GYM & TONEIC

Manchester Three Rivers Gin press launch

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Rivers of gin in a city full of sin! Sin of the best kind that is… alcohol… Manchester people are good time people, who love the vibrant city that’s full of trendy bars and cool eateries, there’s something for everyone! And now Manchester has its very own gin distillery, how exciting is that!? A first of its kind in modern times. The gem that is Manchester Three Rivers Gin distillery is hidden away under a railway arch in the resurgent Green Quarter, under the very railway that Dave Rigby, Master Distiller and brainchild behind the super-premium sups grandfather worked many moons ago. An area that is alive with industry, innovation and creation.

I can tell you first hand that this new cultural attraction is very exciting indeed and most definitely worth a trip, as last night I had the honour and privilege of attending their press launch event, to sample Manchester’s newest gin experience for myself and share it with you lovely lot… I attended the event with my gin twin and fellow gin-fanatic, Dawn, along with other Manchester bloggers and local media, ahead of their official opening to the public next week, on 18 August.

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On arrival we were greeted with small samples of the gin to try neat, yes neat! And given a couple of drinks tokens to try their G&T perfect serve. We talked all things gin with Dave, learning about his background, how he started off as a university lecturer teaching film, before he took the decision to follow his passion and leave university life to create his own café bar. This was a great success, and lead him to the realisation that it was the products he was interacting with behind the bar that really ignited his passion, in particular modern craft gins. This was the start of his gin journey… Dave is a proper Manc (down to earth, friendly chap!), a proud Salfordian that wanted to create a gin that represented the history and heritage of Manchester, listening to his story was and is totally inspirational. The gin and the experience he has created is a labour of love… it made me proud to be a Manc and inspired to create something, do something – pull my finger out and crack on with PT’ing and maybe give gin production a go myself someday…  watch this space!

Pour me a river…

Manchester Three Rivers Gin, named after the three rivers Manchester sprang up around – the Irwell, Medlock and Irk, is produced and bottled by hand in small batches by Dave and his team on-site. It’s made with 11 botanicals which include the obligatory juniper, as well as coriander, angelica, orrice, Madagascan vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, almonds, dried Valencia orange peel, black pepper and oats. According to Dave, it’s the inclusion of oats that gives it its smooth and creamy mouth-feel, so smooth and delicate on the palate that it can be enjoyed neat. Its unique and exquisite taste is matched by its unique accompaniment – cherries! With the gin revolution in full swing I find myself equally excited about the garnishes, as I am to try new gins, lemons and limes simply don’t cut it for me anymore! Gin-soaked cherries bring to mind the bakewell botanicals and make for a very nice boozy-bite to nibble on at the end, a truly perfect serve.

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The spirit is made on-site in a custom-built Arnold Holstein copper pot still named Angel, which is a nod to the historic Angel Meadow area the distillery calls home – she is a thing of beauty, the queen of stills. Dave tipped his hat to all homebrewers, distilling in make shift stills in their bathrooms, but said for him if he was going to produce the finest of gins Manchester has to offer, it had to be made in the best of the best, to ensure the greatest quality possible!

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I thoroughly enjoyed the night, the experience and the company, and was very impressed by the look, layout, concept, team and most importantly the taste – so much so I purchased a bottle to take home for myself (which I may share with friends!). Thanks guys for the invite and hospitality, I have absolutely no doubts that this is a concept and gin that is going to be BIG news across Manchester and beyond!

People of Manchester… if you love Manchester and love gin – drinking it, learning about it and want to have a go at making your very own blended batch to take home, you’ve got to experience Manchester’s newest gin school for yourself. Tickets for the 3 hour tour and gin education cost £95 and are on sale now, find out more at manchesterthreerivers.com and show them some love on social Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I’m always open to and up for a gin jaunt, all recommendations and invites accepted with much love and gin-appreciation – share, comment and post below!

‘For Manchester is the place where people do things…’
Judge Parry, 1912

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Gin jaunts… lack of!

