Sunday, 17 July 2011

Famous Last Words

“Woo hoo I’m back” was my last blog post and I can’t believe that was nearly a month ago, so much for my resolution to blog more. And I couldn’t even tell you what I’ve been doing this past month to keep me too busy to blog other than the usual work routine, oh and I did join a gym and take up zumba classes but somehow I just haven’t fallen back into my blog routine.

So it seemed like perfect timing when I came across ‘What’s your blogging routine?’ via @blogcoaching101. Thinking it would give me tips on how to get back in the habit of writing and making time for bloggging. Instead it reminded me of all the other stuff I should be doing in addition to blogging like:

Monday, 20 June 2011

Dipping a toe back in the water

I have committed the ultimate blogging sin …not blogging! I have neglected my dear blog for over 4 months but as of tonight I am back!

Now the reason for the total abandonment of not only blogging but tweeting and even keeping up to date with my favourite blogs has been due to crossing off a major achievement on my 30 before 30 list. No, not becoming a social recluse, but becoming a Brand Manager. Unfortunately crossing that one off first has been a bit of a stumbling block towards achieving anything else as I’ve been swept up in a whirlwind of house hunting, moving and still months later unpacking.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Exercise Challenge

Week 2

How long do you think it takes to break a habit and change you routine? A week? Two weeks? Actually, experts say it takes 27 days to break a habit, yes that’s right 27!

It’s unsurprising then I wasn’t able to uphold my one hour a night exercise routine after a mere 7 days, as it isn’t yet a routine. I put the failure down to my social life getting in the way and blamed the lack of weightloss on Tapas Tuesday, Friday curry night and mummy’s yummy Sunday roast, but in truth it was down to bad planning.

When I looked back at week 1 there was one noticeable difference and the key success factor to sticking to my exercise challenge was planning. I’d planed which routines I was going to do each night at the beginning of the week.

Of course planning is a crucial stage in any project, but how can planning help you exercise?

Structure– simply by having plan it gives you a schedule to follow and stick to.

Commitment – writing down what you plan to do establishes your commitment for the week ahead

Variety – repetition can lead to boredom, and more importantly varying your e your routine everyday prevents over working the same muscle group (which I can tell you leads to sore aching muscles!)

Balance– if your social commitments or other activities in your life prevent your work out look for alternatives whether it’s a power walk in your lunch break or hitting the dance floor on a night out! Plus you can schedule your exercise free day for when you have other commitments.

Motivation– when you have completed an exercise routine on your list, tick it off, this will help keep you feeling positive about being on track. Something as small as ticking off something on your to do list can give you a sense of achievement.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Do you need a blog buddy?

As you can see I’m relatively new to blogging, this being my 17th post. But I’ve celebrated a couple of milestones like achieving 100 twitter followers and 300 page views and I’m happy knowing that there are a few people reading everyday. And this was enough to keep me going. Until recently…

…What happened recently to change my mind?... I received a bunch of e-blogs in my inbox which put my numbers into perspective and gave me a bit of a wake up call.

First up was one on social proofing. Offline this is the idea that the more people you have queuing to get in the better the place is, or the more customers you have seated in window tables the busier you look. Basically it’s the idea of looking popular and the herd mentality that the crowd will follow like sheep. The social media version is to show your numbers; be it number of followers, a page view counter, facebook likes, a retweet count or a bucket full of comments.

With only 1 blog follower and 1 commenter I’m not too successful on the blog popularity front. I know 300 page views total isn’t really anything to shout about when a lot of blogs get more hits than this on one post, so I definitely have some work to do here. But I thought I was doing quite well with twitter slowly building up a following, then today I received e-mail inviting me to join a social media retweeting club (via stevescottsite) which I think is a fabulous idea, unfortunately you can only join if you have over 1000 followers. I still have a long way to go!

Q. So how do I improve my social proof?
A. By getting more comments

Q. But how do I get more comments?
A. How about with a blog buddy!

But what is a blog buddy I hear you say?

