a big thank you from twochubbycubs!

Well, this is exciting, is it not?

It’s been exactly two years since our first recipe – a curry loaf that looked like someone had pooed out a polysterene brick and presented in that awful comic-book style we thought was a great, unique idea. It wasn’t. You don’t know stress until you’ve attempted to distil a complex risotto recipe into four pictures and five speech-bubbles.

It was never going to last, we thought, because who wants to read about two fat mincers from Newcastle who do very little and moan all the time?

Turns out quite a lot of you, actually! We’ve grown in these last two years from a tiny little blog into something that we can’t begin to tell you how proud we are of doing. I remember getting to 100 subscribers, then into the low thousands and now we’re over 11,000 of you who want us to come in your inbox once a day. We can’t manage that anymore (we’re getting old) but we usually manage to get it up for you at least four times a week, and that’s not bad. The focus of the blog shifted right at the start – we planned on being a ‘recipe’ bank, posting a new recipe every day (we’ve got over 370 now!), but give me a platform and I start chuntering – most blogs fall on their arse within a few weeks because of lack of comments and feedback – not a problem with me. I’d cheerfully talk to a brick wall.  We’ve got 26,000 in our group on Facebook (which we only allow a few people in at a time to stop all the posts about how many syns in a fucking Brooklea yoghurt) and, incredibly, 100,000 likes on Facebook. I find that mind-blowing and I could not be more grateful.

One thing that I hope runs right through this blog is our love of Slimming World. Christ knows that, as a diet, it has some major flaws (avocado anyone? Tweaking? Sweetener in a bolognese?) but we remain members and love the ethos of it all. I do like to think we provide a bit of a counter for all the sugary flim-flam they’re keen on pushing – no-one is on a journey, for goodness sake, we’re all just big balls of fat and muscle trying to fit into an aeroplane seat without them having to let the stitching out on the chairs. I dread to think what Slimming World think of us, but I like to imagine that occasionally our Fierce Overlord “Mags” puts down her gold-plated Chat magazine, lights up her 60th prison-rollie of the day with her penis-shaped SHAGALUF lighter and cackles and coughs her way through our posts like everyone else. There’s a love and a warmth in Slimming World that doesn’t come through in other diets and that’s why we stick with it, even if we don’t really follow the diet 100% all the time. I hope that shows. We certainly get plenty of messages from consultants who chuckle at our descriptions…aah SW, you should have returned my calls, all my disposable income and sass could have been yours! Right, some memories…

All links below will open in new windows, don’t worry.

I asked our facebook group and page for some memories and the feedback was amazing – the time Paul got bitten by a horse was a favourite, as was the night we got caught getting up to dickens by a farmer in the quietest tractor ever. The cats have featured heavily, as you’d expect, and Bowser’s trip to the vets or Sola’s hankerin’ for a spankin’ getting top billing. You’ve come with us to Ireland, Corsica, New York, Iceland, Cornwall and er…Peterborough. Who could forget our wonderful day out at Lands End (not me, I’m still paying for the counselling) or Paul dealing with the rep in Corsica with his cock hanging out?

You’ve hopefully laughed along with us as I shut a fart in a cupboard, fell out of a hammock, shouted uuuuuuuuuuuunt at a car, met the in-laws, exposed my hairy arse to a station load of waiting Germans, went accidental dogging, had an MRI scan (“vulnerable as I am on a metal tray being slid into a giant Samsung-branded sphincter”), explained in no uncertain terms what I think of tweaking, accidentally put a gaping bumhole up on facebook instead of a steak recipe, absolutely nailed what it is like to be a Slimming World member, created a new enemy in the car park, spent five hours not buying a caravan, ruined a tourist’s selfies…the list goes on! We’ve certainly had fun.

Actually, that’s one of the best things about this blog for me and Paul – we’ve now got a record of the last two years of our lives that we can look back on and enjoy. We have always said that we’ll keep doing the blog as long as it stays fun to do and, thanks in absolutely no small part to the wonderful folk in our group, page and who comment, it is fun. We love to laugh and hope that we’ve tickled you at some point. We’ve had about six complaints in all of the time we’ve done this blog – three of those were because we swear too much, which I abso-fucking-lutely took on board. One was about advertising but I’ve always kept that subtle:


BUY OUR MUSCLEFOOD PACK RIGHT HERE – IT’S A BLOODY BARGAIN – MMM MEATY-MEAT-MEAT


Another complaint came because I made a poor taste gag (“shaking like Josef Fritzl on Through the Keyhole“) and the clincher complaint was some moon-faced harlot whinging because we didn’t do enough to support her despite sending her recipes, advising her on what to eat and checking on her. I presume she wanted us to get a bus to Leeds, chew her food for her and spit it in her mouth like a fucking swallow. Ha!

Of course, it hasn’t all been shits and giggles – there’s been some sad times too, and having this blog has given me an outlet I previously struggled to find. The week my gran died was both a low and a high point, when not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, I was able to pour out my grief in the only way I could – laughter and fondness. She died before the blog really took off, but I reckon she would have been tickled pink had I told her about getting a mention, albeit she probably would have preferred to be alive first.

There’s also been a couple of posts that touch on my anxiety, too – I struggle with health anxiety and whilst I’m usually very up, when the downs come, they come hard. Just like Paul. But here’s an interesting thing. When I ‘lapse’ now and start fretting, I can look back at previous entries where I mentioned I definitely had something awful and see, with hindsight, how silly it was. I feel fantastic at the moment. Let that be a quick message to anyone else suffering with anxiety – it can, does and definitely will get better. It never seems like it when you’re low, but trust this big old gay, it absolutely does.

Perhaps the lowest point of all though – even surpassing death and anxiety – was what happened this March. Even now it makes me feel sick, worried and regretful, and I’m a bloody strong person. It’ll absolutely take some getting used to, I know that, but I reckon I’m not going to be right for another couple of years. Changed my life? Yep. Ruined my life? Almost. But see, Paul was so desperate for change. So we bought a fucking Smart car.

Of course, you can read all of our previous entries in a lovely book, available right here!

Finally, let’s get this wrapped up – we owe the biggest thanks to YOU lot. No, honestly, we do! As I said before, I’d type even if no-one read what I garbled onto the page, but our page-views (now easily 60,000 – 70,000 a day) says we’re doing something right. We get so many lovely messages from folk who enjoy what we do and tell us it’s invigorated them or lit a spark in their dieting, private messages with ideas and thoughts, comments left on the blog from you good folk about what you like. We’re massive softies under the cynical, jaded fronts we put out and some of the stuff proper moves us, which as anyone on a Slimming World diet knows, is bloody important. We do read every comment and although we’re crap at replying (we work full time!) don’t think we’re not grateful! We love what this blog has become and we love you all – so thank you, thank you very much 🙂

A final favour, and this would REALLY make us happy – please do leave a comment on this post, either via WordPress or Facebook, just letting us know of a moment or bit of wording that has made you laugh. We forget so many that it really does wonders for us! We’re not looking for anyone to stroke our egos but it would just be brilliant!

