My debut fantasy novel, The Archguardians of Laceria, is now available in paperback, and in all ebookstores!

Monday, 30 June 2014

July: Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown

Read Also: Level 1, Level 2 & DVD Review

Fun Rating: ★★★★☆    Difficulty Rating: ★★★☆☆     Results Rating: ★★★★☆


   This month I'm going to give Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown a go. I bought the DVD at the beginning of May, but I haven't gotten around to trying it yet because I did the Irish Dancing in May, and then the Iai Battojustu in June, but since I have no ideas for July, I decided to have a go.

   I'm really unsure about what to expect. I've got relative experience with yoga, but I've used it more as a means to overcome PMS and other unpleasant things, not as an exercise. And to be honest, I'm sceptical that yoga could even really be a workout, but I'm quite willing to be proven wrong. It's Jillian Michaels, afterall, and I'm certain she wouldn't be plugging yoga if it wasn't any good, and given how she works, I'm sure she's found a way to make it effective.

   There are two levels to the meltdown, level 1 and level 2 (I bet you didn't see that coming) and they're both 30 minutes long. Unlike the 30 Day Shred, there's not really any sort of time frame to put on it, you just move on when you feel ready. Assuming level 1 is doable (and I don't expect it to be, necessarily), I'll move on to level 2 on the 16th and give each level two and a half weeks.

   As always, I'll update after two weeks - or on the 16th if I am moving onto level 2 after 2.5 weeks - and let you know if it is as good as I'm hoping, or better than I expect.



Sunday, 29 June 2014

Iai Battōjutsu: 4 Weeks Later

Fun Rating: ★★★★☆    Difficulty Rating: ★★☆☆☆     Results Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

   I forgot to write a post for Iai Battojutsu after two weeks, but in truth there wasn't much to tell. I worked through the DVD, and it comfortably took me a month. It's not easy stuff to learn but the instructor was relatively clear, and after repeating the same few minutes of the DVD over and over again I gradually got the hang of the katas. That damned bokken gets very heavy very fast.
   I have got to admit that I was disappointed with this, but I know why: it wasn't high impact, and it wasn't supposed to be. This isn't a workout DVD, it's a training DVD, and while it's likely that once you've mastered the katas enough to do them at full speed you'd probably get a good bit of cardio and strength out of it, but I didn't manage that within June.
   Having said that, however, I did expect that to be the case, so I can't fault the sport, only myself. But if you were looking to learn Iai Battojutsu, then I can say that the DVD is very good and easy to follow, you just have to be patient. I did get a bit of practical research for my writing out of it, which is also what I wanted. No, kata is different to ordinary sword fighting, which I believe is different still from fencing, and all of that is different again from genuinely trying to kill someone, but from this I have gained some idea of the way a blade moves, it's weight, and shifting your own balance to compensate for the movements.


   I can't say that June was a success, but as I said, that's my own fault for choosing this as a workout. As far as learning new things goes, June was brilliant, but as far as losing weight is concerned, which was my primary goal, I'm not that happy. I did do other things along with this, including restarting the 30 day shred, but I can't say that I got any improved results from this. Even if it was a huge amount of fun.



Saturday, 21 June 2014

My Workout Wears

   Buying new fitness clothing is a guilty pleasure of mine, but it's better than rewarding myself with sugar! Below are some of my favourites from my collection and I wear them whenever they're not in the wash (while working out, of course).
   Both the top and the bottoms are by USA Pro. They're made of the same moisture-wicking fabric and are super comfy, not to mention flattering. The bottoms (I have three different pairs - black, Aztec and Storm which is pictured below) have a very friendly waistband which boosts my confidence, and the top stays fitted comfortably, too. My one complaint is that the cross-over on the back of the top rides up a bit if you raise your arms a lot, but it's easily adjusted, and the padding and bra-shelf built into it works in harmony with my sports bra, and that confidence makes me work a lot harder.
   I'll admit that the 'training to beat Goku' top is a t-shirt I've modified (yes, getting the hang of the sewing machine), so this is just a photoshop representation of the top I have. It's loose and airy and I like to wear it while kickboxing, because reasons. Take motivation where you can find it.
   I also only use JVC gumy earbuds, because I've always found affordable ordinary ones to be very uncomfortable and they fall out a lot, and headphones kind of get in the way. Gumy ones are comfy and stay put even when I'm jumping around with kickboxing, and I love the colours they come in. I chose red because apparently it's a motivational colour, but in truth I just like a splash of colour in amongst all the black. I might buy another pair in bright green, which I find more motivating than red to be honest.
  


