one step at a time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Brownies, Trumpet, Walking, Weightloss

Brownies:  We made these last week.  I LOVED them.  This is my one - the kids had a lot more glitter on theirs!  It's a pine cone painted green (some of the girls painted them gold), then glitter or sequins and a star on top.

Trumpet is fun - it is busy season (phew! I had begun to wonder if the gigs would come in, but they did).  This weekend was Messiah and Gloria-packed.  The rest of the run to Christmas will be a fiesta of Bach.  I love all these things.

Walking:  The gig on Saturday left time for a walk and it was BEAUTIFUL.  It is snowy and icy here - thawing now - so walking was difficult and we didn't go very far.  We took a short loop up towards a disused quarry, past an old well, around and onto a thoroughly frozen pond, then back to the car along the side of the river.

I have photos.  Scotland is so pretty!

Weightloss - another 5lb according to our very dodgy scales.  I think I might buy some new ones today.... we mostly estimate how wrong we think the scales could be and deduct what we suspect is an appropriate amount.  The doctors scales and the gym scales confirmed they are approx 1 stone out!

Monday, November 19, 2012


OK... I have been busy as is usual in the pre-Christmas season.  I am delighted about this, but am also getting the typical coughs and sneezes that you pick up when you're tired.

At Brownies last week they did an animal themed Promise ceremony.  I was working so missed it :( but believe it all went smoothly.  They wanted to do animal fancy dress, we have animal mask kits and I bought lolly sticks and printed giraffe heads for them to cut out of funky foam with goggly eyes to make giraffe bookmarks.

This week we are meant to be doing street theatre, but I have NO idea how to start.  Any tips?

Diet-wise it's going good.  I am still measuring everything and counting stuff.  I am spinning on Mondays and Fridays and am walking to work wherever possible.

And I have lost over 60lb!  That's a lot - and it's quite a nice boost actually - good motivation to continue.  I have dropped 4 dress sizes and am just at the point where I would like some new clothes, but funds are a bit tight, and I'm still dieting so hopefully will drop a few more sizes yet.  It's the perpetual weight-loss conundrum.

I have started an Open University course too, but I'm not ready to share more details quite yet.  It takes 6hrs a week though, which is hard to find at the moment.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Dona Nobis Pacem

Today I will be thoughtful.  I will co-operate and will not cause friction.  I will be peaceful.  

Monday, October 29, 2012


I just decided to update my ticker at the top of this blog. I last updated it in June.

I had to put it UP by a pound.

At first that dismayed me, but on the positive side I have climbed a mountain this weekend, been to spin classes twice last week, walked to work twice and am therefore much much healthier than prior to changing my lifestyle.

The hill we climbed was Ben Donich.  The photos are from the walk which was icy and frosty at the start and snowy as we made the descent.  It was fun.  Two days later my legs are still hurting!

And that is a normal week.  With the exception of climbing the big hill, there's nothing there I don't do on a weekly basis.  OK I can't always do two spin classes, but I have been doing running training and have signed up for the free work gym which I hate and for the council public gym which I like.

I have also FINALLY got some drugs to help with horrible PCOS.

The overall picture is much more positive than negative.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Michelin Star food

Our food today at "Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond" was outstanding. I don't want to forget any of it:

We arrived early. I went upstairs to look around the hotel and inadvertently entered a suite. I think the occupier had checked out & left the room wide open.  It was beautiful! Lovely lounge, stand-alone bath, views of Loch Lomond.

Having spotted the bath (and realised I was not in a communal lounge) I retreated, rejoined birthday boy and we went to the restaurant.

They seated us in leather armchairs in a light room with views of the lawn and loch. We were brought a tray of entrees after taking our drinks (water) order.

We were given a rectangular platter on which they placed 2 haggis fritters (little balls), 2 parmesan puffs and 2 beetroot and horseradish macaroons. We were told to eat them in that order. Quite honestly I would rather I had eaten them in the opposite order (my order of preference) but PJ loved the beetroot thing.

A waiter arrived with bread next. Rye bread, honey bread, white bread.

We received amuse bouches next: a mackerel ceviche - mine had bones, and a tiny scallop with chestnut mousse and mushroom sauce which was absolutely indescribably tasty. This juicy morsel of scallop followed with a blast of saliva-inducing sheer savouriness.

Then came the food we had actually ordered:
Scallop in Jerusalem artichoke veloute with hazelnuts.
Game pithivier with celeriac.

