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Dansolutions 2016

I would resolve to blog more in 2016, but I’m more about resolutions that I’m likely to stick to. Besides, is anyone still even with me here? Hi, our patience has been rewarded if so!

I had a measly three dansolutions for 2915:

1. Keep a dance journal: I managed for a month. Never mind.
2. Wear soft blocks: hahaha. Managed this for about a week before I wimped back to my flats.
3. Sort out my dancewear: I did this multiple times, it continues to expand without my knowledge 😉

I think I only really have one dansolution for 2016:

1. Do a triple pirouette (either side, any direction)

That should do nicely.

I’ve got a runsolution as well to sub-29 at parkrun (5k with a current PB of 29:21) and to intentionally complete a 10k (rather than unintentionally because I screwed up at the finish line of a 5/10k race and stayed on for the second lap).

That’s it: that’s all I intend to achieve in 2016.

I also want to knit a bit more than I have done this year. Oh and I aim to carry on with Operation Read AllThe Things: I managed A-H of my fiction (excluding Agatha Christie which I’m saving) interspersed with one new book a week.

And on that note, I’m going to watch Sherlock.

Happy New Year, chums!

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Running is for other people…

…except when it’s not.

I have never understood the attraction of running. Running around playing games (football, cricket, tennis, whatever), sure. But just running? No thanks, unless it’s for the bus and even then that’s under duress.

Except recently something changed and I found myself in Decathlon buying trainers and running kit. I downloaded the NHS Choices Couch to 5k app on to my phone. And I went outside wearing my brand new kit. I interspersed 60 seconds of running with 90 of walking.

Over the weeks the amount of running built up. I took my trainers on holiday and ran pretty much every day. I became *that* person who gets up at 6am and goes for a run. I went to a (very hilly) park run and completed it in 32:56. I went to a different (flatter) park run and completed in under 30 minutes. I stand an read running magazines in the supermarket rather than terrible scandal rags.

I’m not sure what happened, where the change of heart came from or where it will lead. My goal this year is to focus on running for half an hour and working on my 5k times. The first 2k are great, the next two are TERRIBLE and the final is just about getting to the end.

It’s helping a bit. I think. I’m struggling less with allegro in class now. I can get through the final 32 changements with a decent bounce. Running in the morning clears my head and I can focus more clearly at work. It’s a practical past time I can take on holiday in a way you can’t take ballet.

I became a person who runs. And 15 year old me is astonished by this fact every time I put my trainers on, go for a run and come back beetroot faced, sweaty, happier and more clear headed.

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Over at the dark side, no cookies here…

It’s been a few weeks since I jumped the Good Ship Freed and slunk over to the Dark Side of the pointe shoe world and invested in a pair of Gaynor Mindens.

My reasons for doing this were, essentially, singular. I’d heard tell from my Minden-ed up ballet pals that they last 5eva and, having just spent ALL of my money forevermore moving house, I figured they’d be a better investment than a new pair of Freeds every few weeks.

I’m not entirely convinced yet that I’ve made the right decision and there’s a niggle in the back of my mind that really I’ve just made a horribly expensive mistake.

I’m loving the no breaking in bit, but equally it’s a bit creepy that they never change and also, I actually miss the breaking in process a teeny bit. But it’s great to just be able to put them on and go dance and feel (sometimes) like dancing rather than clomping about and struggling. Except for turns but my turns are broken right now anyway.

I’m not totally sold yet on, I suspect, this individual pair. I can’t tell if the shank isn’t right or if the vamp is too low but both things are bugging me. I can get up on to the platform every time but quite often find myself going straight over and then my feet collapse – equally that may be my terrible technique or weird feet. Much as they seemed to fit perfectly in the shop, I keep finding myself having to add more bits of elastic or changing things to make them feel like they’ll stay on for an entire class. And these were an absolute sod to sew up, it was a bit like trying to sew through a rock.

They’re quiet, which is nice and makes me feel like I’m doing allegro properly! And I don’t wobble off everywhere working on flat in them. And the built in suede tip is nice, although damn squeaky on the first couple of wears! Plus the drawstring at the side gives for a nicer line. So they’re aesthetically pleasing.

I’m just not entirely convinced by them yet though. Maybe with a bit more time. Or a slightly different model. Or maybe I’ll just go back to good old traditional paste shoes, I’ve got a not quite dead pair of Freeds on the radiator calling to me… Or maybe there’s space in pointe class for both the Gaynors and a good old paste shoe.

