Thursday, 28 February 2013

From Rugby with Love

Not sure the title works as the pun I intended.
This outfit was created from two failures.
I bought a faux fur jacket (now the hood) from, it was meant to be a Kate Spade fun fur, I am one of those people that believes that as EVERYTHING comes from China, occasionally you do actually get the real thing straight from a Chinese factory (if you shop like Miss Marple on  I didn't have time to take a pic of the jacket being worn as a jacket.  As you can imagine this took quite a lot of arranging and I didn't want to start again once I had worked out that it might have been a good idea.  When the Chinese jacket arrived, the arms reached just past my elbow and the bottom sat high above my waist, with the 'waisted' part of the jacket on my boobs, it looked truly awful and was unwearable.

I bought this Zara jacket on Ebay for £30, which I thought was quite a lot for a second hand anorak, and when it arrived the Zip was wonky and really is is too small.  However the two together work OK.
The sleeves are like  a scarf inside so it is superwarm, in fact I can honestly say that I got a bit hot, standing in minus 1 degrees for 40 minutes shouting for a team who were losing badly, like some kind of rabid polar bear.

The mirror sunglasses are from Coco Ribbon and I do often look like a bluebottle in them, but they are OK with this.
The only thing I would say though as it may have been a 'un peu trop' for a rugby match in Newbury.
What do you think? Would you go outside like this?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Recommendations for SJ

This is the shape that we will be aiming for by the Summer.

Goldie looks fantastic in the swimsuit and her proportions are similar to SJ, (such a shame about all that filler in the face though, it looks so unnatural).

Movement plan;

SJ needs to work on strength and flexibility before we start the RockSculpt training, at the moment her muscles aren't strong enough and it would be demoralising.

She has had enough Pilates tuition to work on her own at this and ideally will commit to 30 mins daily of fairly intense core work.

In addition to this she must spend 2 hours a day in 'conscious movement', she can be doing anything from cleaning to cooking to watching TV.  But for two hours she must be upright with her chest raised, shoulders back and down, chin tucked in, core strong, and leg and knee muscles pulled up.

Ideally include in the conscious movement a daily 30 minute walk.

While watching television or relaxing, she has a number of simple all over body stretches to perform.

Next month when she has absolute control of her muscle groups and awareness how strong they are feeling and we will start to challenge those muscles with strength training. The approach that we are taking with her is a slower and more gentle as we need to account for the accident that she had a few years ago.

SJ does not eat a lot and grazes all day, you would think that the 'small but often' approach would boost the metabolism.  However there have been various scientific studies performed in this area.  Unfortunately in order to get a headline, the results were wrongly extrapolated to launch 'new diets'.  Eating more than 3 times a day, does indeed help to maintain glucose levels, boost metabolism etc, however there is an optimum number of meals that should be taken, and that number is actually 4 (the full report is published on Pub MED)
The reason for this is that the calorific content of each meal when grazing is so low, that the body doesn't get the 'spike' that it requires to boost the metabolism, so it defaults to restricted food/starvation mode.  Therefore calories 'grazed' through out the day could result in weight gain, the same number eaten in four distinct meals could result in weight loss.

The meal plan isn't rigid as this is unrealistic for SJ's lifestyle, however what she must do is eliminate sugar, and in her case also wheat in an attempt to overcome the 'bubbly' stomach.
The only guidelines are;

1. Four distinct set meals a day with NOTHING in-between
2. As much protein in as many forms as possible
3. No refined sugar or wheat products
4. Drink water freely throughout the day

SJ needs to get used to eating proper sized meals and it will be difficult for her to eat this much food in one sitting.  An example of her day will be;

Breakfast: 3 eggs cooked as she pleases cup of tea or coffee

Mid morning: Cup of tea or coffee (no sugar but change to full fat milk if this makes the transition easier)

Lunch: Rye bread, smoked salmon, salad, banana
cup of tea

Afternoon Meal: This is where the sugar loss will be painful, so a complex carb rich 'stew' would be recommended, a mix of onions, carrots, sweet potato, suede, with protein (beans, lentils or meat) all diced up and then seasoned with spices, curry, ginger or tomato or other natural flavours to SJ's taste and a cup of tea.

