Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saturday Chit Chat

Week 6 and day 2 completed but it was tough today! Essentially it was a 5 minute warm up then 10 minutes jogging then 3 minutes walking then 10 minutes jogging. As my route has various up hill elements I only jogged 15 out of the 20 minutes. Still it was better than not doing it wouldn't you say? I could have so easily not bothered. The weather has been cold, windy and dull today - I should have gone in the morning but was too cosy in bed.

My parents took the kids to the woods and McDonalds as they hadn't seen them since February and the next visit will be May so myself and hubbie went to the garden centre. He knows how to treat a lady. We purchased (the royal we) vegetables for the kids to grow. I'm hoping that if they grow the stuff they might actually eat it. This is aimed more at my eldest but kids do love to garden. I see that Alan Titchmarsh is calling for it to be taught in the national curriculum and I have to say I agree. Read his Daily Mirror article here

I'm digressing somewhat - so basically I didn't 'run' until 3pm and I did find it tough.  I'm much more of a morning jogger. I feel more up for it and physically more able. Tomorrow I'll complete day 3 which will essentially be a 5 minute warm up and then 20 minutes of jogging.  I feel I have more of a chance to complete the majority of it if 1) I go in the morning and 2) psych myself up for it. The best thing about jogging to music I can narrow down my time to songs. I mentally say to myself if you can get to the end of this song then its one more to go. The added bonus is you can't hear yourself gasping for breath either!

So, school is now out for Easter!  The children had an end of year talent showed that lasted a very long time with an interval in between - my daughter was on the glockenspiels and eldest was in a play. The highlight for me was a tap dancing batman and year 1 girls singing Let it Go in their Frozen dresses. This finished about 11.30 am so I had to make a quick dash to get my hair cut. I think my hairdresser was relieved that I had returned as I left quite distressed last time - do you remember the short hair cut? Anyhow, I love my 'lob' hair cut now and think I'll be keeping my hair this length for quite some time.  Then it was a quick dash back to school to collect them at 2pm.

I hope you're liking the new layout on the blog. The fabulous Rachel from The Ordinary Lovely has sorted my header out for me. I'd spent an hour trying to do it on photoshop and she did it in about 5 minutes.  I need to take a better picture of the troll which I'll do tomorrow so that all the background is white but on the whole I'm loving it!

Did any of your watch the televised debate with Ed Milliband and David Cameron? Wasn't Kay Burley just awful?!  I watched the steady stream of twitter comments and I don't think I saw one single positive comment.  I had to add some of my own which included "Kay Burley was awesome said no person ever". Seriously though she was painful to watch and asked Ed ridiculous questions eg how are you and your brother? Who cares?! We care about the NHS you muppet. On a more positive note, she could have won Labour the next election so not all bad.

I have a few posts to entertain you next week and the re-emergence of Tuesday Weigh In!! Dah dah dah. Finally, never one to miss a fabulous bag let me show you this bad boy from Aspinal of London. Its their 'raindrop' bag and a mere snip at £796! I entered their facebook competition to win but have not heard that the bag is winging its way to me. I am pretty understanding though so they can just send it to me for free to review. No questions asked.

Look at their lovely shop front.  A must for me to visit if I win the other competition I entered - see previous blog post. Now, if I don't win I may have to retire from my entering anymore competitions even if they are infrequent.

Happy Saturday and see you very soon!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

When A Man is Tired of London He is Tired of Life

Man, Woman, Child or beast I would say. Wouldn't you? Never a truer word has been spoken by so many. Penned by the writer Dr Samuel Johnson in 1777. Incredible. I have often said this and its now 2015 - nearly 240 years later and it still reigns true.  Here is his wonderful quote in all its glory.

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

My youngest received this gorgeous wooden red bus on the day he was born. Little did he know it was really for me. He received the matching taxi by the time he was 2 - again for me! Sadly, I had to let him play with it and not treat it as an ornament. They now have signs of good use - chunks and chips off the wood and paint work!

Why am I going on about London pray tell? Well, I'm entering into a fabulous competition with Tots100. Its to WIN a weekend stay in a 5 STAR Hotel and not any old 5 Star hotel The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. Location is everything and this is just perfect for any family stay.  Now, I don't have much luck with competitions but you have to be in it to win so says Dale Winton.

I am a London Gal even though I was born and bred in Crawley - not so glamorous granted. However, I got out of that town when I was young pup at aged 18 and have been lucky enough to live South of the river since then. Which means it takes us about an hour to get into central London. We have been a few times with the children and seen the poppies at theTower, taken a boat trip up to Greenwich, sampled the sights and sounds of Covent Garden (an absolute must at Christmas time), Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square. I want my children to get the same rush of excitement and world of possibility when I step off the train at London Bridge or Victoria. We've also visited the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Imperial War Museum and so much more.

However, we've never trotted over to West London to see all the delights that are on offer there. Which is why I thought this competition was perfect. A chance to roome free in Hyde Park and see the many wonderful statues.

