Hold onto your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride! Thank you for stopping by and joining me for a while. I've recently been juggling (as all mums do) more balls than I am comfy with, and just when I felt like a professional juggler - BAM!! I get hit with this - BREAST CANCER!! I'm hoping that writing this blog will serve as some sort of therapy for me, to get me through this 'rough patch' ahead.... if it's interesting, entertaining, thought provoking or helpful to anyone else out there then that's an added bonus. If you like what you read, please visit again or click the "join" button below, and feel free to spread the word.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

10K Triumph!

So today was a very big day, a mile stone you might say.   Well actually is wasn't a mile, it was 6!!   Today I took part in my first proper "race", the Brooks 10K in Brighton & Hove.  Back in the summer, as the memory of Race for Life began to fade, I was struggling with keeping up the momentum of getting out there regularly to run/jog and my fitness was suffering as a result.   A friend had asked me a few times to sign up for the 10K and I had flatly refused, it just seemed too far! for a newby to running.  Anyhow then my lovely sister-in-law said she was doing it, as did my Step Father who is nearly 70, so OF COURSE I had to sign up! How could I not?!

My training has been regular but I actually only managed two practice 10k's prior to today.   I have done plenty of 5k's now and few 7-8k's but always found it too much hard work to push myself on to the 10 on a regular basis.    So my Personal Best before today was 1 hour 11 mins - but today, boy did I beat it!    It does help that the Brooks is on very flat ground all along the promenade.   And it certainly helps that you have 2700 people running along with you.   But I am well chuffed to say that I ran it in 1 hr 4 mins & 27 secs!!   its all about the seconds you know.   It was great to run alongside my sister in law as we go at a similar pace but each didn't want the other to get in front! So actually we pushed each other along.   I shall be cheeky saying this but I beat her by 1 second! 

I really did push myself and I shall be paying for it tomorrow, my muscles are seizing up as I type.   I have to say how proud I am am of my Step Father.   He has been jogging since April this year and is aiming at running the Brighton Marathon next year.   He looks amazing, full of life and vitality and I felt very proud to see him run today.   Here we are with our medals....

Another reason to be proud is that we ran as part of a team raising money for SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity

Back in the summer I laughed at the suggestion of me running a 10K.    Today I laugh at the suggestion of me running a half marathon (a natural progression?) - so watch this space....


Friday, 11 October 2013

Hair update

For those of you who have read my posts from last year during my Annus horribilis (check Me out! that's Latin that is!), you may remember my new Skinhead look, well I thought I would post you a picture to show how much my hair has grown back.

I have many bad hair days but I'm really pleased with how its coming along.   This photo shows my slightly Grannyish blow dried look, but I often sport it in "messy mode" when I can't be bothered to dry it properly and it goes all flicky and wavy.  My DH says it has "more character" that way, mmmmmmm is that a compliment? not really sure, but he means well poor bloke.  The colour is very different to how I was pre Chemo.   As a child I was blonde so I kept lightening it for most of my adult life, briefly going dark auburn which I found too severe, so went back to blondie again.   Anyway, I haven't coloured my hair at all this year apart from a wash out Light Ash Brown back in April but during the summer it seems to have gone rather auburn on the top layer -  I quite like it and can't see many greys so it is staying for now.

My aim is to grow it into a wavy bob near my chin by my big 4-0 birthday in January.   I have to mention my lovely friend K who has been trimming my hair for me, keeping the dreaded mullet at bay - I always love our chats and a cuddle with Rosie (a gorgeous yellow Labrador).

Anyway, enough about me.... x

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Puppy love ...

Yes I know its be AGES since my last post! What can I say? Life just gets in the way sometimes.

