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

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

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

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

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

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


skinny cathy


Recalculating …

Da da da ………

I have lost a STAGGERING


Or 19 pounds

Or 1 stone 5 pounds

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

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

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

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


Lympathic Massage

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

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

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



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 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.


Lazy weekend – I shouldn’t have, but I did!

The plans for the weekend were discussed with the kids at great length and they both votes for “lazy days” and Corrado was determined he was not changing out of his pyjamas at all over the two days! Well, we did have a lie in of sorts on Saturday morning, I didn’t climb out of my bed until well after the postie had delivered but the kids were up too early as usual.  Corrado at silly o’clock (around 6.30 am) and Sam at 8-ish. The kittens amused them until David calmed them down with breakfast and I eventually got up.

Surprise surprise, Corrado was not in his nightwear – he was layered up and ready to play with his friend down the street. It was a sunny day, so why not? David’s lazy day plan included cleaning and polishing both our cars (yay, exercise!) and Sam cycled up and down, up and down, up and down our 8-bungalow cul de sac. So it was quite a noise-free house 😀

I waited just to make sure I was not going to be interrupted and then when it was quiet for long enough, I started baking a birthday cake for my sister. The baking bit went well, but that’s the easy bit. I love decorating cakes but only if the conditions are right – ie no interruptions or dealing with squabbles, doors letting in gusts of arctic cold and kids wanting to lick the bowl or “have a go” (ie throw the decorations at the cake and say they made it all). I should have done what I normally do and waited until they were in bed. However, I was lulled into a false sense of security. As soon as I started rolling the sugarpaste, in they came “mum, he looked at me”, “mum, can I have a snack?”, “mum, can Rebecca play in my room?”, “mum, can I lick the bowl?”, etc etc. I gave up immediately my plan to make the perfect cake with intricate beading and designs. Instead I cut out random heart shapes (Rebecca’s idea) and slapped them onto the poorly-iced cake. Ah, well, it’s only for family and it’ll taste the same!Image

David had made me a breakfast feast of two toasted pancakes (the crumpet supplies had evaporated) with chopped banana and honey. Lovely. Not too calorific compared to breakfasts I used to enjoy on a Saturday morning.

Lunch, if I was following the plan properly, was supposed to be “left over vegetable soup” from Friday but I forgot that bit and had blended it up for Sam’s and Corrado’s lunch (it looked like tomato soup and Sam was none the wiser!). So I made a hasty carrot, leek and ginger soup (with onion, garlic and fresh coriander in it too). I’ve stumbled on a winner there – it was gorgeous! David loved it too, and he’s not a soup fan. We had a slice of homemade multi-grain bread too.

I have a great food mixer with a dough hook and baking bread is now a pleasure, kneading is contracted out to the kitchen gadget and it’s done and ready for resting* in 5 minutes. I don’t have to get my hands sticky now! I did use to have a breadmaker but got bored with the tall loaf with the gaping hole in the bottom!

*I always take my queue from the dough – I rest too 😀

I had to read last night’s dinner recipe a few times – it sounded rather odd! Sweet Potato Flat Pizza. Hmmm. It looked rather big too, when it was finally cooked. I doubted myself but, yes, it was right! Who was I to argue? I ate it all and I was full up, really full up. I had a small garden salad on the side for variety. I think the next time I make it, I’ll reduce the portion size and increase the salad, it was that filling! I’m still doubting myself that I read the recipe correctly! One medium sweet potato, diced, a whole red pepper, sliced and FOUR tablespoons of cheese! It was a great combination of flavours and textures though (and colours – colourful food is important to me). I’d forgotten how much I love toasted pinenuts too – hope there’s more of those in the recipes soon!Image

Today, Sunday, it was miserable and dark outside, so none of us felt like doing much. I made breakfast (grilled mushrooms, tomato and a poached egg with one slice of my lovely bread) then David lit the fire in the living room, I made coffee and we all sat in front of the fire companionably doing our separate things together. I finished a good book on my Kindle, Corrado played with the kittens, Sam raced cars on the PS3 and David surfed t’internet for cars he isn’t allowed to buy.

