Sunday, 22 May 2016

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT CORFU . . .

I've been a big fan of the Greek Islands for years but over the last few years Corfu has became a firm favourite . . . So much so that I've just returned from a week holiday there for the third year in a row!

So this is where I'm going to tell you why I go to Corfu . . . And why YOU should consider going too!



1. Holidays are cheap
Compared to Spain or Spanish islands, booking a holiday to a Greek island tends to be far more reasonably priced  (at least it does from Glasgow!) and Corfu is consistently one of the cheapest. Please note though that a low price does not spell out bad quality when it comes to this beautiful island!


2. It's a short flight
Some of the Greek Islands  (Rhodes for example) are a five plus hour flight from the UK. As Corfu is actually situated slightly north west of Greece and actually more in line with Albania it is only a 3 and a half hour flight from Glasgow if you are (like myself) not a great flyer. Ideal!


3. Great weather

Beautiful weather - you can find the apartments here!

I've always went in May where admittedly the weather can be a bit changeable still at times... but I've never had less than five lovely days in a week and those days, although seeming to be in the late teens, low twenties according to the weather forecast, have a real feel of far higher temperatures. That being said, it's never felt overly humid... which is a great thing!


4. The food
Oh my God, the food itself is enough to make me immediately want to return. Baked feta is the absolute bomb (boyfriend bought two packs of feta in Tesco as soon as we got home so we could recreate that dish asap!); or how about sausage stuffed with feta and garlic? Sausage in a spicy tomato sauce? Moussaka? Kleftiko? Sofrito? Cheese pies? I could go on. (But I'll stop. And just refer you to a selection of some of the delicious meals I sampled this year in the below pic.)


If you're not into Greek food there are plenty of other cuisine options on offer and even the traditional Greek places tend to offer non-Greek options... but as far as I'm concerned the Greek options were by far the best! If you are in Sidari I would recommend The Three Little Pigs, El Greco or Ocean Taverna for delicious meals. You're welcome!


5. Friendly people
The people in Corfu are so friendly and will do their best to make you feel at home. You're warmly greeted when you enter a restaurant, they'll go out of their way to make conversation with you and often will even shake your hand when you leave! Occasionally you might even be provided with a little shot of kumquat liqueur with the bill (if you're really lucky!). You don't get that happening much back at home. Nor do you pop into a shop for wine for the apartment and find yourself having a twenty minute conversation with the shop owners about Brexit! And if you don't speak Greek don't worry - no one expects you to be able to. Phew! Yamas! (Feel free to learn more words if you want - unfortunately that's the only one I know - it's "cheers" by the way!)


6. Varied types of holiday available
Corfu has many different resorts so can cater to all. You have Kavos for the clubber type holidays  (well I'm assuming here as I've never been there but I have had the dubious pleasure of seeing a couple of episodes of "What Happens in Kavos"...), you have tiny quiet resorts if you want to get away from it all (if you do, I would highly recommend Kalami, which is teeny but stunning) . . . And Sidari, where I've stayed the past two years, has a lovely mix of quiet and busy, traditional and modern. You can stay in apartments that seem remote and set in countryside but the actual hustle and bustle of the main strip of Sidari is a mere ten minute walk away so you can literally have the best of both. Ideal!


7. Fantastic scenery

Posing at the Canal d'Amour
Pop up to the Canal d'Amour (or remains of it anyway) in Sidari, or get a more traditional vibe in Corfu town, taking in the culture and shops. There is plenty to see and do if you're not a beach person. When we stayed in Kalami two years ago we hired a boat and sailed up and down the coast a bit which is a great way of seeing more of Corfu. You also get some stunning sunsets over both Corfu and neighbouring Albania.

Corfu town

Sunset pic courtesy of the fella


8. The prices
All that wonderful food I mentioned? Ridiculously cheap. Once again, the quality does not suffer.  You'd never get these dishes at home for such reasonable prices! The alcohol is also very cheap both in restaurants/bars and if you're just looking to buy a bottle or two for your apartment/as a holiday gift.


So . . . what are you waiting for? Get that holiday booked, stat!

Oh, and take me with you? Please???


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

SIGNS YOU ARE STILL A "FRIENDS" ADDICT . . .

"How many blog posts can one girl write about a TV show that hasn't actually had a new episode for twelve years?" I hear you ask. A few, is my answer. Perhaps this will even be my last, but I wouldn't count on it.


So today I'm going to identify vital signs to show you are still a "Friends" addict. Fairly sure I'm more-than-qualified to write this!
  • You have watched every episode at least twenty times. Probably far more than that. To be fair,you lost count a long time ago.
  • You continue to watch it on Comedy Central every opportunity you can. Even though you own most, if not all, of it on DVD.
  • You can remember the last time you saw an episode for the first time and the one it was. (For me, the one where Emily was first introduced. In 2008 when my friend loaned me the series 4 boxset.)
  • And you can't understand how you possibly missed an episode of it for that long!
  • You frequently quote from it. (My personal favourite "It's a moo point. It's like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's moo." can surprisingly be inserted into a lot of conversations.)
  • You notice the inconsistencies. Like Ross having more than one birthday for example. And you judge the writers for failing to notice such an oversight.
  • You can actually find a Friends reference for pretty much anything that happens to you or someone else in real life.
  • You have a friend who says "I really wish I understood your Friends reference because it seems to mean so much to you . . . but I don't think I've seen that episode" and they clearly feel bad about it as they know how much it means to you.
  • When you meet someone who likes "Friends" as much as you it's like you have met your soulmate and you never want to let them go!
  • It doesn't matter how many other films and TV programmes you have watched the cast members in . . . they will always be Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe to you.
And last but not least?
  • You write a blog post outlining the signs of still being a "Friends" addict. Er . . . guilty?!?

Have I missed anything? Are you still a fan? Feel free to share!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

P'S TOP PICKS: FAVOURITE BLOGGERS . . .

Now I've mentioned before that, having had this wee blog for over 8 years, I've found that many of the blogs I read back in the day haven't had new content in a long time. Luckily, after doing a bit of research on Twitter, which mainly involved stalking the #lbloggers and #thegirlgang hashtags and clicking on any links that took my fancy, I have started to build up a new base of blogs I like to read along with some of my existing favourites who happily stuck around. So I thought now is the time to share my top picks!


