Zumba Blog

Blog 2019 Dance Your Own Dance

Sept 12

I think its fair to say this week has been ... challenging!

So, for a little inspiration from Christopher Columbus (even though we all know he wasn't the first after all) ' You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore' (glug glug!!)

Sept 6

Great week of classes - so good to be back in the swing! Though with 2 new classes next week, my body is not going to know what has hit it!

Tomorrow - Saturday - whilst you're all enjoying time off at the weeken - spare a thought for me - doing couple of demos at an open day. Greatest challenge of the day - how to pack a representative zumba session into 30 mins of time allowance! Ach - no can do!

August 28th

Bev, one of my lovely ladies, has given me permission to print her email/share her good news re: benefits of zumba with you:

Hi Sue 

 Another enjoyable Zumba class yesterday, despite the heat! 

 As you were talking about 'health matters' last week l wanted to tell you about my own health concern. When l joined your Zumba Gold class last February l'd just received a cholesterol blood test result, and unfortunately my total blood cholesterol was 7.6. I was horrified! My practice nurse wanted me to start on Statins right away but l managed to persuade him to let me attempt to reduce my cholesterol by myself. 

Last week l received the brilliant news that my cholesterol is now 5.8! Still a little bit high but as you can imagine a huge improvement and Nurse Steven was very pleased. Everyone is different of course but given the fact that my weight, blood pressure etc are all within normal values, l absolutely do not require Statins.

 I'm convinced that along with making some easy changes to my diet (reducing saturated fats, more fruit and veg etc), Zumba classes have played a huge part in bringing my cholesterol levels down. The only real exercise l did previously was walking, which l still do regularly.

So thank you Sue for making exercise so much fun 😃! 

See you next week 

Bev x

August 21

OMG - its August 21st and what has happened to this blog!!

I would like to lay all the blame at baby Millie's wee feet but truth is, I've had my own battles to fight, in between a couple of trips away - in the case of the last one to Crete, taking my health problems with me which really didn't make for the easiest of trips.

It has frankly all been so overwhelming - I've never been hit with illness in quite such an acute form before - that I have decided to turn it into a positive experience (?!) and start a Health Blog - combining it with Zumba news - Zumba being in my experience the very best form of medicine! I think when you go through something bad, one of your first thoughts when you come out the other end is to share it with as many people as possible so that hopefully they won't have to go through it. So that's what I have decided to do. Starting with this summer's saga of misfortune. I did send out an email which I am copying below as my lovely students have in the past been so helpful with advice for, in the case of my eldest daughter, her losing her voice. So I'm going to start with the contents of that email which relay my story concerning Trygeminal Neuralgia - misdiagnosed as toothache.

"I recently had a week of excruciating pain in my lower jaw – some of you will recall me drinking water from a straw, attempting to avoid right side of my mouth. To cut a long story short:

  1. Beginning of week - Dentist dismissed me with words  ‘get some pain relief from your doctor’
  2. Doctor’s receptionist refused to give me an appointment as pain was coming from my teeth (as I thought at the time) so I was told to go back to my dentist
  3. Emergency dental walk in place took another set of xrays and gave me some antibiotics but could offer nothing other than over the counter paracetamol/ibruprofen in the way of pain relief – and no explanation
  4. 111 told me to go back to my dentists

All of which resulted in me going to A&E, out of pure desperation (nobody goes to Southampton A&E at night unless they’re desperate!) one night after Thursday class – thank you to somebody in class, sorry I can’t remember who,  who works in NHS and  said ‘don’t mention your teeth’ – and after 4 hours, 9 – 1am, of literally sitting with hand in my mouth I was given stronger pain relief plus a letter to give to my GP.

This was followed by a week of my system reacting to all the painkillers and other medicines to compensate effects of codeine – I won’t go into details but suffice to say I spent most of my holiday within reach of a loo!

Prior to seeing my GP this week I had done some research and arrived at the conclusion that I have Trigeminal Neuralgia – probably have had for years – and he confirmed this was probably the case.

I now have a kidney infection which may be result of all aforementioned.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions from the above – but my clear advice is, if you experience severe facial pain and it seems to be coming from your teeth, don’t keep going back to dentists! Or throwing painkillers at it which will do more harm than good."

Happy to report I am now pain free! Kidney infection appears to have gone - antibiotics must have done the trick; though I am still feeling 'under par'. Tuesday's class at Otterbourne made me feel SOOOO much better - thank you for everyone who came along. This time of year is so rubbish for classes so tuesdays was the only one I did this week.


July 16th - Baby arrived - 2 weeks ago today! Shows how crazy life gets after such an event - its all been a bit of a blur!

Millie is beautiful and I am going to try and put some pics of her onto my website - I know, not very zumbaish but she is actually showing promising signs of following in grandma's footsteps - both arms raised above her head when she sleeps!

July 1st

Baby on the way!

June 30th

Yeh! 60 rocks! This based on last night - seeing my fav live band from past (way back to 1974!) Status Quo! they were playing as guests to main band Lynyrd Skynyrd at Wembley Arena and although I would prefer to have 'helicoptered' in and out, the live experience was great reminder of my mispent youth - real blast from the past!

I haven't been to Wembley in years - my concert days were predominantly 70s and 80s - and I did genuinely get lost - when I found myself alongside Quo going up onto stage to perform! Well, not quite alongside, but only a few yards away - due to having 'taken the wrong door'! Heard Quo's intro and all I could think of was getting into arena - I was searching around for right door in one of the surrounding corridors. So, having been 'sweetly removed/escorted' from said area I'd found myself in, I took next door along - and ended up in front row - well, two rows back! sauntered into row - nobody questioned me - and I enjoyed whole set with space to bop! About 5 mins from end of Quo set I saw 'ticket holders' at end of row (questioning security) so thought it was time to move - sidled along, laughing along with everyone (silly me!) and then found a space in aisle directly opposite where couple 'welcomed me in' (Chinese couple) obviously thinking I was 'bit of a card' - old expression! They'll have photo footage of me!

So. That's the way to do it! Play the old and confused card - works every time!

June 27

Thank you thank you thank you to my lovely Bishops Sutton class Wednesday night. Zumba really is proving to be my mental health safety net at the moment!

This Wednesday night class is my longest-running - I think its been going since I got back from the States 10 years ago and embarked on my zumba career. It has gone from being most popular, well attended class to, numberwise, 'least viable'; but due to regulars paying up front and attending - plus a few who come whenever they can, work shifts permitting - it is still running and it is a great class - lovely folk. Its always fun and despite being the furthest afield for me now its always worth the effort when i get there - always come away feeling better. And thankfully that was again the case last night - despite M27 being gridlocked so I had to make last minute detour which took me forever! First time I have started a class out of breath! 

But thank you to everyone for not panicking - I did get there a minute before class due to start (normally there at least 20 mins beforehand) - but I seriously didn't think I was going to make it, as I sped along country roads at 90mph!

June 25

Had one of those moments in zumba today - when I just thought I am the luckiest person to be doing this! I know it sounds corny and I've said it a million times before but I just had the best time this morning - love that Otterbourne class - can't believe how friendly and fun it is. I am hoping to add on if I can get another slot at this great venue; and its so nice to be in position of needing to add on as it shows something's workin!

Two other classes - at local care homes - similarly rewarding. One lady pretty much danced me off dancefloor - and whispered in my ear 'I just love this so much'. And second lady likewise took the trouble at the end of our hour to say how much she loved it and how I was 'a lovely surprise'! I guess I'm that (surprise, that is) to alot of folk out there!

June 23

Granddaughter now late! Millie due yesterday, on parent's wedding anniversary. If she takes after her mum, it'll be another 9 days waiting!

In and out of hospitals all this week - husband in for major surgery, Becky in for checks, me in to see oral surgeon .. after dentists given up on me and vice versa! However, happy outcomes all round - and I'm going to be very grateful guinea pig at local School of Dentistry.

June 5

Funny old week so far. Apart from 'discussion with dentists' this morning (see below) - Monday class attendance - 5! Tuesday 25! It is difficult when numbers are this erratic. Really sad that it looks like Ampfield class will go, Monday evenings, unless saved (as was admittedly case recently with Kings Somborne - just takes a fresh input and we're off again!). Otterbourne tuesday class absolutely rocking - if anything, too well attended. May try and add another daytime class here.

Received phone call from Dentists five mins before setting off for appointment this morning - to say, no point coming in. Long story, but in a nutshell - dentist no. 1 had said I needed a filling, so to get it done next time; dentist no. 2 said, on my arrival for filling, I didn't need it. Needless to say charged for both sessions - and when pain persisted and I suggested a third opinion, was given appointment that has just been cancelled - reason being I am seeing consultant next week. When I explained I wished to hear from dentist before going for consultation, told it would cost me £41 - that's double normal visit charge! Suggested (actually, if I'm honest, told) them they'd got it the wrong way round - I should if anything be receiving third session for free as I had got nowhere with conflicting previous 2 sessions. Their fault. Not mine. But no, that's not how system works. So ... unlikely I'll be going back to Marlborough Dental Practice in Winchester. Not adding to my confidence in Dentistry as a profession. (sorry if you're a dentist reading this but I remain baffled as to how gum problems are not dealt with by dentists when teeth are an integral part  - like saying soil a plant is in is irrelevant)

June 3

OMG. Dentist on Wednesday, financial adviser on Thursday – not sure which is going to be the more excruciating!

Latest/about to be written Script – On Cricket – World Cup

Only wee problem with this – I know absolutely zilch about cricket! If anyone reading this can provide me with some very simple tips/sources e.g. idiots guide, I would be extremely grateful!

Given my ignorance on this subject you may be wondering why I am going to attempt this task? Two answers – humour will have to make up for knowledge or lack of - so it will hopefully be amusing (dare I say anything about why I’ve never watched a cricket match in its entirety?!); but more importantly, I heard on the news this morning that schools were actively encouraging pupils interest in this sporting event.  So, that made me sit up and decide to undertake this, for me, rather daunting task!

"The strange dimensions of the ground and a very flat pitch make it perfectly suited to run scoring. Let’s see!" … can anyone translate this into English for me? (Quote taken from news coverage this morning, prior to England’s match against Pakistan). Experiencing same feelings as when reading a Mothercare instruction manual on child car seat recently – WHAAT?!

May 19th Looking forward to 'quiet week' on home front - just 4 of us - in readiness for Baby Shower deluge at weekend! Hope sun shines - barbies always easier than inside events! And still enjoying sight of 'green grass and colourful flowers' - i.e. garden after two years without. I'm no gardener but I do prefer lawn to concrete. And as to colour - well, i think everyone knows answer to that!

May 14th - oops. Blog keeping has taken definite turn for the worse! Something to do with moving house and imminent arrival of first grandchild maybe!

Last few weeks seem a complete blur. Trying to 'restock' now in readiness for June 22nd .. or thereabouts! 

Classes continuing to keep me sane .. ish! And offer a nice stabilising component with general whirlpool I seem to be in currently!

Given approaching 'silly season' I am inclined to run classes this term on more pay as you go basis - Kings Somborne miraculously transformed in last couple of weeks with arrival of lovely new set of 'willing and able' students! This has given much needed boost to class. Makes me realise just how up and down running of classes can be. Just when you think it's all over ... Should know by now to keep the faith!

April 3rd - moving house .... again! House no. 10.. and for anyone wondering what kind of a masochist would move every two years - its not out of choice! 

This one is from Hursley to Rownhams - Bex (and Millie) and Kev joining us at end of April. Along with other house guests - namely two other children, Maddie and Eddie! Reverse of Empty Nest Syndrome!! I am actually really looking forward to having family around again - though I may need to escape occasionally (thank you zumba!) to keep what's left of my sanity!... very little as most of you will bear witness to!

Think I'm almost at that last box - though I do need something to sleep in tonight and ... 

Wonderful youtube clip I've been raving on about in class - google Sing Bamboleo - Supermarket Dance or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn7Wg9zQVTg

I then had a look at Zumbini - zumba for babies/toddlers! Obviously with Bex and wee one in mind - and oh my lord ... no way! SUCH hard work - that poor instructor, young lass (about Becky's age) who I'm guessing felt my age by the end of the session I watched!

International Day of Happiness

Turn that frown upside side! (I'm just back from the dentists - and I'm still smiling!)

Comic Relief Week! We raised £85.58!

Lots of jokes coming up - sometimes its those that are not intended as jokes that are the funniest - read on!

I recently wrote an email to yoga teacher – and his response? ‘Thanks for reaching out’!

Made me laugh!

So did this youtube clip! It's a track I've done before but never quite like this!



March 3rd

Looking forward as always to my classes - but next two weeks always great fun as lead up and including Comic Relief! I do feel this is a great cause - all money goes to the projects (like when I was working for wildlife charity - no members money going on admin) and so I'm happy to take small part each year - every little bit counts.

Date for my latest move is April 3rd - fortunately, no disruption to classes. I am rather hoping this will be my last rental move.  I've moved 10 times since I 'left home' but feel maybe I'm getting too old for this nomadic life!)

Week beginning 25th Feb

Funeral last week was 'fine'. And found new 'home' on Saturday - that makes Home No. 10!! Think I'm getting a bit old for this nomadic existence. Hoping next home will be my last (as in permanent!) - I will not miss paying those estate agent fees every time I move - £690 admin for this latest one - can someone please tell me how checking a few references can possibly justify this charge?! As from June this kind of practice will be a thing of the past - one thing present gov have got right - unfortunate we had to move before. Hey ho! 

