Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Daily diet update

Today current weight: 61.2 kg/135lbs/9 stone 9lbs 
Yesterday Exercise; 40 minutes dog walking
Yesterday Food intake;
Breakfast; two eggs, dehydrated greens and applejuice, coffee (all coffees macchiato)
Mid morning snack; coffee, 2 clementines, banana
Lunch; large bowl of brown rice with french beans, broad beans, peas and two eggs (need to go shopping!)
Afternoon; cup of tea with sunflower seeds and mixed fruit and slice of fruit cake and two clementines
Dinner; steak and rice as above three glasses of wine
Evening snack; milky ovaltine

Let's debate Determinism...

...or let's talk about pretty things and shopping.
A friend of mine is working on a skin care range that is all about the inner Goddess, it will be fairly cerebral with packaging to resemble ancient tomes and quotes in Greek and Latin.  It appeals to my intellectual snob whilst lovely smelling things satisfy my perpetual dilettante.
I did wonder about the 'Goddess' word, does it push the boundary of vanity into the territory of vain and put people off?  But I've had a look at the beauty bloggers and that looks unlikely (to say the least!)
Wednesday is market day and I did my weekly veg haul, the lady who runs the stall is a Mrs Tiddlywinks doppelganger (she would be more than happy to be described as such).  She is just over four feet tall and as wide as she is tall, always immaculate with a broad Witney accent and a bubble high voice.  She is the kindest person I have ever met, her goodness just oozes from every pore, to see her makes you smile.  She changes the energy of everything in her path, and the positivity and warmth that she emanates leaves any one who comes in to contact with her happy all day.  This is a real goddess, she could be Demeter, goddess of the harvest and all things from the earth, but she's not a pseud like me and would rather be Mrs Tiddlywinks.
Later in the day I found this book, the Goddess Experience, it is so beautiful and just when I was considering 'Goddesses' I stumbled across it on sale for £2.99, less than the cost of a magazine (or a large coffee at Starbucks!) It was meant to be mine.  Gisele Scanlon, the author, is another Mrs Tiddlywinks, she works in fashion, so not how she looks, but she has just as much warmth, friendliness and that hugely under rated niceness (we were banned from using the word 'nice' both in speech and essays at school), but I say let's all embrace niceness wouldn't it make the world a nicer place (detention for that last sentence).
Within minutes of picking up the golden, bird illustrated book, I found this...

The little bird just sang to me, the the candle stand that it perched on reminded me of something I might find at Birgit Israel.  She is my favourite interior designer and I spend hours window shopping in her emporium.  Her style is a complete mix of old Hollywood glamour, a bit of scandinavian, a touch of English and French antiques, modern design, statement lighting, lots of antique gold and pieces that embrace nature.

She has a hotel near Avignon in the South of France and this shows some of her style
She also has a couple of second hand shops which are more like top end boutiques.
One is on the Fulham Roand and one on the Gloucester Road they are well worth a visit as the stock is amazing everything is really high end, it is not cheap but it is all immaculate and better edited than most of the boutiques in the area.

The bird candle holder is similar to a piece that she has in her Gloucester Road shop and was priced at around £1000, mine was reduced from £49.99 to £29!

It has these orange coloured plastic crystals dangling from  it, which rather give away its affordable price, so after much nail breaking they have been carefully removed.
With such a serendipitous day, I have done a complete U turn on the concerns over beauty products using the word goddess. What do you think? Would it put you off buying or is it just the product that is inside that matters?

This is a starting point for Determinism, copied and pasted from Wiki...
Causal (or Nomological) determinism[1] and related Predeterminism propose that there is an unbroken chain of prior occurrences stretching back to the origin of the universe. The relation between events may not be specified, nor the origin of that universe. Causal determinists believe that there is nothing uncaused or self-causedQuantum mechanics poses a serious challenge to this view (see 'Arguments' section below). Causal determinism is sometimes illustrated by the thought experiment of Laplace's demonHistorical determinism (a sort of path dependence) can also be synonymous with causal determinism.

...Mrs Tiddlywinks is far more interesting do you agree?

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What to do when you don't want to spend money and ....

