Friday, 31 May 2013

Oldies Diet!!

Although the title of the post is "Oldies Diet" the subject matter applies to any age.  It is a matter of balance.

Food is always an emotive topic as people struggle to
-  eat healthily
-  watch their weight
-  watch the pennies.

As you get older it is even more important to examine your diet and to keep in mind these 3 points.

I'm not a vegetarian but I do try to restrict my meat and fish content to one meal a day.  The remaining meals often include pulses, beans, peppers and occasionally cheese. You can raid the contents of cupboards and fridge to find left overs which make for a really healthy and attractive meal.

Here's one  quickly put together meal I made yesterday for lunch.......

This included one finely sliced red pepper,  onion, pak choi and cooked green beans....clove garlic and one inch ginger finely chopped, salt and pepper
Smear oil on bottom of non stick frying pan and slow fry pepper and onion until latter caramelises, then throw in the rest!!  It looks like an awful lot of food on the pan but it soon cooks down into a standard portion size. Stir fry until softened and then eat asap.  You can then drizzle soya sauce or balsamic - I prefer not to.....just extra calories!

This meal is incredibly easy, uses ingredients from leftover veg, cost amounts to approx £1.10, calories about 150.  So what's so difficult about that it is delicious - only downside can cause havoc with insides :)

My calorie count for the day amounts to around 1500 - this together with an hours exercise most days keeps me at my dress size 10.  I don't deprive myself of treats and its surprising how you can keep within your daily allowance if you prepare and cook food yourself - you are in control knowing what is in each meal rather than buying  a ready meal which may contain things you don't want!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Breast Aware

When I returned from holiday I received a phone call from a very close friend. She was as bubbly as ever enquiring how we enjoyed our break.  I asked her how her "how things had been with her....anything going on?"  She relied by saying "lots".  Intrigued I said" do tell" thinking this was going to be one of our usual gossip sessions.

What followed was anything but lighthearted banter.  She told me that she had been providing support to her friend who had skin cancer.  Somehow this had prompted her to examine  herself after a hospital visit.  To her surprise she found a very small lump the size of a pea under her arm.  She wasn't unduly alarmed but went to see her doctor who immediately said he didn't like the look of it and referred her immediately to a breast specialist.  A biopsy followed and at this point in time my friend was waiting for the results.

Since this phone call  many things have happened including acknowledgement that this was indeed cancer but maybe in early stage.  A lumpectomy followed only to find that several nodes were affected and therefore intensive chemo was required.  She has had various scans to make sure as far as possible that the cancer hasn't spread.  Good news on this front so chemo begins next week.

In preparation for this aggressive treatment we went to choose a wig this week. Her consultant  warned that she would almost certainly lose her hair and it would be less distressing if she cut her hair now to avoid the experience of hair fallout.  When we met at the wig provider workshop my friend had already cut her hair quite severely and I felt a pang of sadness that this was necessary.  However the wig fitting went very well and we did have quite a few laughs as she experimented with different colours and styles. She settled for one which was more her colour with with warm streaks.  It is surprising how this experience really lifted her spirits and morale  and she is in a positive frame of mind ready to face the next set of treatments.  She appreciates that she is going to have highs and lows but is determined to remain resilient and practical and to see through this lengthy process.

She has been through the inevitable feelings of shock and anger and I am sure the latter will surface every now and then.  She only retired a few months ago, doesn't smoke, hardly ever has a drink, exercises and keeps her weight under control.  Breast cancer isn't  known in the family - as she joked that bad hearts were.....

She said she had neglected examining herself. She recalled having a mammogram 2 years ago which did reveal a shadow which was assessed as a flap of skin and that no further action was taken. This may not have been sinister but looking for answers is very human.

She will have all the love and support from her family and friends and I know she will come through this and have a positive outcome.

This does highlight how important it is to self examine, have regular checks and mammograms and to be vigilant.

Here is a very informative link regarding self examination.

please feel free to comment on your experiences which will be helpful to others

@silverstrivers  or comment below

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Most Neglected Part of the Body!!

What do you think is the most neglected part of the body?  Well if the people around the pool last holiday are anything to go by its definitely .....feet!!!

Given the amount of time and attention given to pampering ourselves its remarkable that the feet are disadvantaged to such an extent that loads of hard cracked skin on heels are paraded around as if no-one will notice.

