Category Archives: celebrating

It’s been a while!

Well it’s certainly been a while since I have been on here!

It’s not like there hasn’t been anything going on for me to write about it’s more like I haven’t had the urge to write, but lately that has been changing. So rather than bore you will loads of catch up posts I thought I would do a quick run through everything that has been going on.

So this year I have had more hospital imput for my M.E/ Fibromyalgia than I have over the last 8 years since being diagnosed. Finally I managed to get physio treatment for the Carpel Tunnel in my left hand which has helped ease some of the numbness at least. I have also been referred onto a pain management course due to start late September for 7 weeks and I hope that helps me with at least pacing any activity I do ( I am absolutely rubbish at saying ‘No’ to anyone and generally end up overdoing things and then crashing afterwards!). The course will run me up to almost Christmas when I have been told I may get referred onto an exercise class suitable to help with my illness.

Excitingly, earlier this year a ‘dream job’ sort of fell into my lap via a good friend of mine. Dream job in the fact I can do the job in my pj’s, at anytime of day, keeping my own time! Sounds bloody good eh? It comes in the form of running a social media account for a local clothing boutique called Kimmicass (would love you to come and give us a follow) that sells amazing womens clothing that you just cannot find in the high street shops (and will be looking to expand and sell online as well as open more shops too). This one account actually led to a second account for a London florist who lives locally but works independantly for clients like the V&A! This account is a slow burner and is not fully up and running but is definitely getting there and should be more active before Christmas. So how great is that? Literally a dream job for me as with my illness its difficult to predict health wise how I will be feeling on any particular day, but this job does not require me to be anywhere in particular for any length of time! So I get to work from home in my pj’s which I am loving ………….total result!

Also, we had an amazing surprise with my youngest’s sons GCSE results. His plan was originally to do a Level 3 Early years Childcare course at college which he needed 5 passes including English and Maths. Now hes a clever boy so we knew he would get the 5 passes unfortunately his worst subject is maths so we were extremely concerned ( as was he) that he wouldn’t pass that and therefore not be able to do his course. So the results morning was literally the most stressful time ever and I had lots of contingency plans running through my head should he not get his maths. Well talk about a total surprise, not only did he get a level 5 in his Maths ( the new marking system is numbered!) but he also passed ALL 10 GCSE’s and did so well was offered a place back at the school’s 6Th Form!! He was so gobsmacked he literally didn’t know what to do with himself and although he still went over to the college to enrol he ended up taking the place at 6th form to do A levels instead. As you could imagine it was total surprise all round so we ended up going out to his favourite restaurant to celebrate………….it would have been rude not to!

alex meal out

Then it was birthday celebrations for my husband who was turning 50 at the end of August…………….50!! Now he’s not one for big parties etc although is more than happy to go to others he hates being centre of attention himself. So I came up with a cunning plan to use the money that a big party would cost and instead take him away to somewhere I know he has wanted to go to for a long time- ROME! So I managed to find a little family run boutique hotel in the centre of Rome for 4 nights and booked that and some flights etc for early October for the two of us. However, because this was going to be his only present , except for a few bits from the boys, I wanted to make it a little special. So, I came up with the idea of putting some clues together to put inside a cabin size suitcase and then wrap it all up. So I numbered the clues…

  1. A picture of a fountain and some Euro coins (for the Trevy Fountain)
  2. A spanish style fan with a picture of some stone steps ( for the Spanish Steps)
  3. A rosary (hopefully making him think Catholic!)
  4. A dvd of Sparticus with a small Italian flag!! (The Colosseum obviously)

Each clue was wrapped up and numbered and then his present was a gift of 2 guide books for Rome with the flight tickets inside.

present box

suitcase clues

suitcase pic

Now my hubby is not one for showing emotion at ALL but as he opened the guide books his eyes did well up and his hands were physically shaking which showed me he literally had no clue up until that point of what his present was. I had even gone behind his back to one of his work colleagues to help me book his time off work and get it approved (he is in the police so it’s not an easy thing to do without him finding out)……………..BUT I BLOODY DID IT!

