Monday, 28 December 2015

Our Christmas

Hey there, 

Hope you are all well and have had a wonderful Christmas. I am sending you the very best for Christmas and the year to come. We had a wonderful time. I LOVE Christmas, it is my most favourite time of the year and am now feeling a little blue that it is nearly over. So I'll recap our Christmas to cheer myself up. 

Chris and I had a few days off at the start of the week and had a lovely time. We had done really well with the Christmas planning, and had a few errands to do, which we completed. On Tuesday we had our usual traditional buffet for two and watched Christmas movies. (In Chris' opinion there is only one movie to watch at this time of year and this is Die Hard, something about robbers taking over the Nakatomi building makes Chris feel all aglow with the Christmas spirit. Haha!)

On Christmas Eve, I had to work, but was allowed to finish at 2.15pm, so drove back home to pick up Chris and then we drove to Chris' parents house in Sunderland to have Christmas with his mum and dad, 2 sisters and their husbands/partners, not forgetting Arnie the dog and our new, gorgeous nephew Joshua. It was certainly a houseful. We had another lovely Christmas buffet and received our Christmas Eve gifts of 3 games. We ended up playing a pub quiz game. Then it was soon off to bed, so Santa could make his deliveries. 

Christmas Day broke and it was so warm!! We exchanged stockings and I laughed my head off when I saw Chris had got me a boxing glove to punch people who snore. I could cheat here and say Chris snores, but in actual fact it is me! I am a terrible snorer and Chris certainly puts up with it a lot! Everyone woke up and we had a lovely breakfast of scrambled egg, bacon and rolls with fresh coffee. Then it was present opening time as Santa had certainly visited! We were so lucky, I received lots of presents including books, perfume which I was desperate for, Nigella Lawson's cookbook, a beautiful scarf, and a knitting set. Chris and I decided this year to buy each other a holiday, so later in the year we will be heading to Berlin. So excited!!! Josh and Arnie also received lots of presents, but Josh' favourite gift was the beautiful gold wrapping paper that the presents were wrapped in. Haha! 

We had leftovers for lunch and spent the day playing with our pressies and then it was time for Christmas tea, which was epic. Rick (Chris' dad) has perfected the art of the perfect roast potato. Oh my goodness, they were heaven! I'll put the recipe on here as we have just tried it out and it works beautifully! This recipe needs sharing!!

We played more games and then headed to bed. Boxing Day was spent chilling out, chatting and enjoying the lovely company we were with. Josh is so precious and is so smiley. He loves being cheered, and tickled by Rick (the giant squid) and plotting with Christine the mischief they will get up to and we all got lots of lovely cuddles with him. We are missing everyone so much, especially Josh. On Sunday, Chris and I decided to head to the shops to check out the sales and have a bit of fresh air as Chris was feeling a bit fluey. We spent some Christmas money on more books, body lotions and a calendar and headed back. Today we had a lovely walk with the family, who were on babysitting duties as Josh' mum and dad went to watch Star Wars. (Have you seen it yet? It's amazing,) and then 
, all to soon, it was time to head home. We are now snuggled up and ready to watch Spy. Heaven. 

I love Christmas so much. 
Cx

Monday, 12 October 2015

Goals and their realignment

That sounds a rather grand title doesn't it? Haha. First of all, I apologise if this turns into a real rambling post and there is a chance of that. 

For as long as I remember, I'm thinking at least since I was 20, I have had the same goals. They have been a recurring theme running through my 20s, 30s and look set to run into my 40s as well. They usually followed the same theme, wording, everything about them was constant. They looked like:

1. Lose weight and be 11stone 11. (Based on my height and weight and the BMI charts that you see all over the net.)

2. Be debt free

3. To have a nice house

Each few months, new year or autumn, I would buy a brand new notebook, diligently write out these same goals and then plan ways in which I can achieve them. I would try hard, sometimes I was not in the best of places and would end up failing after a few days as the lure of that cake or new notebook beckoned, or I would realise the enormity of all the decorating I would have to do. Other times, I lasted a bit longer, going for a few months and losing a chunk of weight, but never anywhere near my goal weight. 

These goals have been my cornerstone, my constant points on the sea and always in the background ready to be brought out time and time again. 

And how did these goals make me feel? Excited? Scared? Bat shit crazy with glee? Well here's the rub, after a while they felt like a big stick. They became something with which to hit myself with, to beat myself with, to make myself feel useless and lazy, and that I was not good enough and probably never would be. 

This week, after 20 odd years, I realised these goals were not working for me. They were not exciting or challenging or leaving me with butterflies in my tummy because I was excited at actually achieving them, they were just a big stick, and they felt heavy like a millstone. Worst of all, rather than making me a better version of myself, they were making me feel so much worse about myself. I think it was Einstein who said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, I never saw it. Nor did I feel excited about achieving my goals, as in what that would actually look like. Sure I imagined myself choosing clothes off the rack, but for someone who is not really into shopping, it wasn't exciting.

I realise this, with the second goal, to be debt free, I am not debt free, far from it, but in this day and age, who is? What I am doing is regularly chipping away at my debt and not adding to it in anyway shape or form. It is doing absolutely fine and is working hard in the background, to the point where I no longer think about it. Woohoo! One for the win! This is not a goal anymore for me. With the third goal, I have a half decorated house, but you know what, every night I want to come home and snuggle in the comfy armchairs, add more fairy lights, enjoy a mug of tea in the armchair we got from IKEA and which I love. So what if the carpet in the bedroom needs replacing, it'll happen. This year we have ripped out our 1970s brown gas fire, and opened up the chimney, ripped out and built a new kitchen. The house is just great, it's cosy and I am excited about winter in it. Again, this goal has disappeared into the background. 

And now to the big one, my weight. It is scary letting go of this goal which I have had for so long. I love my food, I love going out for a piece of cake and a cup of tea with my girlfriends, I love a romantic meal with Chris and I love a bit of pizza and a bit of Strictly. I don't want to be the person miserably eating a bowl of cold pasta while everyone enjoys a barbecued chocolate banana, I want to be someone who enjoys good food whether it be a grapefruit or a bowl of hand cut chips. Most of all I just want to be happy with who I am. 

As I said, this is scary stuff for me and I feel as if all of those anchors in the storm have now gone and I'm being tossed around the sea a bit, unsure of my path. But it's ok. I will be fine. And actually, it feels like the time to make some new goals, things that will make me feel giddy with excitement and glee and maybe just a bit bat shit crazy. 

It's time to wrap up now, I told you it would be a bit rambling. I don't want you to think I am preaching here. My way is exactly that my way, just like your way is your way. I'm just negotiating my way on this big blue ball of ours. (That the earth BTW). Be happy y'all. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

All change part 2

I have a lovely friend who contacted me after reading my blog to ask if everything was OK as he saw that I had handed my notice in at work. I feel I owe an explanation of this. Bear with me on this folks, as it's quite a hard thing to talk about.

I had loved my previous job, learnt loads and worked with some great people. But for about 2 years, I wasn't 'feeling it'. We had gone through some major changes and a restructure meant that teams were merged. Unfortunately around this time I began to undergo a period of intense stress. This involved lots of not sleeping, thinking about my work ALL the time and being so exhausted that I spent my weekends and holidays sleeping and thinking about work.

The stress then led into a period of severe depression. I have had depression before and it is not a fun thing. Unfortunately this time I failed to realise the symptoms until it was quite late on. I went to my doctor and wanted to resolve it the best way I knew how, through diet and exercise and I also decided to reduce my hours.

Unfortunately this did not work and after long discussions with Chris, I decided to resign. I felt like Rachel in friends when she handed her notice in at Central Perk! But signed on for a temp agency.

