Gym Fever

I joined LA Fitness in June 2010 and I love it. This local gym is one of my favourites ever and it is surprisingly good value – £34.50 per month. I am the Foursquare Mayor – meaning I’ve been 20+ times in the last two months and no-one is going to oust me! I like the classes rather than having to motivate myself in the gym, although I did pay for a Personal Trainer – more about that later.

I have tried basically every class on the timetable – more or less – and needless to say I have something to say about all of them ;0).

Aqua

I did this back in June time and went to the Monday 11am class after pump at 9.30am. I was really challenging myself to go swimming and back then I was keen to lose weight and so tried out everything! Laura was the instructor and I really liked her style. She’s since left, just after I filled out a questionnaire saying she was my favourite instructor (wonder if that is relate?).

Anyways back to the class. Really surprisingly good exercise – the resistance through the water made what looked like really easy movements turn out to be really quite tough! I particularly enjoyed the foam floatie thing that added yet more resistance. I swear I was either out of breath or sweating most of the time. And the music was normally sing-a-long good too.

I was the youngest participant by about 20 years I reckoned; but didn’t mean the oldies weren’t up for a good work out and even some banter and mucking around.

The funniest thing – seeing all the hats. At LA Fitness wearing a hat is compulsory, I don’t really mind and some of the fluffy pinks, rubbery flowers and wild designs made me giggle every time.

The weirdest thing – having to hold hands as we made a circle. I’m not one for touching in the gym and trying to focus on your own movement whilst holding hands with someone who is trying to go in the wrong direction at snails pace is really quite irritating.

Fun Factor: 7/10

Fit Factor: 7.5/10

Spin Class (18 Dec)

It was years ago that I last got on a bike and the prospect of cycling for fitness filled me with dread. I then discovered Spin and love it. I also got a bike for my birthday and cycle to the gym come rain, snow or shine and love that too. I’m not really sure why I like it, I just feel that the workout is intense and rigorous. I sweat like a PIG and I believe that you lose about three pints during one session! I’ve invited Nancy along to a couple of sessions, but I hardly have any breath to talk. That said, there are plenty of the “WI” types that seem to natter all the way through.

The funniest things are really the characters you get to see:

·         One instructor I refer to as the “Music Nutter” – I swear he does not make eye contact with anyone. But the music is loud loud loud.

·         Another instructor seems to think that giving 110% resistance is a hard work out – this gets me every time as it out actually be an impossible work out as 100% resistance would be stationary…

·         The Olympic Amazonian is a character I see in Body Pump.

·         Sweaty Older Gent – there aren’t many blokes in any of the classes, but spin is probably the most likely place to see them. This chap is older – maybes 60s – but fit as you like. His only issue is his sweating – way more than me and requiring a mattress of hand towel around him to mop up.

·         The “German Towel” brigade is made up of anywhere between 1 and 5 people who pre-select their preferred bikes and leave water bottles/towels draped over them to claim “Ownership”. I am dying to move them around to see if they notice ;0)back is to the mirror and I cannot see my reddeing face!

Fun Factor: 5/10 – I cannot describe it as “fun” per se, but…

Fit Factor: 9.5/10 – best cardio by far (and only 45minutes!)

Dance/Zumba

I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a dancer and loved watching strictly as the end of last year. I enjoy a good bop but rarely get to do it. So having an opportunity to dance as exercise is great.

LA launched an Alesha Dixons Dance class which has a combo of Hip Hop, House and Latino. You learn three routines after warming up. They are relatively simple and the instructions are built up over the 10-15 minutes you have to play with. With the mirrors at the front and side of you, you get to see yourself from every angle and often it ain’t pretty. Personally my main problem movement is the body popping where I seem to look like a choking giraffe; and actually my favourite moves tend to be salsa/mamba latino moves, no idea why.

Fun Factor: 8/10 only the instructor makes the dancing look good, so anything goes and it’s all a bit of fun really

Fitness Factor: 7/10 you don’t totally feel like exercising, although it can be quite tiring!

