Monday, 27 May 2013

A sharp prick

Or should I call this Nettlegate/ThistleGate - I'm not sure. What do you think? Have a look at Exhibit A below. This little fella was caught red handed in my mouth this evening. Yes, feeling healthy and staying focused on my Las Vegas target to be in clothes that fit and do up (the simple things in life for this lady) - I chose a salad from The Co-op which had an assortment of salad leaves, couscous and beetroot.  Proud of me or what?  Okay it did accompany a thin crust ham and pineapple pizza (650 cals) but still I've eaten a lot worse on a bank holiday I can tell you. 

Exhibit A - picture my own -previously in my mouth!
So whilst eating said tea, I take another bite and felt a sharp prick (MATRON! in best Kenneth Williams voice - nope still not tired of this yet) on my tongue and pull out this offending bit of salad leaf - if you can call it that. It drew blood and stung for about 30 minutes after - I think its a cross between a stinging nettle and a thistle but being ignorant on all gardening type matters I cannot be sure.

Naturally I quickly googled 'foreign food objects' 'food injury claims' and promptly but exhibit A in the freezer to preserve the evidence.  I emailed The Co-op and I await their multi million pound settlement!

My husband took a less than attractive picture of my tongue to prove the minor injury and, of course, my status was fully updated on facebook.  My husband cracked up when he read my email to The Co-op as I'd said something along the lines "I bit into the salad and felt a sharp pain - I pulled out the leaf to discover..." to which he said, in between chortles, "she put in her thumb and pulled out a plum and said what a good girl am I..... oh and please can I have some compensation." That and "if you go to The Sun newspaper they'll want your tongue and your tits out." This little leaf has created a lot of entertainment this evening I can tell you.

On the chit chat front, I went out on my bike with my daughter yesterday - so it was only a gentle 4 mile bike ride. Today we went for a stroll in the woods and tomorrow is the start of my half term with the kids. I am aiming to get out on my bike in the evening to make up for the time I will lose in the day and I think I've lost a 1lb although I forgot to weigh in this morning.

I have an all you can eat Chinese buffet on Saturday and will have to try and contain myself in some way! You know how I am with a buffet and all.

I shall see you all in the week.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Cycling Diaries

Not quite The MotorCycle Diaries of Che Guevara proportions - a great film if you haven't seen it. No this is my little catch up, chit chat, creaky knees cycle post to let you know how I'm getting along.  -2lb if you please.

Creaky knees? Yes, indeedy. Can you believe it. Recently I'd noticed this awful creaking sound whilst going up the stairs. For a good while I thought 'that can't be my knees it must be the carpet?'  But yesterday I asked the husband to listen to my knees (not recommended prior to special love) to confirm what I had suspected. Yarp - its my knees alright. Cue quick google and it ranged from 'you're an old hag with arthritis/osteoporosis' to 'nothing to worry about'.

I can't believe its a good thing having ridiculously creaky knees. They're not hurting although my right knee did play up for a couple of days after my last bike ride. My knee has always given my a little jip after exercise throughout the years - in fact I seem to recall that's one of the reasons I gave up step aerobics - oh that and an achy hip!  Generally I ignore or shrug off little niggles like these but I suppose as you get older they get harder to shake off.  It may also have something to do with the fact I have sat side legged for over 3 years following on from the pain in my coccyx - god I sound like I need to go to the knackers yard.  Other than that I'm a picture of health and vitality. Although if you saw my recent passport pic you would think differently. Grim so it was.

That's another thing - my passport pic. I finally decided its about time to put it in my married name (nearly 4 years later) - £72.50 if you please and I have another 5 years left to run on it! It has never really mattered going to France but seeing as we plan on going to Las Vegas, I reckon it will be far easier to get through US immigration if my name matches the name the holiday is booked under. Besides, that's one of the reasons I wanted to get married in the first place - so I could have the same name as the rest of the family. Call me old fashioned like.

