Saturday 31 October 2009

Happy Friday!!

Okay so it's actually late on Saturday now but I wrote most of this yesterday and ran out of time to complete and publish!!


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!!

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?

ahh yes:

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 lazy knackered to cook so we had yummy oriental food from our local lovely Japanese noodle bar... Joe and I had Bento Boxes (I had yakitori chicken in mine, very tasty and low fat - perfect!), the boy nicked my (and Joe’s!) miso soup in addition to his own seafood noodle dish. We also shared some edamame (yummy and a great source of protein!) and tori gyoza (steamed little rice and chicken parcels) and some eel sashimi - lush!!

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 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!


Wednesday 28 October 2009

New Palm in my palm...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Recent bollocks~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


see that? ^^^^^^

That's me drawing a line under the events of the last couple of days. It's all a bit bemusing really and I don't have time to let it drag me down, got too much on!

Besides... I'm in love

Big time

With my new phone


Okay so its battery has the lifespan of a donut in my office, but it's lurrrrvly

Yes, I am quite besotted. Clearly. But look at it, it's beautiful!
Obviously this isn't my actual phone which is rather more smudged from my eager paws being all over it! :-D
So, I have in my grubby palms, a Palm Pre and I am super impressed already. You should have seen me in the O2 store, I was like a kid with a new toy, I literally clapped my hands with glee when the transaction was complete and I was free to take my new baby home.

Sad eh? But you see I have had my BlackBerry for about 20 months! That's a hell of a long time for me to go without changing phones, I'm such a super phone geek, always have been.

I got my first phone in 1996. The mother and baby hostel I stayed in only had a payphone on the wall, and that was downstairs near the front door - several flights of stairs down from me! When you're a new mother looking after a teeny tiny baby, the last thing you want to do is drag him down the stairs and balance him in one arm whilst trying to cradle a phone and feed it money with the other!!

So I bought a Nokia 1210, ahh, my first phone. It was the size of a brick and weighed as much too. I couldn't hold it to my ear to make calls for any length of time as I didn't have the strength in my arms! I'd have to balance it against my shoulder and ear or rest my head back on a chair - ridiculous!

From that moment on I was hooked on mobile phones and went through quite a few including the earlier incarnations of Sony and Ericsson, when they were two companies. I think the Ericssons were the first flip phones, with the stubby aerial - so sweet! My first Sony phone was years ahead of its time... it had a jog-dial on the side so you could scroll through the menus, very impressive!

I had a few Nokias (and obviously one popped my mobile phone cherry!) but I've never really got on with them. I didn't find they had as intuitive a feel as the SonyEricssons, and when SE brought out their colour phones I was in my element! I can't remember the first colour one I got, it was either the T68i or the T610 (I actually still have both phones!), but when they brought out the K range with the awesome cameras with digital flash I thought I'd be loyal for life!

Then my boyfriend bought a BlackBerry.

The phone he got came with a pink fascia. As comfortable as he is with his own sexuality he decided that he really couldn't go around permanently with a pink phone, clients and colleagues just wouldn't take him seriously!

So he persuaded me to abandon my super duper Sony Ericsson with amazing camera for a BlackBerry with a pathetic 2 megapixel rubbish camera, but came with a dark blue fascia... hmm

It took me a little while to get to grips with the qwerty keypad but it wasn't that long before I was totally hooked. Our BlackBerrys are pretty much identical except that mine has Wi-Fi, his GPS - (not quite sure why they couldn't put both in the same model!), the nifty rollerball and the fact that you get visible feedback from the arrow 'mouse' pointer on the screen really made it for me.

However, the browser is naff, really really naff!

a few of the BlackBerry Pearl 8120's good points:

* LED flashing when new notification arrives
* BB messenger (rocks and rolls but then that's not much use if none of your friends own one!)
* instant mail notification
* memo pad - I write *everything* from my strength workouts to my shopping/packing list!
* Wi-Fi very handy if you're in another country and don't (for some bizarre reason) want to fork out for mega roaming data fees!
* can receive calendar invites from Microsoft Outlook/Lotus Notes/Google mail etc
* quite dinky, can fit in my front jeans pocket (and don't forget girls' jeans have shallower pockets than their male-specific counterpart!)
* can have multiple applications running at once
* can get a few nice apps like TwitterBerry and Flickr uploader
* compatible with google manager, e.g. calendar, mail, google maps (v handy if your sense of direction is as appalling as mine!!)

errm that'll do for now, there are plenty others but can't think of any right now

a few of the BlackBerry Pearl 8120's bad points:

* rubbish browser (says it supports JavaScript but can't view the Twitter homepage!)
* magnetised semi-solid case wipes any paper train ticket (and gym card!!) that comes into contact with it!
* no touch screen
* screen size rather small
* HTML email messages look rather shoddy
* using apps like Facebook for BlackBerry draaaaaaaaains the battery life!
* camera is rubbish, flash is too bright for nearby objects and not bright enough for further away ones, plus it's only a 2 megapixel camera - why can't smart phones install better cameras?!!!!!!
* can't ever discretely take sneaky surreptitious pictures of interesting sights... and people (a la GymBunnyHoney stylie) as the camera makes a 'cloookkffff' sound when you take one - and yes, even on the silentist of silent modes!!

okay I'm really slating the poor BB and to be honest I really loved it despite its failings, it served me well for almost 2 years!

But I'm quite happy to banish it to the back of some drawer now as the Palm Pre does poop on it from a rather great height!

