AtoZ Challenge: E is for…Edible

A to Z Challenge

E is for….Edible
Around two years ago Chris discovered that he needed to consider a gluten free diet as the gluten in his diet was making him poorly.

At first, we headed for the Free From range and started there. Even now with intolerances rising, Free From food is still more pricey that it’s gluten containing counterpart.

When I discovered that they sell gluten free flour in the Free From section I decided that I’d start experimenting with some of the “normal” recipes I like making but with Free From ingredients.

20140405-231618.jpg

One of the best discoveries was American Pancakes and how to make them with gluten free. Rather than using plain flour like you do with normal pancakes, you chuck in gluten free self raising flour and you get puffed up yummy pancakes. A friend of my Mum’s lives in the US part of the time and on one of his trips back to the UK, he brought me back proper American Maple Syrup which was the perfect accompaniment for the gluten free pancakes.

20140405-231549.jpg

This is technically normal chocolate muesli as per my Mums recipe but I did make it for Chris with gluten free muesli (I think it was Nut and Vine Fruit mix or something like that). Basically rather than chucking in the 3 cups of muesli that we normally use I chucked in the gluten free muesli and did the rest of the recipe as it’s goes. And it worked! Chris loved it!

20140405-231707.jpg

This was my latest attempt and discovery, I have a love for Rocky Road, after my Mum’s Chocolate Muesli and Grandma’s Polish Cake I think it’s then my favourite. I looked up the recipe for Rocky Road and found it was really easy. We grabbed some gluten free biscuits and made a batch of gluten free Rocky Road. Both Chocolate Muesli and Rocky Road and really easy to make and then throw them in the fridge over night ready for snacks the next day. My Mum used to make chocolate muesli as my Dad had muesli for breakfast so it was often in the house anyway and worked amazing for packed lunches and for “pudding” at tea time. (In our house it works wonders for breakfast when Chris doesn’t have time for a bowl of cereal).

February 16: A Ride on a Train

20140221-105605-am.jpg

The week and the weekend didn’t exactly go to plan but that is another story maybe in the future sometime. Anyway, so on Sunday, Chris and I decided that we would miss church for the morning and go off an adventure. Now it’s become a bit of a joke for one of us to turn to the other in the morning and say “shall we more work and go on adventure?”.

Well missing church is a little less job-threatening than missing work! Chris tapped away on his phone and in the end found somewhere slightly different to go. We headed down the bypass and towards Husborne Crawley. I’m sure it probably wasn’t the most direct route to where we were going but it did add to the adventure.

After a few guessing games including me guessing the telephone codes to try and work out where we were (I can’t help it!! My dad was a telephone engineer so it was often a conversation on holidays and then I worked in customer service processing orders so it was handy to know what the full dialling code should be if numbers were missing etc – NERD!) we ended up at the Narrow Gauge Railway at Leighton Buzzard. Unfortunately it was a diesel train rather than a steam and because it being early in the season the train only went half way along the route and back rather than all the way to the end and back.

20140221-102000 am.jpg

This was the engine that pulled our train. It’s called Beaudesert. Following the ride we wandered round to the engine shed where you could see a couple of other engines and read about the history of the railway and why it was there. My Dad loves transport museums and things like that so growing up I was interested in trains, I texted my Dad the first time I went on a Pendolino (heading from MK to Birmingham to visit Rickie), I’ve even been watching Michael Portillo’s Great Railways or something like that using the Bradshaw’s Guide. I love the history of the London Underground but I think that’s the love for trains that my Dad instilled in me mixed with Chris’s love for the Underground and it’s history. (I have a whole board on Pinterest that has different maps of the Underground and things like that!)

20140221-102121 am.jpg

20140221-102130 am.jpg

20140221-102139 am.jpg

Some bits of the ticket office, station and cafe all could do with a lick of paint and an update but the staff are lovely and friendly and made us feel really welcome. The railway is mainly staffed by volunteers (from what we could gather) and on a Sunday once you get on the train watch the footballers in the field next door – they get really puzzled when they can hear the whistle being blown but it’s nothing to do with their match. The trains were clean and tidy and I can imagine it being quite busy during the summer. The guys in the cafe were nice and welcoming but if you wanted more than a cup of coffee or a cake there wasn’t much choice.