The winner for me: scallop and soup. The veloute was unexpectedly delicious. From its appearance we could not have anticipated the punchy flavour. The crunch of hazelnut added the final touch. The game smelt a bit like hot pate.

Mains: sea bream wrapped in potato on pea mousse with shrimps in the sauce.
Calves liver with pancetta and posh mash.

Winner for me: fish but only JUST, because the calves liver was remarkably succulent.

Desert: mango and coconut on lime pannacotta. Sounds odd but PJ loved it. Chocolate & pistachio with creme fraiche.

I don't like mango or coconut so that wasn't for me!  The winner: chocolate.

What a bargain: £25 a head.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Brownies AND Guides

Today I am braving the next agegroup up in Girlguiding and have invited the Guides (without one of their own leaders) to join the Brownies to go to watch CBBC's Incredible Edibles being filmed.

Wish me luck!

On another note - I signed up for the free gym at work.  Why have I never done this before?  Because I am a scaredy cat and because I couldn't see the appeal of locking myself in the basement running on the spot.

To be quite honest, when I write it like that I still can't really see the appeal of locking myself in the basement running on the spot.  However I feel the benefit of it today, and have had a full English breakfast as a reward to myself (no oil, grilled of course!).

Tonight we are going to the rugby!  Glasgow Warriors v Ulster.  BIG match - standing (waterproofs may be required).

Otherwise: I have to do some trumpet practise this weekend.  Quite a lot actually.  I have been a lazybones this week as far as trumpet is concerned.

Sunday is my OH's birthday - we are going to a Michelin Starred restaurant, which will be a first.  I wonder whether it will be stuffy/formal so we hate it, or relaxed and high quality.  I will let you know!

I have a few birthday pressies to buy on Saturday - and a card to make.  I hope he doesn't read my blog - pretty sure he is as bored of it as the rest of my family!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Still running...

I am still on schedule with the couch to 5k.  It seems it really does work!

Today I should have been doing my first 20minute run.  I should (on Saturday) have done an 8 minute run, 5 minute walk repetition but I forgot to take a sports bra away and when I tried it it was really quite uncomfortable - sore shoulders!

So.. I considered today whether I could skip the 8min day and head straight for the 20min run (that I really didn't want to do!).

After starting running and managing to get to 8 minutes (which felt a long time), I then thought... well I can TRY it.  I can always stop and walk if I need to.

But I didn't need to!  I didn't find it fun... it is not fun.  Perhaps when I know how it works, feel confident that I have the strength for it, then I'll be able to let my mind wander and occupy myself with musings as I do on a walk.

For now I think of things like "only 1 more song to go.... it must be about 3 minutes a song!" or "I wonder if it still counts as running if I go as slow as I would walk..."

About 10-15 mins into the running I saw some girls on bikes who looked familiar.  I ignored them (since I was red, sweaty and trying my first ever 20 minute run!) but they cycled up to the running track and started riding round to meet me.  Sure enough, it was an old Brownie of mine and her friend.  

Whilst I love my Brownies and I think Girlguiding is an amazing organisation there are times at which I would be happiER to see a familiar face.

I had a very brief chat with them - then carried on training.  It was actually quite nice to see some smiley faces towards the middle of the run.

When I got home, my other half told me he had never seen my face so red.  Nice!

(p.s. - look at this beauty - found him on the road by the house.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Bad weather & Short days

We need to get better orgnised with some more healthy food in our house!  Today was a good diet (sorry - conscious healthy eating) day.  I had toast for breaky, vegetable omelette for lunch and some mince and carrots for tea.  They sound dull, but with herbs & spices I loved the meals.  It all totals up to a low points value and I have felt satisfied.

This has been the only good day.  I have been craving stodge for the last week or so and have eaten the following junk food: McDonald's Big Mac, Fish & Chips, Chinese (though that was ok - picked chicken chow mein).

Don't get me wrong - I'm not beating myself up about it.  I actually feel ok - it seems the exercise is balancing the eating out, but I haven't been LOSING any weight.  I think it's just because it's cold and wintery.  Time to start slow cooker stews and other such dinners.

Exercise-wise I tried to run today as I had a day mostly off, but had been to the fish shop to buy sea bass and they sell eggs so I bought some of them too.  I had planned to run home (this week it's 3 minute run/walk, 5 minute run/walk - repeat) but when I tried running with the eggs they made ominous clacking sounds as they hit each other in the box!

