Thursday, 1 June 2017

Chit-chat about my Slimming World journey

Dieting and weight loss. Is there a woman out there who hasn't dieted at some stage or another? Well I am certainly no exception. Since working from home two years ago, the weight slowly began to creep on. I was no longer walking home from work or walking around town at lunchtimes. All that exercise adds up on a daily basis! Added to that, the doctor prescribed me medication which slowed me down and made me too inactive to exercise. 

After trying calorie counting and Slimfast, (neither worked for me), I decided to join Slimming World. I knew a few girls who had tried this in the past and had fantastic results so I knew it worked. 

I went along to my first few classes and had my doubts. There was so much 'free' food that I was allowed to eat. How on earth would I lose weight if I was eating loads of pasta and potatoes each day? 

But I kept going, kept turning up for the weekly class and began to learn about 'speed foods' and 'protein foods'. As long as half of my plate (or a third of my plate) was speed, I was on track! 

Right enough, the weight began to come off and I have lost half a stone so far! :) I have another half stone to go and then I'll see if I want to lose any more than that. It's a "diet" that I feel can be sustainable. I don't feel starving or deprived and yet I'm losing weight! Result! 

I've also started cooking a lot more, which I love. I find that pottering around in the kitchen is so relaxing and therapeutic. It helps me to cook up ideas for my next chapter! ;) Here's some pics on a sausage casserole I made. Absolutely delicious and totally filling! 



Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Chit-chat - Fabulous book reviews!

Hi all :) I thought I'd share with you about some wonderful books I've been reading lately. 
1. The No Spend Year - by Michelle McGagh 

A fascinating account of how one woman set herself a challenge to spend absolutely nothing for an entire year! No clothes, no make-up, no going out - nothing. Only the absolute bare essentials - electric, mortgage, minimal food budget. I found this book fascinating and it really made me think about my own spending. Would I deprive myself of hairdresser visits and face cream potions though? I don't think so!


2. Pauline Quirke - Where have I gone? 

This was Pauline's very honest account of how she lost a ton of weight. Having to ask for a seat-belt extension on a plane was her rock bottom moment when she decided enough was enough. Opting to do the 'Ligher Life' diet, she proceeded to eat absolutely nothing. Not a single morsel of solid food went past her lips. Instead, she was given four sachets a day to which she added boiling water. This contained her calories and nutrients for the day. Not only did she come across as lovely and very down to earth, she was extremely honest about her weight loss journey.


3. Sister Sister - by Sue Fortin 

This is a fantastic psychological thriller which kept me on my toes wondering what would happen next. There are two sisters - reunited after a very long time apart. One sister is very jealous and doesn't trust the other. The second sister seems to muscling in on the family and trying to steal the other's husband! I loved the flow of this novel and the description of family life. 



4. My Sweetest Revenge - by Jane Fallon 

One of my favourite authors, Jane Fallon is hilarious! Long term partner of Ricky Gervais; those two must have such a giggle. This book is about a woman who finds out that her husband is having an affair. Rather than confront the husband, she sets out to gain her revenge. Full of twists and turns, this book is unputdownable. 






Monday, 29 May 2017

My new novel - The Year of No Rules


Thank you so much everyone for your support about my new novel - "The Year of No Rules". I am so grateful for all the lovely comments. I haven't made a You Tube video in a while so I thought I'd sit down and tell you all about my new novel. Check out my vlog below!


"The Year of No Rules" is due for release in November of this year and here is the book blurb: 


When Sasha falls in love with Kirk, she can’t believe her luck. He’s gorgeous, charismatic and charming. Within months he’s even discussing the ‘M’ word – marriage.
But there’s one problem – he’s given her a list of rules to sign.
Blindly led by her infatuation (and the fact that she’s been single forever) – she agrees to sign it.
Until everything goes horribly wrong.
Picking herself up and boldly moving on as a ‘No Rules’ girl, can Sam tame her independent streak?
Or will Sasha be able to make Kirk come crawling back? 
Follow Sasha in her year of no rules!


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Overheard conversation

Last week I overheard a heated conversation between a man and woman in town. The conversation sounded pretty scandalous so I shared the tit-bits on Facebook that I heard. A few people wondered what happened next. So, just for fun, here's how the conversation continued.... (according to me that is!) 😊 


Her: I mean, have you thought about anything I’ve said at all?

Him: Of course I have.

Her: You do know there’s help available?

Him: I know. But it seems so cringe.

Her: But you’re going to have to do something. This can’t go on Jake.

Him: I know, I know. Please stop nagging me about it.

Her: Nagging you? Jake, I walked in on you with Sarah. You think I can just turn a blind eye to that?

Him: I know but it didn’t mean anything Amy. I was drunk.

Her: Jake, Sarah is my best friend. What were you thinking?

Him: I swear, it just happened. I didn’t mean anything to happen.

Her: Well, this has put me in a very difficult position. Sarah is my best friend and in a few months I’m to be bridesmaid to your fiancée! How can I walk up the aisle behind Joanne knowing what you’ve done to her?


Him: Amy, I’m begging you, please don’t tell Joanne. It meant nothing and it’ll only ruin everything if you tell her. Please Amy, you’re my best mate.

Her: For god’s sake, this is putting me in such a position.

Him: I know, I’m so sorry.


Her: Don’t apologise to me Jake. You’ll have to apologise to both of them. I’m sorry Jake, but they’re both sitting waiting in the pub for us. I’ve already told them. I couldn’t carry this secret anymore. You’re going to have to sort out your own mess this time.
(Opens door to pub where Sarah and Joanne are waiting anxiously). 
Goodbye Jake.


