Sunday, 30 March 2008

My day in pictures

Well seeing it was such a nice sunny day today my husband and I thought it was an ideal day to top up our vitamin D levels, nothing too serious, no sun burn or anthing just a few minutes of glorious Sunshine via a delightful country pub. Above left is the view from the quay at Cargreen after this we proceeded to Pillaton near Saltash and the Weary Friar Inn, a 12th Century pub, family run and will delicious home cooked food so one of the locals told us but as they weren't serving food until 5pm we didn't get to find out, may be next time.
The pub provided a picture postcard scene for us to enjoy, so rather than me boring you I will let the pictures tell their story.

As well as visiting the quaint old pub we enjoyed a drive through the country side passing an road sign featuring the name of one of our favourite bloggers Miss Amy Tree:

On the way home we spotted a group of Alpacas grazing in a field and obviously enjoying the pleasant weather.

Well after such a relaxing Sunday it must be time for a delicious roast dinner with purple sprouting broccoli, savoy cabbage and rich onion gravy! Hope your Sunday has been equally good too and remember cats don't like fruit!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Name that bird

Here is the latest addition to my menagerie of animals, he (or she) is about 20 days old and getting impatient in the nest box. He is one of 24 cockatiels, 2 golden mantel rosellas and many wild mice that live in my aviary. I started rescuing animals when I was 15 after a friend of the family discovered bird by the side of the road, most of the other birds came from Woodside Animal Rescue Centre. Looking after my animals is of great benefit to my mental well being and they provide endless entertainment.
Basically I am looking for suggestions for what to call the newcomer to my aviary, preferably a unisex name as it will be another week or so before I can determine his gender. All suggestions gratefully received and more pictures to follow.

Today is a relaxing day for me, no work as I was meant to be taking some items to the tip but have been deterred by the rain and general greyness. I feel that a rest is more than deserved after the mammoth staff training session yesterday. I was accompanied by Jo, Rosanna, Nixi and Hayley who joined me for a staff meeting, staff training and then an hour's Pole jam where we joined by our lovely receptionist Mia. Everyone worked really hard and I was made very aware of just what a fantastic staff team I have. What really struck me was how much everyone has progressed, not only in their ability to handle difficult mixed ability classes but also in their own personal performances.
Jo amazed us all with combinations such as Shoulder mount to Brass Monkey, Rosanna performed her signature Plank as well as some fantastic hands free handstand poses, Nixi, flexible as ever, demonstrated a bat into the splits (I am very jealous!) and Hayley wowed us with her straight edge and amazingly controlled reverse shoulder mount. If you want to see these moves in action I will be posting the two new videos we recorded in tomorrows blog, Prepare to be amazed.

On Tuesday & Wednesday I will be catching up with Burlesque babe
Georgina Gale (aka Sue) and Kelly Shaw to video them too. Videos to follow later in the week.

Just a few bits of other news today, I noticed a great comment in yesterdays Herald in a
Martin freeman interview with Lesley Coulton, Lesley makes the more than valid point when answering the following question - 'You represent the university on the body looking at the Life Centre. It'll be too late for real 2012 training, though."It probably is. But in terms of elite athletes, it's not only about facilities. Tom Daley has trained in the Central Park pool which has been adapted. It's more about excellent coaches and support like diet and strength and conditioning."' As most of you probably know I not the proposed life centres biggest fan and I am glad that Lesley has recognised that it is not just luxurious facilities that get winners in sport.

Well the time has come to don my fleecy dressing gown and matching socks, settle down on the sofa and nurse my rather poorly husband who is in a serious amount of pain and generally feeling pretty rough. Also Hope the lovely
Amytree is feeling a little less sore after my evil class on Tuesday.

Stay Healthy & Get well soon to Sid

Sam x

Thursday, 27 March 2008

My brilliant GP.

The last week has been an interesting one for me, If any of my students have noticed me being a little quieter than normal it was due to the fact that I thought I might be pregnant for some people this would be fantastic news but for me it came as a huge shock. I thought I couldn't have kids due to a comment made by a gynaecologist a few years ago during treatment for endometriosis.

