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Excitement on Social Media

11 Aug

The last three weeks have been pretty exciting for me on social media. First of all, at the end of July I learnt that Fat Girl to Ironman had been added to the Vuelio Top 10 UK Sports Blogs, which was a big surprise, especially given the prestigious company I was in. Please check out the blogs on that list.

Vuelio Sports Blogs UK Top 10 Vuelio Top 10 screenshot of FGTI

Then this week, I heard from WIMI Sports and Fitness who gave included this blog on their 50 Best Women’s Running Blogs to Start Reading Now.

WIMI 50 Best Women's Running Blogs

29: Fat Girl to Ironman

Look at that – sandwiched between a couple of amazing blogs! 🙂

I was familiar with a lot of blogs on this list, but have enjoyed spending the last couple of evenings going through the list and subscribing to lots amazing running blogs.

Which blogs are your favourites and why?

 

Save

The Bloggers’ Lounge Awards

30 Jan

On Wednesday, I had a day off work. I planned to have a nice lie in before catching up with my blog and having a restful morning, but things never seem to work out the way I plan them.

I managed to sleep in… but was so tired that by the time I had showered and eaten breakfast, I had to rush to the hairdressers. After I’d had my hair done, I decided to pop into town to try to buy some new shoes to go with my new top and jeans. I don’t often wear heels, so I didn’t want to spend a lot, but I was quite specific about what I wanted. Fortunately, I managed to find exactly what I wanted and even better they were in the sale.

Next stop was the phone shop. I’ve been paying a ridiculous amount for my old phone that is out of contract, so I picked up a nice sparkly new phone 😀 I then treated myself to cauliflower cheese in Pret a Manger (* it’s a treat as I still don’t have an oven!) before rushing home.

Unfortunately, by the time I got back and hung up the laundry, it was time for me to get changed, so the blogging had to be postponed 😦 (I don’t think that Bloggers’ Lounge advises you to prioritise laundry over blogging, but I’m sure they appreciate people with clean clothes! On a serious note, if you are a blogger and want some really helpful advise, please visit the site as it has so many fantastic tips!)

Stu arrived home and we both got changed. I spent a while putting on my make up (a hateful task – I can’t believe so many people do it every day!) and then we set off.

I’d wanted to go by train, but there were rail replacement buses to Basingstoke, so we decided to drive there before getting the train to Waterloo. I spent the entire journey trying to get my new phone set up, but failed miserably, which is why I took so few photos on the night.

After arriving at Waterloo, Stu and I got the tube to Piccadilly and had a quick meal in Jamie’s Diner before heading to the Grace Bar. It was a moment of novelty for both of us when we were asked to produce ID – I can’t imagine it’s because we looked too young to enter the venue!

We were given a lovely glass of bubbles and then it was time to start mingling – aarrgghh! I love chatting to people when I know what we have in common, but I’m really bad at striking up conversations for the first time. I kept looking for a moment to start talking to someone, but suddenly felt completely tongue-tied, so I was relieved when we were asked to take out seats.

Bloggers' Lounge Awards 2015

After a couple of minutes, I managed to strike up a conversation with the couple next to us – I think he was the blogger behind ‘Gadgety News’, but I’m so terrible at networking that I didn’t make a note :’-( [If you’re a blogger who introduces yourself to me, please do give me your card so that I don’t forget who you are!]

It was then onto the awards.

I suddenly realised just how nervous I was feeling when the Health and Fitness finalists were listed on screen:

Health and Fitness nominees

Then the winner was announced – ME! I got up and tried to stride to the front of the room with confidence (whilst not falling over in my heels or flashing my new blue undies). I was so shocked that I was shaking.

Rebecca presented me with my trophy and then asked me if I wanted to say a few words – I can now think of a thousand things that I would like to say, but at the time nothing sprang to mind except fear, which is odd as I enjoy public speaking when I’m prepared – my ungracious response was, “No!” If I could change one moment of the evening, that would be it!

