JezzWarren.com

2012

The Boy's Christmas

Christmas day started off with a nice creamy latte and a toasted 'New York Deli' onion bagel filled with salmon.

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I needed to make sure that the right presents were opened in the right order and big main presents left till last, so I distributed the presents out from under the tree and laid them out in groups, this made unwrapping them still fun and exciting but in a way that meant the lead up to the larger presents did not contain any spoilers.
Right, unwrap time.

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Advent Day One

Today we are also going to put up the tree and decorate it and this year I have opted for a small table top pink tree, something to add a bit of campness to an already camp household. At the moment the tree looks very bare, but I know that with a few tree decorations and the gathering of all the presents it will soon look very festive.

Bare Xmas Tree

That's A Wrap

I am ahead of schedule and today is the last day of wrapping up the Christmas presents for friends and family. I have been buying incidental gifts through out the year that would make great stocking fillers for anyone, but I have left the main present buying set out for the whole of October and November, not too late but also not too early, plenty of time for the possibility of delivery delays.
Thankfully this year I have only had two gifts that were of an awkward shape to wrap but after looking about I found two boxes that the gifts fitted in nicely. I dare say the weeks, days and hours of shopping and wrapping will end in less that an hour of unwrapping.

Presents

Wardrobe Detox

I have no qualms about going through my wardrobe and giving my unused, do not fit clothes to charity, but on the odd occasion some items are just to good to give to charity and normally at this stage it is a case of do I eBay them or not?
Do I save them incase one day I may just fit right back into them?

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It is normally just before the summer and winter that I have a clear out and find out what does actually fit and if I do get rid of those items, I can then refresh my wardrobe with some newer and better fitting clothes, well that is my excuse.
I had several items that I did not want to eBay and for many months now I have also not given them away to charity, I could hardly say that I would even get back into them again either as I had really put on to much weight and the chances of me being a waist size thirty-two again was over optimistic. They also held a sentimental value to them too, so if I was going to get rid of them then I would have to give them to someone who would appreciate some nice clothes, all be it hand me downs.
I could only think of one person who would not only be the right size but also appreciate some nice worn once clothes, that being Anthony.
He came over and tried them all on and only one of the items did not fit, but he walked away with some nice items today and I can be rest assured that they will be well looked after and get the wearing they so deserve.

iSunday Roast

I think when someone decides to treat Wayne and myself to a home cooked Sunday roast as a part bribe for wanting some technical Apple support, I am quite happy with that.
Michele and Anthony have always put on a great Sunday roast and from the remains of what was left on my plate, you can see why.
You can win me over any day with bread sauce, stuffing, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes.

sunday_dinner

Birthday Bash

For the last few years birthdays have been a restaurant affair where a group of us get together at a local Beefeater for a few hours of food, drinks and merriment. This year however I changed to a more personal affair and kept it low key.
After my 40th birthday last year with those great fireworks I wanted to blend bonfire nights and my birthday for the forceable future, so this year I made use of the great garden space we have here at home it was the perfect space to have a few fireworks and then a cosy surroundings to have a bite to eat and a drink, far more personal than a large typical birthday gathering, that in its own rights can be fun for bigger birthday celebrations.

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Though my birthday was not until the 6th, Sunday was a day that would make it easier for everyone who could attend without the worry of it being a school night, so Sunday lent itself to being more of a relaxing environment rather than an extra commitment.
I invited Anthony, Michele, Kelly, Debbie, Simon, Andrew and Wayne and started off the night with a few drinks whilst everyone was arriving and it also gave me some time to set up the fireworks.

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Organised as ever I set the night out starting off with getting into the spirit of it all with everyone playing with sparklers. It is funny how waving a few sparklers around in the air reduce adults into a child like state.

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I have discovered that if you go to smaller garden centres and leave it until a week before bonfire night, that fireworks on sale become so much cheaper and in many cases better than half price, okay yes you run the risk of not getting the best choice but if like me and you are prepared to visit several garden centres then you can get a good selection and varied display. I did get one selection box of fireworks from the supermarket just to space out the display with colour and more ground level fireworks but the rest of the display was going to be big bangs and explosions with a final dramatic firework to finish the night off.

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In todays day and age it seems to be geared towards barrage style fireworks that you light, stand back and let them do all the work. They contain a selection of bangs, explosions, bright lights, whizzing sounds and usual consist of a dozen or more rounds, ideal for home use but with the performance of a professional display.
This year I never did the party bags that my guests have come to love, but instead I made sure that the fireworks would be accompanied by lots of sweet treats, cake and some classic old school treats, toffee apples aways go down a treat.

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sweets

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I defiantly got my moneys worth of fireworks and next year when I have another display I will know what fireworks to look out for, what ones turned out to be the real crown pleasers. I will certainly look out for the 'Devils Wrath' and the 'Spooky Spiders and Snakes', they really filled the sky with lights and bangs.

Winter Warmer

There are three problems in a runners life, running in the height of summer, running in the cold winter and then there is injury.
Despite all our best attempts, injuries still occur when running or jogging and much as we try to avoid them for fear of breaking a training cycle, sometimes it just cannot be helped.
Take for example running in hot weather can negatively affect your performance with overheating and dehydration.

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Overheating is the result of inadequate cooling; when the body cannot keep up with the demands of evaporation of water from your skin. When the body heats up internally, it starts to sweat and sends more blood to the skin where it is cooled by coming into contact with the relatively cooler skin. However, while running, your body's demand for oxygen to the muscles means less blood will flow to the skin and this is when overheating occurs. And thus begins the tug-of-war within your body, especially if you want to keep up a certain pace. Either the blood (and oxygen) goes to your muscles to keep up with the pace demands and you start to overheat because less blood is going to the skin for cooling, or the blood goes to the skin for cooling, but less blood goes to your working muscles meaning you'll be forced slow down.
Dehydration is the process of losing fluid from the body, in this case through sweat. As you sweat you lose water and electrolytes. That's why drinking a sports drink containing electrolytes, as well as water, is so important. Because running in the heat exacerbates both overheating and dehydration, it is important to take precautions when running in the heat.
I have managed to use the lighter nights and extend running times to a cooler time but now one thing that is very new to me is that of running in the winter months.

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Falling temperatures and fewer daylight hours does not mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running in cold weather can help shake those winter blues, boost your energy level but comes at a different pace.
There is nothing like a good run on a nice, crisp, sunny day. When the weather is perfect, not too hot, not too cold and your body is comfortable, your breathing is easy, and the sun feels warm on your face. These are the days when you love being a runner.
But then winter hits. You lace up your running shoes and go out for your usual run, and it is so cold your chest hurts when you inhale, and to top it off, the freezing wind dries out your skin. It is these cold winds that drive you indoors to either use your trusty treadmill or worse, makes you hibernate for the whole of the winter and fatten up just like the Christmas turkey only to have to start all over again in the new year.
Personally I am finding that after I got used to breathing in cold air and using my inhaler to help stop the cold air from forcing my breathing into a struggle. Running in colder weather pushed me further as my body wanted to run to keep warm and intern helped me cover a little more distance.
If anything my old knee injury is the problem to running in the colder months. I just need to keep that injury warm and then that will not be the excuse to not running this winter.

Ear Ache

This year I have had my run of bad luck with several ear infections and yet again before the year is out I have managed to get another one. I am not quite sure why I am suffering so much with them but one thing that it is effecting me more than anything else is my running, my sense of balance is all out of whack and makes running hard and sometimes gives me a very giddy feeling.
Oh well, no doubt I am destine for another ear infection later towards the colder months, but for now I will just learn to cope and live through it as best I can and not let it effect my running to much. Something I need to keep an eye on and maybe an investigation might get to the route of the problem.

ear_ache

Other Areas

Today I have been working on my website, catching up on areas that have been neglected over the last few weeks and in updating my site, I have learnt a thing or two that I wanted to pass onto my readers.
I have learnt about the new iOS6 iPhone software update and a few tips and tricks, these can all be found if you head on over to the 'iPhone - iPad Plus' section on this website.
Have fun.

It Is A Hoax. Really, It Is.

I was shocked the other day to find that my best loved mobile application 'WhatsApp' was having problems and unlike most I did not just forget about it and wait for someone else to deal with it, just in case it was true.
I contacted the developers to find out if this was a hoax or the real deal and within a few hours I found out it was all an elaborate hoax. So I wanted to share with you what the developers at WhatsApp have to say to reassure those who may have got this hoax message.

“We have been getting a lot of emails and questions from you about this chain letter message circulating in our network:
WhatsApp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo should turn Red to indicate a frequent user.
Please understand that this is a hoax and there is no truth to it. While we are flattered that we made it to Hoax Slayer, we would rather work on cool new features instead of debunking silly stories like these.

UPDATE: this is a hoax message as well:

Whatsapp is shutting down on 28th jan Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team”

Both of these messages seem to be doing the rounds and sooner or later someone will be held responsible for their actions. Okay yes it is great publicity on one side for WhatsApp but on the other it is also not a nice message to receive and our only combat to stop this is to DELETE the message. If you respond in the hope to get a resolve then you are wasting your time, if anything you are giving your information to probably some robot to distribute your now known active mobile number to other scammers and fraudsters.
My advice to any kind of message like this wether it be from WhatsApp or someone telling you they have thousands of pounds waiting for you to claim from your mis-sold PPI, the only way to combat this is to DELETE, DELETE, DELETE.
One day our data and information will be our own, until then companies will sell your information on and only we can put a stop to it.

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Had To Run

As you can see from the lack of diary entries something must have happened. Well, it is that time of year when most get the dreaded cough, cold, sore throat or a combination of all three. Luckily for me it was only my friends around me who suffered and all I seemed to have picked up was a slight cough, but still it interrupted my jogging routine.
Last night I pushed myself to go out and with all my efforts I managed to push myself further and beat my last marker that was set two weeks ago. I take it I must be improving.

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From Flower To Pea

Growing vegetables in a pot is excellent but you do not get to see to much of what you are growing until it is time to harvest the fruits of your labour. I wanted to grow some kind of green beans of some but was not quite sure whether to grow green beans, runner beans, broad beans or just regular garden peas, so I settled for mange tout which happens to be something both Wayne and myself enjoy.
I love watching my fruit and vegetables growing from my garden and it is great to watch them grow out of the ground, flower and then from the flower grows your fruit and vegetable, just amazing.
Not long now before I will have a tasty crop of mange tout.

mange_tout

Shanghai Acrobats

Borrowing heavily from traditional Chinese circus but projecting a modern twist with its marvellous two hour extravaganza, originally directed by Cirque Du Soleil’s Guy Caron, combines acrobatics, modern dance, original music, martial arts and many other Chinese elements in an amazing adventure, with plenty of gasp-worthy moments for the audience. I can only put it into words as a total experience.

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The story centres around a little girl who awakes to the sound of a noisy Shanghai street. In a half-dreamy state, she starts to imagine being an acrobat and gets taken into the world of the acrobat and begins to participate.
Because it is Cirque du Ciel (circus of the sky) then there is a lot of aerial stuff going on I particularly loved the dramatic silks where a girl just plunges from the gods down towards the stage, a drop of 30ft or more, just fantastic stuff.

