Saturday, 5 September 2009

Who flipped the switch?

Yes I realize that autumn follows summer I just didn’t realize that in England on August 31 at 11.59pm someone flips a switch and that’s it summer is over. I didn’t really realize last year as spring melted into summer and summer to fall. It was more like two seasons last year winter and not winter.

This year we had summer, not the mind blowingly hot for three months kind of summer, but hey I live in England more than one day in the 90s F is a gift. It all ended promptly on September 1st. It was oh so noticeable, the cold mornings, bright sunshiny cool afternoons and crisp evening that had the autumn smell.

I look over at our fire place as I type this and realize that I need to take down my bright cheerful summer banner and think about sourcing some mini pumpkins and Indian corn. The leafy twigs that sit in the urns by the fire place need to be pulled down from the attic and maybe I should think about some Halloween decorations. I can honestly say that this year I am excited for fall. Usually I mourn the days getting shorter, the darkness creeping in, and the temperatures dropping but this year I can’t wait to buy me some pumpkins.

Then there is the food! Cottage Pie, Toad in the Hole, endless soups, and meat pies.
I love the heavy stomach filling stick to your ribs kind of food that fall and winter bring. Brussels sprouts should make their appearance soon and I have found if you eat the baby Brussels they aren’t so bad. Fall deserts are yummy too, pumpkin cheese cake, pecan pie, zucchini bread with the last of the summer zucchini.

The best part of autumn however has to be the fact that the goose down duvet has been pulled down from the attic and I can look forward to its light but warm cover for months to come

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Iron Cupcak IV


Another month another iron cupcake. I don't know why I love the after shot more than the before. I think the pure gluttony of sitting back and realizing that you and your partners in crime just ate your way through more than 20 cupcakes. Yes you cut them in halves and quarters but damn your a pig and you would do it all over again. In fact you will do it all over again next month. For pictures of the pretty cupcakes in the before phase head over to Iron Cupcakes.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Yank Works

So I realized that I have never spoken much about my work on my blog. Some of that was the whole if I say too much I might get fired issue, some of it was just being lazy.

So what does Yank do?

I work for a corporate reception management firm.

What does that mean?

Basically the company I work for manages the receptions of a number buildings and companies.
Some are what we call Front of House this is where you walk into a large multi tenanted building and someone signs you in give you directions to where the lifts are and what floor you will need. These building only because there is little variance in your job are my least favourite.
Some are client floor(s) this is where you manage a client floor depending on the contract you will do different things from meet and greet, managing meeting rooms, taking meeting room reservations, switchboard, ordering of taxis, ordering of couriers, mail delivery and many other tasks. I like these sites better.

99.9% of the employees who work for my company are static, this means every day they go to the same place and work for the same client. Their shifts may rotate to cover reception during the open hours but they will always be at the same site. The other .01% percent are what is called the Elite Team. Our role is to cover holidays, sickness both short and long term, training, vacancies that have not been filled, maternity leave, busy periods.

I belong to the Elite Team, it was the role I took when I was hired and have been doing it for the last 15 months. I love my job, I love the company I work for, but I need a change, a new challenge. I really don’t want to change companies as I mentioned I love the company I work for. They are not perfect but you can tell they care and are actively trying to improve on a constant basis. This is the first company I have worked for where the training they say they are so big on in the interviewing stage actually takes place.

One of the downside of being on the Elite Team for the last 15 months is that I have been to almost every site my company manages. Some I have spent long periods at and this has allowed me to know which of these sites for whatever reason would not be the right place for me to take a static position. Some of these reasons are a trivial as the escalator is right next to reception and makes the most mind numbing noise all day every day until you want to scream, or they are in the wrong part of London to make my commute as hassle free as possible. Some of my reasons are a lot less trivial, I don’t mesh with manager’s style of management, I have had issues with another employee, as I mentioned above I prefer client floor to front of house services. So once I have ticked of sites I definitely do NOT want to work at, and sites that I would hesitate to work at I am left with a very short list of about 5 sites that perfectly or almost perfectly meet my criteria.

So now I wait, I wait for a position to come up at one of these sites, I wait for contracts for new sites that might be of interest or worse case scenario I start looking outside of the company I work for. I am not really ready to do this yet but if by next summer nothing has come available or I have not been able to secure a position if it has become available that is where I will be.

So raise your glasses to new challenges and opportunities and watch this space.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Death by Cupcake


This is what a valid attempt to try 24 cupcakes with three mates looks like. More new on last nights Iron Cupcake when the sugar rush wears off.

How can something so pretty taste so bad?

.

The frosting I mean, there is nothing wrong with the cupcake itself actually the cupcake is really nice, the frosting however leaves something to be desired. It was my first attempt at boiled or 7minute frosting, and to be honest I can ever remember tasting it in the past. I wanted something that would give the illusion of marshmallow on top of my graham cracker and chocolate chip cupcake. I was going for a s'mores theme but sadly the frosting was so disgusting I gave up. These are not the cupcakes I will be entering in the Iron Cupcakes contest tonight. Really anything that tastes as bad as this did should not be allowed to look as cute as my little cupcake looks. I even "toasted" some of the frosting with a kitchen torch to get the whole roasted marshmallow effect, it did not improve upon the flavor. I think the next time I do it I will add a %#*$ load of flavoring into the frosting so you don't get that whole sickly sweet meringue flavor. Watch this space either to night or tomorrow I will post the pictures from Iron Cupcakes I am now going to contemplate that I made that monstrosity above

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Yank Cooks!

So anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I can bake at a slightly above average level, but yes Yank can cook too, sort of. Yank chooses not to most of the time because Mr. Y in E is a chef so why waist that talent. A few weeks ago though Yank wanted Mr. Y in E's yummy gammon soup which requires boiling off gammon and having dinner of that one night and then making soup with the stock and left over gammon. Due to schedules if Yank did not boil off the gammon the soup would not get made. So never one to shy away from a large hunk of meat Yank Cooked.

1 Gammon,
2 pepper corns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1bay leaf

All Rough chopped
1 carrot
1/2 onion
1 leek
2 stalks celery



Cover with just enough water to cover the gammon and bring to a boil.
Gently simmer until temperature probe reads 145F
Transfer Gammon into casserole dish and cover with a glaze of brown sugar, maple syrup, and water (sorry did not measure just made it up)
Bake in oven continually basting until all the glaze is cooked off.
Remove from oven bask in glory of the large piece of pork you just cooked and then eat.
Goes well with warm potato salad and crispy garden salad.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Dear. . . .

