Wednesday 31 March 2010

Product Reviews - Maxitone Sculptress & Definity Shakes

So it's probably about flippin' time I talk about these two fabulous products eh?! Actually, three if you count the shaker, which is a super little thing as it's so cute but also useful too!

I've found that those qualities tend not to be compatible in most products, and I often have to sacrifice function for form... or vice versa. But not in this instance, which is a total result!

So apologies for how long it has taken me to write but I really wanted to give these shakes a thorough testing before I wrote about them!

Firstly, being of the honest persuasion I must confess to my failings as well as successes on this blog, and I have to admit that when I first used my Maxitone Shaker I hit a great big FAIL!

This was because I'm so used to using the boy's shaker of which I have many, in which there's a ledge/ridge where the 'mixing grid' (which is far superior to any other shaker I've tried... *zero* lumps as a result!) just rests.

So, into the Maxitone shaker I popped the grid, gave it a jolly good shake and then wondered why it sort of disappeared into the mixture!!

Noooo... this mixing grid is more advanced than that ladies!

It has a long spear on the end of it which attaches directly into the lid like so...

...and stays firmly in place - *much* better :-)

Right, onto the shakes themselves.

As some of you will already know, I've been drinking the men's version of Maxitone, Maximuscle Promax Diet, for well over a year now and I still love it, especially banana flavour which is why I adore! This is why I chose to try the banana flavour in both the Sculptress and Definity in order to compare :-)

Maxitone Sculptress shake

I love the name of this drink. I didn't at first because I thought it sounded too much like a TV Gladiator, but now I think it's ace as that's exactly what I'm doing to myself at the mo - sculpting my ideal physique and every time I drink this shake I'm reminded of this fact!

Sculptress mixes incredibly well in the nifty little shaker and tastes delicious. I'm not sure how/if the recipe has been altered at all but it tastes creamier and smoother to me than Promax Diet and I like the smaller serving size which means it's under 180 Calories and less than 3g of fat per serving! You do get less protein as a result (although Sculptress has slightly more protein per 100g), but to be honest, most women doesn't need a large amount of protein and 2 servings of this a day will give you 64g of protein in addition to your usual intake - more than adequate!

Onto the fat burning stuff... well, for a start it's a low GI food which, along with the protein, guarantees that you'll feel fuller for longer as it releases its energy nice and slowly... there's none of those instant *kerrzing!* sugar hits followed by energy slumps that you get with the likes of Slimfast!

In addition to this there's the green tea and caffeine that together help to fire up your metabolism and finally there's Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which, as well as helping keep your metabolic system firing on all cylinders, also has the added fabulous advantage of helping you to lose unwanted body fat but at the same time preserve and indeed build lovely lean muscle mass!

And girls, in case we're still unclear on any of this, if you want a trim, slim, toned and sexy physique, you're going to need to introduce a mixture of resistance, as well as cardio, into your training as:

lean muscle + nice layer of fat over the top = sexy shapely body :-)

In terms of when you should drink Sculptress. Well, as I eat 5/6 small meals a day (because no, snacking is NOT a sin!) it forms one or two of these; but if you're going to stick to less, I'd recommend you have a shake with your breakfast to rev you up for the day, and then perhaps one between lunch and dinner, say between 3pm and 4pm (i.e. classic 'afternoon slump' zone).

However, I would say to avoid taking Sculptress after 6pm as it does contain caffeine in it and might disrupt your sleep if you take it too late.

Definity shake

I can't work out which of these two shakes I prefer so it's a good job I've got both!

Definity comes in a smaller size serving of 30g which you mix with 200mls of water in your shaker to give you a large glass of yumminess. With this you get only 120 Cals but also just over 24g of protein! There is less fat per serving too at just 2g.

Definity has been a bit of a blessing to be honest and I'm gutted that I've worked my way through the tub so quickly but it's hardly surprising considering how much I'm drinking it!

You see, I do most of my cardio in the morning or at lunch time because I find it easier to lift weights in the evening after I've had a day of eating and fuelling my body. Maybe it's just psychological but I feel a lot stronger in the evening (conversely I can't do spin in the evening, I find I need to do at 06:45 and you'd think I'd need a *lot* more energy for that!! Maybe it's just because I don't give my body time to wake up sufficiently enough to argue before I hit it with a high intensity session, ha!)

Anyway, what this means is that I need some protein as soon as I get home at night from the gym and I've been previously taking this in the form of cottage cheese, tuna etc which is just no fun all the time and I often don't feel like eating anything solid at 10pm!!

So, now I have Definity! 24g of protein in a delicious glassful of shake, what more could I need? Plus, as it's a lovely milky drink with no caffeine or green tea like Sculptress, it doesn't keep me awake at night which makes it the perfect pre-bedtime recovery drink, ideal to help me sleep and repair my

Honestly, since I started taking Sculptress and Definity - at least 2 servings a day, either 2 of Sculptress or 1 Sculptress, 1 Definity at night - I have noticed such a massive difference. I'm lifting lighter than I've done in the past but my arms have never looked as good before and my abs are starting to show through even more so too - I'm so thrilled!!