A few photographs were then taken and I sat back to enjoy the rest of the awards ceremony.

Receiving my award

When I got back to my seat, I managed to take a single rubbish photo to share on Facebook before my phone died 😦

First glimpse of my trophy

Since getting home, I’ve read some stats about the awards: “…we had over 750 entrants, and 10,000 votes (!!) and only 70 finalists…” OMG! There were 14 winners out of 750 nominees and I was one of them!

Afterwards it was time to mingle. I really enjoyed chatting to Liz O’Riordan who presented the award for best charity blog. Liz herself is a blogger (Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer) and she’s also a triathlete, so we definitely had something in common. I really appreciate the fact that Liz came over and talked to me as I was feeling a little lost and she really made me feel more at ease.

Then I met Catherine (Not Dressed as Lamb) and Mirka (Fitness 4 Mamas). They both looked absolutely gorgeous and did make me think that I need to work on looking a bit more polished this year!

Next up Stu and I had a fantastic conversation with interior design blogger Doris Lee from Laidback Living. She was so funny and refreshing… and when I finally get onto home renovations, I’ll be taking some style advice from her blog (as a side note, I’m hoping that in a month’s time I’ll have a functioning kitchen, but I’ll be so broke that I’ll have no money for decorating and no time with triathlon training).

I also managed a few words with Natalie from Fit and Gluten Free, but didn’t manage to catch up with her again, which was a shame. Natalie has written a great blogpost about her day at the awards.

Finally it was time to leave. Each finalist was given an amazing bag packed with fantastic goodies from the sponsors:

My trophy

IMG_6696I can’t wait to try everything and know that the Dryu bag will be particularly useful for me 🙂

So, all that remains for me to say in this post is

THANK YOU

without your votes, this would never have happened. It has been a completely amazing (and slightly overwhelming) experience for me and I’m truly grateful to everyone who voted for me.


 

Read the official post about the Bloggers’ Lounge Awards 2015.

OMG! Thank you supporters :-D

17 Nov

It’s been a couple of weeks since I heard this news, but so much has been happening (the little matter of moving house immediately followed by a holiday/training camp) that I’ve not had much time to blog.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AMAZING PEOPLE, I WAS VOTED SPORTS BLOGGER OF THE YEAR IN THE BLOGGING EDGE 2015 UK BLOG AWARDS!!!

2015 UK Blog Awards Sports Blog Winner

I am immensely grateful to everyone who voted for me, and even more so to all of the people who endure my blogging addiction – in particular my partner, Stu, who is neglected whilst I type on our sofa, and my running and cycling friends who have to endure multiple selfies on each excursion ‘for my blog’ (the swimmers are spared that torture!) It really is an honour that so many of you cared enough to vote for me 😀

This news has just been topped off by finding out that I am one of five finalists in another Blogging Award:

Bloggers’ Lounge Blogger of the Year 2015 Awards: Health and Fitness Blogger of the Year

Bloggers' Lounge Finalist - Health and Fitness

Bloggers’ Lounge Finalist – Health and Fitness

I know I’ve spent the last few weeks asking for your support, but I’m hoping that you will support me once again – every click counts! http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/bloggers-of-the-year/blogger-of-the-year-2015/

It feels like so much is falling into place at the moment, and I’ve so many exciting plans for 2016 (which will all be shared on here very soon!) As I believe that good things come in threes, I’ve decided to push my luck just a little bit further…

I've just entered the UK Blog Awards #UKBA16

Don’t worry – if anything comes of it, I won’t be asking for your votes until at least next year 😉

Blogging Edge 2015 UK Blog Awards

8 Oct
Blogging Edge UK Blog Awards 2015

Blogging Edge UK Blog Awards 2015

I had the most amazing email today:

You were nominated by readers in the Blogging Edge 2015 UK Blog Awards and we’ve selected you as one of the 5 finalists in the Sport category. Congratulations!

