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


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

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

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



Sleep, Exercise and Weight Loss

Sleep.  Yes please.  I’d love more but at the moment that’s not so easy.  If left to my own devices, I’d win gold at the Sleeping Olympics, but the brighter nights are playing havoc with the kids’ bedtimes.

With the gorgeous weather we’re having, there are more efforts made to wear them out. We are hopeful of getting more sleep soon.

I’m eagerly researching the topic of sleep for weight loss and I like the simplicity of the explanation from Men’s Fitness (which I assume works for both men and women!!). Genes probably do play a role in my current weight.  I was very slim in my early twenties and, thinking back, I went to the gym and was usually in bed by 11pm on a work night and at weekends I more often had brunch than breakfast!

After reading about the subject on Eat This,  I’m on the look out for mint scented candles; will have a serious word with myself about late night snacks, no matter how healthy; and will keep the bedroom windows open every night, no matter the weather.

I’m getting plenty of exercise with the gym most days, walking the dog and DIY, I have been eating less so sleep is the next step in the new healthier me.

Night night!



Next time … Back to Hairy Dieter (Hairy Bikers) recipes

No pain no gain … and no coffee!

Oh my goodness. I am sore in places I didn’t know I had! But I’m not whining about it – it’s good! It means the garden work I did yesterday does count as proper exercise :).


I pulled, dug, planted, painted (sheds), tidied but it wasn’t enough. I have more to do tomorrow. It’s definitely a good way to lose track of time too. I went in to make a cup of coffee for myself, thinking it was about 11am but it was 1.30pm!!  Not a dish was washed, nor a bed made, never mind my leisurely menu planning. I made a quick sandwich, guzzled a pint of water and opened How to Love Food and Lose Weight (aka “the first book”) at the pasta section and realised I’d never made the Chilli Lemon Tuna and Broccoli Spaghetti! It looked easy, quick and delicious and therefore ticked all the boxes for shopping and cooking as I didn’t have the time or energy left to luxuriate in choices and creating.

My version
As presented by me last night in Mullan Towers
The photo in the book
As presented by the professionals in How to Love Food and Lose Weight

I substituted the tuna with 2 large flat chestnut mushrooms and prepared them in the same way I did David’s tuna steak, except I cooked them longer.  I was delighted with my dish looking almost exactly like the recipe book photograph :D.  Better than that – it was delicious! Maybe I wouldn’t bother with the mushrooms next time, they didn’t add anything to the meal – the spaghetti with the crunchy broccoli and cherry tomatoes with parsely, lemon and chilli oil was enough and satisfied me after a day’s hard graft. David loved his tuna version.

lemon spag mush
And my mushroom version

I’ve just flicked through the whole book again and my mouth is watering. I can’t decide about tonight. Love the idea of the Fennel and Orange Salad with Harissa Dressing but I’d need to serve it with something substantial like a jacket potato. It would also mean making two completely different meals – the kids and David wouldn’t entertain the fennel and orange combo. I think fajitas will go down well with all of us. But I will definitely make the salad for my lunch soon as a treat.

Almost forgot the numbers …


I got through just under 1400 calories yesterday, despite my best efforts at eating toast with a cup of green tea before bed! I thought it would be a lot more as I did seem to be eating lots.

A new dress – now that is my kind of motivation!

Some of the plans for yesterday changed but my commitment is still there – especially to the new dress/outfit!

I spend an indulgent 20 minutes online while I drank a green tea and found some initial contenders.  (At the moment) here’s the brief:

  • A “daytime” outfit that will take me through autumn and winter
  • It will be versatile enough to wear with shoes or boots
  • Something midi-length
  • Nothing baggy  – I will have fewer love handles to hide!
  • But nothing figure hugging too – I’m not good at suffering for fashion 😀
  • Avoiding the “mutton dressed as lamb” look – it will be my 48th birthday after all!!

Being a “big tall girl” all my life, I have had to resign myself to having a limited selection of retailers to choose from. The default is to look at the Long Tall Sally website (sadly no local branch in Northern Ireland any longer).  This is my current favourite in their autumn/winter range. What’s your honest opinion?