Cirque-du-Ciel

The show used a mixture of recorded music and an onstage drummer, I thought the choice of music really helped the show create an atmosphere and the energy of the drummer was brilliant.

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We sat there stunned to see the talents of a girl who contorts and stretches her body through yet-to-be-invented angles while supporting herself on one hand at the top of a six-foot high pole; a ballerina who stands en pointe on top of her partner’s head and then the skills of à la the Guandong Acrobatic Troupe; a posse of young men who leap through hoops and fling each other across the stage with somersaults, twists and impossible landings and who were an inexhaustible supply of wonder.

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More sedate, but arguably the highlight of the whole evening, were the charming canton of girls with their diabolos. You’ve probably seen buskers at Covent Garden hurl their overgrown yo-yos high in the air and catch them on their bits of string to great applause. But have you seen them do a bit of skipping and a couple of somersaults while waiting for it to come back down and more breathtakingly in unison?

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The whole show just took my breath away and left me wanting more, a great afternoon spent in Kingston Rose theatre with Wayne.

Wisley Gardens

Wayne and I spent the day at Wisley Gardens, near Woking in Surrey.
It was a great day out and the sunshine was with utmost of the day and I got to build up my portfolio as I just took lots of photos as usual. We had a bite to eat in a cafe prior to visiting the glasshouse and after a long enjoyable day we headed back via the gift shop, of course a day out would not be complete without a wander or purchase or two.

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Brighton Day Trip

Wayne and I, along with his sister Nikki drove down to Brighton for the day.
We had a fabulous time and the day started off with a drink in the Poison Ivy in St. James Street. This was then followed by a stroll through the North Lanes and also some time down by Brighton Marina, we built up a right appetite and so stopped off for lunch at Carats cafe in Shoreham.

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Brighton is not Brighton without a walk on the Pier and some time spent popping a few pounds in the arcade, much to the delight of Wayne as both Nikki and I was feeding the slots to win prize tickets for Wayne and also to hear the sound of coins dropping over the teetering edge.
Had hot donuts and a refreshing cup of tea finished the day off nicely.

Chilli

Some plants seem to survive on little or no sunlight, but there was me thinking that a Chilli plant needed plenty of sunlight.
Looks like my Chilli plant has proved me wrong, as it has produced some succulent specimens.

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Today Wayne and I visited Woodcote nurseries to see its yearly show of classic and vintage cars. This particular show has gone from strength to strength and is now firmly established as a friendly event for local car enthusiasts and anyone else with an interest.
The show is free to attend, so even more of a reason to get a chance to see vehicles from throughout the ages, there is a few local stalls selling cakes and drink with all proceeds going to the aid of St. Raphael's Hospice.
So all in all, a good day out.

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Misty

Some of us suffer with a lack of sleep due to not being able to lay our heads on the pillow and just drop off to sleep. I have to listen to some kind of relaxing music through a pillow speaker or binaural beats in my headphones to slowly send me off to that land of Nod.
I have discovered a range of products and in particular a mist spray that claims to help you relax and give you a better nights sleep. At first I was a little sceptical whether or not it would work. It was sold by Avon and when I found out I had a local rep, then I had to give it ago, luckily for me at the time it was on offer, so I thought why not give it ago, nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.

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After just a few days of using this mist spray, I noticed a significant difference and getting to sleep was a lot easier and also the quality of sleep was consistent to the point that I slept through the whole of the night.
Now I am not going to say that these products will cure sleep problems because they will not, but they do have a relaxing scent that helps you unwind and relax before and while in bed, so I am thinking if you go to bed stress free chances are your sleep will improve.
For me the scent is comforting and something I now do nightly.

Formal Thank you

It is nice when someone appreciates the work you have done and for most people they get a simple thank you which is always appreciated and goes a long way.
After all the hard work done on the CYC garden, today I got a pleasant surprise in the post with a formal thank you letter from St.Georges.

Tom

We have had a bad summer this year, however one crop has grown despite the lack of sun and today I am noticing that the once green flowery stalks of the tomato plant has now started to produce fruit.

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From Bracelet To Necklace

For the best part of last year, both Wayne and myself started to collect Pandora bracelet charms and it was not long before we had filled up one bracelet and started on another.
I had been collecting silver charms for my first bracelet and then on my second bracelet I had decided to only collect Murano glass, so as to have a bracelet with a splash of colour.
To my surprise, today Wayne bought me a Pandora necklace with a selection of charms to add to my collection.

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Three Men In A Boat

Today Wayne and I saw the play 'Three Men In A Boat'.
The three men in question are J (Jerome.K. Jerome), George, and Harris. Archetypal ‘home counties’ chaps in blazers, the three pals plan to take a boating holiday, along with Montmorency the dog (who is played by an ornament, brought occasionally to life by a canine sound effect).

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The quite original premise of this adaptation is that the characters are aware of the audience’s presence, as we are there to listen to a talk on the River Thames. Throughout the production, there are several knowing looks and comments to tell us that the characters are aware they are in a play.
This production of the story also adds an extra character in the form of Nelly the pianist. Played by Sue Appleby, who is also the Musical Director, Nelly is vocally mute, but provides music throughout the story, effectively reflecting the mood and pace of each scene or anecdote.
Alistair Whatley plays the character of ‘J’ and is interestingly also the founder of the theatre company, and the Artistic director. Whilst the other actors play a variety of roles Whatley plays only this character, and acts as our main narrator. Whilst not the strongest singer of the trio, Whatley has a commanding stage presence.

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Christopher Brandon plays George, and is notable for his strong singing voice and hilarious character acting, including his portrayals of both the whistling old man at the graveyard and the snooty German cat. Lastly, Tom Hackney’s Harris is the endearing and rather simple member of the group. His physicality and facial expressions were very amusing, as was his melodramatic Scots landlord character.
Despite a few small stumbles over the words, the production was generally well rehearsed and choreographed, with the inclusion of some physical comedy. The set stays same all way through, with imaginary changes of scenery aided by props. This works very effectively, and includes the boat made out of pub furniture, and a shared bed created by holding up a large sheet in front of the actors.
The music hall songs in the production were very good, but it would have been nice to hear some more in the first act. Thankfully, there were a few more in the second act, including a beautiful song about a lost love, that is sung when the body of a woman is seen on the bank. This is a total change of tone to the rest of the play, but works incredibly well, with just Brandon’s voice at first, then with an accompanying accordion.
This production tries to mix the traditional with the modern. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. Some of which are very funny, such as a ‘generation game’ style memory game or the ricochet bullet that hits Nelly. However, others strike the wrong tone. The ‘Titanic’ spoof did not work. The end of the performance was camped up to the song ‘Rock the Boat’ which was a great finishing touch.
This production works best when it celebrates traditional roots, whilst remaining knowing and tongue-in-cheek. Overall, it is a highly enjoyable play, but it is a strange hybrid that does not seem entirely sure what it is, and sadly in some places not all the different elements quite fit together.
Nevertheless, the cast and company are undoubtedly talented, and this adaptation is largely successful. I would certainly go along to another of their productions with interest.

Makeover

Clearly my efforts in just tidying up the garden has caused a massive impact on both the patients and staff, that at the CYC patients steering groups meeting a request has been put forward that the garden could do with a makeover rather than just a tidy up.
I am up for a challenge.

No Support

It has been for many a month that my jogging has needed a little support, I mean support with my recovering knee injury.
I visited my doctor for a check up on the progress of it's healing and have now found out that there is a next step in the recovery procedure which is the removal of the knee support when jogging.
The knee support was there to protect the knee from further damage in it's early stages but now that the knee has repaired the affected muscle groups then the next stage is to strengthen those muscle groups and to do this will mean doing away with the knee support over the course of the next three months.

knee_support

My jogging program now means that on every other run I need to wear a support and this has to be put in place as part of my jogging routine for the next few months and by the end of the year I will only need my knee support in the colder months.

Fuzzy Face

I like small changes about myself every so often just to keep things interesting, so I'm starting to grow a little face fuzz.
I will update this post when I have something to show for it.

Green In The Garden

When I started my garden some items that I was growing may need the use a cloche.
Cloches come in a variety of designs and are used for protecting plants from the cold, frosts and pests. A garden cloche differs from greenhouses and cold frames in that cloches are placed over plants in their existing position, unlike cold frames and greenhouses which require the plants to be potted up and placed inside.

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At the time I wanted my garden to be aesthetically pleasing as much as it was practical so I opted for not using any cloches, until now.
Thinking that because I had a small and contained space that I would not be prone to much in the way of pests, has well been proved wrong that is to say it is not the case and if you have got something growing that the snails, slugs and caterpillars like to eat they will do their darn best to eat it.
I am lucky that I have a gravel bed to put my containers on, that greatly reduces the slugs and snails as they do not like to crawl along that kind of surface, however it does not stop those pesky leaf munching caterpillars.
I have been reading up on how to make the most of your garden and how to still keep it looking good as well as protecting it. Placing cloches over crops do more than just protect it, if anything they stimulate the plants into flowering so they produce a crop as early as possible.
Next year I will take on Ian's advice in order that my crop will be different in the fact that I am aiming for a good yield of munch free produce and I can still do this in a way that my garden can look great on the eye to.
I guess it goes to show that not everything in the garden is green and pleasant.

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Return To Courtyard Garden

Today was the return to the Courtyard Clinic to finish off the tidy up. It was nice to see that on arriving the garden was getting used, glad that the weather was good for those to use the garden to its full potential, beats looking at four grey walls.

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Wonky Jog

It seems to be on a yearly basis that I get one blocked ear and more often or not followed by an ear infection, this is normally remedied by a trip to the nurse at my local G.P. and having my ears syringed.
There are two main categories of ear infections that adults can develop, acute middle ear infections and outer ear infections. Most ear infections in adults are outer ear infections (otitis externa), but middle ear infections (otitis media) can occur.
Otitis Externa is sometimes called 'swimmer's ear' because it is common among swimmers. It occurs when contaminated water enters the outer ear allowing germs to grow and thrive due to warm, moist conditions, also letting shampoo and soaps enter the ear when showering.
Symptoms of swimmer's ear include: ear redness, itchiness inside the ear, flaking of the skin on the ear, pain when moving the head or touching the ear and also sometimes a fever may develop.
Swimmer's ear is fairly easy to diagnose and usually treated with antibiotic ear drops. Sometimes pus and debris will need to be cleaned out by your physician. You can prevent swimmer's ear by using ear plugs before swimming or bathing, gently drying your ears with a blow dryer on the lowest setting after swimming or bathing, not inserting objects in the ears, and not swimming in polluted water.

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Well, times have changed and for some reason, they say for safety this has come to a stop as long term damage can be caused by this method, or at least only as a last resort.
I know that having your ears syringed can make you feel a little disorientated so after the procedure and on many occasions I have had to sit in the surgery waiting room until I felt right to walk.
I did not know that having an ear infection would give off similar symptoms and I only found out today after my jog in the park with Ian.
Tonight my jog came to an abrupt end as I felt so giddy that it made me sick.
Thankfully this problem is easily treated and for the next seven days I am taking an antibiotic ear spray.