Back to happier things - like Zumba! Packed class today - followed by three more - should sleep well tonight!

Very quiet at Ampfield on Monday night - hoping this was a one off - as continuation of this class is out of my hands and totally down to numbers. 

This weather is AMAZING! could be middle of summer! Long may it last!

Week begin 11th Feb

Quotations I would be happy to have at my funeral.

(to anyone shocked at reading above, explanation: after a week of funeral arrangements for my mother its a just a bit of light relief)

I am ready to meet my Maker,

Whether my Maker is prepared

For the great ordeal of

Meeting me is another matter. (Winston Churchill)


Each time I pass a Church, I pay a little visit

So when at last I’m carried in

The Lord won’t say ‘Who is it?’


God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,

The good fortune to run into the ones I do

And the eyesight to tell the difference!


To laugh often and love much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics;

To appreciate beauty; to give of one’s self;

To find the best in others;

To leave the world a better place;

To play and laugh with enthusiasm;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Week begin 4th Feb

OK so I knew I shouldn't have produced/released that script The Three Little Pigs - with stereotypical estate agents (Big Bad Wolves!) Talk about estate agents revenge - phone call from Romans (ones letting to us at the moment) Tuesday evening - with opening line 'Your landlord has decided to sell'! Wonderful. Totally out of the blue; and just what I didn't need at the moment. 

Now a little over shock but frantically trying to find a new home. Viewed a place today - To the Manor Born! Amazing (once I'd found my way onto the estate) but not very practical. Shame. Still, there will be others - possibly a little less prestigious. Rather fancy giving out Manor House, such and such estate as my address!!!

Happy Chinese New Year - year of the pig for those of you not in the know!

Great class at Ampfield last night. Just what I needed. I expect there are others who have experienced parents at care homes, with dementia; and at the end receiving 'palliative care' - grim in the extreme. Thank goodness I have zumba to zone out in! And thank you to those of you who come to classes and make it so much fun! 

Feb 1st my belated birthday night out!

I’ve just woken up after a long afternoon nap – following night out with my daughter yesterday! I can’t take the pace anymore it would seem! We went to see The Tina Turner Show in London and it was absolutely amazing – fab dancing, singing, costumes – the whole deal. It was quite an eventful trip The snow just had to come the day of my birthday celebration (my birthday, big 60, was back in November but Bex had got me tickets for last night). So, train up to London stopped – tree on the line; and then something on the train froze, wrong type of branches on the line ....So, I was thinking, not gonna make it – but to cut a long story short, Bex and I got to the theatre with a couple of minutes to spare!

Praps at this point I should explain Bex is 20 weeks pregnant. On arrival at our seats, we discovered we were ‘way up in the gods’ and half way along a row of seats that had like a sheer drop – no safety rail, just the folk in the row below – to stage below! Anybody suffering from vertigo would not have made it past the first seat! And the heat was unbearable. Then there was the actual size of the seat, and leg space – none! So, put all this together and it really was bad news for someone at Becky’s stage of pregnancy. She lasted 15 minutes after curtain up and then hissed at me, ‘mum, I have to go’. So we staggered past a dozen bemused audience members – pretty scary in the dark and, as it was quite panicky, I just had time to grab our two handbags! I found Bex out in the restroom area where 3 lovely members of staff were attending her.

We were then taken to the best seats in the house – down in the stalls, near the front, to the side with masses of leg room – and enjoyed the rest of the show to much relief!

Apart from couple of other minor dramas – like retrieving everything we’d left upstairs which included a mobile phone that had fallen out of the bag – it as just the greatest girls night out!

I’ve just finished very young childrens version of Three Little Pigs and am half way through a second version for older children – involving crooked estate agents which is proving great fun to write – though I may well offend a large number of people in a certain trade!!!

Following is taken from primary school script I've just written on why we should exercise. 

Athlete 21:          Same with my dancing! I totally zone out. I lose myself in the music. I feel every beat. There’s just nothing else like it.

But you know what it is I treasure most about my dancing?

Narrator:             The music?

Athlete 21:          Well, yes. I do love the music.

Narrator:             The funky moves?

Athlete 21:          Yes. I love those too.

Narrator:             So, what is it then that is most special about dancing?

Athlete 22:          It takes me out of myself. It takes me to a different place.

Narrator:             Mentally, right? You don’t need a bus ride back!

Athlete 22:          (Laughing) No. I’m talking about how happy it makes me. (Pauses) I know, however bad things get, I can lose myself in dance. I forget all my worries and fears. I am just in the zone. And it’s wonderful!

Narrator:             That’s fantastic. I’m no dancer but I have to say, uplifting music with a good beat always gets my feet tapping and puts a smile on my face.

Pretty much sums up why I love ZUMBA!!!

Still not keeping up with this blog writin which is a shame as I am having the best time with classes at the moment - especially new ones. I so love it when I get new people on board - and of course that means new people at old classes too, of which there have been a fair number. 


Week one

Jan 12

Great start to term! Lovely well attended classes all week. Thank you so much to everyone for braving the cold. I know its tempting sometimes to stayin in, in the warm, but so much better for you to get out and dance/have a laugh/chat with everyone else.

Thank you to Sally at Friday class for inviting me (and others!) to Lets Abba Party next Saturday. Getting excited already (thought of those silver pants! Americanism for trousers, in case anyone is wondering! I'm currently doing research on Super Trouper costumes!)

Jan 8th - great first class at Otterbourne. If anyone who came along this morning is reading this, thank you for being such a lovely super-friendly class. It makes it so much easier for me! Feel free to drop me a line on sue@plays-r-ussell.com if you have any feedback/questions you need answering. 

Jan 7th: Witnessed most amazing air guitar ever this afternoon - 3 year old lad at Triangle Pre-School. I put on Whos the Batman as an experiment - see if anyone would recognise it and well, I was totally blown away! Made my day - and by the looks of it, his as well!


Really excited about starting again - day after tomorrow (Thursday) Going to be a bit of a shock to the system - Morning Zumba Gold Seated with my lovely folk at Otterbourne - genuinely some of the kindest nicest people I have had the good fortune to meet. This class followed by a Zumba party for 5 year old lad who used to go to Triangle Pre-School zumba group (still loving this class with wee ones - so relieved they didn't recognise Missy Sue dressed up as Santa Claus at their Xmas party!) - two new numbers for playlist - Everything is Awesome and Who's the Batman!! Great air guitar number - hope dads are up for it! And then class at Abbotswood in evening - just doing one new number as folk always plead with me not to come back with too many new ones all in one go! Will exercise self control and keep it to one a week!

Dec 22nd

OK so my blog keeping is officially bad - very very bad! Will do better in future - promise!

Thank you to everyone who has helped make 2018 such a special one for me. Not least my daughter, Bex, who announced best present ever - a wee babe for 2019! Yes, I'm going to be a grannie! SOOOOOO excited! And wee bub is due exactly a year on from the very happiest day of 2018 - June 22nd, Bex and Kev's wedding day! How amazing is that!

Dec 13

OMG failing dismally at this blog keeping! 

Still loving being 60!

And after wonderful friendly fun busy class at Bishops Sutton class last night determined to continue my zumba career (as with my writing, I have occasional crises of confidence - I guess its the same for anyone treading the self employed route - not always the easiest!)

Nov 13th

Back from wonderful couple of days in the sun - average 25 degrees and in and out of the sea all day! Best ... birthday pressie ever!

Some travel 'quotes' that I've just come across (this three day trip to lanzarote cost around £300 incl. flight - Ryanair - no complaints this time; and Air b n b accomodation which was perfect - lovely appartment, clean and modern, just five mins from beach)


Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.


Please leave your values at the front desk.


The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.


To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order. 

The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.


If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.


The manager has personally passed all the water served here

October 30th

Oops my blog writing is definitely in a slump! Call it lack of time. Number of exciting new projects have weirdly 'appeared' - thanks to failed interviews! So anybody out there looking for work, take heart - and maybe a tip from me - much better to work for yourself if you can!

Having a sort through scraps of paper in my office - and this one caught my eye - TLDR - Too long, didn't read. Thinking, maybe this is the fate of 99% of emails I send out!

Sept 29

For anyone kind enough to send a prayer for my wee car on its second MOT - fraid its not good news - and compounded by terrible/non existent customer service at Halfords, Winnall, Winchester. Considering the treatment we've had I don't think they deserve to be in business. Overcharging. Not keeping booking times - then instead of admiting mistake, lying - suffice to say I will never go back and I would strongly recommend anybody else to avoid them.

End of rant. Sorry. Not relevant to zumba - other than fact, wee car gets me there!

Sept 27

Last night’s class hilariously ‘enlivened’ by appearance, just into Scream track, of massive tarantula! Guess who screamed the loudest?!

Sept 25

Just been asked to be my Penguins' Father Christmas this year! (Penguins being youngest members of Zumba fraternity!) My kids will be SOOO impressed! (even if they are all over 20 now!)

For any Strictly viewers out there, what did you think of this week's judging? I thought it was ridiculously inconsistent - one cha cha cha marked down because of disco element - other cha cha cha (equally disco to me) marked up! And as for marking down of new boy - yes, he did need to be told he was not the sole star/was in a partnership but again, to mark down because of choreo? Really unfair on partners I think. (Not that I take any of it seriously of course!)

Sept 17

Last week - great fun at classes even if Mondays did prove to be the last. Always sad to lose a class. Can't believe number of classes I've clocked up at different places over the years - going for a guiness book of records!

Sept 10th

Strictly's back! Loud groan from my family, younger members, who don't share my enthusiasm! It IS incredibly annoying in many ways - I'm sure there are many who share my fatigue at 'gushiness' of contestants. Yes, we know this is your dream come true! We don't have to be told countless times. Can we please just watch the dancing!

'Family' of 2018 appear quite a fun lot. I'm guessing new pro from Sicily will, with his partner from Capitol Radio (big hair), stun us but probably, predictably not get the votes! Anton will always get publics's vote - though of all the contestants, I think his partner Suzanne is going to be my least favourite - shame, as she's representing very small prop of 'mature dancers'. 

Dancing on Saturday night great - hopefully much more to come.

First week back at zumba - amazing! thank you so much to everyone for coming back - without you classes wouldn't be (well they wouldn't!) ... half as much fun!

Highlights of the week:



Latest project/breaking news!

About to submit following to local magazines - if anyone reading this has any thoughts, let me know!

Fund-Raising Party Nights

In addition to the Zumba classes that I currently run 5 days a week I would like to reach out to the wider community offering my skills as a Zumba Instructor, to raise money for good causes, using my Friday nights to provide fun and dancing – all proceeds going to charity.

For the last few years I have done fund-raising for Children in Need and, whilst happy to do that again this year, I would like to reach out to other charities, however big or small (i.e. not just charitable organisations - I am happy to help individuals and small groups e.g. small-scale projects for schools) on a more regular basis – maybe a couple of times a month.

I know I can find local halls to hire for a couple of hours on Friday nights – so all I need now is for you to contact me and we can get a dialogue going on how to best go about making this happen!

Everything these days seems to be driven by red tape; and however well-intentioned you are, it seems almost impossible to get out there and just ‘do stuff’ – this is my attempt to do that!

My contact details are sue@plays-r-ussell.com, tel 07947410394 – if you want to check out my Zumba credentials, I’m a fully registered member of Zumba.com (have been for 8 years) and you can also visit my website www.zumba-around-winchester.com which has many pics of previous fund-raising ‘soirees’!

Week Beginning 3rd September

Oh I so love my zumba! Feel very lucky that, after 3 weeks 'away' on trip to the States, experience of returning to classes nothing but joy!

Monday afternoon at Sunrise Care Home where I do Zumba Gold Seated - I came away with a stitch due to the amount of laughing I had done! One lady literally didn't stop laughing from beginning to end - everytime I looked at her I couldn't stop myself laughing with her! Not quite sure what we were laughing about - but hey, what does that matter?!

Monday night - two lovely new ladies. And last night - wahoo! An additional 7 newbies to my class at Kings Somborne - all really lovely and keen. Interesting chat with one lady who has done zumba before but found 50% of the music 'not very musical'. As it is the music that makes the class (plus a tiny bit of input from yours truly) this is pretty pertinent - and why I am a bit spoilt, now having virtually the whole collection of Zumba music cds, right from the very beginning. Thank you again to my Zumba friend/original inspiration (best instructor ever) Penny who so generously gave me all the earlier CDs that I had missing. The music on these is just great - spent most of yesterday downloading them - thank you Microsoft/Apple as ever for making this process so much fun with all your updates!

Wonderful class as always at one of my other care homes (for mental health) yesterday - where one of my lovely students called me a rock star! I'm such a sucker for these kind of comments!!

August 30th

Great US trip - really good to visit so many places and meet so many people! Ended up staying in 7 different 'homes' over space of three weeks - no wonder I woke up every morning wondering where i was!

Quick resume - Started at Boston, couple of days, staying at Framingham; then stayed 4 days near Mount Washington - actually in the house of son of Pat, friend who I met all those years ago on the Freedom Trail in Boston! Her son now runs the Omni Hotel, Bretton Woods; and we had a great time hiking, bear watching (one of the highlights of my trip to see mother bear and her three cubs, just yards away) and going on cog railway up to summit of Mt Washington - totally clear, struck lucky as it is only clear 60 days of the year!

Next I spent a week with Pat in her farmhouse in NY state - 4 hours from the Big Apple. Met her crazy riding friends - did a bit of zumba with them! And experienced a US school reunion!

Next stop - Province Town on Cape Cod. Stayed in Air b n b - actually a guest house. Interesting first night (best described in private!) and great seal watching and whale watching boat trips.

