Spinning Around

You spin me right round, Yes, I am about to review my first spinning fitness class. After recently joining my local gym (when i say local – i mean about 50 steps away from my flat local!) I have been trying out the fitness classes they have to offer, this is my first gym membership which includes fitness classes in the monthly subscription and which i have most definitely taken advantage of this benefit!

There are definitely mixed reviews on spinning and out of the three classes i have attended so far, i thought this one would be my least favourite by far. How wrong I was…

Although I think it is very dependant on what kind of instructor you have on how much you enjoy the class. So far i have attended two spinning classes, one far better than my most recent class.

My first ever spinning class, I was pumped and so motivated. I really pushed myself through the entire 45 minutes, which flew by. The instructor mixed up the different “moves” and changed the rhythm to match the bet of the music. She was smiling and working with you the entire time, giving you praise, when you really needed it! I was so impressed that I kept up the pace of every other member the entire time, I left the class feeling so pleased with myself and wanting to book in for the following week.

clean and green girls

Instagram: @cleanandgreengirls Post spinning & still smiling!

Following my first class, i was really looking forward to my next, the usual instructor was on holiday so we had an alternative, I kept an open mind until we finished the warm up. What i loved about my first class was it wasn’t focused on “imagining we are riding along a road” or “riding up a mountain, racing to the top”  which is exactly what this class turned into. Although i still pushed myself, i definitely found myself taking the resistance off during some of the interval training. I have realised I am not motivated by “imagining to overtake the person next to me” on an exercise bike. I have learnt i am motivated by the energy of the instructor and moving to the beat of the music.

This is most probably where the mixed reviews come in, everyone is motivated in different ways, I would 100% recommend trying a couple of spinning classes (preferably that are held by different instructors) to see if the class/ which instructors method works for you.

Jo x

Legs, Bums & Tums: Bottoms Up

Got buns hun? You will after this class!

Make your fat cry with this low intensity Ab shredding and butt burning fitness class. I am talking about Legs Bums & Tums, you will squat till you drop!

 

Legs Bums & Tums is the perfect full body aerobic workout aimed at specifically toning up your legs, bum and tum. These are notoriously the worst parts of your body when it comes to shifting fat, so by targeting them one after the other you’re tackling all three key problem areas in one fun-packed but very effective 45 minute class.

 

Starting with a stretch warm up to some get pumped music, then moving into the core of the workout, a circuit repeated 3 times, including: Squats, lunges, ab crunches and mountain climbers.

Is Legs Bums & Tums right for you? Are you looking to:

  • Start exercising and not sure where to start?
  • Mix up your regular workout routine
  • Tone and firm Legs Bum & Tum
  • Raise stamina

This class went hand in hand a day after boxercise. Unfortuantely I can’t make next week’s class, but i have already booked myself in to the following week.

 

Can’t get to a class? Try these at home: (Link courtesy of My Protein)

http://www.myprotein.com/thezone/training/training-womens/home-workout-best-legs-bums-and-tums-exercises-to-do-at-home/

 

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Badasses on roller skates

Have you ever felt intimidated and welcome at the same time? Been around a group of people who are so badass but also ridiculously kind and supportive? Were they on skates?

If the answer to all three of those questions is yes, then you probably already know a lot about the amazing sport that is Roller Derby! If the answer to any of those is no, what are you doing with your life? JOKING!

This year I started the Fresh Meat programme with Surrey Roller Girls. From day one I was hooked. I had a spell of bad luck which meant that I almost had to drop out within the first few weeks of the learn-to-skate prerequisite sessions due to a concussion and a very badly injured foot (both courtesy of sparring at Taekwondo, both separate incidents). I’m so glad that I was given the opportunity to continue, thank you Rachael!

SRG FRESHIES 2016
Some of my fellow Fresh Meat 2016 graduates and me after our first sock scrim! Photo Courtesy of the SRG Facebook Page

Roller Derby is a sport for everyone, no matter your gender, race, sexuality, body shape/size or anything else. There’s no other sport quite like it.

