After many years of good intentions, we finally made it to a boot camp! And it was every bit as intensive as I thought it would be! Sooo many funny stories to tell you, but I have to be selective or my poor web-lady Sally will be here all night posting it for you!
This is me and a kettle bell – ever seen 'Biggest Loser'? Yes those kettle bells. You swing them. Up and down, back and forth, sideways. You pick them up, you put them down. For an hour. Then you do body-combat – bit like aerobics class crossed with kick boxing – bit like TaeBo (remember that?) – for an hour.
Then you run around an assault course for another hour, going over things, round things, through things and falling off things! (see bruise below – most of us had one of these by the end!). For an hour. Oh and you started the day with a 10k run. And that's just on the Friday afternoon when you first arrive! Then it all starts again on the Saturday – we'd done an hour of warm up and sprints before breakfast! But we did bail out early and go home Saturday night!
The reason I went was to kick-start my summer weight loss offensive – I'm determined to be a stone lighter by the time I go to Stonehenge again in September – so all the walking will be more enjoyable this year! Plus of course the new man gives me a nice incentive and is very encouraging bless him! Plus am feeling soooo much better when I do exercise, and eat healthily – it's a very marked improvement I can tell you. If you ever want to give yourself a boost, boot camps are a good idea.
The camaraderie amongst all of us unfit women was one of the best things about the two days in 'Fat-Attack's' Essex retreat near Chigwell. So many highlights – just catching the eye of the lady opposite, mid-'plank' – similarly exhausted, similarly in pain, when you're both just waiting for Adrian the trainer's feet to go past you so you can both sneakily stop doing 'plank' and rest your knees on the floor for a few precious stomach-rescuing seconds, till Adrian turns back round again and can see you once more… moments like that were priceless! As was watching several personal achievements being celebrated – mine included finally on the fifth attempt, getting almost all the way across the monkey bars without touching the ground!
Or seeing the faces of the girls coming back from the arduous forest run in the pouring rain with drips sheeting off their fringes, standing there saying 'that's it, I'm officially broken', but ten minutes later, rejuvenated after a packet of munchy seeds and a banana, all heading back off out again to do 'sliding' class. Or being with daughter Lauren and niece Becky, staying in a dorm with nine other ladies, some of whose husbands were banished to their own single sex dorm, taking us right back to school days, was a wonderful experience. Except for poor tired Becky when the symphony of snoring kept her awake 'cos she forgot her earplugs!
The food was calorie-controlled, but tasty. And the schedule whilst punishing, if you paced yourself, was the shock to the system many of us needed. One lost five pounds in the weekend alone! I lost three, and an inch off my waist and an inch off my hips. Takes my body fat down three per cent in a month and seven pounds weight loss so far.
The trainers were lovely too – Vanessa, the organiser, who's arranging a special discount for anyone reading this who wants to book a weekend – and another trainer called Jamie who said 'I know someone who works at QVC – 'H' the cameraman – I train with him sometimes!' Coincidence or what?! (Jamie's in white in this pic), plus Mitch (his exaggerated six pack carefully hidden beneath the red T-shirt much to the girls' disappointment!). And Adrian's the one in the middle. A good time was had by all – well, a memorable time at least! Craig's very jealous – he wants to go on a boot camp now! Would you?
Mind you, having come back a bit energised, I was severely depleted of all energy on Tuesday this week when Madame Gracie decided to go AWOL over night, just before she was due to be spayed! Turned out in the end she'd been found in the ornamental pond down the drive near me at 10pm, and the restaurant manager took care of her in her room overnight, dried her with fluffy towels and gave her some posh food to eat till eventually we hooked up again at lunchtime after a mobile mix-up prevented me getting the message that she’d been found. And worrying myself silly all night and morning!
And poor Nigel did too – he's got a soft spot for 'my Gracie' as he calls her! Thing is, she was due to be spayed the next morning! So that was postponed till the next day. It was as if she knew! Here she is on her way home in the car again after we were reunited – it's as if she's saying 'who me?!'
As I speak, she's snoring on the floor at my feet, recovering from her op and will be grounded for a few days till she's better! And yet again, Daisy's been reprimanded for creating holes in the fence outside that let her sister out in the first place!
I thought I'd send you this link from the Diamonique 17th Anniversary show on Monday. By the way – what did you think of the first bit of Diamonique you bought from us all those years ago? Or more recently? Any nice stories/compliments?
It’s a bit cryptic, this blooper – but I've put it up by popular demand, and because I'm sure you can work out what was being said in my ear, given what had just come out of my mouth! But suffice it to say it tickled me and I nearly lost it! Being tired from boot camp didn't help I guess. In fact, the only time I've ever lost it completely on air was when I was totally whacked out, 10 years-or-so ago and was presenting Egyptian jewellery.  9;Tutankhamun' came out as 'TART-en-kumon' – the 'slapper of ancient Egypt'! As you may know, it made one of those bloopers shows! This one won't, but it made me smile – so see if you can work out what I was laughing at!
Whilst you're on YouTube, incidentally, check how many views you guys have created of the short clip of my lovely man Nigel since the Centre Parcs blog – five times as many as the average clip gets! Just shows how curious you all were and I'm glad to have obliged! He's coming with me to Lauren's graduation this weekend, so next week I should have some very interesting photos – me and the kids, their dad and his third wife Nicky, plus my man and Brad's lovely fiancée Kari. That line-up will be a first, for sure! Another TiFFT! What's yours for this month?
And just avoid boot camps unless you want to feel like you’ve been pulled across the field by horses! Or if you want to experience the Fat-Attack body shock, you can email the lovely lady herself on Vanessa@fatattack.co.uk to ask for a brochure or a discounted weekend rate – pounding your body into submission! She'll give you a third off if you say you read it here! (the code you need is 'flintbasic').
Have a fab weekend!
P.S. – coming up this weekend – secret agent recommendations! As long-promised, there'll be a little interview with Oli Munson, and other publishing agents too, this weekend - so keep an eye out!