Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Product Review - Multipower D-Fine Protein shake

Good evening!

Well, it's been a while since I did one of these but then equally it's been a while since I had any new exciting products to delight in!

Not that Multipower's products are new to the market - just to me... and how is it I'd not heard of them before considering they're Europe's No.1 Sportsfood company?!

By way of a quick bit of background, from what I can gather Multipower are a very long-established European company who are really stepping up their game here in the UK and starting to make more of a name for themselves amongst serious athletes and every day sportspeople too.

They are a multi-sports food company which is perfect for me (bodybuilding, boxercise, rowing and running being just a few of my passions) and my other half who is a cyclist and likes to compete in daft gruelling endurance events!

Amongst many others, Multipower sponsor the very talented young British triathlete, and Olympic hopeful, Will Clarke.

They also sponsor a premiership football club, ten times World Champion Kickboxer Michael Page, England rugby star Mark Cueto and also in fact a whole rugby team to boot as they are Official Sports Nutrition Supplier to France's RC Toulon where none other than the great Jonny Wilkinson plays, ahhh Jonny :-)

Actually, on the Toulon tip, if you see the latest copy of Men's Fitness magazine (January 2011), there's a really good article about the club featuring Jonny... can I squeeze another "ahhh Jonny..." in there again?

Ooops, think I just did ;-)

Anyway, onto the product review!

Over the past few months I've been ordering samples off various sites and trying to find something that tastes as good as it sounds. I have high standards, my needs are quite specific and I know what I'm after - around 100 Calories, 20-25g protein per serving (I don't need any more than that in a single hit right now!) and a low carbohydrate content as I like to get my carbs from my vegetables and grains!

Most importantly though is that it can't taste like crap. End of story. I've tasted some shakes that are either straight-up rank, or that start off promising but fade out to a synthetic after-taste, or that you'd need to use half the recommended water intake just to get a bit of taste!

Fortunately, Multipower's D-Fine (109Cals/25g protein/2g carbs per 30g serving) has cracked it on the taste front.... well, the flavour I tried has anyway, I can't speak for the others but if they're anything near as yummy as the chocolate-banana flavour then we're onto a winner here!

This shake's flavour manages to achieve the seemingly - and before now previously unattainable - quality of actually *tasting* like its flavour. I kid you not, D-Fine in chocolate banana actually tastes like you're biting into a banana (that has been rather naughtily dipped in chocolate milk! ;-) )

Multipower recommend you mix 250mls with 30g powder... which, it says on the instructions (once I've finally located the English ones!) is equivalent to 3 level tablespoonfuls... err, what? 'Tablespoonfuls'?! Where's the flippin scoop?!

Not happy (told you I had high standards!), luckily I have a few left over from other protein shake tubs... seriously though, as annoying as it is to play "hunt for the scoop" (which has settled during transit to the very depths of the tub and the search for which results in your managing to come away with half of the contents under your fingernails once you finally emerge triumphant - scoop in powder-covered hand!), I still actually relish the challenge and it does make measuring out the powder a whole lot easier.

PLEASE, Multipower - include a scoop!

So that's issue #1... issue #2 is more of a warning to those of us who, in order to get the powder and water to blend, are used to having to simulate some sort of washing machine action in our shakers by vigorously shaking it with both speed and power.

Don't do that.

The powder actually blends really quickly and you'll just end up with this:

If are also used to less-easily-blend-able shakes and accidentally develop a sudden case of 'washing machine arm' or 'spin cycle wrist', then fear not dear reader, as decanting the lovely elixir into an attractive plastic cup like so:

... will soon sort this problem out ;-)

Anyway, here is the full macro breakdown for anyone interested:

Nutrition Information per 30g serving (mixed with water)
Energy 461kJ/109kcal
Protein 25g
Carbs 2g
of which sugars 0.8g
Fat 0.3g
of which saturated fatty acids <0.1g
Fibre <0.1g
Sodium 0.07g

And that concludes this review (mainly because it is now stupid-o'clock and I need some shut-eye!).

Conversely I've tried out a couple of other Multipower (http://www.multipoweruk.com/) products which I'll be sure to tell you all about soon - once I've caught up on some sleep!

Hope you're all keeping well, stay strong and we'll catch up soon!


Friday, 19 November 2010

UKBFF Stars of Tomorrow 2010 Contest post-mortem

Well hello there lovely people!

Well, after working my arse off for weeks and sticking strictly (and antisocially I might add!) to my diet, I pretty much totally screwed things up on Sunday!

Before I relay my tale of disaster and woe, I'd like just take a moment and say a huge THANK YOU for the lovely messages on twitter and facebook. Essentially I was whinging and feeling mightily sorry for myself at not doing as well as I hoped. But, equally, I was also truly gutted and to say that I was totally overwhelmed and touched by the support I received would be a massive understatement so thank you all - I really appreciated it :-) x

What never fails to astonish and delight me is how supportive people in the fitness industry are of each other. I'm guessing this is because we all acknowledge how hard each and every one of us works to achieve our results.

Training for aesthetics is very different to just training for general health and fitness. Yes, genetics plays a part in your shape, appearance and how easily you can gain muscle and lose fat; but for 99% of us we have to train bloody hard and invest a lot of time and energy into devising and executing specific and effective training and nutrition plans.

As you can imagine, it's all very time consuming. Muscle ache is uncomfortable and often painful, and dieting isn't really all that much fun, especially given that you have to put as much thought into *when* you eat as you do *what* you eat! But ultimately you get out what put in and nothing beats the sense of achievement you feel when witnessing first hand the transformation of your physique into something you've created yourself.

It's a fabulous feeling, truly unbeatable really, and worth every ounce of effort you expend in order to achieve it :-)

Anyway, this post was meant to be a competition de-brief so on with the autopsy!

Saturday 13th November

Saturday I spent frantically trying to finish off a bikini I'd started the week before the comp.

I'd got it into my head that given how little time I'd allowed myself to get into shape for this competition, I probably wouldn't lose all the weight I hoped and therefore if I turned up in a fabulous bikini it might help if I didn't look as great as the other girls on stage.

So I ordered some gorgeous material:

...and set about creating my own design! I had an idea in my mind as to how it would look and it ended up pretty close, just without the stones across the top hem and also the rings at the side of the pants I'd envisaged... I ended up having to go with string ties as I ran out of time :-(

Anyway, here it is:

What do you think?! I was very pleased with how it looked, particularly as I've never made anything before in my life!

