Mistletoe and Grime

“This one’s the slew dem Christmas put ‘em on the Christmas hit list… All that gluttony and greed, we forget what people need…”


The words from a Grime rap I challenged myself to perform and ‘bounce’ to three Christmas’ ago (2007).  I was Indeed one of the writers and performers for ‘Mistletoe and Grime,’ a funky fusion of Burlesque and Grime, needless to say I was from the Burlesque field but then found myself in love with the art of Grime. The bounce, the beats, the lyrics – we could all join in a mass ‘bouncing’ (bobbing up and down, with angry faces) to our own lyrics about our own Xmas experience.

So let’s slew ‘dem bells with stockings, ice, and snowstorms in martini glasses… of course.

Come what Mei at Christmas for me

From a childhood of Lapland to a teenage lap dancing ‘Naughty Nativity’ party – I have had everything but, tacky tinsel at Christmas.

Oh and with a sprinkling of depression, a sparkling cast on my arm and a few family feuds, I can’t help but love the landmark each year.

2007: This one was the “Slew-dem Christmas” of experimental theatre, a new boyfriend, a job at Selfridges and the final frolics of first year at University.

2008: “La vita è bella”… a natale in Napoli con ‘Preserpe’ (Nativity scenes) – I returned home with my family after spending a semester working as a dance and drama teacher in Naples. I became less of a ‘femme fatale’ to more of a ‘femme too thin.’

2009: A stocking full of sport that I endured… before I fell on ice and broke my hand. A sparkly cast on my arm I did have and, I ate my words from last year’s rant that “I’d prefer to break a bone than have depression…” and wham bam snapping hand – it happened.

2010: No broken bones as yet, no more Naples and not even a Grime rap in sight – I’d hate to think I’d arrived at The Waltons…

NO CHANCE!

For a self-employed spendaholic (and occasional student) it is a two-day regimented routine, each year that I revel in…

Day 1 = Xmas 1 (Christmas day) at the Fathers’

No riff-raff here – we enjoy a very quaint family Christmas at the house of my  Dad and my other dad (my dad’s civil partner) along with my elder sister (a fashion designer currently working her way through New York) and of course Fudge – our beloved fat cat.

The house’s interior belongs in an issue of ‘Homes & Garden’s,’ the tree will be separated by my step-dad (no tinsel just 2 alternating colours) and no doubt my dad will have recreated a scene from Channel 4: ‘Kirsty’s home-made Christmas.’

Morning is filled with stockings – well a little more sacks than stockings – as my dad shops throughout the year ensuring we all have stocking fills and more. We then scrape up a continental breakfast and strong coffee until I can no longer breathe… present time!!!

A system at play – Only one person at one time can open a present and once you have done so the wrapping goes in the recycle (I some time’s like to stir-up my step-dad by leaving it on the woolen carpet so the cheery smiles of Santa clashes with the Farrow and Ball wallpaper … muhaha).

The afternoon is spent with us finishing the chocolate in our stockings whilst step-dad slaves at the stove to create a family feast for ten to fifteen – all depends how many ‘add-ons’ we’ve added between us. There are the standard three close friends who join us each year and then… maybe a foreign student who is stuck in the snow, a new boyfriend or just someone my dad will have took sympathy on…

Nonetheless, each year there is a plentiful of vegetarian offerings, normally in the shape of a roulade, but never a Turkey in sight just the stuffing, the roasted tats and a platter of vegetables. (We like to offer a bit of pudding but only I back in my ‘good days’ of careless free youth could fit it in).

Queen’s speech! Well in our household, we’re bigger followers of Sharon Osbourne’s words of wisdom, plus an annual addiction to ‘Noel’s Christmas surprises’ – where the dads and friends weep and my sister and I, sleep off the heavy meal…

The night is fun-filled with guests (normally the one’s like us who rely on good friends – family or not) and we all celebrate by watching Dad do the buffet and drinking a glass of bubbles or ten.

(Please note: this is subject to change as the day alternates with my mother’s family)

Day 2= Xmas 2 (Boxing Day) at the Mother’s

Still no Turkey in sight as we are a vegetarian’s delight (myself now a Vegan so chocolate shall be a challenge this year)…

We arrive back home at Mum’s (sometimes just me or my Sister and I) to be greeted by my mum and her husband (our step-dad) plus a couple of impatient younger step-brothers.

We all sit around our oriental-style round table with plates of nasi lemak (Malay rice, fried egg and curry – a breakfast dish), baked bread (for the ‘boys’) and a selection of stir fried vegetables for my sister and I, as well as a cracker for my step-brother (who is autistic so he must have the same breakfast eachyear – this includes witnessing a bitten carrot and half-drunk glass of Sherry on Xmas/Boxing day morning). After a few burnt buns, some yummy stirfry and an odd bit of dancing to Christmas pop (another tradition of by step-bro’s) we then embark on our little living room full to the brim of presents.

Again the important order – one person at a time and we must all watch and go “ooh-ahh” otherwise my stepbrother refuses to participate. It is the funniest of family scenes… especially to see our poor little tree which has been decorated to death over the years with tinsel, hand-made school crafts and chocolate coins (well, wrappers).

NEXT – the ladies of the house go into the kitchen (out of choice not societal err’s) and we make the most weird and wonderful Christmas carvery of Chinese food, duck (made from potato’s) and again a feaslty feature of a roulade…

Then the buffet.

Then the TV.

Then the pub/bed.

Love it. Since I was at nursery I have always held on to Christmas being that time of year where you thank the bunting that you don’t just have one home but you have two – you even have 3 dads! And friends well friends and extended family are what build our bricks – two create two very different season’s in two very different households – but what we have and we share is a little bit of love.

And extra presents.

Actually double a ‘2.4 family’s’ amount of presents.

I wrote in primary school: “I love Christmas to see all the people in both my homes and I get 2 of everything, even 2 Christmas dinners. Who needs leftovers?”

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WORLD AIDS DAY 2010

More people die of HIV/Aids everyday than they did in the Tsunami. HIV/Aids may be off the radar to many but it is far from a ‘Once upon a time ago’ disease. Let’s take a look at the recent stories surrounding HIV/Aids as December 1st 2010 marks World Aids Day.

Pope does condoms the Archbishop way schism in the church.

The Pope has recently changed his stance on condoms, well shuffled. The Archbishop of Canterbury is infamous for sitting on the fence and now the Pope has joined him:

“The pope maintains that condom use to lessen the danger of infection is a ‘first assumption of responsibility,’” said Fr Federico Lombardi, quoting from the book.

