Wednesday 30 September 2009

Nobody puts Baby in a corner

Watching "Dirty Dancing" the other night for like the millionth time,and I still love it! I've seen the stage version twice and I'm thinking about going to see it again next year. It's probably one of my favourite films as I never get tired from watching it. 

Originally a low-budget film by a new studio and with no major stars (at the time), Dirty Dancing became a massive hit. It has earned $300 million worldwide, and was the first film to sell over one million copies on home video. The Dirty Dancing soundtrack is one of the best selling soundtracks of all time, generating two multi-platinum albums and multiple singles, including, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", which won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as a Grammy Award for best duet. In 2004, the film spawned a sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, as well as a stage version in 2005 which has had sellout performances in Australia, Germany, and the UK, and opened in its first North American city, Toronto, in November 2007. The 20th anniversary of the film's release was on August 21, 2007, and was marked with increased press attention, a 20th-anniversary DVD, and a new Dirty Dancing computer game.

I still get goosebumps watching the finale!

Watch dance videos and dance lessons at

My favourite quote, except for of course the title of this post is this one by Baby -

"Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you"

With the sad passing of Patrick Swayze, the film seems to have brought people together in sharing their grief. Ever since the news broke that he had passed, message boards have been filled by people re-living their memories of the first time they saw his films.

For me watching Dirty Dancing the other night did feel different from any other time that I had watched it. I felt a sadness for the great talent that has been lost, but yet Patrick Swayze still lives on in his films.

For me there is something about Johnny in that black vest! Yum!

Monday 28 September 2009

FA Announce Women's Super League

The FA has announced today an 8 club Women's Super League commencing in 2011, originally this was for 2010 but due to financial uncertainty following UK television broadcasters  Setanta collapse, it has been delayed a year.

The FA hopes this will stop England players leaving for America and FA Chairman Lord Triesman said “The launch of The FA Women’s Super League will help us take female football to a new and unprecedented level, increasing overall participation in what is now officially the most popular female team sport in the country.”

This all seems a very positive move for Women's football and I'm sure they are under even more pressure with Gerry Sutcliffe's (England's Sports Minister) admittance last week that the FA is failing to meet the criteria set for them four years ago.

The application process starts in October 2009 and I will keeping a keen eye to see how this progresses.

Also I'm going to The London FA Women's Football Forum on the 14th October at White Hart Lane, there will be a guest panel of Jacqui Oatley (BBC Radio and Match of the Day commentator), Rachel Pavlou (National Women’s & Girls' Football Development Manager) plus others – including an Female England International Player.

The London FA have seen our posts from last week and are keen for me to do a piece on here about the forum. I've obviously got a few questions of my own but if there is anyone else who wants to know anything; drop me a comment below and I'll be sure to do my hardest to ask for you!

Thursday 24 September 2009

Crazy week so far!

I am apologising again as I will be doing EVEN more football posts as I am now writing for (We Don't Know Football), I'm very excited about it and I'm still smiling from ear to ear, if you see WDKF in the blog labels you know it's also been posted on their website too. Football fans should check it out and join in the debates, we wouldn't get anywhere without people's viewpoints. If you're not a football fan, still drop by and something might take your fancy! My first big article on Women's football that I also posted on here has got quite a reception.

With all this excitement I haven't got round to starting my own book yet, I will start it soon though. My friend's book that I mentioned I had been asked by him to read; FINALLY (stupid Royal Mail) arrived! Only got the first 3 chapters but it's really good. All I can say is that it's a science fiction story... and that's all I can say! 

Tai Chi this week was really good, although I'm finding it now a little difficult, everything is done so slowly and through the years of doing more "active" fitness regimes, I'm used to using more power! It is quite hard to slow punch!

It's a beautiful day to day, the sun is out and it's actually pretty warm out! I'm off to Woburn Abbey Safari Park tomorrow as a volunteer with a charity that supports people with learning difficulties. Although sun or rain we still will have a great day! 

I will be making some cupcakes again next week, I haven't made any for ages and I feel the need... the need for cakes!

I'll be watching Flash Forward on Monday night on Five, the trailer has had me hooked for weeks. Let's hope the programme lives up to the trailer!

That's all for now, take care y'all

Wednesday 23 September 2009

The state of women's football

The world might be football mad and in England we have the most high profile and richest professional men's league in the world, but when it comes to the women's game the level of interest and support remain frustratingly small. While Capello's men play at the shiny new Wembley, England's women have yet to play at the national stadium; instead they appear at grounds in Swindon, Colchester and Shrewsbury.