Next, joined lovely zumba friend Penny at East Falmouth, further up the Cape. Fun time kayaking, hiking and paddle-boarding (latter not a huge success - suffice to say, it requires you to stand very still - maybe that's why I didn't get it!)

Final few nights with friend in Lexington, just outside Boston, where I used to live (2007-2010).

In all, a great experience. 

Now ready to return to my classes - with fab set of resources from Penny - early zumba cds when I personally think the music was at its best. Can't wait to share these with you all!

Aug 7th

Just setting off for the USA! Hope they're ready for me!

Going solo - tiny bit nervous - but I know from the past how friendly everyone is 'across the pond'. So looking forward to my 3 week adventure!


Calling all Dancing Queens!

Go see Mamma Mia – Here we Go Again!

Wonderful dancing, singing and fab humour – Julie Walters is pure magic.

And if you want all above (minus Julie – she’s busy next couple of weeks!) come to last Zumba classes of summer term – *this week and next! If they can dance like that in the heat of the Greek islands, we can do it here in Heat Wave Hampshire!

Promise I’ll do Dancing Queen!

See you in class!


*Last classes at King Somborne tonight and Abbotswood this Thursday

Article to Local magazines:

Calling All Dancing Queens!

Hi! I’m guessing by the time this article is published just about everyone will have been to see the Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again movie … with the exception possibly of one or two resistant men!

I saw the movie a few days after its release and was genuinely blown away. I can’t imagine a single person leaving that cinema auditorium without the broadest smile on their face! And that’s the effect great music and dance has on you – you can’t help but feel in a happier place during and after. Pure magical escapism.

 So, yes, go see the movie if you haven’t already done so. But way more importantly, make dance your new weekly way of exercising both body and soul. If you’re wondering what kind of dance, I would strongly suggest Zumba – no surprises there, I’m a Zumba instructor! But I can honestly say, hand on heart, that my love of this particular form of exercise has remained undiminished since the time I started back in 2007, in the States.

Latin American rhythms are so uplifting you can’t help but want to get up and dance. And if you like more European-type music – well, there will of course be numbers like Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia on my new playlist!

The halls I hire are in beautiful locations – I can’t help thinking a lot of people come for the view from our windows at Bishop Sutton Village Hall, as much as the Zumba!

My classes are incredibly friendly and relaxed – no divas apart from brightly-coloured one at the front! I’ve lost count of the number of people who come claiming to have countless left feet and ‘absolutely no coordination’. It doesn’t matter! As long as you’re moving and enjoying yourself, that’s all that counts.

So do come and join the happy band – all my classes are advertised on my website www.zumba-around-winchester.com and if you want to ask any questions, feel free to contact me on sue@plays-r-ussell.com Always happy to talk Zumba!

Whilst most of my classes are well attended, the 6.30pm Monday night at Itchen Abbas needs saving as, being such a large hall, it takes a lot of filling! If you would like to attend this class, do let me know – classes do run on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis and sadly this one is in danger of going.

Looking forward to meeting lots of new ‘dancing queens’ in September – see you then!


Some great quotations

Ordinary men are intent merely on how to spend their time; a man with talent is interested in how to use his time. – Schopenhauer

Ataraxia – Greek term used by Epicurus to describe a state of tranquillity, characterised by freedom from distress and worry.

Ancient Greeks ‘offered an approach of not trying to control things you can’t control, and of lessening your desires and your expectations so you can achieve a harmony between what you desire and what you have.’

‘Fast-paced songs with high-pitched vocals and a punchy beat are best for cheering people up’ – neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis.

July 15th

My son works on skyscrappers - I don't think I'll be going to see this movie anytime soon!


Will Ford (Dwayne Johnson) has been framed for setting fire to the tallest building in the world. He must prove his innocence and rescue those who are trapped inside – including his own family.




July 14th

Can't believe how far behind I have fallen with my blog writing! Excuses? Wedding (3 weeks later and I'm still 'there'!), World Cup and Wimbledon!

Maybe I'll return to normal next week. Though with new course I'm about to embark on, latter is highly unlikely! (Will tell anyone who promises me beforehand that they will laugh!)

June 10

Two new classes this week at Abbotswood. BEAUTIFUL hall and lovely ladies! Wednesday morning had very small turn out which hopefully will build up to viable number. Thursday class great. Thank you to lovely guy who welcomed us in and told us to chill, 'no hurry, take as long as you like' - sadly followed by notification following day that I had 'gone over my allocated slot allowance' - reported by sweet trustee at committee meeting there that evening. I am going to say nothing on the subject ... feelings probably obvious. Wonder if other classes have been similarly chastised?!

Apologies - whilst recognising that my not having 'been active' on blog front recently could hardly come under the heading of international incident, I have been particularly remiss of late - blame the wedding! Good news is that I think we may be 'nearly there' in terms of things being in place for the day; bad news is that there are still 3 weeks to go so my lack of focus elsewhere is likely to continue - no excuses after June 22nd!

Good news is I think we’re on track – though Becky did say to me today ‘I’m never getting married again!’ … which to be honest is something of a relief!!

As I am going to attempt to put forward my take on improving mental and physical health, this should probably come with a national health warning!

Idea is to share great music and offer a bit of my own advice on 'feeling better'. (For previous days' entries, see below)

April 11

Just been listening to Whiter Shade of Pale - had honour of preceding Procul Harem at Sutton Scotney Fete a few years back - doing zumba! Absolutely fabulous occasion (zumba and band!)

Saw them many years before at Guildford - ahh, memories!

April 9th

Just back from a few days at Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Lovely relaxing time with my two girls.

Looking forward to first zumba class of Summer Term tonight - though I hope nobody will be scared off by the rather red reptile at the front alias moi! My advice to anyone going abroad this time of year - Put plenty of suncream around your eyes – I closely resemble one of those puff-lidded lizards because I didn't!

April 3rd

Off for a few days sunshine (hopefull) with my girls! Looking forward to resumption of classes on my return!

March 28th

Last class of Spring term tonight - what am I going to do with myself thereafter?! Will definitely miss the music and company (though a few days in Gran Canaria should help!)

March 25th

Saw the Stranglers (anyone remember them?) last night at The Brixton Academy! Live music at its best. Great example of a band who've actually got better over the years. Fab light show, great mix of old (for me) and new material; all delivered in slick no nonsense style.

march 15

Taught wonderful group of Italian kids  (TEFL) today. its a kind of 'preparation for the workplace' course - so i thought I'd start with some inspirational quotes - the simplest one I could think of being 'The world is your oyster'. Students looked suitably impressed - and then asked 'What's an oyster?'!

march 8

Anyone seen Finding your Feet movie?

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/zumba-workouts - this article outlines what is great about zumba and why is really is the best form of exercise!

March 4 - love this poem

 Only a Passing Cloud

When darkness hides the sun from view

And shadows move across the blue

Never let it worry you.

It is only a passing cloud.

Don’t let people spoil your day

By what they do and what they say.

It doesn’t matter anyway.

They are only passing clouds.

And if a big blow should descend.

Do not think that it’s the end.

You’ll see when once you’re round the bend

It was only a passing cloud.

March 3rd

Some Happiness Quotations (taken from my International Day of Happiness Assembly, March 20th) to keep us warm!

Q1:                         If you want to be happy, be! (L.N. Tolstoy)

Q2:                         If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time! (Edith Wharton)

Q3:                         What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner! (Colette)

Q4:                         Some pursue happiness, others create it! (Unknown)

Q5:                         Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have! (Unknown)

Q6:                         You cannot always have happiness, but you can always give happiness! (Unknown)

Q7:                         Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Q8:                         Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. (Janet Lane)

and came across following - quite apt for this time of year (Lent)

13 Things You Must Give Up to Live The Life You Want

By Zdravko Cvijetic on Sunday January 29th, 2017

Are You Allowing Yourself to Live to Your Full Potential?

Somebody once told me their definition of hell:

On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become. — Anonymous

Sometimes, to become successful and get closer to the person we can become, we don’t need to add things — we need to give up some of them. There are certain things that are universal which will make you successful if you give them up, even though each one of us could have a different definition of success. Some of them are so simple, you could give them up today, while it might take a bit longer to let go of others.

1. Give Up The Unhealthy Lifestyle

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. — Jim Rohn

If you want to achieve anything in life, everything starts with your health. First, you have to take care of yourself, and there are only two things you need to keep in mind: A healthy diet and physical activity.

2. Give Up The Short-Term Mindset

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. — Mae West

Successful people set long-term goals, and they know these aims are merely the result of short-term habits that they need to do every day. These healthy habits shouldn’t be something you do; they should be something you embody. There is a difference between: ‘Working out to get a summer body’ and ‘Working out because that’s who you are.’

Make long-term goals and make the steps that will get you to them part of your daily life.

3. Give Up Playing Small

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

If you never take great opportunities or allow your dreams to become realities, you will never unleash your true potential. And the world will never benefit from what you could have achieved.

So voice your ideas, don’t be afraid to ‘fail’, and certainly don’t be afraid to succeed.

4. Give Up Your Excuses

It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand. ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Successful people know that they are responsible for their life; no matter their starting point, weaknesses, or past failures. Realising that you are responsible for what happens next in your life is both frightening and exciting. And when you do, that becomes the only way you can become successful, because excuses limit and prevent us from growing personally and professionally.

Own your life; no one else will.

Only you are responsible for your happiness, so go live the life you dream of!

5. Give Up The Fixed Mindset

The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways. ― Robert Greene, Mastery

People with a ‘fixed mindset’ think their intelligence or talents are simply fixed traits, and that talent alone creates success — without effort. They’re wrong. Successful people know this. They invest an immense amount of time on a daily basis to develop a ‘growth mindset’, acquire knowledge, learn new skills and change their perception so that it can benefit their lives.

Remember, who you are today is not who you have to be tomorrow.

As Einstein once said: “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.”

6. Give Up Believing In The ‘Magic Bullet’

Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better. — Émile Coué

Overnight success is a myth. Successful people know that making small continual improvements every day will be compounded and, over time, will give them their desired results. That is why you should plan for the future whilst maintaining focus on the day that’s ahead of you.

Aim to improve just 1% every day.

7. Give Up Your Perfectionism

Shipping beats perfection. — Khan Academy’s Development Mantra

Nothing will ever be perfect, no matter how much we try. Fear of failure (or even fear of success) often prevents us from taking action and putting our creation out there in the world. But a lot of opportunities will be lost if we wait for everything to be perfect.

So ‘ship’, and then improve (that 1%).

Perfectionism kills progress.

8. Give Up Multi-Tasking

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. ― Winston S. Churchill

Successful people know this. That’s why they choose one thing and then beat it into submission. No matter what it is — a business idea, a conversation, or a workout.

Being fully present and committed to one task is indispensable.

9. Give Up Your Need to Control Everything

Some things are up to us, and some things are not up to us. — Epictetus, Stoic philosopher

Differentiating these two is important. Detach from the things you cannot control, and focus on the ones you can, and know that sometimes, the only thing you will be able to control is your attitude toward something.

And remember, nobody can be frustrated while saying ‘Bubbles’ in an angry voice.

It is a waste of energy trying to control things that can’t be or aren’t worth controlling.

10. Give Up Saying ‘Yes’ To Things That Don’t Support Your Goals

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. — James Allen

Successful people know that in order to accomplish their goals, they will have to say ‘no’ to certain tasks, activities, and demands from their friends, family, and colleagues.

In the short-term, you might sacrifice a bit of instant gratification, but when your goals come to fruition, it will all be worth it.

11. Give Up The Toxic People in Your Life

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. ― Jim Rohn

People we spend the most time with, add up to who we become. There are people who are less accomplished in their personal and professional life, and there are people who are more accomplished than us. If you spend time with those who are behind you, your average will go down and with it, your success. But if you spend time with people who are more accomplished than you, no matter how challenging it might be, you will become more successful.

Take a look at around you and see if you need to make any changes.

Make sure the people you spend the most time with are enriching your life.

12. Give Up Your Need To Be Liked

The only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important. — Oliver Emberton

Think of yourself as a market niche. There will be a lot of people who like that niche, and there will be individuals who don’t. And no matter what you do, you won’t be able to make the entire market like you. This is entirely natural, and there’s no need to justify yourself.

The only thing you can do is to remain authentic, improve and provide value every day, and know that if the number of ‘haters’ grow, it simply means that you’re doing important things.

13. Give Up Your Dependency on Social Media and Television

The trouble is, you think you have time. — Jack Kornfield

Impulsive web browsing and television watching are diseases of today’s society. These two should never be used as an escape from your life or your goals. Unless your goals depend on either, you should minimise (or even eliminate) your dependency on them, and direct that time towards things that can enrich your life.

Be conscious of your T.V. and social media use.

Be Bold, Take the Plunge

Life isn’t always easy, especially if your heart yearns to be doing things differently. And whilst it may seem hard at first to take the plunge – that inevitable leap into the unknown – committing to being the greatest version of you; truly living your life how you envisage it, will be the best decision you will ever make.

I promise.

Feb 28

Just finished an assembly for Sport Relief. And it got me thinking about what I should do this year in zumba. I have come up with somewhat bizarre challenge ... of sitting still! I will explain more in class but it could prove my greatest challenge yet!

Feb 24th

February has been crazy busy - largely due to demands of TEFL teaching! Really love teaching to groups of Spanish students but I'd forgotten how tough teaching is, not just in delivery (that's easy part) but in all the prep - hours and hours of. Teaching is relatively well paid compared to other jobs but boy do you earn it!

