Sailing with Mr Rhino – teambuilding ACCL style!

Last Friday saw the boys off on a jolly, time for a bit of overdue male bonding, a chance for boys to be boys and let that manliness run rampage! Chris had organised a day’s sailing out on the Solent, on a boat aptly named Mr Rhino – an image forms of power, muscle and testosterone, using your imagination our boys can be described as being a bit like the rhino.. minus the horn! I believe the boys were probably thinking they were having a day out in a Strip Club, but Spearmint Rhino it wasn’t, just a bunch of men wrapped up in waterproofs as a barrier against the changeable English climate! Unfortunately they didn’t get to do much ‘sailing’ more ‘drifting’ as the Solent resembled a mill pond…. no wind, allegedly, although I find this hard to believe knowing the amount of hot air that regularly escapes this lot! It took 2 1/2 hours to get to the Isle of Wight, even the seagulls were faster! Shame, as I was imagining Simon le Bon, hair teased by the wind, gliding through the water at a rate of knots! However, we can safely say it was not exactly a Duran Duran ‘Rio’ moment!

Chris is an experienced sailor, out on the water at every available opportunity. Keith is a frequent cruiser, so he was completely unfazed by the whole boating experience, Steve is up for anything, and after sea fishing on our trip to Grenada last year was not worried about the Solent. Wayne ‘land lubber’ Connors however,originally thought he’d left his sealegs back at Hamble, he was fine for the first couple of hours but started to feel a tad unwell after dinner…an allergy to shellfish, finally revealing itself in all its glory! He had the DT’s and hives all over his skin…the boss is gutted, as am I, he will never be able to look into the eyes of a prawn the same way again, and I, for my part would have had some serious mileage pulling his leg on the fact he’s a girlpants on the water!

oops! wrong one

That’s it! Our Steve


The boys came back to the office full of it! They’d had a great day, and Chris is looking to organise a further trip, this time up the Thames….I think the girls should be invited on this one, however I’m not into the whole waterproofs look, I would rather have the opportunity to dress up and quaff champagne, leaving the sailing to a dishy captain…!

Couch to 5k – Still smashing it!

Now a couple of weeks in and, I’m pleased (actually totally amazed) to report we are all still pretty much on track! I know, get us!

For the most part I have been pretty good, running round the woods with me mucker Sal a couple of times a week, of course I use the word running in the loosest sense! run a bit, near collapse, walk a bit! not quite Steve Ovett and Seb Coe but, watch this space, Rio 2016 is beckoning. On the days I don’t run I walk briskly for at least  40 minutes and I do this at least twice a week, sometimes everyday *smug smile*  I have invested in a pair of Tone Up trainers, on the recommendation of said friend Sally. I like them. Mostly. They tone up muscles I never knew existed, the pain in my backside has been excrutiating at times, but it has to be for the greater good, it will be toned and sassy, J Lo butt here I come!

Peachy 🙂

Another downside to this exercise lark is the increased need to use the toilet, for number two’s – I don’t wish to sound gross but for a while I was scared to don the lycra and step outside ’cause within 10 mins I was having to speed up at bit for fear of releasing more than endorphins! This is normal apparently and thankfully this aspect settled quite quickly! I have been watching what I put into my mouth too, although I refuse point blank to diet, not a single onion ring has passed these lips… reward is a 3lb loss in 2 weeks, not mindblowing granted, but 2lb more than I lost in the whole 6 months of the ACCL Team Diet, so, believe me I’m chuffed to bits!!

So Sally my twice weekly running/walking partner has been venturing into the woods more or less every day, top bird! She has to take the dog out anyway so gets her exercise kit on and off she trots, I’m sure she runs most of the course when I’m not there holding her back, she’s good, I’ve seen her! She runs whilst carrying a bag of sausages, she assures me these are for the dog, but she disappears from sight occasionally so one can never be entirely sure! Sally has not drunk a single glass of wine in the last 2 weeks, which is incredible, I’m not joking! She runs funny but that I put down to the shaking from the DT’s!! She is feeling fitter, and so she should, however she is slightly concerned about the size of her calf muscles, which she feels are looking a bit like Popeye’s!

Not convinced it’s the girls getting the exercise…!

Dee is still following the plan to the letter and is out 3 days week (no more!) gradually increasing the amount of running she does, she even comments on the forums, go Dee! Another one that goes out with the dogs, in Dee’s case she has 2 German Pointers, I’m not convinced that she is doing all the work here, those dogs can move and who’s out with her to check she isn’t wearing roller skates? I’ve read plenty of Miss Marple in my time to be suspicious of everything! On the downside though she has increased the amount she has been shoving into her gob, exercise makes you hungry she says and she can justify the non-weight loss with the old saying ‘muscle weighs more than fat’ However, she is beginning to realise that in order to lose a bit of weight she’ll have to start cutting back on what she’s eating and avoid the doughnuts!

