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

Sunday, 20 August 2017

30 Day Shred - Level 2

   What confidence I had in level 1 was certainly set back in line during level 2. I first used the 30 Day Shred 3 years ago - it was my first 'real' workout - and since then I have bought, used and worn down almost every Jillian Michaels DVD there is. So, I figured that going back to my roots, to where my efforts for fat loss turned into a passion for movement and fitness, would be a piece of cake - forgive the inappropriate pun - if 2014 Kim could do it, 2017 Kim could blow it out of the water.
   And while I used level 1, which I gave only a week's use with the intention of putting a little more time into level 2 and 3, that was certainly the case. Jumping jacks, crunches, chest flyes - no problem for experience, right? And, actually, a pretty damn good place to start for those new to it. In short, it was clear how I was able to stick to it that first time around. Had I started with any other Jillian Michaels workout, I'd have certainly been frightened off.
   That's not to say that I didn't give level 1 my all; I chose the heaviest weights I could manage, I made deeper ranges of motion and moved faster, and that did the job. I made sure level 1 was still a challenge - I even gave the jumping jacks Tabata speed (personally, that's 28 jumping jacks in 20 seconds; my record is 30).

   Level 2, however...not quite the same story. The moves that made up level 1 were easy for beginners, but also easy to modify for advanced. The moves that made up level 2, however - not so easy. That was in part because the movements were those I'm not used to, that aren't hard enought to make it into other DVDs but not easy enough to make it into others, and when workouts are split into levels, the movements are grouped up and many simply just don't quite make the cut, be it for variety or because there's another move that will do the job just that little bit better, or is perhaps a bit more adaptable.
   Anyway, my point is, I struggled, and that continued into the second week despite having been put quite firmly in my place on the first and second day. So I'm sure it wasn't just overconfidence. And that was kind of nice. Yes, I was still pushing through with deeper movements and bigger weights - weights I didn't even own 3 years ago - and not once did I drop down.
   If I'm honest, it was the shoulders that hurt the most. It was brutal. Shoulder presses, V-raises, plank jacks and plank twists - not so bad on their own, but when performed in the same circuit, ouch. It was awful. The only mercy came with the double jump rope between the jacks and twists. But in hindsight, I realised that my shoulders rarely get worked, and they're such small muscles anyway (I had to use my 1.5kgs, while I use 4kg for most else), so it was actually kind of nice. In a very obscure, masochistic sort of way. With every painful raise, I knew I was doing good, improving a part of my body that had lagged behind the rest. My legs are strong because I always favour lower body workouts over upper body (bigger muscle groups = greater calorie burn; equating to greater fat burn while building more shapely legs and bum), and my upper body isn't what it could be. But even then, I realise my shoulders don't get much of a look in even then.

   Anyway, I begin level 3 tomorrow, and after being taken down several pegs in level 2, I'm nervous. But 2014 Kim managed it, so I certainly can now.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Friday Favourites

This week has been pretty good, if I'm honest. I've been writing diligently and loving every moment of it, I'm already very comfortable in the book (though I suppose that's to be expected as it's the second of a duology), and I'm feeling really quite energised by it.
Seeg has also been playing Starbound lately, a new and immense sandbox game, and I've been really enjoying the soundtrack. I've been pulling out a foldable camping chair, lining it in pillows and blankets and just parking myself next to his computer to watch and listen while I work. It's not at all distracting, and I'm actually getting really good work done in the process. Better than when he plays The Last Of Us or something equally as enthralling, for obvious reasons!
So it's only natural that its soundtrack made it into this week's favourites - as well as some fantasy reading button badges from one of my favourite artists, which I need, and a new slouchy hoodie I've been living in since the weather's turned colder! I can't wait for winter ♥

Reading buttons by The Picsees   ♥  Graze's Sweet & Smoky Carrot Crunch
Starbound soundtrack   ♥   Mantaris burnout hoody by ElleSport

Monday, 7 August 2017

I Think I'm Ready For Book Two!

   After 11 weeks rigidly redrafting my last book, the first of two, I called it more or less done on July 10th, which I announced with my very first vlog. Since then I have had my nose glued instead to notebooks and text files putting together the plan for the next. This usually takes a long time, but as this isn't a new story - new world, new characters, new plot - it was much easier because most things were already established. Though the plot does take a sudden 180 at the end of the first book, so there was still a lot to work out and it does feel like a new story, but the technical bits that take the longest were done years ago.

