29 February 2016

Lewesdon Hill Woody Shoot

A few weeks ago my new toy arrived. I don’t think I’ve ever lusted over a piece of technology quite so much, but this isn’t any piece of tech – it’s the Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera. The ultimate bloggers camera. And it was worth the 2 month wait for the white/gold model.

I want to get to know my new camera first before I post a proper review, although even after a few outings I know I’m going to be singing its praise. So, here’s a few shots from a trip to Lewesdon Hill just outside Beaminster deep in the Dorset countryside. Perfect for trying out the different modes and effects. 

Introducing the sassy little Olympus Pen E-PL7

24 February 2016

Zumba with Olivia Jones


There’s no better way to start a wet and miserable Monday than with the ultimate dance-fitness party. That’s what I discovered this week when I got invited along to one of Oliva Jones’ Zumba classes in Dorchester.

So, what is Zumba?
It’s a dance based class created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez in the 90s. It involves a mix of dance and aerobic elements including hip hop, salsa, samba, merangue and mambo as well as fitness style squats and lunges. Did you know that over 15 million people a week across 180 countries take part in Zumba!

What’s the Zumba vibe?
The music has a real carnival vibe. Think Black Eyed Peas, Bruno Mars’s Uptown Funk mixed with the Latin side of Strictly Come Dancing and you’re pretty much there. It’s a fun and energetic way to exercise without feeling like you’re working out, because you have a group of 30+ people or laughing and whooping their way along to the music and following Olivia’s instructions. It’s easy to see why Zumba is still popular.

Who can attend?
Anyone! Zumba is wide appeal and Olivia’s classes attract young and old – the biggest age range has been 16 to 80 years old! You could have a full family generation attending. Predominantly the class is attended by women. However, that night there was a man attending who could shimmy shoulder roll better than any lady!

How fit do I need to be to attend?
Zumba is a great class to get you back into fitness. There was a wide range of fitness levels and as Olivia explained it’s up to the individual how much they want to push themselves. Before each dance section Olivia gave alternatives to some of the more intense exercises and there were plenty of water breaks.

Personally, I have a general fitness level and managed to just about keep up with the moves and did in fact break into a sweat – which hasn’t happened at some of the exercise classes I’ve attended around Dorchester this year. Might have been something to do with the Trinity Club’s heating – but I felt like I had a proper workout, without even trying too hard.

Do I need to be coordinated or good at dancing?
This was my main concern as I’ve only taken a Zumba class twice and that was a number of years ago. I stood second row back behind the lovely Linda a Zumba regular, who definitely knew her steps and made it easy to follow.

Olivia stands on stage at the front and gives very clear instructions making the class easy to follow. If you go wrong – it doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re moving and having fun is what counts at Zumba. And if you do turn the wrong way, instead of feeling mortified like in most gym class sessions, you just laugh it off.

What are the benefits of Zumba?
Apart from banishing the Monday blues, it’s a great form of aerobic exercise that gets every part of your body moving. There’s a real feel good factor to Zumba which is aided by the upbeat music and the community vibe of the other attendees. An average person can burn between 600-1000 calories.

3 words to describe Olivia’s Zumba classes?
Fun, energetic and social.
Perfect for beating the Monday blues and putting you in the right frame of mind for the week ahead.

Where are Olivia’s classes & how much?
The lovely Olivia

To join the ultimate dance-fitness party with Olivia you can find her in the following places across Dorchester.
Zumba classes  in Dorchester

Classes are £4 and if you take part in the loyalty scheme, after 10 sessions you’ll get your 11th one free!

Contact Olivia 07710983322 or follow Sister Fitness UK on Facebook 

Olivia & her sister Vicky have a range of in Dorchester & Weymouth under Sister Fitness

Upcoming Zumba parties….

Coming soon – the local fitness instructors around Dorchester are getting together for a fundraising event for Lions on 30th April. Follow Sister Fitness UK for more info.

Party for Kili - one of the Zumba ladies is holding a fundraising party for her Mt Kilimanjaro climb on Friday 27th May. Check out the details below.

21 February 2016

Spring / Summer 2016 Motivation

I finally got round to buying some photos of Jonty and I showing at Dorset County Show last year from Jay Photos. They arrived in the post this week, a decent size at 12x8”. I’ve framed a few for Mother’s Day and one for my house. The colour and features are so clear – as well as my ever growing laughter lines!

These photos are my motivation to get through the next few months of what feels like a never ending winter of rain, wind and knee deep mud!

Jonty strutting his stuff - such a handsome boy...

Strange faces of determination..

Relieved is the word...

The focus this year will be on Jonty as my other horse Barley is sadly still recovering from his tendon op. That’s a whole other story and one not for publishing in public. So, it will be down to Jonty to pave the way for Team Wren this season. However, there’s still a lot to do before we even get to an event this spring, but the photos from Dorset County Show remind me that anything is possible and hardwork pays off – he looks stunning strutting his stuff. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth!

There’s never a dull moment with Jonty – I could write a book about his antics. At Dorset County Show he was pulled in second but then asked to leave as he threw a wobbly when the dray horses went by. Pretty understandable, but very frustrating. He then went on and jumped a near perfect working hunter round in his other class, apart from a few rolled poles. If I’m honest I was just relieved to get him round.