And if you couldn’t tell that I was a train fan from my purse then I don’t know what would prove it. (I have the proper purse rather than the coin purse but it’s the same pattern)

20140221-104059 am.jpg

As part of our adventure, we then headed to the local Harvester for lunch. We did have to wait to be seated but it was Sunday lunchtime so we expected a bit of a delay. Our waitress was lovely and friendly and checked on us quite a few times even though it was busy which was good.

Following lunch we headed home again and ended up watching more of the Olympics when we got in. The Women’s Slopestyle (?) was on and it was scary watching some of the girls have to pull out the race – one time the girl took the jump but hadn’t got enough speed up so ended up landing at the bottom of the jump – she should have landed on the safety crash mats but actually she missed them. It’s such a fast race that even if you could pick yourself up and carry on, the race would be finished within seconds. Has anyone else been enjoying the Olympics? Do you have a favourite event?

February 14: Happy Valentine’s Day (and Chocolate Muesli!!)

20140215-064605-pm.jpg

At work there were all sorts of activities going on this week because it was Valentine’s Day.

This included a quiz sheet, raffle, a video competition between the teams and a Bake Off Cooking Competition. I took part in the quiz and helped a few other people when they were stuck! As the money was going to charity I bought a couple of raffle tickets – I didn’t win anything but the money is going to the NSPCC so that’s okay. I took part in the video competition by being the camera lady for our team and a bit of directing along the way lol. Our team won which was really cool. I’d love to share the video but I don’t think I can. Then there was the Bake Off, well this week I had most definitely ran out of time so I emailed my Mum for her chocolate muesli recipe. I think it was found in a magazine or recipe book somewhere along the line but it’s something that I’ve grown up with. My dad would have muesli for cereal so it was often in the house anyway then the rest of the ingredients are golden syrup, margarine and plain cooking chocolate – dead simple (and if you have excess chocolate over Easter I have used Dairy Milk or Easter Egg chocolate to make it in the past).

Following a request from a friend who had seen the below picture on Instagram here it is….(also means that next time I need it I know where to find it!)

Yummy Mummy’s Chocolate Muesli

So ingredients:

3 cups of Muesli
5oz plain chocolate (about 120g ish)
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup
2 tablespoons Margarine

I use Tesco Swiss Style in the red bag because that’s what Mum uses lol. I think you want something with oats and raisins. You can always add a handful of extra raisins or maybe something different like dried fruit for a different flavour. While in the supermarket I got a box of the gluten free muesli Chris has – I figured I’d also try a GF version while I’m off work next week.

1. Grab a tin or tray to put your chocolate muesli in. My mum uses a sponge tin that’s about the size of an A4 piece of paper and about a centimetre deep. I used a dish that was deeper than that and smaller – this mean I had thicker but smaller pieces. Line your tin either using tin foil or grease proof. I used tin foil as it was easier to cut and peel off the chocolate muesli when it was set.

2. Put your chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of hot water so that the chocolate melts – you want it to go runny but not to burn. If it goes running then starts to get lumpy you’ve gone to far.

3. While it’s melting chuck in the golden syrup and the margarine, using a wooden spoon mix it and prod the bits of chocolate while they melt.

4. When the chocolate has melted throw in your muesli and stir, you want to cover all the muesli in chocolate – it’ll start to clump together which is fine but you need to mix the muesli in quickly otherwise the chocolate will cool before you’ve got it all covered.

4. When it’s all covered load your mixture into tray. Grab a metal spoon (normal dessert one is fine) and push the mixture into the corners and level it out. I usually start by pushing it towards me then spin the tray 90 degrees and work my way round making sure it’s sort of level.

5. Stick in the fridge and wait for it to set. On this occasion I left it overnight but I think you could make it in the morning and it would be ready for tea time.

This is what it looked like before I cut it up….

20140215-064144 pm.jpg

this week…

This Week

On about Tuesday of last week I realised that I hadn’t really been blogging. I seem to have either ran out of time or the idea of sitting down and writing something has driven me up the wall. I have been busy finishing a Christmas present and working on the giant blanket we’re making for to raise money for the Macmillan Coffee Morning on the 27th September. (I’m wondering about bribing the Scone Roses ladies with cake and see if they will assist with sewing it together – I’m allowed to do that right………well maybe I’m not lol).