I'm not going to bore you with all the specs, check it out here if you want more info and to look at more pretty pictures ;-)

But, in brief (as brief as it's possible to be, and we all know that's not a lot!), here are:

a few of the Palm Pre's good points (that I've noticed so far):

* the touch screen is great, you can do the squeezy pinch, flick etc to move, throw away, zoom in/out etc and of course, if you tilt the screen it adjusts accordingly ;-)
* the browser is fab, I really like it
* although only a few apps out at the moment (including necessary ones - like Twitter!), I imagine it'll only be a matter of time before this increases significantly
* you can have multiple apps open at once (unlike the iPhone!)
* physical keypad - yes it's teeny and you have to type using the corners of your thumbnails but that's how I type on my BB so I'm quite happy with that... I like having feedback when I press a key and not having to type on the actual screen - now the whole thing is a viewing window... definitely prefer having the keypad separate!
* when I plugged it into my PC and selected 'media syc', iTunes automatically opened up and recognised the device! It treats it like an iPod - woo hoo!
* GPS (woo hoo, no more getting lost for me!)
* Wi-Fi
* the camera is pretty good! Not amazing, but better than the BB's.
* it's perty
* there's a mirror on the back - I thought they were just being thoughtful but Joe tells me it's to enhance the flash, d'uh!
* you get informed immediately if you have any email, you don't have to 'login to the app' like with an iPhone - very handy if you've got BlackBerry withdrawal and you're used to your message retrieval being instant!

there are other things that are pretty small but I like... like the trash can symbol in the bottom of the screen that you can use when reading mails... deleting anything with a BB required too many clicks for my liking!

ooh and there's a 'back' feature, but it's not on the screen or the keypad... it's underneath the screen and you just swipe your finger, it's very cool. I've not yet worked out how to use all the 'gestures' yet, need to play around a bit more ;-)

so, onto the negatives... here are a few of the Palm Pre's less than positive points (that I've noticed so far):

* no predictive text (from what I can see... okay I know it's *full* qwerty but I'm lazy!)
* teeny (albeit raised and easy to use) keys
* can't seem to select images on web pages, i.e. 'right-click + save image' function
* don't like the charger adapter! BB uses a mini-usb, which you can find anywhere, no idea what this connector is! You can get a 'touch stone' which looks rather tasty but I think it's a tad on the pricey side and having just shelled out for this bad boy I'm not likely to be able to afford any gimmicky charging units anytime soon!
* poor battery life (if you're an app fiend or just like playing with your new toy - a lot!!)
* sharp edges(!)
* no external storage supported, only onboard... no idea how long the 8GBs will last

I have only had this phone 24 hours so am yet to discover more of its fab (and not-so-fab) attributes, no doubt I'll be whinging/enthusing about it in days/weeks/months to come ;-)

have to get off now and resist playing with my Pre some more... have very complicated scary functions to write 8-O

will be back soon with a round-up of the last few day's events but just had to share my new love interest with you :-D

Hope you're all well and thanks again for the support these last few days, means a lot :-)


Friday 23 October 2009

Have you met my friend, Will?

Will Power that is...!

Sorry, that was about the lamest cheesiest thing I've ever written


I did find that smug mode was initiated several times throughout the course of Wednesday though

here's why:

AM: arrive at venue for all day pension systems event (yes, I could hardly contain my excitement either!) - have coffee, no biscuits

Break: boss gets me coffee, pops a shortbread finger on my saucer... which I remove - boss then eats

Lunch: look forlornly at the mass of bread and deep fried offerings on the buffet table (ciabatta rolls, spring rolls, crispy duck, potato salad, filo pastry parcels etc - not a salad leaf in sight!) - opt for 1/4 of a seeded brown bread sandwich with egg and one with tuna, a little bit of duck and a teeny amount of potato salad - NO deep fried pastry rolls/parcels for me!

sit down, eat offering, then whip out the strawberry Maximilk (wasn't bothered about the looks I'd get, I was already out of place having turned up in jeans, a sweatshirt (albeit a nice smart one) and my goretex MBTs - nobody told me anything about business dress, we don't have that where we work!!) and poured it into a glass... whilst the remaining people on my table went and refilled their plates, at least once, often twice!

Post Lunch: very dismayed to see zero fruit - except those on the shortcrust pastry and custard cups. The puddings looked very nice indeed but I knew that I'd feel shit if I ate them as I didn't *need* to, and I had a Promax Crisp barfor afters in my bag as well as Promax Diet bar in case I got *really* hungry

I was prepared. If you fail to prepare, you should prepare to fail. I didn't fail, I didn't stuff my face with deep fried products or cave into the lovely pastries, and BOY did they look tasty. I had what I needed with me to ensure I wouldn't get hungry as that would diminish my willpower

Dinner: I did the classic 'food shopping when hungry', which is always bad as you end up buying the whole supermarket. However, I don't buy rubbish foodstuff (unless specifically requested by my boys) so I ended up getting a veritable nibble feast for us consisting of corn on the cob, mini pots of low fat homous to have with carrot batons, celery, cucumber etc... a pot of giant cous cous and chickpeas.

The boys had opted for pizza, and there was some macaroni cheese they wanted to share too... fine! I had 2 halves (one red, one yellow) of a pepper stuffed with cous cous, quinoa (cooked with a chicken stock cube for flavour), baked in the oven and sprinkled with 25g mature cheddar.

Plus of course we had the obligatory mixed leaf salad with cherry tomatoes... very lucky that both Joe and my son are as much salad freaks as I am!

So I felt very virtuous, and I didn't even have a nibble of pizza.

But I didn't feel like I was 'missing out', which is a new experience for me. You see, since I started to see real results to my body, it's given me the momentum to continue along the same route that I've been taking.

I think that's what I needed, to see evidence, physical evidence that my efforts were paying off. Now I can get into clothes that I haven't worn for over a year, I actually *like* my body now (and I'm not just saying it, I'm so chuffed with how I look right now :-) ) and every time I walk past a shop window or mirror etc and catch sight of my reflection I feel happy with what I see - I'm NOT uncomfortable in my own skin (as well as clothes!) as I was a few months ago.

