Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Obesity in Later Life......

Its New Year Resolution time and for many a diet plan will be included in the list! Hopefully the good intentions will not fall by the wayside.

We are all fighting the ageing process. For many,  they pass through the journey relatively unscathed healthwise others are less fortunate.
Doesn't it make sense to do everything we can not to contribute to our downfall?
Evidence shows excess weight can do to our bodies in terms of mobility, pressure on joints, circulation and conditions such as diabetes.........and yet people who should know better continue to eat for the sake of eating.

  • Women aged 65+: 32% are of normal BMI, 32% ‘overweight’, and 34% ‘obese’. For men this age: only 16% are within normal BMI, 54% are overweight, and 31% obese 

The vast number of seriously obese passengers on our cruise ship last Sept was really disturbing. This wasn't about people enjoying their holiday and indulging themselves, it was more about feeding a habit. I have mentioned before a typical scenario of individuals piling their plates with pasta, chips and a bread rolls. It's something we would not have believed had we not seen with our own eyes. They then ask for help carrying their trays as their mobility is impaired. They wheeze and gasp with the effort of walking short distances. Whatever the underlying causes for this self destruction it really does have to be addressed. With an ageing population we need to stop ignoring the obesity problem and to be honest about how serious this is........and spell out the consequences of prolonging this kind of behaviour.

Help is provided in our already in our overstretched NHS. Families and friends can also do their bit by eating healthier together and providing a support group. Maybe join a slimming club if you can't find willing family and friends?

Portion control, the right healthier choices and not buying items which play to your weaknesses is a start.

Action not words! 

2015 saw friends losing 2/3/4 stones in weight - they feel better, some of their weight induced ailments have gone away and they look younger and have a new lease of life!!

With many of us living longer we all would like to feel we also have vitality and health to go along with our longevity! So what are you waiting for? :)

Monday, 28 December 2015

Healthier Options!

Having Christmas out of the way ...well sort of .....the TV is carrying loads of ads on holidays and of course dieting.

I noticed new people at the gym yesterday.  It is always the way as majority fall by the wayside but at least a small proportion do follow through,  changing habits for better healthier ones.

Along the line of healthier habits......

we visited relatives yesterday and we talked about the recent "gadgets" we had bought and if any of them were any good. The one I came up with which is linked to the dieting game is the Actifry.

I can truly say that we really enjoy this appliance as you can indulge yourselves on favourites without having excessive fat.  Chips particularly are unbelievable - chop potatoes into chips, add 1/2 tbs oil close the lid switch forget about them after programming for about 50 mins. Result crispy low calorie chips!

Salmon steaks  (no added oil) cook in about 15 mins and are cooked to perfection and you don't get the mess.  The innards all go in dishwasher.

We bought ours from Amazon but it can be bought from most department stores....and its sale time!!

This Christmas I used it as an extra aid as oven was fully utilised.....parsnips best we have ever had!!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Assessing the Damage!

This morning I went to the gym - first trip after bout of illness and of course Christmas... this amounts to about 10days abstention which for me is a long time.

After consulting the scales yesterday I find I have gained 3 lbs...the world suddenly looks very bleak and needs immediate attention to restore equilibrium.

I may sound paranoid but I see weight gain a little like compound interest ..ignore the first bout and then the rest builds on it until out of control.

So equipped with my trusty fitbit conscience I did my first 1 hour workout....not as bad as I thought it would be and now I feel ready to get back to my routine.

My children bought the fitbit for my birthday last year and this year for my birthday they bought the weight scales which sync with the fitbit.  I am delighted with both of these and my kids knew I would be ....but they said most people wouldn't be so happy with a present like this :)
Sad parent syndrome ....
not my weight :)

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas Waist!

Well Christmas lunch is over and you start to wonder what was that all about? All that preparation and the event is over so quickly. We had a lovely enjoyable Christmas gathering with good humoured family and friends. We all managed to be comfortably full without being parsimonious.  I am more and more convinced that people are starting to be more sensible about food and have more normal sized portions of food.  Nothing worse than that awful bloated feeling when indulging to excess.  Nevertheless there is still a day of reckoning now! Despite being sensible we have all taken in more calories than we normally do and this will have impact on our waists. Delicious crispy roast potatoes soaking in goose fat are too good to be missed and why not enjoy on this special occasion - the problem occurs when you enjoy so much it becomes the norm.  