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Great Debate - House Cat or Outdoor Cat?

New year, new cat. At the start of the year, I was given a beautiful white male cat – nine months old. I called him ‘Snowy’ – as most of you will know via my constant photos on Facebook.

I did all the suggested things – took him to the vet, got his injections, his worming tablets, cleaning fluids for his ears and got him neutered. The latter he was none too pleased about. Coming back home he gave me a dagger look which said “I can’t believe you did that to me”.

But anyway, moving on. It had been quite some years since I owned a cat (since my teenage years in fact) and I was really pondering the great debate. Do I let the cat go outside to play or do I keep him indoor as a house cat?

Delving into this question, I realised there is a great debate and people sway very adamantly on one side or the other.

I have one sister who has owned a cat for 12 years. Mo was let out once as a young cat and went missing for two weeks. We searched high and low, placed notices on lamp-posts; went round knocking all the neighbours’ houses. We even, alas, phoned the Council to see if a dead cat had been collected. Thankfully, there hadn’t. In fact, my sister received a phone-call not long after to say that a neighbour recognised the cat from the photo on the lamp-post and the cat had indeed been camping out in her garage. Happily, Mo was reunited to Rhoda and has never had any interest in going outside since.


My other sister has owned a couple of cats and is of the ‘let them outside to play’ argument. She believes that a cat should be given the freedom to run wild and chase birds, as nature intended.

When Snowy first arrived with me, I was sure I’d be in the ‘house cat’ camp. I couldn’t imagine the fear and worry every time he left the house. What if he’s got in a fight with another cat? What if a car has knocked him over? Or, what if, god forbid, someone else clapped their eyes on him and stole him?

Alas, I ordered loads of cat toys online with a view to keeping him occupied in the apartment. Here’s the thing, Snowy tires of toys very quickly. An hour’s active play and then he’s bored. The only ‘toy’ he has still kept interest in is the lid of a red biro!

So, one night he kept meowing at the front door. Meowing and meowing as if I was holding him hostage in a prison. Tentatively, I opened the front door and let him view the big bad world. He sniffed, he trotted and the next thing he was running away. Well, that was scary. But I just sat there for a while and ten minutes later he came running back again.
The next time he wanted out, he was out for an hour. Then another hour. But then one day he didn’t come home. Twenty-four hours passed and I was at my wit’s end. I had a tension headache from worrying about him. What he couldn’t find his way home? What if he’d gotten in a fight? What if he’d been run over?

I imagined having to tell my friend Paula – the girl who had given me the cat in the first place. Imagine her disappointment that I’d managed to lose him after only a couple of months!

And then, out of the blue, a loud meowing could be heard outside the window. I opened the door and he sauntered in. Rolled on the floor wanting his tummy tickled, trotted off to get some food and then slept for a day solid.

Now he comes and goes as he pleases. When he returns, he’s tired, sleeps for ages and eats lots. But he seems happier. He’s not running around the apartment demented, trying to burn up energy chasing a red biro lid. He’s outside burning up lots of energy instead.


I can totally understand people’s reasons for keeping their cat as a house cat, and even Cats Protection recommend it. But unfortunately for me, Snowy has told me that he’s an outdoor cat and there’s nothing I can do about it! 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Book Review - "Room" by Emma Donoghue

Oh my word. What an amazing book. When people say "I couldn't put it down" - I LITERALLY could not put it down. I was supposed to be writing on Sunday but instead I downed tools and listened to this audio book from lunch time until I finished it at 11.30pm that night. 

Initially, I had resisted reading this book. When it first came out a couple of years ago and was a massive hit, I read the blurb and thought 'oh dear, that sounds really depressing, I'm not sure I could handle that'. I knew it was about a woman locked in a room with her son and I worried that the book would feel really claustrophobic and horrible. 



However, after huge recommendations from my sister, and the fact that the book popped up in audible's daily deal, I thought I'd give it a go. 

At first, I found it a little hard to get used to the boy's voice as narration, but by the end of the book, I thought he was a complete dote and I loved listening to his voice. Also, I think that the fact that the book is told from his childlike narration makes this book bearable. If told from the mother's perspective, I think it would have been too heart-breaking. But instead, viewing the room through the boy's eyes, we see that what would normally be oppressive and claustrophobic is narrated through his simplistic and child-like eyes. 



This is a book that lived in my head even when I wasn't listening to it. I began to think about real-life cases - Josef Fritzl and the terrible tragedy that his daughter Elizabeth endured. Emma Donoghue dramatises this scenario and makes us comprehend the deep deep trauma that this tale involves. It also made me think of the Stockholm Syndrome, where the boy has actually become climatised to his environment.
 
Interesting too, that the boy's way of coping with the pain was to count. Counting his teeth. Counting the number of times the bed creaks. His OCD as a coping mechanism to deal with emotional pain. 


Whilst this all sounds heavy and hard-going, there is also the incredible and bond and love between the mother and boy. There is his complete reliance and trust in her. And there is bravery and courage amidst desperate struggle. 


I am looking forward to watching the film version as I hear from reviews that it has stayed very true to the book.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

We have a Winner!



We have a winner! Please watch video to see the draw! 

Thank you so much everyone for taking part! There were loads of entries! Stay tuned, I'm sure I will have another giveaway soon! 

Happy Sunday everyone and hope you all have a gorgeously lazy day x x