Saturday

With a 7:45 wake up call and not a lot to do, I decided that I’d attempt #adayinthelife. It’s always a bit of challenge to remember what you’re supposed to do and at what time – especially when you’re busy doing something rather than clock watching!

08:16am Let's try this. Good Morning. So having a nutso week still hasn't given me a lay in. @thecgbj has gone on an adventure. I'm in bed working out what i need to do today. #todolist #todo #dayinthelife

It started with this rather half asleep selfie. It’s funny how dark it looks but actually it was really light in our room! Chris had decided to go to the Men’s Breakfast at church, I’m not sure if he woke me up to tell me or if I was already awake but after he told me I was completely awake – no chance of sleeping now! Throughout the day I snapped pictures and posted them to Instagram (didn’t post to FB unless I really wanted to other wise it could have been a bit spammy!!). One particular picture had an interesting effect. This was the picture…

Oops I'm late!! 4pm hanging with my gorgeous #grandma. She's so amazing and such an encouragement. Love her to pieces!!! #renholdchapel #renhold

This is my Grandma, she’s one of the most inspiring, encouraging people in my whole life. She’s gorgeous, amazing and so lovely. We’d been chatting about what’s happening in life in general and the random people that appear in my life at the moment. She also asked about how Our Sidekick was doing and things like that. I had lots of comments coming in on the picture on Instagram and FB but was having trouble getting them because of the signal.

My parents and grandparents church was celebrating it’s 140th Anniversary this weekend so I had been up to take photos and be there as a “alumni” member of sorts lol. I even got a badge which was really exciting in a kind of nerdy way!

In the evening my Macmillan Blanket sewing buddy came to hang out with us, we worked out way through all the random TV we had recorded and sewed to our hearts content – to the extent that we didn’t realise it was after midnight when she went home – oops!

Sunday

I had a bit of manic morning as I was attempting to be in two places at once! A couple of our youth leave for university this week so I was organising goodie bags with things like emergency chocolate and biscuits, as well as notebooks and pens for them to take with them to university. I dropped them off at church and then jumped in the car to go up to Renhold for the family service to celebrate the anniversary. I then jumped back in the car to go to back to church for the end of the service. I made it back to RP and stood in the foyer chatting to my friend’s Dad who was on the welcome team.

For lunch we ended up going out as a group – it was lovely to hang out but I really needed to flop in a heap somewhere quiet! Following lunch we went into town as Our Sidekick wanted to get a new phone case, I also got some new ink cartridges while we were there – I had bought a pack when we were on holiday but I’m guessing in all the packing and unpacking that they got sorted somewhere and now I can’t remember where to!

Monday
Monday morning was really bad, I was having a fight with my jeans and generally not getting on with Monday. I arrived at work about 2 minutes after 9 which wasn’t so good. I apologised to the Duty Manager and got on with my work. We even had a joke about clearly I’m not very good at Mondays and that I was very sorry.

About 10:30/11ish the fire alarm went off, we’re clearly still not that good at fire evacuations because we all sat there looking at each other questioning whether it was a drill and we’d got our days muddled of if there was actually a fire. Well after that 30 seconds looking at each other, we got ourselves moving, I grabbed my jumper on my way to the door (don’t panic! I have to walk past the coat rack to get to the door – it wasn’t like I had doubled back on myself or anything like that, and as I’d just hung it up I knew exactly where it was to grab it and swing it round onto my shoulders (actually I might have worn it like a superhero cape on my way down the stairs as it was easier than trying to put my arms in the holes lol!)

Following that we were sent back in, it later turned out to be a false alarm and all was well with the world again. Following work I popped to Interchange to look at new jeans, I still ended up at the supermarket for a new pair (which would fit fine in the store but when I put them on this morning they then were too tight!!). While in the supermarket I picked up some others bits and  bumped into JD and Mr JD (her lovely new-ish boyfriend!) . We chatted for about half an hour then decided we really should get a move on and finish our respective shopping! I came home and did tea for Our Sidekick and I. It was then time to assume the position in front of the TV and carry on with the sewing.

