There’s nowt as queer as boat-folk.

I didn’t have access to a computer whilst I was in the UK so it was of course difficult to blog.

The summer was uneventful, light and pretty.  My mum was seconded to London to work for the Olympics so my daughter and I hung out on her canal boat for about 6 weeks.

She had moved marina’s. Usually she resides in Scarisbrick Marina, not far from Southport but on account of engine failure (because it is of course like the Starship Enterprise) she couldn’t get back there after having taken it to Tarleton to get the bottom scraped and painted. So she drifted into Rufford Marina.

I really like Rufford Marina.  It’s ‘boaty’ – canal art everywhere, even inside the cafe.  Canal art is paintings of things like roses and watermice, painted with canal boat colours – so usually dark greens, blues, blacks, yellows…my mum’s boat is none of these – hers is pink.  And it is fab.  It reflects her creed.  She is so strong and feisty, I think that she is going to be here for ever.  At least, I hope so.

I managed to catch up with some old friends from the past during my time at home.  It was wonderful to see how we have all changed and grown.  Thanks to the awesome power of social networking it was easy to keep in touch.

I exercised a lot whilst I was there.  Walking everywhere, using public transport, and of course my Jillian Michael dvd.  But most of all, what I loved the most, was running.  I say running, what I actually do is probably more of a shuffle.  And as I am so tired as I type this now, I cannot fathom it even in thought.

Whilst I was out running, I came across different things in the environment that really would affect my running, my mind.  For example, I saw a huge, yellow digger with enormous treads and it made me realize how I was feeling – just like the digger, moving slowly and heavily through the mud, my legs feeling heavy, almost dragging on the ground…not very pleasant at all.

Then my mind has to remember: running is 80% psychology and 20% physical.  Plus the 3P’s…patience, patience, patience.

I have this tendency to start off at a really good pace, then die about half way through.  I don’t stop too much of the time.  I read an article about running which said that really you shouldn’t be afraid of walking mid run.  It doesn’t mean that you are weak at all.

So now, I am back in the sand pit awaiting more physical adventures..



“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

My husband has worked for an airline for the past 4 years, and we have not taken advantage of this at all!  We get flights very cheap globally and really, we need to abuse this!

So, we are hoping to go to the Maldives for a few days in October – not to anything fancy – just a simple hotel on the beach.  I am so excited!

And then, come December, we go to Prague to spend Christmas there – hopefully to meet my mother out there too!

More to follow…

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

So why Dukan in the Desert?

I met a lady who joined my work a few months back.  She had had bariatric surgery which involved removing 85% of her stomach to form a ‘sleeve’.  She introduced me to others who had had the surgery and to those who were considering it.  My husband and I were not very happy at the time – he could clearly see that I was putting on weight and it just wasnt working for us.  He blamed my problems and attitudes on my weight and I blamed them on him. So, I booked an appointment with the surgery and set a date.  But it just didn’t sit right with me.  The main thing was, I couldnt find it in me to tell my mum.  I prayed and prayed to find an answer and then, following that, I had a meeting with my boss.  We have a good working relationship.  Once the formal stuff was out of the way, she just looked at me and said “Seriously, what the hell are you doing?  Why are you having this surgery?  I am going to lose you and your spirit if you go ahead with it” I burst into tears and I realised she was right.  It was such a relief to hear that from her that I cancelled the surgery moments later.  I had had a very difficult year with a new baby, adjusting to motherhood and having to return to work only 6 weeks after she was born was really tough for me.  UAE law.  Joy. Plus, I was so worried about not being able to even lift my daughter for a few weeks after the surgery.  I am one of the most tactile people I know!  No surgery was worth that.  So, I decided to take control.  I told my friends that I would give myself a year to try.  I mean really try.  With no psychological bullshit or influences.  Just me, diet and exercise.