I had a lovely farewell with my colleagues who gave me a great send off and quickly picked up my first assignment with the temp agency so at least Chris and I have some pennies coming in.

I am doing about a million percent better. My decision was the best decision I could have made as   for a while I felt I had lost myself, which is why I have been quiet in the blog for a while. Tonight is the first time I have felt like blogging for a while and it's good to do this.

I miss my old colleagues who were very supportive, but am working with some truly lovely people now, and it is wonderful not to go home thinking about work all the time. My friends and family have all noticed a big difference And I am getting back to my old self again.

I am still trying to lose weight, as I ended up being the heaviest I have ever been and have joined Slimming World and lost 9lbs so far. (Very happy about this!) I am also exercising regularly again with Body Combat and Zumba, which I am tragic at! What I lack in rhythm, I make up in enthusiasm.

Throughout all of this Chris and our families and friends have been amazing and so supportive. I feel truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.


Adventures in Body Combat

Hey hey, long time no see. How are you all doing? Hope things are good.

So a quick check in to let you know about something funny that happened to me tonight.

I have been doing a Body Combat class for about a month now and I LOVE it. You remember how much I love Tae Bo right? Well this is the exercise class version of it. It's very HIIT so we have long periods of throwing fast punches or pretending to knee someone in the head. At the end I am dripping and usually beetroot red. Seriously? I do not glow....at all. In fact when people see me, they usually want to call an ambulance. But I digress. So Body Combat is a non contact exercise class set to some pumping tunes. The exercises involved are punches and kicks and we usually do a few squats, lunges and press ups for good measure. It's fab. I always end up 'in the zone'. By this I mean that you are so focused on throwing the right punch and keeping your body moving, it becomes almost meditative. As I say, I am a huge fan.

There are ladies and gentlemen of all ages and sizes, and it's so fab to see people really enjoying this workout.

So tonight I ended up next to a chap who seriously looked like he knew his way round a Muay Thai hall. He ended up next to me and threw himself with vigour into the workout. So much so, that he was slightly off beat with everyone else. I first noticed this as an arm whistled past my ear.

Then began the grunting.....

Now I have been known myself to adopt a snarl and in hard moments of the workout count or say what I am doing e.g. Jab, jab, jab, hook, etc. but this was proper, well, sexual grunts. There is no other word for it. Every time he threw a punch or kicked he made a sex noise.... Or whooped.  The girls in front of me quickly got wind of this and started to giggle. And then I began hoping they didn't think it was me!

The best about it was, and usually not being competitive at all, I realised that despite all of this grunting, he wasn't working any harder than me. My legs went up definitely higher then his.

But as I say, I am not in the least bit competitive.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

All change

Hey there, hope you are feeling good and the week is going well.

Chris and I are recovering from the plague or as we have christened it 'the flu that keeps on giving'. This has been a horrid bug full of snot, sickness and I ended up losing my voice for 2 days. Mercifully it has now come back but I definitely have a husky twang and am seriously considering a career on the phone lines or as a lounge singer. Haha!!

So loads to catch you up on as always. First off, I'm a bit bored of doing book reviews. I love my books and read a ton, but don't want to review every single one. So if it's ok, I'll only review the amazing ones. Is that Ok? Hope so.

I'm also thinking about what to do with this blog.

We are also recovering from a brill weekend of Triathlon.

I have quit my job.

I went to an Alice in Wonderland tea party.

I went to Go Ape and couldn't climb a rope ladder

I had a fab day at the seaside with the girls and Phoebe got attacked by a seagull.

Weight is out of control and bleurgh. But I'm on it (like a car bonnet).

So you see, it's all been going on!!!

Will elaborate more soon.

Xx


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Book Review - The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Karma is a funny thing at times. Today I was laughing so hard at something Chris had done (and which I can't tell you what he did, because he will kill me) that I fell over a fence and grazed all of my leg. haha! Serves me right!

Anyhoo, it's book review time. (Again!) The book I am going to review is not one of my usual reads, but I was fancying a change and thought I would give it a go. I was so pleased I did, it was excellent and I very much enjoyed this one. 



The book is set in 17th century Amsterdam and follows Nella, a young girl recently married to one of the wealthier merchants of Amsterdam. As she enters his house, she struggles to find her place there because of a nosy maid, foreign manservants and her husband's imposing sister. Her husband gives her a miniature dolls house and Nella sets about furnishing it using the skills of a miniaturist, who she never sees or meets, but who sends her realistic representations of Nella's home. Who is this mysterious miniaturist? How does she know so much about Nella and the household? 

I really enjoyed this book and it has really stayed with me since reading it. I enjoyed reading about the whole household and how a young girl manages to find her place within it. 

If you enjoyed The Girl with the Pearl Earring, then this would definitely be the book for you. It's already a contender for my book of the year!!!


Harry Potter

Hey hey, how are you all doing? Hope this week is flying by for you. I cannot believe it is Thursday tomorrow. I have a long weekend and I cannot wait! Whoop whoop.

So way back in February the girls decided to take a road trip to the World of Harry Potter. This was to celebrate Catherine's birthday, but that weekend was also Phoebe's birthday. Hence the picture below. Phoebe was very excited to receive a Harry Potter set of pyjamas. 



We set off very early one Sunday morning, fuelled by ridiculous amounts of cake. Now I know this is supposed to be a blog about healthy living, but I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Dani had made 'the best lemon drizzle cake in the world' (her own words), Cath had made mojito cupcakes (these are amazing)' Phoebs had made carrot cake (awesome) and I brought a blackcurrant cake. So much cake.......

The World of Harry Potter is based at the Warner Brothers Studio where the films were made. And it's awesome. We arrived at our alloted time and admired the statues dotted around the outside, as we were queuing, we got to see the cupboard under the stairs where Harry lived whilst with the Dursleys. 




As the visit was a birthday present for Catherine, and with it being Phoebs birthday that week, the ladies got to open the doors to the Great Hall. There was a quick introduction from the guide and then you are left to your own devices. On display were costumes, props, rooms, models, drawings and information about how the magic was put into Harrry Potter. You can spend as long as you want touring the studios, the quickest has been 2 hours, the longest 9 hours. We spent a good 5 hours touring the studios. Halfway round though we had to stop for a butter beer!



The tour was amazing, I don't want to give too much away, but what blew me away was the detailing of everything produced for the film, regardless of how small or large a prop it was. 




An amazing day was enjoyed by these 4 ladies!!!


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Book Review - Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Oh my days, I am so behind on my blogging it is untrue. I have so much to share with you including a day out at Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland Tea Parties, our new kitchen and tons of book reviews plus I have started a new fitness challenge. This week is going to be slightly challenging as I am working in a polling station all day on Thursday - don't forget to vote!!!!

So I'll kick off with a quick review of Fat Chance by Nick Spalding. I found this one on an Amazon kindle deal and it sounded fun so I went for it. Basically if you love the Biggest Loser tv series, you will love this too. 



Zoe and Gref Milton are a married couple who enter a Biggest Loser type contest at their local radio station. The book follows them through their weight loss journey and includes hilarious insights into those bonkers diets that we have all done at one time or another. I also enjoyed Greg's erm, fitness joiurney which starts off with a sadistic trainer and ends with him finding out about his love for running. 

I enjoyed this book, it made me laugh out loud at times and Greg and Zoe are really likeable characters. The best book is seeing the journey behind the weight loss. This would be a brilliant holiday beach read, just don't chortle too much! 

Book Review - The Visitor by Lee Child

2 posts in one day, I am on fire! Hope it's going well. The sun is shining here so all is good.