I managed one 5 minute run... and just walked fast all the way home (20mins) apart from that.  The eggs made it home intact.

We have lots on the go at the moment - some learning and some other plans I'm not quite ready to share.  It's giving me little room for boredom!!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Exercise Log ....

Sunday morning I drove my other half to work dressed in my weird ugly leggings t-shirt lightweight-waterproof outfit so I could go for a run. 

It was drizzling.

When I got back to Glasgow to run in the park it had developed into a full on downpour.

Within 5 minutes I was soaked, but I ploughed on through - the warm-up walk wasn't particularly warming.  In fact I was shivering, but the first run was far more welcome as a result.

Initially I hopped over puddles, but after a section of path that was completely submerged and gave me no option but to embrace wetness entirely, splashing in puddles also became entertaining!

After 25 minutes of freezing cold watery running/walking I got back in the car. I  considered taking some clothes off to minimise damp in the car, but when I made a vague attempt to peel the sodden cotton off my body it was just too difficult and I drip-drove back to the house for a much-needed bath!

In the afternoon I had a Beethoven concert, so got back in the car and was surprised to find that the seat was dry, but the seatbelt had retained the moisture (I suppose when it retracted into it's plastic shell that it stayed nice and soggy).  Lovely!

The concert was fun - drove back - had some toast...

All in all it was an interesting day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Last night I span... ok I went to Spin Fit.  It hurt.

We then went to watch Glasgow Warriors at home.. they won, but it was not brilliant rugby and I could see that despite my lack of expertise.

It was also freezing and wet.

Next time we see them will be in Northampton.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Did it!

Run 1 of Week 3 Couch to 5K done....

I was really lacking in motivation today - I felt tired and a bit down in the dumps after our very lovely nephew and his mum left this morning.   Dixie seems to be missing them too.

I had also read the intro to this week's run programme and had discovered that I would need to run for 3 minutes at a time.  This sounded hard.

I spotted a comment on my blog - and when I read it I found encouragement from my friend.  Thank you CountryDew!

My other half and I headed out - he picked blackberries and rosehips while I ran round Mugdock Reservoir.

3 minutes of running is a bit unpleasant, but not impossible.  I don't like it so it's hard to make myself carry on for longer times.  One positive was that the 90 second runs seemed much shorter afterwards.

I ended up on the very far end of the reservoir and had not anticipated the walk back.  Having looked it up (just now) it is 3 miles right round the reservoir.  I must have run (interval-training running... part run part walk) about 2.25 miles.  I walked the rest with only 2 minutes of running when I realised how far I had to go to get back to the start.

Having already walked around 5 miles on my commute today I was tired at the end, but we bought some chinese take-away food on the way home and it has turned out to be a very lovely evening.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ran with my pal and her dog again last night - managed week 2 day 2 (though day 1 was a bit of a cheat, as I didn't really have time on the way to and from spin class) without ill effect!

Today: Spin with my friend, but have a feeling this one might be the crazy spin instructor man who makes you sprint for 45 mins.  I hated that one... will feel good afterwards though.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sports update again... yawn

Today: Tried the training on the way to the gym for spin class.

Found spin class MUCH better - could do the whole thing without cheating (admittedly I was taking the 'half-turn' option whenever the instructor said 'turn the resistance on 1 whole turn, or 1/2 turn'...)

Still - it's exciting.  Fitness improving.

Tomorrow at Brownies we are talking like Pirates.  We have games, songs and a craft.  Should be fun!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Running & Brownies


I have stuck with it for 1 week - a good start as according to the plan, I only have to do 5 weeks to get to run 5K.

This week I ran for 1 minute 8 times, on three days with a 90 second walk between each run.

The last session was FUN because my friend joined me with her dog - and that meant that we could chat whilst we did it.  It also meant the run took twice as long because we chatted all the way on our walks (she talked whilst running too.  I can't do that!), then we chatted all the way home.

So this week: I could go again today, but you're meant to have a day off.  I could do it tomorrow instead of spin class... but I wonder if I could do it as well... Perhaps I will interval run to the gym, see if there's a space in spin (hoping secretly that there won't be), then walk home.

Update: Have booked spin.  It normally takes me 25 mins to get there walking, so I think it will need to be:

5min brisk walk
1 min run
1 min walk
1 min run
1 min walk
5 min brisk walk

Hopefully that will get me to spin on time - and warmed up.

