Sunday, 10 July 2011

Is that your boob or your belly?

I have been blog free for a couple of weeks as I have for once in my life been speechless or in the case of blogging, wordless.

I have however, decided to blog today.........
I am tired and grumpy. Daughter number one was out last night in Penzance - and even though she is nearly 19, I never settle until she is home and safe , so it was 3 in the morning when I eventually got to sleep. I was then woken by the screech of seagulls at 7 so am not in the best of moods!

My weight loss seems to now have slowed down - I am ok with this - sort of - and sometimes need a kick up the bum to remind me that I HAVE done well and to not get disheartened. I had a mini rant at fat club on Tuesday as I had been good all week and had not lost so much as a gram and everyone agreed with me that life and diets can be unfair - but hey ho, onwards and downwards I hopefully go.

I have since my last blog done the following -

had all my hair chopped off - something I am glad I did and am very happy with the result

Become addicted to Ebay - something I have dabbled in before but am now a hardcore bargain hunter!

I have been out and about buying some new clothes, but as  anyone else that lives in Cornwall will verify, as lovely as our county is, we're not exactly spoilt for choice in terms of retail.
It was then that I decided to go looking on Ebay - my eldest daughter seems to nab good bargains all the time and I have already purchased a few bits and pieces.
A lovely new dress ariived yesterday so I dashed upstairs to try it on - now even though I have lost weight - my chest hasn't. The dress itself fitted in the body bit BUT it didn't in the boob department. I had to wedge it over my head and pull it down and contort myself into all sorts of strange positions and once it was on the fitted chest bit had actually squashed 'them' into all sorts of strange positions too. My youngest daughter ( not known for her tact and diplomacy ? walked in and witnessed the spectacle and prodded the mass of me that was sticking out and said ''Mum, is that your boobs or your belly''. Oh how we laughed! She then removed me from the dress, which once again, was like a military operation.
It is now hanging in my wardrobe and I will try it on again soon...............

On the culinary front - I have tried twice now to be really inventive and failed on both accounts.

Flop number one ( literally ) was my 'pavlova' - Egg whites are free on slimming world, as is sweetner . I calculated the quantities needed and threw it in the overn and waited............
It certainly had the look of a pavlova - but once it was out the oven it flopped - it flopped more than anything had flooped ever before and ended up in my bin.

Flop number two - I decided to make a lovely couscous cake on Friday night but had run out of mincemeat. ''Aha'' I thought, as I rummaged through the cupboard - ''prunes'' - surely some chopped prunes and a bit of mincemeat would be a worthy substitute?
WRONG - I am a fan of the prune - they are lovely with custard and are quite nice on their own but NOT in a cake! My friend Marina ( my egg lady ) has chickens and according to her Mum they eat anything - so guess what's on their menu this week? I only hope any future eggs don't have a prune taste to them.

Business is busier, but not manic yet - I am just about staying sane ,
Hattie's leaving to go to uni is fast approaching and I am not thinking about it,
I have been good again all week and have my fingers crossed for Tuesday,
I am having a couple of my fat club buddies round for dinner on Tuesday evening and am attempting a choclate cherry roulade which is just a posh version of a swiss roll  and a lasagne. These are 2 dishes that I know I can do well, so really nothing can go wrong can it? Read next week's blog to find out!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Planes, trains and automobiles...............oh, and lots of chippies!

Well everyone - I have been there and done that but I didn't get the t shirt....I think they're a rip off and I had already spent enough just getting there.

The Take That concert was 3 days ago and I am still coming down from the buzz of it all. They were brilliant , as were The Pet Shop Boys but I have to say that Mr Robbie Williams stole the show good and proper. I am so glad that I went and even gladder that I lost 3 stone 2 and a half pounds, but I must say it has all left me feeling very frazzled. I shall take you through a step by step guide of my expedition.

Firstly, as anyone that lives in Cornwall knows, as lovely as the county is, it's not the easiest place in the world to get out of. I decided to fly as a train would have taken far too long - even further than my journeys to Alnwick which would last 9 or 10 hours.

Hattie dropped me to Newquay Airport and I flew with Air Southwest which claims to be 'Cornwall's Number One Airline' - call me cynical but I wasn't aware that Cornwall had more than one airline unless of course Air St Buryan or Air Redruth have escaped my attention!

When I checked in I was told that the flight was delayed by 40 minutes which I could handle but then all of a sudden it was delayed by nearly 2 hours! There was a lot of 'kicking off' Cornish style - ''ere boy, wasson?'' etc but we finally took off and I placated myself with  a very cheeky early evening voddie and a bag of nuts. I was surely living the rock and roll dream after all.

On arrival in Glasgow I then needed to get a bus and a train and a taxi to take me to Nicola's sister's house which is near Dunblane. Beautiful scenery and very nice people and I have to say - very very clean public transport.

On arrival at Clare's I was met with a Mexican feast and lots of wine but Sliiming World is so ingrained within me now that I actually managed to have a normal amount of food and feel satsified.

Day Two - was THE BIG DAY - we caught the very clean train back into Glasgow and had a wee mooch roond. Growing up in Northumberland with a Scottish mother I visited Scotland quite a lot but hadn't been to this city for I reckon nearly 35 years. I had forgotten what a huge beautiful place it is - lots of high gothic buildings, lots of lovely shops and I have to say, I haven't seen so many chips shops in my entire life! I know no other city centres where a chippy would be nestled snugly in between Top Shop and New Look but hey ho, this is the country that invented the deep fried Mars Bar so I suppose anything goes.

We had dinner at Wagamama's - I am going to do a Jim Royle here - 'wagamama's my arse' -I hate noodles and the rice and chicken I had tasted just like, errrr, rice and chicken! Not someowhere I would wnat to go back to but as there aren't any within about 200 miles of where I live I think it's very unlikely I will return.

After dinner we headed to Hampden Park and had a good laugh at all the ridiculously drunk women with the Take That emblem etched on their faces. We were positively sensible! As you all know, I LOVE to have a drink but some of these were OTT.

On arrival it took us ages to find our entry gate and I am still chuckling at the security sysetm -

'Big burly security guard: - Have yee got anything in yer bag hen?

