Yes, it's the end of the week already - what the hell happened to the rest of it?!
I'm feeling increasingly panicked by the fact that crimbo is not that far off and I'm ridiculously underprepared!!
But that is nothing new I guess, it's not coincidental that one of my favourite sites is lastminute.com!!
Anyway, believe it or not I haven't actually forgotten that this is meant to be a diet and fitness blog and I apologise for the lack of updating so here we go
where did I leave off?
Friday 23rd Oct
Not a great start to the day, weighed in at 148.8lbs, up from the previous week - boo!
I had a half day (flexi, thank goodness, I'm so low on hols at the mo!) and went with my Mums (i.e. mine and Joe's) for a 'Spa Pampering Day' that I'd purchased for them for Mother's day months ago.
To say I was underwhelmed by the 'Spa' in question would be the understatement of the century.
For a start it's situated inside a Holiday Inn, hmm, alarm bells?
I haven't been to many Spas before, in fact I've only been to 2. The first was the luxurious and magnificent Sanctuary in Covent Garden which I went to only as I could get a corporate discount through my previous employer - still a bloody expensive place though!
The Sanctuary is amazing, it's very large, like walking into the garden of Eden (minus the apple trees and fig-leaf clad Adam - more's the pity!). It's a women-only place too so you could just lounge about in, well, nothing, but the usual attire consists of swim suit and lush bath robe (provided).
The treatments are great too but also pricey. However it's a great place to chill as they have bar and bench/loungers everywhere, as many women's magazines as you could ever read (usually my idea of hell but at a place like that you tend to leave your brain in your locker and switch off into 'I'm a fairy princess in wonderland' mode).
Last year I was taken as a treat to a place called the SenSpa which is in Brockenhurst (New Forest region) - a place I'd love to live if I ever contemplate leaving my beloved City (and lottery-win dependent too... it's rather pricey there!).
SenSpa is a luxury spa too, with a Thai restaurant on the premises and plenty of steam rooms, saunas, pools etc to keep you occupied - WELL worth the journey!
So when we turn up to this pokey little area squished into a corner of the hotel, with a teeny pool - of only one depth and not a lot else.
There were seats outside, but they were separate from the 'Spa' (or actually really a 'Health Club' as we discovered), as was the bar that was in the hotel lobby, so we'd have to walk through the hotel in our robes... not something that appealed to any of us!
We were also horrified to hear that the jacuzzi was out of action but we resolved that we'd make the most of it as we'd heard rumour of a sauna and steam room
So Joe's Mum went to have her treatment, my mum and Joe's mum's friend went to use the pool and I let rip in the weights area... looking on with concern while a PT there was getting a lady to do an odd forward lunge where she sort of bent over at the same time moving the one dumbbell she was holding forwards past her front foot... it didn't look very comfortable and I could see it was putting strain on her back!
I did my upper body routine with free weights (see side bar and yes, I'm still doing that routine, I haven't had time to change it yet... good job I enjoy it!!).
Then it was time for my treatment.
Unlike the Sanctuary, or SenSpa... where they have a myriad of hallways containing doors to candle-lit treatment rooms which you are led to... very boudoir/brothel like(!), this place had just the one room...
...but it was nice and with a proper treatment chair, and here's where it starts getting better... the lady/girl (she was sooo young) giving me my treatment was lovely and really passionate about her work - which she was good at!
We had a good old chin-wag and I found out that she'd worked at much more prestigious and up-market establishments, but is really happy at the Health Club there as it's just her on her own so it's kind of like her own little practice.
I asked her about the people that use the facilities and she said that their ages ranged from 40 - 100!! She said how much she loves the surprise she gets when she reads their birth year on the treatment forms - how old?!!
I thought she was just being sweet but then later when I was in the Jacuzzi (which they got working - hurrah!) I saw this older fella (not sure how old, I'm rubbish at guessing ages but he was definitely post-retirement!) come along who had the most amazing legs! they were tanned and the definition of his quadriceps would put many a younger man to shame!
Then another two lady pensioners came along and they looked fab in their swimming costumes! So impressed as earlier I'd been carrying out my weight routine in front of the mirror and caught sight of an enormous older woman in a small costume whose legs looked like they were entirely comprised of cottage cheese - a lot of cottage cheese... it was an amazing sight!
