JezzWarren.com

2013

Here Comes The Rain

The UK is not best known for its good weather, if anything it is more known for its bad weather. Normally just before Christmas arrives her in the Uk we get a flurry of snow and ice and other cold blustery winds, but this year we had heavy rains, rains that did not let up and that caused across the country flooding.
Some streams became rivers, rivers overflowed and became lakes and anywhere that water could flow to or through, it did.
For most, Christmas eve is all about doing the last minute things just before everything shuts down for the holiday period.
The property that I am currently living in has had problems for a few years now and the lack of maintenance from the housing association has shown and has added to its dilapidation, so much so the building has subsided and caused a few more problems, one of them being that cracks and entry points that water can get into.
This year Christmas was eventful but for all the wrong reasons, the heavy rain made its way in through the cracks in the wall and what should of been a relaxing few days turned into hours of mopping up water, wringing out towels and emptying buckets.



Obviously emergency services were stretched to breaking point due to the bad weather and the fact it fell right on top of the holiday period did not help, but Hyde Housing association took four days to come out to an emergency call out, one word; Negligence.

Ethan & The Piano

I never tend to venture out on a Saturday, but today both Wayne and I headed to the Greyhound pub in Carshalton to see Ethan play in a musical recital.
Ethan and I have bonded well and as of such he was pleased to see both Wayne and myself, he smiled and sent a small wave to the back of the room where I was standing whilst waiting for his turn to play.
Ethan looked dapper in his shirt and bow tie and though he was a little nervous (and possibly anyone would be nervous in the same situation), he held his composure.
Ethan overcame his nerves and played his piano piece through to the end with not a single mistake, hesitation but not mistake.

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Shop & Wrap

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I have not had much time to blog but then like everyone else I am Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts, luckily for me I am only getting stocking fillers as I finished all my main Christmas shopping way back at the end of October.
It seems like most people are leaving things to the last minute as per usual but this time hoping to get a good deal but as every shop is competing all year round, the deals always seem to be there come rain or shine and no matter what month of the year it is.
Shops have changed but looks like people are still thinking that you will get the best deal at the last minute.

XMAS

Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word “Xmas,” as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do.
You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Xmas is popularly associated with a trend towards materialism, and sometimes the target of people who decry the emergence of general “holiday” observance instead of particular cultural and religious ritual.

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But the history of the word “Xmas” is actually more respectable and fascinating than you might suspect. First of all, the abbreviation predates by centuries its use in gaudy advertisements. It was first used in the mid 1500s. X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And here’s the kicker: Χριστός means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years. This device is known as a Christogram. The mas in Xmas is the Old English word for “mass.”  (The thought-provoking etymology of “mass” can be found here.) In the same vein, the dignified terms Xpian and Xtian have been used in place of the word “Christian.”
As lovers of the alphabet, we are transfixed by the flexibility of “X.” The same letter can represent the sacred, the profane (“rated X”), and the unknown (“X-ray“). What does the “X” in Xbox stand for?

Down To The Pins

As much I liked the design of the Mophie juice pack I had to return my case for a refund as there was one distinct design fault that let this case down. The case was designed that the joining of the two parts of the case was at the bottom of the phone inline with the lightning connector, as usual you take the case apart and slide your phone in, then join the two parts together. Most cases of this nature have the joining at the top of the phone so as not to interfere with the charging area, this is where the design fault is on the Mophie.
In order to connect battery pack and phone there needs to be a joining connector, a circuit connection, most cases do not need this as the phone slides in from the top but as the Mophie is different in design, it needs some form of connection.
At some point you do need to remove your phone from its case and doing this with the Morphie will be its downfall. You see there are two pins in the removable lower part of the case that connect to two receivers in the top part of the case, it only takes for the pins to come unaligned or the connectors to be pushed to far back into the case housing and then you get what I got, no connection and no charge.
Sorry Mophie your cases are nice to look at and are sturdy but the design is the letdown and ultimately in a case that you are paying nearly £90 you would have thought it to be more durable and without flaws.

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Frank B's

Wayne had promised his sister Nikki that he would take her shopping in Kingston and buy her a Pandora charm and normally I leave them to go and have brother and sister time, this time I was invited and it was a nice change.
When we are out it is hard to please everyone in where to stop off and have a bite to eat, you know shopping can be real tiring work. We had passed by Frank B’s every time we headed to the Centreview restaurant and thought of it as nothing more than one of those fun themed restaurants, we took a brave leap and was pleasantly surprised, it was more than just an American diner.

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The theme of the restaurant was as you would expect in a recreation of an American diner, some can be a bit over done but this was just right and they managed to capture the ambience just right. They did the usual array of burgers and fries, cokes, floats and shakes, stuff for the kids, the vegetarian option and then a few extra things you would only find in an American diner. The food was cooked to order and though this made for a slightly longer wait, it was worth it as you knew the food was not only hot but also fresh, this a key component to a good restaurant, people do not mind waiting a little longer if the food is freshly cooked rather than on a keep warm quick blanch basis, nothing worse than double cooked food.
Wayne and Nikki decided to share a burger and order extra fries and I had a burger to myself, who would have thought beetroot in a burger could be so refreshing.
If I was to be asked “would you got back again” then my response would be “yes”. The food was great, the choice was varied and the combinations of extras was better than I have seen in most places, overall a good place to eat unless you are not into the American diner experience.

Juiced Up

With a new iPhone means buying new accessories and the iPhone 5s is no exception, but as the phone is relatively new it does mean that the only products available are from those companies that have always been in Apple line of sight, these are Mophie, Belkin and Twelve South. These products however are part of the high end range, but with quality does mean they are not cheap, if anything they are the most expensive but I do believe you get what you pay for, buy budget you get budget, buy quality you get the best.
The Mophie Juice Pack Air is an iPhone 5s case that offers substantial protection, but more importantly contains a built-in battery that enables you to run the iPhone 5 for longer.

