Month: May 2019

Diet Update…

So far so good. Although, I started with a headache yesterday that lasted for over 24 hours. I think that it was due to the shock on my system, that being lack of carbs and no sugars. Today I finally got it sorted by taking migraine and paracetamol tablets at 3 am then paracetamol every four hours and hey presto, gone. Thank god that is. Even when I was dieting the last time I was never good, and still had sugars and carbs and just counted calories, and did well as I kept to 1200 to 1500 calories a day. Yesterday I did my first weigh in and was 14.31 stone. I am getting on the scales each day, but will not post about each pound lost, just update each week.

Yesterday, I really was not in the mood for eating anything. I had two eggs and spinach for breakfast and a black coffee. Mid-morning I had a protein drink, lunch was a chicken salad that I struggled to eat. Mid-afternoon another protein drink and dinner was just roasted chicken with jerk spices on it. Lots of water too all day.

Today was a little less food, as I really did not want anything this morning, but knowing I had to have something, just had a small apple. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon were the same as yesterday, lunch two egg salad and dinner was roasted turkey and vegetables, followed by another small apple. I have not managed to drink as much water but still had a good go.

Yes, it is very early days, just the first 48 hours, but I don’t feel like I am on a diet. I don’t feel the need to raid the fridge and eat a block of cheese, consume a big tub of Ben & Jerrys or go to the shops and buy a big bag of sweets/candy.

Shredding For Summer…

I have been getting a bit, no, scrap that, a lot lazier the past few months with any forms of exercise and dieting/healthy eating. It can be so hard and let’s be honest, we need some sort of motivation. My last motivation was my mate Mark, we were both on diets and determined to lose weight and get fitter, but doing it our own way and checking in. However, he has totally given up and weighs more now that he did at the beginning of the year. Thankfully, I have not done that, but if I carry on with the lazy streak then I will turn into Ten Tonne Tessy like he has.

M wants to slim down and so that is now my motivation to get moving, get fitter and drop a stone in weight. As such, I have decided to shred for the summer. I have set my goal, that is to lose x amount of weight, tone up completely, and if I end up building muscle mass as a by-product of this, then great. The other reason why, is that I am 50 at the end of the year, and I see quite a lot of men on Instagram and Twitter who either look terrible at 50 or quite fantastic for their age. I am, however, under no illusion that the guys who look stunning are mostly gym rats, they have taken 20+ photos to make sure they look their best, then published it. I have been using social media since 2006, so know the script, but all the same, it is a point of reference for me to look at, aim, and understand that they are goals that I may not reach, but hell, I want to try.

Since it is the last bank holiday in the UK for 3 months we decided to clear out the cupboards and fridge of all the “shite” and either bin it or eat it so that we have no further temptation at hand. I took pleasure in binning a large container of sweets (candy) that had sat there for some time, with me picking at it from time to time. I even check my bedside unit to ensure that nothing tempting was it in. Surprisingly enough there was, so that has now been removed and disposed of.

From tomorrow, we are sticking to protein, lots of it, vegetables and a moderate amount of healthy fats. We are aiming at stating with a low carb diet, but not making the mistake of low fat too as that is one of the failure points, so good fats like nuts, avocado, olive oil, grass-fed butter etc. So, out with the crap and in with good stuff, so the fridge is now full of eggs, chicken, turkey, vegetable. The fruit bowl is full, and the determination is set.

I have also decided to take in more exercise too. I have my new Apple Watch with lots of different apps to make/nag me into getting up off my arse and moving. I also have the dogs as an excuse to get out more and walk the legs off them too. M is going to join me, but due to his disabilities he will be going slow and anything he can do will be at his own pace. One of the things that do not help me is that I tend to go at something at 100 miles an hour rather than gradually building up. M said he would remind me and I am conscious that I need to build up.

