Sunday, 28 September 2008

Videos as promised

Apparently I uploaded an 11 minute video to youtube which is against their terms and conditions. I have now broken down the Watch Ashore exhibition into 5 sections. Unfortunately the sound isn't great! Hope you like them:

Performance part 1:

Performance part 2:

Talk part 1:

Talk part 2:

Talk part 3:

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Strange happenings

My previous blog, written today, featured a video of Jo and I exhibiting for the Watch Ashore group, for some reason the video has been removed by you tube on terms of violation issues? I have no idea why but will get on the case and find out. Hope to have the video back up soon, Sam x

Chaos & Watch Ashore coffee morning

So much has happened since I last blogged that I really don't know where to start! Rosanna, Hayley and Nixi have returned from holiday and are all looking refreshed and glowing unlike Jo and I who have been covering for the skivers and are seriously knackered. Hopefully everyone will have some nice holiday pictures to add to their blogs to make us all jealous!

This week has seen some very important developments for the art of dance two of which I can't even blog about yet - so wait till Monday for full info..........

For those of you who enjoyed watching Bridgy from Plymouth Sound pole dancing you will be pleased to know that this week he had the 'pleasure' of having his legs waxed, Val Bryant from Morgan's waxed his legs from top to bottom and thoroughly enjoyed every moment unlike poor Bridgy, Click here to view the pictures.

The Herald has two new bloggers - dieter Ellie Hopton and Sgt Trevor Skeggs, I hope they enjoy blogging as much as I do.

On Wednesday Jo and I performed and spoke at the Watch Ashore coffee morning, the event raised over £500 for breast cancer charity breakthrough. The event was a great chance to take pole dancing to a new audience, most of the women were 60 years of age and over with the oldest being 92. Three of the women were brave enough to get up and have a go! The ladies had decked Derriford Church Hall out in various shades of pink and had even got two models of Jo and I for the raffle table:

Here is me:
Here is Jo:
Here are our lovely audience:

I will upload the videos of the talk and demo tomorrow. Thanks to the ladies at Watch Ashore for inviting us and for being such a brilliant and receptive audience.

More exciting stuff to follow - off now to teach a hen party then off to the Waterfront for a meal courtesy of Chris Passmore from Adwheels who is treating my husband and I to this all expenses paid night out!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Carpets are not good for you but Omega-3 is.

If you have read my previous blog about my last performance at club vanilla then you will know all about the awful nylon carpet that is situated around the base of the pole. Skin and carpet simply go to war with the carpet coming out victorious, my knees took the brunt of it and now bear a selection of bruises and abrasions worthy of an entry onto the art of dance facebook bruise of the month competition.

The actual performances went well with me doing a mammoth 3 x 15 minute sets to a funky house DJ. The club was fairly quiet but most of the couples managed to venture of into the rooms at some point, I was actually in the middle of a knee conditioning move when I first realised that most of my audience had disappeared. I chatted to two local school teachers who had never been to the club before but had moved into the area, they were curious about the whole idea of swinging, they were also amazed by my pole dancing as they were not expecting the gymnastic element. By the time I finished my last set both teachers, the organisers and a few of their friends were all splashing around in the jacuzzi to the left of the stage, they explained to me after that although they had not actually committed a sexual act they enjoyed the liberation of being able to be naked together. If any of you are thinking that this all sounds horribly sleazy then think again I would rather be at somewhere civilised like Club Vanilla than half the clubs in union street. I hope to return to Club Vanilla very soon.

I knew that the 2 hour drive via the A377 was going to be very laborious especially on the return journey at 1am but I had prepared with a beautiful fish supper - Rainbow trout, organic new potatoes and some steamed broccoli - the meal kept my energy levels going for most of the evening although I have to confess that the drive back through fog took its toll on my eyes.

The trout meal prompted me to do a little google search for the benefits of eating trout: A recent report suggest that we are not eating enough oily fish and the subsequent lack of omega 3 oils is linked to mental health problems, for full details click
this link for the press release. I have no worries about whether I am getting enough omega-3 instead I have to worry about whether I am getting to much and then I need to consider the risk of overeating fish with high levels of mercury - Oh well - you have to die of something! Anyway here are two more links or oily fish studies - BBC Science and BBC food.

