Monday, 14 April 2014

Nessa is back..

......yes! With an update on her weight loss journey. You may recall that she is on a 'low carb' diet and give you all the necessary details and what not below. More importantly we have the before and after pics - she's still not finished yet but I'm sure you'll agree that you can see a massive difference.

Not forgetting me and my weight loss journey - I lost another 2lbs this week. I got through the 2 week 'starving' barrier (hooray for me but lets face it non of us really know what its like to be truly 'starving').  I duly transferred two of my marbles into the milk bottle.  I didn't complete any additional workouts last week asides from what I told you in my last blog post.  I am setting the alarm tomorrow to fit in a weights workout and possibly some skipping. I am meeting a friend with the kids for a walk in the woods followed by lunch. She is also watching her intake (much slimmer than me) so healthy choices all round tomorrow.  In matters of my eye - the steroid creams etc aren't making that much of a difference so may phone the opticians tomorrow to see if they can fit me in on Thursday. I have to say I have never known so many health issues since I reduced my calorie intake - dry skin patches on my hand and neck, more grey hairs and eyegate - lets hope its only temporary. 

Over to Ness...

Hi everyone, sorry my latest instalment has been rather late however, I don't have Tasha's blog posting mojo and actually putting fingers to keyboard is not something that comes easily!

Tash emailed me the other week wanting to know exactly what I ate as she was rather keen to up her weight loss. As she can testify, its quite restrictive and certainly not for everyone. In fact, I find it much easier in the week as its easier to fall into a routine around the daily dregs of office life.

So, for all those who are interested, here are some do's and dont's. First of all, this is not a no carb diet but a low carb one. All the carbs you need you get from your veg and salad so if you chose to there is plenty of variety.   The main golden rules however is that you have to eat a lot of fat and drink lots of water (at least 3.5 ltrs). Now all of you who diet will probably be recoiling in horror as we have been programmed to think that fat is BAD!. Now I have done a bit of reading around the science which gave me some comfort and actually it seems to work.

My typical day will look like this:

Breakfast -  cheese or mushroom omelet cooked in butter.
Lunch  - cheese and ham salad with mayo.
Dinner - belly pork or chicken thighs with cauliflower cheese or broccoli.

You can eat as much as you like, however the reality is that I am eating less as the fat fills you up far quicker than carbs and you don't feel hungry for ages. In fact there are days when I don't really fancy dinner which would have been unheard of 4 months ago!

Ness at the beginning of her diet 

Ness as she is currently and having to buy her favorite dress in a size 14
Things you absolutely cant eat are bread, potatoes, pasta, sugar in any form, plus some veg are high carb ie carrots so I try to avoid these in large quantities.

To date I have lost 30lbs. March has been rather a social month and I have been dining out or cooking for friends at least twice a week, yet the weight is still coming off, albeit more slowly. I am drinking wine on these occasions too so I don't actually feel like I'm on a diet, which I guess is rather key if I want to sustain this way of eating.

Here is a picture of me in the same dress I wore on the 31st December. I even bought a size 14 dress this week and it fitted really well!!

I'm going to push a bit harder in April. The social calendar is far quieter so I am hoping to have lost another 7lbs by the 5th May. Then I head off to Badminton Horse Trials where my horse is competing so things may slip slightly on the booze front for that weekend!

Until next time.....

Thank you Ness - looking forward to May's update on the weight loss front!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Techno Twat

This week has been a funny old one - its the school holidays which doesn't equate to a 'holiday' - its full on and relentless! Monday was fairly easy - cleaning and what not, Tuesday - my eldest two were booked into multi-sports so I could at least do the weekly shop with just one child. The dreaded X-box has featured also with time restrictions but seriously it does my head in.  More of that later. Wednesday, my friend popped around with her children and buddy had to have his pre-school booster jabs later on in the afternoon. He really cried but needs must. I also booked in an appointment to see the doctor for the following day as my eyes are really sore - the right one in particular.

