In Between Days.

I've been back home (London home, that is) for three weeks already. It's good to have time speeding by as usual, rather than the excruciating slowness that was waiting back in Sydney. Work is work. Home is home. Kitters is kitters. Jase is Jase. Routines are lovely.

In saying that though, I feel like I'm ready for a bit of a change now. England has two public holidays coming up in May, so last weekend we spontaneously booked ourselves two getaways. Next weekend, we're going to catch the EuroStar to Belgium for three days; we'll travel through Brussels but have decided to stay in Bruges, as it looks much prettier. Towards the end of May, we're flying to Switzerland for a few more days; we're going to stay in Zurich, but also travel to Interlaken & visit Jungfraujoch and the Rhine Falls. I might actually burst from the excitement of it all.

How convenient that both destinations have one well-known food item that they are famous for... not that that's why we chose them... ha!

Back on the London front, I'm ready to move house. Jason did a great job of finding this place when he originally moved here back in October 07, and it's been perfect for us since then. The price we pay in rental was not bad, and the flat itself is quite modern and spacious for a one-bedroom. I think the main downfall of our little flat, is its location. We're in East London, and our transport links aren't that great. Yes, there is a fairly direct railway line near us, but it's been undergoing renovations for months, and is totally unreliable. If you head closer to Central London, there are buses everywhere. What I would give to be able to catch a bus to work, rather than being cooped up in a clammy tube for another summer!

What started as a bit of an innocent look to see what flats are out there right now, has turned into a bit of an obsession. I've been checking online every lunch break, monitoring prices, getting a feel for different areas in the city. It seems like the prices are coming down a lot, most likely due to the current economic state over here, so our 'good value' place way out here, really isn't all that great at the moment. As soon as Jase finds out if his work contract will be extended again, I think we're going to make a decision on what to do next.

This next month should be great!

Day 5: I Hate Push Ups.

I think the post title about sums it up.

Apparently I have the upper arm strength of a toddler, because hoo boy, I cannot lift myself up easily. Even in the girly version. I suck.

(Though it doesn't help when there is a cat nipping at your arms the whole time.)

Even so, I'm still persevering, and I suppose that's what counts.

I still hate push ups, though.

Day 3 & 4: Consecutive Days. They Hurt.

My work hours are quite long here in London - 9 to 6:30pm during the week. During school holidays here though, we work on reduced hours until 4pm, meaning I can be home within an hour, stress free. It's awesome in summer time too, as we can head out to the pub across the street and indulge in some beverages in the sunshine, lovely!

I have been good the last few days though, and came home to do the Shred instead! Instead of spacing it out over two days like I have been, I completed it consecutively, and OY. My arms are really sore this evening, and my not really abs yet but I'll call them that anyway abs feel quite tight; even if they are still deeply buried.

The workout is still killing me though and I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing? I thought I'd be getting stronger, and while I can push through most parts of Level 1, it is quite literally kicking my arse. I hate Anita. How she stays so happy and smily and gorgeous is beyond me. I kind of want to push her over.

In other news, tomorrow and Friday night should be exciting - cocktails & pub outings all round. I love where I work; my team are awesome, and great fun to be around. It's always a good sign when after spending the entire working week with them, you still enjoy seeing them on your nights off too!

Oscar.

We brought Oscar home in late May of last year, and not knowing his actual birthday, have always assumed his actual date of birth to be sometime in early April.  Whatever the date, our wee-baby-kitty has turned into a handsome little man-kitty. He is quite possibly the most spoiled cat I've ever met, but also the most joyful one.

Yes, this is coming from someone who was, just twelve short months ago, most definitely NOT a cat person. What can I say - I've been converted. And wouldn't you be?

Oscar. April 2009.






Day 2: The Do It For The Chocolate Edition.

I hope your Easter has been enjoyable, wherever you are and however you are celebrating. We don't go all-out crazy with just the two of us here, but we do have a few little splurges we can indulge in later today.. hence my reasoning for getting my butt into gear and continuing with the Shred.

Well, I'm alive.

I'm feeling quite stiff in my arms today - mostly because of the strength section, I think. I'm used to doing weights, but I generally do them quite slowly AND on their own, none of this combining arms & legs malarky! It feels good though; I guess if you feel your muscles afterwards, you know you've done something right.

I still struggle with the first set of cardio; the jumping jacks and the jump rope straight after each other. I know it's not that big of a deal, but the constant bouncing leaves me breathless. I love the punches & squats in the second set, as well as the butt kicks. As for the third set? Let's just say, by the time I finish that, I quite literally collapse on the ground and have to really push myself to move again and complete that last ab set.

I'm enjoying the 20-minute aspect though. Makes me think this is something I can most definitely handle. I don't know that I'll do the thirty days in straight succession, but if I do it 3-4 times per week, I think it'll make quite a big difference in my regular routine.

And that way, should I miss a day for whatever reason, I won't automatically go into the 'YOU MISSED A DAY! YOU FAILED! MIGHT AS WELL JUST QUIT NOW. HERE, HAVE A LOAF OF BREAD!' mode. I hope.