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Short battery life is a problem that plagues many smartphones. Apple has paid close attention to maxing out the battery life of its products. Indeed the recent iPhone and iPads are little more than batteries with components embedded inside and screens attached. Apple claims eight hours of talk time, and 10 hours of video playback on the iPhone 5s. Typically this should be enough but there are circumstances when the battery runs short: keen gamers, those who use the iPhone 5s as a Sat-Nav and anybody on a long-haul flight will find solace in this Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5s case. The Mophie Juice Pack Air completely surrounds the rear and sides of an iPhone 5s. The bottom part is removable and forms two pieces that clip together around the iPhone. Once clipped into place the iPhone 5s display and buttons are accessible, but the rest of the phone is neatly sealed in.
There are gaps for the earphone socket, and camera lens and replacement buttons on the sides of the Mophie Juice Pack Air.

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These push down the appropriate buttons, and adjust the Mute slider as appropriate. In all the iPhone 5s worked exactly the same as before. Impressed with the fit and finish of the Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5s. Like previous Mophie products it is clearly made of high quality plastic and metal with a styling designed to somewhat mimic the iPhone 5s (there’s a metal band running around the side). There are also build in speaker grills so the audio from the iPhone is pumped out from the front. The only technical difference is that you charge the Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5s with a Micro USB cable instead of the usual Lightning connector. It is worth noting that you cannot sync to iTunes with the USB cable, although you can sync an iPhone 5s wirelessly these days).

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On the reverse of the case is a rocker switch so you can choose to charge the iPhone 5s or just hold the power in reserve. It also sports a button with four lights that you can press to get a charge status.

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The case did not interfere with call or data function, although there is no getting away from the fact that it bulks out the iPhone 5s.
It doubles the width of the iPhone 5s and takes the weight of the phone from 112grams to 188grams. I did not find it unwieldy though, and the extra weight did not seem much of an issue. Probably because the iPhone 5s is especially lightweight to begin with. Still, it is a direct trade-off between form and function. The case is essentially a large battery and I found that when it was attached to an iPhone 5s it charged up an iPhone from flat to 85%. This offers a lot of extra time to use the device. It is enough to see you happy on any long-haul journey, but probably overkill for day-to-day use but then we do use our smartphones more and more these days.

Thud

All I remember was being in the bathroom sitting on the toilet and then telling Wayne I felt faint. My intention was to make my way to the bedroom and lay down until the dizzy feeling had passed, clearly I did not make it to the bedroom, instead I awoke with paramedics looming over me as I came to. I had blacked out, fallen to the floor and on my way down I hit the back of my head on a door handle.
Is it just typical that I have treated myself to a trip to the barbers with a new hair style only for it to be ruined with blood and shredded flesh.
I was told that Kelly, Wayne's daughter went into first aid mode whilst Wayne felt helpless to what he could do, it was only yesterday that Wayne had been watching a documentary on JFK and seeing the head injury was all he could think about and panicked as it was not just but blood he was faced with but flesh to.
I was rushed to A&E in an ambulance where I was treated for a head injury and lacerations to the scalp and once cleaned up I was glued back together, medical advances mean no more stitches.
I have just got rest up for the next 72 hours and make sure in that time I do not spend to much time watching the TV, being on the iPad or iPhone and drinking lots of fluids whilst being watched over.

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Got My 5s

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I know previously I blogged about not buying and iPhone 5s but after playing with one in-store and the realisation that the iPhone 6 would not be out until at least December 2014 it was a bit to long to wait for a new phone, I was also not going to get stuck in the rut of buying from my network provider and being locked into a 24 month contract again, just so I could have the latest phone and also to do that I would be subjected to a monthly bill of the of £47 at least, an increase to my contract and being that my provider was not really doing a good job of providing it worked to be the money saving object even if it did mean spending money. Buying a sim free phone did mean I could decide who I wanted to get my mobile service from, to the point that I could change as often as I liked till I got the service that is expected of mobile providers today.

Before The Bangs

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For the last few years I have been incorporating my birthday with bonfire night and this year was no exception, however this year both my mum and sister came to stay and joined in with the party celebrations and fireworks. For some reason less and less places were selling fireworks and my regular places that I bought fireworks from in past years were not doing them this year, so I had to look for another supplier and so to buy in plenty of time I thought it best to go to an all year round firework specialist, thankfully we have several in the area to choose from.
I have been buying Kimbolton fireworks for the last couple of years and this year I changed over to Bright Star and was pleasantly surprised, not only were they cheaper (and we got a good deal on what we bought) but also the array was more spectacular and varied, it was not all about cheap whizzes and pitiful bangs but great big bursts of colour, huge explosions and sounds that everyone including the neighbourhood could hear, overall Bright Star were the better fireworks.
My mother suggested that we cut down on what food we did this year and was not going to over do it as that left it wide open for error, this year we did homemade curry and chilli with rice and good old Jacket potatoes with the choice of cheese or beans, or if you wanted curry and chilli, the jackets went down a storm this year.
Even though we had a light mist of rain it did not spoil the night apart from one fireworks fuse that got a little damp and did not go off, other than that a great night enjoyed by Wayne, Kelly, Debbie, Nikki, Anthony, Michele, Dean and this year also my mother and sister.

Lights On Lights Off

We are in such a throw away society that when things break we just bin them, but what happens when we need to fix them because throwing them away is not an option?
Today one of my break light on the car decided to blow and I had the choice to book my car in at the garage and pay about £25 to get it fixed or do it myself. I thought that if the instruction were int he car manual then it was designed to be fixed and not to use a garage to do the same job.
I had the bulb and so I thumbed through the pages of the car manual until I came across the lights section. Ok it was not overly easy to disassemble but breaking it down in stages and taking my time, I did change the bulb myself and so saved myself a trip to the garage and a bill at the end of it.

