Wednesday, 29 April 2009

What are your current obsessions?

My weight, my fitness, the WII Fit, the business, getting teenager's room decorated.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?

Since I have lost a lot of weight this changes more that it used to as I have lots of new clothes. It is probably a gorgeous White Company cami and top that a friend ( who has lost tons of weight) gave me. Silver grey, has cashmere in it, and feels gorgeous. I had it on today. I also have myriad light floaty cardigans which go with just about anything which I wear loads too.

Last thing you bought?

A batter re-charger for the WII fit.

What are you listening to?

At the moment Man Utd versus Arsenal in the Champions League. Other half is glued.

Favourite kid's film

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang probably but I was scared of the child catcher

Favourite Holiday Spots

Orlando Florida. Paris. Rome. Peebles Hydro ( Scottish Borders). Sharrow Bay in Ullswater. Chicago ( Expat mum- are you listening?)

What are you reading right now?

Blackwell Companion to Bible and Culture. Magazines-I just love them- a real weakness.

Four words to describe you

Optimistic. Cheerful. Focussed. Intuitive

Guilty pleasure?

How long do I have? Wine. Cheese. Expensive Hotels. Expensive Cars. Celebrity Magazines. Handbags. Coffee..........( is that enough?)

Who or what can make you laugh until you are weak?

It takes a lot to really make me laugh. I am very cheerful anyway and see humour in lots of things every day. Some of the best laughs I have ever had were in hospital -gallows humour I suppose, but we had some great times.
My mum and I can get really silly if we are in the mood, and can laugh for hours. We have lots of 'in jokes'.

First Spring thing?

Daffodils of course- it's the Lakes. I fill the house with them- I love them.

Planning to travel next?

Seattle. San Juan Islands and perhaps Vancouver. After this? Dubai

Best thing you ate and drink recently?

Fillet Steak and Foie Gras at Matsuri Japanese restaurant in London. Organic red wine from the wine supplier Organico near the office.

When did you last get tipsy?

The day teenager went to Oz. Two glasses of sauvignon on an empty stomach. I forgive myself!! Medicinal.

Favourite ever film?

The Goodbye Girl ( starring Richard Dreyfuss). Jesus of Nazareth ( starring Robert Powell). Conan the Barbarian ( just for the thighs really)

Care to share some wisdom?

Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want.

People are doing the best they can with the resources they have available to them at the time

Don't cry over anything that can't cry over you

If you could change any practice or law in your country what would it be?

Ban mobile speed cameras

Rules of the meme.
Respond and rework.
Answer questions on your own blog.
Replace one question.
Add one question.
Tag 8 people.

I tag:

Squared Off
Busy Bee Suz
Fresh as a Daisy
Travelling Typhoon
Jessica's World
Dreaming of a size twelve

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Beady eye?

For those readers with beady eyes you may be a bit suspicious about the fact you haven't heard a thing recently about............

1. my diet

2. the university course: my MA in religious studies at Lancaster.

So, I got weighed last Tuesday and hadn't lost anything because of the trip to London: check out those petit fours on the recent London post. I blame them. I have had a good week this week and get weighed tomorrow. All is on track- I am not slacking.

And university. My 'the bible and culture' module starts tomorrow. I am hoping to write an essay on this topic. That reminds me.... better go and do the reading....

The heating

This morning when we left for the office ( pretty early on) we had to de-ice the car. It has been freezing cold and raining all day. Clouds, black skies, unremitting darkness, low pressure and gloom. When I got it the house was freezing. I now have the heating on full. It feels like November and it is nearly May.
Depressing. With the weather, and all this swine flu hysteria, it's enough to make a girl want to hibernate.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Six Floor Barbie Store

I have just heard on the news that a six floor Barbie store has just opened in Shanghai. A lifestyle promoted for young people by Barbie. Clothes, dolls, furniture..... it looked very 'pink' from what I could see on the TV. Six floors? Apparently it is very busy and successful so far.

I must admit I loved my Barbie, Sindy and Pippa dolls when I was a little girl and played with them for hours and hours.

Maybe I am really a Barbie girl?

