Sunday, 31 March 2013


Believe it or not, although I'm such a keen cook, I've never used Tofu before. I mean I tried vegetarian sausages, burgers, spreads and whatnot, but never Tofu. Until recently. No idea what brought it on, but I wanted to try an alternative to use in my stir fry, so I went and bought the firm Tofu and got working. To be honest, it's recommended to press it to get rid of the excess water, and I tried it, but I prefer it straight out of the packet, just dabbed until it's dry-ish.

I did a stir fry with spring onions, carrots, green beans, Samphire and Pancit Canton flour sticks with soy/honey sauce, but it goes equally well with Basmati or Thai rice.A sprinkle of sesame seeds and there you  have a perfectly healthy vegetarian dish, quick but anything but boring.
It was rather delicious and the Tofu has a smooth texture, almost like scrambled egg. Very interesting. I'll definitely do that again.

In addition to that it's low in calories, probably one reason why I have lost another 3cm around my tummy. Sunday's the day of truth and I was very pleased to see that I've shrunk again. My guess is that I've lost about 7 to 8kg of fat, but replaced it with muscles. Fine by me. Now I'll have to concentrate on losing fat only.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

I don't intent to play Bingo ...

4 pint is approx. 2kg
... therefore I don't need Bingo wings. Yes, it's another post about workout and exercises, but I'm only sharing my progress so that others can see it's possible without becoming a gym bunny, ending up like a stick insect. And more importantly: without having to spend hundreds on equipment.
Last year, we were in the roof garden having a picnic after a great harvest. That by itself wasn't a problem; the pictures taken, however, were. You know, it was a hot day, I wore shorts and a tank top, in short, the right clothes to show off what you have. Or don't have, in my case, that is a fit body.
My legs were fat, covered with cellulite mainly in the back, my tummy was a massive bulge, and my arms were just big and flabby. I hate flabby. It just wasn't a pleasant sight. Despite my voicing my disgust, everyone kept telling me I'm okay and I should stop complaining. Seriously? I mean I'm not one who has her skeleton poking through her paper-thin skin, saying I'm too fat. Quite the contrary: I have a very healthy relationship with my image in the mirror, let alone the brutal reality check those picture had imprinted on me. Photos, if not modified, are as honest as they get. I knew I had to do something, but I didn't. Not until this winter when none of my trousers fitted anymore and even my huge Parka got a little tight around the chest. That was a point I snapped and got my arse into gear. I won't go and repeat what I've done in the past three months, because I've posted about it previously, but I want to offer some motivation to those who aren't comfortable going to the gym or hate hopping about in front of a DVD for an hour or so doing over-complicated exercises.
I'm not a pro, so I have no clue if I'm doing everything right, but I can share what I'm doing and hope you'll try it out.
This time it's bingo wings. A great and easy way is shown in  this video, but because I'm not a sissy, I do it with two 4pt bottles. Ha! 15 reps, three times, sitting on a gym ball, which also engages my core. I'll up the repetitions to 20 and then 25 when the burning goes.
In the beginning, I did ten repetitions twice with only one bottle and it was enough to feel it for days. So I'd say take it slow, nobody's rushing you, right? If you do it twice or three times a week and gradually add more repetitions and weight, you'll feel the difference. Of course only if you're not too big. All the workout in the world won't help if you're not changing your diet, too, and lose the fat covering your muscles. :-)
Oh and you can combine it later with squats to get the wobbly backside back in form, too. Look up some videos on how to do squats properly and try it out. 

Next I'll plan to add triceps dips as shown here
For some reason I can't upload the video to watch immediately. But it's worth checking it out. 
I hope, I've encouraged you to do a little bit for yourself at home.

Friday, 29 March 2013

I just hate it

Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks
For the past few years, I had an intimate relationship with my keyboards, both, the home and and the garden laptop. (If you look closely, you can probably see whole meals stacked away in there.) You will remember that I've not written anything since end of January and I wasn't really sure if the desire will come back or not, but ... I may have had an idea for a new book. At the moment that's only what it is. An idea. It seems I'm too scared to even go more into detail in my head in case I get stuck again. I think that's what it is, really, I can't take the torture of writing anymore. I hate writing, but I love looking back on what I've created. Thing is that one without the other isn't possible. (Imagine hearing a massive sigh of inner turmoil.)
Guess perfectionism and lack of imagination is not the best combination for a writer. The former is very good, if not necessary for editing, but for writing? It's a huge obstacle waiting around each corner. There's only rarely a flow or something 'pouring' out of me; instead I have outbursts of tantrums. Not very helpful to be honest. Perhaps I should ease back into writing with a few short stories; after all there's still the second book of funny shorts waiting to be done. I have about six or seven complete, but they're not ready and need more work and I need to be in the right frame of mind to write humour. If I don't feel it, I can't do it. Simple. Interestingly, my 5-Minute Tea Break Stories are my bestseller. My guess is that the cover draws them in, and I'm very proud of the picture, for I've taken it myself with my shoddy mobile cam. Not bad for an amateur, eh?
Anyway, what I wanted to say is that there may be a possibility for another book coming at some point, but I've decided to take it way slower than in the past. I will only write when I feel like it instead of pushing myself too hard. I think there's a good story in my own weight loss progress as I was a little breathless yesterday after I whipped my ice-cold fingertips with that leather skipping rope. Not recommended, by the way.