Or would I just struggle to do the spin class if my legs were already tired?  It'd only be 2 mins of running so I think I'd be OK.

Not sure I'll be able to walk home though!
(actually there is no choice about that - there's no other way home... it's too close to get the bus without embarrassment).


Yesterday we had a Brownie sports day thing in Glasgow.  499 Brownies signed up to try a range of activities.  We got to do cheerleading, relay races, long jump, high jump, discus, play on a bouncy castle, try out a climbing wall and take part in basketball and rugby training.

It was great!  The girls threw themselves into it - I was very impressed.

We had a slight wobble here and there: one girl was upset she didn't get higher on the climbing wall (she's only just 7 and I think just wanted a little attention) and another got a little bit hurt in rugby when a Brownie tackled her badly - she told me tearfully "It's just I've never done any of these things before..." and was calmed down easily with some reassurance.  A promise to make sure we tell her Mum how impressed we have been with her sent her back off to join in the rugby for the last 15 mins of the day.

If I could change anything:  I would have liked a morning break - we had some very hungry Brownies by 12.40 (lunchtime) after a 9.30 start.  We were provided with fresh fruit at lunchtime and I think it would have been more sensible to collect that in the morning with the bottled water and eat it between the first two activity sessions.

So.... What's next for us?  Tuesday is "Talk Like A Pirate Night".  I have found a pirate story to make into a game, AG is going to show them how to make pirate hats from newspapers, Old YL now L is going to find some pirate songs.  New YLs have no job as they were running a game whilst we discussed this...  might need to work out how to involve them more.

After that we have a trip to Drumchapel library (hopefully - keep forgetting to phone them.  Will go and do that now) for a treasure hunt.  We did it before, and it was brilliant.  We hid clues in some books: "Do you need to find your way?  Look for the book of world maps" - next clue hidden in Atlas, "He loves honey, and has a very bouncy friend" - next clue in Winnie the Pooh for example.  Can't actually remember them right now - we'll think of better ones!

Otherwise, we're doing the sports badge thing and will start planning pack holiday either for November or for Spring term.

Hope Southern units are enjoying the start of their term!  I'm loving being back.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Run 2

I ran again.

One more to do this week - tomorrow morning or evening or Saturday.....

It's quite rewarding but I find it hard.  Even running for just 1 minute in a burst is quite hard.

Will keep updating as I like having the record here.

Update: Last night I went for the run immediately after work before a Brownie leaders meeting (2.25hrs or meeting!), in strong winds and a bit of rain.  I managed the whole programme but ran out of time for the warm-down walk, and sat all sweaty and red in the meeting.

Monday, September 10, 2012


This morning I did spin class. It really hurts...

Now I want to sleep. I think I might have a long warm bath. I might play sudoku while I bathe.

That sounds nice.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Couch to 5K

to try or not to try....

Update: Tried. It was ok. I think I will do it - it's a 5-week training thing and I downloaded podcasts from the NHS website to use.

Today I did the first bit - which is a brisk 5minute walk, then 60secs running, 90secs walking until you've done 8 repetitions at which point you do another 5mins of brisk walking.

I had a bit of extra walking after that since I ended up at the shop to buy water and found I'd run SO FAST (?!) that my money had fallen out of my pocket. Thought about retracing steps but I'd wiggled around the park quite a few times and it could have been anywhere. It was only £2.00.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Fashion & Brownies

I have been following a Weightwatchers plan, and I have lost quite a lot of weight.

I would like some new clothes. I would like these clothes to have an open neckline and to have sleeves. I had not considered this to be demanding, rather quite standard requirements.

THERE ARE NO NICE CLOTHES ON SALE IN THE UK!!!!!!! (Except in Monsoon and I don't have hundreds of pounds to spend on new clothes while I am still on a diet).

It seems the current fashion is for floaty opaque shirts - many of which are sleeveless (a look I find weird), or pretty tops with high round necklines (which I like but don't suit).


I want to share a moving Brownie moment from our first meeting of term.

A new (started at the end of last year) Brownie who is 7yrs old came to our first meeting back this term with an A4 notebook. She brought it over to show me - her Brownie Notebook. She had taken time in her Summer holidays to make it.

She had decorated the front, and had put her name etc in the inside.

She had filled up the beginning of her notebook with drawings of badges she got last term (she got THREE!), which she had cut out and sellotaped into the notebook along with drawings of her Six emblem and her Promise badge.

She had written the names of some friends, she had made notes of what she'd enjoyed so far......

