Tuesday, April 7, 2015

21 reasons why I never lose weight

1. Easter. Hot cross buns and chocolate. Enough said.
2. Children/grandchildren. Preparing three meals a day. Eating up leftovers.
3. Being an ex-smoker. Still need oral gratification - vaping invented too late.
4. City breaks. Ensaimadas for breakfast. Pintxos for lunch.
5. Heartbreak. Losing friends, relations, trust, sense of  proportion = comfort eating.
6. Eccles cakes. All those currents. Surely count as one of my five-a-day?
7. Summer barbecues. Bangers, beer and burgers.
8. Boredom. What’s in the cupboard? Ooh, peanut butter. And crisps.
9. Wine.

10. Great British Bake Off. I’d like to bake a pineapple upside down cake. Now I’ll eat it.
11. Marriage. To a man who likes a little snackette. And three square meals a day.
12. Halloween. Pumpkin pie and Haribos.
13. Great British weather. Carbs help keep out the chill.  
14. Sunday lunch. Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes.
15. Christmas. Mince pies and brandy butter.
16. Rows (leading to fridge raiding) and reconciliations (let’s drink to that).
17. Wedding Anniversary. Maybe roses, definitely chocolates. 
18. Valentine’s Day. Ditto.
19. Mother’s Day. Ditto but from offspring.
20. Birthday. Ditto – from everybody.
21. Oh look – it’s Easter again ….

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sandwich anyone?

Like many women today I am part of the so-called sandwich generation – caught in the middle between the need to look after elderly relatives, my own children and now, increasingly, their children.
So I read with interest this account in the Daily Mail. 

What I felt most, however, was not sympathy for the hard-pressed mum in the middle but surprise that her mother’s carers had on several occasions fed the old dear sandwiches made from mouldy bread.

I have power of attorney for my 93-year-old uncle – the sole survivor of those in my family who lived through the last war. Now housebound following a stroke, heart attack and a long stay in hospital where he caught a series of life-threatening bugs but still, somehow, pulled through, he has carers coming in four times a day.  

They do his washing, change his sheets, see to his catheter, get him up, put him to bed, make sure he takes his medicines, wash him, shave him, make him cups of tea and give him three meals. It costs – but it’s still cheaper than going into a care home which is something he refuses to consider anyway.

I am grateful that I am not expected to perform any of the above tasks but making sure that there is always enough food in the fridge and freezer is a constant worry, especially since I live a one and half hour drive away.

The main problems are caused by use-by or best before dates. The carers have been trained never to use anything that is out of time. Never mind that the tomatoes look, feel and smell fine. Ditto the ham slices. Or the apples. Or the cheese.

If something’s past the best before or use by date, it goes in the bin.

I’ve taken to unwrapping as much as possible so that they are forced to use their eyes, noses and commonsense. But that doesn’t work for everything.

They won’t even use stale bread for toast – let alone for sandwiches. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Joy of Specs

Someone recently announced to a room full of journalists that varifocal glasses are more hip-replacement than hipster. 

Admittedly they were promoting the benefits of a new type of contact lens, but their throwaway remark hit home. For, dear reader, I have been wearing varifocals for some years now.

The new contact lenses are, admittedly, impressive. Not only do they help with presbyopia – the inevitable change in eyesight that comes as we get older, causing problems when reading menus and threading needles – but they are also made of a material that is much kinder to older eyes, which tend to be dryer than younger ones. 

So this makes the new Biotrue lenses more comfortable to wear.

Indeed, two people of a certain age who were at the launch and tried out the lenses there and then were suitably impressed. So impressed that I volunteered to have the optician on hand check my eyes to see if I’d be a suitable candidate too.

Sadly the answer was ‘no’.

As well as myopia (short sight) and presbyopia (the loss of the ability to focus close up), I have astigmatism (my eye isn’t a perfect curve).
And the lenses can’t correct that – although manufacturers Bausch + Lomb say they are working on ones that will.

So specs it is then.   And it’s not so bad, honestly. Even with lenses I don’t think anyone would find me remotely hipster. 


When it comes to the gory/scary bits in films I can just look over the top of my specs instead of having to close my eyes. And glasses disguise those late night under-eye bags and shadows much better than lenses. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Your mission this Christmas...

I’ve been hanging silver baubles on the tree, dusting mince pies with icing sugar, soaking dried fruits in marsala … and cursing when the sticky tape sticks to itself instead of the wrapping paper I’m using for my Christmas presents.
Yes – it’s that time of year again. 
And I love it. 
Love looking at the Nativity pictures on my grandchildren’s school website. 
Love listening to choirs singing Once in Royal David’s City (The Pogue’s in New York, not so much).