We gathered at my parents’ this afternoon for my sister’s birthday and we had far too many party nibbles and cake. She didn’t seem to mind that her cake was a bit slapdash. It did taste the same. David said so – he had two slices. I had a tiny sample slice in my role as chief poison taster.

By the time we got home, nobody was hungry for dinner. The kids just wanted a hot cross bun and glass of milk. David and I just had hummus and tzatziki left over from last night, with crunchy vegetables and a chunk of low-fat feta.Image

I don’t think that will save me. Tomorrow’s weigh-in is definitely going to be tear-jerking. I have had a few sneaky goes at the scales this week and they have shown two gains and two same-as-last-week weights. I don’t understand it, maybe I’m not reading the recipes correctly but I thought I was following the plan (mostly!) Doesn’t matter, it won’t dampen my motivation. Onwards and downwards!

Wii are going mad!

My face was glued to the pillow this morning. Even the annoying alarm couldn’t motivate me to move enough to turn it off. I blame this exercise lark. My body is not happy with me. It’s used to having its own way and moving at a slower pace. But no more, Mrs Body! I’m over-ruling you on this one – I’m carrying on and you will thank me one day. (Fingers crossed!).

Once I got the kitchen to myself at breakfast time, I made my first egg white omelette. I’ve always scoffed at those Hollywood types who lived on them, it was an insult to the hen! So I wasn’t convinced, but went ahead because I’ve committed myself to giving this eating plan a go.

I usually shy away from omelettes anyway, simply because I’m rubbish at making them.  I would be good on Saturday Kitchen though – my efforts usually look like those sorry examples at the end of the weekly omelette challenge! As usual, it fell apart when I tipped it out of the pan but it was starting to brown on the bottom and I was afraid of burning it, which I normally do. But, it tasted lovely. In fact, more than lovely.

By the power of Twitter, I now know how to make an omelette properly. Thank you Daisy! I will try again on Friday, the next time it appears on my menu plan.

But what to do with the separated egg yolks? Such a waste! I’ve decided to use them in a recipe for the boys – maybe to glaze sausage rolls or to make custard. I’ve seen Nigella freeze leftover egg but have never done it. I’ve found a number of ways, via Google, to do it so if I don’t get round to using the yolks by the morning, I’ll copy one of those ideas.

And what did my new BFF the Wii Fit bendy board say this morning? He’s gone mad, seriously. In the space of a day I’ve lost another 3lb. If he is to be believed, I’ve lost 5lb since Monday. Such nonsense! The bathroom scales are a bit more serious about it all and have only removed 0.6lb from my weekly starting weight. I think I’ll skip the daily body test and just go straight to work on firming up my wobbly bits! No point in getting my hopes up 😀

Nothing to do with the blog - just a cute interlude. Biscuit with the dolly Santa brought him.
Nothing to do with the blog – just a cute interlude. Biscuit with the dolly Santa brought him.

I decided to skip the suggested lunch recipe of “topless cheese and pickle sandwich” – I was trying to squeeze a lot into my day and I didn’t want to create more washing up! I had a tin of vegetable soup – obviously not a patch on homemade – which, along with a handful of trail mix (after, not in the soup), set me up for the afternoon.

I had completely forgotten it was Wednesday and was delighted when my organic fruit and veg box arrived.  Within 10 seconds of the front door closing, I was halfway through a delicious juicy pear. I do hope they never go out of season – supermarket pears just aren’t the same! I have only recently been converted to eating pears, perhaps because I’d only bought those hard nobbly ones from the fruit aisle in Tesco or Asda. I think they’re now my favourite fruit.

The evening meal on the plan was for a vegetarian sausage pasta. I’d never thought of putting a Linda McCartney vegetarian sausage in with pasta before. I used to think I was an adventurous cook but I’ve learnt so many new combinations of ingredients since starting this diet. The kids weren’t on for the fake sausages, so I chopped up a chorizo and fried it before adding it to the tomato sauce and pasta. Went down like snow off a ditch!

veg sausage pasta

I wonder will my BFF tell me I’ve dropped a stone in the morning?? 😀

(Update: I discovered the Wii balance board was sitting slightly on the trim of the rug – so obviously not balanced!)

Why can’t you tease egg whites? Because they can’t take a yolk! 

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.

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

Can you diet and enjoy Christmas?

