Sunday, 25 August 2013

THE BATTLE OF BALCOMBE

This next, very entertaining post is from my sister - Sharon.  She feels a bit hard done by this name but our mum still maintains "it wasn't common at the time" - we'd have to dispute this as there were a hell of a lot of Sharon's kicking around the 1970's. Plus the fact she was named after the murdered Sharon Tate - I think she has good grounds to feel a tad bitter about her chosen name.  Don't get me started on the fact that NONE of us have middle names. 

This blog post is one of many day to day encounters she has.  And if you think I've got serious issues then you ain't seen nothing yet!! Enjoy!

Believe it or not, those exact words were said by the lovely Fiona Bruce on the BBC news this week. Whilst she was, of course, referring to the Fracking debacle (love that word!) that is currently being disputed by the genteel folk of Balcombe (and help from the great unwashed from Brighton), in my mind, she was actually referring to the daily battle I have in the morning preparing for my commute into London Bridge station.



What my sister would really like to wave at the 'nutter' every morning! picture god knows where she got it from!
Picture the scene....an idyllic Victorian station, wooden ticket office (unmanned, but that is another story), flower troughs which are regularly re-filled with lovely plant varieties (all colour co-ordinated naturally) and even a Bentley in the car park!!    

The Clientele range from very well spoken gentlemen, ladies with not one but TWO Mulberry handbags, a woman who bares an uncanny resemblance to the Home Secretary and the nutter..... There's always a nutter, and they always home in on me.  I can normally deal with nutters, however this one is crafty.... there is unwritten etiquette at the station...it may seem petty to the non-believers but it keeps things in check and that's how we like it. Now, I've been catching the 07.19 every morning for the last 10 years and have earned my patch of platform in the morning. IT IS MINE!! It measures 10cm x20cm and is the spot just after the Balcombe sign halfway down the platform. It is the exact spot that the front doors to carriage number 6 open....to the millimetre.

One day I turn up and The Nutter is standing there..ON MY SPOT...OK, fair enough, maybe she didn't realise so I stand that bit too close to try and shoo her away...This is my normal tactic in these situations (as sometimes there are first-timers who don't know the rules). It always works as nothing needs to be said and I smile evilly as I can almost hear them thinking 'WTF...there's the WHOLE platform, why is she standing so close to me?!' and then they move away....jobs a good 'un.     However, she stood her ground and, not only that, proceeded to barge in front of me and nab the last remaining space in the carriage. Well, I can tell you, I was livid! This went on for about 2 weeks - a Mexican stand off - every day for 2 weeks. Boy, was it stressful, but there was no way I was going to relinquish my spot and I'm glad to report that the Battle of Balcombe has ended in victory to yours truly (and without bloodshed, although I was tempted). I WON!

I realise that this probably says a lot more about me than about her, but its the small victories that count!!....She still gets on at Balcombe but stands at the other end of the platform now (and more likely than not thinking, 'What a Nutter!')

And to the Protesters who really have something to fight for, lets hope they have Commuters amongst them ! Good luck........ !!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

PERFECT BLOG, PERFECT MUM?

The 1970's Diet has gone on a blogging holiday - no, not where you go away and blog, that sounds like a nightmare - I am having a holiday from blogging - for two weeks to be precise. But fear not my lovely followers, I have a few quest posts lined up to tickle your fancy. Get me! The very first guest post is by an anonymous blogger. He/She cuts the crap, the polish and shine off the blogging community and asks a few questions that I am sure many occasionally ponder about themselves and others...

Who do you blog for?


You. Yes, you. You with the perfect blog. You with the blog full of smiles and heart warming sentiments. Who do you blog for?
 
You blog for your children, you say. You blog to remind them of all the lovely times they had when they were young, you say. You blog to keep a record of all their amazing achievements, you say. I only focus on the positive because I'm SO lucky, you say.
 
