Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Bashing

My ghost cake circa 2009
If there was such a thing as festive discrimination then surely Halloween would have a case don't you think?  I don't know what it is about Halloween but it does attract middle class snobbery and general sneering at this bit of fun for the kids.

I think it has become fashionable to greet it with disdain and pipe on about it being "commercial", "American nonsense", "begging" and anything along those lines.  What isn't commercial nonsense?  Countries economies are built on buying stuff - now that people aren't buying stuff countries are in a right old pickle to put it mildly.

Christmas is, of course, met with similar talk of losing the value/sight of what its all about etc but the people that moan are generally the ones that have their tree up on 1st December. 

Easter also gets similar press but any talk of consumerism is quickly brushed over as, after all, chocolate eggs (in particular the Cadbury's creme egg variety) is at stake here -  best not say too much.

So we return to Halloween. Most people I'm sure by now are aware that it started in Britain in medieval times and even further back than that.  The American's just made it their own and jazzed it up a bit. I like Halloween. It doesn't involve much preparation, you can get into the spirit (see what I did there!) of things as little or as much as you like.  The kids have a Halloween disco before half term, I make spooky themed cakes and have been known to throw a party when the kids were younger.  This will be our 3rd year of trick or treating.  The pumpkin has been carved, the sweets are by the front door and our little collection of Halloween trinkets (glow in the dark lanterns, colour changing ghost etc) which increases every year are laid out.

Halloween disco cakes

My pumpkin creation


1st Monday Weigh In

And I am pleased to report that I'm 3lbs down on my 1970's diet! I'll take that thank you very much.  I haven't lost a massive 7lbs like some ladies do when they get weighed in at their slimming club but then I have a theory as to why they lose that much in the first week.

When you know you're joining a slimming club, when you've decided "right next week I'm joining" you do have a tendency to eat as much as you can - like a pre-slimming club buffet.  I've done it myself - crammed every take-away known to man in the week leading up to joining e.g pizza, Indian, Chinese etc like I would never taste them ever again (erm yeah right!).  That, my friends, is why you find some ladies lose a whooping half a stone in their first week! 

I'm also not going to do this - go and eat lots of things I'm not meant to and start again properly tomorrow. Again, another bad habit that is formed by going to slimming clubs.  I have often celebrated a loss by thinking mmmm what can I eat today that I've missed the previous week? I have one friend who says without a trace of irony "weight watchers is the only thing that works for me" - she's signed up more times than I can remember.  May I suggest then that it doesn't work? The cynic in me would also go so far as to say that maybe, just maybe, its designed to make you keep on coming back.  It would really be no good would it if everyone that goes to slimming clubs lose the weight and never come back.  What are the figures on returning customers to these groups? Pretty, pretty high I would imagine.

I'm also feeling pretty smug that I have managed to lose weight during the school holidays - I figure I have lots of school holidays (normally there's no weight loss going on during this time) in my lifetime and I cannot afford to put on weight every time the kids are off. 

So onwards and upwards - I'm sure they'll be trouble ahead and I'm not getting too carried away but surely its a start?!

Sunday, 30 October 2011


I haven't really mentioned this on my 1970's diet - we walked to school and back, walked to friends and were told to "go out and play" so we were always on the go.  We didn't have the amount of TV channels you have these days - BBC1, BBC2 and ITV and that was it.  I think the only children's programme that we watched was Play School and that was pretty naff (see above).  Today kids have never had it so good! I sound like my grandad - I know people say they don't have the same opportunities to run  free outdoors, they're driven everywhere (mine aren't - we walk where ever possible and especially to school its only 2 mins) etc etc.

However, there are brilliant exercise computer games out there.  I haven't exercised much at all this week but I have to say I love to exercise and was one of the main reasons I was able to maintain my (albeit large) weight whilst eating what I wanted. I love the Wii Zumba getting on down feeling like I'm Jennifer Lopez and the Wii dance games.  I recently purchased the Wii dance 3 and the kids love it you get to pick the dancer and we all had great fun this wet, miserable October morning.

So I will be exercising and much more next week as the kids are back to school and I can get back into a routine. I normally do a Wii number when my youngest has a nap - you have to make time for exercise with children.  I don't want to go out at 8pm at night - so I fit it into my day either a long buggy walk up hill or one of the fantastic Wii games.  I salute you Nintendo!

Breakfast:-  Apple, cup of coffee
Lunch:- Half a wholemeal sandwich with a slice of chicken roll, yoghurt
Dinner:- Pasta, teaspoon of pesto, onion, pepper, mushrooms and wait for it chorizo sausage - it is very fatty 465 cals with 35g of fat for 100g but I had less than half of that.  Orange for afters and cup of tea.  It is less than an hour after eating and I'm hungry!