That's me, the one in the red dress beside the photo-bombing guy in the mankini!
That’s me, the one in the red dress beside the photo-bombing guy in the mankini!

Of course you can!

Unless you are in a race to win “The Biggest Loser”, there’s no reason why you have to give up the diet, or even not start, in December. Just lower your sights and, at worst, go for “no gain” at this tempting time.

Find the right eating plan and you can do it.  For me it’s all about portion size and a kick up the backside. This is what attracted me to the Hairy Diet in the first place – reading the recipes, you wouldn’t know you were dieting. (To me) the secret is heeding the portion size. If the recipe says “serves 4” and you’re only cooking for yourself, you need to have 3 storage boxes lined up beside your plate ready for dividing up the end result. It becomes second nature after doing this a few times and then you realise the benefits – after a couple of weeks of industrious cooking and variety, you can take the next few weeks off and reap the benefits of those freezer portions. Sometimes the flavours develop in the cooling process or the texture changes for the better – last week’s moussaka is a perfect example.

Anyway, getting back to Christmas. Last night, I went to a Christmas Party Night, much loved of office workers and other large groups. It was a typical hotel function – book food in advance, have it served as soon as you sit down, everything cleared away and the loud music begins. We were the “Cathy Mullan Party”, as the laminated A4 table display told us! I do wish I’d thought of a better booking name. We could have been the “Putting the World to Rights” or the “GIPSies” after the school our children have in common. The world was our lobster.

The vegetarian choice wasn’t much of a choice and, to my constant exasperation, it bore no relation to the season or traditional menu.  It was spinach and ricotta cannelloni, which is the perfect pub grub for me – garlic bread and salad on the side. But I do love Christmas veg – carrots, roasties, mash, Brussels sprouts. Luckily for me, the server offered a side plate and a bit of everything from her silver tray. I ate that first – it was very well cooked, slightly al dente (except the mash and roasties) and still brightly coloured. The pasta was OK, but it was just fuel to me.  The side salad had no business on the table, it wouldn’t be served on Christmas Day in our house!

Festive pasta!
Festive pasta!
Five pepper-Corn Rib Eye rib eye of beef cooked in a five pepper-corn crust - really?
Karen M: Five pepper-Corn Rib Eye
rib eye of beef cooked in a five pepper-corn crust – really?
Roast turkey with a bread stuffing served with all the trimmings and a roast gravy
Karen H: Roast turkey with a bread stuffing served with all
the trimmings and a roast gravy

Memo to Christmas party venues: the vegetarian likes to celebrate the season too – allow him/her to enjoy the vegetables that are traditional for December! An old fashioned nut roast or similar with a tasty sauce would be perfect. Makes us feel less “look at me, I’m making a point here”.

I haven’t eaten that much pasta in a long while so by the time the dessert was served (my choice was raspberry ruffle cheesecake) I was full up. I couldn’t do it justice, sadly.corrs cheesecake

The rest of the night was good craic – the people watching from our vantage point of a table on the side of the dance floor was great fun. As Karen M posted on Facebook “I have never seen so many bald men in one place”!! And they weren’t just groups of bald men, they were bald men in Christmas jumpers! Their counterparts, the Christmas Party Women, were in a uniform of short black dresses, bare legs and platform shiny shoes. Whether they fitted into their outfits or not! Meow!

I’m no oil painting myself, so I am qualified to judge – ladies, you let the side down. Haven’t you seen the foundation underwear displays in M&S? The good news, from what was on display last night, is that cellulite is a fashion accessory these days!  Brilliant! I have enough if anybody needs some!  Karen H and I were the only women in longer dresses – did we miss a memo?

We danced along with DJ Robbie Magee but didn’t reckon on the cabaret singer first – it was cheesy but in a fun way!

We might have eaten about 3 million calories each but we worked off at least 50% of that during one dance – Baggy Trousers (Madness). We deadpanned the traditional dad-dancing style to that tune but didn’t reckon on the full-body workout it gave us! I couldn’t speak for 10 minutes after!! Karen H, I do hope you have deleted that video!

The good news is that I went home semi-sober at 1.30 am and when awakened by the two kids and two kittens this morning, I was able to lift my head without wincing and actually smile, despite the cone shaped hair on top of my  head.

