Monday, 18 November 2013

A moment of clarity.......

Hi there, hope you have all had smashing weekends. I had a great one.

I wanted to share with you about my day yesterday, which was truly lovely. I have an amazing group of friends and every once in a while we get together to meet and catch up, usually over food ( friends and food - heaven!).

On Sunday, we had a very important reason to all catch up, namely to meet the newest member of the 'wolf pack' - Alice. Alice was born 8 weeks ago to my gorgeous friends Mike and Em. They wanted to introduce her to all of us, cue lots and lots of cuddles. She was as good as gold. She didn't cry even when I held her! ( for some reason whenever I cuddle babies, I usually make them cry). She was so well behaved. Below is a picture of her with the lovely Chris. ( by the way, Chris is amazing with babies - they love him!). 

We enjoyed a lovely relaxed Sunday lunch, watching the day turn to twilight. At the end of the meal, as we said our farewells, I looked out to see my friends making their way to their cars and had a blissful moment where I felt so much love for all of my very lovely friends. 

As I say, I hope you all had great weekends and like me had a moment when you realise just how special the people that you love are.  (And no, before you ask, I haven't been at the port). 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

It's all about the food .....Part 2

Holy yum, my first Graze box has arrived! 

I had seen leaflets and adverts for a company called Graze who will deliver a free box of healthy goodies to your address as a sampler. I've been meaning to try these out for a while and finally got sorted and ordered one to try. If you have a leaflet or a code you can receive your first box for free! 

The website is very easy to use, you enter your details, the address you would like it delivering to and your account details. If you decide you just want the one free box, then it is easy to cancel, but if you decide to carry on receiving the boxes, then they will charge your account a couple of days before each delivery. My subsequent deliveries will cost me £3.89 for each box. If you are going away on holiday then you can pause your order or even have it delivered to a different address. 

And then comes the good bit,selecting the food!!! There are over 100 healthy snacks to choose from of all descriptions - sweet, savoury, little puds, nuts and popcorn. You can choose whether to try products or not. Once you have had your delivery you can rate each snack depending on whether you 'love it' or want to 'ditch it'. By ditching something, it means you won't receive it again. 

So on Wednesday morning, my box arrived at work. It had 4 compartments containing 4 different healthy snacks. I received the Graze healthy brownie, salted pistachios, Jaffa cake mix ( a blend of hazelnuts, raisins soaked in orange and dark chocolate buttons) and mango chutney with black pepper dippers. Nom Nom! 

After showing my colleagues, I decided to sample the Jaffa cake mix. It really did taste like a real Jaffa cake! Gorgeous stuff. Over the next few days I sampled the others. The brownie was lovely and moist, the mango chutney and black pepper dippers had some kick to them *disclaimer, I am a complete wuss when it comes to spicy food! And I am going to munch the pistachios on Monday. 

The Jaffa cake mix is a definite 'love it'. 

With each order you receive a mini brochure telling you all about the nutritional value of each item you have received. The whole box came to 500 calories. Result! 

Having sampled the snacks, I think I am going to keep receiving the boxes. It is a quick, easy way of receiving some delicious snacks in my life. And you all know I am all about delicious snacks. 

I hope you are all having a great weekend . I have had a week of catching up with lovely friends and am seeing my friend Cathy tonight for a bit of Strictly Come Dancing magic!!, 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

It's all about the food.......

Hey there, I hope your week is progressing nicely. I'm having a busy week, small prang in the car after someone reversed into me, which was instantly made better by going to see 'Thor' at the cinema.

Today I wanted to give you a recipe for a breakfast that I am currently loving! Chris and I have started going to the gym in a morning before work. I sometimes can't eat immediately and then exercise, so it is nice to have something to take into work to eat a bit later, but with limited cooking facilities it needs to be something quick and easy. So I prepare this the night before. (it takes 2 minutes)

Overnight Oats
In a tupperware container, mix together
  • 2 dessert spoons of porridge oats
  • 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds
  • 3 good dessert spoons of Greek Yogurt (I use flavoured yogurt)
  • a splash of milk
Mix it all together and it should look something like this:

Put in the fridge overnight and eat the next morning with fruit


Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Things I learnt from the Swiss

I hope you have all had a great weekend. I had a fab weekend with my in laws. We went to see England vs Ireland in the Rugby League World Cup. We had a great time. Recap soon!

Chris had me giggling this morning with our shopping list notice board. For those of you who might not know, Lovely Chris is fond of an egg or two (or six) and decided on our shopping list for the week. Haha. Mind you, the swine moved the pin on the chocolate and wine section of the board. Hmmm.......

I do hope that you have enjoyed hearing about our adventures in Switzerland. We had a fab time and it made me reflect, which I usually do after each holiday, on things that I love about the country I have just visited. My sister loves living in Switzerland and finds that she really enjoys the pace of life that this beautiful country has to offer. So in no particular order, here are my fave bits about Switzerland!

(1) Seeing my sis - I miss my sis lots, it's always wonderful to see her and a selfish part of me wishes she lived round the corner from me! 

(2) Solo Uno - I mean wow! What a place. I have never visited such an amazing spa. My favourite part were the jets under your feet. You felt like you were on a hover board, they were that powerful! 

(3) The sights and sounds of standing on top of a mountain - and no that isn't some kind of self help metaphor! Looking from the top of the mountain and seeing fields swathed in green velvet and the tinkling of cow bells. Some of the cows may have been doing Zumba, they were that noisy! 

