German Christmas Market


The last travel related item of my 2018 bucket list! Chris and I enjoyed a long weekend which focused on the Christmas Market in Bremen. More details will shortly be available on our travel blog…





Week 38 walking update

Makarska sunrise

Running total (to week 37): 1,512

Miles walked in week 38: 48

Total walked so far in 2018: 1,560

46 of these 48 miles were walked in Croatia this week, mostly in and around Makarska, our base for 7 days. We stayed in an apartment and while close to bars, restaurants and the sea it was about 1.5 miles to walk into the Old Town and marina. Some days we did this 3 or 4 times which soon racked up extra miles! And most mornings I got up an hour or two before the rest of my family and went for a 3 – 4 mile walk.

The above photo was taken during one of my early morning strolls where I could see the sun rising above the mountains behind Makarska. This was a lovely time of the day before the resort became busier with holidaymakers!




September weigh-in

Weight today… 8 st 5 lb! Oh dear…

For the first time this year, my weight has increased…

I think this happened during last weekend, August Bank Holiday where I was camping in the Peak District. Despite 2 mountain hikes this also involved a 4 day binge of alcohol, crisps and snacks, curries, cakes, cream teas and ‘taking my finger off the diet pulse…’

So it seems the moment I stop tracking my calories my weight creeps upwards…

Thankfully I haven’t lost my focus and I am still in the mindset of taking care of my weight and fitness levels and aim to be back at 8 st 3 lb in October!



August book reviews(s)

Book number 14

Book read: The Little Princess by Casey Watson

One of the most powerful and emotional books I’ve ever read was ‘One Child’ by Torey Haden which I read sometime around 2004. The contents of that book were horrifying and humbling and caused me to take a different approach to life and really appreciate my own upbringing.

This short book was also sickening and also described the abuse of a 6 year old girl. The girl had been removed from her own evil parents and was taken in to spend Christmas with a foster family. While only a short story I feel full of admiration and respect for families such as Casey’s who consistently give generosity and kindness in such tragic circumstances.


Book number 15

Book read: Thunder and Sunshine: Around the World by bike Part 2 by Alastair Humphreys

Wow… another superb book which I read quickly as I found it difficult to put down! Having travelled pretty much the length of South America in 2016 I could closely relate to many of the places Alastair visited on his epic adventure from the tip of South America or ‘El Fin Del Mundo’ (the end of the World) to the top of Alaska.

OK… so Alastair cycled and I took the soft luxury option travelling by plane, bus and cruise liner however I was able to visualise many South American places as well as LA, Seattle and Alaska.

The book continued with Alastair’s incredible cycle journey through Siberia… in the winter and then through Asia and back into Europe inspiring me to do something more adventurous and push a few more boundaries… I’m not yet sure what…

Alastair had some awesome quotes in his book too, particularly towards the end as he reflected on his fantastic journey:

Page 341: How mad we are to neglect our body, the very machine that carries all our thoughts, emotions, ambitions, dreams, fears and our life itself. And yet we still expect to live smoothly, healthily and happily to a ripe old age.” So very true and something I am very conscious of… especially now that I am 50…

Page 339: I decided to see some of the world and to escape from England and the conveyor belt of my life” most people probably do live on a conveyor belt of a life and conform to a similar pattern without even questioning they could be doing something different…




Week 25 walking progress

Week 25 walking progress:

  • Total miles walked in week 25 = 71
  • Average per day for this week (71 / 7) = 10.14
  • Running total = 910 + 71 = 981
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 981) = 69

Under 100 miles to go! Yay! And I completed the most miles this week so far this year 🙂

To achieve a total of 71 miles walked in one week:

  • Mon 18th June: walk to the local swimming pool and back at lunchtime and evening walk = 8 miles
  • Tue 19th: walk to and from stations to work and back; gym; lunchtime walk and evening walk = 17 miles
  • Wed 20th: walk to and from stations to work and back and gym = 9 miles
  • Thu 21st: walk to local retail park and back = 3.5 miles
  • Fri 22nd: work + gym + lunchtime = 11 miles
  • Sat 23rd: retail park = 4 miles
  • Sun 24th: local walk with my friend (9.23 miles) and an additional impromptu local walk later the same day (9.21 miles) = 18.5 miles

The weather has been cracking this week… beautiful and sunny and during this time of the year, it doesn’t get dark until around 10 pm. I’ve therefore been making the most of being outside and increasing my walking mileage! Today, I had made plans to continue decluttering and tidying up around my home this afternoon but instead decided to go for a second lengthy walk of over 9 miles in the sun! Decluttering can wait for a rainy day 🙂






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…



Conclusion on a vegetarian lifestyle

Today is the final day of my month as a vegetarian and tomorrow I switch to vegan.

