Author Archives: Taylorsized

About Taylorsized

Roller-coaster thoughts and a passionate heart. I live for theatre, singing, teaching, animals, travel, cuddles and good food. I love to think creatively and apply my inner crayon to creative projects. I challenge myself to challenge myself. I also love a good duvet day!

Journey Into Personal Training

If you’re someone like me who loves nothing more than a fat curry on a Friday night, you might be thinking that venturing into the world of Personal Training is definitely NOT for you.

I thought this too, until I actually got my butt off the sofa and, well, had a personal training session at Amor LC (based in Hertfordshire, check them out!). Now this wasn’t voluntary – I had won this prize for hard work in a couple of my classes, and was reluctant to go. Let’s just say I’d heard a few vom-inducing scare stories…

So I took everything with me, including 2 litres of water (which I soon enough learned was not nearly enough) and went to meet my PT, Jim, at the gym. Jim’s gym. Gym run by Jim. You get it.

The hour flies by; boxing, loads of weights, ’21 challenge’ (where one person does 21 reps, then the second person does 21, then 20, then 19 and so on) and a 3-minute rowing challenge that left me feeling queasy and shaking to the core.

Since that date I’ve had 2 more PT sessions, as well as keeping up Zumba and Pilates classes twice a week, and have already started noticing a difference in fitness levels; I recently beat my personal best on the 3 minute rowing challenge and completed it without flagging in the middle like the first time. As much as I DESPISE the rower, I feel good for beating my PB (though I was 1 meter off my new target which was ANNOYING).

So what I’m getting at in this post is that everyone should give it a go; find a PT who will tailor a programme for you specifically, to help you smash your own personal goals. I find that a PT who is encouraging, takes interest in me as a person rather than just money-making and who injects some humour into the session is well worth the time and money.

Zumba class with Nicole @ Amor LC

Zumba class with Nicole @ Amor LC

This is the company who I have taken a membership out with, and they are amazing! Through them I have developed a real love for fitness:
Amor LC Facebook

Based in Herts, UK.

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Abtastic April: A Can-Do Attitude, Diet Swaps and… Fitness Testing

Are You Happy

Abtastic April is, I can proudly say on day 3, going WELL. I’ve woken up this morning more awake than usual, and I’m intrigued to know whether it’s due to me not eating dinner after class, as opposed to before.

Day 2: Kick-started my 7am working day with a smoothie (2 x bananas/skimmed milk/handful of porridge oats/honey), had leftover gnocchi with veg for lunch, and a quick scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast before heading out to classes, and a handful of grapes after. I also probably had around 5 cups of tea… (shhh… one herbal, all is well).

Fitness: 1 hour of Pilates followed by 1 hour of Zumba.

So in the morning I had to run between work and the sandwich shop down the road (brewing, not chewing!) and resisted every type of sandwich/bacon combo sandwich that the rest of the public were enjoying. I work in an office, in a job I love, but it leaves little for the legs to do. This is why I love going to Amor LC classes in the evening, and have found a real love to fitness this past year.

My weaknesses here I would say are the 5 cups of tea (granted only small ones, but the caffeine can’t be that good… will aim to have only 3 a day, and possibly fill in the gaps with some Twinings herbal) and the lack of vegetables, so across the next few days I will aim to improve that. My issue is that I suffer with acid reflux, and it has taken me ages to find something I can eat that doesn’t give me heartburn whilst working out. In the end I found that scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast was enough to sustain me without filling me right up, and it’s fairly bland so prevents any acid reflux.

The food and fitness plan for Day 3 is the usual smoothie, vegetable stir fry for lunch with some grapes for afternoon snack, scrambled eggs on wholemeal and a 75 minute fitness test this evening… gulp!

Here’s a neat little food-swap article that you might enjoy if you’re struggling to lose weight but feel as if you are doing all the right things:

Hello abs.




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The Start of ‘Abtastic April’


My lovely Aunty Claire’s wedding is on 3rd May, giving me just under 5 weeks to pack in as many classes as I can. There’s nothing like naming a month to keep you on track and to give you a little reminder as to why you are doing it. 

This month is ‘Abtastic April’, a little mission which me and Jules are embarking on. So our little abtastic approach includes, well, cutting out the crap and packing in some punch. Today  has gone pretty well, took it easy with a half hour brisk walk with Osc, ate muesli/smoothie/scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast/homemade gnocchi bolognese and finished up the day with a quick 15-min pilates ab session and a lemon, ginger and honey tea.