Having to make decisions about future of some classes. Hoping to continue Mondays and Wednesdays - which is why for Summer Term I am introducing new system of payment. It has saved Friday morning class at Itchen Abbas to the point where I almost have problem of too many. It will be 'make or break' I suspect - obviously hoping it will be 'make'.

Feb 3 - just came across this - rather like it!

Feb 9 - rather apt as I somehow (no idea how) sustained a groin strain last Wednesday (just went whilst walking across a car park!) and I employed my usual 'keep going' tactic - though at lower level. I was in bit of a quandary as to whether to take anti-inflammatories before each class as I didn't want to make injury worse. However, after a week of taking this precautionary measure, I would actually recommend it - as its enabled me to dance without fear - and I think its the fear factor that can sometimes be as bad as the injury itself i.e. you tense up, move differently and that can trigger other problems. Down to the individual of course but that seemed to work for me.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Jan 25 - Feb 2nd

With everything that's been going on, just not found time to do my daily blog - apologies.

Huge thank you to everyone who's been so kind and supportive this week. Couple of things upset the apple cart a bit this week. Nothing that affected anyone in class (apart from me) which was huge relief as I wouldn't wish any of my wee issues to spoil anyone's experience of zumba - the greatest dance out there!

So, I was asking in class today if anyone had problems with Apple. My ipod Tuesday night had a couple of 'blips' - nothing serious but the music cut which was obviously the last thing you want. It was very momentary - literally seconds worth of disruption; but because I didn't know the cause, gave me a sleepless night afterwards - ridiculous really but I hate not being in control! After some research it would seem this is a software issue - problem possibly caused by update waiting to come through (since its installation there has been no further recurrence) but as I 'need to know' I am taking device into Apple place in Southampton tomorrow - wish me luck!

Other 'episode' was feeling something 'go' at the top of my leg (groin area) whilst walking across a car park in Winchester Wednesday afternoon!. It was horrible at the time - thank you to all those people who singularly didn't stop to help me up again - including one suited bloke who just strolled straight past! I was nervous about taking class that evening as I felt very precarious but by the end of the hour i felt so much better I was positively dancing on air! Great advertisement for zumba's recuperative powers! Though I am 'erring on side of caution' just to play it safe. 

Thank you to lovely people who at Tuesday and Wednesday classes made such kind supportive comments. I do tend to catastrophise and its very helpful to me when people assure me its fine, not the end of the world!

Jan 25

Was listening to a very interesting discussion on the radio, coming back from class last night, about how there is a move to try and instil a ‘growth’ mentality amongst children/students in our education system – growth as opposed to fixed. The fixed approach is all about striving for success/being successful; whereas the growth approach is about dealing with failure and learning from it i.e. not seeing it as a negative thing.

I mention this as I’m about to write an assembly on the theme of so-called failing – making the point that it is part of life’s journey and not something to be scared of. The ‘best’ people in life are those that ‘survive’ the downs along with the ups; and once in a position of ‘success’ ponder how they can improve i.e. not sit back on their laurels.

So, after a brill, fun class last night - made all the more fun by the fact that, unusually for me (!) a few errors crept in (nothing to do with 4am texts to prodigal son re: returning home in time to catch plane to Thailand that morning!) am feeling in much better frame of mind this morning - huge boost of sunshine working its magic as always.

Jan 24th

How long will my empty nest last this time? All of 4 nights last time! Ed off to Thailand doing a diving course today - Madz still in the States. Mother (moi!)? .... off to Bishops Sutton tonight!

Alot of people going down with coughs n things. I struggle to find energy outside of my classes - my default button at home to go into hibernation mode. Going to look into some power snacks - beyond bowls of pasta that I take pre-class at the moment. 

Jan 22nd

Glad to have got through this Monday! had a 'big white van' almost drive into the back of me on the way to Southampton with Eddie (looking for diving kit for coming trip to Thailand); then barrier at multi storey wouldn't let us in; bead bracelet snapped and went all over the floor in evening class; BUT Makosa was a hit with penguins and I think new routine went OK at Itchen Abbas. And there was a glimmer of sunshine at some point during the day (wish my friend in Florida wouldn't keep sending me beach photos!)

Jan 20th

http:// www.mlggazettes.co.uk/new-year-resolutions-zumba-style/ - this article seems to be getting everywhere!

Jan 19th

Crazy week - fell asleep this afternoon for over an hour which is unheard of for me!

great classes - enjoyed every one of them even if first week at St. Francis proved a bit 'thin on the ground' numbers wise. Hoping this will change - flyer drop plus articles in local magazines. Anything else anyone can suggest? Perhaps how to do the facebook thing? 

Two interesting and very different experiences at two care homes that called me in to do a demo. First one just amazing. 30 people all fully engaged - loved it. Second one.... home had double booked so I never really got to start. This doesn't happen very often but is mega frustrating when it does.

And then there was Eddie flying in from Qatar! Totally taken over front room with diving gear - off to Thailand in a few days. Then Australia. Then Qatar. Then Australia. Then Canada. Makes my trips to Winchester and back seem a wee pathetic in comparison!

Jan 18th

Great week of classes so far - and new one tonight! Fingers crossed a few show up - distributing 500 flyers through 500 letter boxes least attractive part of the job!

So about these health tips. Well, I recently started up 'long distance walking' again - around 6 to 7 miles, hardly compares with 20 I used to walk! I do find the continuous repetition of the same movement hard on my body. This is the reason I don't run - even though I have the right build and I've always enjoyed taking part in Race for Life - love that 'Chariots of Fire' moment when you run over finishing line, amidst great cheering! 

I genuinely believe zumba is one of the best forms of exercise (the best!) as it moves every part of your body, without applying too much pressure on one specific part. It is easily adaptable - you can cut out the jumps, take out any turns - and just not do rotations on the spot - everyone dances their own dance!

Jan 16th

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH0JF5g9F4k - new routine for next week. Not sure about keeping Makosa in - alot slower in hall than at home!

Jan 15th

Yahoo - flyers just arrived - though thought of 'walking the streets' in this weather not so appealing!

Madz having great time in States. Just cleaned her room - for Eddie's arrival back from Qatar - 5am tomorrow morning!

Jan 11th

Just seen youngest daughter off on plane to Boston! As always with the Russells, inevitable last minute dramas. More of those another time!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VB9x1LR6AQ all set to do this routine tonight - given up waiting for my zin dvd - taken matters into my own hands, you have all been warned!

Jan 10th

Crazy busy start to the week - being self employed is such a rollercoaster at times. Monday into see new venue at Chandlers Ford - BEAUTIFUL hall. That was an up!

Currently doing a script on 'Fairer World' - and the degree of wealth held by the tiniest minority of people in the world is quite staggering. Worse than this inequality is fact that those who have this extreme wealth dodge paying what the rest of us do - to the tune of trillions, in tax havens. 

But on positive note (I'll negatives for another time!), two articles (plus pic in one of them) in Alresford and Test Valley Forums - so far attracted two new punters! The power of advertising!?! 

Jan 8th

Still waiting for my ZIN DvD to turn up - as most recent one to be sent from Zumba.com was corrupt - wouldn't play. But hopefully everyone has the link i sent out last week which has clip on Youtube. Just in case anyone is interested in origins of song:

Makossa is a noted Cameroonian popular urban musical style. Like much other late 20th century music of Sub-Saharan Africa, it uses strong electric bass rhythms and prominent brass. In the 1980s makossa had a wave of mainstream success across Africa and to a lesser extent abroad.

Makossa, which means "(I) dance" in the Douala language,[1] originated from a Douala dance called the kossa. Emmanuel Nelle Eyoum started using the refrain kossa kossa in his songs with his group Los Calvinos. The style began to take shape in the 1950s though the first recordings were not seen until a decade later. There were artists such as Eboa Lotin, Misse Ngoh and especially Manu Dibango, who popularised makossa throughout the world with his song "Soul Makossa" in the early 1970s. The chant from the song, mamako, mamasa, maka makossa, was later used by Michael Jackson in "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". Many other performers followed suit. The 2010 World cup also brought makossa to the international stage as Shakira sampled the Golden Sounds popular song "Zamina mina (Zangalewa)".

Jan 5th and 6th

SOOOOO good to be back doing classes again - inactivity and I do not go

ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXI8RQYC36Q - Bailando - best youtube ever!

Its been a brilliant week in the zumba camp! Great classes - much better turnout than expected given it was only first week of the year. Everyone including me of course more than ready to return!

Article in Alresford Forum! Page 26 for anyone who's got a copy (under Wellbeing:  New Year Resolutions Zumba Style!

For those outside of Alresford area, article as follows:

New Year Resolutions – Zumba Style!

  1. Eat lots – you will burn it off in class!
  2. Drink lots - maybe keep that glass of wine til after class, alcohol doesn’t always aid coordination!
  3. Attend lots of *classes – the better you know the music, the more you’ll enjoy the routines!
  4. Smile and laugh lots – laughter is the best medicine especially at this time of the year!
  5. Forget your inhibitions – make 2018 the year you ‘just do it’ (..still talking zumba here!)
  6. Forget the gym – music can lift you without any equipment!
  7. Forget the ‘no pain no gain’ jargon. Exercise at your own level – injury is no fun.
  8. Travel the world – zumba music is from all continents.
  9. Make new friends – all classes friendly!
  10. STOP making excuses – come to Zumba! What are you waiting for?!

Still not convinced? Ring me Sue Russell on 07947410394 or email me sue@plays-r-ussell.com or check out my website www.zumba-around-winchester.com *Bishops Sutton class Wednesdays 7.45pm (Village Hall) and Itchen Abbas classes Mondays 6.30pm and Fridays 10 am (Millennium Village Hall)

Happy New Zumba Year! Suex

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pwe-pA6TaZk?rel=0 Dance around the world - all its different genres – brilliant

Not really related to zumba but was sent this the other day and thought I should share: 

HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ALONE? Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. 7. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. 8. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.





First day of new year just has to start with great music and dance. Could have chosen any number but this is one of my favourites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VetNdbu-ZNc     (Azonto)

What I love about this video (and alot of the other videos coming up) is that it shows people of all ages dancing - and dancing in the street, nothing fancy. That's what dance is - feeling the vibe and going for it! No rights or wrongs. No technique. Just loving the combination of rhythm and body. (Course a bit of sunshine helps but that's probably asking a bit too much, this time of the year, in Hampshire, U.K.!)

Bring on the sunshine via great uplifting music!

Health tip: It's there in the title - Dance your own dance. 

It's so easy to slip into dancing other people's. It's a real challenge to me - but I am all set to be more assertive henceforward (?New Year Resolution?!) and stick with what I know works and not feel wracked with guilt when I say 'No'.

TODAY - first class back - at one of my care homes. Fab session - though I think the residents were probably a bit bemused by normal seated instructor 'bouncing off walls'! Inactivity is not good for me!

Jan 2nd

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Va-CZSA6gY Tom Hiddlestone - Hips Don't Lie

Love the humour of this video. Someone who doesn’t take himself seriously – but does he have the moves?!

Quite often do this number in class – with tinkly skirts – always makes me laugh thinking about Tom Hiddlestone ‘doing his thing’!

Advice: based on above, just do it! You don't have to be a 'trained expert' to dance. Dance is in all of us - there's not right or wrong way. it's an expression of emotion/feeling and needs to come out!

Health tip: Laughter is the best form of medicine!

Jan 3rd

Staying with theme of humour (follow on from yesterday's entry - see below) - Google Victoria Wood Fitness Instructor Youtube for one of the funniest sketches I've ever seen - brilliant!

Zumba routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4a9uwV4nmo - one I use for Despacito

Jan 4th

4 new routines coming up (off latest Zumba): 

First one: Makosa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VB9x1LR6AQ, Love this one! Is that the Thames he's dancing alongside? Bit different from my South Bank dance experience - to busker playing Despacito! I was lucky he didn't call the police!




From 2017

Dec 29th

Sometimes its the smallest actions that can turn your day around. After a morning of frustration with technology - seems I can't transfer mailing list data over to new computer I'm working from as Microsoft have seen fit to stop this facility - I was glad to get out of the house to my zumba class at local care home. Usually goes like a dream but on this occasion it didn't for various reasons - not helped by two 'ladies' talking all the way through the entire hour! Hardly came up for breath - which is fine, but why sit in a class where people, myself included, are trying to hear and enjoy the music?!! I don't come up against this that often but its incredibly annoying when I do - just rude. So, what was this redeeming action of the day? One lovely lady in this class who beckoned me over at the end and told me how much the class meant to her and 'not to worry about the other stuff going on'. Absolutely made my day. Absolute sweetheart.

Boxing Day

Yeah! Another Xmas Day survived. Is it too early to take down the decorations?!

Bit 'surprised' at Xmas t.v. this year. Thought I'd treat myself to a years worth of nastiness by watching Xmas Day Eastenders (I gave up watching round about the time of Michelle - anyone remember her?)

So what happened last night (in case anybody reading this wants to know)?  The hateful Max was discovered to be (a) a murderer (b) responsible for his own two kids falling off the roof, into the Square (have to admit did not seeing this coming – thought it was going to be a Max 'gonna' in front of departing wife and two daughters but no – apparently this is the kind of stuff the great British public want to watch on Xmas Day). Lovely

Just got 'found out'. Becky (of little, make that no voice) has just squeaked 'where are my chocolates?' ... sadly my face gave it away, i never was any good at deceit - and she's now discovered my secret drawer of chocs! It hasn't gone down very well, various cries of 'whoever heard of a mother stealing the chocolates from her children's stockings?' (Some of you may remember an earlier confession about eating the chocs before they got to the stockings ... but this was afterwards! Not sure which crime was worse)!  