OK not quite the turning point that will provide a clear direction but for him, at least, it may help to lessen the schism in the Church. I think we’re a few years off having the Pope’s face on a Condom packet.

Porn industry comes to a close

San Fernando valley, California has been catapulted into shutdown mode, once more; as yet another HIV case has been discovered in the Porn industry through lack of Condom use.

Darren James, the HIV-sufferer the man at the centre of the ‘shut down’ in 2004, as he tested positive, said:

“The actors … they’re not getting the protection that they need. There should have been mandatory condoms,” James said. “I knew it was going to happen. And how many years has it been? Again. They went right back to the same habits. Good grief, it’s like my deal, all over again. I hate that.”

Sexy or not – James displays the importance of contraception. Condoms can save lives and protect against horrendous illnesses – so even if it takes a boy band such as, JLS (who currently endorse a range of condoms) to make them sexy – please wrap it up.

Spreading the Stigma

A young singer has received a two-year suspended sentence after infecting a partner with HIV. She has been found guilty of causing dangerous bodily harm.

Nadja Benaissa, 28, has been at the centre of media frenzy after having unprotected sex with three men whilst knowing that she had the HIV virus – she infected one of them.

Under German law, a person can be sued if they are HIV positive and have (unprotected) sex with a partner without telling them about their HIV status.

Consequently, German’s version of Cheryl Cole has been characterized as a heartless criminal after contracting the virus at the age of 17 and spreading it onto one ‘victim.’

After all, she is an attractive vixen…

It surprises me that in this day and age we are still criminalizing sufferers of HIV and passing the blame. After all, it takes two to tango, it takes one of the two to be mindful and it is both of whom who are to blame.

OK, it was careless behaviour on her part, but at the age of 17 years old or even older, do you really think you would disclose your HIV status to this world full of stigma and hate?

There are so many charities out there that work endlessly to help support people with HIV and Aids, to live as normal a life as possible. Yet, their hard work is jeopardized when we scaremonger people out of getting tested.

Let’s just hope that the mass coverage of this case promotes more awareness and education surrounding HIV and sexual health…

Don’t forget World Aid’s Day is on 1st December 2010. Support the University of Manchester Aids Society

http://www.umsu.manchester.ac.uk/societies/

http://www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/hivandaids/

ACT AWARE

Wear a red ribbon

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UNIVERSITY PALACE

Uni can make you a princess…

Once upon a time, a young brunette embarked on her journey to study for a degree in Art History at University of St Andrews.

One day, she took part in the University’s Fashion Show where she modelled a see-through mesh skirt. She decided that one item was enough and wore it down the catwalk as a boob tube dress.

It was this walk that led her to Buckingham Palace…

As Prince William, heir to the throne after his Father Charles, watched on, the slender beauty caught his eye as she strode down the catwalk in her revealing outfit.

He had met his princess. Together, they courted; they briefly separated and then started courting again. In this time they went travelling and prince William took his late Mother’s engagement ring with him.

As he travelled with his ‘moderate’ backpack with the Sapphire and diamond ring inside, he proposed to his long-term girlfriend and student buddy Kate Middleton.

The pair celebrated and quickly announced their engagement to the British media. The soon-to-be princess donned a Sapphire blue dress matching her ring as she revelled in her newly found royalty.

She is the envy of many wannabe royalty WAG’s. Since the proposal the couple have assertively decided to marry on 29th April at Westminster Abbey (where Prince William sadly buried his mother, Princess Diana) ‘the royal church.’

The government have even announced that it will be a national holiday.

In the after-math of proposed cuts student’s placards read ‘I can’t meet my Prince at Uni now’ referring to the fairytale that Kate Middleton will finish happily ever after.

The End.

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WORLD AIDS DAY 2010

World Aids Day Vigil electronic flyer

Please share the news not the stigma

ACT AWARE – RED PARTY

Time Wednesday, December 1 · 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Location BAR 360

FITZWILLIAM ST

Sheffield, United Kingdom

Please join us for a Red Party – dress in red, free entry, red cocktails and lots of chat next Wednesday

World AIDS Day is a chance to raise public awareness, and hopefully breakdown some of the unwarranted stigma that surrounds HIV. There are many ways in which you can do something to make a difference.

More people than ever are living with HIV in the UK and each year new infections occur.

People living with HIV in the UK

The number of people living with HIV in the UK has trebled in the last 10 years

More than 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK

Over a quarter of people with HIV in the UK are undiagnosed

About two thirds of people living with HIV are men and a third are women

Over half of all people living with HIV are aged between 30 and 44, but there are significant numbers both of young people and older people now living with HIV

What people living with HIV have asked…

“I would like to see society’s attitudes change, so that I don’t feel that I have to hide the fact that I have HIV” Alan, London

“I would like people who are living with HIV whom are confident to do so, to share their own stories about how they have overcome the barriers and challenges of living their everyday lives” Danny

“I would like everyone to think seriously about HIV and what it means to live with HIV – and therefore be realistic, aware and practical when it comes to safer sex” Maurice, London

“I would like there to be a focus on education and stigma within younger groups of people, with attention paid to cultural differences and needs” Richard

“I would like to see more positive role models of people living with HIV” Danny

“I would like it to become possible for people to write they are HIV+ on job application forms without fear of being discriminated against” Michael, Somerset

“I would like people to realise that HIV and AIDS is a pandemic that can potentially affect everyone and is not confined to the gay community and drug users.  It’s unfair for people to categorise the huge problem in this way” Sean

“Within some high risk groups e.g. young gay men, lack of self worth and hope for the future can be a big demotivator for safer sex.  I’d like to see this understood more fully and see more action to help change this” Mike

“I know my status – do you know your status.  Be visible and stand out, stop the prejudice and discrimination in our society” Mark

“Having lived with HIV for nearly 27 years, have attitudes changed. No, so ask yourself why? Ignorance and fear, so changing attitudes and improving education at all ages and levels of our society may make that difference.  More awareness, better understanding and increased acceptance that HIV is here and not going away” Michael

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NILE BLOG

#5: Nile festival day 2

We began the day with a bizarre breakfast of mashed carrot, salad and melon. This did fill us up however for an amazing workshop with Mona Mustafa and her shimmy queens (2 gorgeous girls who demonstrated her choreography. We did ‘Shaabi’ style (Egyptian street) dance. It was a fun-filled two hours of cheerful movements and lots of performing for each other.

We then did a quick Supermarket sweep as we were in desperate need of water and dates, for energy.

I then persuaded myself in the humidity to get to training in the Gym… what an experience.

