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!



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 …




No rest for the wicked!

Another busy activity weekend. When am I ever going to get a lie-in??  Are those days over for good?

The boys have swimming lessons at 8.45 am at the Valley and they have a birthday party this afternoon at 3pm. We were supposed to collect our new hedge trimmers from Lisburn but David’s still snoring and sounds like he’s no intentions of getting up anytime soon!  I’m happy to let him get on with it – he was out last night and it must be months since he did. We had peace to watch the X Factor last night, snuggled up on the sofa without the remote snatcher flicking channels during the breaks!

But while the cat’s away, the meeces will play!! The kids and I decided to treat ourselves to a meal at the Harmony Chinese in Glengormley. I’m not a big fan of Chinese restaurant food, it has to be said. The vegetarian dishes are almost an afterthought.  The boys loved it. Corrado had honey chilli chicken (they didn’t have the beef version he asked for), Sam was boring and had “chicken balls” and chips and I had to settle for salt and chilli vegetable chow mien. My tofu version was substituted because they didn’t have any tofu! The noodles were nice but the vegetables were all welded together in a claggy lump.  However, all was not lost – we had two very well behaved children at our table (is dad the real messer in restaurants?? lol!) and they even got to feed the koi carp in the fish tanks – the staff were very indulgent 😀  No photos – duh – left the mobile charging in the car which was parked too far away to go back to!

Up to Ballyclare immediately after for Corrado’s tag rugby training and it was a great session – the first they’ve played under the floodlights, which seem to make the whole hour great fun! Sam even joined in by having a separate practice session with two volunteer coaches and his wee friend Sam G.

Oh, I almost forgot ME! I got the wig attended to yesterday morning. I had a home hair dye malfunction a few weeks ago when I bought a colour that was much darker than I was used to. It was so dark, it was almost blue-black! It faded with time and now that school is back I had time to go back to the professionals to get it done properly. I had also intended to get a short back and sides (well, shorter anyway) but then decided to work with my natural wavy hair and keep it just below chin length and get it thinned out to allow me to dry it “au natural” without it looking like a hedge that hasn’t been trimmed all summer.  No selfies though, I should have taken one yesterday but I’ve slept on it now and it’s a completely different style now! Katie is doing a good job at looking like me yesterday – good woman Kate!

This is how my hair looked leaving the salon yesterday. Unfortunately they couldn't do anything this good with the rest of me!
This is how my hair looked leaving the salon yesterday. Unfortunately they couldn’t do anything this good with the rest of me!

So last night is bound to have an impact on the diet – I helped Sam out with his chips and then took the bad look off Corrado’s plate by clearing off some of the giant rice portion. I did resist the biccies with my rugby coffee though!

I am going to be saintly for the rest of the weekend though. There’s an extra rugby training session tomorrow at Ballymena RFC from 10am, so another early weekend start. No time for traditional fry up or indulgent croissants with “proper” coffee. Standing around and periodically clapping and cheering will distract me from any “hard done by” feelings 😀

Am I on track for another 1.5lbs off this week to stick to my mini-goal? I think I am, but sometimes those scales are just so rude to me.

images (4)


Hello strangers!

No long explanations, no excuses, no platitudes, no nonsense. I’m back on the blog and I’m going to lose some weight – again!

I really believe winter is my season because that’s when I get my motivation to shift the pounds. I know it’s not winter yet – in fact it seems that summer is back – but I’m going to get a head start.  Before next summer arrives, I will be at my perfect weight so the habits will be ingrained. I will be fit and active and able for the NINE WEEKS (yes people outside Northern Ireland you read it right!!) school summer break and the odd ice cream or egg mayo sandwich on the beach will burn itself off after a quick jog after the kids on their scooters.

Today I am standing at 210.6lbs. Not good. I have yoyo’d up and down but by announcing my weight to the world (well, my little world inside Mullan Towers) I will yoyo no more. I will only bounce one way – down to 180lbs.  My healthy weight on the BMI calculator is actually 170lbs but I’m not sure I should be that skinny at my age.

In the meantime I need a mini-goal.

I celebrate my 48th birthday on 27th October. My goal is to be 200lbs on that day – just 6 weeks away. Not difficult, as it is only 1 . 5lbs a week, or thereabouts.

If I achieve that mini-goal I will deserve a mega treat. I think I’d like a new dress (or outfit) for my birthday celebrations – nothing from the sales rails either!! Must start my window shopping (excited)!

Weight goals

I’m not good at me-time. I have a guilt complex about taking time off from allowing the house to fall down around me (it does that anyway, despite the number of hours I put into trying to keep it tidy!). But by writing it down I feel I have to carry it through. Or David will kick my backside.

I have some exercise planned for this week too – no more trying to pass off ironing as lifting heavy weights or pushing the trolley round Tesco as a 3 mile jog.

Not sure what’s involved, but I am going to school today to do Playball with the boys. This is going to be on every Monday for about 5 weeks. Surely that sounds like exercise? If it isn’t the workout I think it might be, I will definitely be tackling the weeds in the back garden when I get home. That will certainly be an upper body workout – the garden was very neglected this summer so the roots of those weeds will be trying to pull me into the ground!

I made a rod for my own back last Tuesday by allowing the kids to travel to school on their scooters, it was so much fun (according to them) we have to do it every week. That’s the day we do Art Club in school and, as it’s at 9am, there’s no point in them going on the school bus if I’m going to get there before them. So they scooter and I walk fast(ish) after them – 2.6 miles and then I walk/stagger (uphill) home again. 5.2 miles isn’t bad for a fast walk, in my book.