A quick comment on Friday nights Ladies night at the Grosvener casino, Jo and I promoted in conjunction with the House of Fraser and the team from the Hair Priory who were pitched next to us and were a pleasure to meet. There was one major disappointment for me in that I missed out on the free perfume bags! Apart from that the evening went extremely well with a very high turnout of very elegantly dressed ladies - Puss would have been proud of them! Thanks to Andy Bacon for organising the event and to James Harvey for ensuring we were thoroughly looked after throughout the evening. I am really looking forward to the next ladies night as well as a proposed promotion at the Hair Priory too!

Congratulations to Jo who has successfully completed her triathlon in a fantastic time beating some of her male competitors and being the only female entrant - Well done Jo!

I am now off to relax in the bath before popping out to catch up with my Nan and Grandpa for an hour or so, after that I get the pleasure of a lovely meal out with my Mum before returning home to catch up with my husband who has been away in Bradford and Manchester for the last few days. Hope you have a had a great weekend to,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 19 September 2008

There must be something in the air........

It seems that there is a lot going on at the art of dance at the moment, holidays, babies and engagements are in abundance. Congratulations to art of dance student Penny, Jordan and Tay on the birth of Ava Sofia (pictured top left) at 2.38 this morning (What happened to Darth!). Also congratulations go out to another art of dance student Nikki Burns on the birth of Eddy (pictured below right) who was born earlier this week. Looking forward to catching up with all concerned.

With regards to holidays: Hayley is off to Lanzarote for a week - read all about it in her blog, Rosanna is still skiving in Egypt with her new fiancee Steve and Nixi is being wined and dined by her new fiancee Chris in France. It seems engagement fever is in the air so congratulations also go out to art of dance students Emily Addicott and Sam Beeny on their recent engagements too! After such a miserable summer it is great to hear such good news.

Quick news on our annual birthday bash which has failed to materialise this year, after endless searching to find a suitable venue we eventually found - Harmony's - time has run out to plan the event before Xmas and get a temporary events license. it is also such a busy time for the art of dance what with my pending competitions, the completion of the second studio (it will get finished eventually!) and the desperate need to complete my end of year accounts (I hate accounting!). The annual ball, which may become bi-annual, will now be held in either February or March (dates to be confirmed within the next week) next year and promises to be amazing, the fine dining at Harmony's will provide a fantastic three course meal. I am hoping to visit Harmony's when it opens to sample their wonderful cuisine for myself so will let you know how my experience is. I am also hoping to get some pictures of the fabulous venue to whet your appetite for the forthcoming ball. All the best to Shaun and his team on the pending opening of this stunning new venue.

Pole dancing in the press: Today has seen a week of pole dancing in the local press starting with the lovely article about Tamar and I. On Tuesday I read an article about plans to review the way in which lap dancing clubs are licensed - click here for the full story. For a change there are some really intelligent comments written about the story particularly one comment from Rhetorician.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of teaching Bridgy from Plymouth Sound to pole dance, he asked for a crash course and that is exactly what he got - check out the video footage (it is a little slow to buffer but gets there in the end!). Bridgy is one half of the Helen and Bridgy breakfast show. I was a little cruel to Bridgy and I asked him to perform several very advanced moves which he made valiant attempts to perfect. I was also joined by the lovely Helen who decided to stay behind the camera, News reader Michaela, whom I failed to persaude to have a go and the gorgeous Black Thunder Amy who I couldn't keep off the poles - she can really dance! I am dying to know how Bridgy's muscles were feeling after the intense workout?

Tonight I am off with the Lordette of darkness herself - Jo- to promote the art of dance' fitness pole dancing lessons at the Grosvener casino, the event is in conjunction with House of Fraser and the Hair Priory. Anyone wanting to attend needs to turn up with photographic ID such as a a passport or driving license or a valid casino membership. Tomorrow I am off to Club Vanilla to perform three 10 minute sets on their main stage and Sunday I actually have a whole day off during which I hope to get to the Mussel inn with my mum for a fabulous fish meal!!!!! Just think, whilst I am relaxing on Sunday Jo will be doing a triathlon, I think I made the btter choice!

More news to follow,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Glasgow & more ( a long blog!)

On Saturday I flew to Glasgow - see picture above of sunset over the river Clyde - for Christi's fight against undefeated Jojo Calderwood. We flew from Bristol and arrived at Glasgow airport where we were met by the gorgeous Hilary Mack, an accomplished Thai fighter, and taken to Guy Ramsey's griphouse gym for the weigh-in of the fighters. Christi had struggled to get down the 52 kgs that was required of her but weighed in successfully on the day. That left us with the rest of the evening to play with so we ventured to our hotel to tidy up and prepare to pop out for the evening.