Tuesday
This evening I’ve been working some more on the Macmillan blanket. Our Sidekick and I were watching The Great British Bake Off while I sewed some crocheted squares together. Chris had to pop out so while he was out I was on dinner duty making sure nothing burnt or boiled over and things like that. We ended up eating dinner without Chris as he was running late. Having watched the first bit of The Great British Bake Off on Saturday I was all excited about making an Apple Pie, of course in our house in order to make sure the majority of mouths can eat it, I had to make sure that the pastry was gluten free. I kept meaning to look for a recipe but hadn’t got round to it. I posted it as a status to see if I could crowd source a recipe and that lovely crowd came to my rescue.

Unfortunately the gluten free ingredients in our cupboard didn’t fit the bill, so will a little puzzling I decided on Eve’s Pudding as it’s basically apples with sponge on top. I found a recipe here on The English Kitchen and used that as a starting point for the pudding. I ended up doubling the mixture as our dish was bigger than the recipe asked for and by that point I was on about 2lbs of apples as per my apple pie recipe! Oops! (The English Kitchen says for 100g of apples! Then again our cooking apples are quite big so might not have worked so well).

#evespudding. Yay!!! #glutenfree

I had the idea of pudding some cinnamon on top of the apples before pudding the pastry on top so figured I’d try the same just before pudding the sponge mix on. I think as you need to smooth it out before pudding it in the oven it would make more sense to put the cinnamon on the apples while laying out the layers rather than sprinkling on top as the sponge mix then picks it up and you end up with clumps.

Having munched our share of Gluten Free Eve’s Pudding, I’m now sat at the kitchen table writing this, hopefully burning some calories while typing seeing how I’m pretty sure that Eve’s Pudding wasn’t as friendly to my waist line as it is to Chris’s intestines!

Perfecto!! #glutenfree #evespudding

our BIG adventure 2013: Day 4

Blackpool Tower at Night

On Monday we went to Liverpool, Chris asked me where we were going so I said “To The Moon” oh dear this was a bad comment to make. Chris looked up on his iPad to find the moon. In the end he found a house or something like that, that registered on Apple Maps as The Moon, as I was driving I didn’t know this until the Splat Nav confirmed that we had arrived at our destination.

Following the magical mystery tour (actually I guess it was the first Magical Mystery Tour of the day but that will come later!) we headed for a local train station, when it came to the cost of parking near where we were going it made more sense for us to park a bit further out and catch a train into the city itself. We caught the train at Kirkdale and headed into the city – it was about 4 or 5 stops and probably took about 30 minutes ish. I think Chris said it was about £7 for all 3 of us on the train and that was a return ticket (I think a 1-6 Zone card in London is £6.50ish each!)

By the time we’d arrived in the centre it was almost lunchtime, I’d remembered to boil the water and fill up my flask for my pasta pot but it was only when I opened my bag did I realise that I hadn’t picked up the pasta pot. Eek! What was I going to have for lunch?? So I made a decision, it would involve spending syns which I was trying to save up for dinner and gave in to a chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle (I think it’s like 8 syns or something like that – it was bad but so good!! lol).

On the way to The Beatles Story we popped into Waterstones so that I could look at books and possibly spend my voucher I won at work last week. I bought The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen (Book Two in the Rizzoli and Isles series that the TV show is based on) and a book by Kathy Reichs (it was one of the Tempe Brennan books but I can’t remember which one off the top of my head). I also bought a new Keri Smith book which I was stood at the till. I still haven’t finished my “Wreck This Journal” book but bought this new one…..seriously need to get my creative on! lol.

The #yellowsubmarine next to the #titanic. #albertdock

We then walked down to Albert Docks to go to The Beatle Story museum. For as long as I can remember I’ve liked The Beatles, in fact I’m convinced that I agree with James from Sliding Doors (played by John Hannah)……

Everybody’s born knowing all the Beatles lyrics instinctively. They’re passed into the fetus subconsciously along with all the amniotic stuff. Fact, they should be called “The Fetals”.

I always knew that they’d grown up in Liverpool and played lots of gigs at The Cavern Club but I learnt so much more, like The Beatles were originally called The Quarrymen and their fourth member wasn’t originally Ringo. Also that the other three had been at school together but George was like 3 years younger than the rest of them.

We had a bit of a family falling out on our way round to the second exhibition a bit further along the docks. At one point we nearly lost Our Sidekick as he was in a strop and wasn’t walking with us. We’d turned a corner and he’d thought we’d gone the other way – thankfully it wasn’t too much of a separation and we found each other within about five minutes.