But what about eating? I haven’t organised that yet. As soon as I’m done here, the books are coming out and the planning will begin. Some old favourites from the Hairy Bikers first two diet books, no doubt, but I’m going to mix in some we haven’t yet tried (not that many though!). This will tide us over until the new book is published next month – can’t wait!  If you haven’t heard, where have you been??

I love the title because it’s what David and I always say to the boys when they finish a meal with clean plates!

good eating

Really looking forward to the new book to get new recipes and to hopefully see my name inside it!!  I contributed a short paragraph about the Hairy Dieters and can’t wait to see if they actually use it.

That’ll have to do for now. Phew! I’ve been putting this off for ages, didn’t think I could actually start writing about myself again but now I’ve started, I’m beginning to feel my mojo coming back 😀

I’ve pinned a copy of this to my dressing table mirror …


I’m a grumpy old moo :)

No apologies, no regrets, no recriminations. I haven’t blogged in ages and I’ve gained weight. Not good. But no point in beating myself up about it!

Yeah, I’m a grumpy old moo but I am slowly getting out of the grumps, so bear with me!!

A few weeks ago I took to my bed (in a Premier Inn during our Easter break) with flu like symptoms and felt very very miserable. Night sweats, aches from head to toe and so tired I even slept through the kids fighting! Poor David, he was left to referee, entertain the kids and be nurse to me. What really p***ed me off was I got the flu jab at the start of the winter! Trust me.

It was a lovely break, we enjoyed Diggerland, the London Eye,10 pin bowling, lots of zipping about in our hired Fiat 500 (such excitement!) and too much eating out. The kittens (I can’t keep calling them that – they’re gigantic now!) had a luxury break of their own with Catherine in Ballymoney – how those furry rascals were spoiled rotten!

On our return, our GP diagnosed me with not the flu but an upper kidney infection and I was given antibiotics to sort it out. But unfortunately the following day David found me with a very red face and talking gibberish (more so than usual) – my temperature was through the roof, so off I went to A&E. Blood pressure was very low and I was put on a drip for fluids and a change of antibiotics. I was waiting for a hospital bed to be allocated when the kids arrived and suddenly my temperature dropped and my blood pressure returned to a sort-of normal reading so I was allowed home – hooray! Poor Dr Padraig was subjected to a machine gun fire rate of questions from the curious twosome so perhaps that also helped to hasten my discharge from hospital!

To cut a long story/illness short, another day at hospital and then slowly I started to feel better. I am now back to almost full health (but the continuing tiredness is a curse) and am determined to lose the 7lbs I gained in last 3 weeks. I am also determined to get rid of the Everest height ironing mountain that has accumulated and hope to do that tomorrow. Some of it anyway.

I reclaimed my kitchen last Monday and since then the weight has started to slowly drop off again. But I have to confess, I did enjoy not having to do the shopping and cooking for so long – David is a great cook but portion control isn’t his thing!

Last night I cooked up a curry feast that was delicious and low-cal. I’m testing my recipes to enter the latest Hairy Bikers competition to have a recipe published in their next book! That is my perfect prize (apart from getting the 6 numbers up in the Lotto). I’ve settled for an aubergine, tomato and black onion seed curry that is only 209 calories per serving. I’ve been making this for years and it’s evolved in that time – hopefully it’s not too personal to my own tastes and it’s a runner in the competition! Aubergine is such an under-rated and underused meat alternative, especially in curries. Restaurants don’t use it enough and when was the last time it was top of your shopping list? It’s a beautiful looking vegetable, it’s the perfect colour for my dream car (I’ve only got as far as the colour so far). LOL! I’m such an aubergine bore!

The ingredients for my aubergine curry - look at those colours!
The ingredients for my aubergine curry – look at those colours!

On the subject of colour, Northern Ireland went pink-mad this weekend for the Giro d’Italia. A world-famous cycle race. Apparently. Before it came here, I’d never heard of it! Nor could I get up any enthusiasm for the thrills and spills of such an event. So, apart from having my photograph taken with a pink horse, I ignored it all. I’m just being honest – I did the whole Olympic torch relay watching thing, regularly go to see the runners of the Belfast Marathon (not this year, was busy being ill), have enjoyed watching cars whiz by on the Circuit of Ireland but this cycling thing didn’t float my boat. Sorry!! But do you know what would have got my interest? Italian food!!  There wasn’t a mention of it – the councils painted everything on the route bright pink but nobody (that I heard of) did anything about promoting what most people know most about Italy – its food! Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise, I still have all that gained blubber to lose!

I also have a pink bicycle!
A pink horse – of course!


Weigh-in tomorrow. Yikes! I did do a mid-week check and I had lost some but it was a weekend of indulgence – fermented grape juice featured a lot!

PS In April I was privileged to be asked to review the Hairy Dieters range of sauces. I published 3 reviews – read about them on Facebook.

PPS I also took a massive step and revealed my pre-diet and current weights It wasn’t easy and I admit I was very emotional typing that piece.

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!

I’m only 90% the woman I used to be!

The diet is going brilliantly this week – even the exercise part! At last, I’m moving!!  Not “proper” exercise though, today’s was wallpapering Sam’s bedroom. The day before was scraping off the old paper. I was on a roll (no pun intended) and didn’t want to stop for lunch, so I had a Tesco’s Light Choices lentil soup in a cup – a great standby for such occasions. I was up and down that step ladder so often, it was better than a step aerobics class! Occasionally (as I’m tall) I stretched rather than go up the steps – now that’s what I call a workout.

