Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Annual New Year’s Eve Freestyle and Party.

Okay, so I am going to go all in and state that last night’s New Year’s Eve party might just have been the best I have ever been to.

We had decided upon and booked our tickets to the annual Ceroc Fusion New Year’s Eve freestyle and post-midnight party. We intended to say goodbye to 2018 with good friends and lots of fun.

Having offered to help with preparations, we arrived at Wymondham Central Hall just after five o’clock, joined by Julie, Anna and Steve, and proceeded to set out chairs, tables, cloths, candles and lights, while Steve the DJ and Richard, who was in charge of tech for the evening, prepared the stage, lighting and projector for the midnight countdown.

Bags, boxes and trays of food prepared by Anna with the assistance of Steve, were moved into the cool kitchen where they were stored safely and plans for the running order were discussed. With everyone playing a part, a well-organised and fun-filled night was ready to begin, just in time for the first guests, who started to arrive, keenly, before the start.

The hall was soon filled with smartly-dressed dancers of all ages, numbers soon into three figures. I wasn’t able to dance very much on this occasion due to a very minor, but equally painful, achilles injury. I had begun a new regime of activity which is commonly known as ‘exercise’ and it appeared to disagree with me. I will probably try it again in the new year, with the usual pounds to be shed after seasonal indulgence, but I will approach with much caution. After all, I don’t want any injury to affect my enjoyment of Ceroc, do I?

With the hall packed with enthusiastic dancers, it was time for Steve and Hannah to teach their ice-breaker class so, with everyone called to order, the short class began.

Less than half an hour later, the popular warm up class was over and, as if by magic, we had filled three large tables with savoury indulgences. The tables positively groaned, there was so much food – much credit at this point has to go to Anna and Steve who had been making sandwiches, chopping raw vegetables into sticks and cooking party foods almost all day.

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The trays of food were replenished as queues of dancers snacked, eventually the savoury being replaced with refreshing trays of melon, naughty chocolate biscuits, mince pies, bakewells and flapjacks. There was something for everybody.

The evening passed seamlessly, broken up with a ‘Dance with a Stranger’ competition where at various stages throughout the track, everybody changes partner and two lucky dancers who are dancing with the two secret ‘strangers’ at the end are rewarded with a bottle of wine each.

With minutes to go until midnight struck, the stage was prepared, the projector hooked to the laptop and the countdown to the New Year fireworks, London style, began. Everybody had been given party poppers with a couple of larger party canons per table too. As midnight struck, our poppers exploded in time with the first of the fireworks on screen. The hall was filled with the remnants of party popper streamers and cases as we all linked arms to join in the traditional rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

After the midnight kisses, cuddles and well-wishes were done, Steve played party tunes for the next hour. Old and cheesy favourites such as the Cha Cha Slide, Timewarp, YMCA and Superman were interspersed with a Conga and other party favourites.ย  The Ceroc-ers were all too keen to join in the after party having had their four hours of Ceroc dancing leading up to midnight. The atmosphere was truly electric. Sylvia and Russell, professional party hosts, led the moves to dances such as The Macarena and Oops Up-side Your Head and it was heart-warming to see so many dancers in a party light.

Ceroc Fusion dancers really do know how to have a good time be it dancing with a partner or taking part in other aspects of a fun party. I feel honoured to know such a fabulous bunch of people.

Happy New Year, 2019, Ceroc Fusion and all your members.

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Ceroc, Daily Life, Kite flying, Moving house, Places to write, Poem, Writer's Blog

Goodbye 2018

Clear away the giftwrap,
Remove baubles from the tree,
Time to close another year,
Reflecting back, a summary.

Its easy to remember,
The bad times which passed by,
But don’t forget the good times,
For 2019, standards are high.

The weather, it was varied,
In March,ย  we were snowed in,
For just a few short days and then,
In May, a heatwave did begin.

Increasingly warm weather,
The heat which we were blessed,
Some found it very hard to bear,
Was novel not to need a vest!

The summer months were endless,
The time was slow to pass,
We spent much time meandering,
On the beach and in the grass.

Kites were held aloft, up high,
The breezes light and few,
Time for me to ponder then,
To write, I began anew.