Saturday, 25 April 2009

News from down under

I never thought it would be so hard. I knew I would miss teenager, but I didn't realise how much.
I have a had a couple of bad nights wondering what on earth I have done agreeing to this trip....
But then...
I hear what a wonderful time he is having. And it makes it all worth it. He is already a member of an Aussie rules football club. He has been on a school to Melbourne City. He has been cross country running, and has done athletics. He has seen kangaroos bouncing from a distance. He has been to a real Aussie rules football match in Melbourne. It sounds very exciting, and he has even fitted in a few days of school into all of this. Today we spoke on the phone. It was lovely to hear his voice.
It makes it worth it. I will keep busy....

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Wednesday - it must be Hawick?

In the last week it has been trains, planes and automobiles. Planes last Wednesday, then trains and automobiles on Thursday. Taxis on Friday, Saturday and Sunday ( and feet too- lots of walking). On Monday it was the bus, today it was the tube and Docklands light railway, the Virgin Pendalino and the car.

We started the morning by going to a Human Resources and Training exhibition at Excel in London. Apparently this is where the G20 summit was held recently. We came back from London to Birmingham on the train, and I drove the rest of the way home to the lovely Lakes from there.

I love London- for shopping and a treat. But it is too damned busy and crowded for more than a few days. And how people commute day in, and day out I will never know. I admire their determination. I went to university in London, and lived and worked there for a few years. I don't miss it but I am glad I have done it. I appreciate my life in the country so much more because of it.

I left other half in Birmingham- bless him. He is working there until Thursday. I have got back in, unpacked and washing machine has never stopped. Everything put away, hung up and tidy. All my new skinny tops ( well skinny for me anyway) hanging pride of place in the wardrobe.

And now, I am packing to go away til Friday. Off to Hawick on the Scottish Borders for lunch with a good mate, and a meeting. Then off to Darlington for work for a couple of days. Back on Friday. Need to pay for all the extravagances! Will see a couple of colleagues over there who are also good friends. We will have a great laugh.

It's all go this week. I am looking forward to the weekend and a quieter week next week. I am glad it is busy this week- taking my mind of my travelling son. I miss him a lot.

PS- teenager off on a school trip to Melbourne city centre on a school trip tomorrow.... he likes the school he is at. He describes it as 'laid back' !! He has played Aussie Rules football and has been cross country running. It's all go over there. Sounds wonderful.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Picture update of an interesting week

Here is the display of candles and flowers put out in the evening in the hotel lobby in London- absolutely lovely ( the picture doesn't really do it justice at all, and the scent is wonderful too).

Outside the hotel - a McLaren F1 ( apparently) - the fastest car on the road? Teenager would love one... we haven't seen the driver yet.

These are the petite fours with the coffee at Tom Aitken- a complete meal in itself. Notice the test tubes at the back full of beautiful fruitie smoothie type concocotions. The lollipops were full of exploding sherbert. Very interesting. Every piece made with the finest eye for detail.

Earlier in the week....Teenager on his way to Oz- doesn't he look like the international traveller?

We were able to watch his plane from here and he could see us waving. It looked to be a huge plane. It was tough seeing the plane taxi-ing away with teenager in it. We couldn't watch it take off though. I think that would have finished me off to be honest.

Mum and Dad recover from his departure in London, with an apple martini and a caramel old fashioned in Harvey Nicks. Cocktails. Yum.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Weekend in London

We are having a wonderful time. After dinner at Tom Aitken on Friday ( divine) and another wonderful dinner at Matsuri on Saturday ( strictly avoiding carbs mind you !) we can confirm that all is going very well down here in the Smoke.
On Friday, Other Half won an award for sharing knowledge across a business network, and the business won an award for performance. We were in very good spirits. We got a lovely bottle on champagne which we put in the hotel on arrival. The room we booked wasn't ready ( this happened to me last week) so we were upgraded ( hurrah- but why does this never happen to me on airlines?) and have got a lovely big room on the eleventh floor overlooking the Millenium Eye and Big Ben.