Body Attack

This interval training is a tough work out with impact and energy. I probably consume the most amount of water during this session and sweat almost as much as doing Step. The music at the moment is fab – with Madonna to warm up and Aha’s Take on Me for the running track. I’m often out of breath jogging, jumping or kicking.

I do get annoyed with people who lack spatial awareness. We have mirrors all around and yet some people still invade your space by leaping too far.

Fun Factor: 7.5/10 (more if the space invaders are not around)

Fitness Factor: 8/10 – but watch out for stress fractures. Two instructors have had them in the last six months!

Body Pump

If pushed I would always say Pump is my favourite class – a nice weight/resistance activity without impact or too much cardio.

My challenge is to get my weights up this year as well as improve on my technique. I was proud

The session follows a prescribed routine of muscle groups with music associated with each section.

·         Warm up – covers all the areas and hints at the moves you are going to be doing

·         Squats – with weights or without, but technically tricky

·         Chest – done on a step and best with shoulders “back and down” (thanks Cat)

·         Back – clean and press = most pointless move in Les Mills BTS?

·         Triceps – usually tough but good

·         Biceps – usually tough but often horrendous

·         Lunges – I actually like these but need to improve technique to benefit more.

·         Shoulders – always tough and who is this Mac bloke that created the mac raise?

·         Abs – almost a relief to do

·         Cool Down – currently chilling to Adam Lambert and a welcome end to a rigorous hour

Rhian is one of the best Pump instructors I have come across and is technically very good, has an aspirational body shape/size and works with good weights that inspire you. I love some of her idiosyncratic phrases such as: “Go Go GO” and “Sharpen up the edges” and she’s one of the few instructors that will use the word “Nipples” to identify where you have to position the bar in the chest track.

Fun Factor: 8/10

Fitness Factor: 8/10 Good all round work out 

Conditioning Class

This is a surprisingly tough workout usually on a Tuesday at 9.30am. My neighbour takes the class and I like her style.

It’s often a mix of aerobics and toning and it’s not a BTS workout and the moves are often fairly similar session on session. I like going back to basics on aerobics with the grapevine, hamstring curls and box steps. We often up the intensity with louder music or speeded up and then we can move to a toning session.

If you think the toning session is going to be easier – think again. Trish sets the hardest abdominal stretches I have come across and what she gets us to do with the bars and the rubber straps is often verging on painful! Just when you think the countdown from 8 is going to end, she’ll make you hold the move, speed it up or simply do it again.

Fun Factor: 8/10

Fitness Factor: 9/10 I reckon if you did this more than once a week it would make a real difference!

Step and Tone

This has to be one of my most troublesome classes. It is full of characters and tends to wind me up massively as I also find it very challenging. I am surprised that I have not given this up as I am not that good at co-ordinating t speed on different levels, but for some reason I keep going. Probably because it is a Saturday am class and followed with a half hour toning session. What better way to start your weekend?

The class is always busy and today I think it had 4 more people in it than they are supposed to have. This annoys me. Davina is a great instructor but never asks if anyone has any injuries or if there are any newcomers  and she also never counts. I swear there will be a clash of bodies one day. The characters annoy me.

·         The Air conditioning Complainers – you get them in every class but for some reason there is a plethora of ladies who just don’t understand the principles of air con. The room is cold cos it is empty. It gets warm when 20 people jump and leap around for an hour. It then gets cooler. They still have to complain. They drive me insane.

·         The Equipment Moaners – My god did LA have an ear bashing on the state of their steps for a month or so. New ones were ordered but took a while to arrive. They still had to complain to each other and moan every session without going to seek the facts. Did anyone say thanks for the sparkly new ones either – did they hell!

·         The Numpties that set off the alarm – There’s an emergency alarm near the step risers. Numpties stack their risers right against it. WHY? Someone did it today. I actually moved the risers to keep the button clear

·         The WI – I have no idea how everyone knows everyone (yummy mummies I reckon) but they seem to wait until they are in the class to catch up on their week. The noise is relentless from quarter to the hour until 5 past which is when it usually starts as the stragglers always turn up late.  Here is a snapshot from today:

·         The Teachers Pet(s) – this is the only class where the instructor seems to have private conversations with her clan. It’s a little annoying if the class is running late.