I started exercising properly about 20 weeks ago.  I stumbled upon the C25K programme and totally fell in love with it.  Short, simple sweet training programme on non consecutive days with some great accompanying podcasts.  It is interval training at its finest for beginners.  I heard that a friend was running a half marathon in January 2013 and I really wanted to do it.  I dont think that I will get there for the half marathon but she did say that there was a 10k also.  I decided that that was going to be my next goal:  to be fit enough to run the 10k by January.

So I completed the first 10 weeks – at the end of the programme, you are able to either run for 30 mins or run 5k.  I was doing it on the treadmill, so did the time as opposed to distance.  I started doing core training and some weights.  I got back into squash a little bit (turns out that I am quite good!) and have started playing tennis about twice a week with the husband.  I designed a stage 2, 10 week programme which focuses on distance.  It is taking me from 3k to 5k in 10 weeks.  After that, I will start working on the 5-10k programme which is a similar set up to the C25K.  I also do balance ball exercises weekly too,  and I feel so much better.  I get such a rush when I run!  Especially when certain songs or parts of songs come blasting through.  I love music – it is such a drive and can push you much farther than you think you can go.

For the first time in my life today, I had to look through my wardrobe to find something that wasnt too big!  I know that I still have a way to go, but WOW!  What a feeling!  The very fact that my top clothes size is now again in the ‘teens’ blows me away.

Anyway, my weight started to stagnate after a while. And I was still eating a lot of goodies.  One day my husband picked me up from school.  He had a bag from Borders and I asked him if it was a gift for me (I was joking).  He said it was and it turned out to be the Dukan recipe book…I was livid at first and thought he was trying to insult me.  Then I started reading through it (after some subtle encouragement from my friend who was in the car with us at the time!) and found that it looked great and was kind of similar to what I was doing at the time.  Next day, I checked it out on line and just jumped in and bought the online coaching.

For me, it seems to be doing well, but its only been 12 days.  I gotta keep the protein and veg only days up until January.  Recipes are fab though and it has really got me back into cooking again – I even made fat and sugar free chocolate pudding the other day.  Delish.  I have way more energy and my tastes are changing a lot.

And this is why its all called Dukan in the Desert.

Go placidly amidst the no…

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.  Best.  Poem.  Ever.

Day 1 of blogging – You can with Dukan!

This is my year – well, my academic year, as in the year that starts in August and ends in June.  At the beginning of April, I realised that it was time to get fit and healthy.  For me, yes, but for my daughter and husband too.  After years of self abuse through overeating, I am finally able to grasp a hold of things.

I remember when my comfort eating began.  I must have been about 5 or 6 but I am sure it started earlier.  Having a psychologically abused upbringing can do that to you.   I could go on and on about the abuse , but unless you have been in the same situation, you are just not going to understand.  We lived in Hong Kong during my childhood and then at the age of 11, I was shipped off to boarding school –  it was made sound like an Enid Blyton adventure.  It wasn’t.  I was bullied incessantly for years, then switched to another boarding school where a teacher interfered with me – I never told anyone, because I was 16, and in the UK, that is legal.  I failed my first year of A levels and switched schools again, to move back to Liverpool to live with my mum.  That was a wonderful time – we had some turbulent moments, but still…it was wonderful being at home with her and my brothers.  As the years went on, it became worse and worse and I indulged my pain in food and alcohol.  Nothing was said.  Nothing is said now.  Dont get me wrong, I know that people have gone through far worse than what I have ever been through, but this is my blog, not theirs.  I could tell you more of the story, but I really don’t want to.

And this is MY time.  My time for change.  My time for growth and success.  And, for the first time in my life, I am excited to write about it.  I am not by any means the most graceful or eloquent of writers but that’s o.k.  You don’t have to read this if you don’t want to.  But if you do, welcome to the journey.  Perhaps I will be able to inspire others.  You never know!  Please enjoy and feel free to comment.  Have a bright and blessed day.  Until next time. xx