Sunday, 15 November 2009

Nearly a year on

When I started my weight loss journey in January at nearly 20 stone, I knew that for many reasons it was not going to be an easy road! I had almost (or at least) half my starting body weight to lose!

My Dad was my mentor and I knew if he was around he would encourage me in every way he possibly could but, he was gone, forever, never to return to this plain.

My husband has been my main aid through all of this. He has helped me to laugh and he has helped me to cry. He's been there for every second of my journey and having lost 3 stone himself, looks fantastic. We lost our first stone: we walked our first marathon; we ran our first 3k and we entered and ran our first 10k run, finishing faster than we ever thought we would. Our recipe file is now twice the size it originally was and we probably enjoy food more now than we ever did. I apologise for the quiet times but I thank you for understanding them! I'm sure there will be many more tears shed but as always we will cry them together. I love you with all my heart Ray and I never will be able to thank you enough for helping me through the last year. xxx
My Mum has had more to contend with than just her loss in her 'first year'. She lost her husband and ended up in hospital herself having major surgery that has left her with an incisional hernia. We are still waiting for it to be rectified and she is suffering with rheumatoid arthritis and the medication is playing havoc with her diabetes! Apart from all that she is doing very well! She is coping better than we thought she would but then we never sat down and discussed losing a husband/parent so how would we know?! I'm under no illusion that her heart breaks every day as ours does but she also knows that we love her and would walk the earth for her. We like to think that together with her grandchildren, Jacob, Niamh and Benjamin, we help her smile and make life a little easier. xxx

In January when I first set foot on the treadmill I could hardly walk at 2 miles an hour and walking for just one mile left me exhausted, tired, aching and crying! Today I set foot on the treadmill and jogged non stop for 4 miles finishing in 39:02 - I was not exhausted, I was not tired - but I was crying!

A very good friend of mine Andy McMenemey came to my aid back in January and helped me in more ways than he would ever know. This guy has run across desserts, run marathon after marathon (on the same day!) as well as helping many other people reach their goals and he took time out to help me get started. Between us we worked out heart rate zones and he gave me more advice and more help than I ever expected. I remember him laughing and saying I would be jogging before the end of the year and I laughed - he was right!! He also told me to run at my own pace and my body would know what it needed - he was right!! I look forward to one day running a marathon with Andy to show him just how much he has helped me on my road to fitness. xxx

Before Dad died, my brother and I saw each other about once a week, usually at Mum and Dad's but we very seldom saw each other socially - 3-4 times a year at the most. Since Dads death we talk at least every other day (if not every day) and I'm sure he knows how much I love him because I tell him every time I speak to him. We like to get together as a family at least once a month and I've learned that he has the same sense of humour as my Dad, he's got the same values as my Dad and he is as talented as my Dad. I see now why they were in business together and I can also see why they sometimes clashed! They were like peas in a pod!

In business he is as thorough as my Dad ever was and by gosh when he gets the bit between his teeth he will not give in until he is happy with it and it's 100% correct. He has helped us with our new business and I really hope he gets more work bouncing off it. He is a very talented guy and deserves to do well. Thank you John xxx

I also have two very close friends who have both lost their Dads this year - Tammy and Jeanette. I'm slightly ahead of you girls as my 'first' is nearly up but you know I'm with you both every step of the way. It's going to be a tough tough year for you but again we have and will laugh and cry through it. I really do believe that is what life is about being able to laugh and cry - you know I'm there for you both xxx

I have to mention another very close friend of mine that is making her own memories. Mags, I love you and you know just where I am xxx

This year has also seen my own son having a fantastic first school report from his parents evening and my stepson graduate. They have to go down as two of the proudest moments of my life.

I also need to thank my WLR friends. Many of them I have never met but we are all in the same boat, striving for the same goal. We help each other through the bad times and praise each other through the good. It really does help and I wish you all the very very best and look forward to meeting many of you next year.

On the down side I've had people who've challenged my motives for losing weight; for being obsessed with calories; for changing! All I can say is, I HAD to change. I was deteriorating physically because of my obesity but perhaps more importantly mentally. I hated myself and I hated what I was becoming and it was rubbing off on my family. I hope those people can now understand that I am a better person for it; that I have more life in me; I have my confidence and yes I do know about calories now - I've learnt about them (the hard way!) and I feel comfortable talking about my new lifestyle because I know it works.

Over the last couple of months our business activities have expanded and we are now in the business of hiring evening wear. We'd like to expand the outsize wear of the business. I know what it's like to not to be able to get a dress for a function; to walk into a shop and have people sneer at you because you're 'fat'! WE'RE NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS WHO HAVE FEELINGS AND NEED TO LOOK GOOD! I really hope our business takes off. We have a buzz about the house that feels good. If my Dad was still here he would be chomping at the bit to help us but instead his son has jumped in and is doing a fantastic job. Ray's got his business head back on and by God he's good! I see our future getting brighter!

It will be a year next week that my wonderful Dad died, on the operating table at Hull Royal Infirmary. Friday 20th November will be the first anniversary of my Dads death and the 4th birthday of his youngest grandson Benjamin Harold Birch. I am under no illusion that it will be a difficult day but hopefully seeing Benjamins face opening his presents will make our world a little easier to bear.

My regret?????


That he's not here to see what I have achieved in the last year.

That he's not here to not give his wife a hug when she cries herself to sleep on a night.

That he's not here to shake his sons hand and tell him he's doing a fantastic job!
That he wasn't here to see us cross the finish line of our first ever marathon.

That he wasn't here to see his daughter on stage with his grandchildren and daughter-in-law singing one of his favorite songs of all time.

That he's not here to see his grandsons first school photograph which is adorable.

That he's not here to have a drink with his son-in-law and wish him luck in his new venture.

That he's not here for his grandson 4th birthday party and that the 20th November this year and for always will be both a happy and sad day . . . . . . . . . .


We have nearly had all our "firsts" without him but I'm sure there will be many many more occasions to come that we will have to bear on our own. Our only consolation is that he is up there somewhere watching over us and seeing everything from afar.

I love you Dad

Monday, 31 August 2009

The end or the beginning?

On the 20th November 2008 my Mentor and my Father, Paul Henry Redhead, died at the age of 69 of chronic heart disease and it rocked my world!

If you were lucky enough to have known my Dad you'd probably remember his wicked sense of humour, his eyebrows, his conversation (or lack of it!) or maybe even the fact that he just loved his whisky! I also still remember his smell, his smile and the way he would look at me when I walked in the room; the chatting we used to do until silly o'clock in the morning and the advice and support he gave me unconditionally.

People deal with loss in very different ways. As a family we grew ever closer trying to close a huge void in our lives that, lets face it, will never be closed. Dad was too much of a big part in all of our lives to be able to do that. They say families are a unit. Ours certainly was - he adored us as much as we adored him and we had so much respect for him I cannot begin to tell you. He bestowed values in us that we are bestowing in our own children and he is still with us in so many ways.

The love that both he and Mum showed to us and to our children is even stronger now Mum is dealing it out for both of them! We know it's ten times harder for her, she was married to Dad for 40 years. Hopefully the love we give her in return helps just a little to ease her pain.

My brother has inherited Dad's work ethic - he is so hard working and will not falter until the job is done. John and I have grown even closer and he really has got Dads sense of humour - and his taste for whisky!

And me? I'm just a stubborn mule like my Dad. When I put my mind to something I always do it to the best of my ability and get a little rattled if things don't work out quite right.