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6


What's your favourite sportswear?



Thursday, 19 June 2014

Summer Sale

   The Steam Summer Sale starts today. It's that terrible day when bank accounts are emptied and money is spent on games no one really wants just because they're on sale. It's a terrible, wonderful day.
   And in light of that, I've decided to start my sale, too - whether that's wise or not. So while your man is browsing the Steam Summer Sale, there is something for the ladies as well!
   Use the code STEAMVALVE14 at checkout to get 25% off store-wide in Peaches and Pebbles. Applies to all orders, big or small, and, as always, if you purchase two items or more you get a free gift!





My Workout Music

   I usually use DVDs to work out - dance, yoga, kickboxing, strength - so I don't get much opportunity to listen to my own music while working out, but I do have routines from magazines and the internet which I've memorised that obviously don't come with sound and audio instructions, which I usually do in the evening instead of the morning. It's only really these that I am actually able to work out to what I like...and yet, what I workout to isn't always something I do like. I have what some would consider an odd choice of music, partly because some of them, like those used in isolations and strength training, are a little nerdy, and because others, like kickboxing, involves music I don't actually like.

   During strength training I listen to soundtracks from games and TV shows, most notably Avatar (both The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra), and I find motivation in them when I recall the episodes and scenes the music is from. Not all tracks are much good, so I only load the useful ones onto my MP3 player, and I train as if I'm going to defeat the Fire Lord. That might sound silly (all right, it does sound silly), but trust me, when it comes to training like this, take motivation whereever you can get it. The thought of defeating that rat bastard makes me work harder. No, he's not a real threat, it's a cartoon (a damn good cartoon), but I've always lived my life wishing I had these kinds of powers, and this, in its sad little way, helps me to better envision them and live a little of the fantasy. Besides, we've already established that I'm mad.

   In stark contrast, however, while I'm doing a memorised kickboxing routine I listen to heavy dubstep. This really isn't something I'd normally listen to in my day to day life, but it's the only thing that gets me seriously pumped up enough to be truly effective in my kickboxing. I've always loved doing it, and since I gave the music genre a go last month, I've actually started working a lot harder with it, and my shoulders and bum are going through an amazing transformation. The faster and thicker the music is, the better it is for me. I don't like the simple stuff, it's just not enough, and the beats don't have enough strength to throw a punch to. I've learned from this that while the music isn't something I'd say I like, certain circumstances can seriously throw those ideas out of the window, and while I'm kickboxing, I'm a big dubstep fan. Otherwise, not so much.

   While doing isolations I have specific tracks that I like to use in particular for their beats rather than just letting the soundtracks play, and these are mostly Avatar tracks again, with a few World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria ones. Like I said, take motivation where you find it, and I've always been a nerd, so I'm learning to embrace it.
   I love 'Wheels' from the Legend of Korra soundtrack the most, I will repeat that track several times over for my isolations. I adore 'On The Lam' and 'Hittin' On All Sixes' but they're quite short, and I tend to just start dancing to them rather than isolating, and while 'Firebending Training' is a really good one, it's far too short. 'Why Do We Fight' from Mists of Pandaria is one of my favourites, too, as well as 'Way Of The Monk'. It's generally the drumbeats I follow, but when the music kind of...I don't know how to put it, when the musis all kind of swings around together like it does at points in these tracks I use the opportunity to roll instead of pump. It's great fun, and I love a good fifteen minutes of isolations to music like this.
   I love these tracks so much that I've linked them below from youtube. No videos to watch, it's just the music - unless you want to stare at the CD cover for two and a half minutes.

   What do you listen to when you work out? Do you have a pre-made workout CD? Do you listen to the radio or whatever's on at the gym? Or, like me, do you have a seemingly random selection of tracks that you've picked out yourself that you blast through? Music is so important while working out, because it can both set the pace and help you keep rhythm, and it can also seriously boost your energy, enthusiasm and motivation. I don't think anyone should be ashamed or embarrassed by what they're listening to, either, especially if it's on your MP3 player and for no one else to hear. Just blast it and move!







Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Recently...

   Well I've been up to a lot, and nothing at all. Beyond working my bum off on my writing, I took a brief break this weekend because I'm going a little out of my mind with obsession.