And this weekend he totally took me by surprise and decided to get down and roll in the mud whilst on a ride! There were quite a few choice words, I have never dismounted so quickly. Not quite sure how I wasn’t crushed or the saddle damaged. As I say, there’s never a dull moment with Jonty around and I can’t wait to have more adventures with this talented horse and see how far we can progress in our showing, dressage, show jumping and eventing. We like to mix up our events to keep everyone on their toes. Makes life more interesting. 

14 February 2016

Fuerteventura through a lens

Just over a week ago I was catching some much needed winter sun on the island of Fuerteventura or 'Further than Truro' as Dan's mum calls it. It almost seems like a distant memory ago. Thankfully armed with my Canon 1200D DSLR [C] and iPhone [i] I captured some pretty okay shots. Here are my fave Fuerteventura pics.
We travelled with good old Thomson & soon discovered our TUI smile. [i]
Arty Fuerteventura airport shot. [i]
We stayed half board at the 5* Riu Palace - Tres Islas about a 5  minute drive outside Corralejo and had a fab room with a view. [i]
The sunrises were spectacular and not too early at 7.30am. [i]
The hotel is set on Flag beach with it's beautiful sandy beaches and a view of the Isle de Lobos. [i]
The hotel had 4 tennis courts which you could hire out at 5 euros each. Sadly I was beaten by Federer! [i]
The Riu hotels have an a la carte restaurant where you can take a break from the standard evening buffet and try something a bit more high end at no extra cost. [i]
The Krystal menu. [i]
On the spoon - tuna tataki with smoked creamed aubergine; goat's cheese in pastry & I'm really not sure what was in the glass - as it was different to the menu. [i]
Red tuna tartare with avocado, ponzu (not sure what that is!), potato chip and garlic - was okay. [i]
Dan had pea soup with toasted butter, mascarpone cheese and prawns. [i]
Braised Iberian pork cheeks with sweet potato puree and glazed shallots - this was my best meal of the week, it sounded so wrong, but was delicious. [i]
Apple and calvados crumble with vanilla ice cream - any pudding with alcohol is always going to be great! [i]
We hired a car for the week from Plus Car at the airport for 102 Euros for 7 days, which worked out at about £11 a day. So, Doris the Yaris was our trusty stead for getting us around the island in search of good surf spots for Dan. [i]
Doris did very well bombing around the north track or the moon as I kept referring it to. The lunar volcanic landscape is very bizarre and took a bit of getting used to. I did miss the green fields of Dorset! [i]
Looking very pleased with myself at being in a bikini in January at Playa del Castillo near El Cotillo. [i]
A few waves at El Cotillo - I was just pleased to feel the sand between my toes. [i]
Not sure which beach this is, somewhere near El Cotillo off the beaten track. [i]
Spot the doggy. He was loving life with his 3 Spanish owners who were living out of their van. [C]
Where's Doris? [C]
Mid week we took the boat across to the little island of Lobos. For pedestrians like me it's 15 Euros and for surfers 10 Euros - bargain! We took the 10am boat which returned at 4pm for a little day out in search of waves and sun! [i]
There she is... Dan looking for waves. [C]
This guy was there to great us... [C]
The locals were very laid back...you kind of get the gist with their spelling! [C]
The water in this little inlet at El Puertito was turquoise blue. [C]
There are just a few houses on the island, powered by solar power. It was a very chilled and laid back vibe. [C]
The hike for the perfect wave begins. La Caldera volcano in the distance, we were heading to the left of that! [C]
Fuerteventura is just a stone's through away. [C]
Dan riding a 'sic' wave. [C]
I actually captured this on my iPhone - not too shabby! [i]
I hiked to the top of La Caldera - was pretty steep, but the view was worth it. You could see our hotel on Flag Beach, Corralejo and Lanzarote on the other side of Lobos. [i]
Yep, I climbed that! [i]
On Thursday we headed out at first light to catch an early wave and make a real day on the island. We of course headed down the north track and across to the 'bubble' a well known surf spot. [i]
In search of the perfect wave at The Bubble...[C]
To get to the good surf spots we drove past the little fishing village of Manjanicho every day. It's a very bizarre little village almost shanty like but full of character. [C]
Morning breaking over Manjanicho. [C]
 Morning breaking over Manjanicho - not a soul was awake. [C]
On route to the south of the island. [C]
This is pretty much what the landscape of Fuerteventura looks like - volcanic and arid. [i]
West of the island near the National Park - Betancuria. [C]
Treats for making it to the other end of the island and arriving at Morro Jable. It took a couple of hours if that to get from one side to the other. Morro Jable was the more touristy end of the island with lots of shops, restaurants, bars etc and a long promenade by the beach. [i]
The lighthouse at Morro Jable. [i]
We spotted some goats roaming the national park near Corralejo. We also spotted some camels doing a trek, but my photos were a bit blurry. [i]
That Friday feeling of island life. Spot Lobos in the distance. [i]
A busker at Cantante bar/restaurant in Corralejo. [i]
On the way back to the car we came across this great impromptu set up in an alley with all the locals getting involved capturing the laid back charm of Corralejo. [i]
Salty hair, just don't care - this pretty much sums up our Fuerteventura adventures. [i] Where next?