About Me

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I am the 45 year old mother of Josie (17), Jacob (14) and Fergus (11) and the wife of Mark. We live in Newhaven on beautiful Phillip Island with various animals including our dog Charlie. I am a recently trained teacher (third year in the classroom) who is busy juggling family, career and my journey to lose weight and be healthy. I have so many balls in the air . . . hopefully, one day I might catch one . . .

Sunday, December 27, 2009

100 day challenge--resumed

Even with Christmas I still managed to do some things positively for my health, both physical and emotional . . . better yet, I managed to document it, so the Challenge is on again for me!

Here is my week

Day 15

Braved the big shops with my daughter, even let her drive (learner drivers . . .eek) and she did a good job. Wasn't as busy as I had feared, thank goodness! It's easy to avoid all the fatty foods on offer at shopping centres as sushi and a skim milk latte are healthy treats I look forward to.

Day 16

Went over my points . . . again! So tried to make the most of it with chickpea and rice patties for dinner while all except vego son had steak on the barbie. Only 2 points a pop, so damage control for me. On Jacob's I put cheese and fried onion and a whole meal roll--the last thing I want is him losing weight!

Day 17

Even though I have a million things to do before Christmas, I read in bed for a couple of hours this morning before getting started and finished Ben Elton's book, Blind Faith. It's a very clever parody of George Orwell's 1984 and a thought-provoking commentary on where we could be heading. Also very funny. I have read a couple of his earlier books that I didn't think quite worked but this one was excellent. And because I've spent some time reading, I felt like I was actually on holidays, inspite of all the Christmas preparation we had to do. Definitely good for the soul!

Day 18--

Got all hands on deck to help with housework. Josie cleaned bathrooms, Jacob swept the deck and tried to find homes for most of the crap thereon, Fergus vaccuumed . . . sort of. Mark was still busy earning a living, so can't complain about that. I burned lots of points racing around all day, I'm sure. Everyone must have thought that Santa was watching, cos there were no complaints!

Day 19--Christmas!!

Food and alchol wise, didn't do fantabulously, but could have been worse. Family wise, we had a lovely day and finished up playing a game of Rapidough with my parents--like Pictionary, but with playdough sculpting. It was really hysterical! I have many happy memories of playing board games on school holidays when I was growing up and I dont' think we make time to do that often enough with our kids. I felt happy that it was a great way to spend Christmas night!

Day 20--

Olive Branch. On Boxing Day about 30 of my relatives descended on Mum and Dad's house for a day of catching up, food and drink and bocce! It had been many, many years since we were all together. Many of my cousins came from Adelaide to be there and are staying in a house around the corner, so we'll have plenty of time to catch up. The really big deal for me was that my brother and his wife and child were there, the first time I'd seen him for nearly six years other than at a funeral when we didn't really speak. He is trying to repair his relationship with my parents after causing them a lot of grief and stress and although on one level I can't believe he can act like nothing has happened, on the other level, I can't see any point in dwelling on the animosity. I didn't know how I would handle the situation but at the moment, it was just easiest to go over and kiss them and say Merry Christmas and try to move forward. I guess that's got to be good for the soul, as well.

Day 21

I invited all Adelaide rellies over for homemade pizza tonight. They were all concerned about me working too hard, but I hardly ever get to see them, so wanted to cook for them. Everyone seemed to enjoy the pizza and it was a lovely eveining. I impressed myself for taking Charlie for a walk after they left at about 10 pm. I am trying to break in my new runners so I can seriously start training for the Channel Challenge.

I am really starting to get back in the zone with weight watchers. 2010, here I come!

Well, it WAS a Merry Christmas!

By some miracle, I got my Christmas shopping finished and got all hands on deck on Christmas Eve for some major housecleaning and somehow on Christmas morning everything came together. We had a wonderful day! Christmas in our house is actually quite a low key affair, but due to the fact that I had done NO preparation, gift shopping etc before school finished on the 18th of December, it was still a rush to get it all done. Mark's family are scattered all around the globe and I have been more or less estranged from my brother for about 6 years, although that's changing now, more on that later. While we usually have a big relative catch up day on Boxing Day, Christmas day itself is generally just the five of us and my parents, otherwise known as "Nanny and Boppy." Over the years we have developed our own Christmas traditions which we love, the routine goes like this: early present opening, followed by Christmas breakfast at my parents' house (only 4 doors away!). Mum invites alot of her friends from the bridge club and neighbours pop in too. After the last breakfasters leave at around midday, we usually go off to have a walk, play with our new pressies or have a sleep until it's time for Christmas dinner . . . at about 5.30! Here are some photos of the days proceedings . . .

Fergus was happy to get a new wetsuit

Jacob was surprised and pleased with his "big" gift

Luckily, he saw the humour in this gift!

Mark and I had agreed not to give each other major presents as we are SUPPOSED to be saving for our trip to Bali at Easter time AND of course I spent too much money on the children as usual. Also, I've been spending alot of money on clothes and shoes and haircuts lately!! Anyway I still got a number of nice gifts like some summer reading, a pair of good runners and this charming little locket . . .

Mark insisted that I open the locket when he gave it to me and when I blushed everyone figured out what was inside! I am flabbergasted to think of him posing for the photo and setting up the camera on autoshoot. Of course, my Mum insisted on having a look, Josie is petrified that she will be scarred for life if she sees what's inside as this photo shows . . .

And here's what all the fuss was about . . . I added a figleaf for modesty's sake but the truly fainthearted might want to stop reading now . . .

Mark says as he's approaching 50, it's all downhill from now on, so he wanted me to have a little something to remember him by! What a dag . . . truly the funniest Christmas present I've ever had!

