Sunday, 30 August 2009

even' all!

sat here in the bar area of our hotel - have commandeered the laptop while the boys play pool, this place is fab, it's like a youth hostel. for dinner we all had the same thing - a basket of bread, beef and mushroom stew with rice (yum but needed some chilli sauce or at the least a bit of tabasco

I actually love it down here in the bar, the décor is a cross between youth hostel and old people's home... big dilapidated sunken sorry leather sofas and chairs... a pool table you have to physically lift up and shake to get the balls out and more chintz you could shake a stick at!

I'm loving the reviews of this place, especially those on Trip Advisor, the disparity between the feelings towards this joint:

"This 'hotel' is a dump, more like a poor hostel"

Vs

"Fantastic location, helpful friendly staff, good food,clean and comfortable accomodation[sic]"

My feelings veer more towards the latter viewpoint... this place is not plush by any stretch of the imagination but it doesn't claim to be anything other than a budget hotel!! Look at the info on Alpine Element's own site.

So I had no expectations other than for a place that was in a great location and was clean... I'm more than pleased with what we've got, the whole package, flights, transfers, accommodation, breakfast, tea and 3 course dinner, plus all the activities, came to about £400 per person!!

anyhoo, we've booked paragliding for tomorrow and we've been told our mountain bikes are available free from monday to wednesday and we're doing the white water rafting on thursday.

hilariously, if we want to swim in the big pools in Morzine (a 10 min bus ride away) then the boys have to wear speedos!!!

if we swim in the lake it doesn't matter if they're in baggy shorts.

right, I'm being yelled at to get off the laptop and being called a geek blogger... a bit rich considering my other half is a software developer for UBS and my son is a complete computer game addict... hmmm

I'll leave you with some pics from last week's V festival but first here's me after the paint fight at Secret Garden Party last year and Joe in his mullet and tennis band haha!




And here's me, Joe and some friends from last week's V festival (I had to buy the cowboy hat on the second day as I burnt the top of my head really badly on the first!!):







speak soon

TJx

Woo hoo!

This hotel has free wi-fi, result! :-)

This resort is bloody brilliant and the weather is amazing. We're right near the cable cars to take us into the mountain for trekking and mountain biking :-)

Our rooms are tres basic but clean and a good size. Plus mine and Joe's room is on the top floor on the side of the hotel so we've got wrap around balconies :-D

Can't wait for the fun to start tomorrow. We've got a meeting tonight with our rep from Alpine Elements to give us our multipass (free unlimited use of the swimming lakes and pool, cable cars, free white water rafting, maps and mountain bike hire included too! :-) ).

We can also do other things like rock climbing and via ferrata, canyonning, quad biking, waterskiing, kayaking, wakeboarding, horse riding, paint balling and even ice skating to name but a few!!

Right, will report back with more details later, plus pics as I got my camera working again, woo hoo!! (this involved the TJ Brute Strength and Ignorance approach which involved smacking it down on the edge of my bedside table... Much to Joe's disgust... Apparently they're really good expensive Muji tables, and I left a little dent... Whoops!!

Ahh well, camera works anyway ;-)

See ya later!

TJx

leaving on an aeroplane...

At Gatwick airport at the mo, waiting to head off on hols. Gonna turn my data off on my blackberry as got absolutely stung last time I went to France!

However, we have our laptop with us so will update your good selves whenever I get the chance :-)

Hope you all have a fab week, I'm really looking forward to our activity holiday!

TJx

Friday, 28 August 2009

The Power of Positive Thought

I love this poem, I first heard it when I was 10 and have faithfully remembered the first part for the last 20 years... I never realised there was more to it than just the first verse so was thrilled to find the rest!

It's by Walter D Wintle, and I think the original title was "The man who thinks he can", but it's been somewhat adapted over the years ;-)

Here you go:

If you think you're beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't;
it's almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost,
for out in this world we find,
success begins with a fellow's will -
it's all in the state of mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself
before you can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
to the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later the one who wins
is the ONE WHO THINKS THEY CAN!

Eric's coastal kayak around Britain

Armed with a soggy map, a GPS navigator and a determination forged from 22 years in the Armed Forces, Eric Innes is on the home strait of an epic kayak voyage around the British Isles.


This guy is awesome, what an amazing feat,

he's raising money for Help for Heroes
and is proving to be one himself.

You can show your support here :-)

I'm looking forward to doing a bit of kayaking next week... however that will be in a comparatively warm lake in France, NOT the freezing cold sea around the British Isles!!

What a legend

Mmmm lush, drooolllll slurp

I was meeting friends last night for a quick drink last night (diet coke mind, I'm giving my liver a bit of a rest and won't be drinking until next week!!) at the Ha Ha bar in Embankment. On the way there I passed a Holland & Barrett so decided to pop in and get another jar of BarleyCup for home. I've got one at work and I love it... it does actually taste like coffee, but less harsh, and it doesn't give you coffee breath - and it doesn't have caffeine as it's made from chicory and barley - really yummy! I also picked up some licorice but unfortunately they didn't have the quinoa bars that they do in the branch in Victoria... they're lush, think Sesame Snacks but with quinoa instead, even more yummy!

By the drinks section they also had the nut butters. I already have almond butter that I bought a few months ago, which is nice, quite strong savoury though, I think I prefer eating actual almonds (which I do, most days!), but I noticed they had some cashew nut butter... I HEART cashew nuts... OMG, they are lovely, I used to visit this shop in Wimbledon Station called 'The Nut Tree' and buy honey-coated cashews and macademias by the bag-full... droollll.... this stuff is nicer than the almond butter, they roast the cashews before grinding them, so tasty!

Anyway, so I bought some cashew nut butter as well as some more rye flour for the bread maker, met up with my girlfriends for some drinks (one of whom still works at House of Fraser, my old employer, fucking awful soul-destroying organisation, going to try and get her a job in my current work place, it will make her life a lot happier I can tell you!!!) and then headed back home.

I didn't get in til quite a bit later than planned so I literally had 30 mins I could spend in the gym before kick-out time

It's always a constant battle between me and the staff when it's like 10/15 minutes to closing time:-

Staff: closing time now
Me: I thought you're open til 10pm
Staff: we are but you have to be out the door by 10pm
Me: how long do you think it'll take me to walk from this machine to the door
Staff: well we give you time to shower first
Me: I live round the corner, I don't use the showers here
Staff: Oh {grudgingly} alright then
Me: {false smiles} thanks very much

I wouldn't mind but I never leave there *after* 10pm and I do literally walk straight out as we do live a couple of minutes walk away... PLUS I'm there quite a lot in the week you'd think they'd recognise me by now!!!

Anyway, I managed to get 30 mins in on the Cardio Wave, love that machine, legs felt suitably numb and floaty-light afterwards and I had a decent sweat built up - not nearly the same as running but I did that the day before and don't want to overdo it...

Anyhoo, as I didn't get back home til after 10 I didn't feel in the slightest bit hungry but decided I needed to munch on something so I made a protein pancake with a scoop of promax diet in banana flavour and topped with half a tub of quark with cashew butter and honey all mixed up together.

I think this might have been the tastiest ever... it was like eating my honey-coated cashews but without the guilt, haha! At nearly 50g of protein and only 300 cals and < 5g fat it was pretty damn perfect for me, I'm so super chuffed.

Here's the recipe, I challenge you to not adore it (unless you have nut allergies and then I withdraw my challenge with abundant apologies...)



Enjoy!

TJx

Thursday, 27 August 2009

hullo!

Hope you're having a groovy day. I'm happy as I now have a fan sat on my desk (yes, my life is that mundane to get excited about things like that) which means my face won't melt off any longer - air-con... what air-con?!

I'm also happy because I've only got 3 more sleeps til we jet off to Les Gets for our family activity holiday!!

I have now registered for my course entitled: Health Science introductory course, although I have to wait for the registration forms to come through as I've applied for an OUSBA (Open University Student Budgeting Account) which means I'll be able to spread my fees over the duration of the course :-)

I'm really looking forward to starting the course in October - here's the summary:

This course explores the scientific and social aspects of disease and disability in a global context through seven case studies: water and health in an overcrowded world; pain; alcohol; screening for breast cancer; chronic lung disease; trauma and accidents; and visual impairment. Each case study integrates the biological, chemical, and physical sciences with psychology, health statistics, and social studies to illuminate underlying causes and personal and societal consequences. You’ll develop skills in: evaluating evidence; understanding and using key scientific terms and concepts; handling numbers; and interpreting graphs and tables. You’ll also learn to study using ICT – including interactive DVDs, internet and online resources.