The hotel in Knightsbridge is within strolling distance of Harrods, and spitting distance from Harvey Nichols. This is why I chose it- lots of looking in the shops.
So far I have bought a pair of jeans, two tops ( Monsoon- yes I finally fit into their clothes ), one pair of shoes, a handbag and matching wallets............. just as well I am back to work today.
I had to laugh yesterday though. I was wandering around in Harvey Nichols in the lingerie department looking at the lingerie. Elle McPherson's Intimates range, to be precise. She is a model with the nickname 'The Body'. A very small body by the look of it.
As I browsed through the range a song came on called 'I need a miracle'. Do you know it? I burst out laughing. I would certainly need a miracle to fit into any of that stuff!! At least another five stone to get into the largest size.
And just WHO is small enough to fit into the designer ranges? Who are they? Have you ever seen anyone buying any of these flimsy tiny things worth hundreds of pounds? I think I know two people small enough to wear those clothes out of about ten thousand I have met!! I would love to be very slim, but I honestly don't think I would like to be that thin.

I have been pretty good on my diet. We have walked a lot, and I have avoided sweet and sticky food, and carbs. Main sin has been lovely wine and a Brandy Alexander at the fabulous Mandarin Oriental Cocktail bar last night.....

Yes- it's been great!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Bright Lights.............

Wednesday and seeing our lovely son off was one of the toughest days of my life. I was heartbroken. Then we got a call from him from Dubai ( Dubai!!) to say he was having an 'awesome' time. Then we got a call to say he had arrived safely in Melbourne. Just now I got a text to say he has been playing Aussie rules football, the weather is perfect and he loves everything. He sounds very happy and relaxed.

As a result so are mum and dad.

It reminds me that some of the best results and learnings come from pushing yourself out of the comfort zone. We have all been way out of our comfort zone with this trip, but I am 100% sure it will have many positive benefits for us all.

So, other half and I are in London. Today we work, and tomorrow we play play play. Time to relax, and enjoy being a couple.

I will report back on our London adventures over the weekend.

Thanks so much to all of you for your support and encouragement.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Two more pounds- weigh in news

I have done it- hit the three stone mark. I lost another two pounds at weigh in tonight despite having wine and two dinners out at friends over the Easter weekend ( protein and veg only mind you). I now have lost forty two pounds altogether.

What has made the difference is doing exercise,and making wise choices when I have decided to eat 'real' food. I have stuck to the LighterLife programme most of the time. I think the Wii fit will be a real help.

PS- teenager now in bed but nerves have suddenly hit big time. I hope he sleeps. I think we are all sorted out so bring on the sunrise and let's get the show on the road! Over and out from fraught ( and slimmer) mother.

support needed- please contribute generously

Tomorrow teenager flies out to Melbourne Australia for ten weeks. Even though my geography isn't the greatest I know that is a long way from here. 10550 mile to be precise.
He is so excited and the people he is staying with sound wonderful. Teenager is already in touch with their son who is going to school with over there- he will be there for a whole term.
What an experience. The furthest we got with school was a geography school trip to the beach or a day out at the local museum.
It is such a fabulous opportunity for him- I can hardly take it in. He is going to Sydney while he is there too. WOW!
His case is packed. His paperwork is done. The airline have been called to confirm his status as an unaccompanied minor ( he is chaperoned all the way through the process including a stop over in Dubai- for my nerves- not his!).
He goes all on his own. It's part of the adventure. He is completely up for the challenge. It's an opportunity offered by his school as part of their international strategy.
So- I am like a rabbit in headlights. I can't think straight. Like my brain is frozen in ice. I can't even decide if I want tea or coffee. I am just numb.
Tomorrow at eleven he checks in at Manchester airport and that's it. The bird will fly. Mum will be left in the nest with dad. We will just be staring at each other. What happened to that baby boy? Where did the time go?


Mum, dad and Grandma will be fine. Really! X

The Wii Fit

I have finally bought a Wii fit. It says I have a fit age of fifty nine. The worst of it- I agree with it!!
It is great fun, and we have now all had a go. I have told teenager that I will be working on it full time when he is away, so that when he gets back I will be really good on everything and will hold all the house records. He is not convinced.
I think it will be really good for toning up. I like the stepping exercises though my co-ordination is dire. I am really woeful at the heading and the tightrope. Must practise.
Oh yes.... and I must mention the hula hoop exercise. It is so difficult but it must be so good for the waist line. Watch this space for progress.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Hot Cross Buns

One of my favourite traditions over Easter is yummy Hot Cross Buns. And being in Church over the weekend makes it easy to get access to lots and lots of them...