In Roller Derby, having a team of diverse players not only means you have a lot more fun off skates, but it makes you a better team on them. Different body shapes and sizes are advantages, because different people can be put in to different positions and often naturally fall in to them. Saying that, there are some incredible skaters who are double threats [can block or jam] who you really do not want to cross.

The way Roller Derby works is as follows:

You have two teams on the track, each team has 4 blockers and a jammer. The jammer has to get through the blockers, referred to as the pack, and skate around the track and back through the pack to earn points for their team.

There are about a thousand other rules and conditions for earning those points, but I won’t go in to that here. If you’re interested, you can visit this page.

The players on track will hit each other, hard. They will hit each other to try to get other players to leave the track or to slow them down/move them out of the way to let their jammer through. Derby players are HARDCORE. There are specific safe target zones and parts that you are allowed to hit with to ensure that people don’t die, basically.

To run a game, the players aren’t the only people needed. Literally anyone can get involved in Roller Derby because there are so many officials needed for a bout. NSO’s are non-skating officials and help run the game in set positions (you can read about the positions here although I’m sure I’ll post about it some time in the future!), so you don’t even have to skate to be a part of the derby community! Refs are also needed, and a lot of them. There are up to 7 referees to a game. You need a lot of refs with Roller Derby because there is SO. MUCH. ACTION. An unbelievable amount of action, and it would be impossible for one or two refs to be able to see it all.

SUN'S OUT GUNS OUT
SRG’s upcoming Champs home game, SUN’S OUT GUNS OUT! Photo Courtesy of the SRG Facebook page

I’m still a n00b, and I am loving it. There is so much to learn, so many skills that I hope to one day have and I am enjoying every step of the journey.

Thank you to all of the Surrey Roller Girls for making me feel so welcome and empowered and thank you to my fellow Fresh Meat for being just as excited, nervous and nerdy as I am! I feel like I have friends for life already and it’s only been a few months.

If you’re interested in becoming a Badass on Wheels™* then keep an eye out for your local Fresh Meat sessions.

Don’t forget to follow Surrey Roller Girls on Facebook and Instagram!

Peace out,

Tilly xo

*not actually trademarked

Three Mountains, 2 legs!

On top of the World!

Hi all!

We’ve both been busy training, working hard, moving houses and changing jobs so we haven’t had much time to post recently.

We’re committed to bringing you the latest news in our fitness journeys and beyond so will be posting more frequently! YAY!

This weekend I took part in the Three Peaks Challenge with my work colleagues. We had 24 hours to climb 3 of the biggest mountains in the UK; Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. 

We ascended (and therefore descended) around 3000m across the three mountains with 44km walking and 2000km driving. This was no small feat and was way more challenging than we imagined it would be. The only sleep we could get was in the van between the mountains which doesn’t sound too bad, until you realise that the van is going to be quite erratic to get us there on time and there are 6 other sweaty bodies in there with you (I think the smell of man BO is going to be forever in my nostrils). You can’t stop for decent meals so you have to bring a lot of snacks with you, carbs carbs carbs for between the mountains and high sugar snacks and energy gels to carry up the mountains. All of this plus wet weather kit, lots of water and any additional kit you might need in your pack and you’re looking at carrying a fair amount of weight.

Minibus seat
My bed for the weekend

As someone who doesn’t eat meat, I also didn’t have any particularly high protein snacks with me. The lads were carrying things like biltong to add that extra bit of protein when their bodies were craving it. I survived on a diet of pasta, Mini Cheddars, Skittles and Veggie Percys as well as energy gels, Lucozade Sport and about 6 litres of water.

It was tough, really tough. I didn’t carry walking poles as I found that they slowed me down on our training weekend. This was a double edged sword; I would have been slowed down by the poles but I would have taken a lot of pressure off of my legs and knees should I have decided to use them. I’m glad that I didn’t.

I am so proud of my body and I feel incredibly strong, my legs held out the whole way, I achieved a time that most people can only hope of getting.

89
The full team! Naïvely smiling away.

Our final times were:

  • Ben Nevis Car Park to Pen-y-pass Car Park: 26 hours, 20 mins
  • Peak of Ben Nevis to Peak of Snowdon: 20 hours, 38 mins

We were told before we took on this challenge than anything under 30 hours was an achievement. We smashed that.

