Tempest Dance Competition 2013

Please allow me to take a brief reprieve from running and the other crap I write about  to tell you about our inaugural dance competition!!

On Sunday 16th, 17 dancers from Tempest Dance Studio bravely took to the stage to strut their stuff on the pole and aerial hoop. Our studio was set up by a professional dancer (who also has a PhD – a very clever dancer), and it’s got a great community of gals who come and generally find the quickest way to end up upside down. Cos that’s aerial baby!

Clever Dr Dancer rocking the aerial hoop

Clever Dr Dancer rocking the aerial hoop

Another instructor came up with the idea of the competition, and was very nice in letting me be a co-judge with her. What I saw on Sunday blew my mind away! It is one thing to see the students in class each week working on different moves, and developing their strength over a period of time, but it’s quite another to see them inject their creativity and personality into costumes, music and routines. Judging was SO HARD! I had no idea how those X Factor judges do it, it must be awful each week. They really deserve their huge salaries and amazing wardrobes to compensate.


Beginner's winners. Can you believe this is beginners?!

Beginner’s winners. Can you believe this is beginners?!

Pole is one of those sports which really divides people: some people love it, some people think it’s not something anyone should be proud of. And then, among the lovers, there are those who think it’s strictly a fitness sport, and those who embrace the sexy. I think it has to be a combination of fitness and dance, and if some people want to bring their sexy, why not let them? Why can’t everyone just get along?


Gorgeous Advanced winner just hanging around!

For me, pole has given me flexibility, strength, confidence and pride in my body. I have always found it a really encouraging environment: women praising other women their achievements, and celebrating what they can do. Too often I find that women tend to judge each other, and this is a place where that doesn’t happen. Plus it has been a really helpful way of making friends when we moved to a new city – which is hard!

The dream team :) Me, Clever Dr Dancer, Our Resident Studio Builder/DJ, The Hostess with the Mostess, and Creative First Judge :)

The dream team :)
Me, Clever Dr Dancer, Our Resident Studio Builder/DJ, The Hostess with the Mostess, and Creative First Judge :)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know how proud I was of everyone in the competition, and how honoured I was to be a part of it.

Now I’m back to training for my comp, which is a scary two weeks away!

Tomorrow: a post on the first class of my running technique course, and What I’m Loving Friday! I love What I’m Loving Friday.

Keep Calm And….

This week was an interesting one for my training. On Monday I went dancing and ran through my routine for the competition. I reasonably happy cos I was able to get through the routine – there’s still time to make it look any good!

I didn’t stretch when I left as I rushed to get back to work on time. And for the next three days, my left shoulder was really aching.  After a bit of internet research (a credible diagnosis you know), I was worried it might be my rotator cuff. I went again on Thursday and took it really easy, and cooled down afterwards. Thank goodness it’s better! I think it just needed loosening up.

It worked out ok this time, but I was so scared I had done something serious. I was so careful to listen to what was going on when I was practicing on Thursday, and from now on will not cut out any cool downs or warm ups!


The rest of the week looked like this training-wise:

Monday – Irresponsible dance session

Tuesday – Cleo’s hardcore splits & abs DVD

Cleo and I keeping it real.

Cleo and I keeping it real.

Wednesday – club run. 14k at 6.18 per km. It’s slower than my usual pace, but there were lots of hills, and at one point we were literally scrambling up the hill tops climbing over fallen trees. It was ace!

Ok. This wasn't the hilly bit. But there were hills.

Ok. This wasn’t the hilly bit. But there were hills.

Thursday – responsible dance session :)

Friday – Mexican Dinner & Ice cream

And finally, here’s what I’m loving Friday!

  • These running shorts. I love love love the colour, the design, and the fact that I would finally own something by Stella McCartney. But £54 for shorts? 

Stella McCartney

  • The Kingmaker’s Daughter. I love Philippa Gregory’s novels – she makes history so accessible (if not 100% accurate), and tells the story of the women so well.

