Tuesday, 10 May 2016

#17 - Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before - 9/40

9.  The place -  THE Chinese Buffet, Wrexham.  The dish - Lunchtime Buffet. Eat in - 7th May, 2016.

We booked here for the Saturday lunchtime, and both ate a multitude of different dishes in tiny amounts.  Kung Po Chicken, Ribs, Char Sui Pork, Mongolian Beef, Chicken Curry.  I'm a bit torn as to what to put next really.  It was nice.  The food wasn't as hot as I would have liked and the egg fried rice was a little dry, but it is what it is.  Lots of food, in warmers.  Chicken toast was something to comment on.  Chocolate cake in the cabinet was dry at the time we were eating, perhaps it would be an idea to cover it in wrap or something but otherwise, it was all very... nice.  8/10

#17 - Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before - 8/40

8.  The place -  Ye Olde Boote Inn, Whittington.  The dish - Beer battered plaice with homemade tartare sauce, chips and vegetables. Eat in - 6th May, 2016.

We ate here on the first night of my birthday weekend away, the pub being right next door to the B&B we stayed at.  I'd perused the menu online before I booked and once I saw battered plaice on it, that was me hooked.

The plaice fell apart and was so subtle tasting.  The beer batter remained crispy right down to the last mouthful, and - not one bone.  I know it's a risk you take with fresh fish, but even one bone has been known to put me off (and leave) a meal.  The tartare sauce was mustardy, something I've never had before but it was gorgeous and I want to replicate that at home.  Vegetables were peas, carrots and cooked red cabbage which also tasted pickled... really good!  Chips were skin on chips too, lovely.  

Mr G opted for the rib eye steak, and that too was cooked to perfection and melt in the mouth (I tried a tiny, tiny piece).  These came with the most lush tomatoes I've had, they were hard, and garlicky.  Not sure if they'd been cooked or what as they were cold.  I think Mr G would happily survive on those tomatoes forever.

I know I give a lot of 10/10s for my meals, but that's because I am pretty lucky wherever we go to eat, we get a good meal.  This meal, however wasn't just a 10/10, it raised the bar for pub food in my book, and I would have no hesitation in eating here again the next time we're in the area.  Spot on, five star, 10/10.

#17 - Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before - 7/40

7.  The place -  Prospect Garden Tea Rooms, Llangollen.  The dish - Homemade Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, and Egg Mayo and Cress Sandwiches.  Eat in - 6th May, 2016

 Mr G and I ate our lunch here last Friday on our way to Oswestry.  A little off the beaten track, make sure you set your sat nav and when it says you are there - look for the signs in the trees.  You are not lost.  The soup was so good, I make a lot of soup but mine never tastes that good.  The staff were both so lovely.  And the views?  It was a hazy day, and you could see as far as Wrexham Industrial Estate so I'd imagine that on a clear day you could see even further.  The waitress said you could see Jodrell Bank on a clear day!  Mr G had turkey and stuffing and the soup. 

Definitely making the trek up there in the Summer when we're exhausted, weary and fed up of frozen burgers while camping.  Massive 10/10.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

#17 - Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before - 6/40

6.  The place -  Four Crosses, Menai Bridge.  The dish - Sweet Chilli Chicken Sizzler, rice and chips. Eat in - 27th April, 2016

 Seven of us ate here for my Auntie's 70th birthday surprise meal.  She thought she was going out for a meal with my Mum, but 'the ladies' met up with her.  I have eaten here before but not for many, many years.  The food was great, the chicken wasn't overcooked, the vegetables done just right, and a generous portion of both rice and chips, considering it was meant to be half and half.  I also had a slice of Salted Caramel Cake for dessert...

It was very busy in there, judging by the quality of the food this wasn't surprising, and it does get a bit smoky (a bit too smoky for some) once people start ordering the sizzlers, but it didn't bother me.  Unfortunately you can't book a table for less than (I think) 8 people, so when we took friends out on Friday evening, we had to walk in and back out again immediately as it was chocker, and go on to Moelfre.  Good value for money, one of the most varied menus I have seen anywhere, and staff friendly and really accommodating.  10/10.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

#5 - Climb Snowdon - Provisionally one month away!!