Courtyard Clinic Makeover

Last year the Courtyard clinic needed volunteers to work on the garden that is situated in the centre of the courtyard clinic itself. However no interest was shown and as a result the Courtyard garden went from looking nice and green and full of life to a somewhat overgrown state.

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Since being a new member to the Courtyard Steering group this year I was approached by Wendy Mejewska, as she had heard that I was an enthusiastic gardener and after hearing about my efforts in transforming my own garden she then asked if I would undertake the Courtyard Clinic's garden.
A few hours a month would not hurt in getting this garden into shape and transform this overgrown area back to its former glory.
Within just a few hours of back breaking work, this area was transformed from a space you could hardly sit in, due to its overgrown nature, to now a space that you would love to be in.

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I noticed that just within a few hours of clearing the garden entrance and seating area that people were starting to venture out into the garden. One gentleman said to me "It's nice to finally be able to come out here and make a phone call, before it has been so overgrown I could hardly get out here, keep up the good work, it is looking great". Just those few words were enough to make me realise that this area is used and more so required by the patients, but because of the lack of maintenance this has never been possible, until now.

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After clearing the seating area I worked on giving the garden a trim and letting some light back into the garden and discovering that the garden had its own water supply, this gave us a chance to give the garden what it had been after for such a long time; life.

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I gave the paved area a good clean, bringing up the once grubby paved area to a now revitalised look.

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Hopefully with a few visits every other month should be able to get this garden back to its former glory and more.

Peas And Then Some

We have not had to good a summer, in fact a very late summer, the sun has only seemed to have come out over the last few days and this has really affected the fruit and vegetables I have been trying to grow. It has not just been myself that has been affected but also the garden centres too, as the selection of root stock has just not been there.
Well, as all gardeners do, they persevere and get on. I did just that and uprooted what failed to grow and got on with planting more hardy fruits and vegetables.
My garden now sees some new additions in the way of Garlic planted from cloves, mixed coloured Carrots from seed, two lots of Rosemary from plants and some Mangetout from seed. Also as the Lilies have finally come to the end of their flowering cycle they were replaced with some Pansy's and Winged Tobacco.

MangeTout & Pea Pole Week1

Pansys & Winged Tabacco

Tesco Direct

First experiences need to go without a hitch in order for you to use a service again, it is a shame that my first experience with Tesco Direct was not all met with smiles and joy, if anything it proved to be a real pain.
The actual ordering online went without a glitch and as advised some two hours later an email confirmation told me when my order was ready for collection, I had opted for the instore collection rather than deliver, thinking that would be the best option and also not having to wait around all day for my five minute window.
I had to borrow Wayne's car to collect my compost bin as the dimensions were to wide for my car, that was problem number one, but soon resolved, we got it in the back of the car with the seats down, just.
Now I do not expect staff to move collections from out the back to the customers in a perfect fashion and as most items are well packed it does then lend for items to be shunted across the floor, in most cases, unless you order a compost bin. The item had nothing more than some tape holding the lid to the body and as the item was so light I expect it to be lifted but instead it was scraped across the floor that did so much damage to the lid that aesthetically is was a write off. When you order a new product you expect for it to be in pristine condition, if I had ordered it second hand then, and only then can I expect scuffs from general wear and tear.
This was just one of the problems that I noticed when I got the item home, the other was the badly designed lid that had a section missing, not a good start to my first experience.

Compost Bin

I had no intention of returning the whole item back to the store at my inconvenience so instead I made it their inconvenience.
The only way for me to resolve this was to send an email with photos and explaining of the poor first experience that I encountered, in a hope to have a new lid and at least give Tesco some feedback in the service that they seem to think is good quality.
Several emails later and a lot of automated responses from Tesco's had taken its toll and I finally I had enough so I called them direct to resolve the issue.
Put it this way, even though I now have a new bin lid one thing I will not do is use Tesco Direct ever again or for that matter recommend them.

Something Hot, Something Sweet

The garden has really been coming on in leaps and bounds and my motivation for doing more only gets stronger the more I see it grow. I wanted to get the best out of my garden and give it everything it needed to help it grow and installing the water butt, this helped as what could be better for feeding the plants but with good old fashioned rain water? The next thing that my plants needed was some good structure for their roots and so far I have used nothing more than organic compost and absolutely no chemicals in deterring the pests and bugs, if anything I have used common sense and plant know how to rid my crop of unwanted guests.
What else could I do to help my crop?
What could be better than your very own compost, you know what is going into it and you are doing your bit to not fill up the landfill.
I looked online and noticed that prices varied from £20 to £190 and I wondered what was I paying for? The bin was merely a container that would house rotting vegetation, worms and organisms that would break down food, plant and vegetable waste. Finally I made my choice and with some help from Ian, who gave me some of his home made compost to kick start mine off, it is now down to nature to take its course over the coming months.

Compost Bin

With the compost bin now in place doing its job just like the water butt does, there only problem is they both look unsightly in such a small garden, in a big garden they would have fitted right in, water butt at the front end of the garden and hidden away in back would be the compost bin. So for me to overcome this problem and to also use up dead space, I planted the Tayberry close to the water butt and I am training them to grow up and along the wall.

Training The Tayberries

I have done something similar to disguise the compost bin. Two plants that will fill each of their growing space, a Chilli Pepper and a Sweet Pepper.

Chilies

Sweet Peppers

Another addition to my garden are some Tomatoes that Ian has been growing for the past few weeks in his greenhouse, making sure they were strong enough to be planted outside.

Tomatoes

Plums And Tayberries

I have been looking for a nice Victoria Plum tree and some Tayberries to finish off garden and today Ian came up trumps as he brought over a Plum tree and a Tayberry bush.

Tayberry Week 6 - 3

Victoria Plum Week 6 - 4

As usual, it was planted with all the love and care that a dedicated gardener usually shows on his crop but these two plants had some extra special 'Natures Own Potting Compost'.
A lot of time and effort has gone into this small plot of space in a very short time and already signs of that care are blooming with the lovely bright yellow lilies.

Lillies Week 6 - 2

Hopefully it will not be to long before I start to harvest my first crop, just to think that only six weeks ago these black tubs had a sprinkling of seeds, rich compost and some water and now look at them.

The Garden Week 6 - 1

Chessington And Chinese

After last Saturdays trip to Chessington Garden Centre, I was so impressed that I suggested that Wayne should visit there for a good look about and also a spot of lunch.
Other than garden essentials, there is also a big range of car things to, Wayne was in his element.
Kelly came over tonight for a Chinese takeaway and for us to show her that Chinese food was more than just chicken ball in sweet and sour sauce.

chinese_takeaway

100 Miles

Today was the day I hit the 100 mile mark.

100miles

Slowly but surly I have been jogging at Epsom Downs, Epsom Stew Ponds, Beddington Park and Horton using the Nike+ GPS iPhone application and on the odd occasion the Nike+ Sportsband combined with the sensor that fits snuggly in or on your shoe.
Today after a jog on the treadmill and a jog round Beddington Park I finally hit a massive milestone of 100 miles.
Not bad after only 37 runs and just 13,822 calories burned, this is just the start or things to come.

Apple And A Coffee

I knew that this would be a wise investment for me. AppleCare Protection Plan extends my Mac's 90 days phone support and one year warranty to up to three years. No sweat, no worry!
I have waited this long to get the additional cover, as in the 90 days I only used the phone support three times. I think it is for more peace of mind that if anything did go wrong then not only would the cost of the labour be covered but also parts too.

apple_care

For £139 it is a real deal, I just wish other companies were like Apple in this way because in the past the only reason why I have not ever bought an extended warranty is only due to the fact the warranty has been either more expensive than the actual product or nearly as expensive.
So today I made my way over to Kingston and purchased my apple care protection.
Whilst at Kingston I also wanted to add some flavour to my coffee, I wanted to make my so much loved mocha at home, but found out that after a lot of looking about for chocolate syrup, it is something that is near impossible to buy and yet every coffee house uses it. This might be due to that fact that the coffee syrups used are by a company called 'Monin' and tend to only supply to big drinks companies, bars and clubs. So finding a stockist is something that can only be done online, a route I will have to go down another time.

monin

I asked all the big department stores and also popped into Waitrose hoping they might stock it. Everyone stocked some kind of coffee syrup but no one stocked the chocolate syrup, that is when I stumbled on Costa coffee who had two syrup Monin selection packs and then lo and behold Whittards did their own range too.
Okay it is not quite chocolate syrup, but I have a whole range of other flavours to start me off and to give my taste buds an idea of what's to come.
In my search through many a shop, someone did suggest that I use a good quality chocolate powder or even better chocolate flakes would do just the same job as a syrup and would be something that would be easier to get hold of.
Luckily Wayne had spotted the connoisseur of chocolate flakes 'Charbonnel & Walker' and with this I have been making near to perfect Mocha coffees.

Charbonnel & Walker

'Chocolat Charbonnel' recreates the use of real chocolate as a drink. Traditionally in English Chocolate Houses it was a mixture of chocolate and water only, however, for today’s taste a richer drink is now made with milk.

Well, Fill My Butt

For a few weeks now, I have had an array of help from my good friends and slowly but surely getting the once overgrown area into what is now a place to grow my own veg.
Today was the finishing touches to complete what work needed to be done, an instillation of guttering and a water butt.
Michael my very handy man, or as we like to call him, our craftsman, rigged up some guttering in a jiffy and then the water butt connector to collect some much needed rain water.
A few hours and a screw here and there and it was completed and all I now need, is a little rain water.

guttering_&_waterbutt

Break! Break!

Today saw the first time in three years, some tinkering to my car.
Whilst driving home yesterday, a very kind motorcyclist flagged me over to say that none of my break lights were coming on. When I got home to check them it was an intermittent problem, was it a short in the trunk, oh perfect opportunity for the 9 to 5 sketch: Police officer notices the cars break blinking:
(*po-Police Officer, vn-Violet Newstead, jb-Judy Bernly, dr-Doralee Rhodes)

po-Evening, ladies. May I see your license and registration?
vn-Why? I wasn't speeding.
po-Your taillight is blinking.
vn-It is?
po-Are your signals on?
vn-No.
po-There must be a short in the trunk.
vn-A short in the trunk?
vn-We've got a short in the trunk.
po-Probably a defective wire. Want to take a look?
vn-Do we want to take a look?
dr-No. We can’t. We don't have time.
vn-We're on an emergency.
dr-That's right. She's a doctor.
po-You're a doctor?
vn-You think I'm a beautician?
po-I didn't see the badge. What's wrong?
vn-I’m taking this woman to the hospital, and she's very sick.
po-Which one of you is sick?
jb-I am.
dr-She is.
vn-They're both sick.
po-What is that you're hiding there?
jb-This?
po-Yes.
vn-It's rat poison.
dr-She ate it.
po-What?
vn-She ate the rat poison. That's why they're sick.
po-You ate rat poison?
jb-I thought it was Skinny and Sweet. It looks just like it...except for the skull and crossbones. Can we go now, officer? I'm not feeling well.
vn-She's not well. I've got a dying woman, and you want to look in the trunk?
po-I'm sorry, doctor.
vn-If we don't make it, you're responsible.
po-Don't worry, I'll give you an escort.
dr-An escort.
vn-He's going to give us an escort. Lord.
po-Follow me.
vn-Forget it, Man, we can’t wait!