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Vicki Wig-Do

Every year you have that choice of what to do for your birthday, do you go out for a meal with friends and family, do you take a days trip out, do some exciting adventure or throw your own party?
When it is one of those big numbers like 18, 21 or 40 then most make it an event to remember, Vicki did just that last night.
Vicki was celebrating her 40th birthday with a themed night, it was not surprising that she kept the theme in close keeping to her work, so being a hairdresser the theme was all to do with hair, in particular wigs.

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A complementary drink was served to guests by a door whore as you entered the village hall and then a numbered tag was stuck on you, this was all to do with Vicki offering a prize for the best and worst wig.

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Food was provided by the way of a burger van that Vicki had hired for the night so chips, burgers and hot dogs were being served.
A photographer was there with a backdrop and props. It was a good night that everyone participated in, even Irene and Brian from the Isle Of White had made the long journey to be there.

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Mavericks

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There is not one thing that jumps out with Apple's new Mac operating system, known as Mavericks and that is a good thing. Mavericks has plenty of modest refinements that add up to a system well worth the upgrade, even if Apple were not giving it away for free.
Many years ago, Web surfing changed dramatically when the Opera browser offered a way to open multiple Web pages in tabs instead of separate windows that cluttered the computer desktop. Most browsers soon followed, that concept now comes to file management as part of Mavericks, which Apple released Tuesday for new Macs and older ones running Snow Leopard, Lion or Mountain Lion. You can now use tabs rather than separate windows for various folders, disks and networked servers.The change may seem cosmetic, but it saves time. As I opened a file here and move a file there in previous versions of the Mac OS, I could easily have a half-dozen or more windows open. If I closed them, I would have to go through the trouble of finding those folders and drives again later.
Tabs mean I no longer have to accept that clutter. All the tabs are neatly organised at the top of a single window. I can access files and move them around more easily and to further assist with file management, Mavericks lets you assign one or more tags to files. It is similar to the approach Google's Gmail uses to organise email. I have been trying to go paperless by scanning or requesting bills and receipts electronically, but they have been scattered in more than 100 folders and subfolders.
The problem is that an individual file might belong in a number of folders. A receipt for a museum membership might go under "receipts," ''museum," ''charity," ''taxes" or in a folder for the credit card I used. With tags, I can label the file with all five and find it more easily. It does not matter anymore what folder I put it in. Searching by the tag will automatically pull the relevant file up.

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Apple e-books also sync. Mavericks introduces an iBooks app for the Mac, so you are no longer limited to iPhones and iPads. You can start a book on an iPhone and pick up where you left off on the Mac. Any highlights and notes transfer over. Bonus: Copy a passage into any app, and Mavericks automatically adds a citation.

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Safari, a new Sidebar offers quick access to bookmarks, sites marked for offline viewing and suggestions from people you follow on Twitter or LinkedIn. Unfortunately, Facebook links are not part of that. A continuous scrolling feature automatically grabs the next site on your list when you get to the bottom of one.
Apple's Maps app comes to the Mac. Last year, that app deposed Google Maps as the primary mapping app on iPhones, only to lead many people astray with mismatched landmarks and faulty directions.The mobile app has gotten better, and the Mac version shares many of its attributes. You do not get turn-by-turn voice guidance on the Mac, but you can send results to your iPhone with two clicks. It is much easier to plan a trip using a real keyboard.
Apple does integrate the service with its other apps, something it can do by building a stand-alone app. Click on an address in a Mail message for a small map within the app. You can then add the address to the Contacts app or pull up the full map in Maps and when you fill out a Calendar entry with an address, Apple uses it’s mapping service to calculate and block out travel time from the previous appointment. It also shows you a small map and the weather.

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The Calendar app, meanwhile, is easier to read. Weeks no longer have to start on the same day each week, usually Sunday. Months don't have to begin on the first. You can view the last two weeks of one month and the first two weeks of the next on one screen, for instance.
Mavericks also offers easier ways to reply to chats and emails when notifications pop up on the side. I did have trouble when a friend and I sent each other streams of chats at once, without waiting for a reply. I can reply with only one line without returning to the chat app and if another chat comes in as I am replying, I see only the first message in the reply box.

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Mavericks offers much more you will not see, but might feel, includes better power and memory management. There are also improvements when working with multiple monitors. By offering it for free, Apple is following the model it has adopted for iPhones and iPads: Make money on devices, and keep customers happy with the latest software innovations. Just remember to back up your files before downloading and installing the update through the Mac's app store.

Rotera

So I have bought all the fireworks for this years display and now I am just doing all the finishing touches to make this years display better than last, I have a feeling I will be doing the same next year to better this display.
Last year I lit the viewing area and steps in to the garden with a trails of tea lights in terracotta pots, this year I decided to use lanterns (Rotera) that I got from Ikea. They are lovely galvanised lamps with cut out stars.