I didn't think I would get an opportunity to do this until Mr G was back on his feet and a few pounds lighter, but my bestie and her fiance are hoping to tackle Snowdon at the end of April.  And when I mentioned I was jealous, they very kindly asked me if I wanted to accompany them.  Did I! 

I have the usual misgivings, can I do it, am I fit enough to do it.  I have lost 23lbs already this year, and there's another month to go.  I'm walking on the treadmill most days.  I don't get breathless like I used to, so my overall fitness is increasing.  My friend is asthmatic so it's not like she's going to be sprinting up there herself (well, I hope not anyway!) so as long as I can keep up with her because she's quite a bit lighter than I am.  What an achievement that would be.  So provisionally, this is something that is going to be marked off my list before my 40th birthday!  And it will be lovely achieving this goal with my best friend along for the ride too :-)

#2 - Lose weight... UPDATED

Completely re-writing this post.  I attempted this before Christmas but I obviously wasn't in the right frame of mind.  I managed to lose a total of 7 pounds and then put 8 on over Christmas... too much good food, alcohol and chocolate.  I then tried eating a Pescatarian diet, put on 6lbs in 10 days, had a tantrum and quit that eating plan.  No meat and a weight gain?  No chance! 

Although this won't be achievable before I hit 40, I need to lose 100lbs in weight.  Probably more.  But the autistic in me is satisfied with that nice, neat figure.  So that will have to do for a start.   The worlds most expensive and cumbersome coat rack (treadmill) has been will be de-coated, and put into its very awkward position in a tiny back porch - which means that anyone over 5 foot 3 cannot use the downstairs loo.  Or get anything from the fridge.  Or freezer.  I'm aiming for an hour a day on it, be that in one go, or two sittings.  The weights are out.  The ab trainer is out.  The exercise bike is being going to be dragged up from the shed.  Will I be 'fab at 40' or 'fat at 40'?  Watch this space.  I'll update every so often with my weight loss...

Start date - 1st January.  Start weight - two normal sized people...

Pounds lost -  1  2  3  (08/01/16)  4  5   6  7   8  9  10  11  (13/02/16) 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  (19/03/16) 19 20  21  22  23 (27/03/16) 24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49  50  51  52  53  54  55  56  57  58  59  60  61  62  63  64  65  66  67  68  69  70  71  72  73  74  75  76  77  78  79  80  81  82  83  84  85  86  87  88  89  90  91  92  93  94  95  96  97  98  99  100

Saturday, 19 March 2016

#10 - Conquer my needle phobia - Treatment proceeding...

After my week babysitting my syringe and practicing the Applied Tension Technique exercises I'd been taught, by the time I attended my next appointment I was comfortable with the syringe, and it no longer triggered me.  However, common sense dictated what was coming next.  I'd had a breakthrough that week, and I told John that I'd been watching Casualty - as my young son loves it - and the character had to have her arm cut open in the A&E department.  Now, I know, you know, it's not real, but to someone with the disorder I have, it doesn't matter.  Real, implied, it doesn't matter.  I was watching the procedure with great interest for a good five or six seconds before I checked myself, and thought 'Huh?'.  I looked at Mr G, who was smiling at me.  'I wasn't going to say anything,' he told me.  Ordinarily the moment that its implied that there's going to be blood, I look away, and he has to tell me when it's 'safe' to look again.  He was waiting for me to ask, and I didn't.  So, that was a major breakthrough.

I was right, what was coming next was a sharp.  Not only that, but I had to assemble it myself.  I assembled the needle in the office, placed the safety cap on and I have had to play with it, open it, look at it, touch my skin with it.  I have also had to watch as many medical dramas as possible, really expose myself to the things I find uncomfortable.  My observations are that the needle doesn't look as I expected it to, it was almost quill shaped.  The barrel only contains 1ml of liquid, that's a fifth of a teaspoon.  You'd think there'd be loads in there, wouldn't you?  And when it came to watching Casualty last weekend, not a drop of blood was spilled that episode.  However, the next night, I got something better.  I got real life.