Well, after phoning Peugeot, Croydon and being told it would cost over £130 just for them to look at it, Wayne started to phone around for a mobile mechanic and came across Mo-Tech advertised in Yell.com.
Mo, was great, told us the part to get and then arranged to come round today to fit it. The service was brilliant and he was quick, clean and very professional and also a very polite, a quality not often found in a mechanics.
Job done and all fixed for less than £40 including parts.

IMG_0257

WWDC 2012

Every Apple lover’s favourite time of the year has arrived. June 11 marked the first day of the Worldwide Developers Conference, and after weeks of rumours and speculation, we finally found out what Apple had in store for us.
With the kickoff of WWDC in San Francisco, Apple has announced the availability of their next major version of OS X: Mountain Lion. It will be available in July for £12.88 from the Mac App Store.
This version of OS X bridges the gap between iOS and Apple’s line of computers even more by bringing in elements that were formerly found only in iOS. What this means is a tighter integration of data for those that use an iPhone, iPad, and a Mac with 200 new features.
Apple announced its upcoming OS X operating system, Mountain Lion.

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Available for Lion users as a beta, the final version of Messages will be available preinstalled on all Macs with Mountain Lion.
Messages is the upgraded version of iChat, but now you will be able to send and receive unlimited messages from anyone with an iPhone or iPad (running iOS 5), and Mac. You can send text or photos, videos, documents, and even contacts through Message; the ability to send out a group message is built-in too.
Similar to BlackBerry Messenger, users can see when their message has been delivered and whether someone has read the message (if enabled), or if they are working on a reply. You can even make FaceTime calls right from Messages too.
Messages, just like iMessage on iOS, features end-to-end encryption, so you do not have to worry about your messages being intercepted, they will stay safe and private.
If you link your Apple ID on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, all of your messages will be kept synced together, so you are able to continue conversations from one machine to another.

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With Mountain Lion, the gap between desktop computing and iOS becomes even more blurred since Notification Center is finally here. With it, you will be able to see whenever something new happens on your computer, whether it is a new email, message, friend request, calendar alert, or more.
Notification Center on the Mac will look just like its iOS counterpart, with the banner notifications that appear long enough for you to get a glance, and then disappear just as quickly so the interruption is very brief. With a simple swipe, you can pull up the entire Notification Center tray, which will show all of your notifications in a single, organised list. Clicking any notification will open the selected app, just like on your iPhone and iPad.

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Mountain Lion will have system-wide dictation. Now you can just type what you want to in any application.

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Also taking the stage at WWDC, Apple’s head of mobile software Scott Forstall kicked off his iOS 6 presentation noting how, with over 365 million iOS devices sold through March, Apple’s mobile software is doing very well in the market. The latest publicly available version, iOS 5, has been installed on over 80% of available devices. Released in October 2011, iOS 5 has seen exceptional adoption: over 140 million iMessage users have sent over 150 billion iMessages to date, making it over 1 billion on average every day. Directly integrated into iOS 5, Twitter saw a 3x growth increase, with over 10 billion tweets sent from iOS 5. The numbers go on and on.There is no denying on Apple’s part that iOS 5 has been a success for developers, the companies involved, and, ultimately, the users. iOS 6, previewed and released to developers as beta yesterday, is a major new release that, with over 200 new features, will take iOS devices in “entirely new directions”.

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Apple’s voice-based assistant, Siri, is getting several new functionalities, support for more countries and languages, and new iPad compatibility in iOS 6. Keeping true to its original promise, Apple today published an official list of the countries and languages Siri will work with in iOS 6. As for the iPad, Siri will work exclusively on the third generation iteration of the device, with an interface design that is largely similar to it’s existing iPhone counterpart, only available through a floating popover window that “pops out” from the Home button in landscape and portrait modes. With iOS 6, Siri will be capable of finding movies available in your area by location or showtime. Support for flicks goes beyond fancy GPS integration, however, as Siri will be integrated with Rotten Tomatoes to show you ratings and reviews with just a command of your voice; Siri will also be able to display trailers for movies you are interested in, and load additional information such as premiere date, actors’ timelines and guest starring in other movies, and more. Siri will be getting support for Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to post tweets or status updates directly with your voice without needing to fire up dedicated applications. But if you do want to open apps, Siri will also gain a new feature to launch apps, so this autumn launching Angry Birds or Tweetbot will just be a question away. At the keynote, there was no mention of a Siri API, but Apple notes on its site that you can “ask Siri to launch Facebook and see what your friends are up to, or take a look at the latest posts on your Wall”, quite possibly hinting at some limited functionality to launch an app’s specific section through Siri.

siri_gallery_overview

Lastly, Apple has been working with car manufacturers like Honda and Ford to bring “Eyes Free” to Siri: by having Siri integrated with existing voice control systems and steering wheel buttons, your iPhone’s screen will not turn on, you will not be distracted, but Siri will still be fully functional and operative.
From what we have seen at this years WWDC, iOS 6 will be about supercharging the iOS 5 experience and making it better from two standpoints: the original iPhone OS and OS X. iOS 5 didn’t get Facebook sharing, but iOS 6 will, once again stating how Apple sees social networking as a feature relevant to native and third-party applications, rather than competition.
Now it is just a waiting game to see how all these features are really going to work out and if they do become a helping hand or an hinderance, time will only tell.

Green Fingers

I cannot begin to describe just how ecstatic I am feeling right now, I am so full of energy too, despite just what both Ian and I have done today.
This morning after a few days of encouragement from Ian, I had decided to grow my own vegetables and herbs out side my bedroom window and today both Ian and myself were going to go down to Woodcote Nurseries to get all what we needed to start growing all things green and edible. After careful consideration another idea had hatched and a better location for growing a whole lot more herbs and vegetables sprouted, sorry for the pun.
The road that goes round to my garage has a nasty shrub area that is just so over grown with weeds, ratty old plants and a general dumping ground for litter, so today both Ian and I tidied it all up in an aim to use this area to plant my new little garden.
It took two trips to the garden centre and about eight hours of labour to finally get all the area clear and the plants in some nice looking pots.
I should have taken a photo of the before and not just the stages but never mind here is the stages from clear to potted.

transformation1

transformation2

Ian helped me pot from left to right: Chamomile, Carrots, Borage, Mint, Wild Rocket, Potatoes, Mixed Salad, Coriander, Heartsease, Spring Onions and Radishes.

transformation3

transformation4

Grow Your Own

A few days ago Ian brought round two terracotta pots filled with a variety of herbs to get us inspired to grow our own. It was first a thought for getting an allotment space close by, but after discovering that there was a waiting list of over two years we thought about could we grow our own in a space in the communal garden area.
As luck would have it we have a space near to our bedroom window that is secluded enough to be our own space but also an area that the sun light and other weather elements can get to, with the exception of the wind, as this area is protected by the high walls of the flats.
I really wanted to get Wayne on side and interested in growing something, I know he is not the best at growing anything, normally anything he grows or plants he gets as gifts tend to be dead within a week, but with some expert help from Ian and lots of enthusiasm I think a few herbs and hardy vegetables will grow.
So with that in mind, yesterday we headed off to our local garden centre and browsed pots and containers, seeing what would look best, be practical and not look out of place. We also looked at the vegetables and herbs in the grow your own section, so we had an idea of what it would look like once in the pots, kind of a visual head start.

sunny_day_at_garden_centre

Mint Tea

What could be better to help your tummy settle than a nice glass of mint tea?
Well, what could be better, would be mint tea made from a fresh homegrown mint plant.
I have been showing my interest in growing my own produce in a space out the back by my bedroom, a small section of the communal garden that I am making mine, well it is under my bedroom window so who really should be out there other than a few plant pots or a peeping Tom.
Not growing to much to quickly is the key and easily to grow plants can be some simple yet tasty treats right under my nose or in a more practical environment right under my bedroom window.
I have started me off with some simple herbs in a terracotta pot and so far it is looking good, a few herbs for Wayne's cooking and some mint for my healthy tea infusions.
I am just having my first fresh mint tea infusion and I have got to say it is so much better than what you get in bags, sorry tea pigs, better than what you do too.

grow_your_own

iPad Neck

Today I awoke with a very stiff neck, I can remember getting this some time ago when I relied heavily on using the laptop, now though it is from excessively looking down and possibly playing far to many games on the iPad.
Maybe now it is not called a stiff neck anymore but rather iPad neck.
While the first murmurs of so called iPad neck pain originated in the circles of massage therapists, the condition has been now been verified by scientists. The millions of people who use the devices, hailed as a bridge between laptops and mobile phones, are also at risk of neck injuries, claims a new study.

ipad_neck

Researchers found that the flexibility and convenience tablet computers are hailed for could actually be harming users, especially if held on their laps.
They are at risk of "iPad shoulder" or "iPad neck" because holding a tablet low down means that the user has to gaze downwards more sharply, increasing the pressure on their joints.
So it turns out that computing on your lap is a major strain, but is that not also how we usually read books? Yes, we like to have books at angles to optimise viewing angles, but tablets are harder to hold than books because of the active screen. You have to hold them on the edge so as you do not activate the screen with your touch, unlike books. This constraint limits how we can hold them, and if we read for too long, some postures get a bit too much too. While a steep viewing angle can work for watching movies or reading, it makes for uncomfortable typing.
My advice is to keep moving, do not get stuck in the same position for too long and following these few simple steps should help.
1. Shift positions frequently. Keep moving and changing your postures every few minutes. This will keep your neck, shoulders, and arms from tensing up or getting fatigued.
2. Invest in a case. If you are using an iPad for long bouts of reading or movie viewing, you will want to keep it propped on a table at about a 60 to 70 degree angle to prevent neck strain. Tilting the tablet in your hands for extended periods will be tough on your arms and wrists.
3. Set fonts to a large type size. This will enable you to read material more easily in a neutral posture with back and neck in a straight vertical line. If you cannot read the type, you will be inclined to round your back and thrust your neck forward, in a poor posture that is associated with shoulder and neck pain.
Other than just keep moving there are exercises you can do If you do let it slip and your body has got to a stage where aches and pains are already present.
1. Neck rolls are helpful for releasing a stiff neck. They can be done frequently to help keep your neck loose during the day. Just do half neck rolls by rolling from one ear to the other and dropping the head forward, To avoid compressing nerves in the neck and do not drop the head to the back. Aim for eight to 12 neck rolls each side. Then, hold the ear to the shoulder for a few deep breaths, just once to each side. It is important to keep the shoulders down and relaxed during these exercises. Take deep breaths and relax as you stretch. Neck rolls can be done several times each day.
2. Head Turns are simple ways to also help. Turn the head and look right to left. Try to gently look a little bit further behind you with each turn. Keep the shoulders down. Neck rolls and head turns are helpful if you work at a computer or other job where you tend to round the shoulders and neck forward as you work.
3. Across the body stretches help to, don not think that it is all about stretching just your neck. Bring your arm across your body and hold the elbow. Gently press your elbow towards your chest. Keep the shoulders down and relaxed. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths and focus on relaxing into the stretch. Repeat other side. This exercise provides a gentle stretch for the shoulder. Combining shoulder and neck stretches with using good posture and body mechanics, can help to ease stiffness and prevent pain.
4. It is not just neck and arms, think about your head to, that can also link the pain points. You can also bring your hands behind your head. As you squeeze the shoulder blades together, open your elbows as far as possible without hurting your shoulders. To involve the neck, gently press the back of your head into your hands. This not only stretches the neck and shoulders, but also helps to correct posture as well. Lifting the arms behind the head will help you to sit up straight. Pressing the head back into the hands will bring your neck in alignment over the shoulders.

