Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sunday Chit Chat

Where's the sunshine? Well by all accounts we're going to have naff summers for 10 years. Yay!  I can't see how they can work this out as they can't seem to accurately predict what's going to happen in a few days let alone a few years!

So what of the exercise? Not too bad.  Monday - did a 11 mile ride, Wednesday - 50 swimming lengths and Friday just 8 miles on the bike.  This weekend has been a bit of a washout so I haven't got out on my bike.  I seem to have lost the inclination to exercise using my Wii dance/The Biggest Loser etc as I love the bike and swimming. I went AWOL on the food diary this week and on Monday I hadn't lost weight but I think that was more the knock on effect from the Chinese I had Sunday night for Father's Day.

I do feel so much fitter. There is a certain hill I go up which, when I first started back in April, I would have to get off and walk up. After a few more attempts I would stop about 4 times but this week I stopped just once, caught my breath and pushed on again. I am going to attempt to get up it in one go which will be quite an achievement.  My magic jeans feel looser and many people have commented that I look like I've lost weight - I keep saying "its my magic jeans" but now I actually think no its me, my bike and swimming.

Did you know that next year the Tour de France starts in Yorkshire? I'm so excited - we are going to take the kids and possibly my sister and husband and watch it at the highest point.  It also has a route coming into London but the slower they go past you the better. 

The summer fair was okay. I enjoyed just meandering around and my son had a good time with his little friends. I left buddy with dad and my daughter went on a Brownie day out. Quite a few parents were a bit nervous about this ranging from the children getting lost and my personal worry favourite "what if the coach crashes?" My precious cargo sat on the back seat which, by all accounts, is the worst place to be on a coach if it crashes.  I'm pretty sure my parents and others never got worried about anything like this back in the day.  I am not unusual in fretting about the safety of my children. Almost all mums I know are. It got me thinking about this modern phenomenon of worrying about days out, school trips and worse still a camping weekend.

I think it has to do with a lack of community. There is very little community these days where everyone knows each other. Also people move around much more. Maybe in my day parents would have know the Brownie leaders etc for years or knew someone who knew them etc.  These days you are entrusting your children with strangers and there is a sense of unease with this.  Also we feel less safe in our own environment as adults and our fears transfer onto our children. I don't know whether my children are more likely to be abducted today than they were in the 1970's. Maybe not but it certainly feels like they are. My son could walk to his friends house very easily and I know he would enjoy the freedom. Its only a 7 minute walk and he knows the route, however, there is no way I'd let him.  Its very sad our children have no freedom to roam the streets wherever they live.

Onto more uplifting matters - here is step by step picture guide to my 99 flake giant cupcake. The cake, by the way, was confined to the bin as the ants in the PTA hut managed to infiltrate the cellophane and make their home on top of the cake. So all in all a waste of time, effort, money and more importantly washing up!  Still at least I can show you all how to make it...



I used a 4 egg cupcake recipe using my giant cupcake tin

I loved doing this bit - cover the top with a 'crumb coat' of buttercream and then use mini flakes for the groves using more butercream as glue

Prior to this I had holed out the middle and filled it with jam - I think there was enough buttercream going on so didn't split the cake

I then used a large piping nozzle and pipped it in one go - later I filled in some gaps I could seen between the flakes and the top of the cake

The end result - I used some strawberry ice-cream sauce on the top, sprinkles then used a large flake to push into the top. To finish off I piped '99' on the board.


So what of the week ahead? More cycling and swimming and that old food diary (see Las Vegas page) needs to be kept up-to-date. 

Until next week....

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The inbetweeners Bus wankers



Please see my previous post to get why I've put this clip up. It makes me laugh and is only 18 seconds long! Enjoy!

And if that makes me a Wanker....

....then so be it! I said this on a bus the other day. I suppose you could call me 'bus wanker' made infamous by the In Betweeners. If you haven't seen it - check out the clip above. Its only 18 seconds long and will make you laugh I promise!

Anyhow this came about when myself and M were returning from the Sealife centre.  Lets just say the 'debate' got a bit heated when talk of the PTA came up. Poor old M remains on the PTA. Its my fault. I roped her in with promise of doing good and then fucked off and left her.  It wasn't planned or intentional but as anyone that reads my blog regularly knows that it was taking up all my time, I wasn't losing weight.

But when you resign from the committee you become one of them. I have gone from Gamekeeper to Poacher. I am now confined to the lazy arsed ranks of parents that leave it to someone else. Well, I haven't really but clearly when you resign from Vice-Chair you aren't going to be doing as much as you did when you were in the circle of trust. That was the whole point.  Anyone that has ever been on a PTA knows the work involved. I mean even if you delegate stuff you still have to oversee and think what needs to be delegated.