Here is a nice photo of me with my beautiful older children at Christmas breakfast

And here we all are sitting down to Christmas Dinner. Josie and I always used to make our own "bonbons" but one year I couldn't buy the cracker thing to put in, so instead I got those little blue bags you see on the table. Inside we put a party blower, the beautiful tinsel "hat", a little present and a party popper. This has become another tradition and now we assemble the little bags rather than make bonbons every year.

Fergus likes the party poppers. . .

We finished off the evening with a game of "Rapidough" , which is like Pictionary but you have to make things out of dough. A great game for a variety of ages. I was going to put another picture in, but Blogger doesn't seem to want me to, and this has turned out to be a very long post! Our catch up with relatives (about 30 in all) on Boxing Day went really well too, but more on that later. I suppose I should say something about my weightloss journey seeing as this is supposed to be a weight loss journal. Suffice to say that I am still eating less than I used to, but more than I should . . . however, pleased with myself that I went on a 3k dogwalk in my new runners the last two days, so that's a positive anyway.

Well if you are reading this, I hope the naked husband photo didn't offend and that you too had a lovely family Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Well I'm afraid I didn't take photos last week . . . and did very few things to make me healthy and happy. All in all, I cut down from what I would have had in the past but that was still too much. I am just planning to do the best I can over the next few days and get back on track as soon as I can so will resume my 100 days shortly. I'm getting proper runners for Christmas (I know because I bought them myself!) so I am planning to really start training for the Channel Challenge on 30 January.

The main reason for this post is to say MERRY CHRISTMAS one and all and wish you a healthy and happy 2010. Best wishes, Lesley

Monday, December 14, 2009

100 day Challenge, Days 8-14

Well, I didn't lose any weight this week . . . Still 80.4 grrrrrr. Bring on 79.9, I say. If I don't pull my finger out, I won't see that magic number before Christmas. Still, considering we had numerous morning teas at work and I went out for dinner, it could be worse. In the spirit of celebrating the small changes that I'm working on everyday, here are my photos for the 100 small step challenge this week.

Day 8

Well after dancing the night away at the wedding, I had a bit of a sleep in then cooked my favourite cafe style healthy brunch. A steamed bunch of asparagus, handful of mushrooms, a few slices of fat-trimmed bacon, a soft poached egg, some parmesan shavings and cracked pepper. Yum! After that healthy and hearty start to the day, I was in good shape NOT to over indulge at the post-wedding BBQ.

Day 9

On Sunday night my nose started dripping and I had a really sore throat. By Monday it was clear I was getting a summer cold. I couldn't ring in sick since half the school knew I'd been partying all weekend, so I spent a very grumpy feverish day in the classroom but excused myself from the staff meeting and came home ASAP. Had a nice spa bath and put on my satin pjs before dinner. These pjs were bought for me as a mother's day present when my almost 18 yr old daughter was 2 and while they fit me for a nano-second, they have been languishing in a drawer for many a year. It's great to be able to wear them again!

Day 10

Well we had a special morning tea for parent helpers today and I way over indulged, knocking off probably about 9 or 10 points in a half an hour!! So it was lentil bolognaise for me for dinner! At only a point or so per serve, it's a great recipe. I went easy on the pasta. Check out the recipe at

Day 11

Went to a literacy professional development session today. This was the final session in a three year pd program so we did a lot of patting ourselves on the back for all our hard work. I was still not feeling flash, but had a great time anyway, and frankly it was good to be away from school for a little while. The downside was the catering, which was apalling! I avoided the packs of family assorted biscuits and defrosted Sara Lee cakes in favour of FRUIT, FRUIT and more FRUIT at morning tea. Then lunch came and every single thing was either fried or in pastry, so I had two tiny chicken kebabs, 1 curry puff and more FRUIT!

Day 12

Still feeling pretty yuk and very snotty, but I took Charlie for a walk anyway. The ONLY exercise I did all week.

Day 13

A change is a good as a holiday, right? I had my hair cut and coloured and let my hair dresser blow dry and iron it straight!! What a shock. I must admit I rather liked it, but no way on this earth am I going to spend 40 minutes doing my hair every day (usually I don't even brush it) --still good to know that I can have a new look if I want to put the effort in. Anyway, Mark and I decided to go out to dinner so I got a chance to show it off. I did quite well by ordering an entree of scallops, an entree of squid (which was fried but a very small serve and so yum--salt and pepper squid is probably my favouritist food!). I also had 2 glasses of wine and a skinny latte.

A special note for Chris H . . . here in the background is one of the quilts I made way back when I used to do stuff like that AND finish it . . . sigh . . . it's all hand pieced, hand-embroidered and hand-quilted . . . sigh . . .

Day 14

Since my middle child has become a vegetarian and I eat alot of vego food due to the low points factor, I spent the afternoon at a vegetarian cooking class. This is my photo of Indian spiced red lentil pate. I put more water and also whacked in some potatoes and spinach to make it more of a dahl. Trust me, it tasted better than it looked!!

Well that's my week . . . am really going to try to be a 70's girl by next week. Good luck everyone!

PS A big thanks to Cassie for telling me how to make a photo collage. Very happy with that!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm baaa . . . aack!! And the 100 day challenge

Well I haven't blogged for ages, let's just say it's fourth term! Anyway, I'm back and I'm looking forward to blogging more and being more focussed on my weight loss journey. In a nutshell, here's a catch up . . .

Sober October--well it was almost sober October. I ended up drinking about a total of 2 bottles of wine over the month. That's probably half what I've been drinking since I've been on weight watchers and a fraction of what I used to drink before. Probably best not to go there, eh?! Have come to the conclusion that the best thing for me is to keep trying to cut down and try to have 5 alcohol free days a week.

Weight--I have managed to lose a massive 1 kg per month lately!! Whooppeee!! Actually, I'm okay with it, because I could easily have gained several kg a week, so I can't be too hard on myself. Basically I usually end up having about 25 points a day and I should have 22. This is okay when I'm exercising but report writing etc, I haven't been so good on the exercise front. Ah, well, still should be able to make under 80 by Christmas day, so persistence not perfection remains my motto.

