Friday 30 January 2009

Diet Schmiet

Weight loss this week: 0 lbs
Total weight loss: 6 lbs
Number of gym visits: 2 (Rubbish)
Number of meals out (naughty): 1
Number of bad thoughts about food: Multiple
Units of alcohol: 0
Number of impure thoughts about wine:
Several bazillion

I am fuming!

Not only have I been really really good with regards to the old not stuffing lard down my throat I have also not touched a drop of alcohol since last Friday night. My reward? Nothing. So after losing 6 pounds initially I've now not lost anything in a fortnight and, as a result, I've developed a new found hatred for my scales. Maybe I'm just destined to be a porcine beast forever. Maybe I should give up now and just become an opera singer (although, actually, the opera singers I've seen have been surprisingly svelte).

Joking aside though, I'm actually a bit annoyed. I was expecting to see at least some downward movement in the (humongous) figures this week. Alas it was not to be.

The Regime (tm) remains at Nazi for the next two weeks. As you can see from the picture above, I made a laminated chart to indicate this fact (sad cow). It even has a moveable arrow. Kill me now. This is what not drinking does to you. It forces you to find other ways to fill your time. Ways that, in my case, involve laminating things. I urge you to open the nearest bottle of alcohol and take a large gulp to prevent yourselves from ending up like me. Save yourselves, it's too late for me.

I cannot lie, not drinking lovely lovely booze is actually proving to be more difficult than I anticipated. I think I'm even finding it more difficult than my partner in detox woe and he's normally a booze fiend. I went out for dinner last night with my lovely (yet incredibly smutty) friend Tash. We invariably end up in the same place (Trof), eating the same food (bacon and cheeseburgers with chips), drinking the same (admittedly vile) wine, leering from afar at the same (admittedly beautiful) barman. But not last night. I drank sparkling water and had Halloumi with Caramelised Veg and Tzatziki. She had two large glasses of red wine and a panini and chips.

The vicious swine.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Grapes of wrath

Photo by Celine

Hello and a very happy Wednesday to you all...

(I was going to write hump day but I can't do that without sniggering)

It's a grey old day today. I think it might be raining. Well it looks like it is from my little office window at any rate. I'm a bit of an oddity in that I love rain. Well, only in certain situations.

Situations in which I do not love rain include, but are not limited to:

  • Festivals. Glastonbury in particular. Now, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I loves me a good festival. I've been to lots of different ones, of all shapes and sizes. Little, large, good, bad. But Glastonbury is the ultimate for me. I've been 5 times (this year will be my sixth) and I adore it like nothing else (well, nothing else but cheese. And wine). But rain has the power to dampen my spirits, even at Glastonbury. 2006 was a particularly dark year for me. Torrential rain day and night. No let up. Nowhere to sit. 14 hour days spent trudging endlessly round in an ever-increasing mud soup. Vile.

  • When I've straightened my hair. I admit it, I'm a bit of a girl when it comes to my hair. It's so long and has a horrific tendency to frizz up like a puffball when it comes into contact with even the merest hint of moisture.

  • When I'm off on a night out. High heels and I don't get on at the best of times but throw a bit of precipitation into the mix and I'm slipping all over the show in no time. Not good.

At all other times, however, I'm a big fan of the wet stuff. Particularly when I'm sitting indoors listening to it pelting down against the windows. Give me a cosy fire and a bottle of nice red and that's pretty much heaven to me.

In other news, my boyfriend is a marvellous cook. Like, really really good. Last Sunday, for example, he made me a rather cheeky baked herbed salmon with caramelised lemons. Yum. I didn't get a photo of it but, rest assured, it was very very tasty. I've even told him before that he should think about going on Masterchef. His Falafels are the best I've ever tasted (and that's not even a euphemism). So you can imagine my delight when he announced that he was making dessert and snuck off to the kitchen last night. 'What can my very own little chef have made for me?' I wondered, in quivering anticipation.

Thankfully I didn't have long to wait....

Yes my friends, that is grapes and yoghurt in a mug.

I bet you're glad I had a camera to capture this culinary triumph, aren't you?

Sunday 25 January 2009

Weight-ing around

Creme Brulee: A reconstruction

Weight loss this week: 0 lbs
Total weight loss: 6 lbs
Number of gym visits: 4
Number of meals out (naughty): 2 and a half (the half was fishcakes and salad. That's allowed)
Number of bad thoughts about food: Only about 4 million this week
Platters of cheese and biscuits: 1 (tut tut)

It hasn't been such a good week this week. I've been to the gym 4 times and haven't lost a single measly pound. My clothes do feel a lot more loose though, so I'm working on the basis that I'm gaining muscle, which weighs more. On a positive note, I have so much more energy than I did 3 weeks ago, my skin is lovely and I no longer want to sleep all the time.