So, how did I get here? . . . . . . . On the 4th January I saw an advert in the local paper for a 13 week calorie controlled eating plan. Feeling lower than I had ever felt in my life before, I decided that the time had come for me to do something about my own weight and general level of health and not end up just like my Dad. Like him, my health was suffering and therefore so was my life. . . . . and indirectly so were my wonderful husband and beautiful son. I couldn't bring my Dad back but with him as my inspiration, I could lose weight and earn money for The British Heart Foundation whilst doing it by making my weight loss a sponsored slim.

So I set myself the task of losing 4 stone before my 40th birthday.

What a journey I've had. I've done my first marathon, ran my first "race for life", entered my first 10k run and even applied for the "London Marathon" next year. I've laughed, cried, gained friends and even lost a few but in the long run it has made me a better person and most definitely a healthier one!

I'm not sorry for talking calories and healthy eating! If you're not interested or do not want to know then tell me to stop or don't ask me any questions!! I do not know the calorie content of a grape - what I do know is that grapes are healthy and I can have more of them the jelly tots!!

People are calling me an inspiration! I really don't think I am. I am simply a 40 year old woman who took a tragedy and turned it around. I channelled my sadness into a desire for healthy eating and found it was relatively easy. I adore food, I adore socialising and I adore my family and friends so it has rubbed off on them too. If I can help any one of them to feel as healthy as me then I'm happy.

As a Birthday treat, Ray sent me off with three of my best friends to a luxury pamper day on Thursday. What I didn't know was that he was arranging a surprise party for me at home whilst we were gone. We had a wonderful day and laughed and giggled like the little girls we are at heart. When we returned home there were over 80 people in full party swing and we had a fantastic night. Thank you to everyone for turning up and apologies if you never got an invite. It was all arranged behind my back and Ray had to stop somewhere - he did a fantastic job. Thank you I love you xx

He had a Gilet 'doctored' so that it would hold lead weights to the amount I had lost in the 8 months since January. IT WAS HEAVY!! After I'd put it on, it took two of them to help lift me off the chair and I really struggled to walk! How on earth did I carry that extra amount of weight daily? Until I donned that jacket I never truly realised just how far I had come and how well I had done

I can now officially tell you it contained . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66lb!!

That is 4stone 10lb!

I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24% of myself!

I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 inches from my chest!

I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 inches from my waist!

I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 inches from my hips!!

(this is a pircture of me (left) on my 40th birthday holding a full size photo of me (right) taken exactly a year ago, on my 39th birthday!

I look like a different me and I feel like a different me and I am so proud of myself. I can't begin to tell you how different I truly feel although it doesn't make losing Dad any easier to bear! In some ways it makes it a little harder.

I want him to tell me how well I've done!!!

I want to see the look of pride in his eyes like the time I sang my first song dedicated to him!!!

I want him to tell me everything will be OK!!

I want to see the smile on his face like the one he gave me on the day I got married!!


But. . . . . . . . . . . . . I can't have him back. I have to live my life without him but with the knowledge that he has taught me well and has indirectly helped me on my journey of the last 8 months. What I wouldn't do to see his face now - but all I have is photographs. Wonderful memories of a wonderful man that will never leave me. Memories that have been captured on a piece of photographic paper because we will never be able to see him in person again. I love you Dad and I thank you from the bottom of my heart . You really did give me more than you will ever know.

By you losing your life it helped me gain mine. It made me open my eyes wide to what was ahead of me. I hope you're as proud of me as I am of you. God Bless, Sleep tight and have a drink on me. Your little girl is 40!!



Blog End.


I would just like to say at this point that whilst my official blog ends, this isn't the end of my weight loss programme!! I still have over 2 stone to lose and lets face it, this is just the beginning. They say life begins at 40, well I'm starting my 40's healthier than I have been for well over 10 years. Let's hope this weekend's partying hasn't done too much damage - it's going to be a busy training week in the Birch Camp!!

Take care



Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Week 32 Time is ticking

I still can't believe where the time is going! July seemed to fly by and August is upon us already and running away fast! I have been busy with work this last month and in the present economic climate I've been glad of it. We currently have a few business ideas flying about in the air and hopefully the next time I post, I may have some further news.

In between clients, meetings and birthday parties we have been training hard for the run 10k at the end of September. Our initial intention was to run it in less than 1hr 30mins. However, our first training session saw us completing the 6 miles in 1hr 18mins!! Whoops, I think we need to set a different goal!

This last month has also seen me look at myself and my fitness levels very differently.

- I can now sustain running at a constant pace for a mile and a half without having to stop and walk for a recovery period.

- I actually now like my arms!!

- My thighs are shrinking (ok, along with the rest of me but I noticed the difference this month!)

- I actually miss "not training".

The sudden realisation that I have lost nearly 25% of my starting body weight seems colossal to me and I can smile about it.

Ray and I have also had to seriously sort out our wardrobes this month and as a consequence, not only have our body's shrunk but so have our wardrobes!

I am enjoying my healthier lifestyle and at the same time I'm enjoying life - does that sound silly?

If anyone would like any advice I would gladly give it - I know how it has turned my life around and how it has influenced people around me. My husband has lost over 2 stones; my best friend Tammy has lost nearly 1 and half stone; my brother has lost nearly a stone; my mum and my sister-in-law have lost half a stone each. When you make a decision to do something it really doesn't take a lot of effort but as the old saying goes, 'the first step is always the hardest'. After that if you stick to the rules and are open and honest with yourself about what you are eating then it really does work.

I also got a letter from the British Heart Foundation a couple of weeks ago about a sponsored walk they are organising. After talking to Ray I rang John about it to see if they fancied joining us on the walk as a family, in memory of Dad. Our children are doing it as well and I've just spoken to Mum about walking some of it too (we are taking a wheelchair for her for when she gets too tired). The walk is in 2 miles circuits and you can do as many as you want to. We have decided that 2 laps would be enough for the kids (and Mum) and an achievement in itself for them and her. If you would like to sponsor that event please take a look at our page

Since last blogging I have lost a further 9lb in weight!!

That now brings my total to 4st 9lbs or an impressive 65lb

My final weigh in will be on my 40th birthday, a week on Saturday . In the time I have left I'm hoping to lose a further 5lb to reach a total of 5 stone. I won't be too hard on myself as we are away this week and I have a couple of dinners planned for my birthday week but I will try. I do intend to carry on losing weight after my birthday, 'cos I still have at least another 2 stone to go but my birthday will determine the closing weight loss for my sponsorship.

Until the big day

God bless



Sunday, 19 July 2009

It's been a while

Gosh it seems have been an age since I was last here posting a blog. It certainly must have been because the amount of people that have phoned, text me and e-mailed me to see where it is is unbelievable. All I can say is I'm well and truly chastised, I'm sorry, my knuckles are wrapped and I'm back. . . But July has been a busy busy month!

I must just say that the amount of support I'm getting is unbelievable - thank you every single one of you xxxx

I don't know where this is going to lead yet but, here goes!!

I have written about my wonderful husband before now and I just need to give a little more insight.
My family have known Ray and his family from me being the tender age of 14 (back in the early 80's) when my Dad started working for him when he part owned a very successful printing business. Our families have always been the best of friends, Dad and Ray on many occasions staying up until the wee small hours solving problems and writing computer programmes, not to mention the BBQ's on New Years Day, the fireplaces knocked through on Christmas Eve and the copious bottles of Whisky that have been consumed between the two of them! Over the last 10 years or so Ray and I have grown closer as friends - we've sat and 'put the world to rights!' him telling me his problems and me telling him mine and between us trying to solve them.