The individual mountain timings were:

  • Ben Nevis – start 15:00, summit 18:18, 5 hours 31 mins total climb
  • Scafell Pike – start 02:30, summit 05:20, 5 hours total climb
  • Snowdon – start 12:20, summit 14:56, 4 hours 59 mins total climb

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 13.58.09

I learnt a lot about myself on this journey, I am stronger than I ever could have imagined and my willpower and stubbornness can be a blessing. I can sleep in a van (something I couldn’t do before) and dribble a lot when I do so. My sense of humour can withstand the toughest of challenges.

Unfortunately, we hit bad weather on both Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike. At the top of Nevis we were shrouded in clouds which decided to pour hail, sleet and rain on us as soon as we began our descent. Scafell Pike is hell on Earth and we almost got lost due to the low visibility whilst we made our way through the fog of clouds that surrounded us. Fortunately, another group were coming up at the same time as us and one of them knew the way and helped us get back on track (THANK YOU KIND STRANGER). With drops of thousands of feet hidden around us, we had to make sure that we didn’t put a foot wrong. The wind picked up on all three mountains and was bitingly cold, it whipped around us and we had to keep firm footing to keep from being swept away.

It wasn’t just tough physically and mentally, it was incredibly dangerous too. Thankfully we managed to do it with no casualties and no major injuries. Though there were a few sore bums when some of us fell over on the descents. The paths (when you’re on a path) are made of uneven stones which are very slippery when wet. I was lucky to only fall down on the grass bank which I decided to climb to avoid the dodgy rocks on Scafell Pike.

An idea of the treacherous paths
An idea of the treacherous paths

As we descended Snowdon, with sore knees and heavy eyelids, our spirits were still strong. We reached the finish line after one more bend, just one more, oh wait, yeah, one more bend! And we were full of pride for the stellar effort that we had put in. I think we’ll be feeling this sense of achievement for a few weeks yet and I am so proud of the team that I was with for suffering through the pain and reaching the finish line.

Would I do it again? Maybe, when I forget how horrible Scafell Pike is to climb in the dark and what a disgusting climb it is.

Would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely. You’ll never do anything else like it.

Keep an eye out for more posts soon!

Tilly xo

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 14.15.44

This challenge was undertaken in aid of the Haemophilia Society. A UK based charity who do excellent work in supporting those with blood disorders and their families. You can see more about their work here: http://www.haemophilia.org.uk/. You can sponsor us at the following link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Mem3peaks2016

(V)(C) Mediterranean Mix with Sweet Potato

As you know, I am not one to stick to a strict recipe, so tonight when I got in I thought I would just throw whatever I could think of together and see how it went…

It was good enough that I had to share it immediately, with Oliver’s review a simple “YUP”.

What you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • A can of Cannellini Beans
  • 1/2 cup dried split peas
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • Some sea salt
  • Some proper peppercorn pepper (the ground stuff just doesn’t cut it)
  • 2 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Dried coriander leaves
  • Italian herbs mix
  • Dill
  • Coconut Oil

For the bean mix:

Drain, wash and pat dry the beans. Put the beans, lentils, split peas, shallots and garlic in to a pan and cover with water. Then add in the coriander leaf and italian herbs, be generous because the flavours really need to soak in to the water to taste! Put on a low-medium heat until it boils (I put it on for about 25-30mins before taking it off to reheat once the potatoes were done… I wasn’t planning on making a recipe for this so didn’t take exact notes).

For the sweet potato:

Chop the potatoes in to quarters lengthways, place in to a shallow dish (the pyrex kind) and sprinkle loads of dried dill to cover the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Melt some coconut oil and pour over (about 1 tbsp worth). Put on a high heat (I did it at 225C on my fan oven) and turn so all 3 sides spend time facing down. Just before they’re done, sprinkle some more salt on the skins to crisp them up. It took 45 mins for the sweet potatoes to cook for me but just keep an eye until you’re happy they’re crispy enough!