(4) Emphasis on health and well being  - At the weekends there is a strong leaning to doing a whole range of activities such as mountain climbing, swimming, attending a spa and jogging. My goodness there were lots of joggers! On the Saturday night when we went to the spa, I couldn't believe how busy the pool was with people of all ages, couples and families, old and young. It was fab to see (and sure beat a night of heavy drinking and waking up feeling awful the next day!)

(5) French supermarkets - this is a bit of a cheat as it is not technically Switzerland, but I felt it deserved a special mention. French supermarkets are AWESOME! The range of produce, fish and wine is stunning. In France the farmer is king, not the supermarket, which means great quality fruit and veg at a fair price. (Steps off soap box).

(6) The chocolate  - need I say anymore! By the way this so has to be my perfect place of work! 

We had a fab time. If you get chance, do visit. It is an amazing place! 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Adventures in Switzerland ....Part 3

When we awoke on Sunday it became apparent that we ached! Climbing a mountain had definitely taken its toll on Chris and me. We had an hours walk around Basel, which became more painful as the day went in. (I resembled Shaun the Sheep with my stiff legs!). The heavens opened and so we went back to Helen's apartment and made a cake and vegetable soup and curled up with a good movie. It was lovely to catch up and relax.

On the Monday, we went to Kolmar, a beautiful town in Alsace, which has strong French and German influences. We started out in 'Little Venice' which had lots of little houses, running alongside a beautiful green canal. Whilst walking around we saw a little train taking a tour round the town and so decided to hop on and find out all about the town. It would seem that the sculptor Bartholi had some kind of stranglehold over statues in the town, as we turned every corner there were all manner of sculptures, all  done by this prolific man. But joking aside they were very beautiful.

We indulged in a bit of French cafe people watching (always fascinating) and as usually happens, Chris ordered a beer that arrived and was 14 times bigger than the usual pint of beer! ( I swear waiters take pity on Chris or something!). Feeling refreshed we carried on exploring this beautiful town.

Soon it was time to head back to the airport and home. Feeling sad to say goodbye to my sister, we boarded the plane (after the obligatory security search of course and believe it or not, this time I was searched - The horror!). We arrrived back in Manchester in howling winds and rain and always happens each time I travel in Manchester...... I got lost. Gaaaahhhhh!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Adventures in Switzerland....Part 2

Following our climb up the mountain, it was felt that the 3 of us deserved a treat and what better treat then a visit to a Swiss wellness spa. And so we found ourselves at Solo Uno at Rheinfelden. We had been organised and packed our swimming gear already. My typical British reserve was tested slightly when I saw that the changing rooms were communal. eek! But there were plenty of cubicles to change in private and the showers had very discreet doors, so all modesty was protected.

Solo Uno has a range of pools, we started off with the outside pools which was very warm. It had beds and chairs to lie and sit on in the pool itself where you could watch the world go by. The water was also higher in salt then we are used to over here which made floating a breeze. There was a 'whirpool' section of the pool, which was circular and once you entered would spin you round. I got a fit of the giggles as Helen and Chris whizzed by, and then giggled even more when my poor sis, got stuck and couldn't get out, whizzing past me mouthing 'Help me'. (She got out eventually!)

We then tried out the large massage pool. This was amazing. Basically jets were situated around the pool, which massaged different parts of you. An arrow would light up when it was time to move you onto the next jet. My favorites were the jets situated under your feet which were powerful enough to raise you off the floor of the pool. It felt like having a reflexology massage. We tried out the jacuzzi and then moved onto the steam rooms. There were 3 of them, lit up like coloured boxes and each had a different steam flavour - eucalyptus, vanilla or citrus. We opted for the vanilla and it was heaven. Then off to try the alpine waterfall (bloody cold) and the Rainforest waterfall (lovely and warm).

Having being spun round like a spinning top, my sister exacted her revenge by challenging me to go into the 2 plunge pools. (I had already had a go at the cold one and being a total wuss made it up to my calves before squealing and running out like a girl). But after seeing an old lady do it, my sister was having none of my wussiness and made me go in again. The first pool is the ice pool. I went in and was challenged to touch the back wall. The water was up to my chest. It was freezing! But I did it. Then you plunge into the fire pool, which is heated to 40 degrees. It was an odd sensation, but my legs felt better for it! The final section was the dead sea pool, which was a pool that had the same salt content as the Dead Sea. People were floating by and music was played under the water.

We decided to go back into the outdoor pool, which was now under starlight. It was wonderful to float and lazily swim while looking up at the stars. Brilliant!

This whole experience was incredible. The spa was very busy, with couples, families and friends meeting up to 'Take the Waters'. Switzerland has a reputation for its health and with places like these it is possible to see why. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night. My other observation is that the Swiss do not have a 'no petting' rule. There were lots of canoodling couples. Blimey!

Adventures in Switzerland ..... Part 1

You may have noticed that I have been out of commission for a couple of days, well that's because Chris and I went to visit my sister in Switzerland. We had a fab time and I thought that my blog would be a great way to capture the long weekend. Here is Part 1!