Job--I agonised over applying for the job at my children's private school. Finally decided to go for it and spent half of the september holidays preparing my portfolio, got short-listed and interviewed but didn't make the final cut. Still feel kind of disappointed but relieved at the same time. Have decided though not to stay at my school forever if I'm still not happy next year, but will try and keep an eye out for other opportunities. I have the same grade level, same classroom and also my best and most supportive friend at school next year, so I'm thinking it will all be okay. Hopefully the combination of personalities and dynamics in the classroom will gel a little better than this year. The best thing about the whole interview thing was that I went to a posh clothes shop (ie, a NORMAL clothes shop) in town and bought a gorgeous jacket ON SALE, how cool is that. So I may not have a new job, but I've got a fab new jacket!

100 day challenge . . . well, I have started two challenges "Sober October" of course, which was only moderately succesful. Then I signed up for the November Challenge on the 30 plus board at Weight Watchers. Then my scales broke, so I couldn't weigh myself for most of the month and didn't end up positn at all! So what am I doing entering another challenge you ask? Third time lucky, I guess. This challenge from Linda really inspired me, so I thought I would give it a go. In Linda's words, this is what the challenge is all about: We take a photo that represents one of the small steps we have made towards health (physical or mental) and/or fitness each day of the week.
2. We post all seven of the previous week's photos on Monday. Check out Linda's website for more details. Hopefully I inserted the link properly.

Anyway, here is my first effort for days 1-7. I like the idea because even if you weren't perfect you can choose to focus on the positives. I can't make a fancy collage yet, will have to learn how!

Day 1

On Monday and Wednesday, I take my son to Judo from 7.00-8.30. It's a half hour drive each way. It is a real challenge to get a healthy meal on the table for us all in the small window of opportunity between when I get home and when I have to leave again. So this Sunday I set myself up for a succesful week by cooking chicken and spinach lasagne, cheesy eggplant canneloni, AND shepherd's pie . . . something for everyone. I felt very pleased with myself.

Day 2

While my son was at judo, I thought I would check out the pool to see if it was busy. I couldn't give a rats about people seeing me in my bathers, but I do feel embarrassed when my slow swimming holds other swimmers up. I was delighted to find the pool really empty, except for a bunch of ladies milling around in the middle. When another lady came and started setting up a loud speaker system, I put two and two together and thought "water aerobics--yippee!" I joined in and it was really fun. I've never been able to do real aerobics because I'm so uncoordinated--but in water it was all a bit slower so I could keep up. And no, this isn't a picture of me, but some lovely ladies I found on google image, because I didn't take my camera.

Day 3

I didn't get to the gym AGAIN, but took my puppy Charlie for a lovely long walk. It was a beautiful evening and we both enjoyed it.

Day 4

Had a pretty difficult day at work and raided my goodies box for chocolate frogs. The positive thing I did for myself today is I only had 1!

Day 5

I stuck to my points today!! Yahhh!! I'm trying to save up for this weekend when I have a wedding to go to.

Day 6

I decided I needed a black bra to wear under my black dress at the wedding I'm going to on Sunday. I'm really starting to get into clothes shopping! I chose the prettiest not so supportive style, even though it cost a little more AND bought matching knickers! Pretty underwear is definitely good for the soul!

Day 7

Boogie Shoes! We went to the wedding--a lovely young man and fellow teacher from school married his beautiful new bride. It was a wonderul day. Best of all, I felt really pretty and confident. My husband and I danced for hours! It was a hoot. I even took my jacket off and didn't have to worry about my fat arms, because actually I don't think they looked too bad. My daughter and I gave ourselves pedicures in the morning, haven't done that for years. And even though I had too much wine (points wise, definately didn't disgrace myself) AND a wedding cupcake I figure 3 plus hours of energetic dancing pretty much evened the score.

Just to show you what a fantastic time we had, here are a few pics!

Catch you later!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sober October

Well . . . yes, I finally lost that 100g!! Bye, bye 30 kilos. Then the very next thing I did was go and stay with a friend and drink buckets of champagne and gained it back again--plus a little extra!! I am having a lovely holiday and thanks to some serious dog-walking I re-lost the weight I've gained, so back at 82.5 again. However, I have been going out for lunch heaps and still drinking too much wine, so I haven't lost anymore. I hope to get my husband to show me how to put a picture of my graph in here . . . it looks pretty impressive, but it is obvious that the weight loss has slowed down massively. It took me 15 weeks to lose the last 5 kg. Better than not losing at all of course, but I can do better. I have posted before that I really seem to be slipping back into the habit of drinking more often, usually only a glass or two, and usually "pointed", but a glass or two more days than not and sometimes more on the weekend. So that's like 15 or maybe even 18 points extra a week. Perusing the weight watchers boards tonight I found a thread called "Sober October" so I signed up!! Just what I need. I'm actually quite excited!!

Just so I remember how I far I've come and how I never, ever want to go back, here's a picture of me pre-weight watchers, taken in 2005. My daughter and her lovely pony, Lyall (whose gone to God, now) are in the background.

Have a few other things to post about, but I'm soooooo tired, I'm planning on catching up tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Anniversary eve

Well tomorrow is my one year Weight Watcher's Anniversary. I am still hoping to achieve my goal of an even 30 kg lost . . . I am 100 g away! My effort with "operation anniversary" was only so, so. I did okay with my resolve to cut down on my alcohol--but did have some wine on Saturday night too. I have exercised 5 out of 7 days . . . but yes I did eat my exercise points, so averaged 24.5 points again rather than 22 points. Will really have to work on this in future as when I get closer to my goal weight of 65kg, I will have fewer points to play with.

