Days 55-79

If it gets this bad.... then I must quite the game! But how cool is this anyway?

Oh what a pitifully bad person am I??? Without realising, and after yet more requests, it is almost a month that has passed since my last blog. Yes – I’ve been busy. As in – to my tonsils (or in my case, the spot where said tonsils used to be) busy with so many things that I had to prioritise the importance of my daily blog versus the realities of staying up to date with work and life – I opted for the latter.

So since I have last been here – I have stayed in a state of Ketosis, gone off a state of Ketosis, when they tried to force all these healthy foods down my throat, and am now happily BACK in a state of Ketosis. I am still religiously doing al my exercises every morning (bar Sunday, when to my greatest distress I realised that Ketosis and some red wine do NOT go together – there is a reason why they tell you NOT to drink any alcohol) – and am crunching, lunging and push upping away.

I have lost just over one stone all together (please note that when I went healthy I put on – but I was cheating, as I was not as full as when I lived off my current diet of Fat, more Fat and protein).

Right…. case in point. I started this blog at 17h23 this afternoon – I am now only getting ready to post it, and it’s 4 hours later, as I am on duty this evening, and getting back the taste of what it’s like to run around with food to all sorts of tables all night at top speed.

I shall leave you with this final thought that I was reminded of tonight though – crucial for the hospitality industry: preparation, preparation and more preparation makes the job MUCH easier…. and presentation is EVERYTHING!


Day 51-54 – ENERGY!!

Allow me to introduce: ANGELA SCHWARTZENEGGER in training...

I cannot get over how much energy I have – even though I know theoretically I am bogging myself down with laden fats and proteins! AND – I have lost 4.1 kg – YIP, that is 9 pounds!

In reality we cannot keep this up, and it will only be another week, and then I am going to do low GI’s – but until then, I am going to enjoy all these wonderful avocado’s that I simply MUST eat. And might I add, (and Paul, you can’t give out to me too much) – this has been achieved without me having the time to go to the gym every day and do my weight training. But yes, I have religiously done my crunches, lunges and every other thing intensely for 20 minutes every morning before hitting the shower – so that must mean that the weight of my body being involved in a push up or twenty must be enough!!! Needless to say – that’s why I am doing this!

To think – that my body weight is actually enough to warrant me being my very own personal bench press. Interesting. The only worry I have is that at the end of this I might look like Angela Schwarzenegger – bootimuscilicious!

I digress as usual – for once my blog is completely on my new 40.40 challenge and less on my thoughts in general – so allow me to rectify this. We all get bombarded by lots of emails every day – I refer to them as those soppy sentimental types – that we simply delete, because we could not be bothered in a busy day to stop and read repeats of emails sent to us many times previously (and this one is for my mother – Ma, dit beteken NIE dat Ma nou weer kan begin vir my die email stuur nie!). So it happened that I opened one simply called 10/90.

And what I read, in short concise and easy to read from was: 10% of what happens to us in life is inevitable, 90% is how we interact/react to it. Think about it – it’s so simple really.

In my numerical quests, I am even happier to report that with all this new-found energy, I am also excercising the 10/90 principle – I am biting my tongue before I speak. OK – you’re right, I am somewhat biting my tongue, and being more careful of what my utterances are, and keeping myself aware of how my reaction can influence not only my day, but also those around me.

That said – I will leave you with this priceless little anecdote of me speaking BEFORE I think. I return your thoughts to Monday’s blog and my Luncheon on the Galley Cruise Ship. During conversation the topic of smoking came up, and I was very proud to say that I have quit, and that I have an app to assist me, called Cold Turkey. This app tells me how much money I have saved since the day I quit, and how much my life expectancy has increased. At the table were mostly men, and two very refined and most charming ladies.

Having heard about my savings, one lady (and I cannot stress enough how much they were ladies amongst all of us), asked if I actually put the money away, and what did I buy with the savings?

Without blinking an eye, I replied: “Condoms”

I leave the reaction to this inevitable foot in mouth event to your very accurate imagination. Blush.


Day 50 – Sunshine on the waters!

And the sky WAS that blue!

For all intent and purpose, I should be promoting the wonders of this wonderful establishment that is called the Brandon House Hotel, and not squeak a word of anywhere else. However, I have to tell you about my most charming day!

My boss – lovingly referred to as “Big Chief” sent me on a mission today – a Fianna Fail mission at that, and I was the representative on the Galley Restaurant Cruise for a fund-raising luncheon.