MedMix
SO. GOOD.

You can tell how good this was by the fact I was so excited about it that I had to share it immediately!
Enjoy and leave a comment/review below if you try it out!

The Summer Struggle

I find that normally people talk about the ‘Winter Slump’. The time over winter when Christmas hits and you eat loads and exercise less. For me though, the real struggle is summer. Friends are around, the sun is shining and the gym is absolutely sweltering.

I haven’t been to the gym for approx 3 weeks… this is why I don’t feel guilty:

  • I’ve walked along the beach
  • I’ve had a long kick about at the heath
  • I’ve been surfing and swimming in the sea
  • I’ve continued training Taekwondo
  • I’ve done boxing practice down the field near my flat
  • I’ve done some of the most fun, social exercises and been so much happier for it

Hitting the gym in winter is easy for me, I get to use a wide variety of exercise equipment where it’s light and quiet because few people are trying to get their ‘beach ready bodies’ (what does that even mean?!).

Fitness and exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, you should enjoy it! The This Girl Can campaign has been advertising this a lot lately and it’s so relevant to everyone – the gym is not for everyone, neither is running or basketball or football or any particular sport. Trying different activities is the only way to find the one for you and I promise there’s an activity or exercise out there that you’ll fall in love with!

My favourite thing about the exercise and fitness I’ve been doing for the past three weeks is that it’s the most social I’ve been for ages and I still get to have the endorphins flowing! If I asked most of my friends to hit the gym with me I would get nowhere, if I ask them to join me for a walk on the beach or a kick about they are much happier to join me and (apart from travel costs) most of these activities are FREE too.

FREE EXERCISE, SUN AND HAPPINESS – what more could you want? The summer slump is a thing of the past for me now… A walk in the countryside or at the beach or any number of other activities is the way forward for anyone who suffers from the ‘Summer Struggle’.

Get social, get active, get motivated. (I’ve even managed to get a tan which is really quite shocking to anyone who knows me and I’m not quite sure how no one tried to send me back to wherever it is ghosts come from).

I’m also really excited to meet some new people at Fitness Academy, the new fitness class I’m heading up on a Monday night in Petersfield. It’s a whole new venture for me, unlike anything I’ve done before, and I can’t wait to help people achieve their fitness goals!

This summer is gonna be my favourite summer yet; I’d love to hear your stories about fitness and if you’ve found what works for you so please comment below to get in touch.

(C) Dinner Parties – the clean way! (Part III)

I hope by now you’ve had a chance to try the starter and main course in this thread of recipes and enjoyed them as much as I do!

This is, by far, the simplest of all of the courses and is so ridiculously tasty. If I’m honest, I thought this would be the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten in my life and was very pleasantly surprised when I took my first spoonful and found the texture and taste to be incredible. This recipe should serve 4 people (but if you enjoy it as much as me, it may disappear before you get a chance to put it on the table…).

Dessert – Banana, Almond and Chia Seed Pudding

What you will need:

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 carton almond milk (if anyone has nut allergies you can use soya, coconut or oat milk)

Method:

Chop up the banana and put the almond milk and banana in to a blender/smoothie maker and blend until smooth.

Split in to 4 serving dishes – I used a fancy latte glass I had hanging around. Make sure there is some room in whatever you’re using… you’ll see why.

Put 1/4 cup of chia seeds in to each dish, mix, and place in the fridge to cool. The chia seeds will absorb the liquid and become soft, they will also grow. The longer you leave it, the softer they become. I left it about 30 mins and the texture was like mousse however you can eat it straight away, the seeds will just be crunchy.

Chia, banana and almond milk pudding
Looks weird, tastes great!

Serve and enjoy!

As usual, please leave your comments below.

(C) Dinner parties – the clean way! (Part II)

I hope you all enjoyed yesterdays recipe Flaxseed bread with Guaca-HOLYMOLY.  Today I’m bringing you the main course, one of my absolute favourites. I love pizza; pizza is glorious, pizza is great. Traditional pizza is also full of all those things that you really should not eat… so when I started eating clean, I thought this would be my downfall. Except, as it turns out, the best thing about clean eating as opposed to dieting is that you can still eat all of your favourite foods, you just find creative and innovative ways to adjust them to suit you!