Corinne from skinnedcartree.com posts every single day - I not only find this uber-impressive, but it also means I always have something new to read from her when I log into bloglovin. (Result!) Her content is always fresh and entertaining and she gives some great blogging advice. Definitely worth checking out!

Now I might seem a little biased about this one as I consider Dawn from The Thing About Chaos one of my besties . . . but trust me, her blog is fab and she is as hilarious as she is honest. And her food posts always make me really hungry. (Not sure if that is a good thing though. :-/)

I've brought this girl up before, but I'm going to mention her again - if you aren't already reading Vix Meldrew you need to stop what you're doing and click through right now. I always know I'm guaranteed an entertaining read when a new post from her pops up in my feed.

If you're looking for an entertaining blog about great things to see in Scotland (and who isn't? Scotland is the best place in the world after all!), I'd like to direct you to another good friend of mine, Kate, and her blog Love From Scotland.  You'll find tons of ideas for Scotland travel there and Kate's love of Scotland clearly shines through.

Mayor Gia is a blog I've been following for quite a few years now. She's funny and I love her illustrated posts and her interactions with her boyfriend. Enough said.

Scarlet Wonderland - great writing and great content. And I never know what to expect!

Jemma aka Dorkface probably has one of the cutest and most aesthetically-pleasing blogs of all of the blogs that I read. She also writes some great posts (it's not all about looks after all) and is the leader of #TheGirlGang which is a great wee community. (More info on that can be found here.)

And last but not least . . . because I love a good throwback and I hate the idea that anyone might have missed out on this fabulous blog, despite the fact there has not been a post in a long time from her . . . you should check out Hyperbole and a Half's archive. Some brilliant stuff there - great insight into depression and a hilarious story about how Kenny Loggins (of all people) ruined Christmas.

Who are your favourite bloggers?

Monday, 9 May 2016

BETTER CONNECTED . . .

Once upon a time, we lived in a world without the internet.

I know, I know. It was a cold lonely place and I try not to think about it too much, but we did. And we survived fine without it. Although it seems unthinkable now.


Growing up in the eighties and nineties, I didn't even have the internet in school. It was only when I moved to uni in '97 that I discovered the awesomeness that was the worldwide web. And back then businesses having their own websites were few and far between, whereas today it's the ones without internet that are far from the norm!

I became addicted to the internet very quickly and while others around me in the computer labs were frantically trying to produce essays to a deadline, I'd be on the chat rooms wasting away many hours with complete strangers. This was before social media was even a popular thing, back when Friends Reunited were still trying to charge you a fiver if you wanted to find out what anyone from your school was actually doing with their lives.

Wow, I feel like I'm typing in a foreign language since what we have now is so far removed from that.

Nowadays we have our smartphones and a world of information literally at our fingertips. No longer do you have to wonder how many kids Sally from school has. Or if you're watching a tv programme and you can't place the hot lead guy in it, you can actually just google him rather than wreck your head for the next few days trying to work out what TV programme he used to be the geeky kid in ten years ago. You can even cheat in a pub quiz. (Although you shouldn't, and if you do, I judge you pretty hard. Cheating is not cool, folks!)

But here's what annoys me. I don't know about other countries, but there are so many places in Scotland where you can't get any internet whatsoever. So you're driving about Scotland, taking awesome pictures, desperate to post them on Instagram . . . and you can't because there's no bloody 4G for miles around! You have some pithy observation you want to tweet but it just keeps flashing up saying "posting... posting... posting" and eventually just fails. Or lets you think it's failed and then it ends up posting twice, it's just you didn't know that cos of the shitty signal!

Last October I was in Fuerteventura, and one day we went over to one of my favourite places - a little uninhabited island called Lobos. I remember standing on the dock waiting for the boat back . . . and tweeting my shock that I had a better internet signal on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Atlantic than I did in most parts of Scotland!

I know people say you should switch off from the internet and social media for once in a while... but personally I find little more frustrating than not having the option to get on the internet if you want it. We stayed in a hotel at the weekend where my 4G was very weak and the hotel wi-fi was sporadic at best . . . and as I pointed out to the boyfriend, this is actually a worse situation than having either great wi-fi or no wi-fi whatsoever. If you have no wi-fi, you just don't even bother trying to access the internet. If you have decent wi-fi you'll actually go on less (in theory) because you know you have it at any time.

Half-assed wi-fi is the worst, because you spend more time trying to see if your tweet sent, your picture eventually posted on Insta, or (in this case, because the TV remote wasn't working) trying and failing to find out if there's anything on the telly you actually want to watch. And moaning about how rubbish the connection is.

(I'm looking back at the last few paragraphs and thinking "why do you keep saying 'wi-fi'? Stop it!")

So anyway . . . what's my point? Um . . . wait, I know!

Once upon a time I could survive without the internet. But now . . . I cannot. I need the internet to be there and accessible to me at all times whenever possible.

Please don't deny me my internet rights!!!

Can you survive without the internet?

Friday, 6 May 2016

HAVE I GOT MY SHIT TOGETHER YET???

So a couple of days before 2015 morphed into 2016, I made a few resolutions here on the blog.  I thought it might be time to check in on them several months on to see if I'd actually managed to stick to any of them.

Let's get going!


1) Cook more
I reckon I've done pretty well so far on this one. A look at my Instagram feed will back that up(feel free to check it out here - gotta love a bit of shameless self promotion, amIright?) - there's been copious amounts of chilli, curry, Italian food, Mexican inspired meals . . . I even made a delicious cashew butter fudge (yes, you heard. Cashew butter fudge!) in the early days of 2016 which I really need to make again just so I can share the recipe with you lovely folk. And also because it was really yummy and I really want to stuff my face with it again.

Verdict: Making Progress. Keep up the good work! (And STEP AWAY FROM THE FUDGE!)

2) Exercise more
This has just not been my year in terms of exercise. I had all the best of intentions, but it quickly fell by the wayside. It just seemed more fun after a long day of work to come home and sit on my arse and watch episodes of "Friends" and drink wine. I can't believe it's already May, I'm going on holiday in a week's time and actually feeling worse about my body than I was at the start of the year. That was not my intention at all!

Verdict: Major fail. Must do better. Must do something!