Alas, before anyone asks, Fianna Fail is currently the ruling party in Ireland, and as I am not a citizen, I have no views on any party and cannot vote, so please take this writ in the spirit it is intended.

I had two marvelous surprises. The first was the Minister of Tourism and all other related portfolios, Mary Hanifin producing a very excellent speech. That of course from the Toastmaster in me. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a gregarious and well spoken woman as our tourism spokesperson (previous ministers did NOT enthuse me, I can assure you)

Secondly, and most importantly, the whole experience of spending the midday of the longest day of the year on the River Nore in some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable in Ireland. Wow. I cannot in pictures and words describe to you how amazingly beautiful it was – and relaxing, because you see, the signal also went about 20 minutes outside of New Ross – so I had no choice but to enjoy this absolute marvel.

YES – I hear you! What did I eat? Well, I can tell you that visually all the food was sumptuous – but I had to be content with a beautiful piece of fresh salmon and lettuce leaves whilst all others were scoffing on Rich Tomato Soups and Cheesecake. Believe it or not – I did not miss the dessert, and returned to the hotel to indulge in some serious roast lamb fat to complete the meal. Now that is what I call dessert.

Did I get much work done today? Nope! And I will have to sacrifice tomorrow by coming in at ungodly hours to do it and play catch up.

It was worth it though, an assignment that I am truly grateful for – because I ended up having the most expensive piece of Salmon in Irish post-Celtic history.

Sunshine on the waters and the breeze in my hair – wearing a suit has never been so comfortable, and life can only be good.


Day 41-49 – I’m back!

All this means is I piss on a stick! He He


Some have been in contact to ask why I have so suddenly ceased to blog, and the answer is simple. I didn’t feel like it. Not an I-couldn’t-be-bothered feel like it…. a slightly down in the dumps, did not feel I had any answers to anything, sorry for myself kinda feel like it. Pathetic I know, but such are the realities of life. 

The reality is that the couple of pounds I had lost I had gained in a simple week, and the scales said that there was NO movement after everything. I felt that I had let not only myself, but also all those around me down – especially the chefs at the hotel – who have put so much into it . Embarrassed really…. And then there was this homesickness, missing friends and family, meeting truly wow and in inspirational Americans, and just one of those weeks. You know the type. 

But alas! I am back, and one colour bar away from a state of Ketosis! Now you might ask what is this, and to explain it in detail would be way too complicated, and take up too much energy (energy now saved for my daily weight and exercise regime) – but the gist of it, I have over the past 4 days eliminated sugar COMPLETELY from my diet. Yip – not a single Magnum in sight. Here’s  the irony – do I feel any hint of a craving? 

Not at all – I mean, I cannot force any more food into me if you begged me, and have even had to cut down on some portions. I have not been hungry or craved ONCE! Truly incredible. I will have to confess though, that until this morning I felt lethargic and stodgy – but this morning my eyes opened and voila – they were open – in a bright and bring on the day way! 

How did this come about? Simple really – there I was chattling away to some young whipper snapper wizz kid guru and charmer, by the name of Kevin regarding life in general, taking opportunities and the rest – when the subject of my 40.40 challenge came up. I shared my intense frustrations, my lows and my lack of weight loss with him, and he started telling me about this routine. Now I have to add – Kevin is a lanky 6’4″+ and not someone I would call excessively muscular, but will have to confess he looked more buff than the previous beanpole look he sported. So needless to say, I scoffed, because why would someone like him need to go on a diet – or “lifestyle change” as I prefer to call it. 

He explained some of it to me, and then said he will get someone to get hold of me and talk me through it. 

Now we all know those promises and statements – they seldom happen. But lo and behold, true to his word, enters not so lanky, but ever so buff Paul into my world. He drove all the way from Dublin to access me, and go though every little question and detail I had. He also has been texting, sitting on my arse and encouraging me since then – so not much chance of me getting out of this one. 

The long and the short is that I am now on a seriously high fat and protein diet for 14 days – with NO milk, fruit or sweets. I won’t be on this for longer than 14 days, then I will revert to a low Glucose Index diet. This time I am not allowing for any shortcuts – I have bought the recipe books, and am going to give it my all. 

Truly, how bad can it be – my breakfast of 2 butter fried eggs, 5 streaky rashers and three table spoons of Avocado and Philly mixed must be my favourtie breakfast EVER! Pine nuts and Emmental Cheese – steak and green beans with butter…. There is only ONE thing I like more than Magnum, and that is a nice extra large free range butter fried egg! 

So for all of you who had bought shares in Magnum Ice-creams – I would suggest selling right away, and buy into butter – lards of it! 