Also, Definity goes fantastically well in smoothies which are a staple of my weekends as that seems to be the only time I get to blend up fruit and yogurt, I look forward for them for that reason - the rest of the time I drink my shakes 'naked' - as in no other ingredients, not without clothes!! Mind you, this might fall into the latter category... and intensive arms workout in the gym followed by a wonderful soak in the bath, accompanied by a lovely cup of Banana Definity and a hot steaming mug of Barleycup (which you can buy in places like Holland & Barrett), loads of flavour, no caffeine, and Tara was a relaxed and happy, mellow bunny :-)


Enjoy the shakes, any questions just drop me a line, :-)


Sunday 28 March 2010

Workout Diary - w/c 22/03/2010

Due to not really recording any aerobic or core exercise (other than Boxercise, which is a regular thing) during March and early April, these entries will be pretty empty/weights only...

Promise to improve! :-)

Okay so not much really happened this week because of the broken butt incident the Saturday before.

However, I still did some cardio during the week that didn't get recorded - including a walk home one evening as it was nice (4 miles)


Tuesday 23rd March 2010

* Boxercise (with slightly less aggression this week)

Friday 26th March 2010

Upper Body Weight training - Arms
* Biceps Dumbbell Concentration Curl - 2 x 7kg - 3 x 10 reps
* 1 Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension - 2 x 5kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Hammer Curl - 2 x 7kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Triceps kickback - 2 x 7kg - 3 x 10 reps

Sunday 28th March 2010

Upper Body Weight training - Shoulders
* Seated Dumbbell Shoulder press - 2 x 8kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Upright Row - 2 x 8kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Rear Lateral Raise - 6kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Standing Scarecrow - 2kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Cable Internal Shoulder Rotation - 3.75kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Cable Shoulder External Rotation - 2.5kg - 3 x 10 reps

also did:

* Incline Dumbbell Fly - 2 x 6kg - 3 x 10 reps

cos I felt like it, and:

* 30 minute Elliptical trainer intervals (extreme opposite profile hill session - pedal slowly forwards during the 'hard' section and then like a demon backwards quickly as you can during the 'easy' section. If your X trainer doesn't allow for hill profiles like that then just pick any old one and do 3 mins slow with resistance and 2 mins with less resistance FAST and backwards :-) )

Monday 22 March 2010

Update - Life, Weightloss and Training


If anyone is actually still reading this blog can I just say sorry for my absence and thank you so much for your patience!

I'm totally stressed out right now and not managing to fit everything in... family, training, work and studying have to come first - in that order, so blogging has been pushed back and my social life has taken a nosedive!

The house-buying is still an ongoing saga... we're still in the running for it has just been revealed that the rather less-than-proactive owner of the property didn't get himself a Home Information Pack (HIP)!!!

Last we've heard is that he's in the process of belatedly acquiring one.


As annoying and frustrating this is, if everything goes well and it all goes ahead, this stalling might have been a bit of a Godsend as we simply cannot rent out Joe's house at the mo because we have no kitchen floor surface!!

To complicate our home matters further massive destructive damp has recently been discovered... our washing machine had been leaking over the years and the water had permeated through the entire kitchen, breakfast room and even out into the hall!

So we are missing floor tiles, have a big hole in the hallway and some floorboards missing - PLUS 3 noisy ugly dehumidifiers chugging away, joy!

Still, fortunately we have house insurance and the good news is that we'll get a shiny new floor that the next inhabitants of this place can enjoy :-)

It's just a bit annoying right now as everything's in boxes and it looks hideous!

Okay, so onto other annoyances of the past few months (I promise it gets more positive later ;-) )

Here we go, here's something now, what what do you think of my Maxitone Hoodie?!

I love it! It's so super warm and snug and such a great cut and fit, plus I LOVE the colour, purple is my favourite so this just fits the bill entirely :-)

I've been trying to be rather more restrained with my spending lately so haven't made any big purchases lately but did buy this new toy...

Sexy huh? ;-)

It does make awesome smoothies and soups and is helpful for things like homemade houmous!

I also think I've been very well restrained given the 3 awesome new shops that have opened up near my work:

North Face, Cycle Surgery AND Run and Become?!! That's just too much temptation in such a small area!

I went in North Face... I just bought a hat

I can't believe that's all I bought, I'm quite pleased with my willpower, I wanted to buy a LOT more!!

I also can't believe it but I missed my anniversary! I started this blog on 16th Feb 2009 and it has just been the best thing ever in terms of keeping me focused and helping me gain confidence in my own abilities. So a big thanks again to everyone who takes the time to read it :-) x

Training and Weightloss

A couple of weeks ago I took some pics, which I have to say I hated, big time... but then what good would 'before' pics be if they didn't look rubbish eh? (that's what I'm telling myself anyway heh)

I weighed 11 stone (154lbs) on Saturday 13th March and that upset me a lot. However, I've really gone back to basics and overhauled my diet and I'm pleased to report that I lost 6lbs last week!!

That was such a huge confidence booster, and it was really needed and appreciated as I was feeling a little low because quite a few of the girls from the Maxitone Body of 2009 have been asked to attend photoshoots for pictures for the new catalogues... but I haven't :'-(

Stings a bit, knocked my confidence somewhat, and made me feel a bit low. But then I thought I'd take the disappointment and channel it into something positive, like motivation to do even better and show them what they're missing, probably sounds silly huh? Worked for me though, you can't make everyone like you no matter how hard you try, but for every rejection there'll be a countering force... or so I like to think :-)

I guess I shouldn't be entirely surprised, I didn't like many of the shots at all - so how could I expect anyone else to? Plus I don't think I look myself in them either, the hair was a stupid idea, I never even so much as blow-dry mine! I just *don't* look like that when I'm exercising...