rich and present

It was a tough thing to make all the decisions on my own with regard to the flights, the hotel and when to go so I was actually quite relieved when it all seemed to work out. Thankfully now I can relax as I know he will sort everything else out from here- he has already done our medical cards and booked airport parking! The only time throughout that I gave myself a total heart attack was when my Mum asked me on the phone if our passports are in date! For anyone who doesn’t know us we never go away anywhere abroad as we cannot afford it normally and the last time i used my passport was when he took me to Venice for my 40th birthday 7 years ago……………………………………..SO THANKFULLY THEY WERE IN DATE!!

**So if anyone has any recommendations for Rome please let me know**

We also took my eldest back to uni last weekend (sobs) and helped him move into his new shared house ( which is a total state and will be another blog post on its own!) so I am missing him already sitting with us for dinner etc.

Next up is my youngest 17th birthday in a few weeks time before we can get really excited about our trip.

Anyway, it’s lovely to be back and have the urge to put things down in black and white again and would love to hear what you have all been up to. If

Update on my Slimming World- now week 28!

First of all, yes I am still following Slimming World although I haven’t updated for a while as you can tell.

Just to remind you my weight loss is kinda slow, not because I find it difficult to stick to the plan ( I am one of those sad people that actually ‘enjoy’ being on it!) but because I am unable to help my weight loss with exercise due to my M.E and Fibromyalgia. I do what I can when I can activity wise, this could be a little ironing one day, a short walk another day or even taking things up and down the stairs can be like a marathon for me. The down side is that I do have days where it’s physically impossible for me to do anything other than try and hold myself upright on the sofa!

Anyway, it’s been 1/2lb here and there with the odd 1lb or more thrown in on a very good week. I have never had those big losses that others get along the way but in all fairness it has all gone in the right direction however small the loss and they have all added up to the grand total of 2 stone………………YES………….2 BLOODY LOVELY STONE! Ok putting it in perspective it has taken me since last August to do it but never mind I have gotten there nonetheless and it shows that all those little losses, however disappointing, all add up to a big amount.

2-stone-award

So, that means I only have 1 1/2 lb to get to my target weight of 9 stone and then I would ideally love to sit at the lower end of the target range at 8 st 11lb. This only means a total of 4 1/2lb in total still to lose. Now there are some people that could easily do this in a week however, I am categorically not one of them. This week I have been 100% on plan and still maintained!! So, I realise this will take me a good month to 6 weeks to do but ‘get there, I will’ as Yoda would say. However, this week saw a great non scale victory for me as I had a huge wardrobe clear out after fitting in to size 10 skinny ( albeit stretch) jeans- I was overjoyed and it spurred me on to clear out all those big oversized tops that I have been hiding under for the last few years and welcomed a size 10 Primark haul to give me some things to wear for now that I actually feel good in.

So here’s to the next few week, lets see what they hold in store and don’t worry, I will be shouting from the rooftops when I get to that goal weight. I would love to hear about your Slimming World journey so far.

Life According to MrsShilts

Eating Out- without breaking the diet

Over the years whenever I have started a diet or healthy eating plan I find myself extremely determined and aggressive at the beginning, meal prep and enthusiastic organisation takes over when the determination is strong. Inevitably along the way, like most of us, life catches up and we find ourselves at the office without lunch as the kids were running late for school and there just wasn’t enough time, or getting home late from work with no dinner planned. This is usually the part where we give in to ordering takeaway, allowing the cravings for pizza and carbs to consume us. If we look at eating out in a different light, perhaps those crazy days of no meal planning won’t result in diet ruin.

  1. Know Before You Order

Practically everything is available online these days, and this includes calorie information for your favourite go-to takeaway restaurants. Before placing your order, quickly check out the portions and the calories in order to make an informed decision.

  1. Substitute More Greens

Most restaurants offer a standard side dish that includes carb-driven chips, rice, or potatoes. Although alluring, next time your main entrée includes a side, opt in for a greener vegetable instead. If you are getting Indian cuisine delivered to the office, perhaps a side of curried spinach or a house salad with your lamb Dhansak to complete your delivery order.

