Saturday, 1 July 2017

Part 24 - Sometimes I wobble

So much has happened since I last wrote here in 2014:  we've moved house - I've lost count of how many times (pretty common out here when you're renting); we've been back to the UK for a holiday - and my big brother & Lucy's beautiful wedding;  I've had the absolute pleasure of one of my younger brothers living in the same country as me for the past 2.5 years (he was on a work holiday visa); we've continued to work and catch up with friends and generally live life. We've also had our first baby - a little girl who is now 16 months old and the absolute light of our lives. Her smiles and laughter fill our days - and our phone memory. She is also the reason for this post - sometimes I wobble.

Up until she was born I was so confident in my decision to live 12,000 miles away from the people I love the most. Up until she was born I was 100% committed to my new life in New Zealand. Up until she was born I could never see myself going to live back in Wales. I was - and still am - a big believer in the quote 'not all those who wander are lost' ... I actually have this quote framed in my house.

And then she arrived - a beautiful, healthy 8lb bundle of joy, light and love. She rocked our world.

So now, sometimes, I wobble. I think about everyone who we're denying her access to - and everyone who loves her so much from so far away, and I wobble. I question 'what if ...?' and 'how can we ...?' and ultimately 'is it still right for us?'

Then we talk about why we emigrated, what we were seeking when we chose NZ, what it means to us - and now to her as well, I look at the support we have around us - people who have our absolute best intentions at heart and are essentially our extended NZ family, and I am comforted. The life she will live here in NZ will be amazing and she is no less loved for living 12,000 miles away.

I'm under no illusion - one day she'll temporarily leave us to do her Overseas Experience (OE) and she'll be thankful to have such a warm, loving family to welcome her on the other side of the world, and UK citizenship of course.

Sometimes I wobble, and that's ok with me.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Part 23 - Billy Connolly, Storm Ita and My first ever detox: how the GM Diet worked for me!

I can't believe it's been 10 months since I wrote my last blog entry - we have been busy bees and clearly just enjoying life in Auckland!

I won't go into detail about everything that we've been up to as that would take forever for me to write and ages for you to read so I will spare you :)

Heaps of celebs have been making an appearance here too which has been nice, I was lucky enough to see Beyonce at the end of last year as well as Dolly Parton (legend, it's got to be done!) earlier this year and Bruno Mars not so long ago! We also had tickets to see the Rolling Stones last weekend but this has been postponed due to the sad death of Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'Wren Scott so we'll be seeing them later on in the year. Last weekend Billy Connolly was here in Auckland and we had tickets in row 5 which was awesome and I was SO EXCITED ABOUT!!! I have some great memories of watching my fave ever live DVD of Billy with my Best friend in Wales when we were younger ... I think we both know all the words to it ... "GIANT ANTS ... ARE EATING MA' HEED!" Ha ha ha - makes me smile even as I type it!

Waiting for the Big Yin to make his appearance ...

We've come through summer so there have been lots of outdoor activities going on which has been awesome and now we're in autumn ... that said we've had a cracking autumn so far (that is ... until the royals showed up!) On that note, it is lovely to have an air of excitement around about Will, Kate & Baby George - everyone seems to have nice things to say about them.

We had a crazy storm on Thursday (it's now Saturday) and that seems to have cleared the air for even more sunshine!

Tamaki Drive in Auckland during Storm Ita
People trying to get to work on Tamaki Drive, Auckland during Storm Ita

Anyway, I decided to do my 1st ever detox a couple of weeks ago and I used the General Motors (GM) Diet plan to do it. I wanted to share what I thought of it with you guys, I hope you enjoy:

Day one Tuesday (also went to gym at lunchtime)

Made a batch of soup the night before I started which consisted of:

  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans
  • 1 green pepper
  • Celery
  • Peas
  • Vegetable stock (3 cubes)
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • Chilli powder

Today wasn’t too difficult, I am allowed to have fruit only all day (no bananas) and as much vegetable soup as I like. I am feeling motivated and keen to shake off the addiction to refined sugar that a lot of us have!

Today’s menu looked like this:

  • Breakfast: 2 apples
  • Mid morning: kiwi fruit, orange
  • Lunch: papaya, soup
  • Mid afternoon: kiwi fruit, 2 apples
  • Dinner: papaya
  • Drinks: over 2 litres of water

Day two (Loss: 1kg) Wednesday

I woke up feeling bright, thirsty and hungry.