I was happy enough on Monday morning when I did my weigh-in and recorded 1.6lbs off in my Hairy Bikers Diet Club diary. But on Tuesday I had another peek at my weight on the scales and I had shifted another 1.4lbs – giving me the exact amount I needed to reach my 10% target – I was tickled pink 😀 and gave myself a huge pat on the back! It’s taken nearly 4 months but it’s been worth it. I think I have finally broken bad habits and my healthy eating is becoming “normal” for me. In one day I chalked up 19 portions of vegetables and 6 of fruit! That is an unusual day though, my average is about 7 veg and 3 fruit.

I had an event on Monday evening to look forward to – #blogtools, a fundraiser for the Belfast Community Gospel Choir. It was really great! Avril (School Gate Style) and Gemma-Louise (That Belfast Girl) bravely stood up in front of a group of new bloggers, like myself, and told us all the tricks of the trade on how to run a successful blog. I learned so much that it’s going to take a while to start using some of the tools I made a note of. I managed to resist the delicious looking cupcakes and the glasses of fizz and settled for sparkling water.

The venue was a great little shop, Maven, on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. I’d never heard of it but I will be back – it was full of all those lovely home items we all want to own but don’t know it yet! In the meantime, I’m “rocking” (as fashion bloggers say) a Maven shopping bag which is definitely a bit more up market from the plastic Asda one I previously carried in my handbag to avoid those pesky carrier bag levies.bag

Cooking has been a bit erratic this week. It’s the decorating, I am determined to get it done and unfortunately some things have to give. However, I haven’t abandoned my good work completely, I am still keeping everything delicious and nutritious! I cobbled together an old favourite – Aubergine Imam. It’s easy to do, just requires time to bake it so the aubergine is soft and the flavours mingle. I’ll post the recipe in a day or two when I work out the calories, but I know it’s quite low. It may not look like much but it is delicious. That and Aubergine Parmigiana are two of my favourite veggie dishes. For the men in my life I made Meatloaf with spicy tomato sauce. David and Corrado loved it but Sam just wasn’t in the mood. He’s the child who eats chillies without flinching, but it was the meatloaf with it’s telltale vegetable bits that he didn’t want. (Memo to self – put his version in the food processor next time!).  Both dishes were served with Greek salad (baked beans for Sam), including Feta “light”. My craving was satisfied. My diet was happy too.

Aubergine Imam and Greek Salad
Aubergine Imam and Greek Salad
Hairy Dieters "Eat for Life" Meatloaf
Hairy Dieters “Eat for Life” Meatloaf

No weight loss this week but I have a plan!

I’ve been avoiding posting here. I am so frustrated/confused/cross or maybe I’m just missing something, but after a week when I reduced my calorie intake because I was unable to exercise (try exercising when your nose resembles a burst water main or your head feels like it’s found that safe place you hid the cotton balls from the kittens), I lost no weight at all. Nothing. In fact, worse than nothing – I gained. A whole half a pound.

Doesn’t sound like the end of the world and it isn’t, but what is going on? I must be consuming at least half the calories I was before the diet began. And most of the food I ate last week was high fibre – I craved fruit and ate oranges, apples and pears daily.  Not bananas, I read somewhere that they don’t help a runny nose. 

Ah well, it happened. Nothing I can do about it now but learn from it. Or that’s the idea – but what have I learned? Eating low-fat, high fibre and vitamin-packed food doesn’t help you lose weight? That couldn’t be it. Drinking copious amounts of green tea and water makes you heavier? Not likely. So is it the lack of formal exercise? Maybe.

I didn’t exactly lie in bed all day. I still shopped, cooked, cleaned the kitchen, changed the beds, was mum-taxi and did 63 lengths of the bungalow every night chasing Sam back into bed.

The good news is, as of 7pm today, I am starting to feel better. I was surprised myself – 7pm is a very exact time but I was in the kitchen finishing the dishes when I suddenly noticed I hadn’t used a tissue in a whole 10 minutes! I haven’t, 2 hours later, needed one since! 

I’ve got it – the cure for the common cold – eureka! It’s my homemade wheaten bread! Instead of baking the HB skinny lemon cupcakes with drizzly icing I baked a wheaten loaf. A recipe I learned 20 years ago and which hasn’t let me down yet. 

I must get it patented as a medical breakthrough!

If you want my recipe, I will let you have it – it’s simple, quick and very tasty. No yeast required, so it doesn’t need to prove or rest.  I sprinkled black onion seeds on this loaf but I have been known to use poppy seeds, sesame seeds and left it plain. All of them lovely. But be warned, the entire loaf has about 2300 calories! But it’s up to you to decide how thick to cut it – 191 calories in a nice chunky piece (if you divide the loaf into 12 slices).Image

I have a very colourful curry to show you – my Saturday evening meal. As you have probably read already, I don’t “do” quorn so I skipped that particular recipe on my plan and made the Hairy Bikers Fiery Madras. In the book, it’s made with beef. On Saturday night it was made with a variety of fresh veg – sweet potato, red pepper and spinach. And, if I do say so myself, it looked lovely. It was hot though! Unfortunately, just before I started cooking I lost my sense of taste and smell. Very sad when I had such a lovely meal to look forward to. I have saved a portion to enjoy another day when I am fully functional again.Image

After the disastrous weigh-in this morning, I dusted myself down, collected my groceries and started preparing the meals for this week.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

I studied Picasso for A level and didn’t “get” his work but I do get his wise words above.
The eating plan for the week, now that I have studied it in great detail, is actually very simple. The fridge and cupboard are packed with everything I need to achieve my goal. My body is agreeing with me, finally, that it’s time to start exercising properly and my clothes are telling me that all this is worth it.
Frustrated/confused/cross?  Me? Don’t be daft – I’m looking forward to 7am next Monday, the scales will get a shock!

Exercise – makes me sick!