Steve, what can I say? he is still torturing himself by talking CONSTANTLY about food –

Nothing wrong with the occasional bacon sarnie…

 bacon sandwiches, Nando’s, chinese…you name it he’s talking about it! He feels deprived, so we have decided that if we are good all week we can afford ourselves a treat, so we have treat Friday, I support him in this as only a true friend can, it’s not a treat if you partake on your own is it? It keeps us focussed, like a reward for good behaviour and it works, his mood on a Friday is a joy to behold!  He bought himself a rowing machine this week, that’s how serious he is, he was getting bored of the running machine, and more to the point his knees were giving out, poor old codger. He has lost a couple of pounds too so fair play to him.

Can we REALLY keep this up?!

ACCL Smashing Couch to 5k…….

Following the *ahem* success of the ACCL team diet, we are regrouping and gearing up for the latest fad grabbing the country by storm – Couch to 5k……the idea is to turn you from couch potato to Zola Budd, they *promise* to get you regularly running 3 miles in the space of just 2 months! Achievable? If I’m honest I have my doubts, but we shall see….. 🙂

The boss is giving this one a wide berth, having been the stand alone hero of the team diet I am only too pleased to hear it, one thing Wayne does have is willpower so he’d blow us all out of the water and if I’m totally honest I couldn’t bare any more of his smugness…! He is instead sticking to being careful about what he shovels into his gob… Personally, I think it has more to do with his fear of lycra 🙂

So the team consists of me. Obvs. Sally and Dee, also obvs 🙂 and the Lawrence…a very welcome, if not reluctant addition to the team!

In my youth, not so many years ago (don’t laugh!) I was a good middle distance runner, being told to try out for the county. I was however more interested in beer and boys at the time so it never happened…. Now as a grown up (debateable??!) I am ready to take on the challenge 🙂 This HAS to work, for those of you who followed my Clash of the 2 Tonnes blog will know, having started the diet at the beginning of the year with high hopes I failed at it. Miserably. Onion rings and red wine are my life and I just couldn’t manage without them.  I have gained another 1/2 stone since, which is a disaster…!  according to my mum it all goes downhill from the age of 40 anyway so I should just accept my fate! but I’m not ready to throw in the towel, just yet 🙂

Sally will be my jogging/walking partner a couple of times a week (her house backs woods, and we thought it only right that our attempts at getting fit should be viewed by as few people as possible, at least until we can jog without looking like someone in the throes of an asthma attack..) Sally’s diet journey was about as successful as mine, yep, that good 🙂 and she is determined to get out of the ‘fat’ wardrobe once and for all…!

Dee is following the plan to the letter (I bet she was teachers pet at school!) 20-30 minute sessions, 3 times a week, gradually increasing the amount of running she does (she has even downloaded the iPhone App, so she has someone talking in her ear, personally I get enough of that at home from my kids, so it’s not for me :-). Lethargy following ill health has been her catalyst for her getting fit, and age…..did I mention we are all women in the prime of life (ie our 40’s 🙂 )??!

Steve Lawrence, the man who laughed when we talked about the team diet is now finding that age is finally creeping up on him and with it comes extra poundage in the form of a spare tyre, ha! there is a God 🙂 Again, not wanting to scare the general public with his attempts at exercise, he is using his parents’ treadmill…. Personally, I think it’s just an excuse for him to go home and get his mum’s cooking 🙂 He is determined to lose weight though and as someone who avoided the diet at the start of the year I have no idea of his resolve…. he’s also watching what he’s eating (whilst CONSTANTLY talking about Nando’s – unnecessarily torturing himself I might add) One thing I will say here though is that it’s making him grumpy 🙂 well, more grumpy than normal if that’s possible… 🙂 He is telling us that he is jogging for 30 minutes, however, we have no way of proving this……video footage may be required and trust me I will upload it on here if we manage to acquire any 🙂

Changing Room Experience – turning the negative into a positive…

Changing Rooms have come a long way since I was a teenager back in the 80’s, thank God! Who remembers those large communal rooms, where you would have to just walk into a large open, often poorly lit space, find a hook to hang your prospective purchases on without looking up for fear of catching someone’s eye, or worse still catch yourself staring unwittingly at the breasts of the woman opposite who, it would appear was more than happy to strip off unashamedly, and, lets be honest, she was always there, no matter what time of the day or week you went….! (weird store detective maybe??!)  and why did those rooms always smell of feet…?