It is lovely to get the family together and to catch up on the year.  Catering for 11 is always a challenge and its almost like a Project Management task...fortunately everything worked liked clockwork but my back and legs really ached with the kitchen prep.  A labour of love!

Fascinating to see the younger generation and to hear of their plans and successes. We had a particularly fascinating insight into the innocence of children with my grand daughter who was not only  looking forward to Father Christmas and toys but also the added bonus of the tooth fairy!! We had an interesting discussion as to whether Father Christmas could bring the money for the tooth and save the fairy having to make the journey :)

My husband said the Union wouldn't allow it ...put a man out of a job! ....or a woman ...  :)

Friday, 18 December 2015

Love love love cooking Christmas lunch!!

This year in the run up to Christmas ... has been that I have had the most persistent cold and cough which has left me feeling so drained. I know it is doing the rounds but this is no consolation and it annoys me that it has prevented me from doing so many extra things I wanted to do...

Having ranted I still have done most of my prep for Christmas.  I love getting my children together and cooking for them. I know this will not go on forever and so it is even more important for me to make the most of every year.
Christmas lunch is just a glorified extension of the normal Sunday lunch...if you don't cook or don't want to ...I can understand why this occasion may not be so enjoyable.

There are always more attendees ... this year I have a dozen for lunch which is about the norm for us. I prepare well in advance ...the things I can do ahead I do and freeze and organise logistics in an almost project management  mentality. It works!! Reduce Stress levels!!
If you convince yourself its going to be a problem then it is going to be a problem, depends on your personality profile ...what you can do and what presents an overwhelming challenge.
There is nothing better for a mum  to feel they are still providing for  and nurturing their brood and long may it last.  I love to see the delight on the faces of all when one dish after another emerges and even more gratifying that my hard working children enjoy a period of respite when mum takes over... it is like turning back the clock and I realise I am so lucky.

This week I heard a little anecdote about  a family who are not materially blessed but disputed who would cook Christmas lunch ...
Large number of family members  decided to have lunch at  a local hotel.... and are paying £112 per head!!!... I don't know about you but there is no way even if I had that kind of money would I indulge to this extent!  I did ask if this included accommodation and drinks...the answer no!!!  Are people mad?

This is a lovely time , a time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and a chance to still be the  lynchpin of your family which hopefully they will fondly remember when you are long gone...

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Nearly Christmas!!!

There is something about Christmas which brings out your inner child ....well maybe its just me.  This year we added another set of lights on our tree and I am absolutely delighted - best ever!

I have always had just white lights and neutral type decorations - this time I thought I would have a change and have something more colourful and here is the result!

Cant wait for my grandchildren to see it!!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Holiday Reads......

We never seem to have time for books at home, there always seems to be more pressing matters which need attention. So holidays provide valuable uninterrupted time for reading - a  really enjoyable indulgence.

Here are my recent eclectic reads in the Med.......

The Girl in the Spider's Web 
David Lagercrantz, George Goulding

a really gripping read which is written in the style of the late author Stieg Larsson who wrote the fantastic Girl with Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Lisbeth Salander is again brought to life with sinister twists and turns.  I don't think this will be the last offering as the ending allows for much speculation.

The Shape of Water: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 1
Andrea Camilleri

having watched and enjoyed the Montalbano series on TV I was encouraged to read the books to see how they compare.  I wasn't disappointed.  Clearly more detail is evident in the books and the mixture of fiction and farce is amusing and chaotic at times. I have downloaded the second of these and look forward to the next holiday......

Go Set a Watchman
Harper Lee

As a schoolgirl I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" and also saw the film starring Gregory Peck.  As with many other people you could not help but be moved by the story and take away a lasting impression of the injustices which exist and that there are people who are willing to stand up and be counted.

So when this sequel came out I was fascinated to see what happening next. I read many reviews including those on Amazon which on the whole were quite negative and so my expectations were not very high as a consequence. 
I was disappointed overall but it is still worth a read. I understand that Harper Lee wrote this before Mocking Bird which I find puzzling in terms of the character of Atticus and what he stands for......don't want to give the game away so read and judge for yourself....

The Fatherland
Richard Harris

I downloaded this quite a while ago and was looking forward to this book on holiday.  I have read many of Robert Harris's novels and find them quite compelling.  His research and thoroughness provides a sound foundation for the narrative. If the Germans had won the war is this how the future would be........? Fascinating, thought provoking and disturbing.  Excellent!

