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 …



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.









4 times in 6 days – I’m hooked!

So far so good, going to the gym hasn’t turned into a chore yet.  It will, no doubt, at some stage soon, but in the meantime I’m actually enjoying it and look forward to the following visit.

I haven’t had a personal exercise plan done up for me yet, I’m still motoring through the exercises Andrea suggested on my first day, but I’ve increased the resistance and/or the repetitions.  I was so engrossed in Fat Families (go the Haddrens – great results!) I had power-walked for 11 minutes on the treadmill – I’ve always hated the treadmill – without realising.

I ache in many places but it’s “good” pain.

The scales remain propped up against the wall, I don’t want to risk demotivating myself with no weightloss.  But muscle weighs more than fat, yes?  Can I have added muscle after such a short time?  Dunno, but if I weigh myself on Tuesday and I’m not happy with the reading, I’ll blame the muscle.

I bought myself one of those knock-off FitBits.  To be honest, the real thing would be wasted on me.  I just want to know how many steps I’m taking.  Apparently I walked the equivalent of 15km today.  I’m going to need new shoes (any excuse!)

I did order that lycra fabric but with the weather so good, the sewing will have to wait!

images (1)

Next time … more sleep = more weight loss?


My delivery of mojo hasn’t arrived yet this morning.  I’m having a coffee right now to try and get a plan together but now Frank’s snuggled up beside me, I may forget half the list that’s forming in my head.

For the first time this week I didn’t get up with the alarm and bounce out for a walk with the puggy.  Not bad going, seeing as I only just started this new routine on Monday.  I was a bit unwell in the night – nuts!  I must research the subject.  I’m not allergic but I ate some last night while watching some late night telly (the healthy kind – no salt or other flavourings) and an hour into my sleep I was up getting rid of my tasty snack.  This happened about 2 weeks ago too – the last time I ate nuts.  I’m reluctant to look online actually, if I’m advised to go to my GP I might be confused for a member of staff, I’ve been at the surgery so often lately!

Have we listened to the Paul McKenna CD yet?  Nah!  The best laid plans are always a prompt for the kids to laugh in the face of organisation.  Wheezy chests and slight fevers aren’t going-to-bed-early-to-listen-to-hypnotis-cd friendly.  Next Monday, David says, after the Bank Holiday.  Sounds like a (dare I say it) plan!




It’s been THAT long??

Here I am, not sure if I’m back on the blog regularly, still deciding but giving it a go.  It’s been a difficult year or so with the deaths of two very important ladies in the family and increasing challenges in other departments, including a year of living with a very painful hernia and finally surgery in November.

Unfortunately all the weightloss is a distant memory (but thankfully the pain is almost a distant memory too).  Comfort eating, lack of exercise due to pain, and lots of other reasons/excuses but this weekend had me at the lowest I’ve been (not weight!) and things can only get better?

So, out with the old and in with the new regime.

A few weeks ago I tried to hypnotise myself into eating less, but I don’t think it’s worked!  I’m going to try again tonight, with hubby, using the Paul McKenna CD.

Oh, and I haven’t yet introduced you to my new baby!  Meet Frank (photo from St Patrick’s day last month), who is 8 and a half months old.  He’s as gorgeous as he looks.

Frank St Pats Day 2017


New Year, New Diet Fun!

I delayed the start of my planned diet to this week – I just wasn’t ready to give up all my favourite things!

To liven things up I’ve decided to have a bit of fun with the big supermarkets and use their healthy online recipes to plan my weekly menus and shopping.

So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’ll stick to one supermarket each week and use their websites to plan my menu, shop for the ingredients, judge the recipes by ease of preparation/cooking, how they tasted and, how much it all cost and most important of all, how much weight I lose each week! Oh, and Twitter will feature too – I’d love some “chat” with the stores.

Completely unscientific, probably not very well thought through and all opinions my own and not to be taken too seriously 🙂




Come Diet With Me

Where on earth did the last 10 days go? I can’t believe I went that long without blogging! I can’t understand why I haven’t, it just happened but I’m here now and have a lot to tell you, so I’ll get on with it and try and keep it brief!

So, St Patrick’s Day didn’t do the diet any good. Well, I made up for it! On Monday this week I nearly fell off the scales when they displayed such a tiny total weight which equalled 4.4lbs off!! Crikey. Definitely didn’t reckon on that.  Not sure what caused that. I did suffer a few days of mouth ulcers which may have put me off my food a bit, but I hadn’t noticed. I was super active (well, more active than usual) getting long-put-off jobs done around the house and getting bits and bobs ready for Sam’s birthday.