It sounds so interesting, I can't wait!! Who knows, if I enjoy working towards the Certificate in Health Sciences enough, I might change my study route to attain BA/BSc (Honours) in Health Studies, or a BSc (Honours) in Life Sciences instead of the Open Degree!

It's great to have the options available to me. I feel so priviledged living in this country with the rights, freedom and access to education that I do. It both saddens and angers me when I read about the appalling way women are treated in other countries.

I'm thinking of sponsoring a child, a very close friend of mine has done so for quite a few years and I think it would be a great idea. My own son wants for nothing... he lives in a big house, goes to a decent school, has all the food, medication, clothes, books, games etc that he could ever need and more (though he'd argue that he 'needs' more games of course but I'm not about to raise a spoilt brat!). He has the opportunity to be truly great if he puts his mind to it and studies hard. But there are those who just don't have that opportunity, and maybe never will. It would be good to help brighten another person's future though, I've been looking at a few sites and will think about it more over the week that I'm away. I quite like the look of ActionAid and SOS children's villages.

ahh, anyway, I've asked for info from ActionAid and SOS have their own sponsorship handbook that you can view so will look carefully over those and speak to Joe and Ryan about what they think as I'd like them to be involved too :-)

So today I haven't been able to get to the gym yet but will hopefully get there later tonight to do some cardio.

Monday was meant to be a 'punish oneself drastically in the gym to mitigate damage caused by a weekend of boozing at a music festival' day - but it didn't quite end up like that! The festival in question was bloody marvellous but the drinks were horrendously expensive... I didn't want to get beered up for the entire time and drinking wine in the day is a no-no for me as it dehydrates me to hell... as well as rendering me a drunken useless mess! So I decided to sneak a bottle of vodka into the grounds with me *slaps wrist* which I divided between 3 500ml bottles of diet coke - not quite as calorific as drinking umpteen pints and glasses of wine but still the equivalent of 14 vodka and diet cokes was drunk throughout the course of the day and I was a bit of a shaky mess on Monday!

I made up for it on Tuesday night though by going and working pretty hard on my upper body... here's what I did on the machine/cable weights:

Seated shoulder press - 22.5kg - 3 x 10 reps
Lat Pulldown - 50kg - 3 x 10 reps (whoop whoop!)
Pec Deck - 25kg - 3 x 10 reps
Internal Shoulder Rotation - 5kg - 3 x 10 reps
External Shoulder Rotation - 3.75kg - 3 x 10 reps
Triceps Pulldown - 15kg - 3 x 10 reps (have dropped the weight by 10kg to see if it improves my form)
Low Row - 45kg - 3 x 10 reps

I didn't get to go on the smith machine to do my chest presses which is a shame, but I ran out of time and had to dash back and help Joe with putting up a new cupboard in our breakfast room as we don't have much storage in the kitchen and we needed somewhere to put our normal cupboard food overflow (I always buy too much shopping when I go to the supermarket, I think it's a product of once being really poor and living on £28 a week as a pregnant 16 year old... now I just can't bear to have an empty cupboard!!) and our ever-growing supply of Maximuscle products!

Just look at the bottom shelf, it's ridiculous!! There's Joe's Cyclone, Viper (which he loves and says really does the trick but I think tastes a bit odd!!) and Progain and my Promax Natural and Diet and some of the Maximilks !

Oh and by the way, my Thermobol stash arrived (you can still buy 2 packs for £22 from the Maxiwomen site). Although I have taken them before, I've only got through one packet in the past and that was spread out over weeks. The daily recommended dose is 3 per day, taken on an empty stomach and spread throughout the day... boy did I know I was taking them! Although it says to take on an empty stomach, I'd recommend you make sure you've eaten enough during the day/previous day beforehand as they give you serious jitters otherwise... I was WIRED! Was sat in a meeting jiggling away, leg twitching more than usual (I'm not good at sitting still for any length of time) and my thoughts flitting here, there and everywhere!

Today I have seemed to have gotten a grip on things as my body has got used to them - I think!

Will have to see if they help me 'melt away' the final layers of fat - I'm like a chubby onion right now ;-)

So yesterday I got up super super early and hauled both my and my boyfriends arses to the gym - double brownie points pour moi! I concentrated on my lower half and did this on the machines:

Double Leg Press - 90kg - 3 x 10 reps (I'm pretty bloody chuffed by this)
Single Leg Press - 40kg - 3 x 10 reps
Leg Curl - 40kg - 3 x 10 reps
Leg Extension - 40kg - 3 x 10 reps
Adductor - 55kg - 3 x 10 reps
Abductor - 55kg - 3 x 10 reps

I also did 20 mins on the stair-stepper on a reasonably hard setting and I ran 5km afterwards on the treadmill

My arse hurts SO much today!!!

Tonight I plan to row and use the eliptical trainer, can't wait :-)

Last night Joe and I went out with a couple of friends to this super restaurant in Oxford Circus called Ozer. I'd not been there before so didn't know what to expect. We had the 'healthy meal', I'm not sure quite how it got that name, don't get me wrong, the food was really fresh tasting and not at all greasy but I'm sure it wasn't the healthiest thing on the planet! The dishes were great though, and so many of them! I guess the 'healthy' thing was the price - less than £15, and the amount of food, plus complimentary yummy bread and hummus, that we received?

We all shared a bottle of Malbec and then went to a proper old man's pub, amusingly called The Cock (amusing for Joe that is as he's hugely immature ;-) ) and the boys had pints while my girlfriend and I shared a bottle of red... and then another one...!

I was a bit hammered... I challenged Joe to a walking race on our way home from Brixton tube station - I whooped his arse (I think it might be my awesome MBTs which really do propel you forwards!) and got a surprise this morning when I received an email saying that my friend had commented on my facebook status... which I have zero recollection of updating!!

oh dear

I slept well, despite my cat's best efforts to nibble/drool on my fingers, grrr - Solo!!!

feeling a little worse for wear from all the vino tinto and think I might lay off the sauce tonight when I'm out, here's hoping!!

TJx

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

quick post and thoughts and plans for the future

arghhh!! I think I'm losing my mind... have spent the *entire* day trying to fix a really bloody simple calculation, thinking the code is fine, promoting and re-promoting it through 3 different environments... JUST to find that I need to make more changes

this is my final go, I might just go a bit mental if it doesn't produce some sensible results in LIVE!

anyway, hi, sorry I've been so shit at posting but I've actually been doing some work ("for a change?!", I hear you cry!) well, YES... it does seem as if I've turned a corner and am on the right way to becoming a useful part of our little systems team.

I don't know what it is exactly that has helped but I'm pretty sure that gaining new control over my food and eating habit - I am now able to resist the peanut butter... yes... even with the baby teaspoon... I realise now that these little cheats are only my negative self's way of sabotaging my efforts.

Over the past few weeks I have managed to rein in my eating and ramp up my training... it has produced fantastic results, I am so chuffed to be able to see clearly now the fruits of my labour!

I have also come to a few decisions about what I want to do academically from this point forward...

I was studying for a degree in Computing with Business, and, as I reported earlier this month, I passed the first module that I needed to complete.

However, completing that course made me realise that I don't actually want to be a programmer, which is a bit rubbish as a) that's pretty much what most of my current job entails! and b) Joe bought me a nice new PC for crimbo with the intention of it helping me out to this gain!

Over the past few months I have learnt so much about health, fitness and nutrition that I want it to become a part of who I am even more so. I want to learn about it properly instead of reading articles and posts that other people have written. In other words, I want to study, and not passively ingest it - if that makes any sense?!

So, as I'd very much like to stick with the Open University, I have changed my course route to working towards an Open Degree - I'm hoping to achieve a BSc (hons) which will require an additional 330 points to achieve.

I feel SO super happy at making this decision as now I can tailor my degree to suit me.

I have also noted that along the way to attaining my degree I can pick up various other qualifications. So, to start, I'm going to aim towards a Certificate in Health Sciences , the first course of this being Introducing health sciences: a case study approach , which sounds really interesting! After completing that I have to choose enough courses to get 30/35 points, after which I will get the certificate.

The courses I will probably do to follow are:

Challenging obesity (15 points)
Human genetics and health issues (10 points)
Understanding human nutrition (10 points)

However, I'm really interested in:
Chance, risk and health, Understanding cancers , Understanding cardiovascular diseases and Molecules, medicines and drugs: a chemical story so will definitely do them too at some other point to count towards my overall degree!

I've actually got to dash off now as am going to meet up with friends at a nice Turkish restaurant in Soho... looking forward to that, I'm famished!