It has not always been this way though, immediately after the First World War a match between Dick Kerr's Ladies FC (a works factory team from Preston) and St Helen's Ladies at Everton's Goodison Park stadium, drew a crowd of 53,000 (a women's record attendance that still stands today). Players such as Lily Parr and Alice Woods became stars of the game, and earned tidy sums touring France and the US.

But this was all to change, on the 5th December 1921 the FA banned women from playing on their pitches, effectively all grounds with spectator facilities. It was said that "the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged". Speculation now says that male officials were threatened by the success of their female counterparts. The women's game was left to die whilst the men's game flourished.

In 1971 this ban was lifted but the women's game has failed to get back to how it was with Parr and Woods. Recent successes; Arsenal Ladies winning the Uefa Cup in 2007 (the equivalent to the Champions League), England reaching the quarter finals in the World Cup that same year and recently they were Euro Final Runner Ups to Germany (Why is it always Germany?). Despite this array of honours and successes the Women's game is short on attendances, facilities and finance, League games are not shown on TV, and sponsorship is hard to come by.

Successful clubs like Manchester United, Birmingham City, Charlton, Bristol City and Fulham Ladies have all folded or struggled when the men's club cut off support.
It's no surprise that English players are heading over to America where the games are shown live on TV and they have live phone in and discussion programmes. In Sweden, Umea IK pay professional wages to 75% of their players and rival mens' teams in terms of football coverage. England is lacking well behind these examples of what is going on elsewhere in the world. It was reported that during The World Cup they were paid £40 a day! It's of no surprise that they have to have 2 jobs to keep themselves financially secure, with annual salaries of £16,000 - it's a long way of the men's teams with some of them getting that in a day.

As role models go the Kelly Smith's and Karen Carney's of this world are doing all they can to highlight women's football and the FA is now starting to pay attention; mainly because the stars are leaving England to go to America. They say there will be a new Super League in 2010, but news on it is sketchy to say the least.

I've had the chance to do quite a lot of coaching and over a year ago I coached a group of 10-12 year old girls football, and they all wanted to play football when they were older but had been told by their schools "It wasn't worthwhile". Although I've now heard some of them are trialling for a girls team near me and I feel proud!
So I must have done something right and I'm going to get in contact with them and see if there's any further support they need. I realise it's easy to write a post like this and say more needs to be done and then do nothing myself, so I will continue with coaching and try to get as many girls/women into football. I trained last year to be a referee and if I hadn't gone with two other girls I would have been the only female in the training, with 24 blokes! Not that it would have stopped me going I might add.

I'm interested to know what you think?

If anyone has any doubts on the women's game you gotta check out Brazilian footballer Marta, a lot of men wouldn't be able to score goals like she can!

Monday 21 September 2009

Pitch invader scores!

Everyone wants the chance to score a penalty past your local rivals' goalkeeper, but one fan took his chance this weekend.

The fan couldn't wait for Spartak Moscow's Brazilian midfielder Alex to take the kick against Saturn so came on and took it for him.

Watch his celebration run with his mate following him, I'm pleased he didn't do the shirt over the head celebration!

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Quote from One Tree Hill "Stepping up"

Voiceover by Nathan Scott, played by James Lafferty.

"Stepping up. It's a simple concept. It basically means to rise above yourself; to do a little more, to show you something special. Something like this. Lucas is gone, but that doesn't mean the season is over. As a matter of fact, I say it's just beginning. You might want to stay out of my way for a while. Life's funny sometimes; it can push pretty hard like when you fall in love with someone but they forget to love you back, like when your best friend and your boyfriend leave you alone, like when you pull the trigger or light the flame and you can't take it back. Like I said, in sports they call this 'stepping up'. In life, I call it 'pushing back".'

"You know it's been said that we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. We grow complacent with ideas, or things or people and we take them for granted and it's usually not until that thing is about to be taken away from you that you've realized how wrong you've been that you realized how much you need it, how much you love it. God, I love this game."

"You ever heard the expression 'The best things in live are free.' Well that expression is true.' Every once in a while, people step up they rise above themselves sometimes they surprise you and sometimes they fall short. Life is funny sometimes. It can push pretty hard but if you look close enough, you can find hope in the words of children, in the bars of the song and in the eyes of someone you love. And if you're lucky, if you're the luckiest person on this entire planet, the person you love decides to love you back."

Monday 14 September 2009

Happiness is...?

It's a good question - What is happiness?

