


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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


Ruby wedding anniversary

40 years ago, when my mam was 19 she married my Dad who was 24. They had known each other for 4 months when they tied the knot. Explains the look of confusion on all the wedding photos.

Anyway, May saw them celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. They don’t really do wedding anniversary celebrations so this was reduced to cake and wine and dinner and a nice cup of tea.

I made them a cake from the Bake Off: Showstoppers book. Using a secret filling cake tin from Lakeland (about £19.99, but comes with inserts for regular sponges as well as hidden filling ones)

If you have the book, you have the recipe. I went for pink and white as a theme rather than all white, but as you can see from the photos it worked reasonably well. Both parents were happy and a lovely day was had by all.



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Posted by on June 4, 2013 in baking adventures


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