I’ve finally wrestled the laptop off the rest of the family! I could use the PC but it’s not in the room with the cosy fire and comfy sofa.

10 year old just back from an American Wrestling show in a local theatre – it was his Christmas present from Auntie “Tweenie”. They’re both hoarse. And Corrado’s very hungry. He was too excited to have dinner earlier so he’s having an almost-midnight feast. I will probably have an empty fridge by morning.

I’ve been quite good at sticking with the calorie plan but my downfall has to be exercise. I’m definitely not doing enough of that.

I finally removed the cellophane from the pilates dvd I bought a few weeks ago and even played it. I was on the floor about 10 minutes into the warm up exercises when I felt really nauseous. No idea why that happened – allergy to pilates?? I actually felt like that for the rest of the day, and very tired too.  I’m going run the gauntlet of schools swimming sessions at the local pool to start swimming again myself next week. I try to go with the boys but I end up with one or both on the ends of my arms and can’t get any real swimming done! Floating on the lazy river probably doesn’t count.

Some great meals this week.

Thursday night we had the Tangle Pie I made quite a few times in the early days of my weight-loss. Mine had a selection of veg that needed to be used up –  sweet potato, cauliflower, leeks, onion, garlic all in a lovely creamy sauce. Sounds lethal but it’s all skinny stuff!

blog 1Feb14

Last night, being Chinese New Year, Si and Dave had thoughtfully included Asian Steamed Tofu on the menu. I have never been very good with tofu, especially the silken one, it makes a mess of the pan and looks awful on the plate. But this was a great idea – pack the veg in a piece of foil lined with parchment paper with the tofu on top, a spoonful of oyster sauce and some soy, wrap tightly and stick in the oven for 20 minutes. The tofu still managed to look messy but it was 1feb142

Tonight was lentil pasta, but I skipped the lentil.  Too much of it makes my tummy a bit noisy!


Tomorrow we are entertaining the Inlaws to make up for their missing out on Christmas dinner. They have agreed (or was it forced? Corrado can be very persuasive) to celebrate the Chinese New Year with us at home. I haven’t done my prep yet, so it’s going to be a busy morning!

Will let you know how it goes 🙂

Kung hei fat choi!

I have a confession to make … (turn away now if chocolate offends you)

I stuck to the plan today – the whole plan (except the snacks, more on those later)! Even down to grilling the tomatoes to eat with the boiled egg and toast this morning. I think this is the first time ever since starting the plan on 4th January. I kept meaning to, but always came up with a good reason why not. And I quite enjoyed it – I felt very wholesome!

Breakfast was as mentioned, lunch was legume salad (should have taken a photo, it looked so pretty) and dinner was pasta.

But, after me going on yesterday about not going near the biscuit tin, I have a confession to make. After a very frustrating hour trying to open a jammed shut cutlery drawer, I finally opened it and was immediately craving a reward. I tried to satisfy that craving with a pear or an apple but walked straight past the fruit bowl and found two lonely, neglected mini toffee crisps feeling sorry for themselves. So they went to mamma. Washed down with a cup of green tea – does that not help?? I hang my head in shame 😦 .

Another BUT, I still didn’t go over my calorie count for the day. The sensible me agrees that it was still rubbish but the happy me enjoys the memory of it. It doesn’t happen that often these days. Tomorrow, willpower will prevail.

Dinner sounded very strange to me – a takeaway pasta! I’m sure you can get those in London but here in the far reaches of Newtownabbey, takeaway pasta is not something easily found. Anyway, pasta is the quickest meal on the planet to make, so it’s much easier to do it at home. I bought a packet of Giovanni Rana Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini (it was on offer for only £1!) and made a quick sauce using a can of chopped tomatoes, garlic, herbs, lots of black pepper and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. David shared the pasta with me, so it worked out at exactly the right weight for one. Except, I saved over 100 calories by making my own sauce.Image

Perhaps the Hairy Bikers were offering a night off from cooking to those living in the big smoke, but this worked better for me.

I spent my evening at a local auction as I’d seen a nice black leather executive chair that would perfect at the computer desk. I had to sit through the jewellery and art lots before they got to the cheaper items that were in my league! I got the one I wanted for only £4! I had to check it again for rips and tears but no, it was a perfectly lovely looks-like-new, so it was a fantastic bargain! I got bored waiting for lot 343 so I also bought a digital camera – for £6 and it was brand new! I apparently had the option to buy a second one and I apparently must have nodded. So I bought two. Just like that! (But when it came to collecting my booty, the second one had disappeared from its box so I went home with just one). That’s not all – I also bought a swimming pool! That’s what it said on the box – “family sized pool”. The photo on the box is quite impressive, but knowing my luck the people modelling it are a family of smurfs in disguise. Doesn’t matter – the kids are going to love it and, just to be sure, they aren’t going to find out about it before that hot May weekday when they stumble off the school bus demanding to be cooled down.

And, hopefully by then, the new slimmer me will join them in a splash about!

I am a Yoga Master and Yogurt Addict!

I’m having a bit of an argument with the scales. I have the mechanical type in the bathroom and the only problem I have with them is that I’m too far away from the dial to read my weight accurately to the pound! The writing is way too small. So I bought some digital scales. But they weight me about half a stone heavier than the mechanical! Not too much of a big deal – regardless of the actual weight, I have still lost a stone and a pound (if I get hubby to read them for me). But what do I put in my Hairy Bikers Diet Club diary? Then the Wii comes along and contradicts both of them. It doesn’t favour either the mechanical or the digital, it just randomly selects a number from the air. In the last couple of days I have apparently lost 4lb (2 each day) but this is news to the other scales. I think I’ll bite the bullet and use the digital reading, at least I can see what it says! It means that I have no chance to be in the top 100 of the biggest losers chart. But I am a loser, in the best way possible!

