Leapin’ All Over February!

I started this month with every good intention going.  I spent January feeling fat and frumpy  … and I needed to step up for the sake of my IBS.  I need expert help to get me back on the straight and narrow – I’m meaning more like low calorie foods that people enjoy and that fill them up, or drinking a glass of water before a meal – rather than those encouraging words ‘Step away from the kids sweet jar fatty!’ –  or ‘Put that glass of wine down thunder thighs!’ Obviously they too have a great effect – but I needed some positive reinforcements rather than admonishments that make me feel as bad as I look!!  Pete convinced me to do Diet Chef with him and, after not much persuasion, I am. It’s perfectly pleasant , in fact it saves me a whole host of shopping, preparing and cooking, but in just shy of a month I haven’t lost any weight (in fact I put on nearly 6 pounds in the first couple of weeks!!) and he’s lost nearly a stone!  I’m not impressed. (Shrugs) … but the jury is out for now, until we cease this fad or run out of money … whichever comes first!

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Archie has a lovely new PA, who’s been on board since just before Christmas.  A medical student (how handy!) and a vegan (how frightening!)!  It’s not like I’m a massive meat-eater, but I don’t have much experience of vegans.  I like to try to accommodate the PA’s as best I can and to feed them whilst they’re with me, especially if they’re here over mealtimes (not that I’m bound to by contract – so on days with all the to-ing and fro-ing it’s truly impossible and I try not to feel guilty,  but I figure it’s only polite and I am a bit of a feeder/over-hoster and therefore if I can, I will)… anyway where veganism is concerned I’ve been coming a bit unstuck.  There’s only so much fruit/veg/salad combos that hit the right note.  I’ve been trying really hard and it’s quite frankly astounded me – some of the slightly bizarre things I’ve passed off as perfectly edible vegan food.  However,  I did recently come across a recipe for ‘Easy No Sugar Energy Bars’ and they’re vegan too.  I managed to sample (prior to me starting Diet chef I hasten to add) and they’re super tasty – although I have modified them slightly, to appeal to my tastebuds even more http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-3-ingredient-energy-bars-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-184306  For my personal recipe  it was more than the 3 ingredients of the original.  I found it a little dry so I bound it together with coconut oil and more dates and I added sunflower seeds and flax seeds.  I found that almonds and dried cranberries with a handful of sultanas  work really well and taste lovely.  I’ve since paired down the fruit and added more seeds and nuts and a hefty tablespoon of vegan raw cocoa powder, as a chocolatey alternative.  They really are super easy, anyone can make them, and they taste fab … and it means I can now offer Archie’s PA a cuppa and a piece of this, even if we have nothing else remotely vegan-friendly in the kitchen.  It stores in the fridge for some time too.  Win:win 🙂

 

Secret Love Son

I’m loving Little Mix & Jason Derulo’s Secret Love Song  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgy7vEje5-w

I first heard it just before Christmas and it’s steadily grown on me.  Jason Derulo’s voice, in fact Jason Derulo full stop…  is beyond gorgeous.  His vocals set my pulse racing and I think the Little Mix girls sound particularly good on this track too. I think all of a sudden they’ve taken a step away from poppy ‘pop’ and show a bit more depth and maturity and it really, really works for me.

Another hit with me at the moment is Coldplay’s  Adventure of a Lifetime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtXby3twMmI&list=PLzyYbaYKbahnEmFJFyxlURFHhSc74l5C7 The lyrics really resonate and when it comes on the radio it brings tears to my eyes in a good way.  I’ve always been a Coldplay fan and I think this track really shows their talent and everything I’ve come to love about them.

 

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Yorkshire is known for its weather extremes – normally of the adverse variety… but during February it’s been cracking the flags one minute and snowing the next and my lips are literally cracking up!   I really struggle to find lipsticks and lip balms that work for me, as I’m really sensitive and have a lot of allergies.  Pete found me this one and put it into my stocking at Christmas and it’s really come into it’s own of late.   At £15 a pop it’s not cheap… but it’s worth every penny.  It’s light and doesn’t leave a residue and my lips instantly feel relief. https://gayacosmetics.com/shop/lip-balm/

 

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I’ve left an almost comfortable pause since the diet talk, so I’ll tell you now all about another discovery!  I found Joe & Seph’s popcorn some time ago (if you haven’t tried it you must -it’s beyond delicious), but, with the help of a small competition win, I discovered their Salted Caramel Sauce.  Now, obviously, I was sticking to my diet – but I knew someone who would appreciate this just as much as me, if not moreso.  It was my Dad’s birthday in February and it would have been rude not to make him a cake.  As, we didn’t want the remainder of a cake in the kitchen, Scarlett and I decided to make cupcakes instead and I made a chocolate buttercream, infused with the salted caramel sauce and dressed with the popcorn.  They seemed to be a hit.  We shared them amongst the rellies at my Dad’s birthday dinner and the remainder we distributed around the neighbours – so no excuse for naughtiness!  Oh, and I didn’t hear any complaints!

