Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Aldi Virgin


Yesterday was the weekly shop, the highlight of such is generally watching one of these - The Aldi Virgin.  Anyone who knows me well knows how I love the Aldi so I do.  And its not because I'm tight. For example, I'm not first out the taxi and last at the bar. You know who you are. I'm not remotely like the mums I talk of in this post. In brief the total piss takers that never offer to drive their car, step up to the cafe counter first and never offer to do you and the kids lunch. They're the same ones that, after extensive negotiations, the once a year night out has been agreed sit there scrutinising the bill. They talk of paying separately and who had what. I flit between losing the will to live and imagining throttling them on nights like these. I can't be doing with tight arses or skin flints whatever you want to call them - people who are tight at other people's expense.

In fact I like to think my friends will testify that I am quite the opposite. I like to buy lunch, pick people up and pay for coffee and wave my hand and say "don't worry about it."  I also have a motto - never ever leave behind items you fancy in a shop. You know you'll regret it and I always say "well I couldn't leave it there".  I have a friend that keeps showing me pictures of things she's seen and tried on in shops that look fantastic and I wail "why didn't you bring it home?!" I'm working on it don't worry. Another friend who spends a lot of time returning stuff but also retaining it says "well if you need it you need it". I like that motto. So we've established I'm not tight.

But Aldi is different. In short you pay less than half the amount for your weekly shop than you would if you went to either Tesco or Sainsburys. Now in my book less money spent on items that are going to come out the other end is a good thing. Not only that it means I can spend my money on other things (see above).  I am in, out and home within the hour. Sometimes it would take me an hour just to order my weekly shop on line.

So to the Aldi Virgin.  Its taken them a long time to do a trolley shop in The Aldi. This is because although they know its cheap they also think its full of poor people. Its not. The car park has mercs and all sorts. Its full of smart people. Only recently have Aldi stocked baskets.  They only stock a limited amount of items so you will need to get the other odds and sods at Sainsbury's i.e brand deodorants and toiletries etc but not much.  You are not paying for the service. But then are you at the other stores? They don't pack it for you do they.  That's why its cheap there are no frills in Aldi but the food is the same.  People say there's always weird shit in amongst the food but I always manage to buy that too - giant chalks, cake stands etc. I just love The Aldi! 

The checkout is at breakneck speed. You just have to fling it all in the trolley and go to the packing area to finish. I like to see if I can beat who ever is on the checkout. I call this the Aldi Stand Off. They're fast but so am I. The best part is when you wait for them - they hate that.

I spot the Aldi Virgin prior to loading the conveyor belt.

Its all alien to her but she's in good spirits marvelling at her bounty in her over flowing trolley even remarking to her 4 year old "I don't think we could possibly get anymore in our trolley!" in her Waitrose at Christmas voice.

Later on she's behind me and is casually putting her items on the conveyor belt. I'm thinking not casual luv not casual - speed it up.  But she's a good mum engaging with her child whilst shopping "what comes after 4, 5, 6" congratulating the child on handing her items "wow well done, what a super star!" - this generation will certainly come to expect a round of applause when they do the most mundane simple items don't you think?  Just say "thank you" - they don't need a fanfare and they don't need loser prizes at parties. I digress.
She has no idea bless her. She thinks she has got time. She hasn't. Whilst I'm packing away my stash I am watching her out of the corner of my eye. Nine flimsy plastic bags have been purchased and she tries to pack whilst the items are being flung in her trolley. The child is wandering off and she attempts to chat to him but now the pressure is mounting - she ditches the bags and is now in a semi-controlled flustered state. She laughs nervously and says "oh its very quick" "oh I'm holding everyone up". The queue is silent all thinking the same thing - Aldi Virgin.  They give her no words of comfort or explain the process.  Eventually she pushes her trolley to the packing area - still in a state of bewilderment.  She doesn't quite know what has just happened to her.

It dawns on her that she has purchased inappropriate bags. I have none spare and give her an Aldi Pro smile and say "you don't come here for the experience" - she laughs. Just for good measure I add  "you could go to Sainsburys and pay double". She laughs and agrees and now the shock and awe is fading and she feels triumphant with her bounty which came to under £100.00. She's done it - she's no longer the Aldi Virgin!


Monday, 28 May 2012

Monday Weigh In

As you have all come to expect its a late blog post from me tonight. Like The Bangles sang Monday's are manic for me. Although it could have been less so today with regard to my cleaning schedule.  I forgot that the hubster is knocking down walls tomorrow.  Buddy's room is going to be made bigger by eating into the spare room and our living room is also getting a make-over. When my husband has a couple of days off work he builds or knocks things down. He's very handy, gets things done and has just purchased a new laptop for me and he's not even having an affair!

So I could have omitted washing the floors and dusting on my Monday check list. I could have had a whole hour or so of complete faffing. Such a wasted opportunity. I promise one day I am going to live up to the stereotype of a stay at home mum.  Its right up there on my bucket list - sit for a whole day on the sofa, only getting up for food and drink whilst watching day time telly.  I have set a deadline of 55 years old. I think its achievable don't you?

So onto weight loss matters.  1lb down. A loss. Now ordinarily I would be a bit cheesed off with this as I have been outstanding on the food front. Well pretty much as I was at the beginning of my diet back in October. I think the big fat pink neon tutu pictures were just the ticket.  Wake up call. Not to mention ordering union flag maxi dresses for two parties we are invited to. I looked like I was 6 months pregnant and I've had to order a T-shirt to go with jeans instead. If I was slimmer I could have worn a 50's style number and looked all ladylike instead I have a punk wig winging its way to me. Sigh.

