A veggie chilli recipe that packs a punch

You don’t want to miss out on the flavours of this dish…

I love cooking. And I love a delicious, warming, flavoursome chilli – great for those cold and wet winter (or in Britain’s case, summer) evenings to make you feel all scrumptious and satisfied inside. There’s nothing quite like a rich, beefy spiced chilli con carne to hit the spot. Or so I thought…

Earlier in the week, I decided to make the effort and plan a few healthier meals for the next week or so. Not that there’s anything too unhealthy about a beef chilli (unless you load it up with nachos, guacamole, sour cream & cheese of course), but in my scrolling through the BBC’s Good Food website for healthy recipes I came across a rather enticing vegetarian chilli recipe. Full of spices, a dash of cocoa, peppers and beans aplenty, it compelled me to give it a whirl. The taste test proved beyond expectations – and they were already quite high!

During cooking, I was getting all the rich and thick spicy aromas that point to a good,20747837_10210656555991097_1575086748_o flavoursome chilli as it bubbled and thickened in my casserole pot. The preparation took a little effort, but nothing that I’m not used to. It involves blitzing a few ingredients in a food processor to make a paste and a certain amount of chopping, but once all that’s done it’s largely a case of adding the prepared items as and when called for. Then it’s just down to time and heat to mingle the magic inside the pot of glory. The ingredients that give the dish it’s full-on flavour are the roasted peppers – of which you reserve the jar’s liquid and use that in cooking (adds a slight tang, which is an unexpected pleasing quality) – chipotle chilli paste, great for smokiness and punchiness, and a can of refried beans alongside the kidney and black beans. It’s a beany bonanza!

Little side note for anyone else out there with a garlic intolerance like I have: you don’t need to adapt the recipe! There’s no garlic in it! There’s likely to be some in the chipotle paste, but not much over a whole dish. I have to adapt my recipes so often to reduce or eliminate the garlic that it’s really quite refreshing to find a chilli recipe that doesn’t need any changing for my needs, yet still gives such a satisfying and complex flavour 🙂

If you want to jazz it up, go ahead and add cheese, jalapenos, coriander, whatever floats your boat. But honestly, give this recipe a go and I bet you won’t miss the meat! I’m going to let you in on a secret… It’s actually even vegan friendly! But Shhhh – don’t tell the hardcore meat-eaters! You just know that they’ll turn up their noses before they’ve given it a chance.

The recipe is quite simple at heart, but like all good dishes it requires a little time. But most chillies do anyway, so why not give it a go? You really have to try it! The taste is really quite something. Honestly, I troughed my bowlful without even thinking about it and was disappointed when it had all gone! There’s always seconds, and a few more days’ dinners to look forward to…

If you fancy giving it a go, then please do check out the Double Bean & Roasted Pepper Chilli recipe and cook away! You will not regret it or be disappointed with the flavours, I promise!

Reviewski rating: a bottle of rich Cabernet Sauvignon to warm you from head to toe, just like the chilli does.

 

The Oxford Comma

Niall’s explanation of the Oxford Comma couldn’t be clearer – people really should start using commas a lot more, whether Oxford-bound or not!

English-Language Thoughts

I’ve visited France, Germany and Spain this year.

I’ve visited France, Germany, and Spain this year.

You probably don’t see any difference between the above pair of sentences. But what about this pair:

On Twitter I’m following my friends, Stephen Fry, and Miley Cyrus.

On Twitter I’m following my friends, Stephen Fry and Miley Cyrus.

The second sentence is quite ambiguous. Do I mean that I follow my friends on Twitter, in addition to the celebrities Stephen Fry and Miley Cyrus? Or do I mean to say that Stephen Fry and Miley Cyrus are my friends, and I follow them on Twitter? The latter would probably make for some interesting dinner-party conversations, but that’s probably not what I meant, is it?

Still, just to be sure my meaning is clear, I can use the first sentence, with the comma between Stephen Fry and Miley Cyrus. A comma like this, before the last item in a list of three…

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Child’s Play (1988), the original Chucky

Chucky – renowned cult classic of horror. Another that I have known about for years, yet never watched. Lord knows I’ve seen images of the doll all over the place, his evil blue eyes, fiery red hair, denim dungarees and knife-wielding toy hand all ingrained as an iconic image of horror that we have become so familiar with. Until a couple of nights ago, I was ignorant as to Chucky’s story. All I knew was that he’s a doll who kills people. Turns out I had some learning to do.

