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Thursday, 3 November 2011

NAD#010 - Audio Update 10

Another update for you whilst I'm working from home. A little update on my running and my musings about buying a Kindle.

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

NAD#008 - Audio Update 8

I went out early for a run this morning as I'm in the dog-house. Find out why, and hear my cunning plan to worm my way back in to favour in this lunchtime audio update.

(By the way, you can now subscribe to these audio updates using the iTunes icon on the right of the page...)

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Monday, 31 October 2011

NAD#007 - Audio Update 7

Just a quick audio check-in to say hello to a few folks who have been racing, emigrating & getting snowed in.

(By the way, you can now subscribe to these audio updates using the iTunes icon on the right of the page...)

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Friday, 23 September 2011

NAD#006 - Audio Update 6

A quick update mid-way through week 3 of the biggest podcast loser challenge. Sorry if I sound a little distracted in this one...I had just had a bit of a domestic disaster to contend with (which I discuss in this podcast).

(By the way, you can now subscribe to these audio updates using the iTunes icon on the right of the page...)

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

NAD#005 - Audio Update 5

Another (very short) update about my biggest loser competition.

I've a very small, teensy weensy set-back this week, but it's nothing that another solid week of diet & training won't fix. Steve is still dragging in the dirt at the back of this unstoppable train of a competition, but Kevin and I are digging in and making a real compeition of it.

(By the way, you can now subscribe to these audio updates using the iTunes icon on the right of the page...)

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Thursday, 15 September 2011

NAD#004 - Audio Update 4

Another update about my biggest loser competition and some news about my new kittens!

The good news for me is that things are going very well, but this is, of course, bad news for Steve & Kevin, who should console themselves with a bag of potato chips each...

Listen now, and hear the voice of a true winner..!

(By the way, you can now subscribe to these audio updates using the iTunes icon on the right of the page...)

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Monday, 12 September 2011

NAD#003 - Audio Update 3

Episode three of my audio diary update series, and it's soup on the menu today!

Just a quick update on my weight loss challenge, which will no doubt come as a devastating blow to my 2 fellow rotund contestants, as I'm losing weight!

(By the way, you can now subscribe to these audio updates using the iTunes icon on the right of the page...)

Here is the book I talked about in this update : Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure




You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Friday, 9 September 2011

NAD#002 - Audio Update 002

Episode two of my audio diary update series - even duller than the last one to be honest.

I talk about my lunch (again), the "biggest loser" challenge and making a living online.

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

NAD#001 - Audio Update 001

Episode one of my audio diary update series - will it last...who knows?

I talk about my lunch, my plums, blood pressure and a "biggest loser" challenge - how exciting can it get !?

You can listen using the audio player below, or (if you don't have Flash) the direct download link below.

Direct download link here

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Increased Mileage - No Issues!

I managed to get out this morning for my 5th (yes 5th!) run of the week.

It was a lovely Sunday morning and I had a 6 mile run by the canal.

What was so good about this accomplishment is that this brought my mileage total to 25 miles for the week, with running on 5 days over the last week.

My mileage hasn't been particularly good over the past few weeks - I have been struggling to get in double digits for the past few weeks due to work commitments and being away on holiday, but have managed to hit 25 miles this week quite comfortably.

The reason I think I've been able to step up the miles with no issues is, I believe, due to the Galloway run/walk method. I've been talking about it for a while now on the podcast, but I've been sticking to it for all of my running and it really seems to be paying dividends.

I know there is a limit to the amount you can step up your mileage before you end up getting injured (the good old '10% rule'), but I've not noticed any issues with this jump in mileage.

Generally, when I jump my mileage my body let's me know pretty quickly that it isn't happy and I'll end up with shin splits, a sore hip, or something similar. But this time, things seem to be hanging together well.

This sudden jump in mileage wasn't particularly planned. I just happened to get plenty of opportunity to run this week and hadn't even totalled up my cumulative mileage - it was only when I imported my miles in the Daily Mile that I realised that I'd clocked up so many miles for the week.

