Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Christmas Staple

See what I did there. Replaced Story with Staple? Yes was a bit lame. Its meant to be a nice lead into signing off till after the big day. The Christmas staples have all been taken care of. That is the Gingerbread House, the school plays, school parties (seems like a million years ago), carol concerts, mince pies, spiced Xmas muffins for friends and my postie men folk. Seriously, you have to look after these guys. The postman and two Hermes guys get a fiver each and Xmas Muffins.  They deliver all my stuff all year round. Look after your postman and they'll look after you! The hairdresser also - even if they do give you a 1980s retro Madonna haircut.

The gingerbread xmas jumper biscuits for teachers and doubling up as place settings, the table centre piece (courtesy of my husband who's sexuality I'm doubting! Don't worry its a standing joke in this house whenever his creative juices are flowing even he says "I'm soooo gay").

My husbands wonderful table creation 

My turkey is on its way from the butcher (again tip the delivery guy -which may be my friend's husband - even better), the Aldi shop was done with military precision with my daughter. We went just after it opened, got a prime location parking space, was first at the check out and were home by 10.15 am on Sunday.

Its nearly Christmas Eve where all the preps will be done with my daughter - who loves helping out in the kitchen. I have my parents and one sister coming to join us for Christmas dinner.  I might even fit in a church service with the kids.

Now, this all sounds lovely but I would also like to remember the people that can't be with us at Christmas time. Christmas can also be a very upsetting and basically a shit time for people. It isn't a glitzy John Lewis advert full of festive cheer and merriment.

I am thinking of  the families that have lost people this year. My great uncle died last week and a mum I know was left widowed with 3 children - he wasn't even 40.  I suspect this Christmas will be one to get through rather than a joyous occasion.

I will also remember my wonderful grandad who I always miss at Christmas and generally feel blessed to still be around to experience life. Sadly, we can't always live life as if it were the last day. Life doesn't work like that. But we can feel blessed with what we have. The simple things.

Finally, I keep remembering an old work colleage Parryman - as I used to call him. He was called Peter Parry and we started our job at the same time. We sat opposite each other and immediately bonded. The love affair was instant. We used to email each other across our desk. We had bacon sandwiches together in the staff restaurant every Friday. We would phone each other on our 'working from home day'  and discuss cases before me going for a swim and him going to the gym.

We would be joint at the hip and have such a laugh. I was high maintenance and dramatic. He was my reason and calm. We did compliment each other though and made each other laugh in equal measure. Peter was gay. He had been with the same boyfriend from his late teens.  He had been anorexic when he was younger and whilst skinny he did eat but was extremely conscience of his slight frame. He would work out and always have a snickers bar sitting on his desk. I used to say "are you going to bloody well eat this thing?" - of course he never did and replaced the ones that I ate!

He would tell me of the drunken things I said at the office party between pissing himself with laughter. We would whoop with delight when wagamama's arrived at Canary Wharf and following on from 2001 we had a standing joke to "hold onto your legs" whilst travelling the tube. He was also such a gent - he'd always open a door for me and be so kind. And no you didn't need botox in your 30s. You looked fine Peter. I'll always remember him telling me, before he went on holiday, he'd hoover backwards until he reached the front door and how he'd pay his sister to wrap his Xmas presents. He had a wonderful close relationship with his family.

I have so many stories and memories I couldn't possibly list them all here but he so loved Christmas and a G&T.

Peter in his nice shirt - am sure it was French Connection
Then I got pregnant and after the birth I never came back to work and had 2 more children.  We keep in contact for a few years then, as things do, it fizzled out and we lost contact.  I found out a few years ago he died.

So Parryman, Peter "I know people", Peter and your wrapping issues. I'll be thinking of you this Xmas and feel grateful for those wonderful years we had together.

Merry Christmas to you all. Thank you all so much for reading my waffling blog and commenting. I wish you all peace and happiness in 2015!


Monday, 22 December 2014

Another Success Story

I know how you all love these success story - as do I. It might be my blog but I also get a lot of inspiration from people who like to share their personal weight loss stories with my readers. Please give it up to Dawn who writes very candidly about her battles and the reasons why she had to to lose weight for the sake of her health. Over to you Dawn... 

So I have been overweight for as long as I remember. I first joined weightwatchers at the age of 12 and since then I have joined slimming clubs every other year until I hit 38 last year.

For 20 plus years I have used every excuse from ‘I am big boned’ to ‘I can’t lose weight’ to ‘I have an underactive thyroid’ so what has changed my mindset, well it happened my weight has finally impacted on my health. I won’t bore you with the details but I have now developed a health condition that could go into remission if I finally banish the bulk. Amazing how that biscuit, bar of chocolate and bowl of crisps no longer looks as attractive. I won’t deny it hasn’t been easy those first few weeks were soooo hard, my body craved a sugar pick me up nearly every hour between mealtimes but it has got easier or is it that I have finally broken the habit! I use to think you can’t possibly eat a sandwich without a packet of crisps that would be just so wrong!!

It is, as they say, eat three good meals a day and move more gets results. At my heaviest in December 2012 I weighed 18st 5lb I got down to 17st 12lbs when I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension in May this year. Today I am 14st 13lb with a journey still to go but now I think when I get to target not will I ever get to target!

Dawn pre diet
Don’t let crisps, chocolate, alcohol, cakes etc be part of your everyday diet let them be the monthly treat and I promise you will enjoy them so much more. Feeling better in yourself gives you such a positive outlook on all aspects of life and the energy you begin to get. I don’t shout for my sons to get me the phone or to run upstairs and get me a towel etc I do it myself. It no longer feels such an effort.

Dawn after cutting out the junk - looking much healthier and happier. Well done! 
Simple diet. Boring even but effective eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and NOTHING else. The more you lose the better you feel, the lighter you feel the more you move, it’s been that simple not easy but that simple. Forget that one biscuit won’t hurt, just a small piece of chocolate DON’T do it and in a very short period of time you won’t want to! I try to keep breakfast to 300 calories, lunch 400 calories and dinner around 500 calories or less.

Well I am looking forward to saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to a healthier me in 2015!

Catch up with you all in the Spring, take care...

...Dawn xx

Thank you so much Dawn. Your efforts have been highly rewarded. It takes guts to put yourself out there wtih before/after pictures but equally it forces your hand to keep going. I've added a link to Dawn's medical condition which I for one had never heard of.  I think aiming for 1200 calories a day is perfect because it gives you that 200 calorie discrepancy i.e the things that slip through the net so even if you get to 1400 you still lose weight.  Dawn admits that she had been going to a slimming club from the age of 12 on and off until she was 38. I rest my case on these clubs. I can't wait for your next up date. Merry Christmas and thank you for sharing.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Saturday Prat Chat!