More about this fine sausage I don't know how much of it was around in the seventies, however, its very fashionable at the mo - it seems to make an appearance in very traditional British dishes like steak pie and Nigella features it heavily in her lastest cookbook.

Saturday, 29 October 2011


1970 Admiral Microsonic Microwave Oven Press Photo
dd caption

Tonight, instead of the lovely man from Planet Spice knocking on my door with a bag of delights, we will be having a 1970's version of today's take-away  - a microwave meal!

I picked up 2 for £4 chicken korma's with rice - the total weight of each are 400g and contain 510 calories. I am sure it is a marked improvement on my normal Saturday night's calorie intake.  I have also purchased a peshwari naan (having just looked at the cals on this I will be having half of one) and onion bhaji's too, so will probably take me to 700 cals.  I can't bring myself to drink Blue Nun - I'm having a small glass of some Australian number instead.  I think my husband my be hungry afterwards.

Breakfast:- Apple and coffee with skimmed milk.
Lunch - 1/4 tin of tuna, mayo on wholemeal and a yoghurt.
Dinner - see above!

"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"

From the album Goodbye Yellowbrick Road 1973 (the year of my birth). And so to Saturday - when I woke this morning "Saturday, Saturday"  was playing in my head. Do you ever do that? Play snip bits of songs in your head well I do!  The point is that Saturday is a danger zone for me and I suspect for many dieters.  

Not that I have anywhere to go in particular. Most Saturday's are spent watching Strictly Come Dancing whilst drinking wine and snacking on nibbles. Breakfast always involves grilled bacon but lots of it (5 slices), a fried egg and some wholemeal bread.  I would normally skip lunch as this would keep me going all day - the workings of my mind would justify eating some hero's chocolates, some crisps and any cake that was knocking around during the day as I hadn't had any lunch.  Dinner would be a take-away of some description, more often than not, an Indian tandoori grill (better than a creamy dish I would think to myself) but on top of that would be a peshwari naan, 2 poppadoms with mango chutney and 4 x onion bhaji's.  I would polish off with some more wine and go to bed so full I wouldn't be able to sleep properly.  Tonight, my friends, will be different...

Friday, 28 October 2011


Cambridge Dictionaries definition :-

the ability to control your own thoughts and the way in which you behave; determination

So do any of us have much willpower these days? To say "No thank you" to food offered.  I'm sure modern day life has had an impact of people's ability to exercise self control and restraint. Take the Internet as an example - we can have pretty much anything, anytime delivered to our door. Only now in these bleak times (much like the 1970's) people are starting to rein in their spending habits.

Today my friend came for lunch, we normally have a huge baked potato and prawns etc. Today I did rein it in and had a prawn mayo (low cal) wholemeal sandwich and a yoghurt. There were no treats and no "go on then I'll have a bit". It felt good.

Breakfast:- Apple, some grapes
Lunch:-     Prawn mayo sandwich on wholemeal bread, yoghurt
Dinner:-    2 x Aldi burgers (grilled 250 cals) 1 in white roll, dash of relish and some oven chips 

Cadbury's Caramel 1980 ad

Thank Crunchie its Friday...

Good old Cadbury - I have to say I'm not a fan of the crunchie - I don't like the way the honeycomb sticks to your teeth, however, I have been know to eat them in my lifetime. I used to pick the chocolate off with my teeth first, then eat the honeycomb. 

Cadbury is, in my mind, a national institution (even though its now owned by Kraft foods - another British industry bites the dust) and we all grew up on the stuff.  My parent's, their parents' and my children have all sampled the delights that Cadbury has to offer.  Remember "a finger of Fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat" that and the Milky Way bar "the sweet you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite" was the slogan.  They weren't dished out that frequently and they certainly were a treat.

We are told that Belgium chocolate is far superior in terms of cocoa content, is better blah blah blah and technically I'm sure it is, however, we still can't get enough of our 'inferior' chocolate.

I used to love Wispa's which had a resurgence following a public campaign to get it back into the shops. As a sophisticated adult, these days my bar of choice would be a Twirl - a flake without the mess - pure genius.

Another bar I used to eat and again I didn't like it that much (bit of a theme here - eating stuff irrespective of whether or not I like it!) was Cadbury's Caramel and it was only because I absolutely loved the advert (see above). My nan used to take us to the local shops for a magazine, a ride on the horse outside the shop and a bar of chocolate and this is what a choose purely based on the advert - how's that for marketing!

