26 September 2013

Hey Bambi, be scared...

Yes, be very scared, because this fat lass has developed a full-on taste for Bambi burger!

I happened to be passing the local farm shop a few days ago, and noticed that they had just reduced their wild venison burgers, which are usually quite pricey (and yeah, I do watch those pennies where I can). I've seen them before, but these looked particularly appealing and lovely. A deep, dark, luscious red as only venison can be, speckled with little flecks of creamy-white.

This time I took a closer look. I carefully scrutinised the label (don't really 'do' processed these days) and was delighted to see that all they had in them was venison meat, venison fat and salt & pepper. No 'rusk', 'bulking agents', 'fillers' or the like. Good old farm shop - should have known I could trust you.

So, four small crap-free burgers came home and, before long, I chucked them on the griddle while some purple broccoli steamed on the stove top. Wasn't long before lovely hubby came to investigate, drawn by the irresistible aroma drifting out of the kitchen.

A grind of pepper, a little salt (Maldon, please!) and a final garnish of a little grated cheese over the broccoli (got to get that fat in there somewhere) and they looked wonderful. What's more, they were delicious! In fact, the whole meal was.

Hmmm, I may be passing that farm shop later today...

19 September 2013

A corner turned, or just an anomaly?

Different people react to periods of stress in different ways. We all know that, right? Well, it's funny, but something about that seems to have changed - hence the post title.

In the past, a 'difficult' period in life would inevitably mean a hike in weight. If the source of worry/upheaval/distress continued over months (er, like this time), that'd almost certainly translate into quite a significant gain.

That's mostly (no, more like entirely) because throughout my life I've had a real tendency to comfort eat when placed under emotional pressure. Problems? Hey, let's start eating! My 'must nibble' mode would be activated almost immediately and I would actively seek out something, anything, I could munch which might, just maybe, help make me feel better.

D'you know what though? Whatever that 'something' might be it rarely, if ever, made me feel any better at all. Just guilty afterwards... usually... but it was also a reaction I seemed unable to stop. And, as I've mentioned before, looking back to 'what' I'd eat, it was almost always heavily carbohydrate based.

There has been a whole lot (!) of stress in my life over the last few months. Hmmm, there still is if I'm absolutely honest. Plenty of opportunity for my old demons to come to the fore. And heck, I can't and won't pretend I haven't comfort eaten at all either. I have doubtless consumed a fair few more nuts and olives and a bit more cheese than I would normally think reasonable.

But I haven't gained weight this time around. In fact I've actually lost a little weight in the last couple of months. Not masses, just 'some'. Still, this really is quite extraordinary and a very different experience for me... though, unfortunately, one I'm not sure that I can claim any personal credit for.

Now this 'oddity' may just be happenstance. It could merely be that 'anomaly' I mentioned in the title, but I don't quite believe that it is. I think it's more likely that something of a corner has been turned. Sadly, not in terms of 'my' response to stress exactly - after all, I've just confessed that I have still eaten outside of my current norms (and that's something I don't take a great deal of pride in saying).

But maybe this little bit of a loss that I've seen, rather than an almost 'expected' gain, can be explained as a consequence of dietary changes. Cutting out those carbohydrates as much as possible and actively avoiding grains, sugars and crap seems to have helped. Despite some comfort eating, I don't seem to have descended into the cycle of overeating in the way I would have done in the past, and it makes a difference.

Now I'm not trying to say that a low-carb lifestyle is the Holy Grail here, nor do I say it would work in any circumstance to keep weight stable through stress, even for me. It just does seem to be giving me a helping hand this time around. And hey, it's nice to think that (even if I'm dead wrong in this) there's a possible silver lining to this particularly emotionally charged black cloud.

16 September 2013


Despite a fantastically good day on Saturday, with a wonderful car picnic by a babbling brook as just one of the highlights, or perhaps as a backlash from it... I don't really know, I was really down and moody yesterday, and the black dog had taken a firm grip on me. I think this may, in part, have been because the autumnal weather seems to have set in with a vengeance (er, apparently overnight) so it was cold, windy and grey, grey, grey, all day long.

Rather out of the blue too, triggered by hearing a song I haven't played in an age, I also got particularly tearful about the lost opportunities of no longer having my lovely Mum to share the little things in life with. Ended up bawling my eyes out again. Oh boy, but I so miss being able to speak to her.

It really wasn't a great feeling, and I can't go on this way, so I'm making an effort today to pull myself together, to remember Mum's directive to count my blessings, and to stop being such a bloody misery. One of the things I'm telling myself is that the coming of winter (with those dark mornings and evenings, feeling shivery cold, missing sunshine, etc.) which seemed so dire yesterday, isn't actually all bad and that there are things to look forward to.