I am paranoid that I have left my contact lenses in which cannot be possible can it?!! I do remember taking them out in France but last Tuesday the eyelid was really puffy. I bought some conjunctivitis drops but it wasn't really conjunctivitis - anyhow the young doctor reckoned there's nothing in there (I said are you sure as the last doctor said that and I had a contact lens stuck in the corner of my eye for 3 weeks - read all out it here). She reckons its eyelid eczema - lovely.  So I've got some steroid cream which, incidentally, is meant to thin your already thin eyelids and give you irreversible wrinkles and some steroid eye drops. It still feels sore and I'm paranoid something is in it. I'll give it a few more days and see how it goes and failing that it means another trip to the opticians. If it is a contact lens, which I can't see how it would be as I would have been doubtful at the time when I took them out, then I shall NEVER wear them again!! I hate any ailment of any kind as its just hassle to book in the doctors etc - I can't be doing with being ill or anything like that.

So Thursday, my eldest had a friend around and I took the 4 children to McDonalds and then to see Rio 2 (great film) and met another friend and her son for moral support - Buddy can be very whingy at the moment. His nose gets put out of joint when the other two are off and on cue he started having a melt down in McDonalds over his toy!  He was very good in the cinema so we'll let him off that one.  Later on was the doctors appointment (see above) and then the evening just descended into X-box live chaos.

Enter the Techno Twat - that would be me. Basically I purchased a voucher code off Amazon for X-box live but the parlarva you go through to get it up and running. After 2 hours the kids went to bed and then I remained trying to put in microsoft emails and passwords and eventually got it working at about 11pm. There are some games that only play with X-box live plus his friend has it and you can play against each other etc. The next morning I was all proud of myself and declared I had sorted it all out to find that, in fact, I couldn't log in etc.

Anyhow, I messaged X-box live chat and spent another 2 hours deleting my sons 'gamertag', deleting caches ?! and we were in! Yay, only thing is if my daughter wants to play I have to open a microsoft account for her with an email plus download it to X-box and that, my friends, is a bridge too far and quite frankly I'm scared of the whole process!!  No doubt if I do end up completing the X-box assignment I won't ever be able to log in again.

I took great comfort from the fact my friend's husband who designs apps, computer games etc and is generally not a techno twat in any way shape or form found it just as frustrating when he set it up for his son. Turns out my other friend said she and her husband have not watched any telly for 2 nights trying to set up their X-box one.  So X-box why can't you just make it simple for all us adult luddites?!!

I seriously hate technology that's why this blog is as basic as it comes and why I haven't switched to owning my own material and having my own website as it scares me too much. At some point, no doubt, if I blog beyond my 3 year anniversary I may become but until that time I'm sticking with blogger.

Friday, we went to a lovely park then to a Wimpy type place and today my son had a bowling party where I managed to spend an obscene amount in Boots (£74 that was after £7 taken off for rewards) on various potions, creams and make-up stuff.  In addition, I purchased some Butlins canvas prints for a bargain price of £10 for the summer house and other bits and bobs.  My son had a nice time at the bowling party but coming home I looked down at his shoes and realised that he was still wearing his bowling shoes! Urgh I had to do a kamikaze spin around and belt back to the bowling alley to retrieve his civilian shoes.

Speaking of which I have booked a day pass for next week - wish me luck! 
So that has been the week the was in the Easter holidays.  I have got up twice in the week to do my weights and a little Wii dance. My eating has been very good more or less keeping it to 1200 calories so am confident for Monday.

Talk to you soon....

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Review of Helly Hansen Workout Wear

The good people of Helly Hansen sent me some workout wear to try out and review. As you know, I'm always open to reviewing anything to do with fitness and was delighted when they sent me a training top and weather proof jacket to wear. Now, I have to be honest I hadn't heard of this company before, have you?

Having a gander through their site, not only do they make colourful workout wear the range also stretches to beachwear and funky footwear. I quite fancy the Garibaldi boots - I like the name as its my favourite biscuit which is also a bonus. I digress. Back to the workout wear.