Take That fan : - No

Big burly security guard : - Och, in yer go then hen.

Once seated the excitement rose and we were most relieved to find that our seats were covered - it was pouring and not just a few drops, I'm talking torrential.

I have never seen so many drunk people in one place - some were hilarious  - ''hen, don't drink the white wine - it tastes like pish'' to the not so hilarious, ie, the woman in front of us that insisted on singing and dancing throughout the show even when there was no music. She had smuggled a bottle of white wine in and had obviously had a couple beforehand. We thought she was with the man next to her but it slowly dawned that she was infact on her own and was just being very friendly, ie, entwining herslef round people on either side to the point of doing 'jazz hands' in their faces! I seriously think that in between songs we watched her more than what was happening on the stage.

The whole show was fantastic and I wont reveal too much as a few friends are off next week - I can assure them all they will love it.....a never forget experience.

I came back to Cornwall the following day and as much I had enjoyed myself, I was glad to come back to our little corner of the world in the South West. It was months ago that this was planned and I had a goal and I succeeded - I may have more weight to lose, but going to it so much lighter felt nearly as good as I felt when Robbie sang 'Angels' to me.

I am going to continue to blog - it may not be about Take That anymore and I may not mention my diet so much but I am sure I will find something to moan / groan and laugh about.

I have a wedding in September that I would like to lose another stone for but it's silly season down here and there are several takeaways a stone's throw from my house ( but only one chippy ) so I need to keep my mind on this wedding and not on the delightful aromas that waft up my road.............and most definitely on deep fried chocolate!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Look Sam - I've blogged!

Apologies for the non blogging last week but as I explained in my previous post, it's busy busy busy and I'm afraid my energy and desire to blog was dampened somewhat by the arrival of hundreds of tourists to our lovely little town.

Last week I lost 3 pounds and this week I managed another half and GOT MY THREE STONE AWARD!  I am very proud of myself as , give or take a few pounds, that is what I wanted to lose before my Take That adventures which are now only 2 weeks away. I'm still no string bean but am no longer a turnip and will feel happier knowing that I wont be blocking out the view of the 4 people standing behind me at the show.

So now I've achieved my goal I need to try and keep this weight off. Anyone that struggles with their eating will vouch that it's not the losing it but maintaining it that is the tricky bit. I still have the wedding in September and would love to lose another stone but for now I am content.

We had one of our famous taster mornings at fat club on Tuesday which we all enjoy. Nobody, but nobody eats before weigh in, so you can imagine the spectacle of 20 or so dieters being let loose on a table of free food - I dont think any bones or teeth were broken in the stampede but the food was certainly different to what we all normally have for breakfast. I made beef and butternutsquash curry and got up at 6.45 am to do this. Consequently my house smelled like an Indian takeaway for the rest of the day but it was delicious! I also made the now legendary swiss roll and other delights on the table included chilli, cheesecake, quiche and viennesse fingers. As I said, it wasn't our traditional breakfast but we all enjoyed it . I was so full that I didn't actually eat for the rest of the day until dinner time when I had what we call in our house 'the can't be arsed meal' ie, pizza! I needed to eat and get out to book group so thats why speed was of the essence. Maybe it's my newly refined taste buds talking here but I have to say it was truly truly awful. The 3 large glasses of wine at book group made me forget about it though........

And speaking of book group - well -it certainly is an experience! We went to Ros's house for this month's gathering and she had provided some tasty  nibbles. Once we had discussed the book we had all read ( this normally takes about 20 minutes ) we then regressed into memories of party food from the 1970's. Egg sandwiches, sausage rolls, beef paste buns and potatoes wrapped in tin foil with cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks and stuck in so it looks like a hedgehog. We all agreed that next time we would all bring a plate of some lovely retro munchies and as I have strategically planned book group for a Tuesday ( the day that doesn't count ) then I can guarantee that I will have a plateful! I dont know if it was a Northumbrian tradition but I do recall when I was a kid going to parties that we always used to have scones with butter and there would be a penny wrapped in tissue paper in the middle. I would appreciate it if any Alnwick people could confirm that this is true and not a figment of my imagination but I'm sure I'm right!
This would obviously violate health and safety regulations these days, but in the 1970's we liked to live on the edge. I'm not sure what my plate of food will consist of but if it's scones I will leave out the extras - we don't want  any choking before our 20 minute intellectual discussion! Choking with laughter is allowed but after lots of wine I doubt anyone will be capable of performing any Heimlich manoevres ( or however you spell it ) or kisses of life!

Hope everyone has a good week - and thank you to a certain young man in St Ives for nagging me to keep blogging. Sam, you can have my autgraph when I'm famous!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Here comes the silly season................oh and another swiss roll!

Well it's now my SECOND blog of the week and I am in need of some Kalms........not because I have blogged twice but because the holiday season is about to start in St Ives and we are about to be descended on by hoards and hoards of tourists.  Anyone that lives in St Ives is well aware that the tourist industry is very important to this town ( I was a visitor myself to Falmouth back in 1983 and fell in love with Cornwall ) but we all breathe a sigh of relief when they all go home again and the end of September! We can walk our dogs on the beaches, get served in the post office, shop at Tesco without having to push through entire families deciding which baked beans they should have and drive through town without people pushing their children's buggies in front of the car! It all starts this weekend and I have had a horrendously busy few days sorting out what needs to be done in all the holiday properties and I have already had my summer migraine where it feels like my brains are going to pop out of my head!

This is also the danger time for me diet wise - where I live in town has an array of sumptious takeaways aorund the corner and I must must must resist - apart from on Tuesday nights obviously. We have 2 Chineses, a chippy, an Indian, a lovely organic burger place and dozens of restaurants and it's when I'm too busy or tired or stressed to cook that I give in to their enticing aromas! I am still trying to be adventurous in the kitchen and am still shopping on line so I can plan ahead but all it takes is one hot and busy day to make all my good intentions fall by the wayside.

I lost a pound this week at fat club and fell short of my 12 week target by 2 and a half pounds. I am ok with this as I still think I have done well and if I could pat myself on the back then I would. I am off to Take That in 4 weeks nearly 3 stone lighter and am hoping to shift at least another stone by the wedding we are off to in September. I have come too far to blow it all now so am hoping that my work life will go smoothly and the takeaways will only benefit from my custom on a Tuesday!