Yay, its back. Saturday chit chat - more of the prat later.  Its been a while I know. We've been a tad busy with the lead up to Xmas. Well on the exercise front (after last weeks no show due to flu like symptoms) - I did a hill walk with various items loaded in my backpack following my trip to Sainsbury's at the top of the hill and then 40 lengths on Wednesday. So not bad, not bad.  I didn't quite make my 14lbs before xmas but its 11lbs so will take that. Now the fun part of trying to keep it off next week and continue into the New Year.

So, we've had a great few weeks. We saw Paddington Bear, went up to Covent Garden to see the wonderful Santa Lego creation, the British Transport Museum (I could spend an absolute fortune in their gift shop!), Trafalgar Square street artists and then through the little winter wonderland at Trafalgar Square.  I also managed to get my hair cut in a Madonna circa 1980's style - this was not my intention. I went in asking for a a little bit off (I'm thinking 4 inches) and my trusted hairdresser lobbed off about 8 inches. That's probably a conservative estimate. Not content with this she gave me a 'lob' i.e it chopped very short at the back. Urgh. So now I have a sort of bob - luckily its well past my ear lobes and if I pull the front down it does sit on my shoulders.  I was slightly traumatised for a couple of days but am now over myself.  I don't live in Syria. Its a hair cut and it will grow. The only bonus to my retro haircut is it does make me look younger - or so I'm told!

Here are a few pics from the last week...

Santa's lego presents! Kids loved this and it wasn't busy 

Beautiful Covent Garden

Trafalgar Square in all its winter glory
Paddington in Trafalgar Square - we also saw the gold one in Leicester Square
I have been trying to get a pic of my hair but its taken me about 30 minutes of faffing and to no avail. I am such a luddite.  Speaking of which something horrific happened to me yesterday. I don't mind facebook. Although not this timehop thing -seriously not only do we update a status you can now see what our status was 4 years ago incase you missed it and you can comment on it again! The world has gone mad hasn't it. Only the other day I witnessed a dad talking on his phone whilst his son headbutted a wall. It was a proper thump like possible minor injuries. The dad rubbed his head whilst still on the phone. He did not even finish his call and  he got the child to speak into his phone to tell the person why he was crying.  I try and switch off my phone every evening at 8.30 pm and I make sure I'm not scrolling through when the kids are chatting. Next year, I think I'm going to limit it even further.

I digress. I rarely go on twitter. I used to when I was really into my blogging but really can't see the point of documenting what you're thinking etc. I don't by and large follow celebrities but for some mad reason I decided to follow Russell Brand after he appeared on Question Time.  I also unwittingly 'followed' (it could have been buddy but now I think it was that stupid 'other people you may wish to follow') someone I would never in a million years wish to follow. I have never really typed about the reasons why - they know that I know what they did. Enough said. Oh er cryptic ain't it in my best Russell Brand voice. Thankfully it was unfollowed at the same time (I'm assuming it was seriously have no idea! #wails #WTF! Has that ever happened to you?  I remember asking a mum from school on how she'd found me on twitter and she said it came up on her who to follow. Well, who to follow - you have a lot to answer for! Its dangerous out there people. Be safe.

In other jolly news, my wonderful friend Cath (you know what I'm talking about above luv!) sent me a la surprise Mickey O'Flanagan's DVD. What a wonderful and thoughtful surprise. She was aware I was so disappointed I hadn't seen the Tour of France he did. I am delighted with it thank you!!

Finally, we saw the big man today at the garden centre. We have been to many Santa's over the years but this garden centre always comes up trumps. You don't have to queue long and the kids get a lovely xmas tree and coins. My son who is nearly 11 still believes in the big man but was less than impressed with seeing an 'imposter'. Fair point - why see one of his santa stand ins. Well, having questionned him about the nice/naughty list etc he's just said to me he thought that was the real Santa!

And on that note I wish you all a wonderful weekend. I have a fabulous quest post coming up - another success story on cutting calories. We are off out on a date night to see Frank Skinner tonight - hope he's funny.

Until next time.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sunday Chit Chat

Well hello folks its been a little while. This time of year gets a little crazy doesn't it? So I haven't been blogging as much as I would like.  On the diet front I've lost a total of 10lbs since I kicked my arse into gear but I only lost 1lb in two weeks (the two that have just been). Still, its okay even though I did put on this weight! The best thing about the past 3 weeks is that I've managed to exercise at least 3 times. Last week it was 4 times.

I feel so much better for it and have been very determined this month what with it being December its very easy to feel sluggish and just yuk and I don't want to feel like that.  I have been doing my hill walk on a Monday, swimming 40 x lengths on a Wednesday and another hill walk on a Friday. This week I also did a 30 minute kettle bell workout on a Tuesday.  I plan to do the same this week. So I am entering my 4th week of consistent exercise. I know I'll be able to do the same the week before Xmas even factoring in the kids Christmas Carol Concerts.  Naturally Xmas week won't be as easy as we have family over on the Monday, London on the Tuesday, preparation on Christmas Eve and then, of course, Christmas Day but I could get out or exercise during the latter part of that week.  Its all in the planning.  I am trying to keep in mind the last book I read on 'what's your excuse' i.e how far back do I want to set myself over the Xmas period? The answer to that would be no set backs at all if you please!

Poppy box arrived 

Hubster made a stand

I particularly enjoy my swim on a Wednesday it clears my mind of all the chatter and also focuses my mind on my Xmas 'to do' list. It energizes, relaxes and works me out all in one go!

In other tittle tattle news. Our poppy arrived this week. Its lovely - my husband made a stand for it. It takes pride of place in our living room. I made a gingerbread house for the school fair - I'll do a 'how to guide shortly'.  My eldest son and I made some rather scrummy mince pies this afternoon. I like all the Xmas baking we do together. My daughter and I made our Xmas cake a few weeks ago. Next week it'll be the spiced muffins and Xmas jumper biscuits for the teachers with some left overs for us.

This year's gingerbread creation
Tonight its Xmas card writing and this week I'll need to make a start on the dreaded wrapping. I read a top tip the other day - use an ironing board to wrap your presents. I'm going to give it a whirl.  I also need to go booze shopping this week and then the last bits and pieces will be next week. Not sure when our decs will go up - we've ordered another artificial tree for our front room as we need a tall thin one otherwise no one will be able to watch any telly. I reckon it'll be a week before Xmas Eve - that would give us 2 weeks up with the decs plenty of time.

Couldn't leave this fella behind 

Oh I nearly forgot - the Lego advent calendars I purchased for the kids are going down a storm. I thought they might be a one off but it appears we must get them next year as well.

I think my son's mince pies on the left are far superior!