·         The Jerky Spider – this individual is unpleasant to the eye. She is incredibly enthusiastic with the class and over-stretches, kicks higher and jumps higher than everyone – including the instructor. But she manages to do it with jerky movements that make her look really weird. It’s so distracting.

·         The Why Does She Need to Come? – I am beginning to think that this lady is an instructor herself. She has natural movements and a great style, but she does embellish a few movements and have her hair in bunches….

·         The Token Boy/Man – Not much to say apart from the fact that it is rare to see men in any classes

·         The Un-coordinated – This one appears from time to time and it’s a bit unfair to point as I am hardly one to talk. But frankly this one lady was so incredibly bad she scarcely knew her left from her right which is fatal in this class. Give it up honey, go find something else!

Fun Factor: 5/10 definitely not fun and needs a lot of concentration and determination

Fitness Factor: 8.5/10

The Gym

So, in six months I have probably been on the treadmill once, on the cross trainers or bikes once. Self-motivation is not a strong point. I enlisted a personal trainer to give me a boost. Time is not my issue but doing the right things to get the right results is. I need to do more cardio – rowing is actually fun and I need to up my running what with the 10K run in March. I also need to so some weights to tone further. It’s just tricky to motivate myself, if I book a class I commit therefore I go. If it is down to me I can’t do it. Not even to watch Jeremy Kyle on the TV screens!

I am pretty much getting to the gym 3-5 times a week and I need to do a mix of things in order to reach my goals :

·         Lose weight – I would love to be 10½ stone

·         Lose inches – from waist and thighs mainly

·         Build stamina – so I don’t get breathless running for a train

·         Sweat less – I am told it is good to sweat but it is not a good look!

·         Tone muscles – firmer butt, thighs and arms would be good.

Not too much to ask for huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gym Fever

The Most Miserable Shopping Experience

There’s one shopping experience in my local town that is so depressing that I felt an urge to have a rant. Every single time I go there I get a cloud of doom shadowing over me. Don’t get me wrong, if I didn’t have to go I wouldn’t, but there are some things that you can only do at The Post Office.

It is not the institution per se – I actually think the Post Office has got, and has done, some great things and I loved my recent trip into the Reading new-look automated, leather seated loveliness. I am actually complaining about a specific local branch – the Henley on Thames Hell Hole:

Po

Even from the outside the experience is dreary. Dark and depressing, there is the crappiest of crap window displays. Admittedly it is better than last year: I was almost driven to volunteering to dress their window for them and to be honest I think the local blind schoolchildren could have done a better job. It looked like some 1950’s post-war attempt at décor: a bit of gift wrap around some shabby furniture and some different-sized packing boxes to show the full extent of their amazing wares. Now it’s not much better, but really, it could not have been worse.

Which leads me onto the inside – the crappiest of crappy internal displays – unloved units with random ranges of stuff that clearly no-one would want. Does anyone buy pens with names on anymore? Or those weird mobile phone “socks”, with your name on it? I love stationery and I can spend hours in WH Smith but here I just want to get out and don’t even feel like rescuing the envelopes.

So why do I go? Well I only venture in when I have something to send off – and I went through a flurry of Ebaying earlier in the year so frequented this lovely place rather too much.

To get to the real part of the post office you have to go up a few steps. Really, great planning that is for the push-chairing yummy mummies and the old and infirm wobbling along with their walking sticks. Nice one. The carpets are dirty and worn, stained by god knows what and so unappealing that even a tramp wouldn’t sleep on it. There are completely rubbish posters on the wall, wonkily fixed by drawing pins – who  does that these days? A couple of scary stories about distraction burglaries and a “welcome to a bump club” pregnancy picture. Hmmm, not sure what I am supposed to do with this information. Oh, and as is my want, I check out the framed pictures. Wonky again, standard Henley Pictures. Ugly and unappealing. Grrr if I really cared I would offer to do a commission for them. Even for free.

It’ll come as no surprise that the queues are usually long and slow moving – especially on Saturdays which I try to avoid like the plague – and then they have divided off half the entry point with a random barrier thing which means people queuing get in the way of people trying to leave. This seriously winds me up.