Here’s to another year!

James, and of course, Paul

housekeeping: all the stuff we think you should know

Now, saying as we can’t post recipes due to being unable to cook, I thought this would be a good opportunity to do some house-keeping! If you’re new to the blog, you might not know some of the things we have hidden away!

Meat

FOR ONE WEEK ONLY: Some good news to make up for the inconvenience of the lack of recipes (but if we can’t cook, you can’t eat!). You may know or not that we have an excellent deal with Musclefood – our freezer filler deal. It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.

We also have a smaller deal with added steak and sausages right here!

Recipes

ALL of our recipes can be found in one place, separated into handy categories with all the syn values clearly indicated. If you’ve got an ingredient, just visit the page and have a look – I bet we’ve done a recipe for it. The page with all the recipes on can be found right here!

Slimming World FAQ

Back when we first started the blog we knocked out what I still believe is one of our best articles – a guide to all those Slimming World questions that you might have floating about. It’s funny and still gets lovely comments – if you haven’t read it, give it a go by clicking here. I promise it’ll make you laugh.

Books

We get asked a lot if we could release a cookbook – and sadly, the answer is no. Fair enough, Slimming World won’t allow third party to publish in their name and I don’t want Mags turning up in a mist of Richmond Blue and Burberry Brit to cut the brakes on the CubMobile. That’s why we make all of our recipes free on here!

However, we DO have two e-books out – one is a massive collection of all our (hopefully funny) articles from Year One of the blog and can be found here and the other is a month long recount of our honeymoon in Orlando which you can buy from here. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t fret – most smartphones and tablets can download the free Kindle app and you’ll be on your way. If you’ve read us, please leave a review!

Social media

We have a few social media links:

  • our Facebook group – now listen, don’t join this if you’re going to be one of those mouth-breathers who hold up blurry shouts of Benefit bars and say ‘SINSPLS’ – we’re not that type of group. We welcome coarse folk with a sense of humour. The professionally offended can keep out! Slimming is much easier when you can chuckle your way through it. We do NOT bother with drama though!
  • our Facebook page – we aim to post an old recipe and a new recipe a day – that’s all we will ever put out, we don’t spam your wall – over 71,000 followers on there!
  • our Twitter feed – I’m not very good at putting pictures on here, but whenever we post a new recipe on the blog I’ll do a link on the Twitter feed, so it’s a nice way to get regular updates!

Of course, you can subscribe to the blog to make sure you never miss a post – more details on that by clicking here.

Overnight oats

For reasons beyond me, we put all of our overnight oats recipes in one place – handy for you! You’ll find them here.

More about us

This page is next on the list to be updated, but if you’ve ever wanted to know more about the profane monsters behind the posts, you can find a few scant details right here – this was the first page we ever did. Aww. We weren’t jaundiced back then…

The boring legal bit

It’s important to stress:

  • we are not Slimming World consultants and whilst we do our best (via Slimming World’s online site) to check syns, ultimate responsibility is always up to you to double check if you’re not sure – but we’ve been doing this for years, we know the crack
  • we don’t mind people sharing our recipes in groups – that’s great – but please don’t be a cock about it – leave our credit/copyright on the photo and recipe because a lot of work goes into what we do
  • we swear a lot and we won’t be changing that – god knows why but we still get messages from folk telling us how to write our blog. Here’s the thing – the writing is why we do this, the tasty dinners are just a side of that, so we’ll change for no-one.

Finally

One thing left to say – a massive, massive thank you to you lot. I know we’re crap at approving comments but we read each one (and eventually approve them when we have time!) and are always touched by the wonderful, kind words that you take the time to leave. We have met some brilliant personalities through this blog and we still adore doing it – when we started out, we thought we’d give up after a few recipes, but here we are 300 posts later! Please let us know if we can do anything to help you further or what you think about our stuff.

Final thing, promise: please share and tell everyone you know about the site! If someone needs cheering up, send them here. If they’re fat and you’re worried about your furniture every time they visit, get them cooking our stuff. They’ll love it!

Thanks guys!

J (and Paul!)

x

the cubs need YOUR help!

If you’re reading this in your inbox, please take one second to hit RT on the embedded tweet – you might need to follow the link to our full website to see it! Please help!

Now, I need your help with something, please. You may notice that there’s a lack of recipe on the blog tonight. I know! Catastrophe. But see the thing is, our hob has stopped working. We have a fancy-schmancy induction hob from Samsung and love the bones of it. A couple of weeks ago it went pop. This isn’t the first time, either – they replaced it completely less than a year ago but here we are again. After many, many, many phone-calls to a ridiculously unhelpful call centre, passed from pillar to post, we’re no further forward. They’re saying there is only a warranty of a year, which is bollocks, and even then you’d expect the replacement to last longer than a year – and refusing to fix it. I’m more than prepared to fight to get it fixed if I have to but I’d just sooner they held up their side of the deal and provided us with a working hob. To that end, please, please RT the tweet below. You’ve only got to click a button and that’s it! I ask for so little, it would be amazing if you could do it! Thank you. In the meantime, it’s microwave meals and sadness…

Thank you! Now, whilst I’m here, let’s do a wee post. Any excuse for a gab.

We’ve joined a gym.

I know, I know. It would have been less of a shock if I’d announced I was getting married to a young lady and planning on siring children. But see it had to be done – it’s all well and good eating healthily, but I’m trying to avoid looking like those forgotten birthday balloons you see drifting along in hedgerow, all crinkly and wrinkly. If I fall off a tall building, I don’t want my own skin to form a wind-suit that’ll drift me gently to the ground. Plus, we did say we’d start taking our health more seriously so…

Now, we previously joined David Lloyd. Bleurgh. Let me say this before I elaborate: if you’re a David Lloyd member, I’m not talking about you, no no, you’re the exception to prove the rule. To me, David Lloyd wasn’t so much a gym as it was a badge for people to wear and mention at any given opportunity. The gym in Newcastle had a lovely swimming pool, yes, but the gym was tiny and the equipment outdated and worn. Frankly, if I’m going to kill myself exercising I would rather it was on my own terms as opposed to going arse-over-tit on a knackered treadmill. We were paying almost £90 a month just to have our car sneered at by people more chin-than-man who would then powermince on the treadmills for five minutes before spending thirty minutes looking at themselves in the mirror like the big, vain, beetroot-faced shitbag budgies that they were. So yeah!