I am waffling now - this blog is my little to do list isn't it. I also got a refund for my phone (again another blog post) that took 3 weeks to repair (badly) as opposed to 3-5 days as they claimed. Hooray for paypal that's what I say!

There is so much that is wrong with this quote - I couldn't even get beyond the title! 
Okay that's my news in a nutshell. I have a few blog posts in the pipeline - sexy at 74! Good god. Why a grand jury can't convict a police officer murdering a black man whilst watching a video of a white police officer murdering a black man and fair weather friends. That should keep me going for a good while!

Be back soon..

Well it wouldn't be Xmas with a bit of Fanny now would it! Thanks to my friend Claire for sending me this! 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pass me my chocolate orange trophy

Hello folks - I will do a chit chat post shortly but in the meantime I am very excited to hand over The 1970s Diet blog to Rachel who blogs at The Ordinary Lovely. I am sooooo impressed with her before and after pictures and a tad jealous!! I wish I could inspire myself this well! Having said this, Rachel has made me believe even more so that consuming 1400 calories and exercising is proof that's all you need to do to lose weight. She has lost an impressive amount of weight and inches in 3 months.  I shall hand you over as I'm about to fit in 30 minutes kettlebell workout and I'm also going to be taking some new snaps...

It’s been three months to the day since I decided that I needed to be rid of my jelly belly by Christmas. Three months to the day that I set my sights on being nine stone something by the end of the year. I’d reached a point in time whereby I was sick of having to breathe in to do up my size 14 jeans and was in danger of my size 16 tops popping open. At only 5 foot 4 and weighing 11 stone, I felt somewhat dumpy and very, very round.

I’ve been saying for a few years that I wanted to lose a few pounds but due to a horrendously sweet tooth, the scales seemed to be heading the wrong direction. With a nudge from my husband to start running and a recommendation from Natasha to use MyFitnessPal a to record all of my meals/snacks/drinks, I was determined to give it my best shot this time around.

Since I posted my last update, I’ve continued to run a couple of times a week. With it now being so dark in the mornings and early evenings, I’m thinking about joining a gym on a month by month basis. I’m still really keen to exercise but not so keen on pounding the pavement by myself with only torch light for company. I’d prefer to be outdoors but a running machine might be a safer option over the winter months.

Eating-wise, I’m consuming around 1,300 – 1,400 calories a day with perhaps one day a week where it sneaks up to around 1,700. Oddly enough, on the days where I do eat a higher amount, it feels like I’ve eaten a lot where in truth, this is still a lot less than what I would have eaten before starting this healthier lifestyle regime. I guess my brain has been rewired slightly.

For my 1,400 calories, I get to eat three meals a day, a snack, the odd small bar of Kinder chocolate and a couple of cups of tea or coffee. Very rarely do I feel like I’m missing out. I’ve learnt to make better choices about food and opt for what’s good for me and what will fill me up rather than what I fancy. I’m learning to see food as fuel rather than a treat. This has had quite an impact on our shopping bill too. We’re spending an awful lot less now.

It’s worth mentioning that while I’m not tea total, it’s highly unusual for me to have more than a couple of alcoholic drinks a month. In fact, in the past three months, I’ve drunk just one beer and half a glass of prosecco. If you want to try a similar lifestyle to mine, I really struggle to see how you can maintain a healthy but low calorie diet that includes a few glasses of wine a week. I’m sure it’s possible because many do it but I can only imagine that it’s quite difficult.

So three months in, here’s how the measurements stack up:

Weight: 9 stone 7 (was 11 stone) – loss of 21 pounds
Waist: 34 inches (was 38 inches) – loss of 4 inches
Chest: 39 inches (was 42 inches) – loss of 3 inches
Bottom: 37 inches (was 40 inches) – loss of 3 inches
Thighs: 20 inches (was 21 inches) – loss of 1 inch
Before taking these measurements, I knew I’d lost of a bit of weight but I honestly hadn’t realized how much and exactly where it had come from. I took these after photos at the weekend and had the shock of my life. I keep looking at them because I can’t quite get over the difference (I’m still not great at taking selfies, sorry).

I feel healthier and I feel fitter.  I was over the moon to weight nine stone something but nine and a half stone is like a dream come true. Now I can look in my wardrobe and say ‘nothing fits’ but for all the right reasons. Today, I bought a pair of size 12 jeans and they fit perfectly. No muffin top to speak of. I could have cried.

If you’re sitting at home reading this and really want to get fitter and lose a bit of weight, my only advice would be to start right now. I kept saying ‘after Christmas’, ‘after my birthday’, ‘in time to go on holiday’ but if you start today, you could even make a difference come Christmas. Maybe it would be just a few pounds, maybe it would be being able to run for ten minutes rather than five, but it would be a good difference. It’s so easy to put things off but don’t underestimate how fantastic you’ll feel when you see those scales heading in the right direction and your jeans fastening up without winding yourself.

As always, if you have any questions, just pop them in the comments box and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Go girl!!! You look amazing. Thank's so much for this blog post. I am positive that this has inspired many to JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Review of the Breville Halo health fryer

I was very excited to be given this bad boy to review on the blog. If you know me then you know I just love a kitchen gadget. I'm not going to lie my kitchen is huge - well I'm sure there are plenty that are bigger than mine but its big enough for me. Bigger than your average kitchen then. My cousin once remarked that its so big I have to have two kitchen roll holders.  The benefits of having a handyman husband type. Anyhow, in my said kitchen I have lots of cake baking paraphernalia, coffee machines, my beloved kitchen aid and lots of gadgets.  I have accumulated lots of kitchen stuff over the years.  Its normally the first thing I think of when someone asks what I would like for my birthday/Xmas. I have asked for a rice cooker this year - proper hard core!

Breville Halo Health Fryer. I took this picture prior to breaking my iphone - another blog post entirely 
Anyhow, back to the review.  My husband is northern. He likes chips. Thing is he doesn't get the deep fat fried ones that he dreams of. In fact, he said to me upon the arrival of my Halo that I made him chuck out his deep fat fryer when we got together.  So he is as excited as any man can be over a kitchen gadget.  I haven't, as yet, tried out the chips but I shall come back and tell you how I got on. Some reviews have said the paddle gets stuck but I didn't find this to be the case when we made churros.

A vintage deep fat fryer!! We've come a long way
Or as we like to call them chichi's instead.  We love a chichi when we go on holiday to France. Essentially they're a long doughnut minus the jam. They warm the cockles of your heart - only thing is they are incredibly fattening. Enter Mr Halo.  

