Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Quickie

This week has been a bit manic, so sorry for the absence of any blogging tittle tattle of which I have plenty. I manged a 10 mile bike ride on Monday and a 7 mile on Wednesday - I managed to get my first flat and thankfully the hubster was working on our garden at home so was able to rescue me. My knight in shinning armour in a Kia Sedona!

I lost -2lbs so that's the holiday weight off thankfully. Am slightly panicking now as I now have 2 months to lose a least a stone before Vegas and its getting harder to fit in exercise and the like what with the weather and stuff on my 'things to do list'.

Today, we had a wonderful day in London - first the Tate Britain where we went to see LS Lowry's works - again more of which in the week and then to see the Tour of Britain! Yes, we were cycling groupies for the afternoon. We headed for Westminster Bridge where all the team buses were and riders - we were able to freely mingle with the team buses etc and saw Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Co. This deserves a post on its on with pictures.

This week is fairly busy, I have my cousin coming around tomorrow, school open day with a friend Thursday and a McMillan coffee morning. I have to really try and up the exercise this week.

See you soon....

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sunday Chit Chat

Well this week was a busy one.  I only managed to do 1 x 10 mile bike ride and 1 x 45 minute Wii dance workout with wrist weights and with my Zaggorra pants. This weather doesn't lend itself well to working out does it? It was rainy and miserable for big chunks of it.  It separates the hard core from the fair weather worker outters and if I'm not careful I could become one of the latter.

I did receive another pair of Zaggorra hot pants - this time the longer version which goes all the way down to your ankle by mistake. I'm currently awaiting their hot top so I can review the two together but I will continue to use the pairs I have as I think they're great to work out in. I need all the help I can get in these winter months. I am also now the proud owner of an adult skipping rope!

I think I'm just going to have to adjust my working out - I can't rely on getting on my bike 4 x a week like I was able to do during the summer months. I need to make sure I go swimming once a week, skip, wii dance and weight training.

On the food front, I'm back on track but, as ever, I've been very slap dash in my food diary. My friend was explaining the virtues of the 5:2 diet the other day. Now, I haven't read that much into the diet but essentially you eat 'healthily' 5 days a week and you 'fast' (500 cals for women) on 2 days of the week - they don't have to be concurrent.  If you would like to read more about how it all works, then pop on over to Cath's blog here. She explains how it all works and will update her progress regularly.

It is the latest diet trend. Whilst I don't doubt you will lose weight following this diet - you'll lose weight if you cut down on what you currently eat - I also believe you will line the pockets of the person who was clever enough to write the latest fad diet.  They've all come and gone haven't they?  Dunkan (isn't he being investigated now?), Atkins, Cambridge etc etc. All these diets have had devoted followers who were insistent that it was the only diet that truly works.  It seems we are all incapable of just eating less and moving more unless someone is telling us how to do it in a certain way. We could all do with eating less in the western word irrespective of whether or not you are slim or fat.

My friend, naturally, wanted to pass on the good news and wants me to be "successful (with my diet) and happy". Yes maybe its taking its time but I know for sure, no one is going to be doing the 5:2 diet for the rest of their lives. I also don't think eating 500 cals is healthy and sounds like it will mess with your metabolism. Why don't people just eat healthily for 7 days?  They would still lose weight but that would be too easy. Why do we have to complicate it?

Naturally, the book gives lots of health benefits, research blah blah (like all the others did) and it will have its day but predictably in a  year or so from now, will come the latest research, as to why its not good for you and enter the next fad diet.

I don't blame people trying to convert others to their chosen weight loss regime or even their exercise. Its natural to a degree.  I have been told, on more than one occasion, to go running instead of cycling - that it burns more calories etc but ultimately you have to do what you enjoy doing. There's no point taking up an exercise you don't enjoy.  I have you know that cycling up hill isn't for the faint hearted - your lungs are burning and you are proper gasping for breath. Your upper body gets a good workout from controlling your bike and it burns a good 400/500 cals with no real impact on your joints and more importantly boobs!  I've yet to see an amateur fat cyclist - have you?  I don't tell people not to run and take up cycling nor do I tell them to ditch their diet and follow mine or that they won't lose X amount of weight in X amount of months. Like I've said before in my top ten tips - your weight loss is the only one that matters and surround yourself with people that say "you can do this" as opposed to "you won't or "you can't".