I think I only manged 3 x workouts last week including the Race for Life number.  The heat had a bearing as at the weekend I didn't want to workout. Today was just as hot and I thought I can't use the heat as an excuse so did 30 mins of my Biggest Loser workout.  I was sweating like mad but it felt good though.  The reason I don't mind the -1lb loss is that I think I'll have a bigger loss next week. Sometimes my body must just think "are we dieting properly again?"

I have been hungry all week between meals which is a good sign. The ryvitas, salads, fresh fruit and salad are doing the trick and I didn't get lulled into a holiday mood due to the good weather. My mind was firmly focused on August and how I will be in bad form if I'm the same size.

Until next week...

Friday, 25 May 2012

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!


Remember that? Here's a little reminder of the 1970's advert. Yes that was me on Wednesday night. I did my very best impersonation of a weeble. I did wobble but I didn't fall down.



'Vintage' aka 1980's set of weebles - picture ebay

I am, of course, talking about the Race for Life or as my daughter keeps calling it Run for your Life. The weather was just perfect - beautiful sunshine all day and warm in the evening.  We arrived early and were able to park in the secret squirrel car park only known to the locals. I'm sorry I cannot possibly divulge the details of its whereabouts otherwise I would have to hand back the keys to Crawley town.

I was all set with my pink attire and felt good to go. So if you ever want to look like a big fat weeble (doesn't everyone aspire to look like one at some point? No?!) then donning a pink neon tutu over your fat arse, wearing a pink headband over your moon face or "bear head"which ever you prefer and teaming it with one pink lace glove A la Madonna is just the ticket.  I looked bloody awful. There are various pics of me on facebook doing the rounds which I feel I cannot censor given that the run is about cancer research, supporting my friend and not about my own vanity.

Most of us have control over pics that end up on facebook. I mean we even check photos for approval seconds after they are taken. No one puts vile pictures of themselves up do they. My husband did a good number on me after the 2 hour c-section with buddy. He just uploaded ALL of the pre-op, during op and post op pictures to share the joy.  The WORSE pictures of me EVER were there in all their glory on facebook. Not only that they were there for three frigging days. My friend said "I did wonder whether you knew they were on there." Translation - you looked rough girlfriend.

Having said all this, ultimately this is what I look like but urgh I'm still depressed about it now. Okay not depressed but a bit preoccupied with it shall I say.  I really feel I look no different than I did last year although I have been told that I do. I do try and remind myself that this time 2 years ago I weighed 16 stone 5lbs and now I'm just under 13 stone.


I'm second in from the left next to my lovely cousin

One good thing that has come from this - asides from raising money for cancer research and supporting my friend of course! - is that I have been excellent this week on the food front. I am eating Ryvitas for lunch - what?! I happen to like them - the ones with the pumpkin seeds.  I do feel under pressure now but I have to keep going. If, whilst on the beach in August I know that I did all I could to slim then I will be happy.

Finally, about that race. My BF who has breast cancer has written about it here. I have to say she did amazing considering she is due her 5th round of chemo next week. The day we did the race is at a time when she has very little white blood cells to fight infection. It was a very emotional evening and her mum was close to tears at one point which set me off when we got a big shout out from the local radio station. 

When you set off it is a bit like trying to get past people during the January sales but after that it was just wonderful. There were about 1,500 people so less than I was expecting.The setting was in Tilgate park a beautiful lake and woods where I spent a lot of my childhood and so have my children.  It was worth it just for the scenery alone.  I walked with my cousin in front of Cath at first together with my stepdaughter but honestly we couldn't have stood still as slow as she was a walking. Does that make sense? You get the picture.

My cousin was itching to jog and I said I'll just check that my stepdaughter was okay. She replied that she would "die" if you had to walk any faster than a snails pace.  So I got the all clear by which time my cousin had ran off.  I could see her pink ears bobbing up and down in the distance. I did take off too but I couldn't catch her and felt it might be somewhat inappropriate to start screeching her name at the top of my voice.

I jogged, walked, jogged. At the last bit it said 500 metres to go and I thought well if you can't jog that you can't jog anything.  I was knackered but I had to keep going as there were crowds cheering on. The finish line was up hill too. Some comedian said "this should be a sprint finish now". I didn't have the energy to say any expletives to him.  I crossed the line at 46 mins and given I walked the first 2km didn't think that was too bad. I would love to jog it properly next time and that's what we plan on doing - Cath included.

We raised over £3,000 and in true weeble fashion we didn't fall down.

Weeble alert
Weeble with medal and my cousin with the ears

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Ignorer

A bit like The Thank You Huffer - the difference being is that you know The Ignorer. The Ignorer is a friend, family member or more likely than not an acquaintance. I'd like to think that no proper friend or family member of mine would get away with being The Ignorer but I'm not so sure.

So have you ever heard of one? I suspect not as I've just made it up. But you most certainly have encountered one, you just didn't know the term for this particular person. Now that we have cleared that up I will begin with my character assassination. Let us begin.

The Ignorer is female.  I have yet to come across a male one but then I don't have male 'friends' (see previous post on Why Harry met Sally).  She is middle aged. Yes she is an adult woman in, more than likely, her mid to late thirties and beyond. That isn't a given though so you may find a rare breed that is younger.

You have come across each other via child related activities i.e playgroup, school and the like.  Now you don't have to be a mum to encounter The Ignorer but it helps.  I'm pretty sure I could find The Ignorer within your social circle irrespective of your age, if you are child free or what you do for a living. It might be an old school friend, a facebook acquaintance or a work colleague.

The Ignorer quite simply manages to say "No" to a question, an invitation or night out by not replying in any medium it sees fit. This could be by text, facebook, emails or even letting the phone go straight to voice mail. The phone, in particular, freaks The Ignorer out.