Day 1: The Harsh Reality.

Last week before I left Australia, I mentioned I had ordered the 30 Day Shred DVD by Jillian Michaels of the Biggest Loser fame. I'd been following The Casual Perfectionist on her shredding journey for a few weeks, and was intrigued and inspired. The DVD arrived quite literally the day before my flight out, how's that for perfect timing?

The day after I arrived back in London, I popped it in the player to check it out. I wasn't planning on religiously starting the program yet; I had quite literally just flown for 24 hours, gone through daylight savings AND gone back in time in the space of two days. I had a shot at Level 1 as an introduction.

Let's just say, I wasn't quite prepared for it.

I managed the warm up, got through the jumping jacks (or star-jumps as I'm used to calling them) and quite literally felt my legs contract. I don't think they'd forgiven me for the hours they'd been cramped up on the flight. I did bits and pieces of the workout, but stopped often to stretch and catch my breath. Because I didn't follow the instructions and keep pushing through, I decided NOT to count that day as part of the 30. Despite that, the last two days at work I was in a world of pain. Hello, muscles.

Today was the Real Day 1.

Level 1 was just as tough as I remembered, but this time I felt better prepared and ready to take on the challenge, mainly because I knew what was coming. That seemed to work for me; it gave me that little bit of extra indurance. Even so, I was huffing before I got through the warm up, and am thankful I was alone in the flat while doing the workout, bar Oscar, who sat watching me with complete boredom the entire time. I'm sure he thought I was insane, but at least it kept him amused.

Here are my thoughts on Level 1 so far:


  • I suck at push ups. Despite having quite broad shoulders, I have lousy wrist strength and I really struggle to keep pushing through them.

  • Jumping jacks, I like. Jumping rope on the spot, not so much. I've no idea why.

  • I love how strong I feel using hand weights... for the first set. The second and third leave me feeling like I'm about to die.

  • The burn. I am feeling it. Hoo boy.

  • Apparently I've been cursed with uncoordination. I can't even do the hip swivel thing without getting myself confused and rotating directions mid-way through. But hey, it's still stretching, right?

  • I'm not entirely sure if I'm doing the ab exercises right. I'm trying to follow her instructions the best I can, but seriously, I don't actually know HOW to pull myself up with my abs. I figure as long as I feel myself NOT pulling up on my neck, I'm doing ok. I did start to feel some burning at the end during the bicycle crunches.


In my opinion, this workout is really tough for beginners, even at Level 1. After the 20 minute workout, I feel more wrecked than I did after running 5km on the treadmill; a feat I was able to do only last year until my shin splints went haywire. I'm still red in the face a half hour and a shower later, and I know the muscle soreness will haunt me tomorrow - but I'm feeling in the zone. I'd like to do this for the month, reflect on how I'm feeling, and see what happens. Wish me luck!

For more information on the workout, read the reviews here.

Progress.

I walked in the door yesterday, and he wasn't as responsive as I had hoped. He was happy to see me, but something wasn't quite right. He listened to my stories, he looked at what I had brought home with me, but he wasn't fully paying attention. We ate together, but even that felt strained. Maybe he didn't miss me as much as I missed him?

We're slowly connecting again. He relented and hugged me for a little while, before busying himself with other things that needed his attention. It felt strange sleeping beside him, especially since things felt so tense, but we managed. Things are getting back to normal again. I woke up at 3am and he was asleep on my face, just like old times.

... and that was just Oscar.

HA.

Jason is doing great. He cooked dinner for me, let me snore myself to sleep at 8pm, and he and Oscar are joined at the hip now. I'm just a little bitter, but it's too cute not to like. This from the person who never really wanted a pet - ha! Now to work on Kitty #2.

The place looks a bit like a bachelor pad though. I will clean up a bit today, but I am not looking forward to unpacking. It's by far, the worst part about coming home.

And So It Begins... Again.

In a few short hours I'll be back at Sydney airport, boarding a plane. Minus a short-stop in Bangkok, it's London bound, and I. Cannot. Wait. In the week since I recieved my passport and visa back, I have wandered around in a state of disbelief, and all of a sudden, here it is - Sunday. Flight day.

When I left in December 07, I was full of nervous anticipation. I was moving in with Jase for the first time in a foreign country. I was leaving a job behind, a steady job that I loved. I was leaving friends and family. I was essentially uprooting my entire life.

It's a different feeling this time around.

This time, I have somewhere to go back to - a home! I have Jason, but also Oscar, who I'm overjoyed about seeing again, and slightly paranoid that he'll have become that antisocial kitty I always dreaded owning. I have a great group of work friends who I can't wait to see again. Thanks to my work having a little faith in the visa system, I am officially going back to my old job; I start on Wednesday. And I've got London.. the city that even after twelve months, I've barely scratched the surface of.

And so commences the next saga of my UK Ramblings. I hope you'll stick around, because I certainly intend on making the most of it. Talk to you all from the other side.





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