You're addicted to ebay... 'My name is Miss P and I have been addicted to ebay for the last 5 years', there I have said it. Ebay holds a fascination for me that I can't explain, I buy just about every thing on it and have found things that I never knew I needed. A Louis XIV mirror made only of coral and shells (sounds hideous but is beautiful), a vegetable cutter that can cut any hard vegetable up to 16 feet long in a single cut, an oil painting of a small boy fishing and catching a baby mermaid (perfect for the bathroom), an antique lace handkerchief which was used at the coronation of Queen Victoria, meat flavoured doggy toothpaste (pooch isn't keen on the mint variety available at the vet).  The list goes on, sometimes I visit ebay with no desire to buy, but just challenge it to find things that I think simply can't be found, and yet by visiting all of the sites,, .com, .fr, .it etc you can always find pretty much everything.
Just before Christmas I had a huge clear out and sold about 200 items on ebay, I am not very good at how it all works and have only just discovered that all of my sales, which in the main amounted to 99p an item, have generated enough money to keep me ebaying until today.
Another clear out is required to keep me in the black.  The trouble is I have bought clothes for every eventuality, and however dated they may be, selling them is almost like letting go of a dream.
I bought this in my early twenties as I thought it would be the perfect 'mother of the bride' outfit, and yes it was for me, not my mother (I never had bride fantasies as I am happier in life with a supporting rather than starring role).  I am not sure what possessed me, but I had a vision of gold silver hair worn in a bun, a light tan and this peach ensemble. Without daughters, it is unlikely to come in useful and so I think this one is for Ebay and I will ONLY sell it to a mother of the bride.

Ok so now in no particular order, this is a Vanessa Bruno top, it cost a lot, when I wore it pre weightloss, it looked nothing like this, I looked like the sugar plum fairy (who had eaten a lot of plums).  I had never realised it was meant to be off the shoulder, but trying it on, I quite like it. Should I keep it?
And this Reem Acra silk trouser suit, fitted me when I was larger, it's a bit swishy, but Bourbon and Pearls and her man from Atlantis post has me all confused.

These three dresses were from my 'cover all days', I  have that new weight loss thing of wanting to show that  indeed the weight is gone, but I quite like the dresses.  They are just so easy to throw on and do I really want to sell them for 99p?
This top  is by Nina Ricci, I will probably never own anything from the label again, and it fits, I think it was relegated to a far flung wardrobe because I couldn't get it on.  This is a keeper.
This is a pure silk Day Birger Mikkelsen  but I'm thinking no to this one, the colours are too light and it is on the large side (yay!). But I am also thinking, I could put the weight back on and would be great with a cardigan for a grand child's christening (damn this forward planning).
This is 80s Valentino, I had it shortened from a longer length, but I think not enough, it is so well made, I can't bear that it won't be appreciated so may be I should hang on to it.

These were fashion whimsies that I never wore the pink is Jenny Packham and the green Donna Karan black label (I bought it in case Tinkerbell was ever needed as a fancy dress outfit). But I could neither pull on the skirt nor button the top. Now that the fastenings meet, I'm thinking the green matches my green skin. But the pink, despite having had a price tag that I am ashamed to admit, it is awful and I think needs to go to a fairer more petite home, where it could be beautiful.
Any opinions would be gratefully appreciated, please be harsh, these have been in a case for about 10 years so I won't be insulted!
I forgot these, the excuse for the first picture...

They are from an old Dolce e Gabanna collection, I put them on once, but was unable to do up the button (or the zip) and those that I love, laughed, very kindly, but they laughed, now they fit as they should and remind me of the above, but am I just dreaming?....