So if anyone is gagging to know... my diet has pretty much petered out!   I can hear those "I told you so's" from here.    I stopped my Fast Diet the first week we got our new puppy.   It is very much like having a new baby, and believe me, fasting and babies do not mix.  You need energy for those early mornings and constant worrying and watching baby's every move.  OK, I know here the comparison ends, puppies are much more mobile than a new born baby - and I have never spent so much time in my garden, watching his every move and trying (in vain) to make sure he doesn't eat stuff that he shouldn't!    Prior to Max's arrival we thought our garden was Puppy Friendly because we blocked up places he could escape.   Errrrm - wrong!!!  NOW it is almost Puppy Friendly cos we have blocked off more spaces, cut back lots of bushes and cleared the ground of potentially poisonous fallen damsons and pears.  Apparently the stones and pips of such fruit are toxic to dogs!   I so wish I read this before he came home!

Anyway, I digress.   Max our puppy is a gorgeous black Labrador.   He is 10 weeks old tomorrow and has settled in really well.   So maybe now I can turn my attention back to what I eat, or don't eat.

Having said this my weight is down.   I did purchase some new scales.  My first "Home weigh in" on 18th Sept was 59.9kg (9st 4lb) which I was very pleased with.    Today I have weighed in (after breakfast, if it makes any odds) at 58.5kg (9st 2lb).   So YAY for the loss but that is over 3 weeks, so not great.    At least it's not a gain.

My scales read my BMI too - very clever, who knows how accurate it is!   So my current BMI is 23.7.  Better, but I want it to be closer to 20.  23.7 is still quite close to 25 and if your BMI is 25 or over, you are officially overweight.  As far as measurements go, my belly - at the fattest part, is now 37 inches and my waist is 31.5 inches.  So only a loss of 1 inch around my fat belly but it's good.    I'm glad I've taken the time to type this up and now I can see it's clear I need to keep going.    I think I will try just cutting calories and less carbs a few days a week as well as keeping up my exercise.   The problem with the Fast Diet for me is not the fasting, that became quite easy, but the day after, when I usually wanted to go out and jog, I just felt sapped of energy and reluctant to take any exercise.    I am training for this 10k in November, so my body needs fuel to perform well.

This past week I have slipped into eating the odd chocolate bar here and there, nibbling of an evening, so I'm gonna cut that out and stay focused.   I want to get down to 9 stone and stay there for a bit.

Once our Max is able to go out for walks, life will settle into a better routine for me.  At the moment, and for 2 more weeks, he is confined to the house and garden, which I think we are both bored of and its not conducive to healthy eating.

Fortunately, I have been able to get out for some jogging sessions and my usual Thursday morning "boot camp" style workout, otherwise I would probably have gone insane by now!

Having Max is wonderful, but has been exhausting and very repetitive during his first weeks here. Calling "Wee Wee's" and "Down Max", "No Max!!" about 1000 times a day.     He is sleeping at the moment and really I should be cleaning upstairs whilst he does so, but I've been on here doing this, so I hope someone reads this and appreciates it!!!  bye for now. x

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Fast Diet - 2 weeks in

I've now done 2 full weeks on the 5:2 Fast Diet so thought I'd update with my progress so far.   The second week of fasting was much easier than the first week.  I didn't get any headaches or sleep problems.   Keeping busy on your fast day really helps.  The worst part is my "chill out" time of an evening, when I would usual have some dark chocolate or graze on a Graze box whilst watching the tele.   I have to be really strict with myself to not nibble, and try to go to bed without calming my tummy rumbles.   On Weds night I failed and ate 2 rice crackers at 8 calories each! before retiring.

As I don't own any bathroom scales I use the scales in Boots the Chemist, so am obviously fully clothed when weighing in - I don't want to get arrested for public nudity just to get an accurate weight reading!!! Anyway, if I always wear similar clothes when I weigh in, it makes no difference really and any loss will show up the same way.   However I wore different footwear this time and it recorded my height as been 2 inches taller than I am!   Therefore the BMI calculation is wrong.    Also, could those shoes have been heavier than the ones I wore before??? This has been bothering me, so now my own bathroom scales are on order.

