Wednesday 30 September 2009

Rounding up a fabulous week...

Whoa! Have been trying to post for the last couple of days but life and work kept getting in the way (outrageous!)! There's a big project coming to an end this week and Joe and I are trying to change our (massively terrible) bad habits (i.e. messiness, lateness, being less productive than we ought to be, etc...) and we ended up going to sleep by about 10pm last night - at least 3 hours earlier than usual!!

Anyway, the consequence of that is that I haven't been able to blog, or really read anyone else's (which is hard at the best of times as last count it was 166 blogs I was following!!).

So this post is going to be very loooooooooong, apologies in advance but I've got a whole week's worth of news to update you with!!

Firstly can I please say that I still cannot *believe* I'm a finalist in the Maximuscle Body of 2009, I'm still beaming. I'll be sat at my desk, suddenly remember and break out into an enormous grin :-D

My colleagues, who already think I'm bonkers, now probably think I've actually finally completely lost the plot due to the semi-permanent maniacal grin I now sport!

I won't tell them the reason for my mirth and merriment though, and I don't think I'll tell any of my friends either. I have told Joe (obviously) and my son knows now as well - he was wondering why we were having champagne with our beef casserole on Monday as our usual dinner beverage is Joe: glass of red wine, Me: small bottle of Bavaria (0% alcohol Belgium lager, it's lush).

He was very pleased, he said "ooh so are you going to be in those magazines then?" (our place is littered with various Maximuscle product catalogues and copies of "Fit & Toned"!)

Anyway, here's the week's round-up:

Wednesday 23rd Sep - Anniversary celebration! :-)

I took a half day and we went first to see District 9.


That's all I can say really, I was blown away, it was so clever, yet implausible... if you haven't already seen it... what are you waiting for??! There's action aplenty and a story-line that'll melt and break your heart all at the same time. It's not perfect, but it's bloody brilliant.

After the cinema we went for food. Joe wouldn't tell me where it was, just that it was close to the place we were going that night.

We ended up at the most amazing steakhouse. Given that I'm such a protein fiend nowadays, I think Joe picked the best place.

This wasn't an overrated franchise selling mediocre steaks, this place was the dogs bollocks when it came to beef. Check it out, it's called The Hawksmoor and I can safely say that I've now eaten the best steak of my entire 30 years on this planet!

We sat at the bar to start and had a cocktail, I can't remember which one it was to be honest as it was one of their seasonal... it's fair to say that it was delicious though!

We exchanged some prezzies, I got a bottle of lovely smelling perfume Jean Paul Gaultier - Madame, and the most gorgeous turquoise and silver necklace - I tried to take a picture in the mirror as you can see... it didn't come out too well though haha.

I bought Joe a bottle of Hugo Boss - XY which had received the thumbs up from *both* my male colleagues (result!), he seems to like it :-)

I also got him tickets to see Snow Patrol when they play the Royal Albert Hall in November, looking forward to that, they played this year's V Festival - ended up headlining when Oasis pulled out prior to them splitting for good. Will be good to see the boys at a more intimate venue :-)

So, onto dinner - we were asked to 'pick our steaks'! Basically they had a blackboard with all the special cuts they had available in the restaurant at the time. We debated over the Porterhouse, which we were informed was a T-bone with a sirloin on one side and a fillet steak on the other... sounded nice but as we were being charged by the 100g we decided to go for the Chateaubriand (if like me you have no idea what this cut is, here's an explanation. We ordered the 800g, rare, between two, yes we're greedy sods... or rather I am as it was my idea!!

We had oysters to start. I'd not had them before and was warned that they didn't have the best texture, but they were still quite nice actually!

Then came the steak, look at this, how beautiful eh (unless you're a vegetarian or just not a fan of beef...), I think this was over half way into the meal and there was still tonnes of meat left... drooooollll...

It was the most delicious thing ever, we had it with a wonderful bottle of red, thick cut chips, field mushrooms and a spinach and stilton salad. The meat melted in my mouth, I savoured every bite... I'm salivating as I type this!

Unfortunately the Hawksmoor is a bit on the *ahem* pricey side so we won't be going back there in a hurry, but it was a special occasion and was cheaper than last year's excursion to Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Chelsea - which remains the single most wonderful dining experience ever - and the only time I've ever looked up on pigeon with anything other than disdain (as it was served up on my plate in the most amazingly delicious fashion).

Later that night we went to the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to see my current favourite male artist, Liam Frost. I *love* this guy, he's amazing.

I hadn't heard of him until a couple of weeks ago when I was listening to XFM and I heard him interviewed on their 'Razor Cuts' show.

Click here to listen to/watch the song he played on the show, it's called Held Tightly in your Fist and is just beautiful.

I looked up his MySpace page. His new album, We Ain't Got No Money Honey, But We Got Rain is out to buy now - buy it!

So anyway, he was performing at the Hoxton Bar so me, Joe and a very small audience crowded around the stage while just Liam and an acoustic guitar held us captivated for over an hour.