So the Summer Fair is approaching and I'm not running a stall. There I've said it. There should be a PTAA (PTA Anon) group or something whereby I could stand up and say "I am an ex-member of the PTA and I'm not running a stall." This isn't an easy thing for me to say or do. I jumped into the PTA full throttle when my eldest son was in reception (5 years ago) - I have rarely, if ever, been to any event where I haven't set-up, put away, ran a stall, made a raffle novelty cake, baked cakes for sale and so on. I want to go to the summer fair with my son and look around like 98% of the parents. I am one parent of over 240+ people.  Still this wasn't helping M as, like every year, she was struggling for helpers.  The fair can never be as big and bold as we would like as the support just isn't there. It never will be. 

However, the red mist descended (even though she wasn't referring to me) and I listed everything I had done over the past 5 years.  For example:-

Ridiculous amount of cakes to make!

Last year we also made reindeer biscuits to go with this house - I am mental - I've made 5 of these bastard gingerbread houses!

5 x gingerbread houses which take over 3 days to decorate, lots of novelty cakes for raffles, cupcakes - ridiculous amounts as sometimes I would bake in excess of 40 (some of which I buy back!), trawling the streets to ask shops to put up posters, arranging banners and art work, writing How To Guides on almost all events, my sister should also get a mention she spends hours preparing the quiz night questions and hosts it for free, selling tickets for events - a soul destroying task, manning stalls, setting up, putting away and the normal donating teddies, attending EVERY event when who in their right mind would want to be in a sweaty school hall on a Friday night,arranging the pamper night and all stalls. I could go on and on and on....oh wait a minute I have!



Let us not forget the hubster who obliged with the following:- make wooden cut outs for a peace garden, make wooden seaside cut out, donated pebbles for a pond, put up a shed, concrete base, put in a free ramp for the school, making the PTA board, make class name plates, make a royal throne chair! And donating new phones for my pamper raffles. What a star he was the PTA biatch and we used him god damm it!

Plus when things are occurring at a school i.e expansion and what not people tend to pay the PTA a visit. These people fall into roughly these categories:-

Apathetic (there's a clue in the word here)

The "its all a load of bollocks, they've agreed it, what can we do?" This is normally uttered by the parent that lives in the 'bad' area and got in to the 'good' school but that's where the contribution ends. They want the school to sort out their piss poor parenting skills and you wonder why they didn't just opt for their school which isn't a 10 minute drive away. By and large I find these types less of pain than the next one as the next lot should know better.

The Worried Well

These types are much like the above and are all a bit pathetic. They live in the area but the poshest part, are normally well educated, have high aspirations for their child, can't afford private fees, raving Tory, have the attitude that nothing will ever change, has their child on the 'outstanding' school waiting list, moans a lot but doesn't actually contribute by helping. They just tell the next types I will speak of what they should be doing and feel they're above us all. When something like this happens they then enter the fold and appear all condescending. They are the educated ones after all. For me these types are worse than the apathetic types by far.

The Hard Core

The ones that consider themselves normal, scary, bolshy, on the PTA or help regularly say "why do people do this? Its for the school" and can never understand numbers 1 & 2 above. They are at the core of the school and community whether you like it or not. They know everything that is going on. I am in this group - its preferable to the other groups. Don't get me wrong people can piss me off within this group but I'd rather be in amongst this lot than the others. A bit like when a Jehovah Witness knocks on your door - I've nothing against them they want to save you but I'd rather go to hell with the majority if you don't mind. Some may say we're clicky but fuck em.

The Outsider/The Follower

These are a nice, harmless bunch on the fringes. They don't get too involved with stuff and do their bit to help out. They are just about holding it together - to get the child to school on time, keeping up with bookbags etc. They haven't got time for this shit - school that is.  They need a little shove to get them to do what the Hard Core want them to do and are generally obliging.  You can spot them a mile off. They are the ones who come up a week later and say  "no, really?" "they want to do that?" Or "we'd better do something before they get ideas in their head" normally at this point the 2 form probably started a year ago.

I've also noticed people go through a range of emotions bit like a break up during a campaign:-

Anger
Fight
How/Why/Questions a WHOLE lot of Questions
Organising
Accepting Defeat (one week in)
Doubt
Calming down
Waiting

Oh shut up your martyr prick I can hear you say! No I'm not a martyr and I did get satisfaction from doing this for a long time but not anymore. I am so happy I have got my free time back. This week the ladies have been carrying out preparations over the course of two days then they have Saturday setting up and I have been on my bike and swimming.  It feels wonderful. 

Having said this, I have made a raffle cake. I couldn't help myself. I will return to helping with stalls but for this summer fair I wanted to have the option - the most glorious option of maybe not going or just 'popping' along.


And if that makes me a wanker....then I'M A WANKER!!!!!! 