The gym place was the only room without air-con in the hotel, it was empty besides a few men who decided to ogle whilst I attempted a workout overlooking downtown Cairo. It didn’t come to much as they pestered me until it was their prayer time but in exchange a sour-faced woman sat and watched  me.

Time for a quick change as we returned to Eman’s for a costume fitting. A lot of Lycra was stretched, some bellydancer bitching took place and finally, a large sum of money was spent for the most beautiful costume…

Watch this blog…

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#4 NILE FESTIVAL DAY 2

# 4: Nile Festival: day 1

To the festival we went and more shimmy belts to be bought… We registered onto our favourite Egyptin dancer workshops and made our way into a large royal hall to be taught Oum Khaltoum a song about how ‘true love is a winner’ taught by Mayodi (a male oriental dancer) who said:

“Egyptian people have to make the most of what they have got as we don’t have a lot. It’s same for women if they have a bottom – they make the most of it. Here’s how to be sexy…”

After 3 hours of various Egyptian rhythms from Taqsoums to Saiidi, we had completed our first masterclass in the art of dance, beauty and passion.

Opening party – wow what an incredible first night – the event kicked off with a live Arabic band along with a lovely Russian dancer called Noor. We were then treated to a large Arabic buffet as we took our ‘ringside’ seats.

There we witnessed th ebllydancing diva that is, Asmahan along with her tropue of good looking male dancers in Tarzan-esque outfits. She gave us a hip swirling array of scenes from the forest to a folkoric routine and finished off by a provocative number (in a revealing pink cabaret outfit). After, I discovered that his diva was in her 50s! She looked sensational – very over the top but immaculately dressed up (apparently she has come from Argentinia where she moved back, after her career in Cairo plummeted. She has now made a return onto the Egptian ‘scene.’)

We were then treated to an exotic extravagance – the young and beautiful Camillia. She is hot stuff in the bellydance world at the moment and you can see why. A natural Egyptian dancer with an obvious love of the artform and she blends this with an open mind to western-style cabaret costumes along with adding touches of diversity by her choice of prope from candles to sticks to veils and balloons.

Sara Farouk said on Camilla: “All you just do is sit, watch and smile.”.

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#3 Cairo – Nile Festival Day 1

# 3: Cairo time

First day in Cairo was a humid experience but fabulous as we realized we were a 2 minute stroll from Sara Farouk (a teacher/bellydancer who taught me in Cairo the last time I was here) who, now works for Eman Zaki (a legendary etailler of bellydance costumes.)

After getting lost on the dusty (and strangely quiet) Cairo roads we booked in for an appointment with Sara at Eman’s to ‘look’ at some new costumes.

Little did I know that it would cause such a drama…

We waltzed into the derelict-looking building to find a sheep being chopped up on the floor. At this point, I froze, petrified, as there was no way to get past the blood drippings. My mind was in turmoil –

A palace of perfect costumes Vs my vegan conscience/phobia.

I did it. Along with a few shrieks and heaving I stepped into the blood and past the sheep.

By the time I’d travelled a metre to Eman’s door I was ready to sit down… or shop.

Sara gave us a warm welcome as she saw the look of terror on my face:

“ah you crossed the sheep. It’s the first day of Eid. Only normal… roads are quiet too,” she calmly explained.

Blood on my feet it was time for me savour a costume…

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CAIRO TRAVELS

# 2: Cairo Travels

Monday morning and as ever running late – had not even packed yet for my flight that afternoon. After a mad screwing up of my clothes and shoving in some shimmy belts I was good to begin my trip to Cairo… well asides from needing currency, buying train tickets and meeting my good friend Jen.

Needless to say, at midday Jen and I united at Sheffield Station to embark upon our first trip to the Nile Festival, Cairo.

We had a fun and frivolous journey as we changed planes in Amsterdam along with another security ‘strip’ check and throwing more bottles of water away. We finally found ourselves at 3am Tuesday morning in a relatively humid Cairo airport. As per, I was stopped at passport control due to the dodgy nature of my passport photo…

Whilst waiting for our bags a simple task of buying bottled water turned into a mass ogle in the duty free shop with the assistant pushing gin and ‘Nile water’ into my basket.

We were saved by our taxi driver, from Beach Tours, who sampled the dirty looking bottle. And off we went to Pyramisa hotel for a week – long festival of everything bellydance!

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SOPHIE SPORTS… MMA

Kick, sweep and takedown!

To see video highlights CLICK HERE

Girl Grappler

“Organized like a team and fighting like a family. It’s in our ethos,” says John Goldson, owner of at The Forge Martial Arts Centre, Sheffield.

It is written on the wall at the newly refurbished Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Centre. This is not your softly-lit leisure gym, ladies don’t do lunch here, this is the place “to learn to become a man,” says Ross Pettifer, a fulltime professional fighter who trains at this Gracie Barra school.

I think he was trying to reassure me as I stood looking worried in my fluffy jacket and suede boots.

The red and blue coloured mats, a sign of conflict in this city, aroused feelings of uncertainty but Ross and John’s friendliness and banter quickly warmed me into the fighting spirit.

MMA is a full contact combat sport commonly referred to as ‘cage fighting,’ mixing a variety of Martial Arts and fighting techniques. It has been thrown into the spotlight courtesy of Alex “Reidanator” Reid, glamour model Jordan’s other half, who won Celebrity Big Brother 2010.

Reidanator said on his MMA career:

“It was a natural progression for a young lad wanting to find the latest and best style. It’s just the most efficient and effective blend of martial arts really.”

John gives Sophie the hold-down

Top instructor john shares his singlet of secrets

Who does it?

“Anyone can do MMA without stepping into a cage or having a fight. It helps develop fitness and flexibility.”

What are the risks?

“We train smart so we prevent injuries. We’re a team and work together.”

What style?

It’s a mixture of 3 disciplines – Stand-up (boxing, Muay Thai), Clinch (wrestling, throw downs) and Groundwork (grappling).

What do you wear?

“It’s no glitz and glamour but now people tend to wear shorts and t-shirts to train. Professionals wear fingerless gloves for training and beginners usually wear weightier gloves.”

PHEW! Traditionally men are topless and women wear very tight tops for fights inside the cage, along with adequate protection. Luckily for me, no titivating of my top was needed, as I am an amateur in training.

THE LOWDOWN

MMA began underground and without many rules, just a cage and a pair of topless men fighting.

It has now been refined and combines a mix of modern and traditional martial arts with regimented rules attached.

“If anyone is wanting to come here and just fight without thought – they can get out now,” warns John.