So, there it is, my plan for summer, and fingers crossed, something that we keep doing rather than saying screw it today I need cake. I will still have my black coffee, so all will be well. I am not saying that I will be good for the rest of the time either, let’s face it, life without a little treat is really not a good life LOL, but I am not going to go back to my old ways. I am tired all the time, lack energy and with it motivation, and it is all down to being lazy and eating all this crap, sugar being the main problem. I used to drink my coffee with lots of full-fat milk and 2 spoons of sugar, but at the beginning of the year, I decided that it had to go and I now love black coffee without sugar now, in fact, I also love black tea with no sugar too. I stopped buying coke as the sugar tax in the UK made a usual £1.50 bottle of coke £2.50, so that put me off buying it. I missed it quite a lot, to begin with, but now although I do get it on the very odd occasion I do not miss it, and I guess that is why I have fewer headaches too. I have seen all the celebs going on about sugar-free diets, but at the time I was of the opinion that it was a goal that was not obtainable as everything seems to be laced with sugar. I cannot have aspartame as it gives me violent migraines, something that is not considered in these diets, and by our money grabbing government with its sugar tax. Those of you outside the UK have no idea how insane our government is with its taxes, from TV Tax to Sugar Tax, and not forgetting the latest tax to be implemented this year is the self-service checkout tax, no, that wasn’t a joke. I digress!

In conclusion;

  • I will lose weight/fat
  • I will get fitter
  • I will stop eating crap including sugar
  • I will drink more water
  • I will stop using excuses
  • I will post about my ups, downs, successes and failures in order to keep going
  • I will make it to 50 feeling and hopefully, looking great
  • I will be an Instagram model (joking)

Roll on Tuesday 28th May, it all starts here.

Apple Wins…

After lots of thought and having the three watches in my basket for a few weeks now, I finally went for the Apple Watch 4. I was tempted to go for the Ionos, but the ECG feature was the pulling point. I got it this morning and so far so good. I have tried the ECG and it is very good, showing my heart working well. When my heart next plays up I can record it for my GP which will help with controlling my condition.

One of the features I did not know was there until it alerted me was a breathing app. My watch vibrated, I looked and it told me to take a minute to sit and breath and instructed me when to breath in and when out, this is supposed to help relax and clear your lungs of stale air. I am looking forward to using the other apps and features on it, and am happy to say I love it.

Apple Watch 4 with Pride Face

Spring

Spring is slowly turning into summer here on the 54th parallel north, I wonder how it is in Unalaska Island who is on the same degree of latitude as us.

We may not have the sprawling majesty of Alaska but our lake is looking very pretty right now. All the wild growth around it is doubling in size each week, the bull rushes are racing to the sky and the herons are visiting to get lunch.

The Tim Gunn Effect

A few years ago I was listening to a podcast called SoulFeed with Shannon Algeo, I think it was the Easter holidays and I was helping a friend moving roofing felt, 30 tonnes of it to be exact. Whilst waiting for him as I was driving us to the yard I was listening to the latest episode entitled “Tim Gunn: How to make it work”. Tim was a guest on the show and talked about his life and how he made it work. Shannon mentioned that he had a few books duly signed by Tim to give away. I thought I would try to win one, and although I am always positive about entering competitions I had resigned to the fact that I was in England and the show was in America, so the likelihood would be rather small. My positivity paid off, and Shannon sent me a signed book. I have a personal rule regarding competitions, and that is only to enter the ones I really want to win. I confess I have been very very lucky in the past due to this method and positive thinking, but that is a post for another day.

In his book “The Natty Professor” Tim talks about the fashion industry, some of the devious ways the production company tries to exploit designers, and of course, his incredible way of teaching and mentoring. Although only 272 pages, it is full of wisdom from the wise old sage.

I was chatting to AJ of A Petite Slice of Life about health tracking watches and mentioned that I do what Tim Gunn does when he is shopping online for non-essential items. He (and I ever since) put things in the basket that I would like, but rather than hitting the pay now button close the browser and return to it 24 or 48 hours later and see if you still want it. Most of the time I will click delete and quietly thank Tim for stopping me from wasting money on something I didn’t really need.

If you fancy listening to the podcast then here is the link.

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/tim-gunn-how-to-make-it-work/id977979288?i=1000364771733

The Natty Professor
Sage advice, make it work!

Which Watch?

So, I need a bit of advice/help/suggestions etc.

My Fitbit Blaze has a battery problem, and it only lasts 24 hours if I am lucky, and 4 hours if I am not. I don’t mind charging it, that’s not the problem, it’s the 4 hours stint which happens quite a bit. I bought it in September 2016, so it is close to 3 years old. It is my third Fitbit. My last two were returned within the first year of having them due to moulded strap problems.

I am thinking of three watches so far, Apple Watch Series 4, Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa. I like the idea of GPS built into the watch rather than piggybacking off my iPhone. I like that they all work with messaging etc., all three can carry music and connect to Bluetooth headphones which is a bonus.