I'll write more when I get the chance, hope everyone is well, just thought I'd share my news - positive times :-)

TJx

P.S. calculation works, woooot!!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Great end to the week :-)

Feeling very positive, I actually worked hard this week. Well, a lot harder than usual, met my deadline and did even more than expected!

Perhaps it's because I've been feeling more positive because of how my body is responding to the increased training, diet and supplements... Whatever it was I felt like I was able to focus better and deliver results :-)

I'm at my in-laws at the mo, they're having the boy for us while we go to V, they're such superstars, wish my own parents were even *slightly* as supportive as they are :-/

I worked through lunch to ensure I had lots to show my boss before he clocked off but then snuck into the gym before I left the building to do my last upper body session of the week. Really glad to have squeezed it in as I'd have felt really shitty over the weekend if I'd not.

Wasn't great travelling on the tube afterwards though, the session seemed to invoke a thermogenic effect for a long time after, and I was stood in a train carriage with the sweat just rolling off me!!

*nice*

Got to go now, our mate has come to pick us up so we're off to Billericay, or the "Rick-ay!" (said with your best Eastenders accent) in deepest darkest Essex ;-)

Here's what I did in the gym:
Upper body workout no. 2
Dumbbells - Work gym

* Shoulder press - 9kg
3 x 10

* Biceps concentration curl - 9kg
3 x 10

* Upright Row - 9kg
3 x 10

* Bent over rear fly - 7kg
3 x 10

* Front Raise - 5kg
3 x 10

* Triceps kick-back - 7kg
3 x 10

* Lateral Raise - 5kg
3 x 10

* Side Rows - 12.5kg
3 x 10

Oh and we had a curry tonight but I'm pleased to report that I just stuck to the tandoori chicken, green veg and a minuscule quantity of plain rice... Didn't even have a taste of naan or poppadom :-)

Right, off now, V festival tomorrow, can't wait! If I don't report back beforehand I hope you all have a fab weekend!

TJx

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Breathe in... aaaahhhhh aaaand relax :-)

I'm basking in the afterglow of my run. Quite literally glowing too! I'm one of those unfortunate people who go very red when they've exercised... and stay that way for a while depending on the level of intensity!

I love the calm feeling that cardio work gives me, pushing myself on the treadmill for 45 mins (booooring, but was listening to XFM on the radio and they had some pretty banging tunes playing :-D particularly loving Ian Brown's new song 'Stellify', it's fantastic, back to his best :-)

So how is everyone? I've been pretty busy this week and I have a deadline tomorrow so can't really arse about on here for too long but thought I'd come and say hi and share my week with you so far.

So I had the best workout on Monday as reported, perhaps fuelled by the rather excellent Venison burgers and sweet potato mash I had for dinner beforehand. Just look at this:



They were gorgeous! But you know what the best part about these 'Bambi Burgers' was? No fat came off! We cook with a George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine, we grill nearly all our meet on there, it's disgusting how much fat comes off sausage and bacon! But there wasn't a speck of fat in the grill tray below!

I'm sold :-)

On Tuesday I woke up super early (for me) and got to the gym for the Tuesday morning 06:45 spin class. Sam "The Psycho" spin teacher was there this week - hurrah! He was away last week, not a happy bunny me :-(

The class was awesome, I love spin because you work as hard as you want to... the levels are completely arbitrary, it's all about 'perceived effort'. I'm pretty damn sure my version of 80% requires a lot less resistance than our instructor's!

in any case, it rocked, I felt really good despite it a) being so damn early and b) really powering my legs during the sprint stages... it must mean that I'm getting a lot fitter... hopefully!

Tuesday lunch time I went to my work's gym and did some core and back work... here's what I did:

3 x Supersets of the following exercises:

Plank - x 60 seconds
Hip Thrust - x 20
Side Plank/raises - x 10 each side (ouch, feeling it today still!)
Alternate leg extensions - x 10 each leg (these seemingly innocuous exercises are great for lower down deep stomach muscles)
Back extensions - hands by ears - x 20
Reverse Crunch - x 20
Dorsal Raise - x 20 each side

What I love about the above set is that you just need a mat to do it on, no other equipment - will definitely be working on my core when I'm on holiday the week after next!

Tuesday evening Joe and I went with some friends to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain play after the Proms. It was absolutely bloody marvellous!!!

We didn't have the best seats, I think they were last minute purchases as were only a fiver, but didn't give a damn, the atmosphere was excellent and the music was fantastic! We had a whale of a time, here's a pic, click to enlarge, it's quite good:



You can listen to the performance here via the BBC iPlayer, you've only got 5 days left though to hear it - I recommend you take a listen though, they're fantastic and, if you've not heard them before - quite unlike anything you have heard before!

I really really really want a ukulele now! I love them, they're so teeny and perfect, so cute!

Yesterday I cycled to work and did my Lower Body Routine #2 at lunch time and then cycled home.

Today I went to the gym and did the run I was raving about earlier. I was going to row afterwards but I needed to shower and get back to my desk so thought it best not to... my boss is already pretty relaxed about the fact that I take my 'lunch' break at about 2.30/3 so that the gym is more or less empty when I go - don't want to push it by spending the whole afternoon there!!

Tonight I'm going to go home soon and make turkey meatballs. Turkey is a great meat, very low in fat and high in protein - better than chicken in some respects but not as tasty perhaps ;-)

I've also got to bake some bread to take with me to our friends whose place we're staying at over the weekend... because daaa daaa daaaarrrr

We're going to the V Festival!!

man, can't wait, will be the last festival of the year though *sob* but it's going to be absolutely rocking! Just check out the line-up!!!

There are so many bands I want to see... Kings of Leon and lostprophets played last year and I was in heaven. This year I can't wait to see the Killers as I've not seen them before(!!), Oasis - the great British staple of rock, Starsailor (even though I saw them recently and they made me cry, for personal reasons, one of the song's title and subject are very poignant indeed to me), Ting Tings are fab although have seen them too and wish they had more material!

Really really can't wait to see MGMT and Pendulum, OMG! The Noisettes are great too, saw them when they supported Maximo Park earlier this year at the Brixton Academy, that lady is damn sexy... speaking of damn sexy, Lady Gaga is playing too - hubba hubba! I love her, she's nuts, absolutely perfect :-)

Other than that, umm Biffy Clyro, they're great, have seen them too, Pete Doherty's playing so might go check him out, ahh Will Young... I saw him at the Royal Albert Hall a few years back, I love him, he waved at my son a few times when we used to see him when he lived in Chelsea... bless :-)

Ooh dizzee rascal, snow patrol, elbow - the specials!

right, gotta stop, getting too excited

the thing is that I know there will be some horrible clashes... like last year when the Kaiser Chiefs were playing at the same time as the Chemical Brothers... I went to see the latter, it was pissing it down outside so probably the better choice as they were in a tent... still gutted I missed the Kaisers though...

right, gonna stop, there are more there though that I'd like to see, I can't wait!

Okay so in terms of food and exercise... well I've been doing quite well actually!

My camera is on the blink though, which is quite gutting as a) can't put any progress pics up, b) can't take any pics of V festival and c) might not have a camera to take on holiday with me!!

I'm considering just going and buying one, I'm really upset, I feel so naked without my camera, I take it everywhere and my blackberry's picture quality is just shit

I really want to buy the new Nokia N97, it has a 5 megapixel camera, but it's not out on O2 yet, dammit! Although there is a successor apparently out already in the form of the Nokia N900... might wait for that now, I'm quite fond of my little Blackberry, but I do want a decent camera... arghh!

anyway, so yes, food is nice indeed... I recently made a rather nice lunch for myself, haven't got a pic, and it's not the most attractive dish but it's simple and easy to make, uber high in protein and handy to take to work :-)

Here's the nutritional info, it makes 4 servings so plenty of lunches for me.

It's a tuna, beans and rice salad. You just cook up the rice, then drain, stir in the tuna and beans and the Promax Natural. I like to eat it cold with some extra tabasco sauce, and serve it with cherry tomatoes and salad leaves :-)

I'm really loving the way my arms are looking at the mo, they're leaning out really well, as is my waist although it's still achy from the core work on Tuesday!

I had a bit of a panic when I got an email from those nice people at Maxiwomen to remind me that the Maximuscle Body of 2009 competition closes in a few weeks!!! arghhh!

I'm feeling good, but not ready so have decided to knuckle down over the next few weeks and be really strict with my eating and ensure I get up and do some exercise too - particularly as it's having such a welcome effect on my sense of well-being :-)

I've already warned my friend that I probably won't be participating in the bacon and sausages that will be in abundance the weekend mornings between festival performances... I'm going to take plenty of Promax Diet Bars, powder and Maxi-milks with me to help stave off hunger and the ensuing temptation!