Yesterday, I stuck to the plan for the most part.

  • breakfast: toast and peanut butter
  • lunch: cheese and onion toastie
  • dinner: pumpkin couscous

Breakfast was a lovely treat – peanut butter!! Love it but would never have eaten unless instructed!

I felt like I was eating too much bread so I substituted the lunchtime toastie with a small baked potato along with the rest of the recipe (which included a garden salad and fruit for after).

Cheese and onion jacket potato
Cheese and onion jacket potato

I didn’t have pumpkin to make dinner, so I substituted sweet potato (half the quantity because it’s twice as calorific). I could have used butternut squash and had more to eat but I had to buy a bag of sweet potatoes to get one for the recipe at the weekend. It was either that or spend another few quid in petrol going to the bigger supermarkets to buy just one!

The couscous was delicious – I would never have thought of blending yoghurt, cumin and honey together to use as a sauce. That’s another keeper! I was nicely full up after “Pumpkin” Couscous.

Sweet potato couscous
Sweet potato couscous

I spent nearly an hour on the Wii doing yoga and some aerobic exercises. Apparently I’m a yoga master! Who knew?? I am steadier on my big feet than I realised.

Of course I just had to take the easy option this morning and do the yoga again! Uh oh. Big mistake. Yesterday my Wii Fit Age was 24. Today I was 50. That put me off my balance. I gave up and did some hula hooping and stepping instead. (I don’t like the smug way that beardy guy to my Mii’s right looks at me when I’m getting the steps “perfect” – I miss a few and settle for “OK” just to get rid of him!).

Half the woman I really am!
Half the woman I really am!

The menu today didn’t start off well. I just wasn’t in a “breakfast smoothie” mood – I wanted a hot cooked breakfast, it was frosty outside! I made an egg white omelette instead (forgot the shallots, which add a lot to the taste, but it was good and filling anyway).

Lunch sounded good – I had (almost) everything to hand and I love falafels. I left out the tabbouleh and had a dollop of low fat yogurt in the pitta with the falafels instead.

Dinner was perfect too – the whole family was in the mood for a curry. Of course, I do like to make a few adjustments, due to a need to use up what I already have in the cupboard/fridge. Vegetable and chickpea korma became vegetable and mixed bean korma. The recipe included French beans but I finished off a bag of spinach instead. No difference to the nutritional or calorie content.  Or to the taste (for me) – I love spinach in a curry. Oh, and I replaced the spoonful of condensed milk with a spoonful of yogurt. Have I mentioned I like yogurt??

And the best bit? Tonight’s dinner included one glass of white wine! On a school night! It would be rude to substitute that one with anything else. I’m not completely without manners.

Vegetable and Mixed Bean Curry
Vegetable and Mixed Bean Curry with a glass of wine!

So, a busy couple of days and strict following of the calorie plan. Should make good reading on the scales. Whichever ones I use.


Normal service will be resumed …

… tomorrow.

Have had quite an overly busy couple of days.

In summary, the exercising went well yesterday – Riding for the Disabled stint proved more active than anticipated. I was not prepared for the trotting. As I was leading the horse (Bob) I had to trot alongside him. And less of the wisecracks about my tail or teeth!

This was followed by a housework workout and then school pickup because the boys were joining a new club to learn to play rugby. Off I went to trot some more around the extensive grounds of the university while they were at the luxurious indoor 3D pitch. I went back for the last 15 minutes and watched through the spectator window as two very rosy cheeked and grinning little boys were throwing themselves into the game. I did worry about Corrado’s little stick like legs against the more sturdy pins of his team mates and opponents but his speed and agility meant nobody got that close to him!

BUT, and there’s always a BUT. I overdid the calories yesterday. Started off well, the menu was followed to the letter (with exception of the wafer biscuit I had with my coffee in the staff room of the riding school). Breakfast was the lovely crumpets and banana, lunch was mixed bean salad. But dinner was a thin based take-away pizza. I never go to pizza takeaways, they are so expensive! I prefer to make my own. I like knowing how the tomato sauce was made and I like to add herbs to the base.  But maybe portion control wasn’t to exact plan, I sort of lost the plot a bit once the dough started rising. Maybe the measurement was around 9 or 10 inches, but it wasn’t the thinnest base I’ve ever seen! And I didn’t eat half, as directed. The whole lot went down.


No 2 son had appointment this morning and I was finally free at 11.15 am. Rushed home, made beds, did breakfast dishes, fed cats, fed husband (who was working from home for boys getting out of school) and myself and straight out for one hour drive to hospital for an appointment with the pain clinic. Got there with zero minutes to spare but ended up late and puffed out because I didn’t know layout of car park.  Anyway, to cut long story short, came out very disappointed and not pain free as my little fantasy inside my head allowed me to be.

Stopped off at Junction One for a bit of outlet retail therapy (bought myself a fleece at Trespass (don’t judge me!) for Thursdays at the freezing horse place) and home again to the most beautiful of welcomes. Like two little puppies, the kids had missed me being at home for their return. But they cleared off to the golfing range anyway with David to give me a chance to make the dinner 😀

I just wasn’t in a recipe-reading mood so made up my own spiced vegetable soup recipe. I added turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon, which sorts out muscle spasms and is also known for its ability to lower the effects of high fat meals. Last night’s pizza begone! The rest of the ingredients, ie a carrot, a handful of cabbage, 2 broccoli and 1 cauliflower florets, 3 shallots, one garlic glove and a carton of chopped tomatoes were hanging around the fridge begging to be used.