2018 Plans (you can call them resolutions if you like! It's just plans sound a bit more 'likely to happen/serious'!)

I have a tendency to use blog as a bit of a witter-board. SO my intention for 2018 is to give it more of a structure in terms of serious advice/suggestions for healthier lifestyle.

Watch this space!

Becky (eldest daughter) has just made worse joke ever – that she’s got me cooking classes as my xmas present this year. I told her she’d better pray for a refund! 

Dec 22nd

Been overwhelmed with response to 'are you still interested?' email sent out this morning. Cannot begin to say how much this means to me.

Struggling with my online SOSA course - I officially hate technology!

Also hate parking tickets, just got one of those (didn't even realise it was illegal to park in Aldi - and considering what a great customer I am! Merry Xmas Aldi!); plus corrupt Zin zumba dvd ... can life get any better? 

Total icing on the cake was receipt of one of those awful round robin things. I don't generally read them but I made the mistake of reading this on. Its now in the bin!

Dec 17th

Family christmas at the Russells yesterday! Eddie, my son, off to Qatar 4 oclock this morning! 

Looking forward to last 2017 week of Zumba this week - should be fun!

Dec 15th -  Looking forward to seeing everyone for a final ‘rock around that (poor excuse for a) Christmas tree’ next week!

Just back from Aldi xmas shopping – made me laugh when the tall male assistant, I had to ask to help me get one of the ‘larger’ bottles of gin (medicinal, of course) from the the back of the shelf, asked me ‘How many do you want?’!

‘How many do I look like I need?’ was my response!!

Dec 11

My mission – Get Everyone to dance – whatever age, ability or gender!

Strictly Final – with Debbie McGee and Alexander Burke – Old and Young. I do think Alex has the edge – has to, given her body’s ability to move faster; but then because of her ballet training, McGee has the grace/the lines.

Much as I appreciate an older woman being up there saying ‘look I can dance – despite my age’ – McGee is in many ways not the role model for me. Namely, she represents glamour – and latter is of course largely helped by money – and lots of it.

And what I want to see is people dancing without glamour or money. Dance for ordinary people.

We live in such a materialistic world – I guess being resident in South of England I see the worst excesses of this. And at this time of year – Christmas approaching? Makes me just want to crawl into bed and stay there. That is, if I didn’t have this mission in my head!

Dec 10

Just seen first flurry of snow! 'Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow' - no, that's not one of my routines for this week!

Anyone still watching Strictly? Sadly I think Molly and AJ will go tonight - lovely couple

After hours of stalling and procrastinating I have just signed up to be a SOSA instructor! Well, I have to do 12 hour training course first so best not get ahead of myself. 

This is not instead of Zumba. This is in addition to. I don't know where it will take me but the lady who runs it is very supportive so ... I'll keep you all posted. 

Dec 5th  

9 Life Lessons according to Tim Minchin (see link on Facebook)

  1. You don’t have to have dream. (Go for short term goals – right there in front of you)
  2. Don’t seek happiness
  3. It’s all luck
  4. Exercise
  5. Be hard on your opinions
  6. Be a teacher
  7. Define yourself by what you love (not what you don’t love)
  8. Respect people with less power than you
  9. Don’t rush – just fill life with as much of above as you can
And quotations from one of my new year resolutions assemblies

Child 12:          And we have a few quotes on character that you might enjoy. Like

Character, not circumstance, makes the person (Booker T. Washington)

Child 13:          Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking (J.C. Watts)

Child 14:          Character is power (Booker T. Washington)

Child 15:          The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good and how he treats people who can’t fight back (Abigail Van Buren)

Child 16:          Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success (John Hayes Hammond)

Child 17:          A life making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all (St. Patrick)

Child 18:          Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall (Ernest Shackleton)

Child 19:          Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter (Martin Luther King)

Child 20:          Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless (Mother Theresa)

Child 21:          And another from this great lady. ‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier’ (Mother Theresa)

Child 22:          You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist (Gandhi)

Child 23:          Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm (Churchill)

Child 24:          And again from the great man. ‘We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give (Churchill)

Child 25:          People with good intentions make promises but people with good character keep them.

Child 26:          Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

Child 27:          Act as though what you do makes a difference. It does (William Jones)

Child 28:          And the last two are from a very brave lady, Katie Piper, who is a shining example of courage and strength in the face of adversity.

                        ‘Every day is a brand new day: put yesterday behind you, deal with tomorrow when it comes, and let today be positive and productive.

Child 29:          ‘Today is the day that you can choose to make a difference, to your life or to somebody else’s. Do something wonderful!’

Dec 3rd

Just putting together wish list for 2018 (initiated by script for New Year I'm writing!)

  1. Have the body of Beyonce
  2. Have the millions of Bill Gates
  3. Have the patience of Buddha
  4. Have an infinite (free) supply of gin
  5. Have non-stop sunshine – indoors and out
  6.  And if anyone is wondering why dancing great zumba routines isn't top of the list, that's because its on another list! More serious one!

Nov 18

Watched Children in Need last night. The work that people do for families who have handicapped children is just amazing – watched story about guy who went from corporate banking into support role for such families who said he’d never return to his former job for all the money in the world – the rewards in his helping role are just so great. Inspirational.

week beginning Nov 13

Children in Need - thanks to everyone for supporting me and raising £130.45

Week beginning 6th November

Birthday WEEK! Yes, I know it should just be the one day but hey, sometimes you just have to milk it!

Will be throwing in a few old favourites - of mine, and hopefully of yours, too!

strictly tonight

Unbelievable! I literally shouted at the tv tonight! Fraid Strictly is pure panto sometimes – and this was a good example. Two great couples in the dance off – neither should have been there. Judges have a lot to answer for!

Totally feel for Jeanette as I’m afraid, totally atypical of her, the choreo/choice of music was not the best.

Massive relief that Mollie and AJ through but gutted for Jeanette and partner.

Alexandra Burke should walk it. But who knows? It really isn’t down to skill, alas!

As for 4 10s for Debbie Mcgee - don't get me started!

What a week, last week - Halloween!

Thank you Anne - fab skeleton on Monday! Best witch award to you Beryl on Tuesday! Fab Phantom, Dilys on Wednesday! And gorgeous head pieces - well done to Lorraine and Sally on Friday!

Thursday class at Braishfield is on at the same time, it transpires, as a life drawing class - tempted to turn up in me birthday suit next week (for my birthday!)!

31.10.17 Happy Halloween!

Blast from the Past - just been listening to Down in the Sewers - Stranglers - off their Ratus Norvegicus album. Brilliant. Had all their records 70s/80s. Not sure how they'd go down in zumba and no, don't suppose I'll be playing this one tonight however appropriate it is for Halloween. Was going to use it in kiddies panto - but there's just that one line ... not sure a hall full of parents and teachers would appreciate it!

30.10 17

Bracing myself for a week of Halloween - though some might say I have a head start!?!

Saw Thor: Ragnavok - yesterday at cinema. Every time I see Tim Hiddlestone I just see him doing that Shakira number, Hips Don't Lie - sorry, Tim - totally blows away any of your acting skills! You should be on Strictly!

Just off - well, it looks like I am! Not sure this green skin is totally flattering. But rather like the pink hair - thank you Pound Shop .... just hope it comes out! (Dye that is, not my hair!!)


Poor old Brian - from Strictly, not the storm! Still, he'd probably have gone the following week - its just I think he'd have made a great dracula!

Half term week - classes as usual apart from Braishfield trial Thursday night. We will see, as they say!


Seriously considering keeping Darkness number on playlist - brill air guitars all week!

Looking out at monsoon type rain! A day of housework suddenly more appealing than usual (if you believe that you'll believe anything!


Crazy week. Loving that Darkness number! Some seriously good air guitar at last night's class!

As for Lady Gaga - well, I was told I looked a bit like her today - which I took as a huge compliment! (Well, you would, wouldn't you?!)

Just nearly burnt the house down (hope landlord not reading this!) Put some pasta on for my pre-zumba snack, went upstairs and got stuck into some seriously entertaining Zumba wedding Flashmobs! Next thing I knew, bad smell of burnt pasta wafting up the stairs! Oops - another saucepan to add to collection of written off ones - everything to do with me!


Just read in Time - the Science of Exercise magazine that zumba is officially one of the best forms of exercise as it is so enjoyable - people want to return for more - as in a habit, not a chore. They reckoned that in a 40 minute class, 370 calories were burned, thats 9 calories a minute, the equivalent of running or biking at 15 mph for 40 mins.

Brill week of Zumba! And there's another one of our tracks (note, I don't say routines!) on Strictly tonight - Darkness number - demonstrated a possibly routine at Rock Choir (couple of weeks after I joined a few years ago) - told there was too much hip action! Thought the choir was amazing - but no good for me (too still!)


Favourite Youtube Clips

1. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Va-CZSA6gY Tom Hiddlestone - Hips Don't Lie

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcBk7FSWldE or just google ZUMBA HIGH!

3. http://www.dose.com/lists/3414/This-Couple-Dancing-To-Bob-Marley-Will-Actually-Definitely-Make-Your-Day?utm_source=ISM&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_campaign=Fun

4. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pwe-pA6TaZk?rel=0 Dance around the world - all its different genres - brilliant

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFgdhZGLJrY&list=RDZedhoqYdfTM - Morecambe and Wise!

6. Google Victoria Wood Fitness Instructor Youtube for one of the funniest sketches I've ever seen - brilliant!

7. https://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=C211GB0D20151017&p=Sia%2C+the+song+is+Cheap+Thrills+featuring+Sean+Paul

8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwUET2H-z8o Pause

9. ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXI8RQYC36Q - Bailando

10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru0K8uYEZWw Can't Stop the Feeling Justin Timberlake


Bit of a rant here - don't read if you want positivity!

Ooh Brendan Cole - are we arrogant or are we arrogant? (OK so I don't like the guy!)

Wondering whether 'stand off' with head judge was actually 'scripted' - let's face it, most of the show is! If it wasn't then I'm afraid I think the guy is an idiot! If everyone else can take criticism, why not him? Massive ego aside, maybe time to grow up, and show a bit of respect. Had he said 'in my opinion there was no rise and fall' then fair enough. But he is obviously miffed he and his very glam partner are not doing better. Fraid truth is, as she would be first to admit, she's not feeling the music - her nerves are in the way. All contestants have to 'throw themselves' into it - if they can't then you wonder why they put themselves forward in the first place. 

Oh and whilst on the subject, could we please drop all those 'over-done' phrases - 'no one can guess how terrifying it is going out there' (yes, we can); 'we're all one big happy family'


Numbers back at Itchen Abbas last night - great class! 

Some nice words from Carol King 'You have to get up in the morning, with a smile on your face ..... and know that you're as beautiful, as you feel'. Like that.


Oh Strictly - how could you? My fav - out - in first week! 

Great Despacito number - and J Lo's On the Dancefloor.

But I will miss chizzi's lovely smile and obvious love of dance.


Strictly favourites from the weekend? Fav dancer - one who really feels the music and most importantly, loves it - lady from Holby (don't know her name) partners Sacha - is hilarious and did great disco routine - can't remember name of track. Favourite track - and another good dance - Dedication to My Ex - one of my old numbers - love this one. Has words 'Oh no' all way through chorus!


Just been looking through pics - having just added some from Kings Somborne class this Tuesday. Great memories of classes past and present. Feel so lucky to still be doing what I love and sharing it with so many others. I've felt a bit sad about Bishops Sutton class - was so vibrant and busy and so many good times there. Do hope it can continue but ... where one door closes, another opens. And I am absolutely loving new Tuesday night class at Kings Somborne. Best tonic to a week that has otherwise been a bit up and down.


Thank you Cath (Bishops Sutton class) for this


- Despacito might just have some new moves in the routine in future!

8 Sept 15th

Funny week! 

Classes still really quiet at Itchen Abbas and Bishops Sutton - so there is an article going into Alresford Forum next month (October) to try and persuade new people to come! (Will put a copy of this in Articles and News section when i get a min)

By contast, full class Tuesday at Kings Somborne - interesting trip back, stopping to 'save' baby pheasant that was huddled in middle of the road - not the best choice for roosting or whatever else it thought it was doing. Managed to get a cardboard box from local pub and vistit to emergency vet (Winchester) followed. Am guessing poor wee thing was put down as it couldn't move its legs which I'm guessing got caught under some passing car.

Thursday - news that I've been waiting for - Hursley Thursday class at John Keble School good to go! Another article sent to Hursley local mag - getting quite well known amongst Editing fraternity!

Article sent to West Dever News - not heard back. May help save Wed am class. Hope so.

Party tonight. Not sure anyone's turning up! Hey ho - this seems a popular weekend for everyone to be away (was that before or after I mentioned the date?!)

Sept 8th

Great if rather quiet first week back. Time to make difficult decisions - one of which has been to let Littleton class go. With the level of numbers it was just not viable. Real shame, as such a nice hall. But so often its about the local community and what they want/what they are prepared to support. However, good news is I'm confident I'll be starting new class at John Keble Primary School at the sports hall in a few weeks time. Seems to be fair amount of interest and that, of course, is what its all about. No good whistling in the wind, as they say!

Sept 3rd

Tomorrow: beginning of Autumn Term! Really excited - can't wait to see everyone again!