Homemade signs add just that little sprinkling of more crappiness before you have to endure the face to face contact with Les Miserables personified – a motely crew of oldies who have clearly been there for years. I do not doubt that they know their stuff but I think their ability to smile and make pleasantries was part of the role from twenty years ago and no longer a daily routine. Just for info the younger generation at the front of house are just as unappealing. I often have to interrupt their adolescent angst-ridden conversations to ask for a stamp – and intriguingly they did not even know the price of a first class one…

On the plus side – well, I had to find one – I did like Wallace and Gromit on the Christmas stamp, it made me chuckle and actually felt OK about putting that on an envelope.

Oh and while I am on the subject, I thought I would mention:

  • First class stamps are going up by 5p from April! (I still don’t actually know how much a single one is).
  • Red rubber bands are reproducing on my street. Whilst my stationery fetish is quite well known, I am not sure I want to follow a trail every time I leave the house. “Oi”, “Postie”, “Stop dropping them in my street!” 
  • My neighbour has just become a postie and his “round” takes him on an 8 mile route – he’s lost 1/2 stone in less than three weeks.
  • I had a plan to get nice-looking cards made with one or two of my amazing photos (using moo.com – one of my favourite sites), but could I find a suitable theme – no I could not! I therefore printed off some prints at home and made cards. Very few people actually got one in time for Christmas, so here is the picture, even though it’s a fe weeks late!:
Magnus

 

The Most Miserable Shopping Experience

Christmas Perfume Adverts – “Eau de No”

Perf_-_beckPerf_-_be_deliciousPerf_-_feverPerf_-_bleuPerf_-_ninaPerf_-_chanelPerf_-_davidoffPerf_-_diorhomme

I’ve been watching a disproportionate amount of live TV recently (instead of just my pre-recorded hospital dramas) and therefore I have subjected myself to a plethora of festive adverts.

There are two major pre-Christmas themes this year: food and perfume, (interspersed with WH Smiths and xBox/Kinect ads). Don’t get me started on food though – that will be part of another blog – so here I will focus on my rant about Fragrance Adverts. This selection was pretty much taken from random daytime viewing on the Saturday before Christmas. I believe ITV crammed in around 15 ads into all of the breaks and over half were fragrance-related!