3) See even more of Scotland
The trips I mentioned in that previous post have been completed. Tarbert in February was lovely, and we finally hopped on board the Strathspey Railway last month and thoroughly enjoyed a night in Aviemore.  There was an overnight in Fort William, taking in the snow in Glen Coe. And many mini road trips. I have my list of places I want to visit, and I want to tick off a couple of those this year still. Fingers crossed!

Verdict: Doing well so far.

4) Blog more
Probably my greatest success so far. I have been blogging a couple of times a week for the most part and I'm more enthusiastic about the content I have been producing and ideas I've been coming up with for a long time. Getting more involved with the blogger side of twitter has definitely helped with this, and I'll be posting about this very soon as this has made such a massive difference to me. I'm starting to get more views again and more comments and I actually am so excited every time I come up with a new idea for a post. Blogging is fun again for me, and this is something I am so happy about.

Verdict: Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Fine holiday fun. (Totally bonus points for you if you get that reference.)

5) Save more money
I have like 250 pounds in my savings now. I'm probably going to end up having to use loads of it as I'm pretty skint again and it's still a week until payday . . .

Verdict: Ah well, you can't win them all. And the old adage "saving for a rainy day" is a moot point in Glasgow...

All in all, I reckon I've actually done okay. Just need to get up off my arse a bit more and stop throwing my money away on wine and eating out. Hmmm... maybe those should have been my resolutions?

Who am I kidding?!? I wouldn't have lasted a week with those ones . . .

How are YOUR resolutions going for 2016???

Thursday, 5 May 2016

POLL POSITION . . .

So today is the Scottish elections and I got out bright and early this morning prior to work to put my votes in.

Voting is one of those things that makes me feel anxious. Here's why . . .



It makes me nervous
It's just such a serious process, because you know it means something (no matter how many people think it doesn't). It makes me feel like I'm under exam conditions and I always come out of the polling station wondering if I actually voted for who I intended to vote for. (Today I made extra sure I did so for once I actually know I definitely did. But I was still nervous.) One of the reasons I make sure I go in the morning, as early as I can, before work, is so I can make sure it's out of the way and I'm not thinking about it all day. (I don't really trust postal votes, so this isn't really an option for me).

Finding where you need to vote in the polling station
Even with lists of which table to go to or even someone directing me directly to the table, I am always worried that I am going to somehow end up at the wrong one, 

The fear that I am actually not registered to vote
Despite, y'know, holding the polling card in my hand. :-/

The gauntlet of canvassers outside
I know how I'm voting - I don't need an armful of leaflets from all the other parties when I'm actually headed into the polling station itself to make my actual vote (and I am too busy worrying about whether I'll get lost trying to find where I need to vote or whether I'm actually registered or not to feign politeness).

That I won't fold my ballot paper properly or something equally ridiculous
A lot of my anxieties about voting are pretty irrational and this is one of them. But it's still valid. For example, today one of the ballot papers was much bigger than the other one. I folded them both over once as normal and then when I got to the ballot boxes realised the big one was still too big to fit in the box and was standing next to it folding it up extra feeling the eyes of the staff on me, feeling like an idiot.

That who I voted for won't win
This is probably the biggest anxiety. But, let's face it, not everyone can win. And at least I've voted. Because everyone knows you are only allowed to complain about the result if you've actually made sure your voice was heard.

And that's why I force myself to vote despite my irrational worries!

Am I alone in this?

Saturday, 30 April 2016

WELCOME TO MOLLY-LAND!


This is Molly. Also known to us as "Mols", "Mollster", "Mollykins" and "Mollylicious".

She's my sister's cat, so technically - technically - she's my niece. Isn't she lovely?

Me and the fella have been at my sister's flat for the past few days, catsitting, while my sister and brother in law are in Spain. Lovely though she is though, there are a couple of disadvantages to it.

I feel like I get nothing done when she's around

I know cats are meant to be independent but I feel like I spend most of my time in the flat trying to entertain her or watch her to decide whether she wants entertaining. In the  few days I've been here I've gotten behind in blogging, reading blogs, even tweeting. And when I exercise, she appears next to me and watches me like I'm absolutely mental so I end up feeling self-conscious and stopping. Shamed by a cat - shame on me!

I'm a bit allergic to her

I probably am allergic to cats and didn't realise sooner as I've never had a pet and, until Molly appeared in my life, never had extended periods of access to one. But around her I get runny eyes, runny nose, a wheezy cough . . . and the closer I get to her, the worse the symptoms are. Which is a shame because I absolutely love her and want to give her cat snuggles. (Yes. I went there. I said "cat snuggles". Don't start me.) She's the only reason I've ever had need to take anti-histamines!

Feeding guilt

I have instructions about how much to feed her and that's fine . . . . it's good to have guidance about these things. But the packs of food are so small and I just feel like she must be starving all the time. Last night I went straight out after work and felt so guilty when we didn't get home until after ten - she'd not had a feed since half eight. She seemed fine with it . . . but I wasn't. And when she starts staring at her bowl and then purring beseechingly at me I just feel like my heart is breaking for her.

Changing the litter

I don't think I even need to go into this one in any detail. Thankfully we've only had to do that once so far.

Vanishing acts

Molly isn't an outdoor cat, which is a good thing . . . because I sometimes lose her in this two bedroom flat. More often that not, if I can't find her, she's either on top of the wardrobe, or in her little den (which is under a sheet on top of the sister's exercise bike). But there's so many nooks and crannies she could potentially be in that sometimes it can take me a while to find her! And this leads me on to my next point . . .

Morning woes

When I wake up in the morning, I don't know where she is. If you don't leave the bedroom door open, apparently she used to cry outside it, so we don't risk that. So I don't know where she is . . .  and I hate that, because it freaks me out a bit. The other morning I peeked out from under the cover and she was just sitting next to me on the bed STARING at me - I nearly jumped out of my skin! Plus she then winds her way between my legs as I try to get to the kitchen to get her food . . . does she want to kill me before I can feed her or what???


But despite all this she is bloody adorable and I love her to bits. Pets are pretty damn awesome. <3 p="">

Thursday, 28 April 2016

EVEN *MORE* REASONS WHY I FEEL I'M FAILING AT BEING A "GIRLY GIRL" . . .

So after my post last week about reasons why I fail I'm failing at being a "girly girl", I immediately (of course!) thought of a few more. Damn, blast and blow, I thought, what is a girl to do?

Why, make a part two of course!

So let's do this!