I piped pieces of churros about 6 inches long. I think this was just about the right size for the fryer. There is a paddle that kept the churros moving so you don't have to turn it or anything. You just let it do its thing.  I set the timer for 12 minutes and whilst they weren't as crunchy as the ones that are deep fried they weren't as greasy either.  I have to say they came out a treat and my daughter was thrilled with them. My children said they tasted just as good as the ones in France. It does look very space age so 10/10 for design. I would ordinarily have pictures but as mentioned above I dropped my iphone and we couldn't find our normal camera. In any event, we were too busy watching the halo in action. I will post pictures when we make chips. We were mesmerised watching them turn around - it lights up and everything. 

The Halo has many features - it can do just about anything - bake, grill, roast etc.  It looks good and the price is reasonable (just over £100 on Amazon at the moment). I called this a gadget intially but it could easily become a regular staple in the kitchen.  I have friends who are at a certain slimming club and this would make an excellent gift for them.  They could eat an unlimited amount of chips!

The only downside I can see is the size. Its not a problem for me in my kitchen as I have lots of work surface and cupboards but if you have a small kitchen it would take up a fair bit of space. Having said this, if you are using it on a daily basis then its not a problem.  

To see the halo in action and all the various things you can cook with it check out this you tube clip. You can also check out all the particulars on the Breville website.

In any event, it got a thumbs up from us and the kids can't wait to try something else out at the weekend. A great Christmas present for those embarking on another diet in January!

I was given the Breville Halo Fryer to test out free of charge in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All my reviews are honest as you would come to expect from The 1970s Diet 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

What's Your Excuse for Not Getting Fit?

Is the second book that Joanne Henson has kindly given me to review. Much like the other "what's your excuse" book on not eating healthily it lists all manner of excuses. When I say book - its not going to take you ages to read and that's very appealing.  It acts as a quick guide also.  I immediately liked it when she talks about living in the UK.  In a nutshell she explained that if you live in the UK and you're not getting in a workout because of the weather then that's a whole  lot of exercise you're missing out on.  Simple but so true and really no one should be surprised when it rains in this country when it gets cold, windy or snows. We live in the UK!

What I like about her writing is that these sort of no nonsense statements really do stick in your mind. You might not take them all on board but I guarantee they'll be something that will really resonate with you.  For me it was the weather and also about being motivated. Something I have banged on about before - not being motivated to get back into a regular exercise routine in the winter months. Actually come to think of it I didn't for the duration of the school summer holidays. I can't even use the excuse of the weather for that one. I have always been motivated to exercise and from a very early age. For some reason there was a shift this year.

Anyhow, she talks of things that you are not 'motivated' to do i.e cleaning the toilet, getting up for work, the school run, the weekly food shop but you just do it because it needs to be done. You don't tend to think too much about it you just switch to auto pilot.  If you apply that to exercise then you will workout and even if you don't feel motivated you can certainly act motivated. Pretend you're really motivated to go for a hill walk in the rain and you will do it.

I have to say it really worked. On Monday, I decided to do my hill walk with Ipod irrespective of the weather. Sure enough Monday was dull, bleak with the added bonus of a bit of drizzle but I just thought about all the exercise I will miss if I don't just get out and do it.

I haven't been swimming for ages - again its getting colder etc but why should that really affect my attitude to going for a swim? Its not cold in the changing rooms, its not cold in the pool once I get my heart rate up and its a safe environment to work out it. I don't have dice with death with London buses like I do with cycling. The thing is I tend to hear other people's voices when I think about swimming "oh I don't like it in this weather - getting wet and especially my hair". Well, on Wednesday I put that all to one side and just went swimming. I am pleased to say I completed 40 lengths in about 40 minutes. Not as much as I used to do but a significant amount seeing as I haven't been since the summer.

Now on Friday, again, it was forecast for rain but with the UK statement firmly embedded in my brain I met a friend and, again, power walked (much faster with this friend as she set a good pace) along a hilly route. So I managed to get my heart rate up 3 x this week when it would have been far easier not to bother.  This is a massive improvement.

In other news, its my birthday tomorrow! Dah dah dah. We may or may not go to London depending on the weather. Exercise is one thing - 3 children in tow is another.  So we shall see.

How fab is the deco here - coming to a kitchen near me soon. I already have the chairs but in cream and blue piping but I would love to have a booth and totally redesign my kitchen.
I had a lovely lunch date in the week with my oldie bestie friend. We went to a lovely diner and I did have a cheeseburger (which was very fresh) with the trimmings. To compensate that I had no starter or desert and had soup for my dinner.  I didn't lose any weight this week which I'm okay with as its still 9lbs and I still have time before Xmas.

Here's Cath looking the picture of health - you can read her blog oh marvellous to see why a healthy lifestyle is so important to her.  We have waited 10 years for lunch without buggies and what not - did we feel guilty? Not a chance! 
Have a great weekend!

I was given a copy of the above book for free in exchange for a review. I always try and review things that are relevant to my blog (unless of course its something really extravagant and I just wnat it!) My review is, as always, brutally honest as you would come to expect

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Saturday Chit Chat

Howdy people. My weigh in day has changed to Thursday - I'm not sure how that happened but there you have it. Anyhow, I lost 1lb - so that's 8lbs since I whipped my fat arse (not in the same oiled up league as Kim Kardashian I'm afraid!) into gear.

I do feel a bit sluggish though and not as toned as I used to be.  My boot camp has been cancelled indefinitely which is a real pain as I really loved it. I feel the suffering I experienced for nearly a week after my sessions was fruitless. However, I have just received another book to review by Joanne and its called what's your excuse for not getting fit. I had a little flick through and I like it already. She refers to living in the UK and it rains - get over it! So if you don't exercise when its raining then you're missing out on a whole load of exercise. So true. I will do a proper review soon.  I have only been doing a power walk once a week recently which isn't enough and I really feel it.

So the plan, from Monday, is to do at least three of the following 1) hill walk, 2) bike ride, 3) swim, 4) kettlebells, 5) pilates and 6) Wii or one of my fitness xbox games.  Remember when I used to do those?  I do believe I was slimmer mmmm.

Turning to other tittle tattle - I loved the Sainsbury's advert although I don't know what Paul McCartney would have to say about it. I am, of course, referring to the Pipes of Peace he released one Christmas. But I suppose how else do you depict the scene of the British and German's having a knock around on Christmas Day? I love the Pipes of Peace - maybe he could re-release it?  I hadn't seen the John Lewis advert so I had a gander and I'm sorry but it was a bit pathetic wasn't it. Total commercialism with the penguin and all. I do believe you can now buy it for a stupid amount on ebay - urgh people please.  Besides I've never been a fan of kids having a special toy - bit like friends - love them all. Also saves a lot of pain and heartache if you lose it.