Anyhow, I thought I'd put up a note about how the Run/Walk method is working out well for me. It's definitely worth thinking about getting Jeff Galloway's book (Galloway Training Programs) and maybe getting hold of an interval timer and giving it a try (there's an Amazon link in this article - it is an affiliate link, but there are plenty of other places you source them yourself).

You can also hear more about the Run/Walk/Run method from Jeff himself over at 'The Extra Mile Podcast - Galloway Edition', which is well worth checking out.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Ar*e and Elbow Explained

In the UK we have an expression which describes someone who is doing a particularly bad job or is struggling with a particular task. In these circumstances, it's not uncommon to hear someone utter the phrase: "he doesn't know his arse from his elbow".

I'm not too sure what the origins of this particular colloquialism are, but I thought that as a public service, I should provide guidance for folks who are in the position of not knowing their 'arse from their elbow' about the items in question.

I have taken the liberty of presenting my own examples in the pictures presented below for anyone who may be in doubt. Hopefully by careful inspection of the fine images presented below, people who may be in an arse/elbow quandry will have any doubts removed forever.

This is an arse (in a rather cheap pair of poorly fitted jeans)

This is an elbow (and no anti-wrinkle cream used at all! Not bad for 47)

I hope this clears things up once and for all for anyone who may have problems in this particular area.

Incidentally, if you suffer with either of the areas mentioned in this post, the following items from Amazon may be of use to you (these are affiliate links which I will make a pittance on, should you use them...)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

[Photo] Cat in a Drawer

Yes, I struggled long and hard on the title for this one.

My cat Chloe, who makes it her life's mission to be a nuisance, was up to her usual tricks this morning. The moment we opened a drawer in our home-office desk, true to form, within a few seconds she jumped in and made herself comfortable.

She has quite a lot of previous 'form' in this department, being particularly attracted to any cupboard or drawer around the house she's not been in before. I suspect she has a mental checklist of various places around the house that she has to 'do' before she dies.

A few years ago, she managed to get in to a storage drawer built in to the base unit of our double bed. We searched the whole house for her before giving up our endeavours for the evening and retiring to bed. She stayed snuggled down in the drawer for the whole night before she popped out the next morning when we opened it to retrieve an item of clothing. She'd been in there the whole night (right below us!) and we never knew. I know cats probably don't have the required facial muscles, but I'm sure on that particular occaision she had a smug expression on her face for the rest of that morning.

My Super Secret(ish) Smoothie Recipe

I'm not really any sort of health guru, but I've been assured by quite a few reputable sources that having a fruit smoothie from time to time is pretty good for you. I personally like them because it's an easy way of getting lots of healthy fruit inside of you without all of the hard work of peeling, chopping and chewing stuff. I like the thought of just mashing it all up, throw it down your throat and you're good to go. They taste pretty good too.

So, I thought it was time to lift the veil of secrecy off my super-secret smoothie recipe (which I copied from a book) so that you too can enjoy your very own gut-full of bowel-loosening goodness.

There are a variety of approaches to creating smoothies. Some recipes call for just liquidizing the fruit (and maybe adding some water) to create your smoothie. I personally favor recipes which create a more creamy tasting smoothie and involve milk or yoghurt to be added to the mix. My personal favourite is to use sweetened soya milk, so that's what I'll be using in this recipe.

Also, there are a variety of methods of actually chopping and mixing the constituent ingredients (the fruit & soya milk) in to the familiar smoothie consistency we all know and love. There are dedicated 'smoothie makers', which are usually rather large electrical appliances that will do the job admirably - in my opinion they  take up too much space on the kitchen work-tops. I personally have an unused juicer and rarely-used breadmaker to accomodate, so space is at a premium for me (also, my wife will shout at me if I leave another electrical appliance on the work-top in our kitchen). So, my weapon of choice is a hand-blender. It's much easier to use and clean and I like to think it has the air of sophistication and mystique of an assassin's much-prized, bejeweled dagger, but for smoothies. (As a side note, it would probably provide a pretty good defence against an assassin with a dagger, if the assassin broke in to your house - the highest blade speed setting is probably the most effective).
This is the mess I left in the kitchen

So, finally, we're on to my fairly secret smoothie recipe.