Corrado suggested we all drink some extra vitamins to make sure we weren’t sick on Christmas morning, so I got the juicer out and we clinked our glasses full of carrot, apple and ginger juice. A force to be reckoned with – I was like the Duracell bunny for hours!juiceI’m under no false illusions about weigh-in tomorrow. I have overdone the quantities in the last day or so. But I’m hoping for a zero gain at best.

Wish me luck!Funny-Christmas-Jokes-Saying

One more sleep …

… and I dance off the humongous calories I eat tomorrow night at our Christmas Party Night! Can’t wait. I have a new long red dress and a fab bling bling necklace and shoes. It’s our “office” night out – the office being the school gate (until Corrado left in June this year). Karen and Karen better not out-bling me, I will be upset 😀 .  Libby won’t be there, so I will be the oldest swinger in town (yeah Libs, you were supposed to keep me company in the pensioners’ corner!!). 😀

I haven’t done anything yet to prepare, apart from buy the outfit. But I’ve been promised an afternoon of the house to myself to get myself ready. That’ll take 10 minutes and the rest I’ll just sit as hard as I can and chill. I wish I could take longer getting ready but I really haven’t a clue about fake tans, curling my eyelashes and gel nails. I wish I did and I wish I cared enough but maybe when the “new me” is revealed (in 2 stones’ time) I will put more effort into stuff like that!

The kids finished at midday today and I had to collect them for a medical appointment, so this morning was a blur of tidying and clearing out to make room for Santa’s gifts. Sam is a bit of a cuddly toy addict and collects them or is given them everywhere he goes. I filled 6 black bin bags between the boys’ rooms of cuddlies and other toys and stashed them in the loft and so far – 7 hours later – they haven’t noticed anything missing! Apart from the half baked efforts at wallpapering (will finish on 6th January) their rooms are now as sharp as a tack, fresh as a daisy and clean as a whistle.

Bless me Father for I have sinned, this is my sin … I ate a chip butty for my lunch!  I know! And me saving my calories for tomorrow night! But I have been very good all week and have a good feeling that the next weigh-in will be fine – probably zero loss but no backward steps.

Because some silly woman blocked me in at the school car park because she couldn’t get her car past the yellow buses (you could have got an Ulsterbus through the space, sideways) I was stuck in the school car park for 15 minutes longer than plan. We didn’t have time for lunch before our appointment, so we called in at the chippy on the way. Actually, Sam wanted a tuna sandwich from Subway next door to chippy but once I went in with Corrado to buy a burger and chips, I was not leaving without my own. Salty, vinegary, cholesterol raising yumminess.  I did donate the majority to Sam, mind you, I only wanted enough to fill the bap.

The weather didn’t inspire the boys to nag me to play outside so I had a fun “crafty” afternoon with Corrado making a Santa Stop Here sign and upcycling a wooden box into a cat house. Sam was content with back to back episodes of Bananas in Pyjamas while the kittens napped.  I am a bit of a craft geek but can only indulge in it when I’m accompanied.

santa signcat cave

I had planned to make Hairy Dieters’ meatloaf for dinner tonight but the pork mince in the fridge called out to be made into sausage rolls this morning! I was up a wee bit too early (I blame the cats) so had time to indulge the boys in their favourite snack. David did the decent thing and brought the rest into work to stop the family from over-eating.

So I was left with just the beef mince – what to do?  The majority vote was for tacos. Unfortunately. I don’t like tacos – I refer my tortillas soft and wrapped around a smokey selection of veg. Luckily I had those frozen moussakas from the other night, so I stuck one in the oven while I brewed up some tacos.

The lentil moussaka was even better since it was frozen – the texture had improved and the cinnamon flavour was intensified. I loved it.  I served it with a simple rocket salad and really enjoyed it.

I had a photo but it just refuses to upload, getting fed up trying now. Want to have a wee play with the kiddies and kittens before bedtime!



at last … here we go

Second time round vegetarian moussaka!
Second time round vegetarian moussaka!

Kittens, kittens and more kittens :-)

Sorry blog world, I have been neglecting you, but I took a bit of a sabbatical. I have had literally not put my backside on the sofa for longer than 5 minutes at a time since the kittens came along!