People can vote for you at http://bloggingedge.com/blogging-edge-2015-uk-blog-awards/ until 29th October. You just need to click Sport on the right and then find yourself on the map.

Isn’t that awesome? Thank you so much to whoever nominated me! It is such an honour. It would really make my day month year, if you would vote for me. Thank you x

Social Media Party

7 Jul

I’ve been really bad at blogging recently (it’s the usual excuses – working hard, training hard, taking part in lots of events… and the little matter of trying to plan a house move), so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my social media sites with you (so that you’ve not got any excuse for not following every detail of what I get up to!) If we’ve got stuff in common, then I’ll probably follow you back 🙂

1. Instagram

This includes random images from my life, many of which are food shots or fitness-related (selfie time!) I also love to share images of race day bling.

My instagram

My instagram

2. Facebook

I share training related updates here and also videos relating to running, cycling, swimming and nutrition. It’s gone a bit quiet recently. What would you like to see here?

Facebook screenshot

3. Pinterest

I’m getting better at using Pinterest 🙂

My Pinterest

4. Twitter

I LOVE Twitter and share regular updates here, but promise I won’t overwhelm you!

Twitter screenshot

5. Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/tamsynmsmith

This is an area of my social media that is perhaps a bit lacking. Does anyone want to watch videos of me? I’ve never tried vlogging, but if people are interested, then I’ll give it a go.

Youtube

6. Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/profile/Tamsyn

I log all of my activities on Garmin Connect – come and join me!

Garmin Connect

7. About me: http://about.me/tamsynsmith

If you’d like to find out a bit more about what I do as a day job, you can find that info on About.Me.

About Me

8. Strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/tamsyn

I love joining challenges on Strava and can also keep track of friends in various clubs here. I hate receiving ‘Uh oh! Someone stole your course record’ emails.

Strava screenshot

9. Bloglovin: http://www.bloglovin.com/tamsynsmith

When I have some downtime, I really enjoy reading other people’s blogs.

Bloglovin' screenshot

10. RunBritain: http://www.runbritainrankings.com/runners/profile.aspx?athleteid=246411

RunBritain Rankings is a fun way of comparing how well I’m running with others based on age, gender, location, distance etc If you’re in the UK, make sure you sign up.

RunBritain screenshot

11. RunKeeper: http://runkeeper.com/user/fatgirltoironman

This is yet another way that I track my fitness activities – if you’re on RunKeeper, connect with me.

Runkeeper screenshot

12. Endomondo: https://www.endomondo.com/profile/3332013

Endomondo fan? Connect with me here… you even get to see one of my vintage karate photos!

Endomondo screen shot

13. Dailymile: http://www.dailymile.com/people/tamsyn_smith

…another sports tracker and another profile picture!

Daily Mile

14. GirlsGoneSporty: http://www.girlsgonesporty.com/ambassador/tamsyn-fat-girl-to-ironman/

Girls Gone Sporty is a fantastic organisation. My profile there has links to my other profiles… but if you’re interested in promoting a sporty lifestyle, why not become an ambassador yourself.

Girls Gone Sporty screenshot

Let’s get social!

 

Ask me anything

27 Dec

I’ve decided to put myself on the line and give you the chance to ask me anything in a completely anonymous way. I’ve not tried anything like this before on my blog, so I’m hoping it works out!

Blurring advertising and blogs

26 Nov

Those of you in the UK may be aware of today’s news story regarding vloggers who have been paid for promotion. In the hours of the day when I’m not attempting to be an elite athlete, I have a job in technology enhanced learning, so I spend a lot of time discussing issues around what people do online. My colleagues are aware of my blogging activities, so they started asking how the ruling would affect me.

Here’s a BBC news article, explaining the furore: Vloggers paid for promotions ‘need clearer labelling’.

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) is the UK’s independent regulator for advertising across all media. Here is their summary of the ruling against Mondelez Ltd.:

Making ads clear: the challenge for advertisers and vloggers.