Bob Crow
General Secretary
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
Unity House39
Chalton Street
London NW1 1JD

Dear Mr. Crow,

Earlier this week I wrote an angry letter to you in regards to the strike taking place by members of your union in regards to pay and benefits on National Express East Anglia line. In the letter I compared you to the Antichrist, but after much thought I decided not to send it. I certainly believe that workers should have the right to strike when working conditions and pay are bad. I however don't believe that in the current financial climate asking for a 2.5% raise above inflation and a four day working week is very sensible. Never the less in the spirit of your right to strike I have dealt with the longer train journeys on a train line that is not as easily assessable to where I live ( I don't drive). I am however disappointed that after all of the hardship your union members are putting me through so they can have their strike that I have not seen one picket line either at the station located near me or at Liverpool Street Station in London. I do understand that due to the strike and the lack of train services a number of your union members are probably having a difficult time making it to London but I would enjoy the sight of them at my local train station, which is Southend Victoria should you care to ask a few people to picket for my pleasure.

On a side note after having journeyed home on the C2C line last night and enjoying a train service that was air conditioned, ran on time, and a lot smoother ride maybe you could mention this to the big bosses at National Express East Anglia. I know it is not your concern about customer service I am just thinking that maybe if you came up with some ideas of how to draw more customers to the line so they could make more money and then in turn be able to pay for your 2.5% pay raises and 4 day working week they would be more willing to negotiate.

I do hope that you and your union members enjoy your four day weekends (five days over the bank holiday sweet!) for the rest of the summer, funny how that all worked out for you. While I am no longer upset enough to compare you to the Antichrist I would not worry about leaving your diary open for dinner party invites or keeping you eye out for a card at Christmas.

Kind Regards,

Yankee in England

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Whats up with Yank?

I know I have not been blogging very much lately and I just suck that way. Sorry can't help it. So what has Yank been up to?

One of these has come to live at Casa de la Yank. Great bargain found second hand for less that half of retail price. Always makes you feel good.

Two of these have been ordered to adorn either side of the fire place. Not second hand but on sale feels good but not as good at above.

Spending lots of time reading and studying this. As well as practical lessons, have learned I have no desire to own a Mini Cooper.

Started reading this as everyone say I HAD too it was SO good. I am not taken at the moment but not that far into it. I think I might be getting old as I don't really relate with the teenage character.


Been trying out lots of recipes for these. Next Monday is the third Iron Cupcake competition I think I have found my entry but I have one more recipe to try later this week before I make up my entries this weekend.



Been loving this blog and this blog at the moment.


Gave up these like a month ago I think I don't know not making a big deal of it and so I am not counting days, weeks, months, hours, minutes, seconds. Just bought a whole round of patches and I guess when there gone then I'm done. Going low key this time.


In a cross over from my craft blog I have been really digging Jennifer's Tutorials on how to use Tim Holtz products and have been buy a product or two as I can and have started playing with them. Hopefully one day soon they will make it onto Yankee Crafts in England.


So I think you are all up to date for the moment.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Yank gets Domestic

I have never felt very domestic, yes I bake and yes I paper craft but that it the extent. I don't sew, my housekeeping skills leave something to be desired, I can cook at a push but am not amazing. It is not from lack of trying to teach me on my mothers part she can sew, she can cook, she can knit, she put what I like to think my mighty fine ironing skills to shame. She did try to teach me to sew I don't think I ever finished the project. She tried to teach me to knit, this caused serious emotional damage to the both of us. So I wander through life being undomestic and for the most part I am quite happy to shell out the cold hard cash for services I am unable to preform but on Friday when the hem on my work skirt decided to come undone I had enough, that was it, I was going to fix it all by myself I was not going to shell out £15 to have it done professionally. Boosted on by a blog article I had fortuitously read a few days earlier on Fabulously Broke I headed out this weekend to the local haberdashery shop and picked up some wonder web and away I went.
The skirt in question, wonder web, iron, and damp rag


Measuring the wonder web for the part of the hem that had come undone


I tucked the wonder web under the hem covered with my damp cloth.


Then pressed with iron


Viola a fresh hem.

So maybe I am just a little bit domestic after all.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Yank Bakes for Iron Cupcakes London

So yesterday was the second meeting of Iron Cupcakes London and this months theme was summer fruits. After a few attempts I gave up and just did a version of the fruit filled Madeira cake I made a few weeks ago. I was not overly impressed with my attempt so was quite excited to come in fifth.


My attempt

The winner's cupcake


A shot of the judges tables before they tucked in 20 entries in all!

When the cupcakes win and you can't eat another bite


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Yank Bakes Madera Cake with Summer Fruits






After many failed attempts at summer fruit themed cupcakes I was drowning in excess summer fruit that was moments away from going off. I had found this cake recipe a few weeks ago on The Caked Crusader and new it would be sturdy enough to hold up to all the fruit and a mascarpone crème filling so off I trotted.


Madeira Cake

Ingredients:

180g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175g caster sugar plus an additional 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top

3 eggs

165g self raising flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract



How to make:- Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan oven 140°C/315°F/Gas mark 2-3.

- Line a 20cm spring form tin with baking paper.

- Start by beating together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

- Beat in the eggs gradually, adding a little of the flour if the mix looks like its curdling.

- Beat in the vanilla.- Fold in the flour.

- Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

- Sprinkle the additional caster sugar over the top.

- Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took 50 minutes.

- Leave to cool for 20 minutes in the tin before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.

Martha Stewart’s Mascarpone Frosting:

1 pound mascarpone cheese (used 8 oz)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (used ¼ cup) 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
(I wanted a very creamy very easy to spread filling more than frosting)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I didn't have this and just used the regular beaters), beat the mascarpone, cream and confectioners' sugar until medium-soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful no to over beat. Use immediately.

Various Summer Fruits

I used:

3 peaches that I had to cut some bad parts out
½ a punnet of strawberries
Almost a whole punnet of blueberries





Assembly:

After the Madera cake had completely cooled I cut off the top ¼ of the cake leaving as much bottom as possible to soak up all the juices. I then put the base back into the spring form pan I had used to bake the cake. I spread the bottom with around 3 TBS of some strawberry puree I had left over. I then started layering cut up fruit on the cake; I layered peaches the strawberries and then threw in the blueberries. In hind sight I would have 1. mixed all the fruit together and then tossed it on top or 2. put the strawberries down first. I think the flatness of the peaches covering the base of the cake did not allow all the juices from the strawberries to soak into the base of the cake but that is just my unfounded humble opinion and since I was making this up as I went along I have no idea. I then put the Mascarpone filling on top and spread towards the edges. Finally I put the top layer of the cake back on and delicately but as hard as I thought the cake could handle smooshed everything down.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Don't

Post at 5.15am in the morning when you have been averaging 4-5 hours of sleep for a week, it leads to mistakes. After much consideration into my feelings about the tube strike that hit London last week and very early in the morning when I couldn't sleep I wrote what for me it a very long post about it. I then with out noticing for over 24 hours posted it to my other blog Yankee Crafts in England. Having given it a lot of thought it does not seem right to delete it from my other blog and post it here. The moment is gone and the post was written at the time during the strike and it does not read the same after the fact. I hope you will take some time to hop over here and read it for yourself. I am off to make potato salad as I have just learned that Mr. Y in E thinks my potato salad rocks and living with a chef you take your chance to shine in the kitchen when you can.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Yank Bakes for Iron Cupcake London

Last night was the first ever Iron Cupcake London. A good time was had by all (this may have been sugar induced euphoria). Yank not one to miss out on all the fun entered with Chocolate Chipolte Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting. Follow the link for the original recipe and below is the Yank adapted recipe from trial and error and a lack of access to some of the ingredients.

Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp chili powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 small or one large dried chipolte chili

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake trays with baking cups (36)

Blend chili in blender to fine powder reconstitute with a small amount of water to make a paste.

Boil water. Transfer 3/4 cup of boiling water to bowl. Stir in cocoa until dissolved to form chocolate mixture and set aside.

With a wire whisk, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and chipotle powder in a separate bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar, butter and eggs until light and fluffy. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix well.

Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three additions, alternating with chocolate mixture in two additions, ending with flour mixture. Beat until combined with each addition.

Add pureed chipotles and beat until combined.

Scoop batter into prepared cupcake trays,

Bake for 13-15 minutes and cool completely.


Cream cheese frosting
3 oz. chocolate with chipotles ( I used Lindt with Chili)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 stick butter ( 4 ounces by weight)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 sec intervals., stirring in between until melted. Let cool.

Sift sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Cream butter and cream cheese and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low until combined.

Add sugar in small batches until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl in between.

Set aside half of frosting and set aside for the Vanilla Chipotle Cream Cheese Buttercream.

Add melted chocolate to the other half and mix until combined for the Chocolate Chipotle Cream Cheese Buttercream.

Thank you Caked Crusader for a great evening!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Yank Bakes Mile High Devil's Food Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream



So Sunday brought the first experiment in the kitchen for the all new weekly themed post Yank Bakes. This weeks Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake was brought to you by HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE.

The all important Recipe:

Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake (from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)Makes an 8-inch 3-layer cake


1 cup unsweetened cocoa, not Dutch processed


1 ¼ cups hot water


3 cups light brown sugar, packed


2 2/3 cups cake flour*


1 ½ teaspoons baking soda


¾ teaspoon salt


9 ounces (2 sticks + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature


3 large eggs1


½ teaspoons vanilla extract


¾ cup cold water[*1 cup cake flour is equal to


¾ cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch]


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans (We baked ours in 9-inch pans, and they almost overflowed. Make sure your 8-inch pans are tall!). Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.Place the cocoa in a medium bowl and add the hot water. Whisk until smooth and let it cool to room temperature. (To speed this up, whisk the cocoa into ¾ cup hot water. Then add ½ cup cold water to cool it down.)In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low blend to combine. Add the butter and the dissolved cocoa. Then raise the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and cold water until combined. Add this liquid to the batter in three additions scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Divide the batter among the three pans.Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a cakes tester inserted into the almost comes out clean. (Our 9-inch cakes were done at 25 minutes.) There should be a few crumbs attached still. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes. Then invert and remove parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.







Brown Sugar Buttercream


5 egg whites


1¼ cups brown sugar


¼ cup water (We omitted this)


1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (We reduced this to 2 ½ sticks)




(We made our buttercream using the Swiss meringue method-- Whisk the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes, or until mixture is fluffy and cool to the touch. Switch to the paddle attachment. On medium speed, add butter a few tablespoons at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture becomes very thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.)Place all the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer; set aside.In a heavy medium saucepan combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then bring to a boil without stirring and cook until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.Begin beating the egg whites on medium low speed. Slowly pour in the syrup making sure not to hit the beater. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and beat until the meringue has cooled to body temperature.With the mixer on med-low add 1-2 tablespoons of butter at a time. When all the butter has been added increase the mixer’s speed to medium and beat until the mixture looks curdled or separated. Continue to beat until the icing comes together again looking like soft smooth whipped butter.Assembling the cake:Place one layer flat side down and cover it with 2/3 cup of the frosting. (We used ½ cup frosting between each layer. We had just enough leftover to frost the top and sides.) Top with second layer and repeat process. Top with third layer and frost the sides of the cake.

So a few notes on how easy (or not) the recipe was to follow

I could not find non dutched cocoa for more information on the difference go here
I used normal cocoa and the world did not end and my cake tasted pretty darn good.

I could not find cake flour or corn starch so I just used plain old flour. I have since found corn starch so if I remake this recipe I will let you know if it works any better with the “cake flour”

I used 8inch pans and as my pans were not that tall I split the batch into four instead of 3. It gave the cake a cool look when sliced and I think it added to the mile high thing. Because I had an extra layer to sandwich I was much more conservative with the frosting on the sandwich layers and found I had more than enough for the tops and sides.

My four cakes took 23 mins except the one that seemed a little larger than the other 3 took 26 mins to cook

The Frosting: This caused more tears than the end of the sixth Harry Potter Book. I decided to follow the recipes directions not the notes by the woman whose blog I found this recipe on. The part about blending until the frosting looks curdled and comes back together again took about 20 mins, I don’t have a stand mixer so I stood holding my electric mixer for that 20 mins plus the 5-10 mins to get to this stage. Having made traditional Swiss merguine butter cream before that method is a whole lot simpler.

I also ran into a problem when I frosted the cake, filled all the layer great no problems but as I started to frost the tops and the sides the frosting split. I have had Swiss merguine butter cream split on me while making it but I have never had it split once it had come together. I am not sure what the issue was but I will not use the same recipe for frosting again and to be quite honest I did not feel that the brown sugar added enough to make it anymore special than good old butter cream. To save the cake I frosted it the best I could and then stuck in the fridge and about 20 mins later I pulled it out and smoothed it over as best I could and did this two or three times at about 20 min intervals as the butter cream hardened in the fridge.