In The Daily Mirror - notice how I place the RIPPstone in front of my stomach! 
And finally, it has been a busy week because myself and the hubster were featured in The Daily Mirror national newspaper!  This was about our little project - RIPPstones - affordable pet memorials with children in mind.  They are not morbid in design and my husband created and designed them himself.  We have had some great publicity with Absolute radio's Dead Dog Memorial campaign.  I am awaiting to hear back from Pets at Home also so all very exciting stuff but it has been busy.

And finally, finally I was featured in the Britmums Policitcal round up this month. I do seem to gravitate towards politics more than any other subject. Check it out and other great posts here.

Until next time....

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Cambrdige Crew - Part II

Well I did promise a part II of my thrilling instalment of families on holiday. By the way, I added a picture of the cake that my daughter gave on the previous post. Huge wasn't it?!

Anyhow, the next Cambridge couple were located in the farmhouse so they weren't next door to us. This couples children were fine and were all girls 6, 3 and 1. No swing ball bat welding, cake returning, daughter this time.

On the first day, the husband says "did you see the granddad?" I said "that's not the granddad that's the husband!" Now my husband thinks our age gap of 10 years is big so I had to peel him off the floor with this couple. She was 42 and he was comfortably in his early sixties. In fact, we overheard him say he had children who were 42, 37 and 33.  He was quite the hands on dad if he was in full view, however, when they were invited to the owners for a bbq (she was best friends with the owners daughter) he was quite the intolerant dad.

Much like people that age would be.  He was getting most annoyed with the middle child who wouldn't sit still for 10 minutes let alone 2 hours. Just listening to him was exhausting enough.  There is a reason you're meant to have kids at a child bearing age - although I accept the unfairness that men can churn them out at any old age (think Charlie Chaplin, Rod Stewart etc) although it doesn't mean it makes it easy!  I couldn't think of anything worse than parenting a 1, 3 and 6 year old at the grand old age of 63. It must be exhausting. Anyhow, each to their own. That wasn't an issue.  He actually reminded me of my granddad (my mum's dad) with his posh voice and what not (although my mum doesn't know where her dad got his posh voice as he was Battersea born and breed - actually she does, by all accounts my gran's parents thought he was common as muck hence the tory boy accent). 

He was pleasant enough but she was a bit up herself I have to say. She had this bizarre habit of walking around the grounds in her dressing gown, clutching a bottle of wine in one hand and a wine glass in the other.  Perhaps, the novelty of the older man had worn off and the stark reality had sunk in.  She did chat but I had to look right at her and say "morning" before she would engage.

She had decided to leave the last day for the big family trip to Le Pal for some reason. However, on the day before the husband had managed to drive up a kerb which gave them a flat tyre. He changed the tyre with the spare but didn't put the nuts on properly. This was discovered at the garage when he went to replace the spare tyre.  This meant they had to wait until 3pm the next day to get a new tyre and when they went to collect the car - the French had put another tyre on!

When we came back from our day out she was not best pleased. I was carrying my wooden mouse and the hubster the road sign. She didn't even comment on them - how could you not notice I'm standing chatting with a huge wooden mouse in my hands!!  She said "I am so annoyed with him" "we've had to pay £400 all because he didn't put the tyre on properly." "we've been turned over the car only passed its MOT 2 weeks ago".  I was sympathetic and did the appropriate "really?" and "oh that's awful" but her mood could not be lifted even when I said "well we happened to buy a mouse today" to which she replied "mmm I can see that" and off she went.

So there you go - you can plan all your packing, route and accommodation but you can't plan for the Cambridge Crew.

Until next time....which will be tomorrow as I have to update you with all the exciting things that have been occurring this week.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Cambridge Crew

Well never one to turn down an opportunity to judge people....I'd thought I'd tell you all about our neighbours in France.  Last year, if any of you can recall, we were unfortunately enough to 1) be staying in a mobile home 2) sleeping on concrete beds that every expense was sparred on 3) situated next to The Campingnardo.

This year, we were far more fortunate to 1) be staying in a gite 2) having improved bedding conditions (okay so Buddy had to have the double and we pushed the singles together but still) but we were neighbours to two lots of families from Cambridge.

Now, the lay out of the holiday home was such that, there were two 3 bed roomed gites attached to each other. Then there was the Farmhouse (which could sleep lots) detached next to the gites. We all had communal access to the swimming pool and extensive grounds.  Lovely.