4.4lbs might sound like such a brilliant success for one week, but when I keyed it in to the Hairy Bikers Diet Club diary I was reminded that, at this stage, I should not be losing that amount in one week, it’s not healthy. I knew that, but tried to enjoy the moment anyway! I hadn’t realised that regular weight loss at that level can lead to liver damage but I did know that rapid reductions usually resulted in quicker gains.  I’m not going to be making a habit of it – certainly not this week anyway. I have been distracted and not that interested in dieting and I’m going round in circles with that one – fed up = bad eating habits = fed up. Now that I’ve written it down, I’m mentally giving myself a good old hard kick up the bum. I hang my head in shame.

Tomorrow is another day and a good one at that. Not only is it closer to the weekend but I have an early appointment to get my hair cut and coloured. That’s bound to give me a boost – it always does. Two hours of sitting still, reading magazines, drinking coffee and walking out with a shiny mane – it always put a spring in my step.  And that’s not all – I have a great night out to look forward to. Miranda Hart at the Odyssey in Belfast. That is “what I call” a good day. Back to me, back to me … (if you haven’t seen her tv show, that’s wasted on you!).

Thank goodness for my smart phone, otherwise I wouldn’t remember anything of the recent past – here’s a summary of my week/10 days.

My first Come Diet With Me - a bit of fun on Twitter organised by Hannah Hadwin #comedietwithme
My first Come Diet With Me – a bit of fun on Twitter organised by Hannah Hadwin #comedietwithme. Chosen for me by another Come Diet club member, this is Spicy Vegetable and Bean Stew and it was delicious, if I say so myself 🙂
The leftovers were used to make Chilli Salad Bowls the next day. Delicious.
The leftovers were used to make Chilli Salad Bowls the next day. Delicious.
This week's Come Diet - Moussaka from Hairy Dieters Eat for Life - made with red lentils instead of minced lamb
This week’s Come Diet – Moussaka from Hairy Dieters Eat for Life – made with red lentils instead of minced lamb
Tonight's dinner Mushroom Risotto with asparagus and a teeny weeny smidgeon of Parmesan
Tonight’s dinner Mushroom Risotto with asparagus and a teeny weeny smidgeon of Parmesan
Confession time - I ate the lot. And I enjoyed every one of them!
Confession time – I ate the lot. And I enjoyed every one of them!

Our little Sam turned 9 last Saturday. He is so grown up now – far too fast for me! He’s really into sea lions at the moment and the theme followed through his birthday – a cake, present, card – all sea lions! It was quite disturbing decorating a cake with dark grey sugar paste – cakes are supposed to be cheery! That was the cake he brought into school to celebrate with his friends. His teacher told me later that she made the mistake of naming the cake Steve the Sea Lion. She was a bit squeamish later when it was time to divide it up!!


We went go-karting for the birthday treat and it was a white knuckle ride (for me). I am not confident sitting so close to the ground being chased by a 9 and 10 year old in control of a petrol engine!, never mind being overtaken 400 times by the biggest child of all – my 48 year old husband! Actually, it was brilliant fun but unnerving to see how competitive those boys can get!

Sam being chased by me!
Sam being chased by me!
And the winners are ...
And the winners are …

Then on to Cosmo for birthday eats. The kids love it there. I find it uncomfortable – too many choices, everybody disappears to explore the too-many food choices and nobody sits down to eat at the same time as anyone else! But Sam enjoyed it, that’s all that matters. And to keep everyone company (honest, that’s why I did it!) I had a range of mini desserts, pictured above.

I’ll tell you more about Come Diet With Me next time – it’s great craic and it’s getting so competitive with food presentation!


Happy St Patrick’s Day!


The aftermath of celebrating was not so happy for me – I think it was my first gain on the scales since the diet began!!  Two pounds, can you believe it?  Actually, I can. I had a very naughty couple of days when I ate and drank until I was merry. I don’t regret a single morsel or tipple. It’s good to kick up your heels once in a while. I’ll just have to work doubly hard this week to shift it and then some. My goal for this time next week is 2lb+ of a loss. Maybe a tad ambitious but I do intend having a busy active week!

We had a child-free afternoon, night and morning on Saturday/Sunday (thank you so much, Paul and Eleanor). So we celebrated, as one does, by heading out to our favourite Indian restaurant and uncorking a bottle or two as well. We hadn’t been there in ages, with this dieting lark and delicious curry recipes in both Hairy Bikers diet books stopping us. But as we were seated at our little table for two (luxury!) our waiter greeted us with “long time since you were last here, where are the boys?”  We usually go everywhere as a package. Corrado always pours over the menu then orders chicken tikka masala and Sam gets chicken korma and they both share the side dishes of tarka dhal and chana rice. We’re a bit predictable like that! Without the kids to help us with our lentils and chickpeas, we decided to share a main course but order the sides too. With a naan bread. Rude not to. We managed to finish whole sentences, didn’t have to worry about glasses toppling over and there was no kicking under the table. But we did miss the little darlings. Kinda.