High heels

This is something I've spoken about before - I cannot walk in high heels at all. I frequently fall off them and/or end up with sore shaky legs, plus I look like Bambi on rollerblades. I spent most of six seasons of Sex and the City marvelling at how Carrie Bradshaw could actually not only walk, but RUN, in most of her skyscraper designer shoes! Probably my lack of talent at walking in stilt shoes is also one of the reasons why I don't really get very excited about buying shoes and I virtually live in Primark ballet pumps. Even on nights out if I can get away with it I'll opt for flat or flat(ish) shoes despite only being 5 foot 3.And I own about three pairs of high heels. So I definitely don't feel like a girly girl in this respect!

Contouring

I just don't *get* it . . . how does it even work that you splodge several ridiculous colours in certain bits of your face and it somehow all miraculously BLENDS together AND makes you look like a different person? I doubt I'll ever understand it. I've tried strobing cos that seems a tad easier . . . but I'm pretty sure I can't do that right either.

Beauty appointments

These are right up there with hairdresser appointments for me. I'm probably the only person who has come out of a massage more stressed and/or tense than I started. Why is this stranger touching me? WHEN WILL IT END???

Cocktails

Cocktails always seem like a really girly thing - but if I'm out and everyone else is drooling over the cocktail menu . . . I'm usually looking at the wine list for a large glass of their finest white wine (well, when I say "finest" I usually mean less than seven quid). To me cocktails are expensive for what they are, and usually taste like juice so I end up knocking them back. I just don't see the appeal 95% of the time.  I'm not a massive fan of cocktail making classes either . . . if I AM going to have a cocktail I want it made by the expert, not by my amateurish hands!

Designer Handbags

I seem to be missing whatever gene makes people crave designer handbags. If a Primark bag looked nice, I'd probably use it all the time. I like the feel of slightly more expensive bags, but when I say "slightly more expensive" I mean one from Oasis or Warehouse. I don't think I would ever buy a bag worth say 500 pounds because I'd be thinking "I can get 10 fifty pound bags for that". Or, more likely for me, "I can get one fifty pound bag and 100 cheap bottles of wine. . . " (I'm just hoping my mental arithmetic is right there!)


So . . . there you go . . .  even more reasons why I feel I'm failing at being a "girly girl". Any more?

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

PASSPORT CONTROL . . .

So . . . my passport turned up yesterday . . . which is pretty damn amazing when I only handed my app into the post office last Tuesday evening. Less than a week turnaround time, which was a miracle! But a very welcome miracle since we managed to get our holiday booked last night!



I've now turned my attention to finding a passport cover for my new passport. Because my last two passports have ended up a bit frayed - not enough to prevent me getting in or out of the country but enough for me to worry about it a teeny bit every time I was queued at passport control, so it makes sense to try and keep this new one in tip-top condition (even though I loathe my new passport picture and would happily replace it with my old one if I could). So here are some of the options I have found!

Sass and Belle @ Asos


Skinnydip @ Asos





Some really cute options there, I'm sure you'd agree. Just need to decide on one.

Or spend another few hours looking at the options. After all, I might only be able to have one passport, but that doesn't mean I can't have several passport holders . . . ;-)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

VERY SUPERSTITIOUS . . .

I've never been a particularly superstitious person.


I don't like seeing a magpie by itself, but it's more because I want it to have a friend than because I am thinking of the old adage (or Steps lyric)  "one for sorrow . . ."

I don't think anyone should walk under a ladder, but that's more of a health and safety issue than anything else.

Anyway . . .

So me and the fella have been looking for holidays next month. We have the latter half of May off so we can try and squeeze a nice wee week in the sun in at some point. But when the fella was looking up holidays the other night, he came across something strange . . . the Friday before the week we wanted to go away was much cheaper. Like . . . ridiculously cheap.

And trust me, when you live in Glasgow, the holidays are never cheap. You see Thomas Cook and First Choice and the likes advertising their wares, claiming to have holidays from 150 quid per person etc  , , but it's never from Glasgow. Or anywhere in Scotland. It's pretty much reserved to London airport departures and you just lose the will to live looking for a holiday leaving from Glasgow that actually costs less than twice that amount!

So we couldn't understand this at all - until we started talking about asking for an additional day off and realised what the date was of these cheap holidays.

It was Friday the 13th.

So apparently this is a known trend. I'd not been aware of it before, but holidays are cheaper when Friday 13th is involved!

As I already mentioned - I'm not superstitious. I don't like planes though. On any day. So if I could fly on Friday 13th for cheaper, I think I would grab that opportunity with both hands.

Unfortunately that option is taken out of my hands for now, since my passport ran out earlier this year and I applied for a new one just last week. Fingers crossed it arrives soon!

But I'm curious about the rest of you . . . would you knowingly choose a holiday that left on Friday 13th, just because it was cheaper? Or would you be one of the people who would avoid travelling on that date like the plague? I'd love to know, so please feel free to share your opinion in the comments!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

AM I A GROWN-UP YET? (PROBABLY NOT . . .)

So back in late 2008, when this blog was in its early infancy, I wrote a post about why I didn't feel like a proper grown-up.  I thought it might be fun to revisit it, seven and a half years later, to see whether or not I have actually made it to grown-up status yet. Let's see shall we?



2008 me: I am 29 but essentially live like a student (despite the fact me and all my flatmates work full-time)
2016 me: I am 36 and a half and rent my own flat. Go me. Although I moved in nearly three years ago and still haven't fully unpacked. Oops. (And I still celebrate half birthdays. Enough said.)

2008 me: I have never lived with a guy (unless you count the insane male Chinese flatmate who lived in the room next door for a bit and terrified me more than a little - I don't count him, surprisingly)
2016 me: I still have never lived with a guy apart from Freeman (aforementioned Chinese guy). But me and the boyfriend stay together every night at either my flat or his house so that's pretty much the same thing I reckon.

2008 me: I am single and still (occasionally) randomly snog guys I barely know - usually wildly inappropriate ones
2016 me: Luckily that's well out of my system now!

2008 me: I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with my life
2016 me: Still true. Although I have at least progressed in the company I've worked for since back then!

2008 me: I still cry about the most ridiculous things
2016 me: Always. Still. In fact, I'm planning a post about some of the ridiculous things I cry about sometime soon. I bet you cannot wait! ;-)

2008 me: I have no savings. Well, I have fifty pounds in a savings account but I had nearly two grand more four years ago.
2016 me: I think I have 100 pounds in savings now. But a credit card and an overdraft which kind of cancels out the savings?