   I admit, I'm daunted, but only because it matters to me. I know I can do it, and do it well enough, and I'm very confident in the direction of the story, the revelations and the ending itself. It's just a big undertaking, and with the first half of the story already done, I worry I might forget something, a small but ultimately significant detail. I'm trying not to get in my head about it because that will just make it harder to begin, and I'm so very excited to start. And as it's only been three and a half months, since April 20th, that I've not really written creatively, it shouldn't take long to find my feet again.

   I am just so excited, and frightened. But I want to get on with it! Especially since the first book has been put away for the time being until I'm at a comfortable place in this one. Only once I'm about half way through here can I submit the first to agents (and then, inevitably, self-publish).
   But I've kept myself on short reins. I've forced myself to take the past two days off (which I almost never, ever do - if I have time to chill, I have time to write), giving myself the chance for my mind to slow down as well as remember details that may have slipped past - while redrafting I made notes of details I encountered as I went to make sure they were addressed, just in case I forgot something (I didn't) - and watched Seeg play Last of Us for the fourth time. Rather conveniently, he finished the game 11pm last night, so I have no distractions this evening and I feel fully refreshed and raring to go.

   Wish me luck! I'm so excited!!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

30 Day Shred - Level 1

   Having used the 30 Day Shred once before in 2014, when I decided to revisit it this month I intended to give level 1 only one week of use, and level 2 and 3 two weeks each. This is generally what I do whenever I revisit a level-based workout because that first level rarely offers a challenge the second time around, aside from heavier weights and deeper squats. Even so, I never let my ego get too inflated which is why I still indulge that first level - but I didn't expect such ease from level 1
   The 30 Day Shred was the first proper workout I'd ever done. As I am now, I thought it would probably be a touch easier than most other Jillian Michaels workouts I've done since, though I will admit that part of the reason I picked it up t begin with, and stuck with it, was that someone I didn't like tried it and gave up quickly and I wanted to out-do her. But it was still a Jillian Michaels workout, so I also thought when I picked it back up this month that it wasn't going to be easy. I was quite looking forward to revisiting my roots.
   Well, I just gave level 1 its one week run, and on day one I couldn't believe how easy it was!
   Though, I suppose 'easy' is the wrong word. 'Tame' would be more appropriate. Because there were only two moves I found difficult: the first was squats with shoulder press, which was my own fault for underestimating and choosing heavier weights (though I didn't exchange them at all throughout level 1), and side lunges with anterior raises because anterior raises, like tuck jumps, are my weakness. Which is why I do them. Otherwise, push ups, chest flyes, jumping jacks, punches, basic crunches - it was easy. Three circuits of 2 strength moves, 2 cardio moves and 2 ab moves, it's no wonder I was able to stick with it. It was scary at the time, because before that all I'd really done was dance cardio, but in terms of building lean muscle and using compound moves with weights, it was the very best place I could have started.

   Don't misunderstand me. I find it tame because I've done a lot crazier and more intense stuff in the three years since I first used the 30 Day Shred, so I've grown a lot, but it's no wonder it didn't scare me off. The 30 Day Shred is a pretty good fitness DVD for beginners who are looking to tone up and get fit beyond just shedding a few pounds - a starting point for people looking to challenge themselves. That wasn't my intention at the time, of course, I just wanted to lose weight, but it grew into so much more because it forced me to push myself, but not too far beyond what I was actually capable of at the time - it just revealed to me what that was.

   I start level 2 tomorrow, and while I anticipate another tame workout, that's only because of the number of moves. The low number per circuit and low number of circuits prevents it from being intimidating while guaranteeing burn. Aside from that, though, I do expect it to get a bit more difficult because I don't remember what's involved, and also because level 1 was a little too easy...

   I'll update again in two weeks, when I've finished with level 2.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Friday Favourites

This hasn't been the best week, if I'm honest. Since Tuesday I've been feeling so very run down, very ill and as though I'm being dogged by a migraine. I've been on edge, and while I love Vikings and Last of Us, which Seeg has just begun replaying, I'm finding that daily doses of the two alongside my mood and pains are putting me even more on edge.
Fortunately, though it doesn't feel like it, there have been a few easy pieces for this week's Friday Favourites - like the 'I ♥ David Attenborough' brooch and handmade energy balls my best friend popped around to give me, taking a moment away from her studies to see me which, in itself, was enough to put a smile on my face.
Then there's the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and I can't believe how good it was, nor that the sequel was just as good.
Also, corset belts are in.
So I've had a few easy things to make me smile ♥

I love David Attenborough brooch   ♥   Delemi handmade energy balls
Corset Top by New Look   ♥   Best Exotic Marigold Hotel