I had made an appointment but did not relish the thought of visiting a GP as some of my dealings with medical staff have been less than satisfactory, Some staff (mostly male) have been very unsympathetic towards my ailments and have brought me close to tears, I called the surgery and made an appointment with GP Dr Sarah Cole of Beaumont Villa Surgery. Dr Cole was not only extremely supportive but treated me as an individual responding to both my physical symptoms as well as my emotional concerns. Dr Cole offered me practical advice and support.

The outcome of the whole scenario is that I am not pregnant which is great (the thought of giving up pole dancing for 9 months was killing me!) and the fact that I have the most fantastic GP, other GP's should seriously take a note out of Dr Cole's book. I will await the results of blood tests to be taken in a few weeks to check I am not experiencing an early menopause but other than that it is back to some serious pole dancing and some nursing of my hangover after I went out drinking to celebrate not being with child!

A huge thank you to Dr Cole and the team at Beaumont Villa Surgery for restoring some of my faith in the NHS.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Random stuff

Well I thought I would start today's blog with some news about weight, I was disturbed to pick up a well known glossy magazine yesterday to see an array of size zero ladies as well as ladies who had obviously had more than their fair share of Botox. As a rule I do not buy these sort of magazines as I feel they are not beneficial but I had no idea quite how bad some of these mags had got. What sort of messages are we sending out to Women? I was however relieved to be given an article from the BBC on Miss Surrey, it seems that Chloe from Guildford is a a curvy size 16 and hopes to be a role model for larger women. Now I am not saying that a size 16 is necessarily a healthy weight but it has to be way healthier than a size zero, I hope that Chloe does well in the finals of the Miss England competition.

My next subject is learning to somersault, Basically I just wanted to share the following video with you as a 'how not to learn' tip - Click here for this disturbing little clip! it seems it is not just pole dancing that can be dangerous!

For those of you monitoring the progress of the lovely Catt Wakely, I am pleased to report that not only were the indications of brain damage incorrect but that Catt has been discharged from Hospital and is back in the comfort of her own home in Exeter, this really is fantastic news and shows what a fighter Catt is - Welcome Home Catt x

A little bit of Women's health news, I found a great website selling all sorts of women's products, it is called my monthlies and features all sorts of natural sanitary products, well worth a look unless you are a bloke.

The pictures shown above top left was the view last Wednesday from the world renowned bistro Chandlers at Queen Anne's battery, worth a visit if you are in the area particularly if the sun is shining.

Well I must dash as there is a beer festival at Wetherspoons and I believe there are a few drinks with my name on them!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Easter blog

Well today is Easter Sunday and my husband and I have the exciting job of repairing various bits of our business's starting with assembling a scaffold rig at Saints Gym to house an array of punchbags followed by some filling of holes in my dance studio ready for the addition of some new equipment!! We had decided to take the whole weekend off but as you have probably gathered that hasn't quite happened (and we worked 11am til 3pm yesterday!)!

Despite working I am enjoying my Easter Sunday as I have a large Easter Egg (pictured left- fairtrade and organic of course.) waiting patiently for me at home, As I am not religious the pagan connotations of the traditional egg suit me down to the ground and as my husband pointed out Easter gives us a chance to celebrate the arrival of spring or more importantly the end of Winter! No more Seasonal Affective disorder, brighter evenings and the prospect of some temperature increases. All good for my health.

I am hoping that Tuesday will be the start of my new Cross training regime, I feel that I have hit a point with my Pole dancing where I need to seriously consider which styles and tricks to develop, as you know I have been looking at other pole arts such as Chinese pole and Mallakhamb to find new moves and combinations for my pole dancing. I have seen a couple of moves that I would like to achieve which are going to involve being a lot stronger than I am currently, no doubt that will involve lots of new bruises. On the subject of pole dancing I would like to wish a very warm welcome to the newest addition to my wonderful staff team, Kelly Shaw has joined us to cover Torquay and Exeter, more news to follow on Kelly soon.

