Unless gremlins have broken in while we were on holiday and had fun with the new bathroom scales, I have lost an amazing 1 stone and 8.4lbs in the last 3 months!  I honestly had no idea.

You see, I’m a big girl.  When you’re a six footer like me it takes more than a stone of weightloss to be noticeable.  I haven’t exercised properly (ie in the gym) since school broke up at the end of June.

On the first week of our holiday (in the beautiful Donegal) the sun shone down on us like we were in the Algarve – we hit the beach every day and I walked miles with the dog (and sometimes the family).  Then the rain came.  Walking was replaced with visits to pubs for lunch and feeding our faces in the front of the telly at night.  But maybe I didn’t eat as much as I thought!

I’m so motivated by the numbers on the scales that I have planned the week’s (healthy) meals and shopped for the ingredients before anyone put me off the notion.  The kids will be gutted when they’re handed a healthy sandwich with a piece of fruit at 1pm the next few days.  Sweet revenge for all the temptation they put in front of me with every “chips with everything” meal they had in Donegal.  And their addiction to Magnums isn’t funny.

To stay motivated, I’ve unearthed this photo of me from a former life – the one where I was young with no responsibilities, slim and never hungry, out every night dancing and didn’t drink anything stronger than fizzy water.

I will never be that slim and wrinkle-free again but if I get a life sized cutout made for every room in the house, maybe one of those Carefree Cathys will kick my butt if I so much as inhale the scent of a Magnum Double Raspberry.


skinny cathy


Catch yerself on big girl

I really should.

I’m sitting here eating a cheese toastie and watching Ashley’s episode of Obese: A Year to Save My Life USA.  I should be ashamed of myself.

She has a 4 year old son for goodness sake.  I have two very active older children.  I should be motivated.  But I just can’t be arsed at the moment.  Especially as I now know that the ankle pain I’m suffering is most likely arthritis and weightloss should reduce the strain on my poor peds.

But I’ve survived the half way mark of the school holidays. Go me!  And only one week before our 2 weeks holiday in Co Donegal.  I’m packing the walking boots, Frank and the kids will be “enjoying” a lot of exercise with me leading the way.  And they’ll be early morning jaunts, so no boozy nights with munchies.  Wellllll … maybe one or two!

Seriously though, if Chris Powell ever picked me (he won’t because I will never write to him – nothing personal Chris but I didn’t even have a video made of my wedding) could I lose 100lb in 90 days?  Crikey.  No way.  I don’t want to!

Let’s do the Fractious 50 Year Old Plan and set a goal for the first 90 days.

By 2nd November I will lose 20lbs.  There.  Goal set and game on.

weight loss

Ice cream addict!

As I’ve said before, school holidays and exercise/diet plans aren’t a marriage made in heaven.  Unpredictable weather, unpredictable behaviour and unpredictable moods (my own, if I’m honest!) plus lack of energy, irregular bedtimes and an absolute NEED for ice cream (again, me) means I just don’t get to lose weight or get fit.

But just over one month left before I get back into my routine.  I am the kind of person who gets so very tired of routine but as soon as everything like school and clubs finish, I go crazy with lack of direction!

I got to go to the gym last week.  Just the once, but it was ok.  I’ve been suffering from very painful ankles and have a GP appointment in the pipeline to try to find out what is going on.

Diet-wise, things haven’t been too bad.  I haven’t gained anything.  That’s a positive!  I suppose I do more walking now because there is a lot of exploring to be done on the beaches and in the parks we visit.

I would love to have the confidence to go into the sea with the boys.  Not so sure about jumping off the pier with them though (that’s Sam doing just that below)!  Maybe next year when I’ve dropped a couple of stone in weight.  Might even have a go at making a wetsuit before then!  (As I’m 6ft tall, it’s very difficult to get a woman’s wetsuit that doesn’t have me doubled over and those designed for men are not only in boring colours, but just don’t have the space for curves!).

sam jumping off pier 24 July 2017

There’s life, gym …

But actually, yes it is as we know it.