I love these - although its not what I'm meant to be reviewing but if they want to send me a pair in size 6 I wouldn't say no!  Check them out here
The training top is lovely and bright and I like the purple and yellow combination. It has funky mesh paneling to the side to keep you cool and dry during training. I wore it doing my weights workout this morning and it was very light and comfortable.  I am pictured wearing it here (looking slightly more round than their model!) - I'm wearing an XL and am a size 16 on top and bottom, so hopefully that'll give you an indication as to what size you would need to order.

I always have these pictures taken whilst I am sans make-up and looking at my most roughest - I have no ideal why but keeping it real people, keeping it real! 

Funky colour scheme 
This top has now been reduced from £40 to £24 in their sale and I think its well worth that. They also do a whole range of other colours. You can check them out here. Here comes the science bit:-

This women´s version of our successful men´s Pace 1/2 zip SS is one of the best 1/2 zip training tops on the market! With a combination of lightweight and quick-dry HH®Cool and mesh fabrics this short-sleeve t-shirt for women is perfect for high-intensity activities both indoors and outdoors. The HH®Cool main fabric and the result of 4 decades of research and testing in moisture management guarantees you the best technology available. The 1/2 zip in front helps vent out excess heat and moisture. The flatlocked seams and the regular fit add comfort. Features reflective elements for safety when the sun sets on a long workout.

I was also sent their wind feather jacket - it was a little snug but I could do it up and what I love about it is the colour. I am definitely wearing this when I go cycling along with my high vise bib - the London Buses should have no problems avoiding me - I hope! 

Can't wait to show you this combo once I've lost more weight 
The jacket is priced at £80 which is a little pricey - I don't know if I would spend £80 on a weather proof but having said that if I was a hard core runner (which I'm not) and I ran come rain or shine I'm sure its very good value.  You'd get so much wear out of it and there's nothing worse than working out and not feeling comfortable. The jackets can be purchased via this link and here's the science bit...

The Feather jacket for women is a feminine and extremely lightweight hooded wind jacket. It has its own self-storing packet so you can easily carry it with you on a run, to the gym or on the go. The lightweight fabric provides the right amount of protection, the hood construction adds style and attitude. The elastic cuffs adds comfort and the back pocket holds all your essentials.

I really like the site and enjoyed trying out their range. In addition to all of this they also run the event Helly Hansen Beauty and the Beast - its an INSANE marathon (or you can do a half marathon). I'm not a runner but if I were and proper hard core I would certainly enter this. Any offers out there?  Its billed as the 'UK's toughest multi-lap marathon' and has 1,500 metres of ascent!!! I am exhausted just looking at the pictures. I have great admiration for people who 1) are fit enough to complete such an event and 2) have the inclination! If you fancy it - you best get training as its on 20 September 2014 this year.

Until next time....

I was sent a training top and wind proof jacket free of charge for the purpose of this review. I feel these products are relevant to my weight loss blog and wished to share them with you. My views are always honest. I was also happy to promote their marathon as if you're a runner it looks more exciting than your bog standard marathon. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Ta Dah!

-5lbs!!!!! You heard correct my friends. I have properly calorie counted for 8 days now and this is the result. I only did two work outs - 1 x weight session and 1 x pilates so I do need to get some proper exercise in this week even with the kids off.

I have been reading recently - she's lost an incredible 23 stone and has lots of useful tips and motivational posts. I pinched one the other day. Its very simple but very effective and here it is...

On the left are the 1lbs (represented by marbles - I figured this was better than mini eggs - why torture yourself?) I have lost at the start of my proper calorie counting and on the right are the 1lbs I need to lose. I merely transfer them into the jar on the left. My daughter wants to keep the marbles once I've finished the transfer, which is an added incentive, as I know she'll be pestering the life out of me about when she can have her marbles.