I must comment briefly on our hotel, the etap, it was truly awful. Ok so it only cost £32 per night but I would rather pay a little extra for a bit more comfort. There are no hot drinks facilities in the room, teas and coffees had to be purchased from the reception at a cost of £1.80 each, you re not allowed to take the drinks back to your room and they must be consumed at reception! There is no hotel bar or restaurant just a small counter with overpriced sandwiches and drinks. The rooms are tiny and the windows do not open more than an inch, the breakfast is an additional £2.99 which is basically for a piece of toast and very little else. The hotel ran out of mugs half way through breakfast and as there are less tables than rooms some people had to queue for breakfast. The room walls seem to be built out of paper resulting in a very sleepless night as the various stag and hen parties returned from their night's out. I could go on but won't, I just felt that the hotel was not actually providing economy because everything cost you extra on top of the £32. I will not be staying in an etap hotel again.

Any way onto nicer things, we went to Merchant city in the heart of Glasgow and had a pre-meal drink at the Beer Cafe, this place is my idea of heaven: over 25 different ales on offer and great customer service. I failed to drink the 25 bottles to get the free t-shirt and instead opted for a simple pint of Tetley Ember, a dark ale brewed in Glasgow, very nice! Also check out their beer tower pictured left!

After our drinks we perused - see picture shown right of Sid, Christi and her dad Darren - some of the brass tourist plaques that adorned the pavement and contained some interesting if not macabre facts! Click on the picture below to read its facts.

We then ordered a pre-theatre supper (this is a money-saving option if you are eating out in Glasgow)at the City Merchant and delved into the most divine set of dishes, trust me - the Glaswegians can cook! I had a fillet of fresh mackerel in a thermidor sauce accompanied by a traditional Scottish heather beer: Fraoch - it was simply outstanding.

Sunday was the day of the fight at the most beautiful venue: Oran Mor, Here are a few pics from the venue to give you an idea of what it was like:

Christi fought valiantly as always, round 1 & 2 weren't her greatest but she picked up the tempo on rounds 3, 4 and 5 despite some controversial throws from her opponent Jojo. In my opinion Christi won but the judges gave a majority decision to Jojo. Despite my reservations about the result both Christi and Jojo provided us with fight of the night. Unfortunately I felt the judges and referee slightly let the show down but it was still a great show because of the fantastic hospitality from Guy, Hilary and the rest of the griphouse team and the stunning venue.

The last fight was a World title between James Doolan representing Scotland and current world champion Rung from Thailand. Rung's vast experience shone through and he finished the fight in the 2nd round with a fantastic elbow to the head, the elbow opened up James' head like a zipper and it was a stomach churning moment as the ref struggled to close the wound. James needed stitches but was fine.

After the fight we ate out at another brilliant Glasgow eatery and then returned to Bristol after a severe delay at glasgow airport, I think we actually got in at about 3am and were absolutely shattered, still no peace for the wicked, straight back to work on Monday! I have to be honest that all the hours are taking their toll on me both physically and mentally and I am desperate for a proper day off and a good nights sleep. I finally get to have a lie in tomorrow and have a luxurious salmon breakfast planned.

Thanks to Dominic Jeff at the herald for his lovely article on Tamar's and my win at the Pole Divas qualifiers, click here to read the full article. Plymouth Sound news to follow - very funny!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 12 September 2008

Two blogs in one day!

As I won't be blogging as much over the next fortnight I thought I would update you on my visit to Cirque Surreal: the whole performance was amazing, apart from one bit which I will get to shortly, the highlight for me was the trapeze artist whose strength and flexibility wowed the audience, she also had abs to die for. The contortionist dancing on points was equally impressive and the finale act showed utter bravery - you really had to see it to believe it.

Personally I am not a fan of clowns, I find them slightly creepy and don't really understand the usually predictable act. Cirque Surreal's clown was better than any I had seen before that was until he pulled some poor bloke from the audience and started making fun of him, I commented to Sue that "that is my idea of hell"! No sooner had I uttered the words when I saw the clown approaching me whilst gesturing towards the stage, I tried to refuse but he wasn't taking no for an answer - Hell began! The poor guy who was already on stage had the job of using the cymbals, this in itself was awful but I was presented with a microphone and asked to do an impression of Michael Jackson grabbing his crotch whilst pelvic thrusting and screeching through the mic.

The whole episode seemed to last for an eternity, I could see
Sue, Rose & Josh laughing hysterically at my horror. I should point out that close up the clown was actually a very attractive fit young gentleman but this did not compensate for the sheer embarrassment of the whole experience. Next time the clown does his rounds I will be hiding under a chair.

