Wokingham Food Festival 2013

WFF

I spent a very enjoyable evening at the Wokingham Food Festival last night. This event, lasting two and a half days, is in it’s seventh year and has gone from strength to strength. It was originally a Council run event that ran for 2 years. But 5 years ago two local residents Stan Hetherington and Kate Lole approached the council saying that they would run it if they, the council, were no longer going to.

The event brings local and new bands and musical talent together with some more established travelling musicians and produces a nice community event for the whole family. There is always a very large beer tent with cask ales and hot food on sale throughout the day and night, but during the day there are additional stands with local food producers and suppliers more than happy to talk to you about their wares.

Whilst I wasn’t there on Friday night I heard that the evening was packed, the bands great and the atmosphere buzzing as the beer flowed.

On Saturday I arrived just as the food tent was closing for the day but could see that The Oxford Cheese Company were there, Mediterranean Olives and Snacks, Shemin’s curry pastes, a man selling cured meats, cakes stalls, The Sweet Cabin, wine, olives and honey to name but a few. The general consensus from the people I spoke to was the Saturday had shown a good supply of people through the tent but the rain in the middle of the afternoon had deterred others or sent them home early.

The beer and hot food tent is always busy and lively. With long trestle tables and seats it is looks like a Scout Camp dinner tent, but strangers sit shoulder to shoulder as they enjoy the company of their friends and the music from the festival. Children run in and out to see their parents and the atmosphere is really relaxed and friendly.

The Beer & Hot Food Tent

The Beer & Hot Food Tent

The hot food on offer this year was some fantastic Spanish fare from Street Food Spain offering both a freshly prepared chicken or seafood paella and their very tasty looking chorizo rolls.

Spanish Street Food

Spanish Street Food

A stand selling Slovakian ‘crazy cakes’, which is a dough cooked on a special cylinder and rolled in sugar and cinnamon or cheese look interesting and very snack worthy.

Crazy Cakes

Crazy Cakes

There was a man selling freshly made hot crepes with more Nutella on his stand than he could possibly ever use. But who am I to know? :-)

There was also available Thai noodles or curries, all freshly prepared that day. Bratwurst sausage sandwiches, ice cream, a smoothie van, a coffee camper van and Roly Poly who made a hot pork (hog roast) style sandwich.

The combination of smells of food wafting, sights of people enjoying themselves and sounds of good music worked really well as the the dusk came in and the music got a bit more lively.

I made a point of watching two of the bands. One was called the Bear Blues Band and the other Nark Drool & The Shudders. Both did a really great job of getting people moving and dancing and having a carefree time. I did amuse myself by watching one couple where she was really, really, really keen to dance. And he wasn’t. She was pulling him this way and that, but he stood stock still and refused to join in. Very amusing for me, not much her I don’t suppose.

Bear Blues Band

Bear Blues Band

All in all this is a fantastic community event. I was surprised to learn how hard it is to get stall holders and local suppliers to get involved. I really would have thought this would have been a prime opportunity for them to meet their potential local clients up close and personal. For example the Thai food company came from Portsmouth, we have some fantastic Thai restaurants in and around Wokingham, what a shame they couldn’t see the benefit of attending.

Jigging at the Festival

Jigging at the Festival

Whether the food festival will run in the same venue next year is to be decided as there is still the unanswered question about redevelopment at Elms Field. But if you missed it this year, try and get yourself down there next year. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

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Leftovers: Spicy Fried Ricelets

You know the end of the week feeling when the fridge isn’t showing much promise? Yep, me too and today I was faced with what to have for brunch when faced with some leftover rice and stir-fried veggies from the night before.

I fancied something with eggs (it’s been an egg week this week) and I came up with what turned out to be something much nicer than I imagined. Let me introduce the Spicy Fried Ricelets!

I had some left over cold rice that had been coated in some cumin and coriander paste from the night before and some cold, flash-fried veggies which consisted of some onions, carrots, spinach, peas and sweetcorn. 

Leftover cold rice and veg

Leftover cold rice and veg

I whisked together two eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper and a generous shake of Tabasco sauce and dolloped in a generous serving of rice and vegetables until the egg mixture was thick.