Mr G had to go into hospital with excruciating pain on Sunday.  When I visited him on the Sunday evening, there was an old man in the next bed, very disorientated.  We didn't notice, but he'd pulled his canula out.  A nurse spotted him, there was a bit of a commotion, and I looked.  Blood everywhere.  I could feel my head start to swim, and so I assumed the position and did the ATT and within about three minutes, I'd got everything and myself feeling normal again.  That was a phenomenal achievement on my part.  I had to cancel my next appointment earlier this week, as it would have been a long bus journey, and I didn't want to leave Mr G a day after he'd been operated on, so it's been rearranged for next week.  Another breakthrough to tell John about, I think he's going to be pleased with that one.

That's where I'm up to at the moment.  A bit nervous as to what could possibly be coming next, but a major, major improvement all the same.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Spring Update!

Things really seem to be slipping, I haven't really achieved much more from my list, so with less than 10 weeks until I hit 40, I really need to pull my finger out!  This is how I'm doing thus far...

1)  I want to have seen, or at least have purchased tickets ready to go and see, Lawson on tour - Done.  You can see how my day went here...
2)  I want to lose a predetermined amount of weight - Work in progress.
Up to now, that hasn't gone as well as it could have, seeing as we're 9 weeks into 2016.  We had the 'Pescatarian Fiasco' where I ended up putting 6lb in weight on in 10 days... The good news is, that at the time of posting this, I am currently 9lbs lighter than I was on New Year's Day.  9lbs down, 91 to go!  I've started a new weight loss plan, and also a blog to go with it, so I don't bore any readers of this, or my main blog.  If you'd like to check that out, it can be found at - My Every Other Day Diet Journey

3)  Take a hot air balloon ride - About to be booked, any day now...

4) I want to find something I want to study, and take steps towards going back to college.
I am no further at all in knowing what I want to do.  The only thing that slightly interests me at the moment, is psychology, so I may have a look at Open University to see if they have any of the 'pre degree' courses that fit the bill.  OU would probably work better around my life at the moment anyway, with Mr G being ill, and having a young family, it wouldn't be fair going off every day and leaving everything to him.

5) I want to climb Snowdon.
Aha.  Ahahahahaha.  Nothing has materialised yet... I want to get my fitness levels up and my weight down a little bit before I attempt it.  I also think it would be a good idea to do it for charity too, so I'll investigate if there's anything that's close to my heart who are planning an event.

6) I want to take a Yoga class, and see what all the fuss is about.
Nothing has materialised here either, and this is something I could feasibly manage to do locally.  I'm onto it!

7) I want to go and watch a musical in a theatre.  
After booking my hot air balloon ride, with the remainder of my winnings I'm going to have a look at what's coming up locally (Llandudno, Liverpool or Manchester) in the way of theatre shows and book Mr G and I a ticket.

8) I want to win something really wonderful.  Like a dishwasher.  Or hundreds of pounds of shopping vouchers - Done, done and done, but still - not done.
I've had three really decent wins since November, the details of which are here.   I'm not done yet though, I've got a taste for it.  After a really barren 2014 ('only' an iPad Mini) and a relatively barren 2015 (up to the £250 Leisure voucher, 'only' an iPod) I'm determined to catch up in 2016. 

9) I want to 'remarry' my husband and have a small, intimate party to celebrate this, and my 40th.
Mr G and I have decided to postpone this until 2017, which will coincide with our 15th anniversary.  As it happens, our eldest turns 21 in September and he wants a party, so paying for two parties this year is out of the question. 

10) I want to conquer my needle phobia, which is beyond ridiculous - Work in progress.
I have actually been diagnosed with a condition called 'Blood Injury Injection Disorder' and I am in the middle of sessions with a Psychologist.  Been very interesting so far.  I've had to bring a syringe home and babysit it and carry it with me (no sharp, just the barrel), trigger the phobia, and then do special exercises to stop myself passing out.  So far so good.  Next appointment next week.  Dreading what I have to do for homework then, as I know it's going to get harder and harder. 