I would add however that I did actually just sew the material *over* another bikini, I don't think I'd be skilled enough to create a bikini from scratch, although it did take an eternity for me to arrange the fabric over the bikini cups so the pattern ran the way I wanted and I had to sew an additional panel onto the front of the bikini bottoms as they were sooo low it was almost indecent!!

Now, what should a girl really be doing the night before an important competition? Resting... yes, that's what she should be doing!

Not me though, you see ages ago, Joe had bought us tickets to see the Goo Goo Dolls whom I absolutely adore for their amazing album Dizzy Up the Girl. If you've not heard this album then I implore you to purchase a copy as it is truly a work of art and also on of my favourite of all time... in fact it *would* be my favourite were it not for albums like Muse - Showbiz, Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms and The Best of Billy Joel... guilty pleasures eh? ;-)

So yes, instead of resting and getting an early night, Tara was at the Brixton Academy in raptures watching one of her favourite bands perform to a captivatingly euphoric high standard... the atmosphere was electric, the crowd oozed adulation from every pore, it really was a fabulous night.

Joe and I had had a couple of drinks while we were out and then decided to apply my stage tan when we got in... hmmm, probably not the best idea!

I'd not used Jan Tana Ultra 1 before, but had heard good things and seen pictures of girls looking fabulously tanned. For the FAME UK competition back in May, Joe and I had stood in our spare room while he sprayed me with Pro Tan - very messy indeed! It gave a nice even colour but I did have to top up with Dream Tan which is even more messy as it's basically liquid makeup so got *everywhere*!!

I knew I wouldn't be allowed that again though so though I'd give the Jan Tana a go. Plus... Chady Dunmore uses Jan Tana so if it's good enough for her...!

It went on easily enough but the problem was that we did it in our living room (matron!) where our light fittings aren't working properly (don't get me started...!) so we were relying on a standing lamp that didn't really do much to illuminate the room - or me for that matter...

Sunday 14th November -

...and when I woke up the next day (feeling somewhat groggy I might add!) I was horrified to discover that my tan was massively streaky and a lot darker in some places than others!

Also, and what was worse, whenever my skin came into contact with water, the slightest droplet would create a puddle effect - eek!

Initially I'd decided to put the tan on at night, wake up in the morning, rinse off the residue and was my hair as it needed doing as I'd not cleaned it since Friday when I had it cut. I would then reapply another coat and be done.

When I realised I couldn't get wet this changed things somewhat and resulted in disaster #2 - greasy lank hair - arghh!

As we were running short on time we decided to take the tanning products with us and head over to the venue where we could reapply it and patch up the mess.

Shortly after we set off I realised - disaster #3 - I didn't have any false eyelashes so we had to make a detour via Boots which made us even later!

Although we'd anticipated it not taking much more than 45 minutes to drive, it actually took a *hell* of a lot longer which brings us to disaster #4 as we got stuck in traffic and I almost wasn't allowed to compete! Adding to this stress and introducing us to disaster #5 was the fact that tickets to the show had sold out, and, as we'd not anticipated how popular this event would be, Joe didn't get to sit in the audience with his super duper camera and take pictures - or even cheer for me for that matter! :-(

Anyway, we got backstage and I got into my bikini and set about fixing up my makeup and getting ready to touch up my tan when disaster #6 reared its evil ugly head as I came to the sickening realisation that I didn't have the tan with me... I'd gotten it all ready and in its little carry bag and then left it on the side in the kitchen - arghh! :'-(

We tried touching up with makeup but that didn't help so I ran pleading into the girls' changing rooms where one of the competitors, Laura (who later went on to win the contest - good karma eh :-) ?!) was kind enough to lend me some of her 'show off' tan... I think it's a Jan Tana product too... anyway, what an angel, thank you so so so so much, I'd not have been able to get on stage otherwise as there were white blotches everywhere!!

So, tan patched up as best we could, bottle returned by a perhaps overly effusive grateful Tara (but I was seriously so relieved!), make up finished, lashes in place and all set to go I teetered in my heels to join the other girls.

It was then I realised there were only four of us... which meant that one of us would be disappointed. It hadn't occurred to me that that might be me but my second thought upon joining the other lovely ladies was "shit, they're all a lot leaner than I am!".

Then nerves *really* started to kick in then. Luckily there was a lovely lady backstage called Frankie Boers (who also competes, is gorgeous and has an amazing physique!) who was encouraging us to smile and kick ass so that helped. Also, the other girls were really friendly and cheerful so the atmosphere was great, added to this was the pleasure of meeting my twitter pal, the fabulous @PeteTheFreak! :-)

Frankie also gave us tips on walking - which I really wished I'd practiced more of - but with my ankle injury, wearing heels just doesn't happen very often... it can't - it's too painful!

Disaster #7 occurred within a few seconds of my entrance when I wobbled strode onto the stage of the packed out theatre and completely forgot *everything* that the lovely Wanda Tierney from the UKBFF had meticulously and explicitly told us about what was expected once we were on stage... in fact, disaster #7 just continued to increase exponentially all the time I was on stage!

Firstly, the minute I stepped onto the the stage my legs somehow forgot that there were bones holding them up and instead turned to jelly. Next I forgot that when I walked to the back initially for the start of my 'T-walk' I was meant to perform a front stance followed by a back stance - I just did a front stance - I walked too quickly, held my poses for far too short a space of time and my lips were trembling soo much that I'm not quite sure if I looked like I was smiling or grimacing in pain!!

Next came the comparisons and for some unknown reason my ears and my brain decided to have a massive falling out. I'm not sure what exactly my brain had done wrong but my ears refused to correctly relay the information they were receiving from the judges. I *knew* I was number 66, I had a very large badge to this effect pinned to my bikini which I had looked at many times. And yet still, when the judges called an entirely different number - I think it was 8! - my legs took me over to where they'd moved from!

It wouldn't be so bad if a) I wasn't the *only* one who did this and b) it was an isolated incident. However, I think I incorrectly attempted to swap places about 3 times AND to make matters worse I walked completely the wrong way at one point!

What a numpty eh?