I have to say though that I haven't had the easiest of times trying to eat 1,200 calories a day - some days I was under as I was aiming for 1,000 so made me under the 1,200 and I think on Saturday I was over by 200.  I am counting my drinks also. I have felt properly hungry and at times could be rather cranky but then I figured I'm cranky after over eating and beating myself up so might as well be cranky but actually losing some weight.  I have to get through the end of this week as the first 14 days are the hardest.

Next up will be a review on some funky workout wear by Helly Hansen. I have to admit I'd never heard of them before but glad I have now and about an exciting event they are holding in the Autumn.

Be back soon...

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sharon's Guide to a Half Marathon

As promised my sister has written another guest post for me all about her running efforts.  I hope you enjoy it and feel a bit inspired to get out there and try it - I might even have a go myself! 

This next blog is all about my efforts in training for a half marathon- Hope you enjoy it!

Date:  Several months before Xmas: - For some insane reason, I decided it would be a good idea to enter another race – It had been several years since my last foray into long distance running and I had clearly forgotten what it was like! In addition, I was five years older, about 1 ½ stone heavier and now had disabilities resulting from two badly broken ankles. I had been keeping fit mainly by cycling but I was finding it difficult to lose the weight as effectively as running could do. I had done a few ‘Race for Life’s’ in between but they are all 5k races which didn’t really fit the bill. I had once completed a marathon (in 2008), but the words ‘Never again’ had been uttered after that and the memories of the after race effects were still there. So I decided to do a half marathon – which mentally, is much more do-able (and its all about mental belief for long distance running!).

Runners waiting to start a half marathon

So I entered the Silverstone Half Marathon which takes place on the 3rd March 2014 around the F1 circuit.

Several moons passed and Christmas,with all its eating and drinking and then, along with half the population, I start a Diet on the 1st Jan – I also dig out the ’12 week training plan’ I had printed it off the internet some while ago and, to my horror, I realise that I had actually only 8 weeks to go until the race!! EEK- I was already 4 weeks behind plan!!
So..Week 1 (4!)  I did a 3 mile on the Saturday - into a driving headwind and still feeling the after effects of a cold – so with a lung being coughed up too! Not a good start.  On Sunday, I managed a stop start 4 miler…grim…

Week 2 (5!) 4 x 4 miles to run and a 6 miler on the Sunday. I had to try and fit in some running during my lunch hour as I work in London and I’m out of the house for 12 hours a day- so running in the evening is difficult as a) its dark and I live in a village with no lights down the road, and b) I can’t be arsed.

Sharon in 2007 completing a race for life!

I found a lovely quiet route in London which took in Tower Bridge, round St Katherine’s Dock and down to Wapping. There are some lovely docks that all the city runners go round.  I had to keep stopping to walk for parts of the run as my legs were now fully complaining!

The only downside to lunchtime running is the bad hair and beetroot face look for the afternoon!

Weeks 3 and 4 - I’m now running 5 times per week and my long-run on a Sunday is up to 8 miles. I’ve been a bit worried about shin splints as I’ve had stress fractures in the past (I’m not really designed for running, I have flat feet and run heavily). I’m running around 20 -25 miles per week. Hopefully it won't get any worse, but I’ve probably over-trained due to starting the programme 4 weeks in. I’ll stick with it and see how it goes.

At the end of Week 4 I miss the Sunday run (mainly due to a hangover and the worst wet and windy weather known to man) I got stuck on the sofa by the fire (it happens).  The downside to this was that I then had to go for a 9 mile run on Monday evening! Ouch – I didn’t get home until 7 and then I set off (with lovely Husband to keep me company) for an hour ½ run! My sister was in shock at the thought of that much exercise in one go. It was fairly easy except the last two miles where my legs really felt like lead. I had turned the corner though;- the corner where you no longer actually get out of puff…all the pain is only muscular etc (Hint: Ibuprofen is your friend – before and after runs).

Weeks 5- This goes by without too many problems. The main thing is the endless wind and rain – I’ve even taken to running on the treadmill in the gym when I’m at work rather than get battered outside. It’s the worst thing EVER. I always say that if I was on death row and my last minutes were ticking by, then I would be on the treadmill as it’s like time slows down on that thing!! Argghh.....