Broken Link

Both Wayne and myself have been collecting Pandora charms and jewellery for best part of a year now and with that we have also been introducing our friends to the collections.
The Pandora bracelets and charms are something that makes a very personal gift that can be quite individual by the way of arrangement of certain charms and also can be as extravagant or subtle as you so wish.
We have introduced Anthony into the leather bracelet range when it was his 16th birthday, Kelly's birthday and christmases have been easier to buy for.
So far to date Pandora Kingston has been our dedicated store and they have had a pretty penny or two out of us, with that in mind we have been known as exceptional customers and likewise have been treated well.
With Kingston Pandora, transactions have been pleasant and the staff there have looked after us well, even down to the point when on the odd occasion we have had to return items due to the rare occasion of a faulty charm or of recent faulty bracelet.
Today I had to return the bracelet as a fault had developed in one of the links that then affect the rest of the linkage, I guess a chain is only as good as its weakest link, never a truer word.

broken_chain

Matt, the manager at the Kingston branch made an easy and no fuss transaction to simply exchange it with a new bracelet as he pointed out it was something they do for exceptional customers. Normally it would be a case that they would send the product back to Pandora and await a refund before exchanging items or refunding the customer, guess being an exceptional customer has its advantages.

Wednesday Lunch

Just had a few hours out in the sunshine slowly mooching about the shops with Wayne at Epsom and now we are both hungry for a bite to eat, where shall we eat?
We have headed over to Tattenham Corner for a Beefeater.
We both ordered the Apple and Onion soup, oh how tasty, then for me followed with a combo burger, bottomless chips and a side salad.

beefeater_lunch

Whilst having lunch I noticed that the car park situated near to where we run was clogged right up with fair traders and planning ahead I thought that both Ian and I should probably find an alternative place to run tonight, at least until the Epsom races are over, we agreed to change the route somewhat and head of to Epsom stew ponds and run there for a change.
It was a great run that evening, I got to break in both my new trainers and also we both got to use out new hydration backpacks, the change was good to so as to keep my body alert with a new running environment, however looking at the course we took it was not all plain down hill or what looked to be flatter surfaces to run on, the slight graduation in the land as it would rise from time to time was very deceiving but still a challenge and worth taking.

nke_shox

muddyfox_hydration_backpack

Run A Bit Further

Slowly my ability and energy levels are increasing, only a few weeks ago I was jogging less than a mile and now I have topped the 5K mark.
Even though I am stopping every so often to get my breath back, I am starting to notice that my ability to stretch out the next stopping point is getting further and further apart.
I started off by running to a pace that Ian had set for me but I am now releasing that I need to make my own pace even if it is slightly behind what Ian expects of me then that way I can see every single one of my improvements however small they are and to date I am seeing those changes, little by little.

keep-cal-and-run_on

Four For Lunch

Today Wayne and I caught up with Nick and Michael for a spot of lunch at one of our favourite Beefeater over at Combe Lodge and a catch up on what had been going on since we last met. Seems that it is same old same old.

Beefeater

Size Up

Slowly but surely I have been putting my iMac through its paces and in doing so I am discovering new features each day that are part of the system that just makes life so much easier.
I have discovered that you are not just limited to one desktop but now with as many as you want to create, so in effect you now do not need to have several monitors but just several desktops for all your applications.

mac_desktops

I have been running several desktops for my graphic design projects and my photography projects, with each application having its own space to work within.
Seems long gone with the days of needing more than one screen to work with and I do not need a screen solely for application palettes.

mac_mission_control

So today I made the jump with the grouping all my applications in their respectful genres i.e. news and Internet, journal and diary and so on. Now though I'm with only one screen I'm working on several desktops within Mac OSX.
This made my second monitor redundant so I thought it would be a nice gesture to give it to Ian so that he is no longer looking at a smaller screen at home but instead a swanky 22inch screen.
I was surprised that the installation of just plug and play on a windows machine went without a hitch, I had visions of certain windows drivers not working.
The evening was then finished off with a fab homemade Lasagne with a side of salad and a scrumptious Eaton Mess.
Yummy.

Week In, Week Out

It has been two weeks now of using the treadmill and it is slowly paying off. I have just done another Weigh in and I have lost 5lbs, result!

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Red, White And Blue

Today I achieved another goal in my running, I managed to do 4 mini jogging session and no only did i cover 5k but I also smashed my previous 5k attempts.
As a reward was another Murano glass bead to add to my ever growing collection. This was one from the new and only just released collection for 2012.

Red, White & Blue Murano Glass

iPhone Update

Today sees the start of a new way for some of us, I am of course referring to my sister Hayley who is now an iPhone owner. She is lucky being the fact she is no ordinary iPhone owner but she has me to keep her ahead of most as bing so into Apple there is not many tricks and updates I do not get first hand, well at least before the masses.
I do not know what it is about my fascination for all things tech and in particular all things Apple, but at least one thing is for sure, those of you who are my close friends or family sure as hell benefit from my inquisitive nature of technology and the want to always need to know more.
Tonight I taught Hayley how to do her first iOS update and just like owning an Apple product were manuals are not needed, as the ability to use out iDevices is just second nature, so is updating your iOS.

ios

Books Are Dead

I can see why the popularity of ebooks are taking over the traditional methods of reading something that you hold in your hands, turn the pages and smell the print.
Before I invested in the digital ebook, if I needed some form of publication then I would go to the John Lewis of book stores; Waterstone's, until today.
Today I received the most abysmal service that has made me decide never to use the company ever again.
Why is it that customer services think they can treat us in this way, with poor service, lack of any manners and just generally a view to not giving a shit, it is not like the service they offer is exclusive.
Well I am not putting up with it anymore and I have a perfect platform to read book from, the iPad. One thing that conventional books lack, is the ability to be interactive so even though an iPad is a big outlay to start with, the overall experience of reading is for more fun and is no longer a case of just thumbing through the pages.
The bottom line is 'do you want more than just reading?' Start by asking yourself what you are really looking for.
Do you just want to read books?
How about magazines and newspapers?
What about browsing the Web?
Want to add multimedia to the mix in the way of music, audiobooks, or video?
Yes, you guessed it, you are thinking that the iPad is not such a bad idea after all.

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Riddlesdown Park

My reason for moving to London was a job opportunity that came with accommodation in Purley.
All the time that I lived in Purley I had no idea that our home backed onto a wonderful park, that park being Riddlesdown.
I have been looking for places to walk with varied terrain in order to build up the muscle strength to my knee before I attempt to start running again and this park offered so much and yet I had lived near by for over a year and never quite knew the beauty of t his park, until today.
The name Riddlesdown was first recorded in 1331 as Ridelesdoune and is believed to be mediaeval English 'riddeleah' - cleared woodland. It is also believed that the Down was once capped with Beech trees which are common on chalk because of the good drainage provided.
Riddlesdown is of archaeological interest, and in 1962 three graves were found that may have been connected with a Saxon Cemetery that was found at the junction of Riddlesdown Avenue and Mitchley Avenue. Stone Axes have also been found on Riddlesdown and have been dated to new Stone age or the Neolithic.

riddlesdown

Treadmill

What with the typical British weather, attempts to go out for long cross country walks or running in the park do not always come into focus, so how do some of us get around this. Do we simply persevere with the weather and take a run in the rain and cold, join the gym and hope we get value for money or what?
I knew that my interest in running and cross country walking was not going to be a one hit wonder and short lived due to the sheer fact I having a running coach who motivates me to achieve my goals even despite to my recent knee injury.
So with the advice of friends I started to think about should I invest in a treadmill?
I had in the past thought about the very idea of a treadmill but with so many on the market place and prices ranging from a few hundred pounds to the thousands, it was hard to know what would be the best one to get and also the best one for my needs.
Finally from lots of research and reviews online and one final piece of advise from a friend, I made the decision to look into purchasing a treadmill and in particular the Reebok 'Z' range.
Is there something out there that seems to just know when I am deciding to make a choice as all the factors just added up, it was like browsing data and cookies in realtime as Argos was having a sale on its treadmills.
Lucky for me all of the Reebok treadmills in the 'Z' range were half price, that was the deciding factor and I went ahead and ordered my 'Reebok Z9'.
I am now the proud owner of a Reebok Z9 treadmill.

reebok_z9

The Green Girl Needs An M.O.T.

Those of us who own cars really do take it for granted just how well they run with some or little attention to what is under the bonnet. Normally the only attention we give our cars is topping up the windscreen reservoir and making sure the petrol level does not drop to low, other than that the car is left to its own devices to tick over from year to year.
Today however I put my car in for more than just an M.O.T. as today she got a full service.
I took the car down to my regular mechanics 'The MOT Shop' who looked after me for yet another year.
It can be such a job to find a mechanic that does not rip you off simply because you know very little or nothing about what is under the bonnet.
However much I tell people the best option is always to deal direct with the manufacturers this does not apply in the car world, if you stuck to that option you would be sure to get ripped off.
Well done Dave at 'The MOT Shop’ Wandle Service Station you have yet again done wonders with my car.