If you want to catch up on my other instructors to see what they are up to then click on my new instructor blogs page for more information, I built the new page yesterday and am happy with the results of a few hours programming.

I wanted to briefly mention news from some Argyle fans I met yesterday who were airing concerns about the stewards at Argyle. It is not the first time I have been made aware of the fans dissatisfaction with the way they are treated by the Argyle stewards, what is ironic is the way the fans praise all the other grounds they visit for their good stewardsmanship ( not sure if that is a word or not but it sounds good?). It seems Argyle have introduced a rule where you are not allowed to stand in the terraces, two fans in particular where asked to sit down yesterday so that the 7 year old girl behind them could see the match, so why wasn't the 7 year old girl in the families enclosure? The idea is that the family enclosure is a safer environment for children so they are not exposed to some of the more rowdy football chants. I do feel sorry for the genuine Argyle fans without whom Argyle would simply not survive. It seems like a bad situation when Argyle fans would rather watch their own team play away from home. Is this just another example of our human rights slowly disappearing.

Leading on from my concerns about Argyles stewards I noticed an article in yesterdays Herald that caught my eye, Columnist Jenn Wentworth comments on issue's of human rights and her article is entitled 'What happened to our freedoms', click here to read the full story, nice one Jenn.

My final whinge of the day involves two stories that I read in this weeks herald, the first was about a waitress who had been sacked by text and the second was the story of a young soldier who had lost three limbs whilst serving in Afghanistan, OK so the waitress shouldn't have been sacked by text or groped but has the story not been blown out of all proportion? The lady concerned has applied for£100,000 in damages, I know she went through a certian amount of stress but there is nothing to stop her getting another job or to affect her on a permanent basis yet in a harsh comparison the soldier who has lost three limbs and who will be affected for the rest of his life has only been offered £214,000 in compensation, Perhaps the waitress would like to offer her damages to the commando?

A quick congratulations to Neil Shaw and everyone who contributes to the this is Plymouth website on winning a media innovation award - excellent news.

Well I am now off to fill some holes and measure up some troughs, what a glamorous life I lead, pictures to follow of my very own Easter chick (he is actually 14 days old now - all will be explained later). I hope you all have a great Easter weekend and find more time off than me! To all my students - be warned I am feeling particularly active so expect harsh session plans this week.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 20 March 2008


I will start today's blog with a few positives before I descend into anarchy. I have been lucky enough to dine out twice in the last week, firstly at Barzeegco, a lovely little restaurant run by local chef Chris Zessmides and his family. Chris was present to cook me a carb loaded meal of cheese omlette, chips and peas. As I had not had chips for a while they were partculary enjoyable and I felt more than justified in my indulgence. Last night I went to Positano with my mum where I was treated to a fantastic seafood risotto full of garlic and chillies and accompanied by great customer service (pictured top left), I highly recommend both restaurants.

Now onto a more serious note that has deeply affected my stress levels: On Tuesday I opened my mail as usual only to find that my council tax bill had increased way beyond the rate of inflation, I was horrified at the amount I was now expected to pay and my husband and I discussed it at some length over Breakfast. It seems that the leaflet accompanying our tax bill contained some interesting reading aside from the smiling picture of our council leader Vivien Pengelly the rest of the literature was less smiley. It seems if we join a religious group that is dependant on the community we may be council tax exempt or perhaps if we have a load of kids, quit work and get a council house we would then also be exempt. I see that some of our council tax will be spent on improving council houses, apparently a government intiative states that all council houses should have updated double glazing and central heating, what a shame the rest of us aren't guaranteed such luxuries.