I am also now having swiss roll withdrawal symptoms - I haven't nade one since Sunday and it's now Wednesday so even though I don't know if I'm coming or going this week, I do know what I shall be baking tomorrow afternoon!

Monday, 23 May 2011

A few thoughts................

I am being a bit adventurous and am posting 2 blogs this week! Bearing in mind that the world was supposed to end 2 days ago then I feel quite priveleged to be here at all, so here goes.

Tonight is the night before weigh in and my final weigh of my 12 week challenge. My scales at home are just about the same as the ones at slimming world and I know for sure that if I have lost anything then it certainly wont be the 3 and a half pounds required to meet my target. I have done nothing differently and am trying not to get too stressed as I had made a promise to myself last week that I would now take the heat off myself and enjoy the losses and ignore the gains and maintains. This seems even more poignant today - yesterday was my dad's 3 year anniversary and today a very good friend's husband died aged only 44. I think that this puts it all into perspective - there are far more things to worry about than the odd disappointing week at fat club aren't there?

I spent yesterday reflecting and thinking about my Dad and even went to the garden centre to buy a nice plant to put at the front of my house in his memory. This ended the day on a good note and made me feel quite positive....

This morning's news about my friends husband has knocked the wind out of my sails - he fought his illness bravely and I have full admiration for how he dealt with it and how my friend is coping. It's a sad day for all of us that knows them and for this reason, I shall be donating some of the proceeds from the 12 week challenge to Cancer Research as well as the British heart Foundation. I will obviously check with all my sponsors but am 100% sure that none of them will mind. I know my dad wouldn't have minded , infact I am sure he would agree that I am doing the right thing.

R.I.P. x

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Eurovision, naughty food, more swiss rolls,zumba and a wedding!

My blog is late this week as I have been busy so if any of you have been waiting in vain for 2 days -  I do apologise!

This week I lost another 2 and a half  pounds which now makes a total of 2 stone 9 and a half - woo hoo! I am on the last week of the 12 week challenge and I really need to lose 3 and a half pounds which I think may be pushing it but I think I have done well to lose ( almost ) a stone and a half when I had actually already lost a stone and a half before the challenge.

I probably didn't help myself much on Tuesday ( treat night ) by having a meal out and going the whole proverbial hog! Cheesy nachos to start, proper fish and chips for main and a hot chocolate fudge sunday for dessert with a mahoosive dollop of clotted cream. I love clotted cream and for anybody that hasn't tried it - you'd love it too. Thankfully, it doesn't love me too uch and I usually have to wash it down with a pint of Gaviscon but sometimes it's just too too hard to resist.....
The meal and the company were fab, as was the view of St Ives wharf and harbour - in my humble opinion, the best view of,  and in , St Ives.

I am back on a mission though and have pushed all thoughts of clotted cream and other delicious evils from my thoughts as I now have another incentive to keep me going long after Take That's final encore.

We have been invited to a wedding in Septmeber. My eldest daughter Hattie is going to be bridesmaid - this will make me cry. She goes to uni the week before - this too will make me cry but she will be coming back that weekend for the wedding and as I meet her from the train - yes , you've guessed it - this will make me cry. What will make me happy though, is being able to buy and wear something lovely to fit my newly trimmed figure so it's all systems go to keep up the good work.

My food flops hit an all time high on Saturday, when in true spirit of Eurovision ( the highlight of my televisual year ) I decided to cook a chicken and chickpea taginne. I know Morocco isn't in Europe ( yet ) but I thought something exotic and foreign was called for. I was a bit worried as I marinated the meat the night before as the list of spices seemed to be endless - you name it, it when on it. By the time I cooked it on saturday, it actually didn't taste particularly good  - it just tasted of 'too much' if that makes sense. The chickpeas were nice though , so it wasn';t all bad - and we didn't come last which was even better.

I have also taken the advice of our lovely Slimming World consultant and have bought Zumba for the Wii. It is still in the box daring me to try it out but I haven't quite roused myself yet, Apparently. it's great fun and it makes you sweaty - so is watching X Factor and eating a chicken madras, so we'll have to see how I get on when I eventually try it.

Down to serious matters - I have  developed a complete obsession with the swiss rolls that I mentioned in my last blog - I just cant stop making them. I have even made them for other poeple now in a bid to convince them how wonderful this recipe is. I cant walk past a shop without thinking 'oh they sell strawberries' and 'hmm - I wonder if I have enough eggs at home'' and its getting silly now. My friend Zoe made one every day last week and she is being a bit Nigella about it all by adding things like lemon and pineapples! We are all on a roll!

Next weekend is when my business starts to get manically busy so I am glad that I have done so well weight wise up to now. When the long Fridays and Saturdays hit home, there is little time to plan meals or eat properly and that's when I fall into the trap of the takeaways around the corner. I am hoping this year that I can be strong willed - this means having something tasty and easy to grab at hand without having to think about it too much. I  wonder just how many swiss rolls I can fit in my fridge at once????

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Run for the hills - but not tonight because we went to Hayle and there aren;t any - but there was a swiss roll!

Ok - I hope everyone is sitting down whilst reading this as I have a momentous announcement to make -


As I have now lost quite a lot of weight I decided the time had come to firm up my wobbly bits, so with the help of my friend Mandy ( aka Ms Motivator ) I exercised and went running.

For all of you that are familiar with St Ives, you will know that it's 1) very hilly and 2) everyone knows me so we went to the local town of Hayle where it's 1) flat and 2) only a couple of people know me. I was absolutely dreading it as Mandy is an accomplished runner ( she even belongs to a club and has an oddly shaped water bottle ) but I have to say - I actually really enjoyed it! Mandy was a paragon of patience and we ran , walked, gossiped, ran, walked gossiped etc and the time flew. I'm not too sure that I will be able to move tomorrow but I am glad I took the plunge and went and I have even arranged to go along next Wednesday and may even fit in a cheeky little jog before then. I am very proud of myself and have rewarded myself with a lovely icy vodka and diet ( what else?) coke to quench my post run thirst.