Or who remembers those individual cubicles, you know the ones without enough room to swing a cat that ALWAYS had an ill-fitting curtain? It was either hanging procariously from the rail or it wasn’t wide enough to cover the gap! You had to try (desperately) to position yourself in such a way that you would retain your dignity and lets be honest here, it wasn’t easy if you needed to bend over was it? *shudder*!! I remember thinking how I’d like to be Mr Benn, just walk into the shopkeepers changing room, take off my hat and “as if by magic” 🙂  change into whatever I’d taken in with me! Plus they never had mirrors in them, you’d have to come out of your ‘room’ to take a look at yourself in the mirror positioned at the end of the aisle, jostling with other potential purchasers to get a quick look…..not happy memories!

Thankfully these nightmare changing rooms are generally a thing of the past and with retailers realising that 70% of people who enter into a changing room are going to buy something, it makes sense to ensure that the experience is a happy one. Internet shopping has it’s place but there is still nothing better than a relaxed browse around the shops with a mate (note I don’t mention husband/partner – this is deliberate :-)!!)

Exciting things are happening in the world of retail and ACCL are at the forefront – watch this space…..!!

So, what’s killing you??

A recent report by the BBC suggests that inactivity is killing as many people as smoking, apparently around a third of all adults are not getting enough physical exercise….This is not really what we want to hear to be honest, we all know that a lack of exercise isn’t good for us, but as bad as smoking??! Give us a break 🙂 !! Once again the guilt descends…. I’m not a smoker, I am however an occasional drinker – any occasion will do 🙂 but I must  confess that my sofa at home has a nice ‘Faye’s bum’ shaped dip in it, yes, sorry to say that at the moment I am suffering from an acute case of ‘lazycowitus’, it happens… I blame the weather (currently). And the government 🙂 The Summer this year has been nothing short of  laughable, no-one in their right mind wants to go outside the door when it’s chucking it down, least of all to exercise, and  in the current economic climate people are working longer hours in the office, the result being we are getting home late and are generally knackered…! the last thing you need to be thinking about is doing some star jumps or pulling on the leg warmers and watching Jane Fonda DVD’s…..don’t know about you but I’d sooner be grabbing some crisps and a glass of wine and catching up on the latest episodes of House 🙂

So, how will this impact on us slobs? a ‘sofa tax’ possibly? 🙂 We are, as adults, aware of the risks of not doing exercise, (to be honest, I only need to look in the mirror to see my inactivity ain’t doing me any good!!!) ……so, what stops us reaching for the trainers? is it just that we see the risks but enjoy cake more 🙂 ?? we really don’t need to be continually reminded of the perils…..Blimey, you only live once! I say smoke, drink, be a slob – your choice 🙂 but, as with everything, moderation is key 🙂

Putting the ‘Great’ back into Britain……

What a year to be British! We’ve had a patriotism overload this year haven’t we??  With bunting and Union Jack flags billowing from the windows of houses and High Streets up and down the country since April in preparation for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at the beginning of June.

 People came out in their droves to ‘big up’ the Queen on her 60 years as our Head of State, only the 2nd monarch in British history to achieve such an accolade (Queen Victoria being the other)… No other country in the World has our pomp and ceremony, and visitors come from far and wide to revel in our glorious heritage, and we certainly know how to throw a party, don’t we 🙂 ??…. we Brits do all this in spite of our unpredictable climate 🙂 mind you, I say in spite of, but let’s face it, rubbish Summers are the norm for us aren’t they?? Always prepared with a rainmac and brolly….our stiff upper lip and fighting ‘bulldog’ spirit comes to the fore 🙂

In spite of the deluge of rain the flags are still flying, and 2 weeks after England’s footballers crashed out of yet another Euro’s, this weekend saw us Brits once again huddled around the TV on yet another wet Summer Sunday 🙂 Flags still flying, beer and optimism flowing…The British Grand Prix at Silverstone saw unfortunately another dismal day for the Brits…. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button coming in 8th and 10th…

Our optimism remained resolutely in place for the mens Wimbledon Final, the hopes and dreams of the nation pinned solely onto Andy Murray – could he possibly do what Fred Perry did way back in 1936??! Alas, it wasn’t to be, and as we all cried along with him, we hope that he will soon have his day…..there’s always next year when Wimbledon will see ‘Murraymania’ in full flow 🙂

And now less than 3 weeks away from the Olympics, once again British hopes are flying high 🙂 The home nation, that has to count for something, right??! We have some fantastic athletes and some strong contenders for medals….we may not be the best, but as our Mum’s used to say ‘it’s not about the winning, it’s all about the taking part’!!!!!