People on sun loungers tuck into their Kindles and periodically stretch their legs and wiggle their feet drawing the attention of fellow loungers to their feet . They come in many forms .......big feet, little feet, broad and thin,  those enhanced with bunions; some gnarled and some smooth; hairy or not, long nails, short ones, discoloured or painted ones; toes that turn up or down; toes that aren't a team and break ranks .........!  Its almost as if ....because they are at the end of your legs and far removed from your gaze you don't often see them and therefore no-one else does!

With summer hopefully upon us and sandals surfacing out of the wardrobe......... it is the time to examine the offending bits.  Sometimes feet may require more radical treatment but if the problems are cosmetic and treatable with minimal attention then the turnaround can be speedy. I have only had 2 pedicures in my life and the 2 experiences were birthday presents.  Although the outcome of the treatment  was impressive and attractive I am not keen on spending an hour doing this and spending so much money and prefer to  DIY -but it is highly instructive to learn the ropes by having it done professionally so you can carry on the good work.    If you enjoy being pampered in this way now is the time to make an appointment!

If you do opt for a DIY job here are 2 products I have been introduced to recently which I think are excellent........

......the much advertised Scholl Express Pedi.  Really efficient at the removal of built up skin leaving feet really smooth......

....followed by

This cream was recommended by my daughter who had been given this as a present and she raved about it.  So I thought it was worth a try  - and she was quite right!  My feet feel like silk and am very impressed.

I bought the pedi from Boots  and it cost £39.99 and the cream from Holland and Barrett £5.69.  A good investment when you consider what it would cost in salon treatments.

Pretty feet for the summer!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Man City Blues!!!

Its been a funny old weekend.....building up to the FA cup final.  My husband has been a Manchester City supporter all his life and as he often says ...."you learn to live with disappointment"..

The build up to the match was marred by the continual speculation as to the fate of the manager, Mancini. Here is a man who has a sardonic expression and  someone who keeps his cards close to his chest.  However anyone in his position must have been affected by the internal politics being played out around him. Everyone seemed to be in the know about his replacement even though he was the present incumbent who on the face of it had not been a bad manager and was still doing the job
 The trouble with football it is all about big bucks and big egos and somehow the normal practices of common decency have gone by the board.

I really felt for him as even the players seemed to have smelt blood and were circling him like a pack of wolves with talk of the poor atmosphere in the dressing room.

You may think that I am a keen supporter too, which is not strictly true.  I was brought up with a brother who is obsessive about football and enjoys all the commentary from all channels of communication.  When we were young he dominated the use of the one TV on a Saturday afternoon and if this wasn't enough he would have the radio playing at full blast too!

Then there's my husband who sometimes can't bring himself to watch a televised match just in case his team messes he has been known to record the match and to then play back later if they sad is that!

So for me it has been a matter of ....if you can't beat them - join them.  I regularly watch matches with him even enjoy the banter with Jeff Stelling and pundits on Sky.

My husband is often amused listening to the telephone conversations I have with my brother about football and the extent of my knowledge.

Getting back to Mancini - I can't imagine how demotivating it must have been for him on Saturday.  He must have felt out on a limb....and at the end when Wigan won there was a feeling that it was meant to be and Mancini cut a lonely figure at the end.  All credit to Wigan but Man City were not at their best and the powers that be should accept some responsibility for this generating a climate of uncertainty.

Even now Mancini has been left dangling like a puppet on a string whilst  the upper echelons allegedly discuss terms with his successor.

I know even if he leaves he will take a few million with him.  However what drives these kind of men is not really about money even though it is about success, power and passion.  Maybe things could be handled better?

There is a parallel in business.  How many of us have been in positions where internal politics dominate and many agendas are trailed - result - miserable demotivated people who witness the changes that inevitably follow only to find that nothing has really changed.........just a lot of upset and expense!!!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Summer Colours!!

I have always been conscious of the impact of your individual image and style has in terms of credibility, attractiveness in business and generally.  No matter how often people say it doesn't matter, it does!!

The care and attention you take in making the best of your appearance says a lot about you and what you are. This is so important in business as you try to link into  customers' expectations.