2008 me: I spend a ridiculous amount of money a month on clothes, dvds, cds, books and socialising (hence the aforementioned problem with savings)
2016: I spend more money but have less to show for it. I also have more outgoings as I pay more in rent on my flat than I used to pay for all my rent and bills in the shared flat. BUT I go out for dinner loads so I feel quite sophisticated. If rather skint.

2008 me: I can't cook for shit.
2016 me: Wow. You know, I was starting to feel a bit like not much had changed. But I can cook now. I'm actually pretty good at it. If you're pals with me on instagram (if you're not - why not? I'm right here!) you'll notice I regularly put up pictures of my delicious meals. (Yeah, I'm one of those people!)

2008 me: The thought of having kids still terrifies me (hell, I've never even had a pregnancy scare. Although, to be honest, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Right???)
2016 me: Still terrified. Still terrified I'd lose it under a pile of clothes in my bedroom.

2008 me: The longest relationship I ever had was less than 18 months.
2016 me: Three days ago I celebrated my 2 1/2 year anniversary with the lovely fella. So I've blown the previous record RIGHT OUTTA THE WATER. And people said it couldn't be done!!! (They didn't really say that . . . but if they know my track history they probably thought it . . .)

So the verdict? Older, yes. Slightly wiser? Yes. Can I make you a decent chilli con carne? Definitely. But really that much more grown up?

Probably not.

And long may that continue!

Can you identify at all?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

SEVEN REASONS WHY I FEEL I'M FAILING AT BEING A "GIRLY-GIRL" . . .

I'm quite a girly girl. I love dresses and make-up and chick-lit, and pretty hair. I take pride in my appearance. But then sometimes when I'm listening to other girls talking, or reading a beauty blog, I wonder if I'm missing some vital genes. Let me elaborate on some of the reasons why I sometimes think I'm actually sort of failing at being a "girly girl".




Nails

I love colourful nails, but I sometimes feel like everyone is away spending money on shellac (I'm not even sure about the spelling of that, let alone what it actually is) and getting their nails done professionally while my nail routine is 1) put on nail polish in a hurry 2) smudge it 3) start peeling it off the second it starts chipping 4) repeat with another new nail colour daily.

Foundation names

I can't even remember what my current foundation BRAND is if I need to replace it yet other girls can have whole conversations where they bascally name different types of one foundation BRAND that they all seem to use. It's like they are fluent in a whole other language I just don't understand. See also: lipstick names. I think the main problem is that I'm just not fluent in Mac. :-/

Eyebrows

I've spoke about this one before. If I have a day where my eyebrows end up looking remotely symmetrical it's a red letter day indeed. Most of the time, I am having a permanent bad eyebrow day.

Hair

I'll have a whole separate post on this at one point but . . . I hate getting my hair done. I have literally been to a hairdresser like five times in my whole life, I can't enjoy it the way other people seem to. They see it as a pamper session, I see it as a torture session complete with horrific small talk.

Eyeshadow Blending

I have watched like five million youtube tutorials on how to blend eyeshadow and yet I still can't understand how to do it. It's very upsetting.

Cleansing routine

I rarely take my make-up off. I have literally only in the past few weeks started trying to maintain a regular cleansing routine, and that's only because I feel like it's a necessity.  I'm not getting any younger after all! I]m still struggling with it though. It's sooo much easier just to add more make-up onto that already on my face on any given day!

"Going out" make-up

My "going out" make-up literally looks exactly like my day-to-day make-up. No matter how hard I try. Maybe it's not that I'm not a girly girl . . . maybe I'm just really shit at make-up!


Am I alone here? Please let me know if you identify!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

SUPERMARKET GAMES THAT ARE *NOT* SO FUN . . .

(I was trawling through some old writing I'd posted online elsewhere the other day and came across this little gem, which I previously posted here.  Hope you enjoy!)

Hi everyone!

Feeling a little bored?

Well, no longer will this be a problem because I’m here to cheer you up with my fabulous Supermarket games.

Now, don’t worry, this isn’t Supermarket Sweep, this is real life, and we are playing for the right TO DO OUR SHOPPING AND GET HOME!!!

It’s simple enough to play these games in virtually any supermarket but beware – they have the potential to frustrate you at times. So let’s get going….

1.SUPERMARKET QUEUE ROULETTE

The idea behind this is quite simple really. You are standing with a basket of goods, trying to decide what queue you should join. The object of the game is to get served and leave the store as quickly as you can. There are four tills open – each has a few people standing in the queue awaiting assistance. What one do you go for? Well, in theory, you go for the queue with the fewest people waiting…

BUT there’s a catch. Of these four tills, one of them is the ENEMY. If you choose THAT till, it is unlikely you will be home that night. The people in front will realise they have forgotten urgent supplies, or their wallet, AFTER the goods have been scanned. That reduced can of coke that the guy in front of you has will refuse to be scanned and have no barcode so they have to send someone searching for the actual price. Perhaps the whole till will even explode while you wait. You never know what might happen.

And you never know WHICH of those four tills it may be.

You probably won’t be surprised to guess that I frequently lose at this game.

2. AISLE SARDINES

Sardines, anyone??? No, not the canned fish variety, but the game where you see how many people you can fit in a tiny space – in this case a supermarket aisle. My local supermarket seems to have the narrowest aisles I have ever witnessed. It’s hard to overtake anyone, and if you are coming down it from one end and see someone at the other end, prepare for collision! (That’s where we combine the old Sardines idea with British Bulldog, that old game where everyone… well, RAN at each other). This whole operation is made especially complicated by the fact that the baskets are huge in comparison to the aisles, more than half the width. Therefore you have to manoeuvre both your body AND your basket around other shoppers. And if a TROLLEY decides to make an appearance… then everyone in the aisle is SCREWED!!!

Yep, that’s not one of my favourite games either…

3. PLASTIC BAG ORIGAMI

Once again, the aim is simple. To extract the plastic bag from the group of others at the end of the till and get it open with minimal fuss and minimal damage to a) the bag and b) your sanity. Sometimes this can be fairly simple, most of the time it is anything but. It can also be further complicated by the shop assistant giving you no help, a growing mound of groceries waiting to be packed while you are still struggling to open the rogue plastic bag, and finally managing to get a bag open after a to-the-death struggle only to realise one of the handles is broken and it’s therefore completely useless.
It’s enough to make you want to give up and go home without your goodies, it really is!