Whisked egg & veg

Whisked egg & veg

I cooked them by using a tablespoon of mixture in butter, although you could use coconut oil too and once the egg had formed a nice base, flipped them over and cooked the other side.

First side.

First side.

They were incredibly tasty and if you like Special Fried Rice then you’ll like these too. They could be eaten hot or cold and they really do give great new lease of life the those annoying bits of leftover rice that is too much to serve up, too wasteful to throw away and too little to make into another meal in the freezer.

Da daa! End of week feast!

Da daa! End of week feast!

Enjoy!

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Gluten Free Quiche

When I was a child my mum would serve up ‘egg and bacon flan’. I really didn’t look forward to that meal. Once I got around to eating it I enjoyed it, but the thought of it never gave me a longing for dinner.

Little did I know that ‘egg & bacon flan’ was a meal we got when money was tight and she could spread 2 rashers of bacon and 2 eggs between the four of us and still fill us up!

Now I use these sorts of meals to use up things that I don’t have enough of to go around. I also like pastry type meals but as I choose not to use wheat based pastry as we are all wheat intolerant, have come up with this as an alternative that fills us up and is perfectly acceptable to serve to guests too. Enjoy!

Base Ingredients

200g ground almonds
1 tablespoon arrowroot or rice flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground linseeds (optional)
1-2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1 large sprig rosemary chopped
50ml groundnut oil or coconut oil
Black pepper (lots)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F / gas 4.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and bring together until a sticky lump.
Press into a flan dish using the back of a fork and your fingers. Press it up the sides too.
Bake for 12 minutes.

 

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Filling

1 small onion, finely sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Knob of butter for frying
3 rashers of bacon chopped
8-10 cherry tomatoes
2 large handfuls of washed spinach, roughly chopped
2-3 eggs
150ml coconut milk
handful grated unpasteurised cheese (I used Emmental cheese)
Salt and pepper

Whilst the flan base is baking gently fry the onion, garlic and bacon in a frying pan.
Season well and add halved tomatoes. Give a quick stir.
Add in the spinach, remove from heat and leave to one side.
Beat eggs and coconut milk together. Add cheese and season.

When the base comes out of the oven leave to cool if you want, but I never do :-)
Place the filing mix in the base and gently pour the eggs over it pressing the filling down so it is mostly covered by the egg mix.
Bake for 30 minutes at the same temperature.

Serve hot or cold with salad or vegetables.

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Recipes, Strickers Blog

Peanut Butter

Peanuts!

Peanuts!

I love to make things from scratch. Especially if the things I like to make are staples that are well liked and frequently consumed. I feel like I am making better choices if I make them rather than buy them in terms of health and my pocket.

One of those is peanut butter. It can also be made with Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds or hazelnuts. But here is how you do it.

Buy the best quality nuts you can. If you’re on a budget then Basics / Value will do just as well. But if you want to use organic then of course you can.

More peanuts...

More peanuts…

If you are using raw nuts then I would highly recommend roasting them gently first. It makes the flavour much nicer.

Put in a single layer on a baking tray and roast at 180C / 350F / gas 4 for about 30 minutes. Check after about 20 minutes, give them a mix about and check that you aren’t burning any.

Remove from oven and place into a blender or food processor. Start to process with a sharp blade and slowly add groundnut oil or grapeseed oil until the mixture becomes the consistency you like. Add a little salt to taste, and if you wish a very small dab of runny honey, once again for taste.

You can play around with the seasoning and creaminess to suit your own tastes and family needs. If someone prefers their nut butter crunchier than you do, just remove a batch before processing to a smoother mix.

Store in an airtight jar like a Kilner jar or old jam pot. I’d love to tell you how long a shelf life it has, but it barely lasts a week in this house, so can’t I’m afraid!