Anyway, the other people at the health only sought to reinforce my belief that keeping active keeps you younger for longer :-)
So anyway... after we'd all been pampered by the lovely treatment lady we went back to Joe's Mum's place and shared a nice bottle of prosecco and then went off for an early dinner at a Bangladeshi restaurant which is very close to where they live, and the train station.
We were the first there! It was about 6pm mind. This meant that we were served super fast and the food was delicious, lots of vegetables and healthy choices... and, best still, the healthy choices were highlighted in red. Can you believe that? They'd even included a note at the top of the menu to inform you of this and the fact that those dishes were made with lower fat sauces. I was so impressed, not only by how tasty the food was but also that they had that facility - almost a guilt free curry?!
Actually, Joe's Mum had the best option... I can't remember what it was called, a chicken sizzlak or something like that, but basically it was huge chunks of chicken breast served with equally huge chunks of red pepper and onion - served sizzling on a hot plate... very healthy!
After that my Mum and I got the train back together... it wasn't the most pleasant of journeys but I'm not going to go into that on here (especially now I know I have a malevolent reader (or readers)), but she's coming round on Sunday hopefully for lunch so that should be nice - hopefully!
I then went to join some friends at a house party in North London. It was full of fast runners and medical professionals (my friend whose flat it is is an exceptionally fast runner and also a nurse) I felt very unworthy!
Great night though (from what I can remember!), I quaffed a significant amount of red wine and prattled on and on about Maximuscle products (mainly Viper, for the endurance athletes) to all who would/were unfortunate enough to listen! :-D
Saturday 24th Oct
Ewww, I felt rather rotten and that's putting it mildly! Just look at this loaf of bread I put on when I woke up - what's happened to it? It's a Frankenloaf! Obviously my breadmaking abilities were just as wonky as I felt... and I know that I use a breadmaker but I bake a lot of loaves and they've never looked like this before!!
Still managed to resist the bacon and egg sandwich and had a very tasty yoghurt and fruit protein pancake instead - helped perk me up a little!
We were going to see Franz Ferdinand at the Brixton Academy which I'd been looking forward to - but not at how late they came on!!
Usually when you go to a gig at Brixton they have a warm-up act from about 7pm and then the main act comes on at 9(ish) and you get to go home reasonably early (how old do I sound?!). I think because it was a weekend that they have a later licence so there were a few acts before FF - who weren't scheduled to come on til 23:20!! Obviously they were later than that, I was so pooped and my cranberry juice (pint of) was doing nothing to keep me feeling perkier.
Here's the usual obligatory gratuitous mugshot of Joe and I - what you can't see is my bright yellow foam earplugs... NOT a symptom of getting old I hasten to add... just a result of the tinnitus brought on by being too much of a gig-pig. I don't want the ringing in my ears to get any worse, it's highly annoying as it is - it's fine during the day but we live on such a quiet peaceful road all I hear is the ringing (and the bloody foxes!).
I'm hoping it's curable as it only came about when I got ill a few months ago (I swear it was piggy flu) so it might be a tube blockage (ooer)... trying to rectify this with GP-prescribed steroid nasal spray which I've resolved NEVER to use at work again after sounding like a coke-head in the loos when I last used it!!!
oh and as you *can* see, I'm used to my usual pale self! Somewhat different to how I looked the night of the photoshoot!.
I must say though, I like having a *bit* of colour, if only because I look less rubbish without makeup as I hardly ever wear it and I do pity my colleagues having to see my washed-up pale boatrace every day!!
Honestly, my morning routine is get up/shower/wash hair/comb with fingers/slap Boots No.7 cream on face/leave!
Oh yeah, I do get dressed first though!!
I wish I could be more girlie but I can't be arsed usually and I guess it does make it that much more exciting when I *do* put makeup/jewellery/heels/dresses etc on!
Sunday 25th Oct
I didn't feel like my usual sweet protein pancake so instead I thought I'd play around a bit and use Promax Natural with my Two Chicks free range liquid egg whites and 25g mature cheddar... have the heat on low and make an omelette instead - it was actually rather nice!
So on Sunday I had the unenviable task of helping my child tidy his room. We had been asking him to do it for weeks and he had given it a couple of half-assed attempts (i.e. pick stuff off floor and shove into miscellaneous drawers/wardrobes/down side of bed/behind books on shelf) but it was getting beyond a joke.
I filled a whole recycling bag full of paper and an archive box with his old school books that he had littered round his bedroom.