Evening meal: chicken/lamb/turkey/fish, baked potato, vegetables with seasoned sauce (made from yoghurt, vinegars, garlic, egg, again this is fairly free, but it shouldn't be oil or cream based) It is important that none of the meals are 'bland' she has to know that she has eaten and only flavours can do this.
Small bowl of porridge with fruit cut up on top.

Milky bedtime drink is fine, but again this should be sugar free and not contain any sugar substitutes.

SJ's challenge will be to actually eat all of this, and it is important that she does not continue to miss out meals and snack.

She must eat all of the meals and she must maintain a regular meal pattern. It is scientifically proven to aid weight loss.  The published paper proving that weight loss is indeed improved with regular meal times indicates that one of the reasons for this is that the 'thermic effect of the food is boosted', ie the amount of calories required to actually digest the food is higher when meals are eaten in a routine.  And with protein based meals, this can be as much as 30-40% of the total intake is used in digestion.  But be warned refined sugar has barely any thermic value and it will reduce the overall thermic value of any other food eaten so NO SNACKING.

The combination of food and exercise should result in subtle but real and long term results and an eating pattern for optimum long term health as long as she sticks to them over the next four weeks.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Sugarbabe

About SJ...

This is SJ, SJ has just started training with the Find and I asked if she would be up for doing a case study.

She sent me this amazing picture for which I am truly grateful.  SJ is 65 (can you believe it!), she looks incredible for her age and to my mind Marilyn Monroe might have looked like this had she been able to grow older.

SJ is of an era of counting calories and restricting food intake and she is slightly baffled at the idea that we can achieve great results without any hunger. Since in her prime dieting days, hunger meant success, but with the Find, where we are all about metabolism and long term results, extreme hunger is BAD.
The reason that I am so pleased with this photograph is that in lycra gym gear SJ looks truly stunning and it would be difficult for anyone to understand why she has started on this journey.  Her focus is less about weight loss and more about improving skin tone and building muscle mass and definition.

She is going on a beach holiday to Madeira in the Summer with friends and would like to improve the appearance of her skin and feel confident that she could wear a bikini and not just stick to one pieces.

SJ is not a big eater and is satisfied with quite small portion sizes, she likes to eat regularly and does occasionally just snack all day and only eat one reasonable sized meal  a day.
Sugar is her biggest downfall and it was only when we sat down to discuss her diet that she realised that barely an hour passes in the day when she does not eat refined sugar in some form.  Often just a cup of tea with one sugar, or a bite of someone's cake, or a small corner of chocolate, but it is consistent and it is daily for years and years.  With the calorie method, this was OK, as long as your total calories are low enough, it doesn't matter where they come from so even when she was slimming (her word, not mine, and I have to say it sounds much nicer than 'dieting') probably 60% of her daily calorie intake was from sugar.

She does get what she calls a 'bubbly' stomach, where her stomach will blow out more than usual even when eating something fairly small.

She is  very much the lynch pin of the family and her time is in demand from many people. She often puts their needs first and as much as she really enjoys exercise, she sees it as a self indulgent luxury that can only be enjoyed after everyone else is satisfied.  And this is despite an accident a few years ago where she was told that the only way she can maintain good health is by doing regular physio and pilates.

SJ does have a wonderfully straight spine (particularly upper spine which can be a problem area with people that haven't done much exercise) and through her convalescent pilates a great body/muscle awareness that will make training with her a joy.

SJ has agreed to send a monthly photo so that she can watch the results.