At the end of week 5 however, I go off to Nice for a weekend of DIY in my apartment. I also managed to do a 4 miler and a 9 miler. It was a pure delight to run in the warm sun and have the sea to one side of me and snow capped mountains to the other. It was a real lift.

Week 6 – Pretty uneventful – One good thing however, is that I’ve lost 12 lbs in weight since this started and lots of inches from my waist and legs…feeling really fit too.

Week 7 – Disaster strikes!! I get Cystitis….. For those who have ever had this, then you will know that running is a NO GO!!  I managed to get through the week on pain killers, did an agonising 3 miler on the Saturday and did a 2 hour walk on Sunday instead of my long run.

Week 8- Monday -08.45 – I’m battering down the door of the Doctors to get some antibiotics! I’ve still not able to run since last week and the race is only 6 days away. I spend Monday and Tuesday cycling at 9.30 in the evening (as super busy at work, a horse to look after etc). Luckily by Wednesday, I’m feeling a lot better, so I try a test run of 3 miles…still not perfect but I should just about be okay to run.  A totally drunken and mad Friday night was perhaps not the best preparation (but I’m blaming Tasha for that one!) as I stagger around a 4 mile run on Saturday with a monster hangover….

One day to go!!!

Sun 3rd March- Race day dawns…..the weather forecast was not great – driving wind and rain (what else is new?). We also have to be at the racetrack by 10.30 so it’s an early start. As with most racetracks, the wind is always even stronger than everywhere else.  It was also bitterly cold.

I went with two friends, Sarah and Caroline, but Sarah is much quicker so she ran her own race, whilst Caroline ran with me. We have run together in the past so know we are at similar standards. We had a laugh at some of the characters in the race. There were 11,000 entries and there are lots of funny costumes… Banana-Man kept up alongside us most of the way, but we beat the Sheep on the line!

Things were going well for most of the way; we were keeping up a 10 minute mile pace- until around Mile 8 and then the pace slacked off a bit. By this time, the wind was almost stopping us in our tracks and it made the last few miles home very tough. Still, we got round all the way without stopping in a time of 2hrs, 19mins and 58 seconds! Not the best time in the world, but I was pleased to finish J

Collected our lovely medals and the usual goody bag (filled with sweets, energy drinks, T-shirt etc) and headed off home. We stopped off and had a large Big Mac and fries which was best food EVER!!

Thank you to my sister for writing another inspiration guest post.  That is dedication isn't it?! Just goes to show that hard work and effort pays off and is ultimately is what is required to shift the pounds. Well done on the 12lbs lost - that's an incredible amount of weight to lose and makes taking up running very appealing......

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Emma doing the honours with the before and after pics. One day I will know how to pose properly but until that day this is how I roll as the youngsters say! 

Still wearing my ankle strap  - the belly is going - its been around for too long! 

Chunky monkey!

Loving the classy hole in my sock and expression!
Howdy, following on from my last post, I have embarked on a 1,200 (allowing for 1,000 plus errors) calorie counting diet. I'm not cut out for no carbs, atkins, dukan, cambridge and all that jazz - its simple isn't it? Eat less. I've still been eating too much. I can easily maintain but the loss has been slow.  Its about to speed up. I'm just counting everything and logging it into my fitness pal. Its amazing the amount of calories that you think you're consuming compared to what you are actually consuming.

I have had a headache today and have felt hungry since I started getting precise on Monday.  I'm sure this will pass and I will get through the first two weeks.  In addition, the whole can't function without food is a bit of a modern day myth isn't it?  I know this isn't ideal but prisoners of war built the Burma Railway on little or no food.  I'm certainly not advocating starving and the brutal treatment of others - merely pointing out the human body is capable of doing a great deal with very little in the fuel tank.