And boy did I enjoy being educated! There’s no beating about the bush with Child’s Play, oh no, it gets straight to the action. From the word go, the audience is thrown into a chase scene as wanted serial killer Charles Lee Ray, nicknamed ‘Chucky’, (played by Brad Dourif) is pursued by the cops. There’s shooting, blood and a lot of death threats followed by Lee Ray’s voodoo chant. Said voodoo crucially leads to some ’80s special effects lightning – you know the sort, the kind that’s blatantly superimposed over the equally cheesy thunder clashes. Oh, and Charles Lee Ray – Chucky – possesses a Good Guy doll via his black magic before dying of his gun wounds. A Good Guy doll is the ‘in’ gift for a young kid if they’re into full-sized ginger dolls with oversized freckled heads, a few shitty catchphrases and possibly the most terrifying gaze you’ve ever seen (and that’s before it’s been possessed by a serial killer).

Et voila! In about 5 minutes, you have the set up for the rest of the film: psycho villain seeks revenge on cop by taking supernatural possession of a kid’s toy as a vehicle to extend his failing human life. And we all know that the Chucky doll will end up in the hands of some innocent child…. Sure, it’s predictable, but in my view there’s nothing wrong with that in this movie. It is a slightly cheesy set-up, but it’s what they do with Chucky that matters in my view.

There is something inherently unnerving about children’s dolls anyway, before adding the layer of evil soul possession. The unblinking fixed stare, permanent rubber smile, often disproportionate heads (enhanced in the Good Guy dolls – seriously, they’re the size of basket balls) and the lifelessness of a stiff toy doll mimicking the purest, most innocent stage in life: babies and childhood. To me, demonising an innocent (if slightly creepy) children’s toy doll is a brilliant idea. And of course, the Chucky-haunted doll lands itself in the lap of a young boy called Andy as a birthday gift. (Great little actor Alex Vincent is by the way, the kid who plays Andy; really convincing performance.) Also, funnily enough, it was sold by a dodgy looking back street peddlar – what could go wrong?

Plenty, of course. The doll starts talking to Andy when nobody else is around – and inevitably, nobody believes Andy when he tells them that the Chucky Good Guy doll is alive. Then comes the first bit of evil Chucky behaviour where he kills Andy’s babysitter once Andy has gone to bed and she’s all alone (good bit of irony there that a ‘Good Guy’ doll is now effectively a ‘Bad Guy’ doll). I love that the iconic lightning flashed in the background as the babysitter sat in the living room on her own – we all know what that means! In true horror style, lots of little creepy noises and small movements prepare us for Chucky’s first strike. I love all of that stuff: the gradual build to something bad happening, but what exactly will it be…? The rest of the film contains less of the building sensation, generally tending to get more directly on with the plot and focusing on Chucky’s sworn revenge.

I think there’s joy in this kind of predictability though. The film isn’t hiding anything: it makes things very clear to the audience that the spooky backstory and sinister underhandedness spell ‘danger ahead‘. It drums up the anticipation in an obvious way, the way that so many classic thrillers and horrors out there do with lightning, dodgy characters, dark and cold nights, lightning, magic spells – all of these are classic, timeless components to a scary story of some kind. They’ve been reworked again and again over the ages, and if you’re introduced to a horror, you expect some of the familiar signs to be there: they intentionally grab our attention and make us clock all the little ‘sinister’ elements that build to the bigger horror/thriller plot.

On the production of the film, I have to say that the set designers and costume workers did a great job of Chucky’s animation. There were no strings apparent, his movements were all pretty slick, and the nasty grimace that the doll adopts when Chucky is making his appearance obvious is very aggressive and threatening. Some of those expressions he pulls are seriously intense with violence. Whenever Chucky went into ‘doll’ mode – static and lifeless – it always sent a little chill of suspense through me, just waiting for when he

Chucky
I’d be freaking terrified if that was coming at me…

would reanimate and jump out in attack. That sort of ‘playing dead’ aspect gets pretty much everyone. I think Chucky has to go down as one of the most persistent characters who just won’t die at the end – not that that’s a bad thing. His molten, charred corpse just keeps going, limbless though it becomes – he’s one hell-bent nasty soul. Can’t wait to see how he comes back in the sequel….

