Monday, 30 November 2009

Still here!


I'm sorry I've been so rubbish over the last couple of weeks but I've got shedloads on at work and have been out every night so haven't had any time to just chiiiiil (and blog!)

I have a quiet night in (for a change!) this evening so will do my best to update you later (expect post of mammoth proportions!)

in brief though:

cardio - bit crap, only some elliptical trainer work (due to not having any time because of work and social committments - yes I know that sounds lame but seriously I've not been able to sqeeze it all in!!)
food - not bad actually
drinking - waaaay too much, can't see it getting any better either due to the nature of this festive season!
weight training - pretty good in terms of upper half! managed to get out with Joe last week and did 3 sessions... very pleased, it helps to split things out a bit, did chest & arms, back and then shoulders yesterday :-) need to do more lower half stuff though :-S

right, that's your lot, need to get on and get back to project work but hopefully catch up later.

hope you've all been well, have been reading blogs when I can but not able to do much in the way of commenting due to time restrictions!


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Charity week cycle challenge

Please don't be fooled though dear reader, this is not a training update (that will come at a later point when my arms have recovered sufficiently!)... there is some cycling involved, but a) it doesn't involve me and b) it's only minimal and on a stationary bike positioned in my work's bar - high octane!!

It took place the week before this one passed and was all in aid of raising money for the Alzheimer's Society.

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned this before, but I put forward the idea of a cycle challenge, which I thought would be pretty simple and accessible to most (as opposed to say a walking/running one as they wouldn't have to leave the comfort of the building) and somehow this meant that I was left lumbered with the thing for the entire week!

Fortunately I have a lovely understanding boss who didn't give me a hard time despite taking 2 hour lunches (I hasten to add that the additional hour was made up from my own time though!) every day for the entire week!

So, 12pm til 2pm Tara was stationed in the bar smiling inanely at passers by trying to entice them to participate in what must be the easiest challenge in the entire world.

There were 3 challenges in total

#1 'Turn up and cycle' - Everyone who enters and jumps on a bike and pedals, no matter how long for, gets entered into our prize draw for a pair of tickets to Paris on the Eurostar (pretty damn sweet prize for doing very little)

#2 'Fastest to Five' - whoever cycles the fastest somethings (we thought it was Miles but it was actually KMs (there was no way of telling at first, these LifeFitness bikes aren't the most user-friendly!) gets a £50 gift voucher.

#3 'Furthest Distance' - whomsoever clocks up the most mileage over the week gets three bottles of rather nice wine.

So, Monday I turn up at 12pm to the bar and am greeted by 2 shiny new bikes (LifeFitness have won a contract at our work gym - I'm gutted, I wanted TechnoGym (sorry LF!)) - and very kindly supplied us with 2 bikes for the purpose of the challenge.

These bikes, although gratefully received, were a bit of a pain in the arse to use, especially as the minute you stop pedaling the screen clears! Nobody could work out how to program the damn things (pretty rubbish as that's my job and most the competitors work in the IT and systems dept!) so the whole week we used the 'quick start' feature to its fullest extent!

One more problem nobody had factored in was the fact that as this was a 'corporate' instead of 'victoria' challenge (waring factions, positioned next door to each other, one company, two divisions, bizarre!!) so I wasn't 'meant' to advertise too heavily in the victoria building (despite this being where the challenge was being held!!)

Added to this my placement - by the door to the SMOKING AREA! Can you imagine the responses I received "hi there, would you like to take part in our corporate charity cycle challenge and be in with a chance of winning some fabulous prizes just for getting on?"

cue wheezing, gripping chests, looks of incredulity that I'd even consider *insulting* them with the very notion of physical exertion!!

All in all the usual response I elicited from my most bizarre of notions (if indeed I was even acknowledged) constituted a mixture of horror, disbelief and amusement that I'd even think to suggest they hop on an exercise bike, be it only for a couple of seconds!!

Be under no illusion, this was a tough crowd!

In spite of this there were a few gems who came along and took this event seriously... just ONE woman did the 'fastest to five' challenge, completing it in 21 mins... she was a star, she just got on and pedaled for ages, bless!

Most of the 'competitors' turned out to be people literally getting on, pedalling for a minute tops and then getting off - fair enough, it all went to charity.

But there was one fella who came along and tried out the 'fastest to five' challenge 3 times!! The first time he came he was in his work clothes and just basically went as fast as possible on the lightest resistance going... lots of work, super high cadence but not really going anywhere!

Then a colleague of mine who cycles every day (from north right through central london, nutter!) came along and halved the first fella's time... but he did have the resistance up so was clocking up more mileage (more power = more distance).