  1. Portions Are Everything

It is not rocket science; the portions you receive from most takeaway places are much more than what you would prepare at home. This is particularly tricky when a restaurant posts calorie information “per serving”, which is often half of what is in your container. If you are given a mountain of food, immediately portion it out and put the other half away – out of sight, out of mind.

  1. Eat Slowly

Listen to your mother – don’t wolf down your meal! We get it: you are hungry. The faster you shovel in the food, the slower you have time to digest and “feel” how satisfied you are. In obvious terms, this results in overeating. Another useful tip is to stop for a glass of water here and there – not only does water play a vital role in your diet, it also fills you up!

  1. Modifications Are Your Friend

Most restaurants allow order customisation in order to accommodate diet and allergy requests. This can include ingredient substituting or omission, preparation methods, and sauce selection. If possible, ask your restaurant if they are willing to swap the double cream for a lighter dairy or the sodium-based sauce for a lighter dressing. Simple switches can help more than you know!

Since I started my Slimming World journey in August this year I have learned that it is all about making the right choices. You can have the takeaway or dine out in a nice restaurant but you do need to be aware of what is on offer and what is the best option while still treating yourself at the same time. Do not be afraid of asking for the dressings to be separate, or asking for a salad instead of the normal carb filled sides. Eating out with friends and family, or even a weekend takeaway needn’t be the end to your healthy eating plan. Look at the menus beforehand so you are aware of what is going to be available and know what you are going to order before you get there. With takeaways such as  Indian or Chinese opt for plain boiled rice instead of fried rice, order a side of vegetables and have a smaller portion of anything that is seriously going to knock you off your diet and help you stay on track.

Eating out should not be the death sentence to your diet goals. Following these few simple suggestions will rid you of any takeaway or dining out guilt and keep you on track.

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Marriott Hotel Bexleyheath

This week I had the chance to go and review the Festive Afternoon Tea ahead of it’s launch at the Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath, it will be available from Wednesday 23rd November and will cost £23.50 per person.

dsc_0157

 

 

 

Christmas on a plate as far as I am concerned!

Christmas on a plate as far as I am concerned!

 

 

We were treated to a little festive starter of a cup of gorgeous mulled wine and a mini mince pie ( my first this season for both) and instantly I was feeling festive regardless of the fact it is only mid November.  I will say though this is not mentioned on the menu card and makes me think this was for my benefit rather than what is included, but it was delicious non the less…………

As you van see no mention of mulled wine or mince pie, however, there is an option to add a glass of champagne if you feel like celebrating!

As you van see no mention of mulled wine or mince pie, however, there is an option to add a glass of champagne if you feel like celebrating!

When the food arrived we were advised that there was a recommended order to eat both the sandwiches and the cakes! Being good law abiding citizens my friend and I followed the rules and to be fair with regard to the fillings of the sandwiches the order really worked. They were nice thought about flavours with assorted breads and they seemed to work well together as a whole. The festive theme worked here with the inclusion of cranberry bread, turkey, brie and a delicious spiced apple chutney to name a few ( and no not all in the same sandwich!!).

The scones were wrapped in a napkin to keep some heat in and were as expected beautifully fresh and crumbly. The cream and strawberry compote were presented in gorgeous little individual jars which gave a uniqueness to the presentation itself.

A gorgeous individual look

A gorgeous individual look

The cakes also had a recommended order in which to eat them…………..who are we to argue! They consisted of a strawberry tart, a bite sized stollen, a raspberry mousse ( which was my absolute favourite), and a chocolate yule log. Now I don’t know about you but a strawberry tart instantly makes me think of summer so I was a little surprised to see one on there. Do not get me wrong all of the food on the afternoon tea was absolutely delicious, there was nothing I didn’t like ( apart from the stollen, but that’s my individual taste buds- I dislike marzipan), all the flavours worked wonderfully, however, if it is advertised as a ‘festive’ afternoon tea I would generally expect the cakes to be Christmas/ Festive themed. So perhaps if a mince pie is not included, then it should be, there is also scope for maybe something gingerbread or Christmas cake styled instead of the summer flavours of strawberry and raspberry.

dsc_0162

The staff in there are lovely and we were offered refills on our teas and our cream and jam if you needed any. We were not rushed in any way and the bar area we sat in had a wonderful relaxed feel to it with music playing in the backround and we felt we could sit there most of the afternoon.