Back to my marathon catch up of blog posts. I have recently discovered the books are of Lee Child and they are great. 


The main protagonist is Jack reacher who is a badass ex army guy, trying to live off the grid, 6 foot 7 tall and who can handle himself in difficult situations. In the book a number of women are dying in a bath full of army paint, these are women who have had discrimination cases against the army. The FBI's profiling team, profile the killer as a loner, ex army, able to handle himself and who likes to live off the grid. Hmmm sound like anyone we know? Reacher is picked up and interviewed and it turns out knew 2 of the suspects. Once Reacher is found to have an alibi, he reluctantly helps the FBI to track down the killer. At the same time, Reacher is also evaluating his own life having being left a house in a will, he has to decide whether to settle down or keep on moving. 

This book is tense and thrilling and will keep you guessing right to the very end. Reacher is great and despite his physicality, I most enjoy reading about him working through the evidence, there is almost something of Sherlock Holmes' 'mind palace' when he gets going. I will definitely keep on reading this series as I have not read a bad one yet. 

Let's Go Murphys!

One of my most favourite bands in the world are the Dropkick Murphys. They are a Boston Irish Punk band who mix traditional Irish songs with their own work with a punk twist thrown in. They are fab! The Dropkicks say they are the original party band, each show is individual and they work really hard to give their fans a great time at gigs. I've been wanting to see them live for ages and on my bucket list is to see the Dropkicks in Boston for St Patrick's Day. They do a number of sell out shows at the House of Blues and I would love to see them there. In the meantime.....



Yep we were off to Manchester to see them live. Whoop whoop! Now whenever I go to Manchester I always end up horrifically lost, I remember one time on king my way through a muddy field complete with hypodermic needles and used condoms to see The Offspring. (Don't ask!). So using directions given by my friend Lindsay we made it to see them. The 2 support bands were great although I did feel a bit like my mum when I said that the lead singer of one band should really put a pair of trousers on. (To be fair if I had a pair of pins like that, I would wear the hot pants and fish nets combo too) and then to chants of 'lets go Murphys' the band came on. And they were fab! I am a recent convert to the Dropkicks, so did not know all of the songs but there were many songs played that I love including my go to running song 'State of Massachusetts' (I have the live and album version on my running playlist), Rose Tattoo was my favourite song of the night, but Fields of Athenry came close. 


At the end of the evening, the Murphys invite the ladies to come up on stage to 'kiss me I'm shitfaced' for a singalong.  As you can see from the photo, we were too far back to make it to the front, and then the chaps went up for 'skinhead on the MBTA'. And all too soon it was the end of the show. On the way back to the car we heard the funniest conversation between two american men. It went something like this. 

"I don't think men should wear skirts if they are going to crowd surf"
"No"
"I mean seriously, I got some dude's junk in my face... It's just courtesy, you know" 

Haha. This made me and Chris giggle on the way back to the car. And on our journey home... We got blinking lost didn't we? We didn't mind after such a fab evening. 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Book Review - How to have your cake and your skinny jeans too by JosieSpinardi

Hey there, it's been a while...
I have so much to catch up on- book reviews, Harry Potter, house renovations and exciting job news, I don't know where to start. Well in the words of Julie Andrews 'let's all start at the beginning, the beginning is a very good place to start'. We are currently doing up our kitchen at the moment, and by doing it up I mean ripping it out and putting a new one in. Eek! It's very exciting and I Now have a dishwasher and, new cooker and fridge freezer. Holy moly the dishwasher. I am seeing pots and pans returned to former glory with just one cycle of this machine. How have we ever lived without a dishwasher for all of these years? We have taken this week off and both have Monday off too. We have  painting, floors and tiling left to do, so no piccies yet, but soon my friends! 

So I'll kick off with a book review of Josie Spinardi's 'how to have your cake and skinny jeans too' and its a game changer. (The book not my review).



The book starts with the info that diets just do not work....ever. Of all diets undertaken 99.5% of them will fail and the weight will either stay the same or increase. Josie puts this in perspective, if you were to take a plane knowing that out of 100 times it flies, it will crash 99 times, would you take the plane. Obviously the answer is no. And it messes you up. Dieting does funny things to people and makes us crazy people. I know this, I have the T shirt. I have dieted for most of my adult life. I went on my first diet when I was 20 years old and it was a mistake, a massive one if you will excuse the pun. I binge eat regularly, even when my poor tummy can't take anymore. I restrict what I eat,I eat lots of foods I do not even like the taste of. (I'm looking at you ryvita!), I go into restaurants and even though I really fancy that amazing sounding salad, I will order the massive burger, not enjoy it, feel rubbish after it, and I did it because I was out and therefore should stuff my face, because I might not get another chance. 

I spent a lot of the book, reading it and recognising myself. 

Josie has taken inspiration from her naturally skinny friends. We all have those, the ones who eat what they fancy, don't stress about it and who stay lovely and thin. I have friends like this and am always astonished when I see the cake they have in the house, the fact that they are on first name terms with their local Thai takeaway and still look amazing. What Josie proposes is that such people do is listen to their bodies and let their bodies tell them what they would like. The human body is amazing and if it needs a nutrient, it will let us know if we listen to it and what it really wants. Josie has perfected 'Hunger Directed Eating' to help us do this. She also covers the minefield of the psychology of eating including how to recognise fake hunger and to address why we eat, when we are not hungry. 



This is an amazing book, it helps us let go of all of that negativity surrounding eating. The book spoke to em so much I ended up rereading and making notes on the book. And I am learning to let go of all of that crap that we say to ourselves when we so much as look at a cupcake or a Mars bar or whatever. This is 10/10 for me! 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Book Review - Davina's 5 weeks to Sugar Free by Davina McCall

Happy Easter!!! I hope you are all having a great weekend and enjoying the break and maybe a bit of chocolate or two. I have made a batch of Nigella Lawson's Christmas Rocky Road (even though it's Easter ahem!). They are the bomb!

So with a christmas recipe for Easter, I'm now going to do a book review about sugar free eating, just after scoffing a piece of the rocky road. What can I say? I am a woman of contradictions. 



Davina McCall has made a real name for herself in the healthy living, exercise market. I think this in part stems from her all round likeableness. Despite being a TV celebrity, she seems very down to earth and you could imagine going for a cocktail or pint with her and having a jolly good natter. This book has this in spades. 

The idea of going sugar free, sounds terrifying. Indeed some of the other books published on the same subject are terrifying and use ingredients that you can only find in one small street deep in the heart of London. Davina has kept it simple. She explains about her own sugar addiction and why sugar is not brilliant for you, as well as her goals for the book. The book can be used as either a short sharp shock to getting off sugar, or alternatively you can use a more gentler approach and made the recipes as you fancy them. The recipes are family friendly, have less than 12 ingredients that are widely available, simple to prepare and with no refined white sugar. 

Davina's book is split into easy to use sections such as breakfast and brunch, main meals, life saving snacks, starters and small plates and of course puds and bakes. At the end of the book is a 5 week plan using the recipes in the book.

The recipes are beautifully photographed and do look simple to make. Davina has adapted many of our favourite sweet treats such as Victoria sponge and flapjacks and put a healthy twist on them and they do look yummy! 

Some of the recipe ideas sound mouth watering and I will definitely be trying the feta, watermelon salad which sounds amazing, 

Davina has designed a sugar free plan that works for her and her family and seems really balanced. The recipes look simple and complicated ingredient free. For me, I think I will dib in and out of the recipes rather than committing to 5 weeks sugar free. The recipes look great and do make my mouth water.