   I started rewatching Dragonball Z - it was something I watched as a kid when I was about 10 on Cartoon Network, and I remember whenever we were going out I'd video tape it, and the few times we forgot, or there wasn't a tape in the machine, boy did I have a fit. I mentioned it in passing to Catherine and Lucy last year, I forgot why, and they said that I used to go on and on about it in school, and then they said what they remembered just from me going on, and I don't remember any of what they told me. So it's been pretty cool rewatching it. I can also freely admit to occasionally genuinely trying a kamehameha wave, but failing, of course. I also often try to cast spells but it doesn't work - but you'll never know until you try it! But yup, that's fun, although the voice acting is terrible as it so often is when dubbing is being used, but I can't find anywhere online to watch it in the original Japanese. The series was recently released on DVD with dubbed and Japanese with English subtitles, but it's really expensive. I know it's worth it but I can't afford it yet.


   I also gave Destiny a go, it's still in the alpha stages so it's nowhere near ready yet, released in September I believe, but it was pretty cool. Some of you might remember that I am awful at shooting, but fortunately there was someone nearby when I started playing who saved my life, otherwise I'd have died within two minutes of starting. I got into it eventually, though, and played an Awoken Warlock. The thing is that it is an MMO, but they're saying "it's not an MMO, it's an 'online experience'" - no, it's an MMO. But MMOs are dead, and calling it that would put people off. I also got way too much of a Halo feel from it, which is a shame. It's made by Bungie, the creators of Halo, but Seeg and I kind of hoped they might move away from that with this new game, but a lot of the architecture I'm seeing is familiar, there's an equivalent to the Flood, and it really just feels like a Halo MMO - despite that, however, it's still really good and I'm looking forward to it coming out.


    I also started work on a project that is destined to go wrong, especially given how well it started. I'm not going to say what it is because I know how things usually go after I say so, but I'm excited to show how it looks so far. It was kind of creepy initially, especially before I added the fur, it looked like a disembodied, naked ferret head. I'm so surprised by how well it came out (which is why I know it will fail) but it's not ready for baking yet so there's still plenty of opportunity for it to go horribly wrong.


   Made my dad a father's day card because I left it too long and forgot alllll about it, but he laughed, so it's all good. As you can see, modesty is my very best trait.

   What have you all been up to lately?



Friday, 13 June 2014

NASA's Warp Drive Concept

So this is NASA's concept for a warp drive craft. I've been watching so much sci-fi lately that I've actually forgotten we don't even have these kinds of spaceships yet.


It looks like Voyager passing through two star gates.






All Personalised Blankets Review

   We're getting into picnic season now. Well, I'm assuming the rest of the world is, because England isn't. As soon as the rain passes we're hit with strong winds, only blowing more rain our way. Seriously, the TV isn't working anymore, either.
   But either way, I've always liked picnics. I've not been on one in a couple of years since Seeg and I went on one for our first anniversary. All I really remember from that was discovering that I am awful with frisbees, and the amazing chicken and mayo sandwiches I made. Oh, and there were trees everywhere and a nice river.
   But we never had a blanket at the time, we just sat on our hoodies. Not that the ground was wet or anything but...well you need something to sit on!


   I like to personalise stuff, I do, I love it, and the reason for that is because I think I'm a pretty cool person and I want the world to know how cool I am. And for that, I need dragons on stuff. [I know what you all might be thinking, 'that's not cool', but sod it, if you don't consider yourself to be 'cool', even by your own definition of the word, then you're doing something wrong. Dragon, fantasy, weights, swords, it's freaking cool, and if I wasn't me, I'd hang out with me.]
   I found a website called All Personalised Blankets - pretty specialised, yes, but I was after a blanket for our next picnic, and the idea of having an awesome dragon blanket roped me in. Any I've seen have been rubbish, so, like I did with the last time I used a personalisation website, I went to Dead End Thrills and picked out an awesome Skyrim screenshot and had it printed on a 95x140 polar fleece blanket which pads the ground beautifully.


   The website was awesome to use, too, really easy, because you have complete control over how many pictures you have (one or even a dozen), how they're positioned, how big they are and so on, and the print quality is pretty spectacular. This blanket is no small item, and the screenshot was exactly that - a screenshot. Little bigger than a computer screen. And look at how clear and crisp it's come out! The colours are perfect, too! I love this blanket, and I know it'll be used again in the winter as an extra layer on the bed after being used for picnics in the spring and summer. I might go back for more, too, because I know that my sister wants one, and she's keeping on quite a bit. She's not as cool as me, though. She doesn't want dragons.