Here! This is me the other day post-workout in my local gym having just sweated my arse off but feeling that wonderful calmness that hard work brings :-)

Not very glamorous huh? In fact I look a bit minging, but then I like what exercising does to my body and I don't work out for anyone else but me :-)

Anyway, enough of that, the main reason I was so surprised and pleased for the huge weight loss was that I'd been eating so much during the week, in terms of meals and frequency - though obviously not hugely in the way of calories! - and I never felt hungry, or like I was being deprived, and I couldn't believe that I'd managed to lose so much!

It means so much for someone like me who has spent so many years depriving her body of food and nutrients in order to lose weight to instead be able to so effectively in such a positive fashion.

Don't get me wrong, my eating and healthy regime has definitely not taken a backslide, and the eating disorder demons are well and truly destroyed, but I have been eating and drinking a little too much and I haven't been thinking carefully about the purpose of the fuel that I've been putting in my body, where it's going, what its goal is etc... it's just been food, which is *absolutely* fine if you just want to be normal and healthy... but if you want to sculpt your body into something worthy of taking to the stage then you do need to pay more attention to the nutrients which enter your body and make sure they're going towards the right things... it's all a bit geeky, which is just as well as I've never professed to being anything else :-)

I don't for one second envisage such a large weight loss occurring this week but if I could lose a pound or two a week between now and FAME then I'd be super chuffed :-)

So, how have I been doing it?

Well I'm currently on about 1500 Cals a day. I did try to limit to 1100 but that just made me miserable and didn't fit in with my plan to eat at least 5 meals a day!

My Protein/Carbohydrate/Fat percentages are set to 40/40/20 respectively (although at the moment I'm managing closer to a 40/30/30 split. I guess it will take a while before I find something I'm happy with and a lot depends on my level of activity, i.e. if it's high in terms of cardio I'll up my Carbohydrate intake provide the energy I need, and if it's Weights-heavy I'll take on extra Protein before and (mainly) after my session.

I aim to consume about 150g protein a day, I really think it's helping loads :-)

I'm doing a lot of my strength work in the evenings, after dinner - which is good as I have the energy that comes from eating so many meals through the day to help me lift. When I come back from the gym I'm having a Maxitone Definity (banana) shake which suits me perfectly as it's only 120 Cals but a huge 24.3g of Protein to go straight to work rebuilding my muscles to a higher spec ;-)

Generally a day's worth of food for me goes like this:

07:00 - Maxitone Sculptress shake or bar
10:00 - snack (e.g. cottage cheese, apple and cheese, almonds)
13:00 - lunch (e.g. chicken breast, salad, quinoa)
16:00 - snack (e.g. tuna, Definity Crisp or Promax Crisp bar)
19:00 - dinner (e.g. hot chilli and brown basmati rice, mixed veg and turkey stir-fry)
22:00 - Maxitone Definity shake

The small meals have worked so well... my blood sugar levels have remained steady, I've experienced no highs and lows in the day, no afternoon slump, and the regular intake of food as guaranteed that my metabolism stays constantly fired up as my body is working more frequently to process the food I'm taking in.

The planning and execution of all this is only made possible by the fabulous Weightloss Resources, honestly I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have their fab tools and the forum is a great place to visit too... although unfortunately I never seem to have the time to do it :-(

Still, I'm able to keep track of everything that passes my lips and that is a big help to me. Obviously, my eating has become a lot more prescriptive but I need to have structure or I'm not going to stand a chance in the FAME competition and I'm just going to end up making a tit out myself!

I'm not going to post my bikini pics just yet, I don't have much of a comparison to be fair, but I will next time I take some just so you can see (hopefully!) how much progress I've made!

In the meantime however I will bore you to pieces with pictures of my upper half - ha!:

Here is the only bikini shot I'll let you see, I quite like it :-)

And this is me last Friday having just done worked my arms and also put in some bloody good core work too - trembly abs, love it! :-D

I really love my shoulders and how it's all coming together, it's the most rewarding thing in the world to see evidence of hard work in photo-form - my arms have NEVER looked this good before


Work Gym

I am probably one of the most fortunate people in terms of access to fitness facilities as I have a local gym less than 5 mins walk away and also a small one in my building at work!

Recently it was refurbished (and by that I just mean the equipment was replaced! ;-) ) and we've got some pretty cool stuff!

Fortunately they've left the free weights so I'm chuffed with that but we've got two treadmills, two elliptical trainers, two stationary bikes (all from LifeFitness) and a Concept 2 Rower also!

Because I feel so grateful for all this I decided to give something back and offered to help out with gym inductions for everyone who wanted to become a member of our work gym as the membership system and payment (£20 for six months... hardly breaking the bank!) has changed.

Unfortunately the fella from LifeFitness who was supposed to be showing us the equipment in detail had had an accident and, although okay, was unable to attend the training day. So facilities drafted in this poor lad from the shop salesfloor! He did alright though and to be honest most of the machines - with the exception of the multi-gym - are pretty self-explanatory.

I put together a gym induction programme (as it was the only way for me to remember everything as we'd had no guidance!) and I've got some really good feedback from other people who had offered to induct people too, saying that they've printed it off and are using it themselves - woot!

I must admit, when I offered to help out with the gym I was quite scared at the thought of making a prat out myself in front of people from the building whom I might bump into again at some point!

However, it's the weirdest thing... when in the gym I feel so comfortable and familiar with everything that I wasn't nervous at all, in fact able to crack a few jokes with some people!