But, you never know, after fearing some more of the Christmas Rocky Road, I may fancy going sweet free!!!! 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My weekend

Hey there,

I hope you are having a great week so far. I still need to recap about my Harry Potter experience which was amaaaazing, but am waiting to download the 9000 photographs I took first. So I'll share with you this weekend instead today. 

So in the UK it was Mother's Day, so what better than to have a weekend with our mums. First up, we went to see my mum. We had a good natter and got to play with the latest addition to the family.



Meet Ebony. Isn't she gorgeous. Ebony is a 14 week old cocker spaniel. She is so lovely. She loves to have a cuddle and just stare at you, she also likes to nibble ears and pinch socks. We had a great time catching up and playing with this little one. She is still in that lovely puppy stage where she has 4 legs and at times they don't all work in sync. There were a couple of face plants, I can tell you! I had so many cuddles with Ebony, that my mum and dad were threatening to search my bags when we left. After what felt like too short a time, we made a move to visit Rick and Christine who were staying at their lodge in Lincolnshire. It was lovely to catch up with them and Jo and Pete, who came too. 

We watched the rugby in the bar with a few drinks and then made our way up to the lodge when it was ready. We enjoyed a good tea and provided dessert. Christine gave us the strongest hints that it must be profiteroles as both her an Chris LOVE them. At night we played a great but slightly terrifying board game called Pandemic. It was good fun, as all the players work together, rather than against each other. 

The next day, Jo and Pete had to leave early, so we went to the spa and I enjoyed the jacuzzi and the hottest sauna I have had in a long time! I don't know if it is my age, but the last two saunas I went into have been seriously hot. Maybe I'm turning into a sauna wuss. 

After lunch we made our way back home and chilled for the evening. It was a great weekend. 

Are any of you watching Fortitude at the moment. We are loving it, but after each episode turn to each other and say 'what is going on?!' We definitely have more questions than answers. Really enjoying though. 

Have a great day xx





Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Weekend recap part one

Hey hey, how are you all doing? I hope you are having a great week so far. 

It's funny to be posting about my weekend on a Tuesday and it only be part one. It will be the next weekend before I know it. I will just post about weekends. Hahaa! Sounds like a plan to me. 

I had a fab weekend after what was a bit of a rubbish week. We curled up on Friday night and watch Gogglebox. That programme kills me. Who would have thought that a programme about people watching telly would be so funny. 

We did a few jobs on Saturday morning and then it was time to settle down to watch the opener of the ITU world triathlon series. It was in Abu Dhabi. First up was the women's race. Last years world champion, Gwen Jorgenson, was outstanding. At the start of the run, she was a minute down on the leader. She made up the time and overtook fast runner after fast runner, eventually winning the race. 

Then it was the men's race, with Yorkshire's Jonny Brownlee. The race was great. Jonny came 5th. He was doing really well, but then I'm not sure what happened during the swim-bike transition. He was at the front most of the way round and going into transition disappeared to the middle of the pack. Because the super fast runners got ahead, he held on for fifth place. Interviewed later, he said he made some errors but the first race is all about ironing out the kinks. 

Inspired by the amazing triathletes, I suddenly had a major hankering to go to the gym. It has been so long since I went, I forgot the way! Haha. I did an old, forgotten favourite and did a Caddy Tri !!! ( a 3k row, 10k bike ride and 3k run) love, love, loved it. 

Once we had finished, I did not fancy the tea we had planned and said to Chris that I had a real hankering for prawns and avocado. We popped to the supermarket and picked up a few bits. When we got home we had The Best Salad Ever. I inhaled it so did not mange to get a picture. But it had spinach, crumbled feta, balsamic vinegar, red pepper, prawns and avocado. Yum yum. It totally hot the spot!!!! 

Right I'd best get the day going. More weekend stuff tomorrow! 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Friday

Hey, hey, 

It's nearly the weekend!!! We've almost done it folks. This weekend is the start of the ITU triathlon World Series, with the first race being run in Abu Dhabi. I can't wait. There are more races this year. Chris and I are looking forward to watching the race. Sadly Alastair brownlee is out for this race due to a turned ankle, but we will be cheering Jonny on! 

I'm hoping for some inspiration. I have not had a great week this week with the moods. In fact it's been quite rough. When I am like this I refer to it as the 'screaming ab dabs' (lots of tears and roller coaster emotions). It is not pretty. Depression is such a weird thing, things can be merrily going along as normal, and then it comes and bites you on the bum. Not fun. 

It's led to lots of soul searching and chats with Chris (he is the best to sound ideas off) and on Wednesday felt I had hit a big watershed moment.  It led to the best nights sleep ever! 

I am also reading the most amazing book. It is about dieting and what it does to our bodies and proposes a new way of eating. There is a lot about it that makes complete sense, and a lot that applies to life in general. I'm looking forward to sharing the book with you and what I've learned from it. At the moment, I'm making notes about it (weird I know). 

Anyway I'm not trying to be cryptic or anything. I think I'm just rambling now.! 

Right I'm off to get this day started. Have a good one!


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Bisexual glasses

Morning everyone, 

Hope you are all ok. The weekend is nearly here!!! 

Yesterday started with some lovely news, one of the blogs I featured on yesterday's post had an important announcement - she is 17 weeks pregnant!!! One of the comments is that it is funny how you can be so happy for someone you have never met and its soooo true. I have been reading the blog for a few years and was made up about the news. So many congratulations to Ryan and Julie. 

I met 2 of my former colleagues and nearly spat my soup out when Pat told me a story of her visit to the opticians. Having selected a new pair of bifocal specs, the assistant said that she could choose another pair half price. Pat decided on a new pair of sunglasses and as she couldn't remember the word for bifocal asked if the sunglasses were bisexual. Haha! Pat makes me giglgle so much. Adrian was also recounting stories whilst out delivering boxes about various strangers asking him for a lift home, including one old gent who asked Adrian to wheel him back to his sheltered housing as he was tired. (The chap was in a wheelchair BTW, Adrian wasn't sticking him on a trolley or anything) and Adrian being a kind chap, did. 

Then it was onto the evening meal where I met up with the Honley Ladies Gin and Stripper Nights. We always have such a giggle when we are together. The Honley Ladies are a group of neighbours and we have been going out together every few months or so for about 6 years. It's a great way to get together, and we always have such a giggle.

Right I'm off to get this day started....with another cup of coffee!

Have a good one xx

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

My favourite 3 blogs

Happy Wednesday! Without wanting to wish our time away, after today we are on our way to the weekend. I have a very exciting weekend planned and Chris will be joined by a certain 4 legged friend who turned 5 this week!

Today, due to some well dodgy planning, I am out for lunch and dinner. I am meeting some of my work colleagues retired and current for lunch and then for tea I am going out with the Honley Ladies Gin and Strippers group. Now before you think this blog has morphed into something different let me explain... We are not really strippers but decided to call ourselves something a little outrageous. We do drink gin, but we don't strip. Glad I cleared that up. 

I wante to muse today's post to signpost you to some great blogs that I read regularly. These blogs are amaaaazing and encouraged me to create this blog. I don't blog as a career, but I love having a record of things that I have done, people I have seen, books that I have read. You name it, it'll probably be in here. So here are the blogs that I love;

Written by Tina, this blog covers healthy, balanced eating, keeping well and fit, crossfit, running. Tina has just had a beautiful baby boy and shares what it is like to be a new mum. Tina has had some health issues, which she honestly and openly shares and which has helped other people. She has the most adorable pug called Murphy. I love this blog as it was one of the first I stumbled upon. The recipes are great and Tina shares recipes for all occasions. She has a brilliant balanced view on eating (the title of the blog should give it away). 