Tomorrow, I'll post some easy tips to get rid of bingo wings and get that wobbly arse back into it's firm glory.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Maybe I should have been a body builder

Still showing the wrong numbers
Today's measuring revealed that I lost 6cm in six weeks around the arse. That's what I feel in my jeans, they fit much better (again) and in one of them there's even a bit of room. My muscles are all coming back, too. I find it quite scary how quickly I build them, but I always did. I can clearly feel rather defined quadriceps and that's just because I did some squats, or exercises that involved squats for about a week and a half with ten to twenty repetitions twice every other day. Love it. Building muscles means I'll get to the fat stores and that's exactly what I aim for. After the first five squats I was hurting and gave my thighs a rest. Then I gradually increased the repetitions and I can honestly say that there wasn't a day in the past two weeks that I wasn't sore somewhere.
It's proof that I'm doing the exercises right, which is important because I'm doing the things on my own after studying videos on YouTube. If it doesn't feel right and it hurts where it shouldn't hurt, I don't continue. It's important to stay safe; the last thing I need is an injury.
Recently I've started to add weights; for the lack of dumbbells I just filled a 4pt milk bottle with water and started with that, then added another one. That's 4kg and they are easy to work with as they've got handles. A little bit of creativity goes a long way.
I try to vary the workout as much as possible and combine abs, arms and legs with HIIT, like Jumping Jacks, running on the spot or squat side steps (my own invention).
For the HIIT I'm using this online stopwatch, both for the length of the workout (I add 5secs to get in position), and to monitor my heart rate. I feel the pulse on my neck and count for 15 seconds, then multiply by four. So far it's fairly okay with 148 beats per minute. When doing HIIT cardio, it's supposed to be high. In fact it's probably even a little low. Although, if I'd do a sprint, I'm sure I'd blow any monitor.
At some point I'm going to get me a new heart rate monitor as mine is roughly a decade old and I can't open the watch to replace the battery.
I've also decided to join a local boxing club. Went over there last week to see how it feels and I liked it. You know, when you walk into a room and notice negative or positive vibes? For years I wanted to do boxing training as it's one of the best workouts you can get. It should help enormously with my ADHD, because I can go and kick and hit a punchbag and get rid of all the energy I have; or, if someone really pisses me of, I can picture his or her face and hit it hard. Better than lying in bed and arguing with that person in my head for hours. Boxing is a full body workout and I'm quite looking forward to joining that club. Just to be clear, the only thing I'll be hitting is a punchbag or pad, not humans. I'm against violence.
Another thing: I'm doing the exercises to get back in shape, not because I want to end up like Twiggy. I'm not a fan of women who look like they only eat two leaves of lettuce a day; all skin and bones. No, no. I love curves and want to keep mine, but I'm overweight and that's what I need to tackle. Working out and keeping an eye on what I eat is the perfect way for me to lose weight. Slim and wobbly is not a nice sight either.
Just thought I'd add that. And maybe I'll even start writing again when I'm happier in my own skin.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

It tore a hole in my heart

Cheap doesn't mean bad
It's a rather sad day today. I've used the last bit of my beloved raspberry body butter, which smelled delicious the whole day and softened my skin a lot. I found it at the pound shop and even bought a second tub, but it's empty now. The shop stocked it for ages and then it was gone leaving me with a deep hole in my body butter relationship. Ah well, that means I have to go on the hunt for a new brand. Until then, I'll have the lovely raspberry body spray which is equally long-lasting and delicious. Can't do the shampoo and conditioner without the body butter now, can I?