Thursday, 12 June 2014

Etsy UK TV Advert

   The Etsy UK TV advert was aired last night. I didn't see it, I don't really sit around waiting for adverts on the TV, but I think it worked out quite well. I think it'll certainly draw people in with the whole 'most beautiful marketplace in the world' slogan, but I think we can all agree that some people are going to be put off immediately by (and I really don't mean to offend anyone) some of the poorer products and product photography that will inevitably pop up when people make their first searches.
   I also don't think the advert captured much of the whimsy that's available on Etsy, even if the chair is pretty snazzy, because whimsy makes up a larger part of Etsy than most people realise, and, yes, I'm thinking about myself right now a little bit, too.
   However, despite that, the advert is pretty good, and I don't think people will go to Etsy, see some off-putting products and then never return, and whimsy can be discovered easily enough. I really hope it brings in more UK attention, because Etsy is still relatively unknown over here, though awareness has began to grow a little recently, yay!





Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Jean Butler's Irish Dance Masterclass DVD Review

Price: £15/ $13 (can be found cheaper elsewhere)
Length: 12+ 1-4 minute sections
Workouts: Cardio, Legs, Core
Suitable for: Everyone
Rating: ★★★★☆
Based on 4 weeks of use.


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Butlers-Irish-Dance-Masterclass-Region/dp/B0015N3EL8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1401614683&sr=8-3&keywords=jean+butler%27s+irish+dance+masterclass
   Jean Butler's Irish Dance Masterclass is an excellent DVD. I have no dance training beyond what I've picked up from ordinary dance workout DVDs, but I've developed core strength from yoga and strength training which has certainly helped. I have always loved the Lord of the Dance, it's a guilty pleasure of mine, and when I found this DVD I absolutely had to try it.

   It's stated by Jean Butler herself at the beginning of the DVD before you even reach the menu that the DVD has been put together for people of any age, and for people with dance experience and people without. First of all, there's no doubt about it: it's hard. You would be foolish to think you could buy this DVD, play it through once and be able to do everything, let alone do everything well. The dancers in the DVD are well-practised performers, not beginners, and you can't expect to meet their level very fast. You must also realise that nothing can substitute a real teacher, but this DVD is great for teaching the basics and maybe getting ahead of a class or two, but you'll never become Jean Butler or Michael Flatley from this alone.

   The DVD doesn't offer a routine to learn and practise, instead it teaches you movements - basic soft-shoe and basic hard-shoe moves, but just because they're basic it doesn't mean they're easy. Most chapters of the DVD are between 1-4 minutes long - not long at all - and cover between 1 and 4 moves. What I did when I used this DVD this month was select a section and repeat repeat repeat for half an hour a day as the first half hour of my daily workout. I spent one day on point pull-backs which are extremely simple once you get the hang of them. I then spent three days on the next section of hop backs and similar moves until I had grasped it, then moved on again. It took me two weeks before I moved onto hard-shoe, and I will also state that by that point I still hadn't completely gotten the hang of the jumps from the soft-shoe section, but I was getting tired and losing enthusiasm so I thought I'd move on before coming back. I spent two weeks on the first hard-shoe section which were basic taps, and even then I never got beyond the first three minutes of that chapter.
   So, in a nutshell, it really is difficult. But if you let yourself enjoy it rather than allow yourself to get frustrated (and you will get frustrated) you can have fun and learn it.

   There is a glossary section which sees a lot of the moves broken down and demonstrated by Jean with a bar, but unfortunately not all moves are present in the glossary - the first move encountered on the DVD that I still can't do and really could use tips on is the jump that follows the 'leg work' section. I can't even explain how the move looks let alone figure out how they do it. However, the glossary also shows moves that I haven't seen on the rest of the DVD (though, as I've said, I've not moved past the first hard-shoe chapter yet even after a month of use) such as rocks and cross keys, which are small but really fun moves.

   I really don't want to say anything bad about the DVD, because I honestly do love it, but if you buy it you genuinely have to expect it to be hard, expect it to go badly at first, and expect to spend days repeating tiny two-minute sections. The satisfaction that comes with getting a move down is amazing, mind you, so it's definitely worth keeping up.
   I do notice that some of the moves aren't explained very well, but if you watch their feet, practise and don't be afraid of getting it wrong first, you can pick it up. Another problem I had, personally, was that I was concentrating too hard on trying to keep up with the dancers rather than trying to get to grips with the moves, so I really do advise patience, and I also kept over-thinking the moves which also really didn't help. Keep your remote on hand and be ready to skip back to the beginning of the chapter, and also try some of the moves on your own without the DVD to give yourself the chance to learn it without the voice-over, because sometimes that's all it takes to distract you. There are some chapters that cover four different movements, which means you're literally going to be skipping back to the beginning every forty five seconds, but that's just how the DVD works and you can learn it.