The second display was a selection of photographs taken on tour and behind the scenes of The Beatles then a 4D movie including a bunch of Beatles songs and in the next gallery there was an exhibition and audio tour about Elvis and the affected had on The Beatles and the songs they wrote and played. The bit about Elvis was quite interesting but I think had it just been that bit I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to see that bit.

Dinner time! Took like 20 mins to order even though its quite empty......... #loveyoursummer

We had dinner at Pizza Express. I had a Grand Chicken Caesar Salad, I gave Our Sidekick the dough sticks minus a tiny bite that I had. Unfortunately I found that it wasn’t filling enough. I ended up having the pasta pot that I hadn’t had for lunch when I got home which was a bit better.

100 things that make me happy…

Make Happiness A Habit

This Morning I woke to a tagged post on Facebook from Lucy from Mrs Bishop’s Bakes and Banter.  Over on her blog she posted a list of 100 things that make her happy. So I’ve joined in and written my list….

  1. Sunshine
  2. The smell of freshly cut grass
  3. Hugs from Chris
  4. Hugs from Our Sidekick (As he gets taller the more protective his hugs feel)
  5. Worshipping God
  6. When Our Sidekick accidentally calls me Mum (BTW I’m Mummy 2nd in his mobile phone contacts!)
  7. When my two “adoptees” call me Mum or Mummy Han (even funnier when it’s in public and I answer to it!)
  8. Hanging out with my boys (technically one is my husband but collectively they are my boys! Does that make them Mrs Johnson’s Boys?)
  9. Hanging with my goddaughter and her Mum
  10. Hugs from the kids at church.
  11. The smell of freshly baked bread
  12. Positive people (I get life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies but at least be friendly).
  13. When my spreadsheets work the way they are supposed to! (and my colleagues return my hi-fives!)
  14. When those complicated long equations actually work and don’t return an error.
  15. Playing guitar/music in general
  16. Singing at Open Mic (Although I get a little nervous sometimes!)
  17. Dancing round the kitchen while doing chores (today’s song was Macavity from Cats)
  18. Smell of coffee (it used to make me really sad as it reminded me of Grandma, it still reminds me of her but I try to think happy thoughts instead).
  19. Chats with my colleague around our PC screens about families, adventures, food and life. Today we chatted about Yorkshire Puddings and Toad in The Hole
  20. Dancing on my way to and from work
  21. Complete a piece of knitting or crochet
  22. Presenting that piece to the recipient and seeing their reaction.
  23. Receiving random surprises or acts of kindness.
  24. Delivering surprises or random acts of kindness.
  25. Having a houseful of people (like for connect group or for a meal).
  26. Mum or Dad hugs (they make me feel like I can achieve anything!)
  27. Handwritten penpal letters.
  28. White hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day
  29. Sitting curled up on the sofa in the warm watching the snow fall outside. (usually with my phone in my hand making sure the boys are safe!)
  30. A clean and tidy house (but I suck at chores so sometimes it doesn’t work out right!)
  31. Comfy shoes! (currently my very loved trainers)
  32. Flip flops on hot days
  33. Fresh flowers
  34. Gerberas
  35. Peonies
  36. Learning new skills
  37. Beating high scores
  38. Accepting my geekiness
  39. New Clothes
  40. Baby cuddles
  41. Hanging with friends
  42. Getting messages from my Besties
  43. Pizza
  44. Pasta
  45. Visiting the seaside
  46. Lists (make me feel organised!)
  47. My Filofax  (see! organisation again!)
  48. Bright coloured post it notes!
  49. Bright colours in general
  50. Travelling and exploring.
  51. Just because presents/”I saw this and thought of you”
  52. Attempting to learn/speak foreign languages
  53. Shakespearean Plays
  54. Starting a new crochet/knitting piece.
  55. Old/Second hand books
  56. Chatter of the WI Ladies on a Thursday evening.
  57. Cooking for other people (Rather than just my family)
  58. Raisins on my Malt Wheaties……(Yeah I know really they are Shreddies!)
  59. Iced Tea from The Fountain on a hot day.
  60. Hanging out with Our Sidekick (often watching things like The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother).
  61. When my MP3 player brings up just the right song on shuffle. (Sometime it’s can really unpredictable and come out with the most random songs!)
  62. The happy chatter and squeaks from the guinea pigs – those boys know when the fridge door opens!
  63. The smell of cherry cake (well unlike the last one I made which was burnt to a crisp!)
  64. Getting into bed when it’s just been changed.
  65. The warm side of the pillow (if I have to wake up I flip it over!)
  66. When Our Sidekick asks me to play XBox with him (I suck at it but the fact that he asked me makes me feel special)
  67. My brother’s singing – sounds silly but I know he’s happy when he’s singing (especially when it’s fun. or Frank Sintra! He also does a rocking Valjean/Javert from Les Mis)
  68. When my day goes almost to plan.
  69. When you do shopping and you get to the till and find the item is cheaper than it says on the tag.
  70. Paddling in the sea.
  71. Swimming underwater (when I manage it without getting in a panic!)
  72. Divebombs into a swimming pool (a lot of pools tell you off so has to be done safely!).
  73. Hanging with my friend and her little boy. He’s super cute and so excited about everything.
  74. Clearing out my inbox so that there are no emails to deal with.
  75. Posting a blog post that I worked hard on.
  76. Making a cake without having to check the recipe 100 times!
  77. Hugs from my Grandma and Grandad’s.
  78. Riding my bike (except when my butt hurts from the saddle! Clearly I need a cushion or something!).
  79. Waking up before my alarm and realising I can have more sleep.
  80. When the goodies win.
  81. Happy Endings to stories.
  82. The first slice from a new cake.
  83. Helping my friends out when they need it.
  84. Clearing a book from my “in progress” list on Goodreads.
  85. Munching on homemade warm popcorn while watching a movie.
  86. The snapping sound when you break a bar of chocolate straight from the fridge.
  87. That noise when you open a new can of fizzy.
  88. Riding my bike in the sunshine.
  89. Watching old war films with my Dad (like The Great Escape, Ice Cold in Alex and The Dambusters).
  90. Crocheting with friends
  91. Teaching crochet and seeing the excitement it causes.
  92. Looking at the totals that I’ve cycled and walked.
  93. Napping on the sofa (the good naps where you wake up feeling refreshed rather than the bad naps when you wake up feeling worse then before.
  94. Stargazing
  95. Planning adventures to far off places.
  96. Being passionate about crocheting and knitting etc.
  97. Looking at the crochet squares in my living room ready for the Macmillan Blanket.
  98. Planning for the future with Chris and Our Sidekick.
  99. Encouraging Our Sidekick to create goals for himself.
  100. Cheering him on as he ticks off those goals.