PureGym on the other hand, what a delight. It’s clean, the equipment is new and I don’t have the feeling of taking notes out of my wallet and setting fire to them like I did before. We were both perturbed by the doors though – because it’s a 24 hour gym, the doors are these weird automatic pods that you walk inside, it shuts around you and then opens on the other side. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to fit and I’d die in a Nike-emblazoned homage to Augustus Gloop. Thankfully, this didn’t happen, though my willybobber-clad arse probably left a smear on the glass as it squeaked shut behind me. What am I like!

I’m under no illusion that I’m going to become some hyper-fit Muscle Mary, don’t worry. It’ll never happen. Paul and I were built in such a way that, when we spoon, we form a perfect fleshy sphere. I can’t change nature. But change isn’t always a good thing, which leads me to my final point…

 

I am genuinely worried about tomorrow. I think you can safely assume which way we stand given our mannerisms and lifestyle. How you choose to vote tomorrow is entirely up to you and there’s no judgement here on what box you put a cross in – the only thing I will say is base your vote on facts, statistics and the opinions of those in the know – economists, business leaders and policy makers. Don’t be swayed by lies and hyperbole and tired, racist rhetoric. But do vote: it’s one of the most important things you can do.

Thanks all!

J

curried mango pork chops with orange glazed rainbow chard

It doesn’t get any fancier than curried mango pork chops with orange glazed rainbow chard, even if the photo does look like I’ve smeared some houmous on a built-up shoe and sat it beside something the cat’s brought up. Meh, it tastes nice, and it all comes out the same colour so who really cares about presentation? We’ll get to the recipe after this short moan about Forever Living.

STRONG WARNING: if you’re a seller of Juice Plus or Forever Living, let’s just assume that you’re the exception to prove the rule rather than someone who is guilty of the below. No need to get uppity, I know there’s some good in all scams. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

We all know how I feel about Juice Plus. It’s worthless powder pressed into pills and shakes designed to be sold to vulnerable folk by desperate pushers who care not about the health risks but more about lining their pockets. The company actively encourages reps to post via Facebook slimming groups and pretend that they tell people off for it when they don’t. Meh. I’ve talked about them plenty of times and frankly, if you’re a Juice Plus seller, I think you’re a parasite. 

No, Forever Living entered my orbit recently (lots of things tend to do this – when you’re the size of a horse-box you tend to have your own slight gravitational pull) because I, out of nosiness, responded to a post on a Slimming World group from someone who said ‘they desperately needed help‘. Actually, it was more like ‘CAN ANI1 HELP PLZ I DESPRATLY KNEED HELP PLZ MESSURJ ME‘. Sorry, no, forgive me, it was more like ‘CAN ANI1 HELP PLZ I DESPRATLY KNEED HELP PLZ MESSURJ ME ⊙﹏⊙ ❤?☹?♥☹? ♥❤ xXxXxXx‘. That kind of shit typing that makes you feel like you’re being inadvertently groomed by Dark Justice. Anyway, being a kind soul and/or nosy, I messaged to find out if she was OK, only for her to launch into her sales pitch about Forever Living and how wonderful the products were and she just needed people to try the products and they could solve eczema and depression and MS and aches and pains and first world melancholy and the Times Cryptic Crossword blindfolded. I responded that it was a load of horse shit and she promptly blocked me. I was annoyed simply because she’d made out like she was in trouble or needed support and it was just a ploy to get caring folk to message her so she could exploit them to pay off her Brighthouse sofa. Or rather, pay off her leader’s Brighthouse sofa. Which you just know will be 90% highly-flammable Taiwanese foam and have built-in speakers. The worst part is that I know some poor sap will end up buying her products, losing their money and feeling blue. Nice one!

Anyway, I let that lie, but seemingly because I’d mentioned the words Forever Living on Facebook, the sponsored ads threw up an intriguing proposition that I should get in contact with a ‘Global Home Business Manager’, accompanied by the kind of graphic someone disinterested in Media Studies might put together in MS Paint in order to stop failing a class. The kind of poster you see in church halls advertising beetle drives and jumble sales. The type of advert that gets filed under ‘God bless them, they’re trying’. It was the ‘Global Home Business Manager’ bit that made me intrigued – not because I want to work from home, but it’s such a clash of words that it really struck me. Many things do at 7.30am in the morning over my bran flakes. What is a Global Home Business Manager?  To me it sounds like the kind of absolute nonsense title that people who sit in front of Jeremy Kyle recruiting other people to exploit help live the dream give themselves to justify their existence, but no, turns out it’s the title given to the next tier up in the Forever Living pyramid, presumably because Chief Shill isn’t quite positive enough. A quick look at the profile for this ‘Global Home Business Manager’ reveals all the usual tricks – the rent-a-quote images about ‘BEING MY OWN BOSS’ and ‘YOU CAN DO IT TOO’, all the positive reinforcement messages lifted verbatim from 1000 other Forever Living profiles.

There’s no doubt you can do well from it, absolutely no doubt. Problem is, you have to turn into one of those annoying folk who piss off their friends, families and neighbours with constant and endless pushing of your tat. How come if it is such a great product it can’t be bought in shops but rather needs to be peddled via a network of recruits on facebook? People describe themselves as business owners but that’s a complete misnomer – you’re a modern day Avon lady, only you’re an Avon lady who rings the doorbell every ten minutes and shouts through the letterbox about the benefit of smearing aloe vera on your ‘gina to clear up your cystitis. You’ll sharp notice that people stop answering the door too, the more you pester them. I left a comment on this sponsored advert asking why there is never any mention of the folks who buy into the whole Forever Living scam and then lose all their money, or about the dubious marketing, or the fact that it’s a giant fucking racket. I didn’t swear, but the comments were deleted immediately and I got a snooty, patronising private message from someone with a dreadful haircut advising me that ‘they felt sorry for me for not being able to see the benefits of such a fantastic product’. You can imagine how grief-stricken I was by such a retort, but typical that the negative comments get deleted. People looking for the champagne lifestyle – which such a tiny amount of sellers will achieve, and even then it’s only with the ill-gotten gains of those below them – are likely to be suckered in. It’s a mess.

I think what gets me most of all, though, is the fact they prey upon the desperate. Officially, they’re told they’re not allowed to say that these products help with illnesses, but I know from personal experience – many, many times over – that the reps say whatever they can in order to gain a sale. I’m lucky that aside from being outrageously handsome and ever so slightly overweight, there’s nowt much wrong with me. I play along, though – I make out I’ve got disease XYZ just to see if they ever back down and say no, this product isn’t for you. They never do. It’s always ‘oooh yes, this can help with your illness’ as though they have the cure to all known disease in a box in their bedroom as opposed to a few sachets of knock-off tat. They don’t give a flying fuck whether these crappy, untested products make a disease worse or the pain that you might go through, they care about one thing only: your money in their pockets. Well, a tiny bit of your money in their pockets and the rest in their leader’s pockets. They are arseholes of the highest order.