There’s a new 40.40 challenge on the block – and I have just over two months to get there. Wish me luck!


Day 40 – Proudly South African!

Say it loud... VUVUZELA!!!!!

========<() ♬ ♩♪♫ ♬ ♩♪♫ ♬♬ ♩♪♫ – This is a Vuvuzela and the tune it plays! Yes – today even the criticism about the infamous Vuvuzelas made me proud. So what if we are the first country that have collectively found/created something that is SO annoying that everyone talks about it!

Where else in the world will you force journalists and punters to knot their lips and tongues around the uniqueness of expressing the word, not even to speak of the sound they make??! I say fair play to us!
I was sitting in Kilkenny this morning, waiting for Barbara and the gang from the States to return from the castle, and working away on this here ol’ laptop, sipping a coffee or two most sophisticated – when across the road two ladies sat down. It did not take me long to recognise the accent (and for those not in the know – there are not a lot of random Saffas in this neck of the woods). As today was the day it was, I engaged in conversation – and vuvuzela! (this is the new expression for Voila!) – the one had her cardigan open donning an all Bafana Bafana shirt, and the other was equally enthusiastic about Rooibos. I realised then that this was the sign I was waiting for.
That was the moment that I now know no matter what the outcome, I will be supporting the Bafana Bafana side as if they were the Springboks themselves. I will wrap myself in my Africanness, I willi’Nkosi Sikilele to the highest mountains, I will swallow away the lump in my throat right now, and I will remind myself no matter where in the world, and no matter how many cultures I embrace – I never want to be anything BUT Proudly South African.
Laduuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! I wish I was home.

Day 39 – 25 hour days!

Tick-Tock.... you are feeling sleepy.......

I was reliably informed that there is no scope for any extra hours being added to any particular day soon – unless you believe all the conspiracy theorists – then I only have two years left, because 2012 is going to see the end of it all!

That sounds like a perfectly reasonable alternative to me right now, a bit of Mad Max lifestyle. A case of survival of the fittest and everything back to basics and brass tacks. Until that day arrives though, I have to make do with only 24 measly hours, and no matter which way I turn them, twist them or rattle them – they simply are not doing the job.

Then I am also reliably informed that others like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Virgin Branson have far more demanding schedules, and they manage with the same amount of hours. Now this is where I need to be restrained, tied to the old oak tree down the Five Senses lane at the bottom of the hotel, and have all sharp objects removed from me within a 7 kilometre radius. ARGH!!!!!  Infuriating – I could also do that if I was surrounded by assistants and personal secretaries et al running out of my ears.

Hang on – it gets better! Then I am told – but you have to learn to delegate!!! Right now I would even like to delegate this blog, but who is there to delegate to? Did anyone not notice outside the public sector that most of us, including all those other normal people with 24 hour days, are busy double jobbing and are already trying do the work of two people.

Did I stick to an eating plan today? NO – there was no time to eat. Did I do 10 minutes worth of excercise? NO – I was too busy running up and down the stairs between meetings and ducking and divings and Spa’s and lost tourists and the list goes on. Either I need to get more organised (some will vehemently agree with that statement) – or learn to practice what I preach – simply say “NO”.

Or I can do what our Danish trainer did – simply hold up my hand in an almost militant way – say “Hold it” very authoritatively – walk away…… and forget to come back!

Either way – just Toastmasters, write-ups, web page designs layouts, glass of wine, house cleaning and washing to go…no bother. I mean really – according to my 25 hours day, I have a whole 6 hours left to do it in! Who’s stressed now?


Day 38 – One step back

That's what it's all about!

Have you ever been in that place where the road is paved with the best intentions, yet you seem to feel that you are taking two steps forward and one step back on it? That sums up my day today!

In honesty I would battle to state what exactly I did today, except sit in meeting after meeting and bashing ideas. That said, I am absolutely exhausted. So I was chatting to the chief,and agreeing that when we use the ol’ noggin then we are exercising the most intense muscle of all. Or am I just fooling myself?

That said, I was definitely NOT exercising anything when I put a litre bottle of water in my handbag this morning with the nozzle open – upside down! And in hindsight, having taken that step back to see the bigger picture – that is probably where it all started going wrong.

As for my 40.40 challenge – yes the one that is the sole reason for me being here – I had a most interesting challenge put to me today. That if I eat lots of fat for 6 weeks, and do certain excercise, I will lose up to 3 stone? Mmmm, loosing weight whils teating what I like. Is that one step back too many and simply too good to be true? I smell a serious challenge though! Especially seeing I will have to urinate on a stick to measure my Kurtosis, which according to my cyber research is an economical graph – but in this case will measure my muscles. I have to be in a permanent state of Kurtosis. Interesting – and that without drugs?