Neither of us know how or the reason things changed between us. Really it's just something that happened in the February of 2003 when he left me a dozen roses in the boot of my car on Valentines Day.
When we first 'got together' we had an awful lot to contend with. Both family and friends all seemed to have an opinion on everything that was happening at the time, good and bad! We decided to grin and bare it and soon realised that it was actually making us stronger rather than pulling us apart. All we knew was, finally after a long long time we were both happy, we were smiling and we were glad to be alive.

Ray has three children from his previous marriage who, just like us found things difficult. We've all had our ups and downs but seem to have found a 'level ground' that suits us all. The beginning of July found me on a different level that made me feel more proud than ever before!

Jonathan graduated from Newcastle University and we had the immense pleasure of going to see him graduate. I do not and never did intend to be the kids 'step' Mum, that would just be completely wrong!! I only ever wanted to be a friend and I have to say Jonny and I have found that friendship and Newcastle made me very, very proud!! He's had a tough time dealing with his Mum and Dad's break-up and coming to terms with his Dad and myself getting together. Not to mention the little brother that he's acquired who, lets face it NONE of us ever expected. Jonathan has worked so hard to achieve his goals. He's applying for a Masters next year and I wish him all the love and luck in the world. Jonathan, you believed in yourself and you did it. Many, many congratulations love. xxx
Then it was a quick flight over to Ireland for my cousins wedding. We had a wonderful time although I have to admit I was extremely worried about the after effect of Irish hospitality!

Darren and Melissa's' wedding was fantastic. Melissa looked absolutely stunning and luckily we had fabulous weather for the day.

As usual we stayed at Uncle Ed and Auntie Mary's where we are always made to feel at home. 'At home' is fabulous home cooked food and biscuits, sandwiches, cakes and buns with your cup of tea! A 'dry' cup of tea is not the done thing over in Ireland so our calorie counting went out of the window. It was also Ray's birthday whilst we were away and Ka had arranged a birthday cake for him, a HUGE cream cake!! At that point, we hit panic mode (but asked for a slice anyway).

We did manage to get out for a couple of walks in between the showers! Whilst we were out walking we could certainly understand why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. For all that it is wet, the countryside is so lush and it really does take your breath away, it is beautiful.

After getting home from Ireland I seem to have spent most of my time either in the salon with clients or in the gym/training to counteract some of the damage that has been done whilst I've been away.

I think we need to call this 'weigh in month' this time as the last time I blogged was the end of June.

So in 4 weeks I've lost a total of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


So my total since the 4th January is - 4 STONE!!!!!

My intention at the beginning of January was to lose weight and get healthy and in doing so, raise money for The British Heart Foundation. I remember thinking back then how much 4 stone was and wondered whether I could possibly lose that colossal amount of weight in the 8 months leading to my 40th birthday on 29th August.

I have smashed that target by a full month with what seems to be little effort. I feel fitter, healthier and happier. I enjoy cooking and I relish going into the gym or for a run. Who would have ever thought hey?? My new challenge now is to see how much EXTRA I can lose in the 4 weeks I have left.

My only wish is that my Dad could be here to see my achievement - for him to see how far I have come and to be as proud of me as I am of myself.


Both my Mum and my brother are on the site and John has lost an incredible 6lb in his first week, I'm so pleased and proud of him, I know the initial decision is a hard one to make but he's done it. I look forward to hearing all about his journey and he knows only too well that I will be beside him all the way. Mums first weigh in is Thursday and I'm looking forward to writing about that next week.

Ray also has lost a massive 15lb since starting and he looks fantastic. So much so that when we were up in Newcastle the suit he wore for the graduation was far too big for him. Whilst Jonathan was having lunch with his Mum and Auntie Carole (post graduation) we nipped into Fenwicks to see what they had for him. The suit he wore in the morning was a 42" waist! He asked the storekeeper to de-tag his new suit and walked out in a 36" waisted suit!!!! All he wanted to do was go back and have his photo re-taken!!

Until next week

God bless


Monday, 29 June 2009

Busy, busy, busy

It has amazed me how much NOT exercising has bothered me this week!

I got a very nasty blister from the marathon and also did something to my little toe. I'm not sure whether it was a fracture, a rub or another blister but whatever it was I haven't been able to wear full shoes or trainers all week due to the swelling and bruising - hence no exercise.

I can now understand the term gym junky! I have so missed not being able to pop out for a walk or nip into the gym for an hour but this week will be different. My toe is recovering nicely (although still quite black) but I've got three nights out planned so I need to get something done.

We've also had friends and family over from Ireland this week so it's been a week of laughing and enjoying ourselves.

The first people to arrive were Rebecca and Paul. I had the pleasure of meeting them when we all worked out in Cyprus in 2002 and we've remained very good friends ever since. Benjamin was page boy for them at their wedding two years ago and I think Paul got a bit of a shock when he saw how he's grown since then as that was the last time he saw him.

I think Becca too was a little shocked at the change but that was in me! She last saw me at Dads funeral and when I met her at the airport, she screamed at me and couldn't stop complementing me on how well I'm doing. It's so nice when people give you encouragement when they see a difference and it certainly gives me a real buzz as I feel everything is slowing down a bit now. She has signed up for WLR so it will be me screaming at her the next time we meet!

We had a girls night out planned for Tuesday and all four of us hit the town although we hardly made an entrance as I think we were the only ones out! It was good that it was so quiet though as it meant we could catch up and have a good natter with each other. It's been far too long since we did that and hopefully it won't be so long before we do it again!

We had another trip to the airport on Thursday to pick up my Uncle Ed, my cousin Catherine and her friend Paula. We dropped Uncle Ed off at mums for them to have their catch up. Poor Mum was so ill last time he was over and he ended up having to drop her off at the hospital almost as he was going home. So I would like to think they have well and truly caught up with the gossip and goings on by now.!!

With our last guests arriving on Friday we had a bit of a celebration/get together BBQ to celebrate the Moonwalk and welcome everyone and we had a blast! I lasted until about 3am then had to retire. I think everyone else stayed up to hear the birds morning chorus before eventually going to bed.

Then Saturday was the 80's party in the park. . . . . .


With T'Pau, Belinda Carlisle, Banarama, Human League and Go West playing and us all dressing in our 80's get up we had such a good night and danced till the small wee hours once again!!

With the advantage of the 4000 calories I burnt from the walk which I hoped would see me through my lack of exercise and excess partying, it was possibly the most nervous I have ever been before stepping onto the scales on Sunday morning. I wasn't hoping for anything but wishing for the world. . . .


It really does pay to account for everything you eat and keep tabs on it. I have been just under maintenance calories all week barring a couple of days but I've had my exercise calories in the bank. I can't tell you how pleased I am so hopefully with exercise back on the agenda this week the fabulous week we've had won't come back to bite me at next weeks weigh in!

I have had such a fabulous week and we've laughed until we've cried. Maybe I've burnt calories doing that too and that's where the pound has gone??

We've another busy week this week with birthday's and I would just like to take this opportunity of letting Al know he got there before me (1st July)!!! Oh and Tracy (4th July)!! Happy 40th guys, hope you have very special days.

Hope you have a great week



Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Marathons and memories

Preparation for the 2009 Edinburgh Moonwalk has been on going since I stepped onto the treadmill for the first time back in February this year. I remember so vividly getting very emotional as I contemplated crossing the finishing line at my first marathon. This was the week that this would become reality!