Listen, as you can imagine, the Internet does a much better job of explaining this. Take a look at this article on cracked.com or this (god-forbid) recount of an ex-rep on the Daily Mail (I know I know).  Have a gander on Mumsnet for some honest opinion of what people think of the sellers or take a read of the many, many discussion threads out there on it. If you’ve got someone with white teeth and whistling ears trying to sell you a magic potion or worse still, trying to recruit you, ask yourself three questions:

  • why can’t I buy these wonderful products in a shop or why aren’t they prescribed by a doctor;
  • what has this person got to gain by promoting such a ‘wonderful’ lifestyle; and
  • who do I trust more – science, the NHS, doctors and medical studies – or the badly-typed words of someone with a BTEC in Travel and Tourism and debts to pay off?

Exactly.

Right, let’s get to the recipe, eh? This dish is very easy to make – pretty much a bit of blending, a bit of smearing and a bit of grilling. The side of rainbow chard is an excellent way to get your speed food in and can be used as an accompaniment to any other dish.

curried mango pork chops with orange glazed rainbow chard

to make curried mango pork chops with orange glazed rainbow chard you will need:

for the chard…

  • a big bunch of rainbow chard cut up into small chunks (or use spinach)
  • a big fat onion sliced thinly
  • a clove of garlic, minced, using one of these
  • one orange

to make curried mango pork chops with orange glazed rainbow chard you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • make a dry rub by mixing together in a small bowl 2 tsp of paprika, 1 tsp curry powder, salt and pepper
  • in a small pan, mix together the mango, ½ tsp curry powder, ½ tsp paprika and stir frequently over a low heat
  • rub a good amount of the dry rub mix onto each pork chop, on both sides
  •  heat an oven-safe pan over a medium-high heat with a little frylight and add the pork chops
  • sear for about 1-2 minutes on each side
  • add a tbsp of the mango mixture onto each pork chop and spread evenly, reserving the rest
  • place the pan in the oven and cook for about ten minutes
  • keep stirring the mango mixture until it has thickened slightly
  • when the pork is cooked, serve with the remaining mango puree on the side

to make the rainbow chard

  • cook off the onion and garlic until golden with a few squirts of oil
  • lower the heat and add the chard, put a lid on the pan and allow to steam gently
  • once reduced, squeeze the juice of half an orange in the pan and allow to bubble gently

I’m not synning the orange juice. We’re talking half an orange between four. If you want to syn it, it’s such a fractional tiny amount that it can be your job to work it out!

Serve!

J

fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce

Was it my fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce that caught your eye? Well scroll on down, you filthy buggers. Fair warning, tonight’s entry is a little saucy.

Before we get to the recipe, I’m going to do something unusual. See, in the facebook group that accompanies this blog are a load of funny buggers, each more crass and hilarious than the last. I can rattle off a blue joke and a knob gag no worries, but well, I struggle to get women’s problems correct. It’s all so complicated, and well, if you get it wrong, you’re liable to end up with a clit around the ear and a flap in the face. Wah-wah.

Anyway, I decided it would be a gas to ask people if they wanted to write an ‘article’ for the blog – no catches, write what you want, and if I have a recipe but can’t be buggered to type up one of my usual why-use-one-word-when-forty-paragraphs will do, I can post one up! If you’re interested in having a go, let me know in the comments. Readers, please remember that these articles are people wanting to try their hand at writing a blog post but don’t have the confidence to set up a full blog. Be kind. If you’re thinking negative comments, keep them ssh. If you enjoy the article, let’s hear from you!

Tonight’s entry is by the charming Clarabell, who lists the ability to say the alphabet backwards and having a creepy double-jointed hand as her party trick. Don’t believe me? Take a look!

20160522_174459

Goodness. Least she never struggles to get the last Pringle out of the tube, eh? I’d better make sure that isn’t the image that shows up when you post this to facebook. Over to Clarabell…


sweatbox: a tale by Clarabell

Now, we’re all used to the candid craic from James and Paul about douche bulbs, all things in the downstairs department, and of course the post that mentioned bukkake…which I had to google. On a work laptop. Upon which I forgot to delete the history. Cheers guys! So I figured that with a gaggle of MAINLY female readers that my post would have to be about some nether region tale of the female variety. Something we’ve probably all experienced at one point. Perhaps not James and Paul. (James edit: NOT TRUE! I’ve been there and it was all very charming, but not for me. That’s what keeps the world interesting, different opinions, apropos of nothing I don’t like potted ox tongue either).

I’ve been fed up lately, I’ve been getting bouts of cystitis, antibiotics, thrush, cystitis….repeat. I’ve had a scan and there’s nothing wrong with me other than I don’t drink enough water, and have self-created this cycle of misery.

Resigned to buying the thrush cream, after the standard tactic of ‘ignore it and it might not be there’ stopped working, off I went to the local shopping centre, my purse hovering on the thick air in front of me. I’m in Asda but I can’t see what I want on the shelves, and I’m quickly narked that the chemist is the other side of the centre, only because when your regions are on fire, that’s a long walk to do, simultaneously avoiding the urge for a scratch, and walking like there’s stones in your shoes. But! In a flash of delight, I remember that they took out half of the checkouts, to make an optician that no-one goes in, and…. a PHARMACY! Whoop! There’s nothing like the delight of knowing you can get minge cream at the same time as your linguine.

I approach the counter, there’s a pharmacist (identifiable by not being in day-glo Asda attire) fannying on with those little plastic mesh baskets that the prescriptions are homed in before dispensing, and very engrossed in it HE is too. Yes, he’s a he. Urgh. Oh well, in the spirit of “he’s heard it ALL before”, I man up and he eventually stops fussing and walks over, asking the age old idiot question “are you being seen to?”…am I being seen to?! By who?! Unless you’ve started employing invisible colleagues, then no…there’s only you there, and only me this side of the counter, and so no, I am not being seen to! Shop assistants, bartenders and pharmacists really need to drop the “are you being seen to?” line. What we all know is that you are trying to feign perplexion at my presence, as some sort for cover for the fact that you effectively ignored me for a good few minutes whilst procrastinating at your work – in this case the vital work of rearranging plastic baskets.

I’d like some Canesten Oral Duo” I say bravely– pointing to the bottom shelf. Worryingly, he looks like he doesn’t have a clue what I’m asking for. He follows my finger to the bottom shelf, and picks up some Sea Legs, examines box, puts it back and repeats – he does this a few times with a box of Rennie, and some headlice solution, and eventually comes across the thrush ‘range’ glowing on the shelf like a barber’s pole in full red and white glory. I’m wondering at this point if he is the pharmacist, or whether he’s mugged the rightful medicine man of his Asda badge and strolled behind the desk in the manner of an imposter, hoping to get first nab of the nearby ‘Whoops’ range, but he comes across the requested item at last. Not literally, you’d really struggle to pick the box up if he did that.