It took a whole afternoon, seriously... it took hours! The net result was a lovely sparkling tidy room with a clear computer desk that he can use his laptop on without distraction.
Also got rid of some clothes, wish the boy would stop growing *quite* so fast, he's gonna be as tall as me soon!
Sunday night - was too
It’s so nice when you have takeout that *doesn’t* make you feel guilty simply because it contains such lovely, fresh and healthy ingredients!
Monday 26th Oct
A pretty normal day at work, nothing too exciting happened there but dinner was delicious and nutritious :-)
Joe was off work as he was most of this week because of some horrid coldy flu-type thing, poor love, so I cooked grilled teriyaki salmon with cous cous and I made a delicious salad with Hass avocado, black olives, feta, baby plum tomatoes, cucumber, mixed leaves, golden linseeds and my special secret recipe dressing ;-)
Tuesday 27th Oct
As you know... Tuesday I got my new toy. I am still AS in love, if not more, with it as I was then - just not as enamoured with the poor battery life!
I took my first pics with it on Tuesday over dinner with a very good friend of mine who I met through our running club quite a few years ago. It's funny as, although not new to running, she was certainly new to triathlon - as was I - and since then has competed in several triathlons culminating in an almighty Ironman Triathlon which she raced with her new husband!
She's a fantastic athlete and, when I met up with her she was still feeling 'a little tired' from her latest marathon which she completed in a jaw-dropping time of 03:09!!
I'm super impressed, and by the fact that her and her hubby then went out to dinner to celebrate as it was their wedding anniversary!
Anyway, I'd booked us a table at JB's Restaurant which is situated inside the Victoria Park Plaza hotel. I didn't even know it existed before I found it on Toptable.com. They had a great deal on... 2 courses and half a bottle of wine for £15! (and the half bottles were actually literally small sized bottles - so cute!)
I had a salad to start followed by grilled chicken breast on a polenta base - decent sized portions and very nice too. I was relieved by how little choice was on the menu actually as I'm rubbish at making any sort of quick decision when faced with multiple options!!
However, as adequate as the portion sizes were, it didn't stop us taking a sneaky peek at the menu which yielded forth some fantastic mouth-watering dish options... which we obviously *had* to try!
Just look at this, can you say, hand on your heart, that you'd have been able to resist this?
My friend couldn't... she had her dessert and then ordered the same one I'd had! (She's allowed to mind, with the amount of mileage she racks up on a weekly basis!)
It was lovely though, the ice-cream ball on the left was intensely gingery and the one on the right had some sort of crackly stuff in it (can you tell I'm not a restaurant critic!!), it was all super tasty :-)
Wednesday 28th Oct
Wednesday I cycled my poor old mountain bike home. It's been parked in our work carpark since I brought Henry home a month ago!
The poor thing's back tyre was quite soft, though not enough to warrant hunting around for a pump, it's not exactly a long journey home!
I really have to psych myself up to ride in London, it's pretty scary and I *know* the benefits to your health far outweigh the risks associated with road cycling.... still doesn't stop me being shit scared of all the lunatic drivers who hurtle past me... seemingly with the sole intention of driving me off the road/clipping me with their wing mirror!
Joe was still feeling unwell on Wednesday so we didn't go to Alpha and I instead cooked a big healthy meal - chicken breast pieces in a nice rich tomato, garlic and chilli sauce with loads of fresh veg thrown in - sugar snap peas, mixed peppers, mushrooms, fine green beans and aubergine. The boys had pasta with it and I had mashed sweet potato and we all had a big bowl of salad too for good measure :-)
I took the leftovers with me to work for lunch the next day, which leads me onto:
Thursday 29th Oct
Thursday was rather fab. I'd been given 4 passes to see Live at the Apollo being filmed!
I'm such a comedy fiend, can't get enough of it and was really looking forward to this, not least because it was free!
I met up with my friends, collected our tickets and then went for a bite to eat at the Distiller's Pub.
The food was delicious! One friend had fish and chips, another had tuna steak (perfectly cooked) on a nicoise salad base and I had the 8oz rib eye steak. I asked for it rare, knowing full well it wouldn't be, but was pleased at how tasty it was, really succulent and flavoursome... a bit fatty but then it's a fatty cut, it's probably the fat that gives it the flavour - and the chargrilling of course ;-)
We got back to the Apollo, grabbed a drink and went to our seats.