Serving favourites in the Strickers home:

  • Dolloped into natural yoghurt with all manner of extras like fruit or raisins or seeds or honey.
  • Spread onto rice cakes or corn thins.
  • Decent toast, peanut butter and honey.
  • In fact my husband will have you think that peanut butter and honey are an inseparable duo.
  • He also raves about apricot jam and peanut butter.
  • Spooned into a smoothie with frozen banana, coconut milk from a tin, peach and raisins.
  • Rice cake, peanut butter and sliced banana
  • Stirred into porridge
  • Used in a satay sauce.
  • My favourite is straight off the spoon…

It’s not the prettiest picture, or container, but that is what I am all about. Using what’s available, when it’s available and then sharing it with you.

 

Homemade peanut butter

Homemade peanut butter

 

 

Recipes, Strickers Blog , ,

13 Ways to add Turmeric into your day…

Turmeric has been shown to be as effective or more effective than 14 major drugs. It is a fabulous anti-inflammatory agent and is the most researched and studied spice for it’s health giving benefits. It is used heavily in cooking in South East Asia, India and Mexico as it is used primarily in curries and chilli powders.

I have good memories of the stuff as my Dad would cook with it each Saturday lunchtime when he looked after us whilst my mum worked. He made us the most outrageous curries and stews, but everything was always yellow from his exuberant use of turmeric.

Here are 13 ways you can use it too:

Make your own curry powder by combining:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • ½ tablespoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Mix cooked wholegrain rice with a handful of raisins, handful of chopped cashews a tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and ¼ – ½ teaspoon turmeric, cumin and coriander. Great for a packed lunch with some dark green leaves.

Add to any lentil or pulse dish for depth of flavour and colour.

Add to any curry or savoury mince dish (Shepherd’s Pie, meatballs etc) this is what my Dad did each week!

Add to egg mayonnaise – that will make your lunch shout “hello, look at me!”

Add to salad dressings.

Add to spicy lentil soup, tuna and sweetcorn soup.

Add to mashed potatoes, swede and carrot or cauliflower.

Add to bones when boiling them up after a roast. That broth will be a super food!

Failing all that – you can just take it as a pill. But where’s the fun in that?!

Here is a great article on 22 unusual things to do with turmeric.

Here’s a blog post about turmeric, but skip to the bottom for a recipe for turmeric tea — a real health booster.

And finally three recipes from Good Food that use it:

Enjoy some colour and health in your day with turmeric!

 

Hello! My name is Heidi Strickland-Clark and I run FastTrack Fit Camp, a health focussed bootcamp in the Wokingham area with venues in Swallowfield, Yateley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Twyford & Warfield. I have a love for all things food and health related and have more than a healthy preference for good, black coffee. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health & Nutrition News, Strickers Blog

Don’t ditch the scales!

Your weight loss is important.

There, I said it and I won’t take it back.

Despite all the shared images of scales with positive messages on.

Kind people telling you that you should use a measuring tape and your clothes as a guide.

And your partner telling you he loves you just the way you are and you should ignore the number on the dial.

You can’t escape the fact that if you are overweight and you need to get smaller, you will have to lose weight to achieve it.

If you are 5′ 2”, 18 stone and a size 22 you’re not going to still be 18 stone when you’re in a size 14 are you? So weight loss is important.

How else will you gauge your progress? Why else will your health improve? Your joint pain go? Blood pressure drop?

People still love to hear a wonderful weight loss story. They get it, they understand it and they can relate to it.

But here is the important bit…weight loss is only important when you are losing it.

If you aren’t losing it then it doesn’t matter! Because we can use other tools to measure your progress.

That’s when a measuring tape and your clothes and photos are all fantastic opportunities to give yourself the pat on the back you need to keep you motivated and moving forward with your body transformation.

People who join FastTrack Fit Camp who really don’t have much fat to lose – change little in weight, but a lot in inch loss.

People who join Fit Camp who have more to lose to start with lose both weight and inches pretty quickly.

And people who don’t want to lose weight at all, but just want to get fitter. Change shape anyway and look more athletic and healthy.

http://youtu.be/3fnEHurCAlI

You see the nearer you are to your target or ideal weight the less weight you will shift. You will lose fat and build muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat and takes up less space on you, so you will shrink but weigh about the same (sometimes heavier…)

 

So in summary:

Don’t get miffed when I have no sympathy for you that you’ve not lost any weight, but you have lost inches, changed shape and gone down clothes sizes. That won’t wash with me. :-)

Don’t be confused if I congratulate someone on 10lbs / 2 stone / 3 stone weight loss when I’ve just told you that ‘weight doesn’t matter’.