So… how does this affect me?

Well, it doesn’t. First of all, I’m a blogger, not a vlogger. I don’t like the sound of my own voice and it is far easier for me to edit what I’ve typed than it would be for me to edit a video. I specialised in cinematography and editing at university, so it would be very difficult for me to regularly post videos that meet my high standards. Secondly, a key part of the ruling is about advertisers paying for and having editorial control over content. I’ve never been paid for anything that has appeared on my blog (if you do want to pay me, feel free to get in touch and maybe we can work out a deal!)

Last year the ASA ruled on Blurring advertising and blogs – why it pays to know the ad rules. The key information was similar:

  • “bloggers who are paid to write positive reviews or comments about a product or service that they must be up-front with their followers by making clear that it’s advertising.”
  • “the rules don’t prohibit PR companies sending free gifts or samples to bloggers in the hope of receiving a positive review.”
  • “A blogger can of course give their view on any topic and, if it’s an opinion, then we have no remit or interest in regulating that space. If, however, they are paid to say something positive then it becomes an advertisement and they must disclose it.”

Although I have NEVER been paid to write a positive review, I have previously been sent free samples or been given discount on certain brands. However, I believe that I have always been honest about this. I only accept samples of items that I would have considered buying – in terms of nutrition items, that means that the product must be vegetarian and something that I feel fits with my attempt at a healthy lifestyle… if I were offered something full of scary additives then I would turn it down. If an item passes through my initial criteria, then I will eat it and give an honest report on my thoughts.

Where I have been given an item, I hope that I have always made this clear by stating that I was sent the item by a specific company (e.g. Nuun or myprotein.com). I also want to reiterate what I said in yesterday’s post – my opinions are always genuine. I hope this comes across in my posts – if I like a product, I will endorse it; if I don’t like it, I will also say that. Of course, any review of a product will be subjective – tropical nuun wasn’t the flavour for me, but some people may love it as their tastes will be different from mine. I LOVE Kona Cola Nuun; my husband thinks it’s too sweet. Likewise, I enjoyed the myprotein maple protein pancakes, but my husband refused to try them as he doesn’t even like pancakes!

Finally, I am a brand ambassador for several brands, most notably Soas Racing. I applied to be a brand ambassador as I genuinely love the clothing and I think that the company’s brand values align closely with my own views on encouraging women of all ages, sizes and abilities to participate in sport. There is a code of conduct that I am expected to adhere to, but I am allowed to voice my own opinion. Yes, I prefer some of the kits to others, but in terms of fit and comfort, I’ve never found another brand that I like better. If you’ve managed to find a picture of me on my bike with something other than Soas shorts on, it’s either one that was taken before I bought anything from Soas or it was laundry day (with the possible exception of it being a cold day as Soas don’t currently make cycling tights or knee warmers).

I hope that’s cleared everything up, but if you have any further questions, please feel free to ask me 🙂

Liebster love

26 May

Wow! It’s another two Liebster nominations, this time from Amanda at A Year in the Life and Cassandra at Powered by Bling – THANK YOU!

New Liebster Award logo

For those of you who haven’t heard of this award, it’s an award given by bloggers to bloggers and was created to recognise relatively new blogs or those with <2000 followers.
There are variants on the rules, so I’m just going to merge the two sets of rules as I’m a little short of time now!

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 10/11 questions that were posted by the blogger who nominated you
  3. Share 11 facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 10/11 blogs with less than 2000 followers for the award
  5. Create 10/11 questions for your nominees to answer
  6. Go to their blogs and notify the nominees.

So, here we go with my facts and answers to both sets of questions!

 

The first set of questions that I’m going to answer are from Amanda at A Year in the Life.