To add insult to injury the next letter I opened was my business rates, again vastly over inflated. What exactly do I get for my business rates? I certainly don't get my bins emptied for that 'luxury' I would have to pay an additional £150 per month even though I only create a bin the size of a carrier bag and the rest is all recycling. I don't get street lighting as I am situated in a service lane so have to provide the external lighting myself. I don't get street as the road is cobbled. I don't get street cleansing, if there is a problem with rubbish in the lane I have to report it (Imagine several failed phone calls telling me to call back later, an awful holding system and only 50% chance that when I get through someone will actually action my complaint, if you live in Plymouth you will be more than familiar with the council holding systems). I could go on but I wont bore you any more. I am sue that many of you feel the same about our current system, I have no problems with paying taxes if they are spent correctly and are fair which does not seem to be the case. Let's face it I really do get nothing for my business tax apart from the right to trade, I have to provide my own insurance, risk assessments, staff training etc and then find the extra extortionate amount at the end o the month for my business rates.

Anyway that is it for today, I have far more exciting things to think about and future blogs to plan, thanks for listening to my moans and whinges, Have a great Easter weekend and don't eat too much chocolate

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 14 March 2008

Dance in Plymouth and my gorgeous Indian meal.

Firstly Thanks to my Husband for the beautiful Indian meal he treated me to at Cafe Indiya in Stoke, it is my favourite Indian restaurant and the food never fails to disappoint, I had Tandoori Paneer to start followed by Sag Aloo, Chana Massalla and a divine main course of Tuna Malabari.

Well I am happy to report that dance in Plymouth is looking good. I am amazed at how many different kinds of dance are on offer and thought I would share some of them with you. I will start with Feet First, an event which is happening this weekend. The event has been organised by the Tavistock Lions and Wren music, admission is free and will include workshops in singing, dance and music as well as dance performances by primary schools, dance groups and young wren groups, this is all happening at Tavistock college on Saturday 15th March and looks set to be a great day out for kids.

I would like to congratulate local street dancer Chris Gilchrist on his successes, it is great to see a local guy doing so well, My husband remembers Chris when he first approached Saints regarding doing street classes, Chris has come along way since then ad I wish him every success with his venture. Chris is now teaching Street dance at the Italia Conti academy of Theatre Arts in Plymouth.

Examples of other activities happening in and around Plymouth including the following:

Lisa's flamenco lessons at La Tasca Bar and restaurant, for more details call Lisa on 077757 008397.

Fancy a bit of Latino dancing then look no further then the YMCA kitto centre, classes are held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, cal 01752201918 for full details.

Line dancing with Kathy at the Citybus social club - Call Kathy on 07879 691449.

Amanda's pop kids, this sounds like a great venture and is aimed at pre school children The idea s to motivate children into fitness and also help them improve their social skills, the website is full of information or you can cal 01752 791144.

If you are inspired by Strictly come dancing ten why not try a bit of ballroom and sequence dancing at the Matchroom suite in Plympton, classes cost £3 per person, call 01752 347089 to book.

Last but certainly not least is attitudes dance run by the lovely Dani & Claire, they offer a range of dance classes from those aged 5 to 85 why not visit their website or call them on 07725848046 / 07809 760261.

Keep an eye for future blogs from yours truly including a new challenge for the proposed life centre, the placebo effect, the new addition to my menagerie and other meetings with my soap box, I will leave you with an amazing video of a guy using a spinning Mallakhamb pole - be prepared to be gobsmacked!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The dangers of pole dancing.

Picture courtesy of the BBC website, it shows two marines learning to pole dance

Firstly thanks to Amytree and Ziggy for their comments on my previous blog, don't worry there are no plans to start teaching that level of gymnastics yet! Today I wanted to write a little about the dangers of pole dancing (AOL video of Jo & I).

This video will give you some idea of what can go wrong with pole dancing and will explain a few of the things that I am about to rant about. Now with any form of exercise you take the risk of injury but it is important to eep thoe risks at a minimum. You can buy tricks mats such as the pole-o-mat (made by the lovey Deb Riley who came second in both the Pole Divas and Mis Pole dance uk competitions last year). Obvioulsy once you start to invert your body there is more risk of something going wrong, Ideally you should always have someone with you when you are inverting especially when you are learning new moves. You should also have appropriate clothing, the lady in the fall video has no skin contact between her shoulder and the pole and therefore has little or no grip. It is also essential to know your limits, moves such as shoulder mounts require excellent upper body and core strength and are certainly not for beginners.