SO, the weigh in showed I am now 9st 9lb!!  A loss of one teeny weeny little 1lb.  I had expected more over the 2 weeks.   Maybe my "time of the month" this week has had an impact?   Maybe the scales are dodgy?!  They were in a different branch of Boots to my previous weigh in.   Oh well, its better than nothing.   Let's hope it will be more next week.   I'm pleased to say that the measurement around my middle has dropped 1 inch! Yay! A good start. Incidentally I call this my "waist measurement" but actually I measured around the part of my tummy that sticks out the most! about half an inch under my belly button. The Fast Diet book tells you to measure around your belly button, but I went for the part that sticks out the most as that's the bit I need to reduce the most.

When my fancy new scales arrive I will be able to way myself sans clothing, first thing in the morning, which will then reveal the true Me.  Whatever they say, I am still going to stick by this diet for a while as I really need to cut down on the weight I'm carrying around my middle.  I'm aiming for being under 9 stone and staying there.   

Also this week as part of my fitness regime I have done 1hr 30 mins of yoga, jogged over 12k (2 separate outings) and done a 30 min Kettlebell workout.

So I'm feeling pretty good and just need to keep up the momentum.  I went out to jog on Sunday with the aim of seeing how far I could go, but going back to interval training to help me increase my distance.   I managed to cover 8.75k by jogging for 20, running for 5 then taking it down to a walk for 5 mins.  I even RAN (not jog) up a hill!! it really helps if you listen to the theme tune from Rocky (Gonna Fly Now) when you do this!

Friday, 6 September 2013

The F word

.... now I've got your attention, it's not a rude word at all, at least not in my book, but I'm going to talk about FASTING - to be precise, the latest "craze" in weight loss which is Intermittent Fasting aka the 5:2 diet or The Fast Diet.

Now although I've always felt blessed with a size 12 figure, at only 5ft 2", currently weighing in a 9st 10lbs, I am on the heavy side for a short arse and I carry most of my excess weight around my middle.   I'm well aware of how unhealthy this is, plus I could be carrying who knows how much fat on the INSIDE of my body, I figure it's time to get myself sorted.   My BMI is 23.8 (according to the scales at Boots) which is acceptable but could definitely be lower and therefore healthier.   I've even got the tape measure out and horror of horrors, my waist measures 38 inches!!!!   I am being brave and sharing this with you all in the interests of research and transparency, to see if this diet actually works.  I hope to be reporting losses as the weeks go by.  I hereby pledge to stick with it for 12 weeks and see how it goes.   Can I live with it?   Does it actually work?

It is called a diet but I do prefer to think of it as a STRATEGY.   The basics are that on 5 days a week you eat normally and on 2 non-consecutive days you Fast, consuming just 500 calories if you are a women and 600 calories if you are a man.  I'm currently reading The Fast Diet book and it is very persuasive stuff, claiming health benefits that include:

  • weight loss of 1-2lb a week,
  • improvements in blood pressure,
  • improvements in cholesterol levels,
  • reduced risk of age related disease, such as cancer,
  • reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and dementia,
  • a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness!
On the cancer subject, the book refers to research undertaken at the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre in Manchester where a study of women showed that those on a 2 day diet lost twice as much weight as those on a full-time diet - interrrrrrresting!

So taking all the above into account, myself and the Hubster have started on The Fast Diet.  The beauty of it is, that you choose whichever 2 days fit in with your coming week the best.  You don't have to stick to the same 2 days.  So this week I have fasted on Tuesday and today (Friday). I must be honest, that Friday is not a great day to only allow yourself 500 calories, but as yesterday my mum was round for dinner plus I had a hospital appointment (just a check-up), I felt today would fit better.   So, yes I have felt deprived of my usual Friday glass of wine, but tomorrow is another day and I can have one or 2 if I like, then!

Today I have eaten:

Breakfast - 2 boiled eggs and 4 asparagus spears (to dip)
No lunch
Dinner - one lightly dusted Cod Fillet with 3 Broccoli florets and about 50g of steamed spinach
Drinks - MANY!!! lots of herbal tea or water (hot and cold) - my downfall here is that I can't bear herbal tea unsweetened - I tried today and it was grim!! So I use a sweetener called Agave Nectar which is similar to runny honey but has lower calories and a lower GI.  However if I have that every time I have a drink, the calories soon rack up.
Snacks - 1 satsuma

The above totals 525 calories - it is quite tricky to keep it at 500, however practice makes perfect. On Tuesday (my 1st fast day) I had 562 but that was because I really couldn't sleep and got up to eat a chocolate covered rice cake!!  I'm hoping tonight I will do better on the sleep front.