So, after what felt like an eternity of nerves and cock-ups resulting in bikini bottoms feeling like they were riding right up my bum and my heart attempting to leap out of my chest, we were dismissed off the stage while the judges deliberated.

Backstage again my nerves abated, but this only made way for the annoyance at my screwing up to kick in - big time!

We were called back on stage (somebody in the audience actually called out my number too while we were walking out - thank you... you made my day!) and I did my best to put on a nerve-defeating smile as we were presented with fantastic fabulous medals. Well-done to the UKBFF in that respect, it was a clear symbol of the fact that they believe everyone brave enough to compete on stage deserves recognition :-)

Next they announced the top three in reverse order... "In third place... Danielle Pincus!" at this juncture I'd like to point out that I did actually (rather foolishly I now realise) hold out hope that mine might be the next name read out, but alas it wasn't to be and when the judges read out "Nikki Jenkins" I knew then that it was all over, hope was extinguished, and I realised was going to leave disappointed :-(

I did attempt to leave the stage after the trophies were handed out to allow the winners to be photographed, but was told to stand where I was while photos were taken...

I must admit that this was rather tough on the soul as it was a case of "...and here's what you could have won!" as the three other girls stood with their fabulous trophies proudly on display (from left to right: Nikki, Laura, Danielle & me):

I did smile and put on a brave face though, so hopefully I didn't ruin the picture for the rest of them, but inside I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my world, pathetic eh?! I waited afterwards backstage to congratulate the girls and then went back to the dressing room and had a bit of a sob...

I was - and in fact still am - quite taken aback by how upset not placing made me! I know that when you enter contests like this you're setting yourself up for criticism and a possible fall, and I never expected to win. But I did believe I should have placed, and my training was geared towards my own interpretation of winning. I wouldn't have worked as hard as I did if I believed there was not a chance in hell that I might come away with something, what would be the point in that, you don't *train* for fourth place!

I guess that in my mission to escape the perils of mediocrity I'm working towards a winning mentality and, as the saying goes "if you want to be a winner then you have to hate losing".

And I really really hated losing on Sunday - ha!! After all, it's hard enough to miss out on top three but it's even harder when there are only four of you that have entered!

Anyway, I may be a disappointed loser but I'm definitely not a sore loser and the other girls clearly worked their asses off too and their victories were well deserved.

It just means that I've learned a few valuable lessons and that I need to continue working *my* ass off in order to improve on the gains I've made so far. After all, on-stage and pre-comp cock-ups aside, I was still a lot less lean than my competitors and I know that counted against me. I also know that this is something I can change and I fully intend to do so!

The final disaster of the day (what are we - up to 8 now?!) was the journey back home after the competition.

Initially, I has been super happy to learn that the football club I still fondly follow - Sunderland AFC (despite it being years since I split from the boyfriend whose team it was!) - had beaten the Premiership leaders Chelsea by 3 goals to nil! My joy was short lived however as we were caught in the aftermath of this game's match traffic.

I lived in Chelsea for over 10 years so I know the area really well and thought I could get us out of it by taking a few side streets... unfortunately a) everyone else had the same idea and b) although I know the streets well enough to walk and cycle round, driving a car is different as almost all the streets are one-way!!

The journey was just a complete nightmare and took more than twice as long as it should have - at one point it took us over an hour to go less than a mile!

Add to this that I was still feeling pretty down, which was compounded by the fact that Joe's not great in stressful situations involving small spaces, and you end up with pretty much the worst car journey I've ever had! It really effectively and appropriately rounded off a thoroughly miserable day.

The *only* ray of light being the lovely facebook and twitter messages I received so thank you all again so much for keeping me (reasonably) sane!

Anyway, that's a chapter of my life which is complete and all I can do is move on and learn from it so... what next for Tara?

Well, first of all here are a few more pics from the competition:

I'm actually really thrilled with how I look, I certainly didn't look like that a few weeks back!!

These pictures cheered me up a hell of a lot and now I feel a lot more positive about the whole experience :-)

And now, what's next for Tara Stevens?

Well, I'm hoping to do another update soon where I can give you more detail about comps etc, but in brief I've launched back into training with a vengeance and my mission is to shift as much weight as possible (without sacrificing too much muscle) between now and January when I have my ankle operation and am literally off my feet for weeks. This is going to be super tough given how active I am at present but hopefully my relatively high level of fitness will help with my recovery :-)

January and February will be spent building muscle (and inevitably bulk) and then from March onwards I hope to be leaning down and looking to compete again!

This is the game plan and obviously it's all subject to change - I'm still not sure whether I want to stick with Bikini or work towards Figure but I'm going to make that decision once I've seen what my body is capable of, it's still very early days and I've only really spent about 3 months of this entire year in total concentrating hard on my physique. What I've learnt is that I'm enjoying all the challenges I encounter and the diet and training actually suit me really well. I love how good clean eating makes me feel and look and witnessing new muscle definition is truly joyous to me. I'd encourage *anyone* who wants to change their body shape to pick up some dumbbells and embrace the fact that Strong is definitely the new Skinny!

Be back soon with more progress pics and news, as well as some reviews for exciting new products that I've been trying out lately.

In the meantime, stay strong,


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Competition countdown - 5 days to go!

Well hello there!

See, I told you I wouldn't abandon you again (at least not just yet! ;-) )


Well, I'm 5 days away from the UKBFF Stars of Tomorrow 2010 competition and I'm starting to get rather excited.

This is mainly due to my phenomenal weight loss over the last couple of weeks which I can only attribute to help from the fabulous guidance from the gorgeous and talented Vikkie Krzyzanowski. If you've not visited http://bikinifitness.co.uk/ yet you really need to get yourself over there!

Basically, 2 weeks ago I was feeling pretty fed up and bordering on desperate. Although I was losing weight, it was fluctuating so much that anything I lost was going back on, my weight graph was a total zig-zag!

As well as logging my weight training and cardio routines on my iFitness app, I've also been logging my weight on so to give you an idea, here's my weigh-ins (not regular) from 9th to 27th October:

09/10/2010 - 150.0lbs (67.5kg)
13/14/2010 - 148.8lbs (67.0kg)
15/10/2010 - 148.6lbs (67.4kg)
16/10/2010 - 146.8lbs (66.6kg)
18/10/2010 - 148.6lbs (67.1kg)
19/10/2010 - 148.0lbs (67.1kg)
20/10/2010 - 147.2lbs (66.8kg)
24/10/2010 - 146.6lbs (66.5kg)
25/10/2010 - 147.4lbs (66.9kg)
27/10/2010 - 148.6lbs (67.4kg)

I was so demotivated and when Vikkie emailed to ask how my competition prep was going, I expressed my sheer frustration and concern at not being able to drop enough pounds before the show!

