Saturday, 31 May 2014

Its the end of the month :(

It is the last day of May today. With it, as you will know if like me, you like to enter competitions, brings lots and lots of fab closing competitions.

I shall share some of the lovely ones with you on my blog - holidays and things that are related to my content though of course - I don't want to fill your pages with spam and advertising!!

They close tonight though, so you need to move fast if you want to enter them!! :)

Saturday afternoon - it is going to rain?

I am being optimistic. I have fully engaged with the weather forecast, and have believed their predicted weather. Sunny, up to 21 degrees it said. Hmm.

Sunny? Not seen any sun yet, only clouds. Time yet. I am sitting in the back garden writing this, determined that it would be sit out in the garden weather. I don't know what it's like where you are, but I have had to don a jacket, and it looks highly likely to rain. Its gone very grey overhead.

I shall persevere. The other half has helpfully suggested removing the chimnea from its safe storage, to keep me warm. I ask you, its June tomorrow, and I should not have to resort to heat from a chimnea. Whatever next, a patio heater? They kill the rain forests, or something like that!?!

No, for now, a jacket is doing the job nicely, but it begs the question as to why it is that for such a small country, predicting our weather is so problematic!

I mean, I am looking for next years holiday destinations abroad, and you look at the average weather, hours of sunshine etc.. and to a point, you can rely on what it says. If you book the Canaries say, you are pretty much guaranteed a nice temperature. Yes, there may be showers, cloudy days etc.. but it doesn't suddenly drop from 24 degrees on a Monday, to 8 degrees on a Tuesday, unlike here.

Yet here I am, sitting in the garden with no clue as to what the weather is going to do. I'm quite certain that this can be explained by some very clever environmental types, but I don't want an explanation. Just someone to tell me what the weather is going to do. Not next week, or next month, but in the next hour - that would be absolutely brilliant!!! I guess I have to keep watching those clouds for now though. :)

Friday, 30 May 2014

C'mon England!! Maybe this year is our year!!

I am in my 30's so England have not won the World Cup in my life time. That's not good.

Tonight is their last friendly I believe. The other half has the green screen on (this is what I refer to as sport i.e. the TV is a green pitch). I can't help but watch it because it is on.

Now don't get me wrong, when it actually counts for something, I'm all for it, but not friendlies usually as even if we win, you end up getting your hopes up, and usually for nothing!!

My other half is shouting at the TV as if they can hear him. I believe its a common phenomenon amongst the male of the species. I feel like shouting too, at him, saying "they can't hear you!".

A strange thing is happening though, I'm finding myself starting to really want them to win, friendly or not.

Maybe, I find myself thinking, just maybe, it could be our year. Maybe, just maybe, we might make it through to the matches that count. The quarter final? Dare I say it - the semi-final? Dare I even think it - the Final? Dare I dream it - lifting the cup? Steady on girl. One match at a time eh? C'mon England!!!

10 weeks - 22 pounds to lose - 5 days in and making progress!!

It's Friday today, and ordinarily that would mean wine. But not today. Today is not a wine day, today is a workout day, and I fully intend to refrain from my usual indulgences.

Why? Well because I have come to realise that drinking wine and sitting on my bottom has not given me a fit bod. Au contrare. It has given me a belly. Aside from other body wobbles of course.

I have been back on track since Monday 26th May. Today being the 30th May is my fifth day, so far too soon to derail. On Wednesday, I was very brave and I shared with you the weight I was on Monday. Today, I am going to be brave again, and share my progress. At the end of the day, if I am ever going to beat the bulge, I have to put it out there. So here goes - my progress thus far on this, day five of my 10 week health kick.

Starting weight: 13 stone 1 1/2lbs
Start date: 26th May 2014
10 week goal: 22 1/2 pounds (1 stone 8 1/2 pounds)
Target weight: 11 stone 7lbs

Weight today: 12st 8.8lb
Weight loss:  6.7lbs!! WOW!
Weight to lose: 1 stone 1.8lb

Gym sessions so far this week :2
PT sessions this week : 2
So that's 4 workouts in total. Phewf!

I have also been doing a mini workout each morning before work consisting of:

  • 50 crunches
  • 10 press ups (knees down)
  • 10 tricep dips
  • 10 knee lifts
  • 10 punches
  • 10 squats
  • 10 squat thrusts
Only a little workout, but its gets you started for the day. I have also been having a dis solvable Berocca each morning, and a Boo Tea. I have really watched my food intake, piling fruit on my morning cereal, snacking on more fruit, healthy home made sandwich for lunch and low fat snack. For my evening meal I have had either quorn fillets, quorn sausages or chicken breast  with a variety of veg - some frozen, some fresh, some grilled, some done in the oven and roasted and some done on the griddle. All in all, its been a success so far. Huge loss from Monday - really pleased. 

All I need to do is keep this up for the whole 10 weeks. Hmmm. Got to keep going if I want this bod to be all it can be. :)

My Next Week with is ........ The Rolling Stones!!

I have chosen and it shall be The Rollong Stones! How exciting and just how rock n roll? 

I confess - I don't know much about this band other than that they are still huge despite being vintage rock n roll superstars who are still going strong after many decades! Catch up with me later for an intro to the band then follow me as I choose seven tracks (a week get it?) over seven days then consider my top choice at the end of it all! 

Looking forward to this much! :)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

So who shall I spend my week with next?

I need to choose a new artist / band to spend seven days with. Any ideas?

Ooh so much choice. I have chosen some great artists previously - check out My Music page here for my previous choices. There have been female solo artists, male solo artists, a bit of rock and some pop, old and new stuff. So what next or more specifically who next?