The scene has swept into the mainstream arena due to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and pay per view channels. It is now competing with the boxing and wrestling audience’s as it is the latest fighting craze.

The combat sport, originally from Brazil is, based on Vale Tudo. In 1993, MMA was brought into the mainstream by the Gracie family, which gave birth to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the United States.

There is no official rule regulation body in Japan and Europe but as the sport progresses; the promoters have added regulations to protect their fighters.

Gracie Barra Company is a global organization formed by more than 100 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools, The Forge Centre, Sheffield being one of them.

It has the mission of training body, mind and spirit through the highest level of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction as a means for individual development and the strengthening of the family spirit, going beyond the competitive realm.

LETS GET DOWN AND GRAPPLE (use PIX)

DO NOT TRY AT HOME

1)    Bandi kick

Kick with the shin as you step and turn from the side. No need to defend, just retaliate by kicking through the opponents legs to ensure power.

2)    Elbow

After your kick step and follow through with your elbow.

3)    The Shark aka Grapple

On the floor wrap your legs around your opponents head. Pull your opponents arm across your body whilst elbowing their head.

Finally, push your legs off from their hips …

Verdict? Girls can grapple…

It’s definitely an intimate sport but so much fun!

I’d always wanted to try MMA ‘Cage fighting’ after I met a professional fighter in Dubai. I did think it was just two people grappling inside a cage so I was glad of a warm welcome and full explanation of the professionalism involved in MMA.

It’s an addictive sport and a brilliant discipline. I’d love to do it more regularly as it’s great for building strength endurance and a good way of releasing your aggression.

My style? “Pure aggression. Doesn’t give up.”

To which John added:

“There’s a reason why a lot of women don’t fight. They’re far too aggressive.”

To see video highlights CLICK HERE

Forged MMA sessions run Tuesdays and Thursdays 6-8.30 and Saturdays 11 -1 at The Forge Martial Arts centre, Clough Rd, Sheffield http://www.theforge-ma.co.uk

T: 07738 588 925 
E: info@theforge-ma.co.uk

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It’s the seasonal guide… XMAS

The Sheff Guide – NOV/DEC

Brought to you by MEI International: Delivering Substance with Style

It’s time for the Jingle bells to rock and the presents to be a-stocked as we embrace the winter season with open mits.

12 days of Christmas and we’ve sent to you… the twelve top events this season. Don’t waste your Reindeer Deeley boppers on just anything, after all, we all want the right person under the mistletoe.

On the first day of Christmas The Showroom gave to me…

Sheffield’s Doc/Fest  from 3rd – 7th November

Doc/Fest is a film festival, industry session programme and market place, offering pitching opportunities, controversial discussion panels and in-depth filmmaker masterclasses, as well as a wealth of inspirational documentary films from across the globe.

On the Second day of Christmas Don Valley Bowl gave to me…

After Dark on  5th November

Yorkshire’s No.! Fireworks spectacular and much safer than burning your own hands.

On the third day of Christmas MyWellbeing gave to me…

Sebastian Kane, Personal Trainer to the stars

Contact Greens gym on: 0114 276 5333

On the fourth day of Christmas Sheffield City Hall gave to me….

Night of honour on  26th November

Now in its 8th year, Sheffield’s Night of Honour is creating a buzz throughout the city as one of the best unsung hero award ceremonies

On the fifth day of Christmas the Crucible theatre gave to me…

A Christmas Market on 27th November  10am – 2pm

Buy those sweet treats and arty goods under the refurbished roof

On the sixth day of Christmas Sheffield Town Hall gave to me…

World Aids Day on December 1st

‘Patient Pathways’ – Sheffield HIV and Sexual Health Services Market Place Event plus a RED party at Bar 360, West One from 6pm

On the seventh day of Christmas Botanical Gardens gave to me…

A Magical Christmas from 10th – 12th December

A weekend of Carol Singing, rides and seasonal treats

On the eigth day of Chistmas Sheffield City Centre gave to me…

BHF Santa Jog (1 mile) on 12th December at 10.30am

Raise awareness, money and your heartrate with British Heart Foundation’s annual run

On the ninth day of Christmas Sophie Mei Schools gave to me…

A BellyBar party for women who want to drink, dance and learn to dance

Contact: www.sophiemeischools.com

On the tenth day of Christmas Weston Park Museum gave to me…

Santa’s grotto throughout December

Santa will be saying “ho ho ho” and dispensing presents, to those that have been good, at Meet  the magical St Nick in the snowy surrounds of the Arctic World Gallery.

On the eleventh day of Christmas Sheffield Cathedral gave to me …

Archer Project 20th Anniversary Carol on 17th Decmber

In aid of Homeless people and 20 years of Archer Project

On the twelth day of Christmas Sheffield City Hall Gave to me ….

Sleeping Beauty, Manor Operatic Society on 27th December

The annual panto is back so expect dough flying, lungs stretching and kids yelping “look behind you”

MEI Motto: Tis the season to be jolly tra la la la la la

You love Christmas or you hate it but hey ho it’s here so you can use it as an excuse to buy a LBD, sherry  and get out your mistletoe for those office smooches

By Sophie  Mei

www.sophiemei.co

Check out:  www.sophiemeischools.com

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Time to get Moving… and dance!

TIME TO GET MOVING this week as celebrity sports personalities are amongst the thousands of people participating in physical activities to improve their mental well-being for Mind’s annual initiative.

Whether you’re a sports fanatic or a couch queen, statistically, you have a 1 in 4 chance of developing a mental illness in any one year. As a consequence of having a mental illness, you have over 50% a chance of not finding a date or flatmate due to mental health discrimination.

Jo Flemingway, a Sheffield-based youth worker, who suffers from Bipolar disorder said;

“When applying for a job I decided to be open about my mental illness and I was consequently dubbed ‘unsuitable’ for the role. I now find that regular physical activity can help me each day, such as gardening and walking.”

Around 80,000 people are expected to follow in Jo’s footsteps this week at sporting events across England.

Cricketer Marcus Trescothick said:

“I know first hand how difficult it can be to open up about your mental health experience. I’m hoping to go along to my local event. Together we can show the world that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed about and help end mental health discrimination.”

The events are part of Time to Change, England’s biggest campaign to end mental health stigma, and will see people run, box and dance their way to better mental health.