If you haven't seen the Cirque Surreal already you really should go!

Off to watch Eastenders,

Stay Healthy,

a very embaressed Sam x

All the pictures used in this blog are owned by Cirque Surreal and should not be copied or reproduced.

Off to Glasgow

Firstly thanks to James from Tsavo photographic for this picture of Tamar and I at the Pole Divas qualifiers in Bristol last Saturday - more pictures to follow.

Secondly a huge congratulations to Nixi on her engagement to Chris whilst on holiday in France - very romantic. Nixi will be getting ready for her new term at Plymouth University and will be returning on the 22nd September and new UPPDC classes.

Tomorrow I am off to Glasgow for Christi Campbell's fight against undefeated Jojo Calderwood, the fight promises to be a good one and I hope that Christi will return to Plymouth with another win for Saints.

Over the next two weeks you may see a reduction in the number of blogs posted from me as I have a very hectic couple of weeks, Jo and I will be covering all the classes in Liskeard and Plymouth as Rosanna, Nixi and Hayley are all on holiday! Kelly will be doing her lessons in Torquay as well as covering Rosanna's Exeter classes.

Apologies to my victims last night who endured much underarm bruising but worked extremely hard - be warned I am not about to be nicer next week and am going to focus on thigh bruising instead! I am now off to the Cirque Surreal (didn't get in on Sunday!) for an hour of escapism to take my mind of my hectic schedule.

Lastly you may want to check out Puss's latest blog which covers the fascinating subject of vagina's- it is well worth a read.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Increasing my fitness

After seeing Deb Riley's new picture of her starfish move (picture left) I have decided I need to serious increase my training. Debs, who is the inventor of the fantastic Pole-o-mat, will be competing against me at the forthcoming Miss Pole Dance UK finals in London. Apart from increasing my training I will have to consider my diet: If you need help improving your diet to help you exercsie more effectively then just click this link for advice from sports nutritionist Wendy Martinson. I will keep you posted on my training plan and will be practising with Jo and Tamar later today, Jo has also increased her training, check out her blog for full info on her latest antics. I am hoping to video some of our sessions as it provides a really good way of monitoring progress and seeing how the moves look.

On a less serious note I couldn't resist blogging about the incident that occurred at the Grampound Carnival in Cornwall - it is hilarious, Chief superintendent Colin Terry arrived at the carnival dressed as Osama Bin Laden click here for the full story and check out the picture below left.

Off to eat lots of carbs!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Over the moon.

After yesterdays win at the Pole Divas championship south west qualifying heats I am still buzzing. I am also so proud of Tamar for her win too, she did the art of dance proud! You can check out her video on her blog and mine is in yesterday's blog. Thanks to Faye from Pole Tastic and Josephine from Pole-Play for organising the event. I now have to practice alongside Tamar for the forthcoming finals to be held at Pure in Manchester on the 23rd November this year!

Despite my delight at winning I have now watched my performance three times and have already picked it to pieces! I have lots to work on and a few new moves to perfect before November. Today I am going to rest and worry about it all tomorrow. This afternoon I am off tho the Cirque Surreal for some real escapism.

Thanks again to My Mum and Jo for accompanying me to Bristol yesterday, Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle from Kentucky for coming to watch yesterday during their stay in GB. A big shout to one of my competitors Beverley Adams for such a beautiful and strong performance - great figurehead into shoulder mount!-, Thanks to Tamar's family for their ongoing support of the art of dance and their support of Tamar, Thanks to all of you who have left lovely comments on my blog, facebook and via text and e-mail. Thanks to Tracey Michell for the monthly sports massages that are helping to keep me in shape and stop me falling apart!. Lastly thank you so much to m husband for the lovely messages yesterday, the impromptu send of at the gym yesterday morning an the gorgeous home cooked cheese and fish pies that met me on my return!

I must add congratulations to Kelly Shaw - pictured above left with Jenna Rchards from the Herald Express - who has successfully dealt with the lanch of our new Torquay venue, check out the article in the Herald Express!

I am a very happy bunny!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 6 September 2008

I won!

I won my south west qualifiying heat for the Professional Pole Divas championships 2008, I am also chuffed to announce that art of dance student Tamar Preston also won in the amateur advanced section of the competition. I had a great day and my Mum & Jo were there to support me. At present I am absolutely shattered so I will write a full update soon but here is the video anyway:

Friday, 5 September 2008

Are Plymouth City Council mad?