11) I want to do a month of bizarre 'National' days, embrace the spirit of it, and blog it
I simply haven't had the time or inclination to do this yet. 

12) I'm going to take part in NaNoWriMo in November - Complete!

13) I want to walk Anglesey's Coastal Path. 
This is something that I'm going to need Mr G's assistance with, both in driving and in companionship, and quite simply, he's not up to it. 

14) I want to deactivate Facebook for at least a month - Done!
I'm proud to say that with the exception of one 24 hour period just before Christmas, where I went back specifically to see the people I'm not connected with elsewhere, I have been off Facebook for four months, today. 

15) I want to have an expensive and radical cut, colour and style in a hair salon.
My hair is a mess, a proper mess.  It's so long that it's getting tangled up in my body when I sleep.  Mr G keeps leaning on it, it's getting trapped around my neck, under my boobs, and the dreaded greys have spread from the top of my head to the sides of my head.  I need to find a style that I like and get an appointment booked.

16) I want to finally set, on paper, house rules and what is expected from each member of my family in the way of chores. 
You would think that this would be an easy one.  It isn't.  But I'm going to have to sort this out asap.  The house looks like it belongs in a war zone. 

17) Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before (or recently) - Work in progress 
Currently on 5/40 and hoping to improve on that vastly in the period leading up to (and including) my birthday.  We have had a couple more meals out but they've been from places that I've already included.  Not every one is as enthusiastic as I am about trying new places.

18) Stop drinking wine.  If for no other reason than I am allergic to the sodding stuff, and my enjoyment of it is being impinged on by snot and sneezes.  
I've pretty much accepted that I am allergic to wine, and the fallout from even one small glass isn't worth the level of snot that it generates.  So my alcohol consumption is pretty much nil.  Apart from New Year's Eve >.<

19) Say 'Yes!' to everything for a week. 

20) Learn a new language - Work in progress 
I had started to learn Italian last year with an app, but I'd like to learn it properly.  That's where I have issues with language, I need to see things set out in tables, such as - I eat, You eat, she eats, he eats, they eat, we eat, I ate, you ate - and so on.  Learning it as a phrase, it doesn't quite gel, but being able to study a table, as I did in French, you memorise them then, don't you?

21) Become vegetarian for a month - Complete.  Not completed, but complete.
See 'Pescatarian Fiasco' above.  I decided to eat fish, for the health benefits, plus I don't eat cheese, which rendered a lot of veggie dishes uneatable for me.  I put 6lbs on in 10 days.  I then ordered a kebab.  Done.  Some of the meals were lovely, but it's not for me long term, especially with a weight gain.  At least I can say I tried to be able to say that it's not for me, and I actually lasted longer than I thought I would!
22) Have my teeth professionally whitened. 
My local dental surgery offer this for £250.  I'm tempted, but would like to see the results in someone 'real' first, as opposed to pictures that could be (and probably are) photoshopped.

23) Drink nothing but water for a whole month. 
I haven't achieved this yet, but I have increased my water intake significantly.  I'm quite good anyway, I always have a glass by the side of the sink that I refill several times daily. 

24) Meet a celebrity - Complete!

25) Go on a Ghost Hunting tour, overnight - aiming for July/August 
I have two willing participants for this, unfortunately, one is a teacher, the other a teaching assistant so we are rather tied to holidays.  I don't think their schools would appreciate me keeping them out until 6 am on a school night.

26) Go to a Crusaders away match, on the coach.
After this week's shenanigans, where three of our best players have quit, whether there'll be any squad to play in the home games is the question, never mind away games.  Gutted.

27) Buy nice glasses - Done.

28) Complete a food challenge.   
The place we were hoping to do this at changed their menu and they don't have the 'unfinishable' type dishes on their new menu.  Booooo!  I know Flaming Grill do them, but the nearest ones to us are Liverpool/Wirral way.