I'm contemplating a few choices. Madonna or Whitney - diva's. Girls Aloud or Spice Girls - girl power. All american - Green Day or Foo Fighters. Classic rock - U2 or The Who, maybe the Rolling Stones.

Maybe I need a bit of teenage angst - Avril Levigne, Alannis Morrisette anyone? Maybe not. I'm thinking something a bit cooler, more indie - Arctic Mondays - current cool, or the Smiths - old school.

Then again, what about a bit of pop princess? Kylie take your fancy anyone? Katy Perry?

Or maybe someone more retro - The Beatles, Elton John, George Michael?

Argghhh!! I just can't decide right now. Check back tomorrow to see who I choose!! :)

My Week with Rihanna is over

My Week with Rihanna is over. So now it is time to decide which of my seven choices was my favourite. I've enjoyed listening to this artist - you sort of forget how much stuff they have done, and how good their music is when you go back and revisit it.

Rihanna is certainly not shy of her opinions, or of expressing some dark sentiments!! She looks smoking, but her choices of attire in the videos are extreme at times. If you've got it though as they say.

There is certainly no denying that this girl can sing. Wow she has range and emotion. I'm not ashamed to say I'm now quite the fan.

Now, without further delay here is my ranking of my seven choices:

At number one: Love the Way you Lie
Number two: Diamonds
Number three: S&M
Number four: Russian Roulette
Number five: Umbrella
Number six: We Found Love
Number seven: Disturbia

And now it's over. Thankyou Rihanna - it's been great. But I must bid you farewell.

Who will it be next? Check out My Music page here for more music choices - who knows, you might find something you like. Happy listening :)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A new Challenge!!

I am starting again. Back from holiday for a week or two, and its now 10 weeks until the next one. I also have a wedding at the end of June, a potential school reunion and 2 gigs to attend. Lots of reasons that I need to fit into my lovely clothes (plus buy some new ones!!)

So today I pledge a 10 week challenge. 2 pounds a week, for ten weeks = 22 pounds. (thats just over one and a half stones peeps).

Tomorrow I shall provide details of the plan - this time I won't just update on whether or not I lost weight today. Oh non dear reader. I have determined to share how I lose the weight - or not, ahem!!

It's no use just knowing I have lost weight is it? I'm sure the interesting part for any of us wanting to lose some pounds is how you do it, not just that you have!!

I shall share some of my (not flattering) photos of how I am now, plus some shocking ones from the past!! I have some of when I was close to goal, but still not at it, and hopefully the final part will be me when I get there!!

I want to make this interesting for you and for me, so we can do this together. So c'mon - who's with me? :)

Day Seven of My Week with Rihanna - Russian Roulette

So its the final day, Day Seven to be precise, of My Week with Rihanna. My last choice is the single Russian Roulette. Released in 2009, this was the lead single from her album Rated R released the same year.

Russian Roulette is a much slower tempo than her usual stuff, but it really does showcase her extraordinary voice. Its another dark track - Rihanna is not afraid to be a bit on the morbid side in her songs it seems!

The lyrics of this track are clearly about yet another troubled relationship. However it was another massive hit for her, reaching number 2 in the singles chart here in the UK.

The video once again perfectly suits the song. Rihanna looks stunning, but its a disturbing video. She is in a cell, apparently about to flattened by a car, she is shot at under water and she is apparently playing russian roulette with a gun facing a good looking guy. It ends with a gunshot, but you don't know which of them has met their end. Fantastic but very dark.

The lyrics leave you in no doubt what this is all about. "If you play, you play for keeps, take the gun, count to three". Hmm. The chorus is beautiful and she soars through the line "you can see my heart beating, you can see it through my chest, said I'm terrified but I'm not leaving". I don't think this is about fluffy bunnies and happy days somehow, but it sounds and looks fantastic.

All in all, this is a beautiful if morose dark ballad, in tune with her R&B routes, but a firm pop track. Her range and talent is undeniable. Go and have a listen and remind yourself how great this track is.

For previous days of My Week with Rihanna, you can check out My Music page here :)

Monday, 26 May 2014

OOOh - Who kills Tina folks?

I have just watched Corrie. Don't worry - I'm not going to do any plot spoilers - she's still alive and kicking - for now!! But my mind is full of speculation - who is it going to be?

Let's look at the contenders: 

Tracy Barlow - she has form. She has a temper. She has motive in that she thinks Tina wants Rob. Could she be repeating her previous actions? I'm not so sure - she has a daughter and a business, and I'm not sure Tina has done enough to rile even her to this extent.

Peter Barlow - the adulterer. He has motive. He needs to shut Tina up. He is desperate and he is an addict. Could it be him? I just don't know. He seems to be genuine in his feelings for Tina and for Carla, and yes, he's in a mighty pickle but murder? Bigamy for sure, he's got form, but no, not murder. 

Rob - he has motive - Tina and Peter's betrayal of his sister, Carla. He may not know what Peter is up to yet, but he's suspicious. He's also a bad boy. But then he has liked Tina himself too in the past, so maybe it could also be a touch of jealousy? Mmm - a definite possible this one. 

Carla - the number one suspect on paper. She's carrying his child. She's a fellow boozer. She truly loves Peter and has stood by him time and again. She's had difficulties with Simon, and maybe Tina's closeness to her and Simon might be a step too far when she finds out. Tina is younger, and is supposed to be her friend. Now, my money is on Carla. 

But who do you think it is? And could there be someone in the frame we haven't considered? Kylie? She's always had issues with Tina. Or even Leanne? She is Peter's ex after all. Not a select group that mind!! Ooh its exciting isnt it? Can't wait until tomorrow now! 

There is a reason we are not all thin!!

There is a reason we are not all thin, and that reason is because its damned hard work to stick to a diet. Any diet.