On our way, me looking like Scott of the Antarctic
On Friday morning and fortified with a corking breakfast of egg and cheese muffin, Chris and I made our way to Manchester Airport en route to Basel, Switzerland. I get notorious giddy around airports, I love watching the planes land and take off and when I see the departure board, my mind whizzes with possibilities. As always, happens whenever we fly, Chris set off the metal detectors, despite removing his belt, shoes and coat. Chris had the obligatory pat down and was swiped with the hand held detector by the zealous security guard. The guard was great and explained that he was still in training which was why his face lit up with glee at the prospect of a search. Thankfully Chris was allowed to continue before the zealous guard began to snap on the latex! 

After a smooth flight, we arrived in Switzerland and met my sister, Helen. Basel is located in Switzerland, right on the border of France and Germany, so we quickly  hopped over to France and popped in to the supermarket to pick up supplies. Ahem. 

Right pair of alkies!
French supermarkets are great and the array of produce is dazzling. We then returned to Helen's apartment in Basel and after a yummy tea of steak and chips, caught up over a bottle of wine and episodes of Grimm. 

We awoke to blue skies and sun, perfect mountain climbing weather! We travelled to Reigoldswil, took the cable car to Wasserfallen to walk the Passwang mountain pass of the Jura. (I swear I'm not making these words up people!). The Passwang pass has an elevation of 1204m (approx 3900 feet) and is made up of a mix of trail, rocks and grass. The pass runs along the ridge of the mountain and at times was hard going. I sometimes suffer from a touch of vertigo and struggle if there are sheer drops to the side of me, so at odd times found myself humming 'just stare ahead, just stare ahead', trying to avoid looking at the sheer drop. We passed many walkers and Helen explained that it is quite common for people to climb the pass as a day out. Helen walks it quite often and said it was lovely watching a mum teaching her 7 year old boy how to walk the pass, picking routes to follow and placing feet correctly. I did none of that and scrambled, crawled and staggered the distance! Meeting one Swiss couple and facing the wrong way, looking into the pass rather than out at the views, the husband said that in 15 minutes time, the climb would be worth it. Only when I had passed did I realise that the poor man had my bum in his face the whole time.! 

And do you know what?... The view was worth it! (Those are Alps that you can see in the background!). We stopped for lunch on top of the pass. Cheese and ham sandwiches never tasted so good and the water was very refreshing. Even though there were about 20 people also lunching, there was an air of quiet as people just took in the views and enjoyed the moment. 

The descent was more arduous than the ascent, but the scenery was just breathtaking, the fields looked like they had been clothed in green velvet and through the whole climb, we could hear the tinkling of Cow bells. Heavenly. Switzerland really is a very beautiful country.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

An Exciting weekend... And why I can't catch trains

A few months ago at work I was lucky enough to attend a course about Coaching. I LOVED it! I took so much from the course and found coaching to be a really powerful tool. I have signed up for some coaching myself and whilst checking out one of my favourite websites, saw an advert for The Coaching Academy, who were running free 2 day courses, one of which happened to be for the following weekend in Manchester. I signed up immediately!

The Coaching Academy is the largest coach training organisation in Britain. It hosts free 2 day courses around the country as a taster course so that attendees can see if coaching is for them, which course is best for you and whether the Coaching Academy is the best fit for you.

The course was packed, with over 100 people attending. The first part of day one centred around what coaching is and the GROW model. We got the chance to try out coaching with other delegates and receive coaching ourselves. The afternoon centred on goal setting effectively. It utilised the Be/Do/Have tool and the Wheel of Life exercise. I have seen the wheel of life exercise used before, but the way that the trainer explained it was very powerful. Basically imagine 'Bully's Prize Board' from the 80's show Bullseye divided into 8 quadrants, with each quadrant representing something important in your life. Then you are asked to score each quadrant at the moment.  So for example, One of my quadrants was blogging. I scored myself a 4 out of 10 as I felt that I don't spend the time I want to on my blogging. Then in the next outer circle, you write what a 10 in your quadrant feels like, so for me I get to to blog 4 days a week. Then in the final outer circle, I wrote the goals that will get me from a 4 to a 10 (well hello Facebook!). I felt really good after day one and was already looking forward to day 2! 

The morning of day 2 kicked off with a session about limiting beliefs, the things that stop us from getting to where we want to. Again this was a fantastic and powerful session. We also discussed comfort zones, stretch and panic zones. 

There was a bonus session over lunch about the courses available and the afternoon centred on what it was like to train with the Coaching Academy, what a career as a coach looks like and what you can expect to earn. There was an element of selling in this section, but given the quality of training and the fact that it was free, it seemed only fair that we received a presentation promoting the Coaching Academy. And then it was time to say our goodbyes. 

I really enjoyed my 2 day course with the Coaching Academy. It was challenging, inspirational and a brilliant introduction to coaching. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about becoming a coach, or is interested in receiving coaching to attend. It only costs you the price of your train fare and a lunch! The training is high quality and at the end of the day, you choose whether to sign up immediately, sign up later or not at all. 

My journey ended up with me travelling on the wrong train and ending up at Manchester Airport! I didn't have my passport, so couldn't flee the country. I swear I always get lost in Manchester! 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Films that ..... Inspire me to fitness

I love movies, and find that if ever I need a little bit of exercise inspiration it can always be found in a rollicking good film. So without further ado... Here is my list of films to inspire/motivate.....

1) Warrior - set in the world of MMA, this follows the path of 2 estranged brothers in the world's toughest Mixed Martial Arts contest, both fighting for different, but important reasons. Nick Nolte provides Oscar nominated support as the brothers recovering alcoholic father. This movie is just wonderful. It features a brilliant training montage scene (Chris will tell you I spend my life in a good montage scene!) and the end is just beautiful and makes me cry every time.