Over all feelings: Damn this cake was good like really sickly good, like the only cake I have had in a long time that I knew there was no way I could go back for seconds right away because it was so rich. You only need a tiny sliver as well to be satisfied. So far the cake has served 12 pieces and I can probably get 4 more out of it so it would be ideal for large dinner parties.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

One Year On

Last night as I was pounding the pavement on my evening walk it occurred to me I had missed a milestone, yesterday was my one year anniversary at my job. What a difference a year makes. I had moved from a job that truly believed I existed to be used and abused into a job where I was made to feel welcome and my skills and hard work are appreciated. I have gone from just surviving working rotating shift that included night shifts to working basically 8-5 or 9-6 M-F. I have found the time to be concerned about the fact that I was over weight and start making changes to my lifestyle. I have refound my love of card making and scrapbooking. I have also learned that while it is a good belief that giving when you can with the hope that others will give when you need, you also need to realize that not everyone holds this belief. I have learned that it is okay to say no sometimes when it put you at a great inconvenience it is not my sole responsibility to right all the wrongs in the world. I am in such a happier place one year on.

Tomorrow I debut the first post for Yank Bakes, I am very excited in the mean time I found this video on YouTube about a week ago and Cake or Death has become the catchphrase at our house now. I had heard this sketch by Eddie Izzard a while ago and it is soooooooo true. The legos only make it funnier.

Cake or Death

Friday, 22 May 2009

Yank Bakes

So I have done a little bit of renovating on my blog, I get bored of the same thing all the time so I thought I would shake it up. You may have noticed the Yank Bakes list on the right hand side; this is part of my new weekly “feature” post. Each one has a link to blog I found it on and one I have tried the recipe and reported back here it will change to a link to my blog entry. Don’t worries I promise the blog entry will link back to the original blog I found the recipe on. I will most likely be making up the recipes on the weekend and blogging about them on Mondays or Tuesday. I will also be adding new fun recipes as I find them so it should be never ending; the neighbours are going to love all the goodies! In true Yank style I have not figured out all the details yet I am just making up the rules and I go along. This weekend’s recipe is Mile High Devil’s Food Cake with Brown Sugar Butter cream Frosting

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The YUCK

So last November Mr. Y in E and I got thrown a handful of YUCK, we thought the YUCK would be over quickly and life would return to normal. After Christmas it became apparent that the YUCK was not going to pass anytime soon and I went into crisis mode in hope of averting a complete meltdown while dealing with the YUCK. The problem with me going into crisis mode is that the only thing that does not fall apart when I am in crisis mode is the particular item that has thrown me into crisis mode. The YUCK seems to have moved on and due to some creative thinking has done little damage other than the fact that in the last six months we have not really move any closer to the goals we had set as a couple and also for ourselves. In a lot of way I consider us lucky and while certainly not sought out the YUCK has brought us much closer together. So when if was apparent that the YUCK was really on the way out the door I sat down to pick up the pieces of my life and move forward. So I have reconstructed the goals for 2009 slightly, some I have missed completely and had to rethink, others no longer seem so important. So in all its glory:


Goals for 2009



Loose another 20lbs by summer. Okay I have really sucked at this; I have actually gained a few pounds, what can I say I am a stress eater and stress baker. Good news I have found the most awesome recipe for chocolate chip cookies, bad news I have found the most awesome recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Plan moving forward only one baking project a week of which I get 1 portion the rest is donated to our neighbours/Mr Y in E’s family. Starting back up at Weight Watchers I got really slack with this and I need the accountability and the support. Restructured goal: Loose a stone by the end of summer and find an outdoor activity I can do 3-5 times a week for at least 30 mins. Buy a Pilates mat so I can actually do the Pilates DVD I bought a few weeks ago when the weather is too yucky to do out door activities.



Choose a feature topic for my blog, assign it a day and write on that topic weekly. Again another suck really and truly suck. I have rethought my original idea for a feature and I think I might link it to my above once a week baking, I have really enjoyed it and come across lots of good recipes I want to try.


Pay off the credit card. Due to above mentioned yuckiness this was not moving forward but I have done budget projections till year end and I am thinking it is still possible, there are a few variables that can not be accounted for but looks very probable.



Quit smoking. Fell off the band wagon, need to buy new ticket for the band wagon. Thinking might buy ticket for Saturday, will see. I promise not to bore you with how much my life sucks while I am quitting this time.


See more of England. Take advantage of the fact that I no longer work weekends and drag my mother in law or my husband out to the millions of cool things to see with in driving distance. Okay so this is really the only goal I have done particularly well at. February saw a trip to Wisley Gardens the flagship gardens for the RHS. March saw a return trip to Wisley Gardens with my MIL who had not been since she was a child. April saw a trip to Hyde Hall another RHS garden (I am a card carrying member of RHS). May has seen a trip to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens which has been on my list of to do for about two years. Wish List for the next few months: Canterbury Cathedral- it is spitting distance would be a shame not too. Long weekend to Guernsey* with a day trip to Sark- a girl can dream right?.



*Guernsey and Sark and not part of England, they are not even part of the United Kingdom, they are part of the Channel Islands which are bailiwicks of the United Kingdom.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Whitie

So as another summer draws closer I have yet again vowed that this will be the year that I will religiously use gradual tanner and for once I will not be the one with scary pasty white skin. Naturally I only have two colours WHITE and RED. Every year I buy my bottle of gradual tanner and after one or two application it is forgotten and is thrown out around Christmas. This year however I am painfully aware of my white skin, it is actually starting to creep me out, what I once considered as alabaster now just looks washed out.

I mentioned my intentions to my MIL last weekend as we strolled along at Sissinghurst Castle gardens, yes we were strolling and yes the whole experience was a little cliche but lovely all at the same time. She mentioned she had tried gradual tanning lotions the year before but had just ended up with orange hands. I asked if she had washed her hands after application as the bottle suggested and she said she hadn't bothered to read the bottle. I marvel at the woman who has successfully raised three terrific sons who still come home often to visit their mother, a woman who as been amazingly successful with her fiances although they have been small. A woman who no matter the hour or the strangeness of the item always has what I am in a tizzy to find for some project and quickly arrives at my house with it. The woman who expertly puts up with two eccentric foreign daughter in laws who apparently couldn't be bothered with reading the label on the bottle.

If anyone is wondering I washed my hands after I applied my lotion this evening I guess a lack of orange hands is the only thing the my one day future daughter in law will have to be awed by.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Killing fairies and other detritis

I was informed today that if you reply thank you after someone say bless you for sneezing you kill a fairy. While I am not a believer in fairies I think I will err on the side of caution and come across rude as I don’t want to burn in hell for killing fairies.

Listing to the news on the radio Saturday morning I found it quite odd when the announcer said “Medical officials are doing everything they can today to stop the spread of swine flu.” Were they only going at it half heartedly yesterday and are they all on holiday tomorrow?