It's such a lovely feeling, like a huge relief really. I know there are parts of me I'm still working on and want to change, but I also know that that's GOING to happen, not that it 'might'.

So I don't 'need' to snack on junk and fat just because it's there and everyone else is. That's not to say that I'll *never* eat another calorific dessert when I'm out for a nice dinner, but I don't feel like I'm missing out if I don't do it just because it's 'there' and everyone else is... in fact, quite the contrary, I feel like I'm gaining - gaining more of a sense of self-worth and every step is a positive move towards an even-more improved me :-)


Tuesday 20 October 2009

Reach for the stars...

...or at least that very last hold on the climbing wall... ;-)

The Castle, awesome huh?!

It was fantastic to get back to the Castle Climbing Centre, I haven't been brave enough to venture there for so many months because of being so self-conscious about my size.

Yesterday, however, I strode into the communal changing room without any fear of who would be staring and judging. You have to understand that, on the whole, climbers are a lithe, lean and fairly well muscled bunch of folk - I've felt anything *but* any of that in recent months until now!

My good mood was lifted further by the fact that I had to tighten the leg loops on my harness (I leave them locked as it's only the waist band I need to loosen to get it off/on me). This is my harness btw, it's a Black Diamond Primrose AL climbing harness and it's uber comfy. I've had it for years, should probably wash it at some point, it doesn't look as brightly coloured as the one in this pic!!

These are my rock shoes, they're Red Chili 'Spirit' laceups... I *had* wanted to get velcro ones but as I'm tall my feet are pretty big for a girl, and they didn't have women-specific shoes when I went to try them on - so the shoes fit lengthways but were *far* too wide for my feet!

However... I was browsing through a copy of 'Climb Magazine' and I saw a pair of Boreal Luna Rock Shoes advertised... ooh they're luuuurvly and will go with my purple harness! I'll have to go and try a pair on in a shop though as I seem to recall that I didn't quite like the fit of the Boreals that I tried on when I was shopping for my current shoes.

In any case, I'm not going to buy them now as a) I'm a bit broke after spending a fortune on clothes for the photo shoot and b) I'm going to use them as a weight-loss incentive... If/when I get below 10 stone I will get myself a pair - how's that for encouragement?!

So anyway, sorry I went a bit off track there... I got changed and joined Joe and our friend H in The Quarry. His other climbing buddies were away so it was just the three of us, which isn't the best dynamic when you're going climbing truth be told!!

Joe and I belayed for H whilst he tackled some difficult top-roped, and lead rope climbs... he's such a good climber, can grip onto the teeniest tiniest of holds that are barely proud from the wall! I think it helps that he's just so lean, no fat whatsoever anywhere on him and he's quite muscular too, but doesn't look it when he's just wearing normal clothes as he's so slim. He's the same height as Joe (6') but probably nearly 2 stone lighter! In fact I think he's lighter than I am *sulk*

He's also a bloody fast runner, one of the fastest in our club... e.g. sub 02:45 marathons, sub 34 minute 10km. His brother is a bit faster, which must be annoying but then H is into anything and everything - we was competing in an adventure race last weekend, which he and a fellow Serpie won, it involved mountain biking, running, orienteering etc, sounds like fun!!

The first couple of climbs of mine were rubbish!! Then I switched to even easier routes on the Rockley Wall and found them a bit more do-able!

I left Joe and H for a bit to have a go on the ground floor travel wall but that wasn't that much fun so I ended up going to the next floor to do some bouldering in the quarry.

That was a lot of fun, but the thing about using the bouldering walls is you're meant to start from a seated position and pull yourself up - I discovered I'm not that good at that!

Also when I was bridging across two holds on the back wall (see where woman is in green top in the pic in the link above) and I felt an almighty (and uncomfortable!) 'pull' in the back of my glutes and hamstrings which highlighted how inflexible my legs are... must. stretch. more!

After that I thought I'd use the travel walls, imaginatively named Lust and Envy!!. Although I didn't try this move performed by this nutty fella! - insane! great pic though :-)

My hands hurt after the bouldering. Although I do a lot of training with heavy weights, I always wear gloves, so my poor palms felt red raw!!

I then caught sight of Joe and H so we went up to the first floor level to where the *really* high walls are and finished off the night on one of the new Taller top roped routes, it's really scary once you get all the way to the top and turn round and look down!!

After our climbing exertions we decided the only sensible, and polite thing, to do would be to visit the local public house for a nice well-deserved pint and some yummy Thai food. The pub across the road to the Castle fulfills all this and more. It's very much an 'old man's pub' but it's still nice and the food is lovely and cheap (although not the largest of portions).

Ordinarily I would have sat and ummed and erred over the menu until I finally made the choice between the Pad Thai noodles with chicken, or the Massoman Curry. But yesterday I wanted neither!

I fancied something with a bit of a kick and the idea of a plate full of noodles really did nothing for me! It's funny how your tastes can change so dramatically in the space of a few months!

I opted for the red curry in the end which wasn't the healthiest of options as there was coconut juice aplenty in it. But I had definitely earnt it after my climb and besides I was famished having forgotten to take my Promax Crisp bar with me to munch en route to the climbing centre!

I had a pint and a half of Kronenburg (mandatory post-climbing drink... when I run I drink Guinness... maybe I'm just weird?!) and felt very tipsy, gosh I'm a cheap date!! :-D

I slept like a log, a very happy worn out log :-)

Today my hands still feel very sore and a bit stiff and I feel a bit achey in the triceps, other than that I'm not doing too badly really and I can't wait to get back there again - hopefully in 2 weeks time! I want to make this a regular thing and not let it slip again, it's such a great mind and full body workout :-)

Hope you're all well


Monday 19 October 2009

Monday catch-up

Happy Monday you all you lovely people

I've had a super last few days and thought I'd share them with you :-)

Thur 15th Oct

Yes, yes, I know I posted on Friday but that was only a little brief thing ;-)

Thursday afternoon I was feeling a little dejected because of not winning the Maximuscle Body of 2009 comp. Which is daft I know because I'm hugely thrilled by my achievement of getting through to the finals, but I couldn't help but feel disappointed because I'd rather stupidly allowed hope to creep in and push aside realism!