So she took some details from me and put together a special bespoke diet plan for me which included how meal ingredients, properties (amounts of protein, fat, calories etc), frequency and quantity too - what a star!

To say that this diet plan had a dramatic effect on my weight loss would be somewhat of an understatement.

I think the figures speak for themselves:

29/10/2010 - 148.0lbs (67.1kg)
30/10/2010 - 147.2lbs (66.8kg)
31/10/2010 - 146.2lbs (66.3kg)
02/11/2010 - 147.2lbs (66.8kg)
04/11/2010 - 145.8lbs (66.1kg)
06/11/2010 - 144.6lbs (65.6kg)
07/11/2010 - 144.0lbs (65.3kg)
09/11/2010 - 143.6lbs (65.1kg)

Although this might not seem a great deal of weight lost, you need to appreciate that my weight has fluctuated between 146lbs and 150lbs for the past year now, at one point even going up to 153lbs which scared me somewhat! I think my lowest weight was around 145/6lbs when I did the Dukan Diet for a couple of weeks before realising that if I kept it up I might lose my health as well as my mind!

Also please bear in mind that I've managed to achieve this weight loss while still eating around 13,000 + Calories a day comprised of at least 6 small meals... I'm basically eating every 2 hours and finding that it really suits me and has helped to shrink my stomach too :-) I won't give away *too* much info on the diet as it has been specifically tailored for my needs so if you want one of your own you'd have to contact Vikki yourself :-)


So, here's me on Saturday. I thought I should practice some poses for the contest. Unfortunately I find this difficult as I have an ankle injury - an Osteochondral Defect which is due surgery and the position of which means that when I put my foot into certain position - e.g. when wearing high heels - it 'catches' and hurts like hell!!

I was due to have this operated on 2 days after my competition but the stress caused by mountains of work and the fact that we're *still* having building work carried out in our bedroom, meant that I just would not be able to convalesce in peace - I've been told I need around 2 weeks of total rest with my ankle elevated at all times! I think I also get crutches and a funny shoe to wear - cute! ;-)

So now my operation is in January which is good as I get Christmas out of the way without having to work round a healing fragile ankle and that is just as well as we're having *both* sets of parents, plus Joe's older brother, round for the whole Christmas period! It's a good job we've got four bedrooms or I don't think we'd get everyone in!

Anyway, I've gone a bit off track again so here's the pic I took on my rubbish phone while commandeering my son's bedroom as he was out at drama school. If anyone has teenage children you will appreciate what an unpleasant experience this was for me but I managed to crop most of the rubbish and junk out of the picture (I think!) and this was even after cleaning up the room a bit so I could walk to the full length mirrors without falling to my death on the array of junk that was strewn across the entire length of the room!!

I'm quite pleased with how I look in this pic. Obviously I've still got a long way to go with leaning out my legs but these are my 'problem area' as I'm classically pear shaped... I find it incredibly difficult to lose weight on my legs or butt, the latter I'm not as concerned about because it has such a nice shape but I'd love it if my legs were slimmer - especially near the top.

Anyway, I'm very pleased with my stomach right now as I've been doing a tonne of sit-ups, which I deplore!! I think working my abs is my least favourite thing, it just feels too much like hard work! ;-)


Here's what I've been up to over the last couple of days

Saturday 6th October
I didn't get a chance to train so it was an enforced rest day that my body was probably quite glad of! I went out in the evening for a friend's birthday drinks and managed to stay off the booze and just drink diet coke and sparkling water. This was rather difficult given how merry everyone else was but I still had a great time and a bit of a boogie too. I can't hand on heart say I wouldn't have a had a *better* time had I drunk alcohol though ;-)

Sunday 7th October
I was meant to train for longer on Sunday but I literally ran out of time as was busy throughout the day so I thought I'd catch my old gym before it shut at 9pm.

So I ran from our new place to the old gym and blasted out a super speedy leg session before running back.

Run - 2.9km - 15 mins
Leg Extension - 35kg - 3 x 10 reps
Leg Curl - 35kg - 3 x 10 reps
Leg Press - 80kg - 3 x 10 reps
Run - 2.9km - 16 mins

Monday 8th October
As I'm so close to my competition, Vikkie has advised me to drop the weight and up the reps which is reflected below as I usually do a lot less with more weight:

Spin Class - 45 mins
Bent over dumbbell rows - 10kg - 4 x 15 reps
Bent over reverse dumbbell flye - 4kg - 4 x 15 reps
Lat pulldown - 35kg - 4 x 15 reps
Low row - 35kg/30kg - 1/3 x 12/15 reps

Tuesday 9th October

Boxercise! :-D

I love Tuesdays for this reason!

I felt weak to start but my increased fitness levels started to kick in and I managed to complete the class without dying, which is always nice ;-)

Contest Prep


I'm attempting to make a bikini... well, two, in time for the show, but I'm trying to be realistic and I do have a back-up in the form of the one in the picture which is the one I wore for FAME... it's about 10 years old, lol! But I do love it :-)


I've bought some Jan Tana Ultra 1 which is a new Jan Tana produce and is apparently the darkest


Definitely need to work on that so will have to brave the painful heels between now and Sunday!

Diet & Nutrition

As until recently I hadn't trained much since May this year I had quite a lot of surplus Maximusle Promax protein powder to use up and, instead of doing my usual and just order a load more I thought I'd branch out and try a few other brands so have been ordering sample sachets from various places.

I really love USN's Pure Protein, the pistachio is nice and the strawberry is so close to a regular milkshake it's unreal. There is a slight synthetic after-taste I find but that might just be me as my sense of smell and taste-buds are super-sensitive.

Vikkie recommended I finish the day with a protein shake containing Casein so I have been drinking MyProtein's 'Milk Protein Smooth' in chocolate smooth flavour which is definitely an acquired taste! The powder is also really messy and what I thought was a great idea - having it in pouches - is actually a pain because of the consistency of the powder - it goes *everywhere*!!