Julie has just moved to Charlotte with her husband Ryan and dog Sadie. Julie blogs about healthy eating, fitness, fashion and her adorable dog, Sadie. I love this blog as Julie is always so upbeat! She also shares what she eats which provides some great menu planning ideas. 

Please don't think I am obsessed with peanut butter in any way😄
Written by Jen, this is a beautiful blog with amazing photos. Jen is a yoga instructor, trainer, cross trainer, food blogger and mum to 2 beautiful golden retrievers. This woman is a machine with all of the fitness that she does, but her passions shines through and again has a wonderful balanced view of eating, so the blog does not feel preachy in any way. Again, there are great recipes to follow and I have actually cooked a few. (The pork loin recipe is pretty awesome!).

All 3 blogs post every day as a rule. Looking at my words above I defiantly seem to love my blogs that have fitness, balanced eating and cute dogs. Check them out! 

Have a good one! 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Book Review - A Christmas Feast by Katie Fforde

I read this in February, which was a bit daft of me, but no less enjoyable. 

I've been a fan of Katie Fforde's books since she first published The Rose Revived' and I love how she writes about very capable heroines. Women who, when faced with a difficult or unusual challenge role their sleeves up and get stuck in. This book is no different and just as enjoyable as her other ones. I also love an author who can tell us that her passion for horses and salsa gets in the way of her real passions such as ironing and cleaning. Haha - my kind of author! 


A Christmas Feast is a collection of short stories put into a Christmas menu. We start with canapés and small bites, which are the shorter short stories (bear with me here folks), followed by the starter, then a longer short story for the main followed by dessert, cheese and coffee and mints. Each story is stand alone, following a different heroine and have women at all stages of their life from 20 something's, to divorcees to single mums. There is a lot of cake and coffee eaten (and there's nothing wrong with that) and any situation can always be solved with a good cup of tea. 

As I said, I've been a fan of Katie Fforde's for some time and as I have never been a fan of the short story, I was unsure how I would fare with this. I shouldn't have worried. It's great. The stories are all up to Katie Fforde's usual standard and are funny. When I read a Katie Fforde, I always feel like I am putting on my favourite pair of slippers and joining the heroines for a piece of cake and a good brew. 
Good cosy reading to be enjoyed at any time of the year. 

Book Review - The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Hey there, 

Hope you are all ok and enjoying the week so far. I promised you book reviews right?....

The Longest Ride is the 17th novel by Nicholas Sparks, many of whose books have been adapted for the big screen. The story starts with Ira Levinson, who is laying in his car on a snowy night after an accident. His wife Ruth, who has passed away appears beside him and in order to keep him alive, talks through their wonderful life together. Ruth adored art and seeing how overjoyed his wife was with paintings, Ira would purchase them for her. Night turns into day as Ira remembers a tale of a Scandinavian who survived following a car accident for 72 hours.

Interspersed with Ira and Ruth's story, we meet Sophie Danko, a student at a local college who one day meets a bull rider, Luke! who is having to risk his life every time he rides to save his farm. 


For much of the book, I felt unsure about what would happen. Would the 2 couples meet? Would Luke save Ira? Would Luke save his farm? Nicholas Sparks has you hooked from the get go" Ira and Ruth's story was most poignant and was written beautifully as Ira remembered memories and moments from his life with Ruth. This contrasted with Luke and Sophia who were starting out on their relationship. 

I really enjoyed this book and felt invested in the characters, especially Ira and Ruth. If you love Nicholas Sparks, then you know what you are getting. It's nice to know that this has been picked up and will be made into a movie. 
Curl up with this, with some chocolate, a good cup of tea and lose yourself. 

Have a good day XX

Monday, 2 March 2015

This time.....

Morning all, hope you had great weekends. 

So after some of the most stressful weeks ever, I am hoping that I will be back to my regular hours. So I have got up, arranged a run with Cath.....and it's snowing heavily. Now, I know the Brownlees would be out there come rain and shine, but when faced with an indoor workout in the warm or an outdoor one in snow and hail, which do you think I've gone for? Haha. 

I've loads of bits to catch you up on. It's been a while! 

First up, I had a fab weekend. Chris was visiting his lovely sister in Norwich and catching up with his friends. I couldn't get the time off so stayed at home. In Friday I went out for somebody at work who is retiring after 40 years. She is one of the kindest people I have met and will be very much missed, we had a great meal out. On Saturday I did Parkrun! Woohoo! A combination of bad weather, cancellations and laziness on my part have meant that I have missed a few, so it was the first one back in a while. It was tough but I managed it in 44mins 58 secs. I am very pleased with this time after so long away. It was helped by my friend Laura who was at my ankles most of the way round, Cath got a good time as well and we returned home feeling very virtuous. 

That night we had a girly night. Cathys husband Janne made us a gorgeous tea, 'an Italian banquet' and Cathy made us a hummingbird cake which was delicious. We sat and chatted and watch poor Madonna falling off stage at the Brits (wasn't she a trouper for carrying on). The girls walked me back at 1am and I spoke to Chris to say goodnight. 

The next morning we headed off to the Farm shop for a breakfast. I was sooooo hungry, it was untrue. I had a full English and then another piece of cake at Cathys. It has been lovely, I picked Chris up at 2pm and we snuggled down and watched 'edge of tomorrow' or 'live, die, repeat' or whatever it's called these days. I had missed Chris loads, he had a great time and said it was lovely seeing everyone. 

I have finally finished my cosching essay. Woo-hoo!!!! Having not done an essay for about 20 years, it was sooooo hard, but felt a massive sense of relief when I handed it it, followed by a sense of terror at the idea of waiting for the results, eek. 

I have lots of books to review. (Well 3). So will try and get those up this week. 

Have a great day. Xx

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The year so far...

Hey there,

Hope you are having a good week. We are breaking the back of the week today as my mum used to say! My mum always could come out with some great phrases, especially as she gets her words confused a lot. My fave mum saying was "stop giving yourself toffee" (nope me neither) which meant stop showing off. There was also the incident where she announced she wanted to decorate the living room with a dildo rail. Hahaha! 

Anyhoo, as I touched on yesterday we have had a busy start to the year already!!! The first thing is that we have removed our 1970s brown fireplace. 



And are now ready to install a wood burner. Whoop whoop!!!

I can't believe this is finally happening!!!!!



The next thing to happen is that we have got rid of our carpet which was very worn. In our house, you walk straight into the living room, even though we have a mat, the carpet still got filthy. We have replaced this with wood laminate floor and it looks so much better and cleaner. 



We have picked up our kitchen ready to sand, paint and install



And I enjoyed an amazing birthday 




Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Feeling a bit meh...

Hey hey,
Hope you are all doing ok and the week has started grand for one and all. 

I have had a shocking sleep last night, and am bumbling around the house - I burnt the toast, I couldn't boil water, so we'll see how this post goes! It was a restless night and there may have been tears at one point (I am seriously not good when I am tired). I have a cracking headache, so I'll just see how the day goes. 

I was going to do a post recapping the year so far. I actually cannot believe it is nearly March! Where is this year going? But think I will hold off for when my brain is less fuzzy as I want to be able to remember everything. 

In other news, Chris has received his new Fitbit Surge. He is very excited about this and is busy testing out all the functions. He was out for a run this morning and then was reviewing his nights sleep, which showed when he was awake, restless and sleeping. Chris is also enjoying the heart rate function and alarm which woke him up this morning. He has said he will do me a review for this blog, but so far it's looking good folks.