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First For Fireworks

Last years firework display was great but as I left buying fireworks to almost the last week the choice was not there, but the prices were better than half price.
This year I wanted to have the choice and as two of the garden centres were not stocking fireworks this year I had to make alternative plans to get great fireworks at a good price but maybe to use another brand or supplier.
Buying direct from such specialist companies has been known in the past to be fairly expensive and with hefty postage fees due to the fact of high insurances costs it puts a lot of people off, luckily in Morden there is a fireworks specialist stocking Bright Star fireworks.
In past years that I have been having fireworks I have been using the Kimbolton brand and have not used Bright Star before, but the choice that was at 'The Firework Factory' in Morden were very reasonably priced and they did some special offers too.
Harvey served us and after we told him what we wanted to achieve and our budget, he then gave us good advice and also they had a DVD of all the fireworks they stocked, so we could see what we were letting ourselves in for before we committed to buying anything.
I started off with buying an aerial selection box that Harvey said was very popular and that gave you a great bang for your bucks, he pointed out that some items he had in stock were BOGOF and so made even better value, that meant I could get some fountains and a few ground display fireworks.
Last year I started the firework festivities with everyone playing with sparklers as it gave me time to set up the display order and a firework display is not the same without a few sparklers, this years sparklers are a lot larger, I have chosen mammoth rainbow sparklers.
Harvey suggested some rockets that would create a massive aerial explosion and also sound great, so Wayne treated me to some.
I wanted this year to have a finale firework and we settled for thirty-two shot barrage display, these are great fireworks as all you have to do is light it and walk away, the display takes care of itself.
Harvey looked after us by adding a free Kimbolton firework reminiscent of the sort of fireworks I had last year and a pack of firework lighting rods.
I felt well looked after and got what I wanted and more, looks like I have found my future firework supplier and because they are an all year round company, I do not have to rush out mid October with everyone else and be at the mercy or supermarkets and garden centres with their limited displays and high prices.

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Centre View Fish And Chips

Today I had to visit the Apple store in Kingston as my iMac had a part that was recalled.
Once I had handed over my iMac, Wayne thought it would be nice to find somewhere to have a meal out and we thought that we would give the Centre View cafe at Bentals a visit.
I was pleasantly surprised that the cooked to order service was swift and food tasted great, cooked just right.

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I Am Waiting

I like my gadgets, and generally consider myself an early adopter. When my friends are looking at buying a new piece of technology, I am the one they ask as they know I have either owned it or have tried it.
So you might be surprised to learn that my phone is an iPhone 4S and even after the unveiling of the 5s (no, I do not know why it suddenly became lower-case either), I am planning to wait for the iPhone 6 before upgrading.
It is not that the 5s is not impressive from a purely technological viewpoint. It is. A 64-bit phone? That is a pretty incredible achievement. Delegating sensor functions to a separate chip to enable constant use without the usual battery drain?
Brilliant.
A truly state-of-the-art fingerprint sensor?
Fantastic.
A larger phone sensor with lower pixel-density? Exactly the right approach, and I was delighted to see Apple refusing to join in the stupid megapixel race.
But I am still not going to buy one.
Much as I love hi-tech solutions for their own sake, I still need to see practical benefit. While I am wowed by the 64-bit CPU, I cannot honestly think of a single occasion when I have been using an app and wishing my phone were faster. Perhaps I would if I were a gamer, but I am generally not. My experience of using my 4S is that I touch a button and something happens. Mobile data delays, sure, but waiting for the processor to do something? Does not ever happen for me.
It is not like a laptop. The switch from 32-bit to 64-bit there was night-and-day with some tasks, like processing lots of photos and video editing. But those processor-intensive operations are not the kind of thing I do on my phone.

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The M7 co-processor really is a piece of genius. If you are not familiar with the concept, normally the CPU the A7 chip in this case does pretty much all of the work. Not just running apps, but also all the background stuff too: keeping track of the phone’s orientation, looking out for new wifi networks to join, that kind of stuff. What the 5s does is have a separate chip to take care of the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. For example, if you are running a fitness app, instead of the CPU being active the whole time, collecting that data and passing it to the app, the M7 chip simply logs it all and makes it available later to any app on demand. That means the A7 chip has less to do, and you get better battery life.
Fantastic.
But in my typical usage, it is rare for me to run out of battery life. My office is at home, and I have an iPhone dock in my car, so the phone generally only needs to operate on battery power for a few hours at a time. There are exceptions, but for most of those the 4S still copes and there are battery power cases for the few times they are needed.

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Fingerprint sensors are not new, and they have even made it into phones before, but the 5s one is incredibly advanced. With many fingerprint sensors, you have to roll your finger across them, and the finger has to be in a consistent orientation. With the 5s sensor, all you do is touch, and it offers 360-degree recognition, so it does not matter how you are holding the phone or how you apply your finger.
I love that. But it is not enough. Give me fingerprint-protected NFC, so I can leave my wallet at home and only carry my phone, and I would have been setting up camp outside my local Apple Store. Let me unlock my banking app and Paypal account and I would have been pretty tempted. But just to unlock my phone? Well, that’s a waste of good technology.

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I have been using my phone more and more to take professional photos and that new phone sensor and f/2.2 lens? Ok, Apple, I admit you did tempt me there. While everyone else crams in more and more pointless megapixels to a tiny sensor just so they can put an impressive-sounding number on the box, you actually understand photography. You know that once you have enough megapixels to produce a decent-sized print (and honestly, even 4MP achieves that), what matters is the quality of those pixels. And for quality, sensor size is king. Couple that with a wide-aperture lens to let in as much light as possible and you have a camera that will be incredibly capable in low-light conditions.
The new styling? Hmm, sorry, Jony, it is pretty and all, and you have achieved an absolute miracle in creating a non-tacky-looking gold phone, but I honestly prefer my all-white 4S.

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I also will not be buying one because my nearly two-year-old iPhone 4S still looks new. It still looks modern. It still performs beautifully. The buttons and switch all work perfectly. The attention to detail and manufacturing quality that made it a winner then leave it still a winner today. In short, if I were to walk into a phone store today and buy my 4S, I would be happy with my purchase.
Apple, you got me to upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the 4S. Siri did that. But I will be able to get the iOS 7 goodness just like those who have splashed out on the 5s, and there is nothing else I want enough to join them. In essence, Apple, by creating a quality phone and then allowing me to update it to the latest software two years later, you have cost yourself a sale.
But then that is also the reason I will likely still be a customer many years from now. Long-term, Apple’s strategy is bang on the money.