Our youngest is a HUGE Marvel Super Hero fan - how could he not be impressed with old Achilles here? A fine figure of a man!

And my daugther would love this statue of Peter Pan also in Hyde Park.

Of course, visiting the Natural History Museum has been on my must see lists for quite some time as we have NEVER been.  We must go before they move the huge dinosaur in the main hall in favour of a whale I do believe. Whenever I think of this museum (and those of you who were born in the 70s will surely be nodding their heads - If you aren't we can't be friends. Sorry.) I think of that classic Disney film - One Of Our Dinosaurs is Missing. In fact I may have to take the DVD for the evening to enjoy in the 5 STAR HOTEL. Oh did I mention that?

I just happened to take a glance in my living room and came across my most treasured coffee table book above. I often stroke it whilst flicking the pages.

And then there's some subtle and not so subtle Iconic British images that have crept in without my husband noticing. I do love a cushion it has to be said.

How did that get there? Oh yes, I bought it! As I bought these other little items...

So competition pickers. Pick us! We Love London and we'd love to stay in Kensington and tick off our most visit on our London bucket list.

I have entered a competition with Tots 100 so please pray for me as I never win any competitions as I don't normally enter them (does help). But I really would LOVE to win this one!

Until next time...

Monday, 23 March 2015

Couch to Losing 2 Stone!

Having recently taken up the C25K challenge (sofa doesn't have the same ring to it does it?) I was delighted when Nickie from blogging fame agreed to do a guest post for me about her success using this app.  

Now, I have followed Nickie on Twitter from the get go, when I started my blog three and a half years ago.  She is a proper hard core Northern blogger. Not content with one blog she has 5! A whizz on all social media platforms, vlogging and techno stuff and now rocking the weight loss. What an inspiration for this soft Southern lass who is still mastering the art of creating a new blog header and stepping up a gear on the weight loss journey front. Enjoy!

In May of last year I decided to start the journey that I'd been promising to take since my 40th birthday (2 years previously) and that was to get fitter and less fatter.  I knew that I'd never have the size-8 svelte figure of my 20-something self but Things Had To Change. 

“Back in the day” I had been a sprinter of National accreditation however an accident stopped me in my tracks (no pun intended). When I returned to training I had continuous problems with damage to my knees, plus I'd discovered boys and cigarettes.  My athletics career was essentially over. 

Nicki completing her 5k in August 2014

Fast forward 20-mumble years, three children and a good chunk of sitting on my backside I sought out my local diet group. Slimming World membership was acquired and I've been attending weekly meetings ever since.  During one Slimming World meeting, one of the members mentioned that she'd almost completed  a “Couch to 5K” programme as part of a community running group.  I'd heard of this running plan before - it has been devised by the NHS and there is a free app you can download from their website.  I'd attempted to complete this programme twice before on my own and gave up by week 2 or 3 each time. I had little motivation and no-one encouraging me to get up and do it and I probably hadn't been in the right frame of mind. I looked up when the next plan started and made arrangements with one of my weight-loss buddies to attend the first session.  I was nervous but needed a challenge and knew that just the dieting alone wouldn't be enough for me to change my mental and physical well-being.

On the day of the first session the hardest thing I ever did was lace up my trainers and step foot out of the front door. I needn't have been worried – the group leaders had all been through the Couch to 5K plan themselves so knew how difficult and nerve-wracking it could be and really pulled each and every one of us through. We ended the programme with a 'Celebration Run' which is where everyone ran the 5K distance but with a real 'ParkRun' feel.

I love this photo! Its so Yay get me!! Looking fit and fantastic another 5k in March 2015

Over those 9 weeks the balance of changing my eating habits and progressing through the running plan meant that weight-loss was steady but also my body was toning up too. The continued weight loss is slow but steady and I have almost lost 2 stone in weight. It could have been more (WAY more) but I like my wine and weekend take-away too much.  However, the biggest change in my life plan is discovering that I do actually like running.

I'll never be a gym bunny and lone-training is hard for me.  Even going out for a 2-mile run on my own doesn't feel right. I also occasionally vlog about my running progress and host a fitness-related podcast and I'm in danger of becoming a running bore but I can't express how much this combination of changes has improved my life.

I love the camaraderie of mutual support and encouragement so I now volunteer three times a week to lead one of the groups through the Blackburn Couch to 5K Group Run programme. All of this is helping me with my own fitness and stamina and it is one way that I can 'give back' to the community group that helped me find myself again.

If that hasn't inspired you to have a go I don't know what will. Nickie is, like myself, on the wrong side of 40 and has never felt better. I can totally relate to feeling awkward when you take your first running steps. I still look like I've missed the bus rather than a proper runner. And I think we all cheered when she said she likes a take-away and wine! Thank you so much Nickie and please come back again.

If you would like to share your weight loss/healthy changes story on The 1970s Diet then please get in touch at I'd love to hear from you.

Until Next time..