Drink more gin

Must drink more gin! There has been a serious lack of gin love in my life of late and that NEEDS to change! This blog is supposed to be about gym and gin love, in equal measures… I’ve been cheating on gin with gym for too long! Time to get planning, sipping and supping…

Looking back at the gin goals I set back in January, I’ve only ticked off 1! I went to Manchester Gin Festival back in March, you can read all about that here – awesome event! I haven’t got round to the other two I set, going to the Old Bell Inn and embarking on Manchester’s Gin Journey. I must tick both of these off and add to the list…

My Friday has been made very happy indeed this week, with the news that another gin festival is coming to Manchester city centre in September AND Manchester’s first gin school and distillery is opening next month!

Manchester Three Rivers Gin school and distillery opens its doors for the first gin experience tour on 18 August. Based under a railway arch on Red Bank, on the edge of the city centre, the craft distillery is already in action producing new small batch spirit ‘Manchester Three Rivers Gin’, and I can’t wait to sample it!

The Gin Society Festival is taking place at Manchester Cathedral on 2-3 September, day before my Birthday (4 Sept) – all my Birthday wishes come true at once! Tickets for this got purchased with my gin guzzling girls earlier today… can’t think of a better way to celebrate turning 30+2!

All suggestions for gin jaunts most definitely welcome… share and suggest on a post below!

I LOVE gin

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Gym bag essentials

Sport shoes and clothes on wooden background

Pack your bag and check it twice! We’ve all been there… Monday morning comes around, and after a BIG weekend of partying hard the guilt sets in – you freak out about all the calories you’ve consumed over the last 24 hours, so much booze and greasy late night food, followed by the obligatory McD’s hangover fix the following day. So there’s only one thing for it… Gym; that’s where you’ll be living for the next 5 days!

You’re too hungover to move from the couch all day Sunday, so you quickly pack your gym bag before you leave for work on Monday morning, and low and below you get to the gym and you’ve forgotten an essential item – it’s the most annoying thing ever, your workout is ruined before you’ve even begun!

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Here’s 5 gym bag essentials you can’t be without, pack your bag the night before and be sure to check it twice:

  • Hair bobbles – you buy these things in the hundreds, but when you need one they’re nowhere to be seen, where do they all go?! Forgetting these and having to put up with your hair flying all over the show when you’re going hell for leather on the treadmill is the worst! Then sweat starts pouring and you look like a wet dog, with hair stuck to your face, neck, chest and back. Scrape your mop up top guys and girls, get your long locks out of the way!
  • Sports bra – in my opinion this should be number one priority ladies! Whatever your size, big or small, you need to invest in a decent sports bra – keep your rack stacked and packed! Read more about the importance of a sports bra here.
  • Headphones – ARRRRRRRGGHHHH! You’ve got the gym and you’ve forgotten your headphones, you’ve got to listen to whatever crap they’ve got on in the gym, or to that annoying person grunt, moan and groan like a crazed wild boar on the piece of kit next to you – your head falls off and you can’t get in the zone no matter how hard you try. Worst workout of the week, all because you forgot your headphones!
  • Water bottle – this should be by your side at all times people, drink more water! 2-4 litres per day is what’s recommended, more so when you train. Read more about the importance of drinking water here.
  • Gym leggings – so obvious, probably one of the first things you should pack, but I’ve forgotten these a few times! One particular occasion when I forgot said gym leggings, I was wearing black everyday leggings; you know the thin ones that are pretty see through (that shouldn’t ever be worn as pants, too many girls make that fashion faux pas and do). Well it was my knickers that were on show that day, leopard print naturally, I got lots of funny looks but chose to play dumb and crack on.

Other things to consider packing…

A hand towel, weights gloves, arm band for your phone/music, face wipes, dry shampoo, deodorant, padlock/change for lockers.

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Life update of late: July

boss-lady

I’m a boss lady! Biggest news in July is that I bought and registered a business…

Brooks Fitness Ltd

Something that I’d been thinking about before I’d even started my level 3 PT course, before I had my mad midlife crisis moment and quit my job at British Cycling. Me being me, I have a tendency to get way ahead of myself, caught up and carried away with the day dreams; in my head I’d created a bestselling fitness brand and business empire before I’d even got the qualifications!