Just the smell of the soup put me off when I was preparing meals for work! I actually quite enjoyed it when I ate it though. I went for a short walk at lunchtime to buy supplies ready for the next couple of days.

Today I am allowed vegetables only, and non-starchy vegetables at that (so no parsnips, pumpkin, squash, corn, etc) and the soup.

Today’s menu looked like this:

  • Breakfast: celery, small amount of soup, genmaicha Japan tea
  • Mid morning: soy flat white (not allowed!!) 1 Kiwiberry (not allowed! Got asked to try one)
  • Lunch: salad leaves, pepper, tomatoes, cucumber. Balsamic vinegar, celery, cauliflower & broccoli (fried, no oil)
  • Mid afternoon: soup
  • Dinner: Baked potato, butter & mushrooms
  • Drinks: over 2 litres of water

Day three (Loss: 0.4kg) Thursday

Woke up bright eyed and surprisingly energetic. I also have a constant feeling of hunger. This is the most difficult morning so far and I am really looking forward to lunch! I am having intermittent small headaches (not prolonged, very short).

I went for a 30 minute walk at lunchtime and felt drained at the end! I have also been quite drained all afternoon.

Dinner was a complete disaster ... I’m really not feeling it today. Ironically I preferred the days when it was all fruit or all veg – not the combination (not sure why). I actually think this diet is putting me off vegetables, which isn’t a good thing as I eat a fair amount of them usually anyway. I tried to abate my hunger in the evening with water, but still went to bed quite hungry.

I made a new batch of soup tonight and it’s not as nice as the original one I made. This one has less stock it and uses fresh cherry tomatoes instead of a tin ... wishing I’d stuck with my first recipe! The original GM soup recipe calls for just using water! Ach y fi (disgusting) as we’d say in Wales, I couldn’t have eaten that. This soup batch was made of:

  • Fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 3 onions
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans
  • 1 red pepper
  • Celery
  • Vegetable stock (1 cube)
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • A touch of cumin

Today’s menu looked like this:

  • Breakfast: soup, half a nashi pear, 1 apple, feijoa, herbal tea
  • Mid morning: Satsuma, kiwi fruit, herbal tea
  • Lunch: courgette, carrot & mushroom fried in a little olive oil with sauce (made of balsamic, mustard & Nando’s hot peri peri), tomatoes. Had to have half of this at 11.30am. Apple, plum.
  • Dinner: half a nashi pear, half an apple, soup with fried broccoli and cauliflower (not good! Ate some of it...yuck)
  • Drinks: over 2 litres of water

Day four (Gain: 0.6kg) Friday

After a strict day yesterday and not enjoying it at all – I put on 0.6kgs! It was pretty demotivating, even though I was doing this to cleanse as opposed to losing weight. I actually think my body may have gone into ‘starvation mode’ yesterday – I know little about this but have heard the term banded about when people go on extreme diets your body clings to everything it gets.

Still ... I’m sticking with it – I know I will be cheating on Saturday night as I’m going to see Billy Connolly live and it would be rude not to have a cheeky wine or two while appreciating the Big Yin! (I am SO EXCITED about this!)

That said I woke up feeling very bright eyed and bushy tailed again today (this is definitely the theme) AND I get to eat bananas and drink milk today.

I have been looking forward to this day all week. I love bananas! I can have up to 8 bananas and 3 glasses of trim / skimmed milk throughout the day, along with the soup. I can also (‘legally’) have an espresso coffee with milk (known as a flat white here in NZ) to start my day. I am not a huge coffee drinker, I am more into all sorts of tea – however, I have missed being able to fill up on a flat white. One change though is that I would usually have a sugar in my coffee, I didn’t this morning and I could easily get used to sugar-free coffee having not had refined sugar for a few days. This is a good outcome!

I prepared for the day by making a banana smoothie with 2 bananas and a tall glass of trim milk (half for morning tea and half for lunch). When I had the first half of this for morning tea it tasted lovely and extremely sweet – the sweetest thing I have eaten in 4 days!

I felt very satisfied after lunch with my soup & have a smoothie ... plus after everything I said yesterday about my new batch of soup it was actually OK today – I had put heaps of pepper in it before I went to bed last night and that definitely pepped it up a bit (spot the unintentional pun)!