The Kingmakers Daughter

So that’s all from me! Tomorrow I am aiming to go for some hill runs, and on Sunday our dance studio is having it’s very first competition. I’m a judge and I am so excited to see what the girls come up with!

Have a good weekend!


What I’m Loving Friday – 7/6/2013

Goooooood afternoon!

Today was a great day to venture out of the office have tea and sandwiches with a friend in my favourite cafe in Durham: Flat White. This is the one place you can get a decent coffee in England (ok, maybe the North East. England is quite big).

Last night I went to my pole class at Tempest Dance, and assisted with the classes before hand. It’s awesome to see some of the beginners start to understand their bodies and what they’re capable of. Strength develops quickly, but flexibility takes some time so we always focus on some serious leg stretches in our cool down to help this. This also helps my tight calves and hamstrings from all the running (thumbs up for cross training)!

And without further ado, here’s what I’ve been loving this week!

  • Mugs. Choosing what mug I have my afternoon coffee in is one of my delights (simple things). It’s a careful selection based on my mood and aspirations at the time. Here are favourite mugs which are always in the running: recently I’ve been favouring my Royal Wedding mug to support Kate during the last month of her pregnancy. I’m sure she’ll be in touch to say thanks, not that I expect it – just a diamond-studded crown will do.
The wine glass is there as it's my fave wine glass. I'm never not the mood to be the world's best 30 year old.

The wine glass is there as it’s my fave wine glass. I’m never not the mood to be simply best 30 year old.

  • Bruno Mars. Fast becoming my favourite boy-man singer, and this song has a Summer vibe which I’m loving. Gilly P and I were chatting about the mixed tape phenomenon which is no more thanks to digital music. Remember when you used to help your friends through a rough patch, like a parental divorce, by putting your soul into a cathartic mixed tape of the saddest songs ever? Or bare your soul to your sweetheart by sending them a mixed tape predominantly made up of songs from the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack? What do kids to today? Send a sympathy Instagrammed “selfie” via Facebook?
This is my "I'm very concerned for you, but I can't help but look sultry" face.

This is my “I’m very concerned for you, but I can’t help but look sultry” face.

You’re my Number 1 **pout**











  • My bag that’s a Dog. For me, Summer means one combination in particular: cute dresses and my dog-bag. We’re not allowed dogs because we rent, and also because “one day we might move back to Australia” (both boring arguments), so I have to content myself with my dog-bag. She has a name: Saffy. it’s a rip-off of my step-mother’s dog Sassi in Sydney. Saffy doesn’t bark, I don’t need to clean up after her, and she’s very considerate to hold my phone and cash. It’s not *quite* the same as Sassi, but until I have persuaded my husband, and my own logic, that we should get a dog, Saffy will do.


Saffy was so happy at lunch time today.

Saffy was so happy at lunch time today.










  • Local Running Clubs. Today I received an email from our Club Secretary about  a 3 week course designed to improve running form, which I’m really excited about. Apart from encouraging you to exercise and introducing you to like-minded people, running clubs are a great way to learn about such courses and improve your form. I love the camaraderie that comes with being in a club, and seeing a familiar face as you’re battling through a race. Most clubs cater for all levels, but can definitely point you in the right direction if they don’t. UK people can find their local club here.
  • Mr & Mrs Carter. Beyonce headlined a charity gig in London last weekend called Chime for Change to promote women’s education. It was such a worthy cause, and one I support wholeheartedly, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I was VERY excited to see what Beyonce had to show for herself (FYI – I wasn’t there… I was watching from my couch). She wasn’t much for the audience chat, but made up for it when her hubby came out to rap during “Crazy In Love”. Many people don’t get the Carter fascination, so for those of you out there, here it is: they got the cool, they got the swagger, they got the $$, they got the rhythm. Got it?

Mr & Mrs Carter just rapping together. This is why they’re cool. I photographed this from the TV. This is why I’m not.

Now I’m off to run up and down some hills, as per my promise earlier on this week. What a fool I was for actually posting a training plan.

Happy Friday!