On Saturday I ended up going out for lunch AND dinner! At lunch with a dear friend who I did my teaching course with, I had smoked salmon open sandwich which had spinach and mushrooms on toasted sourdough--should have asked for no butter though. Wasn't all that fussed about going out for dinner, actually, but my husband wanted to take me, so I thought I better not say no, lest it puts him off asking me another day! We had a very pleasant evening after all. I had half a dozen oysters then an entree of grilled squid with soba noodle salad which all was quite legal. I did, however, manage to consume 3 skim milk lattes in the course of the day, and three glasses of wine, so I needed to use my exercise points to cover that. Luckily I did have a few points up my sleeve because I took Charlie for a massive walk earlier that day.

All up we walked about 8km according to Mapmyrun (thanks, Alison!)--and Melbourne's spring weather lived up to it's reputation of four seasons in one day. I thought it was quite chilly when I set out so wore my japara and beanie. By the time I got to the beach, it was hot and sunny so I left my shoes and coat by the steps. I walked a km or so down the beach further, then noticed the sky was getting quite black . . . what seemed like second later the heavens opened and there was thunder and lightning! Charlie was not impressed and I was a bit paranoid because a few years ago someone was killed by lightning on this same beach. The lightning was quite close and there weren't many other things that were sticking "up" except for Charlie and me! When I got back to where I left my shoes, they had inches of water in them! We made it back to the bridge and sheltered there a while, but the rain didn't seem to let up, so we just kept heading home. As you can see from our photos we were quite miserable when we got home!

Regardless of whether I lose a measly 100g overnight, or not, I think it's worth reflecting on how I got here and how different this year is from last year. At the end of term 3 2008, I found that I had a headache for about 3 weeks, I put it down to exhaustion. When school holidays came, I said to Mark that I just had to stay in bed and rest up so that I could beat the headaches. Well, it made no difference, so I went to see the Dr. The Dr could see nothing wrong with me (except for obesity, of course) but booked me in for tests just in case. The test results could have been worse, but basically my cholesterol, sugar levels, and liver function were all borderline, particularly for my age. What the Dr says was "a wake up call" . . . I told a friend I had to do something about my health and she suggested that I join Curves, which I did. I was thrilled to find something that I could do without feeling half dead afterwards and everyone was just so friendly. (I went on to be their "Biggest Loser" two months in a row!) At around about the same time, I checked out Weight Watchers . . . finding that the only meeting in my area was at a time when I really couldn't attend, so in desperation I joined Weight Watchers' Online. I did not expect to get very much out of it, to be honest. I found the tracker quite good but the real surprise was the support and inspiration I got from the Message boards and then the blogging community. I never did find out what was the cause of those headaches, but indirectly those headaches led to me where I am now . . . 29.9kg lighter! And do you know what? 30kg is REALLY heavy!! I know this sounds stupid, but last week I bought 30kg of horse feed and do you know what, I couldn't lift it. Yet this is what I was carrying around with me all the time.

I must apologise for the negativity of my last post. Although I'm still new, I usually do find being a teacher rewarding and worthwhile. However this year has been really tough. The mix of personalities and abilities and behaviours in my grade just make it really challenging at all times. I'm toying with the idea of applying for a new job. There is one advertised . . . but I feel so disloyal, loyalty being one of my better characteristics generally and something that I'm proud of. The school I am at has invested a lot in me . . . but I've certainly given it my all as well . And there are some things about how our school works, that I really don't like. But what if I move and it's the same or worse? Plus the other school is a private school, so that's like crossing over to the dark side. But my children go to the high school part of it and it's really, really close to where I live. And what makes me think I would get the other job, anyway?? I'm in quite a quandary and this is what Mark and I mainly talked about at dinner last night . More on this next time . . .

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hanging in there

Well I just returned from the school camp from hell and am relieved to see that I still weigh 82.9kg. I tried to do right thing foodwise, but it wasn't easy with fried chicken schnitzel, cauliflower and cheese, pies and sausages on the menu. Basically, I didn't eat the icecream, cake, hot chocolate etc on offer, tried to have plenty of water and fruit, but several of the meals were not kj friendly. Also because we were working so damn hard I did do things like have cereal AND three slices of toast for breakfast--which I would never, never do at home. Anyway, due to the fact that I was basically on my feet from 6.00 am til 11.00 pm and walking, walking, walking including two hikes inspite of all the cauliflower and cheese I ate AND the pizza and champagne I indulged in when I got home, I still remain 82.9kg.

It really was a difficult camp. We went to a education department owned school camp which is very affordable--because the teachers are basically SLAVES! This meant that we were responsible for all the serving of meals, washing of dishes, as well as running the activities. On Wednesday night we even had to cook dinner on the BBQ as well! I have been to this camp before with a smaller group but with 58 kids and 7 adults it was constantly hard yakka. We also had some real behaviour issues from 7 or 8 children who really should not have been allowed to go. Inspite of breaking their behaviour contracts in the time leading up to camp, these children were allowed to attend because it would be socially a good experience for them. Unfortunately they did not rise to the occasion and as usual spoilt things for everyone else. I really am over it, to be honest. And then to top it all off, two girls came down with gastro on the last night and were so sick, I felt so sorry for them and for me--having to stay up all night looking after them. There were some highlights watching some children show leadership skills you wouldn't normally see at school. Seeing children rise to challenges they didn't expect they would be able to achieve . . . but unfortunately the experience was quite clouded for me by some of the behaviour issues we had to deal with.

Anyway, I didn't gain weight, so that's all good. To my surprise one of the dads at our school came up to me when I was waiting for the children to be collected after camp and said "Can I just say something?" I thought here we go . . . what's he going to be complaining about when he said to my absolute surprise "You look amazing"--I thought he meant the bags under my eyes, the coldsore on my lip, the wild woman hair, the muddy clothes, but no he continued "You've done such a great job, you look fantastic, well done, keep it up" and I realised he was talking about my weight loss and we both got a little embarrassed. Anyway, it was good to hear when I felt like I had rarely looked LESS fantastic so I thanked him and muttered something about feeling better etc. I think it was really very kind of him to say anything as many blokes are afraid to bring it up or are worried about offending. Many of the guys at work have not ever said anything to me at all about it, which is fine of course.