Winter Veg

Yesterday whilst out with the boys I bought some seeds so as to have some winter crops as I did not want my garden to look to bare after a nice summer crop.
Wayne loves his coriander and rocket, so I made sure I had planted enough, so much so I made use of the larger pots.

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Signed Off

It was my last visit to the fracture clinic today as it was confirmed that they could do nothing else for me, it was only time and exercise now that would heal my ankle.

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Trained Steps

I have done all I can do inside the comfort of my own home and the range of motions are returning and felling less awkward and more like walking, now it is time to put all this rehabilitation back ingot he real world, a walk outside.
I am used to wearing only trainers for running and normally I just wear flat style footwear, that has all got to change now as if I am to venture outside then I am to only do so wearing trainers.
Here goes.

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First Walk

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The day has finally come that I am to walk unaided, no stick, no cam walker, just a few steps on my own.
I am taking it so easy, just a few steps around the flat at first, a walk to the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom but no venturing outside just yet.
It is surprising that in just over ten weeks how the muscles around my ankle have shrunk so much, I now have odd ankles, so to speak.
I felt a bit wobbly, but then that is to be expected and as my left side has been doing most of the work and over compensating then I am going to have to overcome my biggest hurdle, using both legs to do the job they both need to do together.
I have been told to walk using all of my foot, walking from heel to toe on one continuous motion, this does mean slowing right down and almost following through mentally my actions.
This way of walking will put all the correct muscles back into motion and heal together, nothing overworked or underused.
Slowly does it, but I am getting there.

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Well, today it is my return visit to the factor clinic to find out if I am able to return to normal life.
The news is not good, I still have to use the cam walker for a further four weeks due to the healing taking a little longer, oh well I would rather it heal properly than rush it and the repair not be so successful with the possibility of future walking problems.

One Sock

So far this summer we have had some really hot days and also some cooler ones, but I got a feeling that the usual British summer time is not going to last.
I have noticed in my rehabilitation that the change in temperature is affecting my ankle and on colder days I am having to wear one sock on my damaged foot to keep my mobility at maximum and muscle ache at bay.

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No Stick

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Long gone are those pesky crutches, I am now walking about as if nothing had happened, well okay I still have to wear my Cam walker until the 7th of August, when I will find out how well my rehabilitation has gone.

Scooting About

The aid of the Cam walker has been great for me to get my mobility back, however taking it easy to not walk to far was advice given by the fracture clinic and only do as much as I could manage, do not over do it.
So, when it came to doing the regular weeks grocery shop I knew that I would not be able to manage every isle with the gusto I usually have. What made it easy when visiting Asda Burgh Heath was the use of an electric scooter.



You must have seen people on them before and thought how slow they move, but this was not the case for these nippy scooters in Asda. They turn on a sixpence and make getting about your daily shop with absolute ease, the only problem you might face is it could run out of charge as you are not the only user of this scooter throughout the day, as I soon found out.
I had got most of the way around the store when what I thought was too many heavy items in my scooter basket slowing my scooter down, it then happened, the scooter slowed right down to a standstill, but Asda Burgh Heath being such a friendly bunch, it was just a matter of a staff member getting me another charged scooter and transferring over my shopping to the fully charged scooter.

R.I.C.E.

Sooner or later, everyone is going to experience an ankle injury. What you do with that injury could make the difference between an ability to function normally, and a lifetime of chronic pain. The very first thing to remember (even before going to the doctor) is R.I.C.E.

REST: Rest does not mean that you should do nothing with an ankle for days or weeks on end after injuring it. It means that after you sprain your ankle, you need to get off of it right away to prevent further damage. It may mean you need to lay off of sports for a while or get a pair of crutches for a few days. Just remember, studies on football players have shown that injured players who stand on the sideline to watch the game (instead of sitting down), take almost twice as long to get back on the playing field post injury.
ICE: This is a critical step in the healing process. Ice is a vasoconstrictor (as opposed to a vasodilator). In English, this means that ice “constricts” arteriole blood flow at the site of injury and slows down inflammation. Inflammation, contrary to what most people think, is the release of the chemicals that used to be inside of cells, into the extracellular fluid once those cells are injured and die. The inflammatory chemicals attract the fluid into the surrounding area and cause swelling. Some swelling and inflammation is a good thing and actually promotes proper healing. However, too much swelling causes, among other things, a build up of scar tissue. I strongly advise not using anti-inflammatory drugs to deal with swelling because they have been scientifically proven to cause injured ligaments to heal 1/3 weaker, and about 40% less elastic. Not good for preventing recurrence!
COMPRESSION: A bandage or ankle “sleeve” will suffice here. This simply helps keep swelling down.
ELEVATION: Elevation helps keep swelling down as well but only if your ankle is elevated above your heart! Simply propping your foot up in a recliner is not good enough.

Cam Walker

So it has been a few weeks now and I have got used to living my life with crutches, well for the time being anyway.
Today I got a change to my rehabilitation in the way of a Cam Boot.

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Pneumatic Adjustable Inflation medical boots (often called Air Cam Walkers) allow you to inflate an air bladder to the needed compression for increased stabilisation of their injury. Air cast cam walker fracture boots accommodate different swelling patterns that often occur during the recovery process. This gives the ability to adjust the comfort level of the medical boot.
For the first time I can see the full extent of my injury and I can understand why I was in so much pain as it was not just the ankle that was badly bruised but also my calf area.