This has been amazing for me as I'm not good in public situations, I go red if I have to talk in meetings - and I don't just mean a gentle flushing of the cheeks, my entire face goes beet!!

So yes, anyway that's been really positive for me and I've asked people to contact me if they need any more help or a few exercise ideas and pointers, I'm so keen to get Victoria fit!! There are few things that give me greater pleasure than seeing people taking such positive steps towards their long term health and, ultimately, happiness!

Another awesome thing to come out of my work (God I love my company so much!!) is that one of our lovely occupation health people has organised two activities - the first being a 'Fit Club', based on a sort of 'Biggest Loser' (don't worry Jillian Michaels, this won't be televised, there's only a handful of people, the franchise is safe!)/Celebrity Fit Club style...

I'm not in that club but I hear that people are doing very well and losing lots of lbs so that's great news indeed!

Also, our occupational health therapist has organised Boxercise classes!!!

This is super super exciting for me as I *love* boxing (well, the training anyway!) and in fact we (Joe, my son and I) used to go to a boxing gym nearby which was run by Clinton McKenzie in a studio above a pub in Herne Hill, SE London.

We all loved it, but it was so expensive, about £70 or more a month. The one-on-one training with the focus pads was great but we just couldn't justify the expense so had to stop :-(

Joe's actually just bought some new focus pads from a shop in his hometown of Brentwood in Essex... there's a really great shop where he got my boxing gloves from 2 Christmasses ago.

They're gorgeous, pink and lovely, as are my wraps, I adore them! I'll have to take a picture but Joe's asleep upstairs as I type this and don't want to wake him

Here are the focus pads though, cool huh?

They're proper leather and sturdy as hell which is just as well as my son packs a mighty punch!

So anyway, onto the Boxercise classes.

They're with a lovely chap called Sam Rosser who works for a company called Amor Lifestyle Coaching and are based in Hertfordshire.

Sam's great, he's got the right mix of enthusiasm and slight sadism we all need to get us into shape. He also looks the part (lean and athletic) which is very important to me as I don't think I'd take a trainer seriously if they were bellowing at me with a big wobbly belly hanging over their jeans. Sorry.

The first class was the most fun ever and I was soooo worried that the second class would be a letdown as you know when you build something up in your mind you set yourself up for a fall huh?

The second class was even more fun than the first (helped by the fact that the girl I was paired with didn't quite have the same look of abject terror that the lady had the week before, poor thing, I'm sure I don't hit *that* hard!!)

Last week was challenging as it was in a small room (we have room issues in our buildings, they're always bloody booked out when you want them!!) and Sam increased things like the volume of strength work we were doing... I think I did nearly 40 full press-ups in total (obviously not all at once!!) as he had us doing sets of tens and then the odd one or two thrown in for good measure!

I did find it alarming how many men couldn't do full press-ups... and of the men who did some looked more like they were humping the floor... it just seems wrong to me to be able to do it better than them!!

Saying that, not sure how I'll cope tomorrow as my chest is feeling a little sore as I was working my shoulders yesterday in the gym (NOT going to do it the day before Boxercise like last week, that was a mistake, I was knackered!) and threw in some chest work as the Max Rack was free.. ahh well, we'll see!

In any case, I'm having a fab time and I just love all the team/paired activities, it's so great to meet new sporty people who otherwise I just wouldn't talk to, I'd have no reason to, our business is so diverse everyone is doing everything else!!


Soooo, finally got my arse back to the Castle Climbing Centre. I don't think I've been back since my last post about it back in October!!

How dreadful is that? :-(

Anyway, went and had a fab time. Was pleased that my new upper body strength came in useful although I *know* you're not meant to use it when climbing really, it should be a combined effort... but I was lame as I hadn't been for ages and I needed my strength to help me along!

I took some pics while sat on a mat stretching as Joe was going up one of the high walls but as I've mentioned before my bloody phone pics have been overwritten on my palm pre (I think the latest software update was a bit dodge although it did give me the capacity to film videos, which is great if, like me, you've got a daft cat who likes to chase her own tail - hours of fun!! ;-) )

The only pic not overwritten was this of Jane from work:

Can't wait to go back :-) Will have to take an actual camera next time!


I went tonight, it was so hard, so hot... I felt wasted, I almost vomited!

That might have been because I'd just wolfed down dinner:

salmon and some veg I sliced up and threw in a wok with some oil, garlic and soy sauce - delish if I do say so myself!!


As mentioned in my last post, this is on hold until ankle strengthens enough that it stops hurting when I move it... I'm thinking of making a tentative return to training sometime soon but I'll be sure to either cycle or walk to training instead of running there and back like before!

I need to be careful though as the twisting and leaping around that is involved in netball (which makes it sooooo much fun!!) really aggravated my ankle in the first place, boo :-(


As above, high impact stuff is a no-no - fortunately there those wonderful things called elliptical/cross trainers which stop me going nuts - hurrah!!


See running and netball - unfortunately the movement of the ankle joint when sliding out and in is super detrimental to my joint.

Watch when I come back better and stronger though ;-)


I really think that to keep my motivation levels high I need to put myself forward for things that will take me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to make a difference. I don't want to slide back into normality just yet, I like having goals to focus on :-)

Maxitone Body of 2010

Okay so I'm obviously going to enter this - it's a given!

What's also probably a given is the fact that I won't so much as make the finals because the competition will be too intense. Maxitone is really going to take off in a huge way and, as it works, the number of gorgeous buff women who will enter will probably be vastly different to last year's entry!

ultra-FIT Magazine Cover Model Search

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I really like ultra-FIT magazine. I was a bit unsure at the beginning of last year but it started to really impress and I've been a subscriber for a little while now.