Warrior Trailer

2) Hero - my favourite film ....ever. (If The Predator DVD had been pinched) Breathtaking and beautiful. A nameless warrior appears before the Emperor having defeated 2 enemy assassins, but is he telling the truth... And is everything as it seems? Wonderful martial arts and the use of colour is outstanding. I see something new in this film each time I watch it. 

 Hero Trailer

3) Haywire - watch this for Gina Carano, she is my inspiration... And boy does she kick ass! Gina is a former MMA fighter who has recently appeared in Fast and Furious 6. What I love about Gina is that she isn't your usual skinny Minnie Hollywood star, but shows that strong can be glamorous. The film itself is so so, but she is great.

Haywire Trailer

4) Terminator 2 - my friends will tell you that my celebrity embarassing crush is Arnie. What's not to love .... Arnie in leather on a Harley...... Sigh.......(returns from happy place). In this film, my exercise inspiration comes from Linda Hamilton. The sight of her doing pull ups is enough to have me running to the gym and picking up every dumbbell I can lift. 

5) The Karate Kid - this is the remake version with Jackie Chan not the 80's Ralph Macchio version. I love this film. It was made with the co-operation of the Chinese Film Board and the locations are just beautiful. Jackie Chan is his usual awesome self, training Jaden Smith for a martial arts competition in which he comes face to face with his school bullies. Amazing fight scenes and another cracking training montage. 

Karate Kid Trailer

A special nod must also got to go to Fast and Furious 6 and any film starring Jennifer Garner. She is fab and again can kick ass! 

Watching any of these is guaranteed to make me itch to do exercise. 

What films inspire you to dust off the weights?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Quick catch up....

Hey there, 

Hope you are all having a good weekend. I still have my cold.... And have managed to cough so much I am rapidly developing abs of steel :-) The nose portion of the cold has yet to arrive, so I'll be looking forward to that old chestnut! Today was spent curled up on the sofa, watching a combination of Strictly Come Dancing (go hairy Dave!), Agents of SHEILD and The Last Samurai. It was heaven. The weather has been cold and rainy, but one of those perfect Saturday rainy afternoons for curling up with a good movie. Next weekend will be a 4 day week for me as Chris and I are off to Switzerland to see my sister!!!!!! Yay! 

Have a great weekend xxx

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Bleurgh....cough cough

Hi there, 

It's nearly the weekend!!! Hope you've been having a great week. Well working 5 days, doing a 2 day course and working another 5 days is now taking its toll and I have picked up a yucky cold. It's only a cold, but I am quickly developing quite a sexy, husky voice even though I do say so myself!

And so I am curled up in my pyjamas already, comfy slippers on my feet and about to enjoy my go to "ill food" of tomato soup and crumpets, followed by a bit of telly watching. Sometimes, you've just got to give in, embrace the cold and (hopefully) feel better tomorrow. 


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The day Caddyslims (nearly) met a Brownlee Brother

Hi everyone,

First of all, a massive thank you to all of you who have read my blog, taken time to comment and liked the Caddyslims Facebook page. You're all brilliant!

Next of all, I want to tell you about Chris and mine's amazing day out in London on 15 September where we watched the grand final of the ITU World Triathlon series. We have been following the triathlon series religiously this year, which started back in April, catching highlights on the TV of the 7 races taking place around the world. This year the grand final was coming to London. So with our train tickets booked and with enough food made to feed all of the athletes taking part, we travelled down to London on a drizzly Sunday morning, rucksack bursting with homemade pasties and sandwiches.

Now, I would be telling a big fat fib, if I was to say that we went to cheer on all of the triathletes for their endeavors, in actual fact we were going to cheer on Alistair and Johnny Brownlee, who are Yorkshire lads and of whom, Yorkshire is very proud (so no bias there then!)

We were unable to get into the area where it was possible to view the swim and transition bits, but got a terrific place in Hyde Park about 300 metres from the finish line along the banks of the Serpentine. This meant we would see loads of the action as the triathletes completed the 1,500m Swim, 40km Bike, 10km Run.

The race started promptly and I was lucky enough to be standing next to a girl who was watching the BBC coverage on her th'iphone, so we could keep up with the placings following the swim. Following the swim, the athletes enter transition and change quickly to start the 40km bike ride. (My sister and I once discussed transition and she seemed to think that she would have time to do her hair, maybe have a shower, catch a bite to eat - no Helen, you get a box and your shoes are glued onto the cycle pedals!). We knew the athletes were coming, mainly be the car coming down the road flashing 'They're Coming' but also by the roar of the crowd and they whizzed by. I saw 2 Brownlees!!!!

The action continued with Alistair trying to encourage the other athletes to work together to increase the pace and maybe dispatch the weaker riders in the group (by dispatch I mean leave them behind, not kill them or anything). The athletes completed the 40km bike ride in no time at all and entered transition to get ready for the final part of the race - a 10km run. When Alistair got off his bike, it was clear to see that something was not quite right. He was wincing in pain and starting to struggle with the run. But I have to say he had a cracking pace on him when he passed us.

By the later part of the stages the race was down to 2 men, Johnny Brownlee and Javier Gomez. Whoever won the race would be crowned world champion. With Alistair bellowing at Johnny as the passed each other on the course, Johnny made a break with about 200 metres to go. It wasn't enough and Gomez won the race on the line.