Blog dress 1

There’re a few lovely dresses in Monsoon that I’m coveting but, sadly, unless it’s a maxi dress, Monsoon goes to the other extreme and shorter dresses and skirts are way too short for me! The hemline I can deal with (up to a point) but nobody wants the waist of their dresses up around their armpits.

What really surprises me “in this day and age” is that Belfast no longer seems to have any tall ranges in any retail stores – if you know different, please please let me know! New Look has removed it’s tall rails, as has Dorothy Perkins. As all my clothes, except jeans and trousers – there’s no shortage of those, I must be honest – have to be ordered online now, impulse buying is a thing of the past – maybe that’s a good idea, keeps me away from temptation.

I could write a blog on the subject!

Back to the diet – without which there will be no dress!

At this rate I might be wearing my pyjamas all winter, I didn’t put much effort into calorie counting yesterday 😦  But temptation was everywhere!! The kids even came home from a conker-gathering trip to the park with their dad with a small tub of Maud’s Choccy Bear ice-cream for me, presenting it with a flourish and grins of delight. They sat one at each elbow and watched me taste every morsel – I couldn’t disappoint them!

But exercise I did do.  Playball at school was fun – lots of dashing about throwing balls at the kids left me puffed! I didn’t get out into the garden, to be honest I forgot. I did an hour of ironing and changed all the beds in 15 minutes flat, despite the cats bouncing about thinking it was a game!

Food. Where do I start? I wish I was in the swing of things but there are so many distractions! I have a fridge full of bits and bobs to use up before I do a big shop otherwise they’ll be pushed to the back and never used. Tonight’s effort will involve pumpkin. I bought one last week when I was in Sainsbury’s with the kids – they think I’m making an early Halloween lantern but I think I’ll roast it. My Hairy Bikers Diet Club programme had a pumpkin couscous listed for yesterday’s dinner and I think I have all the ingredients, if not I’ll substitute and give you my verdict.

I suppose I may go and stick the oven on!


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 …


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!

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!

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!

Spice is nice … perfect diet food

You don’t feel deprived when you can enjoy a curry. And I’ve done just that. I’m all aglow!

Day 2 of the Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club plan and I was organised enough to follow the menu to the full. With just one minor tweak, but I’ll tell you about that later.

The day started well. No 1 son slept the whole night, which is a rare occurrence. Must be the effect of the school routine. I had to wake myself up with the alarm!

I had a delicious breakfast to look forward to so I waited until I had the house to myself before I indulged. David had an early start, so I packed him a picnic of the same breakfast to enjoy at work. He emailed me “lovely breakfast, thank you” – praise indeed! But it was warranted. I even posted my first breakfast photo on Twitter 😀

Toasted crumpets, with low fat ricotta and sliced bananas, finished with a squeeze of honey. I added blueberries because I like blueberries and they’re pretty harmless 🙂

I was ready for action – another session on the Wii Fit. I had a great result yesterday – my Wii Fit age was 37! Ten years younger! What’s not to like?

I got the shock of my life, I have apparently lost 2lb since yesterday’s Body Test. I think the batteries need changed on that yoke. The Wii, not my body!

This evening I’m sore. Really sore. I really think one of those Miis climbed out of the tv screen and kicked my backside. It hurts.

So off I hobbled into the kitchen to prepare the Vegetable Curry. As usual, I don’t always follow recipes exact but I do try to keep the calories low. I didn’t use sweet potato because I had a butternut squash in the fridge that needed to be used. I didn’t have curry paste (I did have Thai but that wouldn’t have worked). But I did have all my favourite spices in the cupboard so I cobbled together an acceptable alternative.

Cauliflower, red pepper and butternut squash in a tomato sauce spiced with cumin, coriander, tumeric, black onion seeds, cinnamon, chilli, fresh ginger and garlic.
Cauliflower, red pepper and butternut squash in a tomato sauce spiced with cumin, coriander, tumeric, black onion seeds, cinnamon, chilli, fresh ginger and garlic.

Another day closer to my target – I hope!

aerobic joke

Wii Fit is not a game!

It’s a torture device! For an unfit overweight mamma like me, it is.

After I waved the kids off to school this morning, I toasted a bagel and put the coffee on. I hadn’t realised how many calories were in a bagel until I entered it into my daily food diary on the Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club – 232 calories! And that was before I spread a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese and threw in a few sun blushed tomatoes. I still have a lot to learn.