The Apple Watch has a medical standard ECG reader which is good as I have a dodgy heart, so that’s positive health-wise. All three do heartbeat monitoring, exercise routines, movement reminder etc. The prices, however, are quite different. The Apple Watch is £429, the Ionic is £249 and the Versa is £199.

So, what are the thoughts of my readers? Do you have either of these watches? Do you love or hate them? Let me know, I need to get a new one soonish.

Cheers.

Eurovision 2019

I’ll be honest, pop music is not my bag, but I do like to watch Eurovision each year as it is a good laugh, and every now and again there is a good song that year. Last night it was in Israel, and they put on a good show, that was until Madonna turned up and it went south faster than geese in winter. I am not a fan of hers, but I do appreciate she is an artist and a good one at that, and her field of work is extensive. To date I only like two of her songs, and no, one of them is not Vogue.

Being interviewed she seemed to lack her usual bravado, which I was surprised about, letting her guard down only once joking about the compare dumping his husband for her. Let’s face it, she loves the attention and adoration, it has made her career. Was the eye patch hiding surgery and did her lips look slightly unnatural, maybe after a cosmetic procedure? Then we witnessed the “performance”, which was quite frankly not on par with her usual gusto and ability to actually hit notes. Last night we watched a tired and out of tune performance. There could be many reasons why she sang off-key, was flat and very pitchy. But when all said and done, it was second rate and out of tune. I passed all my Royal School of Music exams, so am an authority of pitch and tone, both of which I lack LOL. Everyone has off days, even the legend Barbra Streisand has performed out of tune, and the ears do not lie.

However, Twitter seemed to be on fire with venomous gays screaming about how fantastic she was and anyone that dare say anything different then they would block them. I had mentioned that it was a pitchy and poor performance and BANG! the hate began with mentions of my throat being cut and being set of fire, followed by being quickly blocked by all the screaming queens, aka buttercups. I have very thick skin, almost rhinoceros-like, so this does not bother me. The only thing that started to hurt was the amount eye rolling I was doing causing repetitive strain injury LOL. One of the buttercups that blocked me and was doing a count of his “heroic blocking actions” is by this point starting to realise he was wrong and admitted that it was not her best performance (I have 2 twitter accounts so can see his timeline, also he has not blocked M). But his verbal attack on those of us who dared to publish the truth has quite frankly caused him to cut his nose off to spite his face. He advertised that he blocked people, then called them all the offensive names his tiny mind could muster, showing he has no backbone, lacks the understanding of free speech, or the intelligence to look outside his little bubble, not to mention getting his hearing tested. Oh, did I mention he is a 50-year-old man, very single and complains that no one wants to date him? Go figure that one out haha!

I thought Iceland’s song was really really bad. I love rock, metal and thrash, but even I thought it was an assault on the ears. Also, their political statement with the Palestine banner was in very poor taste. I had high hopes for Australia and Norway, alas that was dashed in the end. The UK as always came last, but at least he sang better than Madonna. At one point I thought Russia may just win, which would be a disaster as their human rights policy stinks. I think the highlight for me was the “Switch Song”. If you did not see it, then, let me show you.

Hardcastle Crags

I felt the need to get out into the sunshine, now it is here, and get some long needed fresh air. Friday night we decided to head to Yorkshire, namely Hardcastle Crags and Gibson Mill. A beautiful place, part of the National Trusts many properties. The dogs had a great time, especially Mazikeen as she had places to swim, and ultimately get dirty rotten filthy by jumping into the becks which were full of silty runoff from the woods.

One of the things that struck me immediately as we started walking to Gibson Mill was the fields of bluebells. Everywhere we looked, it was blue. Once at the mill we wandered along trails and were struck by the overpowering smell of wild garlic, growing everywhere, and I do mean everywhere.

Fields of Bluebells
Gibson Mill

All in all, it was a five-mile walk, some climbing 345 feet in elevation. The sun was shining and as always I was sun-kissed in the end. We went the Weaving Shed Cafe for a coffee and a slice of cake before the last mile walk to the car. The girls were glad of the rest and their lunch and slept most of the way home.

