A yodel about Yoga…

I had tried yoga several times over the past few years, but never really got into it until the year before last. Then I fell pregnant and was advised not to do any exercise (very different viewpoints here in the in Middle East). At the end of last year, I joined my beautiful friend and ex colleague who now runs her own yoga classes in her studio in her villa; in the teacher accommodation and on the beach…she is just about to start a full moon session on the beach too. Am very excited to try it. Check out her website on www.fieldsofyoga.com

Speaking of full moons…my mood changes. A LOT during the full moon. If ever I have a stonking argument with my husband, once it is resolved, I have now gotten into the habit of checking the calendar and about 95% of the time, it is a full moon. Not that this knowledge helps at all…I don’t have the insight to check the calendar before the kick-offs occur, they just happen. I become moody, irritable, unbalanced, emotional, bitchy and quite a cow, if the truth is told…anyone else have this experience?

I digress…so yoga. Quite frankly, its the bomb. Yes, my attempt at ghetto-isms. My pal teaches plus-sized yoga…specifically designed for the plus sized yogi. It’s fabulous. She links it with hatha yoga so it is quite wonderful. It helps combat so much.

It’s not only my size and shape that I have been attempting to develop and change, but my internal, spiritual structure too. I was spiritually sick for the longest time and I just didn’t have the tools to cope with life. In an attempt to become less spiritually sick, I joined an anonymous programme. At the time, it was the answer to my prayers. This programme helped me to see and become accountable for my faults and, with the people around me, the life force, God, Allah, whatever you choose, I began to heal.

Eventually due to the birth of my daughter, I moved away from the programme and recently discovered exercise and yoga. Yoga has helped me so much. My balance, flexibility and energies have turned 180 degrees. I haven’t forgotten the lessons that the programme taught me at all, I have merely enhanced them with yoga. Which has led me to meditation and finding an inner strength I never knew I had. I was always fully aware that I come from a family of strong, independent women. Even the men in our family choose strong women. I didn’t realise how strong I was until I worked on my yoga. It helped me to discover physical, emotional and spiritual wellness and strength.

My balance is very good now. But not always. My pal tells me that as your weight changes so does your balance points. That is oh so true! Certain poses are excellent. Others, I am not too hot at – especially the balancing poses. I am hoping that when I get to my goal weight, my balance will become more stable.

My pal encourages us not to beat ourselves up if something is not available to us in the practice. Some poses are much easier than others on certain days.

I read that yoga is good for runners: it teachers patience and mental strength along with flexibility and physical strengths too. I believe it. I truly do. I really believe that they work hand in hand. I can’t name all the poses and sometimes I can’t even do them. But yoga helps and is a cure for everything physical and mental.  I think that it should be compulsory for everyone to do it.  You know when you see films of communist China all doing exercise together?  They’ve got it right.  I do bits of yoga as part of my warm up in my drama classes. The students love it. I focus a lot on releasing tension and stress; time management and emotional management. I could talk about my classes forever – they are just splendid this year and I am so excited about the quality of work that my students are producing.

Hence the yodelling about yoga…it rocks. If you don’t do it, do it, or at least try it. It’s cheap, peaceful, invigorating, energizing and available for all.

Namaste, y’all.



You Can with Dukan…inthedesert!

We’re back into routine.  I like routine.  It keeps me on track.  I remember things better too.  Although the blissful ease of not having routine is very much an attraction too.  I do remember when I was sans children when routine wasn’t that important.  It was quite decadent being able to do what I wanted when I pleased. I am still able to do that occasionally, thanks to some wonderful friends .

Don’t get me wrong, I would not have a life without my baby even if the choice was mine. I love being a mama.  I love having that balance in my life; coming home from work to be smothered in kisses and cuddles is absolutely wonderful.  She is an absolute angel and quite frankly, has made our marriage much stronger.  We do so much more together as a couple and as a family.  Its fab.

But now, back to me and my projects.  I have 3lbs to lose before my first weight goal and then another 12 kilos after that.  That is nothing in the great scheme of things, seeing as I have lost 32kg so far…that’s about 70lbs.

So…I completed the C25K programme.  I don’t find running 5k easy, but it is getting easier.  On Monday I begin a new training programme which will take me from 5k to 10k.  I have set myself 3 physical challenges this academic year: a 10k run in January; the Wadi Bih run in February and my top challenge will be to do the Mudders challenge with my brother in April.  I said I was going to try for 2014, but I will train as if I am going to do it this April.  Let’s see how it goes!