    • Estee Laudee Bloom
      Basically the theme is “Woman in Summer Fields with Andrex Toilet Tissue puppies”. Er, surely the wrong time of year? I did wonder how they got all the puppies to sleep around her, I reckon they must have been drugged.
      WTF Factor: 1/5. (At least the puppies get a gig after Andrex dropped them…).
    • J’Adore
      Charlize Thieron allegedly unhappy with Gold takes off all her jewellery and her dress – too thin, too annoying IMHO.
      WTF Rating: 3/5. (This ad is however Jane’s favourite and Cate also likes it for another reason!) .
    • Davidoff Cool
      The chap that played Sawyer in Lost took my attention for a moment as he sprang out of the sea in slow motion. No idea what the fragrance was. Sure it was lovely.
      WTF Factor: 3/5. I can be swayed.
    • Beyonce Heat
      The cut down version of the ad that was banned from being too raunchy. I did see the full version where it looked like Beyonce was having a very lovely time with herself, but it was giving us all a bit of a “Fever”.
      WTF Factor: 1/5 to OTT to be taken seriously. BTW Sheba is using the same music as Beyonce – Sheba Desire!
    • Beauty
      “Beauty the new fragrance by Calvin Klein” It’s touching but same old same old, well the same beautiful stereo typical blonde as usual – is she famous, no idea, but doesn’t make me want to go out and buy the stuff.
      WTF Factor: 2/5
    • Davidoff Champion
      5..4..3..2..1… A manly voiceover counts down as man pumps iron in a gym. Did I mention he was a hot man with six pack? Anyways, focus. “Davidoff Champion – the new fragrance for Men”. But the bottle shaped like a dumbbell, really?
      WTF Factor: 4/5. Yep, the body helped improve the score massively, sorry. I have been drawn in. Resistance is futile.
    • Chanel Bleu
      Weird scene of man and girl – he’s being interviewed and is stumbling, flashbacks to past scenes with the woman. “Would you like her to rephrase the question?”. Shots to a woman in the audience, not totally sure she is the same person, guess so. Weird chemistry. Then he says his one-liner then storms off and the room walls collapse revealing it as a cube studio arrangement? “Be unexpected”
      WTF Factor: 2.5/5. (Great one-liner though – have to use it one day: “I am not going to be the person I am expected to be anymore”).
    • 212VIP
      “It’s a private party sir do you what private means?” Er, yeah, but do you? Who cares, no idea what this is supposed to be about. Is the beautiful blonde supposed to be going to a secret party? Not sure, but she ends up with the chap at the end. He’s beautiful too. “212 the new VIP fragrance”
      WTF Factor: 2/5
    • Be Delicious
      WTF – first time I have seen this one 11.49 on Sat am. Even though shing, fresh green apples were everywhere I just knew it was a fragrance Ad. I think I have gone mad and tuned into a subliminal agency message drawing me in. Why the “Does it rain for you?” music? “Be Delicious the fragrance for women by DKNY” Is it an apple or a perfume bottle. Whatever, I don’t think I will bother. But I am interested in finding out if it smells of Granny Smiths!
      WTF Factor: 2/5.
    • Boss
      “Baby you can light my fire” music and the compulsory beautiful blonde is seen dancing around.
      WTF Factor: 1/5. Getting really bored of the blondes now… deciding to refer to them as LHBs (long-haired blondes)
    • Boss Bottle
      Something about night and day, wasn’t really watching. Suave-looking chap in daylight and at night time and compulsory LHB playing some undetermined role. WTF Factor: 2.5/5
    • 1 Million by paco rabane
      Not sure what this is about – there’s that LHB again, and another suave chap. Something about 1 Million for him and one for her. If only!
      WTF Factor: 1/5. So bored of these ads…
    • Pure by DKNY
      Er, there was a weird strapline on this. No humans just bottle shots and stuff. I only caught a glimpse as I thought I had finished this blog…
      WTF Factor 1/5. I am losing the will to live!
    • Givenchy Play for Him and for Her
      Is that Justin Timberlake? I think that’s his music in the background. Not sure, just a bit distracted by the fact he and the LHB aren’t out of breath from running up the Eiffel Tower and the fact that his is not getting arrested for messing with the street lights of Paris.
      WTF Factor: 2/5.
    • Dior Homme
      “How will I recognise you?”, Oh don’t worry about that.You’ll know when I’m there”. Eiffel Tower (again). Jude Law this time – could be worse. Thank goodness the LHB is there.
      WTF Factor: 2/5.
    • Intimately Beckham Yours
      I love David and Victoria Beckham. So this ad is going to be my favourite. Sexy David enters into a lift – the first time I saw it I did not spot it was Victoria in the lift so was shocked to see him being intimate with some random SHORT HAIRED BRUNETTE. Then the reveal. Love it, love it, love it!
      WTF Factor: 4.5/5. I will actually go and try this in case David or Victoria touched my bottle.
    • Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Man in white speedos (I think the water is cold), woman in white bikini (who does that?). On a boat, dive into the sea, come out up ladder. Water is just a little chilly and start to kiss. He reaches for the ties on her top and then they say cut. Clapper board with “69”. Quite quirky. WTF Factor: 4/5 You do want to be one of them for sure. I quite like this.
    • Nina – “the magical fragrance by Nina Ricci”  Blondie music – white with red things hanging from the sky. WTF Factor: 1.5/5 Confusing
    • Joy of Pink Celebrate Joy – loads of girls in a car with lots of pink streamers. Possibly the worst ad of them all??? WTF Factor: 0.5/5
    • Chanel Number 5 Charlotte Gainsborough, no Audrey Tautou…On a night train, in her cabin, sniffing in the corridor, “I’m a fool to want you…” music… Train, Boat, Camera. Sniff again. Ahhh they meet up. WTF Factor: 2/5. Pretty but irritating.
    • 55 Fahrenheit Absolute new fragrance for Men by Christian Dior. Man walking across volcanic rocks? Yeah, right. WTF Factor: 1/5. Why?