Watching TV yesterday I was subjected to an add selling beauty cream claiming to be the non surgical option to naturally beautiful skin. If I have to apply anything to my face does it not become unnatural, and if it is an alternative does that not also imply that surgery is a natural way to beautiful skin?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Random Tidying

So I have a new plan for when I can't find stuff I need. I use to hunt an peck for it in a most organized fashion checking first in the most likely place and then trying to figure out the last time I used the item and think back to where I was and then I went into the destroy the house and become obsessed with finding the item. This rarely worked and the missing item would show up a few day, week, months later at a really weird time in a place I swear I had looked for it. So I would be really irritated and I would have destroyed the house looking for it.

Now when I can't find something I engage in what I call random tidying. I admit to myself that I have no idea where the item I want is let it go and start tidying in a completely random fashion. I am in no way looking for the item I want, I put it completely out of my mind. I just start putting away the first item out of place that I find and let my mind lead me where I may. As I see half finished tasks I finish them up. This weekend it lead to me finding my dresser again and saving it from the mountain of clean clothing which had taken up residence. I reorganized three drawers in my bedside table and got rid of all my single socks that did not match up as well as organizing the extra buttons that always come with clothes. I finally unpacked all my craft stuff that I took to a crop a few weeks ago and somewhat tidied up my craft stuff. In the process I found the top coat I was looking for (behind the computer) and my bone folder that had been missing for over a week (under some stuff in a bag I had yet to unpack no sure how it got there as I have used it since the crop). I am thinking random tidying has multiple benefits and I may have to continue this idea.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Moving Day




So the new tenants of Casa de la Yank have been moved into there semi-permanent accommodation. I say semi-permanent because this was not the accommodation I wanted for them but after much looking at several places that sold plant accommodation with no luck finding what I wanted I gave up. I am sure that now I have re potted them I will find exactly what I am looking for.


My MIL and I went to Hyde Hall this afternoon, after a morning of working in her garden. This little fellow decided that he needed to come join me at my house. Looks like I am going to need more accommodations.

My MIL had a bag full of these bottle tops. Seriously how cool are these work just like a watering can. After a dig around in my recycle bin I found a bottle (I rinsed it really well as I am sure Diet Coke is engineered to KILL plants) and I was in business.


Can't really see the shower effect as I am trying to juggle the camera with my free hand. I am loving my new water bottle though.


Friday, 3 April 2009

Reading Lables

I like to read the labels on things, I usually do this when I am waiting for something. The pasta package while I am waiting for it to cook. The shampoo bottle while I am letting the conditioner sit for a minute or two. While I stood waiting for my crumpets to toast the other evening I was reading the label on my jar of Nutella. In big bold letters on the front it reads A full glass of skimmed milk in every jar, followed by an astric. Now having already read the list of ingredient I found this slightly funny. A product whose first ingredient is sugar is touting the fact that a full glass of SKIMMED milk goes into every jar. Following that little astric to the fine print I learn that an actual glass of skimmed milk does not go into every bottle but the equivalent of 220ml glass of skimmed milk in powder form goes into every jar. I seriously feel like my intelligence has been insulted lets call a spade a spade Nutella is just a seriously good excuse to put chocolate on your crumpets. It is not going to make my bones grow strong or sustain me until my next meal, it is kind of like those adds with sports stars saying Snickers were a source of nutrition for them that were so popular in the 90s. Snickers are a candy bar, I guess if you work as hard as a sports star you work off the calories but the average Jo who might go to the gym 2-3 times a week should not be chomping away thinking he/she will be the next all star NFL quarterback.





That said the crumpets with Nutella were excellent.


(Note: While I am not the woman in the picture I sort of wish I was)

Monday, 30 March 2009

Who needs sleep?




Apparently not me. Learned an interesting thing this weekend when Mr Y in E was home on his days off. I sleep like a log when he is around, and don't when he is away. I slept really lightly last week and woke many times each night, Friday and Saturday night while he was home slept like I had not slept in a hundred years. Went to bed early didn't wake once and woke refreshed at unheard of hours in the morning for Yank. Anything before 9am on the weekends and you should consider yourself lucky to see Yank. On Saturday and Sunday I was up at the early hours of 7.15 and 7.36.




Mr Y in E went back to Warwick yesterday evening and I tossed and turned all night, woke numerous times. I was so all over the bed that even kitty would not snuggle with me. He curled up on his fathers pillows and mourned him, until I stole those in an attempt to make a pretend husband in the bed. I don't wake tired or exhausted more just irritated if I take the time to go to bed at a decent hour to get some sleep then sleep I should get. Not this crazy tossing and turning. If this is to be the norm I have a long 4 weeks to get through.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Making it through

The clocks "Sprung" forward this morning. I was happy, giddy with the anticipation of another hour of light. The day has not disappointed the sun has been bright the sky clear dappled with white clouds. There is a new beginning and an ending all at the same time. The joy of knowing you have yet again made it through the darkness and come into the light. Knowing that the worst is over and better lay ahead. There is a sense of accomplishment for bearing the darkness and growing from it, almost like endurance, testing ones self to know how much one can take with the knowledge that the brightness will return. With no darkness and no cold one can not truly enjoy the light and the warmth, and I do enjoy it appreciate each moment that is given knowing the time is short and before too long the darkness will return. I can manage that though, not only manage it but grow stronger from it. There is no need to think of those things at this moment now because we are still counting up, counting to the longest day, mentally remembering all the things we are grateful for so that in a few months when we are counting down we can hold those memories close.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Stuff

The world is full of stuff. Everywhere you go they are trying to sell you more stuff, near holidays the powers that be tries to tell you that all your friends and family really want more stuff. In turn you receive stuff. Then you have so much stuff you have to buy more stuff to store it and stuff to organize it. Then they bring out new and better stuff so you donate your old stuff so that someone with less money can buy your used stuff and they too can have stuff. Then there is the stuff for work, you have to buy a bigger hand bag so you can transport it too and fro.

I use to have very little stuff. I had one room in a house with friends and I was pretty stuff less. The mattress was mine but the rest of the furniture belonged to my friends who were kind enough to lend me their stuff. I had a few pots a few plates and utensils, and of course books but on a whole not much stuff. I was happy. My friends had LOTS of stuff, they owned a HUGE house they were renovating for a B&B and when you are doing that you need stuff. They actually did not have enough stuff yet to fill their B&B. They were more than happy to share their stuff with me and I hope that in some way I gave back something positive in return for the use of their stuff.

Now I am older and I have my own place and I have stuff and Mr. Y in E has stuff and it is too much stuff. I wish I was not so susceptible to the marketing of stuff, I was happier with less stuff, or sharing stuff. We own a Panini maker that sits in the cupboard and only gets used maybe twice a year I know Mr. Y in E enjoys Panini’s but really can’t he just buy a Panini two or three times a year.