Seb kane, a Sheffield-based personal trainer and fitness coach to the stars, said:

“Exercise releases natural endorphins that can help you to having a better mental health. We need exercise for our holistic health. Boost your body to boost your mind. ”

One man who has leapt ahead with the campaign is world champion triple jumper Phillips Idowu, who led a walk last Sunday across London as part of World Mental Health Day, Phillips said;

“I hope that people from across England will come together to take part in the Time to Get Moving campaign, get active and help raise awareness of mental health problems.”

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Steps ahead for City Hearts

City Hearts are steps ahead – Sheffield’s round walk

Sheffield is synonymous with its seven hills and great walks – something of which I feel I have neglected, so I decided to get stuck right in… literally.

Last weekend a team from City Hearts, a local charity, completed the 14-mile ‘Sheffield Round Walk.’

A scenic opportunity and a bit of exercise not to be missed – I felt it necessary to participate.

After all, what could go wrong?

Sophie’s Slimy Encounter

As we embarked on our route from Endcliffe Park, I found myself three miles in when I began sinking into thick black sludge, and we hadn’t even reached our first pit stop.

I had been talking to City Hearts’ director Siobhan Bullock when I realized that we had gone the wrong way and, I was knee deep in thick black mud.

Siobhan Bullock, project manager at City Hearts, said;

“I’ve never seen Sophie Mei in such dramatic conditions. I couldn’t stop laughing and taking photos. Sophie managed to get herself out of her sticky situation and the rest of the walk was a lot less dramatic.

It was great to see so many people turn out for the event and a sign of the love and support that is continuously donated to the charity.”

City Hearts is a residential programme for women overcoming serious life issues such as drug and alcohol addictions, self-harm, unplanned pregnancies, depression and eating disorders. The project also provides a refuge for women coming out of prostitution and exploitation.

Colleen Brownlee, development director of City Hearts, says:

“We are so thankful of the help Sheffielders have given us with the round walk and other support. This recently came to fruition when we made a ‘Challenge Anneka’ style plea to help furnish a new home that the charity have converted to house twenty women in need. We were overwhelmed by the amount of furniture that was offered and it was a true sign of Sheffield spirit.”

Most of the City Hearts team managed to complete the full 14 miles through the parks, woodland and countryside of southwest Sheffield.

The walk was organized by businesswoman Fiona Jagger, from the IT Trainer, who separated the distance into four legs which allowed some of the women from the City Hearts programme to participate.

To find out more about City Hearts log on to: http://www.hopecitychurch.tv/community/city-hearts

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GEMS OF STEEL AT FASHION WEEK

Sheffield-born fashion designer Gemma Slack will showcase her latest line at London’s fashion week. The 24 year-old fashion designer who has already designed for stars such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Elle McPherson as well as being labelled as one of the UK’s top 100 designers.

“Last year, I designed a Heavenly Metals collection for London Fashion Week, which received international praise, and this year my range has been featured in the New York Times as well as Vogue online.”

Gemma grew up in Pitsmoor, Sheffield with her creative family, which includes her younger sister and local media lady, Sophie Mei.

Gemma attended King Edward V11 School and Sixth form where she completed her A-Levels in Arts and Linguistics. Gemma then moved to London to pursue her career as a Fashion Designer.

She went on to complete a foundation degree in Fine Art at Chelsea college of Art and Design. She then became one of the fifteen designers that were selected to study women’s wear at the prestigious London College of Fashion, where she later received a First Class Honours degree.

As well as showcasing her range at Paris, New York and London Fashion week each year she also designs regularly for A-list celebrities and Television series such as, Channel 4’s Frock Me.

Gemma, a protégée of renowned designer Gareth Pugh, has had major international success too with her designs regularly being featured in Italian Vogue and Elle Magazine as well as online success in fashion blogs and online features.

Not only does Gemma style for the stars but she also creates bespoke designs for clients in a range of materials but specializes in leather and metal clothing.

To find out more log on to: www.gemmaslack.com or follow her on: @GemmaSlack

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Lucky number 8 as runners flock to finish 10k

Sheffield played host to eight thousand runners as part of the Bupa Great Yorkshire 10k run on Sunday 6th September 2010.

Amongst the elite athletes, running clubs and amateur runners were a few familiar faces from Emmerdale, Coronation St and Eastenders.

Bupa’s nominated charity this year was the Alzheimer’s Society, which I ran for along with eight hundred others. Two of whom were Eastender’s John Altman AKA ‘Nasty Nick’ and Sheffield’s Richard McCourt AKA ‘Dick’ from the duo ‘Dick and Dom.’

The pair has experience of close relatives suffering from Dementia and avidly continues to support the charity.

John Altman has now left the East End for a career in Rock music as he has recently set up his new band ‘Heavy Metal Kids.’ You can watch their first single ‘Uncontrollable’ here.

Richard McCourt was back on home turf for the weekend to participate in the run and see his Sheffield-based family, which includes his mother who is currently suffers from dementia.

The 10k race was finished off by a fun run for kids and a ‘Bands on the Run’ stage in Sheffield’s Peace Gardens.


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MEI Monthly

Some issues that really do matter and, others that just amaze MEI…


Coming up there is everything from reality TV to health, crime and the Olympics. Just click on the link to read more…



- Reality is ‘mental’: Has the nation gone mad or the media?


- Olympic Gold: Athlete’s may have to settle for bronze


- Trapped: have you ever been trapped for a substantial length of time?


- Exam Results: It’s pointless blowing your own flute


- Worldwide web: the addiction


- Social networking: Crime or Just Business


- Pope pops in: 16th September 2010


- Beauty and the Beastly: Channel 4 on beauty


- Commoditisation: Should we pay people to donate eggs, sperm and organs?


- Time to Change: Sheffield and beyond


- Get Moving Week: Mind Charity


- Weird Websites: Finally found what you’ve been looking for?


- Bye bye BLOCKBUSTER


- Cheaters: Sport faces a challenge

Fake blood, sweat and bets..

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My oh MEI makes top 100 award

MEI INTERNATIONAL FROM YORKSHIRE MAKES STARTUPS 100

MEI International Ltd. from Sheffield, South Yorkshire makes it into this year’s Startups 100, which identifies UK’s most innovative, inspiring and ground-breaking new companies.

Startups 100, organised by the startups.co.uk, the UK’s most popular website for small businesses, celebrates the 100 most exciting, promising, disruptive new businesses and entrepreneurs shaping the start-up market right now.

MEI International Ltd is the umbrella company for Sophie Mei schools and Creative Octopus Media Services (COMS) specializing in media relations, campaigns and entertainment, events and social marketing.

