My last cheese sandwich…

JUST before I launch into this, I want to issue a warning that what you are about to read is fundamentally a first world problem. I have written this in my lovely office watching the starlings squabble with the blue tits over a fat ball. Life is good. I am blessed.

And yes, this is mostly about a cheese sandwich. My last cheese sandwich, potentially. And a bag of crisps


Goodbye my faithful snack friends

(salt and vinegar-of course) and a cup of tea (builders).

Just after the festive season I had a good old look at myself and realised that if I don’t tackle the fat this year, when I am 48, it WILL be too late. My adoring husband may well love my heavenly curves, but the last bloke I married dumped me when I ‘ballooned’ from a size 12 to a 14 (I was preggers but hey ho) and I can’t be arsed with another divorce. Easier to ditch the fromage. I also want to look totally eff off amazing for my step daughter’s wedding in August, and not some frumpy mess in layers of chiffon with a stupid fascinator perched aloft to ‘give me a little much-needed height.’

Previously I have been a pretty healthy eater, regular dog walker, light drinker, non smoker, and occasional snacker. Unfortunately I have never been naturally slim, toned or bony and even though I am not a lazy cow who sits around eating biscuits all day, I put on weight very easily and have had a constant life battle with food and my body. Not helped by cheese sandwiches and crisps. Obvs. I often forget what I have actually eaten. I think that perhaps I was a Labrador in my last life.

So, 2016 is THE year I have decided when all this changes and I will be a size 10 by the summer. THIS summer-not next. That means shrinking from an ample (definitely on the cuddly side) of a size 14 which doesn’t sound too bad but believe me, it probably will be. Exercise will be required, along with lots of willpower.

To give the old chubbiness a bit of a kick start I thought I would try the SIRT diet. This is THE latest diet thing and is actually not really a diet-more a way of life (apparently).


My new constant companion

There is a lovely book out about it which I have duly purchased and even read. It gives you a shopping list, recipes and loads of reasons why SIRT foods are really good for you. Luckily for me, I already eat quite a few SIRT foods-things like kale, rocket, celery, green apples, tofu, butterbeans and so on. Even walnuts get a mention-happy days!


Keen not to be accused of following a fad, I did my research, fuelled entirely by the fact that you can actually lose 7 pounds in a week, and was thrilled to discover that MOST of the foods are easy to get-even in an Oxfordshire market town. So I made my list, ordered a juicer from Amazon and off I went in search of Kale, Matcha powder, buckwheat flour and other very worthy, healthy things that I didn’t even know existed-well apart from kale which figures quite prominently.

Despite looking very, very hard I failed to find anything buckwheat or matcha-y in my local supermarket (but I DID find that bloke who was on Come Dine with Me recently on TV who had a big old strop when he didn’t win, so it wasn’t an entirely wasted journey) so I came home and promptly put in an order to Holland and Barrett.

Keen to start and a-sirt myself (see what I did there!) I ploughed on anyway-juicing anything green and crunchy that came to hand. I soon decided that without the magic Matcha powder ( who knows what that is??), the green juice that you have to drink for the first few days was basically hard work and would try the will of the most staunchly committed vegan. I instead feasted on soba noodles and tofu. Tofu is controversial and is either loved or hated. I love it. What I do NOT love are  soba noodles. They  look like malnourished, slimy, juvenile earth worms and they did NOT enhance my stir fry experience-perhaps I am cooking them all wrong.

Having not received my order of SIRT essentials, but still being relatively keen to continue, I thought I know, I will do a gradual introduction of these new foods into my diet and then by the time the buckwheat and the matcha turn up I will be all over this bloody SIRT thing.

I did, of course, still expect to lose a couple of pounds at least. I mean all that kale must have some kind of slimming impact? Turns out that you can’t drink Prosecco, eat brie, finish off the panetonne from Christmas, and eat some kale and handful of walnuts and see the fat melt away. Not even after having a token cup of green tea (which I WAS told was the  miracle fat cure) Bugger. My gradual introduction plan has failed. I was bitterly disappointed.

OH well, I thought, I WILL do this diet but I will just wait a bit. So the ‘bit’ has turned into two weeks, because apart from anything else, Tesco will definitely be running low on kale and I still haven’t received my package from Holland Barret so what’s the point? I guess there must be a national shortage of buckwheat. Let’s try the all or nothing approach instead.

I was just doing a quick reassessment of the situation and decided that really we are half way through January now, and it is ALWAYS better to start at the beginning of the month so I will wait until February. But then we have pancake day, but that is fine because buckwheat pancakes a-go-go baby!

So imagine my horror today when the parcel turned up from Holland and Barrett. No excuse now is there?


Yey…buckwheat…can’t actually wait…


I HAVE to do this. I know that I can no longer eat cheese sandwiches and crisps and still wear normal clothes.

Kale and tofu sandwich? Anyone?





Ok so it’s January…get a grip people!

Yes it is the first and possibly dreariest month of 2016, and apparently tomorrow is officially THE most depressing day of the year-although as it is my dear sister-in-law’s birthday too she may have different ideas about that!

I am currently working on my first novel. I have written other books before but this is an actual grown up work of fiction. Its working title is I Thought I Knew You, and it has been a work in progress for a good couple of years. However, 2016 is the year it has to come to fruition and be actually finished.

The book follows the lives of various characters-some who have lives filled with abundance but genuinely think they have been dealt a shitty hand, and those who literally have nothing or are facing enormous challenges in their lives, but still find time for other people.

One of my characters spirals easily into a major breakdown because she can’t fit into her skinny jeans and her nanny decides to leave, another faces equally first world problems when she can’t have the dream house she feels she deserves. The main male character lies, cheats and is constantly looking for ways to make cash from anyone he comes into contact with, but maintains that the way his life has turned out is everyone else’s fault, and another character, Marcia, is dealing with the sudden and suspicious death of her husband.

The title of the book has been chosen to reflect the fact that sometimes we THINK we know everything about our friends but when things get really bad, the truth inevitably comes out. It is a book about those who have so much and don’t realise it, and those who have so little but just get on with it. I am particularly pleased with the ending but more of that later!

The books is not designed to be preachy BUT, and it is a BIG BUT my hope is that when people read it (fingers crossed they will!) it might just make them realise how lucky they are to have what they have. I am blessed with good health, an amazing family, loyal, kind and considerate friends and a job that I love. I live in an amazing place and I am writing this from my dream Nordic cabin at the bottom of my garden. I am very, very lucky.

I have two very good friends who are both battling breast cancer at the moment. They are amazing women and far, far too young to be going through all this. I have another friend who is dealing with the fact that after being married for 50 years, her parents now have to be cared for in care homes that are miles away from each other. Separation has been foisted onto them because of their advancing years and complex health issues, and they will never live as man and wife again. They have basically been forced into a divorce. After 50 years together in the same house, how can that be fair?

Another friend continues to fight for justice with a health organisation following the avoidable death of her son.

These, my friends, are things to be worried about. Life events that warrant more than a bit of a moan on social media. But these friends of mine don’t moan, they get on with it. They get up every day put on their lippy and start the fight all over again. And I know they will all continue to do this for as long as they need to. They have too much to lose to just give up and collapse in a heap of self indulgent misery-even though that is their entitlement.

So this month, our worst month when top of the list of worries are shockers such as supermarkets running out of the kale needed to feed our juicing habits, or how much we spent over Christmas or how  large our arse has become because of eating our bodyweight in Quality Street, or the fact that we MUST get to the sales and buy that must-have bargain, I would urge anyone who has worries of this level to take a step back, think and look at what you have around you. Chances are you are pretty damn lucky.