Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Daily Review
food ~ bad; fruit ~ bad; exercise ~ bad; water ~ bad; booze ~ bad (going to be)

Just bad all round. Feeling sorry for self and it doesn't help that R's away for a few days (presenting paper at important academic conference wooo) so I can't get one of two things that might help me not stuff my face today (one would be cuddles, the other would be time off from being mummy). Today is totally blown and I am just sinking on down into it. Tomorrow is of course another day, in fact it's another month, so plan A is to be up b&e with a New Month's Resolution to get back on track. Or at least get myself together to get someone to mind O for an hour so I can get to aquarobics, that would be a start.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Bank Holiday Blues

Like Jude sez, it's a Bank Holiday so you can eat whatever you like. Bad day all round. I had some deeply unpleasant finance stuff to sort out today, that's my excuse. Back to eating properly tomorrow, I promise.

One bright point of today: O has this habit of presenting me with things he finds, eg feathers, leaves, stones, flowers. Today he gave me a stone, and said 'I wish I could give you a golden one'. Awww.

Daily Review
food ~ bad, in a chocolate and doughnuts kind of way ie very bad indeed; fruit ~ 1 banana; exercise ~ 0 (yet, but I may do my belly dance vid later); water ~ 0.5 l; booze ~ 0 (yet but there is a bottle of rioja in the kitchen with my name on it)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

wine, women and song

Fun afternoon of wine, food and song at local cafe. The music was 'funky latino rock' and it was great. Food was El Salvadoran tapas, including pupusas which are traditional apparently, and very delicious. Wine was cheapo plonk from Asda (yay for Bring Your Own Booze).

Other (Olympic) news: Hungary win the men's water polo final, beating Serbia & Montenegro 8-7. Badman spoiled the men's marathon by running on and pushing the leading runner off the road. The closing ceremony goes on and on and ...

Other (other) news: O told R today that me and R will have to move out of the house because there won't be room for us, when O gets a wife and a baby, they will need more room for all their toys. Admirable forward planning.

Chocolate Pringles Update: they are called Cadbury Snaps
Posted by Hello

and they're coming to your shops soon. Be afraid, be very afraid.

(It's not that I obsessively stalk the confectionery aisle, you understand. They have erected a massive wall of these things right at the entrance to the supermarket, so I am forced to confront them every time I go in there)

Daily Review
food ~ bad - white bread toast frenzy this morning :-(, sour cream and other calories in Salvadoran tapas; fruit ~ 2 pieces (2 x mandarins), maybe an apple too later; exercise ~ 30 mins cycling; water ~ 0.75 l; booze ~ 3 glasses red wine

Just say n'eau

Perrier Awards no, Tap Water Awards yes.

Why? It's not just because Perrier is a Nestle company. It's also because 1.1bn people live without clean water. 2.4bn have no proper sanitation. Every 15 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. Yet those of us who have clean, safe water readily available, literally on tap at a neglible cost (so cheap we can afford to use it flush our toilets and wash our clothes and water our lawns) prefer to pay a thousand times more for bottled water. (Which may, in fact, be only bottled tap water). We think even our pets need bottled water.

So we participate in environmental carnage by buying this stuff that has to be moved many, many miles, usually by pollution causing congestion contributing road haulage. Then we throw all those plastic bottles away, to clog up landfills.

All of this when, in blind trials, even experts can't tell the difference between expensive mineral waters and corporation pop when it's chilled to the same temperature. When we say we prefer the taste of bottled water, what we're really saying is we prefer the taste of well chilled water.

Don't buy bottled water anymore. Instead invest in two water bottles (750ml ones about 4 quid each from bike and sports shops). One chills in the fridge while you're drinking the other. Easy. Save ££ and save dolphins, too. Give some ££ you save to WaterAid

More about water at
  • Guardian Special Report: Water
  • BBC News: The Water Debate
  • WaterAid
  • Khan he do it?

    Yes he Khan! "Kindelan ends Khan dream" but never the less, Amir was amazing for a 17 year old. Amazing.

    When asked what he was going to do next, Amir said 'Probably take a couple of months off. And I've got some assignments to finish for college'. We :heart: Amir.

    Saturday, August 28, 2004

    Golden Girl

    Golden double for Kelly Holmes
     Posted by Hello

    She won the 1500m tonight. It was amazing. Fantastic Kelly!

    Other news: we spent the day visiting friends over the Pennines. Eating OK-ish, plenty of fruit, not much exercise (short walk with child in tow). Although I wonder how many calories shouting at the telly for 3 minutes 57.90 seconds burns?

    More Olympic Stuff: British men sprinters finally learn how to pass the baton to each other and win the 4x100m relay. Also big up Ian Wynne for winning kayak bronze medal in spite of 'freak ankle injury' (I'm not actually sure what's so 'freak' about twisting your ankle getting off the bus, people do it every day).

    Chocolate Pringle Update: they have them in America, where they're called 'Swoops'. There is a whole new category of "candy shaped like potato chips". I'm scared.

    PS I know the title is an utterly worn out cliche but what else can you say?

    Friday, August 27, 2004

    Sleep-Over madness Why Why WHY?

    Why oh why did we let O invite 2 friends to stay the night and further more, agree that they could all 'sleep' together on one double airbed? Are they likely to be asleep before me? No. I am going in periodically to tell them off for talking and messing about - sleep-overs aren't so much fun if grumpy parents don't tell you off.

    Daily Review
    food ~ umm - not too brilliant, and I had ice-cream tsk; fruit ~ 3 pieces (2 x banana, fruit salad); exercise ~ 0; water ~ 1 l; booze ~ 0

    Amir Khan Yes Yes YES!