To operate as a PT I need to set up for myself… I wanted to set up a business that had the potential for growth, that a number of services could be offered under, and that my family could be involved with; so naturally I went with the surname. Not exactly original, but using my surname means a few things…

Brooks Fitness - sisters that sweat together!
Brooks Fitness – sisters that sweat together!
  1. The Brooks name will live on; we’re a family dominated by women (strong women) #girlpower! If/when my sisters and I get married the name will cease to exist within my immediate family. Also I want the business to focus solely on women’s specific training and fitness; all that girl power needs to be utilised and maximised to its full potential!
  2. Brooks Fitness will be a sister duo affair, run by myself and my sister Ruth (pictured above, on the left), who is also a qualified PT (amongst other things). This is something we discussed doing before either of us had the qualifications, with us both having very similar ideas and values about how we would want to operate as a business and as personal trainers.
  3. It’s generic enough to be used against a number of different services that both of us, with a list of qualifications as long as our arms, could/can/will offer.
Forget Carlsberg... if Lanson did life-winning Wednesday's!
Forget Carlsberg… if Lanson did winning Wednesday’s!

So on a not so summery July weekday night Brooks Fitness Ltd was established, with a glass (bottle) of fizz in hand. Now there’s lots of business planning, plotting and scheming going on behind the scenes to get Brooks Fitness off the ground – watch this space!

What else have I been up to…

  • The blog content Gantt chart has been created – lots of ideas for things I want to blog about… if you’ve got any suggestions for content you’d like to see featured let me know and post below!
  • Bridesmaid duties; planning and sorting things for my sister Ruth’s hen do next weekend… she gets married on 26 August.
  • Instructing and teaching; I’m still working at various leisure facilities on a casual basis wherever I can, loving every minute of my time in the gym!

Ladies lift: benefits of resistance training

Break the stereotype

Women that lift are… manly, masculine, bulky, strong! 

Following on from my previous post ‘5 tips to overcome gym fear‘, I wanted to bust the BS and dispel fears around resistance training (lifting weights, heavy weights!). Lots of women (and many men) give weights the wide berth in the gym, fearing that lifting will make them ‘bulky’. I’ve been working as an instructor for 5 minutes and I’ve heard this a hundred times… with images of the incredible hulk in their head, it’s all the stereotyping that puts people off.

What lifting weights will do is help you to live in a healthier, stronger body. There are so many benefits of strength training, and it most definitely should be included as part of your fitness regime! Here’s a few reasons why…

It’s more effective for fat loss. Weight training increases your metabolism, it’s more effective than cardiovascular exercise for burning calories both during and after exercise. Also as you increase strength and lean muscle mass your body uses calories more efficiently; the more muscle contractions you have in a day, the more calories you burn.

Creates killer curves. As you build muscle your body composition (shape) changes. Muscle takes up less room in the body than fat, strength training helps create killer curves and definition.

It’s so important for bone health. As the skeleton ages it loses calcium and bone mass, which increases the risk of osteoporosis (increasing risk of fractures). This happens earlier for women. Weight training increases bone density and reduces risk of osteoporosis.

The term ‘bulky’ should also be considered, what does bulky actually mean?

It means different things to different people… it’s subjective. One mans bulky is another mans buff! When it comes to our bodies, desired muscularity is personal preference. I appreciate muscle definition; I want to put on a good gun show, improve strength and increase muscle size. What I consider desirable may be considered ‘too big’ to someone else.

Everyone has different goals and aspirations. When it comes to resistance training it should be specific to the individual; whether it be for endurance, hypertrophy (increasing muscle size) or strength.

There’s literally hundreds of people and publications that have written about the benefits of resistance training and busting the many myths surrounding it. Do a Google search to read and find out more, and speak to a fitness professional about your fitness goals and incorporating weight training into your workouts.

Act like a lady. Lift like a boss.

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5 tips to overcome gym fear!