My new training programme begins on Monday:  I will be strengthening and stretching, running and cross training.  For the cross training I will be using the Mudder Boot Camp circuit training.

I will keep you posted!

There’s nowt as queer as boat-folk.

I didn’t have access to a computer whilst I was in the UK so it was of course difficult to blog.

The summer was uneventful, light and pretty.  My mum was seconded to London to work for the Olympics so my daughter and I hung out on her canal boat for about 6 weeks.

She had moved marina’s. Usually she resides in Scarisbrick Marina, not far from Southport but on account of engine failure (because it is of course like the Starship Enterprise) she couldn’t get back there after having taken it to Tarleton to get the bottom scraped and painted. So she drifted into Rufford Marina.

I really like Rufford Marina.  It’s ‘boaty’ – canal art everywhere, even inside the cafe.  Canal art is paintings of things like roses and watermice, painted with canal boat colours – so usually dark greens, blues, blacks, yellows…my mum’s boat is none of these – hers is pink.  And it is fab.  It reflects her creed.  She is so strong and feisty, I think that she is going to be here for ever.  At least, I hope so.

I managed to catch up with some old friends from the past during my time at home.  It was wonderful to see how we have all changed and grown.  Thanks to the awesome power of social networking it was easy to keep in touch.

I exercised a lot whilst I was there.  Walking everywhere, using public transport, and of course my Jillian Michael dvd.  But most of all, what I loved the most, was running.  I say running, what I actually do is probably more of a shuffle.  And as I am so tired as I type this now, I cannot fathom it even in thought.

Whilst I was out running, I came across different things in the environment that really would affect my running, my mind.  For example, I saw a huge, yellow digger with enormous treads and it made me realize how I was feeling – just like the digger, moving slowly and heavily through the mud, my legs feeling heavy, almost dragging on the ground…not very pleasant at all.

Then my mind has to remember: running is 80% psychology and 20% physical.  Plus the 3P’s…patience, patience, patience.

I have this tendency to start off at a really good pace, then die about half way through.  I don’t stop too much of the time.  I read an article about running which said that really you shouldn’t be afraid of walking mid run.  It doesn’t mean that you are weak at all.

So now, I am back in the sand pit awaiting more physical adventures..

Birthday bread and bagels!

Today is my birthday. I woke up at 5:30am to got for a run. It was so beautiful, I felt like I was in a movie. I managed about 5km with some walking inbetween bursts…I think that it is very different running in an area of which you have no knowledge. Still, it felt good to be out.

I came back and was greeted with gifts from my mum and my daughter. Later we went to Southport to shop and to have lunch. Southport is a seaside resort just north of Liverpool. I love it because it is so traditional. The streets are laced with fillagree and there is an old fashioned fairground near the shore. Southport reminds me of my grandparents. I just love it there.

Anyway, for lunch I had a panini, a huge latte and half a scone. And I enjoyed every mouthful…and felt sick as a dog afterwards. And to top it off, for dinner I had a bagel with cheese on it.

Back on the wagon tomorrow! I don’t feel too guilty seeing as I haven’t had any pure carbs for the past month.

I was determined not to indulge in food for celebration, but, as a lover of good food, I have decided to indulge occasionally, but to focus on quality and not quantity.

Flight food and the beginning of an English Summer…

Now I’m back in the UK, hoping to spend a good month or so here before heading back to the desert.

I was quite fearful of the change, after having set myself up in Dubai…getting onto Dukan, training well and having a nice routine with my husband and daughter.

The flight was good. My husband managed to wangle 2 seats together as the baby is too big for a bassinet now. She was an absolute angel throughout. Really. Thank God!

Foodwise? I was quite naughty…I could have been worse but I wasn’t. I really didn’t want to fuss with the flight food during the 8 hour flight and a small baby in tow. Its funny that even though I knew I was being naughty, it was still controlled. My battle against emotional eating is still a fight but it is far easier than it once was.

We were picked up by my auntie and stayed the night over at hers. The next morning, I used her treadmill which was quite an experience…especially in the cold. It took me a good while to warm up and get used to a different treadmill…hers is quite narrow and has no front panel…I near fell off twice! After my shuffle, I moved to their conservatory and did a session with Ms Jillian. I am really loving her workouts.