So our fella came back and had another go! This time in gym kit - took it down to just over 5 mins.

...was a bit knackered afterwards as you can see!!

The next day a fellow cyclist and climber (who cycles at least 24 miles a day just getting to work) came along and completed the 5km challenge in a blistering 03:46

As you can see, resistance was *right* up!


We'd been told of this mystery man who cycled over 90 miles a day on his normal home-work commute (and contributed over 1400 miles to our TfL workplace challenge, legend.

So, with rumour of S firmly intact, a crowd gathered to see the 'clash of the titans' play out

It wasn't to be though, by 4km this self-confessed 'grinder' realised he wasn't going to beat A's NEW time of 03:35 and gave up - bah!

He could have at least gone the full 5km, some men are soooo competitive ;-)

So A won the 'fastest to five' which is fab as he and his partner have just bought a new house so the £50 voucher will come in very handy indeed!

My colleague came back and cycled for almost an hour to add to his KM tally over the week - clocking up 72km in total :-)

Here's me presenting him with his three bottles of wine :-)

*** One Last Thing ***

If (for some reason!!) you found this post interesting, and want to read about a true cycling legend - you might like to read fellow Serpie, Daniel Bent's blog as he cycles a monumental distance across Europe to India for the charity Action Aid.

"Danny Bent left his home, family and job as a junior school teacher in July 2009 to pursue a 20 year dream. A dream to cycle round the world raising as much money for charity as possible. He is travelling 15,000km by bicycle to southern india where he will work in a slum in Bangalore and a village school in Chembakolli as a teacher."

Here is his website:

Here's his blog:

And here's his fundraising page:

If you scroll down his latest post to the very end where he details the decor of his less-than-plus hotel room, it might make you think twice before moaning about poor room service and/or an absence of clean towels in your next hotel stay!! ;-)

Oh and if, after reading all this, you're not convinced of Danny's legend status, also worthy of note is the fact that he is the current Bog Snorkelling Triathlon World Record holder!! (eagle-eyed readers of 220 Triathlon magazine might have spotted this featured a couple of issues back)



Thursday, 19 November 2009

Training labels

I don't use labels well enough.

I tend to just arbitrarily paste some random bollocks into the box below this one and then re-use what I'd typed before without giving it enough thought.

This will change - well, when it comes to training that is.

I need to get more disciplined and perhaps start posting entries *specifically* about my training rather than:

"a bit of waffle

ooh I did some exercise

more waffle

ooh look what I ate too

more waffle still"

maybe I should have pure-waffle and waffle-free posts? :-D

plus I want a label cloud, where can I get one of those?!

Ahh... genius, here it is thanks to Phydeaux3!

God I've got waaaaaaay too many labels!!!!!!

Right, have configured it so that the minimum number of labels 'mentions' must be 2... the list was ridiculously long - that's better :-)

anyway, as I trained today on way to work (at the gym that is, I wasn't lifting dumbbells on the tube!) today's post has the appropriate labels applied :-)

Here's what I did...

Please bear/bare(?! what is it, I can't spell today!!) in mind that

a) I am muchos weakos having not done any sort of consistent upper body work for a while due to being a combination of ill/busy/injured (though not always all at once)

I know it's a poor excuse but I'm doing something about it okay?!

Important thing is that my eating has been very good so I've not piled on any weight - I just need to train better, get stronger and feel good about my body!

b) I've actually decided to lower the weights anyway. Just because I can lift heavier than quite a few men in my gym, it doesn't mean I *should*. And, being constantly witness to poor technique and clueless people at the gym it's made me quite aware of my own failings!

So I'm going to work with lighter weights and take my time and perfect my form :-)

This morning was a shoulder session, I did

Seated Shoulder Press - dumbbells (2 x 8kg) - 3 x 10 reps
Upright rows - dumbbells (2 x 8kg) - 3 x 10 reps
Front raises - dumbbells (2 x 4kg) - 3 x 10 reps
Exterior shoulder rotation - cable - (2.5kg) - 3 x 10 reps
Interior shoulder rotation - cable - (3.75kg) - 3 x 10 reps

actually wanted to do more but I ran out of time so had to leg it to the office!

So there you go, two posts in one day, aren't you a lucky bunch!!


Mmm new protein bar

I recently restocked my supplement supply from my #1 favourite online bargain vitamin store

They've got some great deals on at the moment, including a year's supply of Omega 3, 6 & 9 for just £8.99!!

Plus, if you spend over £25 you qualify for one or more of their fab free gifts. One which is a Yoghurt Covered Banana & Blueberry flavour protein bar from their great new sports range.