My weigh in at fat club didn't go so well yesterday in that I gained half a pound. It's that dreaded time of the month again so I just have to live with it but I do feel crushed when I dont lose when I know I have been good. I think I can often place myself under too much pressure and I should focus on the losses as opposed to one half pound gain in four and  a half months. I do HAVE to be good for the next couple of weeks though as I have to lose 6 pounds in the next 2 weeks  to complete my 12 week challenge. I'm not sure whether I can do this but I know that I wont be far off target which is good - good for me and good for the British Heart Foundation. Keep your fingers crossed for me everyone..........

I have also been doing some more cooking and have made a couple of delicious swiss rolls again this week. Honest to God, it's like eating a PROPER cream cake and I just love them- they make me twitch and drool even more than normal.
 I made one last week that Hattie and Martha wolfed down in record time and placed another one in the fridge tonight prior to my run. I let the girls have a slice each but made them promise not to eat any more until I came home. Thankfully it was as I had left it when I got back and to be quite honest , I think it was the thought of it being there waiting for me that made me run, walk and gossip just that little bit faster!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Awards, chicken and cheesy stuff...........

This week I am proud to announce that I got my 2 and a half stone award at fat club and was also slimmer of the month for April. All very exciting stuff - and I have 5 and a half pounds left to lose in the next 3 weeks to complete my 12 week slimathon. I have prewarned my richer sponsors to dust off their cheque books and eat their words as I am more or less sure that I will do it!! What makes it even nicer is that the end of the slimathon coincides with my Dad's anniversary so handing over the money to the British Heart Foundation will be extra special for me.

I have prepared myself not to lose anything this week as it's my time of the month ( sorry male readers) but I am still determined to try a few new recipes. I have made tonight another swiss roll / roulade type thing ( I let Hattie whip the egg whites ) and have to say as I crammed a mahoosive slice in my mouth that it was absolutley delicious. I am so used to not having sugar and cream etc now that it ALMOST felt like a proper cream cake.
I also made diet coke chicken which got the thumbs up from my 2 biggest critics, Hattie and Martha, so blimey, it must be good.

I am also treating myself to a trip to Plymouth on Sunday as all my old clothes are hanging from my ever decreasing frame and I think a trip to the big smoke and Primani should be done. I obviously want to lose more so I wont break the bank but it will be nice to get some new togs.

Two of my favourite holiday owners Brian and Maryann are over for a couple of months from South africa and I am going to bombard Maryann with some fat club recipes. She is quite a whizz in the kitchen so it will be interesting to hear a non slimming world eater's take on them. I have emailed her the diet coke chicken and swiss roll recipe so I reckon I know what's on their menu at some point over the weekend! I may havre to poke my nose through their letterbox to see what I can sniff.

Oh, and I also made some 'cheesy bites' tonight - they too tasted lovely and I HAD planned on having them for lunch tomorrow but they seem to have disappeared into the mouths of my children.....

Work wise, we are having another lull after the madness of easter and I can't say I am disappointed. We have been so quiet over the winter that it was a real shock to the system being so busy again that I am still recovering. Those that know me and work for me also know that I have been 'pooped on' recently but I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully some much less stressful times ahead. I have made a couple of decisions that I haven't taken lightly and am sure I am doing the right thing. I am not old old old but feel that I am old enough to cut myself a bit of slack and maybe be a bit happier.

Goodbye til next week folks, I hope my shopping trip is successful, that my syndicate wins the lottery on saturday, we have a nice hot weekend and that Hattie and Martha will leave me some of my swiss roll for tomorrow...........

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Pies, Eggs and Pizzas.........

Ok well we have Easter out the way and I am proud to say that not a single chocolate egg has passed my lips! At the risk of sounding like my mother, I actually think that they are a waste of money and I didn't buy any at all - not even for the kids, but as the kids are now 14 and 18 then I wont feel too guilty....

Easter for us is busy and not a time to relax and laze around eating chocolate and it obviously paid off as I lost another 3 pounds this week and am bang on target for my Take That expedition when I wanted to lose 2 pounds a week. We also have 4 weeks remaining on the 12 week challenge and I have 7 pounds left to lose which , dare I say it, I think I will achieve. If I'm a couple of pounds short, I'm sure my kind hearted sponsors will still stump up the cash but I'm hoping that i do it all.

We had a taster session this morning at Fat Club and yesterday I was a busy bee. After the success of my 'Lizagne' at the last taster session I was determined to create another crowd pleaser so it was all guns blazing in my kitchen . For the sweet toothed fellow fat clubbers I made what was described as a 'roulade' in the recipe but I would have described it as more of a 'posh swiss roll' - it's not something I would normally eat ( honestly! ) but it's amazing what a bit of quark, low fat sweetner and vanilla essence can do!
My other dish of the day was a 'pizza' . This was quite an intricate operation as the base was made of mashed potato ( don't ask ) and I asked Martha to be the guinea pig and try a slice when it was fresh out of the oven. Bearing in mind, Martha has tonsilitis and was obviously hallucinating, she said it was 'minging' but Maddie ( aka sweet potato humous refusing dog ) gulped it down. Once I had left it in the fridge overnight however, it tasted quite nice this morning. There was a couple of slices left which I donated to Mary, the weighing lady at Fat Club, but she claimed a freak accident which resulted in the loss of the pizza so I'm not convinced that everyone else enjoyed it that much.
Has anyone seen the epiosde of Friends wheree Rachel makes a trifle with minced beef and peas? If you have, you'll know what I mean.............

Tonight's 'treat' has been chicken and mushroom pie and chips with ( I'm Northern ) peas and gravy and I have to say I am now giddy with pleasure. I am enjoying a beautiful glass of  Hardy's Australian merlot and the sun is still out so I feel quite positive for the week ahead. Lots of work and lots of new recipes...........I may even be brave and attempt the pizza again- just call me Domino!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Feeling hot hot hot!

Hooray - another 2 pounds gone  this week and am now on a loss of 2 stone 3 - this was especially good as I had a meal out last Tuesday after Fat Club ( Tuesday night is treat aka cheat night ) and although I resisted the sticky toffee pudding, I did not resist the duck filo parcels with hoi sin sauce and creamy mushroom sauce on my steak OR the chips that came with it. Thank you very much Peppers of St Ives - your decor may be the same as when I moved here 22 years ago but your food is always lovely!