29) Cook for Charity.
This needs planning and doing, and it's going to have to be when the weather is better so I can shove people in the garden and the pub.   If it's getting done, it's getting done right. 
30)  Connect and reconnect. 
Since October I have reconnected with my old school friend Shelly, and one of my favourite online peeps ever, Lisa.  We've been friends for about 12/13 years now, we used to frequent the same WinMx chatroom back in the day, back when people went in chatrooms lol.  It's lovely being back in touch with her.  I have made more of an effort to email other friends too, rather than them always emailing me.  Losing Facebook and subsequently Messenger has been a bit of a bind, as a lot of my friends are in my head I only saw online, but I love being off Facebook, the thought of being a slave to it again galls me.

So here we are, I still need another 10 things to go on my list!  I am the worlds most boring person, honest to God.  Either that or I'm easily pleased.  Yes.  I'll settle for easily pleased ;-)

I'm boring.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

#8 - Win Something Wonderful - Updated

In an earlier post, I told you how I had won £250 worth of Leisure Vouchers, which I was going to use to pay for one of the items on my list - a hot air balloon ride.  I wasn't quite done though, especially as I had marked it off my list so soon, and so easily.

I was quite right.  In January, I won a competition with Harvey Nichols.  They gave me up to £500 to treat myself, the money had to be spent on one item.  As much as I love handbags and shoes, I couldn't justify spending that amount of money on them, so Mr G suggested I buy myself a nice watch.  Being something I could keep and use on special occasions.  I chose a lovely Michael Kors watch!  Something I would never have had otherwise.

And on Monday of this week, I received an email to tell me I had won £250 cash!!  That was a really nice surprise.  You don't really see very many cash prize competitions, they tend to be vouchers for different stores or experiences.  I've earmarked some of the money to treat my parents to a meal out (maybe for a huge gammon...) and I may treat myself to an iPod touch with the rest. 

And no, I'm not quite done yet, either ;-)  Something else is going to come, for sure...

#17 - Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before - 5/40

5.  The place -  Kinmel Arms, Moelfre.  The dish - Gammon and chips.   Eat in - 2nd February, 2016

Ye Gods, let me tell you.  You ain't ever had a gammon like this before.  Gracing the Kinmel Arms for our 14th Wedding Anniversary, we'd heard about the gammons from Mr G's old boss, who lives in the village.  You can't actually see how big it is, from the sheer volume of food on my plate, so look at this next picture to put the thickness of the gammon into context...

I like my meat like I like my men.  Thick and pink, with a little fat around the edges...

It had to be about an inch thick.  And for a very bargainous £12.99, you can't go wrong.  Cooked to perfection, and the chips were good too.  Although it was far too big a portion to accompany such a massive hunk of meat, I'd rather too many than too few, which is a bit of a bugbear for me at the moment, are pubs counting how many chips they're dishing out these days?  I worked in a pub kitchen, I know how much huge bags of frozen chips cost...

Highly, highly recommended.  If I could give more, I would, but I can't, so - 10/10.

#10 - Conquer my needle phobia - Treatment commenced!

It's official, as was suspected, after a psychological evaluation, I do actually have something called 'Blood Injury Injection Disorder'.  This has come as a huge relief to me.  Treatment begins in two weeks time, a course of CBT and immersion, and I am not looking forward to that part.  I had a sweat on when the Psychologist pulled out a sealed syringe, one without a needle in - which might sound pathetic, but that's what this disorder does to you.  Apparently it can usually be traced back to a traumatic experience in your childhood and we managed to identify two that he thinks would definitely have triggered it off for me.  Happy days, let's see how we get on with this.  Might be a long and uncomfortable journey, but at least I've made a start on it.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

#21 - Become Pescetarian* for a month - Started 3/1/16 - Concluded

Happy New Year :-)  Thought I'd chuck myself in at the deep end and get this one out of the way.  Although, if tonight's tea is anything to go by, it's going to be a lot better than I anticipated.  *I have decided that I am going to eat fish and shellfish sparingly.  I know it's not 'proper' to do so, but there we go.  I've amended the blog post title because there'll always be one who'll delight in telling me I am not eating a vegetarian diet...