I'm always a bit reluctant to try new protein bars, mostly because I get on so well with the Maximuscle Promax Diet bar range and I don't feel that I need anything else, but also because my experience with 'fruit' protein bars hasn't exactly been a favourable one... quite a few are revolting - like the gross Boots chocolate and strawberry protein bar that I was unlucky enough to purchase recently and be unable to finish!

This is why I only ordered one of these bars instead of a whole box!

I needn't have worried though. After all, I really enjoyed their chocolate and orange protein bar which I got free earlier this year when ZipVit were giving away their 'Formulated For Success' free sample boxes packed full of superb energy and recovery products to celebrate their affiliation with the Cevelo cycle team (in fact I think you can *still* get these boxes for free if you visit the success site:!!).

This bar is really nice and I had nearly wolfed down the lot before I thought I remembered that I should probably a) tell you all about it and b) take a picture before I forget!!:


Very tasty and as you can see it has real blueberries in it! :-)

Be warned though, if you *don't* have a sweet tooth you won't like this very much but I'm quite impressed, especially as it reminds me of my favourite sweet low cal (although low protein too!) snack which is a Boots Shapers Blueberry and Yoghurt Nougat Bar. It's just under 90 cals so a great sweet-tooth-placater. This bar however is banana flavour (perhaps not to everyone's liking but I've grown to love it thanks to Maximuscle Promax Diet in Banana flavour!!), has more cals (246) but also has 20.2g of protein! Obviously there's more in the way of carbohydrates for any of you low-carbers out there but then it's a bar, so it has to have bulk! But great in the way of PWO protein if you don't have a shaker or RTD like Maxi-milk handy!!


Monday, 16 November 2009


what an exciting night I've had!!

I do hope you can detect the sarcasm emanating from my every keystroke...

Instead of going to my usual ever-other-monday haunt, The Castle Climbing Centre, I suffered a severe case of buddy-bail-out and was left having to come home - which meant supervising the extreme online shop I purchased last night from Tesco.

oh joy of joys, I could hardly contain my excitement as I made my way home via the stinking victoria line and nearly chocked on the sickly incense-fumes wafting down the stairs into the station from the irritating man positioned directly outside... still, makes a nice change from the offers of "skunk....SKUNK... weed... SKUNK WEED" you usually are met with when stepping out into sarf laaandan town.

owing to a particularly complicated day of coding, which didn't end until after 7pm, my brain had well and truly turned to mush and it was probably a good idea I wasn't faced with the challenge of working out climbing routes... I'd have never gotten past a 4A!!

So anyway, get home and thank goodness my adorable other half has purchased a takeaway because cooking would have been faaaar beyond my capabilities.

I had half a tandoori chicken, some spinach and chickpeas and a little rice. I *did* try to eat some garlic naan but it just tasted like I was eating a bath sponge so I abandoned that and munched down on my chicken - delish! I would have taken a picture but I was too hungry to even think of that!

After that the boys played on the new PS3 for a bit, marvelling at the cinema sound created by the brand spanking new amp and metre high speakers... extravagant? yup, but I didn't pay for them so I couldn't care less!

arghh, just noticed the dryyyyyyyyyyy skin on the back of my knuckles, I really hate what this season does to my skin, does anyone else suffer seasonal dermatitis? It sucks, big time :-(

So yeah, the shopping was delivered by a lovely fella from Tesco - SHIT did I order that much?! I know I should really shop at Waitrose for obvious reasons but I haven't worked out how to get my staff discount online, or from the delivery partner, I just don't think it's possible (shame as I get 15%!!) and we don't have a car either so cheapo Tesco shop it is!

Joe's working on a promotion panel at work so was able to cry the shopping unpacking (probably just as well as he'd have not been too impressed at all the food I bought and the questionable tactics employed to squeeze it all into fridge/freezer/cupboards etc!!

Then as I'm sorting out the zillion shopping bags, Bella (girl moggie) decides to come in deposit a nice juicy turd in the cat litter tray - it's in the breakfast room, there's no escape!

Then I manage to pour flour all over my top while hopping around with my hands full of shopping trying to scratch my left shin with my right ankle as it's bloody itchy owing to the flea bites from our adorable felines (we do de-flea them on a regular basis but some had taken up lodgings in my wooly slipper socks. bastards, gonna boil the feckers)

So yes dear reader, not only do I have all the dexterity of a drunken giraffe, I also have fleas and my kitchen smells like shit!

My, what a charmed existence I lead!