You seriously wouldn’t want to be born anywhere else, well, this year anyway…!

Clash of the 2 Tonnes………the verdict!

Six months have passed since the decision was made to do an ACCL team diet, the idea being that if we worked together we had more chance of success, supporting each other through those tough days when only a bacon butty was going to hit the spot…encouraging and praising each other…. 2 lessons I’ve learnt here, 1) don’t decide anything whilst under the influence of alcohol and 2) the only thing you should do as a group is hug 🙂 or, better still, get drunk….! Well, what a journey we’ve been on eh?? A long and somewhat bumpy road (bumpier for some) In the beginning morale was high, positivity flowing from every pore, how infuriatingly naive I was…when I read back over week one, I was annoyingly positive, for my part talking about losing 10lbs, jeez! what planet was I on??!  If it had been £10 I would have outdieted the best of them 🙂

OK, time to ‘fess up…..I have managed to lose on this entire 6 month journey a staggering 1 pound!!!! Yaayy 🙂 You may snigger, yes I know, some poo’s weigh more than that!! I did say early on that me and my willpower have a very rocky relationship…fair to say we are no longer speaking 🙂 but  I can  take comfort from the fact that at least I didn’t GAIN weight, and to be honest it’s through some divine intervention that that is infact not the case….! I have scoured the internet looking for ‘Onion Rings Anonymous’ as I now appreciate I am in the throes of an addiction…My journey hasn’t finished (let’s be honest, did it even begin?!) The only good thing about this rubbish British summer is that I have not had to put my body in a bikini…..(there is a God!)

Poor Sally, a bit like myself, has struggled with this whole diet malarkey, the only thing she has lost (apart from her dignity on occasion :-)!!) is tyre rubber from furiously peddling her bike around the woods! Any possible weight loss brought on by the frantic exercise regime has been offset by copious amounts of alcohol, vast quantities of bread, cheese and basically anything unhealthy she’s been able to lay her hands on! The lesson to be learnt here is that exercise makes you hungry 🙂

As with all things, moderation is the key to success…! She’s not been weighing herself (she found it just too depressing) so is unable to give me the end result, the fact that her clothes are still tight would indicate that it wasn’t a roaring success for her either…..We may just go out for a  slap up meal with lots of alcohol to take the edge off of the disappointment we feel…. 🙂

Dee had started brilliantly, even if she did have a slight head start over the rest of us, beginning her diet ‘journey’ back in October. In fact, thinking about it, she was doing really well up til the point she joined the team ACCL diet…..! The last few months when I’ve asked for an update, I’ve had the now infamous phrase “I will start next Monday”!!!  She has been struggling to get back in the ‘zone’ (since about February isn’t it mate :-)???) Maybe it’s the weather? we can’t just blame a loss of willpower, can we…?!  to be fair to her, she has been struggling with a bad back for the past few weeks, you can’t diet when you feel poorly, comfort food should ALWAYS be on hand to lift the mood in such times of distress!  If the weather HAD been nice and she didn’t have the bad back she’d be outside working in the garden, furiously digging and planting like Charlie Dimmock on acid (with the bra ON I hope Dee??!!)

As it is with the weather being so rubbish and feeling poorly, what else is a girl to do other than sit indoors and eat cake 🙂 ? when she does finally get into the garden (IF we ever see a Summer…) she fears she may look a little like Pavarotti in the Park, her own harsh words, but I see where she’s coming from *sniggers behind hand* Anyway, to conclude, the result of the dieting has seen her still a stone lighter than she was this time last year, still with the goal of losing another half a stone…….but not today……….starting next Monday…… 🙂 !!!!

The only proper success I can report (and it pains me to say this…!) is the only man on the journey, and the one with the most weight to lose! Wayne has now completed his Lighter Life diet, coming in at a staggering 6 STONE lighter 🙂 Come on, you’ve got to hand it to him, that’s pretty impressive! He is a lege in my eyes  🙂  …! He’s looking pretty good too, not quite George Clooney good, but the smaller frame definitely suits him 🙂 His re-introduction to the world of proper food has been slow…. he would probably disagree (because he is in denial 🙂 ) but gruel had almost become his comfort blanket 🙂 He actually told me he is going to miss the diet???!! Tell me those are the words of a sane man??! I reckon they’re adding more than essential vitamins and minerals to those sachets, if you get my drift… 😉 *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*!!  Thankfully he didn’t resort to snorting it (as far as I know!)

So, for Wayne a roaring success and a smug look on his face, for us girls it’s a case of must try harder 🙂