You see, from hearing that I'd made the finals right up until the point where I saw the other girls at the photoshoot, I did actually think I had a good chance of winning.

But I was up against a woman who not only had lost a tonne of weight but also built an enviable amount of muscle and looked awesome in her boxing outfit, another woman with a lovely little figure who was 10 years older than me but didn't look nearly that old at all and who was very passionate about exercise.

And finally, the girl who won it, who is very young and pretty, has lost a lot of weight and coincidentally looks similar to last year's winner - who has a look which I consider to be achievable for everyone - if I didn't I'd not have entered the competition!

I don't know what her 'story' is but I'm sure it's going to be a good one as she has won the 'Inspire' category and I found the other women pretty inspirational too :-)

When I got home I told Joe that I knew I'd not won it... so he was confused by my being disappointed when this was confirmed haha! Men and women are different creatures... just because I was positive that I wouldn't win, doesn't mean I'm not going to feel a little bereft when it's confirmed!!

Anyway, enough of the whinging! I'm actually quite cool about things now and also excited for the winner as it's such an amazing thing to happen to one so young, she's just graduated, won an amazing competition and a heap of cash - very bright future ahead of her and I can't feel anything other than pleased for her, it's all pretty damn awesome, I'd be floating on air if I were her!!

So, Thursday night I went out to dinner with a lovely friend of mine (let's call her M) who was, until quite recently, one half of a well-established couple. I've known her as long as I've known Joe as her (now ex) boyfriend went to school with him.

They'd been together for 8 years and, although their splitting is very sad, it's not really come as a huge surprise to me.

Although Joe and I fight like hell and we really get up each other's noses, we're still pretty tactile, we have a lot in common and do get on really well (when we're not trying to kill each other) and I think he's the most gorgeous man ever and, when he's not being a cock, I adore him entirely (sorry, bit sickening I know but it's good to fancy your other half I reckon, I spent so many years with my previous partner wondering why I didn't and trying to convince myself that I did - that thing just shouldn't be forced!!).

When we were out, M and her ex used to get on okay, and when they'd had quite a bit to drink they'd have a dance and look like they were enjoying each other's company... and I don't think that was forced, but it was telling that they didn't appear that close when they were sober. They sat at different ends of their living room, I don't remember ever seeing them kiss, although obviously I'm sure they did!

It was a bit concerning talking to her though about their arguments, I'm not going to go into detail on here obviously but apparently they'd say horrible things to each other and just be really nasty - when Joe and I fight we do the same, I say things to him that I wouldn't *dream* of saying to other people, we're really horrible at times and I think it's something we need to address... get to the bottom of it.

We're both so similar though and really fiery, stubborn and quick to snap. Neither of us like to EVER admit we're wrong... seriously... this is a big sticking point... in fact, look at this email chain from August:

From: Tara#####
Sent: 21 August 2009 11:22
To: ###### Joe
Subject: you know...

...we're both incredibly similar in that neither of us are very humble.

It takes a lot for us to see our own faults, let alone admit to
them... saying sorry is an even bigger deal!!

I think our egos are a little too large perhaps - definitely think
we're both guilty of a little too much self pride

what do you think?


Tara ####

wrote on 21/08/2009 11:57:20:
I think you may have a point, but you have to remember Tara - I am
always right. If you could only remember that, things would be a lot simpler...

Only kidding ;)

You are right - I don't like it when I'm in the wrong, and neither
do you. I guess we just need to accept that about each other... ?


We both recognise that we're not 'easy' people to be in a relationship with, in fact we both have a huge amount of baggage from not feeling good about ourselves when we were growing up and then both coming from long-term relationships in which we felt trapped and unhappy... personally I'd *hate* to date me!

However, all that aside, we do get on really fabulously well when we're *not* fighting (which doesn't happen all the time, believe it or not ;-) !). We have similar goals, beliefs, ideas about family, what's right and wrong etc as well as TV, film and music tastes (well, he's getting an eduction from me and now *voluntarily* puts on XFM!).

I think above all we just both really enjoy each other's company, which I think is hugely important. There's no point being wildly in lust, or love with someone if you can't stand being around them for any length of time... if you've nothing to talk about, nothing to plan... or even if you *do* have nothing to talk about - not feeling happy just sitting in silence enjoying the other's presence - I think that's pretty damn important too!

I don't think M and her boyfriend had that. I think he's the same person he was when they met those 8 years ago but she's moved on.

It's telling that years ago they bought a house together, with 2 bedrooms, a nice garden, nice area, good schools etc... but they hadn't got married and/or filled their extra bedroom with children - that had been the purpose of the place and location, but there were never any indications, that I could see, towards any of that ever happening. They just seemed like two individuals, not one unit, not where and when it mattered.

So they've split up, he's living with his parents and she's still in the house until it can be sold - As she works in London I'm hoping she'll move here, it'll be great to have her closer :-)

It was also M's 30th birthday last week (not great timing for it huh?!) and I ordered her this necklace from which is one of my favourite online shops. I *adore* silver jewellery and they have some lovely items. This is called the 'Cabana Beach Chain' and I think it's pretty lovely... I didn't want to part with it, haha, my friend said she liked it too, hope she did :-)

I took M to Mews of Mayfair for her birthday dinner, which I've not been to before. It's very swish inside and ordinarily a bit out of my price range but I found it on and they had a special deal on for London Restaurant week where you could have 2 courses and a glass of wine for £20, or 3 courses for £25.