I think I’ve saved enough calories today to allow myself a little indulgence of a mini bottle of Cava.  So much for my dry January, but needs must …


Are Fit Kids the Exception to the Rule Now?

I had a great discussion via Twitter this morning with a group of other dieting adults. It was on the subject of the fitness of children. Alistair tweeted “Is it a myth about unfit kids”?  Of course it is! In my house anyway. My children are extremely fit and healthy, they put me to shame. They have a neurotic mother who worries about their “5 a day” and an indulgent father who allows them to talk him into trips to the sweet shop. On the other hand, they have a lazy mum who allows them to sit in front of the telly when she needs a break and an active dad who happily takes them cycling or to the park for a kick around when he comes home from work. This is what works for us.

I am privileged to be a stay-at-home mum (most of the time!) so I get time to plan activities and meals and I spend a lot of time with the boys, whether they like it or not 😀  I spend my evenings and weekends taxiing them to their sporting events but this has its advantages for me – I get to sit and chat for an hour to other parents and the boys get tired!

So our little Twittering session this morning got me reading up on the subject and I was shocked. The latest figures, for 2011/12, show that 19.2% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11 – Corrado’s age group) were obese and a further 14.7% were overweight. I’m gobsmacked! I know that health conditions and poverty contribute to inability or lack of exercise but I wasn’t prepared for such a high number!  I’m not going to debate the subject, not like the ever-insensitive Katie Hopkins who said “Every fat child lives in the shadow of a fat parent”. I count my blessings that I have two such healthy kids. And I take some of the credit, despite being a fatty Ms Hopkins 😀

School’s back tomorrow! Yay!!

I’m not really a bad mummy, I will miss the little rascals but it will be great to be back in a routine. I’m always ready for the end of each term but even more ready for the start of the next one! I can go to the supermarket without protests, I can make a phone call without being grilled on who I was talking to, I can sit down and have a cup of coffee without someone bouncing on the sofa and many many other such luxuries. The kids miss their little mates too.

And the new exercise regime will begin in earnest. I’m going to dust down the Wii Fit. Well, the weather’s to be awful tomorrow, so I’m not going for a walk or anything daft like that! I’m going to stay in and face the wrath of my Wii trainer who will no doubt say it’s been a while and I’ll feel like a 5 year old caught eating sweets before dinner.

Despite being served and eating a vat of porridge and two rounds of toast for breakfast this morning (notice I didn’t refuse any of it!) it was a good day for eating healthy. I had a garden salad for lunch and restricted myself to 2 teeny weeny jaffa cakes with coffee at my in-laws. They really were tiny! I could have eaten them all (I was given 4 on my own plate) but left 2 for Mr Manners. He would have starved a month or two ago!

For dinner I made the Hairy Dieters’ pork schnitzel (and a Portobello mushroom version for myself) and served it with oven roasted potato chunks, carrots and creamy cabbage (I added a red onion to cabbage and then mixed through a dollop of low fat cream cheese just before serving – delicious). I have to confess to going back to the cooker and helping myself to seconds of the veg, including the creamy cabbage – I hate waste!

Portobello Mushroom Schnitzel with carrots, potatoes roasted with rosemary and creamy cabbage and red onion – about 350 calories

I’ve just sat down after getting schoolbags and uniforms ready for the morning and am currently drinking a cup of green tea and eating an Alpen Strawberry & Yoghurt bar. I think I’ll have a Milky Way tomorrow night.

Sledge building, but alas no snow yet!

Wasn’t difficult getting the two younger members of the family out of their beds this morning – we were booked in to a B&Q workshop to cut, drill, glue and screw together bits of wood to make a sledge and the weather forecast last night suggested there might be snow today! 

I stocked up on energy by having a bowl of porridge, but this wasn’t enough because I then fancied a poached egg because David said he wanted one! A bigger breakfast than usual but at least it wasn’t a croissant or Danish pastry! They used to be my weekend treat breakfast. In the olden days.

The workshop was packed with kids and their parents but Mark, our DIY expert, was very organised and we were soon creating a wood dust cloud and a lot of noise! I supervised Sam and David was paired with Corrado, both boys claiming themselves experts and resisting all “grown up” help. We had a brilliant time and brought home the sturdiest snow gliders I’ve ever seen. But the snow didn’t materialise 😦  It didn’t even sleet or rain!



Back home for lunch (we were much too dusty to be allowed into anywhere that served food!). A batch of salad and ham sandwiches were made and devoured. Well deserved, I think, we worked hard!

I managed to squeeze in a quick look round the new Hairy Bikers Diet Club, which was launched today. I keyed in my details – weight (yikes!), height, age, etc and I was rewarded with a not unrealistic first target weight and timescale. I’m looking forward to Monday (kids go back to school) to have a proper browse through it all and use the shopping list facility linked to the menu options.

I did manage to post a quick “confession” on the forums – I pinched and ate a couple of (large) handfuls of cheesy Wotsits today from the kids’ stash and I enjoyed every polystyrene crunch. I blame David, of course, he bought a giant bag of them last night and didn’t clear up the leftovers!

Thai-style stirf ry with cashews and sticky rice. (Apologies for the poor image, it was letting off a lot of steam!)


p>There was a unanimous vote for the Hairy Dieters’ chicken satay from the second book for tonight’s dinner. We’ve had it before and it was fondly remembered! As I had the ingredients for a Thai stir-fry and a packet of chicken breasts, the chief cook (me) agreed.

I calculated there were close to 300 calories (due to the nuts and coconut milk) in the stir fry plus a wee bit more for the rice (129 apparently). David joined me with a half portion of the veg with his satay chicken and he’s secured the leftovers for his lunch tomorrow!