Until next time...which will be soon as I need to fill you in on weight loss and exercise.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

Saturday Chit Chat



I was going to do a post called Festering Friday or something along those lines. A new feature in the world of The 1970's Diet. Not exactly a cheery one, so don't think I'll be doing a 'linky' on it anytime soon. My Festering Friday feature was going to include things that have mildly irritated me during the week. What do you think? Worth a regular feature? For starters I saw an old man (well into his seventies) open his car door at the garage and empty the entire contents onto the forecourt.  I'm pretty sure he would probably have a moan about the state of the country and, quite frankly, he should have known better. There were many a litter advert in the 1970's as it was such a huge problem. Check out this advert from youtube which was from the 'litter defence league.'

Also worthy of a mention for the post (that wasn't) was the walk to school day. The school is going to be doubling in size - so naturally the council couldn't care less about the parking situation - nor the fact the pupils are coming from all over the borough. The school then came up with the idea of promoting walking to school. Good thinking Batman.  For parents that ordinarily drive, they were encouraged to drive to a location, whereby the school had arranged for the children to be walked to school. As an even bigger incentive, any child that had walked to school, would receive a free breakfast. Sounds fabulous doesn't it? What a great idea. The designated area to drive to (and I kid you not on this) was 150 metres from the school's side gate! Are you frigging kidding me?!  Has the world gone totally insane. It was hailed as a resounding success - talk of it being carried out on a termly basis - seriously you would think the children had walked 2 miles or something.  The parents were merely able to park there car a bit further down the road. In my day it took me a good 30 minutes to walk to my 'local' primary school.
The hutch that dad built - pretty cool it has 3 levels
Anyhow, I need to fill you in on the week. The guinea pigs have not settled that well. They're still alive which is a bonus. They still run away when I try to grab them. I hate their squealing and freaky feet and I've only just noticed that Max has red eyes.  They don't poo in one corner which they're meant to - its everywhere. The haven't merrily enjoyed the run my husband made - they hide in the corner and we nearly killed them! The run is so heavy and when they crammed into the corner I was conscious that if I dropped the run it would probably break their feet. So they ran off and I had to rescue them from the shrubs. My heart was beating fast as I needed to pick them up before we lost them for good. Luckily I somehow managed it and gently threw them back into the hutch. Erm, actually reading through this no wonder they haven't settled!


At least they have funky bowls - The guinea pig 1) below is called Max and has freaky red eyes and  guinea pig 2) is Captain Rex who is the more nervous of the two. Behind is the run that dad made - although now has a door on and we actually had to fish them out with a net!







So onto the rest of the week. I have only managed to fit in two bike rides this week - an 8 mile one on Monday and a 10 mile bike ride yesterday.  The weather hasn't been great this week and I was at the London SEALIFE aquarium on Wednesday (see previous blog post) and an appointment with the opticians on Friday morning.  I have lost 2lbs though following on from working out 5 x last week.  I will update my pages today.  I will do another bike ride tomorrow and as my diary is pretty free next week I should be able to go swimming again. Did you know that you can buy prescription goggles?  Or that you're not meant to wear your contact lenses whilst swimming because it can cause infections. Yup the very informative optician then went on to talk about infections leading to blindness. Don't think I'll be swimming with my contact lenses anytime soon! She also mentioned a touch of scarring on my right eye following on from contact lens gate aka having one stuck in my eye for 3 weeks last summer.

My next bit of tittle tattle is the very exciting phone call I received early Tuesday evening. On my things to do before I'm 40 (which is another blog post) list is the desire to appear on a game/quiz show. So I signed up with a website that notifies you of TV companies needing contestants.  You cannot imagine my excitement then, when one of the production companies phones up for a telephone interview.  I had to talk about myself and what not - naturally the blog featured and then I had a general knowledge test. I passed! I didn't get them all right and afterwards I did wonder why I hadn't just googled the answers given that I was sitting in front of the computer at the time. They lady on the phone immediately sent an email to give me details of when and where the audition would be.  Unfortunately it was on Friday at 2.30 pm - very short notice and the hubster had already been rained off during the week so was under pressure work wise. My only other option was 'M' who has 3 children of her own.  She was okay to have buddy and pick up the other two from school. Great. Not so great was that later on she realised that she had a tea date that had been put off for 3 weeks and M couldn't guarantee when he would finish work. The lady phoned me on Thursday afternoon to confirm my attendance but I had to tell her I couldn't make it. She was very nice and understanding about it. I hope they keep my details on file and maybe I will get to be on a show and win some money before the year is out.  

So my friends that is all on the weeks chit chat front. Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

SEALIFE PLANKING

I think my son may have invented a new craze, a twist on the old craze, not just any old 'planking' but SEALIFE planking.  What an earth...?! Well let me tell you. Yesterday, me and my trusted side kick 'M' together with our nearly 4 and 3 year olds, were invited along (free of charge aka a 'freebie') to review the London SEA LIFE aquarium. I cannot tell you how excited we were leading up to this - hand clapping and jazz hands were a standard greeting at school drop off and pick up.