All this takes place while the mad moggie prances round the kitchen (having happily emptied her bowels and clearly feeling rather more sprightly as a result) vying for my attention:

No... she's not gone insane and lost it at me... this is one of the top methods employed to attract my attention... it's called "Stand on hind legs and waggle paws wildly around until owner notices my frenetic waving and constant chirruping and strokes my head"

Bless, she's so cute, could almost forgive the smell (why can't she poo in our neighbour's garden like her brother does!!)

This is the other moggy, giving Joe a cuddle, he's a lot more laid back than she is, although just as demanding for tummy tickles and bloody annoying when prowling round the house at 3am howling for attention before he realises that you're upstairs in bed AS YOU USUALLY ARE AT 3AM - every single bloody day!!

Wish I wasn't such a light sleeper.

Anyway, I digress, can you tell I'm killing time and I've calmed my post-programming stress with a nice glass of vin rouge?

Well, the cupboards are stacked, kitty poo cleaned and all's well as I sit typing on Joe's laptop as he's commandeered the PC for his promotion stuff

A few highs of my shopping 'trip' include:

stocking up on the BEST peanut butter in the world:

This stuff is what dreams are made of.

I know it's not as healthy as the Merdian one, there's more fat and salt, but a) it doesn't go dry when the oil runs out... as it doesn't (maybe something to do with its short lifespan in this household?) and b) it's the best tasting crunchy wholenut on the market, it's all natural baby and I LOVE it!

believe me, I have tried a LOT of peanut butters... I should probably hold a poll to see how long people reckon these 3 pots will last me us! :-D

Also bought some seed mixes to put into my bread.

Into each loaf goes:

* 550g wholemeal seeded flour (currently using Allinson's country grain but just bought some mixed seed to try out)
* 2 x tbsp golden linseeds
* 2 x tbsp hemp seeds
* 2 x tbsp sunflower seeeds
* 2 x tbsp mixed nuts
* 2 x tbsp extra virgin olive oil (though not sure if it's worth using the expensive kind... you know if you heat extra virgin olive oil too much it loses all it's extra health giving properties!)
* 2 x tbsp honey
* 2 x tbsp pumpkin seeds
* 1 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 1/4 tsp yeast

quite a loaf huh?


I should really take a picture of a cross section (i.e. slice!) of my loaf! Have taken plenty of pics of the finished article:

But none of what each slice looks like - it doesn't last long enough in this house!

So I'd ordered these new seeds:

basically just so I didn't have to separate them all out (getting lazier in my old age) - plus some 3 seed mix... which was unavailable so my 'Tesco Shopper' in their wisdom decided to substitute ONE bag of '3 seed mix' with THREE bags of mixed fruit and nut... whole cashews, sultanas, cranberries etc... very nice... but no good in a fucking loaf of bread!!

Why oh why didn't I tick the box that said "don't substitute any items" or "if you will substitute items at least use your "£$%^*(& head and subtsitute like for like!

However, am a bit torn between the girlie feeling of "oooh, a bargain" as they 'price matched' my original choice with their three extra bags and I got refunded a whopping £6.27 - BARGAIN!

hang on, still can't make bread with it... ahh well, Joe and my son can have it on their morning muesli, all's not lost, I'm really just whinging for nothing because it's late, it's Monday, and I really have nothing better to do with my time!

Oh yeah, in my never-ending quest for alcohol-free utopia (why can't they make alcohol free wine that actually *tastes* like wine, they can do it with beer!!) I purchased some of my favourite lager (Bavaria - alcohol free lager that actually tastes of lager and comes in at under 80 cals - I'm addicted to the stuff!)'s new apple-based cousin:

Hmm, I can taste the malty goodness from Bavaria's signature 0% alcohol lager but this fruity contender to the throne doesn't really float my boat. I could have just bought a can of apple tango, there's no real novelty factor, I don't feel like I'm cheating the old booze wagon!!

Think I will stick to the *ahem* real(ish) stuff, my son will gladly take these sickly sweet tinnies off my hand no doubt!

Other news... I located the source of the fishy smell that has penetrated into every fibre in this bloody house and resulted in me wondering what the hell that smell was when I put my scarf on before leaving work... oh yes, that's my house smell - eww!

You see, I cooked fresh cod in the steamer the other day for us all and served it with wild rice and mixed veg (from freezer individual microwave steam bags - LOVE those things!) - very tasty it was too

but I forgot to clean the bloody steamer, as did our cleaner... hence the pong. Lesson learnt, if you've got an electric steamer, CLEAN THE WHOLE BLOODY LOT AFTER COOKING!!

God I'm rubbish at this domestic stuff. It's a good job we DO have a cleaner, not least because she's fantastic, but also because she irons too! I don't think I've ironed a shirt since I was a teenager (bad huh?!).