I had 6 bananas in all and was feeling reasonably satisfied by bedtime. This is usually the day that people put on a pound or so, so I'm frustrated that happened to me yesterday.

Today’s menu looked like this:

  • Breakfast: Coffee with milk!! Yum (no sugar)
  • Mid morning: Half a smoothie, genmaicha Japan tea. This left me feeling satisfied – not full and not hungry :)
  • Lunch: Soup, other half of my smoothie. Feeling full!
  • Mid afternoon: 1 banana
  • Pre Dinner: 1 banana
  • Dinner: soup, 1 banana, 1 glass of milk (smoothie)
  • Evening: 1 frozen banana
  • Drinks: over 2 litres of water
Day five (Loss: 1.5kg) Saturday

This is going to be tough, it’s Saturday. Work has kept my mind off food for the past 4 days and now I have free time to play with. However, I am so excited that I can have brown rice for the next 3 days!! I am also going out on a limb this evening and having alcoholic drinks so we’ll see how that goes. I know, I know – alcohol is not detoxing ... I am happy not to call it detoxing if it makes the reader feel better :)

The lesson I learnt overnight is to trust the process. So glad I didn't give up yesterday as I lost 1.5kgs – there is definitely something in the starvation thing I was taking about on day 3.

Today I am allowed 1 cup of brown rice and tomatoes. If I ate meat then today and tomorrow I would be able to eat beef, but I don’t so it is substituted for brown rice which suits me just fine.

I prepared last night for today's menu of brown rice and tomatoes. I read that it should be 1 cup of brown rice but can't find anywhere if that's supposed to be 1 cup measured uncooked or cooked so, having checked the label and seeing that 1/3 of a cup (uncooked) is a serving and gives you around 250 cals I made the educated decision that it must be 1 cup measured uncooked as that would be around a 900 calorie allowance which is low for normal daily amounts but relatively high on this diet. 1 cup of brown rice is around 210 grams and when I cooked it, it looked like a feast! I cut up 3 large tomatoes and dropped them in and also threw in some cherry toms for good measure (apparently tomatoes are foods from the gods … as are eggs usually).

Breakfast was more of a brunch time wise as I had it at about 11.30am – it was absolutely divine eating rice (I love brown rice anyway) – my taste buds came alive and it was amazing to be eating something of substance. When you heat the rice with tomatoes it turns the toms mushy and I know this dish will become a regular for me, I really like it.

I knew we were going out Saturday night to see Billy Connolly so knew that it was no longer detoxing – what with drinking alcoholic bevvies … plus we ended up going for dinner first! I ordered a small portion of battered fish with smashcut fries (fat wedges of potato deep fried!) and it certainly was a small portion when it arrived, I ate the fish and only had 2 potatoes before I felt full! Usually I would have finished my meal and this time I didn't – my needs were met and I left the rest :) Had an amazing night at Billy Connolly (High Horse Tour), he is so funny and it was also sad to hear of his battle with cancer and the ongoing fight with Parkinsons.

Here he is!!
We got home at 3am on Sunday(!) and I was feeling peckish when I got in, yet instead of reaching for the rice crackers I heated a bowl of brown rice and tomatoes, perfect!

Today’s menu looked like this:

  • Breakfast: brown rice and tomatoes with a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper.
  • Lunch: brown rice and tomatoes with a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper.
  • Dinner: battered fish & smashcut fries
  • Evening (actually at 3am Sunday!): brown rice & tomatoes
  • Drinks: 1 litre of water, 4 glasses of wine, 2 Canadian club & dry ginger ale, 1 vodka lime & soda

Day six (Loss: 0.1kg) Sunday

Okay so I weighed this morning and still lost 0.1kg … that said, I think it's dehydration so I will take it with a pinch of salt and see how it's looking tomorrow!

Again I am allowed 1 cup of rice today with veggies (this would be beef with veggies if you eat meat). I am glad I can have the rice, my body is screaming out for carbs after a night on the town last night and I am trying to shut it up with yummy brown rice.