But I had planned to plug in the Wii Fit today and, although I hoped I couldn’t find the controller, there it was, fully charged and ready. I am ashamed to say that it’s been 642 days since I last used it – according to the bouncy Wii Fit Board on the screen. As I haven’t done anything more strenuous than regular housework in a long time, I chose my “favourite” activities (I had no idea!), which happened to be aerobic. I hoola hooped, jogged (very short run) and stepped for 20 very long minutes. Phew! It took it out of me. But there was still the regular housework. including fighting with duvet covers, to be done. I had an empty house and no excuses.

By the time it came round to lunch I was ready for it. Today’s menu included an egg salad – I love egg salad. While the eggs boiled, I sat down and realised too late that I shouldn’t have. My legs seized up! At least, they felt wobbly.

School today was a great success – the boys bounced into the house full of news.But I wasn’t expecting there to be homework on their first day back! For goodness sake, I had exercised, didn’t the teaching staff realise I was suffering?

Yummy mummy I am not, so I grumbled a bit and perhaps tried to rush the spellings and comprehension a bit too quickly. I had a risotto to make before taking No 1 son to Ju Jitsu at 6pm!

It was an easy recipe to follow but, as with all good risottos, it took time. The official dish is “Chicken and Mushroom Risotto” by the Hairy Dieters, but I was concentrating on the mushrooms for myself and adding a sliced up pork fillet to David’s version at the end of cooking. I was using up the pork I didn’t need for last night’s schnitzel recipe.

Mushroom risotto – seemed like too small a portion, but perhaps I’ll add a garden salad next time?

It was delicious, and I don’t normally like risotto. The only downsize was the recipe served 4, so I stuck to that and my portion looked so small and I did feel hungry shortly after. But I kept busy with mum-taxi duty and then came home and did an hour’s worth of ironing.

Eventually it was time to eat again – at last! I’ve just demolished a toasted crumpet with a smidgen of honey. I have no idea (yet) how calorific that is, but I’m going to have to come clean and enter it in my diary.


Exercise: shopping, discos and maths.

As David had booked his car into the garage for new brake pads on the day of his Christmas lunch, muggins here had to bring it up to Ballymena early this morning while he got his boss to take him to work. What was I going to do for 4 hours in Ballymena? SHOPPING! So, no hardship :-).

Fairhill Shopping Centre wasn’t too bad – no hordes of buggies trying to run down invisible me or crowds of people standing chatting in the doorway of the shop I’m trying to get into.  I was an hour into the shopping when I realised what was wrong, I needed coffee. I’d green tea with breakfast and that wasn’t going to sustain me.

O’Brien’s make nice coffee, not bitter like other cafes (my personal taste, of course), and they tried to tempt me with salted caramel syrup, their Christmas special, but I resisted. But they continued with their sales job and I sat down with a skinny latte and a toasted bagel with a smidgin of cream cheese and sunblushed tomatoes – it was only 10.30 am, so that saved me from going the whole hog with side orders, a tray bake or muffin. I reckon that was a whopping 450 calories or thereabouts as it was! Only a short month ago I would not have thought twice about that and probably eaten twice as much!

But (here comes the science bit!) if I’d been at home I’d have been sitting (humour me), which uses 84 calories an hour, instead I was shopping, which uses 156 calories an hour, times 4 (hours shopping) equals 288 calories burnt more than was planned (sitting).  Result = my early lunch meant I only gained 162 calories 😀 :D. See? Not that bad!

It did actually turn out to be an early lunch because I forgot all about eating around midday! That’s how those footballers wives get to be so skinny – they shop!! Maybe I’ll try that diet next 🙂

As David was at Made in Belfast for his Christmas lunch with colleagues, I didn’t have to cook a big meal for tonight. I’d been meaning to cook the Hairy Dieter’s A Big Soup for a while now and today was as good a chance as any – it would serve as a light snack for David for later. I left out the chorizo in my pot, but added extra smoked paprika and the rest of the pack of green beans (there were about 100g more than the recipe called for). I didn’t have any curly kale, but round green cabbage was in my veg box this week, so I used a few leaves of that and the rest of the (frozen) beetroot leaves I got a few weeks ago. (According to the ayurvedic doctor I went to in October, beetroot leaves are a great antioxidant so Helen’s Bay Organics kindly included some in one of my deliveries).