I will “tag” Mel of Melissa Explains It All, Meetali of Buttercream Magic, Marceline of Asking for Trouble and Kristina of Big Apple Mami. If you’re not tagged by you want to join in feel free – link back here so I can see your list.

getting healthy pt 1

Blog bits

Those of you who know me in person know that exercise isn’t one of my favourite activities. I think in the past the most exercise I’ve done has been to pick up the remote and start the next episode of whichever TV show I’m working my way through or walking to the bookcase to put down the book I just finished and pick up the next one in the TBR pile (which never gets smaller it just gets bigger and bigger especially given the pile of books I was given by my friend who moved house a couple of weeks ago).

Anyway, with my new job being just round the corner I decided that I’d walk to work as many days as possible rather than take the car because by the time I’ve reversed out of the drive way and found a parking space at the other end I could be at my desk, booting up my pc and cuddling that first drink of the day.

I did Race for Life again with my Mum this year and although I managed to run further than I have in past years (I started running st the 4k mark, ran about 400-500 metres, walked a bit and then ran the rest) figured it was about time that I stopped making excuses and tried out the exercise this. I’ve been a member of the gym in the past and I’ve always felt self-conscious or embarrassed that I am a size 16 asthmatic who can’t really run very far, that doesn’t seem to have the coordination for a cross fit trainer machine and that I wear a massive man’s t-shirt to try and hide my body rather than wear a girlie body hugging t-shirt to show of my “rocking bod” lol.

My friend D has just finished his sports course at the local university and so between finishing his course and deciding what to do next he’s helping me out – I guess in a roundabout way that makes him my personal trainer but that sounds a bit OTT – I see it more like hanging out with a friend lol.

First thing was first:

what do I eat?