I think the basis of a good smoothie is a banana. I've tried lots of smoothies without bananas, but they definitely lack something (the taste of bananas mainly), so I always include them. I also always like to include Kiwi fruit in all of my smoothies - they just give a nice sharp tasting contrast to the banana flavour, if they're not too ripe. I also always include a few seeds (for their very useful nutrients), some sweetend soya milk and one or two types of soft fruit. As an example, I'll detail the recipe I used for breakfast this morning (enough for 2 people):


  •  2 bananas (peeled)
  •  2 kiwi fruit (skinned)
  •  half a cup of blueberries
  •  a cup of strawberries
  •  a teaspoon of mixed seeds
  •  enough sweetened soya milk to almost cover the ingredients in the jug/bowl

I use a tall measuring jug to hold all ingredients. I slice all of the fruit in to it, add the seeds and then top up with soya milk until it almost covers the fruit (I'm not sure how much this would be, I've never measured it - maybe quarter of a pint?). Then I attack it with the hand blender until everything is well liquidized. And, that is pretty much it.

The recipe shown above will fill two large glasses and will keep you going all morning (that's energy levels, rather than toilet trips, mind you...never mind). I sometimes throw in some low-fat yoghurt as well to thicken things up if the mood takes me (and I've got some lying around).

So, there you have it: my fairly super secret recipe - don't tell anyone else about it. It's served me well over the past few years. Feel free to 'mix things up' a little with a variety of soft fruits - as long as you stick to the banana, kiwi, soya base, you'll always get a great tasting smoothie.

Enjoy!

(Disclaimer: If this smoothie gives you the shits, please don't sue me, blame the guy I copied the original recipe from - I'm sure I can find it if legal action is underway).




Saturday, 28 May 2011

Fox Update - May 2011

Foxy is still visiting the garden regularly. She's looking a little thin to be honest, despite the large number of cooked sausages, eggs and dog treats we keep supplying her with. She carries a lot of the food off, so I suspect her cubs are the recipients of much of the food we leave out.

Here is a short video I took of her a few nights ago when I gave her a few sausages (click on the image to see the video):

Foxy having a few sausages this evening :) on Twitpic

Last night, we also found we have another visitor to the garden! A local hedgehog has realised that when the fox visits, it makes a supply of food available and is taking the opportunity to get some free grub. It was comical last night to see the hedgehog and foxy eating food off the same plate! (click on the image below to see the full-size image...you can see the hedgehog to the left of the plate) :

Foxy has a friend to help her eat dinner (Mrs Tiggywinkle) on Twitpic

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Pet Fox

Ok, so the title of this blog post may not be strictly true, but who would want to read: "a fox who sometimes comes in to my garden?" :)

I thought I'd take the opportunity to post a picture of the beautiful fox who visits our garden every evening to devour a plate or two of food. You may well have heard me talk about her if you happen to stumble across my podcast. The picture isn't a clear as I'd like, but I'm not the world's best photographer (certainly not a wildlife photographer)

This little female fox began visiting our garden three years ago. We already had our suspicions that someone or something was paying us visits after something shredded a toy foam football in our garden and scraps of bread left out for the birds in our garden disappeared. One evening we saw the security light in our back garden illuminate to reveal a beautiful young fox wandering about the garden. We threw her a few scraps of meat which she gratefully ate and so began my family's love affair with 'foxy' as she became a regular visitor to our garden.

We fed her each time she turned up, often cooking sausages in anticipation of her visits. Over the course of the following year she established a pattern of visiting our garden each evening, taking the food from a small tin plate we had piled the food on to.

In the following January, it became clear that foxy was a female fox as she started to expand - pregnant with fox pups. We stepped up our efforts to keep her satiated and nourished during her pregnancy. After disappearing for a few weeks, she re-appeared, after presumably having given birth to her pups. Again, we stepped up our efforts to keep her well fed, conscious that she had hungry mouths to feed! Her diet now expanded to include eggs, chicken and sausage to keep her going - all of which she gratefully wolfed down.