One thing that I didn’t like so much was how they dealt with the murder scene. I know that it’s a slightly dated film now, but not one cop batted an eyelid when Andy’s mother comes running into the apartment block looking for her son even though it’s been cordoned off. She barges straight in, and then dashes directly through to her apartment in which the detective and his team are acting quite blasé. I don’t think they’d have even looked up if she’d streaked in naked shouting “I did it!”. Some of them were just settling in comfortably on the sofa with the paper! *Tut*

We all know that in modern films, crime scenes are well protected areas and it’s only ever with some reluctance and ID that the police let someone through. Out of the whole film, I found this scene the least believable(!). I guess that this lax attitude here must be down to the era it was filmed in, but surely not all of those films from the 1980s were so casual…? This aspect raises some repercussions with the film Aliens about which I discussed the unprofessional behaviour of the soldiers – both this and the crime scene in Child’s Play are serious things that would be dealt with very differently in modern films. In some ways it helped move things along quicker – no hold ups with bureaucracy, forensics and red tape preventing Andy and his mum from living in their home (whereas in movies now they’d be out of there so that the cops could investigate). So, even though it’s kind of annoying (I found myself saying out loud “That just wouldn’t happen!”) and completely inaccurate, the lack or professionalism in the crime scene did spur the rest of the film along. It is a slightly predictable horror film, after all.

Petty issue with the cops aside, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Child’s Play and look forward getting involved with the whole Chucky series. The sinister doll and his maniacal antics, the predictable eeriness of the horror genre and on the whole intriguing plot earn this film a few dark, sweet strong Kraken rum mixed with cola to see you through the madness.

Until next time……..

Chucky background

 

Top marks for a smokey roast at The Poet’s

Full of flavour and feeling full! This was a roast with the most.

Raise your hands, who likes roast dinners?! As 95% of the UK raise their hands and wave eagerly, crying out “Me, me, me!”, drool escaping down the side of their quivering jowls. The other 5% are stared at with utter bewilderment – who could not like a big ol’ Sunday roast with all the trimmings? Well, a few of us.

I’m not a hater of roast dinners, by any means. I’m in the rare 1.5% of Brits who aren’t too bothered, but just every so often, a really, really decent roast with tons of veg and good quality meat would actually do rather nicely, thank you very much. So before you oust me, wrongly branded as one of the 3.5% who are true Roast Haters, I do partake in the Sunday tradition from time to time and enjoy it. Maybe once every three or four months. And undoubtedly at Christmas. But Christmas dinner is a whole other sub-genre of Big Dinners, so we’ll leave that one there for now.

The past weekend was one of said occasions, having promised during the week to treat us (me and the hubby) to a pub roast. It turns out to have been one of the best ideas I’d had all week. Presenting to you……

The Poet’s Smoke and Ale House’s Roast Dinners! 

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They honestly were The Business. Our plates were literally piled high with heaps of delicious vegetables, succulent meat, roast potatoes and a very proud-looking Yorkshire pudding. Honestly, this roast gets points for being the tallest Sunday lunch 20354055_10210527025752922_1083156051_oI’ve ever been presented with. I wonder if there are any pubs that go as far as to present roast dinners taller than they are wide…

The Poet’s Smoke and Ale House is a pub that we’ve frequented a good handful of times, both for drinks and eats, so we already knew the standard would be pretty decent. During the week the pub specialises in American-style grub, with burgers aplenty, smoked ribs, smoked pulled pork, smoked half-chickens, meat platters, nachos, chilli dogs, the works. (They do some very good quality vegetarian fare too amongst the mighty meaty menu.)