So that was one of the pounds from the gain accounted for.

Yesterday (Sunday) was St Patrick’s Day Eve. A traditional day to celebrate (or it should be!). We usually meet, as a family, at a hotel bar on 17th March and the kids run mad, pester us to have their faces painted and the adults drown their shamrock in Guinness. But this year we were invited to a party at my sister’s house (the older sibling – there are 5 of us) as she was celebrating getting a new job, which started today. So that saved the green face paint argument (the kids are allergic but don’t care!).

Pound number two. Marion had gone to so much trouble to cater for everybody that I had to put my Mrs Manners head on and eat all round me.

But you’d think with all the exercise I was getting, those pounds wouldn’t have dared to hang around. Cheeky beggars.

I spent my quiet afternoon in Sam’s bedroom with drill and screwdriver making him a new bed. Not a flat-pack. Oh no, that would be too simple! He had cupboards but needed a new bed that wasn’t bent almost in two from his jumping on it. So, as it’s a small room, I decided to build over the cupboards. I measured about 400 times and finally plucked up the courage to go to B&Q and get all the materials – they cut the board to size so that was the job half done. A few false starts (thank goodness for reverse gear on the electric screwdriver!) but I enjoyed myself and, if I say so myself, it wasn’t a bad first attempt! So I think I earned my curry 🙂  Image

I hope you have been over on the Hairy Bikers Diet Club Facebook page this week? I’ve been posting my favourite (Northern) Irish recipes. Actually, they’re not all my favourite (no lamb stew for me!) but our local cuisine is so easy to make, it should be more widely broadcast! I made myself a big plate of Champ for tonight’s dinner and the boys had a mini Ulster Fry with homemade potato farls, cut into shamrock shapes.

Left: Champ (mashed potatoes with scallions/spring onions and – yes – that is real butter!). Right: Shamrock shaped potato farls cooking on a floured griddle pan.

So, for the last time this year – Happy St Patrick’s Day! raises her cup of tea Slainte!

Another pound bites the dust :)

After the week I had, I honestly expected to gain weight but my lovely happy bathroom scales were very kind and decided to reduce the numbers by another 1.4lbs! The M&Ms didn’t do me a pick of harm, nor did the wine the girls made me drink on Friday night (ok, they didn’t MAKE me, but it would have been lonely for Karen M to drink on her own! I’m a compassionate sort of person ;-p). After that shock, I knew I was on the right diet. I have always known – I love food and this plan only allows you to eat lovely food! But this confirmed that I have to go on. Onwards and downwards.

The weekend was a busy one. After the boys’ swimming lessons, we travelled to Omagh for a tree-planting service in memory of my beautiful sister-in-law, who died last May. Her fellow villagers and co-workers in Camphill Community thought long and hard about the right plant for Linda and chose a beautiful pink Camillia, which represented her delicacy and femininity. I was so proud that Corrado and Sam worked together to plant the shrub, they took it in turns with the spade and holding the Camellia upright. They loved their Auntie and they feel so at home in Linda’s old community, as does everyone who visits. Thank you, Gusta, if you’re reading this. For everything. And thank you to the co-worker who made that delicious chocolate cake – it must have been calorie-free, it didn’t damage my diet at all!

It was a happy occasion but unfortunately there was also sad news on Saturday. My cousin, Maura, who was the same age as me, died after a short illness. She and my sister, Christine, were admitted to the same hospital on the same day, but thankfully Christine was discharged today after having her gallbladder removed. Maura’s funeral was today and the sun was shining through a foggy haze which made the occasion even more surreal.

If anything, this past week has reinforced my determination to get fit and healthy again. But life is too short for faddy diets and boring gyms. I enjoy my varied and scrummy meals on the Hairy Biker Diet and I get plenty of exercise with all the decorating and running around after the boys – not to mention side-walking or leading horses with the rider trotting! It’ll do for now 🙂

So, what have I been eating this week? I’ve been sticking ridgidly to the “plan” (except for the suggested avocado on toast this morning, couldn’t face it) and discovered some delicious new recipes. Monday’s dinner was Red Curry. I was supposed to use Quorn but, as you know, I avoid it at all costs (except sausages, sometimes they’re ok). There was a good variety of veggies already included in the recipe but I added a sweet potato as a substitute for the Quorn. The strangest ingredient of all was included – evaporated milk. I’ve used it in the Hairy Bikers curries before but I still find it strange that it can be used as a coconut milk alternative. It normally works out ok but this time it seemed to split. I followed the recipe so I can’t understand what happened. Any suggestions?