Woke up this morning and there was a tiny amount of yesterdays brown rice and tomatoes batch left so I was able to curb my hunger pangs with that before making my new batch for the day. For today's rice dish I cooked the cup of brown rice then fried some peas, grated carrot and yellow capsicum (no oil) and tossed that through along with some tomatoes and salt & pepper. Yum!
My daily allowance of brown rice & veggies
Today's menu looked like this:

  • Breakfast: Brown rice and tomatoes with a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper.
  • Lunch: Brown rice and veggie mix with hot sauce
  • Dinner: Roast vegetables (parsnips, sprouts, pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans) with a tiny dribble of gravy (not allowed!)
  • Drinks: over 2 litres of water
Beautiful roast veggies

Day 7 (Gain: 0.8kg) Monday

It’s the last day of the diet and I am excited to be allowed fruit juice – even though I very very rarely drink it as part of my usual regimen! I bought the juice on Friday in preparation and have been looking forward to it :) I went for the Simply Squeezed Super Juice (apple, pineapple, mango & passion fruit) as it was one of the few I could find with no added sugars or dairy.

Simply Squeezed Super Juice
Having woken up and weighed this morning, I put on 0.8kg ... I knew the weekend shenanigans would rear their head at some point. Need to remind myself that I am doing this for health reasons and not for weight loss!

I only ate half the rice yesterday because I had the roast veggies for dinner so I have brought the other half in to work … and only eaten half of that (for breakfast).

Safe to say that from lunchtime I had stopped the GM diet – not because it was too difficult, more so because I was taken out to lunch with my boss and then later on in the evening I though it would be silly to revert back to making some rice with veg when I hadn’t stuck with it all day so I made a Quorn (vegetarian meat alternative, not soy) curry and had brown rice with it. Very nice it was too!

I thin I was mentally over it by this point, as you'll see by what I ate. Today’s menu looked like this:

  • Breakfast: 1 glass simply squeezed super juice, bowl of veggie rice
  • Lunch: 1 glass simply squeezed super juice, salmon salad (taken out to lunch)
  • Dinner: Homemade Quorn curry with brown rice (Quorn is not allowed!)
  • Evening: CurlyWurly, handful of almonds (very naughty indeed!)
  • Drinks: over 2 litres of water


So it’s the 1st day of officially not being on the GM diet. Overall I lost 1.6kg in 7 days (after losing, gaining, losing, etc) and the main outcome was the change in my mindset and the realisation that fasting is not a bad thing and my portions can be smaller and still fill me up. I have actually started listening to my body as opposed to letting my portion size dictate how much I eat.

Not that I ate badly or HUGE amounts previously, it just could have done with a bit of a review and the GM diet provided that. It also curbed my sweet tooth – I now longer have sugar in my coffee and I don’t need it, I am also rarely craving sweet foods as yet – I just need to keep that under control.

One final result from the GM diet has been that I have realised that I don’t eat enough for lunch – I would usually make myself a green leafy salad with tuna or pumpkin and it’s not enough for me to feel full all afternoon, heck it barely covers the hunger at lunchtime! I will consciously ensure that I eat more at lunchtime and this will in turn reduce my hunger at dinner time and reduce my ‘eating so much that I go to bed feeling stuffed’.

I started day 8 with a coffee to have on the way to work then 2 boiled eggs and a handful of almonds for Breakfast / morning snacking – 3 things I hadn’t been allowed to indulge in for a week and it was amazing! Eggs and tomatoes are going to be cornerstones of my diet from now on – I love them both and they are packed full of nutrients … perfect combo!

I have also decided to dramatically lower my intake of potatoes, pasta and white rice … in fact, I’ll happily never eat white rice again, if I could just get the Other Half (OH) onto it too then I could ban it from the house!

Anyway, don’t panic – my blog is not going to be focussed on food from now on, I’d bore you all to tears. I just wanted to share my experience of the GM diet.


It's now Easter weekend and I just want to wish everyone a very Happy Easter :) We have Good Friday and Easter Monday as public Holidays and on the 25 April is ANZAC Day so we have taken the 3 days off in between and got 10 days off for the price of 3!

We spent yesterday (Good Friday) out checking up on our boat (that's another story for another blog post!) and ensuring it was still on it's mooring following the storm this week, luckily it was and I feel for the owners of the 2 boats below which didn't fare so well.

We stopped in town and had a beautiful lunch at Federal Delicatessen which is owned by the Chef Al Brown and the food was absolutely glorious. Then attempted a walk along Takapuna Beach but the wind was a wee bit chilly!

Looking forward to spending some time with the Other Half (OH) in Whangamata for a few days and enjoying some good food, good NZ wine and good company. I hope you all have a fantastic long weekend.