4. THE GREAT BASKET HUNT

Your mission? To find a basket.

The catch? There are no baskets where there are meant to be. They have all vanished. You may have to run to all the checkouts looking for abandoned baskets, only to realise one of the workers has just collected them all and is heading back to the original location with them, meaning a high speed chase will be in order. You may even find it is necessary to steal someone else’s basket, complete with contents, when they have their back turned. Hey, if you snooze, you lose.

5. THE BUDGET GAME

This is where you attempt to buy everything you need for under a tenner. Easy enough if you want, say, a couple of bags of pasta (not even the fresh and therefore more expensive stuff, any bog standard own brand would suffice), some generic sauce and a bottle of lemonade. But that means the game won’t be any fun, it’s meant to be a CHALLENGE.

So here’s what you REALLY want…

Some mince, a couple of chicken fillets, strawberries and some grapes. Oh, and let’s add in some toilet paper (since everyone knows that’s ridiculously expensive considering what it is!)

Now try getting all THAT for a tenner! It’s gonna be a challenge, I promise you that. It may even be IMPOSSIBLE.

6. LOYALTY CARD SNAP

The fun begins when the checkout operator asks “Do you have your card?” Cue the frantic searching. Let’s say you’re in Tesco. You flip through the cards you have in your purse/wallet frantically. Asda, nope. Somerfield, wrong! Morrisons, not a chance. Your library card, your credit card, your gym card, your Boots advantage card – all present and correct. But your Tesco card. No that’s lying on your kitchen table. You’ve lost again!

7. THE DON’T SHOP TILL YOU DROP GAME

This is a game of logic and/or strength. You must make sure you visit the supermarket by foot or, if you want to make it REALLY difficult for yourself, a UNICYCLE. But we’ll stick to the pedestrian version for the moment. You must also ensure it is a fairly long walk back to your home.

Go on foot and then discover that your favourite thing (in my case, a six pack of Diet Irn Bru or Pepsi Max) has a two for one offer on it. Your favourite thing must be fairly heavy, of course. Now decide if yuu have the energy to carry it home.

An alternative variation is to ensure you have hardly any money, and no credit or debit card with you, and then discover a fabulous offer that NORMALLY you would be able to afford but today you can’t. Of course that version of the game isn’t accomplishing much as the decision of whether to buy it or not is taking out of your hands. But if the aim of YOUR game is to feel miserable, then you’ll have succeeded brilliantly and can pat yourself on the back!

8. HIDE AND SEEK

In this case, we assign a shopper to stalk your every move while you try to escape and get your groceries with minimum effort. However, your stalker has an almost psychic ability to appear WHEREVER you go – sometimes it’s as if they are actually WAITING for you, right in front of whatever it is that you want to buy. And they won’t have any interaction with you, or even seem to be buying anything themselves – but that’s because their only task is seemingly to make your shopping trip AS DIFFICULT AS POSSIBLE.

The aim – try NOT to kill them. Murder is, after all, a criminal offence.

It’s gonna test you to your limits though.

The next two games are for the shop staff to enjoy. The customers, once again, will be slightly LESS happy with the results

9. I WENT TO THE SHOP AND I BOUGHT . . . NOTHING

Shelf-stackers – gather around! Choose a time when you know the store will be fairly empty and remove all the most popular groceries from the shelves. Bread, milk, eggs, juice for a start. If you’re feeling REALLY evil, remove the sweets, chocolate and crisps as well. And, of course, all the alcohol.

Watch annoyed and frustrated customer running around madly searching for their necessities. Try and think what you can take off the shelves next in a bid to frustrate them further.

It will work really well.

10. THE FREAK-OUT-THE-CUSTOMER GAME

This is where you try to either annoy or thoroughly confuse (or both!) the customer with either your conversation or behaviour. Some things to try:

- Start singing “Mustang Sally” and pretending to ride your chair and swing your hand above your head.
- While scanning the price of an umbrella the customer is buying, ask one of your colleagues in a really loud voice if they think it’s a Mary Poppins umbrella because why else would someone buy a brolly so expensive (hello, dumb@ass, it was the cheapest umbrella in the shop!)
- Make your conversation as random as possible – perhaps ask them out of nowhere what kind of music they like, so they feel obliged to ask you too and you can have a really awkward stilted conversation about it.

The techniques are all tried and tested (they’ve confused or annoyed ME in the past) but if you wish to make up your own feel free. Remember the key points – RUDE or RANDOM!!!

You may have guessed by now, that these are not REALLY games. They are in fact the ten most annoying things about supermarkets, in my opinion, CLEVERLY DISGUISED AS GAMES!!! You see, you don’t actually need to go out and play these games – because they are going to play YOU, whether you like it or not!

You have been warned!!! 

Friday, 15 April 2016

P TRIES . . . THE BODY COACH

Okay, so it's time to get another instalment of "P Tries . . ." on the go - this time it's the turn of "The Body Coach" book!


So I've been aware for the Body Coach aka Joe Wicks for around a year now, since I started seeing his videos popping up on Instagram. In these videos he creates quick, healthy and delicious looking meals, which purport to only take 15 minutes to make. Of course I was intrigued by this as I feel like I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen! So when the book came out just after Christmas, I rubbed my overly full belly, sipped on my wine, and uploaded it to my Kindle, full of good intentions.

Thumbing through, I could see tons of recipes that I wanted to try out. First up, I would give the warning that they are pretty meat/fish heavy so this is probably not the book for you if you're a vegetarian. There are a couple of vegetarian-based recipes in there, but I don't think there's really enough to make it worth your while buying it. (You're welcome.)

So I continued to eat, drink and be merry until after the New Year hit, and then I knuckled down to the hard work of eating healthy. (I lasted about four days on that particular occasion). The first recipe I tried from the book was the cheesy chorizo chicken with spinach. Now, this recipe immediately jumped out at me because I love chorizo and I am probably one of the highest ranking members of the (imaginary) Mozzarella Lovers Club. So it's little wonder this was the first recipe I tried!