To get there we would be taking a bus, train and the tube - an exciting adventure for the boys in itself. Although 'M' had decided to tell me she had a fear of the tube because "you'll never ever get out if the ground collapses." I did point out that the Victorians seemed to have done a good job but she was having none of it.

We regrouped at my house and did a bit of faffing. I was going to take my nice handbag but seeing as 'M' had her rucksack I decided on one too. I don't like rucksacks though as you can't see where everything is and I get in a right old tiz. We had sweaty rain jackets on, which we were too hot in and 'M' was cursing her choice of a lightweight jumper. I took the buggy then decided against it - too much carting around. I shut the door and then opened it - forgot the oyster cards. It was still only 9 am.

We legged it for the bus, with me bringing up the rear, as buddy had decided to do his first 'plank' of the day as he didn't get to push the crossing button.  He doesn't do screaming or almighty temper tantrums - he simply drops to his knees then lies his body flat and refuses to move. Good start then.

The bus journey was fun for the boys and the breadsticks had already been cracked open. 'M' of bare with fame was keeping me posted of anything major happening via her phone and questioning my own abilities to get in and around London (even though I commuted to Canary Wharf for many a year) by saying things like "are you sure we don't need to go via X".

We arrived at the train station relatively incident free. I didn't know you could merely top up your oyster card to travel on the trains - I know I've been out of the public transport game for quite some time now.  It is at this moment that 'M' curses and says "I've only bloody lost my oyster card!" She had managed to lose it on our 10 minute bus journey. We figured it must have dropped out as she was scrawling her phone, so she had to buy a ticket and inform her hubster of incident no 343 this year.  Our 'M' can be a bit scatty if truth be told - I mean worse than me and that's going some. Only recently she left her bag on the train which contained £200 and her camera.  By this time buddy had decided to do plank number 2.  Upon boarding the packed train 'M' again questioned whether we were on the right train to which I told her to shut up and I'd travelled around Europe by train don't you know!

I'm pleased to say our day did improve somewhat. We had a pretty uneventful journey on the tube and got seats. We chose the Jubilee line to Westminster. We like this line. Its clean, modern and reckon its not as packed as others.  When you come out of the tube and walk up the steps this is what greets you....

 
I love London. Whenever I visit I just think I love this place - its such a fantastic city and I'm pleased to say the boys were mighty impressed with Big Ben - 'M's son did ask "what goes in on in their mummy" to which I replied "people making bad decisions about your future" which I thought was a fairly honest answer. And off we went.  As soon as you walk out of Westminster tube station you can see the sealife aquarium straight away. You just have to walk across the bridge and down a flight of steps. Good choice not to bring the buggy. 
 
When we got to the County Hall (where the aquarium is held) we were greeted by a very excited penguin. I thought this was a nice touch and the boys shook its flipper - like you do.  They were given sea goggles and a divers passbook to stamp at various points around the centre. The staff genuinely looked pleased to be there and had smiley faces which was nice to see. We were good to go. We were fortunate enough to have a guided tour during our visit telling us facts and figures about the marine life.  When you first go in you walk over a glass floor and are able to see all the sharks, fish and giant turtle swimming underneath. This was very impressive and certainly gives it the wow factor.  I have been to the sealife centre in Great Yarmouth and Brighton and they don't have this so kudos to London! By all accounts the London Mayor, Boris Johnson named the turtle after himself. Only this man would name a turtle after himself.
 

 
We were led into an area where the children can really get up and close to the stingrays and look who was there to greet us - a shark! I have to say I like all this dressing up. Perhaps they could get a giant turtle as well?  We do have a yearly pass to London Zoo as a family and they, too, have an aquarium. So I had thought prior to this visit is it better than the aquarium at London Zoo? And the answer is yes. The windows are huge and low level. The main tank which houses the sharks, fish and giant turtle (who was fascinating to watch I would have happily watched him swim around for 20 minutes even if he is a Tory) is impressive.
 
It is not a five minute wonder. It does seem to go on and on and certainly has more to it than other aquariums.  The best part of the aquarium, for me, was the rain forest part. It was very relaxing (as relaxing as having a planking son throughout the visit can be) and very tropical.  Again, I could have watched the crocodile for a lot longer if I had been without moody child number 3. Although he did perk up a bit around this time whilst 'M's son 'H' had a wail of a time as would most kids this age. But like every parent knows some days they just act up and unfortunately, for me, this was one of those days. 
 