    Amir Khan hits other bloke more often and gets through to Olympic lightweight boxing final (on Sunday).

     Posted by Hello

    He might even acheive the ultimate accolate, making it onto the B.E.N.'s "Famous Boltonians" roll of honour, alongside our hero. Go Amir!

    Chocolate Pringles No No NO!

    Chocolate Pringles. FFS. I saw them in Asda tonight. Made by Cadburys I think, chocolates the same shape as Pringles. Please let this be a bad dream.

    I'm bored

    Bored but tied to my desk for at least another hour. So I've put all this week's exercise into Calories per Hour and this is what happened

    Saturday: Bicycling - 10-11.9 mph (light) = 321 calories in 30 min
    Sunday: Swimming - freestyle, moderate = 375 calories in 30 min
    Monday: Belly Dancing = 241 calories in 30 min
    Tuesday: Bicycling - 10-11.9 mph (light) = 321 calories in 30 min
    Wednesday: Water Aerobics = 357 calories in 50 min
    Thursday: Bicycling - 10-11.9 mph (light) = 214 calories in 20 min; Belly Dancing = 161 calories in 20 min

    Total: 1,990 calories in 3 hr 30 min

    fascinating, huh?

    Olympic news you probably missed ...

    ... and probably don't care about anyway

    Italy grab water polo gold - Italian women's team beat the Greeks 10-9 after extra time.

    Last night I was knackered after v early start and long day paying attention to dull stuff, but the paper said the Beeb's olympic roundup prog would be showing highlights of the women's final. So I stayed up till the bitter end at midnight. Nada. Not a mention. Bad BBC. I wonder if there will be any mention at all of the men's final on Sunday? No, thought not. Bah.

    Hey, 'Blog This' button seems to be working now, tho, hurrah.

    Weigh-In and Weekly Round-Up

    Weight this morning = 16 st 10. I lost 2lb and hit my first mile stone of getting my BMI below 40 hurrah.

    How the week went (compared to the plan)

    • Weight: lost 2 lb wooo (although I must remember that I am at the early 'easy' stage of weight loss and as time goes on, there will be weeks I don't lose at all)
    • Exercise: I made my target of exercising 5 times a week for at least 30 mins wooo, with a mix of swimming, cycling, belly dancing and aquarobics
    • Getting active with O: bike ride to park and swimming trip this week
    • Food etc: Mostly good. I watched my portion sizes, thought before eating cr@p, and ate 3 pieces of fruit most days. There was a descent into comfort eating and crisps one day, but I didn't let it become the start of a slide so that's good. And yes there was chocolate but that was half a normal sized mars bar shared with R, instead of 1 king-size mars bar each, so I count that as progress too.
    • Water & other drinks: the crisps day also featured diet (sugar free) irn bru, but apart from that I haven't had any fizzy drinks, and have drunk my water target most days. It's getting harder tho, now that the days aren't so hot. And I know what Melanie @ the 730 Diaries means about peeing all the time! I don't normally notice the effects because I work to my own schedule, but yesterday I was at a conference working on someone else's timetable and there were times I was absolutely bursting by the end of a seminar.

    All in all, a good week

    Other news 1 - I've retired the Stalin book for now, as I wasn't enjoying it and it was pretty hard going. I've started on Fat Land instead. In a rare display of will power, I managed to leave Waterstones with just this one book, without succumbing to the lure of the 3-for-2 offer. (This decision may have been influenced by the fact that I was already staggering under the weight of a bag full of books bought from a 2nd hand book stall at the conference venue. Can't be too rich, too thin or have too many books).

    Other news 2: more on Dr Gill at the gruaniad's Bad Science column this week. Snigger.
    Gillian McKeith PhD (who describes people who disagree with her as using bad science, no less) also claims to have "worked with Linus Pauling (PhD), world's leading researcher in Vitamin C and Nobel Prize winner (New York, USA)". Her "PhD" course began in 1993. Linus Pauling died in 1994. "He was an incredible inspiration. I was working solidly, but studying for a doctorate is not all sitting in a classroom." Quite so. Although, of course, it didn't really involve sitting in a classroom at all.

    (And being one of the towering scientific geniuses of the 20th century and a double nobel prize winner, doesn't mean Pauling got it right about Vitamin C).

    Other news 3: why can I never write a short blog entry?

    Thursday, August 26, 2004

    one last thing (proud mum moment)

    This afternoon O and I were having a cuddle (after he'd calmed down from an enormous rage). Out of the blue, he said 'do you know mummy, night is the beginning of day and day is the beginning of night. And rain is the beginning of sunshine'. Gosh. He's obviously been reading 'Philosophy for Beginners' when I thought he was playing with his trains.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    Just in case I needed a kick up the arse ...

    I caught some of the Olympic weighlifting tonight, the men's 'super heavy weight' class. Super Heavy Weight = over 105 kg. That's less than I weigh now. OK I'm getting the message.

    Iranian lifter Hossein Rezazadeh won, setting a new world record in the process.
     Posted by Hello

    I have a soft spot for Iranians, having worked with lots of them, too, in my old job. Note I say Iranians, not Iran.

    Also in Olympic news, more cycling medals. Bradley Wiggins and Rob Hayles won bronze in the madison. Don't ask me I have no idea of how it works. But that's Bradley's third medal of the Games woo
     Posted by Hello

    Tomorrow I have to leave the house and go out and be confronted with chippies and sweet shops. However I shall be strong. I have made my lunch (pitta pockets with feta cheese and salad yum, plus plenty of fruit). I will be good. No more super heavy weight class for me oh no.