Our first direct next door neighbours were a couple (late 20's) who had an 18 month old boy. She hailed from Essex but not with an pearly queen accent and he had a funny accent - diluted northern I reckon. Anyhow, they were nice enough even though the toddler whinged all week and woke up at least 3 x every night. I didn't mind too much - when I woke I couldn't make out if it was one of mine - I was just pleased I didn't have to get up.

Anyhow, I think he was out of sorts but they still tried to enjoy their holiday by eating at 10 pm and having lunch out even though the poor boy chucked up etc.  I couldn't quite see the logic of travelling 5 hours to this place and then packing up after a week, to travel another 3 hours, to stay in the Loire but there you go. They were nice enough. If not 20 going on 50 but I'm sure they were thinking that must be a second marriage or what not. We all do it don't we? Talk about other couples? Even us couples talked about the couple who owned the place. We'd all worked out it was a second marriage, that the first wife died and various theories came up about why they were selling up. All good fun.

In the farmhouse were a professional couple - I could sniff the degrees a mile off although no one discussed who did what etc (except our Essex friends). They had two girls and the eldest was the same age as our daughter so they quickly became friends.  The mother was pleasant enough and on the first day I gave her some matches which she didn't bother to return. Mmmmm. Also her daughter was not so sweet and innocence (and I also hold my daughter responsible) when she proceeded to attack my eldest with swing ball bats until he had a huge bruise and broke down!  Mmmmm.

Is my husband really a Pearly King masquerading as a pie eating northerner? Pic ebay

My daughter was obsessed with playing with this girl and when we were in the pool she encouraged her to come in - but she just stood and watched and was quite precious. On one occasion my daughter wanted to share a cake we had purchased for the boulangerie. We cut half and off she trotted to give it to her new friend. A few minutes later a quarter came back. By all accounts that was far to much. Really?! How rude is that. Just accept the frigging cake it wasn't that big and who does that?  Besides, this girl had been giving my daughter those sugar necklaces during the week which if you want to get all food police on me is far worse.

The offending domino cake cut in half which came back a quarter! 
To be honest, without the risk of sounding like an inverse snob, they were a bit up themselves.  I mean its not like we were doing the Lambeth walk and I haven't got an Audrey Hepburn accent in the style of My Fair Lady promise guv. Although my husband does sound like Dick Van Dyke when he attempts a southern accent.

They pissed off to the Alps after one week with talk of buying there etc and the next day enter...another family from...Cambridge....stay tuned for part II of The Cambridge Crew.

In other news, I am now ranked 348 in the tots100 pretty good considering I didn't blog at all during August, tweet etc. I would love to get into the 200's as then you get the number on the blog.  I did a great 10 mile bike ride on Monday and nearly got killed.  I was going straight in the cycle lane and a car was turning left as I was going straight.  I looked over my shoulder at the last minute and applied the brakes. It was so close. I'm talking an inch and I nearly burst into tears with shock, fright etc. I'm also annoyed with myself as I need to get on the pavement at certain junctions and it is a classic get killed as a cyclist - turning left or right.

Until next time....

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Spot The Difference?

What do you think? 

August 2011

August 2013



I have returned from my blogging break. We went to France for our annual holiday - Burgundy to be precise and it was wonderful. It was a bit different to our normal French holiday - by the coast - but it did not disappoint. The drive was relatively straight forward - we just had to concentrate around the Paris equivalent of the M25. Much as I love the city, the last thing we wanted was to end up in the center of Paris. I am pleased to say we only added 10 mins to our journey by taking an (a) road compared to a (b) road that seemed to run adjacent to each other in any event.

My husband does have a tendency just to veer off to the right on impulse when we're doing just fine. I, in turn, am like "why have your gone right?" "mmm.." lots of huffing and puffing. I have to really contain an over whelming urge to scream like a banshee but my suppressed state of annoyance is probably just as bad.. "but what made you turn right?" "at what point did you think we were going wrong" and he's like "I just thought..".

Thankfully it was okay and I didn't have to kill him. He says I have a look on my face which leads him to believe I am going to chop off his balls. We always, at the end of our holiday, discuss the 'potential divorce driving incidents' and that one came close. He was saved by the fact it didn't matter. Poor bloke he does such a good job of driving but I would  kill him if he adds hours onto our journey!

On the way back it was busy (took an hour) but given that it was the last Saturday in August and everyone was returning home, I really think French 'busy' is our 'not bad at all' kind of busy.