I *had* only intended to go for the 2 courses but the portion sizes were pretty minuscule compared to what I'm used to when I'm dining out (I *like* having to leave something on my plate - but this didn't happen until the 3rd course!).

For my starters I ordered the "Warm Ragstone Goat Cheese, Beetroot and Toasted Hazelnuts", which looked like this:

Nicely presented, and very tasty too.

For my main course I ordered the "Pan-Fried Cod with Provencal Olive Crust, Romesco Sauce" (I've peeped at the menu online to get the precise dish name, by the way, my memory isn't *that* good!!)

This was also absolutely delicious but soooooo teeny tiny. There was a teeny amount of mashed something underneath. I could have eaten two of these!

So, because of my bijou first 2 courses I felt less than satiated and decided that I *must* order a dessert, this being the cheese board, which came with some rather tasty rye bread

We also had a rather nice bottle of Pinot Grigio and a good chat. M, although sad, is fantastically optimistic and also, I dare to say, excited about what the future will bring. All in all, their splitting is definitely without a doubt the best thing to happen and I hope that they'll both find happiness with themselves and future partners. They're both really lovely people, M especially is lovely, bright and looks fab at the mo having lost a lot of weight.

It's funny how sometimes when you improve your outward appearance it can make you look internally at what other factors make you happy, or not. I think weight is the first thing you change as it's something that you can control and affect and quite often without help from others. It's also a very personal thing - appearance to oneself, as well as how you *feel* about yourself in general, as a person, as a friend, a worker, mother, father etc...

Change is good, but change is scary, and I'm proud of M for being brave and choosing life over complacency, change over routine... They might both agree it's for the best but M was the instigator and is in the driving seat whereas it seems as if her ex is the not-unwilling passenger.

Fri 16th Oct

Friday I felt much more positive about the competition result, and still had a warm glow from the lovely email I'd received back from the lady organising things. I'd responded to her email on Thursday (congratulating me for having got as far as I did but informing me I'd not been successful) saying 'thanks for letting me know, obviously I'm disappointed... blah blah blah' (you know how I can go on!!) and replied, copying the contents of my email but with a comment next to each line I'd written. I was very touched that she took the time to do that, she didn't need to, I know she's a mega busy woman, but I do think that Maximuscle employ the nicest people :-)

I decided to weigh myself on Friday too and to try and publish this on a weekly basis - I know I haven't in ages but it's been sooo up and down lately! At the moment it's up on how heavy I was just before the photoshoot, at 10st 8lbs, but I found an old diary entry from September last year in which I moaned about being 11st 2lbs so I'm really happy that I'm in the 10s and I'm feeling confident at getting back into the 9s by crimbo!

Here are my weight stats according to my Scales:

I'm still massively unhappy with how much fat I apparently have on my body. I'm not sure if the scales are accurate and over a third of my body is comprised of fat - or if they're off :-(

My Visceral Fat has gone down though, it's now only at 4, which is very low so I'm pleased at that:

Friday daytime was a bit of a boring work blur, but Friday evening I met my son at our local picture house and went to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

It was a very enjoyable loooooong film. But I did come out thinking "err, what the hell just happened...?!" and my son agreed to feeling a little confused at things too.

It was a bit here and there, up and down, all over the place and round and round! Good fun though and I liked the many incarnations of Heath Ledger and did think that it actually worked quite well.

Incidentally, my son is now in love with Lily Cole who plays the lead female role in this - rather fantastically well!

Sat 17th Oct

Saturday was fun. A friend of my son's that he made locally (hurrah!) at the summer youth scheme I sent him to, came round and they had a sleepover.

He's a really sweet kid actually, very chatty with good manners - quite unlike the other kids we have in neighbouring areas! He lives with his granny, his mother and stepfather and his younger brother too live in Kent. It seems a strange setup, he claims it's because he was settled in school and is now going to a secondary school which is meant to be quite good. But he doesn't live in the best area and, unless you can afford to send you child to the many private schools around, it's best to get *well* out of the borough!

In any case, perhaps living with his gran has made him the lovely kid he appears to be, but there's no way on earth I could not live with my son, it would be the most awful thing ever, I'd miss him far too much :-(

Joe and I went to the gym during the day, he did some speedy intervals on the treadmill and I did my free-weights upper body routine. I'm still using 8kg dumbbells for the shoulder press, biceps concentration curl and upright rows though I might increase it back up to 9kg in a week or so, I'm just keeping an eye on my shoulder/top of biceps, which is thankfully feeling pretty good, not 100%, but a lot better than it was :-) I really need to build up the muscles on my back to draw my shoulders back, I think my right one is too far rounded forwards (probably as a result from extensive work on a PC - using a mouse etc) so that needs to be addressed.

We've got some new rather brightly coloured stability balls at our local gym, I'm not sure if I like them or if I think they look ridiculous! Jury's still out... what do you think?!

In the evening Joe and I took the boys first to Nandos (I was starving by this point, only had had a protein pancake with 0% fat greek yogurt and almond nut butter to eat beforehand!) where I had 1/2 a chicken (hot and spicy of course ;-) ), spicy rice and their new 'macho peas' ha! very tasty :-)

We took the boys (and our lovely neighbour) to the cinema (again!) to see UP in 3D. What a lovely movie, there are few films that'll make me laugh out loud but I was properly guffawing at several points, not least the part with the malfunctioning translating dog collar!!! :-D

The boys were very excitable and didn't get to sleep until quite late, despite us taking *all* electronic devices (mobile phones, games consoles etc) out of my son's room we caught them up reading jokes to each other at gone midnight!!

Sun 18th Oct

Yesterday was very successful in terms of sorting out lots of stuff in the house. Our bedroom is now clutter free (hurrah! we're both untidy hoarders) and my paperwork is now filed in our shiny new black filing cabinet (I'm so sad for being excited at that).