Anyway, to distract me from the pain of losing my partner in crime in skin matters, I'll just go to the park and immerse myself in exercises. Rope skipping, to be precise

Leather skipping rope with weighted handles

I haven't done it since I was at school, but I figured I need to vary my workout and exercise programme to keep me entertained. I'm rather bored of just doing my rounds in the park, plus, it doesn't seem to do the trick. Yes, I've lost weight and my body starts to shape up, but it's boring. I have a feeling that endurance training doesn't work for me. I've always been more of a sprinter, mind you, a very slow one, but nevertheless, a sprinter. So I figured rope skipping would be a great way to get into HIIT (high intensity interval training), which basically is 20 to 60 seconds--depending on fitness level--of intense/fast exercise followed by a short low intensity resting period, before starting again. Some experts say if you do that for four minutes three to four times a week it's enough to burn fat. And fat burning is what I'm after. They say running burns only 50% of fat and the HIIT training burns 75%, plus, it continues to burn fat for hours after the training sessions. I think four minutes is a little bit too short and aim at twenty minutes, but will start with thirty seconds bursts and ten seconds resting period, and that five to six times. If I can do more, I'll try more, but I reckon I'll build up a sweat. The emphasise lies on intensity.
But let's see how I get on. Maybe I just land directly on my arse because my feet got entangled in the rope (ouch!); now that would be embarrassing, better find a place hidden from too many views, then.

I'll report back.

*Silly me wrote 20 to 60 minutes of high intensity intervals. That's wrong. It's seconds. If you can do 60 minutes of intense training (like sprinting) without a break, you're super woman or man. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Is it summer soon?

Seriously, I'm sick and tired of freezing. And it has rained far too much for my taste. It's mid-March; normally I'd be merrily enjoying the first rays of sun, turning the sausages on my BBQ. No such luck this year. Instead I'm sitting here in my very cold flat, wrapped up in several layers, despite having the heating on, enjoying a home made curry.

Vegetable curry mit Lemon Rice:

Green beans
Onions (banana or shalotte)
Butternut squash
Chick peas
tin of chopped tomatoes

Red Chili
Mustard seeds
Cardamom pods (whole and only a few)
Coriander seeds (ground)
Cumin seeds
Garam Masala
Paprika powder
Curry Powder
Ginger (finely grated)
salt to taste
Stalks of coriander leaves
curry leaves (3 to 4)

Throw spices in hot oil, stir for a minute, add the tin of chopped tomatoes, stir well and add chopped vegetables. Add roughly chopped coriander leaves at the end.

Cook basmati rice
one dry red chili
Mustard seeds
Cardamom pods
finely chopped onions
salt to taste
lemon juice to taste
finely grated ginger
curry leaves (2)

drain rice and let it sit in the colander while preparing the rest.

heat two to three table spoons of olive oil, add spices, add lemon juice, stir in rice, chopped coriander leaves.
Serve and enjoy. :-)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Is this the end?

Me, mightily annoyed
As you know I've been quite apprehensive about 'coming out' as a writer. The reason being was that I didn't feel like a writer; and sure enough, not long after I've announced that I accepted being one, I had this very surreal weekend on which I didn't sleep, but watched every single Backstreet Boys video there is on YouTube, with the result of having lost all enthusiasm regarding writing or editing. It's been weeks that I've abandoned Book 3 of the Branded series just about 20k in and I couldn't care less to return to it, or to writing at all, for that matter. It feels as if a huge weigh has been lifted off my shoulders; writing has never been fun, unless it flowed, which it rarely did. Quite the contrary; it was painful. Writing shouldn't be painful, it should be fun and energetic. Editing, yes, that's painful, but writing itself? No.
I struggled more and more with every book and the frustration and tears were having a negative affect on me, yet I forced myself to write every day so I could finish the books, despite my hitting wall after wall, writing myself into corners I had to fight to get out. It's excruciating and that, somehow, cannot be right. I have no idea if I ever return to writing; at the moment, I'm very happy to just draw a line under that chapter--pardon the pun--and move on. I'm sick and tired of talking or reading about writing, I'm sick and tired of the 'community' and I'm sick and tired of putting myself out there. As you noticed, I've been relatively silent for quite a while and it's heaven to just let the writing world be and turn my back on it. For the past four years I've kept pushing myself to the limits, writing, editing, proofing, promoting and whatnot and I'm so tired. Book 3 of the Branded series will be put on hold and only ever be finished if I feel like it. I have my doubts, to be honest. I haven't read in a while either, just can't be bothered.
I've also buried my dreams of becoming a publisher. After watching the market and new small publishers, who had the same dream, fold, I decided it's not worth the effort. Plus, if I can't sell my own books, despite being convinced they're of great commercial value, I think that's a fairly good indicator that I don't know what the public wants. 
In the meantime, I'll continue with my weight loss programme and spend more time outside, rather than behind the laptop trying to find my balance again.
Crazy how everything can change in just 48 hours, isn't it? I used to say that writing and editing will always be part of my life and that I can't imagine not to write ...