I set myself a 13 week challenge 2 weeks ago. I think I can say its been a massive failure so far, as I am heavier today than when I started. There are a number of perfectly valid reasons for this - birthdays, bank holidays, meals out, family visits, weekends away, colds, work, stress and hangovers!! All the things that make life what it is.

Unfortunately, none of this makes me feel any better. Not one bit. It makes me feel like a failure.

So tonight, I am wallowing in self pity for the diet sabotage I have been actively engaged in for the past weekend. Its all self inflicted. I have noone to blame but myself.

Yes, it was a birthday, yes it was a bank holiday etc.. But noone forced me to eat what I did, or drink how I did. No one made me miss a PT session, or a gym workout. That was all down to me. And now I feel fat and bloated and miserable.

So starting tomorrow, I start again, with a few extra pounds to shift. I can do it, but I have resigned myself to the fact that I am going to find it difficult this time. I am not happy with the way my body looks and only I can do something about it.

There is a reason we are not all slim, but I have lots of reasons to buck the trend, and if I don't I am going to be unhappy. Being slim is not the key to happiness of course, but its the key to self confidence, and with increased self confidence I can do anything!!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

My New Day and Night Cream

I recently have been sent this moisturiser, along with some other beauty and body treats.

I have to confess to having never heard of the brand Flora Mare, but I thought well, I've run out of my usual moisturiser so I shall give it a go! 

Its a Day and Night cream, and so I started to use it first thing in the morning, and miracle, last thing at night. 

Using this gave me a reason to remember to take my make up off each night!!

I can now say in all honesty, that having tried many many different face creams over the years, this has had an amazing effect on my skin. 

I have skin that has a tendency to be congested and troubled. I don't know if its just this cream, or if its the double whammy of taking off my make up to put the cream on at night, but whatever the reason, my skin is experiencing a clearness it has never had. It does smell lovely, and it feels lovely on my skin. You can get it from QVC if you are interested by the way! I absolutely recommend it. Even if I did stumble upon it by accident!! :)

Stop Raining now - I have had enough!

Is anybody else getting sick of the rain? We went away for an overnight stay in Sheffield this weekend. The plan was to make the most of the hotel on the first night, then go exploring the next day.

The weather had other plans, it quite literally never stopped raining from the moment we got up in the morning. We checked out and as it was showing no sign of letting up there was no way we could go walking anywhere, so we headed in to the city centre.

We found what we thought was the main strip   - The Moor. It was a shame, there was an international food market on, and singers, but it was a washout. People were huddled under the shop fronts.

Thinking that was all there was to Sheffield, we shuffled back to the car and headed for the scenic route home. Via Bakewell and the Peak District. It was undoubtedly beautiful, but very grey, dull and overcast.

We had said we could grab a picnic lunch - hmm. It was like someone was hosing the car down it was so torrential. Nothing doing so we saw the views from the car.

On arriving home we grabbed a pub lunch, and wouldn't you know it? It actually brightened up. Not for long though - the rain returned less than an hour later. So that put pay to any chance of any outdoors activities, unless you wanted a good drenching.

This is what does my head in with this country. When you are booking a holiday in say, the Canary Islands, you can pretty much plan a year ahead to get some good weather. You may get a dull day here and there, but in the main you can plan ahead. Here? You can't plan a day ahead and guarantee what the hell the weather is going to do. It drives me mad.

So I now want it to stop raining. I have had enough of it, and it can just do one!!! Ok rain? Good. :)

Day Six of My Week with Rihanna - Disturbia

Day Six of My Week with Rihanna and today its Disturbia. It was released in 2008.

Disturbia was taken from her third album, good Girl Gone Bad, which was originally released in 2007, but as re-released in 2008 as Good Girl Gone Bad - Reloaded. It was the third single from the reloaded album.

This single was another top ten hit for Rihanna, reaching number 3 in the UK charts. Its quite a fast upbeat song, but its quite a dark gothic track. Its a bit R&B but very pop, and another showcase of Rihanna's fab vocals.

The video is very dark and gothic. Rihanna looks awesome in a series of very revealing almost S&M outfits - ranging from dog collars, leather bodices, and stockings. She is caged in one scene with her eyes covered over by opaque contacts that make her look zombie-like. She dances like the ghouls in thriller, jerky and freaky, but still sexy. This girl is in touch with her gothic side that's for sure. It fits the track perfectly. I was fascinated by how perfect her teeth are!

This track doesn't sound like any of her others, and that's another plus point for it. The lyrics are catchy "Disturbia, its like the darkness is the light, Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight". Dark, but you will find yourself singing it none the less!

This is a brillliant song, go and have a listen now!! For more of My Week with Rihanna, or for more music stuff check our My Music page here. Happy Listening :)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Early Night for Me - Night Night xx

Well I give up. I'm a night owl as a rule. But tonight, I just cannot keep my peepers open.

It was my intention to write a few more blogs - music and clothes mainly, and an update on my 13 week challenge, but tiredness has overwhelmed me.

So night night my lovelies, and rest assured, I shall be back for more tomorrow. x

Day Five of My Week with Rihanna - Diamonds

So Day five is here of my Week with Rihanna and today its Diamonds. Diamonds was released in 2012.

This single was taken from Rihanna's seventh studio album, Unapologetic also released that year. It was the lead single from the album. It's a bit different for Ri-Ri in that it steps away from her R&B usual pop style, and is more of a pop ballad type.

Its also different in that it isn't full of anger, or angst or about not so positive relationships - its actually quite a lovely song. Its a mid tempo pace, not overly ballad slow, but defo not dance in anyway. Her voice sounds as strong as ever, but deeper, and softer than her usual quite hard girl power image.