Despite our best intentions, we were still putting finishing touches to our bras into the early hours of Saturday morning. So it was an early 6:30 wake-up to finish packing and have our weigh in for the week. We decided to do this a day early rather than wait another full week.

My weekend was to start well. . . . . . I've lost another 2lb this week, bringing my total weight loss 3 stone 8lb. That's 50lb!!! . . . . . over 18% of my body weight!!! Whichever way you look at it, it is a lot of weight for any person to lose.

People are calling me an inspiration but I really don't feel like that at all.
I am simply a woman who, in January was down and depressed with everything to do with myself and everything that life was throwing at me. I decided that I simply could not carry on in this frame of mind so resolved to do something about it. By taking my tragedy and converting my sadness into hope and inspiration, I would not only help myself but also raise much needed funds for the British Heart Foundation, a cause that is now very dear to me.
I am getting to the point now where I actually like myself and I cannot remember the last time that ever felt that way. I feel healthier, I feel good, I feel alive and more more importantly glad to be alive!!

The train journey to Scotland was a first for me and should have been very relaxing but in reality I was so excited about the challenge ahead of me and I just looked at the beautiful scenery and kept up to date with the goings on on Facebook - the wonders of National Express WiiFii!

Our hotel was fabulous and we managed to chill for a couple of hours before meeting up with Caz and Andy. We met them in the bar for pre Moonwalk drinks and a bite to eat. Carb loading I think they call it - baked potato with tuna mayonnaise - Yummy!

Then back to our room to prepare.

By 8:30pm we were ready to go, all dressed in matching outfits and bras. Nerves were already getting the better of me and we hadn't even got to Inverleith Park!

We had a 15 minute walk to the park and arrived by 9pm. The waiting was possible the hardest thing to contend with - we had to be on site by 9:15 and the start wasn't until midnight. . . so, we got our patch of floor and waited. The music and the atmosphere in the largest marquee in the world was electric with every shape and decoration of bra you could ever imagine! Over 10,000 people were participating in the 2009 Edinburgh Moonwalk and it seemed everyone of them had a smile on their face that night. It was more like a carnival atmosphere than a marathon. My eyes took in every last detail of the event. I could only find one word to describe it. . . INCREDIBLE!! The organisers called for a minutes silence to remember those who's lives and deaths had most influenced us and encouraged us to participate in the Moonwalk. It was enough to send my already bubbling emotions into turmoil but I had a long night ahead of me and I was determined to hold it together for a little longer.

We were eventually 'called' and it took us about 20 minutes to get to the start line due to the sheer volume of 'bodies' and then we were on our way. Wow - here I was on my first ever trip to Edinburgh, doing my first ever marathon! The number of people walking was difficult to comprehend and everyone seemed to be in party mode. The volunteer crew did a fantastic job cheering us on along our route and for the first couple of hours the atmosphere was incredible. We walked through and around Edinburgh city centre and then took on 'Arthur's Seat', an 824 foot high hill that during the day gives possibly the best panoramic views of the city - BUT NOT IN THE DARK! It was so strange because we couldn't physically see it - we could just feel it in our legs and it set our thighs aching for 45minutes!

As the night wore on the crowds dispersed somewhat as people settled at their own pace. It was also noticeable how quiet people were, hardly talking at all or conversing very quietly. Was it because we were supposed to be asleep at that time of the night? I really don't know - all I could hear was the low buzz of conversation, like bees buzzing around a hive doing their own thing, just getting the job in hand done.

At the half way point, there was a low loader with a disco on board playing extremely loud music and what a buzz that was! It lifted our spirits no end and we even managed a little jig and dance at the time.

Ray hit a bad point not long after that, around the 18 mile mark. His pallor was grey; his head was down and he was in his own world, plodding! He was counting the steps knowing he would get there but also knowing that he had to get through the 'storm' that was in his head.

We all seemed to pick up at daylight and the atmosphere once again changed - our heads were high and we were walking with new vigour.

I hit 20 miles and had a very emotional hour or so. I was now in new territory, I had walked further that I had ever walked before and had put myself through more than I had in years, both physically and mentally. Here I was on the dawn of Fathers Day without my Father for the first time in my life and it was killing me. I wanted so badly for him to see what I had achieved, what I was doing and for him to be proud of me. Deep down I know he was but at that moment in time I needed him to tell me that. My heart was aching in line with my legs - it was my time to be in a bad space and I just walked, thought and sobbed.

Mum rang me about 6 o'clock to see how we were getting on. Benjamin had woken her so she used the opportunity to ring us before they went back to bed. She was also very upset. It was her first Fathers Day on her own too and I suddenly felt quite guilty for leaving her on her own. I would walk the earth for her yet here I was, miles away when she needed me and I wasn't there for her, it hurt. Benjamin was there to keep her company though and I think he did a good job!

Because some of the walk was around Edinburgh City Centre we were forever stopping at traffic lights and whenever that happened we would stretch out for the minute or two so that our muscles wouldn't seize up. At 24 miles, en route back through the city centre we did just that and as I stretched I inadvertently popped a big blister that had developed on the side of my foot!! The pain was so intense I squealed! Why, why, why with just over 2 miles to go did this have to happen? I was in absolute agony. Tears fell again but this time in pain. I was determined to finish what I had started though and was not prepared to sit down and investigate the damage. I knew that my muscles would give up if I stopped so I hobbled the last 2 miles favouring the ball of my foot.

I can't tell you how I felt at my first sight of the finish line. Although we always said we would be happy if we completed the walk in under 9 hours and elated if we did it under 8 it was never really about the finish time with me - it was about the finish line!

So I completed my first ever marathon in 7hours and 39 minutes!!

I walked 26.2 miles or 138,336 feet!

I took approximately 104,000 steps!

I burned nearly 4,000 calories on the way round!

I was elated, I was dreadfully emotional and I was absolutely shattered!!!

Roll on the next one!!!!

I would just like to thank Ray, Caz and Andy for their unwavering support before and during this marathon. It was Caz who first put the idea into my head and before we knew it we were setting the world to rights on our training walks. Andy's training advice and his support was crucial as I really didn't have a clue what I was letting myself in for! Ray as always was my rock and it meant the world to me that he joined me on my marathon. I really don't know where or who I would be without him. His love, support and guidance through my journey means more to me than he (or anyone) would ever know. Final thanks to Mum - she had every faith that we would finish and has always been there to look after Benjamin for training sessions and have soup ready for our return! xxx

I wonder what my next challenge will be?????? . . . . . .

God bless


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Is time a healer?

This week in June is always a difficult one for me.

When I was 20 years oldmy first husband and I were told that without medical intervention (on both his part and mine) we couldn't have children so I went through life thinking I couldn't have kids. This was so hard for me as all I ever wanted out of life from a very young age was to be a Mum.

17 years later in February 2004 Ray and I realised we were pregnant and as you can imagine were absolutely overjoyed. I had a very healthy pregnancy and we even managed to be able to go on our cruise just before the 5 1/2 month travel deadline.

Our heartache came on the 11th June 2004 about a week after getting home from our cruise when I went into premature labour at 5 1/2 months pregnant and gave birth to our beautiful little girl Charlotte Amelia Birch at 14:10. Her gestation was a concern as she was on the border line whether she would survive or not but she was just too small. As soon as we said hello to our precious little girl we had to say goodbye.

Thursday was such a bad day for me as I relived every moment of what happened 5 years ago.

I think this year was made worse by the fact that Dad isn't here either so everything about losing him came flooding back too. I carried myself through the day with the thought that he would be up there looking after her and teaching her all he taught me as a little girl . . . . .If he bestows half the values he bestowed on me then I would be proud!!