We are on the second week of the Easter holidays and the weather is perfect. I would like to say that it's like August, but as it normally pees down throughout most of August, I wont. The kids have been on the beach every day, I have sat out in the garden and even though last weekend was potentially a horror work wise, all went well. Anyone in the tourist industry ( especially in Cornwall ) knows that rain makes the tourists grumpy and they then start to winge so all in all everyone seems to be happy.

I had a lovely lunch out today outside The Sloop Inn right on the harbour front in town. It was jam packed and we managed to bag a decent table due to one of our group being heavily pregnant but doing some nifty moves for a woman of her size and condition! I had fish pie which is sort of Slimming World friendly and a pint and a half of diet coke so have come home  pink and full.

On a non dietary topic - I was most upset to read today that Simon Cowell will not be doing X Factor this year and this has left me with a bit of a dilemma. To me, Simon Cowell IS the X Factor so I don't know whether to boycott altogether or give in and try and like whoever replaces him. Anyone that is friends with me on Facebook knows that they dont even need to watch the show as they can simply follow my comments but it just wont be the same without the huge hair, high trousers and bitchy squabbles with Louis. Yes - I know the show is bad and there's a lot of genuine talent out there which truly deserves recognition but I just cant help myself. I am drawn to the tears, the tantrums, the dramatic camera angles and background music - and I'm only talking about the judges!!!

My weekends are so stressful and busy in the summer - but a weekly dose of Dermot and gang along with a nice glass of wine usually calms me down and makes me forget the previous 48 hours. I know several friends wont agree with me on this but I think there is so much doom and gloom on the news and in life in general that its nice to have abit of escapism.

I have no more meals out planned for the week ahead, and you know what??? I would really love to lose 4 pounds to get my 2 and a half stone shiny sticker but I think thats unlikely as I have already lost a fair bit. Who can tell? I am going to remain focussed and determined and a miracle may happen.

In my quieter moments over the next few weeks I will keep my eyes and ears peeled as to who will be the new judge and I am crossing my fingers that it's not Michael McIntyre, SuBo or the woman from the Halifax ad that says 'Isa Isa Baby' - any one of those ( particularly the latter ) would surely be rubbing salt in my wounds!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I got what I knew I would get.............

Well this week I have stayed the same - I knew I would and have behaved myself so all is good. I also found that this week that there was no pressure on myself by myself as I knew I wouldn't lose so there were no feelings of guilt and I wasn't annoyed.

We are enjoying a mini heatwave in Cornwall at the moment which is lovely - after the long cold winter it is definitely uplifting to be able to sit out in the garden without wearing 4 layers of clothing.

Our trip to Cardiff went well - we got to Wales in just under 3 hours which was a comfort to me to know that Hattie is not going TOO far away and I ( yes even I ) feel able to be able to jump in a car and visit her. We met her friend Ben from Truro College there, who was also attending the open day and his Mum Beccie. It's harder for Beccie as Ben is her only one ( I still have the Martha ) and we had a little moment together thinking of September. It's hard when chicks fly the nest and I am dreading it but I need to put on a brave face. I have done little but cry since last Wednesday but at least I have a few months to get used to it. New chapters ahead for Hattie and myself but positive chapters they are.

Cardiff seemed like a lovely city from what I saw of it - and the building where Hattie will attend most of her lectures has a beautiful large park / garden in front of it with a monument and benches etc. There was a really good vibe from the other students and everyone was HAPPY!

It's silly season once again with the business which has been a bit of a shock to the system - it's easy to forget from one year to the next just how busy it gets but as long as I am busy I am less inclined to be looking at naughty things to eat and drink. I am determined that next week will show a loss on those scales and even though it's a week nearer to September, it's still a week nearer to Robbie and The Pet Shop Boys.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Three down and satnav at the ready...........

Well it's Tuesday again which happens to be my favourite day of the week as Tuesday night is 'Treat ( or cheat? ) Night!

I am over the moon that I lost another 3 pounds this week which means I got a shiny sticker for my Fat Club book and I also got my 2 stone award - making a total loss of 2 stone and one pound.This means I am still on target for my Take That concert and am also 9 pounds off my 12 week challenge. I am still totally motivated and especially more so now that I have been informed that Take That's support act are The Pet Shop Boys which are possible the best pop group of the 80's / 90's! Good times to come on June 22nd - I am looking forward to seeing them and also Nicola, one of my oldest and dearest friends from back in the day.

I have had a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a week in terms of work - I wont publicise it on my blog but I have had a bit of a kick in the teeth and stab in the back from a client. I was angry and then upset on Friday - everyone thinks that if you are loud and bolshy that you don't have feelings but this is not true - I cried on Friday - real tears of frustration . I am ok  now and have dusted myself down and prepared myself for battle. It's times like this that I miss my Dad because whatever happened in my life he always, but always, supported me and would have given me some Northumbrian words of wisom, ie, 'tell them where to gaan pet'.

Tomorrow I am off to Cardiff with Hattie - it's her open day at the uni of her choice so we are off on an adventure to Wales. We both agree that Hattie is the better driver so it's her that will be doing the driving. I am going to remain focussed and take a bag of fruit with me to nibble en route and hopefully resist the Welsh cuisine - as I don't actually know what Welsh cuisine is I think this will be easy. We have our maps, schedule and £5.70 at the ready and in the words of Ness from Gavin and Stacey , I hope our day is 'cracking'!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Fishcake Failure...............

Well Tuesday has come around again and I'm sure you'll all be pleased to know that I had a LOSS this week of 3.5 pounds. This means that I turned my frown upside down from last week and am feeling a lot more confident and motivated again. I also won Slimmer of The Week and took home a lovely bag of fruit. Oddly enough, when I actually remember to take a piece of fruit to class it's usually the bruised and sticky plum from the bottom of my fruit bowl but thankfully everyone else had brought in nice stuff for me to nibble on.