Do make sure you take a balanced and practical approach to improving your health. If you are overweight — you’ll need to get lighter.

If you are a size 12 hoping to get to a size 10 don’t expect a lot of weight loss. Work on inch loss.

And absolutely, definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, never, ever, ever, EVER weigh yourself daily, twice daily or hourly. Once every week or so is enough to keep you focussed and driven.

If you can’t trust yourself give your scales to a friend to look after for you — you’ll be so glad you did!

 

Heidi Strickland-Clark runs FastTrack Fit Camp, a health focussed bootcamp in the Wokingham area with venues in Swallowfield, Yateley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Twyford & Warfield. She has a passion for all things food and health related and has more than a healthy preference for good, black coffee. 

 

 

 

 

 

Strickers Blog

Going gluten free healthily

How do you go gluten free and do so healthily?

How do you feed a family if only one of you is gluten intolerant or coeliac? It’s a problem that can cause frustration and resentment where someone ends up losing out to make life easier.

I met a lot of people at the Allergy & Free From Show who had been diagnosed coeliac for many years and were still struggling with what to feed themselves and the family with only one of them with the problem.

I also met newly diagnosed mums (mainly) starting to panic because only one of their children was coeliac and not the others.

The worry was how can I make it fair, not feel like someone is missing out and easy for me to manage? How can I make sure everyone is healthy but happy?

With an estimated 85% of the UK population undiagnosed with gluten intolerance this is going to become a bigger problem.

But what difference does it make if you do compromise on what you feed your family? Afterall you’ve all managed this long and got by.

One of the greatest problems with gluten intolerance is that so many symptoms remain unseen. Damage to tissues that may ca

use a headache or hairloss. Damage to intestines that causes constipation or bloating or even random outbreaks of itchy elbows or shins that lasts for weeks and then mysteriously disappears.

By ignoring the condition for you or your child you do keep the risk much higher of greater long term damage and disease. Cancers, depression, Chron’s disease and thyroid damage are all conditions of the long term damage from gluten.

The truth is that it is simple to adapt the family diet or your own personal diet quickly and easily so that everyone starts to feel better without realising what they’re not having anymore. There are plenty of places and forums that will help with an integrative approach to healthy eating for any allergy or intolerance to foods.

When I discovered I needed to cut out gluten I found that I could change the meals for all my family and them not notice. For 100 days this year I went grain free. But so did they! :-) (sneaky eh?!)

So what did we eat?

Well we ate lots of veg. On  their own, in stir fries, roasted, grated, chopped, noodled-d and diced. We ate excellent quality local meats. We ate homemade cakes and crackers and flan bases made from ground almonds. My daughter had her 18th birthday during this period and we had a fabulous homemade chocolate birthday cake that could have been served to anyone without a mention of ‘grain free’.

As a consequence of my own experiment I helped one lady remove all back pain (that she’s had for 40 years) by cutting out all grains. We’ve tried adding some of the gluten free grains back in, but for her a grain free diet works wonders, she’s never felt so good. She runs a family and manages to keep everyone happy.

Losing hair everytime she brushed it was becoming a huge problem for one of my walkers. After adopting a gluten free plan for 3 weeks her hair started to fall out less when brushing and washing and is now looking lush! With some simple pointers she is now feeding her whole family better and more healthily and they are all benefiting with renewed energy. Not bad for a bad hair day!

So in conclusion

  • Someone in your family has a food intolerance or allergy.
  • You need to keep everyone happy, healthy and feeling like they are not missing out.
  • It can be done by cutting out grains and boosting vegetables and salads and fruits.
  • Family favourites can be adapted to suit everyone in one sitting, rather than two or three meals.
  • You can even have cake!

Making these changes to your daily food planning is a simple 1,2,3 step process. I’ve done it, I’ve had others do it, you could do it too.

