A Little Brit Healthy – ‘Mum’s the Word’…

Easter Sunday!! Finally, a day when it’s acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast. Not that I need an excuse. My breakfast of choice for a long time now has been chocolate, cupcakes, donuts, biscuits, whatever sweet treats I can get my grubby little mitts on to enjoy with my morning cuppa.

I’m assuming this is a hereditary thing, since my mum has even more of a sweet tooth than I do (gasp!) and taught me everything I need to know about ‘healthy’ eating. She has several rules and over the years I’ve added some of my own. Together we could write a pretty amazing diet book I think. So below is the “Baldwin Girls Guide to ‘Healthy’ Eating”:

1) You can absolutely have a donut or cake for breakfast IF you plan on going to the mall that same day. The thrill of shopping as well as the constant walking back to the same shop you started at will burn off 100% of the calories consumed for said breakfast.

2) The Five-a-Day rule means this: if you eat two carrots, that’s two of your five a day. If you eat a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, that’s WAY more than your five-a-day (i think there are about 12 segments??) and the vitamin C in the orange bits make it an incredibly healthy snack. Same goes for Strawberry Cheesecake.

3) Wine is healthy. Grapes. Duh.

4) An Egg McMuffin from McDonalds is considered a healthy breakfast as it contains an egg. For similar reasons, mini eggs and creme eggs are also full of goodness..

5) Low Fat Oreos are good for you. I’m still not sure why this one works but these words came out of my Mum’s mouth and she is the authority on all things ‘healthy’. Then again, she is a vegetarian who refuses to eat vegetables…

6) 10 minutes at the gym = eat what you want for the rest of the day. You should ALWAYS get a reward for exercising and double the reward if the exercise was unplanned like when the stupid elevator** stops working and I have to carry the corgi up four flights of stairs. I need to mentally prepare for that kinda stuff!

7) Intending to go to the gym and having healthy intentions also warrants a reward. Usually enclosed within a Starbucks’ cup.

8) Cheese. Just Cheese. Always.

So as you can see, we are chocoholics and pretty much every day is Easter for us. We don’t like to share our treats and we will not, under ANY circumstances, give you our last Rolo. The sooner everyone comes to terms with this the better.

Happy Easter everybody!!

**lift. Sorry Nan.


A Little Brit Northern

Northerners are a rare breed in Los Angeles (and the rest of the US I would imagine). Most Americans I have met think my accent is great and launch into a Beatles impersonation – they certainly don’t ask if I know the Queen. For a long time the world has only been familiar with two UK accents, an RP (posh) accent such as the Queen’s and a cockney accent like Michael Caine’s.

With the popularity of Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, it seems our vast array of accents in the UK are finally becoming better known. The other day I was surprised to hear a strong Yorkshire accent on an old episode of CW’s The Originals. After a quick google search, it seemed most of the viewers were utterly confused by the accent, and the character was killed off shortly thereafter.

However, some Northerners have made it through! Sean Bean is perhaps the most famous and was well known here even before Game of Thrones became what seems like the most watched** TV show EVER. Anna Friel was an early pioneer, going from Brookside to Pushing Daisies with some fun roles in-between where she was able to keep her Northern tones and not a)become posh or b)become American. Which seem to be the only two options sometimes. And its not just in the US, actor friends who have moved to Australia have said the same thing. If you don’t sound like Bridget Jones (oh the irony) then it’s just not ‘British’. And I have major appreciation for Jane Leeves (Daphne in Frasier) for being the only comparison to a Northern accent on a major US TV show for a looooong time.

A little known wonderful fact – Sir Ian McKellen was actually raised in my home town of Wigan. That’s right, Gandalf/Magneto is a little brit northern! (And Patrick Stewart aka Professor X is Northern too! No mutant jokes please). Sir Ian McKellen has never forgotten his roots and frequently heads home to the towns he grew up in and talks to school kids about tolerance and what they can achieve. In a few weeks he will get his star on Wigan’s very own ‘Walk of Fame’ too! (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-32085218) Sigh, I can only dream.

