14/08/2014 16:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Dear Natalie Cassidy

Dear Natalie Cassidy,

I did your exercise DVD last night, yes I know, finally after nearly 18 months of not shifting my backside and consuming extreme amounts of chocolate, pasta and bread I decided that enough was enough and I had to try and shift the weight that seems to have gathered around my middle and my arse.

I didn't own your DVD beforehand, I actually went out and bought it, I headed to HMV as I thought since they were going up the proverbial creek without a paddle I would be able to get a cheap and cheerful workout DVD but it would seem somebody has stepped in and helped HMV out of the crap and administration is no more. Curious that didn't hit the headlines in quite the same fashion.

So Natalie, the direct consequence of HMV now sailing downstream with all paddles working is because you were priced at a reasonable £7.99 you got the pleasure of being my new gym buddy.

Whilst I was out preparing to get fit I also popped into the local M&S and picked up some new Lycra bottoms. I have plenty of old ones but my new size means the camel toe is simply unbearable, even to wear in my own home, in front of my own TV.


I didn't want you to feel you had to avert your eyes from my front bottom; I bought new Lycra for you Natalie.


By the way Natalie, I did all of this shopping with three children in tow because it is the Easter Holidays. After three hours in town picking up one DVD, one pair of leggings, visiting three different public toilets, chasing one child through Boots and preventing another from getting a criminal record for shoplifting, it took all my self-restraint to not dive into a bottle of gin when I got home. But instead I pulled on my Lycra which fit like a very large glove, and slipped you into the DVD player.

Now Natalie, I don't have a huge amount of time in my life, I work most evenings, have three kids in the day, two of whom need a bit more than average care, I have a husband who thinks I should put out most evenings and I write a parenting blog so am eternally caught up in sagas in the social world that any Dallas watcher would envy.

My point Natalie?

I had to do your DVD whilst the kids were awake.

In my head I had an image of the four of us stretching and jogging in the lounge in a harmonious fashion, all giggling together when we got a step wrong, and doing high fives when we completed some tricky stomach crunches.

Natalie, my head is sometimes a very misleading place.

I put your DVD on and within seconds my son was tearing about the place screeching 'how many stones you going to lose mum, she lost three y'know and you are bigger than she was'. My youngest toddler copied him in earnest and before you had even finished explaining how it all works my son had bounced off one wall, careered into his sister and her nose was bleeding madly and swelling up like Violet the blueberry in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I am sorry Natalie, but I had to put you on pause whilst I sorted the broken child, had a little shout at the other child and cleaned blood out of my new fat lass Lycra.

Ten minutes later, with the lad playing in his room, the little one watching TV in the kitchen, myself and my eldest girl - she is seven by the way - were ready to go, again.

So we pressed play. Now first things first, you look fab on the DVD, credit where credit is due. The top if I am honest, whilst making your bosom look simply awesome may not be the most appropriate for a work out but it did make my other half stop and drool for five minutes when he came home. I have issues with your makeup - who wears eyeliner to do squats?

Quite frankly I started the DVD looking like a bag of shite and finished it looking like a bag of shite that had been dragged through a sewer. Maybe next time you could do a quick cleanse and tone beforehand so I can feel better about myself?

Anyway I digress, the DVD commenced and off we went. My daughter and I squatted, lunged, boxed and one of us sobbed a little. I know you have a training partner in the video who seems lovely, but let me tell you Natalie, you ain't ever done a workout unless you have done it with a seven-year-old girl by your side.

Every time I missed a step she snorted, when we went into side step, jump, bunny hop, turn, she let out a howl of laughter that startled the hamster and cried 'keep going mum, that belly wobble needs to go.' She took a break for a while to help me try and get it right and sat on the sofa commenting helpfully.

"Don't stop big mumma."

"C'mon Mum, you arms flap when you do that."

"You look like you are going to explode mum, why not do it naked?"

These are an example of her motivating commentary Natalie, I can tell you she doesn't mince her words.

Also to reassure you, I refused her kind offer to do it naked as, warm as I was, I live in a small village and I didn't want to offend the neighbours.

In the last section of the work out, you know the one where you tried to make me do a press up. Well that is when my other half came home and was memorised by your cleavage.

I thought he would be chuffed, Natalie, to see me finally up off my jacksy battling the bulge, but do you know what he did? He stepped in the room, gazed at the TV, gagged a little and wiped away the drool, then disappeared, returned with a deodorant can and sprayed it like air freshener around my workout zone.

Have you ever tried doing the bench with Dove Natural clogging your lungs Natalie? It takes the whole experience from being excruciatingly painful to being close to death. I challenge you to control your breathing with a mouth full of aerosol and a seven-year-old stood in front of you yelling 'hold it, HOLD IT!'

It wasn't easy Natalie, but I survived to the end, a little sweatier than when I began but at least a pound lighter. I even left you in the DVD player with the full intention of doing you again this morning at 6am, but when I got up to go for my middle of the night wee the lightning strikes of pain that ricocheted up my thighs convinced me to forgo seeing you so soon and I stayed in bed with a cuppa instead.

So thanks for the experience and wish me luck on the whole stopping being fat thing. I did forget to tell you one thing, when I finished the work out, my seven-year-old mini Hitler embraced my smelly body in a bear hug and told me she was fabulously proud of me and that I would be running marathons again in no time.

It seems she may be OK at motivational speaking after all.

Have a good day and thanks for the fitness,


Jane is a working Mum of three and has great hair. One of these things may not be true.

Blogs at: Northern Mum
Twitter: @JaneBlackmore