You can buy 2 packs of Thermobol for £22 at the moment on the Maxiwomen site so have bought a few of those to ramp up my fat loss over the next month. I'm feeling really positive about it all, and liking the changes I'm seeing, I just wish it hadn't taken my so damn long to actually start taking this all seriously!! It's been such a learning curve though, I had so many wrong ideas about what it took to lose fat beforehand... I'm glad I'm getting there now, slowly but surely!!

Right, I'm off home now, going to cycle back and then tomorrow I'll go to the gym first thing and do some cardio work and maybe some leg weights, before doing my Upper Body Routine #2 at 'lunch' heh. I won't be able to exercise until Monday evening so Saturday and Sunday will be my rest days - hence why I'm packing it all in this week, I would ordinarily space it all out a bit better!!

TJx

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Super duper workout last night

Shhh, have snuck on here to tell you about last night's weights session, very naughty though, should be working!

I had such a fab workout at my local gym! Really pushed hard to see how I got on.

I'm starting to stiffen up now as I type haha, it was worth it though :-D

I stuck to the machines and cables and did:

* Seated shoulder press - 22.5kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Lat pulldown - 45kg - 3 x 10 reps (I also did 1 rep on 70kg to see if I could lift my bodyweight as I really really want to be able to do pullups and what hope do I have if I can't pull down my own weight?! I managed it, but it was heavy!!)
* Internal Shoulder Rotation - 5kg - 3 x 10 reps
* External Shoulder Rotation - 3.75kg - 3 x 10 reps (made Joe do these two exercises, glad to see he finds them as difficult as I do despite the relatively low weight!!)
* Triceps Rope Pulldown - 25kg - 3 x 10 reps (Joe pointed out that he thought I wasn't doing these properly as I was pulling down from too high and not isolating the triceps, so I looked it up and got an awesome explanatory video from the Livestrong website - click here to see the correct form for doing Triceps Rope Pulldowns I wasn't doing it right so will put the weight down to 20kg and see if I can do it properly with better form - it's handy having someone along to point these things out!)
* Low Row - 45kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Bench Press on Smith Machine - 32.5kg & 30kg - 1 x 8 reps & 2 x 10 reps respectively (that was hard as it was at the end of my routine, BIG mistake, was knackered and it shows! Had no choice though as peeps were hogging the bench before that)

I didn't get to do the pec deck as Joe and I were on the smith machine until the gym closed and they chucked us out, egging each other on - very good fun! :-D

Anyway, I think that's all I did, if I've forgotten anything I'll edit this, but I better get on... will report back later with news on my completely awesome amazing spin session at 06:45 (yes, I got up that early, shocking for me!!!)

TJ x

Sunday, 16 August 2009

a week's roundup

Hello!

just thought I'd leap on the puter and give you a quick round-up of the past week's events as I've been a dreadful pathetic excuse for a blogger recently! If I don't do this now I'll be sat at work typing so better get this out!

Saturday 8th August
Joe and I had a fab time at ShockShock's launch party, the electro-pop evening my friend had organised. Unfortunately our preparation was poor to say the least and we had no outfits sorted out.

We also didn't get to the venue until quite late as we were at our friend's house for a BBQ to celebrate the couple's awesome results in Ironman UK the week before. My friend finished in 13:09:31 - in her first Ironman! More impressive is the fact that she managed a sub 3:45 hour marathon at the end, after having swum 2.4 miles and then cycling 112 miles!!

She actually ran the marathon faster than her husband who did it in just over 3:45 but was faster overall as his bike time was 6:34 and his swim was faster by almost half an hour.

It was also a farewell party for the Iron husband as he's just taken a job opportunity with his company, in Zurich, so will be living there for the next two years. My friend's staying here as she has a rather good job and is studying at the mo, it's a bit sad really as they only got married last year and bought their lovely new house quite recently! Ahh well, they're both very independent people and they'll be seeing each other on weekends (taking turns to fly to Zurich or London). Not sure how I'd feel though if my new husband said he wanted to leave to work in another country for a few years - well actually, I think I know exactly what I'd say but I'm not going to type it here!!

Before we went to the BBQ I realised that I needed to do a relatively difficult (for me) run before the next weekend because of the 10k I'd signed up to. I've not actually run a 10k race since October 2007 so am a bit rusty to say the least!

Our local lovely lush (but hilly!) park is 1 3/4 miles round the outside path, with a decent sized hill in the middle of that and some other less taxing (but nevertheless noticeable!) undulations. The run was bloody difficult, it was quite warm and the hills were pretty tough... after the first lap I felt knackered (pathetico!) and after the second I wanted to stop but I knew that if I couldn't run 5 1/4 reasonably tough miles I wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell during the 6.2 miles the following weekend!!

I kept myself going with some indie, rock and fallout boy (not sure which category they fall into!) I remember struggling up the hill and the song "This ain't a scene" came on and that helped me power up :-)

I had to lie down for a bit when I got in.

Anyway, after the run and BBQ we finally made it to the ShockShock venue, sheepishly lacking in costumes - I wore the hat I'd bought at the Secret Garden Party and experimented with lots of silver eye-shadow - Joe wasn't not immune to my make-up efforts, haha.

On arriving at the venue we met up with friends and managed to pilfer a few items so had silver gloves, head boppers and pom poms - perfect! That's the way to do fancy dress, just turn up and borrow everyone else's!! :-D

We didn't leave until the party finished at 3am and got back via an assortment of night buses, love my city, there's always some way you can get home (provided you don't live too far out). Also managed to persuade Joe not to visit brixton's finest late night restaurants - MacDonalds and deep fried KFC, go me ;-)


Sunday 9th August
Despite feeling a little worse for wear I managed to avoid temptation in the form of the obligatory weekend bacon and egg sandwich that my boys are so fond of scoffing and thought I'd experiment yet again with the whole protein pancake concepts.

And - Woo hoo, managed to nail it!

I kept it very simple, didn't pack it full of fruit and also used a whole egg as well as two egg whites and a scoop of banana flavour maximuscle promax diet. Topped it off with half a tub of quark and some strawberries - delish!

Look, soft inside and not like rubber - hurray! haha :-D

Sunday was my rest day, exercise-wise, felt like a good thing too after the running the day before and then dancing the night away!

Monday 10th August
My big tubs of Promax Diet arrived and, with them, my free box of Promax Crisp bars - yumtastic, love those little crispy chocolate beauties!

I didn't get to the gym that night til quite late so didn't get a chance to do my lower body routine there and just stuck to upper body weights. Felt really good actually and I've put the weight up on most of my machines, quite chuffed about that :-)

Tuesday 11th August
I got up at 06:15 to haul my tired arse out of bed and got to the gym in preparation for my Tuesday morning spin class, only to get there to discover that the class has been cancelled - fume!!

Decided to make the most of it and do my lower body routine so the early start wasn't entirely wasted.

That evening my work's wine club was holding a tasting evening. Had a fab evening, the guy who played Darcy in last month's play was there with his wife and we all had a giggle.

My favourite red wine is Malbec and I've discovered quite possibly the most tasty Malbec ever thanks to the evening! It's by Susana Balbo and it's a 2006 Malbec. I would highly recommend you getting a bottle if you can, it's bloody marvellous!

Wednesday 12th August
I didn't get to exercise on Wednesday but I did get out to my local Holland and Barrett where I purchased what can only be described as the largest tub of peanut butter ever!

haha look at it, it's monstrous, I'm scared to open it as I'm worried how long it'll last :-S

I have such a love for that nutty goodness, I do have to watch it or I'll litterally take a spoon and eat it out the jar - and this is a tub, easy access!!

I also bought some rye flour and some spelt too which is great as I've been looking for some for ages and nowhere seemed to sell it!

Incidentally, Healthy for Men, H&B's own mag, is a fantastic read, lots of advice on supplements and healthy eating, it's only 75p and has decent nutrition and training tips too - the current issue has an article on Crossfit - that looks nuts, I'm tempted!!

It wouldn't be the most stupid thing I've done, after all, I did do Tough Guy!

Now that was nuts, and I started to get hypothermic, my lips were purple, as were my fingernails, and the bruises on my legs took ages to heal - one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced, definitely don't think I'd do it again though!!

I also found a jar of Barleycup and thought I'd give that a go as I could do with cutting down my coffee intake (I get enough caffeine in the promax diet meal bars and drinks!). It's actually really nice! I tried a chicory/barley blend a few years ago when I was doing some daft extreme detox but it wasn't as smooth as this. This is more than palatable and I'm definitely going to drink it in place of my normal coffee (aside from my 'wake-up' cup of course ;-) )

Also picked up some almond nut butter, it's very delish, Joe doesn't agree which is great for me but I'm hoping that my son doesn't either!!