It is preferable to learn from an expert, watch out for inexperienced pole teachers/schools and always ask instructors what level of experience and qualifications they have, Also check your school / instructor is insured and has a first aid qualification before attending their classes. Don't be afraid to check how many people there will be per pole, any more than 3 is not good for a fitness based class as you will not get to spend much time on the pole and will increase the risk of injury as your muscles may get cold.

Another thing to consider is which pole you are using, don't be conned into buying a pole like the peek-a-boo-pole which is designed as a novelty and depsite the claims on the box it is not designed to take your body weight. Generally the rule is if the pole is too cheap it probably is not going to be suitable for gymnastic pole dancing, occasionally secondhand poles crop up on ebay but watch when buying secondhand for chips or other damage to the pole. We sell x-poles as they are strong and versatile and prefect for spinning or static pole.

Try to avoid locking your joints when dancing, it is easy to think you are stronger than you think you are and end up with tendon or ligament damage such as tennis elbow especially when using a spining pole or when carrying out moves with bracket arms. Also avoid putting moisturisers or oils on the skin prior to practice, even the fluid you use to clean the pole may have a polishing agent in it which could make the pole more slippery therefore increasing the risk of falling.

Always warm up and cool down before attempting to pole dance, due to the high impact nature of pole dancing if you throw yourself straight into an advanced move you are more than likely to experince problmesm. There are plenty of free sources of advice on the internet for effective warm up and cool down techniques such as the stretching institute website. Remember that stretching is sports specific and you may even want to tailor your warm up and cool down according to the nature of what you are about to practice on the pole.

Be aware of your own body and its limitations, it is better to advance slowly than to push yourself too quickly and end up with injury, You should not be pole dancing if you have recently had surgery or if you are pregnant, Always consult with your GP if you are usnure and inform your GP exactly what pole dancing is, some GP's still don't quite understand. We at the art of dance have a standard letter that you can take to your GP to ascertain whether you are ok to pole dance or not.

Lastly be aware of damage to your wallet, many people are more than happy to cash in on the current trend for pole dancing and will charge you exortionate amounts, usually these companies are the ones with bad instructors and 10 people per pole. I noticed this ad on a well known website advertising a pole dancing lesson for two priced at £99, this is ridiculous, we charge £20 per person for a two to one but the cost is much cheaper if you are attending a group lesson. Don't get ripped off.

Unfortunately at present there is no real governing body for pole dancing in the UK (this should be changing soon!) Despite the con artists there are lots of great schools and instructors as well as people who do carry out safe practice in their own home. As I am passionate about pole dancing I am always available to help people with any questions or advice they may need regarding their pole work. The last thing I want to see is someone ending up being paralysed because they have fallen badly, Remember that all activity poses a risk but if managed carefully risks can be reduced to an absolute minimum.

Lastly please dont use Britney's recent video as a source of reference for how to pole dance or how to be sexy, check out this quote from Entertainment Weekly who complained "I've seen sexier pole work during an afternoon of fly-fishing."

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 10 March 2008

Lazy blog

After a rather sleepless night and a period from hell, my motivation levels are at rock bottom today, Luckily Jo has agreed to cover my lessons tonight so I can concentrate on less demanding admin. As I am feeling quite so lazy I thought I would share my new favourite video with you, Prepare to be amazed at this show of agility and strength!

Hope you haven't been too badly effected by the bad weather, Even our very own Nixi has been affected - she is currently awol, I am assuming she is stuck in Paris due to the flight delays??

Lastly thanks to the gorgeous Black Thunder Amy for this pic of me and Jo at last weeks Women's Health Fair.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 7 March 2008

Women's Health Fair.