    Daily Review
    food ~ good (plenty of salad); fruit ~ 3 pieces (banana, pineapple, grapes); exercise ~ aquarobics; water ~ 1.5 l; booze ~ 2 glasses red wine (so far)

    A bit about Belly Dancing (for Goil)

    Goil asked about belly dancing, and if I find it's helping with weight loss.

    The style of belly dance I do ("Urban Tribal Belly Dance with an Edge") is very active (more so than some of the other, slinkier styles, I think).
    ... ours is the North African Tribal belly dance style. This is a very funky and energetic style and draws on the wild party type of dancing in tribal celebrations.

    (Shira's site is a good source of information on different kinds of belly dance)

    A class with my teacher is definitely a good aerobic work out - I can tell because I'm red in the face and sweating for most of the time. Doing the video is not so active, more practising my moves and working on strengthening and stretching the right bits.

    But the main thing is, I love doing it. I really look forward to my classes and am disappointed when I can't go. The music's great, my teacher's a star, we have fun. And I feel happier with my body (even tho I have to look at it wobbling in the full length mirrors for an hour) because I'm working with it and learning how to move it.

    I think the most important thing is find activity/ies you love and will keep up. I know I wouldn't enjoy a conventional aerobics/step type class - I'd find it a chore to go (plus I hate the kind of hi-nrg music they always seem to play at classes, like wot my aquarobics teacher does), whereas I can't wait to be belly dancing. I do feel that the aerobic work out burns calories, and that it's also helping me to get my body into a nicer shape.

    Olympic Dreams

    Watched highlights of the Triathlon while having lunch. Austrian-Australian Kate Mellor won from behind with an amazing run, nicking it from Loretta Harrop.

    I have these vague (very vague) ideas of going in for the triathlon one day. When I am much much fitter. I think my swimming could be up to it, but not sure about my cycling (have to learn to cycle up hills boo) and I always hated running for running's sake, even when I were a lass and relatively fit. I'm also not sure my finances are up to it, given the amount of kit you need (wet suits, running shoes, cycling shoes, proper road bike etc). It shall remain a day dream for now, but I will get Jayne Williams' book and wonder about becoming a slower, fatter triathlete.

    Gotta love Amir Khan.

    As a well meaning gruaniad reader, I am of course against boxing on principle. Also boxing is deeply tarnished by Mike Tyson, and by its unfathomable governing bodies/weight class systems. But I can't fail to recognise his immense skill and talent, and sneakingly enjoy watching his bouts. Most of all I love him cos he's from Bolton and reminds me of the young Asian men I used to meet regularly in my old job. Go Amir!

    I'm a cynic, get me out of here

    More from today's gruaniad: Is TV Cheating on Charity?
    The reality is that television and celebrities treat charities with contempt, donate too little of their profits and carelessly put causes' hard-won reputations at risk.

    Much as I love (un)Reality TV - Big Bro, IACGMOOH, Hell's Kitchen ... bring 'em on! - I very rarely take part in the phone voting and am deeply cynical about claims to be for charideee.

    King of Rai

    Interview with Khaled in today's gruaniad.

    Khaled is the man who brought north-African music to a new audience in Europe, shaking up the pop scene in France and becoming as influential as Bob Marley in the process.


    "Rai is like the blues," says Khaled, "that was sung by the slaves. But in Algeria it was sung by the shepherds in the days when we were colonised by the French. It used to be hidden and forbidden. And, like the blues, it sticks to anything - jazz, rock, reggae or flamenco."

    His new album's out next week hurrah.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    mmmm curry ...

    ... no I didn't have one. It was hard not to, though. Having failed to find the bottled hot peppers I need for this salad in Asda, and it being a nice evening for a bike ride, I pootled down to Rusholme. The aromas coming from 50 plus curry houses are hard to resist, but resist I did, calling only at Fine Foods Super Store.

    Fine Foods is one of the most interesting shops in Manchester. They sell all sorts of South Asian and near/middle/far Eastern products and produce. I have no idea what half the stuff in there is, the labels are all in foreign. Because of the range of stuff they stock, they get a diverse range of customers in too, particularly on Saturday mornings when the overseas students go in to do their week's shopping. We go there quite often for stuff like harissa paste and pickled lemons, and also stuff that you can get in Asda but it's cheaper/better at Fine Foods eg pulses, couscous, olives, mangoes and fresh herbs. They sell huge bunches of fresh flat-leaf parsley and fresh coriander for the price of those little plastic packs in supermarkets. Oh and they also sell loose pistachio nuts, a scoop or 2 may have got bought somehow.

    Cycled back home in time to admire the marine fauna of DietGirl's homeland. We watched all of Wild Down Under first time round but avidly watching the repeats, too - it's stunning.

    ooh pretty fishes

    awww a sea cow

    wow a sea dragon

    Daily Review
    food ~ OK (apart from the pistachios); fruit ~ 2 pieces so far(banana, pineapple)- planning an apple before bed; exercise ~ 30 mins cycling; water ~ 0.50l+; booze ~ 2 glasses red wine (so far)

    No Nekkid Jacuzzi-Ness

    Took O and his friend F swimming this afternoon. Spent part of the time playing in the bubbly pool. At one point O's feet slipped from under him, he grabbed at me to keep himself up, and I ended up in a situation not dissimilar to that featured in Mr Steve's blog recently. Thankfully for the people of Mancunium, the bubbly water concealed the worst.

