What a month.. I had many good intentions of blogging my thoughts on Christmas, it just seems like the month has flown by. Since I was a little kid i have absolutely loved Christmas. This year I went through a roller coaster of emotions on what Christmas meant to me. It was a thought provoking and interesting month, reminiscing about past Christmas’s, trying to work out what was important to me at this time of year, watching others in the enormous waves of all the commercial stress. Then there were my thoughts around the vast amounts of consuming we do on one day and how none of it sits well with my philosophy of moderation. I watched friends and family get into a complete state of stress. For a couple of days I became overwhelmed with it all too. After a wonderful month with friends and clients it still seemed to make no sense to me.

For some it is one time of year when many make the effort for loved ones and christmas is one day when the world stops so most can celebrate together. I hope that continues. Imagine how horrid it would become if shops opened even for Christmas morning.

Maybe after three years still in a broken house, waiting to move forward that I did for a brief moment become the Christmas grinch….

So this year we started a couple of new traditions. In lieu of client, friends and family gifts we gave to our favourite charity. We combined what our Leapstars donated during the year in our donate your weight campaign. And gave all the cans and two huge bins overflowing with treats for the influx of foodbank requests at this time of year.
It was such a wonderful feeling.

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Then we paused to think of those loved ones who weren’t with us this Christmas. We star gazed as the clock ticked over from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day and were grateful for all we have. I may have even seen Santa moving across the southern hemisphere sky..

While with friends and family yesterday we celebrated Christmas I heard laughter and saw the faces of the little people. With their pure excitement and delight of sharing stories of Santa I remembered why I loved Christmas…..

It’s a magical time for giving and believing in all things good. Reflecting on the abundance of what you do have and that the best things in life don’t always need the commercial bells and whistles. It’s a time for thanking those in your life who make a difference to you πŸ™‚

Thank you to YOU for being a part of my life this 2013. The lows have taught me lessons and the highs have given me hope. It has been and amazing year. Looking forward to a magnificent 2014 πŸ™‚

Love, laughter and hugs to everyone and a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe holidays xx

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What else should a girl do while waiting for the Eurostar…. Champagne tasting of course πŸ™‚

Today was an amazing travelling day – early morning tube to to catch the lunchtime Eurostar, lunch in Paris and train to Beavious before taxi to the airport to catch a plane to the Algarve in Portugal – arriving at 11:30pm. It was surprisingly a very relaxing and enjoyable day. The snails for lunch were a highlight until we have arrived in paradise…

What really matters in life is rarely on my daily to do list

So today was about washing, packing and blogging. Anne and Kevin have made it to work, Molly has been picked up by doggy day care and the painters have arrived… We are in London afterall, the washing is out, the packing can’t be done until thats done and the blogging..well its my blog so I guess it can wait!

Good that’s sorted then lets go……

When I left on my OE nan said don’t have any regrets. I didn’t really have a regret but I was sad I hadn’t taken enough photos of my favourite Underground Stations. I had also missed out on Paddington Station back in the day as the day I was going to go I had the flu and never fitted it in, so off we went for an action packed day of tube hopping, store stopping and and old english pub to finish. Riwai was amazing as we ran around like our own version of the amazing race. It was crazy and we certainly walked off all the food and wine from Emiles last night! Another epic day and we made sure we were all packed before bed so it would be more relaxing tomorrow as we head for Portugal – on another adventure via Paris and Beavious.

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The best things in life are not things

True friendship isn’t about being insperable. It’s about beng separated and nothing changes. Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. Its about who walks into your life and says I’m here for you and proves it.

Today was all about friendship, about two wonderful people in our lives giving us the most wonderful gift of their time and treating us to a day trip of fairytale proportions. Foxhills was simply equisite and while the boys played a round of golf with a cart so Riwais foot wouldn’t be a bother, Anne and I had a spa treatment then headed to the Manor house for a true English High Tea. And the magic didn’t finish there….. after a quick ride home we went to dinner at Emilles. A fabulous night of laughter, amazing company and food and wine to match our good moods. It certainly was worth changing our Eurostar for and a day of magical friendship memories, mmmmmm yes and a plan brewing to meet in Asia next year to keep us all focused over the next few months. Loving the Arrghhfeckit! Tour and its only Day three.

