I had the opportunity to try snowshoeing while on a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park while visiting Seattle recently.

Wikipedia explains the purpose of snowshoes is to distribute the weight over a larger area so the person doesn’t sink into the snow while hiking…

May is nearing the end of the snow season in this part of the national park which meant the snow was slushy and watery in places. However, they did ensure more grip was had on the snow and I was far more confident coming down the steep slope than I would usually be…






Week 20 walking progress

Beautiful day on Sunday walking through millions of buttercups!

Week 20 walking progress:

  • Total for week 20 = 54 miles
  • Average per day for this week (54 / 7) = 7.71
  • Running total = 657 + 54 = 711 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 711) = 339

Hurrah! This is the most miles I’ve walked so far in a single week… probably ever… I did extra miles at the gym this week and included these… and I’ve done 3 x walks with local walking clubs (Wednesday evening, Friday evening and Sunday) all of which have really pushed my mileage up!



Pre-cruise weight

With massive amounts of exercise combined with eating as best as I can I’ve managed to maintain a weight of 8 st 3 lb for a few weeks. I weigh myself at the gym each week after breakfast and with my clothes on and these do seem heavy duty and pretty reliable scales.

In 4 days time I’ll be travelling to Seattle where I’ll stay for 3 nights before beginning a 9 day cruise to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Lines. With a permanent abundance of delicious food and alcohol tempting you at every turn, cruises are notorious for causing passengers to gain weight!

The Telegraph suggests the average cruise passenger puts on 1 lb for each day of the cruise! In theory I could come back home and weigh nearly 9 stone again!

My previous 14 night South American cruise almost certainly contributed to the weight I gained during my 2016 global adventure… the weight I couldn’t shake off during 2017…

Anyway, things are different now and on this occasion while I want to enjoy the trip I don’t want to undo the good work of the last 6 months and come back with excess baggage about my person!

Thankfully I don’t have a bad lower back issue this time so I’m planning on a daily gym session, maybe a run around the ships running track each day and have pre-booked 4 x trekking excursions. I’m also planning on taking the stairs up and down the 14 decks rather than the lifts and will try hard not to eat or drink excessively.

I’ll weigh myself immediately upon my return and report back in a couple of weeks time, hopefully with positive weight news…




50 of my favourite songs

These tracks are in no particular order and I’ve tried to list each artist only once… but found it difficult to narrow it down to one track in many cases… never mind…