Having said all of this ,I am more of a savoury girl, so am not missing chocolate on my 1970's diet - good job really wouldn't you say?

Cadbury's Crunchie UK TV Ad

This advert is later than the 1970's.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Compulsive weighing

I think I should make a new rule to go alongside my 'no cheese' rule. No compulsive weighing.  I have a habit of weighing myself probably about 10 times a day.  I kid you not.  Sadly, it has never had any bearing on my weight loss whatsoever. You would think it would provoke some positive action like "cor blimey I need to stop eating" or something along those lines but it does not.  I'm not really sure why I do it - I just do.

I weigh myself on the old fashioned dial type ones (I don't trust the digital ones - probably too accurate for my liking and I really don't need to know practically half my body is fat). I mostly jump on the scales in the morning and repeat about 5 times to see if the weight changes in anyway.  If I raise my feet slightly upwards it can reduce my weight by a good 5lbs. I will then repeat this process at bath time or just before bedtime. I will vow from this moment onwards to weigh myself once a week - next weigh in date is Monday 31st.

Food Diary

Breakfast:- Banana, some grapes, coffee with skimmed milk.
Lunch:- 2 x slices of wholemeal bread, slice of ham and yoghurt, cup of tea with skimmed milk.
Snack:- Banana, some grapes.
Dinner:- beef in sweet and sour sauce, basmati rice, yoghurt

Get busy with the fizzy...

And so to drinks - pretty limited really. The cheaper versions of coco cola - panda cola/pin hi with a straw. My mum used to take me to the pub pre school age, plonked me down in the corner with a coke and packet of crisps, whilst she played pool. By all accounts I was "happy as Larry" - but this isn't a parenting blog....

 ..So imagine the excitement when this bad boy came along! The Soda Stream - I mean dreams can really come true - just add syrup to carbonated water which you make by pressing the button and voila - you have the real thing!  Of course, it didn't taste anything like the real thing but we all thought it was really cool. Fizzy drinks at a push of a button at home!  On this diet I haven't reverted back to the Soda Stream but I see that it has made a bit of a comeback.
There are all sorts of versions e.g genesis, penguin - if you're stuck for a Xmas present this year check out how grateful it will be received I don't know.

Numerous studies now say drinking fizzy drinks, especially the low cal ones, actually make you crave sugary foods. I would have to agree as I always fancy a bit of chocolate with my diet drink.  When I was following the Slimming World diet you can 'drink unlimited' quantities of the stuff - it was 'syn' free. My favourite tipple was diet lemonade. What they don't tell you is this -  it strips the enamel off your teeth. I found this out in the dentist's chair who informed me my mouth was a "ticking time bomb of potential fillings". At £75 a pop for the white ones (mercury contaminating ones free on the NHS) I promptly gave up my consumption of the fizzy stuff for a good while. 

My good self enjoying pin-hi with a straw!

What drinks can you remember in the 1970's?.....

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The way we were - "like the corners of my mind"...

...1973 classic blub chick flick with Babs and Robert or Bobbie as he likes me to call him. Here's the trailer from youtube - one day I'll sit and watch it on a cold winter's afternoon uninterrupted (ha ha)

Got me thinking about the way I was and the way I am. As my husband likes to say "you can't live off past glories"!  I can't find many of me on the computer before children - so although not a full length shot - I know I'm about 11stone 10 here and turning 25 or 26 .....

The two above are both taken in 2009 (12 stone 7lbs)just before we were due to be married (this after 2 children who were 5 and 3 at the time). Had to chuck in a wedding pic... .then HUGE pic of me pregnant with 3rd. French baguettes with prawn mayo and cheese balls and a cake =

 to this


So how you feeling..

..pretty, pretty good (in my best Larry David voice - if you haven't seen curb your enthusiasm you must).  I apologise for spellings and typos I'm such a Luddite that I couldn't figure how to edit my 'draft' post nor did the spell check work. I doubt there are fundamental errors with rather just my newbie status to all of this.

Hello to the 1 person that viewed in Germany and 1 in the USA - they are gone no doubt but not forgotten.  I thank you.

Well yesterday and the day before I had a RAGING headache practically all day long - I think my body was going into shock at the fact it had not digested a cheese ball, bit of cookie and general kid type snack that finds their way into the depths of my belly without a second thought.  Today, however, is far better and I have not had an inclination to taste the rainy day biscuit mixture (courtesy of Nigella) that I knocked up for the kids to make Halloween biscuits. Nor did I dip my finger into the Madeira cake mixture I am rustling up for my step-daughter's horses head cake. So progress some might say or others might say it's only day 3 for goodness sake!