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The gym can be an intimidating place. This is felt by many… you’re not alone! The feeling that you’re the novice newbie that knows nothing, compared to the die-hard gym junkies who seemingly know it all! Don’t beat yourself up and put yourself off, before you’ve even begun. Everyone (every pro) was once a beginner, also very often the die-hards are doing it wrong…

I recently devised a gym programme for one of my good friends, Clare, and trained her through it, which made me consider this fitness fear notion in more detail… Now I’m not implying that Clare is scared of the gym, she’s been a member for donkeys! But she is was a self-confessed cardio queen, that didn’t feel confident or comfortable using weights (until last Sunday, when she smashed our session!), and also didn’t have a structured programme to follow. So didn’t really know how to train efficiently and effectively, and succumbed to being a slave to the treadmill.

Here’s 5 top tips to crush the fear

  • Take advantage of your gym induction and ask for help – a gym induction is mandatory in most facilities, for health and safety. This is where an instructor takes you around the gym, showing you how to use the equipment before you go it alone. Now these tend to be quite whistle stop, as in you’re not shown every single piece of equipment and all of the different programmes you can do. But you should come away from this knowing basic set-up of CV (cardiovascular) kit and weights machines. If you still feel unsure of anything ask, and keep asking for help until you do feel confident. That’s what instructors are there for and are more than happy to help.
  • Ask for a gym programme or PT sessions – these are either included in your membership, you get a few free PT sessions or it’s worthwhile investing in that support and guidance. You’re there for a reason, you have fitness goals you want to achieve, make sure you’re training efficiently and effectively to reach those goals. Otherwise you end up wandering aimlessly from piece to piece, not really working or doing anything other than passing time.
  • Focus on you, only you – in a gym full of junkies it’s sometimes hard to zone out and focus on you, you’re watching what everyone else is doing, or are paranoid thinking that everyone else is watching and judging what you are doing. They’re not! They’re in there for the same reasons as you – to workout, get the job done and leave (on an endorphin high!). Zone out and focus on your workout, having a banging playlist can help with this.
  • Bring a buddy – for many it’s the fear of going it alone, safety in numbers is the name of the game. Bring a friend and become the best of gym buddies – support, encourage and motivate each other to smash your fitness goals.
  • Treat yourself to some snazzy exercise clobber – if you look good, you feel good and new exercise clobber or funky kicks can be just the ticket. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending a small fortune either, you can pick up great gear at most supermarkets nowadays, in discount sports shops and online; and with the summer sales in full swing now is the perfect time to bag yourself a bargain!

Fear… forget everything and run… or face everything and rise!

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Bank Holiday Hike

Bear Grylls and Ray Mears Malham adventure

How many weeks ago was bank holiday… procrastinating Pete over here has been meaning to write this since then! I did write a blog about what to wear when exercising (or more like what not to wear) post hike, I felt compelled to write that! But I never got round to writing about the actual walk itself, so here goes…

The hike was going to be up Mount Snowden, but the weather was hit and miss over in Wales that weekend, so Snowden is still on my bucket list for now! My friend Nicola (Botty, the one that doesn’t drink enough water) joined me in the fresh-aired fun. Completely out of character for us both to be getting high on endorphins, as opposed to alcoholic beverages on a bank holiday, a sign we’re becoming ‘sensible adults’, that can’t hack 3 day hangovers anymore.

Much of the day before our hike was spent racking our brains and Googling best places to go, a big decider on location being our likelihood of getting lost (with us both being beyond crap at geography and map reading). It was my dad that suggested a trip to Malham, a familiar name/place but I couldn’t think why initially, then it dawned on me, we’d been there on a high school trip many moons ago…  After taking a look online at the stunning scenery, terrain and relatively simple routes (that two simpletons could navigate), we set off to cross the border, Yorkshire bound.

It took us just over an hour to get there from Ramsbottom, we found it no problems at all *high-five us*, the drive taking us through stunning Yorkshire scenery. None of which was familiar from our high school trip; clearly we were ignorant, careless teens that didn’t give a damn about the countryside way back when. We parked up, got our walking boots on and headed straight to the visitors centre to get a map and a talk over the route (to minimise all chances of calling mountain rescue). With our map in hand and route roughly sketched, we were told to follow the masses, the sun was shining down on Yorkshire and Malham was packed with plenty of visitors, and off we went on our merry way.