It's all coming together nicely and soon hopefully we'll have sorted out *all* the clutter and will live in a mess-free utopia

oh shit, I have a 13 year old son...

okay so *most* of the house will be a mess-free utopia, I might just give up hope at ever seeing what colour the carpet is in his room!

We had a scrumptious dinner of rump steak and chips (I had sweet potato mash), I think I need to eat steak at least *once* a week to feel happy ;-)

Sunday evening was rather special. I discovered that Stephen Fry, who I love, cherish, adore, admire and want to adopt me, was going to be in conversation with Alan Yentob at the Criterion Theatre in London's West End to raise money for Leukaemia Research.

It was very special indeed, I felt so privilaged to be there, it was such a small venue, so intimate, and I felt like I was overseeing him having a chat in his living room.

I do hope they televise the show at some point and, if so, will let you know when it's on.

The wonderful thing about Stephen Fry is that he appeals to all ages. He's so stupidly bright. An oxymoron, I know, but he does seem to be a collection of oxymorons because, on paper, he shouldn't really 'work', but he does, so well!!

You can celebrate and be in awe of his intelligence without it making you feel inadquate and thick. He is so funny, such a quick wit, but so warm, human, accessible. He makes information interesting, makes me want to read and learn more. His appearance seems so old fashioned but he is about as far from archaic as you can get... just look how many people follow his Tweets, have a read of his blog.... there is someone who is not in any way shape or form techophobic!!

It's wonderful, he's wonderful and I'm so thrilled to have been there in person to listen to his stories.

I tried to take a picture with my inadequate BlackBerry camera and this was the pathetic image I got:

I was then told off (albeit politely) by a member of staff and had to act all shocked and repentent at my 'act of ignorance' in taking a flash photograph - despite the fact that the rubbish flash of my phone couldn't even reach the row in front of me, much less Mr Fry and Yentob!!

Joe and I came out of the theatre all warm and glowy, feeling as if we'd been treated to a secret meeting with a much treasured icon.

One of the things that sticks with me from his talk last night was when he was speaking about his own experiences with depression. He said that he'd got to the point where he'd 'done everything he'd set out to' and, far from feeling satisfied by this, he felt hugely unfulfilled.

Stephen highlighted something which I'd been thinking about lately which is just how dangerous it can be to set 'goals' for yourself because, after you've reached them, what do you do next? Once you've reached the 'top' so to speak, where else is there to go but down, straight down!

I think that's why so many fail to maintain their weight after they've lost any excess. You set yourself this wonderful goal of a certain weight/size and then work soooo hard, put all your effort into attaining it and then, when you have, what is there to put your effort into?

Okay you've got the challenge of maintaining your weight, but, as hard as it might be, it's not mentally as much of a challenge because you've got no finite end in sight, nothing to strive 'for'. There's just no finish line!

Maybe we should do away with goals? I think I'm going to do so when it comes to my weight. I don't think I have a real 'goal' as I've never been at any one weight for any length of time, my body has *never* settled into one weight or size, it has fluctuated for nearly 2 decades!

I think I might instead set myself a goal weight 'range', because nobody stays the same weight all the time, from my own experience I can put on and lose many pounds during a week but I'm not sure that's true weight or just water.

I'm not sure what it'll be just yet, I need to give it some thought, but I think that maybe aiming to stay somewhere between 9st 3lb and 9st 10lbs would be a good start. What I think I'll do is carry on as I am, losing weight gradually, and then maybe see where I settle and where I feel happiest :-)


On a separate note... Joe and I were walking home from Brixton Tube Station, totally immersed in conversation when we started to become aware of bits of debry littered around. Given that Brixton is not the nicest/safest/cleanest of areas we didn't think much of it until we noticed that it was actually bits of car!

At first I saw what I thought was a bit of a big black vase and I was wondering what it was doing there unti I realised it was actually part of a lampost!

We looked up to see a car, which had mounted the pavement and gone smack into a lampost!

There was a police car just sat in front of it, but no police tape, no sort of barrier whatsoever. It was all a bit strange. I tried to take a picture and I'm just a bit pissed off with my rubbish BlackBerry camera, this is what it came out with:

If you click on it it'll open in a new window and you can probably just make out the car in the background.

I'm just glad there was obviously nobody actually walking on that stretch of pavement when the car struck as they'd have been a gonner!

There was a huuuuuge fire under the railway arches a couple of weeks ago, took out 3 arches and with them a hairdresser's. There are so many along that stretch of road, so many wigs, hair products etc... I can imagine the place went up in no time at all!

Right, got to get off now, I'm going to The Castle tonight to climb with friends. I'm really looking forward to it, haven't been for ages! I miss my climbing buddies and going to the pub afterwards for a pint and a Pad Thai or Massoman Curry.... will have to decided during climbing which meal I've worked hardest for!!

Hope you're all well and have had fabuloso weekends


Friday 16 October 2009

Thank you

very much for the comments yesterday, I really appreciate it, I love you guys and I mean that truly, not in a "ooooh I love everyone and the butterflies and birds and check out my cute dog in my expensive handbag" way, I just think you're all great and I appreciate the support :-)

I'm feeling a lot more positive today and I've decided I'm going to enter next year - ha! :-D

more later if I get the chance to post but I'm just off to meet my son at the cinema, we're going to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, hope it's good!

more later, much love


Thursday 15 October 2009

a little dejected

I didn't win. I'm not surprised, but I am gutted.

I need to put some makeup on now because I'm leaving soon to meet a friend for dinner, but I'm worried I'll just cry it all off

feeling very sad, but I'm sure it'll pass soon, I've come too far to let this get me down for any length of time

but I'm going to be sad for a bit, I can't help that right now, it did mean a lot to me, but not everything, so I'll be okay, just not right now, at this precise moment in time

fluttery butterflies flipping in my tum

I'm playing the waiting game again, and my stomach literally flips over (okay not quite 'literally'!) when I think about the Maximuscle Body of 2009 comp.