However, it's really great stuff, it doesn't taste bad, just different to regular whey, and I must say I feel like I've slept better and woken up more refreshed every time I've taken it before bed. No dodgy stomach side-effects too which is always nice!

I also really like MyProtein's Impact Whey protein in Strawberry Cream flavour. I wasn't too keen on many of the others, particularly raspberry - which is a shame as it's my favourite fruit!

After the competition on Sunday I'm going to take a week off to let my body recover from the intense training and I plan to schedule a couple of cheat meals too!! ;-)

After that I'm going to get straight back on it as the diet I've been on has really suited me in terms of the type and quantity of the food and the results I've achieved.

I'm planning to up my carbohydrate content a little though and aim for a more gradual weight loss to take me up to January when I will have to scale back my food because my activity levels will drop significantly - to zero for a few weeks at least - once I have my operation!

So I'm going to need a protein powder that supports my weighloss goals and also helps me preserve my muscle and I've found a brand I've not tried before: Multipower.

Multipower are a little like Maximuslce in that they offer a vast assortment of sports foods for bodybuilders, regular exercisers/gym goers and endurance athletes alike.

I've particularly got my eye on a shake Multipower do called which has 25g protein per serving but only 109 Calories and 2g of carbs. This is perfect for me as I plan to continue getting my carbs from my food as I don't really like to drink them!

I'm also keen to stock up with protein bars and Multipower also do a delicious looking and sounding protein bar with 9g of protein but only 112 Calories per bar. It's called a Carnitine Bar, which isn't the most glamorous of names, but hey, if it tastes good I'm not really fussed, especially as these flavours all sound divine... Chocolate-Crisp, Strawberry-Yogurt, Vanilla-Crisp (which has a white chocolate coating - my favourite!).

I really hope they taste good and I don't end up with a box of disappointment like with Optimum Nutrition's Optimal Protein Diet Bar in peanut butter flavour, I have 13 of these left that I cannot bring myself to eat... the first taste is find but the aftertaste is just horrid!

I'd also really like to try Multipower's RTD 'Fitness Shake' as there's only 13g carbs but a massive 25g protein per shake... plus no mixing for lazy short-on-time people like me! :-)

Anyway, I need to head off now and have dinner and work on my bikini design :-)

More shortly, hope you're all well


Friday, 5 November 2010

Letting go of the past...

Just get over it okay? Let it go!!!

This is the message I'm telling myself right now... you see, the biggest barrier to my blogging is... well, yours truly!

I have SO much to say about what has happened these past six months, and loads of accompanying pictures too, but in reality I just don't have the time right now to write about it now... or any time soon to be frank!

So I keep preventing myself from blogging because I feel I owe it to you and myself to update on every last thing I've been doing and this is just so unrealistic... I mean, it's taken me 6 months to do it so how can I expect to condense it into a few paragraphs, I mean come on - really?

So I need to get out of this vicious cycle, this perpetual 'catch-up loop' as I've named it, and just say that IF I get the chance to pull everything together from the past half year and blog about it then FAB. But if not, whatever, let's move on and deal with the here and now or I will never be able to move on! Plus, for those of you who follow me on twitter you will see that I still have been blogging - just on a micro scale :-)

So, here's the deal. Today I'm going to (briefly) update you what's been happening, and then I'm going to fill you in on my plans for the next week and a bit... which are quite exciting, well to me anyway! I'm then going to try and set up some posts for May (but finishing off April first!!), June, July, September & October, get them done sometime between now and the end of January (more on that later), backdate them and the post links to them on my blog...

that's the plan anyway ;-)

Okay, so onto brief update (in true Reduced Shakespeare Company fashion)


Bought house - hurrah! :-)
Moved in - stress! :-(
Picked out nice appliances - hurrah! :-(
Had to wait four weeks for them as they were 'special orders' (e.g. American style fridge freezer with ice dispenser, range cooker etc) so not kept in stock - stress! :-(

okay, I could go on like that for a while and the novelty would rapidly wear off!!

So yes, beginning of May was all about the shambles that was moving house (it took us about 3 days and there was still stuff of ours left at Joe's for a month or so after!)

My birthday weekend was the penultimate one in May, the day before which I spent at Birmingham's NEC enjoying the sights and sounds of The Bodypower Expo with a couple of friends. Click here for some pics.

While at the expo I got shot in the car park!

...by the fabulous Michael Palmer, click here for my favourite pics, I even made it onto his blog!

Then of course during the last weekend of May there was the culmination of all my hard work - FAME UK - my very first contest!! A lot of fun and definitely exposing my inner extrovert (is 'inner extrovert' an oxymoron?!)

I'll definitely blog about that at some point, but for now, if you really can't wait, here are my pics!


Not much to write about without going into detail. Was quite a quiet month other than a hen weekend in Cambridge and starting a Gym Instructor Course which my fabulous boyfriend bought me for my birthday the month before.


July I've got a zillion pics for as the weekends were quite full - there was a wedding, a mammoth bike ride (both in France), a hog roast and an ankle injury diagnosis - more about all that another time!


August was quite a hedonistic month - as it should be! - and included two festivals, first came the fabulous Big Chill Festival, and later in the month there was the fun one-day LED Festival.

LOADS of fun festival pics so watch this space!!


September for the most was comparatively quiet, notable events were a fun touristy day out with my boyfriend and son in London and an equally fun hen do in Bristol - a city I've fallen in love with as a result!

At the end of the month there was the wedding for the hen whose do I went to... a very elegant occasion set in beautiful surroundings with copious amounts of free-flowing alcohol. I really felt it the next day! (pics to follow, as everything else above!)


October was quite a social month including (in no particular order) birthday nights out, too many leaving drinks ( :-( ), a baby shower, a free meal with a fabulous couple, other paid-for meals, an improvised comedy night with the wonderful Adam Hills, a night of amusing yet educational entertainment courtesy of UCL's Bright Club, an audition for a murder mystery night, a bike awards night, and a very grown up tea party put on by Tea Totalled

October was also the month when - despite taking my foot off the gas somewhat after FAME and promising not to enter any further competitions this year - I decided to enter another contest and, as before, give myself very little time in which to prepare!