First stop, Janet’s Foss, a small and wonderful waterfall and pool, nestled in woodland along the footpath from Malham Village toward Gordale Scar.

First stop, we made it, no detours or deviations!
First stop, we made it, no detours or deviations!

Gordale Scar was our second landmark, a spectacular gorge with waterfalls cut into the towering limestone hillside, it’s true size and scale only fully appreciated once in the scar. We took the advice from the very nice chap that sketched our map in the visitors centre, and didn’t climb up the waterfall. He warned us of the dangers and the number of accidents that happen there year on year; we didn’t want to be the idiots making headline news that day… Although there were a few people that were climbing it, I know I keep banging on about clothing, but these people definitely weren’t dressed to climb cliffs, brave and reckless souls!

Gordale Scare
Gordale Scar
Scaling heights... braver than me!
Scaling heights… braver than me!
Crazy people climbing the waterfall - in inappropriate clothing!
Crazy people climbing the waterfall – in inappropriate clothing!

Our third and midway stop was Malham Tarn, a nature reserve area, owned by the National Trust. This was the longest section of our circular walk, the stunning scenery almost lost on us, with a near death experience… we had to cross a field full of crazy cows, that I swear were going to go for us, which Nicola found highly amusing (at first!). I hate cows and their murderous eyes, my heart was in my mouth and we were both getting ready to jump a stone wall to avoid them. Our fearful fate behind us, we had a quick rest stop at the Tarn, to take in the views of England’s highest freshwater lake, and treated ourselves to a 99 – we’d earned and burned it!

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Look at those eyes - killer!
Look at those eyes – killer!
Earned and burned!
Earned and burned!

Homebound, we headed back down towards Malham Cove, a huge curving amphitheatre shaped cliff formation of limestone rock. Which boasts impressive views down the dale towards Malham and beyond (if you can stomach getting close to the cliff edge that is!).

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That's as close to the cliff edge we dared to get...
That’s as close to the cliff edge we dared to get…

Four hours and 8.6 miles later, we made it back to Malham and headed straight to the pub! We’re Lancashire lasses, we know very well that’s how all outdoor expeditions should end… We had awesome pub grub at The Buck Inn, both of us opting for their famous Malham and Masham Pie – it was goood pie and the gravy…! With pie lining my stomach and a G&T in hand, I was happy as a pig in… mud! What a way to end of a great day.

Good job!
Good job!

If you’re seeking some fresh-aired fun, I can’t recommend Malham enough, simply stunning scenery that made trekking 8+ miles feel like a breeze. If you don’t fancy the hike, but want a trip out and bloody good pie, just go for that!

Find out more about Malham here.

Go Explore Outdoors

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Life update of late: June

life-update

I’ve been crap at blogging of late… I’ve got a list as long as my arm with ideas and topics I want to blog about, all noted down in a little black book (that’s red), that I carry around with me everywhere I go, also jotted down in my notes on my phone – I need to get more organised and STOP procrastinating!

I was on fire a month ago, studying and stressing over my PT exams, like my life depended on it (well it kind of did), no stopping me. I had my life mapped out, *massive LOL* that’s a total lie; I’ve ‘winged it’ every darn day! But in my head, I was quitting my full-time job to become a PT and buggering off into the sunset, to be a fitness instructor by a beach somewhere hot, sunny and exotic.

Feels like I’ve hit a wall over the last week or two, with regards to the next phase of my master life/career plans… I think it’s because I’m getting way ahead of myself, dreaming about where I want to end up, visualizing/fantasizing about my end goal, as opposed to focusing on the here and now, and the baby steps I need to take to make it happen. That or I’m too focused on what other people are doing, that are doing a similar thing that I want to do, but have 5/10/15+ years more experience than me in the fitness profession. I need to get back to focusing on me (the here and now) and get shit done!

What I have been up to since passing my PT

Lots of gym instructing, swimming instructing, shadowing PT’s, and more studying and swotting wherever I can. I’m loving being in the gym so much, devising exercise programmes for people to help them achieve their goals, being around so many supportive and encouraging PT’s and fitness professionals, that have been more than happy to share their experiences and knowledge with me, and not forgetting the awesome public, clients and customers, the Joe Bloggs gym users who I’m getting to know so well. Joe Bloggs no more… it’s amazing all the things you end up talking about, with what starts out as a complete stranger. I do have a tendency to talk for England and share waaay too much, but by opening up and sharing some of your story it creates a bond, and encourages others to do the same. You connect with people, find similarities and common ground, share experiences and offer support and advice, and this works both ways.