I am pleased I am a convert to "Kindle".  It took a little time to get used to using it and like many other people I used to say that you couldn't replace the enjoyment of holding a book.  Well I now wouldn't dream of buying a book unless it contained many photos, diagrams and illustrations.
It is like carrying around  your own personal library which is discrete and compact.  No longer have to worry about the weight allowance on the plane and another bonus is the low brainer!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Split, Venice, Sarande, Malaga......memories...

As promised here are more photos of our recent Cruise starting with Split






Picasso Museum

Holiday Matters....

In my last blog I mentioned our holiday.  It seems an awfully long time ago now but in fact was only last month.  We went on a cruise.....again! Cruising is one of the most enjoyable, stress free holidays you can take.
We had decided to tour around France as we used to , but with all the problems with the "tunnel" and the inevitable disruption we decided to go back to our old habits.

We weren't disappointed,  3 weeks cruising the Mediterranean with wonderful weather.  If I was being picky it must be said that the temperature at times could be a little challenging....up to 36 degrees on one day.

As soon as we arrived in Southampton and handed in our cases we were free to enjoy. We had been to some of the places on the itinerary before but this still didn't detract from the pleasure of seeing them again.
Ports of call included Cadiz, Valletta, Dubrovnik, Split, Venice, Corfu, Sarande, Malaga and La Coruna.

Here are some of our photos in Seville which we travelled to from Cadiz





We have been to Dubrovnik before but my husband was particularly thrilled with the visit this time as "Game of Thrones" was filmed here. 

Have I wetted your appetite? More photos later......

Friday, 9 October 2015

Busy Summer!!!

I am guilty of neglecting my blog and can only blame the summer which seemed to be packed with activities......but I tend to mend my ways!

So am going to recount some to he things we have been involved in starting more or less at the end of the period.
We came back from our main holiday on 1st Oct and had to have a quick turnaround before departing for Manchester on the 3rd Oct.  You can imagine the amount of washing to be done after 3 weeks away in hot climes and then having to sort out suitable clothing for the North and cooler temperatures.
There is something quite therapeutic and of course necessary about tackling washing and somehow I rested a little easier knowing this task had been done before we departed for Manchester.
The purpose of the trip was twofold...
1. going to Man City/Newcastle Match at the Etihad.  My husband has been a lifelong supporter and this was his birthday present from me
2. attending Conservative Conference from Sunday until Weds.

The match was particularly rewarding as Man City won impressively 6-1.  As it was a special occasion I organised "Citizens Hospitality"  so we had a good (padded) seat and a meal!.. I can't say I am a natural supporter but having a brother and husband who are fanatical about it you have no choice but to get involved.  I almost enjoy it now particularly attending a match.  There is something about the roar of the crowd, the banter, the colour, the scale......

We stayed at the Piccadilly Hotel as it is central and convenient. We checked in around 6pm and settled down in our room.  Very soon after unpacking the noise started.  Protesters who seemed to anti everything had congregated in the Park opposite the hotel.  They had loudhailers and "music" which constituted drums and heavy thumping.  Despite numerous complaints nothing seemed to be done to stop it.  We had very little sleep.  The following day (Sunday) we made our way to the Conference Centre. Even though a security wall was erected around the Centre we still had run the gauntlet and tried hard not to make eye contact as the  jeering and finger jabbing mob hurled insults at us.  In my opinion they were allowed to be too close to us and should have been pushed back so not to obstruct. We really can't understand the policing policy on this.. We were luckier than some who were pushed and spat upon.  We have never experienced anything as ugly as this.  Whatever happened to free speech and decorum.

Despite the daily hassle we still enjoyed the Conference particularly the second half. Some wonderful inspirational speeches on prison reform and measures already taken to stop reoffenders and the support that is now available. One man who spoke was a serial criminal who after having finally experienced a traumatic event started to respond to those trying to help and embraced support to become usefully employed.  He now mentors others.
One of the stands at the Conference apparently this was the actual Carling Cup.......

The key speeches, Osborne, Boris and David Cameron were impressive and Im sure you have read at length the variety of impressions of the content. The speakers from Scotland, Ireland and Wales were also emotional and impressive.  You can't help but be impressed with politicians who are on top of their game and show such commitment, stamina and vision. These roles are 24/7 and not for the faint hearted.

Well we left feeling quite uplifted but very tired - in addition to the noise already mentioned on another night we were wakened by the fire alarm and the hotel was evacuated.  There we all were standing on the cold pavement in quite an array of clothing - some with bare 4am.  We were told a guest had decided to smoke in his room.......

It was so good to get home and sleep our own bed again......