I did check with the manager there if this afternoon tea was the same throughout all Marriott hotels but we were told that each hotel chef had free reign to interpret the festive flavours in their own way. So you may see pictures of other Marriott hotels serving theirs in a very different way, for now I can only comment on the Bexleyheath branch. This will be what you will get for your money at this particular hotel.

I would say although I thoroughly enjoyed the food and couldn’t fault any of the sandwiches, scones or cakes individually ( they were each delicious in their own right), I would however, feel that the afternoon tea itself would be much more festive if mulled wine was offered as an extra instead of champagne, and that all the cakes were Christmas themed/ flavoured. I would have been slightly disappointed myself to have paid the full price and not had, what I consider to be festive essentials, included.

This afternoon tea will be available from Wednesday 23rd November through to Thursday 12th January and will cost you £23.50, with the option of adding a glass of celebratory champagne for a further £6.50. Afternoon teas are perfect for friends to get together for a good catch up, or for treating yourself to a relaxing afternoon for a special occasion or family to get together. It’s a total indulgence…………………………….so go on……………………..indulge yourself!

Well it would be rude not to!

Well it would be rude not to!

For more information check out their website here

20 years and counting!

Those of you that saw my FB posts last week will know that it was my 20th wedding anniversary. Even now as I write it, it still sounds impossible! 20 years? Where have they gone? Bloody flew past that I can tell you and also made me feel more than a trifle old too.

So I looked out a few pictures of the days before wrinkles and tena ladies.

img015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img013

img014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last picture is very special as my Dad has now passed away and we got married on his birthday, so I love this picture just before we went in the church together.

We have seen a few of our friends along the way marry before and after us who are no longer together but we have also a lot of friends who also have been married a long time ( let’s face it I would have got less time for murder!). So we were talking about it and we agree that a lot of people go into marriage loving the thrill of the day and think everything will be fabulous for the rest of their lives, and when they find out it isn’t they too easily cut and run.

Now us girlies all love a good romantic film but that’s exactly what it is. They don’t show both sides exhausted from working, not being able to get the same holidays booked off, sleepless nights when you have kids- surviving only on coffee and wine ( although that could have just been me). The arguments over money matters (especially when you have none), kids discipline, going out or not going out (which is more likely) amongst many others. So I think that some girls/ women have unrealistic ideas about what being married entails……….chef, shopper, cleaner, ironer, permanent child minder, kids taxi driver, money stretcher, nurse to man flu, cold beer provider, oh and not forgetting provider of conjugal rights at the most exhausting times!!

So it seems that when the going gets mudane people trade each other in for newer or more exciting models. But no one is perfect we all have our flaws ( except me of course!) so you are never going to be able to spend years and years together without getting a bit miffed, bored or downright pissed off at each other at times and believe me we have had a few of these, but do people  forget that they actually said ‘for better for worse’?

Anyway, my 20 years have contained a lot, major job changes, a few house moves, two children, unemployment and now long term illness, yet here we are still together- that must say something right? I’m not an easy person to live with, my OH is pretty mellow without being a push over, he’s not the most romantic person on the earth (in fact I’m not sure he knows the word), although I did get these on the day………….

I get one rose for each year - long may it continue!

I get one rose for each year – long may it continue!

Yet after all this time we can still have the best laugh, mostly at each other’s expense but we can still laugh- that alone should count for a lot, and our boys are now in their teens so they should provide us loads of opportunities to have a good old piss take!!! Cruel I know but we have had to put up with their tantrums all these years surely it’s payback time?

So do you agree that occasionally people cut and run too soon when it comes to the ‘going get’s tough’ part?