And it was simple enough - slice the chicken, dice the chorizo, fry in coconut oil, add seasoning, red onion, cheery tomatoes and spinach, and then add in the mozza and pine nuts. It was delicious . . . however, it took me some time to do the slice and dice jobs on the meat so it definitely took me longer than the fifteen minutes implied. However I'll admit it was worth that extra time!

Next up I tried the turkey meatballs with feta. Although I cheated a bit. The recipe actually used store-bought turkey meatballs, smothered in sauce with feta added on top. But I remembered seeing a recipe he'd created online where the meatballs were stuffed with the feta. So I did that instead, but with mozzarella because, Mozzarella Lovers Club, remember? So I made my own meatballs, stuffed with mozzarella, and then used his recipe for the sauce, which was very simple. I liked the meatballs best, although I would have preferred beef meatballs rather than turkey (I'm just not a massive fan of turkey mince); boyfriend preferred the sauce (He doesn't really like meatballs in general). We served it up with spaghetti and we ate it all, but I probably wouldn't make this again unless I was using beef or pork mince.


The third dinner we tried was the creamy steak and spinach. Once again, simple but delicious. To be honest, I'd actually intended on making the beef stroganoff recipe but I got confused between the two and didn't realised I'd bought the ingredients for the wrong recipe until I got home. Oh well, t'was a happy accident! Only six ingredients needed for this one - one was a splash of white wine, but because I was trying to be good I substituted it with white wine vinegar and I don't think it affected the meal negatively in any way. Steak, double cream, mushrooms, spinach and olive oil are all that's needed otherwise, plus from seasoning. Gorgeous.


And last but not least . . . if you struggle for lunches (and none of my lunch ideas here have helped!), I would recommend the recipe for tuna and courgette cakes. These are immense. All you need is tinned tuna, grated courgette, a bit of flour and egg. Form into patties and fry in coconut oil. Simples, right? Well, I found that mine stuck to the pan and I ended up having to bake them on the occasions I've tried them, but that seems to be just me, as my sister has made them and fried them without any issues. Either way, these are absolutely delicious - the tuna and courgette makes a fab combo and teamed up with a slight coconuttyness (is that even a word???) from the oil they make an excellent packed lunch. The recipe does me for two lunches when accompanied by some cherry tomatoes and avocado, although when I told my sister that she laughed and says she eats all of hers in one go. The fishcakes are also apparently freezable but personally I can't imagine ever having any to freeze!

Okay, downsides? As mentioned, most of the meals do not really take fifteen minutes, unless you are some sort of expert at chopping vegetables. (I am not). However, I don't think this will come as a surprise to most people. Secondly, as already mentioned, it's probably not an ideal recipe book for people who don't like and/or eat meat or fish.

And lastly, some of the portion sizes are rather big. It's worth bearing in mind that these recipes are created pretty much on the premise that you will be following the fitness guide also contained in the book (involving HIIT - or high intensity interval training) or probably some other hardcore type of workout. So if, like me, you are not doing this . . . perhaps have a wee look at the volume of ingredients and how many people the recipe is meant to serve beforehand and consider reducing the portion size slightly!

I probably know at least ten people just in my department at work (a big chunk of whom are in my team of ten) who have this book, so I imagine that anyone reading this knows several people too who already own it. In fact, now I've typed all of this post, I'm thinking "was there any point to this one? Is there anyone out there who doesn't already have this book?" I suppose, even if there isn't, maybe you haven't tried all of these recipes yet and this post might just help you to choose the next meal!

Do you have this book and have you tried it yet? If so, what were your favourite recipes?




Thursday, 14 April 2016

DOWNSIDES TO BLOGGING . . .

This blog has been my little website home for over eight years now, and I do love it here; however most things, however good, usually have a few drawbacks . . . so here are my downsides to blogging!



No ideas
Sometimes there are just no ideas in my head. I try to think of blog post ideas but it's like there's just a blank space in the little portion of my brain reserved for blogging. At points like that I start barking "think of some blog ideas" at the fella (poor guy) and then mock any ideas he actually comes up with, despite being put on the spot by me. At least he's actually THINKING of some, unlike me! Even looking through blog posts listing blog ideas or inspiration often has me still shooting mental blanks. It's like I just have to wait for the ideas to come to me sometimes - I can't force them, and it's very frustrating!

Writer's block
Sometimes I have loads of ideas, but I literally have no idea how to start a post about them. At the moment I actually have a massive list which I have saved in my Wunderlist app, and I add to this list every single time I think of anything that I could post about. Any little idea, no matter how big or small, since sometimes a couple of these ideas might actually combine to make one big post, you just never know! But that's the problem. Sometimes I look at this list, think "okay, let's do this!" and my brain just turns to mush and I can't figure out how to go about the post I want to do. Is it an opinion piece, a list? Is it meant to be funny, or serious? How do I start it? Do I have enough thoughts on the particular subject to actually produce more than a paragraph? The pressure gets to me and I end up with two lines in a saved draft in my blogger account and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It is actually ridiculous how many half-finished post ideas I have. Eventually I know, in most cases, inspiration will hit me on how to actually follow through on the idea . . . but like my previous point, I usually can't force it. If I do, it feels very obvious that I have!

Lack of comments
I don't get a massive amount of comments on my posts these days. Sometimes I don't get any. The posts where I didn't get any comments used to be few and far between, these days these posts are more par for the course. In around 2009/2010 I was at my peak probably and on one occasion I actually got about 40 comments on a post - that was a one-off experience though, and these days I'm happy if I get two or three. I know you shouldn't measure your blog by the comments on it, I know many people who read blogs and don't comment (and I don't always either) and I know that often these days a lot of the discussion tends to take place on the social media where you're promoting your blog rather than on the comments section of a blog post itself . . . but there's still that little part of me which feels disappointed when I check my blog after writing a post I'm quite proud of only to see that there are no comments there awaiting moderation.

Not having a niche
When I started blogging, the whole process was generally more of a personal thing . . . I treated my blog like a public diary, outlining the funny things that happened to me, my love life (or lack of for most of the time), and my inner thoughts and feelings when I was going through particularly shitty times in my life. A lot of people who were also personal bloggers back when I first started out have since found that once their life has improved, once they are happier, they have less to blog about . . . and I found that too, but I still loved blogging and wanted to continue. So my blog has pretty much morphed into a lifestyle one, since that is probably the logical progression for a former personal blogger. But I still sometimes feel like I don't really fit into the lifestyle niche. And I feel a bit old for it too. And that maybe my blog is a bit all over the place and I don't have a proper theme and people won't want to read it because they don't know if they're going to get a snarky list, a random recipe or a reality TV show drinking game when they click onto my website. I kinda like the randomness myself and that personally is what I look for in a blog . . . but I know not everyone feels the same way!