Daily Diet Update

Today current weight: 61.2 kg/135lbs/9 stone 9lbs 
Yesterday Exercise; 20 minutes on cross trainer, 1 hour running
Yesterday Food intake;
Breakfast; two eggs, dehydrated greens and water, coffee (all coffees macchiato)
Mid morning snack; coffee, banana, nuts and raisins
Lunch; whole avocado and two eggs on bed of lettuce 
Afternoon; cup of tea with sunflower seeds and mixed fruit and slice of fruit cake and two clementines
Dinner; steak and half a pack of broad beans, half a pack of peas, two glasses of wine
Evening snack; two milky ovaltines

Monday, 27 February 2012

Daily Diet Update

Today current weight: 61.2 kg/135lbs/9 stone 9lbs 
Yesterday Exercise; 1 hour vigorous dog walking
Yesterday Food intake;
Breakfast; seeds, dehydrated greens and water, coffee (all coffees macchiato)
Mid morning snack; coffee
Lunch; 3 small medallions of pork on 1/2 a suede crushed with celeriac and peas and baked potato with a cream, cider and apple source (2 tablespoons)
Afternoon; cup of tea with sunflower seeds and prunes about 1/2 a cup and 1/2 a cup of strawberry crunch cereal
Dinner; two scrambled eggs, 50g of mixed seeds and nuts and raisins
Evening snack; camomile and honey tea a small slice of rich fruit cake
I haven't been particularly careful over the last few days, so the apparent weight loss could simply be because I weighed myself earlier in the morning today and didn't have much to eat last night.

An August trip to Scotland

In August we will be hot footing it to Scotland (near Aberdeen) for a spot of salmon fishing.
For my resident hunter it is an annual trip, for me, it will be the first time.
I am more of a fair weather holiday maker, anything that carries any risk of involving 'cold' was simply never worth taking holiday time.  No longer do I have this excuse and so I am obliged to come.
Our hosts are pretty serious about the fishing, rain or shine, it is up at 6 am and standing in cold water to our waists until sunset.  I have heard of parties who break for boozy lunches and tots of whiskey, which would seem like a good idea if the weather is particularly inclement, but not so for us.
As I don't want to waste a rod by being a lightweight, I thought I would beg a few days off for other activities.  So far I have found only Cawdor Castle which looks amazing and worth a trip.
Any tips regarding good spas, restaurants or any thing to do in the area other than fishing would be gratefully received!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Daily diet update

Today current weight: Not sure 
Yesterday Exercise; 2 hours leisurely dog walking
Yesterday Food intake;
Breakfast; muffin top, dehydrated greens and mango juice, coffee (all coffees macchiato)
Mid morning snack; none
Lunch; strips of chicken on bed of lettuce, with pieces of cheese, cranberry and red grapes with raspberry vinegar and oil dressing. Pudding; chocolate yoghurt ice cream and two squares of a brownies
Afternoon; cup of tea and carrot cake and scone with cream, 2 small sandwiches with turkey and ham
Dinner; dehydrated greens, two bowls of homemade soup (made with stock from roast chicken and chopped  leeks, carrots and peas)
Evening snack; camomile and honey tea
I made these unappetising banana muffins for breakfast and picked the crispy tops off a couple of them (why are the crusty bits the most tempting?!)
Unfortunately the combination of wheat and sugar is never a good way to start the day and I was famished from then on.
This was compounded with waiting too long for lunch and eating not enough protein so that it barely touched the side.  I needed more sugar like a woman possessed and after the frozen yoghurt, was looking forward to my next hit.  I knew the evening would be one of constant grazing, so I tried to rebalance with some dehydrated greens. This did the trick and the soup satisfied with out thought of further calories.  

A Spa day at Stoke Park

Stoke Park is one of the most spectacular buildings that I have ever seen.  Approaching the main house down the long drive, with the sunlight bringing the creamy coloured building to life, I would defy any one not to feel a frisson of excitement for what lay ahead.

The main building houses part of the hotel, the tea room and the dining room.  As it is members only, to use any of these facilities, vouchers have to be bought ahead of visiting.  These are not easy to find on the website, there is no 'afternoon tea' option you find it by clicking on to 'gift vouchers' and searching from there.  

The dining room is also open to non members for dinner.  Memberships start from about £600 annually, but this is only to use the amenities in the main building, it does not include the spa, tennis or golf.

The spa and indoor tennis are housed in a separate new building at the side of the main house.  It is very luxurious and beautifully built combining modern and old style seamlessly.  The car park illustrates the clientele, lots of golfing chaps in Bentleys and Aston Martins and spa-ing ladies in Range Rovers and Minis.