I’ve entered all my calories in and out and for a Saturday it was quite impressive. I may not have partaken of the high levels of activity recommended but I didn’t settle down to watch Casualty with my usual ginormous glass of wine.

I think I have about 200 calories still to use from today’s allowance.  Is the off licence still open at this hour of the night?



Baking cakes to avoid eating – it works!

With all the warnings of the storms due today, I woke early and headed to the Tesco Metro to stock up with essentials – batteries, tomato soup and caster sugar.

The batteries were for the torches, the tomato soup could be heated up on the single gas burner we keep for such emergencies and  caster sugar to bake a birthday cake. None of it was “essential”, what was important was I got a breath of air before battening down the hatches.

The cake was in the oven before Corrado had finished getting his morning fix of cartoons and long before Sam woke up (he likes his sleep, does our Sam). Ahead of the game – the storms could do their worst, electricity was not needed to decorate it.

Breakfast was a very satisfying scrambled egg with a slice of wholemeal toast, washed down with a green tea. At least it was satisfying until I started reading the Twitter feed and getting involved with reading and posting about favourite Hairy Biker recipes! I tried drinking water, that’s supposed to curb an appetite. It didn’t work.

The boys left bits of croissant on their plates, but I bravely scraped them into the food waste caddy before temptation got the better of me.

The best way to avoid eating? Decorate a cake. Great distraction, especially since I had Corrado alongside me decorating his own smaller version.

Corrado with his Pokemon cake

We sat side by side for a while, quietly spreading buttercream until we were happy that it was smooth enough for the sugarpaste layer. It took a while, we weren’t in any hurry – it was Sam’s turn to get his cartoon fix!

We all took a break – Corrado, me and the cakes. The kittens and Sam needed playtime and were creating a racket in the hall, while they were banned from the kitchen.

Lunch was lentil soup (me) and tomato soup (the boys) – thankfully heated up on the cooker. The storms hadn’t caused any interruption to power.

The afternoon’s entertainment was magic! Both boys had been given magician sets for Christmas and so far we hadn’t learnt any tricks, so today was the day. Scouring through the instructions for an easy one to start with, I amazed Sam with a sleight of hand involving a small ball. He practiced and practiced until he had it perfect. For my next trick, Corrado worked on pulling a rabbit out of a top hat. We were supposed to surprise daddy with a magic show but as soon as he talked through the door he was ambushed and both tricks thrown out at the speed of light! Poor David. I hadn’t warned him!

My Pokemon cake attempt!


It was dinner time and I hadn’t noticed! The afternoon had disappeared – perhaps we cast a spell too many! Cakes finished, rubble cleared away and dinner was a hasty spaghetti arrabbiata made from a tin of cherry tomatoes, an onion, lots of garlic and chilli and only half the previously-normal portion of pasta we would have scoffed pre-diet. Not a Hairy Bikers recipe but based on their advice of more sauce and less pasta. We licked our plates.

Maybe not appetising so close up but it was delicious!

An exciting day tomorrow – we are making sledges in B&Q (Kids Can Do It workshop) in the morning (that’ll keep me away from the bread bin!) and the Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club is launched (that’ll have me throwing the bread bin away!)


Is ironing considered a good workout?

I hope so because that’s all the exercise I’ve had today 🙂

I got up early this morning to make sure Himself (aka hubby David) got up for work. I was full of energy, made his breakfast and fed the kittens, even had a cup of green tea myself! But as soon as I waved him off and Corrado stumbled into our bedroom with Biscuit over his shoulder, I was ready for another sleep.

Off the two of them went to do a bit of male bonding while Rosie stayed with me to keep my toes warm. After a lovely hour’s fitful snoring (I’m sure) I was wakened by the sound of space invaders in my left ear. It was Sam playing a “matching” game on his iPod. He was in his new Christmas fleecy onesie from Eleanor and Paul (I’m starting to rely on you guys – I didn’t bother buying any this year!!) and still smelt of mint choc chip bubble bath from last night. What a welcome to the morning! He grinned down at me while Corrado literally tumbled into the room juggling two kittens.

I’d taken a risk and asked the kids again what they wanted to do today. Bless their little polyester socks, they just wanted to stay home and play with the fur balls that are Rosie and Biscuit. But mummy needed a bit of natural daylight so they voted for a window seat at Pizza Hut! Genius, the kids’ buffet is only £3.99 and will fill them for the day. I tried to be good.  This is what I ordered for myself …


but I didn’t starve. I knew I wouldn’t.  Corrado and Sam love the idea of the salad buffet and enough pizza to fill your boots, but they usually end up just eating the pasta. So I ate lots of rejected grated carrot, raisins, pickles, jalapenos and pizza crust (which was enhanced with the jalapenos). Was upset that I didn’t get a go at the spinach pasta, but it wasn’t my day. (It’s not that nice, tastes of flour but it looks good!). I’m not being stingey by not ordering my own meal, but I don’t care for the PH salads and their pastas are humongous calories each. I did drink all my water though 🙂

We were supposed to go to the cinema to see Frozen after but Corrado had overindulged and was feeling pukey and Sam had brain freeze from an overdose of icecream, those plans were urgently reviewed.

I wasn’t going to suffer that on my own, so shared the burden with my parents and, bonus, my older sister who called in after shopping. Sam finds it hard to break a habit but today’s chocolate chip cookie at granny’s wasn’t finished, despite his gallant efforts.

By the time we got home and David returned from work (he was early – the fool that he is!) it was time to make the evening meal. There was a small stuffed duck that needed to be used up (a bargain post-Christmas find at Tesco) so I put Corrado to work preparing baby potatoes and parsnips to serve with it. There were peas and samphire too, but they didn’t need his help. I have no clue how many calories I fed David tonight, but I was happy that I wasn’t very hungry and made myself a plate of champ. The favoured comfort food for the population of Northern Ireland.