A year in the life

A year in the life

Amanda’s blog covers an electic mix of topics, including playlists for running and her efforts to become a professional writer.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

That’s a tricky question… it would depend on whether it would be a permanent move or just for a year or two. For a long time, I was desperate to work in Japan, but I never made it there. I spent three days in Tokyo in 2008, and am planning to go back there next year for a cycling holiday. However, I think the pace of life in Tokyo would be too hectic for me and I couldn’t cope with the tiny accommodation. I enjoyed visiting my brother and sister in Australia and really liked the laid-back lifestyle in Melbourne. I also really liked Barcelona when I was there. In reality, I hate change, so I’m quite happy where I am in Southampton… but I wouldn’t mind a larger house with a big garden and a swimming pool!

Favourite clothing brand?

Hmmm…. that’s another one that I’m not sure how to answer. I like Brooks shoes for running; and I wouldn’t exchange my TeamSOAS kit for training/racing – their tri shorts are the most comfy ones that I’ve ever worn on my bike. I wear a lot of Gap clothes for work and I love Ted Baker clothes. I also love my two pairs of Corral boots.

My favourite Corral boots

My favourite Corral boots

Favourite movie?
It might take me all night to answer these questions. I used to teach Film and Media Studies, so I’ve seen a lot of films. Films that I like include La Haine, Chungking Express, The Happiness of the Katakuris and Unforgiven. I like most of Clint Eastwood’s movies. I also enjoy musicals, with the exception of Chicago.

Favourite TV show?
I quite like Big Bang Theory and used to love watching Big Love.
Favourite book?
One of the books that had a big influence on me as a teenager was The Outsiders by SE Hinton. It was sent to me by my German exchange partner, Alexandra, and I love it so much that I memorised huge chunks of it.
Favourite physical activity?
I really enjoy a good yoga class and dancing makes me happy.
Favourite song?
If I’m on my turbo trainer, I find Wake me Up by Avicii to be quite motivational, but I’m a huge fan of Luke Bryan (who is relatively unheard of in the UK as most people here don’t listen to country music). I’m torn between choosing Do I and Someone Else calling You Baby. I can often be found singing along to those in my Fiat 500.

Favourite celebrity blog?
At last – a question I can answer. I don’t read any celebrity blogs!
Favourite colour?
Green.
Favourite season?
I love summer as I like being able to spend more time outdoors… but I run better in winter, when the air is cold, and I don’t overheat.
Favourite beverage?
I drink more water than anything else, but like to indulge in hot chocolate. I very rarely drink alcohol, but I do like the taste of gin….and now onto the questions posed by Cassandra. Please check out her blog, Powered by Bling. Cassandra is a super-inspirational blogger who has overcome cancer and is now a triathlete – way to go!

Powered by Bling

Powered by Bling

What is the last good book you read?
I’ve just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which had me hooked. I’ve not seen the film.
Why did you start blogging?
I wanted to change my life and thought that writing down my goals and making them public would make me feel more accountable.
What is on your bucket list?
Completing an iron distance triathlon.
What is one of your greatest life or fitness accomplishments?
That a tough question. I’ve achieved quite a lot academically (11 GCSEs; 4 A-levels; HNC; BA (Hons.); MA; PGCE…), but I’ve never found studying particularly difficult. I’ve never been very good at physical activities, so I was hugely proud when I won a progress award at my dance school, and followed it up by getting my highest ever mark in my next tap exam, which was also higher than the rest of the class’s marks! Logically, I should say that it was either competing in the British Team Gymnastics Championships, as I’d only been doing gymnastics for 2 years at the time. Or, it would be one of my karate achievements: winning national tournaments, achieving my black belt or competing internationally.
What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written? (Provide the link so we can check it out!)
I don’t have a favourite blog post, so it’s probably easiest if I say which posts readers have liked best. Unsurprisingly, the About page on my blog is that one that has received the most traffic, with the other pages also being visited fairly frequently. Aside from those This might be the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me is the most popular post that I’ve written. Should I change my name? also received a lot of comments, both on my blog and on Facebook.
Name one thing/item that you could not go a day without.
Aside from oxygen, water and food, that would have to be Stuart, my amazing husband 🙂

What is your life motto?