Then was the page titled "Things I Have Learnt At Brownies".

To be nice to people.
To make new friends.
To put my sleeping bag out properly.

Ha! A VERY important Brownie skill.

This sort of moment is what makes Brownies such a pleasure!

During the Summer a Guide Guider pointed out to me that the Brownies age-group are little enough to let you know when they are enjoying things, which is rewarding. She was right.

It's lovely to think that what you do - or what you provide them with and enable THEM to do -has an impact, an importance, a meaning.

Did I mention before that I love it? I really do.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Well it's started! A disappointing beginning in Glasgow, after they showed the wrong flag to a very small crowd, but quite honestly the Olympics isn't really exciting us overly all the way up here. I received many emails asking me to take my youth group to see the football but I'm on holiday - and am enjoying it! No Brownies til next week.

Despite saying that I have been eagerly looking out for Olympians in my area after discovering we had some resident nearby in the run-up to the Games. Didn't spot any.

This morning I rang a bell in the car at 08:12 as did my other 1/2.

We will probably watch the opening ceremony, and he will certainly watch many events. I'll watch the odd one or two. I love the gymnastics.

Hope you are enjoying Summer.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fun times

Getting a taste of what it would be like to only PLAY the trumpet for a living.

It's been a fun week so far - trio recital, school gig, baroque gig, symphony gig. Then from tomorrow I have 3 days of holiday!

Monday, July 02, 2012


Whilst I love playing the trumpet, I have just started the school holidays... and I'm busier than ever.

I have lots of practising to do - and gigs are coming up soon.

It was my birthday on Saturday, so I took a weekend off. I saw the date today, and my stress levels just picked back up to quite a peak!

There is a lot of house sorting to be done too - this morning I have done about 1/5 of the kitchen clearout. I have to start the spare room next, as I need to use it for the practising and I need to find some music urgently (that's where it's stored).

Next week I'll be in Wales, or York... so holidays are a'comin. Apart from the bits of the trips that are work :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Occasional Blogging

I quite like this occasional blogging... now I've got over the guilt that I can't be bothered most days.

At the moment things are quite good. I am a bit poor due to bad money-management, but it's something to work on and an incentive to generate some more playing work.

I have almost finished teaching - only 2 pupils to go I think!

Tonight we are having spaghetti bolognese for dinner, then we may walk down to the pub as the sun is shining. I have a new favourite hang-out.

Oh yeah - Brownies has finished for the term. We had a sleepover in Glasgow HQ - Elmbank Street - for our end of term trip and they LOVED IT!

We went by train - with their sleeping bags etc taken by car. They had to carry their own rucksacks.

The (loose) theme was Summer Holiday - we decorated banners and flags at Brownies... then I left the hall keys at home on the day and we couldn't collect them. Oops!!

On arrival they had a treasure hunt - to find letters spelling 'Summer Holiday'. They couldn't find the D (my husband had hidden that letter... grr).

We then organised bags - put them away and sat down to make Lei whilst the QM went to collect pizzas.

They changed into PJ's for a PJ party. Assistant Guider took over with music, dancing, games as QM & I put pizzas out.

They played games... pass the pillowcase with forfeits (stolen from and sleeping lions in the dark being a real hit (apart from the girl who cried because one of the others shone a torch in her eyes), which allowed me to set up a projector for Disney's The Frog Princess - set in New Orleans... the place I love!

They did their teeth and settled down to watch the film in their sleeping bags.

By the end of the movie most of the kids had dropped off. Awesome. Only 2 awake at midnight (because one was farting and the other was giggling).

In the morning they didn't want to wake up - they slept til 8am then had cereal and mini-croissants with fruit. They decorated t-shirts, then helped us clean and tidy VOLUNTARILY.

I think it is as TIRING as pack holiday, but is much easier to organise. I would definitely do it again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Hello - I have been having a lot of fun lately (and avoiding the very important job of Brownie Accounts, which I plan to tackle today).

On Friday last week I went to Wales, to see my family. I drove after work arriving around 11pm, had some supper and then a chat before bed. Woke early to go for a walk to the beach (3.2miles according to googlemaps). Walking along the bay at high tide in the sunshine Mum & I realised it was a good opportunity for a swim, so Dad picked us up and drove us back to get swimsuits and then we all went for a dip. Sadly the sun had gone in by the time we got there and it was REALLY cold. I managed about a minute of swimming with another 5-10 mins of hanging round at armpit level struggling to make myself dip my shoulders in! After going home for a shower we went shopping. Then my brother arrived. Yey!