Really? Do you really? There's not a teensy-weensy bit of you that blogs for yourself? That blogs for your ego perhaps? That blogs so when your children grown up, you can ram it down their throats what a perfect mum you were? That blogs for your followers who comment and reinforce your illusion of having the perfect life and perfect kids and being the perfect mum?
 
"I secretly thought I was perfect but now these people who I don't even know have said so, it really must be true."
 
Do you know what I say?
 
BULLSHIT.
 
Absolute bullshit.
 
You put you life out there in the open, you put your kids out there in the open...you're doing it for yourself and your ego. You can claim other motives...community, like-mindedness, feedback...but I think we both know that's not true.
 
You with the perfect blog. Have you really thought things through? Have you really thought about what you're doing to your kids? How does only writing about the good days and good school reports benefit them? Ignoring the bad days and days when things weren’t quite so great means you're presenting a false childhood to them. Or perhaps that’s what you want. You want them to remember their childhood in your image of it. The technicolour perfect image. Because after all, we wouldn’t want the little darlings thinking you were anything less than amazing, would we?

But have you considered that this will put a ridiculous amount of pressure on them as future parents to try and recreate this idyllic childhood that you've sold them? And how does that make you feel? How does it make you feel that you're selling them a lie? A lie that they might drive them to feel unbelievably inferior and like a failure trying to recreate? Do you feel so perfect now?
 
I think we both know the truth, don’t we?

The perfect blog doesn’t equal the perfect mum, it equals a work of fiction.



OUCH!! Thank you to my anon blogger. What do you think? Is there an element of truth in this post? Do you question what's it all about? Over to you.....

Friday, 16 August 2013

Signing Out...

...for 2 weeks people!! I have tried to keep a little blogging going during the school summer holidays. I will be back to full blogging potential in September and will be back to my workouts, before and after pics. I am 40 in November and Las Vegas beckons! So much to look forward to.

However, I do have a couple of guest posts for you during those 2 weeks - one from an anonymous blogger who's identity will never be revealed and...my sister!!

And if you think I've got serious issues then wait for her guest post.............!

I'll leave you with a few snaps from the summer holidays. Until 2 weeks time!

xx







 




I

Does Anyone Really Care?

Have we become a nation that doesn't care anymore? Only three years into a coalition Tory government and we have become a nation obsessed with people claiming benefits and living in their grand houses with a big flat screen telly and an X-box. That's it. The debate doesn't really progress from that. The crux it seems is that people are entitled to too much. There are programme's galore on the benefits system at the moment and it appears the propaganda is well and truly working.  During one programme they even questioned whether a woman should really be able to treat herself to a night out in the pub once a week. We are now a nation that not only scoffs at anyone claiming benefits but we also deem it acceptable to dictate what and how they should spend their money on. Should we go food shopping with them too and tell them what they can put in their trolley?

Whenever you speak to people about politics they always mention the illusive 'they' who are bleeding the system dry. They are so angry at the flat screen that it doesn't even occur to them to be even angrier at the person sitting on the yacht who has avoided millions in tax that would go back into our economy. They're not fussed about the millions they only care about the pennies. Intelligent that.

They have become hard nosed. They have become the 'fuck em' brigade. Normally tagged with "I don't have a problem for people who genuinely need help." Really?  I think you do. In any event, the way things are going you lot will put a stop to anyone getting help at any time. You'd step over the homeless in the street and have no compassion for their plight. There won't be a safety net. Well Jack lets hope that you don't lose your job, can't pay the mortgage, have no more private health care - no one is that far away from it all going belly up.

Pic - ebay

In the meantime, whilst we're all pointing the finger at, by and large, our own - don't be under any illusion that if you are a high earner that you are in someway a different type of person to the benefit claimant. If you're not of upper class persuasion then the Tory's don't view you any different. In fact, they're probably laughing away as you point the finger at someone who probably started life out as you did but various circumstances didn't enable them to live a happily ever after. They are then free to go about helping their chums making sure the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Divide and conquer.  What a cliche.