Only one week left of term. I'm fairly crawling to the end. Honestly I know the understanding in the community is that teachers have jam on it with all the holidays they get, but I truly don't think I could do this job without the holidays. It's just too all consuming and stressful. Thank heavens I get two weeks to recharge and reassess.

Okay, things are getting serious in the weightloss stakes. This is my 52nd week on the weight watchers program. I ABSOLUTELY MUST lose 400g by 21 September. This will bring me to a nice round 30kg lost in a year. So I'm going into action--because I usually eat my exercise points my stats say that I have on average of 24.5 points a day . . . well this week I'm only going to have my allowed 22. I have been creeping back into my old wine drinking habit recently too, having a glass of wine most nights. While this is WAYYYY less than I used to consume, and I always count the points, I don't want to slip back into the "habit" of drinking alcohol just whenever. So this week, I'm only going to have 2 glasses of Jewel champagne (low joule, reduced alchohol) on Tuesday night when we have dinner with my parents and two drinks at the pub on Friday to celebrate the end of term. That's it. I'm also going to exercise everyday--3 visits to Curves and the rest dogwalking, at least my 4km route, if not the 5.5 km if it's not too dark. Here go--0peration Anniversary is on!

I'm looking forward to picking up my new glasses tommorrow, but won't post pictures yet as I have a MASSIVE cold sore on my lip due to the stress and exhaustion of the last week. All being well there will be -30kg/1 year anniversary/new glasses pictures posted Monday 21st!
Cheers, all

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Hair

As requested by Chris H, here is a photo of my new hair. You can't really tell in the photo that the colour is a lot warmer and redder than it has been for many years. For the last five years or so, I have had my hair coloured to be the colour that I think it was before I started going grey. I said to my hairdresser that maybe I could just leave it and let it go grey, because maybe I'd like it, but she wouldn't hear of it. She is a pretty bossy hairdresser actually, in a good way, because I don't have a clue about my hair and probably would just have it the same all the time if it were up to me. Now it's very short at the back, with lots of curls around my face and sort of a fringey thing. My son took a number of photos and this is the one my daughter liked best--saying that my fake smile in the other shots looked "scary" . . . Pity that my glasses are falling down my nose in this snap! Hmmm maybe the real problem is the subject matter!

Just for comparison, here's me dressed up in July 2008 for my mother's 70th . . .

NB My hair looks lighter in this pic because it was faded and wayyyyy over due for a touch-up! I'm pretty sure that my natural hair colour was nothing like this!

Anyway . . . stay tuned for the new glasses . . . can't wait! Since I became a truly old woman and had to wear multifocals which cost a fortune I have only had one pair of glasses and I'm truly sick to death of them. I had my eyes tested last week and although the perscription hadn't changed much, I ordered another pair anyway, so finally I'll be able to have two pairs to choose from. And the arms of them are really, really green (my favourite colour) so I got brave and chose a fashion pair instead of the" go with anything pair". They should me ready in 8-9 more working days!

While I'm uploading photos, I thought I'd put in some of my family, here I am with my two eldest children and a family friend, Clare, at Clare's twenty-first. I've known Clare since she was 3 . . . gees, makes me feel old for sure!

And another nice photo of Josie and Jacob taken that night . . .
And just so Fergus doesn't feel left out in case he ever reads this blog, here he is on his 11th birthday 30 June at the Star Wars exhibition at Scienceworks

And my husband Mark being accosted by a Storm Trooper

Ahh well, must try to get a current picture of us all together!!

Catch you later, L x

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Feeling Happy

Well I have to say, I feel terrific today!! Firstly, although I weigh everyday I don't get particularly hung up on the weight I see and look on it as a "rough" guide to what's going on, rather than the gospel truth (no blasphemy intended). Because I weigh everyday I know for a fact that my weight can vary from day to day by a whole kilo for no apparent reason. Sometimes I expect to see a good number because I've been doing everything right and for no apparent reason I'm a whole kg heavier than the day before!! Other times, I see a number which I truly don't deserve because I've been doing the wrong thing and it hasn't caught up with me yet. It's funny that we tend to think if the number is disappointing it must be because of fluid or salt or too much diet coke or feminine issues, but when we see a good number, we think it must be true, and get disappointed if it disappears the next day! Well after a year of daily weighing, I've come to not believe a good number until I've seen it for a few days. What tends to happen after a while of seeing 84. something I'll get a glimpse of 83.9 and then the next day it will disappear . . . so it's only when I've seen a number a few times that I think it's really happened. Well, I've been seeing 83 something for four days now and this morning I say 83.4 so I've decided it's really true. I'm only .9 away from having lost a nice round 30kg--and it is still 3 weeks from my 1 year Weight Watcher anniversary. Yes, I could have done it faster, probably. Yes I have only lost 1.5kg this month. But this time, I really think I "get" the bit about permanent weight loss and I think my persistence is paying off. Slow and steady does win the race in the end! Very happy.

Another good thing that happened today is that I went to my Professional Learning Literacy group and feel very motivated about getting things happening in my literacy block at school. Our group has been meeting for two and half years and we really have bonded as a community of learners. It really is very stimulating. My grade this year is the most challenging I have had so far, so I need these little boosts to keep my enthusiasm going.