Over the course of the following year she continued to visit our garden regularly. She had another batch of pups after becoming pregnant again in the winter breeding season this year. She is currently gratefully dispatching as much food as we can leave out for her, no doubt feeding her young pups who have now most likely moved on to solid food.

It may seem a bit strange to become so attached to a wild animal, but she has (and continues to be) such a source of delight to our family, that we really think of her as something of a pet. OK, we don't get to stroke her or play with her like you might with a dog. But, there is something very special about having a wild animal that will look you quizzically in the eye when she sees you through the kitchen window, will gratefully take a cooked sausage out of your hand and will sit in the darkness of the garden, head cocked to one side looking for her human friends whilst she waits for another treat.

I'm not sure how long we'll have foxy as our little friend, but I never fail to be delighted to see her and enjoy the special relationship we've built up with this lovely creature.


Friday, 13 May 2011

Humour/Humor/Hummus

As people develop and grow they move from infancy, to childhood, through adolescence and finally in to adulthood. They go through a large number of physical, emotional and intellectual changes as they develop and advance through life.

In my case, I rather suspect that some part of my emotional and intellectual development was subject to some type of catastrophic failure at around the age of 12. As a result, I just love stupid stuff.

Much as I yearn for a well developed, mature sense of humour (or humor, for the benefit of my Transatlantic readers), I am constrained to the sad world of an adult with an over-developed appreciation of fart gags, innuendo and funny shaped fruit that looks like various body parts (particularly genitalia).

Whilst coming up with the title for this article, I decided that ‘Humour/Humor’ might be a good choice (to cater for my geographically diverse audience), but then decided to throw in ‘hummus’ for no good reason other than it sounds a bit like the rest of the other words in the title. This is another example of my rather pathetic, facile sense of humour. I will endeavour to work ‘hummus’ in to the article at some stage to provide some justification for its inclusion, but apologies in advance if I fail miserably.

I thought it might be nice to get a few examples of my rather retarded sense of humour in to this article to give you some idea of the size of my affliction (...snigger). I like to hang around on the Twitter and Facebook social networks and post a few of my rather lame musings on there. I have plenty of ‘friends’ on there who are surprisingly tolerant of my adolescent humour. I often wonder if they would be so accommodating if they met me in real life. I also wonder if this explains my lack of friends in the real world, but I often brush that thought aside, blaming my demanding commitment to work and family.

I’m a big fan of visual gags, and I have a couple I’ve used a few times on social networks and sent to friends in emails. The sad part is, no matter how many times I use these gags, I never fail to nearly wet myself laughing at them. This gives you some measure of my affliction.

The first example can be seen below. The picture itself just reduces me to tears (of laughter).
The obvious comment that goes with this picture is “Wow, this guy has a big cock!”. I’m obviously playing slightly there with the abbreviation of ‘cockerel’ to ‘cock’ and the slang use of the word ‘cock’ to refer to a penis (just in case there were any questions in your mind...).

I love to post updates that say: “Look at the size of this guy’s cock!”, with an accompanying link to this picture. Then I spend several minutes on the floor laughing, thinking of all of the people who will click on the link, imagining that they too will soon be laughing uncontrollably. In reality, I suspect most people will sigh heavily and move on to their next social network update.

My second (and final) example of juvenile humour is based on any picture similar to the one shown below:
I’m sure you’re all way ahead of me on this one and I don’t need to even provide you with a title or caption, but it provides further evidence of my failings in the area of emotional development.





So, there you have it. My lifelong affliction laid bare.

Hopefully, having confessed to this rather debilitating of conditions you might ‘cut me some slack’ if you ever meet me in real life, and not be so mystified if I burst out laughing when I see a woman eating a banana, whilst in your presence.

I like hummus.