Generally speaking The Ignorer ignores things that are quite pleasurable.  You will normally pose the question "do you fancy going...." but you won't get a reply.  This is your cue to realise that they don't want to go anywhere nice. Well not with you in any event. Even though The Ignorer is a grown woman she is incapable of saying "no thank you I'm busy" or "no thank you I can't be arsed." They achieve something quite extraordinary - being incredibly rude by not wanting to upset you.

Occasionally they will do the asking and when you respond they will ignore you. I'm going to call this The Ignorer reversal. This is particularly annoying as you've been lulled into a false sense of security.  The Ignorer will also question the reliability of your technology - did the text go, did the email get sent? There is nothing wrong with your technical devices. They work just fine.

I do know The Ignorer or maybe two.  I know how they operate and they have been labelled and filed away in my mental folder.  I can even judge, by the time that has elapsed, from a text whether or not its a no or yes - generally speaking its less than an hour.  Occasionally I might even suggest something in the full knowledge that they won't respond just to freak them out.  Sometimes, depending on my mood, I may play tit for tat and become The Ignorer myself.  They know what you are doing - making a point and this annoys them as their cover has been blown.

The Ignorer is not a bad person.  They have a fear of upsetting people and want the 'friendship' on their terms.  Trouble is The Ignorer will always keep people at arms length so you can never ever have a true friendship or be able to rely on them for anything.

So am I the only one that knows The Ignorer or do you do to? Now, don't ignore me on this one!


Monday Weigh In

2lb on.  See Saturday's chit chat for explanation or excuses same difference really.  Have logged all food today and done my Wii dance workout.  I have 12 weeks to holiday and I'm bored of not having any significant weight loss for a good while now. I am a master at maintaining my weight - I can do that very easily if I exercise but the idea was to lose weight.  My diet works when I follow it properly. Its not a hard diet to follow either as it doesn't restrict anything apart from the obvious cakes, crisps and chocolate. I just haven't been following it properly.  I also, stupidly thought, that last week would be easy. I had nothing planned, no cakes to bake - doddle. Then cue everyone being sick and me spinning plates and thinking fuck it.  Just so you know a 'fuck it' attitude is not appropriate when dieting.

Its not the end of the world but it will be if I'm on the beach in August thinking for goodness sake woman you had all year to get your shit together.  This is my final, final wake up call. Will I rise to the occasion? Will I come out with excuses? What do you think?  Want to stick around and find out or are you all bored shit less by now?

I went 'running' on Sunday but had to stop as the front of my legs were killing me. My cousin reckons its shin splints as she got this when she first started.  We are going to walk the Race for Life in any event as my friend will be in no position to run. During this time of her chemo cycle she won't have many (if any) white blood cells. I'm really looking forward to it - all meeting up and wearing daft outfits.  We are all planning on having a meal out in July and I'm going to stay with my cousin.  My cousin is one year younger than me and we got on really well.  Its such a shame she lives over an hour's drive away.

So until next week....send me positive vibes people!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Saturday Chit Chat

Or I should say Saturday Spinning Plates.  I was on fire up to Thursday this week - I had done 3 x exercise including the dreaded run of which I spoke of in my previous post.  Good job I managed to fit the Wii dance on Thursday as no sooner had I finished I got a call to pick up my daughter. My son and daughter do a free after school club on a Thursday - chess and glee.

As I got into the car, the husband arrives back, looking like death warmed up. He has flu. Terrific. I arrived at the school to see my daughter crying. She had a high temperature and looked rotten. So I also collected my son as I couldn't come back later.  He wasn't overly impressed as he'd just sat down to play a chess match. My daughter eventually throws up later on in the evening whilst I'm checking on the hubster.

Later that night at 10pm buddy starts throwing up and screaming.  He did this about 8 x in total and finally stopped at 2am. I changed 2 sheets, 4 sets of pyjamas, also got thrown up on because he decided pre-chucking up, it was essential that we hug.  My daughter came out to say "I know why he's being sick I gave him a kiss goodnight." I was glad she improved as she's rarely ill and prior to her throwing up I was checking for signs of meningitis on the NHS website.  She's so dramatic in normal circumstances that its very difficult to tell what level of pain she's in.  I did think if she's got this much energy to scream and shout it can't be life threatening. That is my parent theory, by the way, for falls and such like. If they are screaming, in my opinion, they're okay. Its when they make no sound and are lifeless then its A&E time.

I hate it when they're ill.  Another good reason not to have anymore children - 4 lots of worry - no thanks. I am going to take a guess here but I'm pretty sure I got NO sleep on Thursday night.

A friend took my son to school along with her 3 children. Although when he was leaving he mentioned the small fact that he hadn't slept due to all the noise.  Later when I pick him up he looks awful, tells me he fell asleep in class and is still unwell today. Last night he was whimpering on the bathroom floor saying he couldn't walk! Our house is as sick as a small hospital.

Oh and whilst everyone appears to be a bit better, buddy threw up this morning over the husband who is moaning that if he were a horse he would be shot and various knacker's yard comments. A nice big dose of self-pity to throw into the mix.  So to cut a very long story short I haven't exercised today, the food diary hasn't been written and a cheap nasty chocolate bar was consumed on Thursday evening in addition to some jaffa cakes.


I haven't played the pre-menstrual card yet on my diet but I may have to this week.  I'm sure I won't have lost anything and that's really pissed me off - I haven't remained focused. Maybe I can turn it around. I'm having omelet and salad for tea tonight and strawberries and yogurt for afters. 