I used the gym, which was empty and really well appointed, the pool was quite busy with mainly Russian families.  On a warm summer day it could be fantastic as the floor to ceiling windows all open fully on to the most glorious lawns.
The spa definitely caters for the Russian taste, every thing is perfect and luxurious, no part of it is shabby or indeed tries to embrace the 'shabby chic' look.  The carpets are all 3 inches thick and cover every floor, even the family changing area, where they must need to be changed monthly to keep the wet dog smell at bay which inevitably comes with prolonged damp.
I couldn't take any photos in the treatment and rest area, these areas are behind the pool and are joined by a huge two way aquarium.
I had a Caci facial which cost £110 and lasted nearly an hour and a half, it included  Microdermabrasion and the microcurrent treatment and my skin certainly glowed afterwards.  The therapist was excellent and did not spend the entire session trying to sell me products. 
There is a range of Stoke Park Club products, but I am not sure that they quite live up to the quality of Stoke Park.
There is complimentary tea, coffee, mineral water and biscuits in the relaxation area, but I wanted to have the full Stoke Park experience and so asked the spa reception to organise an afternoon tea voucher for me.  They were incredibly helpful and the tea was £20, good value for the experience. 

This is not a place to wear traditional work out wear when not in the spa area, I wore cream Sportmax trousers, a Zara top and Sergio Rossi boots and blended perfectly with the blonde surroundings.
The famous golf match in Goldfinger filmed at Stoke Park.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Daily diet update

Today current weight: Not sure (haven't been to the gym and my own scales I am loathed to replace as they stick permanently at 9 stone regardless of my actual weight which can be quite uplifting!)
Yesterday Exercise; 15 minutes cross training, 15 minutes rowing (hard), one hour body conditioning
Yesterday Food intake;
Breakfast; seeds, banana, dehydrated greens and mango juice, coffee (all coffees macchiato)
Mid morning snack; Emergen C drink and orange
Lunch 1/4 roasted chicken on bed of white and red cabbage with slow roasted tomatoes and french dressing
Afternoon; cup of tea and half a cup of dry country crunch cereal
Dinner; Large salad made with cabbage, lettuce and rocket whole pepper and cold chicken
Evening snack; 3 pitted prunes and camomile and honey tea

What happens when the sun comes out in London

When an unexpected Spring day arrives in February, the locals (and for that read American, French, Spanish, Italian and Middle Eastern) descend on Holland Park.
It is London's largest park at over 50 acres and houses pretty much every imaginable entertainment, there is a dog free (poop free) sport's field which is carefully policed and ensures that visitors can jog, play football, cricket and tennis without stepping in anything unpleasant.
There is a toddler play ground, an adventure playground and a natural play area (rope climbing and camps in the style of Swallows and Amazons) to entertain children of all ages.

There is a giant chess set which offers free Saturday morning lessons for any budding young champions.  
The Belvedere restaurant, which used to be run by Marco Pierre White, has had a facelift and now shimmers from top to toe in exquisite De Gournay wall coverings.

There is tennis, a Japanese garden with a waterfall and acres of woodland, but for me the best activity is the people watching. This is a place to see and be seen, there are lots of peacocks roaming the grounds, literally and figuratively.
The garment that is de rigueur is the (real of course!) fur trimmed parka.  I don't think our friends from the continent struggle with the ethics of fur.  I have always been all for vintage and using something that has already been made, but not so much for creating a new market for cruelty where the fur forms no function and is simply an embellishment.  No such qualms on a sunny day in Holland Park, even the children have mini me versions (watch out pooch!).

Friday, 24 February 2012

Daily diet update

In the interests of science and posterity, I thought I might start to keep a daily journal of exercise expenditure and food intake. As I get older it could be a useful reference.
Today current weight 61.7 kg/9 stone 10/ 136 pounds
Yesterday Exercise; one body balance class, one dog walk one hour
Yesterday Food intake;
Breakfast; seeds, an orange, dehydrated greens and mango juice, coffee (all coffees macchiato)
Lunch 12 large prawns and salad, banana, coffee
Afternoon; large slice of gooey chocolate cake and earl grey tea
Dinner; Bruschetta with rocket salad,  Veal milanaise and chips (only ate about 10 chips)
Evening snack; 8 pitted prunes and camomile and honey tea