So yeah, they smoke a lot of their food. I just LOVE smokey flavours, so there was a good chance I’d be having something smoked for my roast dinner. Eagerly eyeing up the Sunday specials, one thing caught my attention: smoked leg of lamb. Now, I’m actually not a big lamb fan, always deeming the flavour too farmy, the meat too greasy, and just generally not my thing – most of my lamb-tasting experiences have consisted of plain grilled cutlets which gives you the full whiffy fatty lamby farminess. But I’m keen to change my view and try different incarnations of the meat to see whether I can find a lamb dish that excites my palette. The smoked lamb got my palette, taste buds, and stomach so excited that they all did a joyful, greedy dance as I hoovered up those tender slices of meat. It wasn’t greasy, didn’t have that pungent strong farm-like taste that I’m so offended by, oh no – the lamb was smooth and succulent, the smokey flavour ran through the meat without being overpowering, it was deliciously savoury, not too rich, and without a doubt the best lamb I’ve ever eaten. Woohoo for taking a food risk!

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The full Sunday Roast menu

My partner in delicious crime chose to have the 14hr smoked grain fed Australian brisket – this also did not disappoint. More subtle in its smokiness than my lamb, the beef was rich in flavour and again beautifully smooth and fall-apart tender. However, we both felt that the lamb won the battle of the tastebuds. Both dishes were awash with a rich not-too-thick-or-too-thin gravy, perfect for Yorkshire pud swirling and roast potato sponging. The roast potatoes had a thick crisp crust and fluffy centre to boot (I have a confession here, I’m not big on roast potatoes…. *Gasp!* Aaaaargh *Someone faints, someone else fetches the Emergency Extra Strong Tea to whiff under them and bring them back* …They’re just not my thing. Give me mash any day over roasties. Please don’t judge me!) – my husband appreciated the roasties at least. The Yorkshire pudding was gorgeously puffy with crisp edges, yet also had decent substance and a lovely pancake flavour to it.

And the veg. Oh the veg! I thought my greens, purples and oranges would never end, there were so many! A superior selection of vegetables is something that I really look for in a roast dinner, and The Poet’s did not fail to perform: a buried treasure of cooked red cabbage, blanched kale, roasted/sautéed carrots, mashed swede and chunks of roasted beetroot were hidden beneath the swathes of meat and tide of gravy, brightening up our plates and nourishing our bellies. They all tasted wonderfully fresh, each carrying with it its own earthy or sweet or strong individual flavour (I’ve experienced some awful roast dinners before where all the veg tastes like the same watery mush, I knew we’d be safe from such vegetable tragedy here). Having them all cooked differently too provided the dish with some nice variation – though perhaps the carrots could have been cooked a fraction less. I like a little bite to my orange roots. Still, it was a terrific selection and we hungrily devoured the lot.

By the end of our meal, we were two very satisfied diners. Two pints of a local ale (GoldBier by Harvey’s of Lewes) and a massive plate of food down and I was pretty much done. I know that the desserts are awesome at The Poet’s too, but I couldn’t face shovelling a whole load more calories down my throat. Somehow, my husband could! Mississippi Mud Pie was ordered after much dithering over the many superb sounding sweets (I would have plumped for the Pecan Pie – next time, I guess!). To quote the man himself, “It’s like a brownie on steroids!” came the review of said gooey, chocolatey dessert, which came served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream.

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Mississippi Mud PIe – please excuse its half-demolished state, I was a bit late in remembering to take a picture!

A successful Sunday roast it was indeed! I do enjoy The Poet’s, both its food and the pub itself. The décor is quite trendy, full of wooden furnishings – some tastefully painted in blues and creams – with some quirky hangings and mirrors adorning the walls and plenty of light to illuminate the heaving bar and brighten up the space. The staff are friendly too and the service always quite quick. I’m surprised and slightly saddened that it wasn’t busier. Sure, it’s summer, so not typically roast dinner season, but lately it’s been pretty grey and damp – surely the perfect excuse to hide yourself away in the cosy confines of your local public house to chow down on their delicious food. Worked for us anyway!

I’d say that this Reviewski is worthy of a few well-pulled pints of your favourite golden ale or lager, served by a charming barman or cheeky barmaid with the sunlight just glinting through the rain-flecked windows and some cool Sunday blues riding the soundwaves.                                                                             Poetic, right? For The Poet’s pub!

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If I’ve enticed you to try a meal or just to pop along to The Poet’s Smoke and Ale House for a pint or two, you can find the pub tucked into the Poet’s Corner area of Hove just behind Portland Road. Check out their website or Facebook page to be tempted further – cheers!