We didn't have a bad view - my only complaint about the seat - other than the giant sitting in front of me (but I'm used to being *that* unlucky and I just looked 'around' him lol!) was the spotlight shining on us that was blinding (and not in a good way!),
The dude in the row in front of us constructed this makeshift turban eye-shield out of his scarf!
that really made me smile, together with discovering that Andy from Little Britain was sat next to my friends :-D
Yes I'm that evil ;-)
Our compère for the first show (yes, we got to see *two* shows recorded - happy days!) was Al "The Pub Landlord" Murray. He's not everyone's cup of tea but I really love him... he's a smart but very accessible comic and a fantastic storyteller to boot! :-)
Next was a guy I'd not heard of before (shock horror!) despite him being around for a while now, it was Chris Addison and he was brilliant!
Although saying that, I don't really remember many of his jokes, aside from the spring-loaded coffin gag and that was because it was his closing line, and he fluffed his exit and had to re-do it. Well, not 'fluffed' exactly, it was really funny but he should have just bowed, shook Al Murray's hand and then walked out, instead of crouching underneath the 'Live at the Apollo' sign and attempting to lift and go underneath it!!! :-D
Next on was Tim Vine whose style and delivery is a little akin to Jimmy Carr's brand of quickfire one-liners (although I'm sure he's been doing it longer!).
Not my favourite style of comedy I must admit. I prefer storytellers, I like a comedian to reel me in then deliver the punchline... and perhaps even revisit it later... not constantly fire them at me, one after the other in quick breathtaking succession - it's exhausting for me!
It was telling that a *lot* of the audience left to get drinks/visit the loos during his performance.
So then it was the interval between shows and I overheard that Jason Manford and Michael McIntyre would be on next!!
VERY mixed emotions here... you see I'm going to see Michael McIntyre do his *own* gig at The O2 next week!! I bought the tickets back in February and I've been looking forward to seeing him all year!
I figured that like the other two acts he'd only be doing a short stint, and curiosity took the better of me so I decided to hang about.
First up was Jason Manford, which was quite surprising as I figured that Al Murray would do his compère stint again.
Now, I really like Jason Manford, he's a lovely really personable fellow. However, I have seen a lot of his act during the various shows he's on like 8 out of 10 Cats (he's a team captain) and other interviews and stand up performances I've seen on TV.
He is great though, a real gent, lovely fella :-)
After Jason this little round ball of energy... also known as Michael McIntyre sprung out onto the stage!
It was a fantastic performance, the atmosphere generated by the crowds' adoration of him was almost electric! I didn't see *anyone* get up from their seat the entire time he was on!
Michael McIntyre is a master of observational humour. There's nothing nasty, mean, sexist, xenophobic or otherwise in his material or countenance... he's a genuinely lovely lovely guy but bloody hilarious too!
Although I know that Thursday was probably a 'road-test' of his new material in preparation of next week's big performances but I don't care because
a) it was sooo funny I can't wait to see it again and
b) he was only on for about half an hour, next week's show will be a lot longer so have more of the good stuff to look forward to!!
Went home with a happy smiley buzz and hurty cheeks from all the grinning :-D
Friday 30th Oct
Well, a good start to the day. I lost a pound so back down to 147.8lbs... just got to work on shifting it further down the scales :-) Very pleased actually as my ankle's been too sore to take any impact work so my cardio has been all but zero, it's a good job I've got a tighter rein on my food and alcohol intake :-)
Haven't received my pictures from the Maximuscle photoshoot yet, boo :-( hopefully they'll be waiting for me at work on Monday, something to look forward to.
Really looking forward to seeing them though and have had a request for info about the food and exercise I do for an article on the website - woot!
This is fab as it's something I've been meaning to do for ages - document 'me' over a normal week. It's a good job I keep a food and exercise diary and photograph everything, ha!
Oh and I need to complete my Q and A for the lovely JAG (I haven't forgotten, sorry I'm just a bit rubbish, look how long it's taken me to post this!!)
Another great idea but I'm worried I'll just sound like everyone else - still... good we're on the same healthy wavelength eh? :-)
Anyway, I'm not going to tell you anything more about Friday now as I returned home to a rather special surprise from Joe - something he'd been planning for months!!
So that will need a very special post all of its very own to do it justice... watch this space!
Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!