On a happier note I got another DM from Nigella on Friday - she just put "nope!" in response to a comment about left over cake. Today a follower of mine on twitter suggested that it wasn't Nigella tweeting but one of her lackey's. How very dare she! Now that may be true for some but I was confident it was her as who else would post so many pictures of what they are about to eat? You can just tell its her by her response. I said that was just mean. Now for the best bit - Nigella tweets (you can see it on my timeline) "You may think tweets not from me really but let me tell you I enjoy twitter & for me there is no sense in delegating pleasure".  Now that's Nigella alright. Only she could put delegating and pleasure together in one sentence. And to top it all she DM'd me this and my follower accepted she was, the genuine, article. I thank you.

p.s won't be posting anymore 'proof' photos as that is also a bit 'saddo'!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

My Inner Obese Self




Was last night dreaming of Prawn Crackers. Maybe it was because I was cream crackered after my 'run' around the block three times. I just couldn't get to sleep until about midnight. The tops of my feet were throbbing as were the rest of my limbs. I really don't think taking up running at 38 is a good idea and I still hate every part of it. I am sure I could fast walk the 5km than 'run' it. When I jog, then walk, my legs are so heavy, so dead, that I walk at an incredible slow pace.  I did see a mum I knew - any excuse to stop  - who was yet another runner who told me "I hated it at first". I don't intend on taking it up full-time but you never know. The one thing I do like about it is you can just chuck on your trainers, plug in your ipod and away you go. No having to be at a class at a certain time, wait for an instructor, drive back and shower etc. The whole process takes up far less time.

I also saw a boy who is in my daughters' class (age 5) so I had the added embarrassment of running past, whilst mustering up enough breath to say "hello" to his dad. This is in addition to my arse playing catch up with the rest of my body and my face looking like its about to explode. This was about 7.45 pm and I did think the boy should be in bed by now and out of his school uniform. Not walking with his dad who was merrily drinking a can of Fosters.  I can still cast judgement on people even whilst physically exhausted!

Whilst we're on the running subject I read in the paper this week that the new mid life crisis for a man, the forty something, (which is beyond middle aged - you all know my thoughts on that) is to take up running. It pointed out that this can be incredible unhealthy for them as it puts pressure on the heart, lungs and joints.  I would say this would have to be same for women too. By all accounts once you hit a certain age mid 30's you cannot improve on muscle tone and this has a bearing.  But then what's worse, the health implications of running or the health implications of being overweight/obese? Basically you can still attain fitness benefits by walking fast and other exercises without having the impact that running does for you.

Now as this is a diet blog I may as well share the other fact that is doing the rounds in the papers (I'm sure they just regurgitate them) about fat. How we are obsessed with not eating fat. Well I don't think that obsessed judging by our waistlines.  How eating low fat yogurts, low fat milk etc is worse for you. I kind of already knew this and do eat full fat yogurts now. Our body will naturally do away with the fat we don't need.  In the 1970's our fat consumption was 50% a day. The article said you don't get fat by eating fat. Its sugar that is enemy number one for a dieter because a lot of low fat products will substitute fat with sugar or other chemicals. Its best just to eat the natural foods.  My husband, to the point as always, said "look, if you eat too much of anything be it sugar, fat and don't move you'll get fat. Simple."

So why did I dream of prawn crackers? Well my inner obese self eats Chinese food and lots of it. Its up there with my frazzle fetish and if I were a contestant on The Biggest Loser it would be sitting in the food cabinet behind me. They would take footage of me gorging on Chinese food.  This goes way back when and today I don't really enjoy it that much only have it about 4 times a year.

It all started when I was 15 and seeing a fella briefly. He asked if I had ever had a Chinese. It wasn't a metaphor he really was asking if I had every tasted it.  My parents were away and I had my first taste of Chinese food.  We never had take-aways up to that point. The only take-away we had was fish and chips before and after going on holiday - so once a year.  Moving on from my introduction to Chinese food, my friend and I would walk the streets at night as bored teenagers do and go to the Chinese take-away. We'd get sweet and sour chicken balls (you know the really ghastly deep fried ones) and sit at the bus stop dipping them into the sauce followed by a cigarette. Quality. I'm from Crawley what can I say.

Then when I moved in with my psychotic ex in 1997 we would often frequent the all you could eat buffet at a Chinese in London for about £6 a pop. And pop is what I did after leaving that place. We also used to do the same at home and pile it high with all manner of grease - sticky ribs, egg fried rice, prawn crackers etc. I had graduated to sweet and sour prawns Hong Kong style instead of the balls by then and let us not forget the duck. I easily put on a stone when we first moved in together. 

So much like the The Buffet Girl and Frazzles, Chinese food is very much part of my inner obese self and I like to keep it suppressed as much as possible. I have no idea why it re-surfaced last night. It is more likely to appear, on the balance of probabilities, than my inner slim self I am sure.  Maybe it was rebelling following on from my little stint at running. Who knows? What I do know is this - I buried it right back down into the vaults alongside the prawn crackers.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Monday Weigh In

Sorry its late I've had a funny old day so I have. Well lets get the important stuff out the way.  A stay the same. Last night I was totally at peace with this. Today I'm not so sure. I have wasted a week and in my friends words "feel lardy and yukky".  I always get heartburn when I've eaten crap too.

You see I kind of continued my party mood following on from buddy's birthday bash last Monday (that was on the back of my 2lb loss).  I didn't write my diary as I had a busy week and I was always playing catch up with the exercise. I managed to do 4 x workouts - Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  On Sunday I went for the dreaded 'run' and managed 2 laps around the block. Not all running but much more than last time.

Should you ever wish your beloved to see you at your worse then running is the answer.  I can't think of a time, in recent history, where I have looked more unattractive.  I came back with a face brighter than a beetroot and this continued all over my body. Hair scraped back, middle aged matron alert! Seriously, it was not a good look.  My legs were so heavy after the run and a fellow runner on twitter pointed out, quite rightly, I should be warming up.