I don’t know, I think I’ll just stay on the fence a while longer and risk the splinters. In the meantime, have a picture of The Metrop being pretty:

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Cos you’re there for me too…

So far 2015 has mostly involved me not knowing entirely if I’m coming or going…

We moved office at work, total relocation to a different part of the Metrop. Largely from my perspective, leaving our old building involved me trying out the various packing crates for size, climbing into the empty stationery shelves to prove I fitted and sneaking up on to the roof to admire the view… The new office is working out pretty cool: I have a new commute (on the DLR, I can pretend to drive it!) and we have an on site canteen (second breakfasts FTW!) and, when the weather’s nice, we get so much light because of all the windows.

Along with moving offices, I moved house… After several years, My Beloved Housemate decided it was time to move on so I am now flying solo in my attic flat. It’s been a couple of weeks since I got the keys and it feels completely like mine now. I need to buy another bookcase at some immediate point in the future because there is no such thing as too many books… I keep remembering about things I don’t own (like a corkscrew!) mind you…

Ballet wise I made a move to the dark side for pointe shoes. After six months of various pairs of Freeds (which I loved but never lasted, yes the pair of Studio Operas that died in one class, I’m looking at you), and prior to that Blochs and Grishkos, I made the leap to Gaynors. I think I might be in love…

And finally, I got over the entrelac fear in knitting. I’ve attempted it several times over the years but never quite got my head around it. Now I have and I feel like I’ve crossed the final frontier of knitting!

This is a photo I took on my walk to the tube from the new office, cityscape featuring the Tower of London, the Shard and some trafficlights:

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ETA and the title? I may be marathon watching Friends…

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Operation Read All The Things

A couple of years ago I massively freaked out with the realisation that I would never manage to read ALL OF THE BOOKS. So I stopped revisiting old favourites and concentrated on reading new (to me, as opposed to newly published) things. Except now I’m moving house in a couple of weeks so I’ve been on a Book Diet and I’ve bought no new books since before Christmas.

Frankly this self imposed ban is killing me, doubly so as I’m about to start the last book on the to read pile (it’s The Human Factor by Grahame Greene which I anticipate being a bit of a dull slog) and I’ve still got about another month before I can legitimately lift the ban. Argh!

So I’ve decided, a little like Operation Cook All The Things, I’m going to reread all of my books. I’ll still be allowed to buy new ones under some kind of ratio system, the specifics of which I have yet to work out…

I confidently predict that Operation Read All The Things is a longer term plan than cooking all of the things but I’m looking forward to spending some time with some old friends, and probably charity shopping anything I can’t understand why I’ve kept in slightly ruthless fashion… Or just to make spare for more new books.

Long and short: books are ace. All the books. Photograph below is just a tiny sample of my collection, which in no way is a habit or a problem:

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July, by numbers

In the whole, July went a lot better than it looked to be gearing up to at one point which is a complete plus, to be honest. Luckily at the point I hit full slump, I was picked up by the right person dispensing the right level of sympathy after which I started to pick myself up and then shuffled off to Rural Derbyshire a few days later and it all got better from there on in. Hurrah.

July also saw the End of an Affair with ‘the pointe shoes that got away’ and the Bloch Sonatas were consigned to the bottom shelf of dead shoes. Despite their promise, they never quite lived up to it which made me a bit sad but I have no regrets. Well except maybe the epically bruised toe nail that they caused… I’ve gone back to Freeds, although my previous flirtation with their Studios II was mildly disastrous, they had plenty to recommend the brand and I’ve now fallen head over heels in love with my Classics. Hurrah.

But back to July, here’s how it shaped up numerically:

Books read 24 (vg)
Ballet classes 20 (vg)
Knitting projects completed 2 (a tank top for The Very Bestest’s eldest and a pair of bootees for a colleague’s Impending Arrival)
Ballets seen: 9
Ballet companies seen: 2 (NEBT and ENB) plus one school performance (LRBS)
Times left London: 2 (a long weekend in Rural Derbyshire and a long weekend in the Don with The Bestest)
Loom band crazes bought into: 1
Trips to the pound shop undertaken to satisfy the above: 2
Occasions I say on my good chum K’s balcony and threw strawberry stalks at other good chums as they arrived: 1

Quite a good months all things considered… And, here, have a photo of the contents of the dead pointe shoe shelf out on the landing this afternoon where I’d lobbed then whilst cleaning my room:

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This is not a problem or an obsession. No.