Mum picked us up the next day and we headed back to the barge. It has such a beautiful surroundings. Its taking the baby a while to settle in but she’s doing ok. The following morning I took her for a 5km brisk walk through the countryside. It was so wonderful being in the fresh air.
We went shopping to buy scales and lots of protein. I am determined to continue with my plan. I have since lost another kilo in the past few days but I have a feeling that my naughty flight will catch up with me.

This morning, I woke up even before the baby (and she was asleep by 6pm!) and went for a run…granted it wasn’t long as I am still finding my way around and getting used to running on normal land, but oh my, what a treat it was! I ended up running on a bridle path down the side of the canal. It was beautiful. Plus, the mp3 player really helped. I bought some running music on cd before I left…really, it makes it so much easier. I came back, fed the baby and then had another date with Ms Jillian. Granted I couldn’t do the jumping jacks on the boat with such a low roof and wooden floor, so I just did the arm movements in double time to increase my heart rate.

In future, I plan to take the laptop outside and do the workout on the grass. I’m sure the fellow boaters could all do with a giggle!

Until next time!

Music and Mind over matter…

It seriously is just that.  Mind over matter.  I’m not pretending to be an expert by any means BUT, I have discovered that I do run better to music and to certain songs, which help kick in the endorphins.  I complied a running list on my Blackberry.  I will be investing in a mind mp3 player because when I run outside, I find holding my phone quite distracting.

My good friend Dave, who is a coach too and was a biology teacher (and a bloody good one) reminds me of a mantra: “Patience, patience, patience…”  In fact, when I am struggling, I imagine him and his kind face and moustache encouraging me to be just that.  It’s the getting up to the gym that is the issue…and then the first ten minutes of running.  Then it becomes easier, well, more bearable!

I have quite an eclectic taste in music – my ‘running’ list consists of everything from variations of songs from ‘Glee’ to David Bowie to Led Zeppelin.  Some pieces put me on an absolute high, whereas others slow me down – this does depend on the mood and the time of day that I am running.

Psychologically speaking, I am not quite there yet.  I am training myself to run for longer periods but it is bloody hard.  And all in the mind!  Really in the great scheme of things, I am not pummeling my body too much because my recovery time is quite fast.  I feel that I have run the next day but I am not dying.  So, I think that running is really 80% mind and 20% body.

The thought of running without music terrifies me.  I think that if the music isn’t there, then I won’t be able to trick my body into running a bit faster or a bit longer.  I think it is worse on the treadmill.  Outside, there are things to look at.  I have to say that I am so excited about staying with my Mum and being able to run outside.  There are some terrific woods, walks and paths near where she is which I intend to take full advantage of.  I will be taking my yoga mat and blocks, tennis rackets and balls and Ms Jillian with me so that if for some reason I cannot get out, at least I will be able to do something inside.

It has taken me some 15+ years to really enjoy exercise.  After having been bullied at school and at home to participate, my views on exercise were skewed.  The thought of it sickened me.  Truly.  I was embarrassed to do anything in front of anyone because I thought I wasn’t good…or good enough.

How things can change.  This is MY year, this is MY time…without force, or bullying or dispute.  I am free to live my life and to make it better.  I exercise now to be a good example to my daughter.  Sometimes she sits in her pushchair and watches me on the treadmill.  How patient she is.  When I am told that when she is taken to the gym for a little run around upstairs with her nanny and she tries to climb on the treadmill, I feel proud.  When she sits and watches me, full of patience and curiosity and kicks her little legs in the chair, trying to mimic my running, I know that I am doing a good job.  When she joins my yoga class and climbs all over everyone, much to their amusement, I know that she is seeing and experiencing something good.

My project at the moment is me – but what an effect it will have on her!


“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

My husband has worked for an airline for the past 4 years, and we have not taken advantage of this at all!  We get flights very cheap globally and really, we need to abuse this!

So, we are hoping to go to the Maldives for a few days in October – not to anything fancy – just a simple hotel on the beach.  I am so excited!

And then, come December, we go to Prague to spend Christmas there – hopefully to meet my mother out there too!

More to follow…

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman



I miss my cat.  When we moved back to England after years in Hong Kong, Mum always promised to get us a cat.  So, one day, my two brothers, mum, my two friends Helen and Sarah and I moseyed down to the R.S.P.C.A in Southport, which my 4 year old brother read as ‘recipe’ to select a cat.

We were shown all different kinds of cats and kittens and settled on a tabby mackerel, who my littlest brother wanted to call Jerry and my other brother and I wanted to call Pepper on account of his flecks of black through his colouring.