Tomorrow I will post the recommendations for her first month.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Boden dressing (on the cheap)

This outfit started to go a little all over the place with the statement bag and black and white minstrels glove, indeed you can over co-ordinate it seems.  I lost the bag and gloves and went a little more comfortable with some five year old Ruby and Ed canvas daps.
The outfit is definitely channeling Boden catalogue c. 1992 (the coat even has a clashing 'loud' lining). Although by all accounts you can't get much louder than that pink, it was a bargain £3 charity shop find (originally Per Una from M & S).  And the scarf is from Accessorise, it is old, cheap and polyester, but it is warm enough for outside, and not too heavy to wear around the house.  The jeans are cast-offs from my eldest son, and the cardi an el cheapo from Dorothy Perkins via Ebay.  I think the whole outfit including shoes would have cost about £12, but I quite like it, it may not be 'fashion forward', but it is warm, cheerful, practical and comfortable.
What do you think? Or does it look like it is all charity shop and cast-offs? Be brutal, I can take it.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Home made cakes for tea heaven and hell you decide...

This is the remains of a tea party for some friends and family.

Each cake is heaven and hell in its own right.

The one on the right is pure chocolate indulgence and the easiest and tastiest brownie in the world.
There is no 'recipe' as such as they are ready in two minutes and cook in 25, since you just follow the instructions on the packet (ie add egg and oil).  I found the suggestion (since you can't really call it a recipe) here  and it it is not oversold in the description.

The carrot cake on the left is equally yummy and full of goodness, but does take a while to prepare, all that grating of nutmeg and carrots.  It is sugar free, uses agave as a replacement and so loaded with carrots and plump raisins that explode in your mouth that it must contain at least two of your 5 a day.

Which would you be tempted by?

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Zara linen T shirt second Trimester

I do love these Zara linen T shirts (this one has been languishing in my wardrobe for about 4 years), I wore it today to run some errands and have been asked by 3 people if I am pregnant.  When I glanced this rather well thought through (?!) outfit in the mirror I could see the reason why. I am not pushing my stomach out and have been doing a lot of work on Abs in the bi weekly RockSculpt class, yet I have to confess, I too would stand up on the tube for that stomach!

Fat vs thin

I have to confess that during the 'hopeless years', I did just assume that any one thin had an eating disorder. I didn't feel that I overate and could remember enough times of feeling properly hungry to suggest that the natural skinnies simply didn't eat anything and it was the only way that they could remain so.
My journey over the last few years has really changed my attitude. I have lots of friends who are larger, and if I'm honest, only recently, slim new friends who I would have written of as non-eaters in the past.

The big difference is the emotional attitude towards food.  With my bigger friends we would 'feast and famine', so go into town, buy a kilo of Ben's cookies and some how manage to eat the whole lot in one shopping trip.  By the last six or so we didn't even want them, but just considered it better that they were finished.

We ate when we were bored, we ate when we were tired, we treated ourselves when it was raining/snowing/  too hot/ too cold/coffee time/ tea time etc etc, we never really needed a reason.  Food was always for comfort and solace.  And if we had over indulged it even became about punishment.
But we did try to lose weight and were always the first to try the new miracle diet, cabbage soup diet, Cambridge Diet, Atkins etc etc.  And so we were big, but also hungry quite a lot of the time

I have noticed among my slim friends, that admittedly I have met mainly via sport, that they DO eat, and they eat a LOT. But the attitude is so different. They will come to a class because they want to EARN the Chinese/Indian/Pizza meal that they will be eating later.

The approach is so much healthier, they eat because they need NOURISHMENT for optimum physical health and they enjoy to exercise as it entitles them to food as a REWARD for their endeavours.  Therefore there is no such thing as 'bad' food, or food that induces feelings of guilt.

I just wish I could go back to my teenage self and explain this to avoid all those miserable giant years.  But failing that I hope that if even one person reads this and it is helpful, it is worth the post. .... on a lighter note...more clothes tomorrow...