The little darlings arrived on Friday afternoon and made themselves at home immediately. My favourite ginger colour suede boots are now theirs, whether I’m wearing them or not! As I couldn’t wait for the school bus to arrive in its own time, I collected the boys myself as a surprise and told them about the cats (they thought the arrival date was Monday!) just as we were pulling into the driveway.

Food hasn’t been much of a consideration this weekend! I have neglected the diet a bit, I have to be honest. Tomorrow’s weigh-in is not going to be a happy occasion 😦

Question: do I allow myself to relax it a bit over the Christmas season or do I keep going, keep strong?  

I think I’ll keep going, as much as I can, anyway. I might have to forgo every meal being cooked fresh because there so many pressures on time. I don’t like the idea of that – ready meals aren’t that tasty and filling. OK, scrub that, no ready meals – but there might be plain uncomplicated meals on the menu like sausages and mash, fishcakes and jacket potatoes, stir fry with rice. Just smaller portions! The easier Hairy Dieter recipes that I’ve made before are also good – the tortilla pizza, easy chicken bake. Just nothing new, where I have to concentrate!

That’s that sorted, I think!

I had an impromptu night out with the girls on Friday to do our Secret Santa gifts – I got a “ring for a drink” bell, which will be well used and, most likely, ignored. And a cracking little mobile phone cover that I have to cross stitch myself! I’ve never done cross-stitching but love a new challenge – especially one where I can sit quietly on the sofa at night with my bell beside me and the fire roaring. Looking forward to that. Thanks Secret Santa!

Back to the new babies – awwwww.  They are adorable.  Rosie is the little tortoiseshell and Biscuit (or Ginger Biscuit to give him his full title) is the ginger one. Rosie is a delicate little lady, tiny compared to her big bruiser of a brother. They are around 16 weeks old and are experts at using the litter tray and keeping the food in their bowls 🙂

At this time of year, we don’t need to buy toys – the lower baubles on the Christmas tree are the perfect playthings! May as well give up trying to keep them away from the tree.  It’s fun to watch!

The human loves putting these back on the tree, so I’ll just keep knocking them off!
What will I buy my mummy for Christmas?
See Mum, I told you it was him! I’m just sitting here keeping out of it.

The boys adore the kittens, although Sam is a bit wary and only handles them with gloves on. Corrado would sneak them up his jumper and bring them to school tomorrow if he had his way!

Auntie Marion has taken Corrado and Sam to Belfast Zoo today for their annual visit to see Santa there, bring clothes for the monkeys to dress up and wrap gifts for the animals. So I’m chilling with hubby and the kittens, catching up with emails, blogs, drinking copious amounts of coffee and watching Sunday Brunch.


Fish(less), chips and mushy peas

We took a right old battering in the UK today with those winds. I don’t like the wind for a number of reasons – it blows in my face (hate that), it wakes the children and it blows the bin over! Well, it did today anyway, didn’t have it close enough against the wall – oops.

Week two of my “job” with Riding for the Disabled went ahead, despite the loud rattling and banging in the arena. The horses were a bit nervous and some of the kids were crying when they arrived but everyone settled down once the lessons got underway (and I might have overdone the star jumps I had them doing to get them warmed up – sorry teachers!).

A baptism of fire for me – I started my “green card” training today (basic training) to work towards getting my trainer’s certificate! And there’s me thinking I was going to be licking envelopes and making tea :).

I had to walk alongside one little totally-blind girl who was a bit jumpy because of the noise the wind was making. We were soon singing

 (that was Corrado’s first nativity play, so I knew all the words!) Now, I’m not the best singer in the world (OK, my voice can strip paint) but we were soon “baa baa grump”-ing our way around with the horse when the wind was at its worst.

I loved it and can’t wait until next Thursday – the Christmas party! We all get to ride in the carriages and meet Santa. Then the trainers all go for lunch to celebrate the end of this term. I’ve landed on my feet with this role!! I am so privileged to be in the position to do volunteer work  – long may it last.

I knew what I wanted for lunch but didn’t have it in the house – a Chinese stir fry. Popped into Tesco on my way home and found a perfect looking bowl of stir-fry veg in the clearance fridge for only 40p, so I used that with a sachet of Blue Dragon Cantonese (surprisingly spicy) sauce (two portions per sachet but I used about two-thirds of it, it was only 120 calories in total and the veggies only had 43 cals in them!).