Hmmm, I'm not quite talking about Christmas - I think I may find that pretty hard this year. But I know we'll have days when it's crisp and clear and beautiful, and I'll see my exhaled breath, spreading and dissipating like a soft cloud, carrying good remembered thoughts of my lovely Mum out to share with the world.

I know we'll see cobwebs sparkling and rimed with the morning frost. I know it'll be a treat to get home of an evening, unwrap myself from the multitudinous layers of clothing and be enveloped in a toasty warm hug in my lovely hubby's arms. All of these are things to look forward to, and blessings to count.

One more nice thing occurred to me. We're nearly ready for Harvest Festival - this is the time to give thanks for summer's bounty and celebrate the abundance of the land. Now we're eating low-carb, so choosing even more fresh produce than ever before, this is a good thing to remember.

Soon it'll be that time of year when the autumn and winter produce comes into its own. It's getting close to the best season for fresh game - think of those warming and flavourful venison, bunny and pheasant stews and casseroles. And the fabulous veggies, including some of my dearly loved brassicas, come into season. We'll have leeks, marrows, the wide range of mushrooms to choose from. And kale, red and savoy cabbage and... wait for it... Brussels sprouts!

My goodness! I think I'm turning into Maria from the Sound of Music:
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

11 September 2013


That just about sums up my weekend (imagine me wearing a great big cheesy grin). It was fantastic! We set off for the wilds of Wales (to a hamlet over the border but not a million miles from Oswestry) in the 'oooh my Lord!' early hours of Saturday.

Off we went to meet the artist we've commissioned to make us something special in celebration of our forthcoming tenth wedding anniversary. What is this wondrous thing? Well, those of you who are made uncomfortable by sloppy and romantic stuff can skip the next bit...

We've had a marvellously detailed cast made of our joined hands (you can see every hair and wrinkle), showing my wedding and engagement rings in all their glory, and the finished piece will take pride of place on our living room wall where everyone can see it. The whole process was such a lot of fun to be involved with, and once we have collected it I'll put a picture of it in another post.

This cast was only stage one though. The finished article will be a 'hammer & chisel-free' marble piece that's actually made of a sturdy synthetic resin with added ground marble. So we'll have something with all the appearance of a beautiful Roman sculpture, but with no pesky stone chips to hoover off the carpet!

It got better. Eating was great as we had a series of car picnics (the best of all was an avocado, iceberg, red cabbage and ham salad with hard boiled duck eggs and mixed seeds). Also, the hotel we stayed at on Saturday night serves a stonkingly good low-carb breakfast. We feasted on smoked haddock and poached eggs (me) and bacon, scrambled eggs and mushrooms (lovely hubby). Phew! it was good and it sated us until early Sunday evening.

We seemed to eat absolutely loads, but when I hopped on the scales this morning my weight is down a tad again. Funny how these things go.

Then, the gala concert we went to in Birmingham on Sunday afternoon, after joining in with the Bullring's tenth anniversary celebrations (coincidentally), was outstanding too. Three of the top British brass bands to listen to, all in one go, with the Black Dyke, Fodens and Cory all playing their socks off. What an afternoon!

Nice to have something positive to share. Have a good week folks.

02 September 2013

Good news

Yep, I am absolutely delighted to say that there is something nice to report - so we're right back to my lovely Mum's blessings to be counted.

Blessing number one - I finally got to see (and hold) our newest member of the family at the weekend. Yes indeed, got to see my beautiful red-haired great niece at last. She's such a sweet little girl and very well behaved for one so tiny. She wriggled a bit (doing the baby arms and legs in all directions dance routine which scares me witless!), cried just once or twice, but mostly snuggled in for a cuddle and looked adorable. Her Mum is doing pretty well too and, for a new mother who's so recently undergone a pretty traumatic labour, she seems admirably relaxed and laid back.

Blessing number two - there's some tentative good news about my cousin in intensive care. He's still there, and still extremely poorly, but the medical team have closed him up now they are fairly confident they won't have to operate yet again, they have lightened the sedation he's been kept under so he has now been able to register and respond to a voiced request, and they are generally "pleased with his progress". They've warned the family that he still has a long way to go and that his recovery won't be easy, but it is, at last, looking more positive. Long may it last, and I hope the news will be even better very soon.

Before I finish, I will say that it isn't all a bed of roses in life, but I refuse to go into the darker side right now. I'm going to bask in the nice feelings, feel good and send positive vibes to all.

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