Recently I saw they were holding a Cover Model Search competition which has some pretty awesome prizes so I'm going to enter it!

Entries close on May 17th (although I'm sure it was the week after when I first noticed it!)


This deserves a post of its own so I'm going to write one up soon hopefully :-)

There are so many other things I'd like to do, just this year in fact, like the Three Peaks which a friend is meant to be organising - we'll see!

Would also love to do triathlon again... so many things to work towards, so little time!!

Watch this space!

Oh, and if you've got this far, thanks for reading!!


Sunday 21 March 2010

Workout Diary - w/c 15/03/2010

Due to not really recording any aerobic or core exercise (other than Boxercise, which is a regular thing) during March and early April, these entries will be pretty empty/weights only...

Promise to improve! :-)

Tuesay 16th March 2010
Boxercise was moved to Wednesday this week so I decided to go to the gym and work on my shoulders:

Upper Body Weight training - Shoulders
* Seated Dumbbell Shoulder press - 2 x 8kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Upright Row - 2 x 8kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Rear Lateral Raise - 6kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Standing Scarecrow - 2kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Cable Internal Shoulder Rotation - 3.75kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Cable Shoulder External Rotation - 2.5kg - 3 x 10 reps

Wednesday 17th March 2010

* Boxercise - during which I realised that working your shoulders the day before this kind of session is STUPID!!!

Lesson learnt, never again!!

Friday 19th March 2010

Upper Body Weight training - Arms
* Biceps Dumbbell Concentration Curl - 2 x 7kg - 3 x 10 reps
* 1 Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension - 2 x 5kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Hammer Curl - 2 x 7kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Triceps kickback - 2 x 7kg - 3 x 10 reps

* Core and Lower Back workout on mat

Saturday 20th March 2010

Okay so you know when I said that it was entirely stupid to do a shoulders workout the day before doing Boxercise... well, you'd think I'd learn from my mistakes huh?

Oh no... not me!

I got to the gym feeling energised and ready for a challenge so thought I'd go hard on the old legs.

I wanted to use the Max Rack but someone was on it so I thought I'd amuse myself on the Leg Press.

I loaded it up with 80kg as usual and sat on it, magazine in hand - 1st mistake! When weight training, better to actually focus on what you're doing huh?

2nd mistake was that when I sat on it I didn't position myself properly with my butt pressed back against the rest... instead I guess I was tipped forward a bit with daylight between my lower spine and the seat.

3rd mistake - not being sat properly AND having my feet too high on the plate... oh dear... this was just a whole bag of errors, shameful really!

As soon as I pushed out I felt something wasn't right. However, and this is where I continued on to make my 4th, 5th, 6th etc mistakes...

I carried on regardless!

* 50kg Barbell Squat
* 40kg Barbell Deadlift
* 2 x 12kg Dumbbell Split Squat

and THEN, if all this loading wasn't enough I thought I'd go and do a reasonably taxing blast on a stationary bike for 25 mins or so!!

When I finally hit the mat to stretch I found I couldn't bend at the hip... By the time I got home I was in agony. I spent the rest of the night alternating between cold and hot packs and having to lean sideways (like I was about to launch into a cartwheel!!) if I wanted to pick anything up.

What a fucking idiot, seriously.

Sunday 21st March 2010

The next day, despite basically breaking my butt the day before I didn't feel as bad as I thought I would, though that might have just been the pre-emptive paracetamol and codeine strike... anyway, I felt okay enough to go to the gym and did:

Upper Body Weight training - Chest
* Bench Press - 30kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Incline Dumbbell Fly - 2 x 6kg - 3 x 10 reps

Upper Body Weight training - Shoulders
* Seated Dumbbell Shoulder press - 2 x 8kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Upright Row - 2 x 8kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Rear Lateral Raise - 6kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Dumbbell Standing Scarecrow - 2kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Cable Internal Shoulder Rotation - 3.75kg - 3 x 10 reps
* Cable Shoulder External Rotation - 2.5kg - 3 x 10 reps

Injury update

I started playing Netball recently, I'm not that bad at it despite never having played before in my life (even at school!) and it's made me realise how much I like team sports and group activities (running and weight training tends to be a rather solitary endeavour)!

Unfortunately, my ankle couldn't take it - I'd injured it snowboarding, probably from being a silly arse and wearing boots that were two sizes too big... my already narrow feet and stupidly teeny ankles couldn't take the movement and I damaged all the ligaments. Idiot.

I finally got myself down to my physiotherapy practice - Balance, in Clapham, South London (30 seconds walk from North Clapham tube station).

Balance is a fabulous place, if you want the best in injury care and rehab then head there.

However, they're not just an injury clinic! They believe in the power of prevention as much as the cure so they have excellent coaches and state of the art equipment (seriously, they even have an anti-gravity treadmill!!!) to get you fitter and stronger.

In fact, here, taken from the website, see for yourself:

Leave your preconceptions at the door.

Balance is far more than one of the top London physio, sport injury, and spinal pain clinics.

Located in Clapham London, Balance Performance Physiotherapy has drawn together a team of talented, innovative professionals with the best of credentials.

Whether you are looking to overcome injuries, abolish pain, recover from surgery or attain optimal health Balance physio will move you closer to your potential and the highest possible level of function and performance you can attain.