Its been a strange 'holiday period' as I've worked all through it - TEFL! Good experience but reminded me just how demanding teaching can be - especially one on one to Italian teenage boys!

And then this last week of the holidays - wedding dress shopping ... for my eldest daughter! Equally hard work in many ways! Have narrowed it down to four dresses - problem being there at four different shops! One in London, three in Southampton area! Oh well, it was never going to be easy!

August 16th

World Championships over - who wasn't gutted to see Bolt go out the way he did? Still, the legacy of the man lives on. Still a role model in my eyes!

Back to Zumba - loving holiday classes whilst missing those term-time ones I'm not doing.

July 26th

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUT5rEU6pqM Shakira back on the playlist - get ready with the skirts!

July 19

Just back from Sicily - no mafiosi fall outs, thankfully. Though mafiosi mosquitoes a plenty - sure did pack a punch.

At the risk of sounding terribly ungrateful, it was way too hot! in the 40s - just renders me blob-like. Only thing that picked me up was doing zumba in air conditioned room! Oh, and I did hear Despacito on the beach - though nobody sadly dancing to it!

July 9th

Dear Mrs Russell,

“If you start dancing on tables, fanning yourself, feeling sleepy when you pick up a book, developing a sense of rhythm, making love whenever you feel like it - then you know. The south has got you.” So wrote Susan Sontag in her definition of the south - any country’s south, so presumably Italy’s mezzogiorno too.'

Made me laugh - do we include Britain (Hampshire?) in this category?!! 

June 29th

Ludovico happy in new home - and I've been able to put away the bullet-proof vest! Hallelujah! Common decency has returned!

June 28th

My first week of TEFl and I end up with a host family from hell! Felt so bad for poor student - last thing he should have been subjected to. Fortunately he is now with a lovely new host family but I have to say, it was not a great start to the week - being shouted at and insulted by a complete stranger! Still, all part of life's rich tapestry!

Loving Despacito - though not as easy as I thought it would be. Chart numbers are sometimes like that - but great song (original version).

June 16


Funniest clip I've seen in a long time! Though, isn't instructor meant to be at the front?!

(Not sure I'm qualified to comment on this - given current Tragedy 'performance' in class!)

June 13th

So excited about running dual Creative Writing Class followed by Zumba class at Littleton - really nice for me to be working with someone, Jude - writer extraordinaire (her book is great, will try and get everyone to buy it!) We've both said, the life of a writer can be a pretty solitary affair - and sometimes I feel that just a little as a zumba instructor - why I have to stop myself from talking too much in class as I do love seeing everyone! 

Class at old people's home this afternoon (relatively new one - not sure they're used to me yet!) which went really well - bar slightly dodgey start. One lady (carer said 'Don't mind her, she's a bit confused today') started off by saying she felt like calling me every name under the sun ... and went on to demand if I was a member of the W.I. and if not, why not? -as everyone else there was! Yours truly meekly smiled and said 'Maybe I can sign up soon'! Class ended with one lady grabbing my arm as I walked out, saying 'Thank you! You have so lifted our mood today'! Makes it all worthwhile. Love these moments.

June 9

Writing a script yesterday on The Goose that laid the Golden Eggs - Aesop Fables. Kind of ironic, given where we are in this country today. Recommended bedtime reading for Ms May?!

28th May

Blog keeping has been a little amiss! But everything good - just busy!

Off to Game of Thrones wedding (my lovely cousin Chris and his parnter, Voon who I will be meeting for first time today - sadly missed Thai wedding due to bloomin house move!) Really excited - don't meet up with the family very often so its a treat when we do. And I know there will be lots of dancing later on - can't wait!

It's been a strange week. Terrible shock of Manchester attack on Monday - great sadness for all victims and families all week. 

And then Arsenal winning FA Cup against Chelsea yesterday - great match. Perfect birthday present for my lovely future son in law, Kev who's an ardent gunners fan!

May 12th

What a week! Bex (eldest daughter) back on the national news again! Last time - William and Kate; this time, Teresa May! (Just sent a note to Ed Sheeran - hope he'll be next!) All to do with Young Minds - wonderful charity that supports youngsters with mental issues. Needless to say, soooo proud!

Rest of week? Bit low on numbers - sadly South Wonston 'put to bed' til September. But ended week on a high - just loving the Itchen Abbas morning class, Fridays - gone from lowest attended to highest! This is how it goes - I should know by now!

May 8th

So, if the General Election doesn't do it for you .... how about the Eurovision Song Contest?!!! (I was joking!)

I'm giving away a free Eurovision Contest Quiz if anyone is (a) desperate enough to be watching it Saturday night (b) desperate for fill ins - the evening does seem to stretch on forever! You can get that off me on sue@plays-r-ussell.com (don't worry, I won't tell anyone!)

And staying with weird theme, how many other people have dreams that are so realistic they end up injuring themselves? That's me! (Dare I say, again?) Yesterday I watched a movie which had alot of giant insects - shows my level of viewing at weekends! So last night, what should come crawling towards me ... but a giant cricket! And the only way to avoid it was to arch my back so that it went under me. Woke myself up with terrific jolt - bedclothes on the floor - as I tried a Johnny Wilcox in the my own bedroom! Not sure if there's any conncection, but I've had bad indigestion all morning! Though that might have just been thinking about the Eurovision Contest!

May 5th

Vote with your Feet! Vote Zumba!


  1. Zumba delivers – no false promises – music doesn’t lie!
  2. It doesn’t matter when you cast your vote – before or after June 8th. You’re welcome to this party anytime!
  3. No inner party squabbling – we’re all united in loving zumba!
  4. Wherever you see yourself in life, you’ll ‘fit into’ zumba – since when did music make any distinctions?
  5. No boxes to tick. You’ll always feel welcome and you’ll always leave with a smile on your face.
  6. If everything else is falling around you, music and dance will always make you feel better.
  7. Zumba is the best form of mental and physical exercise.
  8. Still can’t decide which party to vote for?
  9. Come on! There’s only one party in town …

10.   Zumba!

The above was written the morning after Zumba at local polling station the night before (May 4th)! I did try to put myself forward as a ‘late runner’ – and I did manage to coax one confused voter into class – and I did play X’s and O’s quite loudly!

But in the unlikely event I’m turned down a second time on June 8th, check out my classes on www.zumba-around-winchester.com and come join the Zumba Party! You won’t be disappointed.

Sue Russell (Instructor)

April 24th

Great weekend - lovely time out on Friday with zumba lot! Thai food in Ropley superb. Just the evening out you need to round off a tricky week!

Saturday/Sunday staying with friend in Kent. Sissinghurst and Bateman's - latter Rudyard Kipling's home. (My eldest daughter said 'Oh, the cake bloke'! No hope for my family!)

Eddie's just sent another snake video taken outside his accomodation - out with a torch, eye to eye with a python - .... and he tells me not to worry!

April 20th

Two weeks on - loving new house; shame about bullying emails from previous landlord ('lady' - she's not!). I cannot believe the depths to which some people will stoop. And last night was the last straw when I returned from class and found another three photos (including 2 of rubbish filled binliners - presumably chucked into garden since we left) that this person sent - I have no idea why other than as her continuing campaign of bullying/harrassement. Having paid exorbitant fees for professionals to come in and clean out property, her demands for more money, for further cleaning done at her behest, are above and beyond what is acceptable - arbitration is the likeliest outcome as I refuse to bow to her bullying.

Why do people have to behave like this? I am always hearing bad stories about rentals. We have been relatively lucky up to now. Absolutely no hassle in States; and likewise up to last rental over here. Never having lost a penny from any previous deposit, this one is unbelievable. 

However, for sake of my sanity, I've asked estate agents to instruct her to stop her emails/photos; and I am going to try and put this unfortunate episode in my life behind me.

With experiences like this, no wonder renting has sucha bad reputation in this country.

April 12

Made it to home number ..... 5 since America 7 years ago! Crazy or what? Have to say, rentals abroad are so much easier than over here. Why does it have to be this way? Course, a lot of it is luck - who your landlord is.

Feeling bit shaken but will put it all behind me soon. And i have to say, yet again Zumba has pretty much saved my sanity. Classes have really helped me escape the stress of it all - and a huge thank you to everyone for being so supportive and sweet. My zumba classes are genuinely a life line to me. I don't know how I'd cope without them.

Brill class tonight. Had two new lasses which is always great. So lovely the way everyone rallies round and makes new students feel at home. 

Last few days have not been a bundle of laughs but I consider myself truly lucky to have my zumba and my lovely ladies. Like I said, keeps me sane (ish) 

April 1

Evolution of Dance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH0bHeiRNg quite a funny clip I just came across in one of my scripts

March 31st 

This lady is responsible for me doing zumba. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0oBoRd96aU - she's simply the best. Another one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmgfBsBBfLQ&sns=fb

March 25

Isn't it weird how things like madness keep you sane? Life is so full of ups and downs - sometimes we spend way too long trying to prevent the downs - I speak for myself here; whilst focus should be on ups! Just been looking at past photos of Comic Relief - and what struck me most about them (apart from the weirdness of the costumes - again, speaking for myself!) was how lucky I've been to meet so many lovely people in these mad pursuits! 

Course life isn't one big joke ... and at the risk of sounding a right party pooper, I totally failed to get alot of the 'humour' in last night's Comic Relief. I think what they do - in raising all that money, awareness etc is fantastic - but the comedy skits just didn't make me laugh. Sorry - maybe that's a generation thing. 

Anyway, amazing sum raised and at the end of the day that, and putting it to good use, is all that matters. Thank you again to everyone who gave this week - and tolerated my totally atypical whackiness ... in that camel suit!

March 24

Fab week of Zumba Comic Relief-Style. And we've raised £122.20 - so thanks to everyone who made a contribution. Pics now on website - I did have fun with that camel!

March 20th

 Berocca Chameleon dancing to Panjabi MC - Be More Berocca Ad : Berocca - love this, thanks to Sue G. for sending it to me!

Sue suggested I add lizard outfit to this week's collection - my response: 

I’m not sure I need to wear a lizard outfit – guy in supermarket just said to me, when giving me change ‘There you are! Nice shiny coins so you can see them in your purse!’

Do I really look that old and decrepit? (Lucky he didn’t see penguin onesey I was wearing underneath my coat!)

March 19th

Why oh why must Comic Relief put those packets of Maltesers out to buy?.... So, if like me you can resist anything but temptation, next week is your chance to dance off those Maltesers (jelly babies, Titan bars ... I'm just listing here some of my favs!)

Soooo excited about dressing up all week (... what is wrong with me?!)

March 12

HIdden Figures - movie I saw yesterday - Amazing. So inspirational. A movie every woman should go and see.

March 10

Another great week of zumba and so many lovely comments (having a bit of an Alice in Wonderland moment!)

Saw this on a tshirt today - made me laugh: 

Pilates? oh heavens no. I thought you said Pie and Lattes.

trying to think of one for zumba .. bit more challenging!

March 7

Receiving pics of giant manta rays in azure blue ocean from Eddie in Australia. Why didn't I get on that plane with him?!

Still there has been a bit of hopeful sunshine this week - so summer is trying to find its way back.

Bit of sunlight for me offered by lovely gent who came to place we're currently renting, for a viewing (as we're moving on, locally, in next few weeks). I was working in my office when he popped his head round the door, apologising for disturbing me and when I said 'Oh do come in, let me show you round' he replied 'Oh its just a house' - which I thought was lovely .... and dare I say so different from pushy estate agent tack which is just about ... well, I think we all know the answer to that. I know estate agents have a job to do, just like the rest of us, but they don't do themselves any favours a lot of the time (their approach is so transparent) that their reputation and figuring on one of the least loved/respected professions is merited. Admittedly my view of them is seriously clouded by terrible experience we had with Connells - an agency I would never go near again, given their total lack of .. well, just about anything. Hey ho - not my fav subject.

Back to happier things - like my classes! Everyone so lovely - I am so lucky to have the groups I have - people always have a kind word and it makes my job just wonderful. Thank you to you all - no wonder when new people come to class they always comment on how friendly they are.

Loving zumba at local primary school - kids are wonderful and so appreciative. wish i could do more of this ... working on it!

March 4

For anyone reading this who didn't get my email today.

One day ….


New number for this week – as demonstrated by another Zumba instructor … who’s obviously ‘doing a little better’ than the one sending you this email, judging by her hotel location!



P.S. Who said anything about me being jealous?!

P.P.S. Anyone think of an appropriate ‘comment’?!


Happy Birthday Eddie - 28 today! Lovely having him home for it - though back to Oz tomorrow!

Was reading through my Lent script today and it set me thinking:

In these times of relentless ‘what’s in it for me’/everything has a price – want, want, want – could I put it out there that, whilst us Western Christians focus on ‘giving up’ just once a year – for the period of Lent, those of a Buddhist persuasion adopt this stance throughout their lives – and I’m guessing are a lot happier for it. As their philosophy clearly states, it is ‘the wanting’ in our lives that leads to suffering. If we could all give up wanting our lives would be so much more contented.

Not easy when you’re living in the West and surrounded by relentless consumerism; but definitely something to bear in mind.


Watching Mastermind last night (yes, my Friday nights take some beating!) - and it occurred to me, someone should enter Zumba as their subject of choice - .... thinking, me?!!

Loving two new numbers - one we did last week Sin Contrato; and other coming up this week 'Firehouse' -total contrast - crazy fast merengue!


Oh I so love Friday morning classes - dancing in the sun and in the best company! Huge congrats to Sally who took class for LMFAO number! She did brilliantly - and I haven't laughed so much in a long time!! Great stuff - total one off - just love these priceless moments!