Since moving to the US I’ve been through several stages of battling the accent scenario. Sometimes I’ll be posh but feel like a complete fraud, sometimes I’ll just pretend to be American for an easier life, and sometimes I just let it all out. Some people don’t have a problem understanding me. Some people reeeeally struggle. A few weeks ago I shot a pilot in my own accent and while talking to the producer during a production meeting, I could suddenly sense that he was only understanding about half of what I was saying. Prompting me to now worry that I’ll be subtitled if and when the show actually airs. On the other hand, my accent has become so Americanized now that when I go home to Wigan, my nan tells me to ‘speak British’ and frequently bollocks me for sounding like an American. I just can’t win.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I just need to embrace it and forge ahead like my fellow Starks (avoiding weddings of course). And, thanks to Hulu showing Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, I no longer have to call or skype people just to hear a brit of northern now and then. Thanks Hulu!

**most pirated

Please enjoy the below video ‘I’m from Wigan, Me!’ showcasing my hometown!

A Little Brit Healthy – Zombie 5k

On a recent trip to visit the family of my better half**, his Mum signed me up to do a 5k obstacle course with her in a couple of months time. This got me thinking about the one and only time I have ever done a 5k.

I don’t believe in running unless you are being chased or heading towards a sale, so the Zombie Run For Your Lives 5k sounded about right for me. You run through an obstacle course while being chased by zombies who try to grab the Velcro ‘flag’ from your belt. If you’ve ever been to a Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios, picture that but the Zombies are grabbing things from you. Oh and it’s hot as hell. And muddy.

So I signed up thinking I would train beforehand (I didn’t) and we actually ended up going to Oktoberfest the night before the race. Another amazing idea of mine…

I quickly aligned myself with a platoon of bad-ass looking police officers who were doing the run for charity, hoping I could disappear into the center of their group and be protected. I was wrong. They fanned out all over the place (a plan I would have known about if I was actually in their group) and I was left out in the open like a deer in headlights.

I should note that this was also the day I realized that chivalry is in fact dead, after one too many ‘gentlemen’ ran into me or pushed me into a zombie to save themselves. Thanks boys.

Within about 5 minutes of running, my first flag was taken. The other two quickly followed. When the last one was ripped from my belt I let out a really embarrassing cry/whimper and followed it up with what I though was my threatening and scary revenge look, ‘I’ve seen The Walking Dead, I know where to hit you. Now where’s my sword…’. Turns out I must have looked more pathetic than threatening because the zombie actually felt sorry for me and gave me back my flag. And then I was off again. Zombies do have hearts!

Not even 2 minutes later my flag was again taken by a nasty little bugger who was lurking outside of the maze I had just ran through. My only satisfaction out of this was witnessing the guy behind me, while I was stood there stunned, barreling out of the maze and punching the zombie in the face, as he roared past. The zombie let out a very effeminate and whiny ‘oooow that guy punched me’ and ran off. Where was that guy 2 minutes ago when my last flag hadn’t been taken yet?!

So I had decided to just keep running and finish the race, when I looked down and noticed that the zombie who was punched must have dropped my flag when he ran off. I was saved! I picked it up quickly and placed it back on my belt then set off running, determined to survive.

Alas, it was not to be. My flag was once again taken very quickly by a gang of cheerleader zombies. And I was still a good 3k or so from the finish line.

What I learned (and I think this is good to know) is that if there is a zombie apocalypse, I will 100% die. I was given five chances to live. Not three like everyone else. FIVE!! And I still failed. I guess another excuse to start getting a little brit healthier?

I wish I could offer up some tips on how to ace this 5K, or finish up the story with ‘I went back the next year and kept all my flags!’. But I can’t. The only thing I can suggest is that you take a group of people you are willing to sacrifice and practice your pouty face on the off chance you run into that one friendly zombie who was so kind to me. Oh and maybe throw some punches. It worked for that one guy.

**Better at cooking and rapping


A Little Brit Healthy – Spin Class

Where to start….oh yeah…OUCH! If you take a spin class, be prepared to have a sore bum for almost a week afterwards. Or maybe invest in some of those padded shorts (big butts are in now anyway right?).

So I went to the gym with a friend to attempt a Body Pump class. Little did we know the main studio where classes take place had been flooded so the only class open to us was a spin class – something I swore I would never do since I have zero balance and not the best track record of staying on a bike.

The lady running the class was very nice and forgiving of my stupidity. Since we were there early she took the time to ‘fit me’ to the bike properly and talk me through some of the basics.

I was obviously unprepared for this class, given that we went there to do body pump, but I will share with you what I learned and what I will do next time** I take a spin class. Firstly, you will need a towel! I don’t sweat very much (mainly because I don’t work very hard) but I definitely feel like I could have benefited from having a towel. Also, lots and lots of water. Stay hydrated!