The plan for tomorrow: Smoothie for brekkie, leftover gnocchi for lunch, scrambled eggs on wholegrain for dins and a post-workout smoothie. Tomorrow’s workout: One hour of zumba and one hour of pilates.

Resisted a creme egg, homemade scones and coconut cake. 


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Trek America Mountain Trail, Day 2-3: Yellowstone National Park


As we were soon to suss out, this trip is all about the rise and shine! We were on the road by 7am, and on the road to a place we couldn’t wait to see – Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone was the first ever National Park in America, and home to grizzlies, elk, eagles and buffalo to name but a few. It is also an active super volcano, with the magma being only 3 miles beneath the surface.

Yellowstone is beautiful. We had a clear, sunny day and set off to visit Old Faithful, named so due to its regular eruptions (every 91 minutes). We didn’t have to wait long, so we wondered around the tourist centre for a little while then found a nice spot to watch the eruption.

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful's eruption

Old Faithful’s eruption

The iron compounds in the rocks cause them to be gorgeous red and yellow colours. The smell of sulphur is really strong here. If you walk around a little bit, you can find black trees with white bases, called ‘Bobby Sock Trees’. This is where the trees have drawn up water and left mineral deposits, leaving the tree with ‘white socks’. On our walk we unexpectedly caught another geyser go off too:

The geyser we weren't expecting

The geyser we weren’t expecting

The gorgeous yellow stone; it doesn't smell as good as it looks, though...

The gorgeous yellow stone; it doesn’t smell as good as it looks, though…

Pretty sure I cut my hand doing this

Pretty sure I cut my hand doing this

Keeping our eye out for osprey, but had no luck...

Keeping our eye out for osprey, but had no luck…


Today we’ve been elk and bison spotting. Still no sight of Osprey or moose though (or bears for that matter). We took a hike along the North Rim Trail, past Inspiration Point. The views of the rockface and the falls were just gorgeous, as well as the infamous yellow stone (though apparently the park isn’t named after this, but in fact by the yellow sandstone which was found alongside the Yellowstone river some few hundred miles north of the park).

The group, ready for our North Rim Trail hike

The group, ready for our North Rim Trail hike

After our hike, we were driven to a little secluded area, and told to get our swim kits on. A short 10 minute hike down the road led to ‘The Boiling River’, which is exactly what it says on the tin. The Boiling River runs alongside Gardner River, and where the 2 meet creates a spa-like relaxation area in the river where it was the perfect hot-meets-cold temperature. Bliss!

Rocks have been placed to trap the cold water from the Gardner River and the hot water from the Boiling River, creating a perfect bath-like temperature in-between

Rocks have been placed to trap the cold water from the Gardner River and the hot water from the Boiling River, creating a perfect bath-like temperature in-between

We took another walk to see some hot springs and more geysers, and we saw the most amazing thing. Most of the group followed the path down from the top to the bottom, but 2 of us decided that we wouldn’t make it to the bottom without going to the bathroom first… Jules came with me to keep me company. So our guide drove us down to the bottom where we could stop for a toilet break, and then we could walk up from the bottom to meet the group halfway. On the way down, we were lucky enough to watch a full grown bison cross the road right in front of our van! This, for me, was an absolute highlight of the trip.

Massive. Amazing. Woah.

Massive. Amazing. Woah.

Working out why it's formed as steps rather than a slope...

Working out why it’s formed as steps rather than a slope…

Luckily the second night in the tent wasn’t as cold as the first night, but the ground at the campsite was really hard to sleep on – ouch! Not much sleep for us. I started to get bruised in very strange places… The mornings were bitterly cold. It felt like winter.

We also had to hide all our food in bear bins so that the bears weren’t encouraged to shred our tents and ingest every human around. This included things like toothpaste and even plastic water bottles. Welcome to ‘Bear Country’!

Welcome to Bear Country

You might wanna check out…
Trek America Mountain Trail, Day 1: Seattle to Montana

Next Up:
Trek America Mountain Trail, Day 4-5: Jackson and Grand Teton National Park

Things we learned along the way:
* Always try to have cash on you, as there’s not always a cash point to hand. You’ll have to pay for your excursions a few days in advance to your guide.
* Don’t be fooled because it is summer – if you are camping, there are going to be some COLD nights! Take a pair of gloves (mainly for the chilly early starts) and some thermals. Oh how I wish I had bought my thermals…
* Be aware that each tour guide is different. This was Jules’ second trip and the first time around the tour guide made sure that everyone always had bottled water. This one didn’t, so make sure you keep topped up!
* Be aware that you are expected to tip tour guides, bartenders, waiters and any other persons offering you a service in America. Although this is common knowledge, it isn’t something I’ve ever been aware of before. A good guide is $1 per every alcoholic drink, and a little more for other services (a cab ride, for example, around $5).