Anyhow, back to cycling. I'm really enjoying my new bike. I had my doubts after I ordered it and then realised it had 'rigid suspension' aka 'no suspension'. Why they can't just say 'no suspension' I don't know and the tyres were smoother than ordinary mountain bike tyres. A quick facebook message to my friend's husband (a keen cyclist who cycles to work and back) said it would be fine. You work harder by all accounts on a mountain bike - the suspension means you're wasting energy bobbing up and down - no suspension is better for the road. Given that I cycle on the road and cycle paths it seemed my choice wasn't so bad after all.

It certainly doesn't feel like a bone shaker and I am finding it easier to go up the hills.  Does that mean I'm not working out as much? I don't think so. It means I'm continuously peddling when previously I would be sitting catching my breath. Today I did an 8 mile bike ride if you please and partially got up a very steep hill.  Yesterday I did my 30 minute weight work out and tomorrow I'll fit another weights session in. Did you know that it increases your metabolism and burns fat 48 hours later whereas cardio finishes the moment you finish your workout?  Next thing I'll be telling you I'm lifting weights on a bench press in the garage!

Until next time.......

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fireman Sam is a ...............!

Okay for Buddy's 3rd birthday I made a Fireman Sam cake.  I like to make novelty cakes for the children and whilst this wasn't one of my best. I thought I'd share the whole nightmare that it was!

The cake board - cover with grey fondant and use a  cobble stone embosser 

Funnily enough I had the actual Fireman Sam engine in the house (he'd pilfered it from my Aunt's house with her knowledge). I cooked a madiera cake which is firmer than a regular sponge.  I would ordinarily freeze it and shape a cake whilst it is defrosting and I don't know why I didn't this time! 

I divided the cake in half - I cooked 2 x rectangles 
After cutting the rectangle in two. I then began to shape the cake which was quite difficult as I hadn't frozen it beforehand.  I then smothered the two halves in butter cream and jam.

A kind of shaping going on 
Off cuts - best bit! 

Then I covered the dodgy looking fire engine in butter cream so that the fondant would stick 
I did all the covering for this cake on a Friday evening - I baked the cake in the day and spent about 2 and a half hours doing this bit.  By the time I got to rolling out the red fondant I was very tired and you should accurately measure out how much you will need to cover your cake. If you do it properly, which I couldn't be arsed to do, you won't get folding at the corners because you've used too much fondant. To get the fondant on the cake just sprinkle icing sugar on the table (like you would for pastry) roll out then use your rolling pin to roll it up and quickly place on top of the cake.

Your kitchen could also look a right state should you go down the novelty route! 

See what I mean - you can see at the corner there is too much fondant
Notice the bottle of red wine about to be sunk as I called it a night
The next day (Saturday) with 3 children around the house and a hubster I set about decorating it - DO NOT DO THIS if you can help it.  It doesn't make for flawless finishes I can tell you.

Even though the top etc was smooth I thought I'd give the engine some edges!

I used silver paint (edible) to give a window effect

As one side was better than the other I had to work with the engine facing the right side when I work better and more naturally facing the left!  It does look like a simple cake but the wheels, grill etc made it very time consuming and in a quiet house may have been a pleasant job but after 3 hours decorating I was seriously losing the will to live. As like many of my cakes I have a real urge to get a wooden rolling pin and just smash it to smithereens whilst shouting obscenities!

Slight improvement - am feeling happier with it!
I like how the bumper looks like its on the ground - oh wait it is! 

Finally I used a fireman candle (I was going to make a fondant Fireman Sam but no, just no!) and shaped Michael's name (aka Buddy) using red fondant to resemble a hose - clever eh? I also made a little bucket and popped some blue sprinkes in.  I used some gylcerine (which you can't really see in the picture) and didn't colour it to resemble actual water coming out of the house by the number 3. And that my friends, is how you make a Fireman Sam cake. Now if I were you, I would head straight to Sainsbury's and hand over a tenner and be done with it! 

Until next time....

Ta Dah!!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Fantasy Picnic v The Reality

My new bike that doesn't clunk and feel like its about to collapse whilst riding!
PICK ME! PICK ME! My hand is straight up on this one with the other firmly grasping it behind my head - you know like you used to do at school.  I am entering my second competition on my blog (the first being a Skylander one for the kids). We didn't win, got a runners up prize of a Skylander that everyone had, still you can't win them all and generally we don't!