Well this was a bad place to start, I have the tendency that when I’m bored I get hungry, or its more like “I’m bored, I’m not really hungry but it’ll give me something to do so let’s eat!” or rather than have 1 or 2 of something I’d eat 5 or more. Jaffa Cakes are one of my weaknesses – why have 1 when I can eat 12 (I’m pretty sure that’s a pack! Oh dear!)

Also I eat too much junk food. I think it’s a massive weakness.

So the plan is – replace chocolate or sweetie based snacks with fruit or something else healthy.

Done – as part of my pack lunch I’ve been packing a carrot (or now 2 because I’ve realised that I still crave chocolate around 11am even when I’ve had breakfast) and cut down chocolate bars – I have one Penguin sized bar instead of two in my packed lunch. I have ham and Philadelphia sandwiches – I get the Lightest Philadelphia and spread that on the bread just on one side instead of having margarine as well. I have a Babybel in there too. I have crisps but try for lower calorie ones – quavers seem to be a good choice – I have Skips for lunch today – will check out how good they are……

I’ve also been trying to replace fizzy with water. Under D’s instruction I’m allowed fizzy at lunchtime, if I need a caffiene/sugar fix try to have fruit juice instead so it’s like natural sugars rather than fizzy sugars (does that make sense?)

do you eat breakfast?

No I didn’t. Now I try to – some days it’s a slice of toast as I leave for work but I keep trying to have a bowl of cereal or something like that. It’s currently Malt Wheaties as we have them in the cupboard but I’m going to go back to muesli or Weetabix or something that is in theory a little healthier.

how much do I sleep?
Enough but not enough. So the average human needs around 8 hours sleep, it has even scientifically proven that people who sleep at least 8 hours a night find that dieting is more successful or something to that effect. So I have been trying to do this….. I have fallen into bad habits in the last few days but I am going to kick myself in the rear and get back on track. I try to switch off my iPad/put my phone to standby and not touch it again from 11pm. I’m allowed to read or crochet or write letters but no to the screen. I then try to turn the lights out at midnight and go to sleep. (Chris apparently is appreciating this too because it means he gets a proper amount of sleep each night as well!)

how much water do I drink?
Again not enough. At the company I used to work for we had diet cola in the fridge and to get drinkable water you had to go upstairs to a solitary tap (until we moved office and had a sink to ourselves). I think this became the start of my cola addiction (haha it sounds kind funny if you call it a coke addiction…….. Not that drug addiction is a laughing matter….) anyway, I’m now trying to drink more water. It’s a challenge and some days it’s easier than others but it’s happening. Yesterday I was definitely on about a litre of water drunk. In theory if I can keep it up it’ll become second nature and I’ll drink water by the bucket full.

So far I seem to have put on weight but following a discussion with D I’ve figured it out. I think my I’d put on weight before starting, I’d tried to ignore that fact even though I knew it was there and wouldn’t go away. I’d had a sore throat bug thing and so made out I couldn’t do any exercise and should stay curled up on the sofa. Instead I gained a few kilos. Now my belt is a button hole tighter on my jeans and I have to keep pulling them up! Hopefully I’ll be in a size 14 soon and who knows maybe a 12. We’ll see how this combination of bits goes to start with.

eighty five: onehundredwords….#82

100 Word Challenge

You can get more information and join in here.
The prompt for this week is

…looking at all of that chocolate…

Given the up and downs of the last few weeks I can’t wait to be looking at all of that chocolate that is waiting for me on Easter morning. I know I have one Easter egg so far and that might be two or three by Sunday.

Then again when it gets to Easter Monday or later next week I’ll probably be fed up of the sight of chocolate again.

Right now I need to go shopping for my family’s Easter Eggs, especially now that the job situation is a bit more organised. Easy right?

fortynine: this weekend i…. #twi

Joining with Sar from [Life of Love] and Syndal from Synfully Delicious.

This Weekend I… hung out with some friends, Our Sidekick and my friend’s husband played lots of Minecraft on the xBox while we watched movies and did crochet sat on the sofa.

This Weekend I… spent a chunk of time doing crochet, I’ve been working on a baby blanket since Christmas – the idea being that it would be finished by the time that baby arrives – well baby is arriving imminently and I’ve not finished it – not for want of trying though. I’ve almost finished it (I’m on Square 7 out of 9 – it’s getting there!).

