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.