It had been an exhilarating and exciting race. Once the national anthems had been sung, the crowd began to disperse, so I suggested to Chris that we go and have a look at the transition area.

Whilst we were waiting there, who came out to collect his bike but Alistair Brownlee!!!! He came over to the crowd to chat, sign autographs and take pictures and gaaaaagh I went really shy! When I worked in a bookshop and we had authors coming in to sign books, I always felt really star struck and would gibber away like an idiot. And so determined not to be a gibbering idiot in front of Alistair Brownlee, I stood there, said nothing, looking like a numpty and looking like a crazy stalker woman. (Doh!).

But I have to say, Alistair was lovely, really down to earth and happy to meet people even after a disappointing race.

Next  year the triathlon series starts in Auckland on April 5 and 6. It comes to London on May 31 and June 1. We are going to be watching again and of course cheering on our favourites

If you would like more information about the 2014 ITU World Series, then check out its website at

Monday, 7 October 2013

Caddyslims enters the 21st Century

First of all, I would like to preface this post by letting you know that I have just had to ask the lovely Chris what century we are in. Not bad for a history graduate!

But now for some exciting news (drumroll please) ....... Caddyslims is now on Facebook !! I have a page and everything! To find out more, and without sounding like Sally Field, please like my page 

Now I'll have to do some more posts...... Yay! :)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

9 things you might not know about me

I always love seeing posts on blogs showing 9 things you might not know about me. It's a good way of learning more about the person doing the blogging. And so without further ado, here's mine! Hopefully you won't be running to the hills after reading this.

1. I have one sister and she lives in Switzerland. I miss her lots.

2. My favourite film is 'Predator' I have seen it so many times, I can quote it word for word.

3. My parents owned and showed St Bernard's. they bought their first St Bernard the same year I was born. She was called Honey. For some reason, they thought that we could help bring each other up. I do still enjoy chasing after cars and eating pedigree chum.  (Only kidding!)

4. For 2 years, I studied Russian and can still read Russian script.

5. At the age of 30, I passed the first stage of my motorbike test. I was in a group with 3 x 16 year olds, all taking their moped test. At first they thought I was the tutor. I was touched but then horrified when one of them said "I think it's really cool what you are doing, you know, at your age, I mean"

6. I am ashamed to say that I cannot swim.

7. I cannot stand celery. Bleugh! It is disgusting stuff. And whilst we're on the subject there'll be none of that beetroot nonsense either. It turns your pee red people! 

8. I pre-met my lovely fiancĂ© Chris when he called in to buy a book. I remember thinking he was lovely and there being lots of looks and smiles.  A year later I was introduced to our new Christmas temp, who turned out to be Chris. I can even remember the book he originally bought (most days I do well to remember my own name). It was Tokyo by Mo Hayder). 

9. I absolutely LOVE Christmas, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. Each year sees the great Christmas tree battle between me and Chris where all my spatial awareness goes out of the window and I become convinced that we really can fit that 10 foot Norwegian spruce into our tiny living room. If you fold it in half, you can do it! 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Working without the aid of a safety net.. but with Pop Tarts

Shhh! Don't tell anyone but I have just read a book that has changed my life and most of my long held views about dieting and weight loss. The book is called 'Naturally Slim' by Dr Cherie Martin and is now out of print, but you know when you read something and it all just clicks and light bulbs are going off all around you? well that.

As you will know, I have been sharing my weight loss journey on this blog for a while now. Each week I meticulously plan out 3 meals and 2 snacks and my exercise. I loooooove exercise. I don't like Ryvita. It tastes like cardboard. Yet each week, I will eat it for my lunch. Then one day I spotted a book with yellowing pages that my sister had recommended. This book used to be found in the diet sections of all good bookshops which is ironic considering the main message is 'DIETS DON'T WORK'. I have tried every diet known to man, I have eaten up everything I considered to be 'bad food' in my cupboards on a Sunday night before commencing a new diet on a Monday morning. I have looked longingly at cake and chocolate, whilst feeling miserable as I am eating my Weight Watchers Soup which tastes worryingly odd to me. I have had a real craving for Kellogg Pop Tarts recently and yet every day, hour and minute I am ignoring what my body is asking for, and eating what a magazine thinks it should have and even at what time of day I should be having this food.

The book 'Naturally Slim' challenges you to stop dieting and to eat exactly what you want, when you want it. To be like a naturally slim person. It also explores the many emotional issues that surround food. It all just makes good sense.

And so I found myself in my supermarket, challenging to buy what I really wanted, what I really fancied to eat and the best thing? I was 'allowed' to eat it when I want. And so I bypassed the Ryvita and stocked up on Pop Tarts (strawberry flavour with the icing topping!), Mr Kipling French Fancies, Banana custard yogurts and some cherry jaffa cakes. I ate these when I fancied. As Chris was making a lovely nutritious tea, I was chowing down on a a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, because I really fancied it.

This all continued swimmingly and I was finding out more about what I really liked and when. I discovered that:
  • I actually don't feel hungry for breakfast in the morning. 
  • I can be a real picky eater - a true revelation. After making like Oscar the Grouch and treating my body like a bin, I have found I do not like sauces mixing, that beetroot joins celery as the food of the devil. 
  • I love white bread, but too much has ...ahem... an unfortunate reaction. That's all I'm going to say and will remain a secret between me and the pharmacist I had to see today.
But lo, on the second week what was this? I went to the supermarket and walked through the cake aisle and did not fancy any of it, same again with the chocolate and biscuit aisles. What did I want? Blinking juicy tomatoes and bananas that's what and nuts and yogurt with a bit of fruit, ooh and some carrots - raw. 