The Hairy Dieters have a recipe for it, but whilst I celebrate that because every nationality should enjoy champ, I followed my own method (I was brought up on potatoes and scallions!) and resisted the tradition to make a well and add a heart-stopping dollop of butter.

I didn’t deny myself the lovely samphire though, I piled the champ high on top of a generous helping! Tip: no need to season the spuds (except with a grating of black pepper), the samphire is salty enough.


What am I thinking – I almost forgot to share the good news! Despite my misgivings about our apparent overindulgence this past week, neither David nor I put on any weight! Weigh-in was a successful “maintenance” – ie the same as last week! Who’d have thunk it?

Happy happy us! And a happy new year’s celebration tomorrow night – we will be indulging in a little charging of our glasses (we dare not break with tradition) but it will be our last for a while. My challenge is to wait for my 2 stone celebration, however David wants to take it further and give it up forever (or until he discovers that bottle of Captain Morgan’s he got as a Christmas gift – neither of us has tried it but how long can we keep saying that? I want to open it now!!).

Where was I – oh yes, ironing. As I did nothing more than press pedals on the car and bending to empty the dishwasher today, I felt obliged to have clean clothes for the family tomorrow by doing a bit of an ironing workout. I stuck with it for the whole of “Doggy Styling” (what the heck??) as light entertainment but as soon as Dobby the Giesha was announced the winner, I felt the need to sit down and take a reality check.

Speaking of light entertainment, I clicked a link to a casting call for two new models for Height Goddess (I qualify for the height bit, being 5’11.5″ inches tall) and laughed when the maximum dress size was 10. The US size 10, mind you, but even then is that realistic for a healthy woman of 5’9″ –  6’1″? Maybe. In a year’s time! They kindly don’t mention an upper age limit. @kenco_al is a great one for boosting confidence and @daisys82 is another tall mama (but closer to the Height Goddess criteria than I am!) so we had a bit of fun with going for the job.

As my 10 year old son would say “dream on kiddo”.

Happy new year’s eve tomorrow!


    1999: I will get my weight down below 180.
    2000: I will watch my calories until I get below 190.
    2001: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200.
    2002: I will try to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.
    2003: I will work out 5 days a week.
    2004: I will work out 3 days a week.
    2005: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

You will never believe what I did or didn’t do today – I completely forgot to weigh myself first thing this morning! Mondays are my weigh-in day and first thing in the morning before breakfast. But, because it wasn’t a school day and it felt like a Saturday, I didn’t realise I should have been on those scales holding my breath!

Ah well. I did step onto the scales of doom around midday and they showed the same weight as last week – hooray! That’s the best I was hoping for but it wasn’t the exact science of being measured at the same time every 7 days. Could I have been 3 ounces lighter 5 hours previous?? I’ll put it down as zero gain/zero loss. Not bad after all I consumed on Saturday night.

Only 2 more sleeps until we see how good or bad we’ve been this year. I’ve been good – honest! I am so looking forward to Wednesday, for the first time ever we aren’t planning on stepping over the threshold, unless it’s to give Sam a go on his new bike (if Santa has one for him, of course!).

We’re having my mother- and father-in law down for Christmas day. It’ll be our first year celebrating without our darling Linda, who enjoyed Christmas as much as any child. It was all about the wall-to-wall movies and exploring those mysterious packages under the tree. It will be a day of mixed emotions but we were all delighted with the tribute she was given in the Camphill News.


The in-laws aren’t big fans of turkey, but they love honey-glazed gammon. I’m quite excited about cooking – I haven’t had that privilege in many many years. My menu is planned down to the very minute – I suppose it brings out the control freak in me, timings are what I thrive on! In control of my own kitchen, I can produce a schedule that involves lots of timers going off to jolt my failing memory/time judgment that it’s time to do the next step.

To balance all that out, the table setting will be relaxed and designed by Corrado (but will include matching cutlery and stemware!), the meat can relax as long as it likes and a blind eye will be turned to those who do not want to eat their 5-a-day. I know I didn’t want to fill up on the veg when I was 8 or 10, the only food group I was loyal to then was the selection box.

After lunch today, it was action stations – we zoomed up the road to Ballymoney to make our pre-Christmas visits.

We came out of the Elliotts with wrapped surprises for the new kittens and then went on to the Kinnairds where our kids were indulged in hide-and-seek.

On the way home we called into Sainsbury’s for a bottle of Sloe Gin, because I needed some for my puddings. It wasn’t the bun-fight I was expecting, there was no need to sharpen my elbows and I shopped and paid for that vital ingredient in record breaking time.

The excitement of the build-up is impacting on the appetites of the kids – they didn’t want dinner tonight but were quite keen on knowing what sweet treats were available for afterwards.  They were forced to eat some pasta carbonara 🙂 (quick, no thinking and a sure-thing with the boys)  while I cooked up a chickpea spice-fest for the adults after the kids were packed off to bed.

I’m guessing, but the chickpea curry could not contain more than 450 calories per portion. I can’t see where the fat was, apart from the slightest drizzle of oil to fry off the onions and spices. The rice was the biggest culprit in the calorie count, but it was boiled with green lentils so has the mythical protein celebrated by vegan nutritionists. Apart from all that, it was delicious, a tad fiery, the individual spices gave their own hit and overall it was very comforting. It was my own recipe of spices but I think it was excellent!

Cathy's Chickpea Curry
Cathy’s Chickpea Curry

chickpea joke