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Adjustment

Although it is called a “fracture”, an avulsion fracture of the ankle is not a fracture like you are probably thinking of. Ligaments and tendons anchor into bones via microscopic Velcro-like “hooks” called Sharpey’s fibers. When your ankle is twisted violently enough to pull ligaments and tendons off of bones, they usually take a chunk of bone along with. Sometimes these are big enough to show up on x-ray, sometimes they are not. An Avulsion Fracture is simply a Grade III sprain that has pulled tiny chunks of bones away from their attachment points on your bones.
Sometimes these require a cast, sometimes they do not.
My Avulsion Fractures of the ankle required casting for about 3 weeks.

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This is bad news for the injured tissues. Bone is the only tissue in your body that requires immobilisation to heal properly. Soft tissues must have movement to heal properly, otherwise they heal with scar tissue.
So from today I have to make a few adjustments to my working and home life in order to get this problem resolved and for the area to heal better with no long term scar tissue.
The only way I can do this is for no weight to neon my ankle and so for the next few weeks I will have to get used to life with crutches.

Still Swollen

After a night of elevating my ankle and applying an ice pack, this morning I could see there was no change and instead of wasting the time of those at A&E I got an emergency appointment with my local GP to see what I had done to it.
The GP could not do to much for me, other than fast track me for an x-ray.
There was me thinking it was just a severe sprain but the x-ray had confirmed that I had actually broke my ankle.

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Car Park Injury

Todays jog was no different to that of any other that I had done here in the past apart from one thing, the injury that I received when walking back to the car.
I have walked across the same part of the car park many a times and it was only today that I slipped and fell at a strange angle down a rather bad pot hole, one of many that this car park is littered with.

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I knew I had done something quite bad, as the injury caused my ankle to swell up considerably, about the size of a satsuma, barley being able to work on it I limped back to the car where the real shock of the event happened, comparing my ankles I could see the damage and the twisted inward facing foot.
The pain was so bad I could not drive back myself home and Wayne was given a lift to Epsom to retrieve my car for me.

Down In The Dumps

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and the person looking back was not you?
I have been getting those feelings day after day and today was the breaking point of it all, seeing that fat unhappy man looking back at me.
Because I did not see the weight fall off last year from the jogging then this year had a knock on effect with the lack of enthusiasm for this year.
This year has to be different, I really do have to work at it, I need to be stricter with myself and start off with recording my intake in the way of a food diary. I must get used to drinking more water, it is something I really do not do and should. I think cutting out sugar in drinks will help towards just how many calories I do take in daily, cut back on snacking with those sweets and treats and just treat myself at the weekend as a reward.
I am kind of glad it came to this stage, because it has not just let me know I need to make changes but also my friends around me can see how important this is to me and on days when I am not feeling on top of the world then they know to give a gentle nudge to pick me up.

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Great Bakes

Normally a Wednesday is a day for Wayne and I to go out and spend some quality time together and visit either a historic location, clothes shopping or take in the sights of a new surrounding. Now all this is all well and good if the weather permits, but the typical British weather can be so unpredictable, take todays forecast, the weather was in no fit state to be leisurely strolling about town or countryside.
So today Wayne and I took the opportunity to do some home baking together. Today we jointly made some Florentines and for the first time, some Beetroot bread.
Now all we both have to do is wait for the results.

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Italian Meal Out

The restaurant was Il Laghetto and there was no celebration. Just a spontaneous evening meal out with Wayne's sisters Nikki and Michéle and of course Wayne. The restaurant was excellent, not too big or small and the clientele were all quite refined and lovely. The service was faultless and the food was even better. I would defiantly recommend this restaurant for those meals out that you do not want screaming kids running about or background music overpowering the art of conversation.
I have a feeling I will be coming back here again very soon.

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Wind In Your Face

It is that time of year again to get back into running and after not being out in the fresh air for some time due to the abysmal British weather, now is a time when I have to push myself to get out and feel the wind in my face.
While the allure of the gym with its climate-controlled settings and convenient location is the obvious choice for most runners, especially in winter, science suggests there are more benefits to exercising outdoors that cannot be replicated on a treadmill, bicycle or a track.
You stride differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find, people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that is not easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. Comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expend less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.
The same dynamic has been shown to apply to cycling, where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.

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But there seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work out. In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance, one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.
Of course, those studies were small-scale, short-term and only done from two walks. But a study last year of older adults found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors. Specifically, the researchers asked men and women 66 or older about their exercise habits and then fitted them all with electronic gadgets that measured their activity levels for a week. The gadgets and the survey showed that the volunteers who exercised outside, usually by walking, were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors, completing, on average, about 30 minutes more exercise each week than those who walked or otherwise exercised indoors.
So now all I have to do is get that start off motivation rolling and then the rest should be plain sailing, or in my case, plain running.

No Snacking

I have been thinking how the hell do I get my weight down to something controllable, my weight has been yo-yoing and now all I want to do is get it to a body that I am happy with.
So from today, I am making every effort to cut back on those snacks and sweet treats, eat at regular intervals and make sure I have breakfast, the one thing I miss every day.

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It is early days and I am not craving for anything sweet yet. I am feeling a lot fuller on the fact that I am eating breakfast, if I need a snack then it is some fruit or raw vegetables for me.
So that I do not go down the route of starving my body of all things sweet then I shall do this healthy eating of a weekday and any treats will have to be at the weekend, a bit like when I was a kid and was only allowed sweets and goodies at the weekend, something to look forward to.

Champagne Tea

Over the bank holiday weekend, other than setting up mum and Hayley's new iPads, we all took a breather from the iPads and did the rounds of the local charity shops in Banstead and Reigate. We had mainly good weather apart from one slight down pour that gave us the perfect opportunity to grab a cup of tea and a hot buttered toasted tea cake.

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The day was finished off with a fish and chip supper.
Being the bank holiday we all knew that where ever we decided to go on the Sunday it would be packed and after a failed attempt to check out the new refitted Woodcote garden centre I decided to put on a posh Champagne afternoon tea with sandwiches cakes, tea, coffee and champagne, it gave me a chance to use the superb cake stand that had been bought for my birthday last year.