Berries, cabbage and sunshine: all available at your local Pick Your Own

Getting carried away with the thrill of finding the finest fruits.

Full blown Summer with a capital ‘S’ comes to England and several things come to mind: trips to the beach with picnics on uncomfortably stony beaches, walks in the countryside admiring the patchwork fields from a hilltop, strawberries and cream (with or without Wimbledon – I prefer mine sans tennis), and the sudden urge to go an pick said strawberries from a local Pick Your Own (PYO) field. A trip to a PYO has to be up there as one of the more quaint and quintessentially British pastimes. Take a rare hot, sunshiny weekend, the desire to go out somewhere and make the most of the weather, and an appreciation for fresh produce and you’ve got the makings of a sweet, bountiful afternoon full of sticky fingers and heaving punnets full of nature’s finest.

This is exactly what happened to my husband and I last weekend when we had a rare free sunny Sunday with no jobs to be done. So off we trotted over to the Roundstone PYO Farm in Worthing – a place I’d not visited for years but have fond memories of. Strawberries were my favourite fruit as a child, and I’d probably end up eating more fruit at the farm than ended up in the basket. What kid can resist the fresh, warm, sweet allure of a beautifully ripe strawberry hanging tantalisingly from its stalk? And, in all honesty, what adult can resist it either?

We arrived in the glorious mid-afternoon sun to a busy field with plenty listed as in season and ready to pick. Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, loganberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, early blackberries and plums, cabbages, peas, broad beans, green beans and many more fruit and veg aside. We went with the thought of bringing back strawberries – who wouldn’t? It’s the first thing I think of if someone says ‘Pick Your Own’ to me, and I still love the fruit – nothing beats a ripe English strawberry. It’s like the Top Trump of all the fruits, sure to floor any Spanish blueberry or French apple. But nonetheless, we actually came back with anything but the idolised red fruit, instead foraging punnets of tayberries, blackberries, gooseberries and a gorgeous red cabbage.

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Some of you might be wondering what the heck a tayberry is. Hey, I hadn’t even heard of one before last weekend! As soon as I saw that tayberries were among the available fruits, I just had to learn just exactly what they were, so off we headed on a taste adventure. Turns out that tayberries are like longer versions of raspberries in appearance, less tart in taste than their sister fruits and perhaps a touch floral and smoother on the palate. Into the punnet they went to be put to further culinary experiments at home!

The blackberries were a touch on the sharp side – perhaps to be expected as it’s still early in the season for them – but perfectly edible and honestly it’s just a joy to be out their picking fresh berries from their stalks. I kept saying both to myself and my other half ‘That’ll probably do’ but found myself irresistibly scouring the brambles for more, risking the prickles and rejoicing with another fresh handful to add to the basket.

Gooseberries were our next prey. Excited by the experience that is probably as close to real foraging as I’ll ever get, and maybe on the tiniest sugar high from the consumed berries, we hungrily set off to the next field. What we found was not what I expected at all. The gooseberries were superb. Seriously, they were massive and so, so sweet and delicious. I’d never eaten a raw one, always assuming that they’d largely be too sharp – when do you ever see fresh gooseberries as a garnish on a dessert? – but I dared to taste one and was so pleasantly surprised. They were the star of our findings, for sure. I couldn’t help but reap a whole bagful of them, not yet knowing what scrumptious fate lay ahead for these beauts. However, BE WARNED: the bushes have super long sharp thorns that shred your hands to pieces. You either need to be fully committed, or prepared with gardening gloves to pick the blighters.

Time was pressing as the afternoon drew on, and we just had to at least find the strawberries, maybe sample one or two. Or ten… Most of the bushes had been ravaged already, leaving only a few overripe squishy ones or overlooked bizarre-shaped strawberries. Their malformed exteriors still contained the most luscious flavour you’ll find during summer though.

As we made our way to the counter to pay for our glorious fruits, we happened upon the veg patch. Convenient for me, as I wanted a red cabbage for some homemade coleslaw. Having not prepared for the occasion or cabbage cutting, we didn’t have a knife to free it from the stalk. However, my handy husband knew exactly what to do: brandishing his door keys, he hacked away determinedly until the purple ball of glory was severed from its earthy confines, and lo! We had a cabbage. It made for the best coleslaw.