Shout out to some of the awesome people I’ve met so far… 

Martin; an awesome PT (ex-military) at The Gym Group in Bolton. I did two days training there whilst studying, Martin was my guinea pig. He offered to help and let me at him with callipers, showing me how to do body fat testing and so on. He offered to help me wherever he could, and since qualifying I’ve been back to shadow him PT and deliver his gruelling bootcamp sessions (military style!), the shadowing was active that day… I got a beasting, with two classes back-to-back.

Barry, Chantelle, Sophie and Zoe; the first few customers I devised exercise programmes for. Sorry again Chantelle for beasting you with squats and lunges, and making climbing stairs feel like climbing mountains! Your programme has been revised, we will regress and you will progress to be a squatting superhero!

Dave; a legend of a guy that I opened up to about all of my life plans and he gave the best advice ever, Mr Motivator! Gave loads of great tips on the best ways to apply for jobs and get yourself seen and heard, based on his own experiences. Said I should just go for it, pick a place and go, stop being so cautious and take more risks… not to wait until I have solid plans in place, make it happen along the way.

Phillipa; a new member that has recently moved to Ramsbottom, she works as a fitness instructor at Virgin Active. She’s been an instructor for many years, and as soon as I told her I was newly qualified she took me under her wing, offered me training tips and advice, and suggested we should train together. I have to admit when she told me she was an instructor my gut wrenched a little, with a feeling of intimidation, like I know nothing! But she couldn’t have been more encouraging and supportive.

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To do list…

  • One thing at a time – stop thinking about 20 things to do at once, doing little bits of everything and finishing nothing, getting way ahead of myself too soon!
  • Blog content plan – get my marketing head back on, get organised and pull together all these ideas in one place, Gantt chart stylee!
  • Draft a business plan – a loose plan at least, the what, where, when, how and who of what I want to achieve and do, to give me direction and more focus.
  • Decide on a location/s and be more focussed and specific with my quest for the sun and sea, or do what Dave said and just pack my bags and go!
  • Take more pictures to accompany blogs and use on social media – I am rubbish at this, major blogger faux pas. I need to invest in a decent camera at some point too, all recommendations welcome??

Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination… it will sink in!

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Don’t stress the SAT’s

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I’m late to the party with this post in terms of SAT’s, they’ve been and gone… but my point with this is to do with education and exam stress, and the unnecessary pressure placed on children today. Which personally, I think is ridiculous. The title’s just got a good ring to it!

I know this will cause heated debate and disagreement with my teacher friends (as I proceed to rub them up the wrong way!), but I think in many cases the education system/schools are more concerned with results, reputation and ranking (marketing), than genuine development of pupils. Pressure is placed on teachers to churn out results, like corporate cutthroats. Children have got a letter above their head, in the same way as employees have a figure.

A few weeks ago the papers were full of stories about children feeling extreme exam pressure, children as young as 10 getting totally stressed out and nervous over SAT’s, thinking that if they didn’t achieve high marks it would set them up for failure in life, in life! I watched a programme the other day too, where a girl came out from a GCSE exam and had a full blown panic attack… crazy! Children shouldn’t know or feel this kind of pressure. Adults know (teachers know), that these exams are not the be all and end all. They are the basic foundations for future, but by no means do they define it!

This is exactly my point… this is what should be taught in school. Your exams are a foundation, they open doors, but as you go through life (live and learn), you’re likely to change your mind, thought processes, career goals, dreams and aspirations a hundred times! Unless your one of these annoying people who know what they want to be and do from day dot. Like my incredibly talented and clever friend Alison, who knew she wanted to be a marine biologist and work with great whites from being 5 years old, and guess what… she’s done exactly that and works/lives in South Africa studying, tagging and tracking sharks every day. However, most of us, like me for instance, don’t know. I’ve gone through the education system not really knowing what I wanted to do and recently jacked my job in to retrain and do something that I could’ve done without going to Uni. I don’t have any regrets with my degree, but I do have regrets not studying more creative subjects at college, which was what I enjoyed doing. Instead I chose subjects that I thought I should do to get on in life… business studies! Amongst other generalised subjects.