I have had 2 momentous failures on the cookery front this week. The first was an irish type stew with colcannon topping.Now don't get me wrong, I love stew in any form but this one had chopped tomatoes and I really feel that they have no place in the culinary world apart from anything that is vaguely Italian. One of my daughters sneaked upstairs with a plateful and came down with a very contented looking Maddie ( youngest springer ) and the other reckoned the very sight of it 'freaked her out' so she declined.
It tasted quite nice but I dont think I will be attempting it again........

My second failure was homemade  fishcakes which looked delicious but failed to hit the spot. It was whilst halfway through the first one that I remembered I don't really like fish unless it's in batter with chips so it was a no no before I even started . Once again, one daughter  refused it and the other one fed bits to the dog , and even the dog didn't gulp it down in her usual fashion. Again, it wont be a recipe that I will be repeating for a while...............

I think therefore that this week I will go back to what I know best - some good old roasts and plain simple food that I know will get eaten. Our recipe this week at fat Club was for a 'cherry clafoutis'. I don't know what a clafoutis is, but let's be honest, it sounds a bit like clitoris or something that would require antibiotics so I don't think that will be adorning the dining table  Chy Noall this week either.

It's hard to lose weight in the first place and I think boredom is a big factor to people going off the straight and narrow so that's why I trawl through various websites for new and exciting recipes. Sometimes I hit lucky and sometimes I don't - it's the luck of the draw - but I think I deserve 10 out of 10 for trying. Unfortunately  it's when a meal is cooked that doesn't taste good that I am liable to misbehave. ....... and for that reason alone ,  I am crossing my fingers and toes and keeping anything fishy / Irishy / clafoutissy OFF the menu!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

It's all gravy............

Well what a week! I have been as good as gold and only lost half a flipping pound! I just don't know what I have done wrong - I did have a night out on Saturday but apart from a relatively virtuous carvery and 2 large juicy glasses of the red stuff I have behaved and all for HALF A POUND! I am trying to be positive but feel that my dream of a sylph like physique in time for Robbie is slipping away!

I have therefore decided to revert to form and go back to having a proper treat on weigh in nights - tonight I am having meat and potato pie and chips with ( remember - I am Northern ) mushy peas and lashings of gravy. The thought of it is making me feel giddy with pleasure and I fear that I may have a 'when Harry met Sally' type chipasm but sod it, I'm having it.
It's hard to sit in a fat club class listening to other people's squeals of glee at having lost 2 or 3 pounds and exclaiming they 'dont know how, I've had 4 takeaways' etc but I think I shouldn't be too hard on myself and just loosen the reins a bit one night of the week. I need to remind myself that I have done incredibly well so far and not beat myself up. A loss is still a loss, even if it is only half a pound so I am going to enjoy my nosh tonight and start afresh tomorrow.

On the cooking front I didn't do anything controversial with my loin of pork but I DID do a delicious meat and potato pie that the girls and I loved. Al declined due to the fact there was celery in it - celery is to him what quorn is to me. I had intended on hiding the bits of celery under potatoes but he managed to sneak a look at the recipe and I was well and truly rumbled. I will have to chop it more finely and cover my tracks next time..............

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Nigella and Meg eat your hearts out!

Well I have had my second weigh in as part of my 12 week challenge and stayed the same this week. I am actually ok with this as ( men look away ) it's my TOTM! My weight loss so far is still at 22 pounds which is good so I am not going to beat myself up about it.
 I am still very determined and am even contemplating a bit of exercise in the not too distant future - this worries me because I am so unfit that I am worried that a gentle jog may bring on a heart attack which would be quite ironic as it's the British Heart Foundation that I am raising money for............

Anyway, as part of keeping everything fresh and new I am also going to try out some new recipes. My dear beloved has warned me not to mess with the pork but I have ordered some apricots from Asda and intend mixing them with low fat sausage meat and garlic and stuffing them into a loin of pork. Hmmm, it certainly sounds nice but who can tell?? I am also going to attempt a spinach and feta filo pastry pie - when I asked the members of my household who would eat it I was met with stares of disgust / hysteria and fear.

My week ahead is busy and includes a night out with some friends on saturday when we are going for a cheeky carvery at the local pub and then on to a psychic night at another pub. We went to one last year and my Dad allegedly made an appearance - I am hoping he keeps quiet this time as I found it vaguely embarrassing. The psychic in question is a lovely lady and my Dad wouldn't bugger off afterwards which amused everyone else but made me cringe. I would love to believe 100% that he was there but if he were still alive I think he would probably tell me not to waste  my money! It only costs a tenner and just think that if I didn't spend that tenner I could have bought lots more apricots, low fat sausages and merlot with it instead.

I am sure we will have fun whoever 'appears' and if there's no messages for me then I can spend my time dreaming up some more wild  and exquisite dishes to torment my family with.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

It's been too long.............

Ok everybody - I think we have established that I'm not the most regular blogger in the world but sometimes life ( and merlot ) get in the way.............

To update you all - I have now lost 22 of the 50 pounds that I aimed to shift prior to my date with Robbie and the gang on June 22 nd - I am very pleased about this as, after a shaky start to the year I am remaining relatively positive and focused.

To add more pressure to my already hectic life I have undertaken Slimming World's 12 week challenge and I am aiming to lost one and a half stone in the next ( you guessed it ) 12 weeks and I am doing it in aid of the British Heart Foundation. I have had some very generous pledges from people and I am determined to succeed. My dear Dad died 3 years ago and I miss  him so much. His post mortem revealed that he had heart disease and how I wish I could turn the clock back and say 'go to the doctors Dad' but , I can't so that is why I am doing this for the BHF. I know that he would be proud of me - he always nagged me about my weight - and I would like to think that somewhere he is spurring me on.........

I have had a few wobbles this week ( and not just in the buttocks area) due to my naughty habit of being a closet serial weigher. I don't think I pay a trip to my bathroom without a cheeky hop on the scales and so have decided to give up my scales for Lent! I am a ( lapsed ) Catholic and Lent used to be quite a big part of our lives so I have decided that the scales need to be sacrificed.  I am nearly chocolate free these days and I am not strong enough to give up my bottle of merlot on a Tuesday so my only other  'guilty pleasure' was the scales.My friend Bella is going to look after them for me and will return them to me on Easter Sunday with hopefully a Cadbury's Buttons easter egg.............