I feel bad that she cleans the house but then we both work full time, Joe had a cleaner before we met and I have a teenager - getting him to clean his body and teeth, let alone his bedroom, is difficult enough!! He would gladly fester in his own filth, sitting around in his boxer shorts playing computer games, if I let him - men are a different species!!

Oh and I bought these to try out too:

I reckon we'll have some tomorrow night with our dinner, which will mostly involve cold stuff like salad and cottage cheese - I over-ordered, thought I'd bought 2 small pots of the stuff and had in fact bought two mahoosive 650g tubs. If anyone has any cottage cheese recipes feel free to send them my way, I haven't a bloody clue!

Right, off to bed, I am now well into Tuesday and have to go sleep as that thinking thing needs to take place tomorrow, ughh

hopefully I'll have my PC back tomorrow so I can post pics of last week's workplace cycle challenge... oh and I'll hopefully update you on an adventure race I'm thinking of taking part in at the end of January next year - VERY excited at the thought of that!

More soon, later taters


Sunday, 15 November 2009

want want want!

I saw this article of hotness the other day. No... not the lady, though she wasn't too bad ;-)

This bag rocks, rocks my socks off, I want it!


If anyone knows where I can get it, please let me know. I PROMISE that I will use it probably once or twice tops as I'm more of a rucksack kinda gal... but that doesn't mean I won't treasure and worship said lovely item for forever more....

...or at least until another sparkly spangly object of desire catches my magpie like gaze... ;-)


roundup roundup part 1...

Right, I have the PC to myself, hurrah! The boys are out a) getting some more school stuff and b) picking another game for my son

I became the No.1 bad guy, public enemy No.1, wicked witch of the east/west/etc when I threw a fit last night when they got back with a PS3... and Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 2.

Now, Joe said that he didn't realise it was rated 18 when he bought it... only realised when they were on the train home. But my son knew full well, and he also knew how I'd react... I'm pretty consistent in my opinions on games and films designed with adults in mind... not younger teenage boys!

If it was rated 15 I might have felt differently. I'd have reviewed it with Joe and seen if it was just because the language was a bit coarser than in younger rated games etc... he hears a lot worse in the playground at school and I don't fool myself by thinking that he doesn't use bad language when he's not in my company!

BUT if a game is rated 18 it means the content is only suitable for adults and WILL contain images that aren't appropriate for younger viewing.

My son tried to argue that it wasn't like Grand Theft Auto where you can go around raping women and the like - nice game! But I don't give a damn! It's a WAR game and the player is in control of the action and the killing.

Joe loaded it up for a quick look. The graphics are absolutely amazing, really stunning. But within a minute into 'recruit' mode or whatever it was... the screen was splatterd with blood!

There is also a disclaimer that there are scenes which might be disturbing to the player - the fact that it's got that caveat on an 18 rated game is pretty indicative of the content of this game.

In fact, here's an excerpt from the review on IGN, my son's favourite game cheat site - I'm not sure if he's read this or is just feeding back reviews from all the kids in his school whose parents are letting them play this massively brutal, violent game (bearing in mind my son's school doesn't even have a sixth form - the oldest they cam be is 16 years old):

And make no mistake, this is an adult game. The already famously controversial scene in the Moscow airport, where you can pull the trigger on countless innocent civilians trying to flee in utter panic is probably the most uncomfortable five minutes of gaming we've ever experienced. You can choose to not pull the trigger if you want, but doesn't that rather defeat the object? Even more disturbing is a stealth kill later in the game where the developers' view has you staring intently and unflinchingly into the eyes of a slowly dying henchmen from the combat knife you've just slammed into his chest. Infinity Ward is unflinchingly staring down the barrel of a media shit-storm it knows is inevitable, but will certainly make this a game to remember. Could both of these incidents be played out as non-interactive cut-scenes without compromising artistic integrity? The easy answer here is absolutely yes, but this one's isn't going to go away any time soon. And will be discussed at length by people much more clever – and much, much dumber – than us.

So there you go. He's not playing it, end of story.

I realise that I can't stop him playing it at friend's houses, it's up to their parents to behave responsibly when purchasing video games for their children, but at home I will not have him filling his head with images like that. It's too realistic and disturbing, I'd like him to preserve a little bit of innocence... I know it's difficult as they all grow up so quickly!!

Anyway, enough of that, hopefully they'll come home with a more suitable game and I'll have my wicked witch status revoked!

So, well, what have I not updated you with over the last couple of sporadic-post-filled weeks?!