Cantonese veg stir fry
Cantonese veg stir fry

So I sat with a mini furnace in my happy tummy catching up with my emails before I remembered I’d promised Corrado and Sam I’d make them sausage rolls for their afternoon snack! I had the pastry and sausagemeat ready so it was just a matter of assembling it. Corrado asked for a “really long” sausage roll, so I obliged :).

Boy -v- Food
Boy -v- Food
Sam ate two little ones and one and a half big ones!
Sam ate two little ones and one and a half big ones!

Corrado was doing his Ju Jitsu tonight as he couldn’t make it on Monday and such excitement – forms for the first grading (white belt) were handed out and the big day is 21st December. We have lots of homework to do.

In the meantime, back at the ranch, Sam had the munchies and ate one of the long sausage rolls pictured above along with the half Corrado didn’t finish!  So, Sam, how do you feel about having a yoghurt as your after-school snack tomorrow?

Remind me next time I leave stuff to cool, not to leave it within reach of Sumo Sam!

Eventually sat down to a (Si and Dave turn away now) non-Hairy Dieter recipe! Actually, that’s not 100% true – I made the paprika chips that are included in the Turkey Burger and Chips recipe from the Eat for Life book. We had mushy peas (a recent craving of Corrados) and instead of the breadcrumbed fish pour moi, it was a Meat Free Quarter Pounder. Probably 400 calories in that meal but well worth it – it was the perfect (non) junk food after a busy day. I think I earned it.

Junk food diet-style
Junk food diet-style


Chilli Lemon Tuna and Broccoli Spaghetti – sort of

David didn’t fancy porridge this morning – could he finally be getting fed up with it? It’s only once a day I’m feeding it to the family – it’s not like it’s every meal :D.

So he had a rindless bacon sarnie and I had a couple of slices of toast with a poached egg. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it. The egg was lovely but the toast annoyed me, every mouthful was a chore. (It didn’t occur to me to stop eating it though!) Maybe my body was trying to tell my brain that we don’t do toast anymore, it’s not that nutritious and full of empty calories? Or, more likely, 50/50 bread isn’t nice!

It wasn’t as cold outside as I thought it was going to be today, there was no drastic drop in temperature (according to my meteorological bones), but I still didn’t take any chances and I ignored the garden, which is in desperate need of a tidy up before the predicted high winds arrive. So I stayed indoors and put off house tasks too. I probably spent too much time online today! Loved seeing all the lovely flags from the countries of readers of my blog today. To all the new people, “welcome”! It made me very 😀 😀 😀

So, for lunch I did my Wednesday thing and cleared out the salad drawer in preparation for my organic veg box arriving. I had a rainbow salad – that’s what I decided to call it, I wasn’t following a specific recipe. There was spinach (left from the yummy curry last night), pomegranate, tomatoes, olives, celery and I added a small handful of mixed nuts. I never dress salads, I find it distracts from those lovely textures and flavours, but it wasn’t dry at all. I felt a bit smug afterwards – how pure and healthy am I? LOL!

Cathy's rainbow salad
Cathy’s rainbow salad

That didn’t last, just before it was time to pick the kids up (they wanted me to do it today instead of getting the bus) I sat down with a coffee and scoffed one of Corrado’s new favourite chocolate biscuits – Club Fruit. (If you want a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our Club) A wee trip down memory lane, they were very popular biscuits in the 1970s and 1980s but seem to be making a comeback! Club Milk was my favourite, but Tesco doesn’t do them. I only had a salad for lunch, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it – I didn’t check the calorie count, I hid the wrapper from myself too quickly to check that. But I’m sure it’s not that bad?

Anyway, the obligatory visit to the bakery on the way back from school didn’t tempt me as much this week, maybe the Club did me a favour!

Dinner tonight was pasta. Chilli Lemon Tuna and Broccoli Spaghetti, to be precise. OK, maybe not tuna – I defrosted salmon by mistake. And maybe not spaghetti – I used bucatini. And, I’ll admit I had to use regular round broccoli – there was none of the fancy tenderstem (which is actually nicer because it doesn’t turn to mush if you slightly overcook it). But it was almost the same! Chilli Lemon Salmon and Broccoli Bucatini. Sounds good.