Couldn't believe it - afternoon class at Abbotts Barton - first, 'random lady' (no idea who she was) walked in and started dancing in the middle of the group!! Then minutes later, one of the carers - lovely lad I haven't seen before, came in and was watching - managed to get him 'on dance floor' too! Magic moments - and hugely appreciated by residents - lovely set of people who appreciate a good chuckle.


Day off! Saw brilliant 'Sing' movie at Southampton Odeon - £5 as opposed to around £14 at Winchester. 

Seat was comfortable - great movie experience. 

Much as I love Winchester, I am constantly reminded that alot of its residents enjoy a degree of affluence that sadly push prices up to the point of unaffordable for alot of people. As someone who used to go to the cinema every week (my dad was in the film industry) I think it a huge shame that Winchester Everyman is somewhere I do not go to - because of the extortionate prices. A sad reflection on community spirit or lack of. Cinema should be accessible to everyone - whatever their income.


Very mixed day - good and bad. 

Been a wee bit overwhelmed with anxiety of late - nothing to do with what's been going on in life, of course! Forced myself along to CBT session tonight - ended up offerning my services! I remain convinced that zumba is major aid in alleviating depression and anxiety. Would so love to share it with more people who I just know would benefit hugely. One day ..


OMG how much more tedious can life become? Day spent contacting Cleaning companies for quotes (asked the last one who rang – from company called MollyMaid – if she was Molly?! She didn’t find it funny!) and removal van companies – oh and guess how much to clean a couple of ovens (two too many as far as I’ve always been concerned!) £140!  I’m def in the wrong job!


Just back from National Wedding Show - Olympia, London! 

Beautiful Bex getting married next year. I'm sure she doesn't realise (as I'm suspecting most young lasses don't) that she would look stunning whatever she wore on the day.

Quite an interesting 'social observational' experience. We were next in line at one 'stall' (waiting to try on) to a girl who admittedly seemed rather well endowed - alot of the dresses seemed tailored to this stature. Girls informed me later that this was courtesy of 'a little extra help' - namely, boob job. Just an observation but .... why? Said lass spent whole episode 'hoiking up' the goods nature hadn't presented her with and it really didn't make a very romantic picture. I do think its sad we can't celebrate what we have naturally. The models on the catwalk - yes, lovely figures - but was it just me or did they look so hard? 

Hands up - I'm a simple soul. My wedding dress was actually a bridesmaid dress and cost me all of £75! But I felt comfortable with its simplicity.

Bex is of like mind - though a lot more sophisticated that her old mum. And she is totally beautiful - naturally. 

Whole experience today left me a little sad - we just don't do 'simple, natural' these days. I so wish everyone could feel beautiful - without all this money and fuss. But then I think maybe I'm increasingly at odds with the world.

OK So I'm going to end on a rant. Namely customer service in this country. Why oh why do people accept what is appalling? I got off train from Clapham Junction to WInchester this evening, having spent whole journey sitting .... on the floor! And made straight for customer complaints. Have duly filled ina form demanding a refund for having paid best part of £40 - to not have a seat! And guess what? I was the only person off that train to do this. Might this be why we have such .... (fill in as you please) service on our so called public services? Coz everyone moans but accepts?

10th Feb

Just been watching this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OWj0CiM8WU - warm up for next week. Amazing, weird - love it!

Trying to remember routine I did to this one - track called Love Runs Out - not Love is Gone - another track/routine which I mistook for this one. No wonder the moves didn't fit!

9th Feb

Bit of a tricky moment on drive over to Bishops Sutton class last night. Car pulled straight out infront of me and I only missed him by swerving right across road, slamming on brakes. Had anything been coming the other way, I'd have been history. Didn't find out who was in 'other car' as I had to drive on, to avoid being hit from front (oncoming traffic) or behind. Hope whoever it was will look next time before pulling out. Gave me fright of my life. Miraculous I was able to drive away, unscathed. Was on stretch of road just before Wagon and Horses pub at Kings Worthy near junction. Corner of Bellfield Road - other car pulling out from here, onto main road, to go right. Shame he or she didn't think it might be good to look first.

Just in case you're taking this Valentine thing really seriously:

With the courses in this offer, you can learn to read your date’s body language and use your own body language to exude confidence and let your feelings be known non-verbally. You’ll examine whether it is possible to explain relationships, attraction and love. You’ll be able to give incredible massages and create even better homemade artisan gifts, and even learn how to plan the perfect wedding.


Unlike Cupid, most of us work more than one day a year, so even once Valentine’s Day is over, you can use what you have learned from some of these courses to start your own business selling your artisan fares or using your new-found skills.

7th Feb

Just been round the perfect place – only its one bedroom short!!! It was advertised as having 3 good sized bedrooms – only problem with one of them being, there’s no way you could squeeze a single in, let alone a double! AGGGGGHHHH! So frustrating – as it was perfect otherwise. Lovely Wendy house at bottom – you could at a pinch sleep out there – but Bob not very taken with idea of it being permanent!

6th Feb

Impossible task - choosing fav Valentine songs and youtubes - but Neyo Mario and Usher seem to feature fairly high:

Neyo - Beautiful, One in a Million, Closer, Because of You

Mario - Let me Love you; So Sick.

Usher - DJ got us falling in love

Pitbull - OMG ft will i am

Youtubes - has to be Bailando at top of my list; and Neyo One in a Million up there too.

For youtube that has made me laugh (apart from old fav's like Victoria Wood and Morecambe and Wise) - Travesuras - Nicky Jam. Got 3 house viewings today and sadly (a) I won't be driving up in a Lotus (b) I'm guessing the properties won't come with outdoor pool!

Last nights DANCE DANCE DANCE featured two of my songs - both on which just happen to be on this week's playlist - begin and end!

Feb 3

After so much positive feedback this week my head is positively swelling!! Thanks to those of you who've made such lovely comments this week - with everything else that's being going on (house gerzumping to name but one) it was really appreciated.

Just one not so great thing - I have had to take out Bollywood numbers in the past due to 'back twinges' - some numbers are fine, but others have a twist/thrust element that seems to not agree with me. The Bhangra curse seems to have returned and until I am 'right' again, I will have to limit that new one to once a week - in a restrained manner. Trouble with Bollywood is that there's nothing restrained about it - and it looks so easy; but I think because of the slightly jarring nature of the rhythm, it can cause issues. So .... ach - mega frustration for me as I have x number of other new routines I want to practise .. 

Feb 1

Thank you to Lynne for cheering me up this morning. I'd just received some bad news and her words 'This is the highlight of my week' really really lifted me. As did losing myself in dance - a bit too much once or twice, sorry about that!

Jan 31

Won't be sad to see the back of January - I suspect anyone left in the White House might feel the same!

Currently researching Awe and Wonder - no, not my latest zumba routine - not sure awe and wonder quite cover it! Looking at Wonders of Nature - is pretty uplifting (especially looking outside at the damp and fog)

Jan 26

Funny old week. Sad to see Weeke class go. But life seems to be a bit like that at the moment - some things ending, others beginning.

Fingers crossed on 'new home' in Ropley - was saying to everyone last night they'd soon have a new neighbour (very quiet, well behaved one, of course!)

What will Mr Trump stop at (or perhaps more to the point, who will stop him) Crazy times.

Jan 22

Watching those amazing crowd scenes day after Trump's inauguration. Should have had them singing and dancing to our 'Not your American Sweetheart' - Ellie King!

Nice quote: 'The true measure of success is not what you have but what you can do without' (very apt when you're decluttering in order to downsize house as I am currently doing!)

Jan 20th

Fab class at Littleton Millennium Hall last night - the first - full hall. Great stuff. Huge thank you to everyone who came.

Jan 19

'Life is 10% about what happens to you and 90% how you react to it'. There's been alot about the benefits of CBT (Cognitative Behavioural Therapy) on the news recently and I'm sure this particular quote is used at a lot of CBT sessions!Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru0K8uYEZWw - feel good video or what? And don't forget to watch Dance Dance Dance this Sunday at 6.30pm - loving it!

Jan 18

OMG House hunting is soooo tiring! Spent the whole of yesterday afternoon - just looking at one - house that is! On a country estate (which I hadn't realised when I set of with my Sat Nav) and on 'getting there' aka 'You have arrived' - found myself in the middle of a country lane - not a house in sight! After driving up and down this road, eventually spotted by Estate Agent who waved me down as I nearly sped past her in the opening of lane I hadn't even noticed and which we needed to go up. On arrival at said property, no key to get in! Eventually found under the mat (!) and we then started our 'inspection' - young lass pointing out to me 'where the bath was' and ... no, that's a slight exaggeration but I do feel sometimes the running commentary is a tad superfluous (not sounding like a grumpy old woman am I?!) Had lovely view - onto landlord's outdoor swimming pool (had that been available for use I wouldn't even have bothered looking round the house!) and another - into stable opposite, where I noted I was being eyeballed by very curious mare! Sweet place, full of character - part of stable complex - to lord of nearby manor (this was the Butlers Cottage! - nothing like reminding one of one's position in life!) Verdict - well, that kind of came later, following return journey to Winchester - which took close on an hour! Quick explanation - as young lass didn't know way to Place Number 2 (rather misleadingly given as Micheldever Road - given that it was just short of Andover) I stupidly gave her sat nav benefit of the doubt .. and well, scenic routes are fine when its still light but by the time we got to the services at Sutton Scotney (where i'd signalled for her to pull in as I'd run out of time ... had a hall appointment/paperwork for new class at Littleton) it was pitch black!

This was the first place I've looked round - sooo looking forward to the next! Actually, that's just round the corner from Itchen Abbas class on Friday - can go straight from class - hope the neighbours aren't too alarmed by potential new neighbours dress sense (zumba gear!)

Verdict on 'stable/butlers cottage' - beautiful in one way .. but do have concern over Maddie's old allergy to ... you've guessed - horse hair!

Jan 15th

Spent today saving the planet! Well, I wrote a script on it, anyway! That and helping eldest daughter with application form - terrible abuse of apostrophes throughout! And what with youngest texting yesterday to ask what 50% of something was ... why did I bother sending my kids to school?!

Feeling much better for having got some more zumba routines in the pipeline - merengue, salsa and bhangra - even if I am going to have to wait to do them (did I hear someone mutter something about too many new ones too soon?!)

Just offered my services (zumba!) at cousin's wedding! Well, they had zumba in Games of Thrones times, didn't they? (That's the theme!)

Sooooo loving Dance Dance Dance! Men in Black - Amazing! one of our routines? LMFAO Party Rock Anthem (tiny bit more energetic!) Keep missing first 10 mins of this show - argh! Must put it in my diary! Great stuff.

Jan 14

What a week! Real rollercoaster. Good news is I'm loving my zumba (don't read the rest!)

Ever felt you had too many balls to juggle?!

Looking for new home (same area - but lower rental) new work using 'that tefl qualification'.  On plus side I've kind of secured new work on zumba front - new class  - but proof of the pudding will be in whether anyone shows up next Thursday at Littleton (6.30pm). Terms of hire not great - but I'm sure class will make up for this! 

Not so on TEFL front - awful skype interview -  i could only see me due to a malfunction (at interviewers end?) Not my finest hour - but its not easy talking at a blank screen .. and even worse when you can see yourself doing it!

Maddie's just booked her summer holiday. I've just cancelled my trip to Thailand - planned for Easter but as landlord is not able to promise anything beyond June (slap bang in the middle of Maddie's exams) my Easter holiday will be otherwise spent - gutted. Life's not really going to plan at the moment - thank goodness for my classes to cheer me up!

Jan 9th

I’m looking forward to class tonight – after being ‘a student at Master Class in London yesterday’ I have to say, I much prefer leading from the front!

Jan 7th

 I’m off to a Zumba Master Class in London tomorrow – my son asked ‘is it a load of zumba instructors plus master?’ to which I had no reply as I don’t know! I’m guessing ‘the Master’ (Beto) won’t be there! But should be fun!

January 1st 2017

Happy New Year everyone!

N.Y.E. 2016

We’ll probably all have different memories of 2016 – sadly, on a world scale, the word ‘acrimony’ being up there for many of us.

Few of us can influence what happens on the world stage but on a more local basis we can make a difference – by pulling together and showing some kindness to each other – along with sharing the joys of music and dance!

Re: Zumba – its so nice to  meet up and dance together – and as great music always has such an uplifting effect, what better way to kick off 2017 than with great old routines … plus a few new ones (just one or two, promise!)

Very proud of the friendliness of my classes – ‘No strangers here. Only friends we have yet to meet.’ Like that quote!

29th December

Can't wait to get back into zumba next week! And as always looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Xmas Eve

Just heard news that Ritchie Parfitt has died. As someone who used to follow Quo around the country on their tours, I feel sad with memories - but Parfitt certainly lived life to the full right up to the end which is, I think, a great gift. 

Dec 14

Hmm - guessing alternative will never see light of day!

Is it just me or does this time of year make everyone rethink their lives? I'm thinking Buddhism/non-materialism .. though not sure I'd go as far as shaving my head (well, not in this climate, anyway!)

Dec 6

"Paranoid" - an alternative Christmas song

Below is original by Black Sabbath and then the beginnings of an alternative version by me!

Finished with my woman 'cause she couldn't help me with my mind

people think I'm insane because I am frowning all the time
All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy
Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify

Can you help me occupy my brain?
Oh yeah

I need someone to show me the things in life that I can't find
I can't see the things that make true happiness, I must be blind

Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry
Happiness I cannot feel and love to me is so unreal

And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state
I tell you to enjoy life I wish I could but it's too late 

Alternative version

Finished now with decorations, time to do the xmas tree

Not sure I can cope with xmas, is there any help out there for me?