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 My jaw is still TOTAL agony and when the pain killers are wearing off I’m a total cow!  I wouldn’t want to live with me right now.  I have however consulted twice now with the very lovely top expert at Yorkshire Clinic,  Mr Stephen Worrall, and after an MRI it’s not quite as serious as first suspected (so fortunately no new jaw for me, for now) …. continued pain relief and anaesthetic patches and hopefully the pain will up and go.  If not I’ll be right back.  In the meantime I’m instructed to practise my ‘resting bitch face’ for the least discomfort and I believe he said limited chores and the odd glass of good wine would help too, in fact anything to release the happy hormones … I’m certain that’s what he said!  He also clarified that it has absolutely NOTHING to do with talking – just in case you were wondering!?*

 

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But never mind me .. the medical highlight of my month has to be the trip to A&E with my soldier and the fact that, to cut a long and dramatic story ever so short, I spent just shy of an hour with my well-manicured (and fortunately surgical gloved) finger stuck in Archie’s gastro port (hole) after he decided to pull it out and in the absence of anything else suitable I just had to improvise!!  Massive thanks to CBeebies who entertained Archie for the entirety of the trauma (although it did add to the general excitement and wiggling) and of course I extend my thanks to the young surgical doctor with gastro training who finally excused herself from theatre to sort him out so that I could extract my finger and put it to better use!

I’ve been filing and decluttering at a rather impressive rate of late.  Not that you’d notice as an outsider at this early stage … but I’m on it and after such a great start I can but continue.  In this area February was a proactive milestone for sure!  The start of things to come, I’d like to think.

 

This Morning

THIS MORNING, years and years on, it really is a good day time programme.  I have to say I love Lorraine Kelly (met her years ago and she adored Tetley – so she’s a star in my book), and I miss Fern Britton terribly.  I honestly didn’t think I’d warm to Holly but she’s too lovely not to!  I particularly liked the opening glimpse I caught after the NTA Awards when they were still in their glad rags and confessing to being hungover.  That was a little bit of day time ‘comedy gold’ right there! I also absolutely love the honest expressions and understanding of Holly – she still has that heart-warming naivety that she just can’t hide.  Her and Phil have a lovely bond and I love the laughter at that bloopers.   Although I’m not quite sure anything will ever top the ‘Dunking Beef’ moment of hilarity way back when https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWIodGH2TIQ … I also love the innocence of Gino Di Campo – if his Grandmother had wheels she could be a bike don’t ya know! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6rQQrP9tZ4  Classic. Anyway – I digress … what I was going to say was, I caught quite a bit of the show on 27th January (laid on the sofa with my Day Nurse feeling thoroughly lousy). (I know it’s February – but I lost my notes and this was too good not to include).  Since then I’ve been ‘bouncing batteries,’ and I can’t wait to decorate!!  I have to say though – as much as I love a good ‘Post-It-Note’ (they’re all over the place in my house), so long as my keyboard keys are firm – I shall always use a hoover nozzle – as that trick left me feeling pretty bilious!  This said, I just love a good life hack (and Steve Wilson is quite cute too)!

This year’s off to a CRAP start, for me and mine at least, … so, as it’s a leap year – February is going to be a restart – we’ll chalk January down to bad timing. In February – I’m going to; find my mojo, stop shopping on the internet for expensive stuff that I don’t need, take more care of myself, give myself some time, step away from the alcohol and the sugar, start de-cluttering, organise re-decorating, oh and get a bloody grip.  I’m teetering on the brink …. but I’ll be damned if I’ll allow myself to slip over!

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I also have to rave about the theatre that we saw last month (well 31st of January if I’m perfectly honest) but this was seriously good theatre and I couldn’t not mention it.  I’ve not been to Hull Truck Theatre before – but it was far more modern and more impressive than I imagined (think Yorkshire Playhouse on a slightly smaller scale).  It was welcoming and sitting close to the stage you almost felt part of the show!  Imagine 2 hours of just 4 actors in a hugely impressive production and you probably wouldn’t get close.  We’re talking side-splitting humour, compassion, music and a welcome dollop of burlesque for good measure with undertones of jazz and hysteria to hold it together.  Exceptional musicians, sharp acting and the 1940’s costumes were absolutely spot on.  Together with a hefty portion of cake during  the interval (and a Red Devil energy drink to keep me awake after a long day) and my perfect night was born.  

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I believe Bugg’s brilliance is still doing the rounds around the country, so if it comes remotely near I urge you to try it.  You honestly  won’t be disappointed.

 

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I’m not sure if this is over or under or what … but I did find out last month,,, after some time of giving it no thought and completely forgetting about it , but I just discovered that I actually featured in a Mali music video!?*  Ario Star who is BIG in the music world in Mali and beyond (apparently) on his track Djuguya!!  It certainly made me smile and after a handful of plays to show the family the tune really grew on me.  Seriously, watch it from start to finish – I appear in it more than once … One to chalk off the bucket list I reckon!  I just wish my Mum was here to see it, I can remember mentioning it when I got back from Ibiza and she thought it was hilarious and that I was totally bonkers.  In a word – she’d have loved it and would have been telling everyone who’d listen! Ha!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEFeHyQx8dI

So I shall basque in the light of my pop video fame whilst wearing my resting bitch face, and leave you with that hopeless image, whilst hoping that March jogs on quite nicely.

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