Onto other matters. I spent over one hour trying to purchase cycling or swimming tickets for the Olympic games. I was unsuccessful in my quest. You can only buy a maximum of 4 which means buddy will have to sit out this one.  Furthermore, the cheapest were £50 going up to a staggering £350 per ticket. I got so caught up in it all, that at one point, the computer was checking availability for tickets at a grand total of over £1,000.  Well my husband had said it was once in a lifetime event. I asked how he would have felt had I been able to purchase tickets at this price - "not very happy". Did you also know that they are charging for you just to watch the marathon on The Mall?  You know that open public area called pavement - £40 if you please. 

Now this isn't even the best bit. The husband is triumphant later on because we have secured 4 x tickets to... wait for it.... women's weightlifting with medals ceremony!  Yeehar.  Really? Seriously? They were cheaper at £45 a pop at any event and it does mean we get to be part of the Olympics.  Alas I won't get to cheer Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins at the cycling. I'll have to make do with the Tour de France coverage on ITV 4 in July.

I also had a bit of a clear out of my blog - done away with the "I've been nominated badges" and the like.  I also deleted some mum websites and blog award sites I follow on twitter. I happened to comment on one re the parent vouchers on facebook. I cut and pasted part of yesterday's post. It was deleted! As long as you talk the middle road talk then you'll do fine at all these blog awards, review shit that doesn't matter and tell people what your favourite colour is.

Now when I start talking the talk and doing all these things its time to call it a day - hence the clear out. I ain't no desperado blogger. Nooooooo sorry!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

One Way Voucher Please

So asides from our Prime Minister being so far removed from the ordinary man - this week it transpired he thought LOL was lots of love when signing off his emails. I don't know what I find more disturbing, that he signs off emails with lots of love, or that he is so out of touch.  He probably thinks a MILF is a Mother In Lovely Frock.

I digress.  The latest, lets play at running the country as I was born to rule along side my posh chum, is to give £100 worth of parenting vouchers.  Never mind about people losing their jobs, pensions, double dip recession, high streets that resemble ghost towns and the mass unemployment of our young. Lets hand out vouchers! Isn't this the sort of thing he slagged off Labour for?  The mamby pamby nonsense he spoke of - a bit like the vital Sure Start centres that Labour created.  You know the ones that are threatened with closure along sides... wait for it...our public libraries. 

This is in the same week he wants to reduce maternity pay to 18 weeks which I suspect would be the lowest in Europe.  Maybe Dave, just maybe, it would be a good idea for the mother or father to raise their child and you might not need vouchers. In addition, he did away with the £250 child trust fund voucher for all children born in this country.

Before I continue I should point out that I think all politicians fail us on all sides. It is not a vocation anymore it is a career choice. They play at running the country for a few years and then do a spot of public speaking and make more money. The Prime Ministers job, as far as I can see, is about the only one in the country you don't need any qualifications for.  You just have to have the gift of the gab and have spectacular networking skills.

One person this week said to me he preferred the uppers ruling the country as they don't need to steal. I would have to disagree. What about the rich MP who decided to bill us for his £2,000 bird house on his moat?  They're all at it. They probably have money because they don't use their own for anything. 

Now I twittered a few disgruntled comments on twitter.  I received a tweet back by, I am assuming, a Cameron supporter.  No doubt won over by the X-factor syle election. Remember it? Everyone was on benefits and why should we all be paying for the scroungers.  She asked "Is it Dave's responsibility to budget for children he doesn't choose to have?"  I am assuming she is asking why pay for children being born. I mean is this really where we're at? What a sorry state of affairs when people have this mindset.

Tories are a bit like racists aren't they? Whereas a racist will normally start a sentence with "I'm not racist but.." A Tory will start with "its not MY fault" followed by a lot of me's, I's, Jack and alright.

That comment sums up with what is wrong with modern Britain and its not the 'welfare spongers'. The "if its not in my best interests I will oppose it" middle classes.  Part of the legacy of the Thatcher era is that we have a lot of people who are only interested in policies that they can directly benefit from.

Now I'll tell you why he should be responsible. He should be working for the good of the whole society.  It benefits nobody to have an underclass. You may be able to shut your door and say well I work hard, I know the difference between right and wrong but you still have to encounter people that haven't had the same start in life. When your car gets broken into, your house is broken into and when you are affected by riots. Why would someone care about trashing a society they don't feel part of?

So it benefits you to have a society where the people at the bottom of the rung actually have a start in life.  You can't complain about the state of the country if all you do is think about yourself. You don't care about people at the bottom.  You will encounter these people. Surely its better for us all that people have an equal start in life? That is what the £250 was all about as were the vouchers for childcare costs as were the Sure Start centres and as were the libraries - access to information free of charge regardless of wealth or status.

Now I hear the childless pipe up - why should I pay for children? I have chosen not to have children. Well let me tell you why because, again, you will encounter those children when they're adults and how they conduct themselves. They will also pay into National Insurance contributions, pensions etc.  Look at the bigger picture why don't you. No matter how much money you obtain through the course of your lifetime you're invariably going to need caring for. If you haven't had children then someone elses will end up looking after you.

And so to the vouchers. I am guessing that any parent who questions their ability is probably a half decent one in the first place. The very vouchers that the government are aiming at (people on low incomes, on benefits) are not going to use them in any event. The obvious thing to do is prevent the child becoming badly behaved and this goes back to giving them a decent start in life, decent schooling and decent accommodation.  Here's a thought  - how about one salary being enough for a family to live off ? One parent staying at home to raise the child?  The government encourages the parents to leave their children in childcare. This is so the parents pay tax, the nursery pays tax, the minder pays tax. Its all about the money.  And when things go wrong - the riots being a prime example - lets hand out parenting vouchers. 

I've said this before and I'll say it again this country is morally bankrupt as well as actually bankrupt. Although we are lead to believe this, has anyone actually seen the country's books? Perhaps a peoples' audit is due. How is it we can afford to provide one billion pounds worth of vehicles to Afghanistan?