So now, I am going to carry on with this. The body is an amazing thing and knows what it wants. I am craving fruit and veg because that is what my body wants. But if I fancy a bar of Fruit and Nut, I will have it and thoroughly enjoy it. And the Pop Tarts? I had two, they were bloomin' yummy. The rest are still in the packet.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

I heart Parkrun

On Saturday, just before the start of my usual 5k Parkrun, one of the runners collapsed from a heart attack. In the group of runners waiting to start the race, were 2 doctors, who quickly rushed to the gentleman's aid and began CPR. 10 minutes later an ambulance arrived, to whisk him off to hospital where he remains in a poorly but stable condition.

The family, kindly allowed the park run Facebook page to post the latest news on Sean's condition. People put messages of support on the page for Sean and his family and messages of admiration for the 2 quick thinking doctors. Already a campaign has begun for there to be a defibrillator at the park, with many offers to help raise money or donate money of their own. That day, like many others, I stumbled home in shock, all day my mind could not stop thinking of Sean and his family. I had come to realise what park run means to me and how in times of adversity park run looks after its own. I wanted to tell you about this because I love park run. 

First of all what is park run?

There are park runs all over the world with 192 park runs taking place all over the UK each week. It is free. The course is 5k and is timed. You will need to register first, which is easy, you just need to give your name, date of birth, email and emergency contact. Once registered, you do not need to register again. You are sent a barcode, which you print off and bring with you to the park run. Our race is always at 9am on a Saturday morning, but times can vary so check your website. Everybody starts together and during the race there are lots of volunteers cheering you on! At the end of your race, you are given a token, which you present for scanning with your barcode. Your result is then emailed to you and published on the results page, so you can track your progress, and compare your results with others in your age group.

At our Park run we have over 400 runners, all of varying ability and ages. There are people who are running in 15 minutes, and some in an hour. I can be found towards the back of the field, running in about 42 minutes. Our course is 2 laps and I am always lapped by the speedy ones. But do you know what, as they come streaming past me they always shout words of encouragement such as 'keep going' and 'not long now'. At the end, even though an Ice age could have passed between them and me finishing, they will stay and cheer you home. Even the volunteers get involved, I will never forget the day one of the marshals ran me up a long hill, giving me running tips along the way. I had never dreamed I would ever run up that hill, but do you know what? That day, she got me up that blinkin' thing. 

There is a wonderful sense of camaraderie about the whole event. Mums and dads run with their children (who all still seem to run faster than me - dammit!)' owners bring their dogs (being overtaken by a poodle was a down day in my running career) and I have seen my friend Laura improve her running time from over an hour to 45 minutes. I love it and after the race has ended can be found with a massive grin on my face, wanting to do it all over again. 

And afterwards, I am usually home by 10am, with a cuppa thinking 'this morning I ran a 5k when lots of people were probably asleep'. I do confess I do become slightly smug at this point. 

Park run is a community. We ran on the New Year's Day run, nursing a hangover, but everyone was in it together. During the heaviest snow since 1967, 29 runners turned up to run the course, some in wellies, legend will call them the 'snowy 29'. There have been runs on Christmas Day, Easter egg hunts and each year there is an awards ceremony. 

So check out your local park run, if I can run a 5k then anyone can. Go, enjoy it and tell your friends. You'll love it I promise you. 

Check out the park run website here

Monday, 13 May 2013

My Weekend

I'm trying all manner of new things today, and the first one is blogging before I go to work! So I am sat here, with hair like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons and wearing my gym wear. I'll spare you a picture. The reason for this, I finally got to relax at the weekend, which led to some good thinking time and a little bit of refocusing.

Normally at weekends Chris and I are either running around like mad things, or completing a list of tasks as long as your arm and suddenly before you know it, it's Sunday night and we're getting ready to start the new working week. During the week I had a good natter with Chris about this and how I was feeling that all I was doing was working or cleaning, and not really getting to do the things I love doing such as blogging. So we jigged a couple of things around and have changed our weekend structure a little bit. First up was Park Run which is a staple of any good weekend, but sadly just before the race a gentleman collapsed with a heart attack and the event director took the very respectful decision to cancel the race. Thankfully there was a nurse and a doctor at the race who quickly worked on him and I have no doubt saved his life. As I type he is in a poorly but stable condition and our thoughts and prayers are all with him. 

We were still in a bit of shock when we got home and I think we were also feeling like we had been hit by a bus, you know that feeling when you are coming down with cold, so we quickly did a little bit of cleaning (I don't get to escape the cleaning that easily!) and then went to bed, where we slept solidly for 2 hours. We felt refreshed and settled down with a good movie and Doctor Who, and a lovely lasagna and salad. 

On Sunday, we woke up excited as we were going to see our best friends Cathy and Janne for Sunday lunch at the 3 Acres. This pub literally sits on top of a massive hill by Emley Moor television mast.

The views are amazing. 

And the company was even better.