Today has been quite tough if I'm honest.  I have been home all day pretty much, other than the school runs.    I have kept myself busy with household chores etc, but I think next time I fast I'll make sure I get out and about more.  This is early days though right - the book promises that after a few weeks you get used to it and the feeling of hunger barely registers.   So I've got to stick with it.   Nothing worth doing is ever easy.   And tomorrow is another day - one in which I can eat whatever I like AND have some vino.     I should point out though, I'm not a fan of junk/fast food.   We have very occasional take aways and the closest we get to junk food is a pizza from the freezer once every couple of weeks.  So, when I say I can eat whatever I like, I won't be going on a junk food bender and stuffing my face silly on unhealthy food.   Cos that would obviously undo all today's hard work.  

Have you given this diet a go? I would love to hear from you with your experiences and any tips.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


Well, after a very long wait, getting on for 3 months, I finally received a phone call last week about my blood test results.    The good news is.... drum roll please.......THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY GENES!!!!

Whoop Whoop!!!  I am so very relieved.  This has been a very heavy weight on my shoulders, more so as the weeks dragged by and I was left waiting way too long to hear the results.  They had to do run the tests twice, because a part of it wasn't working properly, I have no idea why, but the most important thing is, being told there are no problems with my BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.  
So fantastic news! as now with no impending operations or further treatment, I can finally get on with the rest of my life.     And on that note, I've already found our forever friend - a black Labrador puppy, whom we shall be bringing home to join us in early October!

So please visit again for more puppy news and photos.   Plus my 2 other "projects" - training for a 10k run (yikes) which is happening in Brighton on 17th November and going on "The Fast Diet" because I need to lose to my fat tummy and am bowled over by the other health benefits this way of life offers - if you haven't read the book, you really should.

The kids are back to school on Thursday, so I will have more time for all the above, and blogging, of course.  Bye for now. X

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Still waiting...

it's been quite a while now since my blood test, and I'm still waiting for the results phone call, but been assured that I will hear by the end of this week.    So although I try not to think about it, I'll be making an effort to keep the ringer on my mobile ON (I often have it on silent),  and I can't really help but imagine, how I will react when I get the news.   I think it's important to prepare myself for the worst.   All my friends and family have done a great job of being positive, saying "you'll be fine" and try not to think about it.  Which I appreciate, but I kind of HAVE to think about it, in the worst terms, so that I don't completely freak out if I get bad news.   I will need to keep a lid on my emotions as the children will be with me and they haven't a clue any of this is going on.
And of course, if you have kids you will know what I mean, when you try to have a private phone call, that is the precise time that they need your attention urgently and they won't stop bugging you until they've got it!  I have been known to lock myself in the bathroom before now, in an attempt to get some privacy whilst on the phone.   
So, anyway, my way of dealing with this dodgy week ahead and avoid the waiting game - like I haven't waited long enough - is to fill my week AND my house, with children!  Other people's, not just my own.    Having just typed this fact, I realise now that it was probably a very stupid idea.    Oh well, tomorrow I'm looking after 3 more kiddliwinks for a friend, so she can have some valuable quiet time to pack for their holidays.  So I could well be hiding in the bathroom from 5 kids whilst on that very important phone call, instead of 2.   The phone call will need to be brief and to the point then.
Another distraction technique, which I have much enjoyed today, is spending money!  This morning I was rather spontaneous and just booked myself and the hubster into a London hotel for our wedding anniversary at the end of the month!   I woke up and thought, why not - a treat is needed for us both.  So I just went and booked it.  None of this dithering over it for days or weeks like I normally would.  Job done.  Something to look forward to - it always helps!
Right, that's all for now - watch this space for some GOOD news folks! xx