Monday, 9 May 2011

You've Got To Grin To Get It In

My mother-in-law recently joined a social club for "elderly" women who like to get together on a Wednesday afternoon for various social activities. Upon joining she found that the main activity they engage in is Bingo, Bingo and more Bingo...

She hates Bingo.

But, despite this (and with plenty of encouragement and arm-twisting from ourselves), she has agreed to continue to attend this regular social gathering to try to "widen her circle of friends" (which is extremely commendable) and to see if she can learn to love this rather facile of pass-times to avoid loneliness and mental decline.

The down-side of this little arrangement is that everyone belonging to this Wednesday afternoon Bingo-fest-club has to take along small, inexpensive donations to be used as Bingo prizes. Inevitably, as the members are all retired ladies of mostly restricted income, they tend to take in some some pretty crappy prizes (e.g. soap, packets of biscuits, discarded tissues - you know the type of thing. OK, I lied about the tissues...).

Consequently, my mother-in-law tends to not want to keep the 'prizes' that she wins for herself (unless they are, on rare occasion, alcohol). Therefore, each Wednesday evening we tend to receive one or more of these 'prizes' as a kind donation when she visits us.

Luckily for her, I'm a pig. I'll eat most things she brings along, but that obviously excludes the soap. 

This week, we were the lucky recipients of two items: a packet of fig rolls and a packet of 'Wagon Wheels'. To be honest the fig rolls have already been pushed to the back of one of our kitchen cupboards and will probably see the light of day in a couple of years time during a kitchen clearout or a during a bout of constipation, whichever comes first.

But, I was delighted to see the packet of 'Wagon Wheels'. I haven't had a Wagon Wheel for many years and they brought back many wonderful boyhood memories when, even then, I would stuff my rather rotund face with anything that wasn't nailed down.

I was also delighted (and amazed) to see that the marketing slogan for this mallow-chocolate-biscuit delight hasn't changed in the intervening years. Despite the passage of time and the ever advancing agenda of political correctness in our society, the age-old slogan remains: "YOU'VE GOT TO GRIN TO GET IT IN!" (see photo below if you don't believe me)



Incredible! Even when I was a boy this slogan invited sniggers, winks and nudges every time it was mentioned. But, despite its obvious double entendre reference to a rather adult activity, the slogan remains: a reminder of the more innocent days of yesteryear when you could have a mildly-veiled reference to a BJ plastered across a product mainly eaten by children and no-one so much as blinked.

[Photo] Chloe: bliss!

I love seeing the photos that other folks post on their blogs, so I thought I'd post one of my own.

This is my cat Chloe who just loves to sleep in the sunshine streaming through the windows of our house:

Friday, 6 May 2011

Five Minutes In My Garden [Audio]

Here's something a little quirky. I put my recorder out in the garden for 5 minutes today to see what it would pick up.

As the sun was shining, you can hear a few birds chirping. There are also a few distant car noises and the occasional breeze in the microphone (sorry, no wind-shield!).

I think the whole thing sounds quite pleasant!

Direct link to MP3 here.

Photos: Hanchurch Woods 2nd May 2011

I recently had to say goodbye to a dear friend: my Canon Powershot camera after it finally malfunctioned after 4 years of loyal service under some very difficult conditions.

I'm pleased to say that I bought myself a nice new shiny Canon Powershot and here are the results from my first outing whilst running with my new 'friend'. The following shots were taken as I ran along the canal and up in to Hanchurch Woods on a beautiful Spring afternoon.

Well, it's about time...

It struck me recently, that I have lots of fingers in lots of pies across the Internet, but not really a place I can call 'my own'.

I have plenty of web sites and am involved in helping plenty of other folks out with their web sites and podcasts, but nowhere that is specifically 'me'.

So, I thought it was about time I put up my own personal blog so that people can find me, to act as a focal point so that folks can see what I'm up to and find my various web incarnations.

Well, here it is (finally). I'm not too sure what I'm going to be doing with it as yet, but stayed tuned, I'm sure I'll manage to come up with something that will either entertain or upset someone...

Nigel.
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