MOT

Another iPhone Owner

Today I helped my sister set up my old iPhone4.
Yes, you heard it right, she is now an iPhone owner as I have had a sneaky upgrade to the iPhone 4s as my contact came to an end. Value for money it was better option to get the iPhone through my mobile phone provider rather than buy is SIM free as I usually do, because what ever way you look at it I will always need to have a mobile plan. So far ever year I have taken a discounted line package but as I am on the bare minimum and so then my provider cannot really give me with anything less and in all honesty a £10 line discount does not really compare to owning the iPhone 4s, does it?
Well, it did not take long to get the phone up and running and as Hayley already had a Apple I.D. it made everything run even smoother, the only thing we did not manage to do was set here up a me.com email address that you get with iCloud. I think due to the fact it has been out for some time that all the best email addresses have gone, that seems to be the problem with anything Apple, you kind of need to get in quick and that is one of the advantages of my interest for knowing whats going on in the Apple world as soon as it develops.
It has been less than an hour and the phone is working a charm and with no manual to hand Hayley has already grasped the basics of using the iPhone, she has also learnt a few advanced features that I have shown her and I do not think before long she will be discovering a few more.
I could tell that before I even arrived the excitement of owning an iPhone had already kicked in as after we got the phone up and running, Hayley had already made a list of applications to download.
Oh well best crack on and get these applications downloaded for her, no better still I will pass the phone to Hayley and let her do it.

iphone_owner

Room For One More

It has not taken me long to fill up my Pandora bracelet and so I have started to make another bracelet with just Murano glass beads. My friend Colin started me off with my first Murano glass bead all the way from Italy and now I have an addition and my first one off of my wish list; the 'Cinnamon Ladybug'.

cinnamon_murano_ladybird

I also had to shift around a few charms on my silver charm bracelet, as Wayne bought me the 'Camera' charm.

pandora_camera_charm

Little Bay

If you fancy a meal out with a difference then the ‘Little Bay’ could be your ideal destination.
The restaurant is themed around the opera and so with this is the seating plan in a unique way. As with the opera, the best seats in the house would be that of the seating in Loggia or Grand boxes, this is the case for the restaurant layout.
The best part of the night though is not only the excellent food, service and atmosphere but also the entertainment, as local opera professionals perform whilst you eat.

littlebay

littlebay_seating

Tea For Two

We all have our own ways in doing things and we have our own luxuries. For some a mug of tea or coffee is how we like it and for others it is something more traditional. One thing Wayne and I do not own is a tea set and so today Wayne and I decided to buy a full tea set for those times when it would be nice to have friends over for a slice of cake and a cup of tea.

tea_set

A Good Friday

Sometimes when I am sat in front of the computer head long into work I forget the time and days around me. I forgot that his Friday was a bank holiday and because the retail stores seem to target such holidays so far in advance, It even slipped my mind that it was the Easter bank holiday. So it proved to be a short week for some and an unexpected holiday for me.
My good friend Ian had no work today and that meant he had today spare and so he visited for the day. We caught up on all the gossip and then I introduced him to a few games in the PS3 that both myself, Ian and Wayne could play.
It was a fun night and another introduction for Ian to the things that go on in my world.

Over The Years

I have been slowly but surely going through my thousands of photos in order to filter out the wheat from the chaff. It is so as to work on the better images.
It was then when I stumbled on a collection of flower images and then I realised that they had been bought for me over the years, I am noticing I have quite a taste for the finer floral things. I have told my friends that I do love lily and I wonder if why so many of the bouquets have a lily or three in them, as that is how you are supposed to buy lilies and if you buy in even numbers they for some reason do not tend to last, something is bound to go wrong, might be the reason why the lilies in the first photo only lasted a few days, they had a curse on them.
It is known that the lily stands for faith as our towering strength to begin a new life and the purchasing of an odd number is auspicious and relates to divine strength in Bible, not that I am religious in any way.

1lilly_folage

1lilly_rose

3stargazer_lilly_and_roses

1tulips

3mixed_bunch


2lillys_roses_and_carnations

2stargazer_lillys

1red_roses

An Apple A Day

Undoubtably the best decision I have ever made was ditching the slow non progressive tech world and opting to jump into the fast pace that Apple sets, always being ahead of its competitors on so many levels. I have never looked back since and as a result so many of my friends have followed and also wondered how they ever lived without their Apple products. I have said in the past and I am saying it again, "Apple are the king of interfaces."
With every device that they turn their hands to, for some reason the designs are seamless and the product is made to take out of the box and just use with ease and simplicity.
I think anyone who is into their Apple devices, such as myself soon become akin to only expecting the world around them to be just as stylish a chic and as a result my desktop area reflects that; nice clean cut lines, minimal surroundings and a nice stylish slick look.
Now with an addition to my working desk space, bought for me today by my very lovely Wayne.

apple_addition

Wii Workout

I am feeling very proud of my self and a little less worried about getting back into my exercise, as I have just completed my first Wii workout to get my knee back into shape and ready for walking then eventually running again.
The Wii is great for small classes specific to certain muscle groups or body area goals such as back or tummy exercises, so this was the first port of call to help put this injury into the past.
I started off with building a recovery exercise program, sorting the best exercises that would start me back into things easily and not to much strain yet, still build the muscles. My program started with a six minute warm up class consisting of the 'Warrior' yoga pose, Wii birds eye bulls eye and the 'Downward Facing Dog' yoga pose. This burnt off fifteen calories. My next class was a legs and hip class that consisted of an aerobic step class, the 'Chair' yoga pose and then fifteen rowing squats. This added a further six minutes to my program and also burnt another fifteen calories. Finally I concentrated on my Wii routine that was going to take twenty five minutes to complete but would also burn off ninety one calories and this class would consist of a selection of yoga poses, muscle stretches and balancing exercises.
After doing the class I could see from my results that in my period of injury I had shifted my body balance considerably over to my left side and I guess to be expected, my goal now was to get that body balance slap bang in the centre and also to build and strengthen the affected muscle groups that would stop me from re-injuring myself and if I lost some weight in the process that would be an added bonus, I have noticed that my BMI has gone down so that is a good start.

Back Into It

After just over two weeks of knee pain, lots of strong painkillers and of course rest, it is time to get those muscles strengthened up and back into a few light workouts.
I got to admit I am somewhat nervous about doing any kind of exercise let alone starting to run again for the fear of injuring myself again, it is almost like when you have had a car accident and you have to get back behind the steering wheel again to get over it.
I have been reading on the Internet and noticed on a few good sports recovery sites that using the Wii balance board and some simple stretches will get me back onto the whole exercise thing again and finding out it will also help towards the process of muscle strengthening around the knee area. One sports injury clinic actually adopted the Wii as its main recovery for knee and back surgery patients and after reading this article I then felt less nervous about using my Wii to get back into the swing of it all.

The Kazaar

I guess by now you know of my love of coffee, proper coffee not the instant stuff. Well, Slowly but surely my stock of Nespresso capsules are depleting and it's time to order more form the exclusive club. I placed my order last night and as if by magic they arrived this morning at 9:30am, talk about speedy service.
I ordered my usual full array of all the strengths so that Wayne and my guests who visit also had a choice of the lesser intensive flavour should lithely not like the strong stuff.
I also thought I would try out the new limited addition to the Nespresso collection, called Kazaar. It has been described as the "monster" of coffees, since it is a 12 rating in strength, but does it live up to hype that it has been receiving?

kazaar

Kazaar is sourced from Robusta and Arabica beans from South and Central America. It's recommended as an espresso blend, able to stand up to the added milk in a latte or cappuccino.
As far as flavour goes, It stays on the happy side of bitter, with a finish that lasts long than the coffee in your glass does. You will also find that because it is such a strong flavour you may need a flavour equally as strong to remove it from your palate or a good tongue scraping.
I am noticing that coffee is becoming a culture in its own right and I can see that all the time flavours like this keep on popping up then the experience of coffee will always maintain its high standards.
As for the social aspect of coffee, having limited branded additions appear every so often and with social network pages closely linked with its released is a great marketing strategy. The social networking hype must be great for coffee sales worldwide as that is what social networking sites seem to be so clever at doing, reaching the masses in the nearest and furthest corners of the globe.
A final thought for this monster of a coffee is, if you are a coffee lover and you own a Nespresso machine then this is one to try out and in my option I hope it becomes part of the permanent part of the Grand Cru range.

Walking

For the first time in weeks I have managed to get up out of bed and walk down the hallway to the bathroom rather than limping like a pirate with a wooden leg, no I do not need a parrot on my shoulder, I have Wayne squawking in the background.
I know it is early days and yes I am still wearing the knee support and taking the prescribed painkillers and array of anti inflammatories but it is on the mend. I can see that I may be running again in the next month or two, or at least by the summer time, be nice to do a late night run with Ian my running coach as the sun sets.

Everything Has A Price

It has been nearly a week that I have had this knee injury and the very idea of using running to keep fit and lose weight has come at a price, the price of not knowing how to warm up and cool down resulted in a lot of time not running but resting.
My biggest problem now is getting it repaired in order to not be put off with the very idea of running again as more often or not when you have an accident or injury it can be enough to make you not want to go down that route again.
It cannot be as easy as just resting to repair the damage, can it?
Unfortunately it is not that straight forward as the first thing you need to ascertain is the type of injury that has occurred and wether or not it is a case of cold or hot therapy. There is also two types of injuries that each require different procedures to heal them correctly.
An acute injury is something that happens quite quickly, normally a sprain or an immediate sports injury and something that is very visible such as, swelling or a bruising. Then there is a chronic injury which has no visible signs and tends to be deeper down such as a reoccurring torn muscle injury, muscle spasms and joint pains.
So once you know what injury you have, then you will know wether it is a case of treating it with cold or hot therapy. With acute injuries you would treat it with a cold, in other words ice. Applying ice wrapped in a towel, bag of frozen peas or one of the many ice gel pack that can readily bought should be done several times a day and only on the affected area for ten minutes at a time. You can repeat with ice several times in one session but, one thing you really need to adhere to is allowing the skin to return to normal temperature before icing a second and third time.
With heat therapy the rules are pretty much the same, but instead of using ice you would use a hot water bottle or the microwaveable wheat pack or snap activated heat gel pack. Because hot therapy increases the blood flow it is not recommended to use after exercise. You also need to remember that with both treatments you still need to apply the same safety. With hot treatments you should only apply to an injury for no more than that of fifteen to twenty minutes so as to prevent burns. It is said that the best hot treatment is that of a moist treatment, however this treatment is not very practical and so most opt for the wheat or snap activated gel packs.

ice_on_knee

I am lucky that I have acute injury that can be treated, cured and when healed properly can also be prevented from happening again, unlike that of chronic injuries that can only be treated to reduce and subside the injury.
With my injury, the healing process will have to start with cold therapy and then once the swelling has gone then and only then can I move onto hot therapy should I need it.
I have been looking online on several sports forums trying to find the best way to repair my injury as resting from exercise cannot be the only option to repair this knee. There is code used by professionals called P.R.I.C.E., yes something I paying dearly with.
PRICE is aimed at acute injuries and consists of five steps to follow to aid the recovery both better and faster.

PROTECTION: If injured, stop playing and protect the injured part from further damage. Avoid putting weight on the injured part and if need be get help in moving to a safe area.
REST: Rest is vital to protect the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue injury. Resting the injured part is important to promote healing.
ICE: Cold provides short term pain relief and also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area.
COMPRESSION: Compression helps to reduce swelling, which may delay healing and also some people find that compression can have some pain relief. Using a bandage or a elasticated tube bandage aids for the best results, but do remember that should the injured area start to throb then you know that you have the bandage to tight and should re-bandage the area a little loser.
ELEVATION: Elevating an injury will help to control the swelling and it is most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart. For example if you injure your ankle or in my case your knee, then laying down with a pillow or two propped under your foot is ideal.

I started using this guide a few days ago and I am finding that this method is actually working and my knee injury is not as painful. I do not seem to need to rely on painkillers throughout the day as I did last week and only needing to take the prescribed painkillers twice a day. Here is to rapid recovery, well okay better recovery.