Speaking of all things war related - my husband is such a love. I don't normally gush about him as I always cringe at personal shit like that on facebook and the like.  Anyhow, following on from watching the Royal British Legion remembrance concert last Saturday - I was wondering exactly where my grandad was fighting in WWII.  I knew he served in Italy and then after he was based in Palestine - which he said was actually far more scary. I can believe it. Least if you are fighting a war you can defend yourself but if you are keeping the peace in a war torn country its quite a different and very difficult situation to be in.

The Gothic Line - pic google

In any event, the husband ordered a book on the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards and an officers account of this battalion told us what my grandad was doing during 1944 (he was posted then when he had just turned 18). Turns out he would have been dropped off in Naples and worked his way up to the northern part of Italy and 'The Gothic Line'. We read first hand accounts by an officer. In particular that they ate their Christmas Day dinner 4 days late and heard the Germans singing O Tannenbaum. So when I saw the Sainsbury's advert it did bring a tear to my eye.

My husband found out he fought the SS and the German Paras - they were also known (a tad unfairly) as the D-Day Dodgers as they hadn't fought on the beaches of Normandy.  My grandad had in his possession an SS lugar pistol which is worth a small fortune now - sadly my dad decided to swap this for some football cards when he was younger!! Ahhhh.  A decorated Lugar is worth up to £40,000 now. Oh well, maybe we'll have our Del boy moment another day.

Made out of bronze these were given to the families - it is quite something to still have one in the family. Picture ebay
I also found out that my Auntie has my Great, Great Uncle's Dead Man's Penny (these were given to the families of the fallen in WWI). I was delighted to hear this as I had been trying to find one on ebay. By all accounts its in my cousin's house - her son is currently the custodian of it. He is 9 and I would love to bribe him with some X-box games to do a swap but I shall console myself with the fact we have it in the family and that's the main thing.  Besides, my husband had actually ordered a dead man's penny with another person's name on it. His intention was to get in embossed with my Great, Great Uncle's name. In fact, he purchased three for all our ancestors. Trouble is we can't do it! It doesn't seem right somehow. My son said "you can't erase the dead mans name!" I think he may have a point.

So that's all my chit chat for Saturday. I'm loving these cosy nights in and I have managed to do all my Christmas shopping online. No squealing was involved. I've also ordered the turkey from the local butchers.  Next week (Sunday) to be precise is my birthday - we're hoping to take the kids to London or see Paddington Bear at the cinema. Perfect!

See you soon

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

What's Your Excuse for Not Eating Healthily?

Is a wonderful book I was given recently to review and I'm so glad I came across the author by chance on Twitter.

Joanne Henson is a lifestyle coach and has self published her own book on all the excuses that people come up with when it comes to dieting. And what an exhaustive and exhausting list it is too!  My goodness, they're all in there. What I love about this book is the matter of fact answer to every single one of them! I will definitely be using it as a reference guide when I start trying to come up with my own excuses. After a while you think if only we put as much effort into eating the right foods than the excuses we manage to muster up life would be so much simpler.

Much of what Joanne writes about I totally agree with and have written about here on my blog. In particular that diet clubs simply do not work. She gives an example of one of her clients who said its the only thing that works! Clearly not.  Also Christmas - don't get me started on Christmas. I know of someone that put up their tree on Remembrance Sunday. Could the world get anymore messed up!? In bad taste doesn't even come close.

Never mind about remembering the lives that were lost and the impact of the lost generation - lets just buy stuff like Christmas jumpers and put up countdowns on 'how many sleeps' it is till the big day.  Urgh why is everyone so infantile? We're not a patch on the fallen generation even my grandparents were far more humble and tasteful when it came to Christmas. Sorry back to the book.

Yes, Joanne quite rightly points out that you can buy a Christmas calorie busting coffee at the beginning of November. So Christmas isn't (not for a long time) about Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day - the treats start in November.  The best line in the book says "you're not a dog!" when it comes to a 'treat'. This really made me laugh and is so true.  We don't need food rewards!

She talks about people who say they always have a big breakfast on a Saturday etc and makes the point that if you've always done the same thing expect the same results. You have to change the things you've always done as clearly its not working.

I also liked how people who say they're a 'chocoholic' wear it like a badge of honor - something to be proud of but would it sound quite as amusing if they said "I eat too much chocolate"? I would probably add "and that's why I'm fat".

The only part I felt was a bit lenient was the temptation - removing all temptation.  She talked of her husband changing his favorite biscuit to one that she didn't like thus removing the temptation. I would take a hard line approach on that - others shouldn't have to change what they eat just because it might tempt me. This is where my chimp book comes in handy - the chimp wants instant gratification and if you can remember that then you can just not eat things that others are merrily chomping away on.

I will certainly be using this as a reference book and keeping it handy at all times. I enjoyed it immensely and was very excited that someone was talking my language.  I would highly recommend it if you struggle to eat well for a sustained period. I guarantee you will be nodding in agreement whilst turning the pages.

So it you want a 'treat' this Christmas I would highly recommend this book.

I asked for a free copy of this book to review on my blog. I did not receive payment and the views expressed are my own and are always honest. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

All The Pretty Things....And Not So Pretty..

Well let me start with the pretty first shall I? Pretty good that I lost 7lbs in just over a week I think. Now this would ordinarily be a right joyous affair, however, I had managed to get to my heaviest (I'm not quite sure how that happened as it was all a bit out of the blue). So, thankfully I'm back in control and my target is to have lost 16lbs by Xmas Day.  So 9lbs to go.

As the nights are drawing in, I have been perusing 'things'. Lots of pretty things I don't really need but they look lovely nonetheless.  Its my birthday at the end of the month so I like to do a bit of virtual shopping. In addition, Christmas is a coming and I always struggle to think of things "I want" as my first thought is what to get the kids, husband and family members. Then said family members want to know what to get for the above.  Anyhow, I'm going to indulge myself and you. What do you think maybe I should do a trendy lifestyle blog aka Rachel from The Ordinary Lovely? Pah ha ha.

Lovely these little blighters - currently en route thank you Lakeland for relieving me of a few pounds as naturally you don't just buy cookie cutters when you visit! I thought these would make great place name settings for Xmas Day Dinner.

Typical isn't it - last year I couldn't find a Kitchen Aid hand mixer for love nor money and yet here it is also at Lakeland £99. I think I actually prefer my Dualit which has a far more retro feel.  

I love these bags! My friend Barbara (classy chick) liked their facebook page and I've been hooked ever since. I did like Michael Kors but it seems so does every woman I see.  These glorious bags are by henri bendel a New York company. Their website alone is enough to entice you. This one is a 'petrol' satchel and is naturally more expensive than the dark blue colour I initially had my eyes on.