The video is beautiful although I'm not sure what its about in truth. First we have hands running through a pil of diamonds. Then two tattooed / henna'd hands being held in water. Then she is running down the middle of an empty road in a skimpy dress, running from a bright light. Then she stops and looks up at what looks like the northern lights in the sky. It cuts to black and white close ups of her singing. Then Rihanna is on a hilltop alone. We see a horse galloping and rearing, before another horse joins it, running free with it. The more holding hands in the water, and finally then Rihanna floating on her back in the water still singing. Very beautiful, but no clue what its on about at all.

Unsurprisingly, this single hit the number one spot here in the UK charts. The lyrics are as beautiful as the title which is probably why. It starts off with Rihanna softly singing "shining bright like a diamond". Its beautiful, so is she and so is the song. Another fabulous track. If you don't believe me, go take a listen!!

For more of Rihanna Days 1-4, and more of my music, check out My Music page on my blog here. Happy listening :)

Is it a cold or is it hayfever?

I have felt like a cold was coming on this week. Today it finally turned into a cold. At least I think its a cold!!

Streaming nose, sneezing for England, sore throat, muzzy head. A cold right? Hmmm. Cue going to work and having every other person advising me of something different.

We have had armchair diagnoses ranging from a "summer cold" (what's the difference between that and a normal cold?), a "spring chill" whatever that is, and a touch of weather related sinusitis. Ok.

Then there are those that tell you its a reaction to tree pollen, which is apparently very high today. I have never suffered hay-fever incidentally, but that doesn't put them off. Next up its the stormy weather and rain which have caused high humidity and pollution in the air. Wouldn't that just cause short breath I asked? Oh no, its just like a cold they say!

Which brings me right back to the starting point again. So do I take Beechams or Piriton? (other brands are available of course!). Is it a cold or an allergy? Frankly, I don't care what it is I just want it to buggar off!

I've opted for standard ibuprofen which if nothing else is stopping the headache and making me less achy in general. Honestly, with all these armchair doctors around its a wonder anyone ever gets ill at all!!! If only :)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My 13 Week Challenge - Back on Track

1 and a half weeks into the challenge. Its been a struggle so far for sure. I have made progress, but I have also had a slight blip!!

I had lost 6 and a half pounds, but then I overdid it at the weekend. Now, its 4 and a half pounds. In a week and a half though, thats still over 2lbs a week which was the goal.

It's 11 weeks on Thursday, so I need to up the ante now. Starting now, I am back on track firmly. I have some events coming up which will cause a diet challenge - gigs, weddings, anniversaries, overnight breaks, but this is life.

I have to lose ten more pounds to reach my previous holiday weight, but thats not enough this time. I want more. I can do more.

I am going to do this by going to the gym, continuing personal training twice per week, eating healthily, drinking less, walking more and being organised. Focusing on the goal - looking better, looking fit, healthy and toned.

I have being looking at various websites to see just what it is possible to accomplish with this body of mine. I'm very lucky - I have no injuries or real physical weaknesses, so there is so much I can do. If I don't do it at this time in my life, its only going to get harder. I'm still in my 30's so age is still on my side. I need to make the most of this opportunity to be all I can be.

I will now keep you updated on how I progress, as I haven't been keeping track too well and that's another issue. Failing to plan, is planning to fail. I am going to plan, and stick to it. Watch this space!! ;)

My Week with Rihanna Day Four - Love the Way you Lie

So it is Day Four of My Week with Rihanna. Today's choice is the single Love the Way you Lie, released in 2010. Its actually an Eminem song featuring Rihanna, and is taken from his album Recovery.

Love the Way you Lie was written by Skylar Grey, who later sang with Eminem, and is apparently about a previous abusive relationship of hers. According to the press, Eminem chose Rihanna to sing the chorus due to both his and her previous troubled relationships.

Love the Way you Lie was a huge hit in the UK, reaching number one in the R&B chart, but just stopping at number 2 in the singles chart. It should have been a number one. Its fantastic.

This is quite a slow, dark song and although its a pop record, its clearly in touch with its rap and R&B artists genres too. Eminem is dark and brooding, and Rihanna's vocals are beautiful. The two combined is spine tingling.

The song is about a troubled relationship, where the two people love each other but are destroying one another. They can't live together, but they cannot be apart. The lyrics are powerful, as Rihanna sings "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that's alright because I like the way it hurts" Eminem raps "you ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe when you're with 'em". Its all about obsessive, powerful and destructive love.

The video is quite possibly one of the best I have ever seen, albeit disturbing and emotional. It shows a couple, played by Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan fighting, making up and fighting again. Eminem and Rihanna sing and rap in front of a burning house, and interspersed between we see shots of the couple before things got so bad. Its poweful and its convincingly real - a bit too much so at times. Fabulously shot, and really showing how relationships can be devastating.

Music rarely is better done than this. Its not a happy cheery number for sure, but its mesmerising and powerful. They are both hugely talented and at their best here. This collaboration just works. Plain and simple. An awesome song. Go and have a listen and let me know what you think.

For previous days with Rihanna, or more music stuff check out My Music page here. Happy listening :)

Monday, 19 May 2014

San Miguel & a major hangover!!

Doesn't this look tempting? Yes and indeed it tempted me a little too much yesterday. I am supposed to be on a health kick, but it was a birthday party. 

We went ten pin bowling, and I decided to treat myself to a pint of the good stuff. I won the first game, so I had another one!! 

Then, after game 2 (I came second) we headed to our lovely local for some tea. I had very healthy chicken skewers and swapped the chips for a jacket potato. 

However, I decided to have a glass of wine with my meal. Then, because it was sunny, we went to sit in the beer garden so I had another one. 