The kids are so used to these touring holidays now and.....dare I say it (even though every year I ask my husband did he put the red triangle in the boot he replies "oh no, and I have two of them") we are proper hard core innit. I think there needs to be a badge, bit like the Brownies which can only be achieved if you've broken down (tick - Brittany 3 years ago), if you want the hard core as opposed to light weight badge.

We have the roof top box, breath test kits, fluorescent bibs for each person in the car, sat nav, map, dvds, kids entertainment boxes i.e pens and what not, a little device that just magically opens the gate (and husbands wallet) on the motorway tolls (no faffing with tickets and change), the navigator (me), the bike rack and the packing and layout of the cabin of the trusted Kia Sedona of snacks and what not (toilet paper, wet wipes) is a well oiled machine.

I know not to give my daughter milk before a 7 hour car journey as the result will be she throws up at least 8 times. She threw up just once this year into a sick bag that had a drawstring and liquid absorbing thing in the bottom so no smells.

Not to mention, being fully aware that you can't just 'spin it around' in France. If you go off course you can add an hour to your journey easy. We know road signs are on the junction not beforehand given you plenty of time and that when you come off the motorway you more than likely have a hair pin bend to negotiate.

This year to add to my ever increasing list of items I always take to France with me was the Shewee - yup I bought the family pack of a device that us ladies can use to wee standing up with.  Now, I have fairly adequate bladder control but put me on a motorway both home and abroad and tell me we won't be stopping for a good couple of hours then guaranteed I will need a wee. Its psychological and that's the way it is. However, I felt rather triumphant and confident that not only did I have the device (which by the way  I tried it out and lets just say there was a little spillage - I think I probably need to read the instructions properly) it came with a bag that makes liquid turn to gel which my son used on the last leg on the way home. It also came with wet wipes and a sick bag (see above).

Anyhow, enough of bodily functions and what not - what of the holiday.  As ever, lovely pretty villages, plenty of medieval towns, great park facilities, lakes, canals, vintage car show the owners had told us about -they were English and he had an Alvis car (said to be used by Sir Winston Churchill) which the French loved. So much so the owner of the chateau the show was held at asked them around for tea sometime.

Cycle paths, nature - we had cows living next door, sunshine (yes only one morning of rain), French bread, cheese, no telly (just Breaking Bad box set in the evening, scrabble, boules, swimming pool and a bit of loving!  Yup normally these out everyday holidays are very tiring but we all didn't get up till 9.30 by the time we trotted out it was 11.00. We had a picnic most days, swam when we returned for our days's cycling, walking, sightseeing and bbq or pizza in the oven of an evening. We were all very relaxed and suitable loved up.  Last year, we just about managed to get away and the husband certainly took one for the team as he was in pain for all of it. Even the bed was okay!

My eldest took 850 pictures, my daughter whinged and answered back most days but not all day - there is a difference. She made friends with one girl the first week and then another girl the next so she was "when we coming back" and also pestered the life out of the owner to bring her dog out. Once out and about though she was fine as we have zero tolerance for not stepping into the fold and embracing the outdoor life. They have all winter to be indoors. Our youngest was just in his element we had an orchard in the garden and loads of room to run free. He walked miles on the holiday too - we didn't take a buggy. The fact he didn't then have a sleep on the way home and still had energy in the tank to swim and not go to sleep until 10 pm every night and not be whingy is amazing. I'll take the whingy daughter who wants to play the nintendo and has a maximum 20 minute attention spam as a trade off.

I have lots more to say, but I'll save it for the week. Whilst I did cycle it wasn't anywhere near what I would do at home. My husband had a fold up bike to cycle alongside buddy on his stabilizers and I would cycle and track back with the other two. I did do a 6km ride on my own one night but that was it.  I put on 4lbs from eating bread everyday together with wine and pizza. I am pleased to say that 2lbs of that is already off.

Ordinarily when I return from holiday I have a take-away (which we did on the Saturday night) but on the Sunday I would still say I'm technically on holiday so a cream cake might not go a miss and then I'd say well I won't start my diet till the kids are back on Wednesday. This year on the Sunday I was right back to eating healthily.

I am back on the exercise tomorrow as buddy is at pre-school.  I shall return in the week with updates, the type of neighbours we had, the 5:2 diet everyone is talking about and much more.