Now this is just the ticket to indulge my Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton fetish at the moment. What I love about this coat is the hood. From M&Co.
Speaking of which - I have started a collection of green eyeshadows (I normally wear varying shades of brown).
This was on my wish list last year (mother!) its a bit pricey at £60 odd quid but I love it. You probably need a modest pair of boobs really to wear it. I love the fact the hunted is now the hunter. From Joules

Comfort before fashion and all that - not quite sure on these from Clarks but my inner soon to be 41 year old is screaming 'comfort' on the school run. And then I saw these bad boys below...

And then I saw these..I love these also. Which ones? You decide! All from Clarks.

Its taken me so long to upload and give you links and what not that I'll have to do a separate post on the 'not so pretty' things. 

I hope I've indulged your material yearnings on a cold and wet November evening here in the UK.

Be back soon!

Disclaimer - this is my own personal wish list and I haven't been paid or given these items to review which I would always disclose.  

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Bitter Blogger

So I am. I could wail so I could. I appear to have gone all Irish on you. I have one thing on my bucket list. It is not to visit the Himalayas, swim with dolphins, climb Kilimanjaro (that's what posh people do when they fancy a day out), take a train ride through the Rocky Mountains (okay wouldn't mind that one) or anything deep or profound. Nope. I am that shallow. Number one on my bucket list is (or rather was) to appear on Catchphrase. Yarp that's it. Not impossible some might say. Not too expensive - it would have been the cost of a one day Travelcard. Alas, I am rapidly approaching 41 and it appears my dream to press that buzzer is unattainable. Cue lots of wailing and a quick reference to my book on how to manage my ape chimp in this situation.

So close but so far! Cue wailing
In August I applied to go on the show. I sold my soul. I was witty, funny, talked of pissing myself on the M25 and other embarrassing stories of a desperate nature and was generally a total prize prat just to get a phone call. Seriously these applications mean you leave any dignity or self respect firmly away from your laptop.  To have an even bigger chance of getting on a quiz show you can send in a video clip.  Yes you can make an even bigger dick of yourself - in print isn't sufficient enough.  So I filled in my 14 pages and stopped short of writing 'pick me, I beg you' and hoped for the best.

You cannot imagine the excitement I had then, whilst on holiday, a lady had left a message on my mobile to say she was calling about the show. Her name was Megan - yes you Megan you you!! More of which later. I composed myself and phoned from France citing my blog etc etc, talked with enthusiasm and generally came over all excitable puppy like.  I thought I did well. I was positive I would have to be arranging childcare upon my return so I could travel to my audition. Maybe I should have said I'd spend the money on cancer research rather than a holiday and the normal stuff? I wish they could tell you why you are not the chosen one. More wailing.

Where's your loyalty Roy to all the children (me!!) of the 80's that watched your show!
Now, the application deadline was the second week in October so naturally I thought I might hear after this date.  I took to twitter to see how the land was lying. It turns out auditions were in August!! So does it mean the first applications get through? Did my holiday scupper my chances of getting on the show? Urghhh. In any event, I want a national inquiry as to the deadline being October and auditions are in August.  Like the title suggest I am bitter. BITTER I TELL YOU!!!

To add insult to injury some other blogger got an audition - I thought that was cool thing to say on the show "I'm a blogger, I've got virtual trophies don't you know" - now it seems someone else will be saying that. I hope they get knocked out in the first round. BITTER!!

Say what you see - a sad, bitter and wailing 40 year old woman - her dreams crashed!

I have a confession to make in that not to let sleeping dogs lie (catchphrase) I dug out the number that called me in France. I found Megan's number and left a message to ask if I had an audition. Surprise, surprise she didn't return my call. Wails again. No, I'm not a nutter but why can't people just say you were too boring, you didn't come across well or you're just a wanker.

So Mr Chips this one's for you...

This really mad me laugh - its on google and I'm not really that bitter I have gotten over it!

My sisters were once on Blockbusters - remember that? My parents had a video recording of it but I'm certain my sisters have destroyed it. They were pretty rubbish on it - they won £25 and were up against some gold run supremo. I had to endure years of the theme tune down the corridors of my secondary school even when they had left and I wasn't even on the show!

P for pissed off! 
So there you have it a bitter blog in good spirits. A bit of fun on how not to get on a quiz show. Maybe I should write a blog on that?  I have had phone calls for Come Dine with Me, In it to Win It and Perfection - which I did get an audition for but its so bloody hard that game so was saving myself for the big one.  I had a call back for Pointless but I couldn't talk as was doing the school run - needless to say I didn't get a call back.

So, if you a person who chooses contestants for a show - please put me out of my misery and tell me what I'm doing wrong!

Until next time....

Monday, 27 October 2014

Happy Birthday Blog!

I suddenly realised this week that my blog is 3 years old (on 25th October). I first started writing it to lose weight and got a bit side tracked with rants and what not along the way!  I cannot quite believe that I will shortly have over one million hits. Who would have thought? Now, I read in YOU magazine this Sunday that some fashion bloggers get one million hits a day - that's serious stuff and it is a full time job - writing, tweeting, uploading pictures all the time.  Good luck to them. I would have loved to have those sorts of numbers etc in the beginning but I'm happy with my little blog and the occasional review opportunities and what not that come my way. I also think I've got the balance between living my life and documenting it.

Anyhow, enough of all that jazz. Where am I? Well I've taken charge of my diet again after staying the same for so long. If you do the same things you can expect the same results don't you think? I've nearly finished my chimp book and have put my CORE into practice. That would be "commitment" "ownership" "responsibility" and "excellence".  I had to list all the 'hurdles' - things I will always have to jump over i.e eating fewer calories, committing to exercise, changing eating habits, pmt etc. The 'barriers' which can be moved i.e temptation, weather (exercising indoors), negative people (remove!). The 'pitfalls' i.e emotions, attitude etc.  I have worked out my plan and how I am going to achieve it. Then you have to add what is 'essential' to lose weight. That would be exercise, calories - what is 'significant' i.e setting time aside and what is 'desirable' but not essential i.e support from others.

What I've learnt from this book is that willpower does not exist - its about having the commitment to reach your goal.  In addition, beating yourself up is the most pointless emotion ever. It serves no purpose.

So in order to honor my commitment to losing weight I have decided to focus more on my blog, complete my fitness pal (eating 1500 calories a day) and exercise 3 x a week. I had to agree this with my chimp as by all accounts if you can't agree then there's more chance of failure. Basically you have to be realistic. I'm going to stop beating myself up for not exercising properly in the half term. I will aim to be as active as possibly with the kids as this is realistic. I have set a target to lose 16lbs by Xmas this is based on losing 2lb a week. If I commit to the above then I can do it.