So to my question . . . . . Is time a healer??

I don't think time heals I think you just deal with it differently.

I believe that things happen for a reason. Without Charlotte we wouldn't have known and maybe we wouldn't have Benjamin?

Anniversaries are a time for reflection and grief to overflow, I'm not saying we never cry or we ever forget the rest of the year, I think of her everyday! We just end up concentrating our ultimate sadness into one day!

Our loss certainly brought Ray and I closer together as we both dealt with our grief and now I know my Dad is up there watching over her and looking after her. Thank you Dad xxx

I held Benjamin closer than I had ever held him before and I'm sure he knew there was something wrong as he was so attentive and all he wanted to do was play and give me cuddles bless him. I then walked him to school and threw myself into work for the rest of the afternoon. Ray picked him up and they went shopping. By the time I returned from the salon there was a beautiful bouquet of roses and a card from him and Benj. Both it and the flowers melted my heart and made me smile.

I then realised once again why I was on this road! I love my husband and my son unconditionally and I couldn't imagine life without them. I'm not on a diet, I'm on a healthy eating plan which is going to last me for life!! I DO NOT want to go back to the dark, horrible, sad place I was in in January weighing nearly 20 stone. I want to FEEL healthy, LOOK healthy but more importantly I want to LIVE!!!

One of my clients asked me the other day 'What makes you so sure you won't put all your weight back on again Ellie?' My answer to Lucy was 'I much prefer the healthier happier me today to the overweight, sad, depressed, unhealthy me in January and in another 6 months I will hopefully like the me then better than the me now. I know it's not a quick fix and I know it's for life'.

Another friend asked this weekend 'Because I'm calorie counting does that mean I'll never be able to taste my wonderful cheesecake again?!' Yes I will Al because I can eat anything I like and if there is one thing I like it's food!! We have always tried different foods I was just sick of cheesecake as we seemed to be having it at every 'dinner' party we held.

A singing friend of mine, Tracey and I were talking about dunking digestive biscuits (in wine heehee) when she asked me to send her some willpower! I replied whilst eating a Curly Wurly!!!! - Everyone seems to think we sit and eat salads all day, we really don't. We eat all sorts of foods just in the right quantities!!

I have to say at this point that am aware that some people do not like calorie counting and might possibly be sick of hearing me go on about it but it works for me! I have consistently lost weight every week and I can eat anything I like as long as it's with my daily intake. Yes we eat healthier foods but that's purely so we can eat more of it!!!!!!

Weigh in . . . . . . . . . . ANOTHER 3LB BITES THE DUST!!!!!

OH MY LORD!! The Edinburgh Moonwalk is only a week away. Apart from marrying my husband and getting pregnant it is probably on my top ten list of greatest achievements in my life - MY FIRST EVER MARATHON!!!!!!

For you cynics out there I'm under no illusion that it is going to hurt!! What I do know is that we have done 20 miles (albeit during the day) and we still had another 6 in us. We have trained hard. Mentally we are ready - YES we are going to ache but with the training that we have done our recovery time is going to be so much shorter, so much so I am going to dress up to the nines on Sunday night and go out for a slap up meal and eat all the calories I burnt off on the way round!!!!

So with my training where it should be, my mental attitude in check and my bra decorated I'm ready. We will be happy to do it within 9 hours and delighted to do in under 8 hours. But in whatever time we complete our 26.2 miles we do not really care, the euphoria will see us through until the end collecting our medals.

I look forward to telling you all about it next week

Until then

God bless and once again thank you for all your love, support and help on the long,, rocky road!


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Anniversary wishes

The photograph opposite was taken on 1st June 2005 when we were married aboard the MV Sea Princess just off the Bay of Biscay.

We always try to make every Anniversary special, this year being our 4th.
The weather was so beautiful we set the patio table for a champagne dinner, bathed Benjamin and put him to bed and between us cooked the most fabulous dinner.

We started with tiger prawns cooked in chilli, garlic, sweet pepper and white wine and served on ciabatta. Our main course was BBQ trout on a bed of herby potatoes with a summer salad. To finish we had homemade chocolate cake with ice-cream followed by cheese and crackers. This was possibly the most romantic meal ever.

The whole evening seemed to have a different feel to it and I still don't know what it was. Maybe it was the fact that we both felt and looked so much healthier? My wedding outfit was a 2 piece suit and having tried the skirt on earlier that day, it was at least 2 inches too big.
For dinner I wore a beautiful pink summer dress that I'd only ever had on once before and then it felt so tight that I 'd subsequently lost it at the back of the wardrobe. I was wearing the dress and feeling pretty good in it! Rays shirt was one that he had bought on holiday abroad and for all that he loved it, it had always been too tight for him.

The chiminea was duly lit and we sat out until late into the evening. Thoughts drifted and inevitably turned to my Dad. He was on the wedding cruise with us and I still remember the look of pride on his face as he walked me 'down the isle' to my future husband. He's been gone now just over 6 months and not a day goes by that I don't think of him and miss him. God I wish I could see the look of pride that would surely be on his face today as he realised just how far I had progressed on my weight loss journey. Dad and I always used to stay up later than everyone else, talking and putting the world to rights. I miss that time so much and I'd give anything to have it back even just for one more night!!

Ray seems to have a knack of knowing exactly what I'm feeling and exactly what's going through my mind. He knew my Dad was on my mind and we just sat in the darkness watching the flames dancing in the pot. From the moment I told my Dad that Ray and I were seeing each other he said he was so pleased and that finally we had both met our soul mates. Maybe that's why we know each others thoughts and feelings so well!! We went to bed a little tearful but happy after having spent the most wonderful evening.

Our next evening was spent in completely different surroundings at one of the top restaurants in the area. Winteringham Fields, a 16th Century Manor House in a rural village in North Lincolnshire is a ***** restaurant 'with rooms'. We had the beautiful "surprise" menu consisting of 9 courses ranging from foie gras, to lamb Wellington, to passion fruit souffle and an award winning cheese trolley!

I bought a dress about 3 years ago intending to 'slim' into it. In true Ellie form I in fact gained weight and never got the dress on and just like the pink summer dress it ended up in the back of the wardrobe. In January when I began my sponsored slim the dress came out again with the intention of wearing it for my 40th birthday. Whoops!!!. . . . . .I wore it for our Anniversary meal and I have a very funny feeling it will be too big for my birthday!!! Ah well it seems I will have to get a new outfit for that occasion. . . .

I know I still have a long way to go but I'm starting to feel good about the way I look for the first time in a long time. My weight is still dropping and at a steady pace which is all I can ask for. To add to that I'm enjoying my new healthy lifestyle.
The rest of our week was spent in the gym and walking, trying to work off everything we'd eaten at the beginning of the week. We laughed as we worked out and reminisced about how we used to be and how far we had come. We both said that we wouldn't particularly worry if we put on weight this week although to maintain would be better.
Weigh in Sunday. . . . . . . . .
I stepped on the scales in trepidation truly expecting a gain: I've lost another 1lb!!!!!!
I couldn't contain the joy. I've had a fantastic week, I've exercised hard and it's all paid off. Now it's time to put my feet up for the evening and have a night off!!
Next weekend Caz and Andy are over for a walk and final touches. It's the weekend before the Moonwalk and our outfits are almost ready. I'm sooooooo excited.

Until then

Monday, 1 June 2009

I'm disappearing!