From sports physiotherapists to dieticians, strength & conditioning coaches to back pain specialists and podiatrists our multidisciplinary team work together to provide an unparalleled wealth of experience and depth of knowledge accessible to all our clients at our highly regarded and ever-evolving centre of excellence.

I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above :-)

Anyway, when I first took myself back to Balance I saw Graham Anderson who is the top guy there, head honcho. He's great, really knows his stuff and is super positive - just what you need!

I explained to him what I think went wrong and where the pain is and how I can't wear high heels, at all, without being in excruciating pain from the outset (after walking for a bit it's more bearable but this is less-than-ideal huh?!) - basically I can't stand on tip-toes on my right foot, how rubbish!

He strapped up my ankle and miraculously I was able to stand right up on tip-toes without hurting - at all!

Basically, the muscles and ligaments which support my ankle have become weakened and stretched so they offer no support of the joint. On manipulating my ankle, Graham was able to move my talus bone right underneath the tibia... it moved quite substantially, I felt it crunch, it shouldn't, I felt sick to my stomach!!

Because of this, whenever I do any sort of exercise, which includes just walking about, there is no stability in the joints which rub together and cause pinching and pain. The pain radiates round the entire ankle joint, it's not pleasant :-(

There is history of both arthritis and osteoporosis in my family so this is extremely worrying and if I don't do something to attend to this I could wind up with arthritis, or worse still, osteoarthritis of the ankle!

It's not all negative though, Graham says that the muscles in my calf that support the ankle act as guy ropes to prevent unwanted movement - I strengthen these and in effect I'll be doing the same job that the tape does with holding my ankle in place.

To do this I have to perform quite subtle exercises mainly focused on balance to 'reactivate' the muscles that were 'switched off' when I damaged my ankle snowboarding.

The week after I went to see Graham he wasn't around as he was looking after a team of tennis players (more ankle issues no doubt!) so I saw his colleague, Siân Macrae and she gave me some fabulous exercises to do utilising a stability ball, BOSU, treadmill and mat. They're great but the problem is that my ankle hurts when I perform them, so at the moment it's a fine balancing act between carrying out the exercises but not the point that it hurts.

However, they have to be done, if I don't strengthen these muscles the only other option is to have my ankle pinned, which I don't want!

So I will persevere, and let you know I get on, wish me luck!


Saturday 20 March 2010

Update - The rest of February in Pictures

Updating's nearly over... here's all the non-food pics I took in Feb - I lost some as my Palm Pre has started overwriting pictures as I take them grr... but still here we go...

6th Feb - Birthday Drinks

So, if you remember from part 1 of my eating out update, I visited my old hometown of Maida Vale and had a lovely meal with my Mum and a friend of hers at Café Rouge.

I'd ordered a 'large glass of red wine' from the waiter, didn't quite expect the bucket I received but it still went down well *hic*.

Got to the party and thought I should stay off the vino as was already feeling a little tipsy from my 'bucket'o'booze' and was faced with a dilemma... soft drink or something a little more intoxicating - chose the latter but still was limited as I've given up all fizzy soda drinks (which makes me a little sad as I *love* dark rum and coke, and JD and Coke...and Vodka and Coke... oh dear) - especially diet coke (which I did get rather addicted to late last year!)... that will NOT be brought into our house and, on the rare occasion that I let my son drink something like that it will only be 'full fat' from now on (yes, I have been reading a lot of Jillian Michaels books!!), no artificial shit as far as we can help it :-)

So, the saintly thing that I am opted for Weston's Organic (check it) cider... It was lovely but super strong (a fact I would have noticed had I looked more closely at the label) I just assumed it was about 4% and gleefully imbibed...

Not so, at 6.5% this stuff is bloody strong. Unfortunately it is also bloody tasty and one led to another, and another... I think I drank 4 bottles.. that's TWO litres of strong premium cider.

Unsurprisingly I was a little merry, and spent most of the night talking a load of rubbish to whoever would listen (what's new I hear you ask?! ;-)

Here are some rather unflattering, but amusing, pics...

Ah yes, feeling nicely mellow in a helluva strong organic cider kinda way - wondering what the girl beside me is doing with her phone? Is it an iPhone App? Can you get one to check your breath or blood alcohol level? Whatever will they think of next?!

Okay, being propped up on my lovely friend L's shoulder - can you see how this was going...?!

I have this memory of being in the playground in primary school and 'touching tongues' with a boy, it was the grossest thing ever but still makes me laugh to this day

So I like to replicate it whenever possible ;-)

This is J and his lovely fiancée K. J is legend not only for giving me some stellar tips on bodybuilding and supplements like Alpha Lipoic Acid... but also for the way he, over time, sneakily and without her knowledge, stashed money away in a separate account that his wife-to-be didn't know about, in order to save up for a B-E-A-yoootiful engagement ring!

My faith in men was restored when I heard that story, it made me misty eyed and I like to remind Joe of this fact whenever I can :-D

And last but not least, here's the birthday boy who's adorable girlfriend organised the whole surprise drinks party and instructed him to wear the birthday balloon for the entire evening.

I think I've forgiven him for telling me I looked like a Tequila Girl in the top I was wearing!! ;-)

Unsurprisingly I felt a little ropey the next day... I don't think I drank again until...

14th Feb Valentine's Day

Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of romance and it's a shame in a way that my other half isn't more so... but then he never has been and to be honest I don't think that's ever going to alter anytime soon ;-) But I really REALLY begrudge the way bars and restaurants cash in on V Day!