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Terrible Terrible raspberry and black outfit choice

Like a child, as soon as I get something new I have to wear it immediately, even if that means pairing a tutu with wellies.  So when my new Great Plains Raspberry top appeared it was no exception.
I actually went out wearing this to meet some friends for coffee and a catch up.
The coated jeans were  a purchase from the Zara sale and I am really pleased with them, but put together with the two tops and too match-y shoes (Chanel c.1992), I can see that this is all a big mistake.
The sun may have been shining for a fraction of a second, but this top is definitely more 'real summer' than 'break in the gloom'.  I thought that I would wear it with white capri trousers and flat shoes and these photos are evidence that I should have stuck to that thought.  I was worried it might look a bit WAG, but my more successful clothing choices seem to be when I play dress up, so perhaps that is a worthy theme.
On a different note, I was given two items of clothing for my Birthday and I have no idea what they are for. I am wearing the black version here, the top  is very thin, no thicker than a pair of tights, I was given this black one and also a nude one. I am not sure what they are for or why you would wear them as they are too thin to offer any warmth and made of nylon so not supportive enough and a bit stinky for the gym.  Any ideas what they are? They came in a packet like a pair of tights, but the writing was an Eastern European language.

Buying wedding dresses part 1...

I saw this beautiful image here and it legitimised my weird habit of buying wedding dresses on ebay.  I know it sounds a bit Miss Haversham-esque, but there is method in my madness.

The wedding dress is pretty much 'The' dress purchase in anyone's life, they are a bit more demanding about cut, fabric and finish than they might be if they popped in to Primark.

However not many people suffer from my strange addiction so there is little competition when it comes to bidding.

The pics are always fantastic, a real insight into people's lives, you can keep your 'Four Weddings' this is the real deal with pics of the dress at the alter, reception and usually an 'arty' one of it hung on a four poster bed.
The creepy voyeur in me loves to look at the whole event and work out exactly what it would have been like to be there.  But more to the point I get to see what the dress looks like on real people to give an idea of how I could wear it.

The start prices are always very low, it is like once someone has decided to get rid of it, it has to go, at any price regardless of how low.

So this is my first purchase, it hasn't arrived yet and I am not sure what I will do with it.

Unfortunately this was the only pic, I am not sure if it will be long enough, but I was thinking of cutting the bottom frill off to make it just below the kneed, I might wear with a plain vest and vintage style leather accessories.
It is French lace and silk and cost the princely sum of £24 (plus p & p)

What would you do with it? Could it ever be day wear? Any ideas gratefully received....

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Raspberry surprise....

I bought this New Look top online, I thought it was perfect for my latest raspberry obsession, however when it arrived...

it was plum...

 I don't mind a bit of plum and I have some Lily and Skinner elasticated boots from about 1985 that were my mothers, long before LK Bennett was even a twinkle in Linda's eyes these elasticated and leather boots were being carefully stored by my mum for future emergencies (lucky for me she never really wears her clothes, she saves them for best and then decides that they are out of fashion so she is quite a good source of brand new vintage).

I also have this scarf that I got from a charity shop a few years ago.  It reminds me of a discussion forum that I read on Mumsnet about outfit bloggers and how they are all banker's wives in scarves, it still makes me chortle, I'm not a banker's wife, but here I am in a scarf blogging...

And then I thought how fab if I had a Cartier bag, not this one, I got perfume in this, but isn't the colour spot on?

I was going to put Bella in the bag and take pic, but then I felt a bit mean, after all she is real even if she looks like Jim Hensen made her.
This is the bag I was thinking of, although to be fair it is looking a little more raspberry in this pic.

 And then I thought wouldn't it be nice to have some rubies to match this outfit, the really dark burgundy type...

And then I thought that may be all this thinking about clothes and what to wear could be come quite expensive.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Another meal from nothing...

I still haven't made it to the supermarket, but managed to make a completely different supper from more or less the same ingredients and other left overs.
This time I boiled the bean mix and carrots and then fried bacon and dry bread together to make croutons.
The unappetising looking dressing was actually quite nice; grated parmesan from a chunk lurking in the back of the fridge, 4 (!) roasted garlic cloves, couple of tea spoons of low fat mayo and balsamic vinegar.
Low fat, low cal, high thermic energy food that keeps the tummy satisfied for most of the evening.