    Doing something right

    According to the BBC's 'Healthy Living' pages (yesh I know, I know, I get all my info from bbc and gruaniad. I am well meaning librul, what did you expect?)

    The recommended physical activity guidelines from a range of expert bodies ... suggests that people ... be physically active on five days of the week, for up to 30 minutes a time, at a moderate intensity.

    ... any physical activity, no matter how small, is better than none.

    Half an hour 5 days out of 7 is my target, so I feel smug that 'experts say' it's right. Course I have to get out and do it, too. I'm working on it.

    An aside: is it just me or is the 'Blog This' button on the Google Toolbar broked?

    Monday, August 23, 2004

    Thwarted (again)

    Set off to go to aquarobics tonight, didn't feel like it but went anyway. Got to pool to find pool shut due to 'accident' in pool aaaargh. Came home, felt bit miz, did belly dance video for half an hour then had nice bubbly bath.

    In Olympic news: Kelly Holmes gets gold in the 800m woooo and the men's pursuit team get silver cycling medal (an amazing ride by the Aussie team for gold). And there's a possibility of more cycling medals on Wednesday.

    Daily Review
    food ~ bad. there were crisps, lots of crisps; fruit ~ 3 pieces (banana, apple, banana); exercise ~ half hour of bd vid; water ~ 0.75l+; booze ~ 0

    Israel/Palestine - the solution?

    The BBC reports on the Arab Pop Idol finale.
     Posted by Hello

    Ayman [Ayman al-Aathar, 2nd right, Libyan finalist] is said to have received Colonel Gaddafi's backing - though the Libyan leader reportedly queried if Arab youth should be distracted from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this way.

    The world would a better place if more youth - Arab, Jewish, Christian, whatever - were distracted from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by pop music, fancy clothes, bright lights and sparkly things. The sooner we settle international conflicts with Pop Idol sing-offs rather than guns, the better.

    In the mean time, I must try and hear what these Arab Pop Idols sound like. Belly dancing has led me down new musical paths, including that of Arabic pop. I wonder if the Arab Pop Idol types do Arabic or Western style pop? I've tried reading the offish site but it's all in Arabic.

    please let this be true

     Posted by Hello

    Zbornak says that the Sun says that Sunset Beach is coming back! I so want this to happen.

    Shock as researchers find "people eat for comfort"

    From BBC: Comfort and 'boredom' eating rife

    Wow, d'y think so? I find this hard to believe.
    Almost half of adults turn to food to stifle feelings of boredom, loneliness and stress, research suggests.

    I suggest that the other half were lying.

    Sunday, August 22, 2004

    The Clazz-pedo

    Went swimming tonight. The pool was at its full 50 m (usually it's split into 2 25m pools, 1 for splashing and 1 for swimming). Did 16 lengths (800 metres, about half a mile) - not bad for first time swimming for ages.

    Note to girls in teeny bikinis and trendy tankinis who roll their eyes at each other as I walk past them in the changing rooms: I do know that I look like a blimp in my swimming cozzie with my purple latex swimhat on. Please note however that I can swim 50m without needing to stop and cling on to the side, I do not risk spinal injury by swimming with my head up to keep my hair dry, forgetting to bring my waterproof mascara to the pool is not a major disaster for me, and basically, I may be round and wobbly but I can swim further and faster than you so feck off.

    There, I feel much better for getting that out of my system.

    At the risk of being all Bridget Jones (blimey did I not like that book), here goes with a trial at doing a 'daily review' type thing:
    daily review
    food: moderately bad. White bread toast this morning, pizza for tea (it had spinach on tho, that must help? and we had it with runner beans from our balcony). Also had two half mars bars (1 shared with R while reading paper, 1 shared with R on return from pool) ie 1 whole mars bar boo.
    fruit: 3 pieces (banana, apple, melon)(v.g.)
    exercise: swimming hurrah
    water: 1.5 l + (v.g.)
    booze: 0.5 glass white wine (would've been a whole one but I just spilt it over the keyboard oops)

    Seize a salad

    The Observer magazine today features fab salad ideas from Nigel Slater. We :heart: the Nige, goatee or no goatee. I might have to make this tomorrow:

    Chickpea and chilli
    Toss warm chickpeas (canned will be fine here) with a rich, mellow vinaigrette made with mild olive oil and sherry vinegar, then add chopped bottled hot peppers, chopped flat-leaf parsley and thin slices of feta cheese. Leave for half an hour before stirring and serving.

    Yum yum yum

    Also in today's Observer: lovely BB5 winner Nadia's first newspaper interview hurrah and how Julie "I was size 22 at one point. I was massive" Burchill lost weight with diet pills booo.

    Edit 25/08/04: made this salad, it was lovely, but I think I would do things differently next time I make it ie not chop the peppers (too hot) but let them marinade in the salad for a while to give it kick (and people can eat them if they want) and also maybe add some slices of pickled lemons.

    How are my genes, doctor?

    Am very interested in this story from the BBC about developing tests for the risk of developing certain conditions. Heart disease runs in R's family - he developed angina and had a heart attack when he was just 30 (and will be on beta blockers, statins and aspirin for the rest of his life). His father and uncles have had bypass surgery. So of course we worry and wonder about O's risk of developing heart disease too. We've discussed it with our GP, who says at the moment there is no test available for the kind of familial predisposition that seems to run in the family. But she did say to go back and ask again in 5 years or so, as she thought testing would've developed to the point she could refer us to a genetics clinic.