  1. Kissing a fool or maybe Spinning the Wheel or perhaps Cowboys and Angels… all classics by George Michael… I love the intro to Cowboys and Angels about 45 seconds in and also the smooth mellow saxophone instrumental at the end… Oh, and Fast Love and December Song, Georges ‘other’ Christmas song…
  2. Space Oddity or maybe Fame or maybe Aladdin Sane by David Bowie: legend…
  3. Corner of the Earth by Jamiroquai: awesome track which reminds me of trekking in remote places
  4. Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks: love this… chillin’ summery F*** it kind of song… also like ‘Tired of Waiting for You’… how cool were the 60’s?
  5. Tainted Love by Soft Cell: brilliant and classic 80’s track
  6. Gloria; Sunday Bloody Sunday; New Years Day… I’m a big fan of early 80’s U2 tracks. Oh yes… and Party Girl… silly but fab song!
  7. Could You Be Loved? One of Bob Marley’s brilliant tracks…
  8. Light my fire by The Doors: always been a fave; together with People are Strange…
  9. Club Tropicana by Wham! You can feel the holiday vibe with this
  10. Pass out by Tinie Tempah: love the instrumental bits in this
  11. California Dreaming by Mamas and Papas: bunch of hippies singing about one of my favourite places… love it!
  12. Bohemian Like You by Dandy Warhols
  13. Spaceman by Babylon Zoo… slightly weird
  14. Blue Monday by New Order: reminds me of the 80’s
  15. Valerie by Amy Winehouse: brilliant track… or Back to Black? Maybe Back to Black pips the post of my Amy faves… a bit depressing but Amy at her best…
  16. Happy by Pharrell Williams: a real uplifting song… in fact probably the most uplifting song I can think of
  17. Hawaii 5-0 theme tune: one of my favourite instrumentals; reminds me of Hawaii
  18. Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs: classic… ‘nuff said…
  19. Paint it Black by Rolling Stones: a classic Stones track… closely followed by ‘The Last Time’… love this too…
  20. Echo Beach by Martha And The Muffins: gotta have a beach track or two in here somewhere!
  21. Don’t stop the Music by Rhianna: I like a few Ri Ri songs but this is probably my fave…
  22. Livin La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin: maybe a bit cheesy but I still love this track from old swivel hips!
  23. Smile by Lily Allen… bit of attitude from Lily… Love it…
  24. The Real Slim Shady by Eminem: one of many excellent Eminem tracks
  25. Feel by Robbie Williams: by far the best Robbie track… spine tingly brilliant…
  26. Aint No Sunshine by Bill Withers
  27. Wonderwall by Oasis… classic
  28. Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana; one of my favourite bands
  29. Mambo Italiano by Sophia Loren: love a bit of latino Italiano…
  30. Mucho Mambo (sway) by Shaft… more latino… makes me want to get up and dance about… sorry, one more… also Lambada by Kaoma… want to find a beach bar and do the lambada all afternoon with easy access to a jug of caipirinha… sigh…
  31. Thriller by Michael Jackson: have heard this hundreds of times but never get tired of it… well its either Thriller or Off the Wall… I love Off the Wall too, real boppy stuff…
  32. Black Velvet by Alannah Myles: sultry…
  33. Gypsies Tramps And Thieves by Cher: best Cher track… so original… actually not usually keen on her songs but this is an awesome track…
  34. Age of Aquarius by The 5th Dimension: my birth sign and another hippy track!
  35. Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel… fantastic classic film! Scarborough Fair and Sound of Silence are more awesome tracks…
  36. She’s not there by The Zombies
  37. The Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune… love this and could listen to it over and over again… fabulous piece of music
  38. Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira: Sassy… wish I could shake and swivel my hips in the manner of Shakira…
  39. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses… awesome track especially towards the end where it goes… ‘Where do we go… where do we go now…’
  40. Dreadlock Holiday by 10cc: an absolute must have in my list!
  41. Love and Pride by King: not the best vocals but a brilliant tune… another classic 80’s track and really uplifting
  42. Lady Gaga – Telephone ft Beyonce… love this song!
  43. Call Me – Blondie… brilliant 70’s track…
  44. Hung Up – Madonna… what is it with telephone songs??? Am I weird??? No… while I like this Madonna song I think Secret is probably my favourite Madge track…
  45. Ticket to ride; Twist and Shout; Love Me Do… a few classics from the Beatles
  46. Message in a bottle by Police…another real classic
  47. Baggy Trousers; House of Fun; Night Boat to Cairo… love a bit of early Madness…
  48. Down Under by Men at Work… a guilty pleasure
  49. Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Pink – Lady Marmalade… Hey sister go sister…
  50. Hotel California by The Eagles… another brilliant track which I could listen to over and over again…



May book review(s)

Book number 7

Book read: Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson

This is the first book by a famous travel writer that I’ve read this year. This book documents Bryson’s trip from the very top of Europe starting in Hammerfest in Norway as he travels across the continent and right through to Istanbul where the east of Europe meets Asia.

This was Bryson’s first travel book which was written in 1991 and I must say that I did read the original paperback version when it was published then, so over 25 years ago.

It felt weird reading this book again as it is nothing like I remembered it! This shows how time can distort the way you remember things… I have since been to many of the places he visited which is great as I can now relate to them. Maybe this is another reason I remembered the book so differently?

This isn’t the best book of my 50@50 challenge year by any means… Bryson does complain a great deal and does paint himself as a stereotypical moany tourist… I found the book funny in places but after a while the jokes become a bit tedious…


Book number 8

Book read: Lone Rider by Elspeth Beard

Elspeth was the first female to circumnavigate the world by motorbike and documents this fantastic journey in the form of her book. She is incredibly inspiring as she shares every detail including accounts of her being treated badly, being ill and having to deal with nightmare bureaucratic border crossings.