Has the penny dropped or something 'clicked' as everyone who has ever dieted always says "I don't know, something just clicked" when they recall the start of their weight loss journey.  Hopefully yes, wouldn't it be nice to finally be losing weight when all around you have already lost their weight, gained it and lost it again.

Breakfast:- "have a banana" I'm sure there's song with that in it but can't think what, grapes. Cup of tea.
Lunch - 2 x wholemeal bread with 1 x slice corned beef - yoghurt, cup of tea skimmed milk
Dinner - processed meatballs from my favourite cost saving store Aldi with spaghetti and tomato sauce with mushrooms, peppers onions home made with no cheese - yoghurt.

Until tomorrow...

Typical meals in our 1970's household

Breakfasts were weetabix, porridge or cornflakes with a sprinkle of sugar. I never liked either or them and still don't. I'm not a big fan of my food going soggy (I don't do gravy either it seems such a waste to make your crisp potatoes go all soggy, custard, scrambled eggs, rice pudding, creme caramel - you get the picture).  So I used to eat weetabix with some butter and jam and eat them like a crumbly bit of bread - I don't think that's going to work for me this time around do you?  Other than that it was a couple of pieces of toast but the bread wasn't cut so thickly in the packets - as a treat for breakfast we would have kippers! I loved them even though they stink the house out - boil in the bag kippers with some butter and some bread - it was a bit time consuming eating the thing as there were so many bones etc but as I say it was usually a Saturday 'treat'.

My packed lunch was equally uninspiring - marmite sandwich or sandwich paste that came in little jars (crab, beef, chicken), again on wafer thin bread (by today's standards in any event). Spam/corned beef - I prefer the latter. Tins with ridiculous keys to open them.  Together with a wagon wheel, which was much bigger than today's wagon wheel or a club biscuit but that was it.  I even used to eat my lunch on the
way to school especially when I had to walk about 2 miles to get there. My poor friend Kerry was sometimes relieved of part of her lunch - I have since apologised via facebook and she seems to have grown into a fine adult and the experience has not left her scarred in anyway.

Now for dinner - the toughest liver you can imagine teamed with bacon and gravy.  I have never eaten liver again even though I'm told done in the right way can be very nice.  Always shepherd's pie and frozen peas, smash mash (with no cheese, carrots or anything fancy in it) with some meat cooked to an inch of its life. Cod in parsley sauce (yuk), rice with onions in it, tinned foods, roast dinners with beef and Yorkshire puds were lovely if my nan did them (although mum's weren't too bad).  My nan did, though, cook the roast potatoes in LARD! No wonder they tasted lovely. 

My best friend Cath who I've know since I was 17 reminded me yesterday of the delights of Findus crispy pancakes (melted cheese!) and in her household, as her mother worked, there were are lot of convenience foods being dished up.  I remember my grandad had a shed full of tinned foods - fruits, soups etc. Chicken Kiev did feature also.  I can't remember the exact time we got a microwave but my mum was surely doing a merry jig - everything got microwaved you could even cook a chicken in the microwave people said - I have never cooked a chicken in the microwave and never will!! But there was genuine excitement about this latest device. My sister remembers on a Friday we had the thinnest steak with chips and peas .  If you were hungry after dinner you were told to have a slice of bread to fill you up.

The other night my husband and I ( he was born in 1964) really laughed remembering all the main meals.  He's Scottish and lived in Manchester and they were poor. His mum worked in a restaurant and bought home the left over food from people's plates. He said one meal would be boiling an onion and putting some pepper on it!

'Afters' as we called it although in my household my husband calls it pudding so we say 'what's for pudding' - was again pretty plain - creme caramel in a pot (see above), yoghurt, tinned fruit cocktail in juice. Angel delight, rice pudding - yuk, yuk, yuk. No wonder people of a certain age are having a field day with all the delights that are offer to use now. 

Stodgy puddings were a favourite like treacle pudding, baked apples with treacle - come to think of it golden syrup did feature heavily. Rhubarb crumble, blackberry crumble (from the bushes), apple crumble not in a week night though always the weekend.

I'm sure lots more delights will come to me not to mention the limited drinks - enter the soda stream!.....

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Giant Cup Cake

So to the Giant Cup Cake that has become a part of our everyday lives. They don't just come in ordinary cup cake cases - the ones my nan used in the 70's.  They are cooked in huge muffin sized cases. But, the cup cake is not complete with the ten tonne of butter, sugar, flour and don't forget the vanilla essence - oh no - it has upon its crown MORE butter mixed with full fat milk (tastes better you see) and icing sugar.  Not complete its finished by a load of sugary sprinkles or some miniature themed topping made out of fondant icing. It is displayed with much fanfare and general oohing and ahhing.