Here's Joe and I feeling a little euphoric after an amazing meal and listening to some wonderful music: :-)

It was wonderful, I felt almost empty when it was over, I wanted more! I got his autograph though, very chuffed, and a hug too! :-D

Thursday 24th Sep

Can't actually really remember much about this day, it was about as boring and nondescript as they come!

Friday 25th Sep

By contrast to Thursday Friday was far from boring... long, heart-wrenching, disappointing, frustrating, all those things, not boring! After spending the whole day hoping desperately to hear from Maximuscle I dragged my despondent carcass to join my other half and some friends at Ozer Restaurant in Oxford Circus... have blogged about this place before, it's really fantastic :-)

We had a lovely meal and sat in the bar area for a while afterwards before going off home. Nothing could shake the huge feeling of failure though, how ridiculous that I'd let it all get to me like that!

Saturday 26th Sep

Saturday was better and far more productive. Stopped mooching, sulking and skulking about and did productive stuff like bake bread and tidy up the house. In the evening we rejoined our friends at the Wyndham Theatre to see the screen classic The Shawshank Redemption brought to life on the stage.

I wasn't sure how this would translate to the stage, it's such an amazing epic of a film (I've not read the book but can only imagine it's even better).

I loved it, it was very cleverly constructed, really entertaining, really gripping and engrossing. My hands hurt *so* much at the end from all the clapping!!

I'd actually even go and see it again, like tomorrow, and that's unusual for me when it comes to theatre productions!

After the play we went over to Dalston... now, if anyone here is especially familiar with the dulcet tones of Razorlight's front man Johnny Borrell, you might remember a line in a song which goes "don't.. go back... to Dalston..."

There is a reason for that, it's scary, it's edgy, and it's uber trendy to boot - I guess that's a symptom of areas like that, you either have to be psychotic or too-cool-to-care to visit them!

We got out at London Bridge and got a cab, explaining that we were going to club that was behind a pub... and that we didn't really know where but we had to knock on a wooden door... our cabbie then decided to regale us with tales of one of his misadventures in Thailand where he'd been recommended a 'good bar good bar' behind a wooden door... walked in with his friend only to have the door shut and bolted behind him and come face to face with a room full of scary guys with guns. He said was able to get out of there by waving his passport furiously around and yelling that he was British and that there were people who knew he was there. Apparently nobody spoken English but he and his friend were released

How much of that story is *not* the fictitious ramblings of a London cabbie I don't know, but it did leave us feeling a trifle uneasy as we approached The Wooden Door.

We needn't have worried, Passing Clouds is an elusive little joint but really worth the trek... it's basically a bedsit that's been converted into a club, it's fantastic. The whole place is kitted out in the most lush sumptuous fashion, really hippy, new age, bohemian, everything like that! They had a drumming band from Senegal playing while we were there - it was superb!

It was my friend's 30th which is why we were there but we didn't stay long and I was teetotal all night because of my 10k race the next day - which leads me nicely onto...

Sunday 27th Sep

Sunday I took part in one of Cancer Research UK's 10k events. There were quite a few held up and down the country and at the most beautiful of locations - castles, palaces, parks etc...

The race was held at Hampton Court Palace, on the actual grounds. It was a beautiful day, really clear blazing sunshine... which made for tough race conditions! Luckily I had a running bottle with me so was able to hydrate all the way round.

I ran with one of my friends who had got 1:05 in training so I thought wouldn't be too far off me during race conditions as the atmosphere makes quite a difference to your speed and effort (I find!).

The thing was that we set off together, and after the 1 kilometre marker my watch said 06:05. If I wanted to break the 60 minute marker, and indeed get better than the 57:01 I got for August's race, I was going to have to run faster than 06:05KMs!! So, I said to my friend that we needed to pick up the pace... we got to the second kilometre marker and I hit the split button on my watch only to see it register 06:34 - I was apparently slowing down! I really started to worry that I wasn't going to break the hour mark at all, nevermind beat my speed so I picked up the pace even more.

When I got to the 3km marker I hit the split button and saw it said 04:40. Hmm, that's not right, I wasn't running *dramatically* faster than how I started... it then dawned on me that the other markers must have been out but by that time I'd sped up and I find it really hard to decelerate so I kept going at that pace. Unfortunately my friend couldn't keep up and dropped behind a bit.

The rest of my KM splits were completely nuts, here are all of them:

KM 1 - 06:05
KM 2 - 06:34
KM 3 - 04:40
KM 4 - 06:01
KM 5 - 04:57
KM 6 - 06:12
KM 7 - 03:40 (!)
KM 8 - 06:12
KM 9 - 07:15 (!!)
KM 10 - 04:15

I was in a foul mood while running because I was totally unable to predict my finishing time whatsoever because of the dodgy marker placing. I finished in 55 minutes though, just over 2 minutes faster than the 10k I raced in August! I was thrilled, but knackered, I (think I) have only run twice since the race in August and that was in this last week before - two 5km runs. However I've been cycling and walking and strength training... and I've lost a bit of weight since then so I'm not entirely surprised I was faster.

Here's a pic of us all afterwards with our lovely shiny medals... yes I'm aware of how red and flustered (and short!) I look, but that's not unusual (the redness that is, the boys are all over 6'!)!!