Women's health Fair is always a great day for us and yesterday certainly did not disappoint us. The day started with us going on a mad exhibiting run dancing pretty much non stop from 10am till 4pm (nearly started late after silly me forgot the top to the x-pole!) At midday we realised that we would need to slow down if we were going to make it 4pm. I decided to have wander round the various exhibitions to give my already aching muscles a rest. The first stall I visited was the nutrition stall run by Kate Chibnall, Kate was providing valuable dietary advice as well as giving out lots of nice freebies such as spicy cashew nuts. I will be writing a blog in the near future with more comments on nutrition.

My next port of call was the Women's running network who have invited my self and Jo to speak at their forthcoming AGM in Bristol, the group encourage women to get back into exercise as well as providing a valuable social network, a great project.

Exhibiting right next to us and being brave enough to have a go on the pole were the ladies from wear any wear, the company promotes safe sex through fashionable (and comfortable) underwear. Each item has hidden pocket for you to stash anything from a condom to a key! Their products also eliminate the dreaded visible panty line and to make things even better their hotpant sets are ideal for pole dancing.

I also found the time to chat to Tracey Mitchell a sports therapist and Bowen Technique practitioner, I have booked an hours sports massage with her tomorrow at 3pm which I am thoroughly looking forward to and after all the exertion yesterday I think I more than deserve it.

The general attitude towards our pole dancing exhibition was amazing, apart from one lady all we got was praise for our strength an agility. Lots of people were courageous enough to try their skills out on the pole which gave Jo & I a bit of a break.

Other exhibitors included representatives from the NHS who were running general health checks such as checking blood pressure and body mass index. I chatted to the lovely Jan Potter who was in attendance as part of the NHS team.

There were so many valuable projects and business's that I simply can't mention ll of them, I will say a big Thank you to the Eddystone Trust for organising such a worthwhile event and in particular my thanks go out to Dana from the Eddystone trust who was personally responsible for the whole event and who made an effort to speak to all the exhibitors. It is so important that we have these kinds of events in Plymouth and we at the art of dance are honored to be involved. I am already looking forward to next years event!

Finally a massive thank you to Jo (pictured above) who danced beautifully as always and who is probably feeling as fragile as me today and also thanks to Nixi, Rosanna and Sue for popping in to support us. we also had the pleasure of seeing some of our students at the event which was great.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Women's Health Fair.

Well for those of you who don't already know tomorrow is Women's Health Fair at the Plymouth Guildhall (the Guildhall is a particularly special place for me as it is where I got married - more on that in a minute). I love performing at the Women's health Fair, it is a great open minded day with lots to keep you entertained and whilst you are there you can get a general health check. Myself and some of my other instructors will be performing throughout the day in the top bar and there will be other acts such as Rosie, belly dancing and Plymouth Music Zone will be providing a singing workshop. There will also be representative from Plymouth Chiropractic Centre to provide massage and Reiki plus much much more. Unfortunately it is women only so sorry blokes, no freebies for you!

Going back to the Guildhall, My husband and I fought hard to get a wedding license for the Guildhall and yet still it seems there is little promotion of the building as a wedding venue and little money spent on keeping the building up to date. The tower is condemned despite the fact it could be a fabulous spot for tourists and locals to look at the city from an amazing viewpoint. The kitchens have been removed so if you want to run an event there you have to bring in outside caterers which makes any venture more costly. The bar is also run externally so if you do hire the venue any bar profits go to a private landlord rather then going back into the council funds and therefore going back to us the taxpayers. The toilets are damp, mouldy and crumbling and yet the building is still extremely expensive to hire. It seems such a shame as I adore the venue and spent many school speech days there even if my mind did wander as I admired the stone figures on the ceiling of the main hall (If you have seen these naked figures you will know what I mean!). I know this is not a health and fitness issue but as a Plymouthian it is something I feel passionate about.
Hope to see some of you at the Women's Health fair tomorrow,
Stay Healthy,
Sam x

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Short blog.

Just a quick update from Friday night at Annabel's, Thanks to Nixi for the picture she sent me of me performing my favourite move - Knee conditioning or the knees as it is more commonly known. You can see some more pictures on Nixi's facebook. More picture and video to follow.