I say 'decided' but I was actually persuaded to by a friend who has since changed her mind - harrumph! I'm hoping she'll still come along to support, and perhaps some others too but the event is a little pricey if you're just there to spectate, it's also a zillion miles away so I'm not sure yet how I'm going to get there!!

In a statement on their site, the UKBFF said

"The new BIKINI category will be introduced at the first UKBFF 2011 qualifying show of the season, the HERCULES show on Sunday 17th October 2010 in Colchester.

This category has been introduced over the last 2 years by several IFBB affiliated countries and is especially very popular in the USA.

The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) is planning to make the BIKINI Class an official category for the IFBB World Championships and also for the IFBB European Championships.

Therefore the UKBFF has decided to start the BIKINI category with the beginning of the 2011 season.

Ladies, who -through qualifying events- become UK British Champions, will be able to represent the UK in International events, including the Amateur Arnold. "


This is great news for me as my biggest source of inspiration is the wonderful Bikini Pro champion Chady Dunmore.

This woman is absolutely amazing for a multitude of reasons but her dedication, discipline and tremendous work ethic is what I find so completely awe-inspiring; She has a small child and a busy job, so she trains at 05:30 every morning! 05:30 is still night time for me as far as I'm concerned - I'm so impressed!!

Aside from how important Chady takes her training and manages to fit it all in (she's even found time to record a fabulous pop tune - check out "Work it out"!), and the fact that she's a genuinely warm and lovely person, it's her physique that I find so incredibly impressive. Chady has managed to lose 70lbs and attain a look which is super strong and firm but undoubtedly and undeniably feminine - here is a collection of photos which should disprove any doubt to this fact!

WOW now there is true perfection.

So yes, Chady Dunmore (overall winner of the second Arnold Amateur NPC Bikini Championship 2010 and the WBFF PRO Bikini World Champion for 2010!) is my ultimate role model, she is muscular but feminine and, let's face it, I could diet for England and I'm never going to lose this butt am I?!

So maybe bikini is my category ;-)

I am concerned though because a) as is my usual style I've left things to the last minute and only really started training in earnest a few weeks back and b) although the bikini competitors in the USA are visibly well-muscled on the arms, shoulders, legs etc - I'm concerned that the UKBFF is after a softer look more associated with a 'Miss "insert-county-name-here"' beauty pageant... and that would be a shame as I am proud of my arms and shoulders!

In any case it's just over a week away - I am doing the "Stars of Tomorrow and London Classic 2010" (which isn't actually taking place in London but what the hey, let's not quibble over small matters like that! ;-) )

If it turns out that my developed arms and shoulders etc are too much for the new Bikini category them I'm going to have to work really hard to lean down enough to enter another as I'm not going to stop weight training, I love it too much!

As with FAME I feel rushed and under-prepared but unlike FAME I have help in the form of the fabulous Vikkie Krzyzanowski from http://bikinifitness.co.uk/index.htm who I had the good fortune of meeting at FAME back in May. We've stayed in touch and I've witnessed her transformation from this:

To this (in the yellow bikini)

YES it is the same woman and YES she has a six pack - awesome!

When Vikkie heard I was entering the competition she offered to help and when I was getting disheartened at my lack of weight loss she stepped in, overhauled my diet and gave me some great advice!

I've just received my plan for the next week in the run up to the comp, it's not for the faint-hearted but I know it will get results and Vikkie is visual proof of this, she is super positive, helpful and encouraging and I'd recommend anyone get in contact with her who wants advice on nutrition and competition preparation, this girl knows her stuff!

Anyway, I better head off now, this was meant to be a short post but we all know how difficult I find those now don't we?!

I hope you're all well, I thank you for still reading my blog and I look forward to catching up with you all again really soon.

Take care and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Well, hello...!

BOO!! :-D

Does anyone still actually *read* this blog?! ;-)

Well I certainly hope so as yes I am still alive as my twitter and facebook friends can attest to; but boy have I been gone a while!

I've missed my blog so much I've felt somewhat bereft!

I'd love to say that I haven't been able to blog because I've been having the time of my life but that wouldn't be entirely true... it's also been a very busy and stressful (not to mention trying!) time these past few months!

One of the biggest barriers to blogging has been time... not the lack of it but the elapse and subsequent build-up of so much that has happened resulting in so much to say - and as we all know that short blog entries evade me for the most - I've just not known where to start!

So I'm afraid that what you're going to read will be a condensed version of whatever I can remember of the past few months - there has been moving house, decorating said house, holidaying, expos, photoshoots, contests (where the pic above is from), festivals and courses, plus a shed load of work on in my office in that time so forgive me if it all is rather vague and cloudy!

Actually most of the above is all in singular format but hopefully it'll all make for great reading ;-)

And actually, come to think of it, dear reader, you're rather lucky in that what you'll get is the highlights and none of the usual guff that I spout on this blog, ha!

So I will leave you now but I will definitely return with some highlights - complete with pictures of course - of how the last few months have panned out.

Hope you'll join me for the recap!


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

New house!!


Well, hello and goodbye really... or more like 'so long for now', 'see you soon' etc :-)

Granted I've not been the most prolific of posters... in fact I've been a rather pathetic excuse for a blogger of late but I do think my excuses reasons are justified!

So, today we completed on the purchase of the house I never thought we'd get. Given that we put in an offer on 22nd December 2009 and actually LOST the house on 15th February 2010... this has definitely been a rollercoaster ride of emotions... and I do believe the fun has only just begun!

So, here's our house:

I admit that it's nothing spectacular to look at... we don't even have a bay window as I think the property sustained fire or perhaps bomb damage a while ago! But I really like it and the exterior of a property is always something you can change/brighten up :-)

To be fair, there's less that needs to be done to the outside than the inside as this place was used pretty much as a bedsit! The (now previous!) owner rented out every single room (yes, including the living AND dining rooms!) to various families and he basically neglected the place from the outset... the house has been very unloved, the poor thing!

We've definitely got our work cut out for us and Joe and I have got the rest of the week, plus next week, off to decorate as we're trying to make savings where we can as we're going to be pretty broke for a while to come now...

It'll be worth it in the end but for now I thought I'd share a few of the marvels that we have to contend with in our quest to turn this property into the house of our dreams...