Monday, 17 January 2011

You CAN lose weight and still eat chocolate!

Lose weight and eat chocolate, what every girl wants right?! As a self confessed chocoholic I was approaching the obligatory new year diet to lose the xmas bulge with some reluctance. The thought of saying no to chocolate, no to cakes, no to crisps and no to sweets fills me with dread. But then I thought it doesn’t have to be like this…

Last year I cancelled my gym membership and bought a Wii Fit and a hoard of exercise dvds and I’ve decided now is the time to put them to good use. Last Monday I set myself the challenge of doing a workout every night of the week.

I weighed in on Monday with a BMI of 24.14
I won’t tell you what that is in pounds and ounces but I will tell you that my wii fit tells me that I need to lose a full stone (Eek!) to reach my ideal weight and the holy grail of BMI’s 22.00.

I’ve stuck to an hour workout after work 4 nights this week, took Friday of to let my aching muscles rest then back to it on Saturday and Sunday. Workouts alternated between cardio, strength training and toning (e.g. pilates/yoga) and focused on 4 areas (arms, abs, thighs and glutes) for a total body workout.

I haven’t made any radical changes to my diet, I haven’t reduced carbs or diary or changed to low fat cooking oil or sauces. (but I haven’t had any take-aways or anything deep fried either).

Every day I allowed myself a number of treats

4 choc chip cookies
a handful of peanuts/Bombay mix
a handful of crisp/tortillas
a small packet of mini cheddars
a single bounty bar
2 after eights
2 segments of chocolate orange
2/3 chocolates from a box selection

One week 7 workouts and a packet of cookies/box of chocolates later I’m ready for my Monday weigh in.
BMI  23.98
Weight -1lb
That’s right I’ve lost one whole pound and still enjoyed all my favourite treats!

With 13 more pounds to lose I will be continuing the exercise challenge this week 6 workouts in 7 days starts here. Subscribe to my blog or come back next week to see how I’ve done. Can I lose another pound and still eat chocolate?

How you can lose weight and still eat chocolate

1. Don’t sit down - make exercise the first thing you do when you get in

2. Do it your way – if you feel energetic do a dance workout, if you feel stressed chose a yoga workout (or a kickboxing one if you’ve had a really bad day!)

3. Be patient – it may take a few days before your hard work starts to show

4. Keep track– if you don’t have a wii fit then make your own graph to show your progress and stay on track

5. Don’t overeat – doing exercise doesn’t mean you can pig out, put a small portion of crisps/nuts/biscuits into a tub, you’ll be less likely to eat the whole packet

6. Give in to the craving – have a few pieces of chocolate to satisfy the initial craving then put it away, you’ll find you don’t want it nearly as much when you can have it

Do you have a weight loss tip? Share it with us here!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

What to do if your boiler loses pressure

 Today my boiler broke. Ok that’s a slight exaggeration but the red light came on and the heating and hot water went off, so to me it was broken. After the initial girly panic that comes with a machine breaking I set about looking for the reason. The gas hobs were still working so it wasn’t a problem with the gas supply (this has happened to me before with some kids turning off the gas supply to my flat!).  A check of the pressure gauge showed the pressue had dropped below zero bar. I knew that was bad news and that I needed to increase the pressure, but that is where the knowledge ended. I didn’t want to call a plumber out on a weekend for such a minor thing so I turned to the trusty internet to find out how to do it but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. In the end I phoned my dad (thank God for dads!) e-mailed him a photo of the pipework and he talked me through it step by step.

The result – boiler back up in and running in 5 minutes and this simple step by step guide for anyone who wants to know how to increase boiler pressure.