The Kids Bikes - what a lovely sight

So without further ado this is to win a family 4 day break at a Center Parcs resort in the UK.  The reason this caught my eye was the cycling bit. As my regular readers know, we love cycling in this family.  So much so that I organised a free after school cycling club (not proficiency I'm talking proper riding your bike) with the help of British Cycling which has proved to be very popular. Its wonderful to see so many children, who don't get a chance to use their bikes in urban South London, having the freedom to ride their bikes properly.

We are so excited about this years forthcoming Tour de France and whether Bradley or Chris Froome will both try and go for the title although I don't see how this is possible. In the meantime we've been watching the Giro D' Italia. I digress. The thought of having a 4 day cycle fest appealed to us very much. Plus we've never been to a Center Parcs.

Last outing circa 2003
My fantasy picnic 
The brief, in short, is to have a picnic and blog about it. Well as it so happens myself, buddy, 'M' and her little son did have a picnic down at the farm for his 3rd birthday.

Now I would love to tell you that I made a home made pork pie (even though I don't like the jelly stuff, they do look nice), fancy quiche, sausage rolls (just like my Auntie makes) and all manner of fantasy picnic fare but, alas, that wasn't the case.  In fact, I reckon the fantasy picnic will happen when I'm about 50 at this rate. I do own a lovely picnic hamper which has been gathering dust in the 'lego' room for quite some time. I reckon it got an airing about 9 years ago pre-children. I have now vowed, to take it out for a jolly this summer, as it is just wasted sitting there all rejected and lonesome. I mean it even has a thermos flask - that's proper grown up stuff people. Typical though isn't it? I'm going to start using it when I'm now buggyless. Buggies are great for loading up stuff like a carthorse. I used to pride myself on the amount of goods I could carry without it toppling - now I have to carry stuff.

In the absence of my fantasy picnic it was a 'tin foil all round' type affair. The food consisted of bread sticks, cocktails sausages, crisps, the token healthy option of tomatoes and cucumber, home made cupcakes (a slap dash job as his birthday cake had taken its toll) and my trusted Ryvita.  Not remotely glamorous but quick and easy. We did, however, have proper mugs of tea and cappuccino from the farm shop.

My trusted ruck sac that's been with me since 1997 in my backpacking around Europe days
Now how about this! Ryvita with marmite can't say fairer than that now can I?
Get us with our proper mugs!
Buddy says "that way for Ryvita"

Well we did have a rug, plastic plates and I do believe I can see some Tupperware

So Center Parc officialnardos please pick us and we'll give the Bradley Wiggins 'yay we won' salute!

Until  next time....

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


So, I just about managed to sell my bike. I say just about as 4 hours prior to bidding ending, I get an email from the highest bidder. He tells me his partner has bid on my bike by accident. Are you frigging kidding me? Not again! This happened last time with my daughters "for parts" dropped Nintendo DS. Don't people read the description? He said he was sorry blah blah blah.

I replied saying that old chestnut and if people read things properly then maybe 'partners' wouldn't bid on things by 'accident'. Why can't people just say whoops sorry it was me rather than blame it on the imaginary person? Last time the bidder said it was their daughter that bid by 'accident' and got a stern telling off. Fine but that doesn't help me sell my tat now does it?!

Anyhow it ended amicably enough our little ebay exchange.  He said my comments were noted and he was truly sorry - I did joke that she should be made to buy the bike as punishment but he didn't take me up on that. 

So enter the nutter (see previous post). I gave him the second chance thingy which he did and paid via paypal. I've given him my address even though one of his email's subject said this:-

Subject: Stan ( ret Windsor Angel ),, trundler,...