    But even without testing, we know there's an increased risk for O. It's more important than usual that he doesn't smoke (so another reason for me to be glad I've quit), that he stays active (no problem there at the mo, he loves to play out with his friends) and eats a sensible diet (again no probs there, he loves fruit and veg). It's fairly easy to control these things when he's 4, but gets harder the older he gets. The crucial time will be when he is a young adult/adolescent - which is if course the time he is least likely to take parental advice or do what's 'good for him'. Ah well, no point crossing that bridge before we come to it.

    Saturday, August 21, 2004

    New toy

    First attempt to use this new fangled blogger bot thang to post pics. This is a pic from our holidays - sunset from the field behind R's parent's house.  Posted by Hello

    more lycra glory

    "Wiggins wins cycling gold" woo gold in the men's 4 km pursuit!

    Lots of other Brit medals today, too - Pinsent et al won the coxless four rowing, 2 sailing gold medals, plus a hatful of silver and bronze. Hurrah

    Mind you I have to say, the Olympics has entered the less interesting phase now ie the athletics has started. Probably more accurate to say the BBC coverage has entered the less interesting phase. Round the clock athletics, concentrating mainly on the track events. Yawn. Some of us interested in the field events too. And also other sports. It would be nice to get a glimpse of the water polo occassionally. Sigh.

    I can't believe I bought butter

    I have this problem with butter. I adore it. Completely adore it. I think it's a genetic thing, my dad's just the same (to my mum's despair). If it's there, I have to have it. I will use up half a loaf of bread as a butter delivery device. I will boil up a big pan of spuds and serve with loads of butter. I will melt it and smother popcorn with it. I will even cut bits off and just eat it. I therefore try not to have butter in the house. But yesterday I was planning omlettes for tea, so I bought some (you really can't make omlettes with anything else). I told myself I'll put it in the freezer, then it won't tempt me. yeah right. Frozen butter melts just fine for all the above listed applications. Not that I have used it for all of them. Yet.

    Other (better) news: I've kept to my plan to do active things with O. Yesterday took him and his friend B swimming (not so active for me, although I did burn a few cals playing Sea Monster to their SpiderBrother and SpiderSister). Today we went on the trailer bike to a park, which got me my 30 mins exercise too.

    OK, I'm off to throw that butter out now.

    Friday, August 20, 2004

    wooo - hooo!

    "Hoy wins cycling gold". Hurrah for Scotsmen in lycra (and good luck the pursuit team tomorrow).

    The moment of truth

    Weigh in day today and I lost 2lb this week whoooo. In terms of my plan: this week has mostly be on track. I exercised on 4 days out of 7 (1 short of target) including 1 time on the belly dance vid; drank my water every day except yesterday; had 1 pack of crisps (ok so that's bad but at least it was just 1 normal size packet not a family size bag a day, so that's progress); no sugary drinks; and done pretty well at talking to myself about what's going on before dashing to the Asda snack aisle.

    Yesterday was good, mostly. We had lunch in our local cafe, I had delicious chickpea (with parsley and mint) soup, it was gorgeous. Then off to the cinema for Shrek 2 (carrying large shoulder bag filled with home-popped popcorn and cans of diet ginger beer). Me and mum loved it, it was really funny. But O, tho he did like it, wasn't so taken with it as with, say, Finding Nemo or Toy Story. Mr Steve was right, it is much more entertaining for adults than for small people. That said, if I had a daughter I would definitely want her to see both Shrek films often. I love that it's about a princess who is happy to be an ogre (and not a very svelte one, at that), and doesn't want her Prince Charming.

    Bichon notes for Jude: The bichon puppy was desperately cute. And had a bigger role than I expected, she pops up on screen a few times in the film. Although natch the cat has a much bigger role and gets to speak, too - the bichon just hangs around looking sweet. I've looked and looked for a pic but no joy.

    For tea we had chilled red pepper and lime soup, which is delicious and now I look at the recipe, seems to be quite diet friendly too (you can find the recipe over at the AS3 virtual cookbook), with a couple of salads and some walnut bread from the French market in town, and fruit salad for pud. So, tho I probably ate more than normal, it was 'good' food not rubbish hurrah.

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    The royal carriage approaches

    I've had The Call. Mum's just left home and she's on her way here. House is looking clean, by my standards if not by hers. We are going out for lunch (I plan to have soup) and then to the pictures to see Shrek 2. That reminds me, must go and pop own popcorn ....

    Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    are we there yet?

    Less than 2 weeks in and I'm already demanding R tell me if I look slimmer yet. I want instant gratification and I want it now!

    Working in New Money

    I am one of those people who is in a very British muddle about weights and measures. I know the metric system, and I use it for some things, particularly smaller measurements I do in centimetres and grams and such (I've just bought some metric weights for my cooking scales, Nigel will be proud). But I still do height and weight for humans in feet and inches and stones and pounds. The metric figures don't mean anything to me, I have no idea what 100 kg is, and whether it's good or bad? However, in furtherance of my scientific education, I am trying to drag myself into the Century of the Fruitbat and start using these new fangled foreign SI Units. Actually I love that there is a Convention of the Meter and that there is, in a vault in France, the Kilogram. I wonder if there is a job of official Keeper of the Kilogram?