There is no real definition of happiness and I can't really tell you what happiness is, but I can tell you what makes me happy right now. This is my happiness list (in no particular order);

Eating a bag of peanut m&m's all to myself

When Manchester United win

Reading a good book or watching one of my favourite TV programmes/films

Seeing my god-children and realising how grown up they get each time I see them

Sharing a smile with a stranger

Making a music playlist

Sitting in the sunshine

Seeing a beautiful rainbow
Having a good laugh - you know the ones that make your sides hurt!

Spending time with friends and family

Happiness can not really be described or calculated - it can only be felt, and experienced. Quotes like these can give us a clue

"Remember happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think."
-- Dale Carnegie

"It is a sad thing to look at happiness only through another's eyes."
-- Marquerite Blessington

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
-- Gandhi

And, this one by Woody Allen:

"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose."

I believe the key to happiness is to stop pursuing it, to realise that happiness awaits...within yourself... in all of us.

It's about accepting yourself, your life, your situation, and enjoying all of these things without wishing for more.

It also means you accept your mistakes and have the desire to start all over again. Happiness is not perfection but learning to accept your own shortcomings. For as long as you believe in yourself, others will accept and believe in you. For as long as you know how to give love, love will be given back to you ten folds.

What is on your happiness list?

Sunday 13 September 2009

Trying to write...

I feel I should apologise for the Football posts that I have put on here recently as it's been quite a lot. I'm not saying that there won't be more as Football is important to me, but I will try to blend it in with all the other posts that I do.

I have been planning my long awaited first foray into book writing, the more that I planned it the more I was worrying about if I could actually write the book. Lots of people had suggested to me about writing it as a screenplay maybe first and I was thinking that maybe this would be best. In a blog post by Stephen Fry he was talking about writing, and mentioned that it is difficult to overcome the fears of writing a book, mainly worrying about how difficult it sounds rather than actually trying to write one. If you understand how difficult it is, it becomes easier to understand the theory (apparently). I admit I haven't actually ever started to write a book, so this much is true, I am only imagining how difficult it must be to write one. I hope that I can write it as a book but will just see what happens with it I guess, I feel putting myself under pressure of doing it will not make it any easier to happen.

This being said someone I know has just finished their first book and I have been asked to proof read his book. I personally see this as a great honour to him, I know nothing about the story and should be receiving the first few chapters this week. I'm quite excited by it and cannot wait to see what he's done. At college we wrote a script together for a project we were doing and I remember him coming up with lots of weird and wonderful ideas and always knew he would get into writing of some kind. He has since been working as a low paid journalist and this could be his big break.
I will also pick his brain on how he started writing his book too, hopefully he might have some tips to share. Are any of you trying to write a book?

This week I also have my first Tai Chi class, I have been VERY lapse on the Wii Fit and must also get back into the habit of using that too.

I have also decided after buying many different styles of notepads that I am going to get a little creative and decorate my own. I'll let you know how I get on.

As for TV programmes, The re-runs of The Wire and ER are now over. I still have a few more episodes of House until that Season ends (Season 6 is apparently due to start in October with my other favourite Lie To Me returning also), this is by far the best Season of House and I think this Season end could be particularly interesting if it's headed where I think it is.

I'm watching The Unit (Season Two will start in two weeks time on Five) and Without A Trace (Season Six, on Channel 4) is now on and is a welcome addition to my week's TV viewing. Of course there is still One Tree Hill (Season 6 on e4) and I still love Economy Gastronomy (BBC2).

A little while ago I posted about my favourite character from ER, the Aussie hunk Doctor Simon Brenner and it has been noted by some friends that there is someone I know who is not totally unlike to the actor David Lyons (sadly without the accent). Make of that what you will...

I will end this post with the below image that got sent to me in an email from a friend this week. it is pretty widely available and used, but came at a time when I needed a little pick-me-up, hope it does the same to someone else!

That's all from me for now.

Take care

Thursday 10 September 2009

Did you know England are in a football final today?

England Women's Football team play the German (Why is it always Germany?) Women's Team in the Final of the Euro 2009 Championships today at 5pm UK time. Germany are of course the favourites to win but nonetheless England still have a good strong team to give them a challenge. I wish the team all the best and hope that this brings Women's Football into the limelight more.

England thrash Croatia

First of all to start with last night's amazing victory at Wembley over Croatia. 5-1 was a great result and although I still don't feel that England play as well as they do for their selective Premiership clubs there was still much to be impressed with.

Under previous managers it was made quite public that Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard could not play together, now under Fabio Capello they can play together and even SCORE together. Each of them got two goals last night, with Rooney adding the fifth.