Because of my diet I decided I would have one half as a treat on Good Friday afternoon. When it got round to having it though I thought... these are the type of thing that got me into all the bother in the first place. So I had one bite, and left it at that. I was proud of my restraint.

Next year, when I am at ideal weight I will have a whole one, and I will enjoy every bite.

Meanwhile, check out the picture of teenager buttering lots of hot cross buns ready to feed all the kids who attended the Good Friday workshops. He doesn't even like them so wasn't a bit tempted!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Son Rise Service on Adelaide Hill

Where was I at six o clock this morning? Up on Adelaide's Hill in Windermere at the 'son rise' service. It is an Easter service run by local Churchs. Here are the views from our service.

I went with my friend Ann. We were really impressed with ourselves! As you can see it was worth getting up at such an early hour. It was freezing cold, but the scenery was fabulous.
After a hot cup of coffee I was back in bed again by half seven, warming my freezing cold feet up on an unimpressed other half.
We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

He is risen! Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! At our Church we decorate our cross with daffodils. Looks beautiful.

The flowers all over the Church are just glorious- we have some talented florists!

Here are the three most loved people in my life at Church with me. OH, teenager and wonderful mum. After Church we went for a lovely Sunday lunch in a local hotel ' The Hideaway'.

Grandma and teenager......

Mum and teenager- two more days before he goes to Oz.........I am being brave.

I love Easter and we have had such a happy time the last few days.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!
Don't change horses ...........until they stop running.
Strike while the .............................bug is close.
It's always darkest before .........................................Daylight Saving Time.
Never underestimate the power of ...........................termites.
You can lead a horse to water but ...........................How?
Don't bite the hand that ..............................looks dirty.
No news is ...................impossible
A miss is as good as a ...................................Mr.
You can't teach an old dog new .............................Math
If you lie down with dogs, you'll ...................................stink in the morning.
Love all, trust ..................................Me.
The pen is mightier than the ...........................pigs.
An idle mind is .............................the best way to relax.
Where there's smoke there's ...................................pollution.
Happy the bride who .......................gets all the presents.
A penny saved is ...........................not much.
Two's company, three's ..........................the Musketeers.
Don't put off till tomorrow what put on to go to bed.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and ...................You have to blow your nose.
There are none so blind as .............................Stevie Wonder.
Children should be seen and not .........................spanked or grounded.
If at first you don't succeed ......................get new batteries.
You get out of something only what you ..............................See in the picture on the box
When the blind lead the blind ..........................get out of the way.
A bird in the hand going to poop on you.

And the WINNER and last one!
26. Better late than ...................................Pregnant

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

another two pounds...

So- that's forty pounds altogether, and two more to go before the big three stone target. Had photos taken yesterday so I promise to post them if I can get them electronically. Then you can see the difference! (and so can I!!)

Despite having a few lovely days in London planned next week and two weeks in the glorious USA at the end of May, I have decided to stick to the programme throughout, although I will be eating a bit while on both holidays ( and definitely drinking!!)

I want to lose the rest by my birthday which is in October. Four more stone for sure, and maybe five.

And in five pounds time, it's back to the personal trainer. Very strict but the results are brilliant, and I haven't got the self discipline to push myself as much as I need to in the gym. He works with teenager and the results have been transformational.

Hope you are all having a fabulous week.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

no longer my own disciple

I am no longer following myself folks and thanks for all the technical advice- it worked. Problem is I now only have thirty two followers again instead of thirty three ... anyone like to oblige?
Maybe those of you who read blogs but don't yet have your own blog yet? Why not get inspired and join our happy throng of mates in cyberspace? You won't regret it!!

Have been very busy. Visiting family in North East, spending time at St James' Park with teenager welcoming Alan Shearer as new Toon Army manager ( poor misguided soul) and watching NUFC losing two nil to Chelsea on Saturday afternoon ( why was anyone really surprised at this?).

Today I read twice at Church. A new testament reading, and Psalms. At one point I was threatened with singing a refrain ( laudate dominum etc) but the congregation was very happily spared. It was in latin as well- what a treat that would have been. It's Palm Sunday today too so we had a hosanna procession around the Church- very jolly.