I've been told we'll find out by the end of this week...

I think my heart has shifted to the middle of my ribcage and is trying to work its way up through my throat!

I keep mentally simulating the emotion I'll feel if/when I'm told I haven't won... I think this is my subconscious coping mechanism... but then there's this little part of me that wants to imagine how I'd feel if I won... I'm trying to restrain that part, push it down, squash it, squish it, subdue it, suppress it, suffocate the hope because I'm so scared of being disappointed!


this is why I don't enter competitions, EVER!

Wednesday 14 October 2009

I don't think...

..I'm going to run out of Promax Crisp or Diet bars any time soon!

I'm stocking up while there's such great offers on so, in addition to the two boxes (one chocolate, one chocolate and orange) of Promax Diet bars I received last week, I also had myself a nice delivery today ;-) I only ordered it on Monday so v chuffed with how quickly it arrived!

Got to take advantage of the buy-one-get-one-free offers whilst they're still around, when else are you going to get a yummy chocolate bar which only contains 84 Calories but has a whopping 6g of Protein for less than 50p?!

I also got another two boxes of Promax Diet bars (both in choccy orange flavour Mmmm drooool) for when I need something a little more substantial.

Speaking of bars, has anyone ever tried one of those Atkins advantage ones? I bought a 'meal bar' version a little while back which was revolting so I've not done that since... but the other day I was in Boots and my attention was caught by this 'Endulge Crispy Milk Chocolate Bar' which looked quite tasty so I thought I'd try it out.

The first bite was okay but after it had 'gone down' I felt like I had this oily film in my mouth, it was like I'd taken a bite out of a chocolate bar and then a spoonful of caster oil straight after! Won't be buying that again... I can bypass the dubious spelling... I *know* it's not *meant* to say 'indulge' but I think it looks lame... and the grammar:

"The Atkins Endulge Crispy Milk Chocolate Bar offer nutricious and delicious options to be eaten as a snack for when your feeling peckish or an healthy treat."

can also be overlooked, as irritating as it is (this is a multi-global company, Boots is the biggest pharmaceutical and beauty shop in the UK - WHY don't they proof-read their ads?!!) - and it's not just on that page either, check out the spelling for 'nutritious' on the page for Chocolate Decadance Bar...!

I'm not going to investigate the other Atkins products on the site as the poor spelling and grammar will just cause me to have a huge hissy fit and start twitching slightly, in the eyelid!! ;-)

Instead I will tell you of bars that I *do* like:

My local Sainsbury's Market which has a small but comprehensive range of more 'interesting' foods like Trek bars and Nakd bars too has recently started stocking Nakd bars in Banana Bread flavour! It's hilarious because it does *actually* taste like banana bread, raisins, flour, bananas and all - it's pretty accurate!

They're nice but I'm not sure I'll buy another packet again as they're a bit too sweet for my liking... I adore the Berry Cheeky ones as they've got a certain savoury nutty element to them which is really nice... but don't like the Cocoa Loco ones because I think they're *too* savoury - gosh I'm so hard to please!! Good job I have the Promax bars to stop any choccy cravings :-D

I also quite like these bars by 'The Food Doctor', Ian Marber, whose blog I follow:

He's got a new book coming out (see this recent entry on his blog for more details).

This bar is great if you've got nothing fresh and you fancy something fruity with a little more bite. It only has 113 calories but has 3.4g of Protein, which is pretty good for a fruit bar! I guess because it also has other stuff like quinoa (which I had for lunch today with quorn and spinach), hemp, rice protein, linseeds etc, only drawback is it's a little on the pricey side... as most healthy things tend to be - boo!!

Yesterday was good, I did a 5k run at 10 m/m pace and barely broke a sweat! My fitness is coming on leaps and bounds :-)

In the evening I took my son our local recreational centre to do a bit of climbing. The wall there is pretty basic, and there's only one, so it's not a place I'd consider climbing at but it's great for him to gain and improve on his technical skills. There's an automatic belay device too so he can practice climbing on that on his own. He let go of the end of it after unclipping - wally! - so had to climb back up using a top rope to retrieve it!

I took a pic but it was indoors on my crappy BlackBerry, lol! You can 'just' about make him out in his Liverpool FC football shirt ;-)

It's great there though and the instructor is really really lovely, but seems quite firm too which you need as climbing is a dangerous sport!

It'll be great for him to improve his skills and he'll be able to show me how well he's doing when we go to The Castle - as I've bought a load of sessions in bulk I get to take him along for free! :-)

I've just discovered today that I'm going to be losing my boyfriend at the weekends again next year *sigh*

check out the thread:

Tara ###### wrote on 14/10/2009 15:36:15:

you've just made yourself *very* unpopular to a lot of WAGs - your
own included!! ;-)

Tara #######
Pension Systems


joe #######
14/10/2009 15:33




Who's in?

Steve's just let me know the 2010 Etape route has been announced...



russen fussen russen fussen mutter mutter grumble >:-(

ahh well, at least it means I get another holiday in France out of it. Actually, I'll be having at least 2 holidays there next year as a couple of my friends are getting married there and we plan to make a holiday of it... stay for Bastille Day :-)

Right, I'm off now to meet my beloved for our third week of Alpha, hope you all have fabulous evenings/days!


Tuesday 13 October 2009

Friday night celebrations and Saturday night takeover!

I wrote this post yesterday (Tuesday) but didn't get a chance to send it so here you go!


Hellooo there! Going to try and sqeeeeeze a quick post in, in between working and nipping to the gym at lunch to do some treadmill action now that I've decided to take a leaf out of TOTKat's book and enter Innovation sport's 10k race on Clapham Common on 25th October.