I didn't get home from work til late on Wednesday so wasn't able to do the run I'd planned.

Thursday 13th August
I went to the gym at work and hopped on the treadmill (really don't like those things but I'm a bit time-limited during my lunch hour!).

I started off my run at 10 minute per mile pace and increased my speed every five mins until I was running 7:53 m/ms. That was tough but I needed to know I had the speed in my legs as I knew I had the endurance after the hill work.

That night I went out with a few girlfriends to a fab restaurant in Covent Garden called Wahaca. This place is great!! The food is really fresh and tasty and the price is pretty reasonable too. It reminded me of a Mexican version of Wagamama with the long queues and the fast service - the meals are also brought out as and when.

If anyone's stuck in Soho with nowhere to go eat I'd recommend you get your butt down to 66 Chandos Place! They also have restaurants in Canary Wharf and White City.

Friday 15th August
Friday was the Pride & Prejudice after party. We all met at Pizza Express on the Southbank (love that place, have to get down there more often and take in a little culture!).

I proved incredibly popular when we came to pay up as I have a Taste London card and Pizza Express recently joined the network of restaurants and we therefore got 50% off the entire food bill - a saving of £77!

The meal was nice, I had just one dough ball and went for the Pollo Salad with low fat dressing instead of a pizza as it's very yummy, has chicken and goats cheese too, scrummy :-)

As it was the night before my race, I didn't drink any alcohol, which was honestly actually pretty miserable for me!!! I really wanted some red wine with my food, and everyone else was getting rather merry while I sipped my diet coke

halo was intact though and I was very pleased with my willpower :-D

Saturday 16th August
Race morning, woke up feeling fresh and soooo glad to not have drunk any alcohol. Same couldn't be said for Joe who wasn't feeling as perky as he'd had drinks after work and then about half a bottle of red wine at home. Silly boy.

I pretty much always have had porridge for breakfast on the morning of a race so decided to experiment with oats and protein powder to see how I got on.

My pre-race breakfast was

30g porridge oats
2 x scoops of vanilla Promax Diet
1 x teaspoon of acacia honey
1/2 a banana mushed in for good measure

It didn't taste very nice. It was super super sweet!! Still, I forced it all down and was so incredibly glad I did!

The race itself was 3 laps in Victoria park, east London. I have mixed feelings about multiple laps during races, I think for a short distance like this it's okay but if it were any longer I'd probably feel less chuffed with the idea!

I started off quite slow, and then slowed down progressively just to make sure I didn't burn out as was worried about if I'd have enough energy to do the whole 10km. I took a reading every km and made damn sure I didn't go over 6 minutes for a kilometre as I was determined to get sub-60!

The first lap felt quite good and I kept my speed down for the 2nd, but picked it up by the 3rd and my last km was the fastest at 05:26. I crossed the finish at 57:01, nearly 7 minutes slower than my PB set back in 2004 of 50:27 for the Nike nocturnal 10k - that was fun, I was a lot fitter and thinner too!!

Anyway, the last kilometre was really tough and I felt exhausted straight after I finished but that feeling didn't last long. I recovered really fast and was beaming away at Joe. So chuffed to have gotten in under the hour, and convincingly so (I think!), and also so pleased to feel like I still had fuel in the tank and I could have run faster overall if I'd really wanted to!

I think my breakfast was absolutely perfect, (I'll definitely do the same again for my next race but might use a scoop of vanilla and one of chocolate instead) and the little angels who organised the race gave us all bagels with cream cheese - I didn't feel hungry until I bit into them, then, yummmmm!

Our wonderful neighbour was having a BBQ last night and we all went along in full pirate dress as it had a 'desert island' theme... a few people came as castaways, it was great fun. My friend had made rum punch, lethal stuff!! There was plenty of meat on the barbie so I think my muscle stores were well re-stocked up afterwards.

Sunday 17th August
It's now half past midnight and I've been typing for a while now so I'm going to get off and go to bed.

Joe's wonderful parents were round earlier and we made a mammoth lasagne which I'm sure was highly unhealthy although I did use lean beef mince and half fat cheese for the sauce - I think it was the sheer quantity that might have done it though, ahh well!

Tomorrow will be back on the old health food wagon and I'll write more when I get the chance.

Hope everyone's had fabulous weekends and that the week ahead will be a good one.

TJ x

Friday, 14 August 2009

P.S.

I know I was only meant to write one message but I'm quite excited about this so have to share

just booked a holiday for me, Joe and the boy to stay for a week in Les Gets

check it out!

http://www.lesgets.com/en/accueil0/index.html

very excited, the package includes free bike hire, white water rafting, maps of the beautiful walks they have in the area and some other cool stuff like access to pools and the like in the resort.

never been to the Alps before, it'll be perfect as none of us are sitting-around-on-a-beach kinda people (well, my son would do it if he had his games consoles and Joe would probably if there was a game of poker going... all day...!)

really can't wait, think I might have to buy some decent walking shoes but will have to travel light as it's a mega cheap package so will be flying sleazy jet - ahh well, it'll be worth it when we get there!

Still here...

Have been mega busy this week so haven't had a chance to post - mainly because I know that once I get typing I don't stop!

So I'm going to keep this brief and hopefully get a post in after my 10k race

my food has been a lot better this week, I've been logging practically everything in (I'm not so good when it comes to eating out as I don't know how many calories the food has but I've been making healthier choices :-) ).

I'm off in a mo to do my 2nd upper body workout - this one with free weights, and I'm loving how much stronger I am of late. I've upped my machine weights so am doing 42.5kg on the lat pull down and low row, 22.5kg on the shoulder press, 32.5kg on the bench press (though only for one set - I had to go back down to 30kg for the final two) and 25kg on the pec deck - oh and 20kg on the triceps pulldown... can't remember the rest as I'm at work - my rotator cuff extensions are quite low still as it's such a subtle movement and they're going to stay that way, same as my dumbbell lateral and front raises - just 5kg for now, gently does it :-) 7kg for my triceps kick-backs and sticking to 9kg on biceps concentration curl, seated shoulder press and upright rows - 12.5kg on my lower body dumbbell workout and also my side rows

man I started waffling again, must stop!

right, I will go now as need to get to the gym, will let you all know how I get on with my race - it's the farthest I've run in absolutely ages - I ran 5+ miles round my local (hilly!) park on Sunday and that nearly killed me so hopefully the flat surface of Victoria Park will be kinder to me...

Laters x

Friday, 7 August 2009

Well, I passed...


It's great news, but not surprising as the course was continually assessed and I got over 90% for nearly every assignment - so I figured I'd at least passed!

Two things bug me though

1) Where the hell is the mark for CM4 41?!



It's a computer marked assessment FFS!!!

I'm really pissed off as the living, real-life tutor I had got all my assignments back to me within a few days, 2 weeks tops, but I took this *months* ago... it was a multiple choice test, marked by a computer... so why don't I have my results yet?!

I don't know how my score was calculated, but if it's just a simple average of all scores then it's pretty obvious that I only scored a paltry 84% in the computer marked test... ahh well... this leads me onto point

2) I don't know what I want to do next :-(

This was me taking my first step on the way to a degree in Computing with Business. I thought it was what I should do as I'm pretty good with computers despite having no real training.

My academic background is just extinct really... I left school and home at 15, only completing a handful of GCSEs and then had a child at 16 so didn't go on to do A Levels.

I did go back to college when my son was very small and completed some word processing and spreadsheet courses so I could at least get secretarial work - my first job however meant that I had to come off government single-parent benefits and I couldn't afford to travel, pay rent etc with the wage I was on so had to go back on them... soul destroying :-( I opted to have my benefits paid into my bank account as standing in the benefits and dole queue in the Post Office can deplete your morale in a big way!

Still, I didn't want to live like that and be another single parent state-handout statistic so completed more secretarial-based computing courses (I learnt to touch-type using chat rooms though, how sad is that eh?!) and enrolled on a foundation course in Business Studies to give me a way into university.

Unfortunately I realised I couldn't afford to go to uni so finally found a job at a Norwegian oil company as a secretary/administrator to their pensions department. After a year or two of this I realised that I couldn't take dictation and type other people's letters for the rest of my life without going slightly mental so I asked if I could join the department as a pensions administrator, which they agreed to, hurrah! It was great timing as my friend was keen to get out of pensions so we more or less swapped roles.

People soon realised they could come to me with their computer-use issues and I got more interested in what was going on behind the scenes of the pension software I was using.