 
The boys loved this interaction.  My elder two children would have also enjoyed all aspects of the aquarium.  We worked our way around and just before the penguin section you have a higher view point of the huge tank that I was talking about earlier.  Again, I could have happily have sat there for quite some time.  The penguin area gave the aquarium a different dimension. There was a wall made of ice for the children to touch. Leading on from this you could purchase a slush puppy if you so desired or have a photo of yourself sitting on a stingray and other creatures for an extra cost.  There were also these booths (£2 I think) where you could experience arctic conditions i.e windy! It was quite comical to watch a teenager getting all her hair blown about and looked like fun.  There was also a play area for the kids to pop their heads into and look like they were under the sea.



Prior to the gift shop they have a sweet shop where you may or may not get roped into buying popcorn contained in a fish printed bucket.  I don't really object to this. My children would get told no depending on what mood I'm in and ultimately attractions are there to pay salaries and make a profit.  The gift shop was the right size - I am partial to a souvenir it has to be said - the stuffed creatures were £10 which I didn't think was too bad. Buddy had picked up a seahorse which I liked but he changed his mind so we went away with three pens.

I would have liked to have seen some toilets upon exit as buddy decided he wanted another wee and the nearest one, without having to go back into the aquarium, was next door in McDonalds. Another handy 'restaurant' should you get caught short on the food front. Unfortunately we never made it there and had to wee in a corner on the street. Quality.  As a family our bladder control has a lot to be desired although he did sink a lot of juice prior to this.  I would also like to see a buggy park (open during half terms only) and lockers - I didn't see any of these. The aquarium is buggy friendly but if you can manage without one I'd leave it at home. Although they are handy to control 'planking' children.


If I were the PR guru at the London sealife aquarium I would market this attraction at not only families but couples and teenagers.  I think it makes for a quirky, young love date material and its in a prime location for other attractions.  I'd be setting up an ad on Eharmony or one of those dating websites. I would personally like to go without the children so I could take it all in at my leisure. My husband and I visit London, just as a couple, at least once a year and its certainly something I would go into with him.


Because Buddy was being a pain I can't recall all the areas we went into - 'M' has done a far more detailed account of all the areas in her blog post here.

It isn't a full day but then no aquarium is going to be. Having said this your ticket is valid for the whole day so you could pop back in again later. You would need to combine this attraction with others and general sight seeing. For me, the only downside is that it is a tad pricey for families given that its not a full day and you have to pay for travelling. I have been to La Citi de la Mar in Cherbourg which is a full on day (submarine tour, deep sea diver simulator etc) and does cost less than this. However, that is France and this is London. I'm sure you could get entry via Tesco vouchers or other discounts. An adult ticket is £21 and a child ticket £16 (children under 3 go free) so it would have cost us £89.00 for a few hours.  I would be happier with £50 but I don't think this is anything unusual. As long as you are aware its not a full day - you will not be disappointed with this attraction. The kids, adults and teenagers will enjoy it. There is something for everyone.

I received free complimentary tickets for the purpose of reviewing the London SEALIFE Aquarium.  As you are all aware I am brutally honest and as such so is this review. Pictures were taken by my good self.


 
 


Monday, 10 June 2013

More Love less Hate

Proud to British people claimed recently. Not if you looked at my newsfeed on Facebook a few weeks back. Some of the comments on there made me feel anything but. I am, of course, talking about the horrific attack on the solider Lee Rigby which resulted in his untimely death.

The manner in which he was killed was shocking enough but the fact it was so brazen as one friend remarked. It was carried out in the middle of the day, with the perpetrators preaching to bystanders and waiting for the police. This was something I hadn't seen in my lifetime.

Naturally people expressed their shock and outrage that something like this could happen on the streets of London and took to social media like facebook and twitter. Myself included I felt sickened by this horrendous act. The mood took a decidedly right wing fascist turn a few days later. I was just waiting for the Ku Klux Klan to pop up and I think I would have had a full set of hatred.

"Some may say I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one...the world can live as one" - the only famous person I'd like to have dinner with if he were alive. pic google free pics of John Lennon

It ranged from a picture of Sir Winston Churchill doing a two finger salute with something along the lines of "we won two world wars now go away all Muslims" (and I am using polite language here even though I am known for being potty mouthed in my rants) to '**** off all immigrants' and the like. Should I **** off ? I am an immigrant on my mother's side - French Huguenots who were persecuted in their own country fled to Britain to seek refuge. And I don't know anyone that doesn't have some Irish in their family tree. I also have German ancestors and my nan's family left this country as they were persecuted for being Mormons.  Off they went to Salt Lake City.

Where do you draw the line? Maybe it says more about my 'friends' on facebook than it does about the comments. Although in my defence these were more acquaintances from school i.e school mums.The same school mums that would say hello to there Indian, Pakistani, Oriental and Eastern European mums they would see the following day.