It is not parenting vouchers we need but Tesco (soon to be national currency) reward vouchers. We could exchange them for a one way ticket for this, quite frankly, idiot of a Prime Minister to leave and never to return.

N.B One blogger, Nickie, believes it to be a good idea. Read her take on it here.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Saturday Chit Chat

Bit late but never mind.  So exercise wise I'm playing catch up due to a very busy week. As you know it was buddy's birthday Monday, clearing up and shopping Tuesday, visiting my friend Wednesday, visiting a different friend Thursday and baking a cake for my step-daughter Friday.  So I've managed 3 x workouts thus far. Not bad. The Biggest Loser on Thursday and Friday and the Wii dance today. 


My first giant cupcake - chocolate with chocolate fudge filling.  Wanted it to look like a cupcake. Piping was okay but have weak wrists!
I have to say I am getting fitter.  I can now do about 15 burpees in one minute - it is knackering but when I started it I could barely complete a couple. I can also hold the 'dolphin plank' position for 30 seconds before collapsing to the floor. Now this may sound pathetic to all you fitness buffs and it probably is but, once again, I couldn't do this for love nor money when I started. I am working up to being able to do it for the full one minute. I've had 3 c-sections too so stomach muscles aren't my speciality. I can also do the sprint starts fairly comfortably. All progress. 

I have not attempted another 'run' due to weather conditions. It has been raining a lot in the UK.  I am not a hard core runner. I am a very amateur reluctant jogger so weather does stop play for me. That being said I am going to attempt to 'run' around the block tomorrow maybe twice if I'm feeling adventurous. 

Food wise its been hit and miss. I need to write the food down. It keeps me on track and focused as does writing blog posts. I accept that realistically no one is going to write down what they eat on a day to day basis but for the purposes of losing weight its essential. A pain but an essential pain. When I write my food diary properly I lose weight in that week. I feel I've wasted a week, no, I have wasted a week.  I doubt I'll lose on Monday.


My 48 year old rebel husbands idea of 'patriotic!"

On to other matters. We had an invitation to a 50th today. That's what happens when you marry someone 10 years older - you get lots of invites to 50/60th parties! Anyhow its fancy dress. God I hate fancy dress. Dressing up is for children not for adults.  Here's a thought - throw a party and ask people to wear what's in their wardrobe. I was planning on wearing a floaty summer dress I wore to my sisters wedding back in 2005.  Its only had a couple of outings as normally I get pregnant, get fat and I can't get into it.  The theme will be based on the Jubilee and being patriotic. Being the 48 year old rebel that is my husband he wants to go as a punk wearing the 'God save the Queen' (by The Sex Pistols) T-shirt.  I suppose I should go as one too - would look a bit daft if I go dressed as queen or something.  Still, least it saves the hassle of having to fit into a dress.  He did seem to think I'd get into a Union Flag dress much like Geri Halliwell wore at the Brit awards. Pah ha ha is all I have to say about that.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

How to scare the shit out of you - 1970's style!

The other night we watched yet another nostalgic television show on terrestrial telly - ITV.  As per usual there was nothing worth watching on SKY.  SKY are really getting above their station - excuse the pun. We pay a mighty fee for movies, multi view room, dodgy re-conditioned SKY boxes (by all accounts the SKY engineers are told under no circumstances are customers to get new boxes) and hardly anything decent on 'anytime' TV.
 
Anyhow this programme was showing you clips of all the government adverts issued by The Central Office of Information. This organisation no longer exists but their adverts are so memorable, hard hitting and scary. Do you remember Jimmy Saville meeting children who had been in accidents to hammer home the safety message?  They are unbelievable. I have often put a few on my blog like Charley and I were in the Park and the like. 

These programmes are all the rage at the moment - anything nostalgia based and in particular the 1970's are very much in vogue. A bit like the 1960's were for many years - it seems that the 1970's have replaced the '60's in the nostalgia market.

So there were many adverts ranging from the 1950's upwards. Hard hitting stuff. Its a shame they have shut down the organisation as I do believe they served a purpose. Recently there have been 10 deaths in this country with people putting their portable bbq's inside their tent through sheer ignorance of the fact the fumes can kill them. 

Without further ado here is an advert that I remember as a child. Would you show this to your child now?



On to more cheery matters and general chit chat. I managed to fit in a workout today. I am officially unable to do a workout at 8pm. I was all dressed ready to work out on Tuesday and I just thought I can't be arsed!  I had buddy's party Monday, shopping and cleaning Tuesday, was visiting my friend pre-chemo treatment on Wednesday and today whilst I did visit another friend I crammed in a workout. Which means I also need to do one tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday to make it 4 x this week.

I am making a giant cupcake for my step-daughter tomorrow so will post pictures.  I had another little prang in the car today. When visiting my friend and reversing on her drive (which my husband did) I thought to myself if I knocked into her brick wall pillars I could say "oh I know a man that can fix that". The next thing I hear an almighty crunch. I haven't hit the pillars or her car or dog so what have I hit? It is a plant with hard branches. There's no way I could have seen it and the little bleeper didn't go off either. Not my fault. Plants fault. I surveyed the damage - it had got caught under the car and ripped the mud guard covering the back wheel and scratched a bit of the paint work. Oh dear.

So how do I play this one? Sometimes I let the husband discover such markings a few months down the line and say "oh that happened ages ago", sometimes I hope it just goes away and sometimes I come clean. Today I thought I'd come clean. So I then think well how do I approach this?  So I say "I haven't hit a car or dented our car or reversed into a wall..." "I've just ripped our mud guard and here's a picture".  You see he's already thought phew to 3 of those things so the impact of my blunder is minimal.  I suggest you adopt this if you find yourself in a similar predicament.

He just sighed, carried on with what he was doing and said "is the kettle on?" That is one of the many reasons I love him - minimal reaction, resigned acceptance of all car related incidents. What more could you ask for in a man?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Fight! Winner!