Even more important...when you retire it is a matter of saying that I am still here, I am just as attractive, just as fit, just as fashionable and am still part of the human race!

Every year I examine my wardrobe and conduct a cull......  anything I really don't like or ...... is ageing or I am fed up of seeing......  or haven't worn for 2 years....... has to go. These items are examined by my daughter and a close friend to see if they want anything and then the rest go to charity.

Over the years you find what suits your shape and colouring.  The trouble is I find I tend to buy the same things over and over again often in the same colours.......taupe, white, camel, grey, black.  Occasionally I opt for a more vibrant colour but I have to be "in the mood" to wear it.

This summer's colours are particularly vibrant and I decided to experiment and inject some of this fun stuff in my wardrobe - in particular cobalt blue which is so distinctive!

As with many of these brighter colours you can tone them down wearing them with quieter items.  Here is a generous sized Anya Hindmarsh tote and Tory Burch flats

Then there's yellow!

I have a pair of  yellow Jaeger trousers to go with this cashmere top (and the one blow) and I am waiting until the sun really comes out before being brave enough to wear them!  I am a little concerned I will look like a tube of sherbert!

Even more daring for me is this Jaeger top....

this feels a little obvious for me but in blue and yellow is up to date and my grand daughter loves it especially counting all the spots!

However my favourite recent buy is a lacy top by Chloe  .....more my usual colour and I love it!
You can have a lot of fun trying out a new look buying high street items without spending a great deal. "My buys" I have mentioned are from Jaeger or specific designer labels from

I tend to buy mainly online these days - so convenient and the choice, often at discounted prices, is huge. What is important to me is that as a more mature woman you recognise you are not thirty something but still want to be "current" and have a fashionable yet classic wardrobe which  can be mixed and matched and ring the changes. Some women wear the same items all the year round oblivious to the temperature......and winter drab does not transition well into the summer.  So it is worth opening those wardrobe doors and being ruthless!  

You may even decide to recoup some money by selling on ebay.........and then you can replace!!! :)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

10 Point Business Plan for Success!

Starting a business and working from home can be very daunting. You are on your own without the structure any organisation usually provides including secretarial and admin support.  All down to me!
I do believe you have to have a specific profile to make a real success of  being a one man or woman band. This profile would include being analytical,focused, capable of making decisions, resilient, self motivated, systematic, organised, personable and credible.

Here are 10 practical things which worked for me.......

  • Find a good accountant and establish business banking
  • Dedicated room at home. You are at work when in this room
  • Ensure you have the technology to support your business
  • Prepare simple attractive marketing material which says who you are, what you do, what you can do for them. 
  • Don't dress like a slob just because you are at home! - you are applying a work discipline - puts you in the right frame of mind!
  • Work 9 - 5. This is a full time job! Allow an hour for lunch and have set break times to stop you having a cup of coffee every time you hit the wall
  •  Set the objectives for the day....... for me this went something like.... Contact 5 people in my network, identify 5 potential new clients and contacts, send out marketing letters to them, diary follow up phone call in 3 days time, diary any meetings which come out of interactions, handle admin to include, suppliers, banking, tax, VAT
  • Make sure you build in exercise before or after work or during lunch break. This could be a brisk short walk or gym whatever works for you. It helps to clear the cobwebs
  • As a full time working mum build in and diary commitments
  • Have a supportive partner! :) if you haven't got one make sure you have a mentor - someone you respect and value their opinion

What I kept reminding myself was not to kid myself......this exercise was about results not activity! It's all very well having nice conversations but they don't pay the bills!  Keeping focus on obtaining business - " what can I do for you?".  The first year is the most challenging after which momentum starts to happen. I know people say its not that easy. ......and they are right it isn't! However if you keep on going one day at a time and don't  lose heart you can achieve success........and what success looked like for me.........achievement which was down to my endeavours. As a woman at the time I started my business I faced quite a few barriers. So how did this achievement manifest itself......a really good income, financial package from last previous employer intact..........and a car!!!  Not the SLK..........I found it was too small for me - I felt like a sardine in a can........but I did get a CLK and worked up to the SL........

However what really gave me a glow was the praise of my husband and his complete belief in what I was capable of doing........and the expression of pride from my children who saw me and continue to see me as a positive role model.

So what are you waiting for..........?