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Hugs were invented to let people know you love them without having to say anything

As we check out of the Sopwell my excitement builds again, just as I know I will see Kim again, my next hug will be for someone I met while on my OE in 1997. It has been a friendship from afar for over 16 years. Anne calls me Little Sis and I call her Big Sis. She opened her doors to me when I travelled and I often used her address as a base when I travelled back and forth from London. We only have a couple of days in London and despite having many offers of beds we know my body needs a break and Anne and Kevin, with their furry babies Molly and Terry are the perfect retreat to soak it all in. As they pull up it is just like the movies, squells of delight, true smiles from ear to ear and the long hug that says everything without uttering a single word.

The boys sit back and smile too, Anne jumps in the back and we non stop yabble yabble all the way to a country pub for lunch. I am so impressed to see salad and salmon on the menu and we sit back and catch up all afternoon in the most idylic setting – the pub is called the Cricketers and is dog friendly so we feel quite at home seeing all sorts of furry friends coming in after their walk in the common.

We are feeling nice and relaxed and my body is holding up well. Riwai decided to put a call out to everyone in the UK to meet tomorrow at a pub for a Sunday afternoon catch up. We are only in London for the weekend and we know it will be a big ask but it was the only way we could do it. We have a few yes’s so that is Sunday all planned.

As we are driving home, Kevin asks what our preference is for dinner. Riwai has been an amazing support crew not just here but over the last few years so the least I can do is let him pick dinner – knowing full well it will be his favourite and my least favourite Indian! Apparently no London trip is complete without a Curry and a Pint!

We have a great dinner and I must say the food was pretty damn good. An early night and a big sleep in the next day was just what we both needed. Ready to go again.

Another round of those perfect long hugs where you don’t have to say anything. We are so blessed to catch up with everyone, we were sad we didn’t have more time for those we missed, but all the same it is a great day.

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We are due to leave on the Eurostar tomorrow…. but Kevin and Anne think this should be our – Arrghfeckit Tour – They both have tomorrow off and have concocted a plan they think we don’t want to miss…… and before we know it we have rebooked the train for Wednesday.

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That was the most memorable and amazing day and up with one of the top 10 things I have ever done. I am still pinching myself and a litte in awe of who I was surrounded by, who I was supported by and how I did what I set out to do in my unique style. I may not have taken home the first prize however I have gained so much and totally feel like a winner. The judges feedback was so valuable.

And the top prize went to a most deserving and humble winner, Kim Ingleby is an amazing person and trainer and with 15 years experience and her own unique story. it was an absolute pleasure to spend time with her and the other eight magnificent trainers. It is a life changing day I will never never forget.

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Flying is incredible to watch – have you ever stopped to think how magnificent, birds, butterflies, insects and man-made aeroplanes really are? They showcase how doing the impossible, with the odds stacked against them can appear effortless, majestically taking to the air and dancing above the world like they were suppose to be there.
I have flown from my earthquake devastated hometown of Christchurch to St Albans, London. I was nominated and picked from 1500 global entrants in 43 countries to represent and showcase my style of personal training. Today as my watch reads 8:48am, I have a great opporunity to inspire and learn. I am surrounded by the globes greatest personal trainers and in a few minutes I am taking my curves and crutches to the world health, fitness and wellness stage.

Today it is my turn to fly…………………..

Keith Austin is a towering gentle giant. He fills a room or in this case a gym with calm and fun. But don’t be fooled by this jovial persona – he is a wealth and depth of knowledge in the health and fitness industry. He is also one of our seven judges, five whom are present today.

He sure means business and I am very excited that our first masterclass is a practical workshop on the magnificent LifeFitness Synrgy360. Nuffield Health is also an amazing centre. As we are seated for our briefing I catch out of the corner of my eye state of the art equipment, an indoor pool, squash courts and a welcoming cafe and hub of the centre. The energy has lifted and we are surrounded by cameras, onlookers, media and sponsors. Keith tells us to focus on us and why we are here. He says we must think of today as a learning and have fun. Of course at the end of the day someone will take home a title but he says we are all winners and we must remember that we are the top 10 from 1500 entrants nominated fro 43 countries. Again the tears are right there this is a true honour and still unbelievable! No time for them to flow, a quick bite of the bottom lip, look at my pandora and other sentiments and its show time!