We went rockpooling and we had a lovely dinner then I copped out fairly early heading for sleep as I had to get up and drive at 6.30am.

On Sunday I drove back to go to the Girlguiding Glasgow Jubilee Lunch - it was great to see all the girls and guiders having fun - and we had great weather in Scotland. I stayed for a while, met a Guider I needed to make contact with, then headed off to Balmaha to climb Conic Hill with a group of friends.

It was great fun! We had dinner afterwards in a huge swarm of midges at the pub. I counted my bites - 50. I look as though I have chicken pox now!

On the Monday we had a party - using our wedding present bbq.

Tuesday two friends who had stayed over helped me clear up a bit and then we played tunes in the music/spare room.... the room of trumpet.... until lunch was had - left over bbq food - and they headed home. I spent the afternoon doing a bit more tidying before meeting a friend at the train station with her dog for a walk so she could collect her car - left after the party.

I had been feeling a bit disheartened that with all my hill-walking (I climbed one 932m high) and other activity I was not losing weight - about 1/2lb a week max, but this week I have lost 3lb! woo hoo. So it's just a bit delayed.

I wish it were possible to spend more weekends as active as this one, but there isn't time in real life.

Anyway - hope all your Jubilee weekends were as much fun.

Monday, May 28, 2012


It has been a while since my last post. In that time life has continued as usual.

Events of note:

This week I bagged my first munro!

Yesterday I helped at the Glasgow Rainbows' 25th birthday party - great weather and a very enjoyable day for the kids! (I enjoyed it too)

We've been to a Eurovision party - I was Germany and he was Romania.

Today my friend has come to stay as she's working up here for a week - lovely!

Monday, May 14, 2012

10K- Never imagined myself doing that!

We had a crunchie split between us at 6K and the promise of another at 9K (didn't eat it though).

Our target was to beat the time set walking by Michelle McManus! (we did)

I am so surprised by how much fun it is. You get a real sense of cameraderie and people were our all along the route cheering us all on. There were musicians too set at every 500m(ISH) which meant you wanted to carry on to find out what the next one would be.

I really enjoyed it.

For training we'd (my friend and I) been for a 10k walk the day before as well - which we did fairly fast actually. I really enjoyed that one too, but for very different reasons - beautiful countryside, seeing a train come under a bridge we were on.
Another fun weekend - I have a charmed life at the moment, eh!?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Westerton Woods

We have been to the woods with Brownies tonight. We got the train (always exciting) and went just one stop to Westerton where we met some friends who showed us their woods.

They had organised a treasure hunt and trail for us - which was absolutely brilliant.

On our way home, 22 very happy little girls chattered excitedly about the fun they had had. (One was picked up before we left - 23 came on the trip)

It was the first Brownie outing for 5 girls, and I am delighted that we were so lucky with the weather, and that the woodland group were so clever in their planning of the walk.

They made a secret code for us... I'd hate to let the secret out, but it spelled a very cool message for Brownies!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Weight Watchers

I have been doing Weight Watchers for a year.

Over the year we have got through Christmas, several parties and celebrations, and a long trip to America. I put on a few lbs but nothing disastrous.

I decided at the start of the diet that I was happy to do it, but would not do it at the expense of having fun with my friends.

It has been easy to work that out. Even when on occasion I've splurged - this weekend I went to a party where I drank FAR too much wine, then had a McDonald's Big Mac. Somehow the diet is still working! I tracked it and dug over the front garden to make up for it. I am being more careful today, but still managed to lose 2lb this week.

Love it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

And We're Back!

I am going to bore you a little bit with some holiday photos.  Can't resist!!

We started the holiday in Memphis - which was good fun!  We stayed in the Vista Inns motel - just off Beale Street.  I had read a few reviews about people feeling threatened in the 'dark streets' walking round the corner back to the motel.  We felt perfectly safe.... but we live in Glasgow and I wouldn't really wander round parts of MY city on my own unless it was broad daylight.

We went to Graceland - much better than expected!  I have more respect for the Elvis phenomenon having seen people's reactions to his home.

Memphis is a city that's difficult to visit without a car.  2 days there and we felt like we'd done everything we wanted to, but we heard good music and ate good bbq pork and enjoyed our visit.