With still much time for dancing,
The air-con a mighty draw,
To cool our bodies as we moved,
Around and over the dance floor.

Family bringing changes to,
Our lives both far and near,
New homes acquired, a baby too,
New jobs, loved ones, a busy year.

Life is filled with tragedy,
Events we can’t control,
So keeping close those dear to us,
Is our friend and family role.

Never letting loved ones,
Through our fingers slip,
For hold tight onto those who care,
Will never lose our faithful grip.

The year of 2018, done,
Its time to start anew,
And as the clock strikes midnight here,
I wish a Happy New Year to you.

Daily Life, Writer's Blog

Husband in a Million

Nine years ago, my husband and I married in a local registry office, in the middle of a snowstorm. The snow was particularly poignant as my father had passed away the previous month, his funeral having taken place less than two weeks before the wedding. Our limousine had wound its way through a deepening blanket of snow, a dicey ride. As we made our vows, heavy snow began to fall again which we took as a sign. Confetti from heaven, and the photos were beautiful.

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I first met Clive as we stood on the sidelines, trying to warm freezing hands and feet by stamping and clapping. His oldest son had joined a football team that my twin boys played for. We had hit it off instantly, the spark an immeasurable jolt.

Over the weeks,ย  as the boys team played at various venues, I began to eagerly anticipate my freezing cold Sunday mornings. Sometimes, his wife and younger son joined him and I was often joined by my partner.

We saw more of each other over the coming weeks and we both knew we had found the one. We were concerned about our children’s education and vowed to keep quiet until they had left school and exams were done. Unfortunately, although fortunately, life has a way of messing with such plans and his wife had found out about our affair within just a few weeks.

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Just two months after our first kiss, we had found a place to move into, left our prospective homes and moved in with each other. We were extremely lucky that our children all got along well so becoming step-brothers and step-sister was a relatively easy path. We both felt guilty at the disruption caused during their formative years but, on the whole, everything went smoothly.

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Clive quickly took on the role of step-dad as my own children moved in with us. Over time, the arrangements were made and his boys visited us during the week (he was allowed one evening) and then on alternate Saturday nights. It never seemed enough but we were determined not to rock the boat and went along with it.

Years passed and we grew ever closer and became a tight unit and now, nine years since we married (almost twelve since we moved in together), we could not be happier. We have learned to dance together, a hobby which has become a large part of our lives, and love spending time with each other.

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I cannot imagine a single day without that man. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I couldn’t be happier. He is a calm, loving, attentive husband who would never raise a hand to me, in fact he treats me like a queen. I think I just might be the happiest wife in the whole world.

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Center Parcs, Ceroc, Daily Life, Dancing, Kite flying, Moving house, Writer's Blog

Finding the positives from 2018

I am no different to everybody else. My family have their fair share of ups and downs, sadness and tragedies but nobody wants to hear about all of that nonsense. The glum stuff is for keeping hidden behind closed doors and away from prying eyes. I don’t want to depress my readers, especially this close to Christmas.

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I wanted to share some of the awesome times from the past year. There have been some real highlights and some great times so read on for a bit of a positive vibe.

The end of the staffing struggle

After a period of ups and downs, advertising, searching and interviews, we finally secured two excellent IT Technicians, and not a moment too soon. I had spent the previous months trying hard to manage the IT department as well as do the job of one or two technicians so I was very grateful to secure an amazing team. Life is certainly much calmer at work nowadays.

Settling times

My son, Daniel, secured himself a job at a local private hospital, after a period of insecurity as the cafe he was managing was going through changes and, subsequently, closure. He loves his work and is now much more settled. His issues following his brain surgeries over the past years seem to have settled and the side effects are now bearable, even if they have not subsided. He has rid himself of a troublesome and unreliable flatmate, turning his spare room into a games room – what else?

More settling times

My daughter and her husband were able to finalise the purchase of their first home. A beautiful four-bedroomed detached house on a new development outside of Norwich. They had rented since they first got together and are so pleased to have overcome a far-higher-than-normal number of snagging issues. I don’t think they will buy from Charles Church/Persimmon anytime in the future but they now have a fabulous home. They also secured great new jobs this year so all is well in the Woods world.