One of our company’s key purposes is to work with the Public and Private Sector to increase their profile, product and service awareness amongst identified target audiences and particularly to encourage health literacy and well-being in the general public, and in seldom-heard groups, through media campaigns, training, diverse entertainment and events.  We are a social enterprise and we pride ourselves on insight gathering that provides a solid foundation to our campaigns.

Sophie Mei Co-founder of MEI International says;

“We are thrilled to win our first award as we are so new to the market.

“We’re incredibly proud to have MEI International on our list of the UK’s most innovative and dynamic new businesses and look forward to watching its continued success.” Sara Rizk, editor, Startups.co.uk

In choosing the Startups 100, the team were looking for businesses and entrepreneurs that demonstrated:

  • Innovation, in concept or delivery
  • Ability to disrupt existing market places
  • Growth potential
  • Strong management, bright thinkers
  • Evidence of existing or future revenues

For more information or to see the full Startups 100 list please visit: www.startups.co.uk

Media Contact:

For more information, or to interview any of the Startups100, please contact Ella Gascoigne at ella@startuppr.co.uk.

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MIS: The Sheff Guide Sept-Oct

The Sheff Guide: September- October

Brought to you by MEI International: Delivering Substance with Style

September

It’s like the worst Sunday feeling ever when September arrives, the kids are kitted up in their uniforms, SBS Removals have moved all of the new tenants’ furniture in – all ready for a September term at University and work.

Once everyone’s settled, you’ll be ready for some Fun Lovin’ Criminals at Plug on 3rd September. You then have enough time to recover for 5th September, as it’s the BUPA Yorkshire Run. You can join Sheffield’s Dick (from Dick and Dom), Hugh Dennis (comedian), Tony Audenshaw (Emmerdale) and me – Sophie Mei. We’ll be raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society helping lead the fight against dementia – you can find out more here http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

It’s always advisable to have a post-run treat and word on the street is that Sheffield designers Roc & Doll are having a sample sale where you can buy your designer goods on 10th October in Darnall (Sheffield’s shabby-chic Shoreditch).

You can even complete the look on 12th September at new bar – Alibi with their Mizani hair show by Toni&Guy in aid of Help A Hallam Child

Where art thou this month? As Hamlet is on at Crucible Theatre from 16th September – 23rd October – I’m going to see Mr. Hamlet opposed to Michael Buble’s Concert, which has already sold out at Hallam FM Arena.

Finish the month off on a buonissimo high as Fargate will be home to an Italian Market from 24th – 28th September.

October

No excuse not to be active this October as there is something for everyone from Chinese Pole at Greentop Circus on 2nd October to bopping at the Manic Street Preachers gig at 02 Academy on 6th October.

Even if you’re papa don’t preach you can still ‘say a little prayer’ at the Wedding/Civil Partnership showcase on 10th October at Sheffield Town Hall.

October’s always a funny month, as there’s not much on until Halloween and tinsel season strikes. Luckily for us Sheffielders however, October is jam-packed with the Magners Grin Up North Comedy Festival. We can have the last laugh with acts such as Jimmy Carr, Dara O’Brian and Sheffield’s very own Toby Foster.

Even closer to home, is the chance to find out about fostering in Sheffield, a service that is in great need of your support in order to be sustainable in helping care for young people. The Fostering Information Evening takes place on 13th October at Quaker Meeting House.

The one man who has a tan that I even can’t compete with is John Barrowman who will be performing at Sheffield City Hall on 14th October… there’s no business like show business…

Have a good couple of months and we’ll be back for the (deep breath) Christmas issue… I can hear the bells…

MEI Motto: September’s the new New Year for us big kids. SO get your dancing shoes on for a party workout in a Zumba (mixed) class or ladies can shake their bon bons at a Bellydance (women only) class at Sophie Mei Schools.

Check out www.sophiemeischools.com

To get your event featured in The Sheff Guide –

Email: MIS@sophiemei.net or add Sophie on http://twitter.com/sophiemei

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Challenge Hearts

AHEAD OF CHALLENGE ANNEKA

Yorkshire folk are being given a hearty challenge, to refurnish an entire house for a local charity which, will house twenty women in need.

The new house is part of City Hearts’ initiative to help women addicted to drugs, alcohol and women with eating disorders and other addictions as part of their oversubscribed residential programme. The house will help rehabilitate women from across the country to help enable them to live as prosperous a life as possible and without their addictions.

The charity are calling for your help to donate unwanted new or good conditioned furniture everything from table cloths and toasters to 3-seater sofa’s. Our local challenge will take place prior to the airing of TV’s Challenge Anneka which will be filmed in Sheffield and on screen later this year.

The City Hearts challenge begins on Tuesday 10th August at City Hearts’ base – Megacentre, Bernard St, Sheffield where a furniture amnesty is being called and the charity will then pass the gauntlet to their two Anneka’s of the day – local TV star and supporter of City Hearts – Sophie Mei and fellow entrepreneur Katrina Bagshaw will swap their skirts and stiletto’s for overalls as they trapse the breadth of the city for those much needed items.

Sophie Mei – dancer, presenter & entrepreneur says;

“City Hearts is a fantastic charity which is relatively new but has already helped improve the lives of many women from across the country. It will be a great challenge to take on as I really think us Yorkshire folk are rather generous and together we can make an ideal home for twenty women. Being part of a residential programme is one of the key steps in recovery and it’s great to think that we may be able to furnish another property to help more people.”

To see the full list of wanted items log on to:

For further information on City Hearts log on to:

FOR MEDIA QUERIES AND DONATIONS PLEASE CONTACT :

Bravura Marketing – Katrina Bagshaw T: 07988850823

Katrina@bravura-performance.co.uk

———————————-END —————————————

City Hearts is a charity that helps survivors overcome serious life issues such as drug addiction, self-harm and trafficking. It is a residential programme for girls over the age of 18 years old and is also connected to Hope City Church.

They not only help these women but they empower them providing them with the tools and positive coping mechanisms so the women can have prosperous lives.

They deliver a multi-platform service of drama workshops, life skills sessions as well as counseling and social groups.