I do wish I'd trained better though as I couldn't have run any faster than I did... I was completely wiped out after the race. We went with my friend (who finished in 57:26 - not bad for his first 10k!!) and his girlfriend who'd kindly looked after our bags, to a pub for a roast dinner:

I had a pint of real ale and a pint of lager PLUS a huge (but incredibly well deserved!) meal of beef, veg and yorkshire pudding and I was zonked! We all were, sitting at the table yawning our heads off - what great company we must have been for each other!! :-D

We got home and I cooked turkey meatballs later with garlic and jerk seasoning. It was lovely, will have to post the recipe :-)

Monday 28th

I got into work on Monday morning feeling a little low. On the back of my desk under, my monitor was the slip of paper I'd pinned with the "Could you be our body of 2009?" message on it... so I binned that, lol. I went to get it back out but the recycling guys have been already, boo!

I thought I'd sit down and reassess my goals. I'd put all my energy into the Maximuscle Body of 2009 competition that when it was over I felt a bit lost, bereft even, especially when I'd not heard by midnight (yes, I kept hoping *that* long!).

I've learnt so much this year, have had so many daft food and training myths I'd heard (and believed!) dispelled and have acquired so much knowledge, all the time increasing my strength and transforming my body, that I don't want it to end here! I know I've got my Open University Health Sciences course but that's just to expand my mind, I still have so much I want to do to my body!!

I contacted Jo at who I met through Weightloss Resources earlier this year to ask if she'd consider becoming my training buddy.

Jo has lost nearly 4 stone through training and diet alone and has been truly inspirational to me throughout this year, a real shining example of effort, control, perseverance and results! I've had my ups and downs this year, as I found it hard to commit to overhauling my diet, but she nailed it right from the start and got the results she wanted really fast as a result. She also happens to be one of the nicest, most supportive and incredibly helpful people you could ever hope to meet - she'd bend over backwards to help someone out!

I'd been scouring the net for other competitions I could enter but all I could find were those with women with bodies I don't think I could really hope to achieve!

I wish I had the discipline and willpower that people like Jo have, but I don't want to give up things like going out for meals with friends/family, drinking good red wine and eating the odd chocolate or big pasta dish!

However, I cam across these pictures for the NABBA"Miss Figure - Toned", (as opposed to "Miss Figure - Trained"!!) and I think that's a more realistic look to aspire to :-)

I also really want to improve my 10k race time, row and cycle a lot faster (and up larger hills!), lift a lot heavier and complete harder routes on climbing walls.... and that's just for starters! There's lots to focus on post-Maximuscle comp so I was feeling more positive by lunch time that I had so much to look forward to and much much more to achieve.

Then, Monday afternoon, I got "the call" and things went from 'better' to 'just simply amazing'!!

I still can't fully articulate how I felt when I took that call. I tried to explain to Joe and the best I could come up with was that it was like the feeling you have if you've ever lost anything really dear or precious to you; losing hope of it ever turning up again, but it then doing so!

I felt very dazed on Monday night (not just from the champagne!), spent at least an hour thinking of what to write in my blog to tell you which managed to p1ss Joe off as he didn't understand why I couldn't just 'get it all down' in a shorter time. I tried to explain that it's not like writing a homework essay or anything where your thoughts are concise and clear... mine rarely are, and at times this deteriorates into a stream of unintelligible nonsense.

Tuesday 29th Sep

So, onto yesterday... as if the day couldn't get any better I learnt that the bike I was after had been delivered to Action Bikes in Victoria, so was ready for a test ride.

I popped along at lunch and hopped on it and took it for a ride round the block... the block being Scotland Yard Police Station... possibly not the best place to ride a brand new bike, complete with all the tags, around... I got a few weird looks as the price tag fluttered loudly in the wind... I'd not nicked it, honest guv'!

Here's the picture I took of it, propped up outside the Ministry of Justice.

Henry, my new steed :-D

I was going to take it for a ride round St James's Park but I didn't need to... a few minutes on it convinced me that it was the bike for me. It feels a lot smaller than my big mountain bike and I wasn't prepared for the judderyness that fixed forks would afford, but a) I work in area with a zillion potholes and b) on smooth surfaces it literally gliiiiiiides along :-)

So I bought it, him, Henry I've called him. I don't usually name inanimate objects but I thought I'd make an exception this time.

I picked him up after work... he looks a little different now having had a pannier rack fitted (as well as the price tags removed!) and by the time I got home I was in love!


That's all for now I think, this is the most ridiculously long post after all and it's nearly the end of Wednesday! I think (hope) that it'll be a little less busy tomorrow so I might even be able to finish telling you all about my activity holiday in Les Gets!!

See ya later



  1. What an absolutely amazing week you've had! Thank you so much for writing about me, it actually made me sit and blub at my desk, it really touched me.

    I am keeping everything crossed for the competition for you mate, and I pray that you will win it.

    Thanks for being so lovely.

  2. Well done on getting in to your competition, amazing achievement!

    And that steak looks lovely :)