 

And if the brands weren’t annoying enough, enter the retailers:

  • Superdrug
    Ad features the lovely Welsh lady from Gavin and Stacey who only gets away with it cos the comedy show was so good. Chap lurking in a room trying to secretly wrap up her pressie and she asks through the closed door – “Are you wrapping that CK perfume…?” I did like the refreshing escape from the norm of beauty, elegance and sexuality and the daring “keeping it real theme”. But…there’s something still missing. Will I “Take another look” at Superdrug? Nah!
    WTF Factor: 3/5
  • The Perfume Shop
    Amazing Deals now available at the Perfume Shop – until 19th December, er tomorrow.
    WTF Factor 4/5. Actually to the point and factual. Can’t go wrong really
  • Boots
    Woman at mirrored dressing table (who has one of those?) and man drying hair in background (do you know a man who does that?). Woman drops heavy hints about running out of perfume and the fact Calvin Klein CK1 is available from a specific place in Boots on the High Street.
    WTF Factor: 3/5 I like the keeping it real British humour and combination of perfume + retailer

Now I am looking forward to the travel and furniture sales ads after Christmas, not…

Christmas Perfume Adverts – “Eau de No”

Christmas Food Adverts

Christmas is about the story of Christ, the Nativity etc etc. Scrap that, it’s about over indulgence and eating way, way too much.

Queue the Food Ads.

OMG this year it’s insane, the supermarkets are having a bargain basement sale – did I really just see Asda selling their canapés for £1

 

Morrisons

This season’s theme is have a load of pretentious kids in white coats asking questions and pretending they are listening to the answers. Today,  “Excuse me please can you tell me where the baker is?” They talk to a busy baker lady (Bakeress?) and ask her what she is doing. I managed to hear “kneading”, but I think the kid struggles with the word “proving”? Surely they should have re-taken that shot? Sadly they are asked: “Do you want to have a go” – please no!! They proceed to make a pigs ear of spreading the mixture all over themselves. The reaction they get from me – avoid those cakes like the plague. The only saving grace about the 2010 series of ads is that it they told me Morrisons sources locally – especially meat. That helped their overall WTF score…

Corny end-line too: “’Grandad’ type character says “Ah Panetone, that comes from Italy”, smug kid replies “no it doesn’t it comes from Morrisons”

WTF Factor: 3.5/5

Plus the mini ads:

All these Cadburys biscuits are all half price or better

Right now delicious party food from just £1

 

Marks and Spencers

Now I love Caroline Quentin and I am all in favour of the £10 Meal Deals that M&S do so well; but this ad does push me away…

Desserts that look like sandwiches? Why and WTF?

WTF Factor: 3/5

(Using Peter Kay in the clothes ads has kept a fond place in my heart for M&S though…)

 

ICELAND – yes, this deserves to be in shouty capitals

OMG Where do I start? They only went and sponsored XFactor so I saw the ads so many times I have lost count and my hatred ran deeper and deepr at each one

Jason Donovan? Why did they bother?

Can canning “mothers”, singing “That’s why mums go to Iceland” Really?, which mothers? Not the pretty ones in the ads, that’s for sure.

The food photography – probably the worst I have ever seen. Obviously cold, not even some token fake steam, very unappetising indeed. I know that food photography is actually quite tricky, but I reckon I could lash up some better shots in my kitchen!

Man says to his kid as mum comes out of the photo booth “Your mum’s still got it”. WTF sexist, patronising, stereotypical. Ouch, Ow and why?

Woman puts hands in concrete a la Broadway stars. No way – why has he left one single paving slab space, middle of the patio, fresh concrete, WTF?

Then wipes it on her “husband’s” t-shirt. No way. No woman would ever do that knowing that she’d be the one to wash it. WTF

WTF Factor: 0/5. Simply cannot give it a score. Sack the agency, probably the worst series of adverts I have ever, ever seen.

 

ASDA

Northern woman (well, HQ is in Leeds) reading from an autocue tells us all about the fantastic £40 vouchers you get, extended even further etc etc.