    Anyways, I still measure myself in old money but now I'm (or rather google is) converting my stats into kilograms. Tho I doubt I will ever become reconciled with the joule (even if James Joule himself did come from Salford) - they'll always be calories to me.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2004


    Having discovered that my regular belly dance teacher is on holiday, I decided to go to a class run by a different teacher (belonging to same style/troupe). Drove for 20 mins to alternative class, to discovered it's cancelled. Aaargh. Got back in car, sulked, went to supermarket, bought bottle of wine (resisted lure of snack foods), came home and watched some olympics (incl re-run of Stephen Parry's bronze medal swim), sulked more. Then got off arse and put on belly dance video and practised for 40 mins. Then rewarded self with glass of wine.

    40 mins belly dance today, 50 mins aquarobics yesterday, an hour or so cycling on Sunday, plus assorted housework. Not bad going :)

    Are you sure you're not me?

    I love reading diet blogs [1]. I love to know that I'm not alone on this weigh loss journey, I love to know that there are others who're making it and other's who're struggling and all of us are in this together. I love to read how different people are doing it, the things they do and don't do, how they cope when things don't go so well.

    Most of all, I love when I read something that speaks right to me, when someone expresses beautifully something that I've been feeling but can't always put into words. I had one of these "are you sure you're not me?" moments last week, with Yvonne @ 67.6 fluid ounces [2]. Now it's Cat @ Scale Tipping ...

    I was raised in a household of the dreaded "Food Guilt". We weren't allowed to touch the ever-present candy or junk that littered the house. So we (my overweight brother and I) got in the habit of sneaking it. Boy, what a habit that is to have. It was a constant source of anxiety in my youth and still leaves me with similar habits today.

    Thank you Cat and thank you all diet/exercise/self improvement bloggers. It feels easier to do this together.

    [1] also I love the new blogger without ads, because now I can type diet without worrying that some snake oil salespeople will try and flog their evil rubbish on my blog

    [2] 67.6 fl oz is 2 litres in real money. glad i worked that out, it's been bugging me

    Get with the Programme

    OK so I think I need a Plan/Programme, a little more specific than eat less & move more. Been reading about these here SMART goals, which seem like a good idea. I will try to break down what I'm doing into smaller steps, and add, remove or adapt them as I go on.



    • exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days out of 7, normally to include:
      • 1 aquarobics session
      • 1 belly dance class
      • 1 swim
      • do my belly dance video once a week
      • go by bike (instead of car/bus) whenever practical

    • do something active with O every weekend (eg bike ride, walk, go swimming)
    • weigh myself once a week only, on Friday mornings (it's not the Jude's Journal Weekly Weighing Challenge oh)


    • drink at least 1 litre of water a day
    • eat no crisps
    • drink no sugary fizzy drinks
    • think before eating - am I really hungry? what will this food do for me?
    • eat at least 3 pieces of fruit a day (together with the veggies I usually get at meal times, that will put me on target for 'Five a Day')
    • remember to suck my tummy in as much as possible!

    updated 04/09/04

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    The Busy Girl Buys Beauty

    What will you do
    When you wake up one morning
    To find that God's made you plain
    In a beautiful person's world?
    And all those quick recipes
    Have let you down

    All hail the genius of the Bard of Barking. There is a mis-print somewhere, however - no way is this song over 20 years old.

    remember, remember

    When I was stopping smoking, I had a list of reasons why I was doing it. I read it often and added to it as I thought of more. It helped to reset my thinking, and keep my resolve. I'm going to try doing the same for the eat less/move more campaign, which is why I've made the post below, and am going to link it from the side bar.

    In other (olympic) news: the men's freestyle swimming events were meant to be all about USA vs Australia, Phelps vs Thorpe. Only, the South Africans forgot to read the script. They had an astonishing swim in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay, blew the others out the water and set a new world record.

    Remind me again why I'm doing this …

    I am working on eating better and exercising more because:

    1. to lose weight
    2. to be proud of myself
    3. to not have a huge wobbly stomach
    4. to buy clothes in normal shops
    5. to deal with/overcome/work through/magic away my emotional needs to eat
    6. Not to be categorised as officially ‘obese’
    7. I don’t want to avoid being photographed anymore. I want to be happy to be photographed, and happy to look at photographs of myself (ditto full length mirrors).
    8. I need to learn to love myself and the body I’m in
    9. So that the reality of my life matches how I see myself, as an active person who eats sensibly and takes exercise and takes care of herself
    10. Regular exercise lifts my mood and can lessen my depressions
    11. I like exercise – it’s not a chore – I like to swim, to cycle, to walk, to dance
    12. To eat healthily and eat right
    13. Be a good parent and set O a good example
    14. I don’t want to be fat and forty!
    15. because I can!!
    16. I need to learn to stop trying to salve my hurts with food
    17. To make R & O proud of me
    18. To keep my word to myself
    19. I don’t want to be “the fat one” anymore
    20. To get control over my eating, so that I have more control over my life
    21. It'd be nice to wear hipster trousers while they are still vaguely fashionable
    22. Not to be in the Super Heavy Weight class any more

    list updated: 25/08/04

    Sunday, August 15, 2004

    I want, I want, I want

    I want chocolate, I want mars bars and snickers and chocolate peanuts and lion bars and huge enormous bars of whole nut dairy milk, I want a mountain of Green & Black chocs, I want easter eggs, I want to run riot in a Thorntons shop, I want I want I want ...

    But I also want

    • to lose weight
    • to be proud of myself
    • to not have a huge wobbly stomach
    • to buy clothes in normal shops
    • to deal with/overcome/work through/magic away my emotional needs to eat

    So I will go and have a nice candle-lit Lush-ious bath instead.
    Rats. Nicole finished 5th. She's racing in the time trial on Wednesday but the road race is her best event. Go for it on Wed, Nicole.