Wanted Items:

bedside tables 20

6‐draw chest of drawers 8

3‐draw chest of drawers 6

lamps 20

bedroom rugs 14

waster paper bins 18

laundry hampers 20

single duvets 24

fi@ed sheets for 3/4 beds (width 110cm)  24

single duvet cover 24

pillow cases 24

pillows 24

lightshades 23

curtains (to cover window dimensions h180xw100cm)  22

curtains (to cover window dimensions h175xw200cm) 3

curtain (to cover window dimension h125xw200cm) 1

towel rails (wall mounted) 24

up lighters (floor standing) 13

sofa bed 1

2‐seater sofas 2

armchair 2

large corner sofa 1

LCD television 3

DVD players 3

3‐seater sofas 3

large rugs 3

small rugs 2

large kitchen bins 2

bathroom bins 8

large dining tables (for 12 people per table) 2

or tables for 6 people each 4

dining chairs (preferably foldaway/stackable) 24

huge table cloths to cover dining tables 4

large noMce boards 6

CD players 5

toilet mats 5

bath mats 4

toilet roll holders 5

plasMc full length mirrors 6

shower curtains/screens 4

large cushions for window seats 8

cushions 14

cushion covers 14

large bookcase (d. w300cmxh250cm) 1

or small bookcases joined together

coffee tables 5

bookcase for office 1

fish tank 1

washing machines 2

dryers 2

freezers 2

or large chest freezer  1

large dishwasher 1

iron 2

ironing boards 2

hoovers 2

ke@les 3

Kitchen equipment

Item Quan)ty

cutlery (knives/forks/spoons) 30

sets of crockery (dinner plates/bowls/side plates) 30

preferably sha@erproof material, not too plasMcky

set of industrial saucepans and frying pans 1

utensils sets 1

4 slice toasters 3

sandwich toasters 2

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A Midsummer’s Guide…

A Midsummer’s Dream

Our fourth issue lands us into Midsummer when the sun shines by day, and sets by night as we swig our Cocktails – OK well that’s a dream but at least work should be a distant memory. If not, don’t fret as there is plenty to do before we buckle down and get back to school, University and your 9 – 5.

August

Kicking off in August is the new football season when United take on some of the big boys and we at Wednesday erm… well we’re off to Dagenham! Nonetheless, the Cyber geeks can test their PC’s against their Macs on 1st August at Yorkshire’s Biggest Computer Fair. Not your cup of Tea? Well, then you can hop along to the Teatopia exhibition at the Millennium Gallery on 5th August for a Curator’s tour of er… tea! You can even pop down to Weston Park Museum if you Fancie some cupcakes…

So you’re not a cake muncher or a cyber geek? Well then lads and ladies get your sen’ along to the Four Nations Challenge Boxing at English Insititute of Sport on 7 – 8th August.

If you’re more of a culture vulture on the 8th you can down your Boxing gloves and sample the Tomatoes and Chillies festival at Meersbrook Park – that’s what it says on the tin – then drink time as ever at Leopold Square to have your apperitif’s whilst listening to a bit of Dizzy Club (they’re Jazz not a Dizzee Rascal rip off, darlin’).

If you haven’t ousted the dust since your Spring clean, then do it now and uncover those unwanted gems such as Furniture because Summer’s a good time to share the love and all the other hippy dippy stuff. What’s more, our very own City Hearts charity who work to house and rehabilitate people with addiction problems, are in need of your furniture new and old (all in good nic) as they challenge us to deck out a whole house for some of their young ladies to live in.

The mission is possible… thanks to our friends at SBS removals who offer the best service in the city to help move your goods at reasonable prices. (They helped me move my Camel: No jokes – see the photo!)  Ooh we do like a good mover! …

Through the keyhole we go this summer as we have a special performance of The Secret Garden at the Botanical Gardens on 10th August thanks to Heartbreak Productions.

If you’re more of a mover and shaker then strut your stuff down to Sheffield’s O2 Academy for a charity Shapa night on 11th August in aid of One Song Foundation, you can see the likes of Liz Mclarnon and Lee Ryan… so All Rise.

After last month’s phenomenal Music City  – we continue to impress with our local talent so watch out for DarkeHorse’s gig on13th August at The Boardwalk

Then if you are a singer yourself you best get yourself to the Sheffield auditions of OpenMic UK at the City Hall on 22nd August. I rest my case.

Remember Harvest festival at school when people bring in fruits, grains and you can smell the fresh crop? OK, so I’ve been watching The Waltons a little too often… Well you can experience it all over again or for the first time at Weston Park Museum on 28th August.

Ah the good old days… where summer lovin’ happens so fast… well you can have a blast at Sheffield’s Fayre at Norfolk Heritage Park from 29th-30th August – and strictly no leather please.

September

It’s like the worst Sunday feeling ever when September arrives, the kids are kitted up in their uniforms, the students have overloaded on their Tupperware and the rest of us are back into tour 9-5 slog before the bells ring at Christmas time!

Anyway, do you remember the Fun Lovin’ Criminals? Well they’re gigging at plug on 3rd September. You then have enough time to recover for 5th September as it’s the BUPA Yorkshire Run. You can join Dick (from Dick and Dom), Hugh Dennis (comedian) and Tony Audenshaw (Emmerdale) and of course me – Sophie Mei.

Two men who are definitely quick on their feet are Ricky Hatton and Frank Bruno as they host  “An audience with…” at Sheffield City Hall on 15th September.

Where art thou this month? As Hamlet is on at Crucible Theatre from 16th September – 23rd October – I’m going to see Mr. Hamlet opposed to Michael Buble’s Concert which has already sold out at Hallam FM Arena.

E cosi … let’s finish this month off on a bella high as Fargate will be home to an Italian Market from 24th – 28th September:

By Sophie  Mei

www.sophiemei.co

MEI Motto: September’s the new New year for us big kids – so get your dancing shoes on – for a party workout in a Zumba (mixed) class or ladies can shake their bon bons at a Bellydance (women only) class with Sophie Mei Schools.

Check out:  www.sophiemeischools.com

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Sorry Capello – I can’t go – staying at home with Theo

You’d think that after ten years of pelvic tilting, hip sliding and shimmies (BELLYDANCE) that I’d be a hip-injured wreck. Oh no, it wasn’t until I set me 2010 resolutions to rugby and running that I have suddenly been hit with the most injuries I have ever experienced from fracture Scaphoid’s to a twisted Sciatic – these past few months have certainly been eventful.

I thought that once April came and I welcomed my 22nd Birthday without a cast on my arm or a knee support that were things were looking up – that was until I ran the Sheffield Half Marathon and 2 10K’s.

Fortunately, the BUPA physio after the Manchester 10k flagged up that I had a problem. So what did I do? No, didn’t listen to his advice but got back into training and roped in support from my Personal Trainer – Seb Kane (Greens Gym). He then encouraged me to see a Chiropractor as he didn’t want me running or doing dead lifts (weights) until I had the “shooting pain” in my hi and leg fixed.