You’ll feel so pleased you did.

 

Heidi Strickland-Clark runs FastTrack Fit Camp, a health focussed bootcamp in the Wokingham area with venues in Swallowfield, Yateley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Twyford & Warfield. She has a passion for all things food and health related and has more than a healthy preference for good, black coffee. 

Health & Nutrition News, Strickers Blog

What ‘The Voice’ taught me

In case you didn’t know I watched the quarter finals of ‘The Voice’ on Friday night at Pinewood Studios. I’ve only ever seen trailers for the programme and really had little idea what to expect, but Sophie had been sent tickets from the studio audience ticket service and whilst we could have been sent anything from ‘Loose Women’ to ‘Draw It’ she got lucky with these.

It was a really amazing evening and we had super seats. The show has the largest live studio audience of 1200 people and you need to whoop a lot. But given that it was a live show, there was no time for retakes or errors. It was perfectly executed and showed what planning can do to prepare you for such a big show of many stage changes.

However it was whilst we were there that I saw in action what I’ve read about and been told time and time again about how having a whole lot of passion about what you want to achieve will win hands down every time.

There were moments when the show wasn’t on air and they were changing the set or doing interviews with the contestants. During this time there is a man doing some chatting, joke telling and generally keeping us informed of what is going on. He was amusing and did his job really well. He had several signed items from the ‘coaches’. So a signed photograph from The Script, signed CD from Jessie J, Will.i.am and Tom Jones. All very lovely. But you had to win them.

You can imagine that there were a few fans in the studio for these stars and there was a lot of shouting and waving and screaming to get his attention. However for the Jessie J and The Script prizes he asked who would knew all the words to all their songs. If you were able to sing along to any song he chose, you could win the prize. (At this point I did think, “it’s only a bloomin’ photo”)

However, and this is my point that to succeed in life

You need to truly know your outcome –  I want the CD / photo

You need to have such passion that it overcome you – Knowing every word of all the songs

And that you’ll do whatever it takes to achieve the outcome – sing, live in front of 1200 people, many of whom also want what it is what you’re working for but aren’t prepared to do what you are doing to get it.

Two amazingly brave and dedicated people won a signed photo (a bloomin’ photo!) and a CD with a squiggle on it because they wanted it so badly.

If you’re not achieving what you want, perhaps you don’t know

(a) what you truly want. So go and write down exactly what it is you want to the finest detail. Know exactly where you are heading.

(b) how much you really want it. If it doesn’t excite you then you’re not passionate enough to achieve it, so all the longing , wishing and hoping won’t make it happen. If you’re not passionate enough about it ask yourself more questions. Why do I want this? How will I feel when I do achieve it? How will my life be when I reach this target? If you can’t stoke up the pure excitement for achieving it, it’s the wrong goal.

(c) not prepared to do what it takes. Remember the time will never be right, you’ll never have enough money, you’ll never know enough, it will never be perfect and you’ll always be a little bit scared. But if you don’t just DO IT when the opportunity presents itself someone else will and you’ll always wish you had.

Stop worrying. Get doing.

P.S. Even Holly Willoughby struggles with her shoes. A desperate kicking off of the Louboutin stiletto shoes between shows was very pleasing! :-)

 

Heidi Strickland-Clark runs FastTrack Fit Camp, a health focussed bootcamp in the Wokingham area with venues in Swallowfield, Yateley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Twyford & Warfield. She has a passion for all things food and health related and has more than a healthy preference for good, black coffee. 

Strickers Blog

Are you addicted to diet foods?

Are you still eating ‘diet foods’, ‘low fat foods’ or ‘healthy options’? If you are you are almost certainly setting yourself up for cravings, weight gain, mood swings and bad skin. So you can eat fewer calories for sure, but you’ll look and feel like crap in the process.

These low calorie and diet foods are almost always manufactured to be low calorie by removing the fat. When the fat is removed from food it tastes of nothing. It is completely tasteless. Compare for example a 0% fat yoghurt and a full fat one. No comparison. Infact when I bought some 0% yoghurt recently by mistake I was really surprised at how watery and insipid it was. Give me full fat Greek yoghurt any day!