   If you're a fan of Irish Stepdance and you want to have a little go at it, this DVD is amazing. If you want a career out of it then this is a good starting point but nothing substitutes a teacher. Lots of motivational speakers will tell you not to go into something expecting to fail, and that's a good point, but you shouldn't go in thinking failure isn't a possibility. You will struggle, you will get moves wrong, and you will end up repeating things every minute, but practise practise practise is how you will both learn and subsequently get good at things. Also don't try to move too fast or raise your leg too high, because practise is all a part of that, too. Start small, start slow, and gradually speed up in time.

   I got a surprisingly good sweat going from this, and my legs underwent a surprising transformation, seriously I couldn't (still can't) believe it. But I also got very, very tired calves. I've always felt, like many, that  warm-ups and cool-downs are important whatever you're doing, but this is the first time I've genuinely felt the value of it. It's an amazing DVD, and you can really learn from it if you give yourself the chance.

   There's also a documentary of her teaching children which I haven't watched, and a dance she put together for the DVD, which I also haven't watched, but I'm sure they're good. You also have the option to just 'play all' in the 'masterclass' section, play one of five pre-arranged sections put together by Jean, or put your own together by picking and arranging what you want to focus on. It's a brilliantly put together DVD, and, with patience and a desire to learn, you can grasp things. Don't be afraid of falling over, either. I think that's what is getting in my way with a lot of the jumps. I don't want a bruised bum.

   Anyway. Verdict? Buy it. It's so amazing, so unique and you really feel like a cleverclogs once you've got some of the moves.
   I used ordinary dance trainers (trainers with only a rubber toe and rubber heel, no rubber instep) which allow you to flex your foot with much more freedom, but without proper irish dancing shoes it's kind of hard to hear what you're doing so you kind of have to put your mind into when your foot is hitting the ground. Any dancer would tell you, of course, that you need the right shoes, so if you're looking at this DVD as an actual training product then buy the right shoes. If you're just looking for a fun workout like I was then dancing trainers will be fine, if slightly unsatisfying in some sections.



Monday, 2 June 2014

June: Iai Battojutsu

 Read Also: 4 Weeks Later

Fun Rating: ★★★★☆    Difficulty Rating: ★★☆☆☆     Results Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

   I've been interested in feudal Japan for years - the culture, the architecture, the military, and I'm also quite fond of the language. It's absolutely gorgeous, and a lot of the letters they use are beautiful. But anyway, about six years ago when I bought some decorational katanas, I found a DVD that taught Iai Battōjutsu, which focuses on Japanese and similar oriental sword arts, and is a martial art.
   First, let me say that I'm not so foolish as to buy this DVD and say 'I know martial arts' or 'I'm a brown belt now'. To actually be a belt I'm 100% positive that you have to pass an exam, and pass more - written and practical - to advance through the ranks, which the DVD obviously doesn't give you, and odds are that you're not going to be doing it quite right without an instructor actually in front of you correcting your mistakes, either. But, I've wanted to try it since I saw it, and I decided that it could be a cool thing to try this month.
   I also admit that I don't believe it's going to be much of a workout, so I'm starting up the 30 Day Shred again to do every day after the kata training, so at least I can guarantee a workout even if the battojutsu isn't very effective.


   It was kind of expensive to be honest, at £45 for the DVD, the bokken (wooden training sword) and the saya (a scabbard), but the bokken, a daito (katana), is actually a legal piece, meaning it's exactly the right length, and exactly the right width. No, the blade is wooden, and it is thick, not narrow, but I compared it to the katana that I bought Seeg (admittedly decorational) for Christmas or his birthday a couple of years ago, and it's the same length and weighs the same despite his katana being a steel blade.
   Make no mistake, because it looks quite light when you see people doing iaijutsu, but it's actually a very heavy piece of equipment, and I just know it's going to get heavier the longer I hold it. But, I'm very excited.