Once again I must apologise for not doing a blog last week. Caz came over and we spent Friday night sewing lights on our bras in preparation for the moonwalk in 3 weeks time. We were up early on Saturday morning to go for a long walk and once again spent it chatting and catching up. We also spent a couple of nights in Newcastle at the beginning of the week so it's been a little hectic to say the least and everything got out of sync.
At last weeks weight in I maintained and to say that I was a tad disappointed was an understatement - I cried! I was just so desperate to get to the 3 stone mark!. Why do we do this to ourselves? We build ourselves up for something only to be so disappointed when we don't achieve it.
I was sat at the kitchen table feeling very sorry for myself on Sunday morning after weigh in when Mum told me to do my measurements again as she could see that I had lost inches. . . . So out the tape measure came.
I realised then had something to smile about!
3.5 inches of my chest!
6 inches off my waist!!
6 inches off my hips!!
So there you are - I really am disappearing and it gives me a buzz that I just can't describe. . . . so thank you Mum xxx
We then decided to sort out my wardrobe which certainly needed doing as a lot of my clothes were just falling off me. It was debatable whether I gave them to charity or pack them away in a vacuum bag. I decided however, that I never wanted to go back there again so the British Heart Foundation shop benefitted from 4 bin liners of clothes! The only 'BIG' clothes I kept was the suit that I wore for Benjamin's Christening. . . . . just as a reminder . . . .

When we returned from Newcastle, the rest of the week was spent exercising and enjoying the sun. Ray bought me a new heart rate monitor as an early Anniversary present. Then it was getting ready for weigh in on Sunday morning before the Race for Life and our follow on BBQ.

Sunday started off on an extremely good note. . . . . . . . I lost 4lb this week!!!!!!! Making up for my previous week and bringing my total weight loss to 3 stone 2lb. That is an enormous amount of weight and exactly on track with losing an average of 2lb a week.

So with new vigour we departed for the Costello stadium to join over 5,000 more women in the Race for Life and my challenge had once again been set! Ray said he would sponsor me £30 for the race with an additional £20 if I completed it within 45 minutes! Last year I completed the 5k Race in over an hour (about 1:17 I think it was).

I was determined to run at least some of it this year and being a true Virgo, I was determined to get £50 for cancer research and prove to myself I was more than able to complete the run in less that 45 minutes. I shattered my previous 3 mile time coming in at 37 minutes 51 seconds!!!! I was absolutely elated and just hoped no one had a camera pointed at me as I crossed the finish line as I was crying!
I'm looking forward to a good week. It's our Wedding anniversary today (1st June) and it's certainly starting well.
Until next week

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Nearly there

Last week saw us preparing for our longest walk so far starting from our home in Sproatley, through Wyton and Bilton, then along Holderness Road and through the town centre, up Boothferry Road, across the Humber Bridge, through Barton and finally into Barrow on Humber arriving at our friends house within hopefully no more than 6 hours. It doesn't sound far when you say it like that but it was just over 20 miles!!
We dropped Benjamin off at his Grandmas for a sleepover, his first one since her operation. I'm not quite sure who was looking forward to it the most - she was so excited.

We left the house just before 10am in far from settled weather and that set the pattern for the duration of the walk! We seemed to have all four seasons in one day. One minute it was glorious sunshine then the next the heavens opened and it poured with rain. We hit the Humber Bridge at around 1pm and as we neared the South Tower the heavens opened again but this time it was hailstone! Cold, wet, miserable and hurting we ploughed on and true to form it brightened up again and we got to our friends house after 5:45 minutes.

We were absolutely thrilled. Not only had we walked further than we had ever walked before but we had done it far quicker than we had imagined. What was also very encouraging was that we both said we could have extended our walk and completed another 6 miles if we'd needed to. This gave us a real confidence boost for the marathon in 5 weeks time.

After a blisteringly hot shower, a most welcome cup of tea and early afternoon drinkies, we spent a lovely evening with John and Sue, eating, drinking, chatting and catching up. Sensibly we slept over which meant weigh in would be a day later i.e. Monday instead of Sunday.

Weigh in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2lb loss!!!!!

I was so pleased to have lost again although if I'm really honest I wanted to hit the 3 stone mark at this time.

That was until we were sat at the kitchen table on Monday and Ray said to me "Do you realise what 40lb feels like?" Then off he trotted into the gym and brought out weights equivalent to the 40lb and made me carry them. Oh my word, how did I ever manage to walk around? The extra weight (to me) seemed huge and in true Ellie form I started to cry. I suddenly realised that it didn't matter that I hadn't got to my 3 stone target this week. The fact was I had lost 40lb in weight and I was feeling so much better and healthier and certainly much happier with how my appearance was changing. I am now buying clothes that are 3 sizes down from January; that would be enough to make anyone smile!

Until next week, take care



Monday, 11 May 2009

Picking up the pace

This week has found me getting motivated again!
My gain last week, although the first one this year really changed how I was feeling. I can't begin to tell you how low my week started until I joined up with the new site,

I am really enjoying it and the support and advice network on the site is incredible. People who have never met before talking openly to each other, offering help and advice as well as motivating . . . . . . . . and why - because they are all in the same boat - they all want to loose weight to feel better about themselves and have a healthier life.
Ray has even enrolled on the site and is now entering his own food diaries and exercise regime. I think he's been quite shocked as to how many calories specific foods contain and only by making little changes, things can be so much healthier.
Hollie and Sean came over from Guernsey for the weekend and we had a meal booked for the Friday evening which was a little worrying for obvious reasons. I had however, worked hard all week and banked calories that I planned to use for my meal/wine so surely I had to get the loss I felt I deserved. Mum came with us too and we had a lovely evening, once again enjoying fantastic food - thank you Westwood!

On Sunday morning Hollie joined us on on what was going to be a relatively short walk via the tea rooms at Burton Constable Hall for a cup of tea and teacake . . . . . . . . only the grounds didn't open until 12:30!! So we changed our plan, went further down the road and ended up doing 5.5 miles. Bless her we did try and go gently on her but I think her legs were aching a little by the end. lol

Weigh in ................................................................ 4lb loss!!!! YIPPEE

That's 2 stone 10 lbs in 18 weeks (average 2.1lb a week!) bang on target. I would think that to lose 4lb next week to get to my 3 stone target is a little too much to ask but hey, I can but dream!!

This week I've done everything properly and I lost weight. In my eyes it's very clear that if you want to lose weight, then stick within the guide lines and it does work.

Saturday we have our 20mile walk booked and we are staying over at friends so weigh in will on Monday.

Until then

Take care, God Bless


Monday, 4 May 2009

week 17. the pot grows!

This week has been taken up getting organised for our charity night on Wednesday!

When we were out last week I was complaining that I didn't have any new songs to sing and Ray heard someone singing Dance with My Father (originally sang by Luther Vandross) and said very matter of factly and without any thought for the words 'that's the song for you Ellie!' It's a beautiful song but I wasn't sure what I was more worried about - being able to learn in time (6 days) a song I had never heard before or whether I would be able to get through it without loosing the plot, crying uncontrollably and making my mascara run!
I put it on repeat on my ipod and gave it a run through at the weekend with Ray, Mum, Tammy, Caz and Andy roaming around the house. Between us all I think we went through about 3 boxes of tissues and I hardly managed to get through the first verse without tears streaming down my face.