First week of November 2009

Gosh, this is ages ago!!

Well, I can't actually remember much about the Monday (can't have been too thrilling huh?) but on Tuesday 2nd I went to the O2 to see Michael McIntyre. As I reported on my last big roundup on 31st oct (scroll down to Thurs 29th Oct), I had very mixed emotions towards this event as I was convinced that I'd seen most, if not all, of his act the Thursday before!

I was correct... but it was still bloody hilarious, all my friends were wetting themselves laughing away and it was great to find that I still found the same material funny.

Plus we had great seats, a super night all in all :-)

Wednesday I started to feel a bit odd during the day and by the afternoon my head was spinning... not good :-(

I missed my work Dramatic Society's 80th birthday celebrations that night, I was most upset, but I wouldn't have been able to enjoy myself and would have ended up sat in a corner feeling sorry for myself and resembling a wet blanket.

Thursday I was off work, with my son who was also ill and is now on antibiotics as his residual cough just isn't clearing!

Thursday night was bonfire night and, although all I wanted to do was continue to be sat on the sofa watching rather rubbish re-runs of Dr Who with my son, our local park has an amazing FREE display every Guy Fawkes night so it would have been unheard of to miss it - plus it's only a couple of minutes' walk so not exactly a taxing effort.

So, wrapped up in a zillion layers of clothes, the biggest scarf I could find, gloves, hat etc, we ventured out...

here are some pics, yes they look like fireworks and all fireworks pretty much look the same but humour me as I haven't really ever grown up!

Please feel free to scroll past these self-indulgent "woooahhh" "woooow" "ahhhhh" pics :-D


Unfortunately due to some work being done on the park's entrance it took us an eternity to get out and home and my son and I felt thoroughly miserable by the time we got home and were both bed-bound after warming up with a hot drink!

Friday was pretty much the same as Thursday in terms of lounging around on the sofa watching TV. We watched various programmes recorded on the Sky+ box including a few movies like Hancock which I'd not seen before. It was a great 'leave your brain in a box by the door and come right in' movie, Charlize Theron looked HOT! That woman seems to get better with age - not fair!

I had intended to do all sorts of blogging but I felt so rough that I couldn't venture from the sofa to the PC and concentrating on the smaller laptop screen also didn't appeal so I just slobbed around in my jim jams, drinking hot drinks and feeling generally pooh.

I was resolved to rest, recover and NOT to go to work and spread my germs around and I'm glad I didn't as I felt much better by Saturday :-)

Saturday night was a friend's birthday. We went to a lovely restaurant called Souk Bazaar, which served delicious mezze, I *love* small sharey-style dishes (although with that comes the danger of overeating as you load up your small plate for the hundredth time!!). The food was ace and the little room we had was lovely, the atmosphere was great and the decor was lovely... really nice place. Best of all, with the set menus we all went for there were free refills!

After that we went for some musical fun in Karaoke Box. It was fabulous, I had a sing/rap-off with another party-goer with Vanilla Ice's 'Ice Ice Baby' - baaaad idea, I know that song back to front, I used to adore the guy *hangs head in shame*!

After that we went to a bar and it all went downhill from there.

I've been wondering why my hangovers seem to get worse as I get older and I thought it was just because of my age but actually I've found that the older I get, the more I can drink! When I was younger I'd drink until I'd had enough, or my body had decided I'd had enough... many a night in my teens spent embracing the base of a toilet or lying flat out holding onto the floor while the room spun round my head....

I don't get that anymore, I can just keep drinking until the point that I call it a night.

This results in my feeling like total death the next day and spending most of it in bed/on sofa/just generally feeling useless, horrible and sorry for myself - but annoyed at myself for wasting the day!

I wish I hadn't lost that ability to recognise when my body's reached alcoholic capacity! I guess I just need to take responsibility for my alcoholic intake but it's difficult when everyone else around you is happily swilling away... ahh well.

So yes, Sunday I felt absolutely bloody dreadful and Joe decided that only thing for it was for us to go to the gym!!

Nightmare man!!

I was ultra reluctant, he almost had to force me out - which is bad as we generally as a rule always make a point of going to the gym Sunday afternoon/evening, it's probably the only regular session I make a point of sticking to... the rest of my routine is so erratic and based on social events!!

Anyway, in the end I thanked him for it. We went and did a delt-busting session with free weights, then some core work and finally he went in the sauna to sweat out his sins while I hopped on the elliptical trainer for half an hour.

Felt very virtuous and definitely like some guilt had been assuaged by the time I got home and chucked down a Maxi-milk. PERFECT post-workout drink if you like to go to the gym in the evening. If I was to drink a Promax Diet shake that late I'd be up buzzing on all the fat-busting caffeine!