In other news, we went to London on Saturday to see the ceramic poppies in the moat at The Tower of London (I've also ordered one) - yes they're not real as someone actually said out loud "so they're not real then?".  We were able to get to the railings to see the poppies but the walk around on the pavement was heaving - we walked back to London Bridge via Tower Bridge so got a good view from all sides. Prior to that we visited the Imperial War Museum - the kids really enjoyed it although again it was very busy. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with children - boys and girls alike as there is so much to see and touch.

Here are some pictures from our grand day out!

The magnificent Spitfire

The many volunteers planting the poppies
A brilliant work of art

Stunning and sad in equal measure

Be back soon!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday, Monday

la la la la. Yes another Monday completed. I haven't felt very well the past couple of days. On Saturday I was all clamy and flu like but with no cold, headache or sore throat - a bit odd. I felt better on Sunday but today I am again all clam like with a hint of a sore throat. My youngest has a chesty cough so maybe he passed on something to me. The joy of children starting Reception class - they pick up lots of bugs and what not. Talking of which his speech is much improved! Only a month since his tongue tie was cut and already you can hear an improvement. I have a speech language review appointment this week which will help the school - they have a therapist that comes in every week which is terrific.

The bog standard response to feeling under the weather is "its the time of year" and I'm quite happy to take that. Its better than being seriously ill isn't it?  Hopefully I can shrug it off which I normally do although the boot camp for tomorrow isn't looking very good for me.  I really want to go as the chap has just added another session to the Friday one and I really love it once I'm there.  I'll see how I feel in the morning.

I went on Friday after a weeks absence - my little fella was sick on the Friday morning I was due to workout out so I kept him off school. Thankfully I haven't had the pain in my legs I had the first time I worked out at 'boot camp' although it is actually billed as legs, bums and tums pah ha ha! My bike is gathering dust in the shed - I don't feel the same about cycling at the moment or swimming. Its not particularly cold out so I don't know why I feel this way. Maybe I just like to mix it up a bit - I'm going to do my pilates on Thursday.

So what of the lard?! Its still there maintaining away - I have soooooo lost my mojo where is it?! Where did it go - its lurking around there somewhere. What has been helping me is my chimp book! What? I like it so much I bought my friend one as she has many a chimp moment. Its a book written by this chap...

...and no I didn't get it for free to review (another book I have and am looking forward to reading it). My friend did ask all suspiciously "why have you bought this?" wondering no doubt if I was on the edge or desperately unhappy.  And I suppose if you buy a book like this then something must be up with your life.  I bought it because Bradley Wiggins used this to become successful as have other athletes and also because I thought it would help with my snails pace approach to just getting on and losing weight. I know I can motivate myself to exercise and I know what to eat and what not to eat - so why can't I do it consistently.

I've found the book very useful (I haven't finished it yet). In a nutshell it explains the workings of your brain as "the human", "the chimp" and the "the computer". The chimp is your emotional reaction to everything. The chimp is 5 x stronger than the human and you will never be able to control it - you can only manage him.  So this is the reason you don't have willpower. I also like the part on breaking the totally useless emotion of beating yourself up if you haven't achieved something by simply replacing "should" with "could" - I could lose weight and then writing all the things on how to achieve this is far more effective than saying I should lose weight and then writing all the things that have prevented you in the past. He talks of stop 'treading in treacle' as in going through the things that have made you fail in the past - it is pointless.

The chimp has no concept of consequences and only acts on pleasure and emotion - this is way you just shove something in your gob without thinking. Its your chimp! If you can pause and switch to your human who will think - do I want to be shoe horned into these jeans forever more and will this biscuit help me then you are more likely to see results.

Also things like replacing "why?" as in "why can't I lose weight?" "why me?" etc which is very victim like (no one likes a victim) to "how" just a simple word can mean so much "how can I lose weight" "I could lose weight" has a far more positive and helpful impact.

I also like the the chapter on thinking to yourself "do I want to feel like this?" and if you are going to react in a chimp like manner to say "change" pause and stop yourself.  My husband naturally takes the piss but I think he is all chimp even ape! Potentially this book could serious numb any ranting behaviour - well for the time being.

I shall head off as I'm not feeling that great.  I could return and I shall return and tell you how I'm going to continue to lose weight.

Night Night

p.s sorry for the poor grammar and what not - more so than usual but need to get back into my blogging as it helps with the weight loss

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Rachel's Back - Weight Loss Update!

Its a good job Rachel is writing at the moment as the content of my blog would be somewhat sparse - I am on the case and have a tittle tattle update for you shortly. In the meantime, enjoy the latest instalment from Rachel. Well Done!! 

Eat less, move more: 1 month in

Last month, I confessed all about my illicit affair with Mr. Cadbury. An affair that had left me significantly heavier than before I embarked upon it. Well, after I shared that story, it kind of got worse.

I was pretty peed off with being 10 stone 10 pounds after spending a lot of my life quite a bit lighter. So, when I went for a check up at the hospital, I was even more aggrieved when I topped the scales at 11 stone and was declared officially overweight by the consultant. Not my proudest moment.

So what did I do?

Well, I stopped off at John Lewis on the way home for a latte and huge chunk of chocolate cake. Probably not the best move but my word, it was yummy. And then I had a week of basically eating anything and everything.

I think I may have been trying to get all my cravings out of my system by gorging on them because I woke up the next morning with a renewed sense of determination and money in my purse to by a new set of scales. Accurate ones, this time around.

And since that day, I stuck at it. It’s been a massive turnaround.

Firstly, I’ve been out running two, often three, times per week. I’m out for about 40 minutes, in total, and am following the Couch to 5K programme. It suits me because it slowly builds up to running 5k by alternating walking and running. I’m about half way through and have already noticed a huge difference regarding how far I can run without feeling like I’m about to die. I don’t get as many strange looks in the street any more either.

Finding time to run has been the hardest thing because my husband works A LOT.  I’m having to go out at 6 or 7am or the moment he steps foot through the door after work, leaving him to deal with two very tired but excitable boys. It’s not ideal but this is what we have to do to make it work.

Secondly, I have been scrutinising absolutely everything I eat and drink. Everything! I’m using the MyFitnessPal app to record it all and I can’t tell you how much of a difference this has made to what I eat. I think I used to eat about 1,200 calories in good food and then the same, if not more, in snacks. How terrible is that? Now, I’m making better choices and aiming for a daily intake of between 1,200 and 1,400 calories. This feels like the right amount for me, personally.

So one month in, here’s how the measurements stack up:

Weight: 10 stone 9 pounds (was 11 stone) – loss of 5 pounds
Waist: 37 inches (was 38 inches) – loss of 1 inch
Chest: 41 inches (was 42 inches) – loss of 1 inch
Bottom: 40 inches – no change
Thigh: 21 inches – no change

That’s a loss of five pounds in total and an inch off my waist and an inch off my boobs. Exactly where I need to lose it so a pretty good result. It’s made me even more determined to keep at it and get to that 9 stone something goal.