Never the less, I stuck with it and invited my friend Sooz came down to listen and help out on Monday evening and again we sobbed for the first couple of runs through. The more I sang it the more confident I was that I would get through it on Wednesday and I seemed to have nailed it (or killed it as Ray so eloquently puts it!) by the end of the evening. Whether that was anything to do with the two bottles of wine and half a bottle of honey rum that we consumed. I'm not sure! What I do know is that it was lovely to spend time with Sooz, laughing and crying without children running round our ankles.. It was just what we both needed. xx

Wednesday arrived and I really can't remember when I was last so nervous. I wanted everything to go well, I was desperate to sing my new song for my Dad (and get through it!) But I was so emotional. Every text I got wishing me luck and telling me how proud Dad would have been of me just made me sob. I HAD to get through the night so I concentrated on getting everything ready, including myself.

I opened the night with 'Dance with My Father' and I only hope I did it justice for my Dad. I can honestly say I cannot ever remember an audience being so quiet during one of my songs. I'm sorry if I upset anyone but I really do wish I could dance with my father again - now all I have is a song.

Although it was a very meaningful and sad song for me, that was certainly not the form for the evening. The mood was a happy one and we had a fantastic night and managed to make a further £680 for the British Heart Foundation. Thank you to all of the artists, sponsors and supporters that helped on the evening. I am planning to do another charity night at the beginning of September (after my final weigh in) and I sincerely hope we have just as much if not more support.

Ray and I managed to get out for a 8 1/2 mile walk on Friday after dropping Benjamin off at school and the three of us went out for a bike ride on Saturday which was lovely.

Weigh in Sunday morning ................................. 1lb GAIN!

I'm so fed up you can't imagine and I'm really quite disappointed in myself.

I had a busy week and I slacked off - that is the long and the short of it. I've had a persistent craving for sugar and sweet snacks and rather than addressing the problem I have given in and helped Benjamin get through some of his Easter eggs!

The Mail slimmers web site also closes this week and this has been playing on my mind. After this weeks weigh in it is apparent that I still need to be filling in food diaries to make me aware of what I'm doing. I have found another site 'Weight Loss Resources' that I'm getting my head around and it looks fantastic. Thanks go to the the Mail Slimmers site for giving me a cracking start and I look forward to picking up the pace again with my new site.
Since starting my healthy eating regime in January I've not gained at all and I certainly don't want to do it again if this is how it makes me feel!! Maybe this is the kick up the bum I needed to get me focused again............... WELL IT'S WORKED.

Here's to next weeks LOSS!

God bless


Sunday, 26 April 2009

Finality comes in many forms

This week my Dad hit the paper in his own rite. His inquest was on Monday and the local paper published the findings the following day. Luckily a friend of mine text me to let me know it was going to be in - I really have got some lovely friends who really care about my feelings xxx

Following Dad's death, a report had to be sent to the coroners office to decide whether an inquest would be held. I would like to say at this point that as a family we have absolutely no question that the hospital did everything the possibly could for him. Their care, support, work was never in question for us. Its just that Dad's surgery was elective and he'd gone down for a second operation - there was always a 50/50 chance the coroner would say an inquest had to be held. Mum was supposed to be there to give a statement but a letter was sent to the judge and she was excused from the proceedings.

The findings were everything we expected them to be. The inquest heard that he'd had heart problems dating back to 1993, he had developed an aortic aneurysm for which he'd consented to have surgery even with the risks it carried. He was obese and had been a smoker most of his life, although had stopped some 3 years previously on the advice of his doctor. Dad was initially in surgery for seven and a half hours but when he was recovering in the intensive care unit he developed high blood pressure and started hemorrhaging. Doctor Brian Johnson and his team tried to stop the bleeding in a second operation. . . . .The inquest found that he died due to complications after surgery.

In all seems so cold and final when you see it written down, as we did in the paper but final it is and now after 5 long months we can have his final death certificate and Dad can now rest in peace knowing for sure everything possible was done for him.

It was Tammy's Dad's funeral on Friday. Visiting Haltemprice Crematorium is always hard as it brings back memories of my own Dads funeral but to see someone you love and care about hurting for the same reason is just so hard to bear. My heart really did go out to her and she did so well. We gave him a good send off and then hit the pub to have a few drinkies. We left Tam about 7:30 well on her way to having a 'wobbly night!'

We'd had such an eventful week we were looking forward to having friends over on Saturday night. Tammy and Al came over and Caz and Andy travelled from Harrogate for the weekend.

True to form Caz and I had arranged to go for a walk and we managed to do a 10 miler although not as quick as we'd hoped as we were talking most (well ALL) of the way round. But we weren't fazed as we'd got the miles in and in the process had a really good natter, put the world to rights and decided that we were going out the next morning for another 10!

7:30, a glorious Sunday morning heading out for a 10 mile walk! I couldn't have imagined that 3 months ago but off we went and had a great walk - up until 7.5 miles when I needed the loo!! We spent the last mile diverting home, as quickly as possible!! lol. But we still managed 18.5 over 2 days and believe me I have a blister to prove it. Inner soles have since been duly trimmed so hopefully I won't get a repeat of today's golf ball blister on my heel.

Weigh in week 15 ................................................................................ I lost 2lb


You won't be surprised to learn I'm finished the week on a complete high. I'm smiling, my legs ache and I have a nasty blister but I feel great!!!!

I'm looking forward to the charity night on Wednesday at Chambers and really hope I can help make it the fantastic night it deserves to be. Mum is polishing off her tiara - well lets face it she'll be like the queen! It's been that long since she has been out and everyone is so looking forward to seeing her. It is going to be very hard for her and also very emotional but I'm sure she will have a wonderful evening and as always we will be there by her side every step of the way.

Good night, god bless


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Week 15. friends will be friends

I think this is going to be a long blog not only for the fact that I missed last Sunday (Easter Sunday), but also so much has happened.

We had a fabulous Easter weekend with our good friends Mags and Rich and their 3 girls. They came over for an Easter Egg hunt, a hat making session, a sleepover and of course Sunday lunch.

Mags and I have been good friends since Junior school at the age of 8 - that is a scary thought! We progressed through school together and even got our first jobs in the same firm, Hider Food Imports Limited. Mags then went on to work in Managerial positions around the country before travelling the world with Rich and returning home to start their family. It was luck that our paths crossed again after about a 5 year gap when we were looking for someone to organise flowers for our wedding celebration. Mags proved herself to be a top class florist and did the occasion proud!

We've some wonderful times in the past and after finding each other again our families have become the best of friends and made many more treasured memories to hold onto. I'm sure we'll be around for each other for a long, long time to come. Thank you for your time, love, patience and help guys. xxx

After the Easter break we went away for our first caravaning trip of the season, to.........Thomas Land!! We took Benjamin last year and he absolutely adored it although he was just too small for a couple of the rides. In true Benjamin style he hadn't forgotten that he couldn't go on Cranky the Crane and Terence so they were top priority for him.

We met up with friends at the campsite - Steve, Helen and their lovely kids Beth and Farron. Unfortunately due to their commitments at home we only had the one evening and part of the next day with them but we had a fantastic time chatting and getting to know each other better.

Steve and I started singing on the circuit around the same time and although we knew each other to say hello too, it's only in the last 6 months or so we have got to know each other better. Steve and Helen have had their own problems and heartaches over that last past couple of years and yet the frank and open manner in which they have accepted and were able to discuss Helen's health situation had me feeling quite humbled and somewhat in awe!! They are a lovely family who look life in the eye and live for today. God knows they have to face up to more than most and I admire them for it. I'm pleased to say that they have just had some very good news from the hospital and I'm absolutely delighted for them, to the point where I was moved to tears when Steve rang me to let me know. I sincerely hope that we see them again very soon to celebrate and look forward to arranging our next camping trip together xxx.