She did this between 1982 and 1984 so long before the days of smart phones and sat navs… and while in her early 20’s…

I was in the middle of reading of her immense courage and the hardships she overcame on her own while on my recent solo trip to Montenegro. This really put my trip into perspective… the short flight, comfy hotel, things to do, people being super friendly so not even a little toe dipped out of my comfort zone… Elspeth inspired me to do something more adventurous another time…

Elspeth noticed that people in developing countries seemed far happier as she reflected on her journey towards the end of the book:

“It was clear to me how easy it is to take things for granted and forget to be grateful for the basics in life: family, food and shelter.”

This is something I also noticed while travelling around the world in 2016… travelling in developing countries is a humbling experience…



Always up for more adventures…



Week 18 and 19 walking progress

Dorset’s beautiful Jurassic coastline

Week 18 walking progress:

  • Total for week 18 = 46 miles
  • Average per day for this week (46 / 7) = 6.58
  • Running total = 571 + 46 = 617 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 617) = 433

Another good effort for week 18 with much of this being completed by trudging about in London, to and from train stations rather than getting the tube! Sunday of this week was unseasonably hot in England and I walked 11 miles in 28 degrees with one of my local walking groups!


Week 19 walking progress:

  • Total for week 19 = 40 miles
  • Average per day for this week (40 / 7) = 5.71
  • Running total = 617 + 40 = 657 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 657) = 393

I had a week off work and crammed two trips in… the first part of the week was spent on a short solo break to Montenegro where I went for several walks around Kotor, Tivat and Budva. While in Kotor I climbed the 1350 steps to the San Giovanni castle which gives you spectacular views of the Kotor and its majestic fjord.

In contrast the second part of my week was spent in Lulworth Cove, Dorset where I had a brilliant weekend as part of a large group of friends. We did an energetic 9 mile hike along the gorgeous Jurassic coastline (past Durdle Door) on Saturday and a 5 mile hike past Lulworth Cove on Sunday. Both hikes were strenuous with steep ascents and descents along the wild and dramatic cliffs.

I’m also quite chuffed that I now have under 400 miles to achieve my target of 1050 miles walked in 2018… go me!!



May weigh-in

Starting weight (4th December 2017): 10 st 7 lb

January weight: 9 st 10 lb

February weight: 9 st 0 lb (weight on 1st Feb would have been around 9 st 4 lb)

March weight: 8 st 12 lb

April weight: 8 st 7 lb (119 lbs or 54 kg)

May weight: 8 st 3 lb

Total weight loss: 32 lbs

People have started to comment on my weight loss and I’m still losing weight… I don’t want to lose anymore so I’m trying to find the balance and understand how many calories I can eat against how many I’m using up in relation to the exercise I’m doing.

I have an app on my phone called ‘My Net Diary’ which has an apple logo and can help with weight management. I don’t use it although did check that for me to maintain a weight of 8 st 7 lb (I’m 5’3″ or 161 cm), I would need to consume 1673 calories each day. And this doesn’t include any exercise meaning that if I burn an extra 300 calories each day, I would be able to consume 1973 daily calories.

From past experience where I’ve lost weight and quickly become complacent again (resulting in regaining the weight) I’ve realised the only way for me to manage my weight properly is to roughly count my calorie intake each day. It is too easy to ignore the amount of food and as such calories you consume which quickly adds up and the pounds soon begin to reappear. So to stay at my current weight I really do need to tot up the calorie total each day!

As a 50 year old woman I am at the age of the dreaded menopause… I’m not sure if I’m there yet or even if I’ve had the perimenopause (which can start in your early 40’s or even in your 30’s) and is the time leading up to the full menopause. Other than difficulty sleeping most nights I haven’t really had any symptoms (although this might be due to my birth control implant which might be masking things…).

Anyway… the point of this is that getting plenty of exercise and eating properly can help with menopause symptoms by improving your mood, boosting your energy and helping to keep your metabolism faster. One more reason to stay fit and healthy!