Then I went to my hairdresser's and had a new hairdo. Got very adventurous and had a different colour for the first time in about 5 years!! Not a huge change, but more red and "warm" than before. I let her get a bit carried away with the cut and I really like it. When I walked in, two of the ladies and one of the customers told me how nice I looked, at different times. I was only wearing jeans (but my nice new ones that actually fit and that are 4 sizes smaller than I used to wear) and a jumper--but it is quite fashionable one with an asymmetrical hem. And I had some jewellery on other than my wedding ring which is unusual for me. Mark bought me a bottle of perfume when he was in Singapore recently and I've been spraying it about, lately too. Yesterday a fashion-concious friend of mine helped me choose new glasses frames. Hmmmm, new hair, jewellery, perfume?? I used to just choose my clothes by what fitted and was clean! Can it be that I'm feeling better about myself so I'm taking a bt more effort?? I think that's what's been happening and I didn't even realise it!! It's a nice process, really.

Exercise has been good this week. No dog walking, though, but not through fears of finding body parts! We have had some really wild weather here on Phillip Island and in the Melboure region generally and as enthusiastic about walking as I am, I'm not willing to battle 100km hour plus winds. So instead it's been the gym on Monday and Wednesday and the treadmill on Tuesday and Thursday. STill find the treadmill mindnumbingly boring, though. Looking forward to investing in an ipod and checking out some talking books.

Reading back, I don't know if that bit about the good numbers and bad numbers will make any sense to anyone but me, but never mind. It's just a bit of a mind game I play with myself.

Good night all . . . happy, happy happy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The hazards of dog walking

Well I'm quite proud of myself, I walked every day last week, although I only made it to the gym once. I am looking after my parents' dog, Sophie, so that is really extra incentive to walk as Sophie is cooped up in their yard all day. We can't keep her here with Charlie as she is an escape artist par excellence and our fences don't contain her. Another blogger, Alison, put me on to mapmyrun.com and I love it! I figured out I walked 5.6km tonight!

There have been a few disincentives to walking as well however. The biggest one being that last week, someone walking their dog found a human leg washed up on the beach--can you believe it! It's kind of like living in a Patricia Cornwell novel as the foot had a tattoo on it and they have published it in all the papers in the hopes that someone can identify it and help with figuring out who the owner of the leg was! I bound declared that I wouldn't walk on the beach again until the rest of the bits popped up, but being the beach lover I am, haven't been able to stick to it. I'm just not investigating any large mounds of seaweed too closely. I can't help but think about that poor person and wonder what happened to her (it is a female leg apparently).

Even though it has been blowing a gale, you can tell spring is in the air. The wind carries the scent of tea tree blossom which has a honeyed smell to it. And the plovers chicks are hatching. Plovers are properly called masked lapwings and they nest on the ground, sometimes in the most bizarre places. The parent's agressively guard their nests and their young--who can blame them--by dive bombing anyone who walks past. Do they like it when one walks by with two dogs, no they do not!! I am usually very sympathetic to the plight of plovers, thinking they have as much right to be here as anyone else, but they do choose some very public places to rear their babies, so somehow I think they are asking for trouble. The chicks are very cute, though, and I love to see them about the place.

Well, I wonder what excitement next weeks dog walking will bring?!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weight wise I have been maintaining rather than losing over the last month. I have had a few busy social weekends and have over indulged, so on one level, I'm pleased that I've maintained rather than gained, but on the other hand I need to refocus, or I won't reach the goals I've set for myself. I tell myself that I'm taking the slow and steady approach to weight loss, and I'm not fussed as long as the weight goes down however slowly. Over the past 7 or 8 months, I've been losing 400 or 500 grams a week on average. I regularly go a few points over my "weight watcher points". And this is okay as long as I'm exercising. I still lose. However, over the past six weeks my exercise hasn't been too flash. I've only lost 2.1 kg in 7 weeks. I've been sick and have had family commitments which I've let get in the way. I find that when I go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, I get really upset if I miss a session. If I go to the gym one or two times, it's easy not to go. So this next week, I really will aim for at least 3 times. My parents are away, and I am entrusted with the care of their dog as well as our little Charlie, so I've walked them for an hour the last 3 nights. If I can keep this up it will really help. I can do better than this. I really want to be 82.5 by 21 September--my 1 year weight watcher anniversary. This will mean 30 kg's gone in 12 months. I really, really want to be under 80 by Christmas. And I really, really, really want to be 75 kg or less when we go to Bali to celebrate Josie's birthday at the end of March, 2010. I can do this! I will do this!

Sometimes, for someone as messy and disorganised as I am, I surprise myself, by having a touch of the obsessive compulsive about me . . . counting while I walk is one of the manifestations of this! I am thinking of investing in an ipod, to see if that will stop me from obsessively counting my steps. Today I realised that instead of counting, I was actually repeating 79.5, 79.5, 79.5. How good is that? That's got to help, I reckon. I WILL be 79.5 at Christmas time, or sooner.

I have got my week off to a good start. Ihave cooked up some curried lentils and quinoa. Obstensively for my newly vegetarian son, but healthy, low point and filling work lunches for me, as well.

Cheers, all. 79.5, 79.5, 79.5 ........

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Menu Plan for the next week

Well here goes for next week--pretty easy as we will only be home for 3 meals

Monday*--Pasta with cream cheese chicken
Tuesday--Dinner at Mum's--usually fairly point friendly
Wednesday*--Tomato Beef Curry
Thursday: Cheesy eggplant canneloni--omnivores can have leftovers from either Monday or Wednesday
Friday: school disco--weight watchers dinner in school microwave for me--fish and chips for family at home

Monday and Wednesday are judo nights, so crockpot meals are essential. I drive back from Wonthaggi to the Island, then back to Wonthaggi where Jacob goes to Judo and I go to Curves, then back to Phillip Island again at about 7.45.

Menu planning is a bit more complicated with Jacob having recently turned vegetarian. He has been so interested in learning to cook vetetarian meals and sits up at the kitchen bench helping me cook and taking notes, so I feel I have to accommodate him. I have been alternating cooking vego and then cooking meat based meals, so Jacob can have leftovers the other nights. We have also bought a few chickpea/vegie burgers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pasta with simmered veal shanks (or beef shin!)