I enjoyed my run walk with Cathy yesterday morning. I am following the Run for Cookies plan, which I have tried before and which is brilliant. It was soooooo nice to be out in the fresh air. It was drizzling a little, but I love those conditions. We power walked for the majority of the half hour and then ran a little bit as well. I really do like this plan. I have tried a couch to 5k plan before, but have always found it really hard as it jumps suddenly in the 4th week. This plan follows how I used to do my cross country running, which is to run a little bit more and a bit further each time. The plan means you are exercising for 30 minutes, to get you committed to doing something for 30 minutes, time after time. In your first run, you run for just 30 seconds and then 29 minutes 30 seconds walking. We have lots of hills around where we live, so we get a good workout. In the next workout I will be running for 1 minute and walking 29 minutes. It goes up 30 seconds at a time and then a minute at a time, until by about week 5 you should be able to run for 2 miles, then 2.5 miles then a 5k running all the way. I'm a long way off that, but baby steps and manageable goals all the way! 

I am astonished I have actually managed to write something today!  Time for coffee and a Frasier. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow. 

Have a great day
Xx

Monday, 16 February 2015

Valentines .... Yes really!

Hi there, 

Hope everyone is ok. I am back in my 10.30am routine and it is bliss. Last week was set to be back in routine but due to illness at work, I had to work full time. Well it damn near killed me! To say I have been doing 30 hours for only 3 weeks, I seem to have got remarkably used to it! 

It was valentines this weekend. For those of you that celebrate it, I hope you had a fab time. My facebook page was filled with loved up couples, an engagement and a wonderful story from my friend Dave about love. Dave is a friend from university, he is gigantic! He works out, has a beard and a bald head, drives a Harley and is one of the loveliest people you can ever meet. He put on facebook that his mum, who has sadly lost her husband was speaking with some good friends of hers about celebrating her first valentines without her husband. She explained that he always got her roses and a card and it was hard not to wake up to that for the first time. She was taking herself off to the cinema. When she got back, she found a card with 100 hand drawn roses, drawn by the family's children with a message saying that this could be her card and roses. What a wonderful, thoughtful gesture. It fair made Dave's mum's day. People can be really lovely can't they? 

We try and be romantic all year through and don't celebrate it. (Especially as on our first valentines we one of our few rows!) I got Chris a card and he hired me a Ford Transit Van ! (Yes really!) as we we were transporting a kitchen from rick and Christine's to our home! The living room is in disarray. But it will be worth it in the end. In case you are thinking this is a weird gift, it is a running joke. When Chris moved in, we hired a van and as it was considerably newer and more drivable then my then car, I loved it. This one was fab, so high and easy to drive except for the fact it was manual rather than automatic. So I had to get used to gears again. There were a few shonky gear changes I can tell you! 


Right I'd best be off. I am starting a run walk programme with my friend Cath and need to put my trainers on. 

It's lovely to be blogging again! 

Have a great day xx

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Back to work

Happy hump day folks! 

I'm feeling a bit better now, so am back to work today. It's been a funny couple of weeks as both Chris and I have not been well and I feel well out of my routines. I'm going to focus on getting to the end of the week and then will be back on it next week. I've missed Billy Blanks so much this week! 

My top tips for sorting a cold out are - lots of bed rest, ibuprofen before bed, a lemsip/lemon drink when times are bad and not too much telly (I find it makes me really down!) and a good, long, hot shower. I am becoming slightly addicted to the 'Real Housewives of... Series" and "The Millionaire Matchmaker" although I am slightly disturbed by both of them. Patti from the Matchmaker programme keeps sorting out the millionaires, especially if they are only concerned for looks, but then keeps berating the dates if they are too fat, not tanned enough or is wanting to change their looks all the time.   I don't really get it, but there is something definitely addictive about this programme. 

Yesterday was Chris' birthday and I was gutted as I had cancel our reservations at Erics in Lindley. Chris has never been, and I've been a couple of times and really enjoyed it, so was looking forward to taking him. I've managed to reschedule it though and we are going on Saturday when hopefully we'll both be feeling back up to 100% and can actually taste and smell things again! Eric recently cooked for Arnold Schwarzenegger so we will definitely be in illustrious company! 

Chris put up with my cooking last night as I attempted to make him a steak dinner. (I'm not what you would call a natural cook). It went ok and I was really pleased with how the meat turned out. We finished with New York cheesecake and strawberries and enjoyed a glass of prosecco. Whilst I might not be able to compete with Erics, I did my best!!!

We ended the evening by talking with Rick and Christine on the iPad, who are currently in St Lucia volunteering at a school. They were making us giggle with stories about wheeling wheelbarrows through the centre of Castries and the things that the children have said. They are back very soon and we have missed them lots! 

Well I'd best be off to shower and get ready for work. Hope you have a great day xx

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Book Review - inferno by Dan Brown

Hi there,

I hope you are all good and having a good week so far. I have unfortunately caught the purge from the lovely Chris and have been laid up since the weekend. The snot has been almost biblical! Whilst I'm not 100% im going back to work tomorrow, I think I am out of the contagious stage. 

Being off has given me lots of time to do some reading. (Alongside all of the sleeping that has taken place) and so I have finished my second book of the year Inferno by Dan Brown. 


The book features the same hero from 'Angels and Demons', 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Lost Symbol' - Robert Langdon, who wakes up in hospital with a serious head wound after being shot at. Robert keeps having visions of a silver haired lady quoting from Dante's 'inferno' but has no memory of being shot or the immediate events leading up to the shooting. Langdon is also in possession of a projector detailing the map of hell as described in 'inferno' and Langdon must decrypt the map to find something. He is assisted by Dr Sienna Brooks, who saves him when the assasin who shot at him comes back to finish the job. 

The book takes place in Florence and Dan Brown's descriptions and knowledge of the city made me want to visit it so much after reading this book. As Langdon tries to solve the mystery it becomes apparent that all is not as it seems and that people cannot be trusted. 

I really did enjoy 'Angels and Demons' and 'The Da Vinci Code' but was less enamoured by ' The Lost Symbol'. 'Inferno' though is back up to form and is everything you can expect from a Dan Brown novel - fast paced and tense. 

I did enjoy this book, it was great fun and is not a taxing read, but would be ideal for a beach read or someone who enjoys a good thriller. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Things I'm currently loving

1) Pug Birthday cards - how well people know me! I got a load of pug cards for my birthday. I love pugs. Sadly Chris does not share my enthusiasm for all things pug. Hold on - how did that first card get in there? 



2) Our Nespresso machine - this was a complete splurge treat to ourselves over Christmas and I am so glad that we did it!! It makes the best coffee. We have one that comes with a frothy milk maker, so the coffee really does taste as good as any of the coffee houses. Bizarrely I now drink less caffeine, because the quality of coffee is sooooo good that I'm not bothered for the rest of the day about caffeine. And believe me, I had a serious coke habit ( that's coca cola, not the class A drug). Love, love, love the nespresso machine. 

3) Dropkick Murphys - loving this band and getting very excited at seeing them in March - woohoo!!!!

4) Snowy weather - I must qualify this by saying that I hate driving in it, but love seeing it on the ground, preferably from a window whilst holding a hot chocolate. We went over to the tip today and the view of snow on the Pennines was breathtaking. 



5) Robin of Sherwood - my sister and I used to watch this at 5.15pm on ITV back in the 1980s. Imagine my delight when I found it was available to watch on the Now telly box!!! What was very scary was that I can still remember quite a few lines from it. (Helen and I used to tape it and watch it ALL the time. Both of us cried when Michael Praed's Robin was killed off and even more gutted that he cut his flowing locks off and married a princess in Dynasty! 