Everyone else went home. Me and the other half had another drink. Then one more. At some point, we came home, and we sat outside because it was so warm. 

Shortly afterwards, I fell asleep. This morning, I had the worst hangover. That meant I did not make the gym this evening!! Oh dear!! Well, it isn't a birthday every Sunday thankfully but lesson learned. No more big sessions on a school night. I feel lousy still!! Health kick recommences tomorrow!! Honest!!! 

Introducing Fenton the dog

This is Fenton. He's our friend's chocolate lab. He is amazing. For a dog, he has the biggest personality. 

His hobbies include going for a pint down at his local, and running his own facebook page. Oh yes, Fenton is a talented doggy indeed!! 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Rihanna Day Three - S&M

Day Three of My Week with Rihanna and today its the single S&M. Released in January 2011, this was taken from her album Loud released in 2010.

Loud was Rihanna's fifth studio album, and S&M was the fourth single from it. This single reached number three in the UK charts.

This is a pop song, but its a dark one. It features lyrics about sex, bondage and fetishes, and is one dirty track indeed!! For all that, it is also very good and very catchy and her voice sounds awesome.

Its quite up tempo, and has synthesisers and lots of bass in keeping with its theme. Unsurprisingly, it was banned in quite a few countries!!

Now the video - goodness me!! It features Rihanna in several risqué outfits and sporting vibrant red hair. First up she is wearing what appears to be a newspaper print dress, and is taped to the wall with celophane over her. There are then other outfits featuring lots of rubber and pvc and ahem, bondage and tape!
She writhes around as a bunny girl against a backdrop of press headlines. Finally she is lying on a desk in a pink pvc dress, and provacatively eating a banana. Phewf!! Not for the faint hearted or easily offended this one!

Now lets be grown up about this. Rihanna is a beautiful, talented singer, but she is also not bothered about shocking folks. So you know what you are getting with this girl. She sounds great on this, the lyrics are clever, if dirty such as "cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it", "sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me!" Blimey. Clever though.

I actually like this song - its different, it sounds good, it sticks in your head and most important for a song to last - its memorable. How many other songs can you remember from this year? Exactly.

If you haven't heard it go have a listen and let me know what you think. For more music check out My Music page here. Happy listening :)

Dingle Weddings - gotta love 'em!

My goodness what a drama on Emmerdale this evening!! Two Dingle weddings!! Flippin eck?!

So, first off, Cain and Moira managed to make it up the aisle to be man and wife. Good - I like those two. Then there is Charity and Declan. I quite like Declan, but she's being awful and yet they also managed to make it to the end!! Wow!! Bit nerve wracking though eh?

I do love a good soap wedding, and this evening they gave us two!! Can't wait until tomorrow's episode though - today is Moira's day, but tomorrow isn't!! Oooh how exciting!! :)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

G Wants a Tankini - mission accomplished!!!

I think it is fair to say that little G isn't into clothing. She thinks things are too tight, too long, they rub, they itch. She doesn't like velvet or suede. Like most kids, getting her dressed can be a bit of a nightmare!! 

She has been on hol with me and her dad a few times, and each time she insists on wearing a full cossie for swimming. This isn't a problem - however, as us girls know, when cossies are wet they are not easy to get on and off for the purposes of nipping the loo. So I have been working on the concept of the tankini. 

Finally, after much discussion over the benefits of said tankini vs cossie, she has not only agreed but actually picked out some she likes such as this fab little number below. 

Clearly we are a way off resolving the clothes issue - that can wait until another day though. Today is a small miracle!! Battle won. Hoorah!! :)

Not fair, not fair, not Fair!!!!!

I have had a really healthy tea tonight. Lots of veggies - cabbage, carrots, courgette, asparagus and broccoli.  With it I had quorn chicken style fillets. Healthy right? 

I am a week into my fresh new fitness and diet plan. So why is it that this is all I can think about? A lovely big choc chip muffin. Ideally, with a nice creamy hot chocolate - full fat milk of course!! 

Looks yummy right? Yep. Can I have one? Nope.  Sooooo not fair. Everything I like is fattening. That's why I like it!!! Having a bad day today folks. This stage of the plan is not fun let me tell you. Not one bit. :(

Losing weight is hard work - not a happy bunny

I'm almost one week into my challenge. The challenge is 13 weeks long. This week was always going to be a long hard slog, but my god am I feeling it today.

My legs ache. My thighs have been pummelled and front and back they burn baby burn. My arms are aching, my muscles in my back and chest throb and burn. To be honest, its easier to say what doesn't ache right now.

The scales did drop 2 pounds this morning, which is great. It makes me feel good that I am making progress. But today has been so hard. I want to lose the weight. I want to look good. I want to reach my goal. I want a fit, healthy, toned body.

So why then, have I spent all day also wanting chocolate biscuits? Why then do I now want a glass of wine? These thoughts are over-riding my good intentions. So far, I haven't given in, but its like my mind is trying to torture me. I'm sure I'm not the dieter to experience this. Will power is a battle.

Why can't I just stay focused on the end result though, instead of the short - term cravings. All I can think of right now is the things I cannot have. Well, I say cannot. What I mean is I can't have them if I want to get in my lovely clothes and get to goal. I can have them if I want to remain overweight, or worse get bigger. So its not really an appealing choice, and yet. And yet..

I've had to resort to sticking notes around the house to remind me of what I am trying to accomplish. I know that if I can get through these blips, it will get easier. Habits take practice, and I have bad habits at the moment, and its a case of trying to re-educate my mind.