So to keep the diet foods tasty the manufacturers need to add something back in, that will be sugar or artificial sweeteners. When you consume sugar too frequently you’ll get a taste for it, it will tamper with your blood sugar levels and deplete you of valuable nutrients. In addition to adding weight, raising cholesterol, rotting teeth, popping you out in spots and leaving you permanently hungry.

That’s OK you might think, I’ll chose the artificial sweeteners.  They’re low calorie and harmless. Just wait one moment! Eating a sugar substitute will still give you a taste for sweetness leaving you wanting more, but in addition these alternatives are known excitotoxins which stimulate your brain cells to death. They have been implicated in dementia and Ahlzheimer’s disease.

These fake sugars, so prevalent in baked goods, crisps, sauces, sweets, chewing gum (have you found one it’s not in recently?) fizzy drinks, juices, sauces, squash, jellies, jams…the list goes on is also a reason why people who want to lose weight can’t or don’t when consuming them.

Firstly, adding a low calorie sugar to a product psychologically makes people think they can have more of it. We’re programmed to eat, we’re programmed to eat sweet stuff, so we eat more because it’s lower calorie, but two is probably more calories than one normal one… I know one lady who will eat a complete box of six ‘diet’ cereal bars because they are low calorie.

Secondly, the artificial sweeteners will stimulate the appetite but unlike real sugar where the associated calories help you to stop eating (even if it is after a few too many chocolates) the lack of calories with artificial sweeteners means that people keep on eating, unsatisfied and feeling that you are hungry and still have an appetite.

Consider this next time you reach for a Diet Coke mid afternoon and feel the need for something to eat shortly afterwards.

Thirdly, these foods encourage carbohydrate cravings and stimulate fat storage and ultimately weight gain, so what you were hoping would help you to lose weight is in fact making you gain it.

I saw this happen with client of mine in her 60s who was eating really rather well apart from her use of artificial sugars on her porridge, in cakes and her hot drinks. She refused to stop taking it but wasn’t losing weight when she should have been. She eventually stopped adding it to her foods, changed nothing else and started to consistently lose 2lbs per week. Something she’d been trying to achieve for years.

Pretty good eh?!

So to keep yourself healthy, with a complete set of brain cells, in shape and cravings free follow these simple tips.

  • Avoid all foods with aspartame (AminoSweet), or any other artificial sweetener in it.
  • Cut all diet drinks from your life and those of your children. It’s nasty stuff and causes all manner of hormonal imbalances, infertility and mood problems in growing children.
  • Cut your sugar intake by cutting back on processed foods, chocolates and sweets.
  • Add in fruits like apples, pears and berries.
  • If baking, reduce the sugar by 1/3. You won’t notice the difference.
  • If you crave chocolate you may well be short of magnesium, so boost with nuts, seeds and green vegetables or a supplement from a good health food shop. Or I prefer to use Phil Richards Magnesium Relax. It’s super.
  • If you have blood sugar drops during the day try taking a teaspoon of coconut oil each day. If the taste doesn’t suit you sprinkle it with ground cinnamon. This will help to regulate your blood sugar levels and stop your cravings.
  • Eat plates of salad and vegetables, good quality protein and fats or oils. You’ll feel better on that for sure!

For more information on how artificial sweeteners can harm you I recommend
Dr Blaylock’s book ‘Excitotoxins – The taste that kills’. 

For more information or help on healthy eating, please email  me at heidistrickers@gmail.com – I offer healthy eating forums, talks & seminars and 1-2-1 consultations. 

To get in shape, feel fantastic and get all the health and nutrition information you need go to FastTrack Fit Camp where we offer it in one tidy, friendly package!

Health & Nutrition News, Strickers Blog

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped. ”

Have you ever thought back over a series of events and seen how they all join together because of one decision you made earlier on?

This time last week I was rocking and shouting and whooping alongside 5000 others at the ExCel Centre in London as an attendee of the Tony Robbins ‘Unleash the Power Within’ event.

Umm, ExCel Centre??!