My husband and daughter have been following this with me (of their own accord) up to now (Thursday 7th January at time of posting).  Since Sunday I have had one packet of crisps (cheese and onion!), one apple, and a couple of handfuls of chopped walnuts as snacks.  That is literally all that has passed my lips aside from my food.  And anyone who knows me will tell you that is unheard of.  I am a snacker, especially at night, I am always on the hunt for something after tea, while I'm sat reading or comping.  I've been so full after my tea that twice I've been unable to finish my plate, let alone want anything later.

I also bought a spiraliser from The Works at a bargain price of £13.00 at their 'Offer of the Week' price, and using the £2.00 I had earned on my reward card.  So, I am looking forward to trying some different veggies spiralised.

Veggie Bolognese, Celery Soup, Veggie Fajita Pizza, Sweet Potato hash with poached egg and spinach

Prawn Pasta, Prawn Curry and Egg fried Rice, Indian Burger with Sweet Potato fries and Courgetti, Kedgeree

Update - After ten days of following the diet, I gave up on it.  Not because I couldn't do it, I was actually eating better, and - as I thought it - healthier than ever.  I wasn't snacking between meals, I wasn't craving junk food.  I was so full I was leaving food on my plate.  The problem, however, was in the scales.  I initially lost a few pounds but suddenly put them back on - and some!  I had to weigh up (no pun intended) whether I could do this for another two and a half weeks, and how much weight I could potentially put on and decided it wasn't worth the risk.  I knew that had I followed the healthy eating plan I usually do, I'd have lost between 7 - 10lbs in those 10 days.  If I had lost weight, then it would have been a different matter altogether.

I'm glad I did it though, even though I cannot properly count it as a list win, I'm going to anyway.  It gave me the incentive to cook properly again, I had to actually think twice about what I was going to make.  I cooked some really nice meals, the veggie bolognese I think outclasses a meat one, and the Butternut Squash and Bean chilli I made tasted even nicer the next day.  So I've also got some keepers in the recipe department, and I think our family are going to adopt at least Meat Free Monday.  But it might be on a Wednesday.  Or Sunday. 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

#18 - Stop Drinking Wine - Update

Well, well, well.  The 4th of November 2015 was a bit of a double whammy for me.  Not only the day I quit Facebook, but also the last time I had a drink of wine.  Actually, the last time that alcohol passed my lips?  Do I feel better for it from an allergy perspective?  Hard to tell, because I have a stinking cold so I'm still bloody sneezy and snotty.  I think my skin has cleared up though, it's not as blotchy and rashy as usual.  And waking up in the morning and not wasting a whole day feeling dog rough?  Priceless.

I am going to have a few drinks at Christmas, I just don't know at the moment if it's worth touching wine?  We shall see.  But nearly five weeks wine free, that's good by my standards :-)

Update - I had two bottles of wine on New Year's Eve *cough - amongst other things - cough*

#14 - Deactivate Facebook for at least a month - Update

Deactivated at noon, 4th November 2015.  Whether I can last a month remains to be seen. Ideally, it will be a permanent thing.  Still, it's a start.

Update - Monday 7th December, and I am still off it, and I am loving it!   I feel free from it at last, and I don't feel like I am missing out on anything.  I like not being privy to the racism and homophobia and vague statuses to make people fish for information or to glean sympathy - you know, general fuckwittery that makes me go all 'grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!'   Long may it last.

Update - I went back on for 24 hours just before Christmas, as I have a lot of friends there who I am not in touch with any other way.  I said 'Merry Christmas', that I'd been off it for 7 weeks, and I was back for 24 hours only.  Hopefully that sorts out all the people who take offence and think I've deleted them or blocked them.  Nice to have the option to do that occasionally, but I am still glad to be off it, and am not tempted to go back.