I love the rich taste of osso bucco, but I don't love the fact that this is often quite a fatty, gristly cut of meat. Part of the problem is that ideally osso bucco should be cut from the shanks of the forelegs of the animal, rather than the back. Also, veal is preferable to fully grown cows. Here on Phillip Island it seems that all the osso bucco that is on offer is cut from the backlegs of very old cows, as it is often very gristly indeed. Part of the problem is that with working full time I haven't been able to develop a good relationship with my butcher to coerce him into saving the best parts for me, and I'm not great at pre-ordering, but that's another story. I have found that this pasta sauce satisfies my urge for rich tasting tender ossobucco, but means I can remove the fat and gristle before I eat it.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe by Donna Hay, but I have adapted it, particularly by adding another step--chilling the sauce so that I can remove the fat before I serve it. I usually cook this in the slow cooker, which takes a 8 or 9 hours, so I either cook the dish the day before I want to serve it or even over night, to allow it to cool in the fridge--an easy way to remove the fat. Therefore this dish takes a lot of TIME, but it is so dead easy and there is no chopping (other than shredding up the cooked meat) unlike in spaghetti bolognaise, etc. And my family likes it better than spag bol!!

For double quantity (to feed 8 hungry people--probably more weight watchers!) to cook in slow cooker. 3 points for an 8th of recipe.

  • 4 sliced cloves of garlic
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs (use 1 tbs dried, or to taste)
  • 2 x 700ml bottle of tomato passata (could use tinned tomato puree or diced tomatoes instead)
  • 500 ml of red wine
  • 4 stock cubes dissolved in 2 cups of warm water
  • 8 large thick slices of osso bucco or beef shin (If you are lucky enough to find small thick slices of veal shank from the foreleg of the animal, use a couple more)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Rigatoni (or large penne or pappedelle--you need a robust type of pasta for this chunky sauce)
Place osso bucco in slow cooker. Toss in other ingredients. Cook on low for approximately 8 or9 hours.

Turn off slow cooker and remove meat. Allow to cool slightly and shred meat (you should be easily able to do this with your fingers or you can chop it a little with a knife if you prefer. I like getting my hands into food when I'm cooking, myself!) Usually the "marrow" will cook away, but if it is still in the bones, remove it and chop it too. It adds to the richness of the sauce. Return meat to the sauce allow to cool a little more and refrigerate.

Before heating, remove fat from the surface of the sauce. Now you have a beautiful rich sauce for your pasta. When you are ready to serve just gently reheat your sauce in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave while you cook your pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

If it is a little too watery still, you can simmer it a little when you reheat it to serve.

NOTES: You can make a half quantity of this dish on the stove top or in the oven (160c for 2 1/2 hours). I cook a large amount because it will do us for two meals and I have a massive slow cooker, so if I want to use this, a double quantity works better (slow cookers work best if they are at least 1/2 full). If cooking on the stove top or in the oven, use 4 cups of water (instead of the two) with the stock cubes, or use 4 cups of stock, as there is more evaporation with these methods.

This is a very forgiving recipe!! One time, I made a big pot thinking I was feeding 8 and then 8 became 11. I just grabbed another bottle of passata and simmered it together with the sauce for 45 minutes and no one was any the wiser.

A more "watery" version of this sauce (add more stock/water & stock cubes) makes a nice sauce for lasagne.

I prefer Provisto Sugo or Aldi brand passata (puree tomato sauce) as they contain just tomatoes basically! Many other brands have heaps of salt and sugar or added herbs which affect the flavour.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

One of my new friends from the Weight Watcher's Forum, Jo, has inspired me to plan my menu for the week. I'm trying to get into the habit of "Menu Planning Monday".
Monday: We had Mediterranean Chicken with polenta. Kids hated it. Husband and I loved it.

Tuesday: Chow Mein, a recipe posted by a fellow WW board member, Angyl

Wednesday: Lesley--out for dinner with girlfriend, Mark & Josie--in Melbourne, Boys will have pasta with simmered veal shanks

Thursday: Friend Ann Marie will be visiting with two of her children and my parents will come to dinner also. I am planning a bit of an Italian Feast with Chicken Lasagne (mainly for the kids), Spaghetti Marinara (Mainly for the Grown Ups) and Potato Pizza (My signature dish--everyone loves). May get totally carried away and make dessert too. Maybe chocolate pudding as I recently bought a new dish I would like to use!

Friday: Maybe mussels for grown ups and any seafood eating kids. Barbecue chicken sticks for non seafood eaters.

Jo has a fantastic food blog with many recipes Weight Watcher friendly. If you haven't been by there I suggest you have a look. A Dash of Flavour


Serendipity. It's my favourite word. Not only does it has a mellifluous (my 2nd favourite word) sound about it, the meaning of the word is so delightful too. The act of finding something without looking for it. What a delightful thing to happen.

Well I had a serendipitous event occur to me today. My youngest son, Fergus, and I decided to walk our dog Charlie over the bridge into San Remo and have a milkshake and coffee respectively. (Charlie always refrains from partaking of the Doggyccino at the cafe, so he had a drink from a puddle on the way). This is about an hour of walking altogether and I thought it would be good for us all to get out of the house.

It was quite a squally day, so I started out with a beanie on but soon got too hot from the brisk pace Fergus and Charlie were keeping. To my dismay, I realised I had lost the beanie somewhere en route, and nearly accosted a child at the playground who was wearing a similar hat to enquire if he had recently found it. Fergus was really insistent that I didn't make this accusation, so I had my coffee and simmered over the lost beanie to myself!

On the way back, at the foot of the bridge, I noticed some white things blown up against the chain fence near the road. One was an old yogurt pot that had been bleached by the sea and sun. One was a paper nautilus shell.