The department was not a nice place to work, the people there was just odd and there was a lot of bitchiness and back-stabbing unpleasant behaviour. It really wasn't a healthy place to work so I resolved to get the hell out as soon as I could.

I managed to get a job as a 'systems specialist' in the pensions department of a fairly big retail company and discovered how nice it was to work with 'normal' people (as normal as people can be who work in the mysterious world of pensions, it does things to you!). Unfortunately my friend Caroline didn't leave the company until she was made redundant and the effects of working for such a destructive bunch of people have been lasting :-(

I worked quite happily in the other retail company for a while, my colleague and senior left so I moved up the ranks and took over the maintenance and report-writing side of the system, using the pension software's language - chrysalis - bizarre VB like stuff. I really enjoyed that but disliked how closely guarded the software provider was. You could not modify the system in any way shape or form... all you got was a package, and that was it... it was a one-size-(is meant to)-fits all, and was very clunky and frustrating!

The company went through a take over from an Icelandic consortium and started making people redundant left right and centre - very similar to when I was at the Norwegian oil company who decided to shift their head office back from London to Oslo - we worked in a 7 storey high building that was more or less empty when I left!

Then the company decided, in its wisdom, to move the pension department to Glasgow!!! Why? Because 'financial services is based there' and they said they thought it would make sense. In reality, wages are a lot less in Glasgow than London and they didn't want to continue paying us all so much. They gave us the opportunity to relocate, but everyone was a bit fed up with the company and, if you've got children or responsibilities here, you don't want to uproot yourself to the other end of the UK!

Fortunately, a few opportunities came available. One was working for the Church of England. I went for a job interview one day and got offered the job the next! I was overjoyed and flattered too a little, but I didn't get the best vibe from the people there. They were very nice but we just didn't gel.

The company I work for now has its head offices just down the road from my old ones. And I remember walking past one day and realising they were there and thinking "how funny would it be to go from one huge retail giant to another".... a few days later I got a call from an agency saying there was a systems analyst role going within the pensions department here - luck? Hmm, I think it was a little more than that :-)

The day of my interview was completely nuts! They weren't due to start interviewing till the following week, but I had to give an answer back to the CofE by the Friday and it was Wednesday at that point. My agent managed to wangle an interview for me here and I came in on the Thursday morning, with the dress in my hand that I was planning to wear for my current company's xmas ball, and met me now boss. He's the most wonderful warm, lovely, charismatic fellow around. He's got four kids - legend - and I was disarmed by how agreeable he was. We had a long chat, and then he took me to meet the big boss who was also lovely, if a little eccentric, but that's due to a) a very high level of intellect and b) working in pensions for too long ;-)

That interview was a little less informal, and I actually felt like I was being interviewed, but it also went well and I explained to him my dilemma with the Church of England. He explained his - they hadn't interviewed any of the other candidates for the role!

I went back to work for a couple of hours and then got called back to this place and met first with a dude from our actual IT systems function - who gave me a logic test to do - nightmare!!! It was about 20 years old and utterly irrelevant to my job! I sweated and cursed my way through it though, although not completing all the questions (I later found out that the questions I did complete were all correct - super!), and then met with one of our deputy heads of pensions here. She was nice and that went well... I then met with the assistant head of Personnel and after that was finally free to leave!

As you can imagine, I was very relieved to step into the party dress and relax for the evening... however it was a little surreal as I was hoping with all my might that I'd be leaving that awful company to work for its largest competitor! I couldn't help but chuckle when the chairman stood up after the meal to give a 'rousing' speech which included the phrase "Death to our competitors, death to [my company's name]" - twit.

The next day I got the phone call from the agency to say that I'd got the job, I was overwhelmed.

I can safely say that I've never worked for such an odd organisation. But I mean that in the best possible way. This place is quite unlike anywhere else really... it's a democracy, we all have a say and we all have an equal share in the profits. I feel incredibly lucky and honoured to be working for such a wonderful organisation and I can, hand on heart, say that I never want to leave it.

My job, however, is a different matter :-(

which is how this post started.

I don't like my job, I don't really like programming, but I'm good at it, which is why I do it, because I think I should, because I don't have anything else behind me to back me up, no qualifications, no experience other than in pensions IT!

So I don't know what my next step will be, study wise. I know what interests me, sports, fitness and nutrition, but I don't know how to apply this to my professional life without leaving my wonderful work place :-(

I know that some people reading this might not have a lot of sympathy for me, and I'm not looking for it at all. I have been very poor, I lived on £28 a week when I was pregnant, the first year of my son's life was spent in just the one room in a mother and baby hostel, I lived in council accommodation for over 11 years and I'm fully aware of how incredibly fortunate I am to have a well-paid job, to work for a good organisation who cares for its employees, to have a lovely child and boyfriend... all these things I can safely say I thank God for on a daily basis. But I'm being honest, as I always am on this blog, and it troubles me that I'm sitting here typing this instead of working!

I adore my boss, I know he stands up for me when I don't produce the work as quickly as I should, and I love our little systems team, but I don't love my work and I find it hard to focus and concentrate.

I'm sorry, I need to get on and actually do some work. I need to think about this over the weekend and not during work time, I just wish I knew how to switch off and put my 'work hat' on, I guess it's the same disorganised chaotic pattern which has plagued my eating over the last 18 years too, I need to sort my shit out and get my act together once and for all, I feel like a fraud here, like I'm living a lie, being paid for nothing. What a waste :-(

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Operation M-BOT - Four Week Fat Attack - Days 3 and 4

Before I start, look at this video clip that Wolé Adesemoye has posted on Facebook:



I want power like that!!!

I'm so gutted I can't even do one flipping chin-up yet on my brand spanking new Power Bar.

Incidentally, don't buy this if you have week door frames as it'll pull them off! I tried this on every door frame in the house and I heard some awful cracking noises... now that made me feel nice and light... NOT!

The only door frame it fits securely on is our dining room, and as our reception room has a load of crap piled in front of it that desperately needs freecycling, we only have that door to use... which means Joe has to duck (I know I could take the bar off but then I'd probably never use it again, I'm like that, it has to be blatantly staring me in the face or it will get ignored) every time he goes under... although that's a nice form of payback for me nearly knocking myself out on countless occasions because of his bike hanging in the bloody hallway!

sorry, whinge over :-)

yesterday was fun. After my hospital appointment (which was farcical at best... more like something out of a carry on film, but more about that perhaps another day!) I met up with a friend of mine and went to look at a property she was considering putting in an offer for. It's a dinky place but it's in a really great location, and she has separate kitchen, living room, bedroom etc - plus a little patio garden at the back - perfect!

After the viewing we went and debriefed in this great bar called Licorice. I've only been there once before, during a night out, and only because the pubs were closed... that might give you some idea as to my level of intoxication... didn't really remember the place much other than the name and the fact that it does yummy cocktails. It also does really nice food too, and not too pricey either.

I needed to eat. As I'm now eating smaller meals more frequently.... I need to do just that... eat smaller meals more frequently!

Before I left the hospital yesterday I realised I was famished so went into the shop inside. It's a dieter's nightmare! There was nothing that looked even remotely healthy, except the lower fat crisp options but I'm steering clear of potato crisps as much as I can because I've learned that potato starch is a larger contributor to tooth decay than sugar!

And then I saw it, a snack that I used to occasionally munch on in the most virtuous manner, halo intact... ahh, the Eat Natural bar - the saintly apricots and almonds in a yogurt coating. I used to love this bar.

It was fucking revolting

Seriously, have my tastes changed that much? If so, how stupid am I not to recognise that 'yogurt coating' is code for 'smothered in sugar'?!

I actually couldn't finish it, and that's not me being over dramatic (for a change! ;-) )

Anyway, that sugary hell put me in the right frame of mind for some savoury goodness. licorice do some nice sounding main meals but I fancied some sharey thingies so ordered flat bread with hummus and guacamole, king prawns (still in shells), itsy bitsy spicy sausages and what was apparently calamari... I think it was definitely squid, but strips instead of rings and just in batter, not breadcrumbs. Really tasty though and I'd imagine the larger surface area meant that it was 'healthier' all round... perhaps... maybe ;-)

Anyway, long story short, after much badgering coercion from me the brave lass picked up the phone and called the estate agent back to make an offer - hurrah! Mission accomplished.

Bit of a hitch today as the vendor neglected to mention that she still owns the property with her ex so has to seek permission to accept the offer first - but she's keen so that's a plus... fingers crossed it all goes through :-)

So I have no idea as to my calorie intake. It probably wasn't that bad in terms of food, a bit more fat than I'd have liked, but not too bad.