But I’m also thinking about those who find Christmas so much more of a struggle.
Who, this year, are in too much pain to bake or decorate or fill stockings.
The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society says, for example, that there are 690,000 people in the UK coping with RA this Christmas.
And in order to raise awareness of the need for improved management of the disease they are calling for more recruits to their Remission Mission.  
They say: “It’s really easy to join – simply take a photograph of yourself, upload it to the photo wall using the upload button and tell us what remission means to you by following the instructions.
The photo wall is open to everyone with RA, family members and friends, regardless of age.”
Sounds like a lovely idea. Happy snapping – Happy Christmas. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hangovers past and present

Sad to say the asonor was not a success. But I did find out a possible reason why. I am the wrong kind of snorer.

The British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea website has an online sleep test which helps people work out what kind of snorer they are - it appears I am a multifactoral snorer.
So before you invest in any kind of anti-snoring aid, I’d suggest you visit this site and take the test.

My guinea pig failed to report back, so I am none the wiser. However, I was reasonably impressed with the before and after pix the pr sent of a case study, so I guess if you can afford to try this, it might be worth a go.

Finally … I’ve been sent two products to check out: one aimed at fitness fans, the other at party animals. (I’ll let you guess which category I might fall into).

Blood pressure/endurance
BEET IT Sport Pro-Elite bar www.beet-it.com contains oats and 400mg of ‘natural dietary nitrate, the equivalent of 400ml beetroot juice.’

It is being marketed as a sport nutrition product because research shows that nitrate ‘interacts with enzymes in alive to boost nitric oxide levels in the blood. This natural vasodilator increases blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles with a beneficial impact on strength and endurance.’

I can’t vouch for that – but I do that know drinking beetroot juice every day can lower your blood pressure. I did it. The only trouble was, I soon began to detest the taste.

It’s possible the BEET IT bars would have the same effect. They certainly taste nicer than a glass of  beetroot juice. (You can get them at Holland and Barret rrp £1.85 a bar). 

O.R.S Hydration Tablets contain a formula of electrolytes, glucose and minerals which, when dissolved in water, help to rehydrate you if you’ve been ill or are have a hangover. (That thumping headache is a sign of dehydration.)

The tablets come in three flavours – lemon, blackcurrant and strawberry – and cost £4.99 for a tube of 12 or £6.99 for 24.

So far, I haven’t had an opportunity to try them out – but there are a few Christmas parties on the calendar so maybe …

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz (if only)

OK – I snore. So does my husband. It’s sometimes so bad one or other of us decamps to the spare room. I know I should lose weight and drink less red wine in the evening. But until I manage to do both, will Asonor help?

The first ever clinically proven nasal spray for the relief of snoring … provides relief in 75 per cent of cases, offering snorers (and their partners) a better night’s sleep.
How it works:
It lubricates and softens the mucus membranes in the throat while also tightening its musculature.
RRP £14.75 available online from www.scrubsuk.com and Boots.

I don’t get psoriasis – but two members of the family do. It is unpleasant and demoralising. They will try anything that might make a difference. Will Dermalex? I’ll keep you posted.

DERMALEX REPAIR – Scalp Psoriasis
A new non-greasy, steroid and coal-tar free gel for mild to moderate scalp psoriasis. In clinical studies … it has been proven to reduce scalp itching from the first week, and has shown a reduction in scaling from two week.
How it works:
The topical barrier repair gel normalises skin cell production and facilitates the skin’s own repair mechanism. It fortifies the skin’s barrier by creating a protective shield and preventing water loss and soothes symptoms such as scaling, itching, dandruff-like flaking and redness.
RRP £18.99 and available, for example, from www.lloydspharmacy.com and Amazon. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Oh, I wish I'd looked after my teeth

I was never as negligent as the person in the Pam Ayres poem but, even so, my gnashers have always been trouble.

They have been filled, refilled, and extracted. I’ve had crowns, a bridge and an implant, and before my daughter’s wedding I spent many sleepless nights trying to adjust to the gumshields full of an expensive whitener that I hoped would neutralise the effect of the red wine and coffee I’d been drinking so recklessly over the years.

It worked – but only temporarily. So I was keen to try Rapid White’s Instant Whitening Toothpaste. Launched last month and available in Boots it claims to leave teeth up to one and half shades whiter after just one brushing.

Apparently: “The brightening formula with new ‘optical brightening technology’ (no, I don’t know why this is in quotes either) absorbs light and increases the amount of blue light reflected from the teeth, eliminating yellow hues to give you a brighter smile without damaging tooth enamel.”

I brushed optimistically but afterwards I couldn’t see a difference at all – I even took before and after selfies to show you but decided not to publish pictures of my teeth on the grounds that they are too scary.

I will carry on using the toothpaste until it’s finished but at £7.99 a tube (or £5.99 if it’s on special offer) I don’t think I’ll be buying another one!