I should point out at this moment that I am an avid rockpool rambler and beachcomber and that it has been my life's ambition to find a paper nautilus shell!! One of my friends, who is Phillip Island born and bred, has only ever found two in her whole life. Both my daughter and mother have found one and I have spent ten times more time walking on the beach than either of them--a fact that has always seemed totally unjust to me. To find one at the foot of the bridge 20 or 30 metres from the beach was bizarre, but it was really windy and the shell is really light so I guess it just blew up from the sand and got stuck in the fence. Like the yogurt pot.

Here it is,

Paper nautilus shells come from a really amazing octopus-like creature called the Argonaut. They are not really a shell, but in fact the egg case of these creatures.

If you would like to learn more about the argonaut, try here http://museumvictoria.com.au/caughtandcoloured/nautilusvoice.aspx

I was also chuffed to see how my family members were so delighted when I returned triumphant with my shell. Everyone was completely aware of how much this meant to me and think it's perfectly fine that I was so excited. They are all cool with the fact that I have a favourite word. In fact, Josie has one too. It's sesquipedalian. So once again, in a family, eccentricities are as normal as the smell of bread.

At my fortieth birthday my friend Ann Marie even immortalised my quest to find a paper nautilus shell in her song "The Girl from Phillip Island" (to the tune of "The Girl from Ipanema)
In rockpool rambles, she answers to Ranger Lel
Lives to find that Paper Nautilus Shell . . .

Ah well. Looks like I need to find another life's ambition! What a great day.

PS. I found the beanie on the way back too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My First Recipe . . . Risotto with Spicy Sausage

Well, I have been combing the web looking for yummy, healthy meal options and I am amazed with the generosity of so many home cooks who readily share their recipes and expertise, not to mention invest their time to help out others by posting on their recipe blogs. I don't think I will be a daily recipe poster, but every now and then, I think an outstanding recipe deserves to be shared, and this is one of them! I got this recipe from a dear friend, Ann-Marie, who gave it to me while she was on a Weight Watcher journey of her own. I did have to play around with the recipe a little, as the points must have changed since her day, but one sixth still makes a decent sized serve and is only 6.5 point, which is quite respectable, I think! If, like me, you are greedy and eat 1 quarter, then allow 9.5 points. It's totally worth it, trust me!

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 tsps of olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 100g chorizo, sliced
  • 450 g arborio rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional, but nice)
  • 250 ml of white wine
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 160.

Place wine, stock and saffron into a saucepan and gently bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, spray an oven proof/flame proof casserole dish with oil (I used a cast iron one) and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add chopped capsicum and continue to cook for a minute or two then add tomato and chorizo and cook for another minute. Add rice and oil and toss to make sure the rice is coated.

Add stock mixture and place in oven, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir through the parmesan and chopped parsley. Return to oven for a further 15 minutes or until stock is absorbed and rice is cooked. Serve with more parmesan, if desired (count the extra points!)

Friday, July 3, 2009

My entry into the blogosphere

Okay . . . I admit it . . . I am addicted to reading other people's blogs!!

A few years ago, when I first heard the term "blogging", I remember thinking who would want to read the day to day ramblings of Mr and Mrs average??? Now I understand what many a novelist already knew all along, that sometimes the day to day stuff is the most interesting of all.

One of my favourite writers when I was a teenager was John Irving of "The World According to Garp" fame. While friends of mine had rockstars and actors plastered on their bedroom walls, I had a picture of John Irving. Pretentious, I know! Anyway, I think it was in his book "The Hotel New Hampshire" when one of his characters said "In a family, eccentricities are as normal as the smell of bread." How true that is! Sometimes we are oblivious to our own eccentricities because we are so used to them. So what I am trying to say I guess is that everyday people are interesting and I've been really enjoying getting to know some folk over the internet, although as I only just today figured out how to make a Google Account (it's sad, I know) I have been lurking rather than making my presence felt to others, which sounds a wee bit creepy.

Anyway, I have really enjoyed reading about "the lives of others'" and have been amazed at the millions of people who are out there blogging about the dinners they've cooked and the recipes they have created or sourced and I thought to myself "I like to cook" . . . maybe I should try that too!

Also, I have now lost nearly 27 kg since September. I have found that I am really motivated by the many generous bloggers who share their ups and downs of their weight loss journeys, and of course those all important "before and after" shots. Again, I feel a bit like a stalker as I frequent these blogs desperate to hear if people have lost or gained and to pick up any little tips here and there. Weightloss blogs have really helped me with my journey, so who knows, maybe I can help someone else. That is another reason for my decision to try blogging myself.

Finally, it is clear to me that a number of people get clarification and catharsis from self-reflecting in their blogs and I really enjoy writing--I am a terror with an email (I'm told by work colleagues that they save my emails to have with a cup of tea, or maybe that's a nice way of saying they don't read them!) and frequently have to edit my posts on the Weight Watcher boards because they are too long--so I'm thinking I would benefit from that self-reflection too. Which may be just as well, as I dont' know if I'll ever attract any readers!!

What kind of blog will this be, I wonder?? I need to do a whole lot of reflecting about my new career as a teacher as I'm finding that pretty challenging . . . also I do LOVE to eat and cook . . . and I am serious about my plight to get to a normal healthy weight . . . and then I need to vent about the demands of being a wife and mother of three . . . so we'll see what direction this blog will take in time I guess. Probably all of the above. I'm not real crash hot on organisation however, so I don't know how I'll go with folders and labels and everything like that. I have about 3000 unfiled documents on my hard drive so I'm thinking the end result will be a little chaotic, but I'm keen to get started and see what happens!!

A Word About the "Before Pictures"

I avoid the camera like most fatties, however, Easter 2008 while on holidays with family and friends I couldn't avoid it constantly that's why all my current "before" pics are taken in Bali! I don't know why all my photos are coming out so small . . . I still have a lot to learn about this blogging thing.