Firstly... here's the rather gorgeous luxury bathroom we have in place on the first floor ;-)

Fortunately replacing this is *not* one of the things we have to do ourselves as we've managed to budget to have that done and while it's being refurbished we'll be able to use the bathroom on the ground floor (which will be ripped out afterwards to make a utility room just off the kitchen).

Here's another rather gorgeous feature, check out this fireplace - hubba hubba!

I think the fire-safe doors and exit signs will need to go huh?

Now, surely nobody can argue that this carpet is 'something else'! Just what 'something' it is I'm yet to work out!

The staircase going up leads to my son's new bedroom... yes, he's got a room on his very own floor - how lucky is he?! Basically he's got his own little bacheolor pad of a room to himself, I'm quite jealous, my shoebox bedroom growing up wasn't big enough to fit a wardrobe and chest of drawers in... I had to have a cabin bed to get everything underneath!

If you turn round instead of going up to the smelly teenager's room you are faced with this rather 'interesting' wall feature...

I'm wondering first "Why?!" and secondly if the guy left us the attractive clock that matches the woodwork on the filled-in windows.


Also we are faced with certain oddities like pipes that start somewhere...

...but go nowhere!!

Hmm, I'm sure we'll work it out and our surveyor said the building is sound... just 'quirky' I reckon!

Last but not least we find out new beautiful gigantic (*cough*) elegantly landscaped (*cough* *cough*) garden :-D

Aside from the obvious ground work and fence repair... the beast of a tree *has* to go... it's a sort of mad hybrid tree/bush/ivy plant!!


So there you go, that's what we've got to contend with, I think we have our hands full!!

For obvious reasons I won't be able to blog for a little while to come... despite having our broadband and Sky+ HD installed tomorrow (priorities, priorities!! :-D), but rest assured that I am still training hard and watching what I eat - I even managed to resist tucking into the celebratory Krispy Kreme donuts I bought for everyone earlier and I can safely say I've never been stronger before in my life - it's all good!

Any of my Twitter friends will know that I do tweet quite a bit (and quite often add random pictures to TwitPic), so if you would like to stay updated, please do follow my twitter account or catch up with me on facebook (though I do update that less and haven't uploaded pics to it for almost a year!!).

Right, better get on now and go home to finish off the packing and get some sleep as early start tomorrow to move boxes and pick up floor sander and lots of tins of varnish and paint!

I hope everyone's well and to catch up soon.


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Holy Mother of all Blog Updates, Batman!

Hullo there!

If you thought things were busy for me before now, they're about to get a whooooole lot more busy as we're now in a position to exchange contracts on our new dream house (well, currently it's a nightmare but it'll become dreamy after some TLC ;-) ) and hopefully we'll be all moved in by the second week in May!


So, before that happens I'm going to attempt to pull together events of the month and a bit, starting, in this post, with March. Though must first add the caveat that it's not the most interesting of updates as I've been becoming rapidly more focused on my training of late and everything else, including my social life, has sort of taken a backseat...

This is me in my second home, doing what I love best :-)

As I don't remember what I had for breakfast most days (actually that's a lie as I tend to eat the same thing! But seriously I am rather forgetful)... I'm going to have to rely on things like timestamps on photos, entries in my workout wallet etc... No doubt there'll be a few days I can't account for as, well, I'm not really *that* interesting all in all, but please bear with me :-D

Oh and I'm going to enter the workouts that I remembered to log on another post (see clicky links) to try and keep a clear distinction between workout and waffle... and yes, I realise the lines are blurred most of the time ;-)

Here's what I remember/have been able to piece together:

1 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 01/03/2010

Other stuff: not terribly exciting, went to the dentist...

Food: no food pics for today.

2 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 01/03/2010

Other stuff: not that I can remember


I made up some houmous with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and Maximuscle Promax powder - in natural flavour.

It wasn't exactly delightful but that was mainly down to not getting quantities right, definitely need a recipe rejig!

anyway, I measure out equal blobs and took them, as well as my raw veg snackpots, to work for my meals :-)

3 March 2010

Food: Dinner at L Restaurant & Bar

See pics and review on other post (coming soon!)

6 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 01/03/2010

Other stuff:


7 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 01/03/2010

Other stuff:


Had fun playing around with my new blender:

Dinner was turkey meatballs, very tasty, high in protein and low in fat - perfecto! :-)

8 March 2010

Exercise: Went climbing at The Castle, had a fab time though was relying heavily on upper body strength... which is cheating a little ;-)

Other stuff: I had a brace (train tracks) when I was about 21/22 years old. Unfortunately, as an adult, my jaw had already formed the shape it wanted to remain for the rest of my life so although I was able to move the teeth around into a nicer shape - ultimately they just wanted to go back to how they were!!

Because of this I've been wearing a retainer every night since the tracks came off which, as you can imagine, is *incredibly* attractive and quite a turn-on in the bedroom department ;-) Seriously though, although nobody has ever recoiled in horror, quips of "you putting your teeth in dear" get a bit wearing after a while!!

So I decided to get a very thin wire glued to the back of my teeth, out of sight, to keep my pearly whites nice and straight and today I had a mould of my mouth taken for this very reason.

Exciting stuff!!


My lunch that day was tuna, wholegrain basmati rice, beans and veg

Dinner was turkey stir-fry, a staple of my diet, served sans noodles (it just means I get an extra large serving ;-) )

9 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 08/03/2010

Other stuff:

I gave a few gym inductions this day.


Dinner was a seafood stir-fry, very easy to make and very delicious too :-)

10 March 2010


Lunch was chicken breast and quinoa salad. For this I boil the quinoa in water with a chicken stock cube. Once it's read I remove the quinoa but keep the chickeny water and then broil slices of chicken breast.

I guess I could probably do both at once if I wasn't convinced it would end up as a mess!! :-D

Joe was out this night so it was just me and my son. We had lamb chops, veg and sweet potato mash. Very tasty but not convinced lamb chops are the best value for money... there's so little meat!

11 March 2010

Exercise: None for today but I took a few more gym inductions.

Other stuff: Today was our bonus announcement - 15%! We were all so chuffed, what an awesome company I work for that every single employee gets the SAME percentage bonus :-)


I took Joe out to celebrate our fab bonus and we went to a Georgian Restaurant called Mimino which I will post about separately (when I get a chance!) in a restaurant review entry.

For now though, here's me admiring one of the 'features' of the picture behind me ;-)

Yes, I am a child.

