Monthly Archives: April 2012

Man musk and smelly cheese

When women are on the lookout for a man, the selection process is similar to that of sampling desserts – the look and the smell. If a cake looks irresistible and smells irresistible then it’s usually the favourite choice.
This does not mean that women who are on first dates with men walk straight up to the poor unsuspecting bloke and ram their noses into his armpit to see whether they are wearing deodorant. That would be extremely weird. But you get the general idea. Man hunting is like cake selection. You get a good idea of the future you and your cake will share based all upon that first whiff (in my case it’s chocolate praline or Paco Rabanne’s 1million – I’ll let you figure out which way round) and just like your first love, you never forget your first bite.
They say that with food, half the taste is in the smell and fellas, sorry to say it, but first impressions count when courting a lady. It’s got to look right and it has to taste right. So can someone please explain how on earth smelly cheese took off? There’s nothing like a bit of stilton every now and again after a slap up meal, but how did cheese that has a scent which resembles a shoe infested with dead flies and athletes foot ever take off in the first place? What crazy person agreed to sample something that emits such an offensive odour? If we make such important decisions like ‘what to have for dessert?’ and ‘will there be a second date?’ based on attractive smell, where did smelly cheese come from?

Taken from

Obviously for people alive today, smelly cheese is popular because it’s been passed down and deemed ‘delicious’ by the person with a foot odour fetish who made it an icon way back when, a bit like Sean Connery being adored because he used to be James Bond, but men must have really smelled bad in those days (when cheese was first made, not when Seam Connery was James Bond), and cake obviously never existed or there would have been pastries and not cheese boards accompanying the nightly game of cards in the stately homes of days gone by.
Maybe my palette isn’t defined enough to appreciate the scent of a truly stinky cheese – I guess it takes more experience than I have. 20 something men can’t be as complex as stilton, they haven’t matured enough yet. They are more subtle, like a nice soft smoked cheese. Now I could really go for some of that – not offensive on my nostrils at all. Maybe in 10 years I’ll be ready for something with a more intense flavour, but even then, I still think I’d prefer fudge cake it just smells nicer…

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in food


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Another brick in the wall

I have been back on the weight watcher band wagon for two weeks now and I think I have hit what runners refer to as ‘the wall’. I have been ‘pointing’, exercising and salivating at cafe shop windows and I haven’t seen any results.
I know all the tricks as well. I wear the lightest clothing I own to the weigh-ins and I remove every trace of jewellery to minimise any chance of the scales producing a bad number. And will all the huffing and puffing I have been doing on the treadmill recently I should be getting some better feedback – if anything, I must have sweat at LEAST 3lbs out of my body just through sheer exertion. Sweat is heavy you know – must be the salt…
My weight loss worry (or lack of) has started to affect my sleep as well. I had a very strange dream last night. It’s a well known dream and instead of describing it to you, I think you might find it funnier if you see it for yourselves…

You see my predicament – I can’t escape food in my sleep no matter how much I behave in the day. I woke up with dribble running down the side of my face, a grumbling in my tummy and I kid you not… I could smell chocolate. Everyone feels a little hazy in the mornings and this for me manifests in less self control. If I had had any naughty food in the house this morning, I would have eaten it.
The people who know me will read this and then they will put a comment on facebook or on here telling me that I don’t need to be so worried about losing weight because I ‘don’t need to’. But dieters will tell you that the worse bit is keeping it off and I haven’t done that last bit very well. I’m also trying to get a bit ahead of the game in time for the all inclusive holiday in June which I know will pay for later if I don’t act first.

Taken from

But despite my best efforts, I am not doing as well as I planned and I don’t really know why. Short of me moving into the gym and sleep-running, I don’t see an increase in exercise in the immediate (or distant) future. Plus the only really bad thing I ate was a giant cup cake that actually jumped onto my lap and threatened to shoot a puppy if I didn’t eat it – the cupcake, not the puppy (this may be a lie but I’ll sleep better if I tell myself it wasn’t my fault). I guess it was a bigger brick in that wall than I thought…

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in food


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Wrap up and fill up

Flood warnings have been issued across the UK and as I look out of my window I can see rain drops falling at a 45 degree angle. Yes folks, the weather is definitely frightful, and who wants to go outside when you have already showered once?