Basically it was:

M1: Vanilla and Chocolate Promax Diet shake
M2: Quorn, quinoa, tomato and spinach
M3: Revoltingly sweet Eat 'Natural' bar
M4: mixed sharing things, calamari, prawns, flatbread & dips and mini sausages
M5: hmm
M6: err
Drinks: coffee, not enough water, 1 large and 1 small glass of pinot grigio and 2 dark rum and diet cokes
Fruit & Veg: not much
Exercise: none

So, onto today

I think actually I didn't eat nearly enough so was ravenous today! Also, I did my Lower Body Workout No.2 at work today so was fuelling for that :-)

Today was pretty nondescript, apart from the fact that London's currently drowning! In my early post I was questioning sandals as a sensible footwear choice... this evening my suspicions were vindicated as the heavens opened, and then forgot to lock back up!

It had only been raining for about 20 mins when I finally got home... soaked through due to the rain actually raining through my brolly! The water was up to the kerb already. I tried to take a pic with the woefully inadequate camera on my phone but it was rubbish so won't bother posting, you'll have to take my word for it!

So, here's me for the day:

M1: Vanilla and chocolate promax diet shake
M2: Nakd bar - berry cheeky
M3: salmon and cous cous salad
M4: Babybel light and 20g Almonds
M5: 150g light cottage cheese and 3 x pumpkin and sunflower seed Ryvita crispbreads
M6: bolognaise and 140g sweet potato mash
F&V: 10.2
Drinks: coffee, 2 lires water, 330ml Bavaria 0% lager, and 1 x vodka and diet coke
Exercise: Lower Body Workout No.2

off to bed, too close to 1am!

Night x


EDIT:

Forgot to put down cals etc, Joe was nagging me to go to bed!

Total Cals: 1713.4 (I ate too much, I think because I didn't consume enough food yesterday so was just ravenous all day!)

Carbohydrate: 145.9g (32.3%)
Protein: 124.2g (29.3%)
Fat: 66.6g (35.4%)
Alcohol: (0.9 units) 7.4g (3.1%)
F&V Portions: 10.2

Morning musings

I had a dentist appointment this morning which resulted in a brand new tooth - hugely exciting (but expensive) for me. So I had to get the tube in, and as I was picking my way carefully through a carriage, trying to avoid stepping on the painted toes and sandaled feet of the Brixton populace I pondered over two topics.

Firstly, how ridiculous has women's footwear become? I absolutely adore the colourful bejewelled assortment of strappy high-street offerings that I am witness to on a regular basis, but wouldn't dream of wearing them for the morning commute! Some sandals are literally nothing more than a slab of leather and a piece of string, yet invariably those are the styles that cost the most! :-D

I recognise just how old I'm making myself sound, but it's worth noting that most of the occasions I've ventured out with open-fronted footwear, I've almost lost toe-nails!!

Secondly, I was pondering over the dude outside the station preaching the Gospel. He's there every time I take the tube, God knows what time he gets there! I couldn't help but wonder though if his serman is all ad lib, or a composition of cleverly constructed phrases (rather like a good ad campaign) that he repeats throughout the course of the morning. I wonder what the commuters and free paper distributors think about him, I wonder if they even listen, I wonder where he goes afterwards... To write new material, buy batteries for his mic, pour over the good book...or maybe he's got a boring desk job in some bank? I wonder.

In any case, it's rather nice to listen to as is quite in contrast to the people of frequent Brixton station later on in the day, the dodgy saxophonist, or guys who stand at the top of the stairs and ask if you've finished with your travelcard or, if a gig's on at the academy, if you've got tickets to buy or sell, buy or sell, buy or sell...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Good Fats, Bad Fats - Excellent article!!

Just *had* to share this article by Rachel K. Johnson on the caloriecount.about.com blog with you, it's great and really interesting too, especially this part:

Bottom Line Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary sweets, may be just as bad for your heart and arteries as cream and butter—one more reason to limit them.


Here's the link: http://caloriecount.about.com/blog/partners/good-fats-bad-fats-b322667

Fantastic free weight-loss and strength training site!

Someone on the WLR forum just posted a link to this site: http://shapefit.com/, I've signed up and already it looks fantastic. I especially like how you can log nearly all of your vital stats, down to your forearm and calf size - not just the usual hip and waist. You can also plug in what you'd like to get to.

There appears to be lots of other various tools that look incredibly useful, plus a forum :-)

Will have to investigate further when I have more time!

Operation M-BOT - Four Week Fat Attack - Day 2

Okay, so posting a little late but yesterday was a bit hectic!

I got into work late because somebody decided to throw themselves under a train at Victoria Station. Now, whilst I have enormous sympathy for anyone who feels that life has got so desperate that they need to end it in such a devastating fashion... I can't help but feel anger towards them at the trauma they subsequently cause a) the poor train driver who has to helplessly witness someone hurling themselves in front of his/her carriage with the full knowledge that there is nothing they can do to prevent their demise. And b) any other commuters on the platform who are forced to watch someone perform such a horrific act of suicide - it can't be pretty!!

This took place before 10 am so it was still the rush hour, and Victoria is one of the busiest stations in London!

My heart goes out to their family and anyone who witnessed this awful event :-(

BUT it did mean I was very late for work, so had to work through lunch, which meant I didn't get to do my lower body workout FUME!

The boys and I went to see Chun Yi - The Legend of Kung Fu at the London Coliseum last night. Before we got there we had a quick bite to eat at Henry's in Covent Garden. I'd seen on their site that they had a special deal which entitled 2 people to a burger or pasta dish each, plus a bottle of wine to share, for just £20! Result!

So, Joe and the boy had burgers, the boy had a diet coke (a treat, he's very rarely allowed anything like that, I'm such a mean strict mum haha) and Joe and I shared a bottle of the house red which was actually the most delicious Malbec - my fave!

I was going to get steak and chips, sans chips, as I fancied a good steak and I'm a sirloin fan. However, they'd run out of sirloin (although they had enough for a steak sandwich, bizarre!), so I had to opt for the 12oz rump steak instead... even though I knew it was a fattier cut, and about £6 more expensive!! My main course was nearly as expensive as the boys' burger, chips and our bottle of wine!


(sorry for crap picture quality... and the huge mess that is my plate! But I suddenly thought to take a pic halfway into my steak - there was a lot more than that earlier on - much to the annoyance of my dinner companions!)

OMG it was sooo good! I have been trying to get a decent steak for weeks now. I was so disappointed by most of the steaks I had in France... especially on the last night when it was just basically ribbons of fat, grr.

This was lovely though, not much fat and it was almost exactly how I'd ordered! I always go for rare, with the knowledge that it won't ever be quite so - but the lovely chefs at Henry's got it pretty much spot on!

I swapped my chips for veg which meant I got some broccoli and carrots - nicely cooked too, nice and firm, as well as a pretty decent side salad too.

Only criticism was the splodge of what was advertised as 'garlic butter' but was in fact mayonnaise... perhaps with a little garlic in it? anyway, that got scraped aside and lashings of english mustard duly applied in its place :-)

After our delicious meal we legged it to the theatre only to arrive just as they were pulling across the cord over the door - so we couldn't get to our great stalls seats and were banished to the balcony for the first half. I was livid! Thankfully the Coliseum isn't as vast as the Theatre Royal where I once paid £5 for tickets to see The Producers and ended up spending the whole time squinting at the tiny dots on the stage and feeling sick from vertigo! (or whatever the realterm is for being afraid of heights).

So we weren't too far up and it did mean we got a good view of everything... unfortunately that included the trap-door on stage, which kinda ruined the 'magic', bahh

We reclaimed our seats in the stalls after the interval. It's worth noting that we didn't pay full price for our tickets... we got them as a special deal on Lastminute.com which is one of my most favourite sites of all time... I live on that website, that and Toptable.com ensure that I make the most of this wonderful city :-)

So, Chun Yi... well, I'm glad that I didn't pay top whack for those tickets or I'd have felt a little aggrieved to say the least!

I'm not sure what 'legend of kung fu' it was meant to be... I certainly didn't learn anything about that amazing martial art!

The story was the weakest, most paltry sappy thing ever. The 'young boy' who was accompanying the older Chun Yi while he narrated the whole thing was so obviously not singing the lovely high-pitched melody that kept being played at various intervals. For one, his voice had broken!!

So that was a bit insulting, they could have just played the song and not had him mouthing away as if it were him singing, just looked daft, even from the balcony my son could see he was miming!