I’ve spent the whole of March on a diet which has excluded all meat and fish products which according to the Vegetarian Society is a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. This is the term used for vegetarians who eat dairy products and is the most common type of vegetarian.

Firstly I can say I found it very easy to lead a vegetarian lifestyle which is probably because my husband has been a pescatarian for a number of years, that is, someone who doesn’t eat meat but who does eat fish. He also occasionally has chicken but it has to be free-range organic chicken.

Rather than cooking separate meals, I’ve also tended to follow this diet too. So the main difference has been the lack of fish or chicken for a month.

As I mentioned in the previous ‘mid month‘ update, our dinners have contained meat substitutes such as Quorn which I still have mixed feelings about due to it being processed. Also, if you substitute lean meat such as chicken or turkey for say a cheese flan or cheese pasty, this has to be the more unhealthy choice too.

My conclusion?

In my view a vegetarian diet is easy to follow although, unless you limit the processed meat substitutes, cheese and pastry, I can’t really see the health benefits.

In addition, I would think there is greater suffering for cows if you consume larger amounts of cheese and milk. Rather than being slaughtered at a young age, cows have to go through multiple pregnancies throughout their lives to meet the demand for human consumption of their milk. So which is worse?

As mentioned, I’m starting ‘Vegapril’ (instead of Veganuary) tomorrow to experience a month as a vegan. Although the increase in people choosing a vegan lifestyle is rapidly increasing, I’m anticipating a few more challenges…



Week 1 walking progress

This is a newly added challenge… as I enjoy walking and trekking I decided to add a walking challenge for this year!

personalised walking challenge…

Many people pledge to ‘Walk 1000 miles in a year‘ for various reasons but probably mainly for the excellent health and wellbeing benefits you achieve by regular walking. These include:

  • Burns extra calories
  • Builds stamina
  • Strengthens your heart
  • Reduces the likelihood of many serious diseases
  • Keeps you active
  • Improves your mood
  • Its free

My spin on this is to walk 1050 miles this year… an extra 50 in my year of turning 50…

This is an average of 2.88 miles a day or 20.16 miles a week

I don’t have a fit bit or app or anything to calculate this accurately so I will just estimate the extra walking i.e. where I have chosen to walk rather than drive or take public transport or any specific walking or trekking I undertake.

For example, week 1:

  • Mon: (New Years Day = couch potato = 0)
  • Tue: walk to and from train stations (work journey) = 5 miles
  • Wed: walk to swimming pool and back = 1 mile
  • Thu: walk to town centre and back = 2 miles
  • Fri: walk to and from stations = 5 miles
  • Sat: walk to town centre and back = 2 miles
  • Sun: organised walking club walk = 10 miles


  • Total for week 1 = 25 miles
  • Average per day for this week (25 / 7) = 3.57
  • Running total = 25 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 25) = 1025


Hiking in the Peak District



Detox update…

A quick update…

Following the tweak on Day 1 where I decided 800 calories is too low and I also found the effects of cutting out coffee were worse than just drinking it (when coffee is almost the new super food…) things have gone well so far…

I’ve been eating super healthy food and so far have consumed no alcohol, processed food or junk food since Wednesday. I am genuinely starting to feel more energetic, positive and healthy… all good stuff!

My diet today (Saturday: Day 4):

  • Breakfast: smoked salmon and fried egg (I’m rubbish at poaching so fried the egg in a tiny bit of olive oil)
  • Snack: handful of blueberries
  • Lunch: avocado, hummus, tomatoes, rocket, red pepper, raw carrot with a dressing of balsamic vinegar
  • Dinner: home made broccoli and stilton soup (we’re having a bit of a craving on this at the moment…)
  • Snack: handful of unsalted nuts (walnuts, cashews and macadamias)

Estimated at around 1100 calories

Just 3 more days to go…