So, to put myself out there - I asked Em to take some photo's today so that we can compare at the end of April.  I am also excited to say that I shall be comparing my own calorie counting to that of the meals prepared for you by In the month of May I will try out their 1,200 calorie controlled plan (and no shakes! yay!) compared to my own.  I like the sound of it as it fits in with my own 1970's concept - 3 x meals a day and a couple of snacks. They've just done all the hard work for you.  The breakfasts are porridge and other healthy calorie controlled options, lunch mainly soup (which I have been doing in any event) and in the evening a meal with your own veg. You can also eat fruit and drink tea and coffee. I will, of course, do before and after pics for May and let you all know how it fits in with my lifestyle etc.

In other news, I really need to sort my hair out! Maybe I should start straightening it - I've always had it 'curly' although in these pictures its more frizzy.  I also, for the 3rd week running, set the alarm for 6 am and did 45 minutes of Pilates.  This is unheard of - to cut short my sleep by one hour - I must mean business!

Finally, my sister (Sharon - not Nessa who needs to give us all an update on her low carb diet) has written a great post about running.  It'll be coming up very soon.

Ta ta for now

Monday, 31 March 2014

Back From the Front

I'm back from our tour of the Somme and many WWI memorial sites. It was a lovely trip if I can use that word on the back of thousand's of soldiers being killed 100 years ago. As ever, we crammed in lots. We left on Thursday morning for an unbelievable quiet Eurotunnel - we only ever go in the height of summer so was really weird to see the car park empty. It was also weird not to have a 10 hour journey on the other side which is normally the case when we visit France. As we were staying in Cambrai (about an hour and a half away) it felt like we'd just taken a trip to the coast - very strange. We visited the Canadian memorial site Vimy - I was fascinated at the way the land still lies, huge bumps and moulds (like something out of In the Night Garden) where the shelling has just obliterated the landscape.  The beautiful constructed memorial, the sandbags that had been filled with concrete after the war to preserve the trenches was genius. The sandbags looked real with movement and were a work of art and, of course, the actual memorial.  Naturally the headstones were humbling and overwhelming at times but the soldiers have wonderful resting places. They will never be forgotten as so many people still visit even 100 years later.

Our hotel was brilliant. A little boutique hotel with everything we needed and superb food. The chap who owned it had discovered a tank and took us on a guided tour (in his Range Rover with French plates) of the area (he had excellent knowledge of the battle of Cambrai) and the barn in which he stored his tank. He was quite a character and a pleasure to listen to. The staff were also lovely at the hotel. I had the wonderful onion soup the first night, followed by duck and then Baked Alaska.

The next day we travelled to Lille to pay our respects to my husbands Great Granddad and then onto Ypres in Belgium to pay our respects to my Great Uncle who's name is on the Menin Gate. We visited a quaint museum on the outskirts and the larger one in Ypres which was superb. We also climbed the steps to the bell tower and later went to Tyne Cot memorial. Later we went back to Ypres and had a burger and fries (no lunch) and then headed up for the 8pm ceremony at the Menin Gate. We had a hairy drive back as the roads in Belgium are far inferior than those in France and the Belgiques as I like to call them (as I don't know what you call a person from Belgium!) drive like absolute nutters! I mean I've driven in Italy and they make them look good - no mean feat.  We had vodka and whiskey in the bar that night and much enjoyed it was too!

A tiring but worthwhile day. The next day we did the Tiepval memorial, High Wood, the Canadian memorial with the stag (can't remember what its called!) and also another museum in Arras. This day was also action packed we ate nothing for 9 hours!!  However, we did dine out that night in a funky little place just outside Cambrai so filled our boots as we were back home on the Sunday.

We did try and fit in the museum in Dunkerque on the way back but we didn't quite make it!

So, after a full on day of cleaning today I am back and will be setting my alarm for my weights. I have started my 1,000 (although its 1,200 to give me room for errors) a day calorie diet as in my last post I talked about how my numbers were wrong.  I am hungry and I'm on a mission.

See you very soon!

Here are some of my pictures. If you ever get a chance I would thoroughly recommend it.