“Is it for you?” he asks. Christ on a bike…look mate, it’s fifteen flaming quid…I am not about to raffle it off in the Slimmer of the Week basket I don’t say this, instead I go with “yes” and 100% resting bitch face. Oh but he isn’t finished, “have you used it before?”…panic! What’s the correct answer to this? ‘Yes’ and appear like some serial offender, someone who can’t control their rancid ways and lifting minnie?! Or ‘no’ and risk a declined purchase, or worse, some sort of lecture on best application practice and/or side effects?! I go with “yes” quickly followed up with “a while ago…” He gives a small nod. He knows I’m baking bread. Phew, home and dry, which is good because another customer has joined me and she has the smug privacy of a prescription, which is her ticket to a no question transaction.  What is it with these useless questions?

However, there can be none more useless than the question I once got asked buying antihistamines for hayfever, “drowsy or non-drowsy” I was asked! Really?! Erm..let me check my diary…nope, nothing on the afternoon, drowsy for me please, I’m fine to lounge around spaced out and sleepy, I was not planning on driving and the only ‘machinery’ I’ll be operating will be the telly, so yup, drowsy will do just do fine…ah wait, no consuming alcohol? Poop.

Anyway, Ahmed walks to the till, and promptly stops and stands above it doing jazz hands, and of course he just remembered he doesn’t know how to use it. Suddenly, “Doreen!” he shouts WAVING THE CANESTEN BOX IN THE AIR! “Doreen, can you ring this in for me please”! I swear the smug-prescription-holder does the smirking shimmy, that tiny little wobble that comes only with an inner titter.  I throw her some side-ways shade, which is code for ‘look lady, we’ve all been there, and you will one day (maybe soon after that prescription for antibiotics teehee!) also have to stand here and deal with this lovely bloke, showing the world his arm pit sweat patch whilst at the same time holding aloft the solution to your itchy snatch’.


Goodness me! I once had a flatmate who had perpetual thrush, brought on by the fact her extra-endowed boyfriend  seemed hellbent on hammering her cervix over her back-teeth. Not even kidding there, she showed me a photo he’d sent and what I thought was his arm holding the camera definitely wasn’t. At one point our fridge was more cranberry juice than anything else. I still can’t have a cranberry sour without thinking of her undercarriage. I remember we once had a full stand-up row over the fact I refused to boil tea-towels in a saucepan on the hob to sterilise them. Awfully judgemental for someone with a little too much glue on their envelope.

Now listen, before anyone starts writing their ‘ANGRY OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS’ letters and getting themselves in a tizz, don’t. I know it’s perfectly natural and I know people get all sorts of things but do you know, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, what can we do? Let’s not live in a joyless vacuum.

Right, to the food!

 fresh spring rolls

These are one of those tasty little dishes that look complicated to make, but they’re really not. We used Blue Dragon Rice Pancakes for these which SW say are one syn each (ridiculous) – you can buy rice pancakes from any Asian supermarket too. The joy with these is that you can ram them absolutely chock-full of speed vegetables and lovely free things. 

to make fresh spring rolls, you’ll need:

to make fresh spring rolls, you should:

  • get a plate and fill it with warm water, you’ll obviously not need a lot
  • chop all your veg up – this is where a mandolin will save you so much time and make everything neat and wonderful – click here to buy one of those
  • get everything ready to hand
  • take one pancake, push it into the water, allow to rehydrate a little
  • take out, shake off the water and lay it on a tea-towel or better, a nice clean worktop
  • if you imagine it in thirds, you want to place a big amount of filling at the top of the bottom third – or really, just below the middle of the pancake
  • fold in the sides
  • fold in the bottom
  • roll – keep it nice and tight with your hands (fnar fnar)
  • place on a chopping board and cut with a very sharp knife

You’re done! We served ours with a dipping sauce where we took low sodium soy sauce (6 tbsp), a couple of tablespoons of hoisin (4 syns), a few chilli flakes, a drop of honey (1 syn) and some passata. Stir and serve!

Although these are a syn each, these fresh spring rolls are very, very filling and a brilliant way of getting fresh veg into you. I’m a big fat pig and only managed four! If you wanted to keep it vegetarian, swap out the meat for cooked egg or mushrooms.

Enjoy.

J

peanut broccoli salad

Here for the peanut broccoli salad? Scroll down to the picture and start running your fingers under the words on the screen. Today’s post isn’t going to be played for laughs because something is on my mind. The NHS. Yes, today we’re not going to so much as wander off the path as set camp in the forest. See, I was driving home listening to Professional Chode Jeremy Hunt gabbling away in that smug, shit-eating way of his about reaching a deal with the junior doctors. I can’t abide the man. You know when someone is described as making your skin crawl? He makes me turn inside out like a salt-covered slug with shyness issues. I’m unapologetic in my view. He represents the very worst – perhaps second only to George Osborne, a man so smug that he probably has a Fleshlight designed in the vision of his own face delivering bad news – of what is wrong with who is running the country. But that’s another rant for another time.

See, I love the NHS. I truly do. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had previous bouts of health anxiety and whilst that’s under control, it’s also meant I’ve had many trips to the doctors in my time. I’ve also got a dicky ticker to boot. Every single time I’ve been into hospital I’ve been treated with the utmost respect by all of the staff, who wear their smiles wide and work hard to bring reassurance and comfort to all. I was in there this morning for physiotherapy on my Klicker-Klacker neck. The doctor who I saw was wonderful, knew about my anxiety, took the time to explain what the problem was (and more importantly, what it wasn’t!) and even had the good grace not to recoil when I took my shirt off. I wasn’t rushed, I wasn’t made to feel like I was inconveniencing them, and I was told just to call up if things got worse. 

I hasten to clarify something – I’ve only been into hospital when I’ve actually had something wrong – I’m not a timewaster (though I’ll say this – don’t dismiss anyone with health anxiety as being a timewaster – take a moment to ponder what it must actually be like worrying and fretting that they’re dying). I’ve never had a single bad experience with the NHS, and it breaks my heart (just what I need) to see the systematic dismantling of it coming in via the back door.

And listen – I normally love things coming in via the back door. Of course there could be improvements, but what massive organisation can’t stand to lose a little fat? Plus if I have to sit through one more ‘GO YOU’ video in the waiting room where positive messages are beamed at me by someone more tooth than human I’ll cut myself. Least I’ll be in the right place. I’m going to hand over the typing to Paul, who can put our feelings in much better terms. Over to you, Fatty.