I also did about six laps of walk and jog around the local park with mum- lots of fresh air, daffodils and blue skies. Very virtuous. Hoping for another two pounds off at weigh in. Collective prayers from you all please. Mum bought me some lovely beads for losing three stone. I will wear them with pride tomorrow. All the treats are a great incentive.

Got the car washed ( it was foul), filled up with petrol, did a supermarket shop and packed ready for two days away on business in the North East tomorrow. It will be good to chill out in that lovely hotel room,and to have a swim in the pool.

Y'all have a wonderful week.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Following myself

In attempt to follow a blog I did something rather silly and I am now following myself. Any one spotted that?
Not an attempt to look popular, just a slip of the finger. So I have investigated how I get rid of myself, and it appears I have to block myself from my own blog. Help please!!

What is the point of head colds?

Having been bugged earlier in the week by sore throat, it has now been followed up by a head cold. I could do without it. But since when was there ever a good time? And what is the point of them anyway? Horrible pointless things and still no cure.

Anyway, there is a bit of silver lining as a result. I was supposed to have a meeting today in Durham. Teenager was going to come with me before we go to see North East Grandma ( other half's mum). However, I really don't like forcing myself in meetings on people who don't deserve to catch cold. I think it is so unfair to sit and snort hack and sneeze over unsuspecting people, who will probably then end up in the same situation. I have cancelled the meeting, leaving teenager and I with the opportunity to see Alan Shearer unveiled ( why do they use that ridiculous word, we know what he looks like!) at St James' park as the new manager ( see squared off's post for what I am talking about for those out of the country). This happens at noon. Teenager is very excited about it. I am not too sure what will happen but they are expecting crowds to gather. ( curious this- why won't people be at work... perhaps they all have head colds like me?)

Will report back on what we discover. And I promise not to sneeze on him. He needs to be fit for Saturday's match.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Personal comments about my trousers

I never thought I would be happy about negative remarks about my clothes.
But today it has been really good.
Four different, unrelated people in different places told me my trousers are far too big.
I will recycle them. Size sixteen M and S jeans- too big. Baggy. Saggy.
They have been packed away in the no way too small pile for years AND NOW THEY ARE TOO DAMNED BIG.

A day in the Lakes

Think I will have a take it easy day today. It has been so busy and exciting. Time for a chill out.
I am going to meet some friends at Church. There is a service at 10am held on a Wednesday, and one of my friends has a birthday today so we thought we would have a little celebration at coffee afterwards.
Since Easter is on its way, I think it is time for me to become more seriously reflective about what this time of year means for me and the Christian community.
I do not talk a lot about my faith but it is very important to me, and of great comfort and support. I find engaging in all the prayer, reflection and activity at Easter very helpful and inspiring, and it is a time of year that I really love. The weather is brightening, the daffodils are out, the nights are lighter, and I always feel my energy rising.
I will start the run up to Easter by reading in Church on Sunday. There is a service on every night next week, and on Good Friday mum and I will go to the Good Friday workshops where we help children with activities and play in the morning. We always do the Easter Gardens stall which is messy but fun. The kids get to try lots of activities and crafts, and hear about the Easter story. We then have hot cross buns and coffee ( will I be able to resist?- I love hot cross buns- mum will have to keep a very keen eye on me I think).
On Good Friday afternoon there is three hours reflection by the cross. There are prayers, readings and small sermons throughout the afternoon, and plenty of reflection time. It is a quietly dramatic space and very powerful. At three o clock there is tea and hot cross buns, this time served by my good self. Again- I will have to be guarded.
On Saturday we decorate the Church with flowers: it always looks wonderful. We have so many talented florists and crafty people in the congregation. In the evening we are having some friends down for a few glasses of wine. We haven't seen them for ages and it will be fun to catch up.
Easter Sunday is a packed and joyful service. It is one of the days where we can't find enough seats for everyone. It is a very happy time and we have wine after the service instead of coffee!
Easter Sunday afternoon traditionally is chocolate egg day. It will be for my two boys, but not a bite will pass my lips. EASTER BUNNY IF YOU ARE LISTENING I WOULD LIKE A PANDORA CHARM INSTEAD PLEASE- LESS FATTENING.
Easter Monday we have been invited out for supper. I may indulge, but no carbs of course!
All in all, we will have a good time. I am looking forward to it, and it feels like the Easter reflections will start today for me.