The 3 Acres is a gorgeous cosy pub. we had the Sunday lunch which was 3 courses for £29.99 and which includes coffee and mints at the end. I had the smoked haddock rarebit to start, which I have to say was truly delicious. The haddock was nestled on a bed of tomatoes and fell apart in your mouth, the rarebit (and you know I love a good rarebit!) was cheesy and creamy. Heaven. Then onto 28 day matured beef with Yorkshire pudding, 2 types of potatoes, parsnip, carrots, peas, cauliflower cheese and lots of lovely rich gravy. This was lovely, the beef was full of flavour and the portions were generous. I had clocked the dessert when I was scanning the menu and had bitter chocolate and orange mousse. Delicious, dark bitter chocolate with a hint of orange to take some of the bitterness away and white chocolate shavings. Heaven! We finished with coffee and mints (although I had to forego the mints as I was stuffed). This was a wonderful meal in relaxed and cosy surroundings. It's definitely a  treat, but one that is well worth it. 

It was lovely to catch up with Cathy and Janne. We are missing them lots, but are getting very excited at seeing them for the madness that can only be the Eurovision Song Contest next week. Lovely food, lovely company what more can a girl ask for ! 

We were so stuffed, we didn't have tea and decided to work off a Yorkshire pudding or two at the gym. I ran for a mile and then went round the weights section of the gym. Oh weights how I have missed you! We came back, planned our week which is shaping up to be a mental one already and then off to bed. 

Because we weren't haring around at 100 miles an hour, it was lovely to do things that we really wanted to do, such as seeing our friends, having a nap and going to the gym. It enabled my mind to relax and my body to do the same and despite my eye bags currently resting on this ipad, I know I have had a restful and heavenly weekend. It gave me time to refocus and time to take a bit of stock on how I am living at the moment. A quality weekend! 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Sunday

Delicious breakfast this morning of "Flu fighting Buck Rarebit", a recipe I saw and liked the look of in Women's Health magazine. We had this as a breakfast, but the both of us agreed that next time we would add a couple of tomatoes and a bit of rocket to make a yummy lunch.

Can you see my Christmas mug?

 Flu-fighting Buck Rarebit (Serves 2)

 1. Warm a couple of slugs of milk in a pan. Add a slug of pale ale if you wish. (We didn't - Chris is not a fan of pale ale)

2. In a pan, melt 25g of butter and add 25g of plain flour. Mix thoroughly and heat for 2 minutes.

3. Add 100g of mature cheese, an egg yolk, 1 dsp mustard, 2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce and mix thoroughly.

4. Toast 2 slices of wholemeal bread and spread the mixture on the bread. Toast under a grill until the cheese browns slightly

5. Meanwhile poach 2 eggs and serve on top of the grilled rarebit.


Chrisfit is here !

This morning, I found a sign on my door.

And so begins 90 days of a fitness plan designed by lovely Chris, which we have lovingly called "Chrisfit". Day 1 was supposed to be the 5k Parkrun, but sadly because of the snow and ice it wasn't safe to run and the event was cancelled. There was no let up for me though! Oh no, if we can't run a 5k in the park, we'll do it at the gym instead. We drove Elsie, my new car, to the gym and I did a treadmill 5k. It was a mess! I haven't done any steady exercise for about a month and it was not pretty. But I did it and clocked a 5k start time (treadmill) of 42.12.

On return home, we did measurements. Ouch that hurt seeing the evidence in black and white! But onwards and upwards (but hopefully not outwards eh?).

Tried another yummy recipe of grilled chicken and avocado melt. God bless Zest magazine they are keeping my in good recipes at the mo.

After giving the house a thorough clean, Chris sat down to tweak Chrisfit and with instructions not to look at my phone, I was given the orientation! Chris had prepared a welcome document detailing the aims and goals of Chrisfit. It was very powerful seeing it in black and white.

And then I was shown the first 30 days plan! It looks ace. (And I will need to keep reminding myself of that when I am doing squats and press ups). I feel very excited about this as Chris really does know his stuff.

I made tea (with lots of help from Chris!) I made veg chilli and sweet potato wedges. I do actually believe that we are currently cornering the market in sweet potato at the moment and then we settled down to watch the first in a new series of Doctor Who. Heaven!

Elsie is settling in nicely. We do tend to give our cars characters. I see Elsie as one of the nannas from the Shreddies advert. Chris sees her more as Helen Mirren's character in RED. Graceful and cool, whilst knowing how to use an Uzi. Hmmm not sure how I feel about that!
Elsie (Caroline Style)

Elsie (Chris style)
   I am very lucky to have such amazing support from Chris. Chris knows that I have been unhappy with my weight for a long time. When I think I want to be slim, he genuinely believes that I can do it. At times, I can barely believe it myself, so having that reassurance is terrific. I am one lucky girl! I do hope, if you are on a weight loss journey that you receive some great support, whether from a partner, a family member or even a slimming group. It is important.

Where do you receive your support from? Are you helping someone yourself? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Good Friday was a Good Friday

Today was a good day.

Chris, having started his new job, is now entitled to Bank holidays off woo-hoo!! And so, before us stretches a 4 day weekend. Bliss.

To be honest, it felt more like Christmas than Easter as we still have so much snow left on the ground.

I got up and got my cook on, making Zest magazine's banana pancakes. I adapted the recipe and added blueberries and a spoonful of bio yogurt. These are a really yummy start to the day.

Next, we spoke to Chris' parents and as always had a good giggle. I also spoke to my sis and have begun to get very excited as we are going to be seeing her soon. Yay!

