Ahhhh, Springtime!

For the last two days, other than a brief trip to the supermarket, I have been at home the whole time.  I’m delighted to report that my hideous cold (that’ll teach me to brag that I haven’t had a cold all winter, won’t it?) has finally cleared up, and today has been a whirlwind of productivity around the house.

The last two days have also been absolutely beautiful, weather-wise.  In the absence of anything interesting to say, therefore, this post mostly consists of a few photos I snapped around the garden this afternoon.

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A Weighty Issue

Back in 2007, the year before I started writing this blog, I lost a lot of weight. 3 stone (approx. 40 lbs) to be exact. Although I could have done with losing more, I looked so much better, and felt absolutely great.

Sadly over the last seven years, all the weight has gradually piled back on, and probably a bit more, and I’m now back where I started. Very fat, very unhappy about it, and a long way the wrong side of 40. Not a great mixture, particularly health-wise.

I am aware that I have an extremely unhealthy relationship with food, and I recognize that I will, almost without a doubt, struggle with my weight for the rest of my life. I have started a diet twice this year, and failed twice. Lack of willpower, pure and simple.

So I was really interested when my friend Amy started the Cambridge Diet several weeks ago, and has had some amazing results in a very short time. Until recently, I’ve always been very against meal replacement diets, but I feel now as though I’m in a situation where I’ll give anything a go.

And I started looking into these ‘VLCDs’ (very low calorie diets), and researching the different options. And I decided that I am now desperate enough, and worried enough about the impact of my weight of my health, to try one.

When you have as much weight to lose as I do, the attraction of very speedy weightloss is a big incentive. The thought of Weight Watchers or Slimming World yet again, and that 1 or 2 lbs a week loss just feels too big a mountain to climb.

So today I have started the Exante diet. 600 calories per day, in the form of 3 dehydrated shakes, soups and meals. Along with lots of water, and the occasional can of Coke Zero (oh yeah, Coke Zero, can’t tell you how happy it made me when I found out I could have it with Exante!).


Yes, it might be a ‘quick fix’. Yes, it might not work. Yes, I might fail. Again. But if I don’t try, how will I ever know?

It won’t be easy, I know that. But I’m hoping that the weight loss will be dramatic, and that the ‘food’ won’t taste too awful. In a weird way, I’m actually looking forward to taking proper food right out of the equation – because of my issues around overeating, maybe this will be a good thing for me.

So wish me luck and send positive vibes my way, please.  I’m keeping everything crossed that this will be the time I succeed.


Sunday Car Booty

IMG_2539Oooh, what a fab morning’s bargain hunting I had today!  Best so far this year.  Here’s a little taster of things I bought.

New post up with all today’s finds over at


Once again, I think I’ve sent invites to the new blog to everybody who’s asked me for one, but if not, let me know in the comments here.  And please introduce yourself if I don’t ‘know’ you.

And pop back here later for a post on a subject rather close to my heart.

Have a fab Sunday, everybody x



Charity Shop Bargains

New post up over at my Sunday Car Booty blog, showing off my latest charity shop bargains.


I think I’ve sent invitations to the new blog to everybody who asked for one, but if not, or if you’d like to continue to view my second hand shopping posts, let me know in the comments, and I’ll whizz an invite straight over to you by email.

As I said before, if I don’t ‘know’ you and you don’t have a blog, please introduce yourself when you ask for an invite.

Happy Friday, everybody! x

Gadget Show Surprise!

gadget-show-live-normalOne of Will’s favourite programmes on TV is The Gadget Show, and I secretly quite enjoy it, too.  So when I saw that the Gadget Show Live was taking place at the NEC in Birmingham during the Easter holidays, I decided to get tickets and have a day out and spend some quality time with my teenage boy, who’s growing up so fast.

We went up to Birmingham on the train, which meant an early start yesterday morning, but the journey seemed to speed by fairly quickly and we arrived at the NEC by midday.  We spent a few hours looking around the various stands and seeing all sorts of technical wizardry, and then in the afternoon we had tickets for the live show in the Super Theatre.  I hadn’t been to the Super Theatre before and was amazed by the size and scale of it – there were thousands upon thousands of people there.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the show on TV, but each week they give away a big prize of a huge pile of gadgets, a prize that Will always covets and comments on.  So the live show began, with all the presenters from the TV show, and they announced that just like on the TV, they would be giving away a prize at the end of the live show – a big pile of tech worth £3.5k.

