How does this happen every time? I marvelled as I put away a balance ball and a Pilates mat and reached out for a glass of water on the table.

The customary aches and pain of post-hockey practice, which made me feel like a car wreck victim, vanished from my body like magic and I felt absolutely wonderful.

Before going back to play ice hockey again, I was exercising diligently and believing I was reasonably in a good shape. However, my smugness was slapped down to the ground quite spectacularly after the very first team practice. What had I been doing during those hockey-free months?! All those hours I spent riding an exercise bike and sweating with dumbbells and a balance ball seemed to mean so little, I felt utterly crushed.

It could have been far worse if I went back to the sport cold turkey, I convinced myself while nursing (& cursing!) my very sore and tired upper thighs.

Skating requires a very unique muscle group which is almost impossible to tone up with conventional gym equipments. Obviously, the sojourn from hockey did weaken the strength around my groin area and I was reminded of it.

One thing which really sucks when it comes to one’s ageing is the slowness of recovery process. I am doing everything I can think of in order to recover, yet I seem to be left with aches and fatigues days after the practice. Will my body get used to the new regime eventually?

However, there is a brief moment of comfort in my otherwise ache-ridden days. I feel pain-free and easy right after I have finished my daily exercise routine which consists of a series of dynamic stretching and core-works with a balance ball. While I am sweating and feeling loose, my optimism about the ache-free future returns.

Unfortunately, the aches will return while I am chained to a desk and forced to look at the screen of my iMac. Ugh, I hate feeling like being the tin man in the Wizard of Oz!

I am definitely not a fitness fanatic but I am addicted to the pain-free moment which arrives after the exercise. ‘Take it easy’, Hubbie says as he glances at me slaving on a Pilates mat. Well, it’s easier said than done…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Don’t despair

My Bella could do far far worse…


Who cares if he finishes it or not. He is so adorable!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Big freeze

Apparently, it was the coldest first day of March on record. Even though the snow caused huge havoc on road and rail, Bella and I enjoyed it a lot.

‘I love the snow as long as it is fresh!’


She romped around in the snow, chasing an invisible something larking under the white surface.

Snow ball fight commences!


She couldn’t have enough of it. She loved every minute we spent on a wood deck behind Hubbie’s office. I kicked up some snow with my Timberland boots and she chased the bits and pieces thrown into her furry face.

Thanks to Beast from the East, my girl Bella, who was still halfway out of her puppydom, could experience and have fun with the snow. I was very happy for her.

Who knows when we gonna have another snowfall? A five years wait? Perhaps?

My favourite lunch haunt, Alpino, had a very handsome snowman by the entrance…

For some people, this freakish weather condition must have been nuisance or even menace. However, experiencing a proper winter in London was a very rare thing and I was very happy to able to enjoy it with Bella…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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