What I did like about my day is being amazed that I have met a “public” servant that is worth her weight in gold. A breath of fresh air and a credit to Failte Ireland for getting something right.

And before I know it, I am standing in the lobby, chatting to Barbara and Co from the States and rushing out the door to come and write this. The day is done, never to be repeated. Where did it go?

I’m going to have to sit back and review doing things a little differently. Taking a step back and looking in to make some changes – not only to my lifestyle, but to my approach to some things.

With thanks to Bill Bailey and Kraftwerk – How about we just do the Hokey Kokey – put a right foot back and that’s what it’s all about! 

An aside – watching some of these clips – a good laugh and it’s all about “Move over Elvis, Bill Bailey is in the house” – and life is GOOD


Day 37 – Scramble for Scrabble

How to win at Scrabble!!!!

Oh so VERY short and sweet! Need a serious session of relaxation with my new found friend….. online scrabble!

Sorry guys, but need to take a break today! XXX


Day 36 – A little sex, and not much city!

Golden Girls = Sex and the City

What did Abu Dhabi pay HBO to have a whole film shot on location? Yes, I was very trepidatious going to see the latest rendition of what was one of my favourite tv series of all time. I was already a little let down by film numero “o no”, but after reading all the crits, assumed the worst.

My verdict is a bit undecided and confused. I mean – the phrase of the movie HAS to be: “Well hello, Laurence of the Labia” – but outside of that it was just a desert background to make the fashion  look more colourful, and most unnecessary costume changes. I mean talk about old colonial travel styles with truck loads of baggage – and not too few Middle Eastern stereotypes either.

Now Liza Minnelli was FABULOUS – and in my reconfirmed fag hag status I shall revel for the time being. And yes — I related to the distance that people will put between themselves and their loved ones for a job or a better future / prospects.

In a nutshell, maybe because I was expecting to be massively disappointed, I was pleasantly surprised. Two and a half hours of mindless amusement with a shocked giggle every once in a while,Low calorie popcorn, diet coke and one SMALL Ben & Jerry’s Cookie dough later, with a hint of pissy weather – and in all it equals a perfect bank holiday Monday.

What did I not like – HOW did they manage to get an Australian rugby team worked into the script? Truly – did they not realise that there might be a couple of southern hemisphere neighbours that would not relish in this overindulged attention… especially to their packages. And we ALL know the truth in that regard!

A part of me will always reflect on the series, but I have to allow for the natural process of aging that all us avid followers must surely be able to relate to. I appreciate that I could not spot too much Botox and implants – and in that I felt kindred and kindled. If not for the fashion, and the hint of a tryst on the beach – at least the wrinkle stayed true.

I mean – even to those iconic style icons, and straight talking geriatrics – aging can’t always be easy! Forty here we come, or what do you say, Samantha? All us golden girls must stick together!


Day 35 – Juicy!

Juicy Fruit - of the non chewing gum veriety!

I’m taken back to my childhood, where we had a vine in our garden, and “organic” to the roots. Grapes were really juicy, and they had big bitter seeds inside. What is a grape without seed? Ha Ha – I know – seedless. Yes I asked for that, but seriously – will we be destined to eat genetically modified, tasteless fruit for all eternity until we pop over the waters to France?

I recall with clarity how we never believed that we had to pick the apricots before they were ripe, and it had to be first thing in the morning, before they got too hot in the summer sun. Of course we knew better – so sympathy was far and in between when you were crawling with cramps on the floor, and echoes of “I told you so!”

My dislike for peaches stems from the fresh peaches picked from the tree behind my Wendy house that looked totally edible, until you tasted the furry skin on your tongue, and was put off the texture for life. The plums had no problem hanging to maturity, as you knew the reward would not only be juicy – but juicy to the core, so you did not have to mind biting into the stone.

And then there was the avocado tree, the Pomelo trees, the oranges and the loose skinned big yellow lemons. And most importantly – God how I miss Figs. Ripe, soft and kind figs.

Fruit were juicy – even though the trees struggled at times with severe droughts and too much sun. There has to be a way that we can get fruit over here that has had the patience and time provided them with juices and pips – fully seeded and sweet.

Yes, we had fruit this weekend, and Rose wine and brilliant company and lazy dinners, but it was the biting into that seedless grape that reminded me – sometimes we need to mix bitter pips with the sweetest juice to have the greatest experience in life.