Tammy is another friend of mine who I have only known for about 8 years yet it seems so much longer. Many people mistake us for sisters! When I was singing, Tammy was Manager of Springfield Club in Anlaby and again she was someone I only ever passed the time of day with and never really got into a conversation.

When I went out to work in Cyprus we kept in touch by letter and I was quite surprised when she asked if she could come out to see me for a couple of weeks on holiday. I looked forward to the company but was a little worried that we not previously spent any length of time together. I need not have worried at all because from the moment her plane landed to this present day we have got on like a house on fire. We've been pretty inseparable, have been the best of friends and I can honestly say that I don't think we've ever stopped talking!

She and Al celebrated their 1st year together last weekend and it's been wonderful to be able to share in their happiness and again we've have some wonderful memories to treasure. Both Tammy and Al were a godsend to me when Dad died and they helped me through some very low times. It's time to reciprocate now as I had the dreaded text from Tam in the early hours of Friday morning to let me know that her dad had died.

I will be as strong for Tammy as she was for me - the only advantage I have is I am 5 months on and have a clear knowledge of how she is feeling at this moment in time. There will be lots of tears and hopefully lots of smiles; lots of reminiscing and hopefully lots of laughter too. All my love and thoughts are with you Tam xxx

Weigh in for the last 2 weeks has seen me maintain. I'm not worried as I have had a wonderful Easter Break and a very enjoyable few days away in the caravan. I just hope I can get 2lb off this week to get to my 2 1/2 stone mark. Benjamin is back at school now so we can get out walking again. We've only managed to get out the odd time over the last couple of weeks with mum still recuperating from her op. She is slowly getting better and she's even managed to come down a couple of times which is wonderful. She is also hoping to come to the charity night next week.

Over the last week or so I have come to realise that life really is about living and enjoying it. I'm lucky - I'm breathing, I'm feeling healthy, I'm getting fit and I'm proud to be me. I also like to think I'm a nice person to be with. True friends are around not only for the good times but also for the bad times too! I've spent too long worrying about why some people don't talk to me or appear to dislike me, but I have convinced myself that it is their loss not mine. I have some wonderful friends old and new who I enjoy being with immensely. I have friends who I don't hear from for a while but I know they are there - the odd phone call or text tells me that! Thank you all for being there when I need you. xxx

Hopefully I should be back on track and posting my blog on a Sunday again from next week. I must apologise to Mum who has been chivying me to get it posted as she has been looking every day for her regular Sunday read!
Until the next blog, God bless

Monday, 6 April 2009

Week 13. Surely our luck will turn

On Wednesday we had yet another sad day. Oscar, our 7 year old Great Dane passed away suddenly. He went missing for a while in the garden and Ray went out to find him and returned with a very sorry looking and distressed dog. His abdomen was distended to such an extent that we contacted the vet and took him to the surgery straight away. He had immediate surgery for a twisted stomach and they also had to remove his spleen which was badly damaged and give him a blood transfusion. When the vet rang us at 10pm that evening he was holding his own but at around 8:30 in the morning he sadly died.
They always say dogs are like family members. Well Oscar certainly was: not only for his size but for his personality. He was a wonderful dog with great character. Benjamin absolutely adored him and I remember when we first brought him home from the hospital weighing just over 4lb, Oscar's head was far bigger than our little premmy baby. We used to joke that Oscar would come in with 2 slices of bread in his mouth for a Benji sandwich! A bond was formed on that day! We've also had many infant visitors to our home who have laid with Oscar on his bed, using him as a sofa. Sleep tight old man xxx
We were due to go away on Thursday to Blackpool and decided that it would do us the world of good to get away for a couple of days. We enjoyed the break but lets just say our trip was 'interesting!'. We took our trainers though and managed a 6.5 mile walk to Blackpool prom and back before breakfast on Friday followed by an aqua aerobics class afterwards!!

Mum also came out of hospital on Friday although if I'm honest, I'm not sure she should have come out so soon. She still really isn't well so I've been staying with her at her house since I got home. We've had the Doctor out to her and her wound is infected so now she is on more antibiotics! Bless her she'll be rattling soon with the amount of tablets she's taking.

At weigh in this week I lost another 3lb!

I'm thrilled with it as I haven't been filling in a food diary since Wednesday - I have just been conscious of what I'm eating and doing. It's obviously worked and I can't ask any more than that really at this point.

It was also lovely when we went away as everyone had noticed my weight loss and commented on how well I looked. Its nice to start noticing it yourself but when other people do it really does give you a boost and makes you feel good about yourself and life. Lets face it I need something to make me smile at the moment!! Thank you all xxx


Sunday, 29 March 2009

A busy and worrying week

As you know from last weeks blog my mum was taken into hospital on Saturday evening. On Monday she had a CT scan and they discovered she had a perforated gall bladder which had allowed a 2 x 3cm stone to become lodged in her small intestine. She was taken down for emergency surgery on Monday evening which resulted in a bowel resection to remove the blockage. She was finally released from the High Dependency Unit on Thursday and was settled onto a ward. Her condition improved rapidly thereafter and she even managed to walk the corridor on a couple of occasions. Last night however she started vomiting again and they have taken out the bottom 3 clips of the wound to see what was going on. She now has a bag attached to it as there is leakage/infection. The Doctors also think that the vomiting may be due to the fact that she isn't moving around enough yet for everything to 'work it's way down'.
The last time one of my parents went down to theatre he never came out so you can imagine our concern. We had a dreadfully worrying time. I've already lost my Dad and I'm certainly not ready to loose my Mum too!! It still amazes me how susceptible I am to falling apart. Memories of what we went through with Dad just flooded back and I was a wreck once again. I'm sorry if I spoilt your birthday on Monday Tam ... I really tried and thank you once again Ray for being by my side and helping me get through it.
On Wednesday evening I went to the local leisure centre with my cousin to do step and box. Basically its a full hour of intense cardio work. Thanks Elly you managed to make me laugh (1, 2, 3 duck!) and push my boundaries a little, I actually enjoyed it although I couldn't feel my thighs on Friday!!!!!
With Mum being in hospital I've had little time to do much walking this week but I have been using the stairs at the hospital. I didn't mind so much when she was on the 3rd floor but she is now on the 6th, it hurts!!
On Friday however, Benjamin had his own sponsored walk with school and we accompanied him. We were so proud of him. 3 years old and he walked 3.5 miles and walked most of them too! When we put him on Ray's shoulders he proclaimed 'Daddy, its windy up here!'. His sponsoring skills are coming into play too and he managed to raise £38.00 for the school. Well done Benji xxx

On Saturday we went to our friends 70th birthday, catching up with friends and dancing the night away. The highlight though was taking Benjamin to see his Grandma in hospital on the way there as he had his tuxedo on, bless him. It was a lovely surprise for her and he melted a few hearts on the way.

Sunday, weigh in...............................

Yippee, I've reached my 2 stone mark! I've lost 4lb which brings my total weight loss so far to 2 stone 2lbs. I didn't expect my 2stone until the end of April so I'm absolutely delighted. I am over 4 weeks ahead of my target, all I can say is thank you very much if you sponsored me per pound. I think you're going to owe me a lot of money!!!! Benjamin's walk was along a public footpath to the next village, so to celebrate my 2 stone loss, the 3 of us walked to the pub there for Sunday lunch (only we took the buggy for Benjamin this time!)

Until next Sunday

With love