All we ever really hear about the NHS is that it’s awful, things are going wrong, mistakes are happening – I can only disagree with that entirely both with my own experiences and those I’ve seen of others (as a spectator and a cog in the machine itself). 

It’s pretty amazing to think of this giant institution being there in the background which we all take for granted. Can you imagine having to dole out some cash every time you wanted to see the doctor? I had a taste of it when we last went to Florida and suffered from a simple perforated eardrum. It cost nearly £500 for ten minutes with a mardy quack and a Tiny-Tears bottle of ear drops. £500! James started clutching his heart until I reminded him we’d need to mortgage the house to pay for the defibrillator. We paid it because I needed it – I was in agony and due to fly back, and fortunately had some travel insurance to cover it, but to imagine having that sort of thing drop into my lap on a normal day beggars belief and needless to say would mean I’d probably have to self-medicate with whinging and attention-seeking, and probably some Ben & Jerry’s too. 

This whole idea of the value of the NHS hit me today just as I was sorting out our diary – I’ve got a few medical appointments coming up with my GP and at the hospital (we’re at that age, you know) that are for things that are all down to my fatness, and James had a quick rub-down by the physio today for his wonky neck. I did a quick bit of googling about the subject and to have all of these things without the NHS (i.e. like in America) would have cost nearly £3,000. Isn’t that astonishing? I know there’s insurance and various schemes but overall, what a mess. 

Isn’t it great that all these services are offered for nowt, all because of our NHS. Now, I know – I annoy myself with these things – all this treatment is entirely my own fault and completely avoidable, and I am a little ashamed to have to be using up the resources of the NHS on me being too greedy, but on the other hand what a fantastic public service it is – to know that all of us, whoever we are, where we come from, what we do, can have the most fundamental thing – our continued survival – at our disposal. And, what a thing it is that we can be so lucky to have something so grand and wonderful that we take it for granted.

So I made myself a commitment today – to look-up to the NHS and champion it, and also defend it. James will be rolling his eyes at this (he hates it when I get political) (James edit: no I don’t, I just find it hard to get it up when you wear your Thatcher wig and flat shoes) so I’ll maybe soften it a bit – but we ALL need to defend it from those that want to take it away. It is OURS and we must keep it OURS and so we must all do what we can to cherish it, use it, and make sure it’s there for others in the future. So, from today, I’ll continue my weight loss journey so that I can get healthy but also reduce the strain on the NHS in the future – today it’s a fatty liver but if I keep on at the rate I am there will be all sorts of obesity-related conditions that come knocking at my creaky door (and knees – and I need them for….things…), and make sure I do all I can to protect and defend the NHS when I can. Not just in a rabble-rousing way but also to defend the very essence of the NHS and the culture that comes with it, because god knows we’ll miss it when it’s gone. 

Phew. All better. 

Let’s do the recipe, then. This salad more than filled us up as a main meal – we served two paprika chicken breasts with it, the recipe for which you can find here – but it would do as a side too. Plenty of speed and more importantly, plenty of taste. This makes enough for four people as a big side dish.

peanut broccoli salad

to make peanut broccoli salad, you’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 large broccoli, cut into florets (or use 600g tenderstem/purple sprouting broccoli like we did)
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter (8 syns)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • a drop of sesame oil (½ syn)

If you’re serving with chicken, use the Musclefood chicken. Not saying this to push the product because we get paid commission (although we do) – we forgot to defrost some chicken and had to buy a couple of breasts from the supermarket. They went in looking swell and tasty, they came out shrunken and dry as a dead dog’s dick. Musclefood’s chicken is tasty, doesn’t shrink and isn’t full of gristle that makes eating your dinner the equivalent of chewing on the ring of a condom. Click here to order our freezer filler which will get you loads of chicken!

And look – yes you use syns, but this dish works out as 11 syns for the lot. I’ve divided it into four at 3 syns each, so I’m actually being over-cautious there. Don’t sack it off because it uses syns, that’s what they are there for. 

Finally, the inspiration for this recipe came from gimmesomeoven – we’ve taken it and made it SW-friendly.

to make peanut broccoli salad, you should:

  • reheat the oven to 200°c
  • drain the chickpeas well and place on a single layer on a baking sheet and dribble Worcestershire sauce over them – give them a shake to get them coated
  • bake in the oven for about 30 minutes – you don’t want them at full teeth-shattering level but a bit of crunch is a good thing
  • meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil, loosen with a tablespoon of hot water if it’s too thick, until you reach your desired consistency
  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the broccoli
  • cook for a minute or two, or longer if you like it softer (amateur)
  • drain and place in cold water
  • when ready to serve, drain the broccoli and in a large bowl mix together with the peanut sauce
  • serve and sprinkle over the roasted chickpeas

Enjoy!

J

COMPETITION: win two Slimming World books!

Remember me prattling on a month or so ago about a competition – that I’d hide several people in my food photos and when there were 10 or so, I’d launch a competition? Well, like I say to Paul when he’s been an especially good lad (made my tea, rubbed my feet, put the hoover away with the cord wrapped up properly), it’s time for you to enter. There are eleven (I counted!) faces hidden in various blog posts going back to the beginning of April – all you need to do is find them and submit their names using the form below. I’ve also asked that you join our Facebook page but the little gizmo below makes it easy! Please DON’T leave the answers in the comments below, or I’ll smack yer arse quicker than Mags herself would if she saw you mashing a banana.

Now listen – I’ve said this in the terms and conditions but I wanted to reiterate it here. I write this blog for two reasons – because I’m an incredibly vain person who loves nothing more than talking about himself and inserting coarse, crude sayings (see below) into otherwise vanilla text, and because I actually like to think that people out there who are trying to slim may find some inspiration in my recipes and waffle. We don’t do it for the money, thank god, and we don’t do it just so we can show off our various Le Creuset bits and bobs.

That’s a TOTAL LIE. I’ll bloody shoe-horn in my Le Creuset cookware everywhere I can. Listen, I’ve known the horror of trying to cook an omelette on a pan that’s stickier than the front of a trainspotter’s Y-fronts, let me have my moment in the sun. 

So, to that end, I’d be happier than a dog with two dicks if these little books went to a regular reader or someone who would get the benefit out of them. We used to enter competitions all the time – it’s great fun if you’ve got a lot of time on your hands. We had some great successes (I was particularly good at winning the caption contents) – we won a set of business class tickets anywhere around the world, an Xbox, £400…my favourite prize though was the horse shampoo. We don’t own a horse, and even if we did, I think I’d struggle getting the fucker into our shower. We also won a year’s worth of dishwasher tablets and a year’s supply of tampons. Not in the same competition I hasten to add, imagine getting those mixed up. You’d have a lemon-smelling fur burger and a bone-dry dishwasher.  Aaah.