Right, I need to get off and start cooking so we can just eat and go straight out to the gym when the boys get back.

For my post-workout shake I've already got it half-prepared in the fridge as I had half this morning.

1 x strawberry Maximuslce Maxi-milk
small tub of 0% fat greek yogurt
1 x tbsp almond nut butter
2 x apples (was using up old fruit - smoothies are great for this!)
2 x scoops banana Maximuscle Promax Diet

I've got half the above left (minus 1 scoop of Promax Diet as powder goes funny if you make it up and leave it for any length of time!!)

can't wait to have it, I'm gutted I've run out of Promax Diet in vanilla flavour because that and strawberry maximilk make the best shakes. I had some yesterday with blueberries and peanut butter too, very tasty :-)

Still, have some coming this week as I ordered another big tub and 3 months' supply of Thermobol to tide me over the Christmas and New Year season!

Will post later if I get the chance and tell you about this week's great gig and my workplace charity cycle challenge that I was in charge of all week... lots of pictures to follow...



Saturday, 14 November 2009

Friday's photo foolery

Sorry that I haven't updated on the last couple of weeks yet - inexcusable but I've been so busy lately! I'm going to hopefully get round to it tomorrow... don't think it's going to happen tonight as I'm sitting here with damp hair about to start on dinner before we go out to a friend's b-day drinks.

I'd *like* to blog more but the boys are on their way back having just picked up a new PS3, amp and gigantic (apparently) speakers so attempting to drag them away from that tonight would be a futile endeavour!

Buuut anyway, I thought I'd share a few pics from yesterday's silly posing with my rubbish camera phone - more to prove that I *do* actually have muscles... you may be wondering if I did, and if you were going to go by my pics from the Maximuscle Body of 2009 competition!!

I really don't like how my arms look in those pics (in terms of definition, I'm happy that they don't look lardy like they used to!!) but that's not surprising as I'd not been able to work my upper body for about 2 weeks before the shoot as I'd hurt my shoulder following a rather stupid speed session on a rowing machine after an upper body weights session!!!

So anyway, it all started with a sneaky shot of my left arm..

...causing my son to ask what I was doing and then saying "oh yeah, your great arms" - the other day he told me my arms were AMAZING, well his exact words were "wow, you're amazing!" imagine how I felt?! Every Mum wants their kid to think they rock, luckily mine does!

I asked him to take a pic of my right arm (what a poser I am...)

I'm liking the definition, and how my forearms look too, I think I've lost a bit of fat on my arms and my shoulder work is paying dividends (I reckon!) although I need to change that a bit (more on that later).

Later on that night after a nice meal out and quite a bit of wine and Hoegarden beer (naughty!) I got Joe to take a picture of my back... probably being a bit drunk wasn't the best preparation as my muscles were all relaxed but then if I hadn't had a couple of bevvies I doubt I'd have asked him to take it... so swings and roundabouts eh? ;-)

So, here's my back, sorry for the poor picture quality

What do you think?

I'm quite chuffed, I didn't realise this is how I look like from behind (possibly because I've not yet perfected the art of 360 degree neck rotation!!), Joe says it's quite impressive which I'm really pleased about :-)

I don't think I'd be able to pull that pose tonight though as I've got serious DOMS from Thursday night's new arms and chest workout which I'll go into more detail when I post my new schedule...

I also can't sit down without grimacing as I put a bit too much weight on the bar when doing squats. I'd done 35kg (bar + 2 10kg rings) which felt ridiculously easy so I thought I'd add another 5kg to that. So I loaded up the bar with an extra two 2.5kg weights... however, instead of the 10s I'd picked up 15s so when I squatted and then tried to stand up again I got a bit of a shock to say the least!!

I carried on though (stubborn) and did 10 reps with that weight but for my last set I took it down to 45kg which was a lot more doable!

I felt fine yesterday morning but my hamstrings and glutes have progressively got more painful... arghh!

Anyway, gonna get off but I promise a proper update soon (if I can remember what I've actually been doing!!)

Hope you're all well and having great weekends :-)


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Surprise Wine Tasting Party!

It's been nearly 2 weeks since this happened but I've been a very bad tardy blogger.

In brief, I had Friday 30th October in my various calendars (Joe and I are very sad and geeky, we sync our calendars - though this is more useful than it is geeky as we both have busy lives!!) down as being: "Joe and Tara out for dinner somewhere..." location: "surprise, not telling"


I've been whinging hinting at Joe for ages to plan something nice as it's always usually me who organises our fun nights (theatre, live gig, dinner etc) out. He'd obviously taken the hint and planned somewhere nice for us to eat. I wasn't at all unhappy at this prospect given the fact that the place he took us on our anniversary was recently voted as one of the top 10 places to eat steak - in the UK!