Many people have asked me what is was like and to describe what it was all about to them.

This is impossible. Everyone who attends would have a completely different experience. To say that it was the best weekend of my life is not an understatement. That I spent most of it either crying or dancing is by the by. The experience, the effect and the feeling I have about it is enough for me to know that I am changed because of it.

The thing is though that one of Tony Robbins well repeated quotes is -

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped. ”

And this is afterall how I got to be there, by a decision I made 8 months ago. Our lives are merely a reflection of our decisions after all.

In August 2012, when I thought I was too busy to breathe, I found myself in distraction mode and was surfing facebook on my phone. I saw a blog post titled something like ‘how to be more productive in the morning’. That’s what I need I thought!

Within this blog was another link to a Tony Robbins audio file. I have no idea why I downloaded it. I had heard of him but had no experience of him to speak of, however I downloaded the audio and started to listen to it. Remember I thought I was “too busy”, but I listened to this audio rapt to his distinctive, gravely voice for 90 minutes. It was perfect for that moment and I was hooked. I can remember him saying -

“what’s wrong is always available, but so is what’s right”

and this struck a deep chord with me. I wasn’t thinking my life was crap, but the very concept of focussing on what’s right changed me there and then.

As a result of this audio I then followed the big man (he is 6ft 7 inches) on Facebook. About 3 weeks later there was a post to say he was in the UK in October at an event called the National Achievers Congress (NAC) , also at the ExCel. I made a decision that I was going.

I am sure many of you know that I am an avid course and seminar attendee. However I normally go on my own and come back pumped up and full of enthusiasm which my poor husband has to absorb at some speed. This time though in an attempt to hear it all first hand he decided to come with me (his moment of decision).

We only went to the ExCel to see Tony Robbins and he was first on, he did a six hour presentation that had me hooked and we agreed there and then to sign up for this event in May. However, we didn’t just stay to listen to Tony, we stayed and found that attending the NAC also opened new doors to both of us. It was there that I saw Andy Harrington speak and am now part of his Professional Speakers Academy, which means that I am delivering presentations in a more enjoyable and useful way for my business. This has bought me into contact with a lot of business people outside the fitness circle which is invaluable for networking and self-development.

So, in that one decision to attend we started a ripple effect of change in our lives.

This last weekend, with Dale, at UPW at the ExCel was full on and intense. It’s 50 hours in 3.5 days and yet you never flag. On day one all 5000 of us (bar a few) did a firewalk — AMAZING! Once you can do that you can do anything right?!

Fire-walked Feet

 

The remaining three days are an indepth look at what drives you, stops you and makes you alive. If you have any desire to be a better version of yourself it’s definitely the place to do it. The momentum and enthusiasm from the rest of the crowd is intense. I loved it!

What did I learn?

  • That I really, really miss my link to music. Since giving up teaching exercise classes I really haven’t listened to music to any degree. So the music, dancing and moving was a good reminder to add that back in.
  • That you meet the most lovely people. When you’ve all had a joint experience like the firewalk you’ll talk to anyone to see what their experience was. We met some fantastic people with great ideas of how they can be an enhanced version of themselves to better their lives through the contribution to others.
  • That going through such an emotional roller-coaster was so much better when shared with Dale. I cannot imagine having attended on my own and then having to try and share it with him. The joint experience was worth it alone.
  • That people can achieve whatever the hell they want. The very first time I heard of Tony Robbins was at another seminar hosted by Phil Richards where he played this audio on how Sylvester Stallone got to where he is today. It’s flippin’ awesome. Never think you can’t have what you want, you just need to know what you want and want it badly enough.
  • That I can play air-guitar.
  • That I can walk on hot coals.
  • That I love the fact that we can continually improve ourselves. Not because we’re dissatisfied with ourselves but because we like to grow, improve and develop to a higher level.
  • That I am so glad I decided one Sunday afternoon in August to read a blog, that lead me to an audio that lead me to this new path I find myself on.

Whatever you want from your life, just embrace it. Enjoy it and always see the good in what you have not what you don’t have. Be freakin’ awesome!


Strickers Blog