Anyway, get entering! Tomorrow’s meal is a delicious sausage rigatoni.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

COMPETITION: ten faces, one prize! win a fancy new SW book!

Oh now isn’t this exciting?

There’s no post tonight – not because I’m being lazy – but because Paul is out talking about politics and I’ve only just got home – too late to cook and write! Day three will be tomorrow and if you’re especially good, I might even throw day four on on the same day. But not tonight.

I have voted, though. This isn’t a political blog because I’m just not clever enough, but I do think everyone should be forced to vote. You can’t moan about your situation if you don’t do your bit to change it, however pointless it may seem. So yes, in I wandered into the church for the second time this year (I haven’t been filled with ‘holy spirit’ this often since Sunday school, but it’s alright, that priest is behind bars now so I got the last laugh) ready to cast my vote. At first glance I thought someone had parked their people carrier behind the desk but it was actually an exceptionally large gentleman who was incredibly terse and needlessly rude with me. He tutted when I gave him my name (in fact, he tutted twice as I have a double-barreled surname), he tutted when I gave him my address, and he tutted as I walked across the wooden floor with my massive Dr Marten’s on. I think he was tutting – it was probably just air escaping from under his chins. One thing I did spot was that he had filled out the crossword in his Chat magazine incorrectly, but I didn’t want him trying to eat my ballot paper so I kept schtum. But next time, you officious sweaty beast, keep your tongue out of the top of your mouth and learn that the capital of Portugal isn’t fucking Madrid. I probably would have  got away with pointing it out because by the time he’d levered himself up out of the chair it would have been time for the next election.

So – in lieu of a post and because I want to watch all the election habnabs on the telly, I’m launching our competition! Now we’re not made of money, so the prize is only a brand new SW book, but nevertheless, it’ll be posted out to you and everything. See, I’ve been being a tinker and popping random faces into my food pictures every now and then – there’s been at least 5 since I came back from Ireland, and there will be five more in the next few days. 

All you have to do is spot them – and, to make it trickier, you’ll need to tell me who they are! Some are hidden in plain sight, others are far more tricky…but those with keen eyes can be rewarded! 

Let me get you started – did no-one notice the mystery guest appearing for breakfast on Tuesday? For this face only, feel free to comment once you’ve seen him!

poached-eggs

TO WIN: see here!

I know this is a plea for deaf ears, but if you’re a comper and not a normal reader, that’s alright – but I’d really prefer this to go to someone who needs it / wants it / regular reader! Think on.

J

the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living

So, where have we been? Well, if you’re following us on Facebook, you’ll know that we posted a post to say we’d be away for a few days as we had received some bad news. My nana was taken into hospital on Friday morning, ostensibly with a bit of constipation (I had the first few numbers of Dynorod’s number already dialled on my phone for once we got the news of a ‘delivery’). I then got a text on Friday evening to say things were so much worse than we had imagined, and in the early hours of Saturday morning, she rolled a seven and shuffled off the mortal coil. My parents were by her side and she died peacefully, painlessly in her sleep, tripping the light fantastic on all the good strong drugs the NHS could muster. It’s the way we all wished for her to go. She’d been diagnosed with bladder cancer a few weeks before and had decided not to undergo any treatment – she was knocking on ninety, had most definitely had a good few innings, and couldn’t be chewed with the idea of being ill or a burden, which she never would have been. Anyway, there were Take a Break crosswords that needed filling in with all sorts of incorrect nonsense:

31 down. Auctioneer’s hammer (5): G-A-B-L-E

A good friend of mine messaged me and summed it up nicely – when someone dies, you expect the world to stop, people to be wailing in the street in their widow’s weeds, everyone to be so inconsolable that counting syns isn’t right and the only thing worth doing is eating Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter cup by the tubful with watery eyes. It’s what my nana would have wanted. But it’s not how it works – the world keeps turning, everyone still keeps going and a mortal love becomes a cherished memory, alive only in our minds rather than a slightly inconvenient thirty mile drive away. I never minded really, it gave me an opportunity to do 90mph on the military road. I’m slingshotting between being upbeat and chipper to being despondent and melancholy, which is probably why I’m up this morning at 4am writing this. This post may be incredibly self-indulgent – I’m aware of my wiffly-waffly prose, and any other time I’d be leaning on that delete key until the arrow wore off – but I express myself best through writing and it’s strangely cathartic.

See now, I grew up in the same village as my nana and saw her every day until I moved away – and even then, I was clearly a glutton for punishment and paper-thin pastry because we’d make the pilgrimage (first by three separate bus journeys and then finally, by car – she was the catalyst for me eventually learning to drive) to see her nearly every Sunday. My parents looked in on her every day, she had plenty of friends and she lived with my uncle, so she was well-liked, much-loved and well looked after. We were very close – I’d often spend an afternoon with her doing a jigsaw (her key tactic for completing a jigsaw seemed to be attaching random pieces to one another and then smashing them flat with her fist, so you’d end up with a charming vista of the River Avon only with one of the tiny picnickers on the bank of the river having the exhaust pipe of a Nissan Sunny for a head). We would chat about nonsense, she’d tell me the story of when she had to jump off the bus into a six foot snowdrift for the 376th time, my sister and I would wrap her Christmas presents for her as her approach was to use more sellotape than wrapping paper. All sorts.

Oh, it was definitely Nana, mind. It was never grandma, she said that aged her horribly, though at 89 I don’t think she was going to be fooling the Grim Reaper for especially long. She was an incredibly proud and wonderfully loyal person, with keen eyes and a sharp tongue. Her ears were fucked though – there could have been one of those gas explosions that rip a street asunder in the next room and she’d only think the phone was ringing. She never quite got on with her hearing aids, treating them as optional accessories the way one might keep a particularly ungainly set of beige earrings for best. We used to kid that she was receiving a fax when she had them in as they’d be whirring and whistling away. She couldn’t hear that, but by god she’d hear if you so much as mouthed a swear word. I use to mouth the word ‘VACUUM’ (which looks like FUCK YOU if you’re lipreading) at Paul across the room and she’d be up remonstrating at me for swearing at ‘Poor Paul’ and ‘Eeee Paul how you put up with him’.

She never had much – she was widowed young with three children and received very little in the way of support, so she had to balance working with raising children (long before it became socially acceptable to become a ‘STAY AT HOME MUVVA’ and let Jeremy Kyle and Quavers raise your son whilst you adorn yourself in rancid copperplate writing tattooes of your latest ballsack lover – sorry) and she did it with aplomb. And even then she’d turn that aplomb into aplomb jam. Haha, bit of wordplay for you there. What she did have she shared – you couldn’t escape the house without running the gauntlet of:

  • “have a slice of this cake, it’ll not get eaten”
  • “I’ve just baked this hundredweight of scones, but there’s no-one here to eat them”
  • “have a sandwich (a risk in itself, she remains the only person I’ve ever known to put her butter on with a plasterer’s trowel and apply salt like one might apply gravy)”
  • “I know you’re on a diet but I’ve made you an apple and blackberry pie and it seems a shame to chuck it out”
  • “Take this Breville sandwich toaster, last used for Queen Elizabeth’s Accession, works just fine as long as you change the plug and the wiring and prise off the half slice of National Loaf stuck to the plates”.