The last time we went out for Valentine's Day was 2 years ago - we went to one of our local restaurants and had a meal which was nice... but that was it, it wasn't spectacular or romantic and didn't deserve the elevated price we paid for it!

So, last year we had friends round for an anti-Valentine's day meal which was rather nice - but this year it was even more low key!

In typical Joe and Tara fashion, neither of us bought each other's cards until the actual weekend, and both were from the same shop - the rather excellent Dust Boutique in Herne Hill which I've mentioned before as I bought my amazing skirt!

In terms of presents, I bought Joe a 'Grow Your Own' Domestic Goddess as, let's face it, he's never going to find one in me!

In case you're unfamiliar with these, they're teeny dolls you put in water and watch them grow!

Utterly pointless but hey, some of the most pleasing things in life are :-)

I also got my fella a Ferrero Rocher 'Rose' - rather tacky and made me smile ;-)

I in turn received some rather beautiful flowers...

...AND a rose - result!

Who's a lucky girl then? ;-)

The rose was given pride of place on the fireplace with our Hollywood Party pic and our soppy cards...

NOTE: The card on the right is the one from Joe, I almost bought it myself but thought he'd like it instead, which he did!!

So, in terms of the romantic meal...?!

Nah... cooked a nice meal but we were at home with the boy so it was a family Valentine's meal cooked in my polished chrome sexy slow cooker...

First I browned a nice beef joint and laid it on a bed of onions, leeks and some worcestershire sauce and stock

Added some more veg and left it to cook for a few hours...

About an hour before serving, added some broccoli and mushrooms

Et voila! Yummy (sort of) romantic dinner on plate :-)

After dinner Joe and the boy played PS3 for a bit...

Not terribly romantic huh? But actually a really great day - Joe and I did get out for a quick drink in our local superduper gastropub (gonna miss it when we move :'-( ) but didn't stay long as it was a school night after all!

16th Feb Shrove Tuesday(or just Pancake Day as it's known in our house!)

Well, what can I say? Give me an excuse to smother anything in peanut butter and I'm away!!

This was my second pancake - the first was the obligatory demarara sugar and lemon juice (years old tradition of mine), followed by the usual peanut butter and banana...

...I might have put a little bit of honey in there too, naughty!

And then last, but by no means least, the somewhat more saintly 0% fat greek yogurt, acacia honey and fruit pancake.

All equally delicious in their own wonderful unique way :-)

19th Feb NYE Reunion (aka let's use up all the booze!)

I realise that I still haven't actually put up the NYE in Wales pics up yet - ooops! Haven't had the time :-S

But, long and short of it is that we came back from Wales with a car literally groaning under the weight of a HELLUVA lot of booze that needed drinking!

So, we thought we'd do the decent thing and invite our friends round to assist us in its disposal ;-)

Unfortunately, 2 of the gang couldn't make it but we had an extra 3 people roundSo, we all had a lovely meal to line our stomachs start the evening off.

While we were letting our food settle, D discovered one of the presents I bought for my son this Christmas gone, Life in the Wild - it's a fabulous book...

...with more uses than first though!!

This looks great:

But I think my favourite on D was this one:

Next, D chose a lovely pic for his good lady wife, E:

And my 'wonderful' son chose this for me!

Little git!

Obviously retaliation was the order of the day:

And I think he was got back good and proper - OWNED! As he'd like to say :-D

So next, the boy went to bed and we stayed up to tackle the champagne (we had at least 5 bottles left from NYE!), wine, cider and beer collection we had amassed!

We gave it our best effort and, as obviously always happens (?!) after much wine was drunk, music listened to and conversation had... the dressing up box came out!

Well, one of the boxes, the rest were in my son's room and didn't want to wake him so we stuck to wigs and silly glasses :-D

Obviously the mask from my 30th Birthday Party had to come out to play...

...and the gorgeous feather boa my wonderful neighbour bought me :-)

From this next picture I surmised that I should never go blonde again.

Okay, so this last pic of the evening comes with a health warning as I think it's one of the scariest ever and has led me to believe that my boyfriend should have Hollywood begging him to play the part of the twisted evil psychotic villain in some future Bond movie!!

You ready... sure?!

Okay here goes but don't say I didn't warn you!!

Disturbing huh?

Apologies for any nightmares this may cause.

Other pics from the month of Feb

Well, I did have a few but like I said, my Palm Pre has been overwriting pics as I take them.... soo annoying!

I do have about a zillion (that's a real number you know) pictures of food and various dishes I've cooked and eaten but won't bore you with that now!)

Here's one though, of a dude I saw on the tube, he might be the coolest thing ever so I deemed him more than worthy of a surreptitious snapping!

Right, onto some real blogging about my quest for FAME!



Thursday 18 March 2010

Update - Eating Out in Feb Part 2

Okay, so part two of my restaurant update and actually I've got a few more to tell you about but I guess that will form part of my March update which will probably appear in, ahh, say May time?!! ;-)

17th Feb Rivington Shoreditch
28-30 Rivington Street

17th Feb was 'White Envelope Day' (bonus, promotions and payrises) for Joe's company and there tends to be some sort of celebratory piss-up afterwards...

This year however it was all a little more sombre... none of the 'MD's kneeling on floor receiving shots from a tequila girl' this time - hardly surprising given the UK's economy at present!

Still, met up for a couple of drinks and then decided to head for a bite to eat with Joe's colleague and friend who had just been promoted - woot!