Quick Enough To Take

Another good day with the knee recovery, I think the combination of the tablets and the lighter knee support worn throughout the day is working.
I needed to run a favour for Ian today, nipping down to PCWorld and grab a wifi dongle for his new Internet connection, all sounds good so far. Getting the item was straight forward enough and doing the usual click and collect service goes without a glitch until I have a spur of the moment impulse buy for Wayne.
Typical, after that grief you have to endure in a shop so heavenly staffed on the floor and so little staff in the checkouts and the same is for returning items.
Yes I had to return an item and I could not believe how many questions I was asked in order to get a refund when only a few feet away was a six feet high printed poster behind the cashiers desk promoting about retuning your item with no problems.
That is another thing that gets my goat! Why is it a retail store and that is any (sorry Apple even you guys), can take your payment quicker than you can blink and yet when you want a refund the retailer tells you it can take anything up to five days for the transaction to be credited back to your card.
What is this all about? The middle man needs to sort it out. Come on, this kind of procedure is all about ones and zeros on a terminal.

The Doc Says

I knew the today's visit to the doctors would be met with some kind of rest, but I was not sure how long that rest period was to be.
Oh dear I have a case of Chondromalacia Patellae (also known as CMP).
CMP is caused by the irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap or Patella that is covered by a layer of smooth cartilage and when this cartilage area become irritated a knee pain is experienced. It is very common among football players, gymnasts, cyclists, rowers, ballet dancers and of course runners.

runners_knee2

I have found out that I will not be running for some time and part of that not running period will include two weeks of total rest.
I was prescribed some strong painkillers and anti-inflammatories and also told to wear a light knee support, such as a tube-e-grip whilst indoors but allowing an eight hour period of no support. If I needed to go out for any long periods of time I had to wear a stronger knee support, the one that is specific for sporting use. I have been told to keep my leg elevated of a night and to do some light stretching exercises and then when I do return to running again it has to be a program that consists of walking that progressively gets longer, slowly combining it with very short bursts of running. Looks like the Nike+ beginners twelve week program is going to be the best program.
Oh well such is life, you live and you learn.

On The Mend

I cannot quite believe it but today I have had my first day of what feels like a knee starting to improve. David told me to elevate my leg to aid healing, I was not quite sure why but I have done it anyway as my last bit of advise I did not heed out me in this state.
David, who incidentally is a qualified masseur, told me that the injury I have is something very common with new runners and joggers and that the injury I have fallen victim to that of fluid on the knee, commonly known as runners knee. The remedy to cure this problem is a simple and yet sometimes one the can take longer to put right. It is simply to rest the area effected and to elevate the leg so as the fluid around the area can drain away on its own accord. Luckily for me I have a reclining bed, so last night I raised the foot end and slept on my back with my kegs elevated. This morning was a breath of fresh air, being able to walk on it rather than limp on it. I must not take it for granted though that it is fixed because it is only early days, so a few more days, maybe even weeks before I can start to exercise again, gently and slowly in the efforts not to cause another injury. Exercising with my knees supports will also help for it to not recur and lots of warm up and cool down exercises to, must not forget that one.

More Walking

Yesterday's trip around Sainsbury's was about as much as my knee could take and todays plans are not going to let me off lightly. A trip to St.Georges hospital in Tooting to give moral supports to my dearest Wayne, who today was having and Endoscopy.
So I sit here happily typing away on my journal and occasionally looking up to adore the eye candy (some gorgeous clinical staff), walking the corridors in their flowing blue gowns and lose fitting bottoms. Oh I knew today would have it's benefits.

Shopping Trip

Today I decided to venture out and take a walk around Sainsbury's, grab a few bits of shopping and also exercise my knee. Well, I managed it but I do ache somewhat so that is it for today, no more exercises or putting it under strain. I did notice that when down in the freezer aisle my knee started to ache, that must of been the coldness from the chillers. I got another knee support and that is helping greatly, so when I do finally return to running again then I will use the knee supports to ward off against getting another injury. Oh and it has taught me to warm up, stretch, cool down and finish off with cool down stretches.
The lounge is really starting to have a sweet distinctive smell of Daffodils about it to. It is a shame that this is the only type of spring we are going to get for some time as the weather outside does not look good, it is far from my ideal running conditions to.

It Is All Updates

Today has been a day of updates, I have been slaving away pulling data from an old blog site to finally launch the TCell Blog and all my hard work has paid off, as now the blog is live with its first of many entries. Today's only draw back has been the non existent syncing of the 'Day One' journal application between my mac and my iPad.
The injury I done on my knee a few days ago is starting to heal as for the first time in several days I am finally walking rather than limping.

It Is Official

It is official, no running for a week till this knee has mended, it is words from a professional, not mine.
I clearly thought that I would be able to just start running but my body has proved me wrong, again.

Joggers Knee

I thought getting used to jogging was going to well. I, like most beginners starting out in learning how to run for fitness soon discover that running on Tarmac rather than a soft grass verge causes problems with underdeveloped leg muscles. After what has been for the last few days a routine jog around the park ended abruptly with a shooting pain to my right knee.
I have learnt early on and thank goodness I have, that an injury at this stage is easily repairable and it is only down to the fact that I do not know how to warm up and cool down properly or run on the right conditions that has caused this injury. I know that taking a week off to jogging will repair the damage and it has taught me a lesson that there is a lot more to learning how to run or jog.

Knee

Well after a night of discomfort and applying balms, rubs and cold packs I do think that my knee is feeling a little better, not sure I am quite up for returning to running yet but I am on the mend. I think a few days of rest and some gentle exercised should remedy the problem.

Too Much, Too Soon

I do not believe it, my fourth run and I feel like I have done too much too soon as I am having pains in my knee. Been looking online and also asked my running coach and both say it is a common thing for new runners as you simply have not used those parts of your body like that before. So it is just a case of a day or two of rest and then back into it. I found out that using my Nike+ GPS application that I have on the iPhone can also be used for indoor training so even though my route will not be mapped out, my work out still will. I think my biggest problem, being so new to running might be a lack of warming up properly and stretching the right muscle groups, or for that matter knowing the right groups to warm up. I asked other Nike+ users what was best for them, and the general consensus was that a few jumping jacks or high kneed running the spot was a good start to warming up before starting to stretch as stretching alone before warming up can cause muscle damage. Now I know my problem. I noticed that many users who had sustained and injury all got back into it after rest by the way of some simple exercises and also the use of an elliptical trainer, as this was a way to slowly warm up the body and all the muscle groups, luckily for me I own one, so looks like gone are the days of it being used as clothes dryer.
Cool.

The Day After

I was expecting to get up this morning after last nights run and ache all over but surprisingly I did not ache, I have a little tightening of my calf muscles but that is it.
I know that I have committed to a routine using the Nike+ application and though I have it in my diary for 11:30am, I thought that I do not have to keep it as regimented as that. I merely need to make sure that the reminder is early on in the day to keep me posted and then at some point in the day that I do my run, that way I do not beat myself up about not feeling like I have to do my run at that set time.

Epsom Run

Tonight was going to be my biggest challenge as it was going to be the first run at Epsom. I impressed myself, I was a little blown away to find out that I have completed nearly three miles, I am astounded I got that far, even with the rest breaks scattered throughout the run.
I am not going to push myself to far to quick and if I need to take a days break from my run I will do so. I would like to train at least three times a week but if I can only manage twice a week then so be it, in the meantime I will stick to my Nike+ training program so as to do something each day, all be it a light workout. I will also do more on the Wii as that can be done when it is to dark to run and also I do love my yoga and Pilates.

First Nike+

Just completed my first part of the Nike+ running coach and though it was a long brisk walk to start with, I could feel my body slowly warming up. When I hit the ten minute mark I was positively glowing.
Just having a lunch break then off to meet Ian at Epsom Downs for another work out in addition to my Nike+ running coach workout.

Brand New Day, Brand New Me

Today is the start of the brand new regime I hope will motivate me to get some of this weight shifted and also to shift my body pattern so I get more out of my day.
It is really hard when you are stuck in a body cycle that every day puts its self out of sync, so I think a regular bed time and a regular regime of exercise should do it. The reason why I say this may help shift my body clock, might be due to the fact my body clock has always been set on night mode, from the many years working in the brewery trade, people do not realise running a pub is not a nine to five job. When you have been doing long silly hours for so long, even when you stop, your body clock just still runs on that time and even just simply going to bed early does not work, well it does not work for me. I tried going to bed early but I would be wide awake for about three hours after I had gone to bed, unable to sleep till the little hand past the number three.
I hope that if I feed my body right and do a regular exercise plan that my body will be so tiered by hopefully 10:30pm, I should naturally fall asleep by no later than midnight, this will still giving me plenty of time to do all my chores, website updates, blog entry's and also some quite time.
So instead of getting up late in the day, today I am up at 9:30am having breakfast and a coffee and just writing this entry as my body is shocked into the brand new me.

Run Jezz Run

So far it has been all talk about wanting to start to run and doing it at home on the Wii is one thing but doing in practise with all the elements being thrown at you, well that is something else.
Today I downloaded the Nike+ GPS application and joined the online community and the world or running and fitness freaks, so far so good. I then looked through the Nike site and chose a goal to burn calories over a set period, that is when I stumbled on that there was more to this site than previously thought. I could start to train myself with a coached plan and luckily for me there was a twelve week beginners program that I am going to start tomorrow.
I thought that as the weather was good I would do a small jog around the lovely Beddington park. Well, I managed one and a half miles in thirteen minutes which I do not think is that bad for a first run, but by god did I know that I had done a run after. Full of phlegm, choking and a splutter afterwards and a very warm glow all over, but I did it.
I am hoping that as the days, weeks and months pass, it gets easier.

#HashTag That

It is all well and good posting items on the internet and for best results to get people talking is to post something on Facebook or Twitter. But did you know that for those of us who want the maximum coverage, then how about posting to Twitter and then putting a hashtag, one of these ‘#’ in front of your buzz word. Hash tagging works by linking other posts with the same buzz words together no matter what other content is in your tweet. In turn this opens your tweets up to the whole wide world and inevitably making tweeting far more social than ever before. Think of it this way, you post to twitter about a night out with the girls or lads and in your tweet is the name of the club you was at, simply putting a hashtag in front of the clubs name then adds you to the list of others who have tweeted about that club.
I have been doing this kind of tweeting for some time now and have meet a few really great people through it and have also got into some great discussions.
You never know where a simple hash tagged tweet will get you.
I have recently discovered that you can link your Twitter and Facebook together so that you only have to post the once to Twitter and then it adds it to your Facebook timeline. This is great for short posts but when adding lots of photos that you would like to group then it is best to do that direct to Facebook.