There are reasons that my bestest is, well, my bestest.

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Take one recurrence of persistent tendonitis, one pair of über boring beige wrist splints, TWO trips to the pound shop and, one glittery eyebrow later, I am feeling less woeful and sorry for myself about the flare up.

Also in no way whatsoever do I have a new addiction in the form of looooooooom banding but when the following utterance spilt forth from my lips “I was going to pick up my knitting but…” I think we had to reevaluate the situation.

So judge me… 🙂

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June, speaking numerically…

Wow, I have been a total fail at updating since my last numerical round up! As usual a whole host of half thought out posts in my head that petered out mid way through… Somewhat like my university essays.

Anyway, here’s how June shaped up:

Books read 17 (could do better)
Ballet classes 15 (good, see: going on holiday)
Ballets seen: 10 (nine pieces in the Royal Ballet’s Draft Works programme (let’s talk about how Kristen McNally is a GENIUS of epic proportions) and ENB’s Rom&Jul in the round)
Emotions had over watching Daria Klimentova’s final performance: ALL OF THEM AND THEN SOME. I am still too emotionally fragile to consider discussing it.
Ballet companies seen: 2 (RB & ENB)
Knitting projects completed: 4 (various teeny tiny baby items)
Knitting WIPs: 2 (Mutti’s Christmas present (there’s dedication and organisation for you) and a terribly dull manly tank top for a small person – the pattern’s dull, I adore the aforementioned small person!)
Times left London: 2 (a week’s jolly Holiday in a Cottage – #hiac2014, so cool my friends and I that our holiday have their own hashtag – to Suffolk where we did not get murdered (A+!) and a long weekend back in the Shire being mistaken for a picnic by the local insects)
Times my très adorbz teacher decided that the only way for my battered Achilles to properly understand how to land changements would be to lift me: 2
Times said teacher also completely (inadvertently) scared the wits out of me during turns: 1
Books bought on holiday: 4 (a come down from last year’s 21… Or was it 22?)
Yarn bought on holiday: 50g of some variegated stuff purchased on the last morning. Yes, I almost made it through a whole holiday without buying yarn!

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Friends reunited

I got my ballet bag back! Chums, I can’t even begin to tell you how completely and utterly downright awesome this is. Despite all my moaning that it was lit forever to my train company and it had vanished into their black hole of lost property!

On Tuesday I was sprawled on our staff room sofa reading David Starkey’s book about Henry VIII’s early days when my phone rang. It was the lost property office informing me they thought they’d got my bag. Not wishing to count my chickens and all that, I was tentatively excited then slipped away from work a bit early to collect my bag en route to class.

It was mine as I was gleefully reunited with my accumulated dance crap and so very, very happy/relieved as a result. See (please appreciate my beautifully bouffant immediately post bun hair):

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I went on my lunch break and I bought…

One pair of Bloch proelastic ballet flats
One pair of black stirrup tights
One Bloch floaty dress thing
One Capezio black cami leo
One pair cheap black H&M tights
Two H&M tees
One black dotty skirt
One packet hair bobbles
One packet hair pins
One packet hair grips
One knee support
One tube deep freeze
One packet of plasters
One roll on deodorant

Moral of the story, chums: don’t leave your dance bag on the train.

It’s not as if it’s a small thing. Or something I don’t cart around on a daily basis. But the realisation when I got the office was GALLING.

I’ve registered it as lost property with my train company who take TEN DAYS to get back to you (allegedly, I’ve reported lost property to them before and nobody’s ever got back to me).

I’m already slightly resigned to never being reunited with my dance bag and it’s two years worth of accumulated crap. I’m sad about losing my grey tee with the blue polka dot elbow patches and the ballet shoes I was just starting to get used to and my pretty ruffle front leo and my excellent stripy slippers and my butterfly headband.

I mean it’s not the end of the world and I did need a new rucksack anyway (I’m also über grateful that it wasn’t pointe class today!), but I’ll just be in the corner kicking myself quietly for a bit.

On the plus side, my ego was firmly massaged a short while later with an email telling me I’d got the funding in my budget I’d put in a business case for and that it was the best written/presented case of all the ones that went in this year’s proposed budget. As it was my first business case, I’m gonna call that a win.

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