Hadn’t been to the gym in a week or two (ok it was two) due to a whole range of excuses, the main one being the school summer holidays started on 30th June.  8 weeks and 6 days (not that I’m counting) of full-time kids – yikes!

I’m not supermum, I hung up my cloak a long time ago.  I’m 50 years old.  I get tired easily and am having more frequent flare ups of pains in my hips, lower back and right hand from osteoarthritis.  Now it might be affecting my ankles.

But sod it, it’s not going to be my every waking thought or the reason I put on weight. Let’s change the subject.

The gym.  I mentioned when I joined that I chose to use the one closest to home which was the smallest and the less busy of the group within my council area.  And not the one the beautiful people went to, so no designer gear, full face of make-up and perfect hair required.  But as it doesn’t open until 9am, it wasn’t possible for me to use before my husband went to work.  So the beautiful people gym it had to be.  With me as the token dishevelled, bad hair and mismatched outfit wearing person to let the side down.

Alarm was set for 7am, I was out of the house for 7.15am and back home for 8.30am to grab the baton of childcare.  David was out the door like Usain Bolt off the starting blocks because number one son was beginning to stir.  No long leisurely shower then.

Was it as bad as I was led to believe?  No!  Or not this morning, anyway.  It’s a much bigger facility, more equipment and a couple of machines I haven’t seen before which I like – especially the one that works on the tummy muscles while supporting back and legs.  There were about a dozen people (and they looked very normal!) already working out when I arrived but nobody got in my way.  I was able to meander my way around all the equipment I wanted to use.  My ankles were very painful this morning so I avoided the treadmill and cross trainer and concentrated on the cycling machine for my cardio warm up.

I liked it.  It’s further to travel but at that time of the morning during this particular fortnight (when half of Northern Ireland are on holiday) there’s only very light traffic.

I’m so glad I did it.  It broke me out of a really bad fug. I’d kind of given up on the diet and exercise, I hadn’t been feeling that good recently.  But a lovely relaxing night at a friend’s house for a vegetarian home-cooked meal and non-stop talking and lot of laughing, gave me a bit of a boost and I’m back into a better frame of mind where I want to own lovely dresses, etc.

There will be no weigh-ins and meals will be irregular for a while because of visits to the beach, cinema, days out and summer schemes but a more conscience effort will be made.

Enjoyed a lovely spinach, banana, pineapple and orange smoothie for breakfast, which was shared with the kids – number two has started to give fruit and vegetables a go – wow!

me exercising

Social life struggles

I won’t be weighing-in this week.  Just as I was getting into the swing of this weight loss malarky, along comes a social life – something we had quite forgotten about.

In the space of a week we will have been out for an Indian meal to celebrate 24 years of wedded bliss, had two days of picnicking while cheering on the kids at their Special Olympics events (1 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze between them), Father’s Day lunch, Open Farm weekend where the only veggie option was chips, end of summer term lunch with RDA – fish suppers all round and a fundraising night out. Before this week?  Nothing for months!

At the restaurant on Saturday night, we skipped starters, I had a glass of prosecco and a jug of water, shared a portion of rice, and enjoyed a dish that consisted mainly of spinach (but probably drenched in ghee) and no dessert.  HOWEVER, we got a bit carried away at the pub after.  Finally realising we didn’t have to wrestle the kids into bed, we relaxed.  Oh oh.

So, tomorrow starts a new week.  Not today.  Today is the actual date of our anniversary.  We’re heading out to lunch shortly.  And I’ve gone to all this trouble to wash my hair and put on makeup, so no gym today either!



Daily Prompt: Puncture

via Daily Prompt: Puncture

Perfect word for the day!  I felt punctured last night!!

My kids ride with RDA and I help out when I can, usually during exam season and the younger volunteers are busy swotting.  Of course I agreed to side walk Sam (son) last night but they didn’t tell me until after the lesson started that it was a trotting night!  Flip me, Buno (pony) decided he wasn’t feeling lazy as usual.  Instead of the usual 45 minutes, the lesson went on for 75 minutes (yes, I was counting) because it was such a lovely evening, “it was a pity not to”.