After picking up the hire car at the airport we drove to Vicksburg.  I had been nervous about this part of the holiday, but I loved driving in the USA!  We stayed in Cedar Grove Mansion Inn.  I have linked it's website but it's a bit misleading so don't expect any of the extras.  It is a beautiful house and our suite was lovely - very old and atmospheric, a little creaky and full of character.  I woke early and sat on the porch watching the sun come up over the gardens.  The sounds were lovely and it was quite exciting for me seeing all the different birds & animals.


We left and took the Natchez Trace Parkway after a trip to the National Military Park in Vicksburg (really good - worth a trip).

The Natchez Trace Parkway made a much more pleasant drive than the Interstate - so I am glad we took that route.  We stopped a few times - saw a waterfall and the Sunken Trace which is where the path has been worn down by footfall.  It was lovely.  We also saw more new animals: wild tortoises, turkeys, hawks, porcupine... lots.

From around Natchez we headed across back to the main roads and drove directly to New Orleans.

New Orleans was as good as I remembered.  It is a beautiful city - unlike anywhere else I've been.  The pace is relaxed, the people are friendly but not intrusive.... it's just amazing.

Music oozes out of every nook and cranny in New Orleans.  We stayed in the Creole Inn in the Fauborg Marigny area.  It feels like staying in a village.  There are lovely cafes and bars, and the walk home from the city centre takes you past a variety of old colonial wooden properties, each one with a unique feature. I really love it.

We spent a few days seeing sights - we visited the swamps - we took a trip up to City Hall... And that's us married.

All in all - best holiday ever!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


On Thursdsay we go to America!

Am I excited?? Just a bit!!!

We fly to Memphis on Thursday (10hr flight... sure it'll be worth it though...!).

We hire a car and drive to New Orleans with a stop-over night in Vicksburg on the 8th April.

We spend a week or so in New Orleans.

We fly home.

There are SO many things I want to see. SO many places I want to go.

I will post photos - no doubt about that!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

What's been going on

Well if I needed any further confirmation that the Blogging magic has gone it is in my current situation.

I am angry with my mother. Because my blog is public - and the parents know of its existance I can't post about it here.

What is the point of a blog when you can't write what you want?

So the options are: start up a new one and don't tell any family (it was my bro that let it slip that I had this one)... or stop... or carry on as I am occasionally posting without any personal information or anything meaningful.

I don't know which I'll choose.

For now - I will be away for a few weeks and I will post on my return, perhaps.

Au revoir x

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Visits and busy times

I have been working over the past 3 wks with very little time in the house and very little time online.

It looks as though this is to continue.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I have been getting out walking more because we have had some stunning weather. Lovely sunshine. Still blooming freezing, mind!

These are from walks this week.

Last night I went for a walk in the dark (between dinner & concert) and almost trod on a frog. Didn't though - it's all cool.

There may be a chocolate tart picture too. Its in a cake tin because I don't have a tart one with a removeable bottom & it was a fridge recipe not a baked one. Tasted good!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Rundown of tonight's imbibements and the establishments in which I imbibed them.

The Finnieston - lager (Coors Light which autotexts to Footage colder course floral doors coordinate).

Korean Restaurant Shilya - lager (Hite) with food: dumplings, scallops, chilli chicken, squid & pork... Yum!

Brewdog - lager (77 lager) in a stinking bar with a contrived faux-warehouse decor. Not good.

Cafezique - coffee (no complaints - liked the place).

Jellyhill - white wine (good wine but not a sensible choice after coffee and beer) - cafe/bar pleasant.

Epicure - gin fix cocktail - awesome. Contained gin, lemon, elderflower liqueur. Delicious.

Now home with a cup of tea and tv on. Very enjoyable evening.

In other news;
I have messed up and have not got tickets for the county Thinking Day event (misunderstood instructions but didn't really think about it either as deadline fell over tax weekend. Might have queried/checked things if I had not been more pressingly engaged.)

It is only 6 weeks til we head across the Atlantic once more.

My sister came to stay and we had a great time culminating in a visit to the SECC to see Strictly Come Dancing's live show. Fun.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I am still loaded with a cold but the fever that developed on Tues has passed.

Gross and snotty now instead.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Oxford Street

I then walked along Oxford Street before the shops opened. It was very quiet and very pleasant.

At 9.30 when the majority of shops opened, I returned some items I had bought my brother which didn't really fit properly, and got a tube back to Victoria station, then a train (expensive) back to Gatwick Airport, then a flight back to Glasgow, then a taxi to my house as I was due to teach in 20 mins.