Vegetarian Thai Red Curry made with evaporated milk!
Vegetarian Thai Red Curry made with evaporated milk!

Last night it was Cauliflower and Pea soup. Didn’t sound very exciting, but I thought I’d give it a try. It was beautiful. Even Sam wanted some – he normally faints at the sight of a pea! After a bowl of the soup, I told him how many vegetables were in it and he shrugged. Wow! I got Sam to eat leeks, peas, cauliflower, onion, garlic and potato and he shrugged? Guess who’s going to be making that as an after-school snack on a regular basis?

Cauliflower and pea soup. Sam's version didn't have chives on top - that's a step too far!
Cauliflower and pea soup. Sam’s version didn’t have chives on top – that’s a step too far!

And tonight I made Butternut and Bean and Feta Salad. The instructions were a bit vague about how to chop the butternut squash/pumpkin (eg chunks, diced, grate) so I went for something between chunks and diced.  Probably smaller would have been better because it took longer to cook and I burnt the onions and mushrooms a bit (perfect for me, I like those two vegetables a bit well done anyway but not so photogenic). I didn’t allow the cooked vegetables to cool down before adding it to the salad and I definitely like it this way – spinach likes to be a bit wilted, in my opinion and the steam from the butternut squash did a lovely job of doing just that. I was stuffed afterwards, definitely a low-cal meal for a hungry day!

A hot and cold salad that will fill you up
A hot and cold salad that will fill you up

I wasn’t at all jealous of my “colleagues” in the Hairy Bikers facebook admin – they spent Monday and Tuesday hobnobbing with Si and Dave at different book signings. Yes I was!!! Hairy Bikers Diet Club Facebook – look at the fun they were having while I was changing beds and cleaning floors 😦  Not fair!!  But I was wearing my limited edition Asian Adventures tour t-shirt, which I received in the post on Saturday, so that kind of helps. While you’re over there on Facebook, have a wee look at my recipes for St Patrick’s Day food ideas – they’re basic, home cooked meals that we were brought up on. I’m going to add a new one every day until 17th March, when I will be “drowning my shamrock”. That reminds me, must dig out something green to wear on Monday – if I still have something that fits!

Pancakes are the new cupcakes!

It’s been a funny old week. The weather doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing, it changes its mind so often and I seem to be taking my lead from it.

I sort of binned the diet for a day or two. I had so many cravings and hunger pangs that I was struggling to keep cooking the delicious fresh meals I’ve been so used to and enjoying. Peanuts were one such “need” and not the healthy red skinned peanuts that have so much medicinal value. Oh no. If I have a craving it’s usually for something that is not healthy. I wanted Peanut M&Ms. And chocolate raisins. I couldn’t help myself, I shoved handful after handful into my mouth and enjoyed every crunch, every calorie, every yummy chocolately morsel.

But I’m over that phase now, thankfully it didn’t last long and I’m back to wanting delicious fruit and vegetables.  For my lunch today, I demolished a salad with a variety of seed sprouts and a teeny weeny jacket potato. I also finished off the strawberries from Pancake Tuesday by making a tasty smoothie for breakfast.

I received a phone call from a TV producer who was interested in including my Free Cakes for Kids work in a programme he was making. It all sounded very exciting except for one thing, I haven’t actually started it yet. It’s been on the long finger for a while and I was full of great intentions when I first signed up to do it but I sort of got caught up in other stuff and … ok, I’m making excuses. To cut a long story short, this was the kick up the bum I needed and I have rallied a couple of good friends and we’re meeting tonight to discuss it all.

Being on the telly isn’t something that has ever been an ambition of mine. I didn’t even have a video made of my wedding! I hate my voice and I don’t like to see all my annoying mannerisms on the screen! And there’s also the common belief that television adds 10lbs. So, no thank you 🙂

We had  a great Shrove Tuesday. I made a few sample pancakes for the boys and allowed the pans to cool and they tossed them all over the kitchen. Sam thought it hilarious to bounce his off the ceiling and Corrado’s did a good job of cleaning the floor. I made my usual buttermilk pancakes, which aren’t too calorific, and managed to stop at one for myself. The rest were eaten like the kids were in a race. You’d think I’d starved them for a week!