Anyhoo, so I arrive home (late!) with a face full of makeup and thinking I'd apologise for my timekeeping and dash upstairs to change into something glam and then leg it to whatever restaurant he'd booked us into.

INSTEAD I got the shock of my life when I discovered our living room was full of girls (oh yes, Joe planned this *really* well ;-) ).

Bless him though, he'd been secretly scheming with some friends of mine for months and had organised this evening for me. It was such a lovely thing to do, I was really touched! Especially as one of my friend's I'd seen the day before and was a bit puzzled as to why she wasn't going to Ireland with her hubby on the same day as he was but didn't think too much of it... but it was because she'd agreed to come to this! I have some really lovely friends :-)

So anyway, without further ado, (yes I know I used that expression in my last post, never claimed to be original though eh? haha) here are some pics from the evening.

First we started on the white...

ooh, what's under bottle B..?!

We had four 6 bottles of lovely whites to try in our 'guess the most expensive' and 'oldest' etc quiz!

Then we all stuffed our faces with the most delicious spag bol made by my beloved.

Then it was onto the reds, yum!

There were a few techniques employed to cope with the overfull glasses when moving from one bottle to the next...

Although some were able to combat this dilemma by keeping several glasses on the go at once... ;-)

And here's some pictures of some of the lovely ladies that were there to make my surprise night even more special :-)

Now, does the girl on the right in the pic above look like she's plotting something hmmm?

Well she was... Halloween Cupcakes!!

Look at these beauties

Nom nom nommmm

absolutely lush!!

What me?! Eat TWO cupcakes?! Never, I don't *do* refined carbs...

Okay, who am I trying to kid - busted!!

Amazingly, 3 cupcakes managed to survive to see another day! (before being demolished by me, Joe and my son!)

And here's me and my surprise party planner extraordinaire of a boyfriend... bit sozzled... okay a LOT sozzled (check out the red wine lips - classy!) but very happy and chillaxed...

Blue Steel??

Maybe not... :-D

Yes, we ran out of glasses. Yes, we had to borrow some from next door. No, that still wasn't enough so yes we used disposable champagne flutes (they hold a surprisingly large amount!)

And that's your lot :-)

We didn't finish all the wine (gave it our best shot mind!) so I froze some white wine into cubes and used in the delicious chicken, veg and white wine creamy pie with sliced potato and cheese on top that I cooked for my Mum and Joe's parents when they came round for Sunday Lunch:


Although please note that this wasn't the healthiest of meals (despite being made with chicken breasts, plenty of veg and half fat crème fraiche) due to the enormous amount of cheese that went on the top. Bloody lovely though and on days when I have biiiiiiig meals like this I tend to eat that and very little else - so it all balances out nicely :-)


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Maximuscle Body of 2009 Competition pics

I got my individual pictures back from the Maximuscle Body of 2009 photo shoot and it was apparent why I didn't win the competition!

The pics were great in terms of lighting, hair, makeup etc but I wasn't happy with how I looked - Definitely not like a winner!!

Anyway, sorry to sound negative but I'm my own biggest critic and really wish I'd worked out that much harder before entering this competition!

Next year eh..

Anyway, here are the pics that I've selected that I don't utterly hate!

Unfortunately I didn't get any of the joint ones but hopefully will receive a selection soon so can post them on here (and you'll know what I mean when I said I felt like a giant next to the other girls!)

You probably can't tell but my lips were wobbling as I was trying to smile... so nervous!

I quite like this one but I'm not sure why I thought curly hair would look good - it's not like I look this glam when I workout!!

I felt like a wally doing this!

This one is very posey, according to Jay Benedetti (Maximuscle Body of 2009 Winner - Cover Model Category), lol!! The words 'pot', 'kettle' and 'black' spring to mind for some reason! ;-)

I was asked to demonstrate how I stretch my arms, this was one of the moves.... unfortunately not the best to show off my arms as it targets the biceps and anterior delts so my triceps are left loose and it's impossible to engage them... which results in...

bingo wings... arghhh!!

So that's your lot for now (the rest are pretty much variations on what is above, just at different angles etc), I might post the groups ones if/when they come, so you get to see the other girls although you will when we're all on the site and obviously the winner will be on the front cover of the catalogue - woo hoo!

Will write more later, Joe's out at a poker game so I have the PC to myself in the quiet... hurrah!

Catch you later