In order to enter, they gave us a number to text your name to at the beginning of the show, and Will and I both text in his name.

The show itself was a 10 year retrospective of the Gadget Show as it was their 10th birthday, interspersed with some great entertainment and all sorts of techy amazement.  And all throughout the show, each time one of the presenters came onto the stage, they’d bring out another gadget for the prize and add it to the pile around a sort of throne at the side of the stage.

At the end of the show, they announced that the big prize winner’s name would come up on the three huge screens above the stage, and a drumroll ensued while all the entrants’ names flashed up on the screen for 30 seconds or so.  And then it went quiet, and the winner’s name came up ….. AND IT WAS WILLIAM!!!!!!!!

We literally couldn’t believe it – we jumped out of our seats and screamed the place down.  Will was then called onto the stage, where he was made to sit in the throne and crowned by Rachel Riley from Countdown, as the ‘King of the Gadget Show Live’, and presented with his huge pile of prizes.


All I could think about was how on earth we were going to carry it all home on the train with us! (It’s OK, it gets delivered to us in the next couple of weeks apparently).

It was literally one of the most exciting moments in my life – I was so happy for Will, and just couldn’t believe his luck.  As you can imagine, we were both on a high for the rest of the day, and during the long journey home we just kept looking at each other and grinning madly!

His prizes include a much-lusted-after XBox One, a 55 inch Sony TV, and a Microsoft Surface.  The lucky devil.

And I was very proud when, after debating whether or not to buy himself some crisps for the journey home, he decided against it and put his last £2 into a charity collector’s box at the railway station and said to me ‘I’ve been so lucky today, that I wanted to give my money to charity rather than buy something for myself’.


Sunday Car Booty – On The Move!

For various reasons, I have decided to blog my Sunday Car Booty posts elsewhere from now on.  This blog will still be the home of the majority of my posts, but the new home of Sunday Car Booty will be


It is a semi-private blog, open to invited users only, so if you’d like to continue to view my second hand shopping and car boot purchases, please leave me a comment on this post and I’ll send you an ‘invitation’ by email.  Once you’ve received the invitation, you’ll be able to access the new blog freely from then on.  One more thing, if you don’t have a blog address and I don’t ‘know’ you, just include a line or two introducing yourself in your comment, if you’d be so kind.

Do hope everybody’s had a lovely weekend.  Mine has been great – except for the dreadful weather!

See you soon x

An Evening Away

Last week Ashley and I went with my parents and my brother and his wife for a night away in Somerset.  As my Dad remarked afterwards, much as we love the kids, it was really nice to spend time just the six of us, and a good time was had by all.

We met up in Sherborne for lunch at a pub Ashley and I had been to before, The White Hart.  We got there first,  so I had a chance to have a quick look in a charity shop or two, and us girls were hoping to do a spot more shopping after lunch, but sadly that was vetoed by the menfolk!


Don’t know what had amused everybody, but clearly there was some thing funny going on!



After a nice lunch, off we drove out into the countryside to the little village of Corton Denham, which was very pretty with all the spring flowers out.  We were staying at The Queens Arms, which I’d describe as a posh pub-and-restaurant-with-rooms.

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After being shown to our rooms, which were nicely decorated and had very comfy beds (but with no plug socket anywhere near a mirror, so a nightmare if you wanted to dry your hair – grrr!),  we immediately repaired, as is our wont, to the bar for drinks!

We took advantage of a brief gap between showers to have a walk up to the village church (unlocked, so we could go in – unusual these days), and even managed to catch a few sunny moments in my pics.

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Then it was back to our rooms to relax and get ready for dinner – an epic two hour nap in Ashley’s case, complete with snoring, while I read my book!

Pre-dinner drinks in the bar, and I chose a Bloody Mary, which was the house special, and was served in a jar with a handle.

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Delicious, but very hot (fresh horseradish), and not for the faint-hearted.

Dinner was in a lovely and atmospheric dining room, and was a seven course tasting menu.  It wasn’t the best food in the world, and some courses were better than others, but it didn’t really matter as the ambience and service were great, and as always, we all had a great evening together.




Each course had a matching glass of wine with it, and after all seven courses, as you can imagine, we rolled off to bed feeling extremely replete.

I was quite surprised not to wake up with a thick head the following morning, but I felt fine, and we all enjoyed a hearty breakfast before driving home.

So, if you ever find yourself on the Dorset/Somerset border needing somewhere to eat or stay, you could do a lot worse than The Queen’s Arms at Corton Denham!