Then it was off to Barnsley to sell our car, Victor, and to pick up our new car Elsie. Whilst it was sad to see Victor go, he had started to become a little temperamental to say the least. We have bought Elsie from our friend Cath's lovely mum, Monica, who has sold her to us for a very, very generous price. We had a super drive over the top of the hills in Elsie.

 I had finally got my menu planning head and had seen a recipe in Zest's new book for a venison dinner. It was Chris' turn to get his cook on and he made us a cracking tea of Venison, sweet potatoes, green beans and roasted tomatoes. I have never tried venison before, it was really strongly flavoured and reminded me of liver (which I love). Tea was awesome.

We decided to follow it with up with Nigel Slater's recipe for hot and cold pears and berries. We adapted this slightly as the pears weren't overly ripe. Delicious!

One small glass of wine later, and we are both feeling relaxed and are truly enjoying our bank holiday weekend. Tomorrow is Park Run and the start of "Chrisfit". (Nope I've no idea either). Chris is putting together a training plan for me to improve my fitness and get my 5k time down. I have no idea what this will entail, but I swear if Chris had a moustache he would be twirling it right now. We have also been watching the Crossfit games, which we are loving! It is really inspiring seeing these awesome athletes performing superhuman feats, however this seems to be giving Chris ideas. (last night he made me see if I could do something called a "clean and jerk") God help my soon to be poor broken body.

All joking aside, I am really looking forward to Chrisfit. Chris knows his stuff when it comes to training, I know I will be pushed, but I also know it makes me feel amazing. I'll let you know what he has cooked up for me!

How is your bank holiday going? Do you name your cars like me? Are you following the Crossfit games?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

To post or not to post ?

I did wonder about whether to post today or not. My hope for this blog is that it is supposed to inspire, but if I am honest, it's all been a bit tough this week. But then, my other hope for my blog is a true, honest and frank account of my weight loss journey. So, deep breath, here goes. This week has been hard. On Saturday,Chris and I did the Park Run and as usual had a fantastic time. I always come back from Park Run brimming with energy and raring to go! We went shopping and bought loads of lovely healthy food, and planned lots of recipes that we hadn't done before, along with visits to the gym.

I have always wanted a life where each morning I have time to incorporate exercise into my morning routine (usually followed by a good cup of coffee and a fruit plate!) but at the moment, I seem to be very bad at prioritising. As I have mentioned, my work is insanely busy at the moment and all of my energy is going into this. And so I am struggling. My stress levels are beyond insane and I am eating rubbish - chocolate and cakes a go-go. I feel out of control and that I don't have the energy or inclination to change. I am seriously not looking after myself.  My fruit plate has gone off!

And so, I will be racking my brains how to change this attitude. (All advice gratefully received!). I need to work out how to cope with the stress best, and exercise and good nutrition will definitely help with that. And so this is me. I hope I've not brought anyone down with this post and that your weight loss journeys are all going much better than mine at the moment, but everyone hits a bump in the road, and as soon as I find the answer or even something that helps slightly, you'll be the first to know!

Have a great week.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Healthy Cranberry Muffins

How was your weekend? I hope it was a good one. I spent a lot of my Sunday baking and preparing food and snacks for the following week. I saw a great tip in Jillian Michael's new book Slim for Life Jillian suggested hard-boiling eggs and leaving them in their shells. Store them in the fridge and you'll have a quick snack if you feel a bit peckish.

I also finally got round to making Zest's healthy muffins. I saw this in Zest magazine as an example of a great afternoon snack. It really hits the sweet spot. You will need:

175g of wholemeal self-raising flour
2tsp baking pwder
5tbsp wheatbran
75g soft brown sugar
3tbsp pumpkin seeds
2tbsp linseeds
Zest of 1 orange
75g dried cranberries
250ml Natural Yogurt
2 eggs
3 tbsp sunflower oil

1. Mix all dried ingredients together
2. Add yogurt, eggs and oil and mix
3. Spoon into10 muffin cases
4. Bake at 190C for 20 minutes.

Yum - the reward at the end of a good bake!
What do you enjoy baking? Have you got any good recipes for healthy afternoon snacks?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The story so far.....

At the start of every new series of Friends, there was always a quick piece to camera catching you up with events from the previous series. The piece was usually done by my favourite character, Phoebe, and caught you up with the latest twist in the Ross/Rachel saga, Joey's latest career turn and Monica and Chandler's efforts to be together/get married/have a baby. At the end of this quick catch up, Phoebe would turn to camera and asks"So how've you been?" And you were into the next series. I am going to take a leaf out of the Friends book and do the same.

Last year I decided to do a weight loss blog as part of my 12in2012 challenge. With the help of my friend Kate, I managed to lose 34 lbs and then things began to stall. My job became more stressful and I couldn't seem to prioritise efficiently. Weight loss became hard and then Christmas happened.. And along with Christmas came a whole new host of festive eating! 2013 started and I couldn't get focused. But then came a lovely holiday, visiting my sister who lives in Switzerland. It was a time to breathe and refocus. I missed my life! I missed eating healthily, exercising and blogging. It was time to get back in the game. My job is now twice as stressful, unfortunately. But rather than looking at just weight loss, I'm looking at the bigger picture.

My sister gave me a great piece of advice and it goes along the lines of "when you know where you are going, and what the end game looks like, everything else just falls into place". It's a great piece of advice and a journey I will be sharing on here. There will still be lots of weight loss bits and pieces, but also some other wider bits. I have had a spring clean of my blog, and lots of my older posts have gone. It's time to start anew.

So how've you been ?