Okay okay okay… so this recipe is not 100% clean… BUT with clean eating you still need a balanced diet, so the cheese is fine as long as you aren’t eating loads of cheese every single day (and your body processes dairy fine). Moving swiftly on…

Main Course – Courgette Pizza

What you will need:

For the base:

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • Dried Coriander

For the sauce:

  • 1 punnet plum tomatoes
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Dried Chives

For the topping:

  • Cheddar cheese (grated)
  • Any other toppings you want to add!

Method:

Start by chopping the courgette in to very small pieces. I do this by using my spiralizer to make “curly fry” shapes then chop those up even more finely with a sharp knife. Pop this all in to a large mixing bowl (or, as in Part I, if you don’t have a mixing bowl just use a large pan). Add the coconut flour and eggs and mix it all together, if it’s still too dry add a small amount of water. Add in your cheese and a generous amount of dried coriander. Mix well then place on a baking tray, smoothing it out in to all of the edges. Pop this in the oven at 180oc for a normal oven or 160oc for a fan assisted oven. Leave until it turns golden-brown (see pic below).

 

 

All our pizzas are in your base

 

Whilst this is cooking (it can take around 10 mins) you can work on making the sauce. Keep an eye on the base as it might need taking out whilst you are making the sauce, though!

Chop up all of the tomatoes in to quarters and place in a pan on the hob on a high heat. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir well and allow to boil. Add in 1 chopped clove of garlic and a generous amount of chives. Turn the heat down to a medium heat and continue to stir regularly, letting the tomatoes completely break down. Once they are completely broken down, let the mixture cool for a few minutes and blend to a very smooth consistency. Pour over the base and spread with the back of a spoon.

Add your cheese and toppings and place back in the oven at the same temperature as before. Keep an eye on it and let it cook until the cheese is all melted and looks like you would normally have your pizza – I leave it about 10 mins.

Serve and enjoy!

PIZZAAAAA!!!

 

Pro tip: If you want some a side to go along with your pizza, make some sweet potato chips. I have a tefal actifry which makes the most incredible sweet potato chips, however if you chop up and place them in the oven (just like frozen oven chips but without the guilt), add some melted coconut oil over the top and some salt, you can get equally tasty sweet potato chips!

NB: I wouldn’t normally serve pizza and chips at a dinner party, but with the twist on these it is more acceptable I believe, plus it caters to all ages!

As usual, please let me know how this recipe worked for you in the comments below!

(C) Dinner parties – the clean way! (Part I)

Firstly I would like to apologise for my absence over the past week – it’s been a busy one at work and I haven’t had much spare time to blog. However, I have managed to perfect a three course meal suitable for clean eaters, vegetarians and coeliacs – for those times when you want to have people over but don’t want to break your diet! I’m going to aim to do each recipe so that it can feed up to 4 people, however I do live alone so this may vary depending on how much food people eat (as with every recipe).

First Course/Starter – Flaxseed Bread with Guaca-HOLYMOLY

What you need:

For the Bread:

  • 2 cups milled flaxseed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda OR baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Guaca-HOLYMOLY

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cayenne Chilli Pepper
  • Dried Mixed Herbs (for garnish)

Method:

This recipe is super simple!

For the bread:

Preheat your oven to 200oc or 180oc for a fan oven.

In a mixing bowl (or, if you don’t have one like me, in a large pan), put the milled flaxseed and add 3 eggs, mix this all together so it is a wet mixture.

Add the bicarb of soda/baking powder, ground almonds and salt and mix again, it’s going to dry up pretty quickly so now is the time to crack in the extra egg and add the 3 tbsp of water.

Mix it all up until it is almost a lumpy cake mixture consistency.

That is it, all you need to do now is pour it in to a small loaf pan, pop it in the oven and wait 20-25 mins. Stick a knife through the centre and if it comes out clean, it’s ready! This bread is delicious and surprisingly light – you can add nuts to it or leave it plain. It’s so versatile, it’s worth playing around with adding different ingredients to see how it turns out! (I will be experimenting with Monterey Jack cheese and jalapenõs soon).