How can you not love this?
I think the only real staple love in my life are reptiles. Perhaps I should just go ahead and look into the options of opening the Rescue & Education Centre I've been banging on about for years now. Even though keeping reptiles is far from easy and not always glorious, but that iguana makes me smile every single day, even when he pissed me off an hour before. He's in mating season again, by the way, which makes him super tough and dangerous to handle. A 6kg monster out of control is not for the faint-hearted, believe you me.
So if you know someone who has too much money to spend and wants to put it to a good cause, put him/her in touch with me. I'd love to start searching for a warehouse tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Beautiful pain

My well-used stability ball
There's only one pain I thoroughly enjoy: sore muscles after a good workout. As you know I'm on a journey to whip myself back into shape and losing three stones (roughly 20kg). Quite funny, when I tell people I'm overweight, they look at me with disbelief, saying I look 'normal'. Isn't it shocking that an overweight person looks 'normal' to others in a society with morbidly obese people? I tell you what, big is not beautiful. At all. And I don't believe anyone who says being fat is enjoyable.
Seriously? I call myself fat, although I'm far from waddling and having to stop every few steps to catch my breath. But even then I have (or better had) my difficulties tying my laces or wiping my arse. So, if I find it already difficult being 'only' overweight, I can't imagine that fat people do those tasks with ease. Personally, I don't know any fat person who's never tried to lose weight. Not one. I believe most fat people who say they like being fat are only saying it because they've tried every diet on the planet and failed either at keeping it up or gained their weight back. Not surprisingly, though, dieting is the worst thing you can do if you're overweight. Crash dieting to lose a pound or two, fine, if you're not doing it regularly and have a normal weight. 
Anyway, back to my plan: in order to not only shed the pounds, but also get into shape, I do regular workouts in addition to my daily 1-hour-power walk in the park. Anyone who has a stability ball (gym ball) and Internet can do it. There are vast amounts of videos with easy exercises for abs, upper and lower body. I used to go to physio when I was younger (back troubles) and recalled a few workouts I did back then, plus chose a few from the net and they seem to work just fine. If you're unsure, you should consult your GP beforehand. If those workouts are done wrongly, they can do more harm than good.
This one is an easy one that should work for beginners. It's much harder than it looks, believe you me.

Although I'm cycling a lot, walk quite a bit and take the steps rather than the lift, my abs and back weren't really trained. Only ten repetitions had me aching for a whole week. It didn't take long to adapt again and I've widened the range of exercises to target certain areas (thighs, back, arms). Cardio alone will not tone all areas and I really don't want to be slim and wobbly. I hate wobbly bits.

Home made vegetable curry with couscous
Of course I'm watching what I'm eating, too, but it's not that big a difference to before as my diet has always been healthy. I cut out biscuits (mostly) and eat smaller portions, or replace one meal with a freshly made fruit salad. I use sugar and milk in my tea and still eat chocolate and cake. In general I eat between 1500 to 2000 calories a day. 
Since I started end of January, I've lost about two inches (7cm) around my tummy, which is my main area of concern. I also lost around my arse and legs, which I'm quite pleased with. It's painfully slow, but it's healthier that way. Not sure how many pounds I've dropped; I estimate it must be around twelve to sixteen pounds (6 to 8kg), but gained on muscle, which weighs more than fat. For all I know is that I comfortably fit into my favourite jeans again, which is a start. My aim is 20 pounds (10kg) till May, then further 20 pounds till end of this year. It's doable. I want to say goodbye to my fat arse and wobbly tummy for good and go back to my sexy slim, but still curvy body. Can't wait!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

In case you thought I was dead ...

You weren't the only one. I felt like my life was sucked out of me for the past week. Last Sunday, I knew either a cold or cough was coming my way; on Monday, I knew it was a bit more sinister and on Tuesday, a full-blown flu had shot my lights out. I lived on herbal tea and fruit salad as it was the only things I had and I only ate very little as I was too weak to even stand for longer than five minutes. I so hate getting the flu, as experience shows that it's always serious in my case. And, gee, did my muscles ache. Probably the result of my working out on Saturday; far heftier pain than ever experienced during a flu.
By the way: I had typed a long section that somehow got deleted and ctrl z did delete an even bigger chunk. Since I can't be arsed to rewrite the whole thing, I just cut to the chase.
I'm currently writing from my garden-laptop as my work-laptop is in surgery. Fingers crossed. The screen flickered and went dark every time I switched it on, very annoying.
The old laptop I'm using right now has its moods, but better than no laptop, right?
Since I hardly ever use this one other than for writing in the garden, I thought I could have a nosy through my files and found some early drafts of my covers for No Wings Attached, which still went through its many titles back then.
Here are some of the versions which I had made myself in Paint. As you can see, I'm technically challenged when it comes to covers, but I knew exactly what I wanted. They are great to show a cover artist what you have in mind. Although I'd like to learn how to do covers properly.