New addition

At the start of September, we welcomed the newest addition to our family – a gorgeous granddaughter, called Harper. Her parents are my husband’s oldest son and his lovely fiancee. Harper is now just over three months old and she is an adorable delight. I have genuinely never encountered such a contented baby. This has given us a great excuse to travel a couple of hours down the road to visit them and their little family as often as we can. We have also made new friends, Harper’s maternal grandparents, Pauline and Guy. You can never have too many new friends and we look forward to getting to know them better each time we visit.

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Speaking of new friends

When I mention new friends, it seems wrong not to mention old friends. We have so many friends and acquaintances through our hobby, dancing. We have far too many friends to mention but it’s worth mentioning that we almost lost touch completely with a few of our friends, because we became wrapped up in a couple of quietly-controlling dancing friends who monopolised our weekends and, through the medium of sneaky comments and suggestions, we almost, but not quite, completely lost touch with some very good friends who we had known and become close to, through dancing for years. Luckily, we were given a lifeline when those friends suddenly and unexpectedly became jealous of our visiting alternative dance venues and enjoying any dancing time without them. It’s funny how the penny suddenly drops and you feel freer than you have done for months. We realised we had become too reliant on these two, quite frankly, dull friends. The upshot is that we now have more dancing friends than ever and have rekindled an almost-lost friendship. We are both eternally grateful for all of our dear friends.

Not losing Mum

This time last year, Mum was not looking like she would be able to crawl her way to Christmas but, with some lifestyle changes, plenty of drugs and intervention from doctors, she is still with us all. Mum may not be in the best of health – far from it – but we are lucky to have had her with us for another year.

Workmatesย 

Turnover of staff has meant a number of new additions to the school over the past months and I am lucky to be blessed with some lovely people in my working life.ย  I am not generally one for socialising with colleagues but with such a lovely bunch it is difficult not to keep in touch.

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Blogging and writing pages

I have almost completed my Comprehensive Creative Writing course which I am taking with the Writers Bureau and, as part of this course, it was suggested that I set up a blog and start sharing my unpublished works on my site and social media pages. This has been a successful starting year to my writing. I have had a handful of short stories published, a couple of poems and have started to build a portfolio which I am secretly quite impressed with. I have the starting chapters of four novels rattling around in my laptop but have not yet decided which one will take my full attention in 2019. Watch this space for more!

New gnashers

I am not going to go on and on about my new teeth but I am seriously pleased with them. From my baby teeth, I have always had a large gap in the front which I hated from High School when I was bullied about them. I was lucky enough to be introduced to a dentist who, over the past few months, has created me some new teeth with no gap at all. Everything feels nice and secure and they look better than they ever have done. That’s all I am going to say but its a huge positive!

A REAL summer

There was a lot of grumbling, and yes I do realise just how hot it was, but summer 2018 was awesomely warm. a few short weeks after heavy snowfall, we were beset with a glorious heatwave which lasted for most of the summer months. It was such a lovely season, I personally could not have asked for more beautiful summer weather. My husband and I were able to visit the beach and parks which gave him plenty of time to fly his kites (you can read all about this in some of my other posts) and me to do some writing.

Nieces and nephew

We are lucky enough to have three nieces and a nephew on my brother’s side. Somewhat ideally, they are aged 11, 9, 7 and 5 and they are a fabulous bunch. As with all of our family, we don’t see enough of them but have beenย  blessed to spend more time with them this year than ever before. We plan to do more next year so they will soon be bored with us!

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Winter Wonderland

We decided to pay for a holiday to Center Parcs, just a few miles down the road from us in Elveden, while the Winter Wonderland was in full swing. The whole resort is lit up for Christmas with sparkling white lights adorning the woodland pathways, and numerous seasonal events taking place around the site. Its truly beautiful and we made this a Christmas present for those who came with us. We hired a huge four-bedroomed lodge, each bedroom with its own en-suite. The lodge had a games room and a sauna as well as the usual kitchen, dining and living areas and was such a luxury to be there before Christmas. We loved it so much that we have booked again for next year with the addition of the new granddaughter and her mummy and daddy, too, who have never been there.

2018 has been such a positive year all round that the positives have far outweighed the negatives. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2019 for all of my readers.

 

 

 

Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Ceroc Christmas Party at the Carnegie Room, Thetford

Driving through sheets of windswept rain, attempting to keep the car from veering over the white lines, our spirits couldn’t be dampened.