Lack of understanding
I think I'm pretty intelligent (I like to think so anyway!) but I struggle to get my head around things like html, self-hosting and SEO among other things. I try to read up on them, and there are so many useful blog posts out there about these things . . . but I find it all a bit of a minefield and feel totally (silly pun coming up - wait for it!) "blogged down in it". Sometimes I wonder if this lack of knowledge is holding me back a bit.

Having things to do IRL
I often struggle to fit in time to blog, especially as I like to read other people's blogs as well, and catch up with social media . . . and when you throw in 35 hours a week in the office, plus exercise (I'd prefer not to throw that in, but it is a necessary evil), plus catching up on TV, reading and socialising, it leaves little room for actually blogging, despite me having the best of intentions about posting more often, or scheduling posts in advance. And I don't know about you, but going back to my first point . . . does anyone else find that idea inspiration will strike you most often when you're nowhere near your computer? I have been struck by some of my best ideas in the pub, in the office, or in the middle of a road trip with no internet signal for miles around. And this, my friends, is one of the reasons I have started noting down my ideas on my list as soon as they hit me. I hate to think of the amount of potentially brilliant ideas I thought of and then lost over the years before I started doing this.

Maybe one day they'll come back to me . . .

Have you experienced any downsides to blogging?

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE "D" WORD . . .

As I am on a bit of a health kick right now, I have been thinking a lot about diets.

I've tried A LOT of diets over the years, so I thought I would do a little post about some of these. And why, in the main, they did not last.



Now, around 15 years ago, back when I'd just left uni, I did my only properly successful diet. This was calorie counting - I rigidly stuck to 1200 calories or less a day. I weighed everything. I kept a record of every single thing that passed my lips and how many calories. I weighed myself twice a day. I was a bit obsessed. The main reason for this though was because at the time I was unemployed and I needed a project - so I made the project me!

Also, being unemployed, I was lazing in bed until midday so wasn't eating my breakfast until late and then just counting it as lunch. It was pretty easy to drop the weight in the end . . . and it didn't hurt that I had a nice young metabolism at the time which responded well to the drop in calories and increase in me half-heartedly doing my tae bo dvd in my room! I dropped two stone in a mere couple of months on that diet . . . and kept it off for a good couple of years too!

Calorie counting is pretty difficult to maintain though. I have tried it again, with little success. Even using the myfitnesspal app. But I felt like it was judging me - it would send me little messages as I recorded my calorie intake, telling me I'd had quite enough salt for the day, or my fat intake had went over my allowance . . . and even when it was praising me I felt more than a little patronised!

So what other ones have I tried? Let's count them off . . .

Atkins - doesn't it sound like such a good idea? All the meat and cheese you could want, everything full-fat . . . It's a tough mindset to get into though, and the carb withdrawal made me feel like I do the morning after one of those nights where I've adopted an "eating's cheating" mentality while chinning glasses of vino blanco. Dizzy, struggling to actually walk across the room without feeling like I'm going to faceplank the floor . . . and this can only be fixed by sugar and carbs. Which, combined with all that full fat cheese and meat I've scoffed for the previous few days, just adds up to pounds on rather than pounds off, sadly. :-(

Harcombe - This can be effective if you stick to it, but it's a struggle. The main principles of it are 1) avoiding processed food and 2) not mixing animal fat with carbs. So you can have, for example, lentil curry with brown rice, or a baked potato with vegetable chilli, or meat/fish/cheese with veg/salad . . . but you can't have spaghetti Bolognese. Well, not unless you're using fecking courgetti that is. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind courgetti but it's no substitute for actual spaghetti made out of actual spaghetti. And while Iove chilli con carne just topped with cheese and a big dod of natural yogurt, sometimes I really want it to be chilli nachos, which would be a no-no with Harcombe. So, although I did actually lose a wee bit of weight on this one, and fast, this wasn't a sustainable diet for me.

Clean eating - I can't give up dairy. I can't give up chocolate. I can't give up wine. I lasted about a day on this one. Then made up for it by eating all the unclean stuff.

Sugar-free - I have read the "I Quit Sugar" books (I'll do a "P Tries..." post on that soon) and I actually thought this would be an okay one to try. So much you can actually still eat on a sugar-free diet, surprisingly. Dairy, cheese in particular. (Can you tell I really really REALLY love cheese?) Potatoes and pasta, things that you would think would be bad for you! Even crisps. Oh, and wine isn't forbidden either! I lasted four days on this before I got sick of looking at ingredient labels and seeing "sugar" listed everywhere. And I probably just really REALLY wanted a Dominos.

5:2 - now I thought this could be "the one" - for anyone who has been living under Big Brother house conditions for the past several years, this is when you eat 500 calories or less two days out of any week followed by whatever you like (I imagine within reason) the other five days. Only worrying about calories 2 days a week? This seemed perfect. However, a few problems. Firstly, I became utterly obsessed with food on the days I was starving myself. I actually had to look up recipes to take my mind off the hunger and force myself not to lick my computer screen. Secondly, because calorie counting is an absolute arse, I was eating ready meals and processed jelly pots so it was easier to add up the energy I was taking in.  And thirdly, I was eating waaayyy too much on my feast days to make up for the fast days. (You can read about my - very brief - experience on 5:2 and the time I ended up crying in the office car park after forgetting my lunch right here if you care to do so!)

Last but not least . . . we have Slimming World.  Now, I don't go to classes. The idea of being weighed by a stranger is bloody terrifying to me. But I have got a hold of the general principles and I do my best to stick to them. I like the fact that it makes me think about what I'm putting in my body, that it makes me plan my food in advance, and that I get to make some utterly delicious meals from scratch. (I will share some of these very soon.) I don't like the fact that, according to its principles, avocado isn't something I can eat on the regular, and the fella doesn't like the amount of dirty dishes it seems to create . . . but overall, out of all of the diets, it's the closest to a healthy, balanced lifestyle I have found so far and the easiest to stick to.  And I can still eat cheese.

Still not happy about the flipping avocado though!

Do you follow any sort of diet?