There should be a facebook page for people who aren't selling these waist expanders which seem to be the modern day mum's equivalent to having a Tupperware party. 

My nan made cupcakes or fairy cakes as they were know - they were half the size and half again. She mixed up some icing sugar a few hundreds and thousands and they were lovely.  As a special treat she would make the 'fairy' cake with the wings by chopping the top of the cake off, making some wings and holding it together with a little butter icing.   

In the 1970's cupcakes were a treat and my mum preferred to make jam tarts - they were tiny things very easy to make and certainly wouldn't be expanding my waistline like the one's I made recently (note the added flake for good measure).  I feel Jam Tarts are really in need of a comeback....

Food Diary

Monday 24th October 2011

Bfast - Banana - coffee with skimmed milk

Snack - 2 x satsuma 6 x grapes

Lunch - 1 1/2 wholemeal bread - olivio spread, marmite (nothing in!), cup of tea, yoghurt

Snack - satsuma, cup of tea

Dinner - 1 x fajita wrap, beef in seasoning, sour cream, onion, pepper, grapes

No cheese, no crisps, no chocolate, no biscuits = passed

Tuesday 25th October

Breakfast - apple cup of tea

Snack - grapes

Lunch - 2 slices wholemeal - 1 x slice of corned beef, yoghurt

Snack - banana

Dinner - baked potato with tuna 1 tbsp mayo - no cheese! yoghurt


So we begin....

Today is my first blog ever!  This idea came out of a discussion I had with my husband on Sunday.  I announced that as of Monday I was going on a diet as I was sick of being fat (not 'big' as we like to call it these days).  I am 5ft 5.5 (the half makes all the difference) and have been 14 stone for the best part of a year (my youngest is 18 months and I can no longer get away with saying "I've just had a baby").  To top it all I put on 5lbs over the past 3 weeks when my husband was off work sick.

He just laughed and carried on what he was doing - well, how very dare you! I proceeded to tell him how unsupportive he was being and made him swear on his children's lives (I am a tad dramatic sometimes) that he knew I could lose weight.  He duly complied but also added "whether you will or not is another matter". He has on numerous occasions said he couldn't care less if I remain the same weight forever. He then actually made me think about a few things.

I do love cheese. At first I denied it but when I really thought about it I do love cheese.  Funny thing is I don't really do cheese boards and cheese in its natural state but melted.  It goes on most things.  Fajita wraps, mash, home-made burgers, pasta, chilli con carne - I've even been know to put some ham and cheese on a ryvita and quickly melt it in the microwave. So I have given up cheese - it is no longer in my life.

Next up for discussion was 'faddy diets' now again I disagreed - Slimming World/Weight Watchers are all widely regarded as being successful provided you follow same. I did try the special K for a couple of days and have only done the Atkins once and that was for a week. So by and large I wouldn't say I was a 'faddy dieter'.  I know what not to eat (and I've eaten pretty much what I've wanted over the past 2 years) - chocolate, crisp, cakes - its not rocket science. However, I 've kindof lost sight of what I should eat on my 'diet'.

And here comes the 1970's bit - food in the 70's was fuel (and there wasn't much of that around either) - it was pretty rank if we're honest and I'm not remotely nostalgic about the food that was served up when I was a child.  However, I was not fat as a child.  You had Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner - snacked on fruit - I would say "I'm starving" mum "have some fruit" "no" "you can't be starving then". And that was the end of that.  You didn't have a snack when you got in from school you were 'starving' until tea time and if you were hungry after tea (which was normally so) have a piece of bread to fill you up. "What's for after's" we used to cry "not alot" was the response.  I digress back to the diet in question.

My husband also pointed out breakfasts - cereal which I did myself say year's ago is full of sugar and salt even if you think fruit and fibre is healthy.  My lunches that I thought were healthy baked potato with tuna, mayo (maybe a little melted cheese) with salad coleslaw, honey smoked mackerel, baked p with prawns and mayo (I do love a bit of fish it has to be said), tin of soup (500cals) they are all quite substantial lunches.

So the plan is to ditch the cereal - a piece of fruit for breakfast - a slice of wholemeal bread for lunch (I never eat bread its fattening - how's that working out for me - oh I'm actually still fat) with a piece of ham and for dinner a small evening meal with a yoghurt for 'afters'.

And we're off.....