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Writing a story like this doesn't come without it's tears, for me.

The wonderful thing about a wellbeing blog is that it stretches to all areas and all folks in this spinning globe we are privileged to live on. image1

I grew up with Elaine, we were tiny little Girl brigade girls, rode horses together as teenagers, and her cousin and best friend Vikki married my brother.

So we well connected. So much so that our Mums are good friends too and when her Mum Vera was diagnosed with uterine cancer which had spread in November a dark cloud of worry, sadness and fear hit like a domino effect from the immediate family right through to the rest of us on the sidelines. You have to know Vera, she is like wonder woman, without the bold t shirt. She is committed to her family, a devoted wife to James (who loves a good cricket based chin wag with my husband Michael) and literally runs everything musical in her church as quietly as a mouse. To the point that I look at an organ in any given church or chapel and immediately think of Vera sitting there with her lovely cardigans and bobbing head.

She is to be admired,

No more so, than when she decided to face her cancer head on and to go down the alternative treatment route.
Today I was awarded my Visa for working in America this Summer. It didn't come without a great deal of faffing and huffing and puffing and general scattiness from myself. While I stood in a line of twenty one other applicants I realised that I was one form short for the interview. Shocker.

I met Kaisa through my blogging friend Alice Harold (who I have guest posting for us next month).

A few months after I had my second child Alice had a series about inspirational women and Kaisa was one of them. Kaisa's blog was the first honest and open impression I had of people who just made fitness work for them, if that makes sense. She had this ability to fit runs into her days and to perform home workouts around work and kids and general busyness which started to really change my views about living a  healthy lifestyle. Seeing this inspiration and motivation was super, especially as I was at home with two kids under three everyday of the week. I felt suitably driven to become more upbeat. I also struggled emotionally( a mixture of post natal depression and a delayed onset of grief from losing my Dad at a young age) after our second child was born so Kaisa's "see how it goes" and "enjoy exercise" attitude really helped on low days.
If you get my weekly newsletter from www.alyharte.com you will know that I have started to organise myself a bit better. With having a full Summer working in America planned, general family life, commissions, print sales and this blog on my daily schedule, I simply had to do something.

I hope you have enjoyed the introduction to this new Expert series on the blog.

It is going to be a monthly feature and I have a range of dancers, cyclists, boxers and many other fitness gurus lined up for the future to educate us and to share their skills. I am SO excited to have the privilege to learn from these guys. I am even more excited to have you all as part of this community. Please do comment below on anything you would love to see more of. I am learning as I go along and enjoy the process of gathering and sharing, but ultimately it is for YOU. Stick with me as I want to hit the spot in your fitness and healthy lifestyles so you feel inspired. Subscribe to the blog (button to the right of the screen or bottom of the screen if on a mobile device) and please do share your wisdom while on the journey with me.

This bodyweight workout that Ian designed is one to inspire anyone, anywhere, anytime.

I like to think of myself as a keen enough fitness junkie. I get such a kick out of working out with friends and at group sessions.

But put me in a gym on my own and I struggle. I look at the built guys with their arms so muscular they can barely fold them, and people doing chin ups or wall stands, and I get intimidated. Lately I have tried to remember some of the drills I see on different workout videos, or circuits I have completed at the conditioning part of a boxing session. However I could always benefit from more structure.

Thankfully, Ian is here to show us what to do with a thirty minute window at the gym

My friend Rachel and I have been friends since School.

Despite her having the brains of Britain and me being more of an arty farty loon bin, we gel. We have a similar interest in the fickle things like coffee and tennis viewing, but we also share a similar spiritual faith and have great chats when we find the time between raising families and building our own careers. Without going into too much detail, Rachel and I found some common ground talking about dementia and Alzhiemer's and we came up with the idea of raising some funds. The initial project derived from Rachel running the marathon and this being a way we could boost proceeds for Alzheimer's society. Then it became a separate way for us to link raising funds, showcasing a new product for me outside of paper art prints, and a means of awareness of the disease that is Alzheimer's.

I was first introduced to Ian Young fitness when my friend Jayne brought me along to his circuits class.

I talk more about my friendship with Jayne here. I distinctly remember her saying "They (the circuits classes) are on another level". She wasn't wrong.
I have an obsession with sculpted arms. I don't really have sculpted arms and I eat sour patch kids and drink wine too often to allow my little biceps any time to tighten up regardless of the training I put into them. But I like the idea of strength in the upper body. Even Madonna with her manly limbs appeals to me, for some unknown reason…