    In between watching bits of the race this afternoon, I have been doing cleaning. Ick. Royal Visit [1] on Thursday, need to start now to get house into some kind of fit-to-be-seen-ness.

    [1] my mum's coming to see us

    Saturday, August 14, 2004

    You go girl!

    The Olympics started today wooo. Nicole Cooke's first race is tomorrow afternoon. Go Nicole!

    It's probably illegal to mention my paltry efforts in the same post as Nicole, but I've been cycling today too. Lance Jr didn't want to cycle to the park this afternoon, so I went for a ride round on my own for an hour or so. Got back to find him crying because I'd gone without him. So (after a cup of tea) had to go out again, this time with trailer bike. We only went a short way to the nearest park, then after he'd made new friends and climbed to the top of the climbing frame, we headed back the long way.

    My new hero

    Jayne Williams, Slow Fat Triathlete. Working title of her next book is I Need This Donut (to Fuel My Workout). I love her already.

    Friday, August 13, 2004

    Dr Gill's horny goat weed

    Guess what I saw in the health food shop when I popped in for some tofu and sugar-free peanut butter? Dr "Eccentric Brilliant Bollocks" now has her own product range (buy her book, get a free chewy bar woo). Anyone for horny goat weed?

    I think I am banned from the health food shop for the involuntary cry of "oh ffs!" that escaped when I saw their beautiful display of Dr Gill products.

    A bottle of organic wine got bought somehow. Surely organic wine must be good for you?


    I want one of these porta-pet bike racks. Want one want one want one! O wants one too, he is keen to introduce the cats to the joys of trailer biking.

    Eccentric, brilliant, bollocks

    You Are What You Eat (tm) woman featured in the Gruauniad's Bad Science column yesterday. Heheh. They don't like her much over at spiked, either. Diet Girl's not too keen. Nor lovely Jude. Maybe making TV shows pointing and laffing at fatties isn't such a good career move after all.

    Spoke too soon

    Official weigh-in day today, and I have put on 1 lb since Wednesday, so lost 2 lb this week. Feel a bit pissed off but as R said, if I hadn't weighed myself midweek I wouldn't've known and I'd just be pleased to have lost 2 lb. Teach me not to keep weighing self.

    Yesterday went OK, ate my lunch on train (tho I had finished it and all my water by noon). Walked for an hour. Kept to my resolve to have soup for tea (cup of leek & potato with walnut bread yum). But then disaster struck, my train was seriously delayed and I had the munchies. I got fruit and nuts, as the most healthful option available, but did eat a huge amount of them, which probably accounts for the 1 lb gain.

    Overall, I think things have gone OK this week. I've had no choc or sweets, no crisps (but one bag of snackajacks) and only one can of fizzy drink (sugar free redbull). I've drunk masses of water and kept an eye on portion size. My only real slide into mindless eating/snacking was yesterday. So, a good re-start I reckon.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    First big d*et challenge tomorrow. I have to go and work away for the day ie leave my house and be confronted by temptation at every turn. Includes long train journey, during which i am apt to get bored and eat. Eeep. I have tried to prepare for this, have made food to take with me (tortilla wraps with hummus, roasted peppers & watercress, fruit, small tub of nuts) and plan to buy soup for my evening meal (rather than pizza/pasta/curry). But it will be stressful, workwise, so we will see how things go.
    Sunny morning but rainy afternoon. O is playing with his trains, for the first time in what seems like months. It's a bit sad that he's outgrowing trains now. Who knew I'd be nostalgic for Th*m*s the T*nk Engine?
    It's working - I lost 3lb already! Yes I know it's mainly water, I know it drops off easy at the start of a diet, and I know I shouldn't keep hopping on and off the scales (weigh-in day is officially Friday). But it still makes me feel good.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Put my belly dance video on this evening and practised in the living room. First time I have ever done an exercise vid at home. Felt a bit silly, and had to draw the curtains so no-one could see me. Did bout 20 mins of the vid, not as strenous as proper class but better than 20 mins of sitting round on arse. Am going to reward self with nice glass of cava and warm bath with lovely Lush bubble bath bar slice mmm and read the Heat magazine Big Brother finale special edition.
    R is looking after O today, and this afternoon they set off, by bike and trailer bike, for the train museum. O was kitted out in matching shorts and t-shirt, fancy new bike helmet, and his new cycling gloves (he was desperate for a pair and I saw some on special offer at Wiggle, they arrived this morning). He looked like a Lance mini-me.
    Wooo Catster. Aww look my cat and my other cat. Awww.
    Convention of the Idle. Wanna go but can't be arsed.

    Monday, August 09, 2004

    I've been to aquarobics hurrah (didn't make it last week). Regular instructor is on a course for 6 weeks - the stand-in instructor was One of Us ie a beautifully large lass. Hurrah for not-stick-thin exercise instrutors. She was teaching a different style of aquarobics, lots of woggle action.

    Had very scrummy-but-calorific salad for tea, cubes of melon and feta cheese with fresh mint mmmmmmm. All hail Nigel 'god of salads' Slater for the idea.
    A rainy afternoon. When not trying to keep bored kid amused or stop bored kid fighting with bored friend, I've been surfing round a few d*et blogs. I like what that Yvonne @ 67.6 fluid ounces wrote, alot ...

    I mean, it's a LOT easier to wolf down a qu@rter p0under and an order of fries -- then pass out in front of the tube -- than it is to confront whoever it is that's pissing you off or hurting your feelings. It's a lot easier to consume mass quantities of pizza than it is to change whatever it is that's getting in your way. And it's a helluva lot easier to lay down and put your head to sleep than it is to take it for a walk and have to actually listen to what it might be trying to tell you.