Time to De-Stuff.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Weigh in Wednesday

Sorry guys I know it has been a while since I have done a weigh in Wednesday. I have lost a small amount of weight but I seem to be holding steady at 12st 1.5 pounds. My goal this week is to see if I can loose that 1.5 so I can be right at 12st.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Not for the faint of heart

In my quest for healthy eating I ran across a post by Laura over at The Lazy Organizer all about green smoothies. Basically fruit and spinach smoothies, I am not a big lover of spinach but hey if the fruit covers the taste I am willing to give it a go. I made my smoothie and it was good, a lovely purple color because I had used some blueberries in it. While out shopping I picked up more spinach for my green smoothies and my husband was confused and commented on my hatred of spinach. I explained my green smoothies to him and he suggested adding spirulina powder. I will let Wiki do the talking on Spirulina. Always one to try something new I headed down to the health food store and picked some up. This is were it get a little interesting; the powder is BRIGHT green (see photo) and smells a little like cat food (I know I have a cat). At this point I was a little worried but always the adventurer I went a head and threw the recommended 1TBS in my smoothie.





As anticipated it turned the whole thing for lack of a better description baby poo green. I pulled out my special smoothie cup and poured the contents in and carefully tasted the first sip. I was amazed, while it was not as sweet at the smoothie with out the spirulina it was still highly drinkable. So I will continue my green smoothie quest in the hopes that it will help me be healthier. I shall report back if I say loose 20lbs over night or can leap tall buildings in a single bound.



Monday, 23 March 2009

PSA

A Public Service Announcement courtesy of my niece

New Tennants at the Casa de la Yank


These little guys followed me home from Wisley Gardens yesterday. I am a sucker for succulents. I still remember when I first came to know about succulents, I was working part time at a nursery to save money to come live in England. The nursery delt mainly in herbs, I like herbs they are basically weeks and you just throw them in a pot and ignore them. I watch people spending years perfecting techniques on African Violets or Orchids and I am impressed but I know that I would just kill them. Anything that requires more than dirt and throwing water at it on an infrequent and sporadic basis should stay far far away from Casa de la Yank.


I have looked online and basically I stick my new tenants in well draining soil (soil mixed with sand) and only water them infrequently. Works for me.


So this is my pledge to my new tenants:


I Yankee in England promise to get you a nice pot with soil that has lots of sand mixed in it and to not water you very much, if you promise not to die on me.


Saturday, 21 March 2009

Dear Mr. Y in E,

I lost the cat. I was doing some crafting last night and realized that he had not come to annoy me for a while and the house was very quiet. I glance over to the couch to see if he was snoozing on his favorite pillow and he wasn't. I did a quick search of his favorite places; the bed, my laundry hamper, his blankie, the new scratching post (that was a great buy) and the bathroom rug, he was no where. My heart stoped and I panicked. I was horrified that I might of left a window open and in his anger that you had left he had escaped with hope of a better life somewhere else. I quickly checked all the windows but they were closed, I sat down in the living room in desperation knowing I would have to call you and explain than in less than 12 hours of life with out you I had managed to loose our cat. In a last ditch effort i made smoochy sound hoping he might come to me. A sheepish kitty emerged from under the duvet cover I had hung on the banister to dry that morning. I am sure he has decided that this was a good place to wait and pounce on me unexpectedly.

Other things I have lost since you've been gone:

1. My favorite crafting scissors-turned out they were under a pile of patterned papers did not find them till I cleaned up last night.

2. My exacto knife - I had been using it to craft and either kitty has knocked it off the crafting table and dragged it to one of his unknown hiding places or I have put it away in the wrong spot and will find it in a few weeks when looking for something else.

3. The SudoCream I went to put some on my poor cracked nose yesterday and it was no where to be found.

I have yet to loose my keys yet but that is only a matter of time, good thing we left a spare with the neighbours.

Sincerely,

Yankee in England

Friday, 20 March 2009

Trying to be Positive

I sent Mr Y in E off for a month worth of work about 3 hours away from where we live today. It is one of those needs must kind of situations. I try to think positive, I am not sending him off for an 18 month tour of duty in a war torn country. He will be home when he had two days off in a row.

For those of you who don't know Mr Y in E is a chef and before he left this morning he has stocked the fridge and freezer with stuff for me to eat while he is away. He truly believes I am not able to feed myself, that if he was too leave me for two long I would waste away and die of starvation. What he did not know it that I have a few things going for me:

1. I know how to use a microwave and where to buy ready meals.

2. I have take a way menu's in a drawer in the kitchen.

3. I have an excess of body fat and it would take quite a while to actually DIE of starvation.

4. I can actually cook and I am not terrible at it. I am just lazy.

Never the less I have a tuna casserole in the fridge I might seriously have to start giving away because I have no hope of eating it all before it starts to go bad. I also have mini cottage pies in the freezer, the base for a butter bean bake that only requires me to top with bread crumbs and grated cheese and cook.

In my effort to remain positive I have made a list of the pros of this situation:

I get the whole bed to myself. Well I have to share with kitty but worse case scenario I throw him out and close the door.

I get to watch whatever I want on TV and not feel guilty if I know one of my programs conflicts with a footie match

I can eat all the eggplant, peppers, and squash I want and not feel guilty knowing Mr Y in E hates them.

I can make really big messes crafting and not feel the need to clean them up right away.

I can leave my towel on the floor in the bathroom and know it won't annoy Mr Y in E

I can make vegetarian meals with out Mr Y in E commenting on the lack of meat in that evening meal.

This does not really make up for all the Cons of this situation but it does make me feel a little better.

Well the washing machine just dinged and as soon as I hang out my clothes I am off to a new craft shop I found to check out the new stuff and start working on the above mentioned mess.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Kitty and Cupcakes

My DH knows me well and knows how to keep the peace. Last night I was surprised with cupcakes from a lovely bakery in London, a late birthday treat as DH did not make me a cake, all was forgiven when the red velvet cake came my way.


Kitty is not opposed to using tools to get what he wants. I made tuna bake last night and he really wanted some.
Interesting things I learned this weekend while clearing out some drawers
1. I own way to many tights, a necessary evil for my job. This is what prompted the drawer cleaning to make room so the tights could have their very own drawer.
2. Mr. Y in E is addicted to buying cough syrup, apparently not to taking it as we had 7 bottles of 4 different varieties.
3. I may never need to buy band aids or plasters as they are called here again.
4. When you get a free gift with purchase of make up it is never a color that a real human being would wear.
5. As I have lost weight I have bought clothing in smaller sizes up to three sizes smaller in some cases, but have been buying the same size knickers, this explain a whole lotta problems.