All I want is peace and quiet here, no wretched relatives visitin me

Who really wants this fuss and tinsel? Would all be banned if left to me!

Dec 5th

Being terribly brave! Just had flu jab (!) - expect to see me with arm in a sling this evening in class!

Wore Santa t.shirt to Penguins class this morning. 'And who do you think is dancing with you this morning?' asked Missy Sue. 'A pirate!' was the response! Hey ho - don't give up the day job as they say (oops - this is my day job!)

Dec 3rd

Great xmas party - I'll leave it to the photos to do the talking - about to upload now!

Dec 2nd

Xmas do tonight! I wonder if anyone else has the same trouble 'preparing' as I do? First, there's the making sure I have a pair of 'hole-less' tights - a problem compounded by the fact I cut myself removing my 'reindeer legs' so run the risk of having blood-streaked tights - probably more suitable for one of my Halloween outfits. Which is the thing - its so much easier 'dressing up for fun' than 'for serious' - a level of expectation issue. Dress bought around a month ago - worried at the time it was maybe size too small - what will it be like tonight, 4 biscuit/cake/sticky toffee pudding etc filled days of comfort eating later? Spose i should try it on - but thought of lacerating myself unnecessarily before the event doesn't appeal - those sparkly bits are quite lethal, even though they're on the outside!

Nov 28th

‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier’ (Mother Theresa) - what a wonderful quote. Hope this is the case for people coming to zumba!

Nov 24

Fallen a bit behind with me blog! 

Quick recap: last week's Children in Need - raising money for Pudsey in Pyjamas was great fun - love the pics! And we raised close on £200 which was great.

Weekend spent battling Storm Angus - at Plymouth! Meal out Saturday night was lovely - but after fighting the elements I think any shelter would have been heaven!

Yesterday I re-entered the world of academia - albeit somewhat briefly. Just an hours seminar on 

“Paedicide, Tribocide and Conspicuous Lisps: Considering Jephthah Afresh.” - Prof. Robin Baker (University of Winchester): Followed by launch of Professor Baker’s new book Hollow Men, Strange Women: Riddles, Codes and Otherness in the Book of Judges (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016). Light refreshments provided. and latter was mighty fine. Shame I couldn't partake fully as I had a class at Bishops Sutton soon after, and I can never dance on a full belly!

Today - I have completed the first of two end of course assignments for my TEFL. Mammoth task - most of time spent trying to squeeze information onto template provided. Nightmare. Still, done now - I can now look to my Zumba xmas playlist!

Nov 16

Great Pudsey classes so far! Great pics - going on later. 

Today writing script on Human Rights. It's for primary schools - think Know Your Rights, The Clash probably not totally suitable!

Nov 15

Reading in this morning's papers, Dippy is off on a UK tour in 2018! Lucky to have met up with him again when I did as I reckon crowds now to see him before he goes (Jan 2017) will make visit whole different experience. Have to say, I was pretty overwhelmed by number of school groups on Friday - seem to be far more than ever before - and SO noisy. Hrmph - Bex said I was ..can't remember exact words .. but something along the lines of grumpy! But I do think kids are given way too much free rein in public places. Consideration for others is part of the curriculum!

So confused - changing out of pyjamas to go to bed!

Nov 12th

Had so much fun in last few days - which isn't to say I haven't missed my classes. But time up in London - always good; and add to that meeting up with old friends (from my three years in America - without which I'd never have become a zumba instructor) - pretty special. Add to that, meeting up with me ol mate Dippy at Natural History Museum. Perfect!

Nov 6th

I'm so excited! Love that song - everyone know the one I'm talking about? Old Motown number - used to do it .... might bring it back again.

Why am I so excited? Classes next week ... and my birthday! Actually, normally this would not be a reason for excitement - but this year - going to actually be out celebrating/meeting old friends/going to dance show ...and hoping, after Friday night's amazing experience, to fit in another classical concert - Beethoven and Dvorcak at Festival hall - if I can get cheap last min tickets!

Just heard Jig a Jig - East of Eden on the radio - best single ever (to grab a partner on the disco floor! .... So many memories of that one!)

November 5th - Happy Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night to everyone!

If you're attending any 'do', take care. I won't be attending any such events even though I love the 'visuals' - not so keen on the auditory after incident last year involving fireworks in metal containers in street procession that have left me with permanent ringing in my ears. Wouldn't wish this on anyone - and although I have accepted my condition I still feel abject fury at response of Hastings County Council Health & Safety Department (joke) which totally brushed aside my concerns for others getting injured - I have no idea what these people are paid for. Makes my blood boil but, like so many other things in life, you ultimately have to move on - though I did what I could at the time and afterwards to try and prevent what happened to me happening to others. Fell on deaf ears (excuse the pun) but at least I tried. So many things we can't change. That's life. Sorry, that's all rather miserable sounding - read on!

Last night - WOW! I was in heaven! A long time (too long) since I've been to a classical concert - and last night's birthday treat absolutely blew me away. Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank - love this place. Seen the likes of Yehudi Menuhin (spelling?) - that was last time I was there; and Oscar Peterson. Last night it was The Four Seasons and Mozart Requiem - Mozart Festival Orchestra, City of London Choir; David Juritz on violin, Crispian Steele-Perkins on trumpet and amazing singers - Keri Fuge soprano; Samantha Price mezzo-soprano, Sam Furness tenor and Barnaby Rea bass. Magical experience - cried all through first half (though I think alot of that is remembering my dad as he adored classical music). Another great experience was meeting Chaka in the queue for the ladies loo! I love meeting people by chance like this! And in the few minutes in that queue we exchanged so much (Bob heard us in the mens loo next door!!) - and maybe we'll do zumba together in London sometime in the near future! WHo knows - but a very special moment - crazy, spontaneous, totally out of the blue - best times in life!

And earlier - another lovely surprise meeting - with Bex at the tapas bar! Chose one at Blackfriars - not so far from where she works - lovely to share a few cocktails together. Another lovely impromptu unexpected treat!


Nov 4th

Miserable old day - but cheered up listening to Alan Bennet on drive to Itchen Abbas - says it as it is .. even if he does come over as a bit of a grumpy old man!

Nov 2nd

For anyone interested in the latest 'dance craze' - FLOWETIC!

Nov 1st

Soooooo glad I didn't get stopped by the police on the way to Itchen Abbas - dressed as the Devil!! Brilliant red face paint was very scary - almost on a par with that Batman Penguin face I put on for ... was it Sports Relief?

Fab class. That hall is so much cosier when it has decent numbers - and last night was best turn out in a long time. Did feel for new student - don't spose she had anticipated meeting the Devil - taking the class!

Oct 31st 

Lookin forward to dressing up tonight!

Smile Poem - even if today's might be a bit grisly!

Smiling is infectious

You catch it like the flu.


When someone smiled at me today

I started smiling too.


I walked around the corner

And someone saw me grin


When he smiled I realised

I had passed it on to him.


I thought about the smile

And then realised its worth


A single smile like mine

Could travel round the earth.


So if you feel a smile begin

Don’t leave it undetected.


Start an epidemic

And get the world infected.

Oct 30th

Day in London again yesterday - but bit more cultural than wednesday's Westfield jaunt! Couple of hours at British Museum - love this place - joined couple of free guided tours, one of Africa and one on Mexico - before hurtling over to Soho Square to join other TES 'gold authors'! Gold by virtue of the fact we're TES's site's top sellers - nothing to do with age, happy to say! Nice food and did give everyone opportunity to say how they thought site could be improved. But as everyone else there writing as in producing classroom resources, not alot of common ground.  Maths and Science resource writers scoring highest (of those I spoke to) - One guy earning £900 a month on top of his teachers salary - can't be bad.

Giselle at Mayflower Southampton in evening. I started off loving it - Khan's interpretation and choreo brilliant. But have to say I tired of all the 'intensity in the second half' - unbroken by anything different. It was all too much the same for me - even though the dancing was wonderful. 

Home to watch Strictly - disappointment. I am finding both dancers and judges lines just a wee bit repetitive/boring - and not blown away by anyone's dancing. Dare I say I am finding the formulaic style of Strictly getting on my nerves? Or maybe just tired and grumpy. Anyway. No more aches and pains for me today - big relief. I will continue new routine though only offer twisty bits as option - not sure my back impressed and I always listen to my back!

Oct 28th

Mass of aches today - can't work out if its a 'lurgy' or due to Wed pm's tryout of everything - bellydancing thro to Greeks - or maybe just 'that new one' ....

Interesting morning at Itchen Abbas - scaffolding up outside hall ... and army of decorators on it! TINY bit disconcerting dancing eye ball to eye ball with said workmen. Tragic thing was - total non reaction - could have been quite fun ... and confirms what I've said about being totally invisible at 50plus!

October 27

Decided to risk getting out of bed this morning! After yesterdays events, it did seem a bit of a gamble ...

Lat night's *shnanigans not the only hiccup to yesterday -  *major technical issue last night - mad at myself for allowing battery on back up ipod to go dead - this would have solved all my problems - and little point having back up if back up doesn't work. Probably gone to other extreme now - with set of carefully labelled CDs plus fully working second ipod!

Spent most of day at Hospital Volunteer Training Course - interesting on the whole and covered all the 'hypothetical bases' but not really convinced of the importance of knowing all that was dealt with - especially final half hour on Fraud! Though this did reveal a staggering statistic - namely that NHS loses £5 billion a year to fraud! (I was tempted to ask Fraud guy if he didn't feel his time would be better spent 'finding these crooks' than telling us about them - but thought better of it!)

It was actually during this guy's presentation that one of my lenses popped out from my glasses. So decision to go and pick up pair of glasses from Boots Opticians largely fueled by this. On arriving, was presented with set of glasses that bore zero resemblance to those I'd sent off to be mended. It was just the frame that had to be replaced but it had to be sent off for - along with glasses - the idea being I'd get original lenses back plus new frames. So was somewhat bemused when presented with a set of sunglasses of variefocals  instead of very slightly tinted long distance pair. To cut a long story short (and I did eventually get an apology though fault was never really dealt with i.e. girl who sent them off 'got it wrong' as opposed to 'well, I can see she sent your latest prescription off ....' - too much to ask; its not just politicians who are not given to direct answers) - they've been sent off again. Hey ho - maybe previous 'helper' should have gone to Spec Savers (or maybe I should have!)

October 26

Did someone say Halloween? Did someone else say Great British Bake Off?!

I only ask as ...last night - zumba instructor's no. 1 nightmare - ipod 'mal-functioning' - following one of those wonderful 'updates' we all love so much - couldn't get access to my playlist; well, we could - but playing tracks 'it' wanted! First 20 mins of class 'going with this' - have to say it was a wee bit stressful having no idea (a) what next track would be (b) whether I'd actually recognise it/know/remember routine! Muddled through - and then decided on 'more control' - did a Beto (how ZUmba started) - out to car and went through all my CDs! 

Why did I mention Great British Bake Off? Because we had Great British Dance off - everyone doing their bit to remember old routines! Amazing how good everyone's memory was - showed me up good and proper! Even funnier to find everyone dancing, free-style, when I disappeared out to car to get CDs - came back in and everyone having a great time! As I wryly remarked at the end of the session - probably best part of the class ... when I wasn't there!

Needless to say, when I got home, ipod went straight to playlist - no password required - so I'm guessing its a network issue - will have to trundle back to hall, get correct password (think I know it now) and so make sure this doesn't happen again - though judging by everyone's reaction, I rather think they wouldn't at all mind if it did! Au contraire!

October 23

It's official - Zumba is good for you!

Well, according to our great Roger McGough (met him at Teachers Conference yesterday in Somerset!)

There is no cure for ageing

because ageing isn't an illness, but a way of life.

And some are better at it than others

The secret?

Think yourself younger than you really are:

On a crowded bus or tube, offer your seat to a young man

Design a website, invent an app

Take up Zumba, forget to nap

For no-one can predict what's lying in store 

With a future more challenging than ever before.

So enjoy the adventure

October 20

Just emptied this Blog of previous 272 pages! Hadn't realized I have been quite this prolific!

Strange coincidence - almost exactly 6 years ago I did my first zumba class - at South Wonston Pavilion - old one. Going to new one tonight - how strange is that?

Despite my occasional huffiness about numbers (fluctuations pretty big - one class this week doubled from previous week; another halved!) I continue to absolutely love zumba and its the greatest privilege being able to share that with so many lovely folk out there.

Just got an email from Ian Waite! Subject: If Ed Balls can do it, so can you! ....... is that seriously intended to get me to signup? (This is for Fitsteps). 

October 19

Hilarious Zumba Gold Seated session Monday afternoon - these are at a local care home and always a lot of fun. Each week something funny happens - and this week it was the turn of a blackbird! Sometimes mistakes can produce the best results and I had put on the wrong playlist on my ipod so half way through there was a sudden, unexpected burst of bird song - from weeks ago when I was talking about the beauty of natural sound. Course, the blackbird epitomises this - but I was a bit taken aback to hear its song instead of the anticipated Bollywood number! Anyway, we listened, and then I walked back and paused ipod in order to introduce the next song - only to hear the blackbird strike up again! I looked back at the ipod but discovered the sound was coming from one of the class! An amazing lady in her 90s who used to be a professional singer - has a beautiful voice - and as we discovered, an equally beautiful whistle! Got us all laughing anyway which is prime target of class.