Some remarks became more detailed as if they now needed a few paragraphs to justify why immigrants should put up or shut up or preferably go back to where they belonged i.e not here. Oh, and the most amusing was we are a Christian country - funny that as I don't know many that pop down to church on a Sunday do you? In fact, numbers have been in decline for many, many years. Not forgetting that the murderers were actually born in this country (although not the right colour for many) and were Christians but had converted to a radical Islamic group.

It seemed that it was okay to be openly racist for a few days, like they had been suppressing it for quite some time and now they'd been given the green light. The were spouting lots of hatred. Ironic that. They didn't even need to say "I'm not racist but...." I had to be very restrained during this time when what I really wanted to write was this.

Firstly why are you so proud to be British? What is it about being British that makes you so proud - tea and crumpets, the Queen, 'winning' two world wars?  For me I like cheering on our sporting hero's and I am partial to a bit of Wallace of Gromit it has to be said.

I'm not so proud, however, of the British colonising many countries and causing untold amounts of carnage whenever they showed up. We weren't unique on this score - The French, The Dutch, The Portuguese, The Spanish and The Italians were all guilty of this. Take France, they had lots of bombings in the 1970's as a direct result of their colonisation of North Africa.

I am not proud that we were one of the first to use slaves, concentration camps in the Boer War long before Hitler. I am not proud that we caused the troubles in Northern Ireland (remember the awful footage of two soldiers stumbling across an IRA funeral - they were killed by the funeral goers all captured by the BBC helicopter), The opium wars in China, The Iraq war (remember that - weapons of mass destruction - oh hold on there weren't any) and most of the Arab Spring.  Now if you don't believe me just look it up or pop down the library - that's if they're still open!

I had some Iranian friends around for dinner once and they were telling us how some 3 million Iranian men were killed in the war with Iraq. The same war which the USA and good old blighty helped to provide arms.  Yup not too proud of that. Nor am I proud of the British army killing Indian soldiers who were fighting on our behalf. I could go on but I'd be here all night.

I used to be quite na├»ve (or maybe hopeful) in that I would say we can't (as in the more recent generations) be held account for all the wrong doings that the British government has carried out for hundreds of years. And no, the ordinary person wasn't responsible for this, but sadly the ordinary person suffers don't they. We are being held accountable for what people think about various acts our government has been involved in.

This isn't to do with religion. This isn't to do with being Catholic, Protestant or Islamic. By the way someone on twitter remarked if your god is telling you to kill someone then you aren't listening. This is to do with hatred. Thankfully the vast majority of all people do not feel like extremists and that these incidents are rare. Most people would like to live their lives in peace and harmony. They don't want to feel this hatred.

I am proud to British. I am proud that I am tolerant of other cultures and peoples. I am proud that there are many like me. I can stand up and say I am proud to be British.

More Love Less Hate 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Rolling in the Deep

Or saying "Good Morning" whilst you swim the breast stroke? The classic 1970/80's swimming poster that anyone of a certain age will remember.

Yes I was so to speak on Friday my friends.  I was 'deep end' swimming whilst I waited for the larger than life ladies to finish their Aqua Fit class.  I don't know what is about Aqua Fit but I have yet to see a slim person (other than the lady taking the class) grace one of these classes have you? That tells me all I need to know about it being good for weight loss.  Its a gentle faffing and prancing around in water for the more larger, mature and sometimes pregnant lady. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn't overly inspire me.

In my glory days (well and truly behind me) I used to swim at least 80 lengths within an hour sometimes 6 x a week straight from work.  I don't have the universally recognised and much easier swimming technique whereby your head goes under water - I have a turtle neck thang going on. I'd imagine its awful for your neck and posture but that's how I swim. It works for me - I was still able to swim at the same speed as my non-turtle neck competitors in the pool. 

So on Friday I decided to mix up my cycling with a spot of swimming - just like old times.  I had a choice of two swimming pools one in the rougher part of town or one in the well to do part. I chose the latter. I was feeling posh with my new 'magic' jeans (by the way another person said "oh my god you've lost so much weight") and my Lulu Guinness wedding anniversary bag.

The parking was £1.80 for 2 hours, in the rougher neck of the woods, I'm told its 30p. Mmmm. I checked out the bikes that had been parked up - I could have rode the 3 miles to get there which includes a very steep hill but I figured £1.80 or nicked bike? Even in a nice area I could see some discarded padlocks. I came to the conclusion that a discarded padlock means the rightful owner didn't take the bike home.  The swimming cost me £5.10, again, more expensive but I figured it was Friday what the heck. I like my free exercise so I do. I can't be doing with paying for gym membership - I like the fact cycling is free and so are my Wii dance and other workouts. I've become a bit of an exercise miser.