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You spend a long time in education and then a bloody long time in employment… so how about promoting and encouraging children to do what they enjoy throughout school, FE, HE and beyond… if you love what you do, you’ll put your heart and soul into it, the pressure will be passion. Don’t pick something that you think you should do just because; everyone else is doing it, your parents say you should do it, you think it will lead to a ‘respectable career’. When it comes to options, subjects, projects and so on… simply pick the ones you enjoy doing!

This post doesn’t really sit well within any existing category on my blog, it’s more of a personal rant and airing of my views, as I so like to do! What I’ve seen in the news, on TV and reflecting on my own experiences in education, makes me want to go back in time and tell all of the above to my teenage self, challenge my teachers (which me being the gobby girl I am, I definitely would’ve done!), and most importantly tell children to stress less and enjoy carefree life more. Don’t stress the SAT’s, GCSE’s and so on… they aren’t the be all and end all, they won’t define you!  

Do what you love. Love what you do.   

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What to wear when exercising…

My shocked face - raised eyebrow Rock impression.
My shocked face – raised eyebrow Rock impression.

I felt compelled to write this after a bank holiday hike in Malham over the weekend. Some of the sights I saw (not scenery) were simply shocking, my face said it all… as above! The scenery was stunning!

Now I’m no Gok Wan of the walking world, but some of the choice outfits left me speechless – which is unheard of! I honestly couldn’t believe what some people were wearing to hike up hills, through cow pat covered fields and scrambling up rocks… the ‘looks’ included:

  • Jeans – lots of people wearing jeans (to trek 8 miles!), jeans have no give and they’re not lightweight.
  • Converse or other streetwear footwear – don’t get me wrong Converse are cool, I own a couple of pairs myself, but you’d never catch me trekking 8 miles in them. They rub after wearing them for a few hours, and give no support for your feet/ankles on that kind of terrain.

It gets better…

  • A leather mini skirt and ankle boots – honestly! WTF…
  • Shirt, smart pants and nice shoes – this guy looked like he was going on a night out… he looked great, for a night out!!
  • A lovely summer dress and strappy sandals – serious!

I feel like my mother saying this (that transition is definitely happening), but it’s not a fashion show! Your first thought should be comfort, second thought should be care (for your joints) and finally preparation (for all weather conditions) i.e. light layers.

You don’t need to go all Bear Grylls, equally you don’t need to spend a small fortune. Think about it, you’re exercising, getting a sweat on, you don’t want to dress in your Sunday best.

Hillside chic
Hillside chic

Again, I’m no Gok Wan or active wear guru, and I don’t spend a fortune on sports gear myself (to sweat in for a few hours!). Nor do I own much of your typical outdoor gear, however, my outfit included:

  • Shock Absorber sports bra – the best sports bras I have tried and tested to date, I need decent support up-top. Check out my sports bra blog Sisters Need Support!
  • Strappy sports top and hooded base layer from Asda – most supermarkets stock decent sports gear nowadays, that doesn’t cost much at all.
  • Nike ¾ length leggings – I can’t remember where I bought these, but I’d imagine from a sports discount outlet. Google branded outlets and you’ll find a few around Manchester.
  • Karrimor walking boots – I got these from Sports Direct, I think I paid about £40 for them.

Things to think about when picking your exercise clobber…

  • Comfort and ease of movement – you don’t want to feel restricted, get friction burns and so on.
  • Support for your joints – ankles, knees, hips; wear suitable footwear. I’m a self-confessed shoeaholic, I LOVE shoes. But there’s a time, place and fittingness for every pair… unless they’re Crocs, they should be banned!
  • Layers – whether you’re in the gym or the great outdoors, lightweight layers are key! Easy to add and remove as required.

Check out more pics from my hike over on my Facebook page here.

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