 My sous chef...

Monday, 18 February 2013

Drawn to all things raspberry...

I love this shade of pink, it is neither pale nor really strong, it has blue tones but is still warm. I should probably buy my clothes according to what is in my wardrobe, rather than what is not. But as I will never afford....
this pink Dior ring...

these flowers...

these Louboutins...

and I'm unlikely to be seen like this...

or this....

I'll get my raspberry fix in other ways, like this Mamas and Papas silk tunic...

and this Great Plains cardi...

Bought from Ebay for a few pounds I can't wait for the packages to arrive, although chances are the size/colour/ fabric will be totally different. How do you spend blind with no returns policy? Will you risk really expensive items or do you have a natural cut off above which you just won't go?

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Imitation is the sincerest form of...

I am starting to dress like her...

 Bert is a little perplexed at this whole photo in the mirror thing.

 I love cords, jeans are more flattering, but when it is cold and frosty cords are comfortable and cosy. These are by 7 for all Mankind. The boat neck 3/4 jumper is Ann Taylor from TK Maxx, this is my number one top style of jumper, if anyone knows where I can get a constant stock of boat/slash neck tops with 3/4 sleeves please let me know.
Coat and shoes are Joseph, both are old, shoes are cowboy boots (everything comes around).
But coat is definitely looking a bit dated so won't come out again for a while, is it the length? The sheepskin? It just looks a bit wrong.  Bag is a very old Dior, this had been put away for about 10 years, but I think is now bang on the money if the other bloggers are right about black and white being a new trend! ...phew thank goodness Bella doesn't have to be sent back for being too last year.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

My favourite dress...

I don’t have a big supply of photos and I have been specifically told by my Bootcamp buddies that they want some real pics, not just pretty things pulled from the internet.
We are not a family that uses a camera, this was from New Year’s Eve and was us arriving and the only photos that we took.  Is it just me ? But when you’re having a really great time, with buckets of booze, fantastic food and great company, at what point do you think, I’ll interrupt all of this and get my camera out?
May be now I have been asked to do this I will be a bit swifter on the shutter.  I am sure that my camera aversion also dates back to being a 15 stone teenager and desperately trying to hide some of my bulk rather than willingly have it captured for posterity.
Anyone who has had a weight issue, and felt conscious about it, will know that you can count on one hand (possibly one finger)the number of times that you have got ready to go out and felt good about yourself.  There might be a fleeting glance in the mirror when you have just done your make up and put your best frock on when you think, ‘I scrub up ok’.  But then you get to the party/club/restaurant, look around at everyone else and that fleeting moment disappears faster than Usain Bolt in the 25m. 

I bought this dress from my best and most treasured secret shop, it is Roberto Cavalli, and would have cost over £3000, it is the most amazing silk and the orange detail is all hand beaded. It cost £200, but more on the shop in a later post.  It is the perfect Caribbean New Year’s Eve dress and I can honestly say it is probably the only night (so far) of my life where I felt that I had nailed it, and that feeling lasted all night.  Tragically I’m even excluding my wedding day, I changed into a horror and looked like a panto Ugly Sister for most of it.

The shoes are from Lipsy and they are AMAZING, they are the ONLY heels that I have ever been able to wear all night, dance in, drink loads and NOT randomly fall over, of course I have always blamed the heels not the booze.  As I was always huge (ie tall and jolly big bones all over) heels were a nono so I never really learned to walk in them. But these are a breeze, like wearing marshmallows.
The hair isn't all me and is a fab bargain find, will write up later on as need more detailed pics!

What do you think of dress above, is it too mutton dressed as lamb, does it look old fashioned, as it is second hand I have no idea what collection it was from? As a fashion novice I would love to know what people who really know their stuff think of it and it's OK you can be brutal and burst my bubble!