I've achieved fame on the Team SOAS website!

I’ve achieved fame on the Team SOAS website!

What goals do you have for the remainder of 2014?
To finish Challenge Weymouth 70.3
If you could go on an all-expense paid travel for a month, what would you do?
I think I’d probably have to put my private jet to use, as there are so many places that I’d like to visit. I’d want to visit my brother and sister in Australia and would hope that my mum and my husband could come along. I’d also like to spend a few days in Japan as well as relaxing in the Caribbean for a few days. I like country music, so I’d want to visit Nashville. It would also be good to pop over to Geneva to visit a school-friend. I’d like to see Moscow and would hope to be able to take in a local parkrun and catch up with Elena and Alex, who I met on my last triathlon holiday. It would definitely take me a lot of planning!

Tell us something we might not already know about you that you would like your followers to know about you.
I try to be completely honest in my blog posts, but negativity is never motivational, so if I’m feeling down, I tend not to post.

Facts about me (some of these may be repeats, but I’ll try to share some things you may not already know):

  1. I love pugs, but don’t have any pets.
  2. My parents bought their house in 1975, just after my older sister was born and my mum still lives there, so I never moved house when I was growing up.
  3. I’m a Professional Specialist in Learning Design.
  4. I did karate for five years and reached black belt level.
  5. Both of my siblings have emigrated to Australia.
  6. I don’t have any children, but have 4 nephews, 2 nieces and a god-daughter.
  7. I never have baths as there’s too much of a risk that I’ll faint and drown!
  8. I was recently diagnosed as asthmatic.
  9. I wear Brooks shoes for most of my running (PureFlow, PureCadence or Vapors), but wear Salomons for trail/cross-country running.
  10. I’ve run 5 marathons.
  11. I had dancing lessons from 5-21 and was particularly proficient at tap dancing.

OK, so here are my questions for my nominees:

  1. What advice would you give to your sixteen year old self and why?
  2. What’s the best fitness hack/training tip that anyone’s ever shared with you?
  3. What’s your most annoying habit?
  4. What one thing would you change about your job and why?
  5. What’s your favourite recipe?
  6. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  7. Are there any sports that you’ve tried and hated?
  8. What are you afraid of?
  9. If you had £1million to donate to charity, which one would you choose and why?
  10. Do you make and keep New Year’s resolutions?

Drum roll, please… here are my nominees for the Liebster Award:

Please check out these awesome blogs and follow them if you like what you see 🙂

 

Beautiful

14 Mar

It’s a short post for today. My IDEAfit photo a day image has the tag ‘beautiful’:

Bryony and Jonno

Bryony and Jonno

It’s a picture of my sister, Bryony, and her partner, Jonno. I don’t see her very often as she lives in Australia. I don’t think we look similar, but some people say we do – what do you think?

Felicia soas

This quote is something that Embrace Sports coach Eric used to say regularly – thanks for the reminder Felicia!

Liebster Award

1 Mar

I was recently nominated by Dawn at Sneaker Therapy for the Liebster Award! Some people dislike ‘awards’ like this and view them as an annoying ‘chain letter’, but my personal view is that it is a way of making links with the blogging community. I’ve found some great blogs by following links on blogs that I already read and like and hopefully it has led some people to my blog. Thanks for the nomination, Dawn – I appreciate it and love reading your blog!

liebsterblogaward

The Liebster Award rules are to share 11 random facts about yourself, answer the questions provided by the nominator and then pass it on.