I made it home in time and taught one lesson. Unfortunately by this time, despite eating sorbet for lunch in the airport in an attempt to sooth my vocal chords, I had very little voice. It proved very difficult to teach voiceless, as the boy couldn't hear me when I tried to stop him (to correct a fingering for piano scales for example). If you wait until the end of a scale it is harder to correct, as you follow a pattern and if you can stop the pupil where the error occurs they can work out what they're doing wrong and then practise doing it right.

I then cancelled my remaining pupils (bar one whose phone number I had incorrectly in my phone after my phone was stolen - thought I'd recovered all contacts), had some chinese food and an early night.

I woke up this morning to find my voice is worse, so I'm off school too.

Expensive trip to London, but definitely one worth making. The snow topped it off nicely.
How considerate of the weather to make it fun at the weekend but clear up in time for all the Mon-Fri workers.

Monday, February 06, 2012


Man at table opposite me looked like a businessman.

Man who came to join him looked like a businessman if you jumbled one up with a footballer: white trainers, suit, white decorated shirt, slicked back longish blonde hair in a ponytail.

Add people in overalls, delivery men and a chatty owner & this breakfast off Bond Street is very enjoyable.

Hampstead Heath in the snow

I got used to the size and volume of people quickly.

Then it snowed. Lovely!

Home tomorrow.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Arrived in London.

It's so big! I haven't been here for a while & found Victoria station a bit overwhelming.

Exciting too.

Friday, February 03, 2012

WARNING! Proud Brown-Owl Moment Coming...

This weekend my Brownies held a Jumble Sale to raise money for a Rainbow called Karis (who's cousin Rachael is in my pack) as she needs to go to America for surgery to help her walk.

We collected jumble for a week, then held the sale (with LOTS) of baking in the Church Hall.

Despite the sub-zero temperatures (the church did not put the heating on for us), the kids had good humour throughout and had fun outside singing and dancing and keeping warm whilst drumming up some more trade, selling cakes from the car park!

We raised..... £300!! And I have been fund-matched at the office for another £250.

SO proud. We had support from people from miles away after a wee article in the local paper too.

(In other news: This week 1st Aid Badge went well. I have done my tax... Yeah! Fuss free this year!! I go away to see friends and family this weekend. Was offered a terrifying but exciting badly paid gig this week... not sure if I can do it yet. Enjoyed the Blues Radio Show of Mr Vinny Marini this morning before work. It's all good.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

stupid weather stupid roof stupid factors (stupid GHA)

We have a leak. In the roof.

I reported damp prior to the storms and asked someone to check the roof. I would be concerned that this would affect our building insurance claims, but the man from GHA who came to check told me there was no damp, so I guess we go with that and put the claim in secure in the knowledge that we checked it out recently.

The fact that he refused to go into the loft is immaterial for the claim, but could well explain why we now have water damage to our flat, and to next door's flat. Who knows what damage might have been saved with new blooming nails in those loose tiles.

They really are useless.

Friday, January 20, 2012

rubbish diets

feel like I'm getting nowhere this week.. Will persevere but it's easier when the weight's coming off. I have exercised a lot this week... but drank and eaten to balance it out I think. Oh well.

In other news: We are trying to organise a jumble sale for a week Sat - how can I get people to come?

I went to watch rugby on Sunday (where I drank & ate) and we were charged rather a lot for beer. I fired off an email to the club to complain - following it up with another when I found out that the beer was Carlsberg - a dreadful CHEAP brand that they were selling for over £6 per pint. I have just received an email from the club MD asking me to call him on a mobile number. Exciting... and I'm a TOUCH embarassed by my impulsiveness!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brownies is back!

We took it easy tonight:

Started with a pow-wow where we took suggestions for what the girls would like to do this term. One of the helpers had told me that her kids had got so many presents they had games they hadn't even opened yet... so we discussed this and the Brownies are going to bring in any new board games next week so we can have a games night. (we'll also need to make posters for the jumble sale we're planning).
Spring cleaned the Brownie cupboards.
Played Tunnel Tig & The Princess & the Serving Girls.
Finished with a reminder to bring the games, Brownie Bells & HOME TIME!

Sunday, January 08, 2012


I have just been ID'd in a pub we've been drinking in for 14 years. 

I am delighted as I had been concerned that weight-loss was aging me!


Is it bad, when on a diet, to scrape out the nutella jar with a spoon?