With ...
With …
... without
… without

I had been avoiding cooking pasta – I had no idea how calorific it was until I started reading the labels in early November. But I missed it and this recipe looked fresh and tasty – and spicy. What’s not to like?

For my meat-free version I just had the pasta with chilli oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

It was delicious. I loved the spicy kick from the chilli oil and the crunch of the broccoli along with the softness of the tomatoes and the tang from the lemon. It was superfast to make too – everything was prepped and ready by the time the pasta was cooked.

David loved the salmon. I know that salmon is slightly heavier in calories than tuna but the bucatini is slightly lighter than spaghetti so in my confused head we’re even stevens!

One word of warning – if you haven’t tried bucatini before and your favourite part of a spaghetti meal is to suck it off the plate until the sauce splashes all over your face, this is not the pasta for you. It’s hollow, so not as much fun!


Making animal cupcakes and me a vegetarian!

One month in and I’m a happy hairy dieter! Another 2lb off at weigh-in this morning and couldn’t be more pleased – steady progress is what I want and need to re-educate my body to keep eating tasty food, but less of it :). So, onwards and downwards, hopefully next week I will be awarding myself a “ONE STONE OFF” certificate (must start designing one – or should I just use a twenty pound note instead?).

Needed sustenance this morning, it was going to be a difficult and busy day. Porridge was the answer and it kept me going through to lunch with no bother.

Went to the funeral and it was, as these things are, surreal and emotional.

It was a bitter cold day so I was pleased to be offered a warming coffee on arrival at the wake and then a bowl of piping hot vegetable soup. It hit the spot. My older sister, Marion, insisted I eat the last two dainty triangle egg and onion sandwiches. I know my place so I did as I was told ;-).

Next up was a drive across town to school for a cupcake decorating workshop with Sam. As always, Mrs Dickson and Mrs Hamilton were very organised and I was embarrassed when I thought of own kitchen chaos when I do a bit of cake decorating! But thankfully Mrs D and Mrs H have never seen my kitchen so I can pretend I’m as organised as they are!

It wasn’t Christmas cupcakes, as my poor memory thought, it was animal cupcakes. This was right up Sam’s street – cute animals.

I wasn’t surprised when the kids filed into the home economics room and Sam was holding up a new cuddly toy like a precious trophy – it was the school (pre-loved) toy and other stuff fair today and he had gone to school with some pennies burning a hole in his hand. This new member of the family was a green elephant. Every home needs one. He’s also acquired a battery operated plastic microwave.

I’ll tell you about Corrado’s purchases tomorrow. #WhyDidTheyThinkThatWasAGoodItemToSell?

So, animal cupcakes – where to start? So many animals, only 6 cakes. In the end, we came home with a polar bear (who’d have thunk it?), horse, frog, zebra, tiger and pig. Jane Asher eat your heart out – my boy’s good!

Steady hand
Steady hand

Such concentration!
Such concentration!
Ta da!
Ta da!

I might have licked my fingers a few times (after I’d finished of course – I do have a food hygiene certificate, don’t you know!) and might have eaten the frog with a cup of tea after my dinner but look at that wee face (Sam’s not the frog’s), how could I not? He was so proud.

Dinner tonight was a “whatever’s in the fridge” meal, I had not the time nor the inclination to follow a recipe. The rest of the roast beef from yesterday was used (this time I dug the Yorkshires out of the freezer) and I chopped and roasted every vegetable left in the kitchen – butternut squash, onion, leek, a red pepper, cherry tomatoes, baby potatoes with a sprinkling of dried thyme and loads of pepper. Forgot to add a few garlic cloves, but it was still a nice selection and easy to do. I didn’t do a beef-alternative for myself, wasn’t in the mood. So no photos of our evening meal today!

No Ju Jitsu for Corrado either – I was feeling a bit of soreness after being on my feet so long and he was tired after an eventful day anyway. Just a nice cosy night in. 🙂

I’m off now to plan the rest of the week’s menu – looking forward to that – and then tucking myself in early with the Kindle – I’ll be asleep before the second page.