And here is my boyfriend demonstrating why he is the most gorgeous man on the planet... look at that... hubba hubba!

12 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 08/03/2010

Other stuff: So... I was eating some beef jerky which was particularly tough and


This is my new super duper titanium implant tooth... was not best pleased :-S

Food: ... was soft and chewed on one side of my mouth only!!!

16th March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 15/03/2010

Other stuff: Went to the dentist to have my wire retainer fitted and a mould taken for a new tooth to replace the one broken during Jerkygate


Lunch was chicken and quinoa like above but I added fresh mango and 0% fat greek yogurt... OMG lush!!

17th March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 15/03/2010

Here's me sitting by the new multi-gym which I only really use for internal and external shoulder rotations - it's got a handy bench though ;-)

Oh and yes, I workout in jeans! The gym is two floors down from my desk so I just change my top if I'm doing upper body weights as don't really get sweaty. If I had my way the gym would be one floor down from my *bedroom*!!

Other stuff: I carried out yet more inductions... loving it though! :-)


Do you remember my healthy and very tasty Moussaka dish? Well, my son has decided that although he'll eat practically every vegetable going, he doesn't really like aubergine - which is an integral part of this dish!!

So, I decided to alter the recipe a bit and replace the aubergine with butternut squash which I absolutely adore so not exactly much of a trade-off ;-)

18 March 2010

Other stuff: More gym inductions! Plus I went to see Graham at my wonderful physiotherapy practice, Balance

19 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 15/03/2010

Following on from the other pic I decided to take a post-workout picture of my pumped arms and delts ;-)


Ahh, takeout from Nandos... half a chicken (skin donated to my two hungry men) with macho peas (herbed and minted, very nice!) and mixed veg (my own addition, I love the mixed bags you get for about a pound, you just pierce them and bung em in the microwave for a couple of minutes et voila!)

20 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 15/03/2010

I'm ashamed to say I did something really stupid during this workout :-(


One of the things I love most about weekends is that I get to make my smoothies as I have so much more time on my hands (for now!!)

This particular beauty as apples, raspberries, blueberries, greek yogurt, Maximuscle Promax Diet and some hazelnut butter for good effect :-)

Dinner was amazing, steak, spinach and salad... although I did suffer from eyes-bigger-than-belly syndrome and wasn't able to finish it all!!

21 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 15/03/2010

Other stuff: Vitality Show!

See my post about it here

22 March 2010


I rarely eat the hot meals cooked by the lovely people in our staff canteen. That's not because the food isn't delicious, it's more that I like to know exactly what goes into the meals and I *know* there's a lot of butter and salt employed!

However, I was tempted beyond belief by the pork chops on offer so *had* to have one ;-)

You can see all the oil on the veg though huh? I do wish they'd just cook the vegetables naked... I mean with nothing on... no, you know what I mean!!

Dinner was grilled salmon and mixed veg. We eat a lot of salmon in our house :-)

After this meal I went to the gym and did some light cardio while reading the essential reading that is Muscle & Fitness Magazine, God I love this magazine!

23 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 22/03/2010

Other stuff: I got my new tooth today! I do hope it's stronger than the other... might steer clear from the Jerky for a bit, perhaps invest in some Biltong/Droewors...


Lunch was chicken breast and salad:

Dinner was rather lovely. I bought some skinless free range chicken thighs and coated them in jerk seasoning, wrapped them in foil and stuck them in the oven. Results were rather delicious if I do say so myself! I also stir-fried some peppers and other mixed veg to have with it.

24 March 2010

Other stuff: I was off work all day doing an OU assignment


As I was at home I was able to make a smoothie :-) This one had loads of my favourite fruit - raspberries - and some blueberries, and apple, 0% fat greek yogurt and Maxitone Definity in banana flavour.

26 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 22/03/2010

Other stuff: More gym inductions today - more people being encouraged to get fit and healthy!!


Tonight was rather special.

I'd been whinging to Joe that he'd not taken me out for aaaaaages so he decided to his usual thing of making up for it by taking me to a restaurant with the WOW factor!

The restaurant we went to was called Le Trois Garcons and the minute I walked through the doors I fell in love it it!

I'm not going to say much about the food (other than we had my absolute favourite thing ever - Chateaubriand - drooooollllll!!), or the decor (which is more than worthy of talking about) as I want to save that for my forthcoming (honest!) restaurant review post... but it's safe to say that the whole experience, including the food, surroundings, atmosphere etc made it probably the best meal I've ever had - seriously!

Here's me enjoying some rather nice red wine from an obscenely large glass :-)

And here's Joe in front of a pretty epic painting of some biblical scene... I did prefer the view in front of it, though I am still trying to work out if it's just his positioning in front of a dark bit on the painting of if he really truly does have hair that high!! ;-)

27 March 2010


Other stuff:


For my lunch I took 1/2 tin of tuna in spring water, cheese (40g half fat mature cheddar) and some chopped up tomatoes:

Served with some salad and balsamic glaze... yummm

28 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 22/03/2010


Lunch was the same as yesterday :-D

Dinner was a slow cooker casserole consisting of steak, butternut squash, onions, leeks, carrots, mixed pulses, lentils and pearl barley with a little beef stock, mixed herbs and a tin of chopped tomatoes - simples!

Very tasty, slow cooking rocks, so much flavour released!

29 March 2010

Not much recorded for today other than some more gym inductions

30 March 2010

No Boxercise because of sore back :-(

31 March 2010

Exercise: See workout diary for w/c 29/03/2010

Other stuff: Last day of inductions before the 'gym window' closed! Don't see why we can't just keep it open all year as there are a group of us more than happy to carry out inductions in our spare time but it's all a bit political right now... my company is a great place to work but at times what makes it different from other places isn't always all that great... there's a lot of inflexibility and reluctance to move with the times...

Anyway, enough of that...


Lunch was salmon with spiced apple and pickled red cabbage and some salad on the side.


And that's me done for the month of March! Sorry if it read more like a newspaper account than a diary but it was quite a while ago... I just hope I can catch up with April before May but it looks unlikely as hopefully we'll exchange tomorrow and move the week after - yee haaaaw!

Hope everyone of you is well and had a groovy weekend, many congratulations to all the London Marathon runners out there, you all rock and I'm full of admiration!