We were headed for the annual Ceroc Christmas party with our Ceroc Thetford family, among others. Of all the parties, this was one we really didn’t want to miss.

Clive, ever the gentleman, dropped me at the door, allowing me to avoid as much of the torrential downpour as possible, and went off to park the car nearby.

We had arrived early, as arranged, to help Anna and Steve with the buffet preparations and lighting, along with Matty, so there was plenty of time for a chat before the guests started to arrive.

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And arrive they did. Prepaid party-goers were guaranteed, but we were surprised at how keen so many ‘pay-on-the-door’ dancers were, considering the dreadful weather conditions. Nothing was going to stop them last night and the dance floor was soon filled with festively happy faces.

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Sylvia and Rob arrived and were quick to set up their table which groaned under the weight of raffle prizes, continuing their fundraising to help the Ugandan orphans.

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With the dance floor warming up nicely, it was soon time for the customary ice-breaker class with Steve. Three packed rows of dancers soon became four and the fun lesson began. Steve’s three moves, intermediate and with a spattering of footwork, were enough to warm up the dancers and, for those who needed it, enable them to get to know one another.

By the time the twenty minute class was finished, the buffet was open and the party could begin.ย  Steve, as well as being the teacher, was the DJ for the evening and invited music requests while promising to throw in as many dance-worthy Christmas tunes as he could. He did a fabulous job and the dance floor was busy right up until the last tune was played at midnight.

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The buffet was kept well-stocked, with roasted vegetable crisps, sausage rolls, cheese straws, satsumas, mince pies and chocolate fingers being among the firm favourites.

Party outfits for the evening ranged from Christmas jumpers and tinsel wrapped dresses to sparkly party attire and be-sequined shirts often only reserved for the Strictly dance floor.

Following a gift of a mistletoe sprig from Sylvia, Anna had some fun on the door as dancers entered. As word spread, some of those who had missed the mistletoe fun, headed back to the door for a giggle.

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Dennis, Ceroc Fusion’s photographer, worked his camera tirelessly around the floor, capturing the mood of the evening. As you can imagine, photographing dancers mid-move while keeping both in shot and avoiding fuzzy movement pictures and tonsil-shots of the incessant sing-along-ers is not an easy task.

The second of the Ceroc Fusion Christmas parties was a resounding success. With one more party taking place at North Walsham next week, following the usual Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday regular class nights, there is still more Ceroc Fusion Christmas fun to be had this season.

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Ceroc, Dancing, Poem, Writer's Blog

Back at The Dance Ranch

Decision is made, dressed and ready to go,

One more sweep of make-up, its Christmas you know,

Head to the city, our nerves are on high,

Wild Stallion awaits, so much time has passed by.

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Car parked, bags ready, we head to the door,

Arms opened widely from friends by the door,

Ambient dance floor, the feel festively so,

Garlands abound, Christmas lights are aglow.

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Tunes spilling forth from our Rob on the decks,

Wide smiling greets us from Anna, at the desk,

Time for a drink, the choices discussed,

Refreshments aplenty, rehydration a must.

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Eight strikes the clock sitting high on the wall,

The floor starts to fill, we are having a ball,

One dance, another, then grabbed for one more,

In need of a drink, I dart from the floor.

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No rest I’m allowed because here comes another,

Gentleman dancer, hand proffered, its no bother,

Gulp down a few mouthfuls, my throat to hydrate,

Head back to the dance floor, we’ve hips to gyrate.

***

Rob spins a tune and one thing comes to mind,

Hurry on down to dance to a Nu Line,

Giggles, true laughter, down the line we can hear,

Nicky and Clive ham up wiggles, oh dear!

***

Not one dull moment, this freestyle can bring,

Dancing with friends, and chatting in the wings,

Great to see friends we’ve not seen for an age,

Time for a shake up, time for a new page.

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Nibbles depleted, the music is over

Its time to now to go, at the door we all hover,

Christmas greetings are many for those we won’t see,

The season is busy, many places to be.

***

Plans made for dates in the future, not far,

More dancing freestyles to come, near and far,

Next week is for jumpers seasonally adorned,

To wear at all venues, to the theme we have warmed.