I must admit the move shown in the picture is not exactly good for your knees and I only recommend doing it occasionally unless you want an early knee replacement operation. It does look very impressive though so I tend to save it for exhibitions and competitions. Talking of exhibitions, some of you will remember the decision made by Plymouth University to prevent me from performing at their dance,dance,dance event, click here for the full story. Just to make matters worse some of my students had bought tickets to come and watch me at the event and now they are being told their tickets are non-refundable - shame on the organisers for making yet another unfair decision.

I have only just realised the time, I am teaching in 45 minutes and am far from ready so will keep this blog exceedingly short and try to write more tomorrow when I have time.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Mother's Day.

Today being mother's day I thought it was the right time to comment on how amazing my mum is, I do think she is the best mum in the world but I may be biased and some of you may want to argue that fact. The fuschia picture shown left reminds me of my mum as she used to have many fuchsia varieties as well as occasionally paining them in watercolours too. I was thinking about what I wanted to say about my mum so I thought I would start by sharing a poem with you that she shared with me when I was about 10. The poem is called 'if a child' and was written by a lady called Amanda Cater (I may be mistaken on the name of the author so please feel free to correct me.):

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

I was reminded of the poem when I dug out my autograph book, it brought back very happy memories of my childhood. I am very lucky to have such a supportive family and of course to have the best mum in the world. For those of you have had the pleasure of meeting my mum you will need no convincing about exactly how wonderful she is and for those of you who haven't I hope you can trust me on this one.

If you are wondering where the health and fitness content of this blog is then you need look no further, good health is certainly aided by happiness and my mum has ensured I have an abundance of it. Whilst I am in sentimental mood I would like to share two more poems with you, the first is from my Great grandpa who died just before his 100th birthday, he wrote this is my autograph book:

Charlie Bedbrook is my name, work my occupation, Plymouth is my dwelling place, England is my nation. When I am dead and in my grave and all my bones are rotten, pick up this book and think of me until I'm quite forgotten.

The last poem is from my Nan, I am unsure of it's origins but I love it's simplicity and the fact that it does what is intended:

Smile, Smile, Smile, it's well worth while:
For when you smile another smiles and smiles come quick in piles and piles
And soon there are miles and miles of smiles
And life's worht while when you smile, smile, smile.

Hope you are smiling too.

I am off to see my Mum and Nan this afternoon, just to spend bit of time with them. You will notice that my blog contains very few links today, that is due to the fact that when I did a google search on mother's day nearly all the links were commercial. I am not saying you should not treat your mum to something but I have the way people cash in on such occasions. Suddenly the bouquet of flowers you might have bought have doubled in price because it is Mother's day. I did take my mum out for lunch yesterday to the Arts Centre ( more on that later) and we had the pleasure of being joined by Amytree, we had had a successful trip to the Theatre Royal for the supposed final part of their costume sale - I bought several hats for Burlesque workshops as well as a lavish cravat for my husband. I also bumped into one of our students - Karen Westwood and her husband Graeme "Hi to both of you if you are reading and hope you managed to find what you were looking for!"

For any of you who haven't already heard about the events that took place on Friday night at Annabel's then please read Jo's blog for the full lowdown. Thanks to all the students and instructors who came out, I am sure everyone is in agreement that all the performances were fantastic and a great show of strength and grace. Also Thanks to Annabel for letting us use her venue and for being a great host as always. Pictures and videos to follow. Note to Sarah - "Hope you are feeling better and look forward to seeing you on Wednesday so we can add to your bruises x"

I am going to finish today's blog with a link that I have posted before but am still impressed by the beauty and honesty of the writing so for those of you that missed it here is the ultimate mother's day link - notes from nine months.

I hope you have a great Sunday, Stay Healthy,

Sam x

p.s. Thanks to my Husband for the fantastic massage he gave me this morning (this was a genuine sports massage - nothing saucy, that happened later.)