Aye, ok for you ye girl ye, standing opening and closing the gate and shouting “keep that pony going”.  I can go off people quickly.

Next week? I’m side walking Corrado (other son).  There is no danger of Tyson (pony) putting my lungs at risk.  Famous last words …

Recalculating …

Da da da ………

I have lost a STAGGERING


Or 19 pounds

Or 1 stone 5 pounds

Go me, go me, go me, go me!!!

I suffered those dodgy home scales long enough, they were too moody.  So I used the ones at the gym you put money into – the ones that originally told me how shamefully big I’d got.  Well worth 50p,

I knew my size 18 jeans hadn’t stretched in the wash 🙂

Now I’m heading out for a greedy guts breakfast with a friend.  I am planning to exercise after but surely I deserve a treat?



I’ve been to the gym 8 days in a row – too much?  It really burned today, I’ve increased the weights I’m working with.  I went home and joined Frank on the sofa and didn’t move – not even to make a coffee for my daily dose of Extreme Weight Loss.

Have I overdone it with the strength training?  I don’t feel achy, just tired.  The burning feeling is, actually, quite pleasant!  I know that (according to Nerd Fitness) the sensation means the exercise is still burning calories, so I’m not complaining! However, according to it’s not a good idea to do strength training without at least a day’s break between sessions.  So, the answer is yes, I have overdone it.  Drat.  I only do the cardio exercises to warm up my muscles for the weights machines!  I don’t like cardio.  Sweaty horrible exercises.

I might have found a solution to get me through the cycling, treadmill and bingo wing machine (aka arm cycle) – audio books.  My current entertainment/distraction is reading the subtitles displayed on the many television screens while exercising and then trying to work out what’s happening in a different programme for another machine is tedious.  I’m not a great music fan – I have to be in the mood.  But I am a book worm.  My Kindle has had to be replaced too many times to mention, I’ve burnt out the screen so often!  I’ll give it a go.  I might be able to solve many crimes before realising I’m a size zero.



Calorie Deficit

Who knows all about this subject?  It’s not a “thing” I was even aware of!  Just shows you how much I wing it in my every day life!

I was watching Extreme Weight Loss (the American show with Chris Powell) – it’s a great motivator, as I sit on my bum for a solid 40 minutes drinking coffee.  Seriously, though, it is.  They were talking about the number of calories a body needs daily before any exercise.  So, I found a handy calculator, put in my height, weight, etc and I was delighted with the number – my body needs A LOT.  Take away the calories you need to reduce by per day (500 for 1lb, 1,000 for 2lbs, etc) and bingo – there’s your new calorie goal for each day.  Easy peasy.

Previous to this, over all these years, I was going on hearsay, probably worked out on averages.  But I’m not average.  I’m a stonking great six foot middle aged woman – there’s not many of those around!

I can do this, the maths tell me I can.  I don’t need to starve, I just need to be clever and organised.  And stay off the wine.  It creates “munchies” right into the next day.

I’m expecting to record another kilo loss by this time next week and every week thereafter, so watch this space …




Lympathic Massage

I indulged myself in the above via a Wowcher offer.  I’d never heard of such a thing but my online research suggested that my recent illnesses/surgeries may have filled my body with toxins that reduced my metabolism.  For £16 it was worth a punt.

It wasn’t the most satisfying of massages – I was lathered with cream, my legs inserted into plastic bags and my body from the waist down was zipped into a pair of inflatable trousers.  It certainly looked like I was in for a serious treatment.  But the massage itself was, for want of a better word, insipid.  Apparently the lymphs are just below the surface of the skin so it would be gentle.  To be honest, it reminded me of the intermittent compression device I was plugged into following surgery.

The metabolism gerbils might well be turning that wheel faster since, but they’ve been very quiet about it.  I did, however, catch up with one of March’s issues of Now, so all was not lost.



My weight loss app is making me fat!