Now who would have thought that we would live in a society whereby when you finally landed yourself a job (there's tons out there don't you know) to pay the rent/mortgage/food etc that your contract would state 'zero hours'. ZERO HOURS?!  Not only that the other day a fellow tweeter was deadly serious about bringing back the Victorian Workhouses. The same tweeter spouted vile on a regular basis and so happened to be a church goer. Well if that's a Christian way of life then I'll leave it thanks.

How about we stop paid holidays and sick leave? Yes, if you want a holiday why should you be paid for going away and if you're sick, well, that's your fault isn't it? What a lovely bunch we all are.  Yes, if you fall on hard times you should be slung in a workhouse, separated from your family and made to work - essentially be in prison.  How about everyone that has a stack of credit card debt be bunged into a debtor prison like they did way back when? Mmmm maybe the middles wouldn't be so keen on that one given that you have mortgage/debt up to your eyeballs to pay for your big flat screen telly and X-box.

Does anyone really care when people die in hospitals because funds are being mismanaged by greedy management bosses? Does anyone care about old folk being mis-treated in homes? Did anyone really care about that poor little Polish boy Daniel?  Enough people were involved in spotting that something wasn't right but did anyone do anything? No.

So next time you are pointing the finger, stepping over the homeless in the street, living in your little bubble remember this (a best comment I have ever had on my blog):-

 "The measure of a civilisation is how they treat their weakest members." (Javier de Cuellar) Keeping your mind set firmly on your own life and front door is the way to survive a crisis - it's not the way to live a healthy life. We all need family, friends and community but we also need government with strategies that support us and policies which catch people when they fall. Playing to the views of prejudice and discrimination, punishing the sick and needy, deriding those less fortunate - these things don't just reflect badly on us as individual mothers, but also on us as a country. I want my daughter to be a humanitarian, not a self-centred money-making machine.

But what do I know and in real terms do you really care?



Monday, 12 August 2013

RESULTS!

Well I have finished the Zaggora 2 week challenge.  I wore the hot pants, like instructed, for at least 30/60 minutes a day except on 3 days. You can wear them walking and just around the house, however, for proper results you need to wear them whilst working out.  These are NOT magic pants. I think the most difficult thing, especially during the school summer holidays, is to fit in some sort of work out everyday. Still I think I did pretty well considering.

I was given the longer length (they stop just past the knee) high rise hot pants that retail at £70. I had previously purchased the short ones at a cost of £45 from a site called feel unique.com
Now, during the two weeks I only managed three, what I would consider to be proper, workouts. I did 2 x 8 mile bike rides and 1 x 10 mile bike ride. I then cycled with the kids in the evening wearing the hot pants on 5 x mini rides approximately 5 miles.  I wore them twice whilst doing the housework - on one occasion this was for more than 3 hours, once whilst skipping and once whilst playing swing ball.

Before I do a big drum roll and give you the results. Let me tell you a few things about the pants. Firstly, they reminded me of a wet suit - not that I've ever worn one mind. Yes, they are thick and you have to really pull them on. I ordered a large but they did fit and have got looser and go on easily now. When you walk they make a swishing sound and this isn't just me and my inner thighs - lots of people have said this on their facebook page etc.  I think the more you wear them the lesser the sound so bear that in mind when you trot on up to your workout class.  They do raise your core body temperature and I instantly felt hotter whilst wearing them in the first couple of days but now they don't make me feel like that. They don't make your work out any harder but the area that is covered sweats loads! When I finished my 10 mile bike ride I peeled them off and they were soaking as were my undergarments aka knickers (hate that word). They also did this when I did the housework but not so on the kids bike rides. This is a good barometer to see how hard you've worked out. You have to rinse them (no putting in the washing machine for these bad boys) and hang them out to dry. You need to factor that in when you plan your workouts - probably best to get two pairs.