It's the weekend

Hi there

First of all Happy Pug Day!! Here's a picture for you.


I hope you have a great week and are enjoying the weekend!! This week for me has been really odd as I felt like I never really got going. I had two days off for my birthday and the second day was spent writing essays all day. Then on the Wednesday night we had lots of snow which meant that I need up taking a snow day on Thursday and then went into work on Friday so lots of stop start stop start. Chris has also had a really nasty bout of man flu, but is now recovering. 

But it's the weekend! We've already been very productive. More plaster is going on the fireplace, we have done a tip run, bought more plaster and as Chris announced "I'm living the dream, we own a Dyson" haha! Yes after months of swearing like a bunch of sailors at the old Hoover for its general rubbishiness we have now finally bitten the bullet and bought a Dyson and it's awesome!! 


I'm hoping normal service is resumed next week and I get back in my routines again. I have only exercised twice this week. I'm missing Billy!!!

It's only a quick stop by. As Chris is busy away plastering, I am gutting our paperwork, post etc. Are we rock and roll or what? 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Book review - Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon

One of the things I thought it would be fun to do this year would be to track my reading. So I'm kicking off with Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon, which I received at Christmas. The snowy weather outside made it a good book to read.

First off though, I have spotted my first snowdrops! Spring is nearly here. We spotted this outside the Spa hotel and Chris bravely scrambled up the bank to take this picture.






The plot concerns a group of travellers on a train, who become stranded due to heavy snowfall. They decide to try and walk to the next village and end up taking refuge in a deserted country house which has been lit and the table laid for tea, but which is completely empty. The travellers seek to unravel the mystery of the house and discover there is a murderer in their midst! 

The book was Ok, not brilliant and would be a good recommendation for fans of Agatha Christie. The book evokes the spirit and times of the 1930s, but my main issue is the book seemed confused as to whether it was a crime novel or a ghost story,and I wasn't 100% engaged with the characters. Still it was enjoyable and nice to read during a mini snowstorm of our own!


I've made it to the second floor part two

I woke up on Sunday at 8am to find Chris staring intently at me. Now, if I had half a brain, I would have twigged that he was up to something, but what can I say people! It was 8 o'clock in the flipping morning. I was barely functioning. I went to make a cup of tea and when I came back found an envelope propped up in my bedside table which announced 'important information inside'.

When I opened it I found this letter....



I appear to have taken the above photo with a wobbly hand... It read

" my darling Caroline, 
Today we are going on an adventure! 
It might take a little while so I need you to pack an overnight bag
In the bag you.l need to have some gym wear and trainers, some swimwear and something to wear for going out ( you can check with me if you like) 
Other details will be provided on a need to know basis
So get packing" 

Wooho! We were off on a road trip. After packing at about a million miles an hour, I was handed another envelope when we got to the car. Chris had mapped out a route to where we were going.mchris had plotted all the A roads so that he could drive, but as it would add another hour to the journey, then I said I would drive and Chris would be navigator. (I was so touched by this - Chris had really thought of everything.). We arrived at The Parsonage spa hotel just outside of York. As check in wasn't until 2pm we hit the gym and I had a good go at hill cycling and did a 2.5k run. 



For the next surprise, Chris had booked an afternoon tea at the spa, which consisted of 3 types of sandwiches, cakes and scones all laid out out on delicate China. It was sooooo nice. We checked in and then returned to the spa which was 30second walk away. The spa had a beautiful pool, large jacuzzi and a steam room, sauna, aromatherapy room and salt inhalation room. 

The facilities were great. In some spas the jacuzzis have been tiny and you feel almost like you are sitting on top of other people. This one was huge so we got time to have a chat without disturbing the other people in the jacuzzi. The sauna was soooooo hot, but was brilliant. I do love a hot sauna. I had never been in a salt inhalation room before. The idea being that the salt balances you back out after exercise. It is like a steam room but with a big salt crystal in the middle. After all of this pampering we laid out on the sun loungers and I was feeling so relaxed I nearly nodded off. For those who know me, I NEVER fall asleep in public, but came close this time.

Then Chris told me had booked treatments for us. I had a facial and Chris had a back massage. It was heaven, as part of the facial I also received a face and scalp massage.

We returned back to the hotel feeling immensely chilled, and it was then time to get ready for dinner at the hotel which was amazing! I had Brie tart, pork loin and then a winter crumble. It tasted amazing and was presented beautifully. After all of this beautiful food, we staggered back to our room and had a great snooze. 



The next morning, we sadly checked out and went shopping at a local designer outlet where I purchased a capsule holder for the new nespresso machine. And then it was time to make our way home. I had an amazing birthday and Chris completely surprised me. He got me good! And it was such an amazing thoughtful gift. I am one very lucky girl! 


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

I've made it to the second floor!

Hi there,

Hope you have all had great weekends, I certainly have as it was my birthday!!!!! I'm going to do a birthday recap in 2 parts, starting with saturday. 

First off the title of the post, is related to the picture below, I saw this and though haha my age means I've made it to the second floor. (Even though I actually made it last year) but new starts and all that. 


So I started the weekend with a lovely massage. I tell you I love those things, I had already been texted by my friend Danielle to say that she was going to be dropping round with my birthday pressie. When I got back from my massage, Chris had made a start plastering the fireplace. I had visions of Dani sat among buckets of plaster when she turned up, but had no need to worry as when she did arrive. She told me to get my coach on as she was taking me somewhere !!! I had no idea we were going out. Dani drove us to Catherine's house and when I got there, they had set up an amazing tea party for my birthday ! 



Catherine and Phoebe are amazing bakers and had made cucumber sandwiches, small breads filled with egg mayo, cheese, sausage rolls, and of course cake!!!!! It was totally unexpected and a complete surprise. Chris had been in on the whole thing. We had great fun discussing what the boys were getting up to, what they talk about, what we had all been up to. It was cut good fun to catch up and we spent most of the time giggling until it began to make Phoebe cough. For my next surprise I was then taken to the cinema to see 'Into the Woods' which was immensely good fun and made even better as I was watching it with my 3 best girlfriends. !!!! We had a fab time and made me realise how special these 3 ladies are and how much I love them. It was an ace way to spend an afternoon. Big thank yous and squidgy hugs to dani, Cathy and Phoebe for surprising me with a gorgeous afternoon tea and cinema visits. 

The surprises then continued as I spoke to my sister who lives in Singapore. We had a jolly good giggle as well and then she told what my birthday pressie is - flights to Singapore to see her! (Chris is also getting the same!) all being well, we will be visiting her in July. How awesome is that!!! Another amazing surprise. And so generous too, best of all I get to see my sister! 

There were more birthday surprises which I'll post tomorrow.


Friday, 23 January 2015

It's friiiiiiday!!!!!

Hi there, 

Well we made it folks! Friday is here. Woo-hoo! Bring on the weekend. This weekend I have an extended weekend as it will be my birthday on Monday. Chris and I have a few jobs planned and I have an essay to write, but have been told to keep my schedule clear?? Not sure why and Chris is giving nothing away. On Monday, I'll find out and let you know. 

So today I wanted to tell you about a technique that my one of my best friends, suggested to help with the depression. I've noticed a few of my favourite bloggers using the technique as well. (Clearly she has been talking to them too! ). At the end of the day, I think of 3 things that were good about the day. Because work at times can be quite difficult for me, I try and make one of my things about work. Each night as we lay in bed, I tell Chris my 3 things for the day and I have to say for me it really works. I'm not going to lie on odd days I have struggled to come up 1 let alone 3. (My standby is I have earned money today to pay towards our house). I love this technique! And what has happened is that during the day, when nice things happen, I appreciate it at the time and think "oh that's going on my list today". My three things from yesterday were:

1) a brilliant Tae Bo session. I felt awesome after it! 
2) finding out who had nominated me at work for a positive award and why. (I was seriously touched about this)
3) having a great cup of coffee and doing some menu planning.