I have been back at Slimming World for 10 weeks now and this will be the first week that I am doing without the constant weighing and scrutinising - hopefully it will work or I will be a knocking on Bella's door. I hope she is brave enough to tell me to do one!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Oh Hugh, I love you.............

Well despite my resolution I haven't blogged for twelve whole days and what a week and a half I have had!

For those of you that don't already know, my hubby was in hospital last week for a couple of days and it knocked the stuffing out of me - literally. Me being me though, I turned it around and used it to my advantage by working WITH the stress and I ate healthily at every meal time ( all be it half heartedly ) and managed a fantastic 3 pound weight loss this week at fat club. I have now lost 8 pounds and I got a sticker ( half stone ) a fridge magnet and a very enthusiastic round of applause from my fellow fatties. It was quite a moment and I felt a bit Gwyneth Paltrow-like making my acceptance speech  - you know I'm joking but I am chuffed!

Now hubby is home and on the mend and life is back to as normal as it will ever be. I joined a couple of friends at a knitting group last night and had a much needed giggle. We have called the group 'stitch and bitch' and boy, did we do some bitching! There was only 3 of us there and one of the ladies ( not mentioning any names , Caitlin ) made me laugh with the most ambitious jumper ever that she is hoping to have ready for next Christmas - we are going for quality as opposed to quantity - as it had snowmen and robins and virgin Mary's on and literally everything Christmassy. I knitted about 8 rows of what is going to be a cardigan but I haven't stated which Christmas I hope to be wearing it , just to be on the safe side.  It was a fun night but I think the biggest stitches were in our sides after our moans, groans and just general putting the world to rights. It was a much needed tonic to my recent worries.

I have also planned to go to a zumba class on Monday. I am not sure what zumba is but I think it will sound impressive next week at fat club when I casually drop into the conversation ''oh and yeah, err I did zumba''.

But down to the most important bit of my blog - the food!

I love watching cookery programmes on telly and most of the celebrity chefs bring out a severe twitch and a a mild form of tourettes ( Heston and Jamie ) but I do adore Hugh Fearnley Whittingsdale! I was lucky enough to get his book for Christmas and have been pouring over it to see what I can concoct and keep relatively fat club friendly. I just love his down to earth charm and the fact that he seems like a genuinely nice fella - no airs , no graces, no snail porridge and no 'easy tigers' lisped out every 5 minutes.  I also like his philosophy on watse, or lack of, when he turns all leftovers into delicious dinners the following day.

So it's with Hugh in mind at the moment when I do the cooking - I'm not sure the rest of my household are going to enjoy everything I make but as long as they try I'll be happy.

And one final note - I am going to measure my alcohol. At fat club you can have a 125 ml glass of wine for 4.5 syns. This poses a problem already as I don't possess any wine glasses that are that small so I will be doubling up. I will obviously write everything sown as we are advised too although I'm sure the writing may be a bit shaky after the first couple..........

Saturday, 8 January 2011

LIfe's a beach.....................

Well we are apparently back to normal now after the gigantic amount of bank holidays that always happen when Christmas and New Year fall on a weekend . It was a cold and crisp day in St Ives today and as I had caught up on my dreaded extra invoicing due to the vat hike ( thanks Cameregg ) I more or less had a day off, which on a Saturday is very very rare in the land of holiday rental.

My youngest daughter had a riding lesson but Hattie was up for a walk with the dogs and where better to go than Carbis Bay ( the village right next to St Ives ) beach.
 Don't get me wrong - St Ives has actually got 4 beaches or 5 if you include Bambalooza, but I like Carbis Bay because it has interesting caves and is usually pretty quiet. I haven't been there for 4 years,  when on Christmas Eve 2006 my oldest springer Daisy ( then a 3 year old pup ) decided to scale the cliffs and head towards the railway track! This was scary - I know a lady who's dog ( also a springer ) got ran over and killed on that very same track and as much as we yelled Daisy had gone..................

As it was Christmas there was lots of holidaymakers and they all gathered together with us at the foot of that cliff yelling 'Daisy Daisy' in all manner of accents from all over the UK - it would have been a beautiful moment had I not been dreading the sight of the train approaching..........

Luckily for Daisy she came down but we made a mental note not to go there again - or at least for a long long time.

Today the sun was shining and it was very mild by lunchtime. There was about a dozen seals larking about near the shore and hundreds of  gulls riding the waves and bobbing for whitebait. I remarked to Hattie that we forget how simple things can often mean the most and just watching the coastline and the wildlife was wonderful.

On heading back to the car I noticed how many kids were digging and running and just being genuinely happy and mentally kicked myself up the bum. I am so lucky to live in such a place and I thought of all the kids that never see a beach, a field or animals in their natural habitat and it put into perspective my low mood over the last few days. The sight of a gigantic inflatable football being kicked about also made me laugh and then quickly put Maddie ( youngest and naughtiest springer ) on the lead - I could envisage a 'popping' incident and I don't think I am ready for another drama at Carbis Bay beach just yet.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

My buddy Bella!

Well yesterday was my first weigh in after my rejoining of Fat Club last week and ( trumpet fanfare please )  I was overjoyed to have lost 2 pounds ! This was in the week between Christmas and New Year where there was lots of wine and quite a few Roses left - I still ate and drank more than I should have but was generally a lot better behaved than I had been. It was also THE week when lots of people drag themselves off to various weight loss clubs and gyms,  determined to put into effect their revolutions......It was at Fat Club 2 years ago in New Year 2009 that I bonded with my buddy Bella.

She was meant to come with me this Tuesday morning but was unable to due to a medical problem - she had a bad hangover, and not just in her jeans!

Bella isn't actually called Bella - it is my petname for her. Our daughters are friends and this is how we met - we didn't know each other that well but still decided that we would embark on a weight loss journey together. To be honest, Bella isn't ( that ) overweight but I didn't want to over flatter her so I told her that she reminded me of Bella Emberg, the rotund old bat from Russ Abbott's Madhouse back in the 1970's. She took this good heartedly and her pet name for me is Mabes , which I think is a name my kids gave to me and it has connections to a donkey called Mabel who had a nosebag.