Reading Challenge – April Update

19 books read so far, and now 10 books ahead of schedule in 17 weeks. Happy about the result so far. April’s books were…

This book is not for the faint hearted at all. I found the whole thing quite disturbing that human beings can be so cruel. Do not get me wrong, it was a good book, just disturbing.

In July 1965, teenagers Sylvia and Jenny Likens were left in the temporary care of Gertrude Baniszewski, a middle-aged single mother and her seven children. 

The Baniszewski household was overrun with children. There were few rules and ample freedom. Sadly, the environment created a dangerous hierarchy of social Darwinism where the strong preyed on the weak. 

What transpired in the following three months was both riveting and chilling. 

In October 1965, the body of Sylvia Likens was found in the basement of the Baniszewski home, where she had been imprisoned. She was starved, beaten, burned and had the words “I am a prostitute and proud of it” carved into her stomach. 

Gertrude Baniszewski oversaw and facilitated the torture and eventual murder of Sylvia Likens. While she played an active role in Sylvia’s death, the majority of the abuse was carried out by her children and other neighbourhood youths. 

The case shocked the entire nation and would later be described as “The single worst crime perpetuated against an individual in Indiana’s history”


For my overseas readers, Leon and June are two people featured on Channel 4’s Gogglebox. It is an insane idea, but on Friday evenings at 9pm, we sit in front of the TV and watch ordinary people watch TV, listen to their reactions and general conversations. A little Orwellian, but very entertaining. Leon was a beloved member of the Gogglebox people who died at Christmas 2017. He and June were in our lounges each week, entertaining us with their madcap moment, Leon’s love of food and general opinion of everything that was going on in the world. Oh, he was also from Liverpool, so he endeared our hearts greatly with his scouse wit and his unfaltering love of June. When Leon passed away June decided to write about their lives as it was one of the things Leon said he would do.

As founding cast members of hit television show Gogglebox, Leon and June won the hearts of a nation with their warm humour and unending love for each other. When Leon sadly died at Christmas 2017, Gogglebox viewers were bereft, calling for a state funeral for our national treasure. In this touching memoir, she looks back at all of the laughter and love they have shared together; letting us in on the secrets to a truly happy marriage in this wonderful celebration of two lives well lived.

Together for 63 years, coming to terms with life without Leon has been a difficult process for June. But the many treasured memories of their marriage will never leave her. From when, aged 18, she first laid eyes on Leon at teacher training college in 1955; their journey to marry when their parents disapproved; happy recollections of 1960s Liverpool; to building a loving home and family together before finding fame as pensioners. Firm favourites of Gogglebox, they were loved for their gentle teasing, Leon’s cheeky gags and humorous rants, and June’s unerring patience and caring touch. 

Leon and June have experienced their fair share of highs and lows, but they always got through everything together. As Leon always said,

‘As long as June’s here, I’m all right.’


I had read the inside cover details of this book and just had to read it. The UK Government decides that all cars need to be autonomous and with that people no longer have full control. Chilling, especially since the current government had decided to outlaw diesel and petrol cars by 2030, so this is now only one step away from this book being fact rather than fiction.

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

The new gripping page-turning thriller from the bestselling author of THE ONE – soon to be a major Netflix series.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?


I have always loved this book, so decided to read it again. I just find it a shame that all movies made from it are set in the USA, when it was originally set in Surry southwest of London.

They came from outer space — Mars, to be exact.

With deadly heat-rays and giant fighting machine they want to conquer Earth and keep humans as their slaves.

Nothing seems to stop them as they spread terror and death across the planet. It is the start of the most important war in Earth’s history.

And Earth will never be the same.


Being a country boy, having worked on farms, and love all things animal I decided to read about Julian’s life as a Vet. He is a partner at the original practice of James Herriot (real name James Alf Wight)

Star of Channel 5’s television series The Yorkshire Vet, Julian Norton has written a warm and evocative memoir of his life and the animals and people he has met along the way.

Just as happy calving a cow, treating a dog with cancer or tending to the overgrown teeth of a rabbit, Julian’s passion for his work shines through on every page.

From his first thoughts of becoming a vet through his training and the pressures and challenges faced by vets on call, through the terrible times of the BSE crisis in the 1990s and Foot and Mouth in 2001, dealing with unexpected exotic pets, and handling excitable humans, too, Julian has seen all sides of the veterinary world.

Sometimes sad, often funny and always warm and compassionate, his tales bring to life the world of the working vet and the highs and lows he faces daily.

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