This is squares 1 to 4 sewn together – it’s going to be 3 x 3 in the end (possibly with a border but that’s if it needs it).

Squares 1 to 4
This Weekend I… caught up with the Uni Girlies, we met up for dinner in Milton Keynes and swapped Christmas presents (in some cases) but mainly birthday presents.

This awesome fountain is outside of the restaurant that we were going to in Plan A. In the end we went to Zizzi which was okay but the service could have been miles better and faster.

Pretty fountain.

This is one of my presents that I received. Yummy shower gel and soaps from Lush. Lush goodies are yummy, very smelly – in a good way and I don’t normally spend that amount on shower gel or shampoo so I really am grateful and can’t wait to use them! (Plus their staff are super friendly and I don’t think I’ve ever been in one of their stores and had bad service – how crazy is that!)

This Weekend I… gained an epic cold :( It started as a sore throat and then by Sunday morning I felt rubbish – thankfully I have Chris to drag me out of bed and drag me to church, by the end of the service I didn’t feel amazing but at the same time I wasn’t about to go and curl up sobbing in the corner!!

This Weekend I… welcomed back my friend who was on our first OM team at church and welcomed our new OM team – this time we have two guys and two girls which should be really cool once they get settled. One from South Korea, one from the US, one from Switzerland and then the fourth person who I didn’t really get to speak to so I’m not sure where he’s from lol.

This Weekend I… I started reading “The Friday Night Knitting Club” by Kate Jacobs. My Mum lent it to me as she thought I’d like it and so far I do! (There seems to be chatter on IMDB that there would be a movie version but it’s all old chatter – who knows maybe there might be a film version one day!)

fortyfour: pancake day

Pancake Day

At the end of last week I wrote a huge to do list – I think in total it had about 50 things on it – mainly to do with writing blog posts and getting them scheduled in the right places (I decided that if I could schedule the Sunday posts earlier in the week then I could have a “day off” from blogging and still stick with in my “blog each day for a year” challenge with MellyWho (who is awesome and could do with a comment hug so please jump over there and drop her a comment – she’d love it!).

Anyway, so I got thinking about traditions and what makes a tradition – so in true style I ran off to the OED website for a dictionary definition.

NOUN

  • [mass noun] the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way:members of different castes have by tradition been associated with specific occupations
  • [count noun] a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another:

So I’m pretty sure that a lot of the traditions outside of Christmas are pretty much our own inventing rather than picking one families traditions over the other. Pancake day is one that both sides of the family did but in their own ways.

If Shrove Tuesday fell in half term (which it did for part of the country but not for Bedfordshire this year) then we’d often have a cooked dinner followed by pancakes but not any particular pancakes – they were Grandma specials! She’d often make them on the Monday then stick them in the freezer and defrost them Tuesday morning or something like that. I just remember there being pancakes and then Rich and I feeling stuffed for the rest of the afternoon! If Shrove Tuesday fell during school term then we’d have pancakes for tea. Even the fillings were a treat, Grandma, would often get cherry pie filling especially. I’d have that with ice cream every time – probably increased the feeling of exploding!

Now we’ve both grown up and haven’t been to Grandma’s on a Tuesday for tea in a while but we have taken the traditions to our own groups – I’m not sure whether Rich had pancakes or not but Our Sidekick and I had the pancakes sorted.

I got in from work and we got started on the pancakes. As unimpressed as he was I got Our Sidekick to read the recipe and weigh out the ingredients while I did bits around the kitchen. We then swapped positions and I cooked the pancakes. Rather than sitting down between rounds we pretty much munched through our pancakes while the next ones cooked in the pan.

Ingredients

  • 110g/4oz plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml/7fl oz milk mixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
  1. Sift the flour and the salt.
  2. Make a well in the middle and crack the eggs in there. Whisk in the eggs. It’ll go a bit doughy and might stick to your whisk.
  3. Add the milk/water mix and stir in all the flour.
  4. Add a little bit of oil or butter to your hot pan. Grab a ladel and put some of your mixture into the pan. The first pancake always tends to be a bit dodgy – I’m not sure why but there is some logic to it or so I’m told!
  5. When the mixture has “set” and gone a golden sort of colour flick the pancake over and finish side two. Serve with your choice of filling. My favourite is chocolate buttons, banana and vanilla ice cream or cherry pie filling and ice cream.