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All The Pieces

I never found the right case for a past time interest until today when Hayley bough me the perfect bit of kit. Now I can do my jigsaws without taking up all the lounge table.
This handy portfolio case with very sticky inner panels allows for me to lay out all my pieces and also do jigsaws up to 1000 pieces.
I have warmed up with two 250 piece jigsaws and now I am working on a small 500 piece jigsaw that Ian bought me in readiness for the bigger 1000 piece jigsaws that mum and Hayley bought me.

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The Visit

I had not seen my mum and sister for quite sometime and missed the christmas break time last year to see them, so an overdue visit was in order.
Hayley was excited because she was waiting to visit so that she could go to Apple and get her iPad and one for mum too, what they did not relies was that I was going to treat them to an iPad mini each.
After picking them up from Morden, we decided to have a quick break and then head off to Kingston to buy the iPads as this was a bank holiday weekend and getting it done today was the quitest of days to do it, also it would both give them a chance to set up their iPads on the day they needed to rest up after their journey.
After getting mum and Hayley their iPad minis we headed over to John Lewis to get them a case for each of their devices as Apple only sell the smart covers and no protective cases that cover the whole device. Mum at the moment is really into the colour pink and she found the perfect case, Hayley also got the same case but in a nice bright green colour.
We turned this day from just a trip to Apple into a Kingston shopping trip but first was a visit to Montazuma's for a tea and in mine and Wayne's case, a hot chocolate break.
A shopping trip with mum and Hayley would not be complete without Hayley going into two or three shoe shops, strange this time round she did not buy any, she must be to excited about her new iPad.
After doing the usual mooch about the shops in some rather hot weather, we decide to head home and set up both their iPads and give them a chance to rest up before Ian made his debut, oh I do hope Ian remembered the promised peanut brittle for Hayley.

hayley, Wayne, joan @ montazuma 2013

A Year's Worth

After last year’s bad gardening season most new gardeners would have been disheartened and possibly given up, but not me.
Even though I never got the super crop I had expected one thing that has paid off was that of my compost bin. With a few handfuls of someone else’s compost that had those wiggly helper, worms to you and me. I then filled the compost bin up with all manner of garden waste, fruit and vegetable peelings, egg cartons, crushed egg shells, paper, card and let nature take its course. Yesterday when planting some more vegetables and herbs I got to add some of my own compost to this years crop.

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The 2013 Garden

How To Write It?

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I have had lots of days and nights out since my last March entry but one thing I am having a real problem doing is transcribing my events into text. It is not for the lack of how much I have done but, how to best put that into words to make it an interesting read, it is all well and good to add text and images to a blog but if it means nothing it is as good as a blank page.
I took a brave decision to not write anything and leave it until I was ready. Seems like a rash move to make for someone attempting to get his own life down in blog format but, the choice is paying off as that small break has now turned my writers block into time to think how I want to proceed with my blog from now on and also to not make the same mistake again.

Believe It Or Not

It was that time of year that I wanted to get away and have some fun time with Wayne. I was planning on going to Madame Tussauds but, when we got there prior to the opening time we saw the massive queue running down the entire side of the building. I knew that this attraction was popular but did not relies just how popular, I am so glad I did not commit myself to advanced tickets as we would have had no choice but to have waited in the very long queue and on a day that was not particularly warm, if anything it was bitterly cold. I have discovered that this attraction it one of the biggest tourist attractions that London offers and with over 200 people queueing outside before opening hours then I can now see why.
Wayne and I headed to Fortnum & Mason's Fountain restaurant for breakfast, so this minor setback in venue choice meant that breakfast was just a few minutes drive away.
The food was great and the service just as good and though the food was a little expensive it was great to have had the experience to dine at Fortnum & Mason's.
So with Madame Tussauds being off the list of places to visit, I knew of a place just a hop, skip and a jump from Fortum & Mason’s that would be just as adventurous.
A trip to the museum; Ripley's Believe It Or Not.
After a few hours at Ripley's we all headed for China Town for a late buffet lunch.

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Loving LoveFilm Update

I have been so impressed with the service that LoveFilm offered that I decided to upgrade again to a unlimited three disc package and now I get to have one film from all my three lists sent, that means a film we can all watch on our boy’s night in, something scary for Ian and I to scream and jump at and then a list just for me filled with a selection of discs that I am thinking of owning, so best to see if it is worth spending the dosh on.

Loving LoveFilm

I started off with a subscription service of Netflix and after several months of streaming its contents, I was slowly running out of things to interest me, not running out of things to watch, there is plenty to choose from, just finding what’s right for me. So like most of us we look for an alternative and that was when I stumbled on LoveFilm.