So I went down to Sheffield Clinic of Complementary Medicine on Ecclesall Rd, Sheffield. Upon arrival, I was welcomed by two lovely and attractive receptionists who instructed me to put on a gown before going in to the Doctor. A gown?! Don’t you just hate those situations where you have completely forgotten to co-ordinate your underwear (too long being single!)

Nonetheless, I was immediately put at ease with Dr. Burns as he was so personable and completely explained what would happen in my initial consultation.

To find out what happened click: HipKiss of Life

http://blog.sophie-mei.net/2010/05/hipkiss-of-life/

Follow up Appointment

A few days later it was time for a follow-up consultation and to have my X-Rays back (which were amazingly done ‘in-clinic’).  Immediately, I could tell they were my X-Rays as I had forgotten to remove my huge bellybar which made my X-Rays look as if I’d swallowed a flower-shaped bullet.

Luckily, all my injuries are ‘fixable’ as I’m still young – that’s if I take advice and don’t run whilst my hips are still delicate (I.e. I made a faux pas by playing in the Celeb Soccer 6 at the weekend – just as well he’s used to helping football injuries).

He continued to give me a deep tissue massage and adjust my hip and spine back into places as I have a twisted Sciatic nerve. Although, I don’t like the sound I quite like the pain of Chiropractic treatment as it really feels like it’s adjusting all those bad body habits you have.

I came out feeling more agile, in a little bit of pain but nothing that can’t be soothed by the icepack he gave me.

So I’m back in a few days and already feeling the transformation  – so glad I got it sorted young and I’d recommend it to other people old and young as it’s essential for a body MOT especially later in life.

For further info:

Chiropractors use controlled forces, called adjustments, when there are restrictions around joints that the body is unable to overcome itself. Such barriers include muscle spasm, swelling (edema), scar tissue and pain.

“Whatever the problem… Chiropractic is so often the answer.”

Dr K.P. Burns Bsc D.C. and associates have been in the trade for the past twenty-six years and continue to offer a personable and welcoming service to their clients. Clients have included many celebrities including a wide host of sports stars particularly footballers.

The clinic directors are Dr K.P. Burns, Ms L.M. Burns and Mr P.Francis

Contact Details;

Sheffield Clinic of Complementary Medicine

378 Ecclesall RD, Sheffield S11 8PJ

Tel: 0114 267 0010

Consultation by appointment. X-Ray facilities.

Doncaster Chiropractic Clinic

26 High Rd, Balby, Doncaster , DN4 0PL

Tel: 01302 311 322

York Chiropractic Clinic

312 Stockton Lane, York, Y03 0JW

Tel: 01904 430 300

Hull Clinic of Complementary Medicine

Holm Oak, Heads Lane, Booth ferry Rd, Hessle, Hull, HU13 0JH

Tel: 01482 644 848

SEB KANE – MyWellbeing: Personal Trainer

Contact MyWellbeing

T: 07812004443

E: sebkanept@hotmail.com

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What a WeekEnd!

Oh what a weekend

This past weekend has been crazy, even for me, because what I have managed within the space of 48 hours is quite an achievement with the great help of my good friends. I have taught folkloric dance, done my first live radio report, danced at a rugby match, had a photoshoot with Rihanna’s dancers, celeb charity dinner, ran Manchester 10k and collapsed at a BBQ.

It all began at dawn on Saturday when my three alarms rang consecutively and I arose from my boudoir (well comfy bed). I made my way to Greens gym to teach a folkloric stick dance to a group of twenty wonderful and keen ladies – which is a necessity when you attend dance classes at 9am on a Saturday morning!

I then nervously went to Radio Sheffield to do my new summer slot, which is Mei’s mission. You wouldn’t think I’d be nervous as I’ve been on radio loads but the thought reporting live and using all the Outside Broadcast equipment made me so although I was really excited.

Fortunately, all went well as I had to interview Rodrigo Pardo about his Toilet Tango piece (you’ll have to listen back to understand) and then find people to sing the new Robin Hood them tune to me… Mission accomplished! I had a real laugh doing it and thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone out and about as well as learning loads of new skills and working with lovely people. I really hope to be doing more radio in the future.

I then jumped in a taxi and headed straight for Bramall Lane – the new home of the Sheffield Eagles Rugby club. It was a big game for them as they were playing Toulouse (which they won) and Mark Aston, the manager, had kindly asked me to dance before the game so I also invite along my friends of Ashay dance troupe (fusion dance).

I opened the game once the players had finished warming up (on the testosterone fuelled pitch) and danced with my red Isis wings to Snake Charmer, Anzay and Hindi Sad Diamonds. My agent Louise and I then had to jet off (well city taxi it) to the train station to get to Manchester for a photo shoot with Rihanna’s dancers. We shortly arrived at Sunshine Studios to view lessons by Bryan, Reina and Tracy.

Not only did we get a sneaky peek at their choreographies but I also got the chance to have photos with them and interview them. So watch out soon for those interviews as we got some juicy gossip… read more

Finally, our jam packed Saturday finished at Jury’s Inn Manchester where we were greeted by the Alzheimer’s Society team along with fellow ‘celebrity’ runners Dick (from ‘Dick and Dom’) and Samantha Giles (the red head from Emmerdale and now she stars in Hollyoaks. We then went out for a carb-fuelled dinner in the preparation for the morning’s 10k, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Return later for more info about the Sunday’s Manchester 10k race plus links to exclusive gossip…

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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The ‘F’ Word

So is it a time to reflect or a time to regret? Over the winter season, I shall be celebrating the wonderful woes and weird ways that make our season so special… the four big F’s. (Compare, contrast and discuss)

“Let’s slew ‘dem bells” with stockings, ice, and snowstorms in martini glasses…

Faith

“I taught you to remember the words of Jesus. He said; “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Passage taken from the Bible Act 20:35)

* Please return soon to read text messages of feelings from thos of other faiths at this time of year.*

Food

Ingredients

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon soft butter

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Directions

Royal Icing, recipe follows

*Read here soon for a diary passage from a person struggling with an eating disorder this year*

Family

(Greetings Card)

To a Wonderful Granddad at Christmas

This very special message brings wishes just for you

For a happy healthy Christmas

And a perfect New Year too

*Read here for an email account of Christmas for people without the 2.4 family*

Finance

(Advert)

“Holidays are coming… holidays are coming… always Coca Cola”

*Read here soon for Facebook posts from those living with debt this Christmas*

Whatever the weather, seasonal joy or greeting grief and, whether you like your nativity via Facebook or read in the pulpit – this time of year means so much to so many – let’s indulge in our idiosyncrasies.

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