Food wise I have been a naughty little lady this week. On Friday night we went to the Malmaison in Liverpool for dinner. (They're doing a '2000 and wine' £29 offer until the end of February. Get yourselves down there!) The food was, predictably, bloody lovely. Chicken liver parfait, the BEST chicken and leek pie ever and creme brulee for dessert. I can't even discuss how incredible the creme brulee was. If I could have married it, I would have.

And feasted on it until the end of all eternity.

Then, to add to the Friday night fatness, it was my Dad's birthday yesterday and we went to a little French restaurant in my village. I had langoustine bisque with garlic croutons, rack of lamb with mash and mediterranean veg for main course and then the platter of cheese to follow. It was possibly one of the best meals I've ever had and even now my stomach is shouting at me for having no willpower. But it was completely worth every single, massive, fat-laden calorie. A 17 hour session in the gym later should burn off the calories in the croutons anyway.

The boyfriend and I have now commenced a 3 week no booze detox-athon. I'm hoping that 3 weeks without the empty calories of alcohol should kick-start a bit more weight loss. It's not going to be easy as we both love a nice glass of red wine (or 12) on a Friday night but it will be worth it I'm sure. I feel like both my mind and body need a break from hangovers and I'm looking forward to feeling the benefits. So yes, The Regime-o-meter has now been cranked up to 'Nazi' setting and all alcohol is most definitely verboten.

The Regime-o-meter



Big Brother

New Labour

Old Labour


Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it...

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Today's post brought to you by... meat


I have lots of ideas spinning around my little head (actually, my head is deceptively large. Really, it's huge) but am too busy this evening to sit down and actually formulate sentences.

So, for now let me take you on a pictorial journey through my week, starting with the photo above. Some meat. In Subway. Nice. The rest of the photos that follow reveal a side of me that I'm not proud of. I laugh at words that sound even vaguely rude. And I mean really laugh. I have possibly the most immature sense of humour ever.

Actually this one's not that funny. It would however make a lovely present for the boyfriend. Well, about as lovely as a gift of a noticeboard gets at any rate.

SPLAY! Ha! (I'm ignoring the fact it clearly says display, that would be far less amusing to my innuendo loving mind)

And last but by no means least, the piece de resistance....

Nuff said.

In other news so far today I have managed to break a chair, fall up the stairs at work and eat my tea so fast that I burnt my tongue. I'm really not safe to look after myself.

That's all for me today folks. Here's a little playlist I made of songs that I currently bounce around the house too. Enjoy.

Music Playlist at

Tuesday 20 January 2009

The (Un)written Word

A selection of comedy pens for your perusal*

I'm suffering from writer's block.

This always happens when I have little or no angst coursing through my little northern veins. Happiness is not conducive to prolific writing. For me, at least.

I could discuss money woes but, to be honest, there are people a lot worse off than me.

I could discuss fatness issues but, again, there are people far worse off than me. And, besides which, I'm actually feeling pretty good about how the regime (tm) of dreams is going. Bar a nice meal and lovely Oddbins red wine at the weekend I've been fairly good. No chocolate. No crisps. No cheese. No booze. And, slowly but surely, it's getting easier! I'm not salivating at the mere mention of cheese laden pizza anymore. I'm not resentful of people who can eat what they like with nary a thought for their thighs and hips. (well, no more resentful than normal anyway..... the rotten swines)

So, in the absence of post ideas, I am throwing myself wide open (steady on) and asking you, my lovely readers, to participate and give me something to write about. Ask me a question. Give me a random topic. Get me to take a photo of something. Anything.

Save me from my barren mind, I beg ye.

*And they only look mildly like sex toys. Phallic fruit pens ftw.

Friday 16 January 2009

The incredible shrinking woman

My nemesis. My downfall.

Weight loss this week: 2 lbs
Total weight loss: 6 lbs
Number of gym visits: 4
Number of salads: So many my tastebuds have forgotten what nice food is
Number of bad thoughts about food: 12 million, approx
Pieces of cake: 1 (and a fairy cake but that doesn't count, it was 90% air)

Week two of The Regime (tm) has been a hell of a lot easier than last week. It's still not been easy. I still want to devour cheese at every opportunity and I've been having some rather saucy thoughts about cheeseburgers. But I've not acted on my cravings and I think that's rather good. For me anyway, as I usually have the willpower of a pig in a sty full of swill. And truffles.