Our wonderful harvest came to a little over £5 – great value for such excellent produce. We’ll definitely be returning for another round of fruit & veg picking. It made for such a joyful, satisfying and carefree afternoon. Something about the open air, the excitement of finding the best fruits, and the anticipation of eating them when you get home gives one quite the mild homely thrill.

Our trip to the Roundstone PYO is certainly worthy of a few refreshing glasses of Pimm’s, which of course wouldn’t be complete without being packed full of (freshly picked) strawberries, blueberries, orange slices, cucumber and mint. It’s the stuff that British summers are made of! If you fancy wiling away the afternoon in amongst the fruit bushes, check out the Roundstone PYO website for all of the details and to see what’s in season.

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Oh, by the way, most of the gooseberries were lovingly thrown into an amazing gooseberry and ginger cheesecake. It was a big cheesecake, but it barely lasted a few days – it had no chance! The tayberries were made into ice cream, which I’ve yet to try but hear rumour from my husband that it’s pretty darn good, and the rest of our berries were made into a lovely fruity crumble.

Gooseberry & Ginger Cheesecake
The cheesecake of dreams. I’m sad it’s all gone.

The recipe for this super cheesecake can be found at delicious magazine. Enjoy!

 

 

Gym workouts – how they really work out!

My fitness future is certainly going in the right direction.

Last month, I decided to join the gym. I’d been wanting to for ages and always thought that it going to the gym would be, like, ‘for me’ ya know? I’m good at self discipline, not very good at committing to classes (my moods and energy levels aren’t terribly stable/reliable and I’m no good at evening exercise) and like setting personal goals with no other competition but myself. Not that exercise classes are designed to be competitive – in fact, they’re completely the opposite. But I bet there’s not one person in a yoga class, kettle bell workout, spin class or zumba sesh that doesn’t look at others who are already far fitter and able and feel a million miles behind. Of course at a gym, there are folk of all fitness levels too, but you’re not doing the same exercises as one so there’s no pressure to keep up. The only one pushing you to do that extra minute, those extra 10 reps is the little trainer in your brain telling your body to ‘Keep going, you can do it!’. I like it that way.

I didn’t take up the gym to lose weight, by the way. I’m actually underweight and want to gain muscle, tone up and generally increase my fitness levels. At the local gym I visit, Change, they have this brilliant machine called Boditrax that analyses your body for all kinds of things. This magical set of scales with rods to hold for a full body scan measures your weight, water levels, bone density, body fat, muscle mass, visceral fat (the bad stuff around your midriff where your organs are – nobody wants that sticking to their insides), metabolic age, and breaks down the information into very digestible stats using pretty colours and simple layouts. I was actually quite happy with my first body analysis: my body water was where it should be (apparently, this is quite rare for a first time scan, most people don’t drink enough), my metabolic age is in its teenage years (again, apparently this is great, it should always be younger than your physical age), and there’s not a great deal of fat on me (which is kind of expected, but nonetheless a relief to see anyway. Better than being a skinny person with a ton of internal fat hidden away like a walking pack of skinny butter).

One thing that was a bit low, as expected – apart from my weight, obvs – was my bone mass. I have early stage osteopenia, which is basically a precursor to full blown osteoperosis. Crumbly bones ain’t summat nobody wants. So I’ve been trying to improve on that for a while, with scans every couple of years to keep an eye on it. One of the things recommended for strengthening bones is weight-bearing exercise. I already eat enough stuff that contains calcium, and the supplements don’t agree with me, so one of the things I’ve been pretty hot on is doing weights in the gym.