Ooh, I'm in a good mood already. 

I also must share with you about our pigeon. We are in the process of taking out our grim 1970s brown gas fire and replacing it with a wood burner. We had noticed that a wood pigeon kept cooing and it was so loud we genuinely thought he was nesting in the chimney. (He isn't) since we have removed the gas fire, and stripped back the fireplace, the cooing has been getting louder as it now created an echo. The other day, there was so much cooing going on, Chris went to see if he could see the pigeon and sure enough, stood on top of the chimney,neither his beak pushed down the chimney was the pigeon, clearly enjoying the sound of his cooing. My friend Bec, who hates pigeons would have had a fit! Hahaha! 

And on that note, it's time for Tae Bo. Have a great day xx

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Snow!

Hi there, I hope you are all ok and starting to look forward to the weekend.

So, this being the first week of my new hours is a lot about learning what works and what doesn't. Yesterday i decided to have a rest day from exercise and boy did I miss it. I love that for half an hour each day I will be doing some form of structured exercise (I know I've only done two days so far, but work with me here). So, no exercise, coupled with the fact that it was snowing and did not look like it was going to slow down, made me a bit anxious to say the least, and then I began thinking about work. Big mistake! So the late start felt like a bit of a bust, as I was thinking of going into work the whole time - getting there and what I was going to do at work once I was there. I hated it. 

So learning points, if not doing exercise, do something else or do exercise. Exercise calms me down, and brings me into the now as you are either counting or trying to do good form. And breathe.....

The snow, though, was gorgeous. As I said earlier I do dislike driving in snow and also seem to have developed a fear of falling over in it. But I find it incredibly beautiful to watch and I love the silence. The picture below was taken just before it began to really come down. Now in the garden, there is no green showing. But you can just make out the big, fat snowflakes coming down....

There's no business like snow business

Hope you all have a great day xx

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Bits and bobs

Happy hump day! 

Hope you are all having good weeks and enjoying the fact that we are nearly more than halfway through. I can't wait as I have a 4 day weekend. Woo-hoo!!! (Part time and taking holiday - shocking!) 

I will be very pleased of the break. Last night and today have been spent worrying about things at work. I really need to work on this big time as this is what got me here in the first place! I was worrying about things before work, after work and have been awake since 5am worrying about things again. gaaaaah! If any of you have any helpful tips, then they are very much welcome. It wasn't helped that when I got home, I finally made a start on my coaching essay. Boy that deadline is looming fast. But I did manage to watch a sneaky episode of Robin of Sherwood so the universe was restored to its rightful balance! 

Breakfast was an old classic - porridge with blueberries and honey. Yum yum. Perfect for the snowy weather we are having at the moment. 

We are in the process of using up stuff in the freezer, which is leading to some interesting flavour combinations I can tell you! I want to do more menu planning. Chris and I tend to struggle when it comes to our lunches and so if I can plan accordingly instead of turning up to the supermarket without a list, then can plan to make larger portions of our teas to take leftovers to work. We have lots of really good cookery books with great recipes in. And it will be great to getting round to making some of them. We have recently bought Davina Mccall's new book ( review coming soon) about giving up sugar and yesterday enjoyed a tweaked version of Salmon Nicoise. It's tweaked because neither of us can stand olives. 

Am most definitely looking forward to this, which will help with eating. I am not following a diet per se and indeed there will be treats aplenty in there knowing me, but it's so expensive picking things up for lunch, it will be great to putting the money towards more exciting things like the new woodburner !!!!!

Right I'd best be off. Have a great day. Xxx

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A day in the life .... Day one

HFor posterity, I thought I'd share with you my first day with my new hours.....

6.50am wake up
6.55am - Get up/ get dressed, put a load of washing on
7.10am - Make breakfast
7.20am - Eat breakfast, (wholemeal muffin, scrambled egg and tomato)
7.35am - say goodbye to Chris
7.40am - write blog post
8.00am - Tae Bo !!!!!
8.30am - finish Tae Bo and collapse!!!!!

Yes I am really that red!!
8.45am - enjoy a coffee with the nespresso machine



9am - wash up, put washing out, get ready for work
10.00am - travel to work
10.30am to 12.30pm - work
12.30- 1pm lunch - a chicken tikka flatbread, crisps and a creme egg. I can't tell any difference in the chocolate casing.
1pm -5.25pm (stayed later then I meant to)
5.25pm off for my Monday cuppa with Cath and Timmy. When I arrive, Timmy is naked and manages to make us giggle by doing a doggy belly flop. (I feel I should explain that Timmy is a dog just in case you are wondering what situation I have got myself into here)
7.30pm - home and tea with Chris
8-10pm - chill with an episode of Robin of Sherwood which is fast becoming my guilty pleasure. Chris wonders what the dickens I am watching as grown men towel each other down and there is male mud wrestling. I swear I don't remember it being like this. what with naked Timmy, and the episode of Robin of Sherwood, we christen this "Monday porn".
10.30pm off to bed

Not bad eh!!!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Happy work life balance day

Hi there, 

Hope you all had a fab weekend! I had a brill one. It has been snowy and icy here in our neck of the woods. This normally makes me really giddy, but not when I have 4 tip runs to do over the hills! We ended up calling it off after one tip run as the ice began to make the roads a bit scared to say the least. Despite 'Ice Road Truckers' being a complete TV guilty pleasure, I have seriously not picked up any of their driving skills and end up clamping the wheel in a vice like death grip, when driving in snow and ice. That coupled with Elsie's brakes being a bit, ahem keen, mean that I am able to achieve jumps that Torvill and Dean would be proud of! 

I also got to have a great time with my friends as we went for an amazing breakfast at our local farm shop. Not only did we have full English breakfasts, but because we were talking so much ended up staying for a jam and scone as well. It was all yummy. 

I have an odd title for my post today, and it is not an official named day, but it is one to me. So today, I commence my reduced working hours. The last year has left me feeling frazzled and exhausted and whilst not fully out of the woods, I am feeling so much better. One of the things to help me, is I have taken a reduction in my working hours and have changed my working patterns slightly, in that while I still work each day, I start my work day later, the idea being that I can fill my morning doing the things I love such as a bit of exercise, writing here along with a few house jobs as well. And it's Day One!!! 

I had been nervous about reducing my hours and a lot of the weekend was spent in doubt - have I done the right thing, do my work colleagues think I am lazy, can we take the money hit? This ended up working me up into a bit of a state on Saturday night, but after seeing those friends and talking with Chris, I approach this with excitement. I mean, seriously, it will be so nice working out each day before work and not at 6am. It will be nice to have time to drink a cup of coffee and really savour it, I will have time to menu plan, I can actually look after lovely Chris for a change, instead of him looking after me.... And we are making lots of changes to our house, which means I can always do a good tip run or two. 

I appreciate that not everyone can make the financial sacrifice, and that to some it may seem a bit self indulgent, heaven knows I have thought that myself. But... If you are sick, would you keep carrying on and carrying on until you collapsed and ended up in hospital? Because that is what depression is, a sickness. 

This ended up being a longer and more personal post than usual, but I am very optimistic and am looking forward to the opportunities this affords me. And as a I dust off my copy of Billy Blank Tae Bo, I have a smile on my face (and fear in my heart - this is going to hurt) have a great day xx