I've never been to the Rivington before. It's a lovely little place, really simply designed, clean lines, simplistic you know what I mean :-)

There was a rather cool light feature at the back:

(please forgive the rubbish grainy pics from my mobile camera!)

I didn't photograph my starter which was "Mixed beetroot, pickled walnut and Perroche goat's cheese salad with buckthorne berry dressing", Joe had the "Potted smoked duck and goose with red currant jelly and toast" - both starters were very yum indeed!

When it came to the main course we couldn't decide what to have so we did our usual 'order two dishes to share' and went for the "Bannockburn rib steak with chips" and a lobster!

I was quite excited about the lobster having never eaten it before - well, not straight out of the shell!

I must say, it was a little's quite bland, kinda like crayfish but without the taste!

Anyway, here's my plate:

And here's a pic of me and my rather intoxicated boyfriend... not quite sure what he was doing with the lobster's leg - making sure it was definitely dead?!! :-D

And here's another fuzzy grainy pic of our lovely dinner guests :-)

The staff at the Rivington were fab, we were the last ones to leave (oops!) but they were so patient with us and really friendly too... great food, great service, will definitely go there again!

22nd Feb Villandry
170 Great Portland Street

I'd been to Villandry last year but had forgotten about it as we'd spent our time in the bar area... the bar food is lovely :-)

I'd really love to go back sometime just to check out the food shop as it's got the most amazing quirky items, lovely food gifts and specialist items you can't find elsewhere :-)

To get to the restaurant you go in through the pub, through the shop and the restaurant is tucked away at the back.

I was meeting my friend Marie who is rather excited as she's going to America for six months to work and was also just about to head off on a cruise, lucky lady :-)

To start I had the most amazing salad... seriously, it was just the most delicious thing ever! I can't remember the name of it and can't find it on the menu either dammit! Basically it was very thin strips of rare beef, with a yummy sauce, seductively concealed under some decorative leaves, great start!

For my main course I decided to be good and order the seared black bream with sauteed potatoes, vine tomatoes and olives. It sounded lovely and I realise I'm a bit boring, especially when it comes to ordering steak in restaurant I visit - especially French ones! We also ordered some green beans on the side.

Unfortunately 'seared' meant fried in a lot of butter and the whole dish was uber greasy, plus my olives appeared to have met with a rather unfortunate (albeit decorative) end in the hands of a blender!

Think I'll stick to steak next time ;-)

Conversely, my friend's Cassoulet of Duck with Toulouse Sausage wasn't greasy at all, wish I'd gone for that!! Ah well, I often have food envy, want to try it all!

My friend and I were feeling exceptionally smug having not drunk a drop of alcohol between us so decided to round off the night with some fresh mint tea... just look at this pot!

What a legendary teapot - cutest thing ever, I want one!! Wonder if the shop sells them...

24th Feb Thai Tiger
96 Brick Lane
E1 6RL

I took Joe to Thai Tiger because I had Toptable points to use up.

For those that don't know/use toptable the site is fab... you book restaurants through their site - getting money off in the process (I got 50% the food bill at Villandry!). Once you've had your meal you give the restaurant a review and score it on things like food, service, atmosphere etc and the points add to the restaurant's score - which determines for people like me whether the place is worth a visit!

Once you've reviewed the restaurant you get points - points mean prizes right? In this case it's a free meal but if you save up enough you can get things like signed cookery-related books, gift experiences etc

Unfortunately the points also expire, boo, I've lost quite a few hundred recently through not cashing them in so I decided to not do likewise and take Joe out on toptable :-)

Thai Tiger is a great little place, it's tiny but the staff are just lovely and the food is pretty decent too - especially given how cheap it is!

Also the fact that the restaurant is located on Brick Lane - the home of London curry - makes for a bold enterprise indeed!

I had the tom kha gai soup to start which was very flavoursome :-)

For the main course Joe had Red Duck curry - their signature dish. I had food envy served with beef stir-fry with a sweet oyster-style sauce and rice.

It was very nice though, and fresh tasting too, not the most amazing meal either of us have ever eaten but it ticks all the right boxes and I'll definitely visit again if I'm in the area and feeling peckish!

All the time we were there the cheesiest Thai pop music was playing, put a smile on our faces although there was one particularly annoying catchy tune which stuck in our head for an unfeasibly long period afterwards!

Visit Thai Tiger if you've tired of Curry or just fancy a change and the plethora of restaurant-hired hagglers that stand outside attempting to entice (read that as bully) you into their restaurants - soooo annoying!!

28th Feb Nandos

Ahh, another non-gourmet restaurant addition to the collective post!

I LOVE nandos, it's fabulous tasty healthy (yes seriously!) fast-but-not-fast food... Your chicken is griddled before your eyes in yummy marinade at your chosen strength (I used to be a lemon and herb gal now I like it HOT!)

My favourite combo at the mo is half a chicken with a chargrilled corn on the cob (no butter) and sweet pepper mash - lush!

The boys invariably go for the corn on the cob too with a double chicken breast in pitta bread and a side order of chips - oh and of course they end up with my marinated chicken skin too the lucky things!

Nandos is a lot more expensive than macdonalds or burger king. There's a reason for that, it's not shit food! Stop eating crap processed mass-marketed unrecognisable meat produce from these environmentally destroying junk pushers and go invest in some decent grub to feed your body properly - Go to Nandos!

That's enough for Feb Food I think... will try and get some more pics up from last month soon and then give you an update on all my other news, it's been all go for me, exciting!!

Catch up soon