So, one month on, and it was time for my second Boditrax scan. Already feeling more energetic as a whole from going to the gym, I knew there was going to be some improvement. Going 3-4 times a week and putting in about an hour’s workout each time was bound to do something! I think that even the gym staff member was impressed with my progress…

Over the course of one month, my body had gained 1.2kg muscle mass – 1.2kg muscle! Needless to say, I’m happy with that! I’d actually lost a bit of fat, which I wasn’t really expecting as I’m only quite slight. But hey, I’m not going to complain about having more muscle and less fat! But possibly best of all for me, I’d gained 0.1kg bone mass. This is a seriously big win for me. I don’t want to be a cripple due to failing bones in middle age. No-one does. If this gradual increase in bone mass continues each month, I’ll be out of the danger zone for osteopenia within a year, easily. It’s really boosted my confidence and made me even more determined to keep it up. I already wake up on a gym day and say to myself (sometimes out loud) ‘Yay! Gym day!’ and miss it on days that I can’t fit in a workout. Now I’ll be even more eager to go!

It’s amazing what modern technology can do (when it does decide to work). To be able to stand on a machine and in mere seconds it runs several highly complicated checks and scans on your body and gives you the results instantly is incredible. I think anyone stepping on a Boditrax scale for the first time will have their eyes well and truly opened as to what is really going on internally with their bodies. Be it positive or negative, it will make you want to do something about it. I want to improve on what I already have, and by starting my workouts at the gym has proved that it’s definitely the right thing for me. The results are there in black and white and greens, yellows, reds and blues thanks to the lovely printouts I now have filed away. I can’t yet see a great deal of improvement, but I know it’s happening inside as I can sense changes within my body. Hopefully, after another month the results will be more visible and I’ll have more body confidence as well as feeling healthier. Thank you to the gym staff too, by the way, for always being very helpful, supportive and kind – they’re always smiling and ready to help you out!

Time for the ratings for the Change gym and Boditrax machine! It would seem somewhat counter-intuitive to bestow a health institution with an alcoholic award, so I think that this time the drink will take form of a mocktail or two. A fiery Moscow Mule Mojito for the punchy hit of a workout, followed by a refreshing Blackberry Mint Spritzer to satisfyingly quench the thirst. Both of these mocktails and more can be found here if they take your fruity fancy! If not, your local offie will be more than happy to supply you with the real hard stuff 😉

Cheers!

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Further to ‘On Today’ (i.e. yesterday…)

The damage revealed…

Yesterday was a bad day. Think I established that pretty well on my previous blog post. Today is blessedly kinder, though the lingering grains of weariness live on in the back of my eyeballs. Still, I can function a lot better and am able to actually enjoy things today (it helps a whole heap that I’m home too – midweek day off = WIN!).

But anyway, we all remember yesterday and the crappy weather and the foul mood and, of course, the cake fail. I’d just like to show you exactly what happened to my poor Teensie after its journey into town. Behold: 20049389_10210406771946652_42349165_o

Yep. Head’s fallen clean off. Well, messily off. I had expected as much though – the weight of his oversized icing-coated rice cereal & marshmallow nose needed far more support than a few cocktail sticks and edible glue. But at the time I was thinking on my feet and didn’t have much else to hand to work with. At least it wasn’t a paid order! I think that’s the only reason that it didn’t make me even more stressed.

So, once my husband and I were at the event later on, I thought I’d modify things a little. I made another flat cake that was originally meant to be the base for the Teensie to stand on – little did I know that he’d be far from teensie, so they were brought as two separate cake elements based on the same game. It was all kind of good ultimately as my solution made use of the base cake: I stuck his head band smack in the middle:

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Those big innocent eyes still gaze on smilingly. Creepy or cute? And there stands the ripped open corpse, moist cakey innards exposed, as though a fiendish saboteur with victory firmly in their thoughts set out to obliterate any rival cakes. As it happens, I came second! Not sure who won as I left with my husband (I still felt tired and awful) before the judges announced their verdicts – a friend who also attended the occasion kindly kept me informed of the proceedings.

So, despite the shitty day, it wasn’t all bad. I was still kind of pleased with the cakes I’d made, disaster being inevitable though it was. The likeness of a Teensie was still there, it just ended up looking more like a sacrificial offering to the judges instead of a cute Teensie Wizard on display. Some you win, some you lose, and some you come second, which was enough of a win for me.

So for that reason, I think the cake at least gets an upgrade in ratings. I’m awarding my own cake a booze level of: Happy Mistake Cocktail By Mixing A Surprisingly Good Blend Of Liqueurs After Spilling Most Of The First One (Which Was An Actual Cocktail But You’ve Run Out Of Those Ingredients). Cheers!

Spirits