    Well, Friday went OK, d*et-wise. Saturday was not quite so good - went to visit my parents and deserts were eaten. Sunday was generally a good eating day. I've had no choc or crisps or fizzy drinks for past 3 days, which is Good, and have drunk lots of water and eaten lots of fruit, which is also Good. Inspired by Jude, I got a pineapple and a slimming mag in Asda yesterday. The pineapple was great - we had huge fruit salad of pineapple and melon and grapes and apple and banana with low-fat greek yoghurt yum yum. Dunno why I bought the sl*imming mag, it was just the usual nonsense, plus free book on the cover "Only fat people skip breakfast". Haven't read it yet but not impressed. While skipping breakfast is A Bad Thing, the skinniest person I know never ever eats breakfast.

    My d*et plan is, thus far, fairly minimal. I'm not counting calories (at least not for now). Just concentrating on portion control (eg weighing out breakfast cereal), drinking plenty of water and not eating too much crap. Plus doing exercise. Will see how that goes ...

    Friday, August 06, 2004

    Short series on R4 next week about nutrition (history of)- The Square Meal, presented by Roger Bolton. Starts on Monday 9th at 9am (repeated 9.30pm same day, or anytime you like that week by the miracle of listen again).

    I have gone a bit mad drinking water today. I'm on my 3rd 750ml bottle (tap water, chilled in fridge in nice bike water bottles). Better than the 2 litre bottles of diet irn bru I've been drinking lately. I think one of the reasons I probably feel so tired and low is that I've been eating and drinking mainly crap lately. If I ate proper food, I'd feel better and have more energy. Of course there is the problem that feeling low in the first place starts me eating crap.
    R just told me that he weighed himself yesterday and found he put on half a stone during our holidays. Rather unreasonably, this makes me feel a bit better about my gain. Only someone of superhuman will power could survive the onslaught of choccie bics and cakes with every single cup of tea and after every single meal, and not gain weight, particularly while taking no exercise. Hah. Still gotta shift it, tho. Bah.
    Yesterday was A Bad Day. Life, work, relationship, eating, weather, all bad. Actually it's not fair to call the weather bad, I love summer thunder storms. But all else bad. Even had an urge to smoke. So I did what I do when things are bad, and ate. Went for a curry, first time in months. Mmmmm. And then I decided to try and draw a line and start over. So I weighed myself this morning and it was Bad. Regained all but 3 lb of what I lost earlier this year.

    I am tentatively calling today restart day. Probably not a good day to start, as we have little food except white bread and peanut butter in the house, and also tonight is Big Brother Finale night, which will call for cava and pistachios. But I could always find a reason to put off starting weight loss. Today is as good a day as any so I will make a start here.

    Wish me luck.

    Thursday, August 05, 2004

    so far I have been to the Bike Shop 5 times in 4 days this week.
    Monday - need to replace O's bike helmet, after his old one was eaten by grandad's dog
    Tuesday - trailer bike arrives, I break valve pumping up tyre (stupid woods valve grrr), emergency trip to buy new inner tube
    Wednesday - went to park on trailer bike woo! call in to bike shop on way back from park to sort out lights for trailer bike and my bike (I had to remove my rack to fit the trailer on, and I used to fit rear light to rack).
    Today - yesterdays 5 mile round trip to park made me realise just how knackered my back wheel was, so went to shop for replacement. Got home with new wheel (and new tyre too). Tried to fit inner tube, discovered the hole on new wheel too small for my type of valve. Back to bike shop. Get back home again and remember I forgot to get small but vital thingy for brakes. Can't face going back to shop again, email R and ask him to go instead on his way home.

    No I haven't weighed myself yet.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    Products I would go on adverts for

    • Tip-Top Hand Cleaner
      cleans bike grease off hands, smells nice, kind to dolphins
    • WD 40
      I introduced my neighbour to the joys of WD40 t'other day, he was amazed and impressed, he'd never heard of it before. Praps they don't have it in Portugal?
    • Lush
      Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bars, Hot S3x Bath Bombs, Ocean Salt (with Vodka) Face Scrub, Fever Massage Bars .... mmmmm
    • Seabrook Crisps
      the best crisps in the world

    updated 06/09/04

    Back from holidays. 10 days on the farm with R's family. Tea and cake and relatives non-stop. Far too much cake consumed, plus v little exercise. Am feeling pretty blebby, can tell by how my clothes feel that I've put loads back on. Haven't dared weigh self yet. Before I went, I said I'd re-start weight-loss attempts when I got back, but haven't done anything about that yet.

    At least I will get back to exercising now I am home. I will go to aquarobics tonight (not been for weeks cos it clashed with bike maintenance but that's finished now) and belly dancing tomorrow. And get back on my bike, with O in tow. Our new trailer bike arrived yesterday! We've got an Adams 5 Speed Shifter Trail-a-Bike, just like this one

    Had a quick spin round the block on it yesterday, todaay we might go as far as the park. O is v excited about it, so am I. Folding mechanism is ace, as we have so little space to store bikes in the hall. And a quick plug for Wiggle - ordered trailer bike at lunchtime on Monday, it arrived 8.30 am on Tuesday. Plus, a couple of weeks ago, I enquired if they stocked spare hitches, so we can couple it to either mine or R's bike. They didn't at the time but now they do. So hurrah for Wiggle, I shall deffo buy more things from them (and already have a spare hitch on order).