***

Greetings over shoulders as we go into the night,

Hugs and more kisses as we bid friends, goodnight,

This dance night’s been awesome, my feet are quite sore,

In just a few days and we’ll be dancing some more!

***

Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Dance shoes – comfort is a must!

“You have so many pairs of dance shoes!”

I hear the above exclamation often but in reality, while I do own lots of dance shoes, I make them count and I make them stand out and be noticed.

I have not counted lately, I have thrown away a few pairs which were so well-worn even replacing the suede bottoms wasn’t going to cover up the threatening hole or the weakened heel. Nobody wants a weakened heel, especially not me. While it might bring about a ripple of laughter if I tripped and fell off the stage while demoing, or fell flat on my derriere on the dance floor, I don’t relish the possibility of an injury, thank you very much.

Specialist shoes for dancing can be expensive but I prefer quantity and most often it doesn’t result in lack of quality. Yes, there are local shops which offer standard, less than glitzy in my eyes, dance shoes but they can cost upwards of eighty pounds a pair. If I spent that on every new pair I would need to apply for a new credit card!

I choose to by cheaper dance shoes online, always ensuring there is an easy-to-follow process for returning should they not fit. Some of my purchases require a patient wait for a delivery from China but there are equally reasonable shops online which ship from the UK.

My first port of call is always Amazon. My favourite shoes at the moment are a bright yellow pair which are sparkly with diamante studs and an important glove-like fit. They are flexible and snug but look amazing. While I am not a fan of yellow, it has never suited my pasty complexion or blonde hair shoes sit, obviously, far enough away for that not to matter. Those yellow shoes have an elasticated side band, snugly fitting side panels and, importantly, they zip up at the back unlike so many other dance shoes which have the alleged quick-fastening slide buckles.

I have three pairs of black shoes, a pair each of silver, white, blue, pink, red and two pairs of multi-coloured shoes. I save the black for my more difficult to match outfits but I do try to coordinate. They are, after all, a part of the overall look.

It is always useful to have at least one neutral-coloured pair on hand and I also have a couple of lower heeled pairs of which I keep one in the bottom of my dance bag for those nights when aching feet take over, although my preference is to dance in at least a small heel, so my shoes usually have at least a 2.5 inch heel.

All of the above is down to personal preference and I realise some dancers have to buy wider fitting shoes and are reluctant to buy online. Some are simply reluctant to buy online anyway and I completely understand that. Everybody has a choice.

The other shoe subject is, of course, the flamboyant dance shoes worn by my husband and dance partner. He loves to be the centre of attention (he really does!) on the dance floor, it’s no secret, and he adores colourful shiny shoes which often outshine my own.

Again, we source many of his via Amazon, although some of his are simply stunning shoes which he has purchased suede bottoms for. He is the shoe bottom suede-sticker in our house. I simply have no patience for such tasks but he does a good job. We buy the suede bottoms (around a fiver per pair) and a pair of reasonably priced everyday shoes are instantly transformed.

Unless the weather is dry, its best not to chance wearing suede bottomed shoes outside, especially if you are heading for a dance night. You might as well have not bothered, as your feet will stick to the dance floor, increasing the possibility of injury due to impaired movement.

Beginners, take heart, you do not have to buy dance shoes when you first start lessons, but please be warned that trainers tend to have too much of a grip on the floor to allow you spin and move freely. If trainers are your thing, there are specially designed ‘dance sneakers’ย  with suede bottoms which are both comfortable and stylish. Flip flops are not advisable, but as long as you wear comfortable shoes, your dancing will be more enjoyable.

Dance shoes can be sourced online from Amazon and eBay or specialist dance wear websites. It might take an order or two to gauge the best size, heel height or style for you but it is worth the effort to find an online source which you can return to again and again (and again, if you are anything like me!) If you are lucky, you might find friends who will allow you to try on their dance shoes for size. You have all the time in the world because, once you start dancing, it is likely you will be dancing for years to come.

When you start to go to some of the bigger freestyles, you will be pleased to find they often have dance shoe companies who bring along their wares for you to try and, indeed, buy.

Please message me in the comments section if you have any questions and all that remains for me to do is to wish you ‘happy dancing, on comfortable feet’.