Lets face the truth though here - losing weight is hard work. It isn't short term, it requires commitment.  There are no quick fixes. There are no short cuts. Its hard work and likewise so is exercise. If I want to achieve the sort of body I aspire to, I won't get that if I choice sitting on my bum eating cheese, drinking wine. Oddly enough, you don't see diets recommending those choices.

So. Today is tough. Today has knocked me flat. But tomorrow is another day. Just take it one day at a time when it gets like this. End of week one is in sight, with a good weight loss under my belt. I just need to ensure that nothing goes into my belly to expand that belt!! Grit my teeth and stick with it. Thats today's mantra. I will do this. I can do this. Not a happy bunny though :(

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

My 13 Week Challenge has commenced - progress so far

Right then, its several days into Week One of my 13 Week Challenge. 5 days to be precise.

So how's it going then? Well, I have made a start. I have cut down on the alcohol - wine was becoming a regular habit again, so that has had to stop - on week days at least!!

Having spent a week on hol sat mainly on my behind doing no exercise, followed by a week of being back home of doing not much more really, I faced the gym on Thursday. It was hard work. It got worse.

It was back to Personal Training on Friday, and then again on Monday, and in between I spent Saturday and Sunday with the sorest, aching thighs. They recovered just in time for another pounding yesterday. Today, my thighs ache, my arms burn, my muscles in my back and behind are also burning.

Tonight I went to the gym, again. This wasn't PT though, but I have set the bar high this time. No less than a 500 cal cardio burn on each non PT session throughout this challenge, and no less than 10,000 steps per day on the old pedometer. As of right now, I'm up to almost 12500 today, so smashed it today!

Tonight I did a steady 2 mile run, a 100 cals stepper, 50 cals on the stair master, 80 on the cross trainer - 500 in total, plus some ab work. It was hard because I ached and burned from PT.

So 1 more day of this first week to go. The first week was always going to be the killer. Getting used to eating differently, and of course eating less. Less wine, swapping it for shorts, drinking more water, moving more - if it was easy, everybody would have dynamite bodies. Most of us don't. There is a reason for that - its bloody hard work.

I am approaching things differently this time. My five week challenge previously was a more radical purge and whilst I lost weight, it was hard to sustain and I did eat far too little, resulting in more weight gain when I started to eat normally again.

This time, I have a longer period, so I cannot do that again. This time, I am taking a measure and disciplined approach, but with a view to this being the beginning of a lifestyle change. I intend to change my eating habits and behaviour, and get my body to the best it can be. The 13 weeks is the beginning. I have my goal to aim for, but it goes much further than that. I want a gym body. That will take longer, but thats the ultimate goal.

However, in just over 12 weeks from now, I need to be 2 stones lighter. Well, 1 stone 13 1/2 pounds. I have dropped half a pound, but this is my adjustment week. Week 2 is the biggy when the scales need to start shifting. My focus is now firmly in place, will power is catching up. 12 weeks from now, I will be at goal. That is my mantra.

If you are a fitness buff, or have successfully hit your goal please feel free to share your tips or just show your support by dropping me a comment. It would be lovely to hear your stories. Anyway, signing off now - sore thighs to attend to !! :)

Day Two of My Week with Rihanna - Umbrella

Day Two of My Week with Rihanna and today's choice is the massive single Umbrella.

Umbrella was released in 2007, and also features a rap at the start by Jay Z no less. It was taken from her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad, released the same year.

Umbrella hit the number one spot here in the UK, and it stayed there for 10 weeks. If you can recall the weather we were having matched the song perfectly, and I think deep down we all blamed the reference to rain!!!! Just kidding - this is an awesome song.

This was the first track I remember ever hearing by Rihanna. Her voice is amazing, and the song's hook - "umberella, ella, ella, eh eh eh" gets really stuck in your head.

I have also had a watch of the video which I never watched before. It starts off with Jay Z. He does his bit, and then we have Rihanna in leather, Rihanna in a tiny dress dancing on ballet point shoes. Then she is in fishnets dancing with an Umbrella of course. Then, she is painted silver and not wearing anything. There is also lots of rain and brollies of course. She looks amazing - her skin is perfect and I would kill for that body!!

Umbrella is a bit pop, but also a bit R&B being a bit slower in pace, and a lot sexier. Apparently it was written with Britney Spears in mind, but her people didn't like it, so thank goodness for that!! This is the perfect song for Rihanna as her voice is much stronger.

So there we have it - Day Two and Umbrella. If you haven't heard it for a while, or if you have never heard it, go take a listen and let me know what you think.

For more on Rihanna, and other artists, check out My Music page here. Happy Listening :)

Monday, 12 May 2014

PT again!

PT again tonight. My legs, still sore from Friday - I gave it my all. I was wearing my brand new trainers though, so it had to be done!!

Tonight's session was hard:

  • stair master intervals
  • abs
  • cross trainer intervals
  • squat jumps onto step box
  • burpees with box jumps
  • rope work
  • pull ups
  • tricep dips
  • standing rows with free weights
  • step jumps
It was so hard, and I was absolutely dripping with sweat. This is just the beginning though. In 12 and a half weeks, I need to be 2 stone lighter, and considerably more toned. Challenge set. Bring it on!! 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

I forgot about the sore thighs!!

I am suffering. I had forgotten how hard PT was, but I had also forgotten the aftermath!!

To say my thighs are sore, would be the understatement of the century!! I can't move without pain in my front or back thighs. Stairs are a nightmare - going up hurts, going down hurts. I live in a three storey house - you can imagine the fun!!

I know that it will get easier. I know it will eventually stop hurting so much. Right now though, I would give anything for my legs to stop aching so much!!!

And they say exercise is good for you!!! Define good!! :)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Day One of My Week with Rihanna - We Found Love

Ok off we go then on Day One of My Week with Rihanna. To start us off, I've chosen the massive hit We Found Love.