No one noticed the jam was missing!
No one noticed the jam was missing!
Me with my little helpers
Me with my little helpers
Cat pancake
Cat pancake
Polar Bear Pancake
Polar Bear Pancake
And sensible me's fruity-licious pancake
And sensible me’s fruity-licious pancake

As you can see, we like to play with our food. Cupcakes are so over – pancakes are the trendy sweet treat! The fruit and sweets were put to good use and we had great fun deciding and creating our masterpieces.  (And yes m’lord, those are the peanut M&Ms and chocolate raisins that committed the crime against my diet).

We made an old favourite last night – Argentinean Style Steak from the Hairy Dieters’ Eat for Life book. I finally found low-fat Halloumi cheese in the supermarket and used 2 slices in place of the steak for my own version. As usual, the chimichurri sauce was a feast of flavours – fresh, sharp and spicy. The cheese wasn’t so good – it was all squeak (as Halloumi does) and no flavour. It didn’t cook as well as it’s higher calorie counterpart, it remained hard all the way through instead of having a soft middle and crispy fried outside.  Next time, I’ll buy the regular version and just cut thinner slices.

Argentinean Style (Halloumi) Steak
Argentinean Style (Halloumi) Steak
And the original recipe, made for hubby with frying steak
And the original recipe, made for hubby with frying steak

Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Make your own curry and take away the pounds!

I’m in the minority, I know, but I’m so glad it’s Monday tomorrow! A new week after a long weekend of tummy bugs and fractious children can only be a good thing.

It was curry night on Friday night – normally something Corrado looks forward to but not this week. The poor wee man was feeling ill and sorry for himself and he was in extreme pain. When he woke me up in the middle of the night, he was stooped over and flinching with every step. Off we trotted to the out of hours GP service, first time for him as he’s rarely sick enough for a doctor to be needed. Gastroenteritis. And apparently there is a lot of it “going around”. This has never happened to us before – my kids are usually immune from bugs other kids suffer in phases like this. They get the cold but that’s about it. I suppose I have been smug long enough! As a result, he missed his precious swimming lesson yesterday (Sam went to his and that caused more upset in the sick bay) and today’s Special Olympics training event. This didn’t go down well, he’s sports-mad (playing, never watching). But, judging by his mood tonight and his muscle flexing with the little dumb bells he uses, he’s recovered. Thank goodness, his sad face was tripping us all up!

So the curry. I posted on the Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club Facebook page to ask about others’ weekend treats – takeaway or microwave meals. I was delighted with the responses that the easy recipes from the Hairy Dieters’ two books were the popular option. I cooked the Chicken Bhuna for David and made my own recipe Chickpea Masala. Except it was Mixed Bean Masala (I’ll add the recipe when I get a minute), seeing as I didn’t check the tins in the cupboard properly before starting! It was an acceptable substitute though! Both recipes went down well and both were a fraction of the calories and a heck of a lot more nutritious than a typical takeaway. And they didn’t take as long as pouring over the menu, making a decision, phoning through an order, driving down to collect, waiting in the queue, open wallet surgery and driving back home again. Cost-wise we got four times the meals (three of each safely frozen for another day) for about half the money! Result – pounds off the weight and pounds added to the housekeeping tin 😀

Hairy Dieters' Chicken Bhuna from Eat for Life book
Hairy Dieters’ Chicken Bhuna from Eat for Life book
Mixed Bean Masala made just the way I like it - lots of ginger, garlic, chilli and cinnamon sticks.
Mixed Bean Masala made just the way I like it – lots of ginger, garlic, chilli and cinnamon sticks.

And exercise – I got a lot of that free this week too! Who needs gym membership when you can keep an adult propped up on a fast walking horse for half an hour and then go to Jump Jiggle and Jive for 60 minutes of dancing, running and generally making a show of yourself to amuse your 8 year old son! It was billed by school as a family learning event suitable for all levels of fitness. Ha! Last time I believe that nonsense! Started off dancing with a cane, so I got lulled into a false sense of security. Then we were sprinting around the school gym, touching our toes, more running, stretching, running again, pretend-driving, cheer leading with pompoms and, at last, lying on a soft blanket in the dark for 3 minutes. Thank goodness it wasn’t longer, I would have needed the tin man’s oil can to get moving again! Help! It’s on again for another 3 weeks – can I come up with a good enough excuse not to?? No, of course not, the grin on Sam’s face was the best bit about it. ♥

When I brought the boys to their rugby training later that afternoon, Mum needed to run an urgent message. It was really urgent – I lay down in the car and nursed my sore bits for an hour. Well, I’m an old lady (according to the little darlings) and old ladies weren’t designed for such levels of activity!

So, if this decrepit body can lever itself out of bed in the morning, I’ll be weighing myself as usual, seeing as it’s Monday and this time I expect good results. I didn’t go through all that for nothing!