Flaxseed bread with guaca-HOLYMOLY

For the Guaca-HOLYMOLY:

Cut the avocados in half and remove the stones. Remove the peel and place all the flesh in to a bowl, cut in to small chunks. Mash the avocado flesh with the back of a fork until it’s a smooth consistency (this can take some elbow grease and patience! It may be easier to do these one at a time). Add in the Cayenne Chilli Pepper and mix it all up, I would suggest doing this a bit at a time and tasting throughout until it’s at a heat that you are happy with.

Once the bread is cool enough, spread the Guaca-HOLYMOLY on to sliced pieces and garnish by sprinkling some dried mixed herbs over the top.

SO SO EASY, yet so full of flavour!

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments section below.

Grading Night!!!

Tonight was my 6th experience of grading, with only 4 left to go until I reach 1st Dan (or to most people – black belt) so I want to give you some background in to what it is that I really do.

Please be aware that different schools have other criteria and the following is all based on my experiences at the Taekwondo Academy in Petersfield.

There are many different types of Taekwondo, all of which have different focusses (Eg some styles focus mainly on technique, some lean more towards sparring etc). The variation that we learn is a mixture of technique and sparring, with a pretty equal focus on both. Taekwondo is a mixed martial art, it has no particular bias towards the hands or the legs as some other martial arts do; you use what you can, but you use it correctly. (Although some would argue that it is more of a kicking sport; those people have never sparred with us).

What a grading (generally) entails

The basic thing you need to know for any grading is your form (sometimes referred to as a pattern), which is a sequence of moves performed in a specific order and can be difficult to remember. Each form has a different amount of moves and is particular to the belt for which you are grading. For instance, my form this evening, Joong-Gun, had 30 moves of varying complexity but my first form, Chon-Ji, had only 14 moves.

Other things you may need to know for your grading include;

  • Escapes – for self defence purposes if you are grabbed
  • One Steps (or sparring drills) – a series of moves performed with a partner to help develop muscle memory during sparring and to improve technique (this is done in a defensive manner, one person will ‘punch’ the other who would then perform the moves)
  • Target drills – to practice technique and help develop muscle memory for sparring
  • Sparring – during grading this helps the instructors to see areas that need to be improved upon, particularly complex moves such as jump kicks, spin kicks and jump/spin kicks
  • The name of your form (in its original Korean) and the amount of moves in your form
  • Pressure points and other trivia
  • The 7 tenets of Taekwondo – Honour, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage, Community

As you can see, there can be a lot involved in a grading and although not every topic above may be covered, there is much more to it than you may originally think. A lot of hours need to be put in and any opportunity to practice must be taken (you only need to check the CCTV around the side of my office building to see how serious I am about this!). So imagine being an instructor and having to know all of the above topics… but for 10+ different belts.

The belts (in order)

I get asked a lot what belt I am and when I tell people they generally have no idea where that falls on the spectrum but still say ‘oh cool!’ anyway. Please find the belts we use at the Taekwondo Academy in order below.

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Senior Green
  • Blue
  • Senior Blue
  • Purple
  • Senior Purple
  • Red
  • Senior Red
  • 1st Dan (Black)
  • there are many more beyond this, but I will leave it here for now!

On top of this are the Instructor qualifications which range from Level 4 to Level 1 (Level 1 being the most senior you can get).

At the time of writing this, I am a Senior Blue Level 4 Junior Assistant Instructor. I will find out if I passed my grading and if I have achieved my Purple belt tomorrow evening.

So what is it like?

Grading is terrifying, whether you are prepared or not, but so very worth it. There’s just something about the formality of it, with a panel of people judging you and trying to remember so many things all at once, that really gets the adrenaline going.

Yet nothing beats the feeling when your name is called and you tie your new belt around your waist because you know that you earned it.

The Man. The Myth.
The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Norris made history in 1990 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master.

Stay tuned for more Taekwondo related information and news.