This single was taken from her sixth studio album, Talk that Talk which came out in 2011. It was written and produced by Calvin Harris, and has a very dancey vibe. It hit the number one spot here in the UK charts.

This is a huge pop track, but its also a bit techno featuring synthesisers and gadgetry. Its quite fast paced, and Rihanna's vocals are superb. The lyrics are a little sparse, and its not really very meaningful - just the title over and over again in the main. But don't let that detract from the point - this is a fab pop song. It just does exactly what it says on the tin.

Now the video however, is a different story. I had never seen it before, but having just watched it, its a bit shocking to be honest. It is however, quite cool if you take it for what it is - a pop video from a controversial artist. Rihanna doesn't wear much in it, she is seen smoking what I assume to be a dodgy smoke - the clue to this is the pills and dilated pupils that flash on and off. She is wild here.

It to me seems to be about a relationship that is good when its good, and downright destructive when its bad. It shows extreme behaviour - happy, messing about, laughing - crying, being sick and over doing the indulgences at the opposite. She looks smoking though, and so does the guy whoever he is. No denying that she has a talent for shocking folks. Not to mention that this video is infamous in that where it was filmed, a farmer took offence to her state of undress!! No publicity is bad publicity right?

I like this song a lot. It catchy, well sung and upbeat. Its a pop song though, and for all its fun, I can't imagine this one being played ten years from now. It doesn't to me have that longevity, but its still a great track from a talented artist. Go have a listen and let me know what you think.

Check out My Music page for more of My Week with choices and music stuff. Happy listening :)

Lazy start to Saturday

It's 11am. I'm still in my dressing gown. Willy Wonka is on the TV (the Johnny Depp one which is good but not as good as the old one). We have had breakfast - turkey rashers on bread with brown sauce for me. Yum. 

G is counting up her pennies in her money box. Me and him are taking a rare moment to relax. Its lovely. 

No idea what we are doing today - the weather isn't fit for much at all. May have a run out somewhere - who knows. Right now, I'm just enjoying it. 

What are you doing today? :)

Friday, 9 May 2014

Beyond excited - blinged up pink converse!!

This is a pair of Converse. Pink ones. With bling. Swarovski no less. And ribbons!!! woohoo!! 

It is G's 9th birthday on Sunday the 18th. This is her surprise present. I am beyond excited. If they don't fit her, she is a size 5, I'm squeezing my 5.5. - 6 tootsies in them, because I am like totally jealous!!! 

The site is Lisa's bling. I only messaged her this evening, yet they are arriving thursday - how great is that? Amazing site, amazing response. Cannot wait to get them!! 

I will just be waiting for my own pair now. Hint to anyone who might be wanting ideas for my next Christmas or birthday present!! xx

Back to Personal Training - first one is always the hardest

Tonight was my first PT session after a break of two and a half weeks. It was always going to be hard. I knew that. You can't sit on your bottom, eating and drinking for England, put weight on, eat takeaway, pub meals and generally be unhealthy and expect that its going to be easy.

Well hard it was. But I survived!! Tonight's session consisted of:

  • pyramid running intervals
  • cross trainer sprints
  • row sprints
  • abs
  • press ups
  • kettle bells
  • lunges
  • squat jumps
At least the first session is done. I have 13 weeks to lose 2 stone, so I have made a start on the exercise which is good. Its going to be a hard 13 weeks!! 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

My Week with Rihanna - Week 9

So this week my choice is Rihanna. Its Week 9 of My project to spend each week with a different artist. 7 days, 7 song choices. Each day, I post my song choice and my review of it. At the end of the week, I rank my preferences and so far its been really good fun.

Rihanna then. What a huge star. Lets have a look at this mega watt lady and what we can expect over the next week - how exciting!!

Rihanna - real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty. She is still, at the time of writing this, aged just 26!! She is from Barbados. She got her first record deal when she auditioned for non other than Jay Z! Impressive.

She released her debut album in 2005, Music of the Sun. She followed it with the album A Girl Like Me in 2006. However, it was her third album that established her as a success. Good Girl Gone Bad was released in 2007, and I'm sure its lead single - Umbrella, was somewhat responsible for the fact that we all needed Umbrella's most of that summer!!

Rihanna followed her success with the albums Rated R in 2009, Loud in 2010 and Talk That Talk in 2011. in 2012 she released the album unapologetic. 7 albums in such a short space - this is one busy lady!!

She has won so many awards - Grammys, BRIT awards, you name it. Worldwide, she has sold over 30 million albums, and 120 million singles. Wow. Not bad for a girl with very humble beginnings.

She hasn't had it easy this girl. Her dad was troubled and struggled with addictions according to the press, and her parents split up when she was a teenager. She doesn't come from a well off background - all she has, she has made for herself. Inspiring.

The star herself is not exactly PC on occasion but its refreshing for someone to just be themselves. She has tattoos, likes a drink, likes to party, but there is no denying she works hard too. She acts, she sings, she performs. She looks amazing, changes her style and image, but always pulls it off. She's an icon.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the 7 songs - the difficult part is going to be deciding on which 7!! Pop back tomorrow for the first song choice. Or check out My music page here for more if you can't wait! :)

My 13 Week Challenge - 2 stone to lose

13 weeks from now I jet off on holiday. A week ago, I returned from my last one. My 13 week challenge is this - to remove the weight gained from the last holiday, and more!!

In total, the goal this time is to shed a massive 2 stone - 28lbs. Yes, you read that correctly!!