I also found them perfect for riding on my bike as they are thicker and provided an extra cushion.

Please note that husbands/partners are probably going to scoff at these which mine did and I quote "people just don't want to accept that to lose weight you have to workout and eat less". He also pointed out that in the 1980's people (and maybe now) would go running wearing a bin liner. Being Scottish he said I could do that instead. If the person who came up with this had that in mind then genius I'd say. They have possibly taken the bin liner concept and applied it to sportswear.  Either way I prefer these items of clothing to work out in then to get my Aldi bin liner and wrap it around my thighs.

The real deal with these pants is that you are encouraged to work out and work out everyday.

My results were for the two weeks.......3 inches lost off my tummy! 1 inch lost from my waist, 1 from my thighs and 1 from my hips. I haven't lost any weight but I have eaten more in the last two weeks than I would ordinarily because of the school holidays.

I am dying to try these out again when the kids go back in September, when everything is back to normal. I will be able to work out properly much more. But given that I wasn't really trying the inches off my body is nothing to be sniffed at.

I will definitely be ordering the tops to work on my bust later on in the year and I can't recommend these enough!



I am really sorry these pictures are rubbish!  I used my fancy galaxy smart phone and uploaded them to my email (I didn't want them on facebook/twitter) then saved them but the quality is poor. I suppose you can't see my ropey face sans make-up. The first one is the first day I got them and the second was today. Below is the side view - I think you can definitely see the difference in the stomach on that one. Although I haven't got the same position. I will take better ones in September when I do it again. I cannot believe how difficult it is to take a 'selfie' how people get nice ones I just don't know.  Anyhow, my clothes feel better and I had two people last week tell me I had lost weight. I am due a visit from you know what too.






I was given a pair of Zaggora to review after I had already purchased the Zaggora hot pants. My views are my own as are the results!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Zaggora Day 8 - 2 week challenge

Before I tell you how that's going I'd better do the weigh in. A big fat zero. I was at my parents yesterday and had a large bbq and if truth be told I haven't been eating my Ryvita and the like. In fact last week I had quite a few glasses of wine. I need to get out of the holiday mood before my holiday.

I have, however, lost 2 inches off my stomach. How has that come about?  I follow quite a few fitness people (not bloggers) on twitter and they are far more uplifting than the "want to win some crap" tweets and banal blogging shit that makes me want to jack it all in.  I'm not up myself but there's some circles that you're best off just skimming the edges and occasionally taking a proper dive in and then quickly jumping out of.

For instance, earlier on in the summer I entered a few competitions - blogging about shit I wouldn't normally give the time of day to i.e the one about going on a picnic. I mean FFS!! Seriously Tash? It was a pretty good post mind even if the topic was mind numbingly boring. All to win a 4 day break to Centre Parcs and the winner was someone that entered ALL of the monthly competitions to win a 4 day break. The terms and conditions didn't state you had to do this but clearly if someone has gone to the effort of blogging shit about picnics, camping in the garden and what ever else they wanted us to do they are going to win.  I'm pretty sure if they said please blog about what sexual position you managed last night they'd be someone up for it just for a chance of a 4 day break. I also entered a picture competition to win £2,000 towards a holiday - the winning snap was some kids feet covered in sand.  Oh how poncey arty. So, I have decided no more competitions for me. Nope if I want to go somewhere I'm paying (or rather the hubster is) with cold hard cash and my dignity will remain in tact.

Where was I? Oh yes, the fitness twitter crew - one tweeted the other day "do not measure your success on the scales alone." I'm going to take that this week. As no, the weight has remained, but 2 inches hasn't. I've also completed 72 workouts since April. Impressed?  Some have been harder than others i.e the little bike rides with the kids but they all count.  Its harder in the hols for me to do proper 10 mile bike rides (I only managed one last week) but I have been out with the kids on their bikes most evenings.