Thanks for sticking around and I'll see you very soon!! Here are some pics of the holiday...

Remember this dress? Wore it 2 years ago and pretty sure I filled it out more and it was shorter as my bum was bigger!

A new pair of fair trade shoes made from tyres and leather - I purchased these from a lovely Kenyan woman in the market. Thankfully, she said speaking English was preferable to French

This was a great morning out a medeival castle ruin - boys loved it and the kids all got wooden swords to decorate. Naturally, son's got broken later on as nothing lasts in this house - it is now fixed

How awesome is this ride - buddy even went on it - this was at Le Pal an excellent theme park with a difference i.e not shit like Legoland, Chessington and the like. More on this next time

He shakes the carriage!

A family tradition is to always have a look at the memorials that every little village has of 'nos enfants' - men who sacrificed their lives in WWI and WWII

There are 4 names the same. Real life Saving Private Ryan

This is me and buddy at the arboretum - wonderful day out and sporting my hero John Lennon

I loved these old signs on buildings - hadn't seen them before

Now how could you leave France without a wooden mouse? We stumbled across a wood maker and entered his workshop and items for sale and took him home with us 65 euros

This caught my husbands eye at the local brocante - she was less forgiving on the price 30 euros but my husband is going to make it into a garden feature.  And no we don't have gnomes!

Our 3 bed gite is the one on the left  - we all had access to the child proof swimming pool and grounds and it was perfect!

This was a lovely medieval village on the river - it did have a funny feeling though - think wicker man - Edward Woodward!

Me and my baps - this one was for my gay friend Craig who is obsessed with my tits - what is with gay men and tits? Do they miss them? Last year's bikini as its my favourite
We were staying by the oldest velodrome in France


Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Ketchup v The Mighty

I am back! From a wonderful 2 weeks in Burgundy, France. I will do some blog posts in the week but in the meantime, to ease me in, I'm going to write about crisps. Yup. Crisps. Anyone who reads my blog knows its my Achilles heel (remember my Frazzle attack?) and I reckon I've sampled a fair amount during my 39 years. I consider myself to be a connoisseur of crisps of all ranges child or adult. They all go down the same way and generally find themselves filling out your clothes. I piled on the pounds with cheese balls, derailed off my diet on Frazzles, came over all poncey with Kettle crisps, thought I was all seaman like with Scampi, smelly breath with onion rings and oh.. remember the fish n chip ones that you used to get in the tuck shop at school cira 1979?  Okay, we have established I am possibly the best person in the world ever to review these crisps.

I was asked by Walkers to review their new, healthy, lower fat and wait for it....ridged... range of crisps.  I suspect they are aimed at kids what with the funky hunk of a ridge character giving it some - flexing his muscles and all - but do not let that deter you from chomping on them yourself my friends.

Every year, when we go to France, my son picks up their 'Monster Munch' bag of crisps. It looks nothing like a Monster Munch. Its the love child of a ghost meets Pac Man reject. His only saving grace is that he is Ketchup flavoured. Now, you may have a child that eats their food sans ketchup but I don't.  Making organic baby food has counted for nothing with this one. The only way I could get him to eat anything (even rubbish stuff like chips and nuggets) was to add 'dip'. That's its name in this house. My son is a ketchup freak it pains me to say. Blame the parents.  I digress somewhat. 

Voila Mr Ketchup. Here he is in his medieval get up giving it large. Giving it the French ready to do battle with l'anglais. Could he really take on The Mighty? 

In short NO!  Firstly, even if we disregard his appearance (he's not all all chic) the taste is strong! I mean granted he comes in ready salted and cheese and ham (?) but if you are unfortunate enough to get a well coated ketchup one its not good. 

Mr Mighty, I am pleased to say, wins hands down.  He is the real deal.  He's ridged for goodness sake.  He has 30% less fat than standard crisps (Monsieur Ketchup has...well lets not go there) and comes in good old fashioned 1970's style flavours - roast chicken (which happen to be vegetarian although not sure why a veggie would want to eat something masquerading as chicken?), lightly salted cheese and onion. 

The kids loved them and you can check out the range at walkersmightylights and best of all they're only 114 calories.

I was given 3 bags of Walkers Mighty Lights to review and was paid some money which will go towards my 40th birthday cake. Kids will love these as the logo is funky and if you fancy a low fat treat then I don't think 114 cals is too bad. Views, as ever, are my own.