There’s a little fiddly knob thing on the bike that is supposed to increase the intensity or the….erm….something (should have listened) but it seemed mine either wasn’t working or I wasn’t doing it correctly (see aforementioned comment about not listening). As a result I spent most of the class working hard to try and look like I knew what I was doing and that the knob thing was working. This was a workout in itself.

It’s an hour long class with some fun tunes but about half an hour in the pain begins. I’ve never been so uncomfortable! Granted I could have worn more sensible underwear but I still don’t think it would make a difference. I don’t know how cyclists do it and I have a new found respect for them after this class.

So all in all I did the whole class (albeit on the easy intensity setting the entire way through) and I was proud of myself for that. If you know me then you know what a wimp I am when it comes to exercise and I think you’ll agree, this was a big step for me! Up until recently I had only been to the gym in my building a few times, mainly to sit on the weights bench and read the latest US weekly or to stand on the treadmill with a glass of wine and some mini eggs and watch a show on cable since I’m too cheap to pay for it myself. Oh and there was the time my bestie and I played ‘Krypton Factor Gym’ (which is a bit like the lava game). How neither us broke a bone or got a concussion I’ll never know.

Onto the next class…..the dreaded BOOT CAMP….

**I’m never taking a spin class again.

A Little Brit About Me….

Awkward, Nerdy, Creative….I’m a little brit of everything really, so here I will be posting various musings about my foray into being ‘healthy’ amongst other things.

I’m born and raised in the North West of England (Winter is Coming…) and relocated to Los Angeles in 2008. Being a Northern girl in the US is a little difficult sometimes (not least because of the accent) and we are a rarity. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not just yet.

I’m a complete stereotype when it comes to being a Brit. I drink gallons of tea per day and I even own a Welsh Corgi just like the Queen! (delusions of grandeur…moi? Never!) I’m pale and afraid of the sun, I get up at 4.30am to watch/scream at my football team (Liverpool FC), I’m too polite to ask for anything, EVER, and in all honesty, my teeth could look better…..did I mention the self-deprecating humor?

All these things aside, I’m fitting into LA life quite well….except for the being healthy part. So that’s where I’ll start…my quest to become “A Little Brit Healthy”….

A Little Brit Gangsta – Gallery 1988

If you know me, you’ve probably at some point witnessed my excellent** rap skills. There aren’t many Jay-Z songs that I won’t immediately get up and rap along to, no matter where I am. People seem to find it entertaining, this awkward little white girl dropping some rhymes (see what I mean?) and therefore it’s often encouraged.

I actually attempted to take Hip Hop dance classes for while. I thought I was doing a pretty amazing job until someone in the class pointed out that no matter what move I’m doing it looks like I’m making a cup of tea. So that was the end of that. I even demonstrated my ‘finish pose’ for my best mate on our trip to New York not long after, and she laughed so hard she almost fell off the top of the double-decker tour bus (it should be noted that she falls over, into and off things very often so this wouldn’t have been much of a surprise).

This brings me to a fun event I attended last night, an art show at my favorite art gallery – Gallery 1988 on Melrose Ave. The artist, Chris B. Murray, pays tribute to his favorite MC’s of the 90’s in a series of prints and drawings. If you are or ever were a fan of 2Pac, Beastie Boys, Jay-Z and Biggie, this is the art for you. They also had a DJ spinning some classics and I had to fight with every fibre of my being to not break into one of my little routines. And did I mention the free LRG T-shirt with the Golden Era’s MC print?

Gallery 1988 is an amazing gallery full of nerdy art. They are best known for their Crazy 4 Cult series, showcasing art from all your favorite childhood cult classics and they also do special anniversary art shows such as last years Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary exhibit. Speaking of….this year 30 years ago was an AMAZING year for movie releases. Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year are classics such as The Breakfast Club, Back to the Future, Transformers, The Goonies and Teen Wolf. I’m making it my personal mission to appropriately celebrate each of these, beginning with a trip to Astoria, Oregon in June for the Goonies celebration.

Below are some pics of recent nerdy art purchases from Gallery 1988 and some from last night’s exhibit. They sell the work online too so be sure to check out http://nineteeneightyeight.com/ and http://www.chrisbmurray.com/

** a little brit rubbish

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