The music is turned up, Keith walks me through this amazing equipment to make sure all can be achieved on my crutches. It all gets the big tick. I am so excited πŸ™‚ The other nine join us in the centre for another reminder from our host Nick Merrell from Life Fitness UK and Europe. A quick
three, two, one FUN!!! and we are warming up to the beat of the music.

It was truey an amazing experience, catering for all levels and our quick highlights package reminds me anyone can exercise and can exercise.. I am in the right industry for inspiring wellness and changing lives.

The rest of the morning sees us in an upstairs meeting room, doing three theory based classes before lunch. One is on sharing best practices on four unique clients of the future – I loved it because these were all my typical clients now and I was able to hear from nine other experienced and top of their game trainers. We then met our clients, real clients based at Nuffield, mine is Beverley a 20 year plus member in her early 50’s, only does classes and has never used the Synrgy360 or weights. She has some old injuries from a car accident. We get to chat over lunch and find out what she likes, dislikes, her longterm fitness goals of weightloss and longevity. Our third masterclass is on the clock – we return to the arena and for the first time since we started with Keith I feel the butterflies again…. I have 55 minutes to plan, record and write down a 15minute progessive workout for Beverley. It is what I do, everyday…. but for 30seconds I am star struck, in awe of the equipment and the task. This is being streamed live around the world, the judges are watching our every move and I have a head full of ideas… at least I am not blank. I take my notebook and sit with my eyes closed for a few minutes. Breathing deep into my belly and calming my nerves, just like this morning I repeat the words ” I got here on my own merits, do this for everyone back home, do this for Riwai” Breathing, relaxing and clearing the mind. And eyes open…. I walk around the gear and ask myself – what would you do at home. Do what you know… I see Riwai arrive and I run over to him “Please can you go back to the hotel and grab the hula hoop? I need it to relax me into the session at 2:30” I have said it before but he is an amazing support crew, he doesn’t hesitate and heads off.

I get planning – Warm Up must be fun cardio and include dynamic stretching. The session will include major compound muscle work, flexion and extenstion exercises. Low impact for knees and lower back pain and no shoulder elevation due to old injuries from car accidents. Short Term Mission – to introduce Beverley to the Synrgy360, get her heart rate elevated, sweating and smiling. Long Term Mission to compliment her love of cardio classes with an alternatve resistance training to promote longevity, muscle building and disease prevention.

Thats the technical bit and in reality this Leap2it! Session sounded like this..

We will take you back to childhood with some hulahooping and hopscotch and throw the rubber duck, then we will put out some washing, spin dry it (dynamic stretching) and grapevine and pattercake around the place (cardio) then move to being a super woman (trx and rip) then we will pop in a bit of water skiing (TRX and RIP) lunge around the clock, and plank the alphabet then we will finish off with some bat wing treatment (with TRX for arms) before we have a lie down and give yourself a round of applause and angel wings. (Obie for myofascial release)

15 minutes exactly – planned and ready to go! Submitted to judges – this was so everyone was on the same level and we couldn’t change our plan.

I was number three so I got to watch Kim and Steven first – they were awesome and it really calmed my nerves. Each was so different and our styles were able to be showcased.

Next up is Cate Grace from New Zealand…..

WOW it was amazing.. a blur, a delight, a wonderment – I didn’t notice the cameras, I ran my own race, and it was so much fun.. it was great to see my clients smile and I felt like it was exactly what I was suppose to be doing. I couldn’t have done it any differently and I gave it my all. What a blast and what a memory.

There was no time to even say hello to Riwai, I literally caught my breath and was whisked away for a video interview, I didn’t even do my hair and I could feel beads of sweat and red cheeks…At least I knew it would look real. I am so stoked with the video, it is only a couple of minutes and it captured my essesnce and why I am in this industry perfectly!

Curves and Crutches – I did it – I felt like i was flying and it was JAZZFASTIC!