Then there was Chun Yi himself... at first played by a young boy (the boys were excellent by the way, so flexible and agile, amazing!), then a young man. The thing is that they kept changing the man playing him, at one point Chun Yi looked like he'd piled on the pounds a bit!

All that aside, it was very entertaining and the dancing was absolutely amazing. I only went for that really, I wanted to see the Shaolin Monks when they were last here but Joe and I never managed to pull our fingers out and order tickets in time. I love martial arts, especially put to dance, it must be something in my blood - my Mum's a brown belt in Judo and a black belt in Aikido - maybe that's got something to do with it? ;-)

Went home, felt knackered, went to bed

The end :-)

Here's what I ate, drank etc... as you can see I knocked the booze back a bit, but countered it with yummy food so didn't feel too bad this morning ;-)

Meal 1: Mixed fruit and Promax Diet smoothie
M2: Nakd bar - Berry Cheeky - 30g
M3: low fat Boots chicken caesar salad, carrot sticks and sugar snap peas
M4: 150g very low fat cottage cheese
M5: Braeburn apple and 1 Babybel light
M6: Rib eye steak with mixed veg and salad

Drinks: at least 2l water, 1 cup of coffee
Alcohol: 1/2 pint Peroni, nearly 1/2 bottle red wine and 1 dark rum and diet coke
Fruit & Veg: 5.1

Calorie Profile for 04/08/2009

Total Cals: Total 1642.3 (would have been a lot less if it hadn't been for the booze!)

Carbohydrate: 101.3g (24.4%)
Protein: 119.8 (30.7%)
Fat: 37.2 (21.5%) (yowsers!!)
Alcohol: (6.5 units) 52.0g (23.4%)


I'll try and post later but I've got quite a busy day ahead. I'm leaving work at 2pm as I've got a mammogram and blood test later - scary! My great Aunt died of breast cancer and my Mum, who's very young still, had a very aggressive form of it a few years ago which ended up metastasising into her brain causing tumours and a terminal life sentence.

Amazingly, miraculously and thankfully she recovered... maybe more about that another time, she's currently writing her autobiography, it'll be an interesting read! She's living evidence of the power of the mind, and prayer, over the body :-)

Then I'm going to look a few places in East Dulwich with a good friend of mine. She's been living in Fulham for the past few years, which was very handy when I lived in Chelsea as she was only down the road! Now I'm in SE London it's a bit more difficult to see each other so if she moves to East Dulwich I'll be super super chuffed!!

Anyway, must get on, hope you all have a fabulous day.

TJx

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Operation M-BOT - Four Week Fat Attack - Day 1 - Part 2

Oops! Forgot to give you yesterday's nutrition breakdown. Told you I'm no good at this food recording stuff!!

So, according to WLR, I consumed a total of 1504.5 Calories, broken down like this:

Carbohydrate 175.5g (45.1%)
Protein 143.2g (39.2%)
Fat 25.4g (15.7%)

probably not as accurate as I'd like but it's a bloody good start, let's see how long I keep it up eh? ;-)

Pretty damn sweet Maximuscle deal

I decided to stop arsing around with Promax Diet mini tubs - what's the point? I know I like them so why get dinky tubs that don't last long enough and result in my having to get the long-suffering boyfriend to cart additional ones back when I've run out?

So now I'm feeling very pleased with myself as I took advantage of the 3 large tubs of Promax Diet for £99 offer:
http://www.maxiwomen.com/shop/apr09fatloss.html
which saved me £32.97. I got 2 banana and 1 strawberry, which I might just take home with me instead of leaving at work because it makes the best smoothies :-)

I also had a £5 'Summer Sports' voucher code they'd sent me which reduced the price further to £94, and *then* I was presented with some great free gift options at the checkout!

Have a look at these:
* £6 off your next order (my choice, bit of a no-brainer!)
* Free next day delivery (which isn't necessary as I'm not in a hurry to get my goods and 1-4 day delivery is free anyway)
* A Maximuscle shaker (great item but I have a zillion!!)
* No free gift (why???? Actually, would be nice if they offered a charity option like ZipVit.co.uk does - you can opt to donate a £1 to the MacMillan Cancer Trust instead of receiving a free gift. Nice :-) )

As you can see, as I've spent over £65 I can claim some free Promax Crisp Bars, hurrah! That's a bit of a Brucey Bonus, I'm very chuffed at that!

Not sure if that means I'll get a whole box (that would be awesome!) or just a couple - but I'm guessing that the inclusion of the 's' means I'll at least get more than one!

Very much looking forward to my deliveries :-)

Another rather good Maximuscle deal that I've taken advantage of, twice, recently and that you probably won't see advertised on the site is:

Buy one case of Maxi-milk and get another one for free! (while stocks last)
http://www.maxiwomen.com/eshots2009/jul09milkb1g1free.html

Oh, and one more thing - I got a voucher code after checkout for She Active which is a site that sells the most gorgeous sports clothes for just about every activity you can think of! I've been expressly forbidden from buying anymore sports clothing as it takes up two large drawers already (to say nothing of the sport equipment and gadgets I have lying about our reception room!)

The voucher code is MXSP08 and is for 10% off your order. They appear to have a sale on at the moment too which means you'll save even more!

Ooooh it's very tempting

must

resist...

Monday, 3 August 2009

Operation M-BOT - Four Week Fat Attack - Day 1

Wow, this is actually my fourth post of the day, I'm somewhat impressed with myself! :-D

Okay so I need to type this up and go to bed very soon as my arms feel like achy bags of sand, the sweat has turned to salt on my forehead and my eyelids are drooping! (nice imagery huh?) to top it all off Firefox is pissing me off big time - why do I have a lag on my text... I know I used to be a secretary but I don't type that quickly do I?!!

Today was day one of the Fat Attack stage of Operation M-BOT (clue's in the blog title I hear you scream?!) which stands for Maximuscle Body Of 2009. I have decided that if I'm to stand any chance in the Maximuscle Body of 2009 comp then I need to start aggressively attacking my No.1 nemesis - Fat!

You see, this whole thing is beginning to get a little heartbreaking. I'm making real progress with my weight training and I can see the muscle taking shape - it's just that it's blanketed by these layers of fat which threaten to almost engulf it in places - it's not fair!

Don't get me wrong, I like my body a *whole* lot more than I used to, and I appreciate that my fat is of a nicer shape than it used to be, but this is owes more than a little thanks to the lovely toned muscles forming underneath. Also, I'd hate to lose the two lumps of fat just at the bottom of my back, yes, my butt, I *love* having a well-formed butt, it's very peachy at the mo :-D It's just the lumpy cottage cheese bits of fat that I could do without thank you very much!!

So, today began the start of my 4 Week Fat Attack where I'm going to do my darnedest to a) eat well b) train well and c) tell you all about it without boring the socks off you!

Day 1 went really quite well. I have decided to eat six meals a day (obviously not large meals!) and that is working out for me as I'm managing to avoid any hunger-induced naughty snack-attacks and have kept ticking along at a nice level.

I was meant to get home reasonably early, cook our dinner and then head straight to the gym before it closed for an upper body weight session followed by a run on the treadie. However, I didn't get back early enough and I was only able to do my weights session in the gym before I got turfed out as it was closing...

BUT I did go straight back out and do a 3.4 mile run - woo hoo!

Very pleased with myself as the sofa looked oh so comfy :-)

In terms of my food, I will be trying to log what I eat every day but you'll have to be easy on me as I'm a bit rubbish at this all to be frank.

Anyway, will give it a bash

Breakfast: Maximuscle Promax Diet Bar in Chocolate Orange Flavour
Snack: Jack link's Beef Jerky - Peppered
Lunch: Mince beef, quinoa, spinach and tomatoes
Snack: 150g low fat cottage cheese
Dinner: mega veg-laden stir-fry with king prawns and fat noodles - lush
Snack post-workout: Maximuscle Maxi-milk - Chocolate Flavour

the post-workout drink was just what the doctor ordered. I felt rather peckish after my run but didn't want to have a Promax Diet shake as it's got quite a generous serving of caffeine in it and I want to sleep well tonight.

The chocolate flavour is superb, really rich... I wonder what it would be like if it was gently heated through, like hot chocolate... hmm

Perhaps Maximuscle should consider that next, a hot recovery drink, rather like SIS(Science In Sport)'s Nocte (I saw this at a Triathlon Expo a while ago, I'm not sure if you drink it warm though).

I think it would be would be delightful! And just the ticket to calm you down and soothe you whilst repairing your muscles after all the hard work you've put in :-)

Right, on that thought, I'm off to bed. Will hopefully be up at 6am to take the bread out the machine and haul my ass to Spin, but we shall see :-)

Night x