The weight hasn’t shifted in a while.  I have been good, very good, or so I think, rarely indulging and I have been going to the gym, so I did more reading.  The app I am using on my phone keeps awarding me extra calories for the steps I take.  When I input my exercises completed at the gym, it gives me as many as 400 extra calories – an additional complete meal!  That can’t be right! So I’ve reduced my calorie target for the next week to see how I get on.

I want to lose weight quickly, who doesn’t, but  know that’s not the best plan if I want to keep it off.  It’s all about making healthy eating a habit, isn’t it?  I haven’t been counting but I don’t think I’ve been doing this for 66 days yet.

Went clothes shopping with a friend who has lost almost 3 stone recently and is delighted with her new figure.  I’m jealous.

I really want new clothes!!  But not yet.  Not until at least I’ve passed my new first goal of 2 stone (28lbs/12.7kg).

But I will make that skirt or dress or top with my gold crinkle pleat fabric, I need something to keep me going.  I just need to find a few more hours in the day.

More weight loss – go me!!

3 kilos, to be exact. Or 6.61387lbs in real money.

Obviously, I’m delighted. I celebrated with a Sunday morning workout. Not words I expected ever to come from me!

I’ve cut out an enormous quantity of carbs in the last few days – I’m not a fad diet kind of person but even I realised I eat far too many spuds and slices of toast and too few proteins.

I have some lovely creamy gold crinkle pleat fabric that I plan to make something fab with for a night on the town with my husband of almost 24 years. God love him!! If my sewing creation looks better than a sack of potatoes, I’ll  share a photo.




via Daily Prompt: Reprieve

A stay of execution?

Or thinking time?

I go for thinking time. With my two children, every reprieve equals an opportunity to think.  Does that naughty  behaviour deserve a stringent punishment or is it the child’s chance to digest his surroundings and reactions?

With tomorrow being a big day in Northern Ireland’s history, ie its first Learning Disability Pride Day, I’m willing to put behind me the pint of milk thrown over me, the sofa, cushions and laptop for want of understanding why No 1 had to raise his large glass of milk after my telling him it was being rationed for breakfast.

Hopefully a few learning hours that there are no rules regarding what my boys understand.  The laptop is dead.  Probably never to be resuscitated.  But I’m typing on a sturdy Dell circa 2010 courtesy of my father in law, all is not lost.

Are we going to LDP or not?  Husband is determined not.  May McFettridge, pantomime dame and general cringe-worthy NI “celebratory”  is leading the charge.  Good point David, May is off the scale.

Corrado and Sam have no idea who May is. Thankfully.  Thunder and lightening permitting, I’ll see you in Carrickfergus tomorrow at 11 am.









I will survive!

via Daily Prompt: Survive

This is definitely giving away my age!

I was 13 when this song hit the charts for Gloria Gaynor in 1979 but it remained a disco staple right through the 1980s.  Handbags on the floor, girls in a circle, arms in the air, feet shuffling, it was a great icebreaker to get the dancing going.

The 1980s was a fantastic decade, I can’t fault it for fun.  I did my exams, left school, got my first job, went on my first holiday abroad and passed my driving test … but the first thing I think about when the 1980s are mentioned is fun on the dancefloor, fun with fashion, big hair and going to loads and loads of live pop concerts (we didn’t call them gigs then).

I survived the 1980s – even if the ozone layer didn’t with the quantity of hairspray consumed!



Impression – are you impressed?

via Daily Prompt: Impression

What’s your impression of me when you see my smiling ugly mug?

My own impression of me is based on what I see in the mirror – too tall, bulky and awkward.  I don’t impress myself.  I prefer not to look in the mirror, I prefer not to see photographs of me, I prefer living in the bubble in which I’m still 22 and tall and elegant (!!), fit and healthy, long flowing locks and able to participate in the annual 7-a-side football tournament my employers hosted.  In shorts!  Those were the days and I still get the shock of my life now when I see me walking towards me, reflected in glass doors – that’s not me anymore!

fat me




That’s how I felt just over 24 hours ago when I learnt about the unjustified horrendous attack on thousands of happy, innocent people and children in Manchester.