Although on Sunday it was more "play" "winner". I am referring to the original Karate Kid  - you know the proper one with the lovely Ralph Macchio and Mr Mayagi of wipe on, wipe off fame.   I loved the tension and excitement in that film not to mention "oh Daniel son".  Remember the music at the fight tournament "You're the Best around.. la la la la la la la la la".

Dainel son and Mr Mayagi

So what an earth am I going on about now? Well, my son played his first ever chess  tournament (Delancey UK school championships) on Sunday. He was representing the school along with 2 others who were in different age groups at the Megafinals and in with a shout of winning £25.  If he did well, it was on to the GrandFinals and then another final (how many finals does chess need?) with the top prize being £2,000. That's a lot of Skylanders and more besides.  And here's a chessy bit of info that may shock you - the children's world championship has a top prize of £28,000!

The husband took him as, quite frankly, I'm rubbish at directions, maps and satnavs and just going anywhere off plan. My husband turns up in the Kia to a packed car park full of very well to do parents.  The tournament is HUGE.  My son is mighty impressed his name is featuring at the top of the score chart due to his surname.  I am back home making cakes but constantly checking my phone for the results to come through. A bit like when you first meet someone and you're willing them to text or phone. I'm not even there and the tension is palpable.  He has 6 matches to play which can last for 40 minutes but generally take 10 minutes, so there is a lot of waiting around in between. The husband reports back that many a rich kid are practising on their Ipads between games.  My son is playing games on the husbands' phone to pass the time.

First text comes through - winner! Our son says it was easy. I'm on a high and we're all buoyed by his first match success.  Could he walk this? Second match - loses and I quote "son is on the ropes! He loses to a far superior opponent". So no is the answer to my previous question.


My son has these in his room - purchased from Debenhams

The husband says the mother was a right stuck up cow giving pep talk pre match (parents have to leave once their child is seated at the table), wearing what can only be described as a rock for an engagement ring and brandishing a Chanel bag. You can smell the pound notes emitting from her. The child has curly hair and is wearing a chess champions sweatshirt. You get the picture.

My son was magnanimous in defeat, relief, kids can be highly unpredictable.  By all accounts several children throughout the day leave in tears "they couldn't handle the pressure or shame of defeat!".  So onto the next match - wins! By this time I cannot focus on much more than the incoming texts with the latest results.  I ask the hubster if he's as tense as me and he says "is that why your punctuation is so poor? I am chillaxing in my sons glory. He is even more relaxed than that!"

Onto the next match. This one is a "nail biter" says the hubster. The next boy has won 3 out of 3 and is up against our son next. The tournament is very fair in that if a child has lost a match he then plays someone that has also lost and vice versa. He wins! The other child is fighting back tears and my son comes out with a wry smile. Next match - he wins!

Fifth match if you please. A small oriental boy. My son eyes him up and down and on the basis that he is smaller than him says "this will be an easy one". My husband points out that just because he's small doesn't mean he can't play chess. Its a draw. Lesson number one learnt.

So it comes down to the last game. I can't take much more of this I can tell you. He needs a draw or a win to take him through to the GrandFinal.  He is up against an equal opponent.  And here's the little twist.  I get a text that says "Vladimir (I kid you not on the name) is the lead boy.  Have just been propositioned by opponents father whose boy is on 3.5 points. Suggested the boys play for a draw so both qualify." What?!  Immediate phone call from me "play to win, play to win". I'm thinking what if the boy changes his mind. Anyhow the hubster tells my son its down to him - play it how he wants to.

Later the phone rings - the hubster gives me the news - he lost.  But by all accounts he played to win. I'm gutted. He was half a point from going to the finals.  Did he play to win or did he have the draw in the back of his head? Does it really matter? Of course not but you know me yes it bloody well does!  Should the husband have told him about the draw? No he shouldn't have. He's already in the bad books despite the fact he's given up his Sunday to be surrounded by posh snob folk types and he doesn't even know it.

When the boy wonder comes home he gets a hero's welcome. He arrives clutching some improve your chess type little books and details of some more competitions.  By all accounts he did have a little cry on the way out but the husband promised him £20. Little did he know I'd also said, if he conducted himself in a fine manner, i.e not swiping the board of pieces in defeat I would give him £20. 

Later on I was like a dog with a bone. I had to let it drop though for the sake of my marriage. Under cross examination the hubster cracked and said the dad, upon hearing my son say he lost, exclaimed "What, oh my god, I'm so sorry".  I then asked my son did you play to draw - yes was his answer. My husband is now cross. He says you weren't there he came out and said he played to win and tried some new moves.

It did later transpire that my son, whilst reading his new little chess books, decided on the crucial decider match that he would try them out. NO! Another lesson learnt.  So I can now sleep easy at night knowing he did play for the win. I am a sorry individual, what can I say, but you lot already knew that. Marital harmony has now been restored.

I may take him to another tournament in June, whether I'll be able to cope is another matter entirely.  And to cut a very long story short my son came about 8th/9th out of over 50 boys.

The boy done good.


Remember this boy and turned into the man  Gerry Kasparov and those chess games in the 70's/80's.  I can dream right?

pictures - ebay, wikipedia and my phone

Monday, 7 May 2012

Monday Weigh In

Hello. People. I have returned.  Have you missed me? Well I have been mighty busy what with Buddy's 2nd birthday preparations. I left you on Friday to start making IgglyPiggly from In The Night Garden who was, quite frankly, a total wanker to make. He might look easy, oh yeah I can do that, bit of blue - bish, bosh, bash - no he wasn't. He was a cocksucking wanker. Anyhow he took up most of Friday as well as covering the bottom of the cake in green. I was mighty proud of myself for doing a workout on Friday evening - this is unheard of for me. I don't do evening workouts. Evenings are my clocking off time.