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LoveFilm offers the same streaming service as Netflix does but you also have the choice to rent films too. This did not interest me to start with but when I got my HDD Blue Ray player, that all changed.
What was I to do, change my subscription service to only have streaming for both services or ditch one and go for LoveFilm and up my package to include rentals?
I cut my losses and ditched Netflix and went for one provider, that being LoveFilm and upped my package to include unlimited two at a time disc rental and the streaming service. Going for the new package I still have saved money, it worked out cheaper to have this service than it did to run both Netflix and LoveFilms streaming service together.
So this is how it all works…You just search or browse the site to choose the films and TV shows you want to watch. Just click the ‘rent' button when you have found something you are interested in. These go on to your rental lists (if you have more than one list, you choose what list you want it to go onto), where you can prioritise which films you want to receive first. LoveFilm then send them to you first class for free, you watch them and send them back in the prepaid envelope, then your next one will come.
LoveFilm works best with playlists, I guess you are wondering what playlists are inside of LoveFilm. Well, this is how it all works. You can have two or more separate lists. You could, for example, have one for comedy movies and one for horrors and thrillers; or one for children; or one for you and one for your partner. So if you have a package that allows for two films and you have two lists then one film from each list can be sent at the same time or if you have package that allows for more discs at home, this means there will always be something for everyone to watch. It is like several checkouts for each list and the best bit I love is prioritising your film list, you choose what you want to be higher up the list and than those guys and girls at LoveFilm pick from your list of whats back in the vast LoveFilm library. You do not get to pick what films they send you but rather what is higher up the pecking order, this is great as you know more often or not that you are getting something in your high priority list but just not sure what one, call it a lucky dip of your top titles. This, I think keeps renting those films interesting, so planning a film night is gets that little twist.
I have noticed that from the time of dispatch at LoveFilm, to them arriving at your door ready to watch is about a three day turn around, in which I am finding is plenty of time to watch one then send it back and by the time you have watched the next one then another arrives at your door. If you have a package with more than one film then I suggest you get all your discs sent at once then only send one back at a time, this way there is a constant flow of films arriving at your door all the time.

Press And Record

Since TV companies started to show more programs across more channels, it is no longer as simple as tuning into BBC or ITV, there seems to be now plus channels. This is great for choice but also hard to track just what to watch and then what happens when one of your favourite programs clashes with another, what do you watch?
TV broadcasters have brought out catch up apps or watch on demand apps but not everything is always accessible, some programs run the once and then thats it, if you miss then tough luck.
So how do I overcome the vast range of TV programs I want to watch? I found a result today as I purchased a HDD BluRay TV recorder..

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I got to say if you do not have the time to watch as when broadcasted then this is the best solution and what with a great big 500GB hard drive I can record hours of TV that I watch when I want, never to miss another favourite program again. A great feature that I am new to, is the ability to do a series record, one press of a button and then the whole series is recorded, I never miss and episode.

Anthony's 17th Birthday

I will always see Anthony as my younger gaming buddy and even though it is his 17th birthday today he will always to me be little Anthony, you get older but somethings just do not change.
Anthony is a good lad and for his birthday he wanted to learn to drive so everyone has chipped in to buy him some driving lessons.  I think being a smart lad that he is, if he passes his theory test it will not be long before he will be passing his test and on the roads in his own little run around.

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MBW

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I think by now we all know how much Wayne loves his cars and at any given opportunity that he gets to test drive a new car he jumps at the chance, this gave me an idea for last years christmas present as buying gifts for Wayne was getting evermore harder to find something new and original.
Last year I thought that getting Wayne a driving experience at Mercedes Benz World would be just the ticket, but not any old driving experience, I had to get him the works, the complete package with all the circuits, skid pans, wet straights and above all for the whole experience to be recoded all in a sporty AMG.
Even though today was cold, it was a nice clear and bright day and from the short themed video I put together you can see that even the cold weather did not stop Wayne from enjoying himself.

Lunch At The Well House Inn

Wayne and I many years ago had by accident found a little pub called the Well house Inn in Mugswell. From what I remember the food was great, the welcome was friendly and so today we decided to visit it again to see if it was as good today as it was back then.
This place has not changed, its as welcoming and as warm as the real log burring fireplace and the food is great with the extra additions of the chef specials.

Wayne & Jezz @ Well House Inn

Routine & Rhythm

Routine & Rhythm

Since last year's knee injury my running has not been getting the attention it so deserves and I did not got into the routine I so desired. I have not been lazy but motivation has not been my key focus, until now.
Last year admittedly was my first year with regard to running properly with a trainer, the year I am still with my trainer and we are both looking at 2013 to be something that I need to set a realistic goal to push towards to.
This week I stared using the Wii in an aim to get my body into better form in an effort to help in-between runs, something that would also tone and relax my body and hopefully make sure I do not end up with a recurring knee injury, or worse, another injury. Every morning I start with a few easy cardio exercises to wake and warm me up and to also get the blood pumping round my body. I am finding that five sets of Wii tennis is excellent for slowly working you up into a sweat whilst still being easy on the body, you do not have to dart about, just some simple twist and stretch movements.
Sleeping has been a real problem for me for many years but I have noticed that doing a twenty-five minuet Pilates work out of an evening is really helping my body and mind relax and since starting it this week I have had probably the best nights sleep in a long time.
I aways used to enjoy my Pilates classes at the gym, even if I was the only male participant in the class. Pilates is great for so many things and works well as a combination activity. But what is Pilates all about and how does it really help?
Pilates is a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, which emphasises the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement. One of the best things about the Pilates method is that it works so well for a wide range of people. Athletes and dancers love it, as do seniors, women rebounding from pregnancy, and people who at various stages of physical rehabilitation.
When I first looked at Pilates I thought it was going to be easy like most onlookers seem to think, it is however exceptionally hard to do even though it looks quite graceful, it is all about getting your balance and posture correct and once you have maintained that then your body goes from a wobbling mess to a posed dignified state.

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Using the Wii balance board to do these exercises really helps as you are guided with your breathing and also your balance, if you pose falters then you are also guided in how to rectify your position. After each exercise you are shown how well you did with your balance and also this information is mapped out on a graph so you can see visually how you did.
When you have done several exercises a few times it is only then do you feel core elements start to kick in, as the flowing movements of balance and breathing work together. I have felt this when I have done a movement incorrectly as I do not feel any benefits, but get in the right pose and you do feel your muscle groups working. With poses such as sun salutation, warrior, downward facing dog and the chair it does make you wonder how such named exercises can really relax you.
I feel so relaxed after I have slowly stretched and got into a slow breathing routine, my mind is also relaxed and calm and providing I do not get excited with a PSN game or late night film then I can go to bed and sleep right though out the night in a calm and relaxed state, often sleeping only to well.