How can I be part of a human race that initiates and carries out such atrocities? How can I be expected to carry on with my own happy world when so many are grieving?

It’s a survival mechanism, for me to drift. To detach myself from horror while I compute the sheer scale of it and wonder why anyone could possibly justify attacks like this.

I comes from growing up in North Belfast, I guess. I had to protect myself from the mental pain acts of violence caused. I was considered aloof.  My granny told me I was, so it must be true.

I haven’t made the connection before. Adrift and aloof. Now it makes sense. I wasn’t being aloof, I was adrift from the agony the victims were suffering, trying not to be caught up in the tragedy. I needed to focus on keeping things “normal” for my own children.

I do care and I will always care. I just can’t always face reality in the same public way most people do.




When I published my last post, I was brought to the Reader page and the Postaday challenge was top of the list.  I’ve never felt the urge to get involved before but that one word rang all sorts of familiar bells!

I definitely feel unmoored … in my diet, my fitness and my home life.  I allow myself drift off to do the things other people want me to do to the point that I can’t drop my own anchor to do the things I need to do for myself.

I should know better and perhaps I do but how do I put myself first?  Can my family survive it?  Yes!  Would they notice?  Probably not!

I like that word “unmoored” and I’m going to print it on post-its and leave them where I can see them regularly to remind me that I need to stop drifting away from myself.


At last … weight loss!

I’m weighing in kilos.  Not trying to be fancy and European, the scales have stopped displaying stones and pounds!

It’s not an impressive first weigh-in, only 1.5 kilos lost (a smidgeon under 3.5lbs) after all these weeks, but it’s a start in the right direction.  My backside has been severely kicked and I’m knuckling down to more serious weight loss and exercise this week.  No more excuses!

I’m buying no new summer clothes this year, absolutely zero.  There are the other pounds I want to save too.  I’ve tons of fabric in the loft awaiting the elusive spare time to create my own clothing as and when I need it.  I might even do a feature on it (does anybody want to borrow two unruly children for a month so I can bond with my sewing machine?).

So, my auction bargain.  I picked up this almost-new Davina exercise bike for a tenner! It’s perfect because it folds down nicely and, even better, the kids love it!  My two boys can’t get enough exercise.  They’re never at home – Mum’s Taxi has them out playing tag rugby, swimming, horse riding or doing athletics or they’re playing outdoors with their friends.  Now they can cycle all evening to release any tiny grains of energy they may have left.  To my shame, I haven’t perched on the saddle myself yet.

exercise bike

Next time … back to delicious recipes.

Comfort food at its best

Butternut Squash Tortellini with Spinach and Basil

I haven’t tracked down mint scented candles yet but the earlier nights (by my standards) are working out ok.  Windows are open but there’s barely a breeze.

I’ve also been forced to give up wine!  My body is rejecting it – seriously.  Recently, even a small glass of wine in the evening has had me up an hour after bedtime with terrible heartburn followed by the grape juice hitting the porcelain.  Apologies if that’s too much information.  So it’s green tea and NIW‘s finest product for me only.

I took a craving for an old favourite low-cal meal and tried to fight that urge because making pasta is such a faff.  But I had actually forgotten that this recipe wasn’t for “real” pasta that most tv chefs are so precious about, it’s simply seasoned flour and boiling water and you don’t even use a pasta machine!  I just love oven roasted butternut squash and with the red onions (also carmelised in the oven), spinach, basil and half fat creme fraiche, it’s a simple but very delicious and satisfying meal.  I had the leftovers for dinner the next day.  It’s a big hit with the rest of the family too (minus the spinach for No 2 son). Happy – and hopefully slimmer – tummies.

We have also recently enjoyed Chilli Salad Bowls, which is the only way we ever eat chilli now.  Of course I omit the meat in my own portion but, I promise you, it’s gorgeous that way!

Recipes are from the first in the Hairy Dieter series of books.


Next time … weigh-in and my latest auction bargain.