Trek America Mountain Trail
Yellowstone National Park

Categories: About, Blog, The Experience Project, Thoughts, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trek America Mountain Trail, Day 1: Seattle to Montana

First and foremost, I just want to say how much hassle-free our trip ended up being by choosing to explore these places through Trek America. We came to realise just how many things we wouldn’t have seen if we didn’t have the knowledge of a guide. I’d heard good things about Trek America (for those in their 20s especially) and weighed up the cons vs the pros and decided that the money was worth it. It was also an absolute blessing have someone do all the driving for you, and not having to worry about planning routes and travelling all that way in the driver’s seat; personally I can’t think of anything worse!

Travelling in our decked-out minibus

Travelling in our decked-out minibus

So, the Trek America Mountain Trail journey starts in Seattle, travels through some some beautiful scenery and national parks, finishing with a night in Vegas and a day in LA.

The Mountain Trail... trail

The Mountain Trail… trail

We got up early on Day 1 ready to meet everyone in the lobby of the Clarion for ridiculous o clock (7.30am). We managed to grab some breakfast and then, of course, we were the last people down as we’re unorganised and, well, just always late. But no matter! We filled out a few forms and handed over our kitty money ($10 per day = $140 for 2 weeks) and packed our luggage into the trailer (who was called Shaniqua, of course).

Packing our bags into 'Shaniqua' the trailer...

Packing our bags into ‘Shaniqua’ the trailer…

After this we played a few introductory games in the car park so we could learn each others’ names. We came to realise that, between us, we had formed a fairly mature and friendly group – we also came to realise that this wasn’t always a day-to-day thing with Trek America! (See Vegas post – coming soon).

We spent the best part of the day just driving on Day 1. This took us on a 500 mile journey across Washington, through Idaho and into Montana for the night. On the way we stopped off in the middle of nowhere (couldn’t even tell you what state we were in, sorry!) and came across these:

Stepped straight out of Vogue.

Stepped straight out of Vogue. Shame about the graffiti!

We stayed at a KOA campsite in America, which had a pool, toilets, free showers and other general amenities. We are booked on the camping version of this trip, so of course learned how to set up camp tonight in pairs (I was with Jules) and cooked our first meal of hot dogs and corn-on-the-cob on the grill. It was a COLD night! Me and Jules had invested in a double sleeping bag, so luckily the warmth from both our bodies kept us fairly snug in the night, but we still donned socks, joggers, multiple t-shirts and hoodies. I started to wonder why it was colder than England during September! It was around -1 (degrees C), so not that warm for summer. AT ALL.

On this particular Trek America tour, you are paired up and given duties to do each night on a rotation basis. So on the first night me and charlotte cooked, then the second we washed up the dishes, the third we cleaned out the van etc… yes, it’s a bit of a chore but not too much of a bother, and when you’re saving over $600 by camping, it’s worth it.

You might wanna check out…
Trek America Mountain Trail, Day 2-3: Yellowstone National Park

Things we learned along the way:

* Always try to have cash on you, as there’s not always a cash point to hand. You’ll have to pay for your excursions a few days in advance to your guide.
* Don’t be fooled because it is summer – if you are camping, there are going to be some COLD nights! Take a pair of gloves (mainly for the chilly early starts) and some thermals. Oh how I wish I had bought my thermals…
* Be aware that each tour guide is different. This was Jules’ second trip and the first time around the tour guide made sure that everyone always had bottled water. This one didn’t, so make sure you keep topped up!
* Be aware that you are expected to tip tour guides, bartenders, waiters and any other persons offering you a service in America. Although this is common knowledge, it isn’t something I’ve ever been aware of before. A good guide is $1 per every alcoholic drink, and a little more for other services (a cab ride, for example, around $5).

KOA Campsites
Trek America Mountain Trail

Categories: About, Blog, The Experience Project, Thoughts, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Twinings Should be a Legal Requirement

Feel a million dollars


There is nothing that will put the world to rights better than a cup of Twinings. Worried about your Mum’s cat you forgot to feed? Accidentally keyed a car? Broke someone’s legs by driving a go kart into them?

Don’t worry. Chillax. Have a cuppa.


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Our 2 Year Anniversary at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

It’s crazy to think that just over 2 years ago I was walking around wondering if being hit by a car was more likely than running into the man of my dreams.