A Girl’s Guide to Re-Pressurising Your Boiler

Step 1 – If your pressure drops it could be due to a leak form the boiler itself or form a radiator, so the first step is to check for leaks.(if you do find a leak then you probably are going to need a plumber)

Step 2 – Identify the water pressure taps. These are located at each end of the silver braided pipe and are usually black.  In the picture below you can see a circular tap on the left just below the clear pipe and on the right its a rectangular tap which sits in line with the 2nd pipe that runs vertically up into the boiler.  (important note: there is a black stopcock higher up on the right – this is not the water pressure tap!) 

Step 3 – Open the tap on the left by turning it 90 degrees anti clockwise, this opens the pipe.

Step 4 – The tap on the right is more like a lever, push this to the left and you will hear the water begin to flow through. (this lever can be quite stiff so you might need to apply strong pressure to open it)

Step 5 – The pressure will start to increase on the pressure gauge, when it reaches 1 bar turn the taps back to their original positions, the lever shaped one first.

Step 6  - Turn the dial on the front boiler panel to the off/reset position and you will hear the boiler re-ignite and the green light will come back on.

Step 7 – Turn the dial back to hot water/heating option and voila you’ve fixed your first boiler!

When you’ve done this you might want to bleed your radiators to make sure you don’t have any airlocks in the system.

These instructions are based on a Vokera combi boiler, please let me know if you find them useful! 

Thursday, 13 January 2011

10 Curry Facts

1. The word ‘curry’ comes from the Tamil word ‘kari’ which means spicy sauce.

2. One of the earliest known recipes for meat in a spicy sauce dates back to 1700BC  on tablets found near Babylon in Mesopotamia (known today as Iraq).

3. The first curry house opened in Britain in 1809 but curry first appeared on a UK menu at a Coffee House as early as 1773.

4. Today there are over 10,000 Indian curry houses in the UK.

5. Bay leafs as we know them in the Europe come from the sweet bay laurel tree with flavours of oregano/thyme whereas Asian bay leafs come from the cassia tree and have a cinnamon flavour.

6. Over 500,000 tonnes of spices are exported globally annually by India.

7. The tallest poppadom stack ever built was made of 1,052 poppadoms measuring 1.51 metres high, at the Curry Lounge, Nottingham on July 22, 2009.

8. Bombay Duck is not a duck recipe but fish fillets which have been air-dried until crisp.

9 Biryani was a ready-to-eat dish for soldiers during time of war.

10. Dairy produce works best to alleviate the ‘chilli burn’ after eating a hot dish, drink milk or lassi instead of beer/wine or water or treat yourself to an icecream for dessert! 

If you love curry come and join The Curry Club on Linked In.


The Curry Cookbook , Love Food, Parragon Books 2010

Essex Chronicle; Chelmsford (UK), Nov 25, 2010

World Curry Festival 2010

Saturday, 8 January 2011

How are the resolutions going?

I don’t know about you but one week into the new year and I don’t seem to have done too well on my 4P resolutions…I haven’t yet Published a blog this year for a start and I still have all 30 things on my 30 before 30 list to complete!

So what have I been doing instead? Well I have to confess I have been sleeping a lot to recover from all the indulgence over the festive period. Which could actually be classed as putting a tip into Practice as according to Arianna Huff getting enough sleep is the secret to success. In her presentation at TED Women (see the video here)  she says "The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep. We are literally going to sleep our way to the top -- literally!"

I’ve also spent some time reading, finishing off James Herbert’s latest crime novel about a killer with a shoe fetish – gripping stuff! I’ve also made a start on Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, I love reading and I want to read more classics (and thats number 29 on the list). I’ve indulged in some sales shopping and pampering so really this can all be classed as Passion – doing things I enjoy!

That only leaves People and I am making plans to see some family this afternoon so upon reflection I haven’t done that badly, especially now as I am publishing this blog post.
I’ve achieved much more in a week than I thought, just by doing the things I enjoy!
An added bonus is that I haven’t bitten my nails all week thanks to some new nail varnish J
How are your resolutions coming along? Have you broken any yet? Have you ticked off anything on you bucket list – would love to hear from you!