I set myself a target of 70 lengths of a 25 metre pool in one hour. I could only do 10 x 3/4 of a length whilst the ladies were working out until the young life guards put down the swimming lanes. I reckon that has to be the highlight of their day. For the rest of the time they have to set in their tall chairs and watch, quite frankly, not a pretty sight with us lot. I mean hot babes there weren't. 

Then it all came a flooding back to me (liking the sort of pun) all the swimming etiquette that goes on. Firstly you have to swim clockwise - there's a board that tells you so and even shows you what clockwise is in case you had forgotten. But then sometimes I think well you could take clockwise as from the top looking down and...I digress.  Then by rights you should wait at the end of the lane if you think someone is faster than you. Let them go ahead of you. That's the done thing so as not to mess up their flow.  There are lanes for slow, medium and fast swimmers. I don't actually mind someone in my lane as I use them as a pace maker, bit like the peloton. Pick your lane wisely as swimmers don't actually talk to each other - they will just think and splash past you angrily if they think you are in the wrong lane. They can push you out without having to say anything.  I know this as I used to be the one doing that to you. And ladies don't get all huffy if someone is doing the crawl past you and you're doing the backstroke.  You will get water in your face and your hair wet. Its called swimming. I hate people like that who turn their face in disgust as you power past because 1) they're in the wrong lane and 2) they haven't quite grasped the concept that when you are in a fucking swimming pool you are likely to get wet!

Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient looking remarkably similar to the man in the swimming  pool - pic from google free pics
As I was swimming, I had another rather colourful chap swimming the crawl in my chosen lane. He had the most colourful tattoos for an old boy I'd ever seen. Like proper green's, red's etc. I was tempted to say "well aren't you very colourful" but then I remembered the no speaking rule of swimming.  Except another old boy who was so old he looked like Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient (you know when he's dying in the bed) said, whilst passing, "good morning". Of course I said it back but did find it mighty strange whilst doing the breast stroke.

That's another thing - you can't be doing just the breast stroke - as whilst it is still good for you the crawl is going to make you puff. My arms are still aching and I reckon I only did 16 lengths of the crawl in total.  My total lengths for Friday was 50 in one hour. I was fairly pleased with that and even if I wanted to I couldn't have carried on as I was dying for the loo. And like anyone of a certain age will tell you "oh the put dye in the water so if you piss it will show up" weeing in the pool is a no no. I'm sure the dye thing is untrue but its enough for me not to urinate in the public baths thank you very much.

Until me meet again, which will be tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

p.s get me in the top 500 bloggers in Tots100!





Wednesday, 5 June 2013

I Have Issues..

...Guinea Pig issues.  You see I don't do pets. I haven't done for quite some time. Thing is when you have children it gets harder and harder to have a pet free zone. I think I've done quite well given that my eldest is 9 and youngest is 3. However, my daughter age 7, is an animal lover. A BIG animal lover. She even pretends to be an animal most days and I've never seen her run - she gallops everywhere. Most days she says "what animal do you want me to be?" whilst doing some strange impersonation with big eyes and whimpering noises. She gives me three options and generally picks the one that I haven't chosen.

Even though she is actually allergic (she comes up in white lumps, red eyes etc) to most animal hair this does not deter here. By the way, I have to give her medicine if I think we are about to come into animal contact. I have asthma (mild) but cats, horse and dog hair set it off. Pets have been off limits. She'd love a dog - its not going to happen - more of which later.

My time is up. I have succumbed. My pet free zone limit has expired. We are getting two guinea pigs and I have no idea why its stressing me out a little. They won't be in the house as my husband has made a funky looking (will upload in the week) house for them. I have the book on how to look after them - have read it back to front and still I ask questions.

I ask a friend who has guinea pigs - she is my guinea pig hotline when I have issues as to how to care for them. She will argue that she is no expert but in my eyes she is - she knows that they distribute hay! Who would have thought - these rodents (yes another thing they hail from the rodent family - nice.) are clever like. By all accounts they do their business in the same place, need company and have a piggy language. I struggle with the concept that the hutch is laid with hay for them to sleep and do their business and they eat hay too.  Go figure. I hope they don't eyeball me like my sister's hairless cats did the other day. Watching my every move. She loves them they're her children. To me they look like old wrinkly hairless scrotum's! And I've seen plenty of those - joke hubby if you ever read this blog.

I digress. I don't know why I'm adverse to pets. When I was younger we had a cat, avery and a parrot. The parrot was with me from age 7 to age 30. A lovely blue fronted Amazon called Jim or Jimbo who would play cards and wear a cindy riding hat. I had to get rid of him when my eldest was born. Parrots are extremely noisy and take a lot of looking after. I'm afraid he lost the parrot v baby battle. Maybe that's why I don't do pets anymore or the fact that 3 children is plenty and pets are another chore on the to do list.