A Day Of Riches

Yesterday was quite, so I did not have anything to write about, but today has made up for it as it has been somewhat jam packed.
My day started off with an appointment at the clinic for my routine bloods and swabs as part of a general health check and all is good on that front. I then headed into town for a trip to sort out a banking matter and I did not feel my bank delivered the service I normally get, might have to look into that.
I am not sure if my expectations of service and customer care has increased anymore but I do think that because I do most of my shopping in Kingston and in department stores like Apple, Waitrose and John Lewis where customer service and care is of the highest standards everyone else seems to lack what they have and it really shows. Just walking through Sutton high street I could see the demise of what used to be a nice place to shop and now it is turning into a dirty, run down and frightfully full of common folk screaming out at their unruly children. I can safely add Sutton along with the likes if Croydon to the list of places I will not be seen shopping in again.
I have been slowly increasing my physical levels and now I have my new running buddy, I thought I would look about for some essential gear that would come in handy not just for my walks, runs but to use generally and as luck would have it I got some real deals today. I was in a retail park not far from home browsing in a sports shop when I cam across an array of Karrimor gear at silly prices so I had to treat myself. I got a pair of walking poles for under a tenner, an iPod sports armband for under a fiver, two pairs of sports earbuds (the over ear ones) both of which also under a fiver and then a water bottle belt pack and spare running bottle for under a tenner. Looks like I did well on that bit of retail therapy.
When coming home the news just got better, more treats. Apple announced it is releasing a new operating system 'Mountain Lion' just a year after 'Lion' OS X and as a taster before the release in the summer Mac users got treated to 'Messages' the new feature to replace iChat and make it more in tune with the iOS style of messaging. Slowly but surely I am seeing subtle changes since owning a Mac that OS X is merging with iOS to make a cross platform and universal application that works with all your Apple iDevices and big changes on how common tasks are now more integrated than ever before, like twitter and text chats that can then turn into video chats with a flick of a switch.
If your curiosity has got the better of you then click on the ‘Mountain Lion’ icon to see a short video of what you can expect this summer. If that is not enough for you and you want a little treat then click on the ‘Messages’ icon to download the Beta of ‘Messages’.

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messages

To cap off todays events, was some offerings from the PSN as last months offering for PSN plus customers was not to great but yet again today showed they are making up for it as the latest content was the biggest. I have managed to download today a total of twenty-five dynamic PS3 themes, four PS3 full game titles and eight PSP titles all for the price of zero pounds and zero pence. Membership is showing some clear advantages and when my renewal comes up in the summer I will sure be subscribing for another year.

Two in one day

How nice it is to get some mail in your inbox or posted through you letterbox, it is just great for that bit of communication, even better though when it is in person. Today I got two in one day, two visitors that is. I was up early knowing I had guests coming over, whipping the hoover about in places I had missed a few days earlier and then headed of into town for a few cakes.
I bought home a selection of cream cakes and just in time for our first guest.
Not seen Peter in several months and it was nice to see an old face and catch up. My next visitor arrived shortly after, Colin who's been a good friend for a few years now, one of those people you meet and instantly click with.
Oh well that is about it for today. I wonder what tomorrow brings for me?

Monday Blues

What could be worse than a Monday morning stuck in traffic?
Monday morning in traffic, heading to the dentist. Fortunately my dentist in Wandsworth is excellent and also extremely cheap compared to my last dentist who though was a little closer to home was also a lot more expensive and she had no compassion towards my anxiety of sitting in the dentists chair. So today I may be £17 out of pocket but I got some pearly whites to show for it.
For a few days now I have been experiencing a little trouble with applications loading and my iPhone running a little sluggish and today I could not get the app store to load so after a hard reboot and a tweaking here and there and still no joy, I had no choice but to do a system restore and it feels like I have a brand new iPhone.
A word of waring for anyone who has to do this procedure, for god sake BACKUP YOUR IPHONE!
I have always backed up my data and kept my applications up to date and with the added benefit of having application and phone settings that can be stored in Apples iCloud, now doing such a drastic procedure is as easy as pie with only one drawback, needing about an hour or so to solely dedicate to the job in hand.
Sorted, a new feeling about my iPhone and all of my applications, folders and data in its place.

Late Latte

Thinking I would have nothing to write today, Wayne gave inspiration as today he showed an interest in my Nespresso coffee machine.
I explained to Wayne how to use the machine and suggested what coffee strength to use, he then set out in making himself a tall latte.

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Up Too Early

Well, I can only think that the bad weather and the heating coming on sooner than normal that has played about with body clock.  I feel tiered and groggy at funny times throughout the day and when I should be sleeping I am wide awake.  Take this morning for example, I awoke at 4:20am only to briefly use the bathroom and then again at 6:30am and on the second wake up I felt I needed to get up but instead I forced myself back to sleep. Now it's 11:30am and I need to get up or I will not be able to sleep tonight, it is a vicious circle, here is hoping for a change in the weather soon.
Despite how the day started, today has turned out very productive as I have managed to get a lot of research material for this site and preparation for articles that will shortly be posted. My main workflow today was the uniformity of files that are used threw out this and another website that I maintain.  I can wipe my brow now and say that I have completed what I set out to do today and reward myself will a few pieces of Turkish Delight, that is the sweet not some woman belly dancing in front of me.

The White Stuff

Yesterday I managed to get out after having a few days of snow stopping me from going anywhere and though on my return journey home snow was in the air, it was not settling.
I had a feeling that this morning could be another cold day but a clear sky and a possible chance of getting some fresh air again. I had a little paperwork to do this morning and thought that I would get that out of the way then have a spot of lunch and then take a stroll in the park.
Typical just my luck, it has just started to snow again and this time it is settling. Oh well another day in and I guess a chance to catch up on the remainder of unfinished tasks on this site, well at least today has still proved to be productive.

Getting It Down

I was looking for an application today that would make recording my daily events a bit easier as I have been using the notepad on both the iPad and iPhone as they sync so well with iCloud. The downside to this is that you have to start all the time with just a blank canvas and though that is great for taking notes, to use for a diary or journal entires it is very impractical and it becomes a real bind to do on every event. That is when I stumbled on DayOne and after a few reviews on YouTube this application was the best there is so I just had to have it.

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I purchased it across all platforms so that I would be able to track my life wherever I was.
This entry is living proof that it is working well as the inbuilt export feature allows me to send my entires as either a tweet or via email in both plain and rich text and is ideal for a quick copy and paste straight into my website building application.

Sakura

Not long in from a great meal out, it was my first visit to the Sakura Indian restaurant situated in Carshalton. The food was bursting full of flavours and spices and it was a warming atmosphere on such a cold night. Wayne had been there on many occasions with his daughter Kelly and tonight both Wayne and Kelly were present as well as Anthony and Michèle. I would highly recommend this restaurant for a nice weekday treat, even better when you have great company to enjoy the experience with. 

Anthony's 16th Birthday

I remember Anthony as a young lively little chap that would always be full of giggles and everyday would be a new adventure. Like any child he would be excitable by climbing trees, running in the park and sitting in the drivers seat of a sports car.

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Boy has he grown up as Wayne and I along with Michele, Zoe, Alfie, Freddie, Spencer, Stacey, Kelly, Ethan, Jake joined Anthony to celebrate his 16th birthday at a Harvester restaurant at The Plough, Sutton.

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But Anthony will always still be my little chap, the one with the nimble fingers and so good at getting me past levels I seem to constantly get stuck on when playing games on the PS3.

Cup Of Joe

For some it is a cup of tea in the morning that kick starts the taste buds and for others it is a coffee.
Oh how I love my coffee and last year my coffee machine broke and I never replaced it until now. I like a varied taste in coffee and also styles, sometimes I like an espresso, other times I like a tall Latte and occasionally I like a cappuccino, so when hunting for a new machine I needed to make sure that it met all my requirements but still could deliver a great tasting coffee. Two of my close friends who also love their coffee suggested I get a Nespresso machine as the pod system it uses has a great range of coffees and none of that processed rubbish you see on the supermarket shelves. I looked into the different styles of Nespresso machines and finally settled on the latest machine, the Pixie with its unique milk warming and frothing system ‘the Aerocinno’.

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The coffee is great and the range is larger than any other brand that I have seen and the best thing about the experience is the quality.

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Nespresso does not sell their coffee pods in many retail outlets they have a style of their own, they have boutiques and a privileged members club that you join. I can order my coffee in several ways; over the phone, online or use the Nespresso iPhone application, it is as easy as that and the privileged service does not stop there, all your coffee is delivered by courier.
With my first order I got a great deal on my welcome pack, it consisted of fifteen boxes (thats 150 pods) that had one of every strength minus the ‘Decaffeinato’ as I opted for the ‘Decaffeinato Inteso’ and also with that I got a free display cube for my pods and then as I proceeded to the checkout online I got £40 off my first order.

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Friends Think

You know when you have a good friend as they listen to what you have to say, they instinctively know your mood and know how to deal with it, they can say what needs to be said and you view it as guided loving advise. They are right there for you when you need them and they can keep a distance when you need to be on your own with just your thoughts. A good friend also knows, without having to ask what to buy for you on your birthday and Christmas and your be guaranteed that what they get you is just so personal and right from the heart.
My good friend Colin, I can only describe you as a charming prince that can see both sides of the story and I feel so lucky to be able to have your warmth and friendship. Colin you are so thoughtful that on your trip away you thought of both me and Wayne and we just wanted to say how we love our fun and casual bead bracelets, ideal for when you want to wear a piece of simple jewellery that goes with everything.

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I was truly gobsmacked when you bought me my first Murano glass bead for my next Pandora bracelet and you added your own finishing touches with the personalised presentation bag, I am going to use that to store my new bracelet in.

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You surprised me once more with a gorgeously engraved glass that is just right for my evening tipple, but I am also aware of just how special that glass is and I may well have to just keep it on show in my display cabinet of treasured gifts and keepsakes.

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Thank you once more Colin for my delightful gifts and for our friendship that can only grow bigger, stronger and closer.

What Does 2012 Bring

That Champagne last night was strong stuff as we all had a few extra hours in bed.
So what does this year look like, what is in store for me? I am happy to take what this year throws my way but I would like to do it a few KG lighter.
Today I took my mum and sister back home to Harlow and installed her new PC, webcam and 22 inch monitor.
Now that we may be miles away and in separate counties at least one thing we can both do; is see and hear each other using Skype. This for my mum is a new way to communicate over the net and with only a few lessons we are already video conferencing a few times a week. It is really great to be able to see and speak to her.

Christmas 2011

For the past 10 years Christmas has been spent with Wayne’s side of the family but this year broke that mould as Wayne and I entertained my mum and sister to 11 days of rest, food, drink, fun times and a good catch up. Nothing was really planned other than the Christmas Day meal and it was nice not to have to stick to any schedule. After a few days of eating and drinking the next thing to do was treat ourselves to a bit of pampering as we all chose what face packs to apply whilst watching the telly. It was so funny because Hayley decided to have a mud pack and she looked like one of the Minstrels off of the black and white minstrel show.

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I was treated to some wonderful gifts ranging from items that were so personal to some totally upbeat tech. Kelly I love my charm and I think it may well be the last one I can add to this bracelet as it is now full. Wayne you so know how I love my tech and the sound from my Beats headphones is out of this world, crystal clear yet full of those sounds you would have otherwise missed.

Snake

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Other than racking up a few trophies on the PS3 playing family games in teams of two, we also had a breath of fresh air as we all headed down to Reigate on the 28th December. As usual went through the charity shops and then went for some lunch at The Bell pub in Reigate village. We all had a different burger meal with a different specialty filling, I had a bacon and brie. They also do a great range of ploughman’s lunches to suit every taste ranging from the traditional cheese ploughman’s to a Parma Ham & Salami ploughman’s, oh and don’t be fooled by the size of the outside as this pub is like a tardis. On route home we also stopped at the charity shops in Banstead.

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Seeing the new year in was great to, a nice selections of cheese, biscuits and Port then later at the stroke of midnight a few glasses of Champagne.

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