Not only that - it appears I have reached the pinnacle of my blogging career! Why? Because Zaggora are sending my a pair of hot pants to try out. Now I already bought a pair but they really do make you sweat so another pair will be greatly received. I have worn them everyday except today so 7 days out of 8. They made me sweat the most when I did a 10 mile bike ride and believe it not when I wore them for 3 hours doing the house work. They weren't as sweaty when I did the little 4 mile bike rides with the kids.  They are already looser and they are very comfortable for bike riding as they are quite thick. I'll do a more detailed description when I've finished the 2 week challenge. They aren't magic pants - you have to work out wearing them but already my stomach has gone down by 2 inches in 7 days. I think the hardest thing, it would seem for most people, is to exercise in them for 30mins/60 mins a day.

Until next time...


Friday, 2 August 2013

The Thermos Twat

Are you one of these? Are you? I have written about this briefly before in this post but I'm afraid I'm going to have to dedicate a sufficient amount of ink on this one people. Nothing is quite getting my hackles rising (they have been simmering dormant for a little while so I suppose I was bound to erupt at some point) than The Thermos Twat.


If you walk around with one of these surgically attached to your hand then you are 1) probably a teacher and 2) A Thermos Twat. Pic ebay
Now for the last week my children have been doing an intensive swimming course. Given my feelings on swimming lessons (aka a massive con and money making exercise to poor unsuspecting mums who believe their child should be able to swim after 3 years of lessons) this was a big step for me to book. Thankfully, it has worked out just fine and dandy - my eldest has probably swam the equivalent of about 30 lengths plus diving and my daughter appears to be able to swim without floats! Hooray!

The only thing to put on damper on our pleasant morning swim sessions was the appearance of The Thermos Twat poolside.

Yes, without fail, every morning this mum would emerge from the viewing room which had a big glass panel (me and buddy and some other mums sat on a ledge poolside) with this thing glued to her hand. Oh that and her car keys and mobile phone. Seriously what is that urgent? Who is going to call you whilst drinking your coffee not to mention you can't get a signal in the pool. I never once saw her drink from this cup. Honestly, how desperate have you got to be that you make a drink in a thermal cup, put it in the car, drive to a swimming pool, get the kids changed and emerge with this thing? I can't be the only person who thinks this can I?

Are peoples time management skills so poor that they can't fit in a cuppa prior to leaving the house? Could she not wait until after the lesson?  It bugged me probably more than it should have. Why she couldn't leave it on a ledge somewhere whilst walking up and down the poolside - she kept making sure her kids were in the right group. Yup one of those. 

In my imaginary world I ran over grappled with the thermos cup, looked inside to see if there was any liquid inside, whilst testing to see if these things really do keep the drink hot and asked her  "are you going to drink this then?" "what time did you get up today - did you not have time to sit down and drink a coffee?"  I then fling the thermos mug out of the building together with her keys and phone and casually sit down to continue watching the swimming lessons. This little scene is remarkably similar to when I used to imagine just, for the sheer fun of it, flinging someone's shopping basket up in the air! I once told my husband about my imaginary acts (although never acted out) who quite flatly replied "NO?!" followed by "you are a fruitcake" when I asked didn't he ever feel like doing that sometimes?

I digress.  I think the thermos is a bit of red herring though if truth be told. Isn't this really about people thinking they are more important than they actually are? I don't know. I looked up in a cafe this week to find The Laptop Loser - you know the person that has to have a coffee with their laptop doing 'important' work type stuff. Seriously why would you come to a cafe to work? This woman was also plugged in talking on her mobile earpiece thingy in addition to her laptop and coffee. Next we'll be taking 'selfies' uploading them to twitter of our thermos cup, laptop and coffee all in one.

I just want to get off this self absorbed, social clap trap for a few days. I want the yellow pages back, phones that you have to put 10p in to work and if you need to know anything you have to look it up at the library.

Is that too much to ask? Is it? Or are you of a Thermos Twat persuasion?

Until tomorrow...