Ah it’s no wonder I’m fat. Of course, one of the very best things about my nana was her tolerance – I can’t remember how she found out I’m a mud-valve engineer but she welcomed Paul with open arms. How many people in their eighties can say they attended a civil partnership? To be fair she probably thought she was at a particularly low-budget version of Judge Rinder but she seems entertained enough. She’d talk of Paul as my husband or partner, none of this ‘good friends’ business. She did once ask me ‘who was the woman’ in our relationship but before I drew her a blisteringly hardcore and frank representation, Paul twigged on that she meant who did the cleaning and ironing (remember her age, now, before anyone goes all Millie Tant on me) and explained that heaven’s no, we had a cleaner.

So yes, I love my nana, with every part of me, and I can’t imagine her not being around. I’d swap anything to have her back for another few years of bellowing at me like she was hailing a taxi from across the Irish sea and trying to sneak an entire bag of Aldi Mint Imperials (Mint Industrials) into Paul’s pocket because “he doesn’t get his fair share”. If only she knew! But there’s no merit in wishing for the unobtainable, so, I’ll suck it up and on we go.

11072486_857119634361641_8499556530734161925_n

Tomorrow, back to normality. Rest in peace, Dorothy B.

I’ve gone and updated the FAQ page

The FAQ has been updated. But perhaps you’ve already seen it? If not, the new content is below and the link to the full page is here. Share the whole page with your slimming cohorts and make us proud!

Oh, I’ve also added random graphs to the page, because why not? Here they are!

correctplate

day

sauce

chips cake  fruit duringclass


Can I detox? My mate swears by a detox programme where she drinks nothing but horse piss and vinegar and she’s lost weight!

I’m not a scientist, not least because I’m too fat for a lovely white lab coat – I’d look like someone had parked a caravan in the corridor. Plus my interest in science extended to melting pens in the Bunsen burner and retching during the birth video we were made to watch during Sex Education week. Sex education in our school was a bust – all the boys were taken away and shown how to roll a condom onto a cucumber (no wonder men have such self-esteem problems when it comes to their cocks – to make it realistic they should have given out cucumbers, gherkins and those tiny pickle slices you get in burgers) and all the girls were taught how to best plug up their minnie-moo. Then we were shown a particularly gruesome video of someone popping a baby out and that was that. There was no mention of gay sex, despite me staying behind late and dropping my pencil case on the floor in front of the teacher with a leer on my face and a wink in my eye. That last bit wasn’t true. I never had a pencil case!

Anyway how the fuck did I get there? Ah yes. I’m not a scientist. But you don’t need to be to know detoxing is a load of shite, especially when you have to buy something in order to facilitate getting rid of the ‘bad toxins’. They always follow the same pattern – spend an obscene amount of money to buy some weird gel, powder or mix, restrict your calorie intake to something like 500 calories a day, and then sit there slack-jawed as the weight falls off. Well, the weight isn’t coming off because of the gel, is it? It’s coming off because you’re not eating enough calories to keep your body going, and as soon as you get back onto normal eating, all that lovely fat is going to rush back on. But at least your lips won’t be blue.

Put succinctly, don’t get suckered in by all the talk of dramatic weight loss and ‘I’VE NEVER FELT BETTER’. People are out to make money from slimming but the only way to do it is to eat healthily, exercise more and maintain that lifestyle going forward. No amount of gels, potions and nonsense will speed that up – because, think about it, if that were the case, none of us would need Slimming World, would we? To that end, that’s the joy of Slimming World – there’s no fancy chemical or procedure, just good honest food and plenty of support.

What are the basics?

You need to understand that I’m not a consultant and all of this is based on my own experience with Slimming World. You should consult your book, ring a class, check online if you have any queries or questions. I’m not your keeper!

So – most of your food will come from what they optimistically call ‘Free Foods’. You can eat as much of this stuff as your little tummy will hold – though stop when you feel full. There’s no weighing or measuring with this, just eat eat eat. Common sense applies – a potato is free, that family pack of Walkers Sensations that you’ve already ate in the back of your car isn’t.

Then, choose a Healthy Extra A and a Healthy Extra B. These are measured ‘extras’ that you should have during the day – to put it bluntly, your Healthy Extra B (fibre) will make sure you’re going for a shit whereas the Healthy Extra A ensures the bones in your ankles won’t snap on the way.

Finally, you get to use your syns. Syns, on top of being a spelling pedant’s worst nightmare, are Slimming World’s way of keeping you in control whilst still obliging your fatty-boom-boom tendencies. Any food that isn’t free or part of your Healthy Extra will have a syn value, and as a general rule, you’re encouraged to spend between 5 and 15 a day. So if you fancy a bar of chocolate, you can have one (a Kitkat Chunky is 12.5 syns, so you could have one a day!) and if you’re heading for a night out, you can still drink. Thank Christ eh, imagine meeting your friends whilst sober.

Finally, you’re supposed to make sure a third of your meal is made up from speed foods. We’re talking most vegetables (most, but check your books) and fruit, so put some berries in your yoghurt or serve your evening meal with a lovely salad.

Confession time: I don’t always bother with this, and I haven’t burst into flame just yet. I get the odd drunken phone call from an ex-consultant telling me that because I failed to stick 100% to plan she’d had to remortgage the house and sell her children into slavery, but well, tough tit.

What then is a S Food? Or a P Food? And F? And C?

Slimming World like letters of the alphabet, that’s for sure. Some free food have these various labels added on to denote they’re:

(S) Speedy food (they’ll fill you up with far fewer calories)

(P) Protein-rich (they’ll keep you fuller for longer)

(F) Fibre-full (they’ll keep things moving)

(C) Calcium-rich (they’ll stop you having teeth like a row of condemned houses)

What’s happened to Red and Green?

Well, can you hear me back there in the DISTANT PAST? Shall I call you on your Nokia 3310 after Series 1 of Big Brother? EH? Red and green days were the old ways, grandma – mainly meat on a red day, mainly carbs and veg on a green day. I lost seven stone this way but when I came back to Slimming World, with both sets of cheeks burning (one through embarrassment at putting the weight on and the other through general chaffing), everything had changed. It had gone to Extra Easy – one unified plan. It then changed slightly again with the introduction with Extra Easy: SP. But that nonsense is for another entry.