Tuesday, 24 February 2009

On being a girl

I am not very good at it. Somewhere I missed the lessons, I like to wear dresses and that's about it. When it comes to hair and make up I am clueless. I tell the hair dresser I am clueless if it take more than a hair brush and a blow dryer it is not the hairstyle for me. He keeps trying to get me to use product and multiple "tools". Why? If nature had intended my hair to do what ever this product or tool does then it would naturally do it.

I was very excited to learn quite recently that I have a very natural look when it comes to make up. Apparently slapping on some foundation and mascara constitutes natural seems a little unnatural to me. I was however pleased to learn that my "natural look" was not only socially acceptable but aesthetically pleasing. This is a good thing because even if it wasn't I wasn't going to change it.

Well I am off to the hair dresser to have him shove product in my face again, ha good luck

Friday, 20 February 2009

Yank's Great Adventure subtitle Yank gets lost

In my ever ongoing adventure of walking more I decided to walk up three tube stops instead of two yesterday evening on my way home from work. I consulted google maps it was a straight shot up the street I usually take and was only another .4 of a mile so a few extra minutes. I had a small detour to take but all in all it would add no great time onto my journey. The whistle blew at work and I headed down the four flights of stairs invigorated by my new adventure. I made my detour delivered the goods and headed back to the main road. In my cockiness of knowing where I was going I dialled a friend to confirm a dinner date next week and after a few minutes on the phone to her wondered if I had some how missed my station but since I am a horrible judge of distance I just figured I thought is was closer than it was. With the firm belief that it is impossible to get lost in central London as there is a tube stop on every other block and a bus stop on every corner I carried on and rung my MIL to make a dinner date for this weekend. I know quite the social butterfly. Towards the end of this conversation I realized not only had I missed my mark that I really had no clue where I was and had no point of reference for this area. Still the panic did not set in as I held firm to my belief that being on a major road it was only a matter of time before I either passed a tube station or a You Are Here you stupid idiot map that are so common in central London. A few intersection later and sign for places I knew were in north central London (I was trying to head east) and a lack of tube and bus station later I wondered if I should start being worried. Yet a few more intersection later I panicked and called Mr. Y in E to tell him I was lost (he knew of my intentions to walk to Holborn station) first he asked what road I was on and the last major intersection I crossed. When the detail were given his answer sounded something like this: How the hell did you end up in North Central London when you were trying to get to Holborn? My answer sounded something like this: Um dunna know. With Mr. Y in E's vast knowledge of London and a few more phone calls to confirm I was heading in the right direction I finally made it to my destination of Liverpool Street station where my train departs from an hour later than expected. The high light of my grand adventure was that instead of adding .4 of a mile to my pedometer I added 3.5 for a grand total of 8 miles for the day and I have now seen a part of London that before was unknown. Maybe I need to have more Grand Adventures, maybe I need to look at the maps better, hell maybe I should print the maps out.

UPDATE: This morning I spoke to a friend who is a sports injury specialist about some pain I have been having in the back of my knee at night. He gave a long winded explanation as to what I had done to injury myself but it boiled down to the fact that I should only do the walking necessary to get me to and from work. That stinks no more Grand Adventures for a while.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Celebrating the big two five

No not my birthday that is next week and I will be 29. Got an early birthday present though I have now lost twenty-five pounds in twenty-nine weeks. Woo Hoo me! Yup I have gone from 195lb to 170lbs. So excuse me while I go do my happy dance.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Y in E VS Uber Bitch

So I fell off the wagon. More precisely I was catapulted off and landed face first in a cow pie. I fought the Uber Bitch and while the UB did not win the fags did. Oh well tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Twenty Five Random things about me

I was tagged a while ago with this and have been putting it off so here I go in no particular order



1. My middle name is Lynne

2. My husband is a chef

3. Since giving up smoking I have been putting all the lighters I find in a jar I am up to 23

4. This one is my favorite. Hated it when I bought it now I love it doesn't matter any more

5. I had a rabbit named Hazelnut when I was a teenager.

6. I am the oldest of five children 3 boys two girls. The girls make up the bookends

7. My favorite color changes seasonally right now it is not quite navy blue

8. I am typing this up as I bake cookies you can find the recipe here

9. I am a control freak

10. I love spread sheets see number 9

11. I use to do water colour paintings, I wish I had the discipline to start again

12. My bedroom was pink from the time I was 11 till I was about 16. I now hate the colour pink

13. I named my kitty after Ernest Hemingway. It was a waste of time since we call him Little Shit.

14. I love to bake

15. I always try to be classic when I dress but I really wish I could be boho chic, must try harder.

16. Every hand bag I own right now is black. Need to buy another colour that is pathetic.

17. I really hate carrots but I eat them anyways because they are good for you.

18. Sometimes I wish I could say all the socially inappropriate and rude things that pop into my head.

19. I love white bedding but I never buy it because I know I will only get it dirty.

20. I love to read

21. I hate Lychee fruit. I however love slicing the skin and popping them out.

22. Fall and spring are my favorite seasons.

23. I did start typing this while I was baking cookies, that was over a week ago.

24. I am an air head or ditsy or however you want to put it. My mind is easily distracted and then I forget how I got to where I am mentally and have to back track in the hope I have not forgotten anything important.

25. I hate the rain if I have to be out in it. I love it if I can sit inside and watch it storm outside.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Weigh in Wednesdays

So had a pleasant surprise last night when I went to weight in. I was sure that I had stayed the same but I had in fact lost a pound. It was a pleasant surprise and I hope that it is a trend that will continue. I am now on half a pound away from my before Christmas weight. I am truly hoping that maybe the limbo if quiting and loosing weight is over, though I am not stupid enough to think that just because I lost this week it will be that way from now on. I am going to hold on to my new found attitude of one day at a time. Not to tempt fate but this week has been the easiest so far when it comes to cravings for a ciggy. I don't think there will be anyway to talk the pharmacist out of lowering my patch dose to the lowest one this Saturday so I am going to hike up my big girl panties and brace myself for the storm that is lower my nicotine supply. Right now at least I think that the end might just be about insight, we will see if I feel the same way after the weekend. I owe a hug thanks to Mr Y in E, best friends J and J, and my Mummy who have all spent the last four and a half weeks dealing with me being one super grumpy bastard. Please keep me in your thoughts this weekend while I switch doses and keep your fingers crossed.