Mmm, truffles. Chocolate ones. With a light dusting of cocoa powder. Glarghlgrlglh. That was the sound of my mouth filling slowly yet inevitably with saliva. Nice.

Things I am thankful for this week include, but are not limited to:

  • Having a job that I actually enjoy. I feel pretty lucky when you consider the current Barclays/Woolworths/Adams/any other company you'd care to name situation. It's not particularly easy (especially for a number spaz like myself) and I'm still making quite a lot of mistakes. But I'm trying to go against my usual urge to self-criticise and tell myself that I've only been doing it a few weeks and that everyone makes mistakes.
  • The fact that it's payday next Friday. So I'm a material girl. Sue me.
  • Wine tomorrow night. Yes, I admit it. I'm craving booze. I'm British, female and in my twenties. I am a booze hound and I am not ashamed.
  • Lighter afternoons and mornings. It was nearly light when I left for work today and now it's 4pm and its not even getting dark yet. Spring is on it's way my friends. I want snow drops and crocus (crocii?) and I want them now. Give me lambs, daffodils and morning sunshine and I shall be content.
  • The Weekend. So good it deserves capitalisation. Thing on the cards include an exhibition at FACT, tapas, red wine, IKEA and the gym.
  • And, last but not least, having a lovely man to do the above things with. Shall I pass sick bags out now or later?

Have a great weekend folks, whatever you may be upto...

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Money money money money mo-ney

Not only is that a complete tune but the subject of it is pretty much all I've got on my mind right now....

I checked my bank account this morning. Now, that's never a pleasant experience and I was expecting a bit of mild peril. What I was not expecting was to find that I've got £2.46 to last me until next Friday.

Next Friday!!!

So that's 23p a day for the next 9 days.


I don't even want any sympathy as it's my own stupid, ridiculous, spendaholic fault. I got paid less than 4 weeks ago and have managed to urinate it all up the proverbial wall. (speaking of which, I'd love to be a man for a day. I'd wee on things and stick it in things. Just because I could)

An example of my ludicrousness? I've spent £253.13 (Yes, i did go through my online banking and add it up. Pedant.) on clothes in the last 4 weeks. I literally sicken myself. £191.30 in Topshop!! Jesus. I didn't even think I liked Topshop that much.

So that's my next (belated) New Year's Resolution. Spend less money on crap I don't need. Save for things I actually want or, better yet, pay off some of my ridiculously large debts.

In short.... Less spending, more billing.

Which means more time spent chained to this...

... And less time spent wandering the streets of Warrington searching for more clothes that I'll never even wear. Amen.

PS: Would anyone like a Spotify invitation? I've got 3 going begging.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Giraffe FAIL

Today I have a little quiz for you....

Is that picture above a drawing of:

a) A hernia

b) A sex aid

c) A giraffe

d) A lumpy pigeon in flight

The answer?

Why it's c) a giraffe, of course. As drawn by my boyfriend on Brain Training.

Now, let's compare his drawing to mine shall we?

Need I ask who won the battle of the giraffe?

I think not.

Sunday 11 January 2009

Iz in yoor saled, makin yoo thinz...

So, that's the first week of the diet over with then...

It's actually not been too bad, surprisingly. Salad has become my friend and green tea and I have experienced a friendship renaissance. A frenaissance if you will. I've been to the gym four times. Each time marginally less painful and soul destroying than the last. Do anyone else's knees sweat? No? Just me then. Thought so. There are no two ways about it, I look like a rotten pig in the gym. Bright red, sweaty, devastated. Still, the regime is in full swing now and I feel pretty positive about it this time round. Now that I've got other aspects of my life sorted I feel more able to actually make a go of this whole more fitness/less fatness ideal. Go Team Helen.