I mean seriously what is all this about?! I said to the hubster I'd very much like for him to be around when or if this fruit picks up my bike.  I'm very tempted to just refund the £25 and say the bike has broken down.  I said what if he's going to murder me to which the husband said "no one's that lucky!" followed by "yes murderers normally pay £25 via paypal don't they" cue various other comments like "have you checked his purchase history - has he bought 20 second hand bikes and have all the owners been murdered!" followed by "I don't know who's more the fruit you or him". 

In the last hour he's sent this:-

allo. May days over & the bike runs are over for a few days, so if its OK to collect the Trundler wed,  8 may , lunch time, .fine by me if its not then let us know, thanking you, Angel Stan....(number)...landline..over to you Batman...

Like I'm going to be alone at 1pm tomorrow - I think not. However, I have worked out all the Angel trundler business. I reckon he's a hells angel re the reference to bike runs and the trundler is my trusted bike. I reckon he's about late 40's/early 50's. I'd love to say are you aware you write like a 10 year old - actually that's insulting to a 10 year old. 

In other news, I've had a lovely day - little Buddy is 3 today.  We went to Peppa Pig World (a separate post for that one) on Sunday and today I took him to a lovely farm with my friend (see bare with post) with her little boy. We practically had the farm to ourselves and the weather was glorious. I will post pictures and a step by step guide to a Fireman Sam cake later on in the week.

In other, other news I went for a bike ride Sunday, I have been filling in my Vegas log and I forgot to weigh in what with the Bank Holiday and all.  I will try and fit in my weights workout tomorrow in between getting this house in order and the weekly shop.

Until next time....

Monday, 6 May 2013

Gary Lineker in a box... what I thought might be my 'cheeky' surprise from Walkers crisps.  There is no denying he has looked after himself old Gazza hasn't he.  My sister won't mind me telling, that she had a thing for Mr Lineker back in the day. Maybe not so much now - she's into Mr Cumberland Snatch Benedict or whatever his name is - can't see it myself but hey each to their own.

Unsurprisingly Gary didn't feature in the box which housed the new kids healthy snack of  'hoops and crosses'. We did, instead, get a 'cheeky' little monkey - christened 'Millie Monkey' and was stealthily taken by my daughter to her bedroom before the other two staked a claim.

So what of the snack?  Firstly given that this a diet blog I thought we'd give them a try. I like wholegrain and so does my daughter although not so much my eldest. In fact, he's such a nightmare when it comes to food that I often threaten him with the 'food doctor'.  My kids do have crisps but only at the weekend - everything in moderation and all that even if they are the healthier option.

I like they come in smaller gram bags - 18g so less crisps to eat and are 85 cal - by the way I have recently purchased a calorie counter book more of which later. I tried one (remember Frazzle attack?) and they were very nice - I have yet to taste a bad crisp have you?

Anyhow, I noticed we received a very retro 'roast beef' flavour. I wondered if we could play noughts and crosses on the table - my clean table I hasten to add - but that lasted about 50 seconds as I had to explain an imaginary grid and naturally the kids just wanted to eat them as quickly as possible.

...not really getting a look in...

The Walkers Monkey ready to play.. give Hoops and Crosses a thumbs up consumed in less than 60 seconds and Monkey is less than impressed.

I received monetary compensation for writing this review but as my regular readers know, my opinions are always brutally honest and If we didn't like them we'd tell you. Plus I need a new bike.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Bare With, Bare With......Back!

'M' aka 'Tilly' adopting a Bare With....Bare With....Back! Pose. Picture My Own!

This is my friend - she's my bestie as we call each other. Yes, we've only known each over for 3 years but its like we've been together forever. My hubster calls her "my little friend" and her hubster says "crikey you two together are a force to be reckoned with." They're just jealous. Nothing is off limits. I love her.

Lets call her 'M' to protect her loosely covered identity seen here in this picture. She is surgically attached to her smart phone. There are days I want to rip that god dam thing out of her hand and just fling it as far as I can and say "what you gonna do now missus?" However, she is proper hard and I know she'd knock me out with one clean swipe!

To be fair sometimes she lets go of the phone which is ordinarily cupped in her hand and places it on the arm of the settee. Its her way of saying "look I can sit here and not look at my phone" She can't - she will casually, whilst chatting, have a look over. She can't help herself. She needs therapy. Phone therapy.