The horrendous British weather caught me out and I got stuck in a downpour this morning that drenched me to the bone (exaggerating here, but it wasn’t pleasant). When I finally reached my house all I wanted to do was curl up with a good book and some hearty homemade food. We all have the montage – snuggled under a blanket with thick fluffy socks on your frozen toes, a nice hot cuppa and not moving from that spot until you can actually see sunshine through the window. So that’s what I did, I bunkered in my little nest and prepared to hibernate – it’s supposed to be April for goodness sake…
On days like this I love to comfort eat, but this is obviously a dangerous idea. I have had to be very inventive and find ways to fill up for less calorie-wise instead of munching on evil delights. This is what lead me to discover the tastiest soup on earth (not exaggerating anymore – it really is amazing); homemade spicy tomato and red pepper soup. The best bit is that it literally only takes a few minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook. Simple and satisfying thank you soup god!

The perfect partner for a rainy day

1. Chop up two large red peppers, one onion, and three celery sticks.

2. Dissolve one vegetable stock cube in 600ml of boiling water and put in a pan. Add the chopped vegetables with salt, pepper, mixed herbs (or fresh basil if yours didn’t die like mine did), a crushed garlic clove or one teaspoon of puréed garlic and half a teaspoon of chilli paste (increase chilli quantity if you’re anything like my step dad, who only has one functioning taste bud left).

3. Add two tins of chopped tomatoes

4. Simmer for 20 minutes, then blend and serve.

This makes around 4 big bowls full of soup, so if you have a hectic lifestyle you can make this in advance and you have prepped 4 lunches for your week ahead. Result! If you are serving this as a starter and you have a table of chilli lovers and chilli haters (a frequent occurrence in my house as my sister won’t touch chilli but my step dad practically bathes in it), you can serve it with any one of the savoury Philadelphias which your guests can add if they want. This is great because it makes the soup a little bit creamier and calmer on the chilli front, and doesn’t add much on the calorie count if you use low fat. I love to serve this with warm homemade bread as well. It’s tasty and you feel like you’re getting proper home cooked comfort food without punishing your waistline, perfect for rainy days under the duvet. Just don’t spill any – tomato juice is a bugger for stains. 🙂



Posted by on April 25, 2012 in food


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Hey, Doctor! Leave that clown alone!

Taken from

When you are on the go it isn’t always easy to keep true to your diet. It’s all too easy to smell a Subway or a McDonald’s when you have been on you have been on your feet all day and venture in. If you are trying to stay healthy and you have to eat on the move, it would be easy to assume that heading to an actual restaurant must be healthier than a McDonald’s. To throw more fat on the fire, doctors hit out at McDonald’s being allowed to sponsor the Olympics last week, claiming that it sent out the wrong message (I would like to point out here that in this video, all the overweight people are eating fish and chip shop food and not McDonald’s). What they seem to have failed to notice is that they have got it all wrong.
There are only a handful of food chains I know of in the UK that list all of their products with calorie content. They are McDonald’s, Subway, most KFCs and Starbucks. When I meet with friends or family to eat out for lunch, I always chose from one of these places because I know exactly what is going in my mouth calorie–wise, which means I can correctly calculate my weightwatcher points without having to guestimate. How many restaurants or pubs do this? Apart from the occasional pub food chain which has an ‘under 600’ range, there aren’t many. I may not be aware of other chains that do this, but the point is that the fast food chains are the ones making a real effort to get this country more calorie-conscious.

There are 720 calories in a normal portion of spaghetti Bolognese. There are 365 calories in a grilled chicken salad wrap. Instead of slating the giant yellow M for being a fatty food chain, why don’t we focus on asking why fish and chip shops aren’t listing their calories? Why don’t we ask why our deeply loved pie bakers Greggs aren’t being upfront? McDonald’s is not a health spa. It will never be the healthiest place on earth to eat. Yes, there are some very fatty foods available to eat at McDonald’s, but there are also healthier options like the wraps and the salads. At least they are trying, and they lay all their carbs on the table.


Posted by on April 23, 2012 in food


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The Subway at the end of the 5k tunnel

This July I will be running the Race for Life 5k to support cancer research UK. I am not a runner and the thought of this distance is filling me with dread. Last year I completed the race in 48 minutes and this year we have set a target of 35 minutes. When I began training for this on Monday, it was the first time I had run this year. The long and short is, I’m terrified.

Race for Life Logo

There are three things that are keeping me going. The first is obviously that I am raising money to beat cancer, and when I cross that start line I will be wearing a plaque in memory of my grandmother who sadly lost her battle with cancer when I was young. The second is my running partner Sarah (my mum is also running with us, but she’s a fitness freak and training with her makes me feel horrendously unfit – sorry mum.) she pushes me when I don’t feel like I can do it – sometimes she has to push me on the treadmill and sometimes she has to push me through the gym doors. Whatever mental wall I put up she knocks down and punishes me for it – thanks muchly dear, I know it’s because you love me . The last and most encouraging reason for me personally is the 6 inch meatball marinara Subway I will me munching on after I cross the finish line complete with a chocolate chip cookie (running 5k surely means no pointing that day right?)