Are Plymouth City Council completely mad? That is a question I probably shouldn't be asking but I am so annoyed about plans for the forthcoming Life Centre that I can only assume that Plymouth City Council have very little interest in the needs of the majority of people in Plymouth. OK so Tom Daley and Tonia Couch need better training facilities for the 2012 Olympics but does that really need to cost us £44 million pounds? Apparently the only real problem with the Plymouth pool is that the diving boards are too narrow and don't meet Olympic standard, I can only assume that wider diving boards cost a vast amount of money? Another concern is that we have just proved how great our Olympians already are so do they really need that much money spent on improvements with their current facilities.

As I have argues before wouldn't it be better to spend half a million pounds improving 88 individual facilities across the City rather than focusing on one big commercial centre that may end being a training centre for the minority. Olympics aside, the proposals for the Life centre include an ice rink and a leisure pool, sounds like a nail in the coffin for the Pavilions centre! Oh and a martial arts dojo to cripple the Thai / kick boxing gyms in the city - Saints, Taurus and Wildkick. What other small businesses can Plymouth City Council affect in their attempt to build this new monstrosity. Perhaps they will include a new pole dancing studio to get rid of me too?

Another concern is that the people of Plympton have been after a new swimming facility for many years and are still waiting, many of them don't want to have to travel to the city centre to use the facilities. As David Santillo pointed out in a recent letter to the Herald postbag, the Life Centre threatens to swallow up much green space within Central Park, this is despite previous assurances from the council that the park would be protected from any loss of green space. What with the proposals from Plymouth Argyle for their huge sky tower, restaurant and other attractions, I wonder exactly what will be left of Central Park at the end of the developments.

Whilst I am on the subject of dodgy council decisions I must stick my oar in over the closure of the diving boards on Plymouth Hoe, surely these are worth repairing? Perhaps we could get some of Plymouth's tombstoners training with Tom Daley for the forthcoming Olympics!

That brings me to the fabulous Tinside lido -pictured above, which has been widely discussed recently: initial plans for the lido included a roof so that the lido could be used in all weathers and could be a venue for gigs and events despite the weather but the decision was made to save money and go for the open air lido rather than the removable roof - fools! Now we wonder why the lido is losing money? How many times has the lido been closed due to people throwing glass into the pool at night? A roof would solve this problem! If the pool had a roof it wouldn't matter if we did have another summer of bad weather as people could still use the facility. I rest my case.

I must say a big congratulations to Rosanna and Steve on their engagement, you can read all about it on Rosanna's blog. Also well down to Jo for reporting her lunatic stalker to the police, check out her blog for full info!

Well tomorrow is that day of fear when I enter the South West heats of
Pole Divas championships 2008 alongside our star student Tamar Preston who I know will wow the audience. I have mixed feelings about my performance as the organisers have insisted that all competitors must wear shoes, it is a long time since I have danced in heels so it will be interesting to see how it affects my performance! I did one full dress rehearsal yesterday which went OK so hopefully tomorrow will also go well. Watch this space:

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 1 September 2008

Food Glorious Food

It has been a while since I have eaten out and raved about it but yesterday on a rare day off my husband and I ventured out to Down Thomas for a short stroll on the coastal path and a meal at the lovely Mussel Inn, The pub has been refurbished and looks great. I ordered two starters as a main - pink bream and mussels and chips- and my husband ordered scallops with black pudding and bacon followed by a steak and kidney pie. We couldn't fault any of the food as it was divine and the service was equally impressive, I highly recommend this restaurant. If you like freshly cooked food then this is the place to go. Here are a few pics of the evening sunset at Heybrook bay.

On the subject of food I am just tucking into a lovely jacket potato with mackerel, beetroot, spinach, garlic olives and a smidgen if Alioli (proper garlic mayonnaise), all very healthy and very tasty, it is essential that I look after my body and in particular my muscles so I am at my best for Saturday. Today's practice for the pending finals went quite well, Jo, Tamar and I went through our individual training programmes and I did two complete run through of my performance. Some of the moves I am doing are really challenging my flexibility! If you want to see some amazing flexibility then check out this gymnast on Britain's got talent!

Also I found this clip on Suzie Wong's blog and couldn't resist posting it, it is very funny!

More news on Wednesday about the pole vs lap dancing debate, check out tomorrow herald for full coverage of the lap dancing club proposals and comments on the this is Plymouth website!

Stay healthy,

Sam x