I promise a photo update next month!

If you have any questions or want to know anything about my diet/fitness regime, please go ahead and ask in the comments. I’ll be popping back to take a look and will reply.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Run And Dye

Hello all - my husband has been away for 2 weeks so I've been a tad busy running the home (trying not to set it alight - more of which in my next blog post). So forgive the absence. I am currently about 13 stone 7lbs so definitely need to get myself together before Christmas. I am still loving the Boot Camp on a Friday and it'll be my 4th one on Friday.

Anyhow, more of the chit chat in another post.  The lovely Kat ran a 5km with her son in a blaze of colour. Here's her post - an honest, touching and funny account. Enjoy! 

When The 1970s Diet Blog asked me if I was interested in doing the Run or Dye 5k event for free in return for blogging about it and taking pictures, naturally I jumped at the chance! I have never done an organised run before and was totally up for the challenge. I’d booked a 10k run for October and figured the 5k would be good practise. Ever since hearing about Run or Dye, I’d be dying to do it (see what I did there?!) so I was really excited. Booking online was an easy process. The cost of registering goes up exponentially over time so the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. The cost varies between £23 and £35 depending on when you book and whether you run as an individual or not (it’s cheaper to run in a team of 4 or more). Kids are the same price as adults and I booked for me and my 12 and 9 year old. A few weeks before the event I got an email asking to sign a waiver and print tickets.

Running practise was going well for weeks and I was doing a fast 5k in around 30 minutes. After a long holiday abroad in the summer I forgot about running so when the Run or Dye event day was approaching I got in a bit of a panic. I ordered white t-shirts (to show off the dye) and mentally prepared myself. My son was really looking forward to it but my daughter pulled out. The night before we went to stay with my parents in London so we would be closer to the event at Excel, Docklands. I was really disappointed to receive an email from Run or Dye to say that their Swagbags hadn’t arrived in time and would be substituted.

Saturday morning race day arrives at last and Alex, my son and I head off early on the train. Unfortunately all trains to London are cancelled due to engineering works! So off we trot on the bus. We head upstairs and prepare to enjoy the hour and half long bus journey to Waterloo followed by a couple of tubes. We’re running late, sweaty and exhausted already. When we arrive at Docklands, we unwittingly get off at the wrong stop along with a dozen or so other late runners (you can spot them in their running garb and Run or Dye t-shirts). We’re half way round the track and have to walk 2.5k to get to the start. Worn out, late and worried they won’t let us join in means nothing when we get around the corner and see the start line-up. It’s manic! The queue goes on forever. The advantage of being late and having already pre-registered online means the queue for registration is quick and easy. Dozens of brightly coloured people are milling around. The ground is covered in dye and it looks like an explosion in a paint factory full of clowns.

We get our bibs and t-shirts, tattoo, wristbands and a couple of packs of dye (no Swagbags though.) Now up to this point I had no idea what the dye was. I thought it was like hair dye but in fact it’s like ground up pastel chalk. It has no smell and brushes off easily. Alex can’t wait to open his packets and throw them over himself and me. I thought you got the dye AFTER the race so was a bit surprised that everyone was already covered. The party had started already! Pretty soon we find ourselves he rded into the end of the queue at the start line. The first runners were already coming back! (You know the serious ones) without an ounce of sweat on them.

We are waiting in the crowd shuffling slowly forward and Alex is getting a bit bored at this point. He just wants to run already. I’m just soaking up the atmosphere. There’s music blasting, an entertaining DJ, funny chatter, fancy dress and the feel of a festival. The weather is glorious for a late September day and everyone is really chilled and happy. Finally after about a 45 minute wait, we get to the front and off we go. Takes a while for the crowd to disperse as the slow runners and the fast runners separate. I jog a little and walk a little. Alex runs off and have to reign him in explaining not to use all his energy at once. He doesn’t listen and leaves me behind promising to meet me at the finish line. I’ve been abandoned by my 12 year old but I carry on at my fast pace. I’m mostly keeping up with the same people I was queuing with.

I’m not with any serious runners and it’s a great atmosphere. Everyone is chatting and high fiving and having a lot of fun. I’m so excited when I get to the first dye station. Everyone has stopped there and are flinging dye everywhere. I try to get myself a bit more covered but it’s too busy and on I go. Each station has a different colour. It doesn’t take long and I surprise myself when I get to the half-way point. It’s not a circular route so you literally turn around and head back and pass people who were queuing behind you on the way back. I note that I haven’t seen Alex again and imagine him already at the finish line waiting for me.  I bump into a family walking very slowly with a little boy wearing The Lily Foundation t-shirts. Having a young disabled son myself, it was deeply moving to watch. His mum and dad explain to me he has mitochondrial disease. It’s a rare untreatable genetic disorder just like my little boy’s disease. I’m in awe of the family and find myself wondering if my little boy will ever be able to do a 5k with me. I wish them all the best as I pass them. Already planning in my head if I could take my youngest son on the next Run or Dye event in his wheelchair covered with a see-through rain-mac! I make a mental note to spot anyone else with a buggy or wheelchair and I do!

Heading back through the dye stations it’s turned into mayhem. There is so much chalky dye on the ground people are slipping and sliding in it. I even spot a couple of runners doing, er, dye angels on the ground! It’s so cloudy with chalk you can’t see where you are going.

Near the end, the finish line, I spot a few cheats who haven’t double backed. Why cheat on a 5k? It’s not a race, you’re only cheating yourself after all. I’m tired and thirsty but I’m determined to do it. Getting towards the finish line, I see Alex waiting patiently for me with a bottle of water. I run towards the finish line (like I was running the whole time, everybody does it) and I get a little cheers from the small crowd gathered and a volunteer hands me my free bottle of water. Alex had only arrived 10 minutes before me so I was quite pleased. I did it in about 55 minutes and Alex about 45 minutes. I down the whole bottle of water and feel very pleased with myself. I can still breathe so that’s a bonus.

There’s a stage rigged up, an after party and a colourful bopping audience. Everyone has had a fantastic time and clearly enjoying themselves. There was a large multi-cultural mix of people at the beginning but now we are all just blue, green, pink, purple and orange. You can’t tell the men from the women. It’s a beautiful rainbow of happy humans.

Alex and I head off again. Next destination is McDonalds….

For more information about Run or Dye visit http://uk.runordye.com Entrance fee was paid for by Run or Dye. I was not paid to do this post and all opinions and photos are my own.

Thanks Kat for a lovely post!