He ended up being called ‘Mush’ – in fact, he didn’t really end up with a name at all.  Sometimes we just called him ‘cat’.

He was generally a friendly creature, but always made an attack on your ankles as you came down the stairs.  Especially after we had left him to go on holiday or something.  He used to lie on his back, legs a-kimbo baring all and caring none.  He was downright lazy.  But oh so cuddly.  You could wrap him around your neck like a scarf.  He just didn’t care.

You know how in the circus the lion tamer usually puts his head inside the lion’s mouth?  Well my littlest brother tried it the other way around.  Once day in the morning room, he was trying to put our cat’s head in his mouth.  So funny.  Another time I remember was when my middle brother and I watched a TV show where they hypnotised rabbits for a few seconds by blowing up their nose.  Needless to say, we tried this on our cat – I don’t really remember if it worked.

Our cat was curious and was not a killer by any stretch – why bother when you’re getting 3 hots and a cot daily?  We were in the garden one summer and cat was scrutinising this field mouse.  He patted it with his paw – nothing aggressive, just cos he could.  And would’t you know it, the mouse pounded him right back on the nose!  It was so funny!  They played tit for tat for a while and finally the mouse just got fed up and ran away.

Our cat looked like the kind of cat you see on traditionally set Christmas cards.

As the family split up and went their separate ways, our cat began to feel it.  I remember returning from Dubai one Christmas and noticed how incredibly thin and immobile our cat had become.  I urged mum to take him to the vets.   Turns out that he had severe kidney failure which could not be treated so we put him to sleep.

Mush was with us for almost 12 years.  I miss him.


So,  I have been trundling along with my exercise routines and am feeling faster and stronger with my running, which is great.  It is still mainly treadmill based as it is far too hot to be running outside at the moment!

I am really excited about returning to the UK for a few weeks to spend some time with the family, to go to my graduation for my masters (yay!) and to spend some time training outside, even if it is wet and windy!

I notice that my appetite has suppressed a lot which is fabulous and my tastes are changing.  This Dukan diet is working for me at the moment and I feel that I respond much better to high protein and low carbs – but everyone is of course different.

I am quite tired though – I think it is ‘endofyearitus’ as opposed to anything that I am doing with my diet and exercise.  I take multi-vitamins daily for good measure and omega 3 oils – since having the baby, I noticed that I became quite forgetful!  Those of you who know me will know that this indeed is very strange – my memory is usually excellent!

A few days ago a friend told me about a boot camp that has recently been set up in Dubai.  We are going to the free beginner class on Friday.  Here’s hoping I don’t die…lol.  Another friend told me that if I decide to go into the course when I get back from England, I should be prepared to throw up.  A LOT.

Let’s see how the free class goes first, shall we??

Still playing tennis with the husband, although it is quite difficult for him as he is back on the night shift now, which absolutely blows.  I am really praying that he is put back onto days.  Even though he started really early in the morning, we had a lot of time together in the afternoon.

Anyway, I have a day off today from exercise, well, a day off from running.  I am running on non consecutive days at the moment but when I lose more weight I will up the ante with the running.  I am very excited about the summer as I will be able to do more things during the day, even with the baby daughter in tow!  Think I will do some gymball tonight – although my 30 Day Shred, Gillian Michaels DVD has finally arrived from Amazon…it was caught up in Saudi Customs for over a month!  I quite like her, so we will see how our relationship progresses after a session today! lol.

Will keep you all posted.  Mwah xx

No exercise today.

I have been exercising like a demon recently and today I have decided to take the day off.  I was meant to go and play tennis with my husband today but he has been awake all day (he works nights so usually sleeps during the day) and finally managed to get to sleep just as I got home from work.

I felt very guilty about not doing my bit but I am so physically tired…my body needs a rest.  I am quite excited about crawling into bed in an hour or so…but after Casualty and Dharma and Greg.

I am wishing for the weight to come off quicker, especially since we have a break to the Maldives in October.  I need to look fine on the beach!  I am looking forward to the end of school so that I am able to double up on the exercise front and hopefully shift a good lot of weight during the summer.

I looked at myself in the mirror today.  I am doing ok, but my arms – ugghhh!!  The hardest place to lose weight.  And I know that the only way to lose them is with fat burning exercises.  So I will continue with my lovely running.  But not tonight.  I am yawning my head off just typing this!  A demain! xx