As well as seeing each other at Fat Club every Tuesday we also had an adventure to Ikea in Bristol, which to any non Cornwall  readers is quite a big day out! Bella had no wing mirror on her car which was a bit scary but also had no idea on how to get there when we hit Bristol - we did eventually find it and I consoled myself with the meatballs and Dime cake while Bella spent 4 and a half hours looking at chopping boards - and I am not exaggerating! When we left Ikea that night we were both a bit tired and grumpy but managed to keep ourselves amused with a good old singalong in the car and planning what we would call ourselves when we appeared on X Factor - we decided to play safe and settled  on  'Bella and Mabes'. We also came across a roadside incident and when we slowed down and wound the window down to observe,  a 12 year old policeman waved his arms in the manner of an overly boisterous air traffic controller and we decided to incorporate that very move into our X Factor dance routine............ Simon Cowell would love it!

Sadly our Fat Club days were numbered and Bella decided to go it alone at home, and she did very well, but we still had fun generally tricking, teasing and verbally abusing each other. I presumed Bella's massive bum was down to her love of pie and every birthday, Christmas etc would usually involve a poem about pies from me. Bella excelled herself this year though when she bought me a beautiful pie dish as a present - I have yet to christen it but it has pride of place in my cupboard as I know it was bought with true love and friendship.

I have told Bella to scoff all the goodies at her house as she IS coming next Tuesday - and coincidentally this week's Bella magazine has a voucher for free membership to Slimming World! A sign if there ever was one or is that just pie in the sky????? We shall see............................

Monday, 3 January 2011

Even the dog didn't want it................

So I am still revved up and ready to embrace all that 2011 offers and in true revolutionary style I thought I would try something different on the recipe front. I found a recipe for 'sweet potato humous' and it sounded and looked delicious - perfect for a bank holiday lunch.

First of all though,  when Asda delivered my shopping yesterday they had sold out of sweet potatoes - no problem, Lisa was working today and had to walk past Carbis Bay Tescos , so I asked if she would be kind enough to grab me a couple en route to my house.

I put them in the oven as instructed and then hit my next problem - no chickpeas. I could have sworn blind that there was a tin nestled in my healthily stocked cupboard - right behind the veg oxo cubes and tuna, but no, we were chickpea -  less. Luckily our Co-op sold them and my kind hubby went and bought me TWO tins - just incase my recipe was such a roaring success that I may want to repeat it soon......

As soon as my potatoes were soft , I snipped the ends off and squeezed them into a bowl - I'm not going to lie about this, it wasn't particularly pleasant and it made me think of squeezing sausages out of their skins for some reason.  I then added the chickpeas and as we dont appear to have a  food processor ( personally I thought we did - right next to the smoothie maker ) I used my 'pulser' instead. Once it was all mushed I stirred in some garlic and lemon juice and left it in the fridge to 'set'.

To cut a long story short, I thought it was ok. It made Hattie start gagging very loudly and it also stuck to the roof of her mouth. Even delicately chopped celery and crispy carrot batons couldn't make it look nicer. It basically looked like mashed sweet potato with the odd lump. As Hattie pointed out - ''the humous we get from Tescos doesn't have whole chickpeas in it Mum'' - which I don't think is a bad thing - mine is original and rustic! You could never find one like it in any shop.

The cherry on the cake however is the fact that my youngest and not particularly intelligent springer spaniel Maddie even refused to eat it. She held it in her mouth and then spat it out. My husband thought it was hilarious that a dog that we have to rugby tackle away from the cat's litter tray when there's been a deposit, wouldn't even entertain it.

Ah well - maybe I'll stick to more traditional cooking, but at least I am trying............very trying!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year - and now for the 'revolutions'.................

Well 2011 is upon us and has now been upon us for 9 and 3/4 hours. I am not a 'new year' person at all in that new year's eve has never appealed to me but I actually quite like new year's day.
 I love the newness of it and all the positivity,  whereas unfortunatley on new year's eve I think it can be all too easy to focus on the negative.

When I was a little girl , I used to listen to grown ups talking about new year and for years genuinely thought it was 'revolutions' that people made and not 'resolutions' - well I for one, am still going to refer to them as the former as it makes them sound much more exciting and life changing!

My first revolution is ( and always is ) to lose weight - perhaps I should reword it and just try and eat  healthier - this I am already  trying to do and the remainder of the tin of Roses and one and a half bottles of wine I glugged last night do not coulnt as that was last year , although I can't be too sure I didn't scoff a couple of caramels THIS year before bed. Hmmmm.

My second revolution is to start my book group - I once read a book called 'The Book Group' and ever since then I have harboured fantasies of entertaining like minded 'bookies' with witty and wise commentary whilst nibbling on something in filo pastry and sipping on  some merlot ( not sure how this ties in with revolution number one but please humour me, after all it is MY blog )  or alternatively just having a laugh over a tube of pringles with some good friends once a month. I am hoping to get the ball rolling by the end of January - so watch this space!

My third revolution is to get out more!
Since moving right into town 2 years ago it's easy not to go anywhere in particular as everything can be seen / accessed from my doorstep. I don't just mean St Ives itself but Cornwall in general. I live in a beautiful county and there are lots of it that I haven't seen and I would like to see and ( if allowed ) so would my  2 springers.
When I grew up in Northumberland I thought it was the most boring place on earth and couldn't wait to leave but when my Dad died and I went back for his funeral and then to scatter his ashes I looked at my home county so differently. It is a wonderful place and I could have kicked myself for not liking it more when I was there. The place where his ashes are scattered is one of the most magnificent views and landscapes ever and I am glad that is where he is at rest - I would like to go back one day and sit a while but I am not quite ready to do that yet.  What I will do though, is explore where I am - my Dad was a great walker and loved the outdoors and I am going to the same this year.

My fourth and final revolution is to try and blog regularly. This blog was initially to document my weight loss leading to Take That in June 2011 but I am going to add snippets of all the other silly little bits of my life too. I like to write and I think that the people that know me like to read it so it's a win win situation. I get to waffle aimlessly and it gives the odd pal a laugh along the way.

As is customary in our family - it is lunch out today at the local pub. Carvery and wine and then home to take the much battered ( by Finn ) tree down. A good old hoover, decorations back in the attic and then onwards and ( weight wise ) downwards for 2011.