Despite all odds, I went on a date where, even after leaving my keys in the car and letting the radio drain my battery down in London , leaving me no choice but to be rescued by my Dad (blah blah, extremely funny but BAD luck on first date etc…), that man decided to stick around and see what other kind of disasters I had to offer. And boy am I glad he did!

The weekend of 29th Dec (that really awkward time between Xmas & New Year where it’s nearly impossible to book anywhere), I was whisked away to Center Parcs where we stayed in an Executive Lodge for 2 nights! I was so excited to get away, and just recovering from the flu, so our spa day couldn’t come quick enough. The Aqua Sana spa was just gorgeous. There’s a whole host of different spa treatment rooms, from an Indian Blossom Steam Room (one of my favs), Greek Herbal Bath spa, Japanese Salt Steam Bath to a laconium, a thermal pool under the stars and relaxation rooms. Before we checked in for our spa experience, we went in for a Garra Rufa fish spa, something I still hadn’t tried since it became popular here. It is ridiculously tickly at first and then develops into a really nice sensation, and it was so weird watching the fish sucking on your toes! I loved it.

Garra Rufa fish having a nibble

Garra Rufa fish having a nibble



Then we got changed into those white robes, and booked in a time for our antipasti plater & champagne, which was part of our spa experience. We spent hours just migrating from room to room, relaxing and messing around in the pool. It was absolute bliss! Towards the end we headed into the Zilli cafe for our antipasti platters (really yummy – salami, parma ham, rustic breads w/ oil & balsamic & roasted peppers), took some silly pics & made an attempt at leaving to go get ready for our meal out.

Center parcs 3 Center parcs 4

Our sexy robes!

Our sexy robes!

We decided on Cafe Rouge for dinner, and had such a nice dinner with a few glasses of wine & a little platter of desserts. It was such a lovely evening! And then I think I mixed too many drinks (wines, milkshakes, tea…) and was randomly sick back at the lodge. Woops!! Then I was fine. Odd.

Woops, mixed my wines...

Woops, mixed my wines…

The next day we had a cheeky lie in and then milled around the village, did a little shopping and just enjoyed spending some quality time with each other and not having to stress about anything back home. We popped out in the day to Tesco to get some food in, and I was left to chill on the sofa with a massive cuppa whilst my amazing Jules cooked my fav dins ever (chicken stuffed with mango & brie, wrapped in proscuitto in white wine and onion sauce, potatoes, asparagus & cherry tomatoes – if you’ve never had this, do it and don’t look back!).

Milling around in the rain

Milling around in the rain, bath-bomb in hand!

After 4 mugs of tea on Sunday morning, we headed home after a blissful weekend. Jules, thanks for such a good time. Wish I was back there right now! What would I do without you…

The happiest 2 years xx

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2013, New Year’s Resolutions and New Goals

2012 for me was a fantastic year. My resolution for last year was to try as many new things possible, and by branching away from my comfort zone I achieved some very different and exciting things! This blog needs a LOT of updating – it has been neglected for a little while – but this should be done soon!

2013 for me is a year to build on what I started last year, and to take on a new venture as well – to get fit and improve my wellbeing. This is quite a common New Year’s Resolution, but last year I discovered a new company – or rather my amazing zumba instructor merged with a couple of others to form a new Lifestyle Coaching company – which I have fallen in love with. The classes and attention is really personal, the coaches are so motivational and it is such good value for money. If you live in the Hertfordshire area (UK), check out and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

My fitness journey continues tonight, the first class of 2013, with Legs, Bums & Tums and then Zumba Toning & Fitness Pilates will follow tomorrow. Bring it on!

So for now, I will think about how to tackle the mammoth task of blogging my travels in a neat and concise way (the complete opposite of the actual travels) and will stop procrastinating at work. Yes, another thing that needs tackling for 2013 – woops!

Wishing you all a fantastic new year. Make it worthwhile!

Charlie x

Charlie and oscy headshot

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Meet the Degus – Bella and Pippin!

After approximately one year of begging to myself for degus, I went out and, well… here they are!

Meet Bella and Pippin, two gorgeous little girls I bought when they were around 6 weeks old.

Here’s a few cute snaps of the cheekies:

Oscy and Bella on the lookout

Bella and Pips having a snuggle


The Bella-saur


Err… you alright there Pippin?

Hey there.

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“Are There Seconds Yet?” “No, Go and Sit Down Kids. We Still Haven’t Finished Our Thirds.”