Taken from

Self-subway bribery aside, I know that I will be proud of myself for doing this – provided Sarah doesn’t kill me in the gym first. There was a fantastic atmosphere when I ran (jogged slowly) last year and I really looking forward to participating in something as important as this and actually running in it.

I have developed a self training tip that I think will really spur me on. I am going to tie a cookie to a long stick and attach that to my waist and raise it over my head so I chase the cookie. I’m pretty sure I’d chase that thing all day. When it comes to the actual race I don’t want to look like an idiot with a cookie dangling in front of me, so I’m going to fix a picture of a cookie onto the shirt of the person in front of me and chase them the whole way round. Apologies to whoever you may be if I accidentally jump on you and try to bite your back.

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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in food


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Surviving the Scales

This week I sucked it up and went back to my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. The good news is that I was only a pound over my gold target weight. The bad news is that is half a stone heavier than I was this time last year (ahh university halls you cruel cruel mistress…)

Thankfully, my health kick has coincided with me starting to train for the annual Sheffield Race for Life (I will probably be asking you lovely readers for a donation at some point – pretty please *bats eyelashes*) so being on the treadmill again will hopefully help, although with the way my thighs are still burning, I’m not sure all this fitness crap is actually good for you.

In an attempt to truly kick the habit, I am pointing everything I eat, which isn’t much of a bother time-wise as the system is really quite easy to follow, but it does get me down sometimes. For instance, when I am in Starbucks and I quite like the look of the lemon and poppy seed muffins. They say skinny, but they lie! Or when I’m in Subway and I’m looking at a chicken pizziola on hearty Italian (oh, hearty Italian…). I can’t even bring myself to tell you what the points for these things are – the pain is still too fresh – ironic given that I chose subway as my lunch time destination because of the freshness, and now it’s causing me fresh heartache every time I think about it…

To make myself feel better about never touching sugar, bread or calories in general ever again, I decided to make some sweet treats from the Weight Watcher cook book with the intention of putting pictures up and saying, “See? Healthy stuff is tasty too! We can still enjoy life’s little pleasures.” But it turns out, this is also a lie. Don’t get me wrong, I love healthy food. It’s just that when you gear yourself up for chocolatey goodness, and you get a pile of mush, it just isn’t the same. Sorry guys – it turns out, you can’t have your cake and eat it. 😦

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in food


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McDonald’s McMouthfull

It may just be because my hands have gotten bigger with all the growing I have done between the ages of seven and 20. But I think there’s something else going on in the food industry. There was a time when I held a hamburger from McDonald’s was the size of a saucer and now it’s the size of a ten pence piece (writers tend to exaggerate for effect but you get the jist). It’s been drifting into the chocolate realm as well. People have been slating the new Cadbury Milk Tray selection for their unfavourable taste and smaller size and I’m now afraid to try the ‘new improved recipe’ because I’m worried that it will tarnish my good memories and the great times I’ve shared with the old recipe. While it does mortify me that my favourite goodies may be getting smaller and less tasty, I can’t help but wonder if it’s actually a good thing…

Before I get stoned to death, let me explain. I cannot give up chocolate. I tried, I really did. But when the time was up I just HAD to dive back into the cocoa fountain. I enjoy having an occasional fast food treat as well. Not a full blown XXL super fried fat dipped meat feast or anything, but I do like the odd cheeseburger. I think that I should really be thanking the people who made the portions smaller as much as I want to hate them for it. Maybe they are doing me a favour? I’m grumbling to myself as I write this because I really am annoyed that chocolate bars are tinier, and that 70% of a crisp packet is air. I want my food! But I have actually eaten the food haven’t I, just less of it. My taste buds are happy and my jeans aren’t as tight.

I ordered crisps, not a bag of air - facebook

Of course the other way to look at this is for me to panic because now that I know there is less substance in the packet, I can get all technical and think to myself “oh well, it means I can buy twice as much because there’s much less there…” We all have days when that really seems like the only option if we are to survive the rest of the week. It’s human nature so I can’t be held responsible for having these binged based moments of weakness. The way I see it, if all chocolate bars have become fun size, the fun should be eating lots of them – the actual ‘fun size’ bars come in a multi pack bag after all. The only message I get from that is “have fun eating all of these!” And if the ‘actual size’ are now ‘fun size’, doesn’t that mean I can eat more of them? It’s tempting, I must admit. But I will try to be strong – for you my dear darling jeans.

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in food