Today, she reminded me of Tilly out of Miranda. Have you ever seen that programme? Much like 'M' she is constantly looking at her phone and whilst doing so says "bare with....bare with...bare with...bare with...BACK!"

'M' is now on an imposed (by me) smart phone detox programme whereby she has to try and manage 1 hour without looking at her phone which, by the way, does the most annoying whistle thing whenever she gets an update of any sort.  The pressing urgency today, to interrupt my speaking, was reading her sisters reply of  "lol" sent after 'M' had told her she hadn't shaved her pits.

Having said all this I think I would have withdrawal symptoms if she no longer carried her poxy phone. Its a part of her - love 'M' love her phone. I would miss the stupid penguin case on the back and the even more annoying little whistle that goes with it. And to top it all she wouldn't be at my constant beck and call and respond to messages, emails and phone calls immediately.

And I couldn't be having that now could I?

Until Next time....

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Three Day Rule

No its not a new diet like the latest one - what's it called 5 and 2?  Eat normally for 5 days and starve yourself for 2. Rock on! It works by all accounts.  Or here's a thought eat normally for 7 days? Speaking of which the Las Vegas log is certainly working (okay its only day 3) but still.  Haven't been able to exercise since my weights on Monday as I've had a touch of flu. I had to cancel my filing as my teeth were aching. I thought this probably wouldn't help my condition - coupled with the fact that £95 would remain in my bank account for a few days longer. I think dentists are another blog post altogether. I'll get back to the job in hand.

Okay, 'The Three Day Rule'. I think it warrants caps and quotation marks.  I'm talking about holidays but not just any old holiday, holidays with friends - people you know.

Now the other day my sister and I got a talking about various holidays and I mentioned my friend was on holiday in Florida with another couple and her children - two families off on their jollies.  She stiffened up a little on the chair, pulled a funny face and said "three day rule" - say what? "yup, three day rule" she replied.  She then proceeded to tell me that there are only two couples in the entire world that she would happily spend more than 3 days on holiday with.  The Three Day Rule.

My sister has lots of friends, friends she's known for decades but there isn't a cat in hells chance she'd spend more than three days in their company.  She has learnt from bitter experience that friends can drive you nuts on holiday. There is no escape. You get to learn things about them, quite frankly, you'd rather not. Take for instance a barge trip (nothing quite like a confined space!) with 'friends' and my other sister (they're twins) and I am the forgotten one - yes my sister leaves all her money to my other sister and horses if she dies. I think that needs to change. Don't you?! Anyhow, all she recalls from that holiday was her size 8 friend moaning that she was fat whilst strutting around in a skimpy bikini opening the locks for the barge.

I asked my friend what she thought of my sisters' Three Day Rule' - she said they enjoyed going on holiday with the other family but feels they might not feel the same way about going on holiday with them again! Mainly to do with how she thought her kids would have been perceived. That's another spanner isn't it- children. How you handle your kids, how the friends' kids deal with this that and the other - potential explosion!!

I'm pretty sure me and my ex-boyfriend would be on The Three Day Rule list. In fact, the friend who went to Florida may well confirm this as she was with us - young foursome on a holiday to Lanzarote.  He liked a drink so he did. However, once drunk he'd like to pick a fight with any passing German and we'd have to diffuse the situation by getting him back to the villa (separate ones thank goodness) where he would promptly throw up in all the bed sheets. Nice. Oh that and hiring a jeep, taking it off road on a beach and blowing the tyre. We changed the tyre and noticed the sticker that said "do not take this vehicle off road" but instead of turning back like any normal person he decides to press on. I can barely talk about this as we all thought we were going to die that day. He drove us up a single, dirt track mountain road with a sheer drop the other side. That is no exaggeration. The jeep was rocking from side to side and even my friend's boyfriend was screaming.  It took at least 2 hours to climb this thing, the jeep ran out of petrol and we had to drive back in neutral. That is reason number 354 he is my ex-boyfriend.

So, what do you think of The Three Day rule?

Until next time....