17.03.2011 – i-Station26


This morning (and really last night too), I needed some boost to get me moving. You know me, I am a mover and a shaker, but sometimes even I need a little “help”. I of course tried wine first (last night, not this morning), didn’t help. Then started thinking, what do I usually do when I need a little help. The answer is easy, MUSIC! Few weeks back I “accidentally” rewired my old docking station with telephone wire. Safe to say it was not a success and the entire thing obviously stopped working. Bummer. As I was in the market for a new docking station, I started searching. I already decided that even thought I would like to spend thousands on a fierce dock, I really shouldn’t. So budget was set to £100 or under and I was off to the wonderful world of Amazon. Few clicks in I discovered the iStation26 and I was immediately excited. Started reading about the features and I was getting more excited. I wanted something with FM radio, check. I wanted something that could wake me up with my own songs (Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 being current favourite), check. I wanted something that looks great, black and shiny, check. I was sold, quick order and few days later it arrived.

As I am impatient only child, the box was ripped open with my snag tooth, wires attached and the docking station was plugged, iPod docked and I pressed play. Safe to say the first song I played was Rihanna’s S&M, my current favourite track as I think I could become a millionaire dancing to it. Anyway, the song starts and I am impressed. The docking station isn’t very big, it looks slick and stylish, so I was little concerned that the sound wouldn’t be all that great. Fear not. It was. Base was pumping nicely courtesy of the built-in sub-woofer. The stereo sound is clear, bright and feels very warm. Quick change and I was surrounded by Adele’s soulful voice and it made me shiver. For me the test is how well a docking station plays “proper” music, any player will do a good job on your chart hits, but can they handle the soul voices of Christina, Etta, Adele or Aretha? The iStation26 made me quiver. Winner.

With the sound quality being amaze, plus a BIG handful of other features, such as the cutest remote control ever (that you can use to explore the menu on your iPhone and iPod), iPhone 4 compatible, TDAM Suppression Technology (eliminates any interference from your phone) and the possibility to be used as a standalone speakers, no iPod required! Superior sound quality, good looks and amazingly fast trickle charger (my iPod Touch was charged full within 20min) and the quiver factor have left me seriously  impressed this little device. Lot of tech for very little cash and it really is a total sound solution for our East London flat.


Profile on Vanessa Bird, Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer extraordinary

Today marks the start of something new on msalonen.com, little profiles of interesting people with something to say. No better person to start than my Personal Trainer, Vanessa Bird.

Hi Vanessa, thanks for joining msalonen.com!

1. Tell us what is it that you do?
Why of course Marko! I am a freelance Personal Trainer specialising in aesthetic body reshaping (training the vain!), fat loss, intense & advanced weight training techniques, online PT, and metabolic training (training designed to maximise fat burning & get rapid results). Oh and I am one of the very 1st PTs to be qualified in the UK as a Power Club Instructor. In fact, I have just filmed 6 new TV shows with specific workouts using the clubs after the successful response from the 1st show I filmed that was screened on The Active Channel (you can peek at it online now if you missed it). So I guess that means I am also a TV Presenter too, & I often contribute to national fitness magazines. Wow, What a long answer!

2. How did you get started in fitness? Was it always what you wanted to do?
Was it heck! Surprisingly I hated fitness. Like, REALLY despised it! It was my worst subject at school and I hung around with the asthmatic kids during PE so I’d not have to do much exercise (I’d say they needed looking after!). You’d need threat of Nuclear War to even warrant me to break out into a slow jog I hated it that much. So no, it wasn’t what I always wanted to do. Originally I wanted to be a Graphic Artist, then a writer of fiction, and then I fell into fitness by accident and worked in gyms for a few years until I ran them, before leaving it to work as a medical sales rep. Of course, turns out that fitness is my true passion, so I’ve returned to where I belong and am now transforming the world into a fitter, more beautiful place, person by person (or victim by victim)…I am creating a bionic, vain and supremely healthy race 😉
3. what is the best part of your job, and the worst of course?!
The best part is that I truly enjoy it and it’s my passion. It’s hard to tell where my working hours end and my free time begins. I have an intense  burning need to help people become healthier & happier in themselves. I want to fight this rubbish view that getting older means you get fat, slow, ache a lot and generally curl up into a decrepit foetal position & wait to die. I want people to realise that they can be in the best shape they have EVER been in, regardless of age. I want to create a bionic army of Pensioners that look like silver-haired Adonis’! Seeing results & seeing how a person changes completely in their body and character inspires me. You think THAT was a long answer then you’ve no clue how much I had to stop myself launching into a 10 page epic on why I love what I do!!!!

The worst? When I get frustrated as some people just refuse to take accountability for their own physical body and blame everything but themselves for failing at fitness & then quit. I hate seeing lost potential. I’ve been that person and made all the excuses myself so I know if I can change then anyone can. Oh and also the ridiculously unpredictable and antisocial hours sometimes. 4.30am starts and 10pm finishes? Not so hot! 
4. In a perfect word, what would you like to be doing if not your current career?
In a perfect world I’d be doing the exact same thing, albeit in my own private sumptuous health club. I’d also have a health club over in Las Vegas!  I’d be ramping up the TV presenting too & bringing out some motivational books to help people get into the right frame of mind to begin their transformations.  If THAT wasn’t an option? Well I’d be Prince Harry’s Cougar Mistress (whilst being his Personal Trainer too!!). “Harry, ‘call me, yeh? Marko can pass you my number…xx’
5.  Any advice to anyone thinking about a career in fitness?
Be prepared to earn little to begin with and work hard as you build up a reputation. Results show and clients will then refer you without question. You need to eat, sleep and breathe health & fitness and have a true passion, otherwise it’ll come across to your clients. If you cannot motivate and inspire your own fitness lifestyle then how the hell do you expect to do it to anyone else? Personally, I believe that if you put yourself up there as a Fitness Professional, then you need to go that extra mile and practice what you preach and look the part too. Don’t do it thinking you’re gonna get paid to work out and look buff all day. You’re in for a shock if you do! It’s hard work and a true vocation.

That’s great, thank you Vanessa. Now as we have learned about your chosen career, 
I would like to get a little more personal! 
1. The first thing you do in the morning when you get up?
I nip downstairs, make a cuppa (I’m a Northern girl and we transfuse our blood with tea daily), and then head back upstairs to have a shower and paint on ‘the face’. Grooming darling! No excuses!
2. Before you leave the house, you always check?
Whether I have my iphone glued to my hand? It is 99% certain that I have but I always check!
3. On your way to work, you?
Continually change tracks on the CD or radio, sing along to it, talk to myself and paint my nails when in stationery traffic. (shhhh). 
4. At the end of the day you look forward to?
Ooh, I don’t actually know? Getting home & shutting out the outside world? That & having another cuppa!
5. The last thing you do before you go to bed?
I say my prayers. I’m a good girl & you’ve got to thank The Big Man for everything he’s done for you eh?

Right, in conclusion: Vanessa is totally committed to fitness (well now at least), she drives with her iPhone glued to her hand, tea bubbling in her vains, whilst changing CD’s. God help the people on the road with her! For more about Vanessa you can visit her site www.elitephysique.co.uk. On the site there are regular updates about news and blog as well. PLUS you can of course get in touch with her and book you very own training session! You can of course visit her facebook page “Elite Physique Personal Training” or follow her on twitter. As I have been training with Vanessa for a while now, I have invited her to join me on the site as my “fitness guru”, in the next coming weeks, she will be guiding us all to “the perfect gay body” using me as an example! Give me few weeks to get camera ready and then it is on! Any request? Just comment below and we will see what we can do!