That's actually only a couple of weeks away (eeek!) so I need to get some training in and hopefully beat my last 10k time of 55 mins I got from the last 10k race I did.

Amusingly, the Clapham Common 10k Series has 4 dates that it's held throughout the year, this'll be my 3rd time running it and it's the same one! I only seem to manage to race it in the Autumn!

So, when I raced this on 03/10/2004 I got 51:33 (yowsers, not going to get near to that but I was thinner, fitter and younger!)

The last time I raced this particular one was on 14/10/2007 and I finished in 55:39... soooo hopefully, if my last race this year is anything to go by, I 'should' be faster, but we'll see, my ankle is still not feeling 100% and I've got a private referral from my doc to see a physio which I need to sort out...

Enough of that now and onto my fabulous...


Friday night was a double celebration as not only had I had the most awesome day but Joe's flat (that he still owned with his ex girlfriend!) finally completed that day too. They'd been renting it out for years but, now that she's married, pregnant and not even living in the country, they decided it was time to sort things out. Thankfully they found a buyer, it's a beautiful flat but the market isn't exactly good so the last time they tried to sell it there was no interest and they had to get another tenant in.

So, to celebrate I decided to go to one of my favourite places to eat, and one that I'd promised my son that I'd take him to.

If you like mussels, cooked bloody well in the most delicious of broths and being served by waiters dressed as monks (and why on earth wouldn't you?!) in a place that also sells fabulous fruit beers and whole pallets of schnapps... then you need to get your butt down to Belgo Centraal. They don't *just* sell mussels but it's something they do very well :-)

The restaurant area is underground and you access it via a stairs or an industrial lift ha! You can see the chefs working below as you come in:

We had to wait a little while before we were seated so I had a nice passion fruit beer, it was lush!

Here's me and the boy in the bar area, check out the tan on me! I don't actually think it 'looks' like me, I'm used to being much more pale! You can also see the lovely necklace my adorable boyfriend bought me for our anniversary a lot clearer. I love turquoise :-)

And here's me and Joe at our table with our champagne (pink of course), very tasty :-)

We didn't bother with starters and just launched straight into the mains. We ordered 2 portions of Rye bread which was delicious but too much for the three of us (it comes in a tin with 6 slices!) so we took it home with us in a doggy bag... bread that tasty can't go to waste!

Here's a pic of all food - The boy and I both had Moulles Mariniere whereas Joe had his mussels Provençal stylie.

I ordered a side salad of rocket and parmesan which was v delicious :-)

Mmmmmmussells ;-)

I *had* intended to 'cut loose' last Friday, or at the very least not calorie count/worry about what I was eating/drinking which is why the broth of my mussels was my fave - white wine, cream, garlic and herbs... wonderful if done properly but a bit too sickly and creamy if not. Belgos does it right, which is why I go back so often!

However, in the end I couldn't eat even half my bowl of chips and I didn't drink the soup either!

We also didn't have a dessert, even though the waffles looked splendid, we were all too full!

It's funny how your body adapts to healthy changes and decides that actually, even when you 'can' just blowout, you might not actually want/be able to!

Saturday 10th Oct

The wonderful company I work for took over Thorpe Park on Saturday and Sunday night. The 'general public' were kicked out at 5pm and then we were allowed in from 6pm and had the park til ourselves until 11pm!

It was amazing, firstly because I've never been in a theme park at sunset, and the place looked eerily beautiful:

This is the loop of 'Stealth', more about that later! :-)

First we went on a ride called X No Way Out which was good for novelty value as it was a backwards rollercoaster, inside, in the dark!

It was a great way to get warmed up :-)

Although the boys decided that going on a ride that absolutely soaked you through would be a great way to begin an evening (I didn't, I'm not stupid, it was cold!).

I watched from a safe distance:

Hmm, soggy clothes on a cold autumn night, not 'that' clever ;-) !

Look at this, look how long we had to wait to get on the ride ;-) My son told me that the last time he went to Thorpe Park he had to queue for an hour and 5 minutes to get on this one!!

Entrance to Colossus

We went on it twice! :-)

We went on loads of other rides, including the new one from Saw the Movie... which was okay but not exactly terrifying. Nemesis Revenge was good fun, as was the Samurai :-)

Here's the boy and I outside our favourite ride, Stealth:

As there were so few people in the park we decided to go to the front of all the rides - why not?!

The first time on Stealth there was room for an extra 'one' at the front so my son had the 'honour' of going first... look at his face, the poor lad was terrified ha!

Stealth goes from 0 to 80mph in just over 2 seconds... then shoots up a huge loop, tips you upside down and then comes back again. The whole experience only lasts a few seconds but it's well worth it, it's amazing!

Here's the pic of all of us that we bought the second time we did it... as you can see the *ahem* exhilaration on our faces!

I think the sheer speed of the ride blew all the fake tan from the day before off my face!! ;-)

Here's a pic of Joe and I afterwards. Unfortunately it didn't come out that well as the plonker had put my camera on 'intelligent auto', which doesn't work in low light! I'm pointing at the top of the arch of Stealth, it's pretty impressive!

After the excitement of Stealth we decided it would be a good idea to go nuts with the pick-n-mix... we filled this whole tub to the brim with sweets and were all a bit hyper towards the end of the night as we don't any of us eat sweets very often at all!!

Just before we left my son decided to give his all on Guitar Hero... he was pretty good actually and made 2nd on the leaderboard!

Just look at the concentration on his face ;-)

After that we got the coach back that the company had laid on (only £5 each both ways, fantastic bargain!) and both my son and I fell asleep on the way home, I think we'd come down off our sugar high!

Such a fun night :-)

If anyone can get to Thorpe Park I'd thoroughly recommend going to one of the 'Fright Nights' that they have running over the next few weeks/months - spooky night-time fun with shorter queues, basically the same deal as we had but it's open to everyone!