Here are my 11 random facts:

  1. I adore pugs but have never owned a dog.
  2. Both of my siblings have emigrated to Australia.
  3. I’ve had hair long enough to sit on as well as having it cut to an inch long. It has also been a range of colours, including blue.
  4. I had dancing lessons for 16 years and was quite good at tap.
  5. I moved in with my husband the day before we started going out with each other.
  6. The main subjects that I studied from 15-17 were German, History and Theatre Studies.
  7. I’ve been three miles underground (and I hated it!)
  8. I’ve walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  9. Rolf Harris got changed in my Gran’s garage once.
  10. I’ve been a vegetarian almost all of my life.
  11. I left home at 17.

Questions from Dawn

1. Favorite indulgent food?

Gosh, that’s a tricky question. I think it’s probably ice-cream. I try not to eat it very often, but I adore it. I’m not picky – Haagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerrys, Carte D’Or – any ice-cream will do!

2. A kitchen appliance you can’t live without?

My enormous stainless steel Le Creuset shallow casserole. (Does that count as an appliance?) It’ great for cooking enormous chillies and curries, so that I don’t have to cook every day! If that doesn’t count then maybe I could include a gadget rather than an appliance – I love my Chef’n garlic zoom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9XvEVoJ4_4 It’s a nifty little device that I roll to chop garlic (or ginger).

3. If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would buy?

A house. I live in a fantasy world where my house would have t least 4 bedrooms, a swimming pool, a gym, a conservatory and bay windows. Or maybe I’d just pay off my mortgage and stay living in my tiny two-bedroomed terraced house.

4. What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever had to memorize?

At primary school (when I was about 8 years old), I had to memorise ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death,
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldiers knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

I’ve also learned lines for a number of plays, and entire chunks of text for London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts exams. I also learned an entire essay when studying for my A-level German exam. Twenty years later, I cna still remember the opening: “Der Aufbau von Der Richter und Sein Henker ist vielleicht nicht derjenige von einem konventionellen kriminal-roman. Das Hauptthema war eigentlich nicht die entdeckung des Mord von Schmied oder wie Schmied ermordet worde…”

5. What feature/ personality trait do you love most about yourself?

Probably my tenacity and unwillingness to quit… although I guess that can also be perceived as stubborness!

6. Favorite condiment?

That’s an easy one. Coarse ground black pepper complements most savory meals!

7. If you could start another blog, what would it be about?

I already have a couple of other blogs: http://declutterandgofaster.wordpress.com/ which I’ve neglected for the last two years and a work-related blog ‘Developing Education in Professional Practice’ that I started as part of my PGCert in Education Practice when I was working at Bournemouth University – it’s not public, but I do still write in it and may make it publicly available one day.

If I had enough time to really keep on top of my housework and my training (as well as working) then I’d go back to my decluttering blog, but something’s gotta give!

8. What’s most important when you’re buying shoes – comfort or fashion?

Comfort. I cycle to work every day, and spend a lot of my free time running, so function beats style! I also have syndactyly (conjoined toes), so I don’t like wearing shoes that reveal my toes!

9. If you could learn one skill or language instantly, what would you pick?

I would choose to be able to swim. I can swim now, but cannot do butterfly and am not very good – technique is everything in swimming!

10. What’s one way your life is different now than it was 5 years ago?

I no longer spend all of my free time doing karate.

11. Favorite race distance? (of course I had to ask a running question :P)

Probably half marathon (13.1 miles) – tough enough to require some training and stamina, but not so long that it takes over my life!

Without further ado, here are my nominations:

You all are among my favourite bloggers – I love to read your blogposts. If you want to play along with the Liebster Award, here are my questions for you!

1. What’s your favourite festival/holiday?

2. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

3. What’s your biggest accomplishment in life?

4. What’s the one item you can’t live without?

5. What’s your healthiest habit?

6. What sport would you like to try?

7. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

8. Who would you like to be stuck in a lift/elevator with?

9. What’s the strangest situation you’ve ever been in?

10. What’s your claim to fame?

11. What motto do you live by?

(I would also love to ‘interview’ you for one of my regular Friday posts – please let me know if you’d be happy to do that!)