Take today for instance - a dog just bounded up to me and buddy. He was a friendly enough dog and the owner clearly felt that it was okay for her dog to bound up to us without any intervention. Well dog lovers of the world IT IS NOT! Just because you love your dog and dogs in general and 'you pick up the mess' (funny that one every dog owner claims to pick up its shit and yet there's mess everywhere you go) doesn't mean the rest of us like them.  When your dog bounds up to my child I want to see you running quickly to stop it happening not meandering along saying "he's okay". No its not okay. I wonder how you'd like a 7 ft man running up to you whilst I just stood miles back saying "he's okay, he won't hurt".

I don't do pets what can I say but maybe, just maybe I might take to these guinea pigs.

In other news I completed a 10 mile bike ride today. I have a rest day tomorrow aka a filing at the dentist and I fancy a swim on Friday.

See you soon.


Monday, 3 June 2013

These Jeans WILL change your life!

I'm back. Yes, sorry I always go a bit quiet during half term - I barely twitted or blogged during our week and one day off school.  Its always nice to be engage in the real world from time to time isn't it. But I can assure you I'm back to my virtual existence.

I have so much to say and blog about but just haven't found the time to fit it in. Many a blog post is brewing in the blog compartment of my brain!

So what of the diet? Well not great last week as I did NO exercise - I don't count out and about with the kids as exercise. And out and about we were too.  My son had a track session and a mountain bike session at Herne Hill Velodrome, with his friend, which he loved. Although it was so muddy for the mountain bike session his bike was caked in the stuff as was himself.

Whilst the boys had their session, myself and a friend took our other offspring to the Horniman museum (yes you heard that right!) and did our best to kill 5 hours - no mean feat when its drizzly and not great weather - still we managed it somehow. We were well and truly mixing it with the middles over at Dulwich way. My sister says "don't be obsessed with class" when I make observations. I'm not 'obsessed' but there is a type of parent that frequent establishments and have poncey names for their children and it does amuse me somewhat. You can spot them a mile off.

They are the parents that get down to the childs level, whilst the child is sprawled on the floor getting in everyones way and generally being a spoilt brat. The parent is all mamby pamby and says "now Lucas please darling get up" whilst my friend and I are thinking the same - "UP, NOW!" Its just the way it is.

On the diet front I took my trusted ryvita with me but ended up eating 7 jaffa cakes - 50 cals in everyone of those buggers - shan't be doing that again in a hurry.

The following day we decided coffee and lunch at mine would be much more preferable. I ate more than I would ordinarily last week. I was out for an all you can eat Chinese buffet with my sisters on Saturday night washed down with copious amounts of wine. Having said all this, I didn't put on any weight!  An expert at that it seems.  Even with the chocolate chip muffin I consumed when my two friends were over.  I asked if they wanted one (which weren't purchased by me) and they were like "er yes". However, my friends are no more than 10 and a half stone - mental note to self - slim people can say yes to chocolate muffins. I can't.

The kids were off today - inset day - but I have decided to make time for my exercise in the evening if I am unable to do so in the day so, after a full on day with the kids, I got on my bike after tea and cycled 12 miles with hills. I think that's a good start to Monday don't you think? I am planning another ride tomorrow evening possibly with my son and weights in the day. I'm taking each day as it comes. It is now June and Vegas is November.

Finally, on Saturday the hubster and I went shopping whilst leaving the kids with my parents. I forgot how exhausting browsing and trying on clothes can be. Firstly, the air conditioning dries your eyes out and the getting in and out of clothes you have to shoe horn yourself into isn't much fun.  I don't often have a good try on of clothes but I'm glad I did. Everything looks hideous when you're fat. I hate my arms and one 1950's dress I tried on in Monsoon (yes I was that desperate) made me look like a big fat sugar plum fairy.

In any event, I did get a nice bra set and some new jeans. I hate my NEXT jeans - like most jeans the sit on the hips so then you have a very unattractive muffin top (or bakery top in my case) spilling over. It makes life very uncomfortable. On the final hurdle of our 'browsing' we popped into Evans - yep the shop that no fat person wants to go into. It feels like you have accepted defeat and I haven't.  Anyhow, this caught my eye...

"These jeans WILL change your life!" the label said. Well I'm all for jeans changing my life so I tried them on - they recommended going down a size and I probably should have got a 14 as they are slightly lose around the knees. But they sit on the waist and no bakery top going on. So I bought two pairs!  I highly recommend them to anyone who hates the hipster jeans and want a comfy pair of jeans to go out and about in. Okay the bakery top isn't gone but it certainly contains it.

Believe it or not this isn't a sponsored post for Evans but it bloody well should be!  I can't believe during the lifetime of my blog the amount of times I've put in links and what not on things I like totally naive to the fact that you can actually get paid for doing this!

Until my next life changing experience....