   Like I said, I don't think it's going to be much of a workout, but starting the shred again should hopefully combat that a little. No pun intended. I also mentioned recently that it's going to be a sort of research for my writing, because I love a good swordsman in my books, and while this fighting style won't be very helpful to my writing, having some personal experience holding and moving with a sword will. I like to write about training sessions in my stories and seeing characters improve their skill through practise as well as application, and this can be helpful, especially when a character is teaching another for one reason or another. Plus, it's freaking awesome.
   I do feel that it's possible that I've slightly forgotten my prime directive for my new year's resolution. It was to try a new fitness routine every month, but now it feels more like learning something new every month. The hooping, yes, that was a workout, but I learned from it, too. The Irish Dancing was also a damned good workout, but it was also far more instructional and there was a lot to learn there, too, you didn't just pick it up after a go or two. And now there's this.

   Today will be my first day on this routine, and I'll be starting it in an hour. I bought the kata training package from Blades-UK; the DVD is instructed by Steve Crowther, a 5th Dan Renshi, and while I know for a fact that nothing can substitute a real teacher and real training, this DVD (volume 1 of 3) is supposedly 'intended as a supplement  to training under Steve Crowther' so I can only assume that what you'd learn in his class is what you've got on the DVD. The website also says that the DVD contains all you need to know to get to a brown belt, which I think is quite impressive, but like I said, I don't honestly think you have any real right to say you've earned it until you've gone through proper training and exams. I get the feeling it would be like saying you have an A Level in English history because you've learned in your own time through internet research all there is to know about the Tudors, and I won't disrespect true martial artists by being so brash.

   I'll update on progress in a couple of weeks!



Sunday, 1 June 2014

Irish Dancing: 4 Weeks Later


Fun Rating: ★★★★☆    Difficulty Rating: ★★★☆☆     Results Rating: ★★★★☆

   Well...what can I say? I have thoroughly enjoyed this month's workout. Seriously. It's perhaps the hardest thing I've done in terms of difficulty rather than stamina (30 Day Shred wins there), but by sticking with it, I can confidently say that I can do a couple of Irish Stepdance moves. A couple. Because they are hard and take a ridiculous amount of practise to learn let alone do well, and I have an even greater respect for people who do it.

   It was so, so much fun. I spent half an hour a day on it, and when I say the sections are between 1 and 4 minutes long, I'm not exaggerating. I didn't learn any routines, sadly, only individual moves but I can piece them together. There are a lot of moves that get progressively harder, so it's a case of learn this section, then this one, then this one etc, focusing on soft-shoe before hard-shoe. So I was repeating every section constantly. I spent the first day on a single minute section, skipping back to the beginning of the chapter and practising it over and over again, and that does sound tiresome, I admit, but you don't notice it at all, especially when you do start to get to grips with the movement. The satisfaction that comes with getting the hang of a move is huge, as well.

   I built up a good sweat from it, and Seeg has actually noticed a difference in my waist. As for my legs...I don't know whose they are but they're not mine. My legs are not this slim or this toned. Seriously, who stole my chunky little stubs?!
   I've never really thought about my legs to be honest. I've never had nice ones really, and I'm quite short as well so I've always kind of hated them, but goodness me, this workout has been tough love for them. My legs have been killing me all month because it's such a demanding dance style, but the results are clear to me. If you want nice legs, nice calves in particular, pick this DVD up and have some fun with it. It's intense.
   I've also been building up a surprising sweat from this. Sorry if that grosses you out but we're talking workouts here. I hadn't expected to get much from this if I'm honest. You never use your arms in Irish dancing, just your legs, so while there is some jumping and hopping which does get your heart a-racing, I didn't expect to sweat like that. So while I thought it was possible that this month might be a wasted workout...well, I was so, so wrong. I feel amazing, my legs look great, I learned a little bit, and while a little bit of the magic and awe has gone from the Lord of the Dance now I can see their movements and understand what and how they're doing a lot of it, I am also a lot more overwhelmed by some of the other moves, tap especially, because I know what they're doing and for the life of me just can't do myself at all let alone at their speed. It's insane. I haven't done it yet, and I'll feel silly when I do, but I have considered putting the Lord of the Dance on the TV and copying the movements of the soft-shoe dances. I'll fail immediately, I know I will, but now I can kind of follow with my eyes if not my feet, it could be a load of fun.

   I'll post a DVD review in a couple of days, and I've gone into good detail about the DVD itself, so if you're thinking about it but want more info, hopefully I've got you covered.