Then on Saturday I spend most of the day decorating the night garden but also managed to fit in a work out. Sunday was cupcake preparations, the sky man changing my box (MATRON) over again and looking at my phone all day for text messages from the hubster about my son's progress in the school chess championships. I will write a separate post for this one.

So without further ado I lost 2lbs. I'm pretty sure I've put that all back on today. I had a few crisps, a sausage, a burger, chicken and chorizo with salad, some birthday cake and a few frazzles not to mention 2 glasses of rose.

The party was great fun. My sister phoned at 9.45 am to say she was ill and wouldn't be coming and that she hadn't made the pavlova. Even if she had it wasn't going to be making its way up to my house anytime soon.  But I had enough cake to go around and my friend had brought fruit for an exotic fruit salad. This gave me the opportunity to show off my pineapple corer - if you don't have one you must get one. Its the only way to dissect a fresh pineapple. She squealed in delight - this thing has squealing powers I tell you.

The kids were all delightful running in and out the house between rain showers. My eldest son did, however, come crashing down the stairs as he chose to lean on the stair gate (I've told him 100 times) which collapsed and he went with it. His ego was hurt more than anything else. I had a few glasses of rose and felt myself getting a bit loud and disorientated. I keep thinking games, I have games! They played pin the blanket on IgglyPiggly, football pinata and pass the parcel.  I find that game so stressful I don't know why, it should be simple but its not. You've got to make sure the child doesn't take off too much newspaper, keep track of who's had a sweet, make sure your children don't win, decide who will but mid way through...hate it.

My dad cooked the "shit burgers, they keep falling apart, where did you get these, they are just bread" on the BBQ next to his Chelsea flag he had brought with him after their FA cup win on Saturday. They are off to Munich for the Champions League Final. My mum measured up my daughter for a Queens outfit she is making for the schools Kings and Queens day in June, my BF and husband looked well as did the kids, my sister arrived with a funky potato head for the little fella, my cousin thought the party was at 1pm not 11 am.  She was mortified as its not like her and said "I'll see you in a minute" which was funny as she lives a good hour and 10 minutes away. I kept meaning to phone her earlier to see where she was but I kept getting distracted.  My other friend came with her husband and kids who didn't seem too put off by my family. So all in all an excellent day. Buddy was most displeased that he had to go to bed and leave his wooden garage and cars behind.

So back to a fairly normal week, except I do have a giant cupcake cake to make for my step-daughter's birthday on Saturday.

Until next weeks weigh in.


chocolate cupcakes


Flower pot cupcakes


Wanker


Semi forgiven

World's highest cake alert


Much better



Ta Dah! I put his name in blue sparkly letters on the left hand side


Friday, 4 May 2012

Its the real thing...



..to rot your teeth and to crave sugar but you've gotta love a coke. The New Seekers were huge in the 1970's. Our ABBA equivalent I would say. Anyway I thought I'd pop this on to cheer up a rather gloomy, weather wise, Friday.  I am off to make buddy's birthday cake and work out - so much to do. I'll post pictures later.  I am on fire this week with both exercise and food and entering danger zone - the weekend. Got to keep the momentum going. Think bikini. Think bikini.

Have a wonderful weekend people!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

YOU'RE DEAD!

Fancy wearing this to a funeral?
Ho, ho isn't it a hoot! Just thought I'd stick an exclamation mark at the end of my carefully chosen words to express my condolences!  R.I.P! You'll be missed! Can't believe you've gone!! So sorry for your loss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean really?  Am I the only person that thinks sticking an exclamation mark at the end of R.I.P is highly inappropriate. I've seen it many a time and especially on twitter.  What an earth are people thinking?  Death is sombre, distressing, sad and devastating to name but a few and writing sorry to hear your loved one has departed and ending it with a whacking great exclamation mark is wrong. It just makes light of the whole situation. It sings out to me in a joyous tone. Stop it. Just please, please stop it!

Now I'm not a grammar buff as anyone reading my blog with an imaginary red marker pen will testify. But (yes you're not meant to start sentences with but or and, however, books do it why can't I?) surely its not rocket science is it? When did this start? Does it stem from the piss poor writing you see on facebook - you know the ones where half the letters are missing from any simple word in the English language. I then wondered if I was wrong so I checked. Here's a little definition I found from Wikipeida.  I've extracted a bit here:-

A sentence ending in an exclamation mark is an actual exclamation Wow!”, “Boo!”...(“Stop!”), or intended to be astonishing or show astonishment ...dramatic effect.

Overly frequent use of the exclamation mark is generally considered poor writing, for it distracts the reader and reduces the mark's meaning

Okay so its says dramatic effect - but really, if someones just died, does the widow/widower need anymore drama. I think not. 


A more appropriate use of the exclamation mark - pictures ebay

Now in other news, today I saw a woman (same sort of age as me) doing her weekly shop with her Ipod on.  I did do a double take and think do people really need to have their music on whilst shopping now. She wasn't going at any pace just casually looking at the jams, wasn't doing anyone any harm so what's the problem? I don't know but it registered in my brain - my increasingly disturbed brain. I think it probably says more about me than it does about her.

Also whilst we're here, shall I change the font on my blog? I think its looking a bit old fashioned and should I bring the pink troll in the bikini back for the backing picture of my blog. Decisions, decisions.

Finally, I have worked out 3 x this week and its Wednesday. My thighs were killing me yesterday after the Forrest Gump episode and rain stopped me going out tonight.  I'm not at the hard core runner stage yet where I'll go out whatever the weather.  If truth be told I was grateful for the sit down, its been a busy week and I have buddy's birthday cake to make and decorate. I am so excited he's going to be 2 on Monday! Now that's worth an exclamation mark in my book.