The plan is this - get back to the gym, get back to Personal Training twice a week, control the calories and generally be healthy. The weight gained from basically, stuffing my face and having a great time whilst sat largely on my now considerably expanded derriere! I can't complain - I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

Now is the time though, to stop it. Usually I return from holiday and continue in the holiday mode - eating, drinking - gaining pounds!! Not this time. I allowed myself to have one week from returning before I kicked back in. I got back last Friday, and today, Thursday, I set my first tentative toe into the gym!! Less than a week!!

So, here I go, 13 weeks of working hard hard hard to shift 2 whole stones. Day One starts officially tomorrow - check back for an update on what is going to be a tough day indeed, followed by several more tough days, followed by several tough weeks - resulting in a better bod!! 13 weeks to go then - deep breath :)

Brilliant new ad - OAPs' getting down with the music!!

There I was, just checking my emails, when an ad pops on. Lots of elderly folks, surprisingly singing and bopping away to modern tunes.

Two old ladies dancing to Kelis' milkshake is hilarious! I had no idea what the ad was, but its funny!!

Click the link here if you haven't seen it. It really did make my day!! ;)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Spelling Test - 8 out of 10 - So proud of Little G

I am very proud today. A few months ago, G was struggling with her spelling. Following one particularly bad test, we decided to take action.

Since then, me and her dad have made a point of getting her to read everything and spell it out. We have made it fun - reading the menu in the local, then spelling some of the foods she likes.

Being 8, you can make things fun but she's got a better idea of things so she's really progressed. Today, she scored 8 out of 10 in her spelling test. That's brilliant. Not quite there yet, but still brilliant. Its 80% after all!! Can't complain about that!

Being her step-mum its hard sometimes. I want her to do the best she can, but its a fine line when your not the actual parent. You have to be careful not to overstep the mark.

I do feel like I made a difference here though, and I am so proud of little G. She's done really well.

She's also getting really into her reading, which is mega. I can relate to that. Finally, the two of us have "our thing" which is ace. Onwards and upwards :)

Diet starts again tomorrow!!

Its the final day of indulgence. I allowed myself one week from returning off my hols to quench my taste for over indulgence. Today is the last day. Sob!!

Tomorrow sees my return to the gym for the first time since pre-hols. I am heavier and much more unfit, but I hope 2 weeks haven't done too much damage.

I hope that from tomorrow, I can kick back in and that it won't kill me!! Actually, it will!! This is the truth.

Its my own fault though. I have totally enjoyed all the lovely food - pasta,  pizza, curry, chips, rice, chicken satay, burgers, cheese, beer, wine, jack daniels!! Can't complain really!!

Now comes control. OOOhhh this is going to be hard. Best have a glass of wine whilst I contemplate it!! :)

Who is My Next Week with?? Its Rihanna!!!

Drumroll please - yes it's Rihanna!! After much deliberation, I have chosen Rihanna as my next artist to spend a week with. Seven songs, seven days.

Tomorrow I shall have a look at the background of this huge female artist, exploring her music, origins, and successes. Hope back for more then or check out My Music page here if you can't wait! :)

Monday, 5 May 2014

Post Hol Blues

Bank Holiday Monday today. Done anything amazing? I just have the last of the holiday blues. Tomorrow is work. Why couldn't my lotto numbers come up??

Everyone asks the same I'm sure, but I am one blue bunny right now. I don't want to go!!!! I find myself thinking this over and over and over.

Part of this, is because holidays are a break from the norm. Part is that it has to end. Part is how fast the memory of holiday fades!!

Is there a cure for this? How do you cope with the post hol blues? :)

right then - who next for some music??

So last time, it was Robbie Williams. So who will it be next???? Decisions decisions.

I am considering the following:

Madonna, Kylie, Paloma Faith. Bit of girl power eh? Or maybe, U2, red hot chilli peppers or Kaiser Chiefs? Bit of rock. Or it could be Fat Boy Slim, Prodigy or David Guetta!!

Still more - maybe, Katy Perry, Guns and Roses, The Who, The Eagles, Plan B, or even Rod Stewart!!!

Let me know if you have a preference!!! :)

My Week with Robbie Williams is over

My Week with Robbie Williams is over. Its been a little delayed reviewing my seven days with this guy, but here it is:

I love Robbie, its no surprise that I picked him. I am a Stokie after all!! Here is my ranking of my seven choices:

In at Number One its - Come Undone
At Number Two - Angels
Number Three - Rock DJ
Number Four - Shame
Number Five - Candy
Number Six - She's The One
Number Seven - Misunderstood

All in all, seven choices were just not enough!! But for more of My Music check out my page. Happy listening :)


So its been a fabulous holiday. I have eaten loads. Drunk more!! Piled on several pounds and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I have just not cared about it. Except for now I am totally overindulged. Almost to the point where I have now gotten somewhat bored of it and am looking forward to feeling less stuffed and bloated, and going to the gym!!

Tonight was the last of the feasts. Pizza. Yum!! Mighty meaty for me. With garlic dough balls.

Tomorrow commences a new challenge - a 13 week challenge. Check in tomorrow to see what lie in store. :)

Thursday, 1 May 2014

I'm back - Did you miss me? :)

So I am back home after my holiday - well almost. I should be landing, oh any minute now!

So what's next? Well, its May bank holiday, so no work until Tuesday - yay!!

First PT session on Monday - oh dear!!

I have a wedding to attend, a 9 year old birthday, a 40 year wedding anniversary do, and a mini city break in Sheffield this month - phewf!!

June is packed with fun too - going to see Rod Stewart first, then Robbie Williams gig. Another wedding, the actual anniversary and a school reunion.

Next proper holiday is in early August. Hopefully going to be reaching goal weight for that one, so that will be my next challenge.

What a busy year this is turning out to be - well, you only live once don't you! What does your summer have in store for you? :)