I’ve started to realise there will be a lot that I will miss at camp when I get back home. Some of the people and kids here are just so funny. This session I am absolutely LOVING all of my classes! The kids are so engaged and focused, and really talented too. It means I can give them more challenging things to do, which is just awesome. At the moment I’m working on ‘05058’ (So we’ve gone from Alice, in Wonderland, to Wendy, in 05058… don’t ask!) and I’m just prepping the kids for their auditions. In singing, we’re working on ‘Breakaway’ by Kelly Clarkson, some musical theatre and The Chain by Ingrid Michaelson as well. On closing day of the last session, I had the singers perform the aforementioned songs to their parents, demonstrating what they’ve worked on etc. At the end of the parent-camper class, one of the mothers came up to me and told me about how Ingrid Michaelson lives in their town and that she’s really good friends with her mother and their family!

…I’m so glad I only found that out afterwards otherwise the pressure might have been too much! Luckily the class went really, really well. Some of the parents and younger siblings were all joining in with the class, and they all came up to me afterwards and were so impressed with how far they’d come in the space of a 2-week performance class. I was very proud of them all, as they’re not the easiest songs to perform (especially ‘The Chain’)!

Things have been good here overall, apart from one instance but we won’t go there for now. Most things except the weather, of course. It hasn’t stopped raining this week! And on my one and only day off it was grey, chilly and drizzly, and I left my purse in my cabin so couldn’t even buy a coffee in town! I also ate so much food at lunch time that I had food baby-twins. I also, let’s say, slightly over-indulged at Weds night cookout. I had no shame.

I seriously regretted it the following day.

So, what has been happening at camp that I’ve not mentioned yet? I’ve lost track… oh yeah, my BIRTHDAY!!! 22. I had an awesome birthday this year :-) I woke up to the juniors rustling around on my porch, stamping and banging on the walls? I couldn’t help but lie in my bed and grin at them ‘silently’ setting up something outside. I imagined they were laying out cards or something. But, when I came outside, they had plastered my cabin with homemade cards, posters and banners, and even balloons and presents! I couldn’t believe it. Amy and Grace were the partners in crime. It was such a lovely gesture and I’ll never forget it! I also had a stampede of children come out from their cabins and bolt at me when they heard me come outside. They all ran into me, headbutted each other, and then fell out. It was so funny.

And THANK YOU Steve and Claire for getting me this massive box of Jelly Belly! It made my day! I’m trying to make them last… trying to.

I headed out for dinner that night too,  to Molly’s. I had one cosmo and felt drunk – clearly deprived of a good drink or two at camp! It was so strong as well! I also got enough free dessert to feed six people! Me, Allie, Abi, Morgan C, Amy and Kyra all got a good share of hot chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream… sooo good! They never even checked to see if it really was my

Kyra, Me and Amy… and a cosmo!

Mmmm cake.

Free brownie!


So my birthday was awesome! What was also lovely is all the cards and messages I received from back home. It was odd being in a totally different place and not having a party with all my family and friends. You were all definitely missed a lot on this day!

Happy Birthday to meee

Before the second session campers arrived, we had a staff meal up in Highland where everyone made and exchanged gifts for one another. I made a camp newsletter for Caitlin (who was in charge of the camp news activity), and I got a bracelet and an awesome card from Emily P as my gift! We had a cut of meat, some sauteed potatoes and veg for dinner and cake for dessert. Not complaining! ;)

We all got dressed up too:

Abby, Amy, Me and Abi

Abby Teetor et Moi!

So tonight is Sunday 29th July and it was my job to put together, and run, Sunday Night Campfire. This is a really big tradition at Lochearn and has been going on for 97 years…! Everyone dresses in their Lochearn blues and whites, and heads up to Campfire Hill from The Point after dinner.

For tonight’s campfire, I’d arranged a speech for myself to do, and for two others as well as Rich and Ginny. I also took a massive risk in getting the whole camp involved in singing ‘I Like The Mountains’ in a 4-part round, and somehow… somehow… we pulled it off. Rich & Ginny also had two of their friends at this campfire tonight, as well as their daughter, so pressure was on! The other two performances, ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Hallelujah’ also went really, really well. Thank you guys! I think overall it went just how I wanted it to, and actually when I started getting into it I wasn’t really nervous at all. So all is well on that front!

It feels like camp is drawing to a close now. After this 3rd set of Middlers go home we really are on the home stretch! It’ll be weird, but I’m definitely looking forward to hitting the road down to Boston; it’ll be a really welcome break.

As always, missing you all back home! I managed to Skype Mum, Dad, Oscar, Jules, Nan, Grandad, Claire AND Steve today. Boom! Hello home! Can’t wait for one of your BBQs Dad ;-)

Loads of love, your #1


Categories: About, Blog, The Experience Project, Thoughts, Travels, Yum | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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