Oh and for anyone wondering this weeks weight 12st 3.5lb or 171.5lb

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Kitty's New Game







I sorted my dirty laundry the other day and I left my laundry hamper in the hallway. Kitty spent the rest of the day sitting inside the laundry hamper waiting for someone to walk by and he would jump out to attack them and then jump back inside. He never got tired of waiting for someone to walk by and was quit happy to wait 20 or 30 mins.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Loose another 20lbs by summer.
So I have no idea where I am going with this, I think I am getting closer to being back to normal on my weight loss. I stayed the same this week but there was also a Peanut Butter Pie to celebrate Mr. Y in E’s birthday and I had shall we say more than one piece (half the pie) so I should count myself lucky to have not gained, all the walking is helping. I have still not joined the gym yet there are some unrelated issues I am waiting to be resolved before I do that.

Pay off CC. This is definitely an ongoing thing nothing much to report still making monthly payments and working towards it, we have had to lower them for a few months but I know we can still do it!

Quit smoking. I have had on ciggy in the last three weeks we are definitely moving forward. I feel like a non smoker. I would no more go out and buy a pack of ciggies than a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Actually right now I worry more about buying a pint of Ben and Jerry’s than smokes. When I go in for my breathalyzer this weekend I think they are going to try and get me to lower my patch again. I don’t know how I feel about that, I am doing well on the 14mg patch but I guess no pain no gain. I made it through the last patch lowering alive barley but alive, I can be strong! This would mean I would be done with the program the Saturday before my birthday, considering I ruined Mr. Y in E’s birthday by lowering the patch on the same day I think I might see if they will let me stay on for a week longer as I don’t want the last birthday I will have in my 20s to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

House Proud I am just not, the sooner I realize this the easier it will be on all those involved.See More of England. There seems to be one small hitch with this. It rains all the time, I guess a more accurate description would be that it is wet all the time calling it rain does not really describe it. I do have to admit that due to certain geography teacher in college who was raised in and has a profound love for Portland it could be said that I have an above average knowledge of Maritime Climates. There is a difference between learned knowledge and experience, it is shocking to experience. Guess it is time to buy a pair of Wellies and give into the frizz and go for it.


Blog Yeah I suck at this right now. While the pity party may be over I am still having a hard time crawling out from under the rock I have been enjoying. Room for improvement is the best I can say.

Weigh in Wednesday

So nothing to report. I stayed the same at weigh in. It is what it is I keep moving forward.


Weight 12st 4.5lb

Thursday, 29 January 2009

New and Improved Weigh in Wednesday

So after some thought I have decided to start fresh with my Wednesday weigh ins. I am not discounting the 21lbs I have already lost, this is a big achievement, however it is a new year and I am starting a new non smoking phase of my life so it seems like a good time to wipe the board clean and start a new. Just a few notes for those of you who are reading I am no longer going to covert my stones into a total pound weight. There are 14lbs to a stone if you want to convert but I am trying to embrace my British Imperial lifestyle and to be honest it was just a lot of numbers that got jumbled in my head. I am starting with the weight that I weighed when I quit smoking almost three weeks ago and working forward from there.


Weight at date of quitting 12st 4lb
1st Weigh in 12st 5lb
2nd Weigh in 12st 4.5lb


Okay before anyone says it I know that was a whole lot of melodrama last week over one pound. All I can say is that at the moment I was hanging onto the cliff over the gaping hole of non smoking by only my finger nails I had nothing else to give. This is not an excuse it is just how it was. I think I have a full grip on the cliff now and am working up the strength to start pulling myself up. Everyday is a little easier, I am not dumb enough to think there might not be some weight gain in the immediate future the facts are that my metabolism is working against me at the moment, I am getting over it. So there is none of my planning my only goal is to keep moving forward, not going to say I want to loose X amount by the end of February because I don’t quite understand the new rules of the game yet. All my plans from yesterday are still going ahead and you can watch the journey good or bad or both as it happens.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Pitty Party is OVER

Yup that’s right, I reread my post from yesterday and the last few weeks and man I am a downer. So it is all over. Weigh in Wednesdays are back I will post the result later tonight. I fore warn you it is not pretty, weight is being gained, I am trying my hardest to keep on track and for the most part I have. I have even upped my exercise, I have however learned post quitting that your metabolism actually drops when you stop smoking. I am assured that in a few weeks it will pick back up so we shall see. I being forever optimistic thought I could buck the trend and loose weight at the same time, I was sadly mistaken. I am joining a gym this weekend as well even though I have doubled the amount of walking I am doing I don’t think it is enough so the plan is too keep the walking at the level I have worked up to as well as joining 3 one hour aerobics sessions a week. I may still gain weight but I am not going down with out a fight! The final stage of my plan is to get back to writing down everything I eat. I had gotten lazy at this because I knew most of the point values for things and could figure it in my head and it worked I was loosing weight. Now I need to figure out if I am putting things in my mouth that I am not accounting for or if I need to cut the amount of food I am eating. I will win, I have won before the rules may have changed but the game is still the same. Watch out world.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Nothing to say

Sorry guys I have nothing to say. Nothing you want to hear about anyways. I am pretty full of self pity and that is just boring. I lowered the patch dosage I was on Sunday at the suggestion of my pharmacist. I was doing so great blah blah blah I was strong enough to do it blah blah blah. The world ended for four hours on Sunday and then I was back to my self pitting self.

I don't really have the urge to smoke, I don't think about it that often. Just like I would never buy a bar of chocolate I would never consider buying a pack of smokes. Everyone at work is so amazed at how calm and relaxed I seem blah blah blah. They just don't realize that I censor and edit every word that comes out of my mouth. Some poor unlucky bastard who will have done nothing wrong is going to get the full wrath of my fury one day just because. I feel like the Incredible Hulk, don't piss me off or I will turn into something very nasty, ugly and green.

My sense of smell has come back, not sure this is a good thing most smells irritated me, blah blah blah.

Now I am going to go find my rock and crawl back under it, with any luck in a few weeks I will be back to my somewhat happier self.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Forgotten Birthdays




Who would have thought that such a ugly little fur ball would have grown into such and ugly kitty. Hemi celebrated his 1st birthday on the 15th of January while I want to busy crawling in a whole and dying. Luckily Mr Y in E was on hand to dish out the small tin of tuna.

Happy Birthday Mr. Y in E















Bet your wishing you had not scanned all the pictures onto the computer now! Happy Birthday sweetheart.



Friday, 23 January 2009

WOW

I have been stuck on this story all day since I read it on the train to work. I am not saying three year olds are not clever but it take a special kind of lack of parenting skills to allow this.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Adventures in Leigh on Sea

Favorite Pub in the world, the outside pictures don't do it justice and it was too packed inside to get pictures to show you how cute it is. The floors are all uneven and there are little seat shoved in the corner with great views out to the Estuary.





Tide was out when we were walking there and I love the river that runs through the sand. It was too dark to get good pictures of when tide came in but I love watching the water lap against the wall.







There is something so poetic about the boats being "stuck" at low tide, literally fish out of water.