**UPDATE** Due to the lockdown I have extended the time limit on my 50 things before I’m 50 until the end of this year for obvious reasons……….and I hope I will be able to achieve a lot of what I have listed (fingers crossed!)
This is a 50 before I’m 50 list with a difference. Not a fantastical bucket list of amazing things to do, but rather a ‘make time for the smaller things’ that will make your day or weekend special list. I’ve also added a few extra special events thrown in that I wont need to win the lottery in order to fulfil them.
I’m due to turn the big 5-0 in July this year. Most of the lists I see for people hitting milestone birthdays are pretty epic and in fairness they give themselves a year or more to do them.
I, on the other hand, only really thought about it recently when it dawned on me that my 50th birthday is in fact this bloody year……………I still can’t quite believe it.
For me though, I feel I have a lot of things I could easily do at any time and yet I don’t actually set the time aside to do them. I’m not really talking about big holidays or jumping from a plane, my body could no longer cope with that. In any case, I have wing walked twice ( on the original Crunchie plane, one of which was at an International Air Display). I’ve also been dangled out of Sea King rescue helicopters too many times to count,so I think I’ve done my daredevil bit when I was much younger.
I’ve certainly been asking myself that for a while now. I’m a mum of 2 boys but they are now 20 and 17 (almost18), finding their own independence, as one is at uni and the other is at 6th form and also working a part time job. I have been married for 24 years and my hubby is a shift worker so that means I now spend the majority of my time alone! Due to my illness and chronic pain I’m no longer able to work a conventional job (I was a driving instructor), but I’m lucky that blogging and running social media accounts can be done in pj’s even on a bad day if necessary.
Yet when the boys where younger my life was busy (illness or not) with after school clubs, kids parties, meeting up with friends in the holidays etc, and although I am still officially a taxi service, a cook and a bank, my life is much more subdued. That in itself gives you time…………………..LOTS of time! Time to ponder and think about your own role in life. Yes I am still a wife and a mum but I am also ME. So, with 48 looming very quickly (and my hubby turning 50 last year!) I am starting to think about my time. How do I want to spend my time now my kids are off doing their own thing most of the time? Read more
Last time I updated you I was very, very close to my target. Well guess what? I only went and bloody done it!
Yes, I reached my new target of 9stone with the fabulous help of Slimming world. I have taken to this plan like a duck to water when I joined back in August last year. As I have mentioned before ( or maybe not!) I do not have the busiest of social life thanks to my ME and Fibromyalgia. It means I am not out surrounded by temptation every weekend, which has obviously been a good thing for me, however, it has also meant my weight loss has been a slow but steady journey due to the fact i cannot conventionally exercise.
But it’s true that slow and steady wins the race in my case.
I have just today got all my summer clothes out ( wishful thinking on my part maybe!) and while sorting out my wardrobe I realise that actually not a lot fits me anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way complaining, it’s a great problem to have.
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.
On week 13 I had to miss my weigh in due to going into hospital for a day procedure. I still stuck to plan though before and after the day ( excluding a treat of my first mince pie of the season- which was well earned as I couldn’t eat from 9am the day before my procedure and having sedation that didn’t sedate making the day kind of traumatic all round!). However, it was onwards and upwards from there and I had nothing planned that was going to throw me off plan completely.
So weigh in for week 14, I was hopeful that I had lost and thankfully I was rewarded with a 2 lb loss, bringing me tantalisingly close to getting my weight down under the 10 stone mark! Having looked back after a chat in group after my previous 1/2lb gain about the amount of fruit that I eat, I decided to take the advice of another member to try adding more speed veg than fruit and maybe cutting the fruit down to about 3 pieces a day. In all honesty I didn’t think this would matter much to me but it really seems to have made a difference with my weight loss. As you know I am unable to exercise in the normal way due to my illness so I knew over all when I joined any weight loss would be slow. I have also factored in a few EESP days throughout each week now which I also think may be helping and I have managed to up my fluid intake loads after picking up my £5 bargain bottle, that you can add fruit to, from Matalan.
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.
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…………
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.
I was away last week and so didn’t have a weigh in.
My previous week I had a gain of 1/2 lb which was disappointing as I had stayed on plan ( apart from an ice cream!) But although I was away with the family I was able to easily stay on plan as I was still preparing all my meals.
The only treat that I wanted when I went was proper seaside fish and chips, which is something we always get at a fabulous fish shop on Herne Bay sea front. I planned this meticulously thinking it was best to have this on the Monday I was missing my weigh in. That way I was on plan all week, had my fish and chips and then went straight back on plan for the next week.
In all honesty, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would……….totally weird!
Anyway, along came the next weigh in and low and behold I lost an amazing 3 1/2 lbs over the two weeks!! I was absolutely chuffed as this got me within a 1lb of my half a stone before my cousins wedding target. My dress felt more comfortable and less ‘strained’ when I wore it.
This time last week I had the chance to pop along the the new branch of Bella Italia that has opened in Orpington just next to the new cinema complex at The Walnuts centre. I have to admit it has been a few years since I was in a Bella Italia restaurant and so I was interested to see what had changed both in style and menu.
On entering the quirky style decor caught my eye immediately with vibrant colours and fabulous wall art. What did catch my attention was the brilliant use of lots of huge old picture frames painted in bright colours that made up the so called ceiling which you could see much higher up. I also adored the wire framed bulb lights which really suited the style perfectly.
I was recently asked to go along to this branch of Beefeater to review their menu ahead of Mother’s day and having not been down at this park before I was also interested to see what else was there.
We were booked into the restaurant for an earlyish meal around 6pm as a family of four before my eldest teen’s social like took priority and we became a party of three! When we arrived at Eureka Park it was clear to see the Beefeater was probably the main restaurant for the Premier Inn next to it and to be fair it seemed like it was one of the larger branches of the restaurant.
On entering it had a large bar area both with bar and table seating and seemed the perfect place for the people staying at the hotel to pop along in the evening and have a drink or some food. The reception area was a nice open space and we were greeted and seated straight away. Most of the seating in this branch is free standing tables and chairs however there is a diner style area of booth seating adjacent to the open cooking/ serving area and that’s were we were seated.
Last week I went along to the Coast To Coast American Grill Bar near Rochester to try out their menu and one of their lovely cocktails. I have never eaten in this chain of restaurants before so I was keen to try out something from their menu.
When we walked in it reminded me of another chain of ‘american grill style’ restaurants. It was nicely laid out with lots of booth seating and it automatically gave off a lively, fun, easy going feel.
We were seated in a circular booth seating area that looked over the restaurant and we could could also see the open style cooking area. It was a Saturday evening so the restaurant was fairly busy but this did not distract from the service we received while we were there.