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"
"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!!!!