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This last month has been ridiculously taxing on me and those around me. We are about to attempt our forth go at treatment for my RA. Meanwhile I am on double dose of steroids and antibiotics. However with my health in limbo I was reminded of three great quotes I first heard while on my Aspire course at Outward Bound last year.

1. You have the ability to achieve great things. Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the damn thing yourself πŸ˜‰

2. How to really be alive! Live juicy. Stamp out comformity. Spend a day in your pj’s dream of gypsy wagons. Find snails making love. Develop and outstanding appetite for books. Drink sunsets. Draw out your feelings. Amaze yourself. Be ridiculous. Stop worrying. Make yes your favourite word. Marry yourself. Treat yourself like you would your bestie. Dry your clothes in the sun. Eat mangos on pavs. Keep toys in your bath. Spin yourself dizzy. Hang upside down. Follow a child. Celebrate an old person. Send a love letter to someone. Be advance. Try endearing. Invent new ways to love. Transform negatives. Delight someone. Wear pyjamas to the movies. Wear pyjamas to the supermarket. Allow yourself to feel rich without money. Be who you truly are. Believe in everything. You are always on your way to a miracle. The miracle is you!

3. Life should NOT be a journey to the grave, with one the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well presented body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body throughly used up, totally worn out screaming “wahoo it was worth the ride”

So despite being up and down and inside out I decided to push to the limits and turn the damn light one! Instead of letting the negative overwhelm me I picked myself up, dusted myself of and made the decision to concentrate on living. I took a week off work and planned a retreat – not for me but for 20 of my clients. I wanted to live, leap, love and laugh… and so we headed off to Hanmer, where we did just that – entertained, loved living, enjoyed exercise, appreciated alone time, and played positively. We laughed, giggled, smiled and laughed some more. we themed it up as kiwiana to spark up memories and and easy conversation. It was a super, enjoyable weekend in the fresh and rainbows.

I love smiles and seeing a genuine smile and even better laughter woft through the air – it truly puts me in my happy place. Somehow (with a stack of help) we pulled out a kiwiana themed extravaganza and it was epic!

I witnessed my mission in life unfolding. I set out every morning to inspire one person to find and share their good news and discover their inner sparkle. When everyone left today I jumped in the shower and cried (partly cos i was tired) but mostly because I was so happy and overwhelmed by what we had achieved. i witnessed an inner sparkle and happiness it in all 20 of those who shared in the weekend … And I could not be happier.. the bonus to hear the stories, share the food, fun and laughter and watch what should be a mismatched group from school year end 1966-2002 bond as if they were never not friends. OMG it was AMAZING!. Everyone made my weekend magic. i saw the stress melt away and everyone’s shoulders relax as if a weight had been lifted. it made me feel super proud, we didn’t want it to end. We really are a tribe! as i sat back and watched them all and sipped on hot chocolate for breakfast (only at leap lol) – every ounce of hardwork, stress, late night planning, aches and pains, doubts and own frustrstions about my own health melted away.

It was a totally euphoric and in that moment I realised the weekend was going to be one of those life changing, game player moments. Kiwiana weekend extravaganzas really are good for our health! It guided me believe in me again, put those ducks back in a row and ignited the passion to continue to inspire others to find their good news which I totally know ultimately makes me uber excited and happy.

so a big and special thank you to all those who came and took part and all the little bits and bobs you did to pull it all off. A huge shout out to the Leap team Lou &.Emma. You two are amazing and thank you so much for all your behind the scenes contribution. thanks to the workers house crew Susie, Shannon, Sarah, Evan & David. Seriously couldn’t have pulled it off without you! To all the other helpers particularly on Meal Prep and then Sunday… Thank you – my wrists held up & i got a sleep in….

My biggest hug goes out to a very special hug and thank you to my amazing, patient husband an soulmate. you are always in my corner and supporting me to run with my gut and intuition, craziness often prevails and pulling off effortless can mean chaos behind the scenes, but ultimately your support really does allow me to be me and change the world one smile at a time xx

Ps both days the most amazing grey mist appear rainbows each morning, reminding me
Next time i am questioned by my peers or asked why on earth would a “sick person” in so much pain do such a ridiculous things…. I can reply….”everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain. Because you will never see a rainbow without a little rain”

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