Things I am thoroughly enjoying this week include:
  • The Crookers' essential mix from June last year, particularly the second hour. I have been bouncing around to it whilst on the Wii Fit for the last hour and it delights me.
  • Little Boots. Much hyped but my ears have yet to become completely saturated with her noise so, for now, I like.
  • Yumblog. If I can't eat fattening, cheese-laden food then at least I can look at the ridiculously appetising pictures and live vicariously through them. Nom.
  • Etsy. Yes, I know it's nothing new. But I never fail to find something (for that read, ten things) that I want to buy. My current loves include this pig keychain, this huuuuge warmer and this super bright necklace with mildly rude connotations. I do love a rude connotation.
  • Flight of the Conchords. I feel like I've arrived a bit late to the party with this one but, man alive, it's funny!
  • Slumdog Millionaire. We went to see it yesterday and I loved it. Particularly the end credits. It made me want to dance through the streets of Liverpool. Instead I restrained myself to a little on-the-spot hopping and gyrating to the music at the Capital of Culture transition celebrations. Me dancing whilst wearing purple leggings is not what the populus of Liverpool needs to see on a cold January Saturday night.

So yes, things are good. Not perfect. But definitely getting there...

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Me me me, it's all about me

This picture has no relevance. Cute though, ain't it.

It's a new year and I am a newly positive and happy little lady.

The road ahead may not be smooth and it may not be easy. But nothing worth doing was ever easy, or so my dear mother tells me. Positivity, honesty and patience. That's my mantra for 2009. Small steps my friends, small steps.

I'm feeling lethargic today and far too tired to come up with a meaningful blog post (ha, when are they ever meaningful) so I volunteered to be interviewed by wee-h. Here are the five questions the little lovely chose for me...

1) You admit you are a perfectionist, but what habit do you have that annoys you the most and would you actually change it if you could?

Over-analysing things, without a doubt. I have a tendency to pick on something small (it could be anything... a comment, an action) and mull it over in my mind for far too long. I'll think of it from every possible angle and end up creating a mountain out of a molehill. I have a horrible tendency to think of worst case scenarios. I think it stems from not wanting to be disappointed. If I expect the worst, then I'm not surprised. I absolutely despise it about myself. It's my worst quality by a long mile and it's something I'm working very hard to change.

2) If you could run your own mini festival or gig line up who would you book, where would it be?

Ooh that's a great question! Right, first of all.... location. Either the Lake District or Shell Island (minus the chavs) in Wales. They're both gorgeous settings but there'd have to be sun and lots of it.

Now... line-up. Headlining would be Roisin Murphy because she's bonkers and I love her. Basement Jaxx could headline the second stage. I'd also have the Whip, !!!, Editors, Shirley Bassey and MIA. Plump DJs, Booka Shade and Mr Scruff would be in the dance tent. The afternoon would see Ozomatli and Manu Chao banging out some tunes in glorious sunshine.

There'd be gin and tonic bars at numerous points and decent cider on tap. Food would be pies, pies and more pies. And cheese.

3) Describe your relationship with your best friend (or group of friends)

If I could describe my relationship with my friends in one word it would be.... uproarious. I just had to double check that that is actually a word. But that would be it. We are loud, we talk over each other, we have ridiculous injokes that go on for years. In short, we are crude to the point of being offensive, rude and we laugh at absolutely everything. I adore them. I've known two of my best friends since I was 13 and 17 respectively and we've had many a fight. But they're like my family.

4) What you be your perfect night out in Manchester?

Another great question. Right, assuming money was no object, my night would begin with dinner and drinks at Room. They do incredible cocktails so I'd have a couple of Brambles and then follow that with some champagne with the meal. I'd probably have terrine of some description to start, followed by a nice steak with peppercorn sauce and the amazing chips they do. Dessert would have to be the incredible assiette which is about 10 tiny desserts presented on a massive plate. Perfection. Or I might have cheese and biscuits. I do love my cheese.

After dinner was eaten we'd head to the Northern Quarter for drinks in some of my favourite haunts there. We'd visit Socio Rehab for more cocktails with the Disco Baby being a particular delight. Absinthe in a cocktail? Who said that was wrong. Christ knows what else they put in it but you get a glow stick and a jelly baby on top so that's all that matters.

Disco, Baby

Following that and, assuming we were still able to stand, we'd head down to the Warehouse Project. It's a huge underground car park that used to be a bunker during the war and they now use it from September-January to put on massive warehouse parties. It's incredible. Playing would be Booka Shade, Crookers, Plump DJs, Danny Howells, Paul Woolford, Deadmau5 and a whole host of other delights. We'd stay there till the very small (or large, depending on how you look at it) hours and then go back to the Malmaison for more drinks, a breakfast of bacon and egg muffins and restful sleep. Ha, yeah right. Like I can ever sleep after a large night on the town.

5) If you could re-live any point in your life just to experience it again what would it be?