I lost the plot and I am really bored of all the 2 for 1 or half price products laid out in a white studio with panning camera shot. There’s probably a whole planning team responsible for which product goes where. It’s so standard, so dull… C’mon ASDA surely you can do better?

WTF Factor: 1/5. Vouchers won’t incentivise me to go to ASDA, ever.

 

Tesco

Hmmm, I think they use the same panning shots as Asda. Would have liked to see something more creative from them.

WTF: 2/5

 

Sainsbury’s

Sinister music features for Sainsbury’s this year – bread of heaven sung by an aged Welsh choir. Doesn’t summon up Christmas, rather funeral, eerie and sad. Photography dark and dreary but the food actually looks relatively good. And nice Christmasy look and feel.

WTF: 2.5/5 would have scored an extra point with more uplifiting music.

 

Waitrose

 

 

 

 

Christmas Food Adverts

LEGO Taj Mahal: Day Three of the Epic Journey

LEGO Taj Mahal: Day Three of the Epic Journey.

For some reason we decided to have a LEGO session after having been to the cinema (The Tourist, 5/10) AND had a Catherine Tate-esque TGI Friday meal. It was a 9.30pm start – frankly I could have gone to bed after thant but no, we set out on phase three.

This should have been relatively simple…

Pic1

Double ups right from the start – basically the same set up as we have done before. How could we go wrong really. Well, easily it seems. For some reason I was rubbish, not just one but three pieces in the wrong place after only a couple of instructions. It was not meant to be. But we continued and persevered knowing our destiny lay on page 45 with the completed base. So I cost us time in having to undo sections, but the curves that had plagued me so badly in the previous section were a breeze this time.

Pic2

Plus I had worked out a sub-system for the whites – using a bowl to contain all the little pieces so instead of searching through 2-3,000 pieces when we needed one little piece, I could just empty the bowl on the table and find it by searching through a couple of hundred…

Pic3Pic4Pic5

So with eye strain, a bit of a headache and much yawning we finished. Hoorah! But instead of just walking away a move was made and we managed to break one section off. The base had come away and the structural insides flew all over the floor. Blinking marvellous! I am SO glad it wasn’t me that did that.

Decided to leave repair until the morning.

Pic6

Slept well, but did dream about being in the Taj Mahal (LEGO version).

Finish time: Page 45 (of 79) in Book One (of three) completed by 11.30pm (2 hours).

Mood: Fatigue

Experience rating: 5/10

More to come…

LEGO Taj Mahal: Day Three of the Epic Journey

LEGO Taj Mahal: Day Two of the Epic Journey

Sunday afternoon into evening with the Strictly Come X Factoring TV noise in the background we set off on phase two of the task – starting just before 5pm.

With the systems in place from the previous session – whites in one box, beiges in another and colours in another we streamlined the searching process and cut out at least an hour of time wasting. It was intensely satisfying to have a system that works.

Pic1

There was a swiftness, an enthusiasm and an energy about the session. Maybe the fact it was a weekend evening and we were relaxed. Who knows, but I definitely felt there was a flow.

It was satisfying putting on the roof from the previous session:

Pic2

and then starting up another edge section – remembering how we’d done it before and but managing to be much quicker.

Pic3

And we got to do some doubling up. By page 18 we had to make two sets of the same section. This meant we could find all the pieces and then make our bit at the same time (or perhaps a little faster than the other). It also allowed you to compare and contrast – a useful safety net.

Pic4

And we’ve developed a bond with some touching moments: collecting pieces for each other, waiting for the other to finish, swapping our units over to even us upetc. Quite unnecessary but a little endearing nonetheless.

Then we came to the corners; OOOOoooo the corners. By page 21 we had some fiddly hinge bits and I have to admit there was some swearing.

Pic5

And there were some confusing colour bits which seem to only serve structural rather than cosmetic purposes. I was tired. We needed to stop.

Satisfying to have four completed bits though.

Pic6

Finish time: Page 30 (of 79) in Book One (of three) completed by 10.30pm.

Mood: Satisfaction

Experience rating: 8/10

More to come…

LEGO Taj Mahal: Day Two of the Epic Journey