I thought that it was interesting at the end when the players were celebrating and congratulating each other and Capello came over to shake hands with his team, John Terry went over to him to give him a hug and Capello was quick to move away from the move and continue to shake his hand. Capello is not Terry's mate or any of the team, he is their manager. For however he does things, he has got us to South Africa with two qualification games left.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Inspiration to write?

Is it weird to have a new notebook to be able to write?

When I was younger every school year there would be the school uniform shop (Boring!) and then there was the shop for new pens, folders etc and that was always more fun! Ever since then at college and beyond I have always bought a new pile of stationary for each needed occasion or project.

I have a special pen and pencil that take replacements so have no need to look for others, so my main vice is for notepads. The other thing that amazes me is how many different styles of notepad there are now, which is bad for me as there is even more temptation now.

So before I start to write I must purchase some new notepads. Amazing how inspiration can come from things so pretty and yet so small...

Monday 7 September 2009

Good Luck To England on Wednesday

I apologise for this second post on football in the last week for those uninterested in it.

I felt I should write a post about wishing England "Good Luck" on Wednesday night when they play Croatia. I wish I could be as excited for the game like a Manchester United game, but England never seem to have the same exciting football, I always feel uninspired after. There are some of the players who are proud to wear the national shirt, but there are others (Steven Gerrard for example) who don't show the same spirit or hunger that they do for their club teams which is a real shame.

I of course can remember all to well England's last encounter with Croatia and the picture below (the Wally with the brolly headline) being on the front and back of newspapers the next day, I was shocked that we had played so badly and I hope that this could be the time in South Africa for England to win the World Cup.

But, I know that England haven't really faced a big test for some time now and I don't honestly believe that we can match Brazil or Spain in the final of The World Cup? I hope so.

I also hope it doesn't rain on Wednesday night and that no one hands Fabio Capello an umbrella!

Friday 4 September 2009

Old Trafford Tour and Museum

I thought it could be timely to write up about my tour of Old Trafford on the day that there are rumours Manchester United could be facing the same ban on football transfers that has happened to Chelsea Football Club. Also Manchester United have been announced as the World's Most Valuable Sports Team at £1.14 billion according to Forbes Magazine.

With a football club who last year had debt valued at £667 million (I might add this was not mentioned on the Tour), there seems to be nervous times ahead for the club. The spectacular amounts of money that the sponsorship deals have and will be bringing in seem to only be covering the interest on this debt. With the way the global economic climate is at the moment it would only take a breach on any of this debt repayment for United to be in serious trouble.

United of course if they did face this ban, like Chelsea, would survive and have strong youth teams with talented players. The main replacements I would unfortunately forsee in that time would be for Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.

On the tour Rooney was the new favourite player, of course it had been Ronaldo before. My brother has always been a Michael Owen fan, so you can imagine his delight of him coming to Old Trafford in the Summer (his other favourites are Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Thierry Henry). My favourites (in no particular order) Ryan Giggs, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes, Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Roy Keane, Owen Hargreaves and Eric Cantona. Also Cristiano Ronaldo is not listed because of his recent transfer but I didn't really like him, he scored some amazing goals and he helped us win many trophies but I never took to him.

Before when I had taken the tour the players changing rooms were roped off, now you can actually sit down on the benches where your heroes sit. Rooney again was the favourite place to sit and have your photo taken!

It is still an impressive tour of the ground and I think the tribute to the Munich air disaster is a very poignant addition. For the week of the 50th anniversary I had just got to the Munich crash in
My Manchester United Years: The Autobiography by Sir Bobby Charlton, and it made it even more real when I watched the anniversary programme tributes on MUTV. Charlton says "I thought, 'Why me? Why am I here with nothing happened to me other than a little gash on the head' and all these other friends had been killed? I felt it wasn't fair, why should it be me? It took a long time for me to feel better about it, certainly. It was such a momentous event, for so many young people to die just on the verge of the great success that was ahead of them, and I couldn't understand why?".

I would recommend the Tour and Museum to all those who have not been and to those who haven't been for a while as they keep making changes to it. The Red Cafe is also worth a visit inside, where as if by chance my brother's seat had 'Owen' on it and mine 'Giggs', but of course they are all there.

As we head into international duty let's hope we have no new injury concerns and then can welcome back Ferdinand and Hargreaves (I'm a real fan of his and think he could be pivotal for us and England). Also let's hope England's qualification is over and done with next week, and we'll be heading for South Africa in the Summer.