Blimey, this is the hardest question. I'm 27! How can I pick one moment!! Ok, I'm going to be a bit of a geek and pick the moment I got my degree results in 2005. I had a really difficult time during my degree and I failed second year twice due to various personal problems. I should never have done law, it wasn't for me and I probably should have quit. But I'm no quitter and I couldn't face the shame. So I carried on regardless until finally, in third year, something clicked. The day I went to get my results I've never been so terrified. I was shaking when I opened the envelope and when I saw I'd got a 2:1 I literally screamed the place down. Second only to that moment is the day I graduated. I've never seen my parents look so proud and it was a really lovely day. I finally felt like the bad days were behind me and I felt like I'd achieved something for the first time in years.

Good times.

There have been many many moments that I wish I could relive now. But sadly it's not possible. All you can do is look to the future and create more of those moments. And that's what I intend to do this year.

I'd like to thank my parents, my friends but most of all....

First things first...

Van Gogh's Ear Award

The lovely wee-h of wee-travellings fame gave me the Van Gogh's Ear Award (as created by Roger).

….You may know the story of Vincent Van Gogh a well known artist in history. Although a brilliant painter, in his later years he went quite insane and received the nickname of fou roux ("the redheaded madman"). The most bizarre of Vincent's behavior is when he cut off the lower part of his own left ear lobe, which he wrapped in newspaper and gave to a prostitute named Rachel in the local brothel, asking her to "keep this object carefully. After this he suffered recurrent bouts of mental illness, which led to his suicide July 29, 1890. He was 37 years old. His works of art are priceless…

The point of this award:

We are all artists in our own way, be it art, photography, writing, philosophy, comedy, blogging and we all go a little crazy sometimes. But if you ever feel so crazy to cut off your ear and give it to a prostitute 'Seek Help'!

Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else….

I'm supposed to pass the award on to other deserving individuals but, to be honest, most of the blogs I love reading have already received it. Being relatively new to this blogging malarky and having gained employment recently, I don't actually have the time to read that many blogs. But suggestions are always welcome...

That's that out of the way. Later I shall be posting an interview that miss wee-h conducted with me. God I bet you can't wait. Well you're going to have to. Because I need food, bath and pyjamas. Rock 'n' Roll baby.

Monday 5 January 2009

Farewell to fromage

Cheese. Farewell my friend.

The regime has begun.

Just to clarify, I'm talking about diet and exercise. Not Nazis. Yes, I am firmly back on the health wagon. Rice cakes? Check. Green tea? Check. Sudden cravings for fattening food that I don't even normally like? Double check.

This is going to be the year I finally lose the weight I've wanted to lose since I was old enough to care about such things. So, since I was about 14 then. I have been a yo-yo dieter for years and years and years. So it stops. Now. I like to think of it more as a change of lifestyle than a diet. Because diets really don't work. They make you resentful and then, once you've lost a few pounds, you give up, eat a krispy kreme and *bang* your thighs are back to where they were to begin with. So this is going to be a complete lifestyle makeover.

God, I sound like a nob.

Goals are thus:
  • Go to the gym 3x a week (ideally 4 but who am I kidding?)
  • Eat healthily. More fish, vegetables and fruit. Less butter, cheese (oh cheddar, I miss thee already), crisps and bread. I'm actually salivating just because I typed that last sentence. I sicken myself.
  • Drink less booze. Because it does nothing for the waistline, self esteem or sanity.
  • Read more books and less trashy magazines. I want to exercise my mind too. Exercise my mind? Somebody please punch me for writing that.
  • Walk more. Sit less.

All I need is willpower and encouragement and a life of svelte wonderment can be mine. Oh yes.

Sunday 4 January 2009

And so it begins...

My Christmas wish came true...

I don't really know what to say right now. I don't want to jinx things by saying too much. But I feel I should say something. To record how happy I feel right now. Happy and very very lucky.

I've been given a second chance. A chance to wipe the slate clean and make him believe in me again. It's not going to be easy, I know that. And part of me is terrified. But in a good way.

I'm not going to let us down this time.

Friday 2 January 2009

Hoppy New Ear!

Happy New Year!

I am still in the process of recovering from the mother of all hangovers. Drinking from 8pm NYE until 9am NYD was possibly not the most intelligent thing I've ever done. But I had one of the most sensational starts to a new year ever. Surrounded by my friends, friends of friends and a miscellany of reprobates. Ah, perfection. I have no word skills today so I shall leave you with a picture-heavy post of new year decadence....

The coldest walk home, ever. 7am.

From me and my friends, to you and yours, I hope you all had a magical start to the year.