A Big Soup - and it was!
A Big Soup – and it was!
The kids' leek and potato (and other hidden veg) soup with chicken wraps.
The kids’ leek and potato (and other hidden veg) soup with chicken wraps.

The soup was delicious – the vegetables still crunchy and the tomato and stock base was slightly smoky from the paprika and well seasoned with black pepper. Very low in calories (157) but high in nutrition. I had a giant portion, but without the chorizo it would be a very low calorie giant portion! With the cannellini beans, it could be compared to minestrone, but without the pasta.  The kids weren’t having any of it when they saw the picture in the recipe book, so they had leek and potato soup and chicken wraps instead. Actually, I billed it as leek and potato but there might have been other vegetables hidden in there too!

No sitting around tonight either – it was the Christmas Disco for the local Special Olympics groups. Eventually (many changes of t-shirt) later, Corrado and Sam were throwing some shapes on the dancefloor. I have no idea what those shapes were but they were obviously hard work judging by the glow on Sam’s face!  (There’s also a quarter pound of chocolate in those cheeks!).

Sam at disco

Dancing in the dark
Dancing in the dark

The kids stuffed their little faces with crisps, biscuits and Cadbury’s Roses while the adults got to wet their whistles with a hot beverage.  I was very very good and managed not to lift a shortbread biscuit or dip into the tin of sweets – Lorna was there and she would have seen!!!  We were both paragons of virtue and just drank the tea and coffee :D.

This had better be worth it on Monday morning!

A Dieter’s Prayer

A dieter’s prayer for Christmas:

“Lord, grant me the strength that I may not fall
Into the clutches of cholesterol.

At polyunsaturates, I’ll never mutter,
For the road to hell is paved with butter.

And cake is cursed and cream is awful
And Satan is hiding in every waffle.

Beelzebub is a chocolate drop
And Lucifer is a lollipop.

Teach me the evils of hollandaise,
Of pasta and jobs of mayonnaise.

And crisp fried chicken from the South —
Lord, if you love me, shut my mouth.”

— Quoted by Stephen A. Pickert, MD


I love this blogging lark – it’s great just jotting down what I’ve been up to so I can hear what I sound like to other people. You poor people!  I feel sorry for my family and friends 🙂  No I don’t really, they knew what they were getting.

I keep meaning to exercise but time runs away from me.  I’m so disorganised that I start and stop so many projects and nothing gets completed – the housework looks like it’s been done by a 6 year old boy and the kids have grown out of the wallpaper I bought for their rooms many moons ago.

But today … today I have stopped making excuses and actually did some stretches and squats – I’m wallpapering the hall!  I hate wallpapering, I’m rubbish at it but needs must.  Hate painting even more.  Gone are the days when we had two healthy incomes at the end of the month and could take ourselves off for a mini-break while a professional did the needful with the decorating.  The hall was stripped and started in June but then I had the great excuse of the long school summer break, then I had the excuse of my aches and pains and then it was Halloween.  But the kids were (rightly) whinging at me last night about their rooms and, tempted as I was to get started on them today, I gave in and continued the hall.  I’ve hung 4 full height strips and 2 over the door bits and it hasn’t fallen down yet.  Now I’m having a banana break.

What’s keeping me going is there is a man coming to the house tomorrow to price a new loft hatch and repair the ceiling where I fell through it from the loft a couple of weeks ago – forgot I used that excuse for not papering the hall, but David wasn’t buying it.  I can’t have a tradesman see the state of the place!  I’ll make it look like work in progress and that should pass me 🙂

Dinner tonight will be Light Chicken Satay, another gorgeous sounding recipe from the Hairy Dieters.  Corrado will be presiding over the cooker and I will be supervising.  Still in two minds about my veggie version – I don’t want to miss out on the satay bit.  Perhaps a teeny weeny piece of paneer?  OR will I stuff one of my impulse buy mini peppers with the sauce and bake it?

I suppose I should get on and hang another roll before clearing a corner of the kitchen for tonight’s feast.  Might try some lunges to brush the paper above the skirting boards lol!  Maybe I should draw the door curtain first.

what paste?
what paste?